Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A T-Shirt for a Marine

It's always fun to do something you've done many times before in a new way.  I've made many, many t-shirt quilts, but never one for a Marine.  Not only that, but this is the biggest t-shirt quilt I've ever made.
When he brought the shirts over and we talked about fabric, he said he wanted Marine colors, green, red and gold.  I found this fabric which was green and red and kind of looked like camo to me.  I knew it would be perfect for the front.
There were not only lots of t-shirts but LOTS of logos - 30 to be exact.  So I grouped them together and sewed them into 4 blocks of 3, 6, 9, and 12 and scattered them across the quilt.
I like the way they add a different dimension to this.  It breaks up the bigger shirts and adds a lot of interest.  I didn't realize until the quilt was finished that I had put "Pukin' Dogs" next to Vermont's Finest Ice Cream!!  That's what makes these so much fun for me.
This was by far my favorite shirt - 90,000 tons of diplomacy - that's just awesome.  I did an overall swirl for the quilting in a light gray and used a very light poly batt to minimize the weight.  It all worked well.
It was really hard for me to get a good picture of the whole quilt - it was so big.  You can see the scale in relation to the recliner!
I am really happy with the way it turned out and I think he was too.  I found a red plaid with gold and black for the backing - perfect!  
So, thank you Eric for trusting me with these shirts that tell your story, and thank you for your service to our country. Semper Fi!
Happy Stitching,

Monday, March 23, 2015

It's Green and Purple Again

Look what's blooming in our front yard - our Wisteria.  And of course it's that beautiful purple and green.  Guess what I thought of?
My sweet little Purple Pickles.
In my ongoing quest to be a better photographer (really big LOL here!!), I took these pictures yesterday afternoon.  They look sort of "artsy" to me.  Can I just say again that green and purple make me smile?
The beauty of nature continues to inspire me.  
Happy stitching today,

Thursday, March 19, 2015

My Four Patch Quiltalong

A few weeks ago I decided to join in the fun of doing the Four Patch Quiltalong after seeing it in my APQ magazine.  They featured 4 great four patch quilts and I decided to make Lissa Alexander's version, but I changed it up a little.  I've been calling this "Muted Tuxedo".
The four patches are made from 1 1/2/" strips and they finish at 2".  Tiny but so effective.
I had been collecting yellow and gray fabric and thought this would be a good pattern to use with them.  The original pattern had all the four patches going vertically.  Since I always like to change things up a little, I rotated every other row and set them going horizontally.  It got really confusing as there were lots of different blocks.  In fact, there is a boo-boo in one of the rows (picture below), but it stayed in.  Can you find it?
As it started to grow, it began to look like little bow ties on a ruffled tuxedo shirt.  But since some of them fade in and out depending on the value of the gray squares, they looked muted to me and so it became "Muted Tuxedo".
Since I was only using 2 colors, I had to be very particular where the values were, especially with the yellow fabrics.  If too many yellows touched each other, I got this big yellow looking piece.  Horrors!! We can't have that!  So I built this quilt one four patch at a time.  I'm sure it took a lot longer, but in the end I was much happier.
Making some of the four patches using 4 shades of gray helped with the blending.  It was finally ready to sew into rows.
I did decide to add the scrappy setting triangles but will not be adding the outside border.  It's a nice sized lap quilt.
And lest you think I forgot..............
her's the kitty.  I didn't have any yellow kitty fabric, so this was the closest.  He looks kind of scared just peeking out at me.  If you hadn't noticed him, he's in the bottom left hand corner.
And I couldn't end without a pictures from our recent trip to NC to celebrate my DH's birthday.
How I love these little people and the big guy too :).
Happy stitching,

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Teaching at the Flying Needles Retreat

It's almost hard to see me - I'm surrounded by Pickles - Pink and Purple!!  What fun I had as I spent two days at the Flying Needles Quilt Retreat in Niceville, FL and had the privilege of  teaching a wonderful group of women.  A special thanks goes to my host Kathy, who was also the Chairman of the quilt show and retreat.  Needless to say, she was so busy I didn't even get her picture.  But I want to share a few pictures of the classes.  
The first class I taught was this log cabin variation.  The committe had seen a picture of the quilt and asked if I could teach it.  I designed it using EQ7 -it's based on an Accuquilt pattern.
We were at the Northwest Florida State College.  I had a small classroom and a full class but we made it work and had a blast.  We had several mother and daughter sets which was very fun.
Below is a picture of the West Virginia group.  They were so productive and helpful - thanks for the tips!
I loved seeing everyone's color choices.  They made fun of me when they kept hearing me say "Oh, that's my favorite color" each time I saw their fabic choices.  But their projects were all so pretty and so different.  
Isn't it fun to see everyone's strips laid out?  They had quite an assembly line going.
My class helper Shirlee was so busy and I somehow missed getting a picture of her - sorry Shirlee.
On Saturday, I taught a class on Pink Pickles.  I made the class sample Purple Pickles last fall using some different techniques so they could get idea possibilites.
This class worked very hard as they chose which colors would go where and then learned the paper piecing technique. 
We spent a lot of time discussing different setting options.

How I loved spending the day seeing Pink Pickles hanging in the room.

Here are 9 of the 10 blocks done - I was so prould of all their hard work.
My friend Janan sent this picture of me teaching - I sure hope I was saying something important LOL!!
A big thank you to all my students - you were great sports and I hope you learned a lot.
Happy Stitching,

Sunday, March 1, 2015

My Wonderful Un-Birthday

I have had the most fun the last two days.  I will post about that tomorrow, but for now I'm sharing my birthday fun from last night.  As a Leap Year Baby, I get to celebrate 3 un-birthdays in between my "real" birthdays.
After a wonderful dinner with my DH at our favorite Thai restaurant, we went to my sister's house where my hubby gave me Victoria's new book!!  I've been wanting to get my hands on this for a while.  I'm so excited to read it and I've already picked out my next project :).
And then we had some birthday cake and cannolis - a perfect ending to my un-birthday.
Life is good,

Friday, February 20, 2015

The T-Shirts Tell the Story

If this was the only t-shirt I was showing you, I'm sure you would form an opinion about the person I'm making the quilt for.  It's for a guy and among other things, he worked at Ben & Jerry's in VT over his summer vacations.  Kind of fun and happy.
But there's more to this quilt than a fun summer job.  There is this: "Kill, Maim, Destroy".  
To be honest, I've never put a t-shirt like this in a quilt.
Then there's this one, "Ready to kill, ready to die...".
And this one..... which is a little more light-hearted.  McGuire's is a very popular restaurant in Pensacola.  
And then there is this.
By now you may have guessed this is a quilt for a military person and you may have guessed he is a Marine.  I've never done a t-shirt for a Marine before.  I'm much more used to seeing Powderpuff Football, cheerleading, student activities or college sorority dances.
But seeing all these shirts, cutting them up, putting them back together again, building his quilt, I get a partial sense of the story of his life.  
And that is why I love to do T-shirt quilts.  It's all about the story.
Happy stitching today,

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Free form Baptist Fan

I never realized there were so many ways to quilt a Baptist Fan pattern.  I've used them for years in hand quilting but have never machine quilted this design. 

I have always used a stencil and a blue pen.
So I will be trying this free form method I found on Bonnie Hunter's blog.  She did hers by hand, but I'll be doing FMQing. 

I hope this works!  Thanks for all the suggestions. We'll know soon how this will go.