snug

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Friday, September 22, 2017

Quilt binding redo!

     One of the quilt guilds I belong to, Southtowns Piecemakers Quilting Guild, is having its biennial quilt show next week.  I chose three of my newer colorful quilts to submit for judging. 
Zing

Turquoise triangles

Eye Candy
       I haven't entered anything in a show for quite a long time.   On Wednesday, I was at a statewide meeting where there was a discussion about judging, and the importance of neat mitered corners on the binding.   Yesterday morning, a Quilty video popped up on Facebook about making perfectly mitered bindings.  Perfect bindings may be aspirational, but my bindings on these three quilts were way closer to terrible than perfect.   


This was the worst!
     These quilts have been washed and dried and are nicely crinkley.  Was it even possible to fix these corners at this stage?   I decided to try.   Fortunately, not every corner was awful, but I ended up redoing 9 of the 12 corners. 
      I removed the handstitching and the machine stitching from about 3 - 4 inches on either side of the corner, and then resewed, using the tips from Mary Fons' video.  I then spent an hour resewing the binding on the back.  The tips in the video were great, and certainly improved my little corners vastly!   




Big improvement!
        I feel better having fixed these bindings.  I have no expectations that these quilts will win anything (the quilters in the guild are amazing!), but I didn't want to get knocked out simply  because of crappy corners!   I am looking forward to seeing these quilts hung, and more so, seeing all the other quilts.  

Go see a quilt show this fall!

Take care,
Gretchen

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Part II - Stepping Stones

     I am delighted to enter a second quilt in the Fall 2017 Blogger's Quilt Festival, hosted by Amy at Amy'sCreativeSide.com.   This quilt, like the other, all done in Kona cotton solids, is a mini quilt, and was entered into the QuiltExpo mini modern challenge.  Just 20 inches square, I wanted to create a piece where the little bits of colors would stand out and shimmer.  I quilted the piece with Aurifil black thread with a pebble design.  
    
The batik backing (from my neverending stash) shows off the quilting design

In the process of quilting.  I quilt on a Tiara II midarm.
      I was very happy with how this piece turned out, and it is now happily hanging in my home.   I don't often work with small pieces, and this one was fun!
     If you are visiting this blog for the first time, welcome!  For years, quilting was my way to relax after work.  I am recently retired, and finding the time to really enjoy the process!  Please check out my other quilts and projects.  Links should be in the side bar.

Thank you, Amy, for hosting this fun Festival!
Take care,
Gretchen

Blogger's Quilt Festival Part I - Eye Candy!

     I am delighted to enter my quilt, Eye Candy, in the Fall  2017 Blogger's Quilt Festival, hosted by Amy at Amy'sCreativeSide.com.
     I think this is the happiest quilt I have made recently.   Made from a simple block I designed for Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks (Vol. 15), I love how little blocks of color dance across the quilt.  Made from all Kona cotton solids, I quilted it with Aurifil White, in a big loopy happy pattern.    The back is a great Windham Fabrics wide backing, "Newsprint," designed by Carrie Bloomston.
      I am about to enter this in my local Fall Guild show and am glad to also share it in this festival!




     It still feels like summer here in Western New York!  Enjoy the rest of the month.  Thank you, Amy, for hosting this fun Festival!
      If you are visiting this blog for the first time, welcome!  I have been quilting for years, usually to relax after work.  I am recently retired, and now taking my time and enjoying the process!  Like many, I have gone through stages, and am currently quite taken with modern quilts, and bright fabrics!  Please look at my work through the years by checking the links in the sidebar.  Thanks.

Take care,
Gretchen

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Ariana's Summer Snowballs Quilt and my newly established Etsy Shop!


     I took a break from blogging during August, but of course, didn't stop sewing or quilting.  My latest finish to share is a snowball quilt, make with 30's prints for my nephew's new baby girl, Ariana.       I had purchased a wide assortment of 30s reproduction fabrics earlier this year, and pulled some blues, yellows and reds for Pippa's Union Jack Quilt.  You can see that quilt here  I knew this baby was a girl before I started the quilt, so went very pinky - with orange and violet..  

    
     I was winging the pattern; I looked at some examples and tried to figure out my own sizes.  I started with 5 inch blocks of the 30s fabric, and then cut 2 inch blocks for the corners (in Kona Candy Pink and white).  After testing a piece, I decided I needed smaller corner squares, so trimmed those squares to 1 3/4 inches.   
The blocks with the 2 inch corners.  I didn't think they would make the squares look round, which is the point of the snowball blocks! 
The trimmings!   Note to self - test one block before cutting for 99 blocks! 

Once I got the sizing right, I marked the sewing lines and began sewing lots of little corner pieces accompanied by many Doc Martin episodes! 




    I alternated pink and white for the corners, which created a little hourglass design in the middle.  I spent some time laying out the blocks to keep it looking pretty random, albeit with the pink and whites in the right spots.     

     I wasn't sure if I had achieved the "snowball" effect, but once I had the blocks sewn together, I was happy with the result.  

The finished top
     I found a Kona printed wide backing fabric that I thought was perfect for this quilt, and had spent some time watching Angela Walters' tutorial on how to quilt a free motion flower pattern.    This is the first quilt I was working on with my Tiara II up on blocks to create a standing machine, so I did a sample block which turned out well, so I got started on the quilt. I was very excited about this design. That excitement soon turned to dismay.
Sample piece on the back
Actual back - disaster! 
     After quilting perhaps 1/8 of the quilt, I turned it over, and to my horror, realized that the tension was all off!  Eeeeekkkk!!!  For the first time ever, I had to undo all of the quilting.  I considered just reverting to a stipple or a meandering stitch, (let's face it, I also considered just ditching this quilt!) but eventually came to my senses, and decided to try again, with a bigger pattern.   Although I had some problems at the end, I eventually was happy with how it turned out.  

More problems to undo! 
     The backing fabric is just so cheery.  I am glad I stuck with the flower quilting pattern after all.  The binding is more Kona Candy Pink.   
     Here is a picture in the sunlight of the finished quilt.     The quilt finished at about 40 x 49 inches.
Finished quilt, trust quilt holder!
     I hope little baby Ariana enjoys her quilt as much as her big brother, Levi, enjoys his!  You can see his quilt here.

     In other news, I have finally gotten my Etsy shop up and running.   The link is on the side of the blog!   I started out with a few of my little novelty bibs, and have sold a few of the science baby bibs.     I have some more of those to offer, and will also be listing some baby quilts for sale, as well as offering custom designed baby quilts.    A guild quilt show is right around the corner, so I am busy getting ready for that.      Stay tuned! 
     Enjoy the end of summer and beginning of fall.
Take care,
Gretchen

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Uphill Climb - a traditional nine-patch with a modern twist

     I recently took a detour from my current white and bright quilts to get back to basics, with a nine-patch lap quilt made from a beautiful assortment of rich colored traditional fabrics for my friend Priscilla.  The colors didn't show up correctly in pictures taken in the shade.  The pictures in the sun show the depth of the colors.
     Sometime back in the early 2000s, I received a very generous gift of a bundle of  36 Moda Patchwork Garden fat quarters.    The fabrics were beautiful, and so richly colored.  I put them in a basket on my shelf, as I didn't have a project immediately in mind,  and then somehow over 10 years went by.  

     My friend Priscilla and I power walk a few miles every morning, and I started thinking about a quilt for her. During one of our conversations she mentioned her love of sage green.   I pulled out my stash of greens to see what I had.
       I was not inspired by my green bin.  The old (but beautiful) Moda bundle caught my eye.   I thought this might be the perfect bundle for her quilt.    I wanted to use up as much of the bundle as I could, and decided to go back to a favorite traditional block, a simple nine patch.
      I started cutting 2 1/2 inch wide strips from the fat quarters, and cut those into 8 inch long strips.
The leftovers from cutting the 8 inch pieces.
      I grabbed three strips each of two colors to make two three strip blocks.

I  made many blocks that alternated light and darks, but some used two darker fabrics since the bundle contained more dark than light fabrics overall.
These pieces then got cut into three 2 1/2" wide pieces.

Not much waste in making those pieces. 
     I really concentrated on keeping the seams a very accurate 1/4" (not easy for me for some reason), and carefully pressed the seams towards the dark side of each piece.  As a result, piecing together the nine patch block was painless!

I started laying out the blocks, and loved the checkerboard look.  (The photo really washes out the gold tones in the light fabrics.)

Plenty of the sage green that inspired the quilt!
     I was torn with what to do with the darker squares.  I didn't care for just tossing them in, and decided to stack them on the bottom.  When we do our daily walk, we end with a climb up a hill, thus the name of the quilt!  I fiddled around with a few variations, before settling on the finished layout.

The final lay out.  
  I backed the quilt with a dotted tan wide backing (Blank Textiles Chromodot 108 inch) and quilted a stipple design in a beige Aurifil.   I thought the fabrics and checkerboard pattern provided plenty of visual interest - a simple quilting suited me.
     I used some of the leftover fabric for the binding, and fussycut pieces to make sure that the dark section had darker binding and the lighter sections had lighter binding.  I had never planned the binding colors before, but it turned out nicely.  To me, despite the traditional pattern and traditional fabrics, I think it has a bit of a modern feel.
Close up of a portion of the quilt.
     It was a joy to surprise Priscilla with this quilt!  I was delighted to find the perfect project and perfect recipient for the fabric bundle!  The quilt finished at 60 x 72 inches, and washed up nice and crinkly and soft. I did not wash the fabrics before completing the quilt.  Despite being at least a decade old, the fabric was in beautiful condition. 
     I have kept the leftover pieces (some big and some pretty small) and will try to create something using up those scraps in the near future.  I was surprised that I didn't have more left over from 36 fat quarters!  There is plenty for another project, so stay tuned!  



Thanks for stopping by the blog, and enjoy the rest of July!

Take care,
Gretchen