Saturday, June 23, 2012

QA #19 Making a Modern Quilt Top

Quilt Along # 19 Making a Modern Quilt Top
To be posted on QA June 27, 2012

This week our QA with Leah is taking us on a new adventure !   We are creating a "Modern" style quilt top !  Quilting is my favorite of all stitching workmanship, and this Modern Quilting is a whole new area I am stepping out into!  Love that quilting is ever-changing, keeping it new and fresh and exciting!
Working in greens~ my squared up blocks are pressed, seams open, except on the lightest blocks

Having worked with fibers for over 40 years (closer to 50 than 40 even), where the focus was to have threads match or have symmetry or design to a pattern; this Modern quilting is unusual for me, where the expected outcome of workmanship to piecing this quilt top is to NOT match up! I have so much to learn about this new style. 

Adding a little wonky to the first strip
With the usual goal when creating a top that was pleasing to the eye as ones point of vision ebbed and flowed over the piece, this "Modern" style is the opposite of that; a style where viewing the top is not to be a smooth transition, but to be unexpected, with little to none uniformity, where you will have to think about where your eye will rest next before moving your vision on.  I even tore my strips to get the straight of grain as I was working from a very long piece of yardage, so had a straight place to wonky-off from :)

Adding even more wonky to the second background strip

Most of my blocks I pressed the seams opened, except for the very lightest of greens, as I did not want the seam allowance to show through. Throughout the summer we will be quilting this top using some of the FMQ patterns we have learned, and I believe the quilting will bring the movement that the eyes will enjoy tieing our quilt all together.
 This QA has been a challenge, to think outside the box of normal, but enjoyed the challenge thus far.  Thank you Leah! 
Questions sure did arise for me?
  • The first strip I put on was a width of  about 4 inches, and the second one about 2.5 inches… Wonder how much this will matter later on when putting the top together?  or does it not matter at all?  will find out next week when I put it together...
  • If I should apply a little "wonky" as I apply the first strip? and if I should do it again with the second strip?  Will that be too much wonkiness to the block?  I did some this way, so we will see when it goes together…  
  • When I square up, should I square up with more wonky too?  Will that be too much fun/wonkiness ?  We will find out, because I did this to some of the blocks as well. 
 Oh are we going to learn so much on this weeks quilt along :)  Love learning new things!

*Update on my applique` quilt…

I am now beading the borders, almost a finish.  Two more flowers and the first of the  three borders is done ~ in the meantime making this baby quilt for a young momma!  While I had the privilege to teach Sharon how to sew and quilt, one project we made was a queen size BOM quilt for her bed.  All the while we were making it, I was collecting fabrics, making purchases in secret, to hopefully make her a baby quilt one day… What joy, she did marry a wonderful man and they are now having a baby due this summer.  This is the center of her baby scrap quilt I am designing, (to match her bed quilt she made) for  the baby while sleeping in their room.  Love you my friend; my joy to have taught you sewing and quilting!

Ready to be quilted tomorrow morning
The backing is the plaid flannel, and the green paisley will be the binding I will add tomorrow night, Lord willing, the shower is Saturday morning... oh my, don't like cutting it this close :)

Thanks Leah ~ enjoying quilting along with  you!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My little quilted chair featured on LinenQuilter Blog

My Quilted Linen Chair  is Featured on the "Linen Quilter" Blog

Quilted Linen Chair Seat (and mug rug) from one linen piece I picked up at second hand store.

I became acquainted with Cindy Needham when she was on The Quilt Show a few years ago, and have been collecting linens since.  My husband even took me to the Vermont Quilt Show (many hours away from our home) so I could see her work in person; she is an amazing quilter!  Inspiration was ablaze, her E-books were on my computer, and in April I even located her Wholecloth Linen Book (sold out everywhere) in a local NH quilt store.  If that wasn't enough, she was going to be our instructor in June on the 2012 Free Motion Quilt Challenge that I am participating in.
After two weeks of reviewing this months challenge from Cindy, and doing my practice on paper and on machine, I still did not know how I was going to use this months challenge. What should I make ?  What size?  It was then that our tea table was returned, repaired, and I  found this little chair on the side of the road, and the idea struck !
Okay, now it was time to stop touching those linens I had been admiring, and quilt my first linen for the challenge this month!   But which linen would be first? 
Each night as I doodled out my plan, I would listen to Cindy's videos on You-tube, talking about threads, and colors, as she would say "just do it"~ it was so scary putting color to that linen, the "D" word comes to mind (Disequilibrium*);  I feel so comfortable with white or natural on the linen, but color?  I thought a moment,  it is your first linen, just take the plunge and add color.  I DID it!   
And as God would have it, my very first quilted linen piece Cindy not only sees it ~ but has featured it on her blog!

Through the connection of the internet my little chair can be seen in the US coast to coast, oh my, even around the world, as the feature on Cindy's blog!   WOW!  How cool is that! 

After years of eager anticipation at this newfound technique of quilting linens had been ignited by Cindy, I now have a way to take our family linen pieces out of the cedar chest, and use them in the 21st century!  Thanks so much Cindy for sharing and inspiring us on.

*Disequilibrium ~ a state your brain is in when it is learning something new and different. 
This was a word Cindy shared with us, to encourage us as we learn new things; as it gets hard, we are amidst learning, and any frustration we may be experiencing will pass.  Oh such wisdom in Truth.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

QA #18 Loopy Lines with Leah, update applique quilt and nest in my silk flowers

QA # 18 Loopy Lines

Thank you Leah for this months Loopy Lines Quilt Along .   I enjoyed the tutorial and love the suggestion for using this pattern in the border of a quilt! I continue to work on the beading of my applique` quilt, having assembled it in rows, it is now time to handstitch the bindings on the back of the quilt before I put it all together!  Will post photo's once completed.

Part of the quilting process was testing out rayon thread colors to use in machine embroider around applique` pieces.  I did not want to throw these samples away, so I made them into mug rugs for the room where this quilt will be used.

I used the loopy line pattern on the background of the mug rugs!  Thank you Leah ~ glad you are back to the quilt alongs!

Update on my appliqué quilt…


My appliqué quilt blocks are quilted, beaded and connected by hand. 

 I was able to connect the quilted rows with wash out marker.   

 In FMQ, I was able to connect the quilting from one block to the next.   It worked J 

 I chose the Dritz mark b gone marker as the blue lines could be removed with a wet sponge. 

 If you have been following my story, you know how much this quilt has already been soaked and scrubbed and washed. 

 And now in this heat it won't take long to dry... off to quilt the rest of the rows of blocks, and tonight to begin the beading on the borders J

*Update Momma Robin update
There was a surprising update on the Momma Robins nest in my silk flower arrangement outside my sewing studio window…. the first Robin family moved away, the three little ones had taken flight, and the very next day the same nest in my silk flower grapevine wreath was upgraded with fresh mud and grasses.  After a few days rebuilding and drying time this new family of Robins have moved in J  

How is the view from your window? 


FMQ Challenge June ~ Linens, Cindy, chair

FMQ Challenge June 2012

Cindy Needham instructor

Thank you Cindy for leading us this month in the FMQ Challenge!  Love your work, loved seeing you on TQS, and your books and instructions are so inspirational!  Thank you for sharing your time and talents with us, you have not only informed but have encouraged and inspired us in the midst of teaching, and we have been blessed.  My sampler practice block...

This is a piece I purchased some time ago, after Cindy showed what "her FMQ ideas" could do to an old linen.   I love the little roses in this piece.  

My niece gave me this olive green fabric which I used under the doily to show through the areas where there is hardanger-like open weave work.  Thank you Kellie, putting all those fabrics you generously shared with me to use.

My friend Sharon recently gave me some embroidery threads, green, pink and white, which I also used in this piece.  Thank you Sharon for this generous gift for my embroidery work!  In most of my FMQ pieces, when not practice pieces, I usually have the thread color blend it, but after watching Cindy's lessons on the Superior site, regarding the purple quilt, I thought I would try this green for the square and pebbles around it.  I love the threads!   In this project though, I thought the green took away from the original doily design, so I toned it down by "scribbling" and filling in the center flowers with peach thread. Don't miss the pink scribbling around each pebble, creating shadow, making the pebbles pop more!

  After practice of the lesson, and reading through the assignment a few times, and then drawing out some of my design in my journal, I began with the blue washout marker, and marked the center piece. 

I then used a bendable ruler to mark the shape to go around the roses where I added feathers in white embroidery thread. 

 I also FMQ heart shapes around the little white daisy's to help them stand out more on their own.
Using more peach thread, I did a second square around the green one then added feathers, following up with peach pebbles around the open weave work that matched the original little circle embroidery on the piece.

The back of my piece shows the FMQ design so much better without the distraction of the color or the beautiful embroidery work.

A friend recently repaired a broken leg on our birds eye maple tea table, thank you Charlie !   I love this unusual table, and thought if I just had a little chair in a light color wood, it would go so nicely, and I could sit  with a cup of tea and enjoy the view from our window.  Wouldn't you know, the next day I spied this little chair by the side of the road with a tag "FREE" on it.  Into my car it went and I finally knew what this months challenge piece would be!  I took the chair apart, threw away the cover, washed the seating, and created this FMQ linen piece to cover my chair! 

Applied a few coats of a fabric finish (scotch guard) may help preserve the fabric from staining.

After removing these embroidered corners, they are in the process of becoming little mug rugs to go on my tea table with my chair.  Will include a photo of those when I complete the FMQ on them.
Thank you Cindy, Sew Cal Gal and friends ~



Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Quilt Along #17, Update Blue Marker removal , Momma robin

Quilt Along 17 ~ circuit board
This weeks lesson  ~ circuit board.  Oh what fun !  At first I struggled when I thought about the pattern, the L,U, F and E, as I viewed the video, and trying to get the image in my mind as I wrote the pattern in my journal, I found this was difficult.  Then, I just told myself this is the same type of lettering we used to use  all the time, before computers, whenever we made posters… and once I had that image in my mind the lettering flowed quite smoothly from my fingertips, as I already had so many images in my mind from all those posters made long ago, and it was just waiting to be used from days gone by!   Thanks Leah ~

This photo is my sampler book of quilt alongs ~
On each sample block I create, I include a buttonhole in the end, I cut it , and then insert my ring through it.  This fabric book holds all my samples we have done in the Quilt Alongs (QA) and FMQ challenge 2012.  You can purchase round rings like this at office supply and even quilt stores, or use an old shower curtain ring for keeping your samples handy.  I use different fabric and thread colors on my blocks which allows for a quick reference!  I also write notes on my samples in ink, and on black fabric, well, white thread works just fine :)

Update on my blue marked lines on my applique quilt borders ~
Experimenting ~ more learning by doing
If you have been following my blog, you know I ran out of blue marker for marking the borders with the crosshatching pattern!  The first of three borders I marked in blue water washout marker; when I ran out of ink, I resorted to a yellow chalk liner, which was very hard to see and came off as I worked on the quilt ~ not good.  But all the blue marker rinsed out in cool clear water just fine. 

My second border also had one application of spray starch and I marked it with the EZ color wash-out pencil… Well, that did not want to come off, even with hours of soaking… I scrubbed it, and then tried the mildest regular toothpaste, not gel and no whiteners.  I took a regular toothbrush and had at it, on each line.   It all came out, but took hours to do, over a few days.

My third border also had 1 layer of regular spray starch and then a coating of HEAVY STARCH.  This time the blue pencil was harder to get on the fabric, because of the layer of heavy starch, which is a good sign.  Then once quilted, I soaked it in cool water, then soaked in warm water and scrubbed…  most of the marks came off!  I then moved up to a battery powered toothbrush, and Colgate whitening toothpaste, not gel, and the rest of the marks came off!  So much faster and easier than the last border ~ The extra heavy spray starched helped~ The only thing that remains, and I can live with it, is at the intersections of stitching you can still see a little blue residue. Maybe it will come out in the wash, and if it bothers me, I will add beads at the intersections…
This is a quilt I am going to use, Lord willing J 

Update on momma Robin ~
She raised three beautiful baby birds, if you look close, you may see their little beaks just at the top of the nest.  Once the family flew away, alas, we found out what happened to the fourth little blue egg.

Now on to beading the rest of the blocks J

Thanks for reading ~



Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Quilt Along is Back, Vacation week # 5

June 6, 2012  Vacation wk #5
Vacation is over and now back to the quilt alongs with Leah Day !

I have missed the Quilt Alongs with Leah in the Month of May, however, it sure was fun to have her for our guest teacher over at the 2012 FMQ challenge!  Enjoyed those new stipple patterns! 

This last week of vacation I have been working on finishing an Applique` quilt I started some time ago.  I have applied some of the techniques I learned from assorted teachers and incorporated not only the technique, but worked on improving my application of those skills into this quilt.  Thank you Eleanor Burns, Don Linn, Diane Guadynski, Cindy Needham, Sharon Schamber, Ricky Tims, Alex Anderson and our Quilt-Along Leader, Leah Day. Thank you all for sharing what you have learned in your writings, in your classes and over the internet !  Over the years you have inspired me, as well as stretched me to do my best, teaching me to not only enjoy what I am doing, but to enjoy the journey of creating as well as what I create, and I have seen improvement not only in the finished work, but you have taught me to enjoy the process along the way! 

Applique borders are ready for quilting
 Choosing Thread color ~  my samples became mug rugs

I used a Clover blue marker I bought at our new Joanns that opened last week in my area!  I was disappointed it ran out of ink before I finished marking the quilt!  How much mileage do you gals get out of one marker?  Leah, can you shed some light on this subject?  How to store them, use, and mileage we can expect to get from one?  I had to move to the yellow chalk liner to complete marking so I could get back to quilting.  Now the yellow was much harder on the eyes to see!

After quilting blocks, time to remove the blue marks.  The Clover marker says to remove marks within two weeks time.

While washing each piece after the quilting was done, to remove the blue marks, well, I had one red fabric whose color ran!  Oh my, if it ever happened to you, then you know how disappointing it is!  I used to wash all my fabrics before using them, but found I really liked the way the unwashed fabrics handled better, and have never had a problem with colors running, till now.  I thought about using a color catcher, but the chemicals in the catcher may interfere with the marker being released from the fabric, so I did not use one.   After many soakings in clear water, I do believe all the extra red dye is released!  Having said that, before I do the assembling of this quilt, I will soak the blocks in question again, just to be sure ~ and this time I can include a color catcher as the ink from the marker is now removed !
This is a photo of one of the borders I just finished quilting.  Here I used a blue EZ color pencil.  Now to go see how difficult the EZ color water erasable pencil marks are to remove.

  I have 1 border yet to complete the quilting on. There still remains some hand stitching and embroidery along with beadwork before the whole quilt is assembled using a technique Leah taught us in an earlier quilt along # 7, connecting the pieces.

Update photo on momma Robin in our silk flower grapevine wreath outside my studio window.  Here on day 15 (counting from the first egg layed in the nest), you see my firstborn grandson viewing the babies in their soft downy feathers. Love my grandsons ~ they are my joy!  Thank you Lord for them.
* Update on the EZ blue water washable pencil.... The marks are very difficult to remove!  I had applied one layer of starch before marking, quilted the piece over two days, and then soaked for an hour in clear cool water.  Even scrubbing with a soft brush still has not removed some of the marks.  So I will let it soak longer and update later.
Onto the next border, this time I used heavy starch, making the border quite stiff before marking.  The EZ blue pencil does not apply very well on this surface, as the starch seems to create a surface where the pencil slides on top of, which hopefully translates into easier to remove marks later :)  
Enjoy ~