Saturday, December 31, 2011

What I did on my Christmas vacation

I finished Ann's quilt!  It took a long time to quilt, but that was my choice Ann, so don't feel guilty.   I used two cones of Superior Bottom Line thread - that's 6000 yards and a lot of that ended up in the garbage can.  I swear I ripped out more stitches than I put in. 

This is the first time I have used two batts, a thin cotton and Hobbs wool. I like the way it looks but it sure makes for a heavy quilt.

The cross hatching in the center took especially long.  I drew the design first and didn't have a ruler that exactly matched the curve I needed.  I had read about someone who made their own templates using three layers of kiddie craft foam that are glued together.  That sounded like a great idea so I bought some and cut a template - I could cut it with scissors and it was like cutting through butter.  Unfortunately, it was about as useful as a template made out of butter; it was so soft that the foot kept mooshing up against it making a wobbly line.

I was afraid I was going to have to do something different in the center and it was really my favorite part so I hated to change it.  Peter suggested trying 1/4 inch balsa wood so we tried that.  It also was soft and easy to cut with a craft knife but held up a little better when I used it to quilt.  Still, I killed a few but it was for a good cause.  (I named them too)  It's not a technique I recommend!

The quilt is so heavily quilted that from the back it looks like a wholecloth quilt.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Craziness

In the midst of Christmas Craziness I haven't had time to post.  Now the shopping is done, the presents are shipped and I'm back to trying to finish Ann's quilt.  I promised it to her before Christmas but I will be lucky to finish it by New Year's at this rate.  Here is a picture of it on my machine before I started the background quilting-  I always forget how long it takes to do heavy background quilting.

Ann invited me to join her group to do some dyeing at her house.  She had everything set up and totally organized (her Nurse genes were showing)  I tried to take pictures of the group and in them Ann was always blurred, always in motion!  I ended up with some nice fat quarters that I will use and a few real dogs that will make good rags.

Carol and Ann at work

Speaking of dyeing, I mentioned that Sheri's beautiful Storm at Sea quilt bled when she blocked it.  Many thanks to Vicki Welsh who responded to my request for suggestions. She referred us to one of her previous posts about hand-dyed fabrics bleeding; and as an experienced hand-dyer had some really helpful ideas.

Sheri ended up soaking the quilt in her whirlpool tub in hot water with Synthrapol.  It took several long soaks but the quilt came out 99 % clean with just a few very faint shadows from the blue fabric bleeding. 
Thanks again, Vicki!  Here's a happy Sheri with her finished quilt:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I love metallic thread!

This is Charlotte's quilt for her shop's Saturday Sampler.  You can see her newsletter here.  Charlotte likes traditional style quilting, with cotton batting and light colored thread.  When I asked her if I could use metallic thread on this quilt she turned pale green  but told me to do whatever I wanted.  What trust!

I love the colors of this quilt and wanted to use gold thread along with purple, green and blue. It's a bit over the top but I like it and I think Charlotte does too.  The metallic doesn't show up real well in the photo but does in person!

I have been putting a four inch hanging sleeve on my miniature Itty Bitty Boutis before sending it off to Road to California - this was a last minute request from them.  It seems a bit crazy to me on a miniature quilt - my quilt is about 18 inches long, but some miniatures are only 8 - 10 inches and a four inch hanging sleeve will just about cover the back of the quilt!  But - it's their show so I obliged.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Winter Wonderland

I finished Karen's Winter Wonderland quilt in time for Christmas.  (This is a Karen from my guild here in Wichita, not the Karen from Texas in a recent post) She does such a nice job on the embroidery that I really hate to quilt over it, but if I don't it will look saggy baggy and awful.  I usually just do cross-hatching or straight line quilting over the embroidery, but I really hated to quilt over those cute fat snowmen! 

 I decided to quilt around the snowmen and put the straight line quilting behind them.  Once I get quilting my brain tends to drift off and I find myself thinking about what's for dinner, quilts I want to make, errands I need to run etc. and sometimes that gets me in trouble.  I found I had quilted right over this poor little guy - doesn't he look like he's been run over? 

 I picked out a few stitches and here he is all plump again.

One more quilt to finish and I'm on vacation!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sylvia's quilts

I think Sylvia told me she didn't make these embroidered blocks, just set them in this cute quilt.  I love the zig-zag border. 

Usually I think clowns are scary, but these clowns look pretty friendly.

Sylvia also made this wallhanging from  a pattern by Edyta Sitar.

It's suddenly COLD and nasty here in Kansas, I guess winter is coming.  Hard to believe that
last July when we were having  weeks and weeks of temperatures over 100 degrees I looked forward to this.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I get to meet Karen, at last!

I have quilted four quilts for Karen over the last few years and I finally got to meet her!  She lives in Texas, our connection is through her cousin Lynn who is also a quilter.  She came by to pick up her quilt and meet me - I'm so glad she did!

Not so happy is the story of this quilt, Really"Wild"Flowers: Second Season by Sharon Schlotzhauer.  I met Sharon in Colorado Springs where we were both members of Piecing Partners Quilt Guild.  Sharon and I both started entering shows at about the same time and I have kept an eye on her and her quilts since I left Colorado.  She has been winning many ribbons for her beautiful quilts: her Really "Wild" Flowers quilt has won awards in Knoxville, Road To California and Houston.  Sadly,it also disappeared in Houston after the show was taken down and before it was shipped home.

She told me she is heartbroken to lose her quilt, she felt it was the best work she has done.  I always worry about my quilts when they are shipped, I figure that is when they are most vulnerable and I breathe a sigh of relief when they reach their destination.  It's frightening that this quilt was lost in Houston, where they take such care with the quilts. The quilts we enter in shows have so many hours of thought and work and love in them, they are practically members of the family by the time they are finished.  I can't imagine how awful it must be to lose one.

Anyway, keep a watch out for Sharon's quilt: it is listed on the Lost Quilts site there is a lot of talk about it now on the Internet.

Here's more bad news: Sheri's beautiful Storm at Sea quilt from several posts ago bled when she wet it down to block it.  This was after prewashing all the fabrics twice with Synthrapol.  The Cherrywood website suggests washing it again, more than once if necessary with Synthrapol.  Any suggestions?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lots of feathers

This is another of Karen's well-made quilts.  It is really square, although in my photo it looks a little goofy.  Her colors seem wonderfully adventuresome for a reproduction quilt: the green in the border is a bit muckier in person and the pink is brighter. 

She asked for lots of feathers and I was happy to comply.
I have one more of Karen's quilts to do but  it will have to wait until January.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A funky Karen Stone New York Beauty

Susan says she started this quilt 15 years ago in a class with Karen Stone, in fact, one of her border fabrics is autographed by Karen Stone! (I tried to quilt around it). Usually when I quilt a scrappy quilt for someone I will see lots of familar fabrics, some that I have in my own stash. But not in this quilt! It was made about 5 years before I started quilting.  The fabrics are almost vintage according to Susan, and definitely funky, but somehow they all work together.

Susan didn't want everything SID, so it was a challenge to find other things to do with all those scary little points.

Here is Rohrschach, the wildest and craziest of our four rescued feral cats. He loves to have access to his crunchy bowl all day long. but freaks out if while I hold the door for him I happen to be holding my purse. Oooh - so scary!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Storm at Sea - finished!

Sheri's quilt took longer than planned: I always forget how long it takes to do lots of SID and background quilting.  (Picking out stitches added time too)  Sheri spent a lot of time on it too, and said she put in plenty of time ripping out seams and resewing. Her top was nice and square and she took the time to serge the edge which I really appreciate.

It turned out pretty, front and back.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Storm at Sea

Here are my friends Jackie and Sheri in front of my quilt Wild Child at the AQS show in Des Moines last month. My quilt didn't win a ribbon but something interesting has developed because of it being exhibited there.  I can't say more just yet...

Sheri brought me her beautiful pieced Storm at Sea top to quilt for her.  It's a challenging pattern to piece and also it is challenging to come up with an idea how to quilt!  I did what I usually do when I'm trying to come up with ideas; I hung the top on my design wall and took a picture. 

Once it is printed out on regular computer paper I can easily draw and erase on it.  I made templates out of two thicknesses of freezer paper and I was ready to quilt!  I should have paid more attention to my drawing - I quilted an entire row wrong and spent about four hours this morning picking thread out. If I can manage to follow the pattern it will be pretty - here is the back of the quilt. (There is a mirror on the table beneath the rollers)

This is Miss Rosie curled around the frost-blackened basil bush - it sure looks uncomfortable to me!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Aunt Grace's Garden Party

This is Ruth's quilt that she has been waiting for me to finish for her.  It has been hanging at Charlotte's Sew Natural as a shop sample where Ruth has been teaching the class with this as a BOM.  It was a pleasure to quilt because she is a careful piecer plus she decided to use a wool batt - my favorite!  This is Aunt Grace's Garden Party by Judy Rothermel.

I also finished up a little wallhanging for Marsha the Thimbleberries lady. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Blogger's Quilt Festival

I'm including my favorite quilt in the quilt festival; The Secret LIfe of Mrs. Meatloaf.  Several years ago I made a quilt featuring my cat Sam, it was called My Cat Sam and What He Dreams About at Night.  In it, Sam was surrounded by pictures of birds, mice, fish and his sister Mrs. Meatloaf (he loved to chase her around).  Once I finished his quilt, I realized that to be fair I needed to make one for Mrs. Meatloaf.

Now, Mrs. Meatloaf was a very soft, affectionate kitty but she was definitely lacking in  brains and personality.    I figured that in her dreams, she had a personality and the name for her quilt came to me in a flash.  Sometimes I struggle and struggle to come up with a name for a quilt but this one was easy.  Once I had the name it inspired the quilt and I tried all kinds of things I had never tried before: embroidery with fat thread in the bobbin,  Angelina fibers, glitter, beads, and three-dimensional flowers.

Here's a picture from the quilt label of the real Mrs. Meatloaf looking at her quilted self.  Mrs. Meatloaf has gone on to Kitty Heaven, so I treasure her quilt.

Check out the rest of the quilts at Amy's blog:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Joy of Life

I just finished this cute quilt for Mary - she is teaching it as a BOM at Charlotte's Sew Natural in Newton. The pattern is Joy of Life by Australian designer Rosalie Quinlan.

It took me a while to figure out what to do with it - the background is sort of randomly organized and that made it tricky for me but I do like the way it turned out.  Thanks Mary, for using wool batting - my favorite for making the quilting really stand out!

On our way into Newton the other day, Peter and I waited for a train loaded with wind turbine blades - well over 50 of them.  They are probably each about 60 feet long; that was a slow moving train.  If it's one thing we have plenty of in Kansas - it's wind!  (and grasshoppers, and sunflowers, and quilters, and...)