On to quilting the Double Wedding Ring

Quilting is an adventure, I sort of decide on the fly how I’m going to quilt, but first,  let’s baste.Thank Goodness I have a lot of outdoor space. Spray basting with pool noodles. The method isn’t perfect, I tend to get some foldover and creases on the back. I don’t care, I’m not a machine.Next step is securing the quilt. I learned this method from a Craftsy class. Using my walking foot and monofilament I sew a grid. This way I know everything is secure and I can start quilting where ever I want. I can also jump around without concern.You can see the outline of the arcs, as a quilter, some of you will see how I will end up with some folded over fabric on the back. As I said before, Oh well, so I won’t be winning any ribbons.Then I switched to a regular quilting foot, and with the monofilament, I outlined all the applique.  I’m not a big fan of monofilament, but it does serve a purpose of really being invisible. Next, I switched to white Aurifil and quilted shadows around the birds. For the white segments, I chose a simple quarter inch border with pearls.

Then the trouble started.Next, with free-motion I quilted the centers. I did at least 15 of them and yet I wasn’t happy.  At one of my guild meetings, someone came up to me and said how much they liked my quilting. It relates to the quilt, it highlights the piecing. So many people send their quilts to a longarmer and have an overall pattern applied. I understand this, money is an issue. But that tends to flatten the quilt, not flatter it.

I’m sharing a close-up, where this all looks fine. But as I stepped away, I realized that I don’t like the center quilting. It did nothing for the quilt, it was very meh.So I tried another design, You probably can’t tell but I did some ruler work here.  I wanted something denser than what I had before. I have discovered, that as much as I like the Frixon pens, they don’t iron out as well as I’d like. So a minimal mark with a water-soluble pen works much better.Yup, I went back and pulled out all of that quilting. It was a lot of work, I can hear some of you saying, but why, it didn’t look all that bad!  I have worked very hard on this quilt, I want to love it, not just like it. In this case, time isn’t money. Time is my creativity and it is worth it to me to have an end product that I love.Even in the bright light, the effect of the new pattern is so much better.In low light, you can really see the quilting.  You can also see the imprint of the quilting I removed.  After removing it, I sprayed those blocks with water and that will help remove some of the imprints. Then, the new design gets quilted over it and you can’t tell. I will wash this quilt and a lot of imperfections will disappear.

Quilting for me is a journey, not a race. I’m not looking for perfection, but I do want to love the final product, for me, it’s worth my time to unpick, stitch by stitch and quilt again to get something I love.


Getting serious about appliqué

I’m starting to think about a full applique quilt, maybe something along the lines of a Baltimore Album quilt, but not using the old fashioned templates, something new, but I’m not sure exactly what yet.

So, first off I need to try out more tools.Karen Kay Buckley has come out with a simple tool called perfect seams.  These little plastic templates help make a perfect tubes, from 1/2″ to 1/8″.

It’s simple, cut the fabric on the bias, sew wrong sides together into a tube, using a zipper foot, as I sew, I keep moving these templates down and finally out.Trim the sewn edge, iron down and start appliqueing.I have here the 1/2″, 2/8″ and 1/8″. The narrower the tube, the easier it is to get tight curves. I sewing with silk thread, strong and almost invisible. I sew by hand, for me, applique is hand work.I twisted these freely as I sewed.  Knowing me, I probably won’t use the 1/2″ much.

Then I decided to embellish with more Appliquick shapes. Don’t look at these for color schemes, I’m using us scraps I have on hand.

I could just keep going, but I think I’ll stop here. I had a $10 gift certificate from Candy’s Quiltworks. So I bought some more boy fabric and made another pillowcase.  This is for foster kids, they always need pillowcases to give the kids and girls themes are more plentiful than boys. So whenever possible, I’m making pillowcases for boys.


Busy week

First of all, I want to share the quilts of Valor that Ruth, Irene and I made.We worked off the same pattern Storm at Sea. You can see how color placement changes everything. This is one of those things I love so much about quilting. Our fabric choices and placement make all the difference.My quilt.Irene’s’ quilt, she is hiding behind the quilt, that is Ruth peaking out.Ruth’s quilt. She worked with a design program (not EQ) and came up with this stunning version.  So now, we are mailing them off and since there is always a waiting list for quilts for veterans, I’m sure they will find good homes very soon.It’s springtime, which means spring break. So the cousins went to Griffith Park to ride the ponies.Then there was the train ride, no pictures.Shira does love being a big cousin.

Passover started this week, I was very busy cooking. Thursday night we went out to have our last meal with bread for the week.Beer is liquid bread.Any healthy eating habits go out the window on Passover. This is a must, Maztah with peanut butter and Israeli chocolate spread. When my kids were little, they took sandwhiches with this spread to school. These days it’s a once a year treat.Eyal had a good time as well, he tried the matzah, what he really liked was the chopped liver.


New project, a classic

I find myself wanting to make some classic quilt patterns. The Double Wedding ring is one such pattern. A lot of small pieces and curves. So a few years ago I bought these templates.Darlene Zimmerman created these templates. Two issue, One has to cut the pieces out by hand, some with a rotary cutter, but those small segments that make up the melons would are a hassle no matter what.

So I put the project aside, a few months ago I started collected blue and white fabrics to add to my stash. This was the color combination I chose.Then I went ahead and ordered the dies for the Accuquilt Go. I bought this exactly this purpose, to so why not get these dies and make my life easier. Another great thing about the dies, those little notches that mark the centers of the pieces, a real life saver.

With the EZ dies I’d have seven segments on the melon shapes. This makes sense since the pattern was created in the late 1920’s and was very popular in the 1930’s when Fead Sack fabrics with their tiny prints were popular.

The Accuquilt die only has five segments.I’m using modern and reproduction fabrics, the larger segments allows for more of the prints to be visible.Having a design wall upstairs means more exercise for me.  First attempt, don’t like the prints in the center, bring out the seam ripper.Much better! It may be hard to see here, but I am using white on white prints which hopefully will add depth and texture. There is nothing modern about this except for some of the prints.I’m trying to add some interest, can you see the ring that is made only out of the lighter fabrics? Probably not.Now it’s easier to see, but once the quilt is finished, it won’t be that apparent. I’m leaving this one as is. I will probably add a few more light rings but will make the inner segments light as well. I’m having fun playing around.

All in all, this is a very classic blue and white DWR quilt, classic and traditional are good.




Finishing quilts

I finished one quilt before my trip and one after.First of all, I LOVE wool batting! The quilt moved smoothly, I did a lot of ruler work and didn’t have problems. I don’t remember why I took this picture with the seam ripper. I think it’s just to show scale because I didn’t rip things out.In the close-ups, you can see a combination of ruler work and free motion quilting. My favorite, using both.On the solid back is where you really see the two styles of quilting.  I also had the pleasure of switching out thread color. I have mentioned that these are not my favorite colors, and yet, I am thrilled with the result. I think this quilt is stunning, I just need to figure out who will get it. Yes, this going to the gift pile. I can’t keep every quilt I make. I can already see the comments: pick me! pick me!  We shall see.I shared this quilt at one of my guilds. Someone came up to me with an interesting comment. A lot of people love to make tops and then they ‘quilt by check’ – give it to a longarmer to quilt. The cheapest option is an all over design. This woman said that she really appreciates how I matched the quilting to the design and therefore it really pops. I couldn’t agree more. All over quilting flattens a quilt, more on that later.I like my style of designing a quilt, it sort of happens on the fly. I knew I wanted to use my Lemoyne Star ruler so I started making blocks with different stars. Then I chose a center, which ended up being paper pieced. Sometimes a quilt is a wall hanging, usually is it meant to be used. Therefore I don’t like them square, even if it is a medallion quilt, so I build in more borders horizontally in order to make a longer quilt.I could have shared many close-ups, but I needed bore you.Once again, a pieced back.How cool is this with the light shining through?!My next finish is the charity quilt, I finished this after my trip. I’m going to blame jet lag on some of my problems. But not all, I used a 80/20 cotton batting, it’s not as smooth as the wool. I had my usual problem with the ruler, going from right to left no problem, back in the other direction – a lot of breakages. I probably should have switched out the needle, it was the same one I used on the purple quilt. So at some point, I just kept moving the quilt back to the right.The overall result is a great looking quilt. In this case, I have an all over pattern, you know the kind of thing that flattens out a quilt? The result here is perfect, it helps tie all these blocks together, nothing really stands out, which is a good thing. There is a purpose for everything, also, I’m not telling people what they should do, just pointing out things that I like.The quilt is 42″ wide, so I was able to use one piece of fabric that I had picked up at the sew day.  It brightens everything up even more.Artsy shot.Another finish! Remember I made one of the center blocks for this quilt? From this angle, I’m not sure which, but it is all finished and is available as the raffle quilt for Valley Quiltmakers Guild. This was quilted by a professional longarmer, one who took the time to make the quilting stand out. Btw, I have raffle tickets for this if anyone is interested.


Quilt con 2018

Back in my backyard so it was easy to go! I only signed up for a few lectures, I spent most of my time walking around, seeing quilts, reconnecting with people and giving my business to vendors. Got to keep the vendors happy and in business!Being a modern quilt show, there were a lot of different styles. Simply because there is no real definition of modern, it’s all about the committee and judges choices.This was no surprise to me that my favorites were old art quilts from the 1980s-90s. This one is an original by Michael James. I bought both of his books early on, the photos were black and white. So to get up close and see the accuracy, the use of whatever cotton fabric he could get his hands on – was exhilarating. A true master.I wasn’t looking at the names of every maker. These are more of the old quilts, often a visual show is about what you see, not about who made what.I spent a few hours with my son in law Yoch, needless to say, Ma Ru was his favorite. It is very well done and fun! Modern and wonderful. Three years ago, everyone was doing straight line quilting with the walking foot. This year many people sent their quilts out to professional longarm quilters. That is fine, except I do remember when two years ago people complained that Luke Haynes created a show with 50 logcabin quilts and hired other people to make the quilts. But then clearly those people were either jealous or have no idea how the art world works. After a while, I realized that what interests me is the close up of some of the work.   A lot of it was really amazing. Great craftsmanship out there.People from Craftsy were there filming.Just because I really like this.Jen made this coat herself! There is no wearable category  in modern quilting, there should be.Sometimes the ‘mistake’ photos tell so much more of the story.

One thing I have to say here. I HATE all the angry, mean political quilts that were on display. I am so sick and tired of politics invading everything, and by politics I mean lefty angry hateful politics. There wasn’t a single patriotic quilt (well, there was one in the Bernina booth). Nary a quilt about Make America Great Again. I get it, modern quilters are in their tiny little bubble, they don’t think anyone could possibly Republican, or a gun owner or heaven forbid – even vote for Donald Trump and be grateful he is president.

I didn’t want my blog to be about politics, and in general it isn’t. But being slammed from every side (yes also in the lectures) with one-sided hate, I’ve had enough. For years I’ve sat silently with women who are ‘kind’, ‘open-minded’, ‘accepting’ as they have said the vilest things about people they don’t agree with politically. I haven’t argued, I and many others like me, just sit there and take it.  After this show, I felt that once, just once I need to publically state that not all of us buy into the left-wing narrative of how things should be. Yes, I heard people with a product to sell saying that don’t care – if these messages offend people – let them be offended. You better believe they are on my private boycott list.

I don’t think we all need to agree, I think different beliefs and opinions are a good thing. But when civility is gone and at least 5 quilts have the F word on them or other derogatory messages about white people, the Potus, or the awful state America is in. (go live in Iran or Saudi Arabia if you hate it here so much).  I know, woke people feel they have the right to take over everything and spew their garbage, I’m old enough that I want my quilting world to be about quilting, keep your politics out of my creative world, because I never inflict mine on the quilt world.


Quilting for charity

I have made a number of quilts for charity. The Valley guilds share a charity sew in day a few times a year. Presidents Day was perfect to sit and sew. I’m so impressed with what these guilds do for charity, placemats for meals on wheels, dog beds, pillows for veterans who have gone through heart surgeries, any size quilts and pillowcases for foster homes. Just a few of the women who brought their machines and were busy working.There are a lot of donated fabrics, more on that soon.People were tying quilts as well as quick quilting. These here are backed with fleece. A cheap option, especially here in CA, since it’s warm and soft, one doesn’t need to add batting. Sometimes they do add batting anyway.These had to be either old blocks or tops that were finished as quilts. Holly Hobby went out of style over 30 years ago, the colors are also quite old. That is the wonderful thing about quilts, no matter what, it will be a warm loving gift for someone.I brought all my orphan blocks, most are blocks I made for the purple challenge but didn’t use. Others are my practice blocks, there is the pineapple block,  the square I ended up using for Eyals’ quilt. Do you see the blue fabric? I picked that up here and proceeded to border the small blocks so that they all are 12.5″. I even used the blocks that I felt weren’t up to snuff for my purple challenge.Using the blue on all the smaller blocks helps tie them together.Yay! First time I traveled with my Featherweight. It worked beautifully, although I had to ask someone else to remind me how to fill a bobbin. She had her Featherweight there as well but didn’t quite remember. Together we figured it out.I sashed it all with light grey. Some people were surprised that I’m making this for charity. Here’s the thing, I love quilting, I don’t care how much time I spend on it. But, I don’t need hundreds of quilts. Yes, I do give many away as gifts, I think I have mentioned before that giving a quilt away is easier for me than giving a knitted item away.  So I am earmarking this one for the Thomas Fire victims. I’ve made many blocks for quilts, but I know, they will be thrilled to have a lap-size, completed quilt to give to one of the many victims of the fire and mudslide.



… and I’m finally quilting!

I can’t say I’m in love with these colors. So in order to make it work for me, I am going with symmetry. I feel that it is more restful for the eye.The final two borders are busy. With the abundance of dark purple, I feel it acts as a good final border.The wind was blowing, so it gives some movement and life. Taken from the backside, shooting right into the sun, you can see how perfect my quarter inch seams are. Accuracy is important to me. I’m not a machine, a very close inspection will show otherwise. But no one, and I mean no one will ever inspect this that closely. I doubt I’ll send this to the kind of show that does that. Quilts aren’t meant to be studied under a microscope. I did my usual spray basting, using wool batting. It is so much easier to move the quilt around with the wool batting. It really glides better, maybe because wool is so much lighter than cotton. Polyester is really plastic and no matter how soft it is, it just doesn’t glide.Yes, I pieced the back, finally used up that Halloween fabric! There are some crimps and folds in the backing. I took this picture after using my walking foot to sew down the quilt in the ditch.  Those crimps will be quilted over and once again, won’t detract from the quilt. This way I can no move over the quilt and work where ever I want, the distortions are in place, nothing else is moving.Here I have done some background quilting, but haven’t touched the star yet.Here I quilted the star and not the background.  I am working with a very pale lavender thread, so I want to use it first, then I will go on to yellow and dark purple. I know, it’s a lot of intense quilting. I love all parts of the quilt, the cutting, the piecing and the quilting. Most of the quilting won’t be seen because of the busy prints. I don’t care, I love the quilting and enjoy the process.



Update on creativity

I’m slowing moving along with the purple quilt.I made more stars. I am very unhappy with these two. Working with mirror image and small sections – yikes! Many quilters these days embrace ‘improv’. I dislike that term and the resulting quilts. I like order, I like design. To me it’s a cop-out to throw things together haphazardly and then to pretend it’s some great design. Especially in quilting, I really like the accuracy of quilt blocks. So when I posted this on Instagram I got all kind of comments like: I don’t see whats’ wrong. Or I love the improv.

Two things, looking at these images on your phone means you can’t see the details. And no, no improv for me. So these two are joining a pile of orphan blocks. They may end up in a charity quilt. I don’t do my best work for charity. So be it, a bright handmade quilt is still a wonderful thing to give a needy person, even if it’s not my best work. I’m very selfish about my best work.I’m done with the stars for this quilt. Look closely and find the mistake, there is one. I’m not against using only perfect blocks. I like everyone else make mistakes, some are worth keeping.

So now it’s on to borders.Not bad.But does the narrow border come before the flying geese?Or after? I’m not sure yet. I really do enjoy having the design wall, it gives me a chance to try different options and step back. Right now I’m working on the flying geese border, and it doesn’t look like the picture, changes are being made.Other creative pursuits this time of year, making marmalade.I ended up not using the kumquats, I just ate them.  I found a new Meyer lemon marmalade recipe that worked really well. I may have added more sugar than I have in the past. It still is that wonderful combination of tart and sweet. I made two small batches, easier than one big batch.Knitting is happening. This will be a shawl. The interesting thing about knitting, I’m doing less of it. I don’t need a lot of sweaters, shawls or socks. I am very selfish with my knitting since it is created one stitch at a time. So I find myself knitting less. I am grateful to have reconnected with some knitting friends, we get together once a month. Honestly, it’s not about the knitting, it’s about the friendship.



Designing the quilt

Some people use graph paper, others use computer programs like EQ8. Me, I pull out the fabric, start making blocks and see how it goes. Here are a number of blocks I made, using purple. I have been using Deb Tuckers Lemoyne Star ruler. I’m getting different size blocks. It’s me, not the ruler, everything takes practice and no way am I going to have great results on my first few tries. Especially with an eight-pointed Lemoyne star.This is looking alright, even though the blocks didn’t come out the same size.More blocks and it’s one big hot mess.  Purple is a very hard color to work with, blue purple and red-purple don’t play that well together. My backgrounds were just too busy, it looks like a hot mess!So I went back to making new blocks, I figure – repetition is a good rule in design. So I made another star with the yellow background, just changing the position of the colors. Then I made two more stars, doing the same. I want to introduce the light turquoise, maybe not as background, but as accents, so a more neutral background it is.Much better, the mirroring, the symmetry, repeating the same star patterns twice. I think it has a calmer feel to it.Since it is a guild challenge, I brought it to share.When I got back into quilting 9 years ago, I bought this book. To be honest I was horrified at how much fabric was wasted with this technique, but I did use the book for some quilts.  So now I am busy trying to adapt these patterns using The Lemoyne star ruler, takes more work, but it’s working and I’m not having as much waste.The quilt is still going to be scrappy, I am using what I have on hand in my stash, I don’t have large quantities, so I just have to try and repeat as many of these fabrics as possible. Won’t always be possible, because some of the stash fabric is quite small.

I feel that sticking with pale yellow and grey in the background will help tie it all together. I am having fun, and that’s what matters.