Saturday, December 31, 2016

On the Bed - Summer Romance I

I realized I never got around to photographing the completed Summer Romance I quilt.  I finished quilting it last summer, but didn't get the binding on until two or three weeks ago.  Here it is on the bed:

 This quilt was begun Memorial Day weekend of 2015 and made it to my Nolting long arm a year later.  I used white yardage (probably Kona cotton), and Eleanor Burns jelly roll (Benartex) and some yardage from the same line.  This is a great way to make a quilt since it has only five blocks.  These are Blackford's Beauty, a block that caught my eye in the early 1980s.  A lot of people have called this block a lot of other things, including Snowflake.  Someone told me Bonnie Hunter has a quilt made from this block in one of her books or on her Quiltville website.
 I love these fabrics and their lovely shades of violet and wanted to create some great places for quilting.  You can see the stripe I used for binding at the left edge of the above photo--as well as what can happen after quilting for too many hours in a day.  But that's all behind me now.  It looks great on the bed.

 The additional four patches in the layout were easy to do and add interest and movement.

 Most of the quilting was done freehand with minimal marking.  The local quilt shop was out of blue marking pens, so one of the employees convinced me to use a Frixion pen and assured there would be no problems with it reappearing.  Not quite true.  The quilt has been laundered and dried because I love the "crinkly" quilt look--but I noticed one morning that there were some tiny black dots and dash lines apparent; my thermostat is set on 60 degrees F. at night, and some of them had reappeared.  I didn't notice any when I took photos just now, but the thermostat is set at 68 during the day.

 I loved, loved, loved having the large areas for quilting some favorite designs.  If I had a do-over, I would have used a lighter shade in the outer border.

 It's not a competition quilt, so its imperfections are fine with me.

 It was fun to quilt different designs in similar areas, although I'd be surprised if anyone ever notices them.

It's not my last finish of the year, just the last one to have its photo taken in 2016!  I can confirm that it's lovely to have on my bed during these cold winter nights. I'll show some more as 2017 gets underway.

Happy New Year's Eve and Happy 2017.  I'm going to stay off the roads (and away from the inebriated drivers) and work on the checkered Dresden  plate, read, relax, eat some leftovers, and maybe do some knitting.

Happy quiltmaking, knitting, and so on,...

Mrs. Lebo's Legacy - the Quilt

I',m learning a few things....Isn't it nice that we can continue learning decade after decade when we become quiltmakers?

First of all, one jelly roll of 42 fabrics is not likely to be enough for nine Dresden plates with 20 blades.

 I did cut each strip in half to yield a lot more variety as I piece.  That means I can cut eight wedges from each strip set.  Had I not decided to do that, each full width strip set would have yielded 17 wedges instead of 16.  However, if I had used the full width strip sets, that still would have given me only 170 blades--and 180 are needed for a quilt with nine plates.  I found some gifted fabric that works with the Bread 'n' Butter colors, but I think I'm still going to have only enough for eight plates, so I'm trying to come up with something creative for the ninth block.

 I'm using the Missouri Star Quilt Company's layer cake wedge ruler.  I think it may have been an add-on to an order I placed with them for something else; I know it's been around here for over a year, but I'd only used it once and that was for some smaller project.

 It was slipping a bit as I cut, so I opened one of the drawers of my treadle and pulled out a small rectangle of rubberized shelf webbing that I use when I quilt on the treadle.  I cut a couple of tiny rectangles and glued them to the back of the ruler with Elmer's water soluble School Glue. That is helping.

 It's important to remember to keep the narrow end of the ruler at the edge of the strip set as we flip and cut.

 Also, I can see that my scant 1/4 inch seam allowance, which I accomplish with a stack of post-it notes, was a bit too scant.  However, since I pieced all the strips and wedges with that allowance, it won't be a problem.  (Each four-strip set should have been exactly 8.5 inches wide.) I've also found that it's easy to let the ruler slip a little instead of keeping that 8.5 inch line parallel to the edge of the fabric.--Little lessons.

 I'm also separating the wedges into two groups as I cut, because that should help me get more of the variety I want.

The next step is to create the point at the top of each blade.
I also need to decide what fabric or fabrics to use for the circles at the center of the blocks.

Happy quiltmaking,....

Friday, December 30, 2016

Year End Quilt Beginning!

I recognize many quiltmakers begin a new quilt, or two, or more, during the week between Christmas and New Years.  Over the years [decades] that has frequently been my plan, although just as frequently, it hasn't happened. For many years the issue was the need to travel miles and miles from shop to shop trying, often in vain, to find the right fabric for the quilt I was envisioning.  The facts that there is now a lovely little quilt shop just seven miles from my home and that online quilt shops are abundant, eliminate the travel requirement.  Furthermore, this year I had fabrics I've been longing to put to use.

 These lovely Bread 'n' Butter from American Jane (Sandy Klop) for Moda have been playing with my imagination and waiting patiently since sometime last spring or summer.

 I sewed them into strip sets of four because I decided I really could create checkered Dresden Plate blocks as shown on Lurline's 2009 blog post and last fall on Jenny Doan's Missouri Star tutorial.

These are not colors I usually use--but they have been playing around in my brain for several years--at least since I made Mrs. Lebo's Kitchen I and II around 2009. I also blogged about it here. When I saw this Bread'n'Butter collection, I knew the time for returning to these colors was approaching.

So while the College Girl was ailing with some virus she probably caught during her frenzy of pre-Christmas socializing and shoping, and, therefore, was sleeping, I began cutting wedges.

 Here are a couple views of the first block.
 It's very happy, and I love it.  I'm calling this quilt Mrs. Lebo's Legacy since it's a return to the colors I remember from her kitchen as well as the kitchens of many other residents of Woodford and McLean Counties in Illinois in the decade following WWII.  Mrs. Esther Lebo was my first grade teacher, and her real legacy was that throughout the decades of her teaching career she taught hundreds of children to read , and many of us have shared our love of reading and books with thousands of additional children.

I'll post more progress, and bits of what I learn as I go along.

Wishing everyone plenty of joy in quilting, knitting, etc. as we say goodbye to 2016...

Monday, November 28, 2016

Plan for J. I. Case Quilt

A couple of weeks ago I received a phone call from one of my brothers.  I couldn't take the call, and the transcription was totally bizarre, but I now know that in addition to COPD, he has emphysema.  He and his wife live in South Carolina, and I think I've seen him only two or three times in the last 25+ years.  He's spent much of his life as a big rig driver, and the last time I saw him was when he had a load from California that took him through here on I-40.  Most of his driving was much farther east.  Once he retired, he taught driving for some trucking companies and schools.  At this point, he's digging water wells.

Despite the fact that he's been smoking for at least 45 years, or maybe because of that, I think he should have a prayer quilt. I have a J. I. Case/International Harvester panel that reminds me of a shop/lumber/supply business that we used to patronize in Gridley, Illinois--back when we were the farmer's kids.

He was driving a tractor by the time he was seven or eight years old--and would have been happy to be a farmer all his life if Dad hadn't sold the farm.  After all, his name, George, means farmer.  Fortunately, he also loves driving big rigs, and that was a good career for him.

 As luck would have it, these are not my usual colors, so I had to go shopping.  Kokapelli Quilts/Southwest Decoratives just off I-25 and Paseo del Norte in Albuquerque had a well-timed $2.00 fat quarter sale.  (I discovered last summer that I have almost no real reds.)

Ann Silva's Bernina had some lovely grays, which I chose because our soil was rich, black loam, but my aging eyes didn't want to contend with a lot of black.  I just might tease him that these were the colors we found in his ears at the end of each day on the farm.

This is my starting plan; the plain blocks are approximately where the colors are in the panel.
These patchwork blocks and their placement may very well change, and I may substitute some other blocks.  At least I now have a plan, although not much time to execute it.  I really hope that when I retire, I'll have boundless energy, and many, many years for quilting.  For this quilt, however, I'm figuring a much tighter timeline.  Three weeks until winter break.

Happy quilting, knitting, sewing, and crafting,

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Which Flying Geese Method Is Faster?

Because I decided to add flying geese to the fishing panel, I was curious about which of my usual three methods was faster.
I did not try the "four at a time" method, because I didn't think I wanted four of each fabric.

I have Eleanor Burns Flying Geese 3x6/1.5x3 ruler, so I tried that method.  Here are the steps in photos:
 Eleanor's method is extremely accurate and starts with two squares of different sizes.

 Stitching 1/4" on each side of the drawn pencil line.

 Cutting on the pencil line.

 To my small homemade pressing board, which is why there are lavender stripes.

 Pressing seams toward the background fabric.

 Laying them edge to edge and drawing diagonal pencil line.

 Pin and sew 1/4" on each side of line.

 Cut on pencil line.

 Note space between flying geese.

 Align ruler with flying goose and trim.

 Do the same for other goose.  The rotating mat was quite helpful.

The other method I tried was to cut goose fabric into rectangles and background fabric into squares.
 Strips of background.
 Sub-cut strips into squares.

 Align tape with needle.  Ruler helps be sure the tape is perfectly aligned.  (My Jansjo light from Ikea is reflected in the ruler.  Sorry about that, but it gives me a chance to mention how much I love using those lamps; much better than the lights on most sewing machines; of course, there are no lights on my treadles.)

 Place background square on goose rectangle and sew diagonally across square.

 Keep corner of square aligned with the edge of the tape.

 Oops!  Be sure to insert sewing machine needle in the correct place and do not try to just chain feed without lifting presser foot.

 Ripping/frog stitching tip.  Place the red ball of the seam ripper on the underneath side and keep the longer tip on the top of the fabric.  Much faster to rip, and since I don't use dull seam rippers, I don't have to worry about cutting fabric instead of thread. (If you've not tried this, do.  You'll love it!)

Trim seam allowance and sew the second square on. Check against Eleanor's ruler.

Verdict:  The second method saved over five minutes per pair of geese.  The second method also gave me four more half square triangle blocks for some other project.  I make that seam before I press and trim off the excess.

I did sew together too many flying geese units on one side, so I used my ripping technique again.  I think most people have been taught to keep the red ball of the ripper on top, but ripping with it on the underside saves sooooo much time.

The other two methods of making geese are perfectly fine, but now I know which method is faster.

I have the fishing panel with its flying geese borders finished, and am waiting for batting and backing to arrive. While I was hopeful that my college girl would hold it so I could get a photo while she was home for Thanksgiving, that didn't happen, but we had a joyful Thanksgiving.
I need to figure out a way to create a wall for taking photos of my quilts somewhere in this small house.  I've photographed a lot of quilt tops and quilts outside, but with winds up to 55 mph today, the outside is definitely not a choice. (Driving to and from church was a bit unpleasant today; we're experiencing the first of three consecutive storm systems.  Hopefully, they'll be through here by Thursday or so!)

Happy quiltmaking, knitting, sewing, and crafting,
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