The more I do, the more I have to do

I have been so swamped with my Mom and my children that there has been no time to write. And this post is coming from my phone so it’s always an adventure.
I have had a summer of finishes and working on UFOs. I had these leftover 3inch squares from novelty fabrics and had even stitched some of them into nine patch blocks.
However after making more nine patch blocks I could not find a way to put them together into a quilt that I liked. Now I ask you–how hard is it to mAke a quilt with 9patch blocks. I must have been out of sorts or so something.
So I decided to add triangles. I have the Accuquilt 8″ half square triangle die so I cut the nine patch blocks to eight inches. That was better but not great. So after stitching three rows together I got very brave or brazen , not sure which, a d cut all the blocks to six inches. This is much better.
Interesting that taking pics with my phone is how I decided which layouts I didn’t like.
The big lesson here. Planning saves a lot of time and angst and not all scraps look good together in a quilt.

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Owl Quilt for Baby Johanna

Finished the owl quilt yesterday for baby Johanna. She’s due in September and the baby shower was yesterday. I finished the quilt at 9am and the shower was at 11am, so it was a tight squeeze. But I was so pleased with it. The embroidery designs (all but one which was my design) were from DesignsbyJuJu.com owl sets 1 and 2. The flowers are my Accuquilt GO! fun flowers and I used the design that was digitized with the free-form applique embroidery edge. I quilted edge to edge with the Double Bubble Panto from Urban Elementz.

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Quilting some UFO’s

This has been a summer of finishes, primarily quilting some tops that have been around for awhile. The blue top dates back to my pre-Accuquilt days. And I believe Norma pieced the sunflower quilt top for me. It is definitely a bright one.

At the quilt expo in Raleigh back in June, I tried all of the longarm quilting machines. My Nolting Hobby Quilter was made before any of the current machines that have all the bells and whistles. I fell in love with the HandiQuilter Avante and before I knew it, I had ordered one. It came a couple of weeks ago, and I have been quilting steadily ever since. I love this machine. I am also loving quilting some edge to edge designs that I created over the past few years. These two designs are available as digital downloads at IntelligentQuilting.com. Here are two finishes from last weekend:

 

SwirlyQs quilting design

SwirlyQs quilting design

 

SwirlyQs quilting design

SwirlyQs quilting design

 

Kes quiltling design

Kes quiltling design

 

Kes quilting design

Kes quilting design

 

Kes quilting design

Kes quilting design

 

 

  
 

Two finishes

These are two of Sherry’s quilts that I just finished. She has been binding for me, and I have been quilting for her. I think I’m getting the better end of this deal, but she says she has come to like doing the binding so who am I to protest. Which is your favorite–binding or quilting?

I used Aurifil–as always–for quilting these and did spiraling squares for the three-dimensional quilt and a zigzag overall for the black and white. I fell in love with the 3-D quilt the minute I saw it and bought the book (Scraps by Judy Martin). Haven’t made it yet, but it’s on my bucket list.

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Winner and a Tutorial

The random drawing winner of the Anita Goodesign Special Edition Embroidery Set of their choice is Bev L.  Congratulations! Bev, I will be sending you an email today to follow up.

Here’s a quilt that I finished this weekend as a gift for my neighbor. It’s been in my unfinished bin for quite some time. His wife passed away last Spring, and he has been donating her stash to me, box by box. I took a beautiful piece of fleece that he brought me and used it for the backing. The quilting is a geometric pattern and there is no batting. It is a very soft and drapey quilt which I think will be just perfect for these chilly Spring days.

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And, of course, it’s impossible for me to make anything using a rotary cutter these days, so I wanted to give you a little tutorial on how to make this using the AccuQuilt Go or Studio cutter.

The strips are scraps and are random widths. The first blocks that were made were pieced using a 10 1/2″ paper foundation. You can also use a fabric foundation. When trimmed, the blocks look like this.

Block completed using a paper foundation.

Block completed using a paper foundation.

To make the block into half square triangles, a 10-1/2 inch solid piece of fabric is cut and layered together with the pieced block with right sides of fabric facing each other, then a line is marked from corner to corner and stitched 1/4″ on either side of the marked line. This makes two complete blocks. All blocks are trimmed to the same size, and the quilt assembled. While I did a straight layout, the blocks could be turned many different ways to create a number of different unique layouts.

As I was stitching the last few blocks so that this quilt could be completed, I started thinking about ways to make this using my AccuQuilt cutter. I find making the blocks on a foundation very cumbersome because after stitching, each strip has to be trimmed in length. And then there is a trimming process in the end.

The first thing I tried was to make a row of strips as shown below. This strip looks nice and even, but it was made from scraps and then trimmed to 6-1/2″ using a ruler. You could make the strip any width. After the strip was trimmed, it was cut into half square triangles.

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At first I used the 45 degree angle across the ruler to cut triangles. Then it occurred to me that the 8-1/2″ quarter square triangle die that cuts the triangles lengthwise would work. This made me very happy. You can see the fabric after being cut with the die shown below.

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IMG_3501Of course, the next thing that has to be cut is the half square triangle from solid fabric that is needed to complete the block. Because the outside of the pieced half square triangle is cut on the bias, it is ideal to have the solid fabric half square triangle cut with the straight grain on the two outer edges of the block. Thus, I didn’t want to cut the solid fabric half of the square using the 8-1/2″ quarter square triangle die. The nearest size half square triangle that would match the 8-1/2″ quarter square triangle was the 6-1/2″ half square triangle.

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When the pieced half square triangle and the solid half square triangle are stitched together, you will see that the solid triangle is just slightly larger and will have to be trimmed to a square. Because of the fabric grain, it is worth it to me to do that little bit of trimming because of the squaring issues that a bias quilt presents during the quilting process.

But there are other options that could be used so that one only used the quarter square triangle die or only the 6-1/2″ half square triangle die. For example, if you cut all of the triangles – solid and strips, with the 8-1/2″ QST die, then you could put them together like this and have the straight edges on the outside.

scrappy strips HST

 

Or, you could make the strips like the original plan on a foundation and then cut both the pieced strip square and the solid square with the 6-1/2″ half square triangle die.

Hope this helps you begin to brainstorm ways to use up all those short ends of strips that you’ve cut from other projects. 
 

UFO Finishes and Quilt Show

What a busy week I had last week. After two months of blogging about Quilts of Valor, I buried myself in other projects for a week and stayed away from the computer. Most of the time was spent with my Mom, my daughter, and my grandchildren. But I managed to get a little stitching time in also.

There were two new grandsons in February and neither one had a single new baby quilt from me. Thus, I made and/or finished four baby quilts last week. My longarm has seen little use the past year, and there’s a whole stack of quilts to be quilted. Someone needs to get busy!

It was so much fun to be actually quilting the tops. Finishing the Quilts of Valor got me started, and now I hope this will be a summer of finishing all those tops. What’s interesting to me after almost a year of doing very little quilting is that it seems that I can now do some of the things that were once so hard for me. Doing freehand continuous curves was almost impossible and now I seem to zip through them with little effort. Not sure what the secret is; maybe I’m more relaxed now than I used to be, not sure why–but I feel as if I can quilt almost anything now.

Here are some photos. I still haven’t done the official photos of the quilts hanging, but you can get a pretty good idea of these baby quilts.

This quilt was made two years ago by my friend Kay. She did the embroidery (because I didn’t even own an embroidery machine at that time). It is finished and will go to a grandson. 

This quilt was made from orphan blocks left over from the quilt I made for my nephew. I added a row of four patch blocks on the far right to make it wide enough. 

The quilting is done with an Aurifil variegated thread. I love the way it looks. 

This quilt is similar to the attic windows quilt. It’s sort of an I spy quilt with the novelty fabrics in the center of each block. It’s a leaders and enders quilt – there are many more blocks just like these. I used a striped fabric around the blocks and for the binding. Have been saving that fabric forever b/c I love it so much. Now it’s all used up and there’s room for a new stripe in my stash. 

I love to quilt freehand swirls and spirals and this border turned out nicely. I didn’t plan it this way, but started out with a swirl and this is what happened. 

And this is the attic windows quilt – in use! Isn’t he just adorable?

 

  
 

Memorial Day 2012 and Quilts of Valor

This is a particularly special Memorial Day for me as we go into the last lap of the GO! for a Star Quilts of Valor Challenge. I have “met” and become aware of so many quilters who are dedicated to honoring the military service men and women who serve to protect us, our country and our way of life. The Quilts of Valor program is a wonderful way to give back to them.

The Quilt Show blog has a short 18 minute preview video of a public television show that has been made about the Quilts of Valor program. I hope you will be able to watch this video.

And here are the quilts that I have been working on for the last few days. Every minute spent on them has been enjoyable. There is still time for any of you reading this to become a part of this Challenge and to make a single quilt block or several quilt blocks and get them in the mail to Richard and Tink Linhart by May 31. You can find more information here.

This is the quilt made with the Triangle in a Square Accuquilt die(55027).  I had made 12 blocks as I worked with this die, so bordered them with the blue and did a wide sash (3 inches finished) so that the quilt would be large enough. This one still needs binding on it.

This is the split star quilt made with 12 inch blocks. It turned out beautifully and is even prettier in person. 
 

My favorite colors of Aurifil thread for quilting

As one of my friends so aptly said, “I’m a thread snob.” Yes, I’ll admit, there’s just no thread like Aurifil. It costs a little more, but in my opinion, is well worth it. I have tried lots of other threads, both cotton and synthetic, and the only other thread that even comes close is 100 wt Silk for quilting–and that’s not a thread I use lightly–no pun intended. Aurifil has a sheen that I haven’t seen in other cotton threads. And it runs like a dream on my longarm with absolutely perfect tension. It isn’t too thick or too thin, it’s just right. In quilting, I use 50 wt Aurifil and buy it on the spools of 1440 yards/1300 meters. While I could get larger cones, it’s nice to have one spool on the machine and one on the bobbin winder.

It’s so hard to decide what color to use on a quilt. There are several things that matter to me. One is a preference for using the same color top and bobbin, however, with Aurifil, sometimes the colors are different and it works just fine. In determining what thread to use on a given quilt, I will pull several lengths of thread off the spool and puddle them on the quilt before making a decision.

I’m going to list my favorite colors and tell you how I use them. I don’t often use dramatic colors for quilting, but subtle colors that enhance the quilting.

Favorite Aurifil colors

Color 2021 is almost white and works on anything that needs white. I like that it’s just almost white because it seems to create a little bit of shadow on a solid white fabric and enhances the quilting.

Color 2715 is a light blue and works beautifully on a lot of blue quilts. There’s enough blue that it isn’t too stark on a dark blue and it’s light enough to look nice on light/white fabrics.

Color 2805 is a light seafoam blue-green which I just purchased but haven’t used yet. Already I know it’s going to be one of my basics. It’s the same intensity as the light blue (2715) and light green (2902), but will be perfect on quilts that are blue-green.

Color 1320 is a medium blue that works well on quilts that have little white in them but lots of different shades of blue. It is definitely a color that completes my blue collection.

Color 2902 is a light sage green and works as beautifully on green quilts as 2715 works on blue quilts. it’s just the right shade of green to blend with almost any dark green, but light enough to look nice on light/white fabrics.

Pinks and purples don’t get as much play on my quilting frame. But the very pale pinkish-lavender–color 2510, and the darker purple–2520, work well for almost any pink and/or purple quilts.

Color 2310 is a very light beige and works great on fabrics that have darks and lights, but not necessarily stark white in them. It is probably the color that I use most.

Color 2314 is a darker beige and is used like 2310 where the “light” fabrics are more of a beige.

Color 2370 is a dark khaki and works great on dark colored quilts. It is one that I use a lot on quilts for men. The khaki color blends with almost any other dark color including dark blues and browns.

Color 2155 is a coppery color and I absolutely love it on green and red Christmas quilts. It blends beautifully with the green and the red.

Color 1135 is a very bright golden yellow. It is great for bright colored quilts and especially baby quilts. It adds a real sparkle to any bright colored quilt.

Color 3920 is a variegated yellow and it works just as beautifully as 1135 on brightly colored quilts.

Color 3817 is basically a primary color variegated and I love it for quilting and machine embroidery. It works great for quilting on brightly colored quilts and for machine embroidery when using the applique stitch on batiks.

Hopefully, I got them all. They seem a bit neutral, and I’m definitely a bright colors girl, but these colors are wonderful for quilting. 
 

Chisel Die – More Options

Yesterday, I gave you some options for the Chisel Die. I started playing around in Electric Quilt and came up with some more options. The individual block will be shown first, and then the quilt layout from EQ7. Some of these are just positive/negative changes rather than completely different blocks. Play around with this and see what you can create.

Chisel Friendship Star 1 Block

Chisel Friendship Star 1 Quilt

Chisel Friendship Star 2 Block

Chisel Friendship Star 2 quilt

Chisel Whirligig Block, Chisel Pinwheel 2 Block

Chisel Whirligig Quilt

Chisel Pinwheel 2 Quilt

Chisel Pinwheel 1 Block and Chisel Stretched Star Blocks

Chisel Pinwheel 1 Quilt

Chisel Stretched Star Quilt