Quilt in Progress – Naming It

I have so much trouble naming my quilts. Perhaps they should just be numbered–but that wouldn’t be fair. I absolutely love this one in progress. Names I’m thinking of: Dueling Triangles and Triangle Float. I thought of a couple of others yesterday, but didn’t write them down and couldn’t remember them last night.

So, here’s what I’m working on. I really do like making blocks and then layering them with a solid block or another block, stitching from corner to corner and seeing what the surprise turns out to be. Not long ago, I ordered a pattern that looked like this:

However, when I read the instructions and started to make this block, I was not happy. It required that I cut half square triangles, add strips to either side, then trim the strips and stitch one triangle to the other matching those seams. That seemed like a lot of work. Thus, I had to rethink whether I wanted to make this really pretty pattern.

I started thinking about one of my favorite patterns which is a “Half Fast Log Cabin” (yes, that’s a pattern–and a great one–and don’t say it too fast or you’ll be in trouble with the other quilters in the room!). With that pattern, a log cabin block is made in rounds of color, a solid block is layered on top, marked corner to corner and stitched on either side of the line to make two new blocks. It has become one of my most favorite patterns for showcasing large prints.

So, I decided to try making something simpler than the half fast log cabin and simpler than the new pattern for which I paid real money. I made a square, added 2 1/2″ strips and then added a solid block and marked it corner to corner and stitched quarter inch seams on either side. This is what I got:

I worked on it in Electric quilt and you can see the drawing in the previous post below. However, when I started making it up in fabric, and put it on the design wall, the design I wanted to see didn’t show up very well. I decided it was because I used 2 1/2″ strips all around and that if the strips were narrower, the triangle would show up more.

So, back to the drawing board. I was able to cut the blocks down so that the strips were narrower as if they had been 2 inch strips originally. Once this went on the drawing board, I was much happier. Now, I have stitched some of these together into rows and I am liking it better. Color choice has something to do with this too. I am using two very vibrant fabrics and that makes the actual design disappear a bit – if one fabric were stronger than the other, the design would definitely be more evident. And now that the blocks are smaller, I’ve got to make more blocks.

Here’s what it looks like so far. I’m still not thrilled with the way it looks in fabric, but have a feeling that it’s going to get better when I finish the rest of the blocks and stitch the rows together. I will use quilting to make the rows more apparent – perhaps some straight lines through one color of diagonal lines.

I’m also working on the instructions. That always takes longer than I expect–I was certain they’d be done yesterday, but hopefully, I’ll finish them today. This is a lot of fun–and it goes so fast when each block turns into two–maybe I should call this Double or Nothing! Or maybe I could name it Double Fun! 
 

Screen Print Animals Construction Process

As I mentioned before, I used Sharon Schamber’s Piecelique technique for this. If you’re not familiar with it, it is a process of creating a foundation pattern and templates, then using liquid starch, a hot iron, and Elmer’s glue to ‘baste’ the block together before stitching. There are many videos out there by Sharon and even some on youtube that may be free to watch. If not, you can always go to her website and purchase an instructional DVD or book.

I started by sorting fabric according to the colors of the printed blocks. My goal was to find very similar colors that would not stand out on their own, but would be slightly lighter or darker and would enhance the color of the printed block. I also looked for fabric that might have a touch of yellow in it to bring out the outline in the printed block. This process required pulling out all my batiks and sorting them in another way. This is what it looked like:

Then I got busy creating a pattern. I used Electric Quilt in the beginning, and then I just used freezer paper and a ruler. The key here is to make two patterns which are mirror images of each other. One will be pressed to a second sheet of freezer paper and then cut into templates, the first will be used as the foundation pattern to stick the pieces onto with a hot iron while gluing the pieces together.

The next step is to press the freezer paper pattern to the fabric. I cut a very wide seam allowance around mine (> 1/2 inch) because they will be trimmed later. Part of the reason that I do that is because, unlike Sharon, I put my glue just past the 1/4 inch area so that I can cut the glue off after I stitch. It’s a little more complicated this way, but my longarm doesn’t like the glue and I don’t want to go through the process of soaking each block in cold water to dissolve the glue after it is finished.

You can see that I marked the edge that will be turned. I use a foam paint brush and spray starch to slightly moisten the edge that will be turned and then press it with a hot iron–important for your fingers not to use steam here.

And this is what the block looks like during the glue construction:

Once all the pieces are glued into place, the center is added. Note that for gluing, I work from the outside in. When I stitch, it is from the inside out. The center was glued in differently. I laid the animal down on the board, then placed the glued block on top of it and worked with it until it was in a pleasing arrangement. Then I folded each area of the block back and applied glue and pressed. Note that I had to be very careful all along not to press the animal because it is a t-shirt screen print and the ink will melt under a hot iron.

You can see a thin line of glue here – and on this one the glue line is within the 1/4 inch seam. I did that on the first one but changed it for all the rest. On the first one I did not use spray starch either, and you can see that the seam lines are not crisp before stitching. None of this affects the final result, but the spray starch and keeping the glue out of the seam allowance sure make life easier for me. It also goes to show that each must find their own way in terms of methods.

Then I started stitching. I set my machine to a 2.0 mm stitch so that the thread would not show. As I mentioned before, the stitching goes from the center out. The key is to stitch the first seam that has no other seams crossing it. Trim that seam and then stitch the next seam that either has no other seams crossing it or has the stitched seam crossing it. Here’s a picture if that explanation doesn’t make sense. You can see on the pattern that I examined it closely to make sure that I numbered the pieces and the seams so that I would get them in the right order when stitching. This is what the stitching looks like. You can see the seams are trimmed immediately after stitching.

And then once everything is stitched, it is a matter of trimming the block and giving it a final press.

 
 

Courthouse Steps Baby Quilt

This is a repeat of a quilt that I showed you in 2008. It is a baby quilt that I made for my great niece. It has a Teddy Bear theme. I’ve been looking at it and thinking I would make another similar quilt. I have a fair number of orphan blocks, so thought you might like to see it again. I uploaded some better photos and have the EQ6 file here (click to download).

The star blocks are the Maverick Stars from Quiltville.com and the courthouse steps are blocks that I made myself.

[book id=’19’ /] 
 

Delirious Again

I do love the name – probably more than the work I’ve done. But thought I’d do an update on what I’ve done and where I’m going with this.So–from the beginning: I used Karen Stone’s pattern for Delirious and did fused raw edge applique with an applique stitch and with free motion applique stitches. I also created the same design with Shiva Paintstiks using freezer paper as the stencil. The pieces I liked the most were the free motion applique blocks. However, a little voice inside told me that the painted blocks were ‘neater’ and more orderly. I looked at them and wanted some contrast between the motif and the background, so I cut them out and appliqued them onto different colors. They’re definitely neat and orderly now. I’m not throwing away the free motion applique blocks – they go in my orphan block stash – and I will stifle that little voice when I’m ready to use them.

I worked on this in EQ7 and this is the color scheme that looked good on the computer screen.

EQ7 Delirious image

Then I put the blocks on my design wall. The only blues in my stash with enough yardage were just too light. I was using a light red orange batik for the red blocks. I tried different red-orange fabrics. I kept walking away, taking off my glasses, and looking at it and nothing worked. Finally out of frustration –I was not going to the quilt store on Friday afternoon — I grabbed the color wheel (which I never do) from the wall and started turning it. It told me that I had a triadic red-orange, yellow-green, blue-violet color scheme. So, I went back to my stash and found just enough of a brighter red-orange to exactly make the backgrounds and sashing. I also found a Fossil Fern in blue-violet that worked. So here are the colors. Between the computer screen and the flash the colors are off a bit:

Delirious painted blocks

Blocks, Fabric for Delirious

I’m supposed to wait seven days for the paint to set and then heat set it. What I’m really going to do is to heat-set it today and put them in water to dissolve the applique stabilizer, dry them, and put this baby together.

In the meantime, this is a quilt of Norma’s that I have on the frame. Have finally decided on a quilting design.  This has taken a lot of doodling, but will show you as I go along. This has a lot of white space, but also lots of straight lines. I love to feather things, but that just isn’t right for this one. It needs ferns or palms I think. Have been doing the SID and stabilizing it and will start on the background next.

Norma's Circle of Geese

Norma's Circle of Geese

 
 

Brick Four-Patch Scrap Quilt

Over the weekend, I worked on instructions for another quilt that uses the 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ brick Accuquilt die. This one also uses the 3 1/2″ strip die. I have seen this quilt done lots of times and it is a very pretty quilt. It could also be done using the 2 1/2″ strip die and width of fabric precuts that are 4 1/2″ wide to be fanfolded across the 2 1/2″ strip die to make bricks.

Here’s a picture from EQ7 showing the quilt. Click the quilt image for a link to the instructions. Also note that I have been making my instructions in EQ6/EQ7. In the software, I go to Layer 2 and write the instructions using the text tool. Then I move the text box above or below the quilt so that it does not cover up the quilt image. The text becomes a part of the quilt image. I can then print a photo of the quilt to an adobe file, and I have both image and instructions in one and it’s all on one page!

Brick Four Patch Scrap Quilt

On other fronts, we’re still struggling with what to do for Ezriel and the remnants of her brain tumor. After three surgeries, the little pieces that are left are literally threads. It is complicated though because the strands can be seen on MRI, but the surgeons say that during surgery the strands are indistinguishable from healthy tissue. Thus, it is hard to delineate exactly where to cut to completely remove them. In addition, these strands are beside the optic nerve. Meanwhile, Ezri is having as many as 70 or more dacrystic and absence seizures daily. Her mom increased her antiseizure meds late last week and she seemed to be doing a little better when we saw her this weekend. However, the doctors at Barrow Neurological Institute are scheduling a series of appointments to include consultations with the gamma knife team as well as the pediatric microvascular surgeons. As always, your prayers and kind wishes are appreciated. 
 

One that I’m not going to tackle right now

I am always looking for ways to use my Accuquilt GO, and thought I’d found the perfect quilt. I love the way it looks. But beware, there are bias edges ahead. Of course, I thought I could find a way around that and could make a better mousetrap–quilt that is. So, I sewed strips together and stitched around the outside edges and cut through the middle, I stitched through the middle and cut through the middle. Alas, those bias edges never went away. I can do this, but am not willing to tell the inexperienced that this is a great quilt to make. I would recommend this only for the experienced quilter who is not afraid of bias edges. As a longarm quilter, the last thing I want are D cups on my quilt frame. Anyway, here’s the link: Hidden Wells – and good luck! This is an absolutely gorgeous quilt finished.

The primary reason I was not excited about the instructions in the link is that the seams did not alternate without a lot of fussing. I always want a system for pressing so that the seams in a quilt alternate and there are no lumpy bulges anywhere. This is one that I would put on my design board with the wrong side facing me, just so I could see the seams and make sure they were going to all go in the right direction before sewing the blocks together.

Oh well, I spent quite a few days thinking about this and made four sets of sample blocks. Two sets were perfectly flat, two sets were D cups–bummer. In the meantime, I finished quilting one and stitched together a baby quilt. I’ll have pictures up tomorrow for you, and a more positive message.

My EQ7 upgrade is going to be delivered today. YAY!!!!!!!!!! 
 

Friendship Star Baby Quilt

Since I’m not quilting this week, I thought I’d take a look back at some of the things I’ve done. This friendship star baby quilt, pieced and quilted in 2007, is one of my favorites. While the fabrics are not traditional baby colors because I used a novelty print with brightly colored dolphins and then added purple and orange Moda prints, it is a fun quilt for a child. In order to use up all the fabrics, the back has some piecing also.

The quilting design is one of my favorites and is a combination of two different types of swirls that I often do free-style. I have a digital quilting design at intelligentquilting.com called Lollipops that is the pattern for this quilting design.

I designed the quilt in Electric Quilt 6 software and you can download it here.

[book id=’11’ /] 
 

Pre-Phoenix Trip – Baby Quilts

We’re back from Phoenix, but wanted to recap the past couple of months, as life has been a rollercoaster. After deciding that Ezri had to have surgery in late July-early August, I knew there were three baby quilts to be made: one for my nephew’s daughter due November 15, and two for my daughter’s twins due mid-November. I also decided to make one for Ezri to take with us on the trip. Here’s a recap of these quilts.

The first quilt was designed in EQ6. It took some puttering with the design until I got what I wanted. I used Makower teddy bear prints and batiks. The batiks were Maverick Star blocks from Quiltville.com and the teddy bear blocks were courthouse steps. I used a border print for the border. The quilting was a feather meander in the outer triangles and a star meander in the center blocks. I used piano keys on the border, as I did not want to detract from the print. The framing strips on the maverick star blocks were not the same width as the courthouse steps blocks–miscalculation/measurement on my part b/c I was using blocks that had already been made. It is still a nice quilt.

Teddy Bear Quilt Teddy Bear Quilt Closeup

Here’s the EQ6 file: Courthouse Steps Baby Quilts

The next two quilts I made were for Emily’s twins, Nate and Wyatt. She used Dwell Studios designs for the nursery–the transportation and zoo themes. The quilts are blocks of color with white sashing. They are quilted with one of my designs: Spiral Stars. The digital design can be purchased from Intelligent Quilting.com.

Color Blocks Quilts Color Blocks Quilt

Here are the quilts with the Dwell Studio linens:

Color Block Quilt and Dwell Studio Linens Second Color Block Quilt and Dwell Studio linens

The last quilt I made before leaving was one for Ezri to have for the trip to Phoenix. I used the Strip Twist pattern from Quiltville.com. I used the Moda Butterfly Fling jelly roll precut strips to make piecing quicker. I quilted the blocks with free-style square feathers and meandering butterflies in the border. Here are some photos.

Butterfly Fling Strip Twist Butterfly Fling Strip Twist Quilting Detail 
 

New baby quilt design

I’ve been working on a new quilt design for using noodles (2.5 inches x width of fabric).  It also lets me do some freezer paper piecing which is nice for lap work at night when I want to sit for a few minutes before bedtime. I have a miniature iron and a lap-size pressing board and can do almost everything in my lap except the seams. If we’re watching TV, I can go to the machine and do all the stitching during commercials. Here’s the picture, and the Electric Quilt 6 project link is below the picture. I think this is a possible baby quilt for Kes in June, or maybe one of the twins in the fall.

noodles-baby-quilt-medium.jpg noodles-baby-quilt.PJ6

Right click on the link and save as a file. Use Electric Quilt 6 software to open.

My instructions for paper piecing are in the Freezer Paper Piecing Post from February. There’s a whole file you can download there.