Friday, January 29, 2010

Persian Rug Quilt

    Since I'm not making much progress on other about some recent pictures of old projects?  This is the Persian Rug Quilt.  It's all detailed piecing with no applique...just to prove that I can piece after all.   If you click on the top picture you can look at it up close and see that there are 3 unrelated fabrics fussy cut to make the design.
    I had purchased yards of lush dark blues, when I finally got a reply back from the recipient about the fabric swatches I'd emailed and she replied that the colors were lovely, but a bit dark.  I bought a new batch of tans to lighten things up and the lovely blues ended up on back.  
     I also machine quilted this one.  Unfortunately, one bobbin worth of thread had tension problems and I didn't notice it until I was home.  I can see it in the photo...can you?  Being as how I'm not inherantly a perfectionist, it was clear that I wouldn't be ripping that out since it's only noticable on the back.  It keeps it from ever being in a jurried show...but the purpose was to please the recipient, not some judges.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Color Columbines

Here are the first 2 of the color columbine blocks.  The 3rd is about 1/2 done, and I finally have a pattern drafted for the fourth block in both styles.  Interestingly, the butter yellow fabric that I used, looks pink in the photo.  I also ran into challenges b/c it is a somewhat sheer least if you have a dark red behind it.  I'm going to have to replace that with a light yellow batik if I follow through with plans to turn these into kits.   This version is really a quilter's delight.  These look OK now, but I have plans for some very detailed quilting that will make all the difference.  I also see doing this one as a scrap/ stash block where I can use multiple shades of red (or blue) to give more depth and detail to the design.  I managed to get the directions put together over the past weekend, and have a couple quilter friends who have offered to take them for a test drive.  I hope to have these sent out by Feb 1.  We're helping friends move this may be a while until I'm free to work on these projects again :(

Friday, January 22, 2010

Columbine 3

     I finished the 3rd columbine design Monday night.  Now I remember why they are called prototypes.  Some of the inner design lines that I was so delighted about in the line drawing, turned out to be frustrating to make, and didn't come out as I'd imagined.  On the other hand, I'm delighted with the overall feel of this flower, particularly when viewed from across the room.  The final pattern will have some revisions.
     Spent Wed night in design mode.  Made the adjustments to all 3 of the quilt blocks to adapt the pattern to a back-basting, multi color version.  I was keeping in mind some changes that might make it easier for less experienced appliquers.  Some of those changes may end up in the final silhouette versions as well.  I was able to prep those blocks and start figuring out the yardage...and have the fussier sections of columbine 2 finished.  This weekend's goals are to finish at least one of the multi-color blocks, write the first draft of the directions, and design the 4th (final) block of this series.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A very productive weekend

I got so much done this weekend in the realm of quilting...although not much in the way of finished product to show off.  Spent the weekend with Anna of Victoria Rose Quilts.  We were planning quilt events to be held at Western Heritage Arts Center in West Yellowstone, Montana.  The hard part was narrowing down our thousands of ideas and dozens of designs.  The planned May 2010 event will be dinner & a trunk show Friday night with an all day Saturday workshop (piecing in the morning, applique in the afternoon).  We still need to confirm the dates with the Heritage Arts Center, but we're looking at May 15 which is the opening of fishing season (calling all fishing widows...).  The bear quilt that I made for my hubby years ago is being re-designed into a baby quilt called "Baby Bear".   Anna is moving this one to the top of her project list, and I'm excited to see it made in batiks!!!

I managed to squeeze in a little needle time and got the Columbine 2 prototype done.  The only big challenge I see for others trying this design is keeping the seam allowances down to 1/8 inch so the gaps that are outlines on this design don't get too big and distort the image.  I have Columbine 3 cut out and basted, so hope to have it done by the end of the day.  I've decided that #4 that I designed earlier doesn't fit with the it's literally "back to the drawing board" for me.  In addition to the reverse applique silhouette versions, I also plan to make a multi-color version using back basting.  This project has moved the top of my list with a deadline to have finished quilts to admire and patterns to purchase by the mid-May workshop date.

Whew!  So much to get done....better get off the computer and get to action.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Here's the prototype of the first columbine block.  I'm pleased with the way it turned out, however, some minor adjustments will be happening.  This is one, of a series of 4 that are planned.  The pattern will have direction for both this silhouette version that uses a cut then baste approach, and a multi-color version using back basting.  I'm hoping that some of my quilting buddies will help me with beta testing the directions over the next couple months.  The pattern will be available through Victoria Rose Quilts

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

So frustrating to have work get in the way of play.  Hopefully things will calm down in February once deadlines are met, and I can get some serious hand-work done while watching the Olympics.
I did take time this weekend to design a series of columbine blocks that use two fat quarters and a modified Hawaiian Applique technique.  Anna is planning some handwork workshops in West Yellowstone MT in mid-May to coordinate with the opening of fishing season.  The first of my prototypes is 1/2 appliqued and hope to have something to show by the end of the weekend.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Needle Turn Saga Part 2

Sorry, these posts are out of order, I was having trouble uploading the pictures, so I posted what I had done, upgraded the software and now will finish up. Scroll down the page for the starting steps, then come back here.

Here are some tricks I discovered about stitchinig down those raw edges to the new filler strips.

First off, I found that it works much better to be working on a flat surface.  This allowed me to turn under about 1/3 of the petal then finger-press. 

Pin the finger pressed section in place then stitch. 
As you approach the outer edge of the petal, stop about 1 1/2 inches from the end and tuck under the point.  Give it a good pinch to finger press a sharp point. 

Use the needle to smooth the edge from the point to where you paused...then stitch to the point and secure your stitches on the back. 
Finish the opposing petal from the outside-in. 

Have those center points "kiss". Tack them in place and finish the raw edges on the left and right as with the previous trio.

Josephs Coat Joining - The Needle Turn Saga

Kellie warned me before I started that doing needle-turn was going to be difficult when we started joining the squares together. Subsequently, I've been stressing about this step for months. It actually went well, although fairly slow. Here are some things that I figured out that might be helpful if you are trying this approach. First, I borrowed an idea posted by someone who was using a dark background. I took a blank overhead-projector transparency and copied the pattern with a Sharpie:

I followed Kellie's joining instructions through step 5, but using the clear template on top to make sure that all the finished petals were lined up.

It's a little hard to see, but the pink and blue petals in the center are finished and the 4 raw edges are touching across the horizontal axis. The pink lines from the clear template line up along the finished edges of the blue petal (maybe not quite so well on the black/green petal and pretty well on the finished edge of the purple/pink).

In this picture, I'm holding the raw edges of the green and purple blocks together to snug up the blue finished petals to "kiss".  Pin well.  Then I used standard needle-turn technique to stitch from the center out.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Sadly, work is getting in the way of my hobby and I didn't get the block of time that I'd hoped for this week. Am hoping to finish up by noon and at least sneak in an afternoon of quilting.

Kellie has finally posted the joining instructions for the Joseph's Coat. In a way, I wish I'd had these to start with, as I would have been able to make color transitions. But on the other hand, older daughter (for whom the quilt is destined) keeps saying "Mom, relax...I like random...cuz it's just like me". I have been putting together blocks trying to mix the fabrics as much as possible and trusting that the colors will all work out in the end. Turns out that the joining process includes pressing and pinning back all the background fabric, making circles that can be direction-less. This has made distributing the colors far easier than I'd anticipated. Younger daughter and I played with the blocks last night and had a happy combination pretty quickly.

Next challenge is to see if the back basting needle turn approach that I used is going to cause joining headaches. (I was warned that it would.) I should know by the end of the weekend...and will post my discoveries.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Not a great photo, but here are the first 25 blocks for the Joseph's Coat quilt. I got this far shortly after Thanksgiving, and have been focused on other things. Just found the photo when I was organizing some work files.


My quilting resolution last year was not, as many quilters attempt, to do one project at a time. Instead, I opted for one project of each technique at one time. Originally, I thought of that as one applique, one quilting, one piecing. As my goal list gets longer, I'm finding it difficult to limit to those 3 categories. I was just looking over the projects in the pile and realized the current categories are:
Easy/fast applique (Joseph's Coat)
Fussy/annoying applique (Grand Teton National Park Floral)
Lap Quilting (Garden of Stiches)
Machine quilting & binding (Whitney's purple blocks)
Prep for machine quilting (Double Irish Chain)
Prep for machine applique (Aspens)
Original Design finished, ready to start piecing (Fall Colors)
Original Design struggling, still finding solutions to re-make a project that wasn't going as I'd hoped (black/white kaleidescope)

And I'm putting all that in writing to try to convince myself that I can't start the 4 projects that are designed AND I have all the fabric for.

Maybe if I work really hard at my REAL jobs over the next 2 days, I can finish those pesky professional projects to free up some quilting time at the end of the week.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Joy in the New Year

I joined the Joy in the New Year challenge at in the hopes of finishing up some UFO's. I committed to 3, and got 2 done (kind-of). The one that took hundreds, perhaps thousands of hours is the Coral Reef Quilt. I had gotten to the point that every time I work on it, one song went through my mind over and over..."this is the quilt that never ends, it just goes on and on my friend". I managed to get the binding on by the deadline and was happily admiring the finished product, when I discovered one section of fish that weren't quilted. Drat! I'm still considering it done in 2009 and will have time to finish the missing sections during today's football games.

The second challenge that I consider done is Whitney's purple quilt that she started a couple years ago. It has been sandwiched with batting and ready to quilt, but she hasn't had the time or inclination to finish. Again, not technically finished as I need to help with binding, but getting a teen ager to do anything over Christmas break counts as a completed project.

The 3rd project I'd hoped to finish was an original design, Tetons National Park block. The individual petals of the lupine slowed down the progress originally. Did get many done. Unfortunately, I also decided to re-do the Lupine leaves as I think the way I did them made them look too thin. Knowing that I didn't have time for the fix and the finish, I didn't work much on this project.

I have grand quilting goals for 2010 including 8 that have a July deadline, so I can give them out at one of 2 family gatherings. I also have 4 more quilts I hope to finish by the end of the year, but don't have to be done by July. Several of these are surprises in that either the recipient doesn't know it's coming, or they know they are getting a quilt, but not what the design is. Pardon the cryptic nature of the list.
Persian Rug Quilt (original design): Machine Pieced, Machine quilted (long-arm) - Done
Rays of Sunshine (zig-zag, Crazy Mom Quilts): Machine Pieced, Machine quilted - Done
Double Irish Chain (traditional, scrap): Machine Pieced, Machine quilted - front & back pieced
Aspens (adapted from stained glass pattern by Shannon & Torlen): Raw Edge applique, machine quilted (long-arm) - design phase
Garden of Stiches (Lisa Bongean); Hand Appliqued, machine pieced, hand quilted - 1/4 quilted
Fall Colors (orginal design): Machine Pieced, Machine quilted - designed
Kaleidescope Hexes (adapted from multiple sources): Machine Pieced, machine quilted - continually redesigning
Joseph's Coat (Don't Look Now): Hand applique, hand quilted, pieced back - 1/2 applique done

2 English Piecing projects in fushia, lime based on historical patterns : Ellen Ross, c1880, Michigan State University Museum ; ?Taylor, c 1876-1900, Kentucky
Fremont Petroglyph Hunters - applique - researching
Ponderosa Pines - machine pieced, machine quilted - designed
Plains Indians beadwork - researching

Oh, and there's the Monet quilt that I have most of the fabric for, but am making for my own entertainment, so it doesn't have a place on the list, except perhaps as a reward when I get the July deadline quilts done.