Thursday, August 7, 2014

Green and Purple - The End of the Story

I can now tell the complete story of my little green and purple quilt.  First of all, it has a name, "Dahlia Revisited".  And it was created for a very special reason.  I made this quilt for the contest that Quilters Newsletter was having to celebrate their 45th Anniversay.  The rules were simple, create a quilt that celebrates 45 years of quilting, make it 45"x45" and attach an artist statement explaining why the quilt represents 45 years of quilting.  I found out a few days ago that I was chosen as a finalist and that my quilt placed in the top 5! I've won a great prize package and I found out my quilt will hang as part of a special exhibit for QN at the Quilting Live event in Atlanta next month!
I didn't even know anything about the contest until after our quilt show in April when I was catching up on some reading.  The grand prize was a Bernina - which kind of caught my eye.  I've never owned a Bernina and thought that would be fun.  But I didn't know what to do that would represent 45 years until I did the math.  I made my very first quilt 45 years ago - 1969!!
Here is my very first quilt - simply named "Dahlia".  It's a Lemoyne Star with a gathered star flower in the center. Not a typical pattern for a first quilt - but it must have seemed like a good idea in 1969.  There are 30 blocks, it's a generous queen size, and it's completely hand pieced!  Not only are the blocks hand pieced, but all the sashings are hand pieced.
Lest you think that was easy, you can see here that I had a little bit of trouble.  To make things more interesting, all the white fabric is a sheet.  I guess I thought since the sheet worked so well on the front, I would use another one on the back!!  True story - but remember it was the 70's and I had no clue what I was doing.  (The quilting speaks for itself.)
In addition to having trouble doing the hand piecing,  it seems I also had trouble with the applique.  I wish someone would have told me to match the thread.  Guess I had a lot of white thread lying around LOL!!  
But back to the challenge....  What led to my idea for "Dahlia Revisited" was when I realized that somewhere in my stash there were scraps from this quilt and I was pretty sure I knew where they were.  Yes, I've been saving my scraps for 45 years!  
I searched EQ7 for a pattern and couldn't find anything close.  I also couldn't find anything similar on  the internet.  So I made a Leymone Star block out of my original 1969 fabric and tried to create my original block.  After 45 years, I didn't have a clue how I'd made them so I had to just kind of make it up as I went along.  It's not exact, but it's close enough.  This block does look a lot like a block I found called Amish Dahlia.  Does anyone know anything more about this block?
Well I eventually got the block made and then found lots of fabric from my stash that I could use.  If you remember from previous posts, I agonized quite a while on the quilting, but in the end, I was pleased. 
It's such a happy quilt.  The colors were a little hard to match exactly, and I didn't know what to use for the vine.  Suprisingly, what looked best was the original fabric.  I found a long piece cut on the bias that I had used for the binding.  It was perfect.  
So here they are together.  I am so thrilled that QN thought enough of my quilt to award me a finalist prize (even if it wasn't the machine LOL).  When they told me that these quilts would hang as a special exhibit in Atlanta next month, I realized that "Organic Pink Pickles" will also be hanging as a special exhibit for the NYC MQG DWR Challenge at the same event.  Two of my quilts hanging at Quilting Live!!  It really doesn't seem real.  Needless to say, I am planning a trip to Atlanta next month to see both my babies :)!!
It will be Sept. 11-13 if anyone is interested in going.  I'll be there :).

Thanks for sharing in my joy,

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Memory Quilt #1 is Done - on to #2

Well, the tumblers are done and can I just say love!!  This went together so fast.
The blocks finished at 7 1/2" for a pair by 4 1/2" long so the quilt is 60"x68" which is a really nice size.
I did not spend a lot of energy trying to match things up and just went with the good ole grab it and sew technique!  Every so often it is so refreshing to sew quilts like this.  So much freedom, so fast, so fun.  I will trim the sides straight and then it's ready to baste and quilt - no borders.
Here is quilt #2.  I have always wanted to do this pattern, but never have had a very big stash of stripes.  When I realized that I had about 8 or 9 striped shirts I knew this was the time to try it out.
Here are some on the wall.  The pinkish red was the first one I cut and I had the stripes going the wrong way.  I have decided to scrap that one all together.  The fabric is really bad and I found a few others to add instead.  I'm cutting strips 4" wide and using the companion angle ruler.  So far so good.  Each block only has 3 seams so these blocks go together super fast also.  

Two good choices so far for easy, interesting patterns.
Happy stitching,

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Memory Quilt #1 is Tumblers

I've been looking at so many patterns and there are so many choices but I've decided to start with the tumbler.  I'd seen a video of a tumbler quilt made with charm squares and a specialty ruler.  So I cut my own 5" charm squares and used one of my wedge rulers and made my own template.  There is practically no waste using 5" squares.
We got home last weekend from a week at our timeshare in the NC mountains.  Can I say heaven??  We spent time with the grands and our kids but I did get one alone morning.  The hubby was playing golf, the windows were open, I had a cup of coffee and I just savored some quiet time with my sewing machine.  I didn't get many blocks actually sewn together, but I did get a bunch cut out.
I didn't have to work today, so I really went to town chain piecing.  This pattern goes together so fast!!  I said that I wanted to do 4 different patterns, but it's tempting to make more than one of this one.
So far I'm really liking it.  I'm thinking that I won't put a border on it, just square up the sides.  Once I've got it laid out, I'll sew sections together and then sew the rows together.
Here's a picture that I took for my sister, the flowers were glorious!!  It's just so hot here in Florida - they don't look like this.
It's good to be home, hope you get some stitiching time.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Making Memory Quilts

Last weekend my DH and I started going through my BIL's household things.  We made an inventory and tried to get a plan as to how to handle all that.  I have decided to take some of his shirts and make some memory quilts.  I think I will be making at least 4.
There were lots of shirts to choose from.  I have no idea how many I will need to make 4 medium - large lap quilts.
I've been looking on pinterest for ideas, there are plenty.  Not sure how complicated I want the pattern to be as 4 is a lot to make.  Plus I'd be using the same group of fabrics and I wouldn't want to get bored :).  So that's why I'm thinking I'll do several simple patterns and break things up. That way people would have a choice.  I need to keep looking.  Any suggestions?
It's a little weird to be taking perfectly good shirts and cutting them up.  It's also weird that my BIL is not here any more to wear them.  I'm not sure I could do this with shirts that had belonged to my husband or my son......
I watched Bonnie Hunter's method of "de-boning" a shirt on you-tube.  I modified her technique slightly.  She snips and then rips a lot of the seam and plackets.  I just don't like all those strings!  After one or two times I just decided to cut everything.  Doesn't really take too long at all.

Have any of you made a quilt out of shirts?
Any helpful hints?
I'm kind of in the mood to start before too much time goes by.  Maybe this will be my project when we head to the North Carolina mountains next week - yay!  I was struggling with what to bring.
Happy stitching,

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Enough Blocks to Start

I'm not sure how many blocks I've made, but I've got enough to start looking at my graph paper pattern and start laying them out.
I love making the little double four patch blocks as a way to direct your eye around the quilt.  I never know exactly where they will go or how many I'll need.  That's part of the beauty of this technique, you really are designing a "One of a Kind" original :).  I like that.
I usually start in the top left corner and just start placing the blocks.  When I'm about 1/2 way done, I will begin to see which color seems dominant and which color I need to balance things out.
I'm auditioning some borders for the trees but will wait until more of the blocks are done to see which color I like best.
There was a question on how I did the trees.  I know there are several ways to do this. I decided to draw the shape, then drew random lines, made patterns and then paper pieced them.
I used my trusty Tri-Recs ruler.  As you can see, I made them longer than the ruler.
Nothing fancy, but it got the job done.  I'm thinking of using a different technique for the large tree in the center.
Back to sewing, hope it's a good day.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Changing Directions

I have been asked to present a program for the Piecemakers of Milton Guild in August.  They have asked me to present my "One of a Kind" program and I have decided to make a new quilt for the demonstration.
Here are the very first blocks up on the design wall - so cute already!!
I brought everything down to the kitchen to cut out.
I got out my green, red and aqua scraps, which were all in one place :).

Without any panels or orphan blocks to use I decided to make some new blocks and drew up a tentative layout on graph paper.
I brought down some of the sections from the previous quilt I made using these fabrics, just really to give me some inspiration.
I have made 5 pieced tree blocks and have started making the filler blocks.
These tree blocks will get borders around them to equal 12 x 12, but I'm waiting for a while to see what colors I'll need to keep things in balance.
Here is the previous quilt using the pillow panels.  It's such a happy quilt.
Here's the book that has given me so much inspiration and my first group of fabrics.  I cut my own jelly roll from my stash - so fun.
I always make a graph paper pattern.  I cut out separate blocks to scale and use scotch tape so I can move them around.  When I have the blocks set where I want them. I then fill in with 4" blocks.
I'm having so much fun today, these are happy colors.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Green and Purple - Finally Made a Decision

After critically looking at pictures in the last post, I knew the puffy pieces had to go!  I had hoped they would look like trapunto.  I had used wool batting, but they didn't look like trapunto, they just looked puffy!
While trying to figure out what to do, I noticed this little yellow flower.  I decided to copy that as a design element in all the square in a square blocks.  It meant changing thread color for each one, but it honestly didn't take too long and it made a huge difference.
You can't really see it until you get close, but overall this border looks so much better.
The second thing I fixed was the little purple border.  It's only 1 1/2" wide so there wasn't room to do much of anything.  I kept doodling on paper - I really wanted a design where I could quilt a continuous design without breaking the thread or back tracking.  In the end I went with little squiggles, horizontal in one triangle, vertical in the next.  That too went pretty fast and flattened that puffy border just perfectly.
The last thing I needed to fix was the center block.  It too was supposed to look like trapunto - but no such luck.  There was quite a bit of extra fabric where the center spikes were gathered, so there weren't a lot of options except to quilt some lines and try and calm it down.  I'm glad all these final decisions are made and done.
Binding is finished, final pictures coming next.
Happy stitching,