Monday, December 21, 2015

Finished Steam Punk Octagons

This quilt is finally done.  It started with an inspiration quilt from AmandaJean @ Crazy Mom Quilts  I contacted her when I originally posted this in April and she noted that she had not yet finished her original quilt.  My version was a bit oversized, but worked out quite well.

This quilt is for my nephew Phillip.   I have designed 3 different quilts for this boy but none of them really resonated.  He likes paisleys and he's a mechanic.  So, here you have my solution.
I failed to point out in the previous post, that his Evil Twin, Keeley, designed the Gear Paisleys.

  While he has no interest in dragonflies, this is MY thing.  What's not to love about the gear-mouth, goggle-eyed, key body dragonfly?  (And how cool is that houndstooth print as a binding?)
Here's my pride and joy.  A 5" x 2" close up.  Not perfect, but joyously detailed.

Looking forward to delivering this later this week!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Quilted Steampunk Dragonflies

The Giant Steampunk dragonflies are now officially quilted in orange thread.  Some parts came out far better than I expected and even the parts I like the least are still pretty darn cool.
I have 2 more of the gear-paisleys to go, and a spark plug paisley for the center.   Then I'll be back to  figuring out fill that shows off this without overwhelming it.  Probably some "straight" line quilting in white.  Still not sure about the fill for the left side of each gear paisley.  My original plan was stippling.   Decisions, decisions.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Finished Pickle Dish

I took a series of beautiful outdoor shots of this finished quilt....and somehow got the photo settings all messed up.  So here's an indoor shot which is the best I can do given the weather.

Because I made it asymmetrical, I have a hard time deciding which way I would consider "up".  Guess that will be up to the recipient to decide.  (But I like this direction.)

After all the griping I've done over the years about feathers, I found them to be a pretty fast fill and a nice contrast to the geometric motif.   I even got to the point that I could draw out the spine and fake the rest.
I have washed this quilt twice.  First time on warm/cold and 2 color catchers.  A second time after the binding was on on hot/cold.  More color catchers that came out even darker.  One of these  reds (the center in this "eye") really faded a lot.  This is the second quilt this year made from "stash" fabric in which the color fading was horribly disappointing.   Yet another reason to stick with batiks.
Next up, the last of the "Nephew" quilts.  Steam-pumk elements are penciled in on the white sections.  Using the walking foot for the octagons, then moving on to some fun FMQ.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Bookcase Quilt

My friend Robin was begging me to make her a bookcase quilt based upon the image she re-posted.  Unfortunately, I can't find the original artist.  Let me know if you know who made this so I can give proper credit.

As we've brainstormed, I suspect it will get more chotchkies than just books like this one from ShinyNewThing.

And I can't find the original reference for this quilt (help me find the maker!)  I suspect this is what Robin's shelves really look like.  I need a section or 2 of these magazines.

This will be a slow process with me making some books as the fabric shows up.  

Here's my master plan (such as it is).  6 shelves ranging from 8-14".  Life sized books:  7-9" paperback, 10" hardback, 11" cookbooks.  I'll use black for the background.  Brown for the shelving.  If you have any selvages I could use for the magazines please send them my way.  Also, I need a good section on bird books.    Let me know if you want to make this along with me and maybe we can arrange for some fabric swaps!

More Feathers

My FMQ Feathers are starting to get better.

I used to really hate feathers, but as I improve my technique, I'm learning that it is actually a pretty fast fill that gives some good motion to the final quilt.

I had some transparency sheets (from the era of teaching on overhead projectors).  I placed one on the section I had to fill in then played with some placement using a dry erase marker.
I have some trouble with the direction change and it took a couple tries on the inner feathers.

I have this taped above the machine for reference.

I made a template from poster board to mark the spine.  I just traced over the transparency with a ball-point pen which gave me a scoring mark on the cardboard to use as a cutting line.

The blue chalk pencil is working well on the red.

It is also helpful to have a reference line to remind me where the inner feathers divide for the upper and lower parts.

I am slowly figuring out that on the home machine, my secret is to keep the feathers relatively small.  Otherwise I don't have the room on throat-plate to make a continuous looping motion.  The bigger feathers tend to end up more square as I am trying to squeeze the end in or have to re-position my hands.

OK...back to the machine.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Machine Quilting

Last day of the stay-cation.  Decided that since there was nothing interesting on TV, it was time to slave away on some machine quilting.
Have been outlining the pickle dish piecing in black and adding some feathery things on the joining squares.  Here's a look from the back.  Clearly I cannot FMQ in a straight line.  I thought I was all done until I flipped this over for the photo.  Missed a section of "eyelashes".  Dang.

While it is hard to see red on red, I am pretty proud of this feathery bit.  They actually look pretty darn good, smooth, and the way feathers are supposed to look.  (Weird. )  I finished off the centers with some pebbling so those joining bits wouldn't stick out and wear down sooner.  

I was about to launch the next round of feathery fill, but decided that my wrists were feeling pretty sore and it might be better to pace this for another day.

My goal is to get this done in the next couple weeks.  More updates on the horizon.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Go Fish

I am in my happy place.  Applique.  Batik.  My favorite colors.  Fun design.

To be honest, math has never been my strong point.  Somehow in enlarging the pattern, the fish ended up a couple inches bigger than they should have been.

Teal Cat is getting salmon instead of sardines.

For anyone who has not yet grasped the scale of this project,  here's the real cat sitting on the project cat's head pattern.

Because of the scale and simple shapes, I'm doing a different technique from usual.  I made a poster-board template of the fish shapes and marked the FRONT side of the fish in pencil.  I cut an approximate 1/4" seam allowance.  But now the pencil line is my fold line and my trimming didn't need to be exact.

I used 3 medium length pins to hold each body shape in place, then added applique pins just to the fish I'm sewing at the time.

This is saving a ton of time.

No basting!!!! The extra pins assure the piece doesn't shift while sewing.

I cranked out 50" worth of stitching in about 30 minutes.

Now back to the football game and more fish.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Cat pattern

The paper pattern is made.  Cat is 53" x 92" before ears.
That's a lot of cat.

Addendum:  I think I'll spread the fish out more than the original art-work. (The original had 4 fish this size along this panel.) That'll show off the batik background more and save some time as well as pink fabric.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Big Ass Cat #2

APPARENTLY, one Big Ass cat is not enough for me.

I bought a "Mid-Century Modern Animals" coloring book by Jenn Ski on my Portland trip, and I have been obsessed with making this image into a quilt.

I've planned a couple llama quilts for Baby Girl since she claimed that she wanted to be Llama Hearder when she grew up, but I was never able to sort out the details for a llama quilt that I loved.

Now she wants to be The Crazy Cat Lady.

So much easier.

Today we went to Stitch N Snip in Crouch since they have the best batik selection in the region.

A split background of dark and light purple.  The salmony pink will be all the background fish. These pinks are from my stash.

I need about 50 fish.  God Bless the stash.

I'm not kidding when I say "Big Ass Cat".  Those blue body sections are over 50" wide. Finished quilt will be about 108x80.

 These are the cat body teals.

Lime green eyes and collar.

The geometric details either dark blue or pale blue.

And for my "non-quilty" friends.... This is over $300 worth of gorgeous fabric in these pics.  And I haven't added the batting or backing.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ukranian Quilters

My blog statistics suggest that I had more Ukrainians view my blog this week than people from the US.   I have 3 theories.  ( If you are a quilter and live in the Ukraine, please leave any comment so I know you really exist.)
1) Я Української Квілтер.
2) Misha Sakaashvili has a secret crush on me so he and his people keep checking out my blog.
3) Ukranian Spammers visit my site but can't figure out an angle to get me to pay them.


I've been working on another version of the motorcycle club logo.

I am finding those fussy little ovals pretty annoying.  They are 3/8" x 3/4".  And I keep considering altering the logo to leave out some details that no one realizes are there anyway.

My mind started to wander and I started thinking about making a pillow for someone in Arizona.  So I spent some time perusing images of Tohono O'odham baskets and fell in love with this one.

I borrowed the 5 section repeat idea and made a paper piecing pattern that I thought would translate well to fabric.

I learned that curved lines do not work very well with this technique.

After a glass or 2 of wine, I may try to tackle the other 4 outer rings

Monday, November 9, 2015

Scrappy Big Thread Finish

At long last I have this quilt finished.   At 6 stitches per inch, I wouldn't really call it "big stitch" but I did use big thread.  I am totally over the need to ever do that again.
With the cotton batting and many of the fabrics not being pre-washed, I got the lovely crinkly look I was going for.  I washed it with 2 Color Catchers and they were both dark pink with dye.
Maybe sometime before spring we will have a nice and sunny day, but for now this is as good of a view as I can do for this quilt that finished around 72" square.

Now I can get back to more enjoyable handwork.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


I continue to make slow but steady progress on the big stitch quilt. A few more rows to  finish the body of the quilt, then about 4 rows around the outside

I find that the big needle and thread take so much more pressure to push stitches through the fabric that my hands get very tired very fast.    The rows are 1/2 to 1" apart.
This morning I managed to get the pickle dish quilt sandwiched and started with some machine stitching around the rings with the walking foot.  Then I'll go back with the free motion foot and quilt the "eyelashes" pieces of the arcs and decide on some FMQ fill for the red sections.

It's nice to be back in "Quilting Season"!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Sick Day

One of my favorite things about my current employer is that they roll vacation and sick leave into PTO - paid time off.  Unfortunately, for the first time in 4 years, I am squandering potential vacation time being sick.  Bah. Stupid head cold.

After a couple cups of coffee, I had enough energy to start piecing together some bits for the quilt backing for the Pickle Dish quilt.

Maybe after a nap I'll feel up to sandwiching this quilt.

Or maybe I'll just take another nap.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Flipping the Bird

Starting my Flamingo Finish post with the back side on grey.  I love this side too. Especially the fuschia binding.  I only wish it was sunnier when I took the pictures.
Still Love, Love, Love. Thank you Millie Marotta for including this design in your Animal Kingdom book.

I took several pictures trying to show the difference in texture between pre/post washing, but they are not apparent in the photos.  But the outcome is super cool.  Come to my house and I'll show you!

After quilting, this was 41x53 and after washing 39x 49.5.    The difference between the machine and hand quilting resulted in some challenging quilting.  I needed to pull in 3" on the outer edges, which meant that I was doing a lot of "gathering" rather than standard quilting.

So, for the record, machine vs hand quilting?  I always prefer hand.  But sometimes machine is the right tool for the job.