Search This Blog

Thursday, December 29, 2005

It's done! All I have to do is stitch on the label which I made earlier with fabric pens. The edges are more rippled than I would like. I think I have to stop pinning it up on the design wall to take pictures. That probably stretches the sides. I love the pattern and the colors though.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Today I got all the centre quilted, some of it free-motion and some stitch in the ditch. The free-motion is very difficult in the centre but easier near the outside. I used Golden Threads quilting paper needle punched. That was quite successful for the most part. Once in awhile it would tear off before I was finished, but with practise I learned what direction to go to prevent that. I am going to try the same method for the border. I am thinking of hearts in the corners where the borders meet. It will match the hearts in the large squares.

I am happy with the motifs in the big squares although they don't show up very well in the photograph. I am not, however, totally happy with the free-motion quilting. I guess each quilt is a practice piece. I wonder when I will get to the point of being satisfied with my results.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Here it is pinned and ready to quilt. I am going to go around the white lattice and then do a design in each square and in the shapes around the squares. I have gone around the outside of two of the hexagons and it's no joke! The whole quilt has to be shifted in a complete circle before it's done. Good thing it's a small one!

I think I will do free motion for the design inside the squares and shapes . Instead of marking, I am going to use tissue paper templates that I will sew right over and remove after the sewing is done.
Will it be easier and faster than marking? Time will tell. Marking is the least fun part of quilting so hopefully this method will eliminate that step.

Here it is from the back with two of the large hexagons done. I still have to do a smaller one inside and around the squares.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

I got Louisa's quilt pieced together today. It was surprisingly difficult to match the triangle pieces to the rectangles on the borders around the orange and green squares. Some of them fit perfectly and some I had to rip out several times and even then they didn't fit exactly.

This afternoon I dyed a large piece orange for the backing and I was planning to use it as a wide border too. When I pinned them up on the design wall the orange border seemed to suck the color out of the orange in the squares. I don't have enough of either the main orange or green to do a border and I can't imagine that a wide white border would work either. Maybe the gold that is in the middle of the trellis. I do have enough of that. I may try a wide border of that and a narrower one of orange. It's surprising that often what you think will look great doesn't and vice versa. So tomorrow I have to solve the border question. Any ideas?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Still no black dye to finish Cherie's quilt so on to Louisa's. I had great fun making these blocks from online, a source of hundreds of neat free blocks. This is the second one I've used.
I will probably not make more blocks than this. They are large -18 inches square - so if I put on a fairly wide border it will be big enough. I had planned to make all the blocks orange but didn't think I had enough fabric so added the green. Now I quite like it with the green.
Of course I still have the usual problem of what color to make the border and how to quilt it. I think the border wil be quite plain because the centre is so busy. In the photo I have the brown like in the trellis but may go for yellow, orange or green.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

This morning I finished hand sewing the binding on True's quilt . That is another one done! It turned out pretty nice but technically I still have a ways to go. Sewing the border in long straight seams distorted the corners a little bit so that they are not quite sqare any more. The quilting in the center of the quilt is my best yet though so I am pretty happy.

This is the back. The sewing is done with red thread in the bobbin for all of the quilt. The top has red thread in the middle and blue in the needle for the border. I thoguht the border was busy enough without adding red to it.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Today I machine quilted the center of True's quilt. I is incredible how much faster it is to do a small one. Besides there being so much less area, it is much easier to handle and not so heavy.
I had planned on doing several parallel lines around the outside border about 2 inches apart but now, as usual, I am second guessing myself. I will probably go with the lines but I keep thinking it would be cool to quilt around the suns and moons of the fabric. Not sure how that would look though. I will try a sample for sure before doing it on the actual quilt.

The border fabric is quite busy so I'm not sure that the quilting thread should be red in that area as it is in the center. Maybe blue on top and red on the bottom.

And here is the back. It doesn't show up that well on the photo that the quilting thread is red. Looks nice on the quilt though. The binding will probably be red too.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I still don't have any black dye, so Cherie's quilt is on hold for the time being. I looked around in Morden but only found yellow and pink dyes. I'll have to go further afield.
Today I got the borders on True's quilt. I decided to go with a narrow red strip instead of piping, partly because I had the red fabric on hand and partly because piping is really difficult to do properly. I did my first mitred corners and am relatively happy with them. It would have been easier without the red strip but I managed to get them matching to my satisfaction. Now I have to get the backing ready, mark it and pin it. Not my favorite part of quilting. If I manage to get black dye today, Cherie's will move to the front of the queue again. Hers will be a nightmare to quilt because it is so big but I guess that is all part of the challenge.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I ended up with dark brown dye but no black yesterday. I thought it would look fine but decided that the backing really should be black. Now I have to wait until I go back to town for black dye.
Meanwhile I have been working more on True's quilt. I made a few red blocks but opted to go with red piping on the inner border instead. Have to get some piping now but that is not urgent. I have the blocks sewn together now but not all the rows. The outside border will be fairly wide and match the inner squares. The back will be either the gold or large patches of blue and gold. I am not sure that I have enough fabric to do it all in one color. I am debating on red quilting thread to match the piping. That will put a lot of pressure on me to do a perfet job! The one in the magazine had wavy lines of quilting in the middle of the squares.

Monday, December 05, 2005

I tried to dye a large piece of fabric (thanks Jen) black, but it came out a dull gray. Tomororw I will get some Rit dye and try that. Meanwhile I dyed another piece yellow but it doesn't look as good as black. If all else fails I coulld buy some black fabric, possibly to match the background on the front, assuming there is any left at the store (unlikely).

Meanwhile, because I was stalled on Cherie's quilt (no backing, no batting) I started on True's. It's not really his turn but I want to finish his so I can send it along to Australia with the friends who are taking Carmel's. I am wondering if I should use the red squares. It looked a bit dull without them. I have enough red left from Carmel's quilt to make 5 or 6 of them. It seems to brighten it up a bit.

Have you guessed yet that piecing is my favorite part of quilting??

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Here it is with the borders on and on the bed. I am very happy with the look of the borders. They make it look sort of oriental. I think the back will be a brown fabric that matches one of the colors in the print. I plan to do a plain grid quilt because of the size of it. I may get a bit fancier on the borders. I will bind it with the black background fabric. The end is in sight!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

After a few days off for visiting relatives and guests I got the twelve blocks done that I thought would be enough for the center of the quilt. I put it on the bed and thought it didn't look big enough. It did seem about the same size as the center of the last one though, so I put that one on the bed and placed the new one on top. I thought it looked pretty good. I may go with this size and nice wide borders. I am not sure I have enough of the background color for another row of blocks in each direction. It would be a real drag to do about eight of them and run out. Also I would like some of that color on the border too. Now I have to decide on what colors to do the borders and in what order. There will be a narrow yellow strip for sure and both other colors but how wide for each and in what order??

The first photo has way too much light so I closed the drapes for the second one

Sunday, November 27, 2005

One more block to go and then I can decide whether it will be that size with wide borders or if I should make a lot more blocks so that the center is larger and the borders smaller.
The negative spaces on this one are really nice - sort of black Maltese crosses. I am thinking they might be more prominent if I make more blocks. It will be 3 by 4 or 4 by 6. That is double the number of blocks though and I am not absolutely sure I have enough of the black background fabric. Decisions, decisions.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

I finally finished hand sewing the binding on Carmel's quilt this morning before we left for Winnipeg. Here it is on the bed. Now to find out the best way to send it to Australia. It's always nice to finally put that last stitch in the binding and know you are finally finished. No time to work on the new one today though.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Things went pretty well this morning. Now I have four blocks finished and one placed on the design board ready to sew together.

I was short four of the patterned and yellow triangle squares so I thought I would do a bunch of them because they are so fussy and require a lot of measuring and ironing. Better to do lots at once I thought. It would have been a really good idea if I had checked that the pieces of fabric were right sides together before I sewed and cut them. I didn't, and now I have about a dozen triangle squares to rip apart and re-sew, being careful all the while that I don't stretch the bias seam. Time for a break!

Monday, November 21, 2005

After traveling in USA for three days looking at pottery and quilting shops, I am back at it. I bought a couple of quilting books that are very inspiring.
I didn't have very good luck this morning with my quilting though. First thing I did was make about 20 triangles with one piece of fabric inside out so I had to take them all apart, trying not to stretch the bias edge and then re-sew them together. Then I made about 20 more triangles with one of the pieces the wrong color. That was a total waste because there are no triangles in the block with that combination of colors. Now I will have to plan some sort of quilt that needs black and yellow triangles. Finally I had all the pieces cut and trimmed and in place on my design board. I sewed about 6 pieces together and then put it on the board to have a look and about half way through I had reversed two of the pieces. Of course, it was not something that you could repair without undoing all the seams that were already sewn. At that point, I decided to take a break

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Here are two Firewheel blocks with different backgrounds. I have to decide which one to use. I am leaning toward the black background. It looks a bit more crisp. I may use the brown on the border. Doing it again I would chose a centre fabric that is a bit less linear but it is a really nice when you look at it closely. I do need to take a lot of care in arranging the triangles so that the pattern looks right.
Now, do I use sashing or not and if so, what color. So many decisions.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I am too impatient to wait until I have finished the binding on my current quilt before starting the new one so I have made a couple of samples. Actually, I usually do my hand quilting in the sunroom of the house because the light is so good and then I am able ( usually) to thread those quilting needles with the microscopic eyes. Therefore, I don't feel bad starting the next quilt out in the studio. Here are the fabrics I have to work with. The one that looks blue is actually black with tiny gold specs that look like the milky way. Very beautiful. The yellow is some hand dyed fabric I had left over from the last quilt. I thought it was needed to add a bit of life to the mix. It looked too drab without it.
Here are a couple of samples that I made. I really like the yellow and blue star but it doesn't suit the fabric so I think I will go with the other one which is called Fire Wheel. I found it on a page of free quilt block patterns at this site:
It is an amazing site with hundreds of patterns.
I started making the Firewheel block with my new fabric but ran out of thread in the bobbin just as it was time to go to the house to get supper ready. I thought I would finish later but it's cold, snowy and dark for the walk to the studio so it will just have to wait until tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I haven't done much quilting for the last few days due to family matters but I am back at it today. This morning I sewed the binding on and now just have to do the hand sewing. Then it's clean up the loose threads on the back and it's done! I am thinking of getting cloth that I can run through the printer to make a label. I haven't labeled the last two quilts I made and they really should be labeled.
Now I have to start thinking of the next one. I already have the fabric but sometimes it's harder to match a design to fabric than already purchased fabric to a design.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Now the borders are all sewed on. The yellow one is quite narrow so it's probably all right but I think the red one needs some quilting. I may do something that goes across both of them.

It looks quite finished with the extra borders. I plan to bind it with the red. There are a couple of reasons for that. First, its the only color that I have enough of but also I don't think it really needs another narrow strip of color.

Oops! I turned it over and found I had sewed a scrap of yellow to the back along with the red border. Luckily it was on the last seam so no problem to remove it and re-sew that bit.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

It has been a productive day. I finished quilting the blue border. I'm not sure if it shows up very well in the photo, but it is a wavy pattern. Very tiring on the arms, manipulating all that fabric around and around. Twice , after winding bobbins in yellow, I forgot that I was using blue on the top and did a foot or so with yellow on top and had to rip it out. There are a few little tucks here and there which tells me that I should have used more pins or maybe thread basted. I want to try basting spray glue some time. I have heard that it works really well but the fumes when you apply it are pretty bad.
Now I have laid it out on the floor and set the two other bindings around it, checking if there is enough fabric left. The yellow was nip and tuck but there is just enough. There is plenty of red so that is a bit wider. Now I have to attach the other two borders and maybe quilt them a bit too. I'm not sure how much quilting they will need but I may do something really simple. Of course, when you are working with such a large piece, nothing is simple.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Today I attached the blue border along with the backing and batting for the entire border. I started to quilt the blue border but ran out of yellow thread which I am using on the back. That was okay though because at about the same time I ran out of energy. We are planning on going to town tomorrow so I will get more thread then. A queen sized quilt takes an enormous amount of thread. I had a decision to make as to whether to quilt the border in a matching blue or contrasting yellow. I decided that I am not confident enough in the quality of my quilting to make it in a contrasting color yet. Maybe the next one...

Friday, November 04, 2005

The center is all quilted at last! I did free motion on the small stars. It was moderately successful but I do need more practise, that much is clear. Today I measured and marked the wide blue border. Marking is never much fun even with a template but it is a nice one if I can get it quilted properly. I wanted to put a narrow yellow border and a slightly wider red one but I am short of yellow fabric so I may go with a red border and yellow binding. I will sew all the border pieces together and treat them as one unit when I sew them on to the quilt. I may have to do some sort of quilting on the red strip as well but not sure yet what to do. Maybe one or two vertical lines is all it needs. I will be able to tell more when it is assembled. It is a lot easier to mark the pattern on before it is attached to the quilt and batting though so maybe I should make up my mind now.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Today I finished the meander stitching and started doing the stars. I decided to outline them and also stitch in the ditch across the middle where the triangles were joined. There are four left to do and then the border. I bought a template to do the border so once it's marked it won't take too long.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Finally, I'm almost done the meander stitch. It was supposed to be stippling but I couldn't manage to get it fine enough while working with such a large area. If I had done the centre in pieces, maybe...
I just have a few more areas around the edges to do but the bobbin ran out and my arms were tired. This technique is very hard on the arms if you do it on a regular machine. I suppose with a long-arm it would be easy or at least easier.
Next thing I have to do is go around all the stars and the seams inside the stars with red thread. Some of them look a bit puffy. I hope I can stitch in the ditch without any pleats. Then it's on to the border!

Monday, October 31, 2005

No quilting again yesterday because we had a big family dinner so I spent most of the morning cooking and all afternoon and evening visiting. This morning, because I still had no yellow thread I couldn't work on the quilt, so I made a quilted bag from one of the squares I decided not to use on the quilt. The bag looks nice but it's pretty big. Much too big for me but then I am not that tall.
This afternoon I went to town and got the thread and a few more yards of fabric at M&A at half price. Their quilting fabric is going fast.
Tomorrow it will be back to the big project!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

I took the day off from quilting yesterday to do some silk painting with Heidi Hunter while the guys tramped the bush in search of who knows what. The silk painting was very successful and we are planning more art dates.
Today I started stippling the current quilt but ran out of yellow thread. When I went to fill the bobbin with the second spool I had bought, I realized it was hand quilting thread in the same color. That wont work on the machine at all so I am at a standstill. Too bad I didn't run out yesterday because I went to town this morning for groceries and could have easily picked up some thread.
Oh well, more time to finish binding the antique fan quilt that I have finally finished hand-quilting. I have about one yard to go. I also have a Double Wedding Ring top that has been pieced but not quilted so I guess that will be my next big hand project. I will have to dye some fabric for the back and decide on how to quilt it. Such tiny pieces demand a lot of quilting I suppose. Hmmm...

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Today was decision time. How to quilt it. I thought I could do one of three things. I could stitch in the ditch on all the lines and end up with many small squares on point. I could stitch in the ditch on the lines of the stars and around the edges and then stipple the yellow part. Or I could sew concentric circles starting in the middle of the stars. When I tried it out on Corel Draw over a picture of the quilt the last option seemed the best. I was about to start marking the quilt when I thought I had better try at least the last two options on a spare square. Luckily I had a couple of them that were slightly smaller from when I was going to have several sizes of stars instead of just large and small.
When I put the two squares up on the design board, it was clear that the stippling option was the best by far. Not that my stippling is that accomplished, but since I found out about the half way setting on the presser foot of my new sewing machine, it works a lot better. Hopefully, the centre of the quilt which I will stipple before adding the borders, won't be too cumbersome for my machine. Oh for the new Pfaff quilting frame!

Now I am at the unpleasant stage of crouching on the floor doing the pinning. I need sides that fold down on the side of my table so I can use it for pinning large quilts. So the next few days will be spent stippling or meandering if I can't get the pattern fine enough to call it stippling.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Here is the main part of the quilt pieced together. Now I have to decide on a backing color because I think I will quilt this part and then add the borders and quilt them later.
I have cut 8 yards from my bolt of unblocked cotton and serged the edges so they won't tangle in the machine when I pre-wash it to get out the sizing so the dye will take.

This is my dyeing area near the door of my studio. As you can see, it's not the cleanest area but so much fun! So far I have been doing low-water immersion dyeing with Procion Dyes from G&S Dyes in Toronto.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Now I realize that I should have applied the small stars before sewing the large ones together. I have spent the morning ripping back the corners, figuring out exactly where to place the red triangles and then sewing the corner back together. With all those bias seams, I have found spray starch to be my best friend. So many corners.
I also noticed a bit of a problem with the negative spaces but with a bit of help from Marcel, was able to get them looking balanced. Note to self: Think more about negative spaces on the design board. Don't wait till they are sewn together.
Still thinking about the blue border. I may want some small stars there too. Will I make them set into blue backgrounds the way I did with the yellow, or will I machine appplique with yellow or gold satin stitch??

There, one more corner done.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Here comes quilt number five. This one has gone through a lot of changes. I heard about Bethany Reynold's Stack and Whack method but didn' t have her book. I found a site online that vaguely told how to do it so I tried it out. Here's what my first attempt looked like. Then I went to a quilt show in Winnipeg and saw a couple of Kaliedoscope quilts, which is what this pattern is called. I noticed that they used the same fabric for the kaleidoscopes and the same for all the backgrounds. It makes for a much more cohesive look. So these squares are all consigned to the "to make into shopping bags or pillows later" pile.
I bought all new fabric for the stars. Then I hand dyed the yellow fro the background. I have to thank Heidi Hunter of Runs With Scissors (you can see her work at ) for introducing me to this type of dyeing. As she said, it's addictive. All the stars are from the same piece of fabric. I was amazed at the different looks you can get depending on where you cut your original squares for the stars. I have also decided that this blue is too light and I will be using a navy blue that I also hand dyed. Then there will be a border of the red fabric. I am not sure if I will want a narrow yellow border as well, between the blue and red ones. I also have to measure it to see if I have enough squuares to make it a queen size. This one will probably be quilted all in one piece because the small stars between the large ones will make it impossible or at least very difficult to do in sections. Now I want the Pfaff Inspira Quilting Frame. You put your machine on it and move the machine over the quilt. It's less money than a long arm machine, so maybe that's the next big purchase!
This is the look so far. The red border will be wider and I think a yellow border between the blue and red. The next big decision is the quilting. I'm considering some gold stars or moons on the blue border. As for the main part, I will be somewhat constrained by having to do it all in one piece, unless I can figure out how to do it in sections. I'd like to stipple the yellow part or make curving lines on the red stars to sort of follow the swirl of the shape. They say a quilt has three big decisions - the pattren, the fabric and the quilting, all equally important. Time for the third one!