Sunday, 31 August 2014

. . . saying goodbye to Summer :(

Well, here we are at the end of August.  It's a lovely day in Water Valley today - about +20 degrees, mostly sunny skies - but there is a chill in the air in the mornings, the days are getting shorter, the hummingbirds are gone, and the leaves are starting to turn golden - it happens every year - the end of summer and the beginning of fall.  Our hay is all up and baled, and just a bit more to do with greenfeed and that's it for the farming as well.  Quilting is always slower in the summer, but I have been busy and am making headway on my own UFOs (unfinished objects).

Barb made this little quilt for her neighbor's baby - it's a very unique pattern - look closely at it.  I quilted it with Glide thread - Bright Gold which worked perfectly, and freehand 3s and Es - I'm getting better at those!

Barb's baby quilt - close up

Barb's baby quilt

Myrla makes such unique quilts - this one is made with hexies (that new craze!) that she works on as a take along project.  I have to admit, I had a bit of trouble with this one.  Myrla wanted invisible thread - so it didn't really show, but the quilting showed.  I had a purple cone of invisifil by Wonderfil Threads I thought would be just perfect.  I don't use Invisifil often, except for stitch in the ditch when I don't want the stitching to show at all, but rarely have I used it as the main quilting thread - but others do, so I didn't see that it should be a problem.  Once I got the tension set - which has to be very loose for Invisifil - the first issue I had was "bearding" on the back of the quilt.  Bearding is when the batting pokes through on the back . . . and because it was white batting, and a dark backing, it was very noticeable.  There are all sorts of theories of why bearding happens, but the most common cause seems to be a poor weave backing.  Well, this is what I had to work with, so I switched up the batting to a black batting - and voila - problem solved.  Now, I can't say if it was the batting, the backing, but whatever, the bearding stopped.  Hurray!  Now on with the quilting - as you can see, the hexies are made from a variety of fabric pieces - next problem!  The invisifil thread doesn't like going from a regular cotton - to a batik - then to a fabric with "sparkles" - I kept getting thread breaks.  I slowed the machine down, took my time and the thread breakages were more manageable.  So after all that - here's the finished product. Pretty Paisleys panto (reduced in size); Invisifil Thread; Hobbs 80/20 black batting.  I'm very happy with it and so was Myrla! 

I've had a chance to finish a few of my own projects as well.  This Friendship Braid quilt has been quilted for a long time - a really long time - but I finally got the binding done!  Hurray - into the done pile!   Glide Thread (sand); Freehand feathers, curves and swirls; Hobbs 80/20 batting

Last winter I picked up a couple of packages of fat quarters - Hoffman Batiks River Rocks.  I really like these colors, and had planned to make a couple of curve quilts - but I decided instead to use one of the packages to make a Hopscotch quilt.  This is a great fat quarter pattern - you have absolutely NO scraps when you're finished (now I like that!!!).  I whipped this up when I was camping this summer - well, OK, RVing with electricity and my sewing machine on board.  The backing is a fleece type backing - so soft and cuddly!  I used Diamonds are Forever panto by Urban Elementz - very happy with it - look at the design on the backing!  I'll be making another curve quilt out of these fabrics to go on the bunk beds in our grandkids sleepover room - nice and cozy!

Hopscotch River Rocks hangin' with Freeda

Hopscotch River Rocks

Backing - Hopscotch River Rocks

Backing - close up Diamonds are Forever

I'll be delivering three quilts next week - and then off for a bit to enjoy my daughter's wedding.  She'll get a quilt - but it won't be done for the wedding!  I'll get there, but I want it to be special so it will take some time!
Until next time - enjoy the last of the summer days!  . . . . from the Little House

Saturday, 23 August 2014

catching up . . .

I've missed posting a few quilts that I've quilted for customers over the past few months - not intentional - just one of those things . . . they all deserve their time on my blog - so have a look.

Addies Creative Fabrics offers a "first Saturday" quilt.  You sign up and pay for your first block, then on the first Saturday of every month, you bring in your completed block, and receive the second block - for FREE!  If you keep up, every month you will receive a free block!  What a great deal!  Here is Rose's version of a first Saturday quilt  - done with Kansas Troubles fabrics, glide Thread; Pansies panto

Here's another quilt I found that hadn't been posted (!)   Joan made this top with a beautiful selection of batiks - it was a super-sized quilt!

This next one is Myrla's gorgeous Dresden Plate applique quilt.  The Dresden Plates are placed on the most beautiful gradient fabric - dark purple to lighter.  I quilted it all over with "swirl feather" design - switching thread color half way through.  Myrla suggested lighter thread on the dark, and darker thread on the light fabric - wow, what a great idea - it really worked!  I have always said that I wouldn't do an all-over design on an applique quilt - but there's a first time for everything - for this quilt, it is what Myrla wanted, and again, it worked!

I know there are others, but maybe I didn't take pictures???  I usually try to take at least one picture of each quilt that comes through the Little House, but sometimes if I'm in a hurry to get the quilt back to it's owner, I might not - but I try.

I've got a few quilts to finish off this next week - so there will be more from the Little House soon!

Quilt on! 

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Two kinds of rings . . .

Sharon made this beautiful Judy Niemeyer Double Wedding Ring quilt . . . they say a picture is worth a thousand words . . . so here you go . . . a few thousand words!  Glide Thread; Hobbs 80/20 batting, continuous curves in rings; feathers in the rest . . .

Sharon's Double Wedding Ring - hangin' with Freeda

OMG - two JN's hangin' with Freeda! . . . and the sun is shining!

Sharon's Double Wedding Ring - backing

Close up - Sharon's double Wedding Ring

OK - this next picture has a bit of a mistake in it - I have fixed the mistake, BTW, but here's a before picture.  See if you can spot it . . . leave a comment - sorry, no prizes! I hope there aren't too many suggestions . . . I'm only looking for one! 

Find the oops!

 I've just discovered the QCR - Quick Curve Ruler - designed by Jennie from Sew Kind of Wonderful - it's just the easiest way to make curved quilts!   I'll show you my Metro Rings quilt - well, parts of it anyway.  I'm just learning - but it's going well and I should have a king-sized quilt finished and on Freeda for quilting in the next couple of weeks.  Have a look at Jennie's website for all kinds of cool patterns using the QCR! 
testing out placement on the design wall

all cut, and ready to sew!
It's taken a bit of time, but I'm getting pretty comfortable putting these blocks together . . . I've got 10 of 80 done . . . it'll be a while!  I'm using Moda fabrics from Autumn Woods line and Bella Solids

 - and then there's Metro Medallion on my to do list . . . and Urban Holidays!  Thankfully I am raiding my stash for both of those!
Until next time - measure twice - cut once . . . from the Little House!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Star Struck! The quilting process from start to finish . . . worth the wait!

About a year ago, Guidel brought me a quilt top that was very special to her.  It has over 4,000 pieces and I can't even imagine how many hours it took for Guidel to piece.  At that time, Guidel told me she wanted this quilt to be "special" - and "no hurry" - it was more important that it be just right.  She had two requests - first that the "zig zag border stand out" and second, that the overlap 3-D pieces were not to be quilted so they kept their dimensional effect.  To be honest, I am so thankful that I waited until the timing was just right to tackle this one . . . and the right time was this July . . .  here's a photo journey of the quilting process.  The pattern is Star Struck, designed by Jackie Robinson.

First off, I had the top hanging on the wall for weeks just looking at it - trying to decide on the right quilting designs . . . I spent a lot of time just looking at it, drawing on my sketch pad and making notes.

Guidel's Quilt - unquilted
Then, there was auditioning different thread colors . . .

Guidel's quilt - thread choices
Once the quilt top, backing and batting were loaded on Freeda, I started by securing the borders with Stitch in the Ditch (SID) and stabilizing the star with SID from point to point.  I found it best to work on half the quilt at a time as it becomes too cumbersome rolling a quilt that is partially quilted.

SID around purple borders
 After securing the purple borders, I added a new border design in the lighter space.  This adds a new dimension to a large, blank area.  It also gives more focus to the darker border.

Adding stitching to border
Filling in border design with continuous lines and swirls - then addition of continuous curves in patch area
Denser fill in outer border - see the 3-D effect?
Next - the centre of the quilt.  There is a lot of white space - so I broke that up by making new areas for quilting . . . the focal element of the quilt is the centre star -  I used that as the inspiration for quilting of the white areas.

Star Center - beginning or quilting

 . . . and then I just kept moving forward until it was all done . . . I did have to turn the quilt 90 degrees once I had finished to the top and bottom border in order to complete the side borders horizontally.

Finished product . . . a few different views
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So, there you have it . . . the evolution of a quilt top!  If you look closely, you will see that I only used three basic designs - straight lines, swirls and curves . . . Fil-tec Glide Thread (5 different shades); Invisifil Thread (for SID), and Hobbs Heirloom Wool batting.

Until next time, happy stitching from the Little House.
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