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Sunday, April 30, 2006

I finished Micha's quilt this morning and I am quite pleased with it. It is the first one that I have done without any kind of pattern. My objective was to try as many kinds of stars as I could and to use Tonya's wonky letters, so even if it didn't turn out all that well I would have been satisfied.
Next weekend is our local quilt show so I am getting a few quilts ready for that. I got six entry forms but I'm not sure if I will put in that many. It's a bit intimidating putting up all your mistakes for the world to see. I live in an area of expert quilters too so it's even more scary. I put my first big quilt in last year but I didn't know enough technically to see half of my mistakes. I know better this year but hey, it's the art that I'm interested in anyway!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Here is Micha's quilt nearly done. I have to quilt the wide pink border yet. I am also wondering if I need something in the yellow border. I'm not sure if it is too wide to not be quilted. It is about three inches wide. I guess I'll see how it looks when the pink border is done.

This next picture is of an old double wedding ring that I think my mother may have pieced in the thirties before she was married. I found it in a trunk at my Dad's and decided to try to finish it. I already hand quilted a fan quilt I found at the same time. I am not a big fan of hand quilting , especially on somthing this big. It's about 70 by 90 or more. Still, even if it takes a year, I have a quilting frame and the space to leave it set up so, here goes. Cherie and I spent a couple of hours basting it today but it's still not even half done. I can only work on the floor like that for half an hour before I get a really sore back so it may not even be basted that quickly. Lucky there is no rush!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Six weird things about me? My family would probably say something like how are you going to limit it to only six???
1. I have to sit in my own chair at my own place at the table or I can't eat. My grandchilren think it's hilarous to sit in Gramma's chair and see the reaction.
2. If I am going to take a trip, I start packing months ahead of the departure date. I also have to be at the airport 4 or 5 hours ahead of departure time. When we move I need to pack so far ahead of the moving date that I end up unpacking and re-packing things many times.
3. I haven't been to a hairdresser for years - maybe 15 or 20. My daughter trims the split ends and the gray just has to stay.
4. I love the dark. When I was young we used to walk a mile to my Grandparents to watch the late movie on TV (yes I am old enough to remember not having a TV!) and we'd walk home in the dark with no flashlight. Sometimes it was so dark we literally couldn't see our own feet. We'd just aim for our yard light. Now I walk out to our studio in the dark and remember those good times.
5. I like winter, and we have a lot of it here. The air is incredibly fresh, everything is white and pristine and there is not much outdoor work so I get lots of sewing and quilting done.
6. I can't sleep late even if I have a late night. I am nearly always up by 6:30 or sooner. I enjoy mornings and am at my most productive then. Don't ask me to do anythig in the evening though and by 10:00 I am nodding off even if we have visitors.

Here is my family, children, children-in-law and grandchildren, who are not wierd at all.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Here is the back of Micha's quilt showing some of the quilting and the sashing strip that I put on to hide the unwanted serging seam. The quilting is around one of the stars but it's a bit hard to see. I have to say that the seam looks better with the sashing strip than it does with a plain seam so maybe it wasn't such a big mistake after all.

The next picture is of some blocks I made last year from instructions in a quilting magazine. I couldn't decide on what kind of sashing to put between them to kind of pull it all together so I put them away. I am thinking of trying some black to see how that looks.

The last photo is a close up of one of the blocks.
It looks very confusing to do but it was actually quite easy and fun. Not that all the corners are perfect, but... Basically, you make a long piece of stripped fabric and then cut right triangles out of it. You put two together to make bigger triangles. You need four of them to make a square. You cut the points off the big triangles and put them on different ones. Then you sew them all together to make a square. Sound confusing? I got it from a quilting magazine I borrowed from the library so I have no idea which magazine. Maybe I'll come across it again and let you know which one.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Here is Java Jitters all finished and hung on the wall. I think if I had used two strings it might have hung a bit straighter. It needs to be flattened out a bit maybe. It's my first wall hanging so I'm not sure what to do to make it look flatter.
Meanwhile I made a big mistake on Micha's quilt. I Pinned the backing and batting on and did a few rows of quilting. Then I was going to go to the house for a coffee break so I put it upside down on the table so I could sew in the ends when I came back to the studio. Imagine my horror when I realized that I had put the backing wrong way up when I pinned them together. There was a white serged seam in the middle of my pink backing. I decided that I would hand sew on a sashing strip rather than take it all apart. The fabric is hand dyed so it looks the same on both sides. I felt that there would be less damage on the front doing it that way rather than trying to remove the quilting stitches.
So... more hand sewing. I am pretty sick of it even after a small wall hanging. I'll work on it tomorrow. Tonight a movie if I can get the TV away from the hockey game!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Here is Java Jitters all quilted and with the binding sewn on awaiting the final hand sewing. I can't wait to see it up on a wall!
I also got the new backing dyed for Micha's quilt and yes Micha it is pink. I am hoping to get to the quilting tomorrow. I still haven't decided for sure how I will do it but probably cross hatching over the entire quilt except maybe the border. I may try something a little fancier there. I really like complex quilting on the border and it's fairly easy to do there because you don't have to maneuver the whole quilt around under the sewing machine.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Today I only got the pink border put on Micha's quilt. Now I have to decide whether to piece the back because the blue piece and the pink one that I dyed are both about a foot too short, or perhaps dye another piece and use the rest of the pink for something else.
It turned out quite a lot bigger than I thought it would be but I'm sure Micha won't mind that. Hers is the biggest of all the kid's ones I've done. I guess the youngest gets the biggest. I told her that being last was not a bad thing. All that practise.
Now I have to decide how to quilt it. It will be quite plain because of the size. Maybe a simple grid. The problem is that none of the squares on the letters are even remotely the same size. Maybe I should just draw something on the backing or make a grid on it and not pay any attention to the front.

Monday, April 17, 2006

I think I have finally nailed down (not literally) the arrangement. I found a piece of darker blue that I had dyed for something else and it looked better around the letters.
I want to thank Tonya on her Lazy Gal Qilting blog for the tutorial on the letters and the asterisks. They really add to the quilt. Micha loves the idea of having her name on her quilt.
There will be wide pink borders all around and probably blue binding. I might put a very narrow dark line between the yellow and the pink borders.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Yet another possible arrangement. I like the little pieced heart. Maybe it needs more than one?
Maybe we can get into the arrangement game tomorrow when everyone is here for Easter. Maybe the problem will be too many artists though. Just like too many cooks. It won't spoil the quilt but I will be no closer to knowing what I want than I am now. Maybe I'll leave it up to Micha!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Today I made some more blocks and tried it with pink instead of blue sashing. I am thinking of a fairly wide pink border so that may be too much pink. I also thought of a very narrow dark blue line around the letters in the middle inside the larger light blue sashing that I had on yesterday. I haven't tried that combination yet. I also need some white muslin or other background fabric to try to tie it all together. I'm still not sure about the large orange and yellow star. It's bigger than all the others and there isn't much orange on the quilt. I may have to save it for a different quilt. I have a lot of "try out" blocks that I am saving for something. The trouble is they have nothing at all in common.
I do like the pinwheels in the corners and the spiky stars in the burgundy fabrics. I dyed them with the same dye in different proportions so that is why they match so well. I probably need a few more little yellow stars and I am not sure about the yellow shooting stars. They look a bit too much like flags. I may try to re-do the tails on them but not sure how to make them look more like shooting stars.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I sewed Micha's letters together but haven't decided on the sashing to go between them. I have made a couple more kinds of stars. I tried to paper piece a very complex one but got the colors all mixed up. It was a sort of Mariner's Compass. It just made me realize once again that I don't really like paper piecing as well as rotary cutting and machine piecing, the more short cuts the better!
The big orange and yellow star at the bottom may have to go. It doesn't really match much of anything unless I make some more smaller ones in those colors. So far I have always made quilts from a pattern with a finished result in mind before I start. This is quite a new experience. The design challenge is fun as long as you realize that lots of pieces may have to be put away for later use as they just don't fit in. I am learning a lot about making stars though and hopefully they will eventually all combine into a coherent quilt top.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I have been working on the letters for the center of Micha's quilt. I just love doing those wonky letters. I did the P in super three times and I am still not quite statisfied with it. It seems a bit too big. The R's always seem to turn out very big too. I may also re-do the A in star. Now I have to make a bunch more stars of different sizes and types. Then the challenge will to be how to integrate them all into a cohesive look. I am not sure about the dark border around the center letters either. I will know better when I have done more stars and some fancy borders.

It is a messy task. I think I will have to clean up before moving on to the next stage!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Yesterday I finished piecing Java Jitters (sorry Micha) and it is all ready to quilt. Now I will definitely put it aside until I have finished Micha's quilt. I really got into doing the wonky letters so I decided to try some for Micha's quilt to go along with the stars. I am not satisfied with all of them. I think I will re-do the A (too slanted on the left side) and the I (too tall) and maybe use stronger colors for those two. Then my problem will be how to integrate all those different stars to make it look like a whole instead of a lot of pieces that don't belong together. Maybe I'll put her name in the middle and make a lot of borders around it. Not sure yet. I have a lot more stars to try out first. Maybe more like the big orange and yellow one in the middle would be nice. It is quite challenging to make but looks nice when it's done.

Monday, April 10, 2006

I started on Micha's stars. The yellow ones were supposed to be much bigger but I made a mistake cutting. I'm sure they will find a place in the quilt.

Meanwhile I couldn't resist finishing the checkerboards and starting on the wonky letters for Java Jitters. I am afraid I might run out of the white background fabric. Of course if it's supposed to be jittery so I could use a different piece and blame it on that. I really enjoy making those letters. It's fun to just cut and slash until they fit.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Ariana's quilt is ready for the binding and I will probably start that this afternoon.
While I was browsing through some magazines looking for ideas for Micha's quilt I spied this wall hanging called Java Jitters. I couldn't resist trying one of the cups and before I knew it I had them all done. The checkerboard takes a lot of time so it may have to wait until Micha's is done before I finish them. I may put a small white border instead of the green and use the green for the wider outside border. I haven't tried it to see how it will look yet.
Meanwhile I have decided to do a sampler type quilt with the stars from Alex Anderson's book called Simply Stars for Micha's quilt. I want to try all the different kinds of stars so it seems like a good opportunity to do a sampler. I think it will be in the same pastels as Summer and Ariana's with the pink border. That's still open to debate though.
No pictue af Ariana's quilt today because the camera ran out of battery after the one picture of Java Jitters. Hopefully there will be one of the finished product tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I have started marking the border on Ariana's quilt. It will be a simple zig zag. One of these days I will make a very complex border but not this time. I am thinking of stitch in the ditch around the flowers and along the sashing for the quilt center.
Meanwhile, I am thinking about Micha's quilt. I have quite a lot of fabric on hand in the colors she likes but I may do some gradated dyeing for the quilt she pointed out in The Joy of Quilting.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

After a week of not much quilting, I have finished Summer's quilt, including a hanging sleeve in case she wants to use it as a wall hanging instead of on her bed. I would have liked a dark blue binding but it was not to be. I could have had half a blue binding but that was not the look I was going for!
Ariana will be happy to learn that her borders are half on and it's nearly ready to be pinned. Soon!