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.

1-IMG_3820 2-IMG_3822 3-IMG_3830 4-IMG_3832

  
 

Christmas Quilt Show

This is my entry in this year’s Christmas Quilt Show. Entries are to be submitted from Nov 23 through Nov 30. This is one of my favorite blogland quilt shows. It is so fun to watch new entries being submitted every day. So, if you have made a Christmas quilt, join the fun and show it off.

My Christmas quilt was made last year and quilted in late summer. It has already been shipped to it’s new home with my sister here in NC. Last year, she was given a table runner and this quilt completes the set.

 

 

To make this quilt I used 8 inch blocks and 2 inch sashing. The embroidery blocks were made with the AccuQuilt Holiday Medley die and machine embroidery. The Irish chain blocks use a 4″ square in the middle and 2″ squares in the corners. I just went back through all my blog posts so that I could link a tutorial for this Irish chain variation and realize I haven’t done one. So, a tutorial on making these 8″ Irish chain blocks will be forthcoming very soon. 
 

Quilting Fun Flowers

This is a UFO finish that has been in the stack awhile, but I just didn’t know have the inspiration to quilt it. Then I saw Angela Walters’ tutorial on SewCalGal’s Free Motion Quilting Challenge and have been playing around (doodling) with some geometric free motion designs ever since. Leah Day has some great geometric designs too. I recently purchased one of her design books for my Kindle Fire and absolutely love being able to take quilting books with me wherever I go.

 

At first I had some reservations about these rectangles on the background of a curvy design, but then it occurred to me that cross-hatching works well on any design and it is angular. So, why wouldn’t this work? And yes, it does. In fact, I have been at such a stalemate and so bored with feathers and swirls that I have hardly quilted anything for awhile. I am inspired again after this.

It’s fun to be ale to doodle on the Whiteboard and on Skitch on my Kindle Fire too.Hopefully, with this sketch you can see where i backtrack on each square/rectangle to start the next.

 
 

Pet Menagerie

This is my entry for the Pets on Quilts Show. It’s a Pet Menagerie of wild, safari animals that are just perfect for a snuggle. This quilt is made with applique animals alternating with safari animals print blocks. The back has a great zigzag across the middle.

This has been a year of making and quilting safari animal quilts – for my nephew and for my grandsons – and they all love their quilt “pets.”

Quilting was done on my Nolting longarm using Aurifil 50 wt thread on top and bobbin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  
 

Zoo Animals and . . .

It’s always dangerous for me to re-arrange my work area. This morning I can’t seem to locate where I put the two tops that Sherry finished and I wanted to take photos. I sorted everything and re-arranged some things, so I know everything’s there; I just can’t remember where. Will find them today and show you tomorrow.

Last week I took some days just to clean and sort and shop for groceries, etc. Whole Foods had organic blueberries on sale for $1.99 so I got two gallons for $20.00. I put them in the freezer–they will last a long time–and make great smoothies and popsicles for the children.

And yesterday it was back to stitching again. The zoo animals digitizing is done – and now all I have to do is the documentation. Will try to get it finished today. Here’s a preview:

Lion with Satin Stitch

Lion with Satin Stitch

Monkey with Freeform Applique Stitch

Giraffe with Applique Blanket Stitch

 
 

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?

 

  
 

The best laid plans. . .

Yesterday seemed like a great day to stitch away– and I was having a great time and getting a lot done until almost noon. Ted and I were babysitting for one of the new little grandsons. The baby got a little fussy, so grandma grandly takes over – and that is when all stitching ceased. He is so adorable, and I could rock him all day long. Not long after that, his Mom picked up the little girls from school. They came over to play and somehow the rest of the day got away from us.

But I did work on a little digitizing the past couple of days. I have been working on the GO! Home by Stacy Michell. I still have a ways to go with arranging the elements on the block, but I think it’s getting there.

While I was distracted with the grandchildren, I left my embroidery machine to stitch away by itself. It somehow got stuck in one spot – there was a knot in the bobbin thread – and the machine had stopped itself when I got back. But when I walked into the room, the screen on the machine was blank – I almost had a heart attack – what would I do if something happened to my machine?!?!?!? 
 

Connected Stars

Thus far, we’ve made some applique stars and some pieced stars. They’re all six inch blocks. So, just playing around this morning with settings, this is another setting that would be nice. It only requires 12 six inch blocks and is a quickie top to piece. I am going to try to piece this one over the weekend because I already have a dozen appliqued star blocks that I made when working with the machine embroidery set. If you have a nice fabric with stars on it or just want to sit down and stitch around some applique stars from the Accuquilt Star die – you’ll be set to go.

Work on your stars today and I’ll have the instructions ready for you tomorrow morning. I have worked out all the cutting instructions already and if you know Ebony’s EDeN™ system, you can follow the cutting instructions below.

If you’re working on a quilt for the GO! for a Star QOV Challenge and would like to have the star ME set, let me know and I’ll send you a sampler set.

Connected Stars

Finished Size 58 x 74″

 

Click on the thumbnail below for a full-size image with readable text:

  
 

Wednesday projects

Just a little update on what’s going on in my workroom. I’ve been working on this t-shirt quilt for over a month now. Part of the long time was that I had to wait for backing fabric that I ordered. But I’ll tell you some of the ups and downs in the construction of this quilt. Here’s a photo of the quilt before quilting.

There were only six t-shirts so the customer had Spoonflower print some of the school logos onto knit fabric. The printed fabric was wonderful. And the cost was very reasonable. The knit fabric they used was a high quality, and I was able to fuse and zigzag the logos into blank areas of the existing t-shirts. I used red and blue which are the school colors, and the customer helped design the borders. I love this design as it is very geometric and the quilt is for a scientist/teacher.

Because of the dark color on the front, a dark color was chosen for the backing. I ordered a couple of different fabrics, but in the end chose to use a Fusions dark blue print. I had used a black Fusions on the back of a table runner a couple of Christmases ago and found that because it is not a yarn-dyed fabric that little white spots show in many places where the needle comes through. This is not bearding of the batting, but just the nature of longarm machine quilting. I use a “smaller” needle (size 18), but this still happens. I know that this will disappear after the quilt has been washed a couple of times, but it bothers me to give this back to a customer. The lesson I learned is that I will only use yarn-dyed dark backings in the future. Kona cotton comes to mind – as I think this will work well.

As for batting, ideally for a dark backing one would use dark batting. However, with the white shirts on the front, this was definitely not advisable. And then the thread question came up. For t-shirt quilts, I always use Monopoly by Superior Threads. It is a very, very fine monofilament made of polyester. This seems to me to be a better selection than using a nylon thread as polyester is so very durable. In the bobbin I used Aurifil Mako50 dark blue to match the backing. Normally thread tension is not a problem for me, but with this quilt it was a problem throughout the entire quilt. Little dark dots showed up randomly on the front of the quilt. I do believe that washing this quilt will seat those threads in the batting and all will be well, but it was very frustrating to one who normally has very few issues with thread tension. There was one little section that I have removed the threads and will put the quilt back on the frame and restitch that area.

As always I cut the sashing strips with my Accuquilt GO, and I used EQ7 for the layout. I love being able to take digital photos, import them into EQ7 and layout t-shirt quilts exactly the way they will turn out.

It’s a beautiful quilt – but not “easy as pie” this time.

  
 

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.