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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!