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,

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Blocking in the Afternoon Sun

The quilting is done (I think) and I'm blocking the edges so the binding can be added. 
When I walked by and saw it sitting on the floor in the afternoon sun, I could see all the texture and the different design - made me smile.
I used my walking foot in some parts, but that thing frustrates me sometimes.  I am so used to using the free motion foot and being okay with slight wobbles that I need to balance that out with the clunkiness of the walking foot.  But at least my lines in the outer border are straight.
The echo quilting in the purple triangles is "organic" for sure!!!  But it's staying as it is.
When I look at these pictures, I think I need more quilting in the smaller purple block border.  Any suggestions??
Happy stitching today,

Sunday, June 22, 2014

More Lost Weeks and a Little Green and Purple

Four weeks ago, my husband's only brother had a seizure.  The next few weeks have seen us bring him home from the hospital, hire sitters, get in home health nurses, call in hospice and plan a funeral. He fought a 6 year battle with prostate cancer.  Both the kids and their families were able to come for the service and spend a few days.  My DH is now the only one left in his immediate family.  Here we are after the service showing the kids where their great grandparents are buried.
The day started with a haircut by dad out on the front porch. :)
Kids have a way of making you smile even on a sad day.
And of course they wanted to climb the monument (hope nobody minded).
A trip for frozen yogurt on Father's Day was fun.
My beautiful girls - they wanted to be matching :).
I did manage to find some spare moments to try and work on this a little.  On one of the days when I didn't have to work, and the whole crew headed to Pensacola Beach, in a quiet house, I was able to finish all the stitch in the ditch and the vine and leaves.
I finally got my nerve and quilted the open spaces in the border.  In the end, I went with a meandering vine/feather free hand design. It's slowly coming together as I finish each section.  I've had to rip out a few times.  I think it's what I want until I do some and look at it and then I know for sure it's not what I wanted at all!!  I hope to finish this in the next few days.  Gotta work tomorrow so maybe Tues.  The grands are gone, my house is empty and quiet and I'm trying to find some sort of normal.  The last few weeks have been exhausting emotionally and physically and it feels so good to sit and sew for a few hours.
Thanks for reading and sharing in our family's loss.