Sunday, October 16, 2011

Spyglass Quilt

I had a very nice day Saturday working on charity quilts with some of the Oxford Piecemakers quilt guild members.  Several quilts were made by the ladies that gathered and several more were made at members' homes.  I made two quilts and brought home two others to be quilted.  Two of them are done, two more to do.

While at the sew-in, we talked about the upcoming retreat and the projects that I was going to teach.  One of them is the Spyglass quilt.  We had a nice coversation about the fabric choices.  For the spyglasses, you need a 4" circle of fabric with an item in it.  You need a 8" square of background fabric.  There are 12 or 13 spyglasses in the quilt.  It's fun picking background fabric that you can look deeply into to find the hidden item!  If you are collecting fabrics for this quilt, I'd suggest using 5" squares of novelty fabrics.  We will then add fusible web to them and cut them down to the 4" circle.

In addition to the spyglass and background fabrics, the quilt uses 124 3" squares.  I like using squares of fabric with small "things" in them.  It provides more of a challenge to find a tiny ladybug, than a big dinosaur!  We could set up an exchange so that everyone could trade their extra fabrics for more variety! 

And if anyone doesn't want to gather their fabrics, I can make kits.  I can do the spyglasses and backgrounds, the 3" squares or both.

The border and binding will take a yard of fabric.  The backing will take about 2 1/2 yards if you piece it diagonally.  The quilt is about 48" square.  The blocks finish at 7 1/2".

So, for those of you collecting fabrics for the Spyglass quilt, you need:

124 3" squares of fabric (solids, tonals, novelty prints - anything goes)
13 5" squares of fabric with "things" that will be under the spyglass.  These will be cut into 4" circles
13 8" squares of background fabric for the spyglasses
Spyglass handle fabric (large scrap(s), fat quarter, eighth yard)
1 yard border/binding
2 1/2 yards backing fabric

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Scrappy Double Irish Chain Quilt

I really wasn't planning on working on the binding of the Scrappy Double Irish Chain quilt tonight, but I had a bit of time available while dinner was in the oven.  After a long day, just sitting in the chair for a bit was appealing.  I picked up the quilt, needle and thread and got started.  After dinner, and a swim for Cooper, I picked up the quilt again.  I looked ahead and realized that I was almost at the corner.  And I knew that it was my last corner.  I was almost done!

I finished the binding and was so happy to take the finished picture!  You can see the top and bottom border here.  I repeated the dark and medium design, but not the white. 

It makes for an interesting border.  Not borderless, but not distinctive either. 

The Scrappy Double Irish Chain is a generous queen size quilt.  I don't have any idea what I will do with it.  Time will tell.  Here is a close up of the quilting.

On a smaller note, I do know what I am doing with this quilt!  This is going to a special not-yet-born little girl! 

I quilted it Sunday.  Oh my gosh!  That is so fun to say!  I quilted it all in ONE DAY!  The quilt is about 50" square.  I can quilt that size on my regular machine in a day, but it would take ALL DAY, especially if I was doing something nice.  With the long arm, I can do something nice and only spend a few hours!

I really like this design.  It is Chevron Feather.  I was going to do either the daises or hearts, but when I brought the quilt downstairs, this panto was out and spoke to me.  I love the little curly queue in it.  I guess I'll have to try the hearts on another one.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Another Border Option

Not totally happy with any of the pieced borders that I've tried, I went back to a plain border.  All of my blues are either very dark or very gray.  I needed something more of a Royal Blue. 

Last week, a new Quilt Store opened a couple of miles from my house in Middletown, Ohio.  I stopped in today and spent some time talking to the owner and purchasing a potential border for the quilt - in Royal Blue. 

I think the blue needs to be a bit wider that what is show here.  I do think the hue mimics the overall color of blue that is in the quilt. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Border Options

I think I've made enough borders to make an entire quilt! 

I started with blue strings...

I sewed them to phone book foundations

And trimmed them.  Don't they look so nice and neat all trimmed?

Layed them out

And tried them on the quilt.  It was okay, but not quite what I wanted.

I guess I could use them to make a quilt

 Next, I tried a checkerboard border.  It was okay, but I still wasn't sure.

I tried piano keys

And then a braided border. So far, it's between the braided border and the checkerboard border.

Then I tried a different braided border.  This one adds a light square down the center and matches the left and right sides. 

Here's a recap of the checkerboard, piano keys and French Braid

And the two French Braids in dim lighting

And a slightly brighter one.

I'm still not sure.  Should I just pick one and get busy making it?  Should I try a few other options?

The Scrappy Double Irish Chain is Quilted

It is quilted and I'm almost done with the binding!

Cooper just can't resist getting in the picture!  He loves the comfy floor too.

Close up of the quilting


The panto is Daisies Galore from Willow Leaf Studios 

This picture doesn't show the border, it's folded under.  You can sort of see it in the first photo.  I'll try to remember to get a decent picture of it once the binding is on!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Border Blocks are done!

The border blocks for the Scrappy Double Irish Chain are made!  I only needed a small amount of the white fabric, thank goodness, because I only had a bit left!  The white that I'm using was given to me.  It has some manufacturing defects in it, but I was able to work around them.  I wasn't sure if I'd have enough or not, but figured that I could always make the quilt a bit smaller if I need to, or I'd find more or use something very close. 

I took a little break from quilting tonight and worked on something else downstairs.  I have a friend who is interested in a bracelet made out of spoon handles.  This requires cutting and bending.  Dad let me borrow his Dremmel.  That did a good job cutting off the spoon bowl, as long as I used a decent cut off wheel.  It also did a good job cleaning up the silver.  The torch and pliers were a bit trickier.  The second spoon got too hot in a spot and broke.  There are also some tool marks from the pliers from using too much force to bend the spoon.  I bought several spoons that were the same, so we have several to experiment with!

Now let's see, the quilt lay out is 11 blocks x 12 blocks.  I'll do the long sides first, so my side borders need to have 12 blocks.  I need to keep the white squares facing the quilt.  I'll start with  the border blocks that contain the white squares.  I'll sew the border squares together alternating the two types, keeping the white square facing in (right for one border, left for the other).  That will be my next step, but that step will need to wait. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Borders on the Scrappy Double Irish Chain

I got the Scrappy Double Irish Chain sewn together and pressed this evening.  I auditioned several different borders.  The dark blue one was just too plain.  The one with reds and purple was only okay.  I tried white and then 4-patches.  Not quite right.  Playing with the 4-patch units, we sort of filled in the outside edge while placing a white square in the center of every other block.  That did it!  Here's the quilt sewn together...

And here's a black and white rendering of how the border will look.  I need 726 more 2" squares.  Of those, 23 are white.  I have only a very small bit of white left.  I hope I have enough!

The border is actually 3 squares deep.  The block matrix looks like this:


Alternating with:


And the corners:




Twenty three of the first 2 and 2 of the second 2.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Double Irish Chain - #10

Double Irish Chain

I pieced this green Double Irish Chain quite a while ago.  It has been in the quilt top stage for a long time, waiting for me to get my long arm.  Don't worry, it had plenty of company!

Close up of the quilting.  There is quite a bit of quilting in it.  The pattern is Bayside by Lorien Quilting (Hermione Agee).  This provides nice texture and a good amount of the design shows up on the light areas.  One of the things I like about this design is that is isn't particularly feminine.  This quilt is very gender neutral.  I did have some difficulty quilting this design.  As I quilted out to the top of the arcs, the machine wanted to track straight.  I had flat tops and some arcs that looked more like squares.

Because of this difficulty, I decided to purchase new wheels.  I bought Edge Rider wheels from A Touch of Thread.  I went to the National Quilting Association's show in Columbus last week.  I was hoping to find the wheels there, but really didn't expect to.  I was a happy, but tired, quilter when I came home.  I finished quilting the quilt Saturday so the new wheels could be installed.  Sunday was Fathers' Day, so tonight was Wheel Night!

Ta Da!!!!!  New Wheels!  I think I am thrilled with them.  There is no play at all and they move very smoothly.  I bought new clamps too and installed them tonight too.  All is good except one little problem...

The new wheels don't fit on the carriage.  You can see them on the machine, but not the carriage.  The machine rolls very smoothly on the carriage.  But, the carriage is still wobbly on the long tracks.  Even still, I'm anxious to try this new set up.  I have 50% of my movement much improved!  I imagine that I'll just get a new carriage and put the fancy wheels on it.  Brad said it perfectly tonight as he was test driving the new wheels:  "This way is like a Mercedes, this way is like a Chevrolet"

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

String Pieced Sashings

Tonight, I finished the 80 string pieced sashings.  I pieced these on phonebook pages.  I like using phonebook pages for the foundations.  The lines and columns make it easy to keep the fabrics lined up and the paper tears away so easily.  I had some already pieced, but getting them to 6 1/2" long caused some problems.  Most of my strings are very narrow, so much so that cutting one in half and allowing a seam allowance didn't leave any fabric!  I was doing more ripping and strategically adding strings than I was obtaining 6 1/2" units.  So, I decided to just cut foundations at 3 1/2" x 6 1/2".  That went very well and the last 40 sashing pieces went together quickly. 

Here's a preview of what the quilt will look like when it's done.  It's designed to come out to about 63" x 76".  I will decide on borders once the quilt it together.  I'd like something that will keep it gender neutral.  And if it something that I have in my stash, all the better!

I still have the green Double Irish Chain on the long arm and I haven't finished assembling the scrappy Double Irish Chain yet.  I need to be able to lay out the quilt and then pick it up and bring it to the machine to sew the rows together uninterrupted.  I don't have a lot of sewing time on weeknights, so those bigger projects are better for weekends. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I think I zigged and should have zagged!

Usually, when I sew blocks together, I lay them out first, then pick up all of the blocks in rows after flipping the second row onto the first one.  I didn't do that with the Scrappy Double Irish Chain.  It is only two blocks!  I guess that would have been okay if I had gone ahead and made one stack of blocks rather that working from two.

However, I didn't.  I took me until I got to the last row to see what I had done.  I layed the quilt on the floor in the media room.  I don't know how, but Cooper heard me!  I did manage to keep him off of it!  Yep, sure enough, there was a mistake.  Lucky for me though, the entire row was off.  That's great news because that means that nothing is wrong.  The rows aren't sewn together yet.  I'll just snip the chain piecing threads and put the quilt together in two halfs, then sew the two together.

I ended up having to lay this out downstairs as it doesn't quite fit in the media room.  The quilt is 83" x 90" without borders.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet for borders.  Any suggestions?

Monday, May 30, 2011

So Many Projects

I've been bouncing between projects lately.  I have still have the Double Irish Chain on the longarm.  I'm piecing another Double Irish Chain.  This one is made from 2" squares.  I'm finally making a dent in the box of 2" squares!  The quilt will have 132 blocks in it.  18 of them can be seen on the design wall.

Next to it are some pieced borders.  This is for a not-quite-finished project.  Actually, they go with a quilt that is finished.  The piecing is finished, the quilting isn't.  I'll most likely work on this again once the quilt is quilted.  Or once I find a better brown that what I have.  I took these off the design wall today.

And yesterday we did some dyeing.  We used many different techniques.  The blacks, yellows and some of the blues were done with regular low water immersion.  Other techniques included painting, spray bottle, salt shaker and layering.  The one on the bottom left is done with black dye powder.

And this is one of my new projects.  Not only was my 2" square bin full, but so was my string bin.  The burgundy and the cornerstone fabrics are from my stash.  The background blocks are cut at 6 1/2" and the string sashings are cut at 3 1/2" x 6 1/2".  It will be larger than this.  Probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 76" x 63".  I'm quite pleased with the way this is turning out.  The solid burgundy tames the wild strings and the cornerstones are very muted and help tie it together.  I'l decide on borders once the top is sewn together.  This will be another good quilt to practice with on the long arm.

Happy Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Quilt #10 - Double Irish Chain

Double Irish Chain - Loaded!

I had a wonderful day yesterday quilting with two special friends.  They each quilted a quilt on my long arm.  That was quilt number 8 and number 9 for the Gammil.  Today, I loaded one of my quilts.  This Double Irish Chain has been pieced for quite a while.  I recently added the borders.  I found that the quilt was a "generous" queen size.  "Gererous" in that it was just a bit too big for any backing and batting that I had.  I made a trip to the local fabric store and found a backing.  The background of the quilt is a very pale yellow tonal. The backing is an unbleached muslin.  It looks good with the quilt and is very soft.  Hopefully, it will hold up okay.  With the quilt being 88" x 108", I needed a King sized batt.  I took one out of the closet that I've had for many, many years. 

So today, I loaded it.  I thought about yesterday and having friends over.  I even thought about the fact that it wouldn't have taken me nearly so long loading it with another set of hands or two!  I should have thought of that yesterday!  I wound six bobbins and threaded the machine in a off-white thread.  I set up the pantograph and set the quilt position.  I though about floating it, but the hopping foot just got caught in the batting.  I've stitched the first three rows.  The design moves faster than I though it would.  Although my quilting leaves a lot to be desired, I'm pleased with the way the first three rows look.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Purple and Yellow Quilt

It started out as the pink and yellow and lavender quilt.  A project to utilize some scraps - to show what can be done with small pieces of fabric.  Friendship Stars in yellow and pink and Rail Fence blocks in lavender.  The lavender was quite a challenge as I didn't have much.  I had to use some shades that were a bit of a stretch from what I had in mind.  Lots of sewing.  Lots of pieces for a baby quilt.  Then I got to the border.  I couldn't find a fabric that I liked.  I was going to use a narrow yellow, then a medium purple print.  I couldn't find anything that I liked for the purple.  I settled for something a little bolder than what I had in mind.  I started putting the borders on, but then came up with an idea.  I had plenty of fabric and I was not in a hurry to get the quilt done, so it was the perfect project to try the Wavy Border.  I love it!  Because it's a small quilt, your eye can take in the entire border.  The dark colors in the border and the small scale print in the fabric make the fabric choices perfect.  I think the border makes a fantastic frame for the quilt.  I tried to keep the quilt colors soft for a baby quilt, not planning on such a bold border, but I don't think it overpowers it. 

I've been trying to take a Quilt With Feet phot of all of my quilts.  I think it's funny.  That, and it proves that the quilt is actually sewn together and not just layed out on the floor! 

Since this is a baby quilt, I used a pink fabric with baby items on it for the back:

I've had this piece in my stash for a while waiting for a perfect baby quilt.  It's a Moda.  I enjoyed seeing it as I was hand stitching the binding.  And, since it's just on the back, the quilt won't have a "baby" feel to it.  I'd hate for the little girl to outgrow it too soon! 

And the quilting?  It is the third quilt that I've quilted on my new, old longarm! 

A simple pattern with lots of loops.  I used Sew Fine! thread in lavender for the top and the bobbin.  I used Quilter's Dream Select Poly for the batting.  It is a polyester batting that acts like cotton.  I like the loft of regular poly batts.  I miss that here.  I'm not sure if it is the batt or the quilting.  I'll take another look at it after I wash it. 

I've had the quilt in my lap the past two nights as I've been hand-sewing the binding in place.  It is a very comfortable weight and has a good drape.  The quilt folds up compactly, but still has body.  I want to bring this quilt to the office for Show and Tell tomorow, then wash, dry and wrap so it can be given to a brand new baby girl!

Friday, April 15, 2011

A day in the life of the backyard

Compliments of guest blogger Rick:

I mowed the back yard today, so it got done before the rain this afternoon.  Surprisingly Mr. Goose wasn’t around, but Mrs. Goose was still on her nest. 

Then as I was mowing, I noticed Mr. Robin paying close attention to me, but when I looked in the nest I saw this guy…

…Mr. Sparrow!  Mr. and Mrs. Robin were nearby causing a ruckus, trying to get Mr. Sparrow to leave.

I then saw movement across the pond…
In addition to Mr. Duck, and Mr. Mallard, there was Mrs. Duck and Baby Duck, and Baby Duck, and Baby Duck, and Baby Duck, and Baby Duck, and Baby Duck, and Baby Duck, and Baby Duck!

The Duck family swam across the pond, then climbed out, walking home….

Also seen were Mr. Kingfisher, Mr. Heron, and Mr. Muskrat, and Mr. Wentworth.

Mr. Cooper stayed inside.