Saturday, April 24, 2010

Machine Trapunto

I'm working on a quilt with Lynn that we want to enter in a few shows together.  It's a New York Beauty  - a very striking pattern by Karen Stone.  I love adding machine trapunto to a quilt but it is so time consuming that I don't do it on customer quilts. Since Lynn and I are collaborating on this one, I am taking the time.

Many quilts you see at shows now use faux trapunto which means using two batts.  I have experimented with this, but just don't like how stiff it makes the quilt feel.  I think it is worth the effort to do machine trapunto.
The technique  involves soluble thread and is described by Hari Walner in her book Trapunto by Machine which was published in 1996.  She was very clever to figure it out!

I start by loading the trapunto batt on my longarm and pinning the top to it. The white thread is the soluble thread - I plan to use several colors of thread when I quilt and the white thread will disappear when the quilt is washed.

 I made several stencils to fit the blocks and used them to mark with white chalk as I advanced the quilt.

I'm using a wool batt for the trapunto and it has the advantage of being slightly transluscent so I can see the blades of the scissors through the batt.  It helps me avoid burying the tip of the scissors in the top and accidentally cutting it.

Once I had sewn around all the areas I wanted to have pouffy, I took it off the machine and started to trim around the trapuntoed motifs.  This is time consuming and SCARY because it is so easy to snip the top.  (Lynn if you are reading this - I"M BEING VERY CAREFUL)  I have to use sharp little embroidery scissors to make it possible to get in close.

Here is the top after four hours of snipping (this will be inside the quilt, it is the back of the quilt top):

After nine hours:

After thirteen hours:

Another two or three hours and I will be done.  Then on to the next step!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A day in the life of a clutz

Sylvia made this baby quilt for her grandaughter - she did such a beautiful job!  I quilted it with two colors of pink thread.

Yesterday I was such a clutz.  Peter and I went to Pei Wei for lunch and ordered lettuce wraps.  They are very juicy and I managed to drip down my hand all the way into my sleeve, leaving a nice soy sauce colored stain on my shirt.  Then I managed to bounce a noodle off my boob, leaving yet another stain on the shirt.  Later, in the parking lot I dropped my purse in a puddle.  My purse is crocheted , so it got totally soaked. Luckily, the purse is sort of dirt colored anyway.  Maybe I should buy soy sauce colored clothing too.  After all this I went to the "beauty" parlor for a hair cut.  On days like that, it's safest to stay home!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Colorful quilts

I just finished this quilt for Annette - I love the color and it is even yummier in person.

Last week was our Prairie Quilt Guild meeting and the speaker was Elsie Campbell.  She did a great program on scrap quilts and brought lots of quilts to share.  This was my favorite, don't the colors glow?.  The scrappy part of this quilt is the backing which I didn't get a picture of.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lilacs and good news!

I love it when the lilacs bloom!  Last year they were nipped by frost so I especially enjoy them this year.  I picked an armload to bring in the house.  Yummy fragrance - it fills the whole house for a day or two.

I just had exciting news from MQX: two of my quilts won ribbons!!

Tree of Life with Bugs

and a miniature, Shrinking Violets.  I think I will celebrate!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Double Wedding Ring

Pam came to pick up her Double Wedding Ring quilt today.  She made it for her son's wedding and is getting it to him by his first anniversary.  I love the colors, she chose them to match his bedroom.

It's fun to see pictures of spring flowers in the gardens of all the bloggers I read.  I spent this morning in the garden cleaning garden beds of bermuda grass and violets.  I do love the violets but they are invasive, they are welcome to grow in our lawn but not the beds.  My knees and gardening muscles are feeling creaky this evening. 

The utility company has been trimming trees all over town the last few months.  Look what they did to these poor trees on the edge of town.  Why didn't they just cut them down rather than torturing them like this?

And finally, a picture that Peter took of Lily.  He takes tons of pictures of her, I think it is because she is a blond!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

South Central Kansas Longarm Group

Today the South Central Kansas Longarm Group had a meeting.  We meet 2-4 times a year and today discussed becoming a little more regular in our group meetings.  There are so many longarm quilters, more all the time,that we may be ready to become a more organized guild or whatever. It's hard to transition from an informal group to a more formal one, we'll see what evolves.

We met at Dixie's house, she has a beautiful studio and a Gammill machine with Statler.  She showed us how her Statler worked.  There are probably a dozen quilters in this area with a Statler but she generated a lot of interest from the majority that don't have one.  I think they are incredible tools, but it is not where my interest lies. I enjoy guiding the machine myself;  to me it is like drawing with a needle.

Note to Lil Ned.  A Statler Stitcher is a computerized system for a longarm machine.  It uses a computer to guide the machine in a huge selection of quilting designs.  My machine is hand guided only, by MY hand.

Several people brought quilts to share. Carla brought her quilt with Merry Go Round Blocks.

Bev brought her pumpkin Block of the Month.

Siriporn brought the first quilt she ever quilted with her longarm, a beautiful Lone Star.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Humid and thunderstormy

It is starting to feel humid and thunderstormy here in Kansas.  The other day we watched the clouds pile up to the east of us and they got hammered with rain and hail in that direction.  Peter took this picture from our backyard.  So far we have just gotten lots of wind, but that is pretty normal for Kansas.

My other small group met yesterday.  These ladies invited me to join them when I first moved to Kansas and we meet twice a month to have brunch, do show and share and work on our projects together.  Although they all quilt, it is common for everyone to bring some other type of handwork: crochet, knitting or embroidery.  I asked Virginia to bring her crocheted baby blankets so I could take a picture.  Virginia does
beautiful work, and she is fast!

 The blue one she made for her son about fifty years ago. 

The white one she just finished and is keeping for some lucky baby to come.  I think she plans to enter it in our county fair this summer - I'm sure it will bring home a blue ribbon.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Applibee quilts

This is Karen's second quilt - it is also beautifully made.  This is not a big quilt, so lots of those applique pieces are really small.

I showed her quilts at the meeting of my small group, the Applibees, and they were all properly impressed by her work.  Here is Lynn picking paper out of her paper-pieced New York Beauty quilt.

And Betty brought a wonderful vintage family quilt that she was replacing the binding on.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Things are warming up

It's barely spring and we have temperatures in the 80's - whoa Nellie!  I would like to enjoy some nice balmy spring weather before the heat hits.  I should be out in the yard pulling weeds (and bermuda grass out of the garden beds) but instead I have managed to get caught back up with my customer quilts.  It is hard to stay inside when the weather is so beautiful - at least I can leave the windows open and enjoy the breeze and the birds.

This is a beautiful quilt from Karen with dimensional applique.  Her applique is really exceptional and I even enjoyed doing the stitch in the ditch as I admired her work!  I have another quilt from Karen to post tomorrow which is also amazing.

I'm off to my small group, which Karen used to belong to before she moved out of state.  I'll have to take her quilts for the others to drool on.