Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Seeing Spots


I finally started my DQS9 project; my partner hasn't posted much-- maybe once or twice-- but I think she will like this!  My partner has a lot of bright colors in her favorites, and almost everything she seems to love is on a white background.  

Personally, I've been obsessed about dots lately.  I even consider stashing every time I see a dot I like.  Today I bought 17 dot prints.  Don't judge me.

I used the die-cutter at Quilting Adventures to cut four circles from twelve prints.  Then, I laid them out when I got home.  They're stuck on with spray adhesive; I didn't want to mess with fusible this time around.  Last time I had a hard time stitching through the fusibles.  Of course, I won't do hand stitching this time, but it was nice to skip the extra step and cost of iron-on fusible.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Geometric Pillow Cover


I finished this quilted pillow cover today.  There were so many problems with this!  My machine was having some tension problems, and so on the underside of the quilting there were loops-- the stitches weren't taught and the bobbin thread knots were visible on top.  I adjusted tension to no avail, and finally pulled off the throat plate of my machine.  Lo and behold, there was practically a whole pillow stuffed in there (including in the bobbin mechanism)!  After cleaning that out, my quilting looked perfect.

Somehow, when trimming, my quilted section was always 1/8" larger than I thought.  I would trim meticulously in an attempt to make it square, only to measure and find an extra 1/8" in there (I felt like I was in the house on Ash Tree Lane).

Finally, after the whole thing was just about done, I noticed an inch long gash-- yes, gash-- in the front of the pillow.  I have no idea how it got there; it could have been there, it could have gotten there during my aforementioned trimming session, who knows?  At any rate, after I got over the urge to give up, I used tweezers to put some fusible interfacing in there, and I just ironed it down.  Hopefully that will hold up.

The pillow has an envelope style back and is about 17" square.  I used a King Tut variegated thread for the quilting, which is just straight lines spaced 1" apart-- not wonky, just good old evenly spaced lines.  I did increase my stitch length to 4.0 for the quilting; longer stitches makes for nicer quilting!

It was very difficult to photograph this pillow.  I have a red couch-- I'm talking about red.  It was very difficult to get a decent photo, and even then I had to edit them quite a lot to make them acceptable. This was the only decent picture of the bunch, and it's terrible!  I'm going to have to practice photographing items inside the house.  Tips?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Jem, Scout, Atticus, and Dill

50 years ago today marks the publication date of the timeless American classic, To Kill a Mockingbird.  You can read all about the history of the novel here at NPR.

Thank you, Harper Lee!  You gave us one of the most wonderful stories ever written.  I hope daily that I will find a box with chewing gum, or a pocket watch, a ball of twine, or soap figurines in a knot hole in a tree outside my house.  I can't see a wardrobe closet without calling it a chiffarobe-- and wanting to chop it up for firewood.  I never see camellias without wanting to chop off the flower heads.  In the oppressive heat of summer, I can't help but feel like "a soft teacake with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum."

If you haven't read it, read it.  If you read it a long time ago, read it.  If you reread it every year, read it.  Then come back and tell me all about your favorite part.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


St. Mary's Squares
Originally uploaded by Todd Klassy

Here's some inspiration for my next quilting project, which will remain a secret. I'll give you the only hint my mom ever gave me about secrets: windows. You can view a gallery of inspiration here.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sea Glass

Today I hand-stitched 252 inches of binding.  My hands are feeling a bit gnarled.  But, I finished the Sea Glass quilt, just in time for the heat wave coming next week.  I slaved myself over the binding for hours today just so that Lesly could see it before she hops a plane to Berlin.


The finished quilt measures 60"x66" and is made entirely of half-square triangles.  I used my tried and true method to get gorgeous half-square triangles.  All you have to do is cut squares 7/8" larger than your finished size, draw a diagonal line from corner to corner, stack, and sew 1/4" from either side of the line.  When you cut it in half, you'll have two perfect half-square triangles!


My inspiration for this project comes from this quilt.  I loved the purple-brown solid she used and the collection of vibrant blues and turquoise prints.  When I saw it I knew immediately that I had to work with that color palette!  I must admit-- I pretty much copied her quilt but I don't feel terribly bad about it.


This quilt is stuffed with bamboo batting, which is soft and silky and easy to sew.  Of course, bamboo fibers also attach to everything, so this quilt is covered in fuzz.  I didn't have any single pieces large enough for this quilt, so I stitched to large scraps together.  You can't even notice in the quilting!


I quilted this in a grid pattern following the seam lines.  The quilting lines are 1/4" from the vertical and horizontal seams, but there is only one line for each seam.  After I quilted the vertical grid, I started having problems with fabric pushing and puckering, so I decided to stop after one set each of horizontal and vertical lines.


I used a green variegated thread (King Tut #923) on top and a yellow 50 wt thread in the bobbin (Wonderfil KT403).  The top thread looks gorgeous and the bobbin thread blends beautifully with the background.  The only problem is that I can see the knots from the top thread on the back.  Anyone know how to solve this problem?


Fabrics used include a bunch of random prints I found at my LQS, some Alexander Henry, some Kaffe Fassett, and two Lantern Bloom prints (Tile Mosaic in turquoise and citron), as well as a beautiful brown Kona cotton.  The quilt is backed with citron Tile Mosaic from the Lantern Bloom collection and bound with the same Kona brown from the front.


Overall, I'd say it's gorgeous.  It definitely has some flaws-- my quilting hasn't reached the quality level that I desire, but that can only change with practice.  As the ladies at the LQS say, "better finished than perfect."  Except my binding is perfect.  For the record.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Prairie Chic

I've done it.  I've finally finished Alison's bee blocks.  In case you were wondering, her month was May.  I feel awful.


Alison sent us all several prints from Denyse Schmidt's recent fabric line, Hope Valley.


The fabrics themselves are so soft and thick, and they cut like butter!  The request was to make a block made of 36 2" finished patches.  She sent plenty of fabric; I was going to sew three blocks to make up for being late, but I figured I'd better just send back the scraps instead of holding this fabric hostage.


After I finished putting this task off-- you know, for months-- these blocks came together very quickly.  Much more quickly than I originally expected.  Alison asked that we press the seams open; this was the most time consuming part.


My blocks followed two color schemes-- pink and blue, and yellow, green, and blue.  That's how the fabrics grouped themselves in my eyes, and so that's how I sewed them.  It seems that everyone else is pretty much thinking the same way!


I hope Alison likes these blocks; I've made her wait long enough.   At least I got them finished before she had her baby.  If you can grow a baby faster than I can make two quilt blocks... well, that's saying something.