Monday, June 28, 2010

Christmas Pinwheels

This quilt belongs to my customer Mary Vogeley -- Mary has been very patient with me on this as I have had it for quite some time and could not decide how I wanted to quilt it. I didn't want to just do the easy thing, such as a diagonal grid with a holiday themed border; I wanted to do something more imaginative than that.

Looking through my collection of holiday designs, I found the poinsettia at left and it reminded me of one of the freehand flower designs that I show my classes.

I rough-sketched the design on the quilt using air soluble marker....

..and then started stitching it in, using a metallic gold Glitter from Superior Threads.

Here's a picture of the finished flower; I've done five of them and am now working on ribbons connecting the flowers.
Will let you know what comes next!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Yesterday's Work -- Putting on Borders & Constructing a Backing

I put three borders on the sampler quilt that I worked on last week -- a 1-1/2" (finished measurement) border of the fruit fabric, another 1-1/2" of the gold basketweave and a 6-1/2 (cut measurement) of the gold/brown print. I may cut that outer border down if I choose a narrower quilting design, so I made it a little wider than needed to leave plenty of room for quilting choices.

Here's a picture of the borders once the quilt top was finished; to see the whole top before the borders were sewn on, click here and scroll to the bottom of the post. The top, as seen above, measures about 62"x78".

Not quite finished with the backing; I pieced together some of the leftover elements of the quilt, such as quarter square triangles, along with some bigger pieces of leftover fabric. For some reason, I got my mental wires crossed and pieced it 67" square instead of 67"x83" -- don't know what I was thinking! So now I have to hunt down another 16"x67" hunk o' fabric and stick it on there...

Oh, darn -- you mean I have to go through my stash again!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Taylor's Puzzle Box Quilt -- Freehand Fun!

Yesterday was a productive day; I was having lunch with Tami, Taylor's grandmother, and wanted to show her that I was actually working on the quilt! So in the morning, I did all of the freehand quilting and now all I have left is the binding. Along with the quilt, I took three fabrics so that Tami could help me choose the binding.

If I have bits of fabrics left over from the piecing, I normally just stick them on the back. Also pieced into the back of this quilt are the leftover polka dot/pink pieces from the strip sets used to construct the blocks. Then I just finished out the back with other larger pieces. I've found that I'm buying a lot less backing fabric this way and it makes the reverse side of the quilt more interesting.

For the quilting in the 6" blocks, I just stitched in some hearts....

The pink background gave me room to play with hearts and loops...

...and I let the outer border fabric tell me what it wanted. For all of the quilting, both in the top of the machine and the bobbin, I used Mettler 100% cotton silk finish thread #805, which is a bright coral-ly pink! The quilting was accomplished on my Bernina 730 with the Bernina Stitch Regulator foot.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Must Have Had Water on the Brain!

It was such a perfectly beautiful day on my drive back to SoCal Thursday morning -- couldn't resist getting a couple of pictures of Topaz Lake in Nevada:

I also made a stop at the viewers' point turnout overlooking Mono Lake in California:

Such a gorgeous drive!

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Quilt House -- Gardnerville NV

Of course a visit to Mary's would include a trip to the Quilt House. Before my husband's mom passed away in 2008, we used to go to Reno a couple of times a year and usually made a stop at this great shop. There used to be a cooking store next to the Quilt House that was going out of business the last time I was there, which was probably in 2007. Janet and Gary expanded the quilt shop into the space vacated by the other store, doubling their store area.

Lots of fabric and Bernina machines, accessories and embroidery designs....

On the day we were there, Janet's bolt of the day, which is a 40% off good deal, was this coffee cup print. There were several other coordinating prints in the store in three different colorways -- red, blue and brown. The coffee bean prints were fun, too, and coordinated with all the colorways.

One of the browsing areas with quilts for sale...

The classroom was set up for a Moda event. Loved all the quilts on the walls!

I liked the quilting design in the block, so had to take a closeup so I would remember it. It looks like it would be an easy freehand design.

The washtub is full of kits to make the flannel rag quilt displayed with it...

What I bought: Found a great yellow/orange color run; these aren't easy fabrics to find! Might do something else with the French Braid Obsession book by Jane Hardy Miller that I am truly obsessed with!

Then, totally unrelated things: A polka dot combining purple and yellow and a pattern, just cuz I liked it!

This was just such a fun trip -- reconnecting with Mary and Ron, getting inspired by all the great quilts in the shop -- can't wait to come back!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Puzzle Box for Taylor -- All Pinned Up & Ready to Quilt!

Got to sew all day yesterday, so put the borders on the "Puzzle Box" quilt that I made last week at Mary's. I love the stripe that I found in my stash for the inner border.

I had some time today before the family gets together to celebrate Father's Day, so got the back pieced and the quilt pinned up and ready to take to the machine. Rather than using stencils to mark designs, I'm planning to quilt this one freehand.

I'm hoping to get this done within the next couple of days, but civic duty may intervene. I am on call for jury duty all this week; how this works in our area is that you have to call in each evening to find out if you have to report the next day. So, we'll see how much time I have this week to accomplish the various sewing things I want to do....

Friday, June 18, 2010

Got a Lot Done!

This picture was taken on Wednesday, the second full day of sewing in our mini-retreat. Mary is continuing to work on the paper pieced bees that she will need for her quilt.

Her stacks of bees in progress: The paper piecing makes the body and wings; the heads are appliqued and antennae embroidered on a separate triangle that will be pieced on later.

Closeup of what we were calling "headless bees"; below is a picture from the pattern that shows what they will look like when they're finished.

And this is how the nine-patches and bees will fit together in the quilt.

Mary likes to make intricate quilts; this is a quilt of her own design using one of the wedge rulers.

A close-up of the applique done on top of the wedge piecing.

I was working on simpler things: I finished the three blocks I had left to piece on this BOM project and started adding the triangles to set the blocks on point. I also sewed the sashings. This is where I was on this project at the end of Tuesday's sewing.

On Wednesday, I got all of the blocks set and put together with the sashings. Below are the border fabrics that I've picked out. There will be 1-1/2" borders of the fruit and basketweave fabrics and a wider border of the print.

Then I started working on a baby quilt for my friend Tami's granddaughter, Taylor. It's the "Puzzle Box" pattern from Brookshier Design Studio and it went together pretty quick.

The pattern utilizes partial seaming to get the borders around the squares. I'm going to use the stripe as a narrow border before the final border.

I've been collecting these chocolate/strawberry print fabrics for years and this was a fun way to use them!

I still had some sewing time left on Wednesday, so worked on some other old BOM blocks that were done in Christmas prints. I have nine of those done, with three to go. One of the new things I learned from this project was how to use the Nifty Notions half rectangle and bias triangle rulers. These are used together to accurately and easily cut a "Triangle in a Square" block from strips.

At the end of the day, I put away my projects and my machine and am happy to say that, other than three BOM blocks, I finished everything I brought with me and thoroughly enjoyed the chance to re-connect with my old friend!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Just Like Old Times!

This is my friend Mary in her sun room -- before I got there, she rearranged the furniture and set up the tables for our machines. Mary loves to garden and over last weekend, she moved all of her seedlings from the sunroom to the raised beds outside in the back yard. She planted five kinds of tomatoes, three varieties of peppers, two types of cucumbers, jicama, oregano, basil and a variety of flowers. Mary's told me that toward the end of summer she is giving away all of the produce that is too much for the two of them to eat -- I have to come back in the summer when everything's "done"!

Ummm.....I hate to admit this, but who's the messy one here? Before I started quilting, I used to spend hours in Mary's sewing room watching her piece things together; I also went shopping with her when she bought her fabrics and gradually got interested in making a quilt myself. I am so lucky to have someone like her in my life!

My project is to complete a block of the month from Bolts in the Bathtub that I started in 2002. I finished the last three blocks yesterday and then laid out the fabrics for the completion of the top. The blocks are going to be set on point so I have to cut all of the green triangles for the 12 blocks and then make the sashings from the purple and the creamy gold fabric. The two at left are the border fabrics.

Mary is working on what we're calling "headless bees" -- they are paper pieced and the head of the bee is appliqued on afterwards. She has to make 80 of them! This quilt also requires 19 nine-patches that she sewed yesterday. The pattern is "Swarms of Summer" by Sherri Bain Driver and Barbara Tone Lister that was featured in the Summer 2007 issue of American Quilter magazine.

As we were sewing yesterday, I sewed a block together wrong and asked for a seam ripper -- don't know where in the world mine is; probably on my sewing table at home? I then said jokingly, "Well, I guess I'm the first one to rip!" to which Mary replied, "Oh, I'm sorry -- I didn't buy a prize for that!" We laughed so loud at this that Ron came out to find out if we were telling inappropriate stories or something!

Reporting on our projects to be continued..... after the Lakers game! GO, LAKERS!!!

Trip to Gardnerville NV -- Driving Up Hwy 395

In my opinion, the prettiest part of the drive to Nevada is after you pass through Bishop, which is a great food stop. There is a diner that makes great homemade pies if one is passing through in the afternoon; for a morning stop, Schatz Bakery (which advertises itself as the home of the sheepherder bread) has wonderful pastries and goodies. Mary also tells me that they have great sandwiches, although I am somewhat of a junk food addict while driving and the Jack in the Box as you enter town works for me.

Had to stop at Mono Lake to take some pictures; there is a much better view going in the other direction, so will probably stop and snag those on the way home Thursday.

Monday was a beautiful clear day and it seemed as if you could see forever....

.....but the scenery was pretty good close up, too!

As I drove further north, the Little Walker River was worth a stop.

The river level was pretty high, so it looks hopeful for better water supplies this year.

I haven't seen Mary in a few years, so I am so excited to be spending these next few days sewing at her house!!!
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