Friday, November 30, 2012


A quilt top finish!!!  And it comes with quite a story.  I started this quilt for a wedding gift for a  Marine who was about to be married and had a wonderful love story that made me melt.  I had some red fabrics in my stash and immediately started on this quilt with grand plans for it to be a wedding gift.  I lost my momentum.  I missed the deadline.

It had been a great plan.  Scarlet and Gold are the colors for the US Marine Corps.  By keeping the ring sections solid red (compared with a traditional Double Wedding Ring which has pieced ring sections) I thought it would look more contemporary, perfect for a young couple.

Determined to finish up some UFO's, I pulled this out recently and had to make decisions.

1) I could abandon the project since the event was past.
2) I could finish it and find a different recipient.

I spent Thanksgiving Weekend making "melons" to finish this quilt.   It is a throw size quilt - about 58" x 68".

Now I have a fantastic flimsy that I want to use as a fundraiser quilt.  The groups that I have in mind support injured/killed police & fire fighters or missing soldiers.

So much would you pay for a chance at this quilt?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A break from quilting

My car broke down Wed, so I've spent the long weekend mostly at home.  I did bundle up and walk to the quilt shop Friday (about 2 miles each way) to buy some yellows.    I just realized that I need to make something for a Christmas gift to go with a quilt I made for a family member a while ago.  My yellow stash was looking slim.

But then I realized that I needed gold to finish a double wedding ring as well.   So I abandoned the hand quilting and the huge TV in the living room.  I found a place for a portable TV in my sewing space so I could still watch football while I pieced.  Cut out some yellow pieces and got to work on a UFO.

Before noon on Sunday, I had the melons done and laid out to distribute the different fabrics from the red rings.  When will I ever learn and pick out a pattern that doesn't require being strewn across the floor before it's put together?

Marley was confused why I was here and not in the living room.

Here's the half way point.  But I am Soooo done with piecing for now.

I'm headed back to the couch.

I do have more pictures of this project on Celebrate Hand Quilting where I was soliciting suggestions for how to approach the background fill.  Stop on over there if you aren't already a follower.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Needles Matter

In the big scheme of things, these stitches are all small.  I was frustrated that I had snapped a small needle so I changed needles for the 3 magenta lines on the right, I used a Roxanne 11 which feels like every other brand 10 to me.  I found the tip to be relatively dull and took a lot of pressure to push it through.  Please note that there's variation in stitch length on all 3 lines.  I am stitching through a batik applique on the front, silk batting and an Ikea cotton sheet on the back (the side of this photo)

In contrast, the 2 lines of stitching on the left are using the same Aurifil thread, but a Piecemakers #12 needle.  Not only are they more consistent in size, but the stitch count dropped from 14 to 16 stitches per inch.  (In sections without the applique, stiches with the 12 needles vary 16-18/inch)

I know it seems a bit OCD...but even stitches are worth a change in needle for me.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

WIPs on Wed Nov 14

I survived the mixed-method trapunto experiment...but did manage to break about 5 needles.  Which is weird since I can't even remember the last time I ever broke a needle while hand stitching.

Normally I have a stash of needles since I'm forever losing them.

I had to run to the LQS to replenish the stock.  I have to say I'm not too happy.  The Piecemaker's 12's are lovely to sew with, but the glazed quilting threads are too thick to fit through the eye.  The Clover big eye 12's are nice, but really what I would consider an 11.  I was excited to try the Roxanne 11's - cute case, but quite the price since there are 50.  I had all kinds of bad words to say once I started using them as they are what I would consider a chubby 10.   Seriously now...what's the point of a numbering system if it differs by brand???

I am very pleased with this center motif.  It is pieces and parts of Ester's Heart's Desire.  Actually, I think it's all from the same outer border.  The big flowers were in the center of each side and the 3 petaled flowers were draped over the basket handle.  Fill is just straight(ish) lines 3/8" apart.

I re-hooped to the section of leaves closest to the center.  It will also look familiar to many of you who know her design since it was block 2 of the quilt along.

This was me pondering how closely I really need to quilt everything to be happy.

I'm afraid that the correct answer is "very, very close".

The additional veining in dark green and curley-q's in pale green make me very happy.  I stitched the flower buds in magenta.  Funny how those details will be completely lost to anyone standing more than a foot away.  But still, I smile.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Quilting Again

I spent Saturday morning doing my least favorite quilt related task.  I sandwiched and basted a quilt for hand quilting.  That involves moving furniture and sitting on the floor for ages, making giant basting stitches to hold everything together.

This is the project for which I used the machine trapunto technique of basting the extra layer of batting in place using FMQ with a wash-away thread on top.  I posted about this technique on Celebrate Hand Quilting a couple weeks ago.

Unfortunately, I had used a new marking pencil that mostly brushed off during the FMQ process.

That tends to be a problem because I am not very good / accurate with FMQ so my basted flowers are all wonky.  I spent the day trying to reshape flowers as I stitched.

All things considered, it's turning out pretty well. And I'm starting to actually enjoy the fact that my floral motif is a little organic and not as symmetrical as it was planned.

This final photo really illustrates bad basting turning into nice quilting.