Sunday, August 23, 2015


On the final stretch of my Machine Quilting Sampler Quilt!

Ready to be Quilted!

My Hex on the Beach quilt is ready for some machine quilting!

I LOVE this quilt!!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

A Stab at Organic

I started in on machine quilting some organic wavy lines on this Little Leaves quilt this afternoon, then had my usual stroke.  Did I just ruin this quilt??  Should I have used another color of thread? What was I thinking trying a new quilting design on a quilt top I actually like??  

I had to walk away and go work on binding another quilt so I could settle down and think clearly.  :)

After a fresh perspective, and after laying the binding next to it, the gray stitching didn't seem so out of place.  (I selected a light gray thread thinking it would blend better with the leaves vs white.)

And, I decided that maybe the stitching lines were organic and not incompetent looking, as there is a very fine line between the two!!

So, I decided to press on!

All finished!

I definitely some more practice on stitching this design to get the flow of the organic lines consistent, but I'm glad I took a stab at it.

Love the texture on the back!

Baby Circles

Believe me, this quilt was a long time in the making!!  

I initially started it back in 2007, intending to make one of those reversible orange peel quilts.  After cutting out over 300 squares of 30's prints and over 300 squares of the solid Kona yellow, tracing around an old CD for a template for my stitching lines, stitching them together, and trimming each set with pinking shears, I decided the project was going to be way too time consuming once I got to the part where I had to turn the circles inside out and press them.  I loved the quilt idea, but I didn't care for the process or how they looked once I stitched them together!

So, I tucked all the supplies away in a plastic storage bin and stuck them in the closet.

After moving the bin every time I reorganized the closet in my quilt studio, I decided I needed to either do something with them or toss them out.  Of course, I couldn't bear to throw them away....

Thankfully I got an inspiration of what to do with them, based on Cluck Cluck Sew's Raw Edge Circle Quilt.  I trimmed off all the stitched lines I had painstakingly stitched and ended up with plain old circles.  They worked perfectly for the raw edge applique method outlined in Allison's tutorial.

This quilt ended up being 35x44", simply because that's how much Kona Aqua I had left over from making my Suburbs quilt.

I had basted it a while ago, then let it sit because I just wasn't sure how I wanted to quilt it other than stippling it.   But, stippling seems to be the best fit for this vintage-feeling baby quilt.

I've already started on a full-size version with a soft pink solid, and probably still have enough circles left for another one!

Quilt Stats:
Baby Circles
Batting:  Warm & White
Thread:  Aurifil 50 wt, color #2311

Friday, August 7, 2015

Empty Spool Encouragement

It's kinda goofy to hang on to your empty spools, but on days when I'm feeling discouraged that I don't get as much sewing done as I think I should, this jar of empty spools gives me a boost of encouragement - maybe I haven't been goofing off as much as I think!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Sometimes the Backing Fabric Inspires the Quilt

Today I was shopping for some backing and binding fabric for several quilts I'm hoping to finish for the fair.  I popped in at Good's Store.  No luck in finding what I needed, but look what I found instead.  I love it!!

How fun is this?!

I had seen this "Milking Day" quilt in one of the vendor stalls at the Quilt Odyssey last month, then realized I had the book at home - Lori Holt's Farm Girl Vintage.

This fabric will be perfect for the back of the quilt, so now it's on my "Quilting-to-do List!"

Love the selvage too.  :)

Sunday, August 2, 2015

I Did It!

I just finished machine quilting my massive Moda Building Blocks quilt!  After just about having a stroke over it six weeks ago (my normal response when I first start machine quilting anything!!),  I walked away from it and hadn't touched it since.  I finally sat down and ripped out the initial four 4 rows of stitching Friday night, then started in on it yesterday (instead of tackling some customer work I should have been doing!), and realized it was going to be doable after all.  

Initially, I was all whacked out wishing I hadn't attempted straight-line quilting such a large quilt (84x96"!) on my domestic machine; I've done a number of smaller quilts with no trouble before, but a quilt this size is a different story.  It didn't make sense at that point to take all the safety pins out and send it to Kathy O. after I had spent hours on the kitchen floor pin basting it.  I knew most long arm machines have a lock that allows the rows of stitching to be perfectly straight, or are computerized, giving a consistent result.  Knowing that, and knowing that I could have had it long arm quilted, I was afraid I wouldn't be happy if my stitching lines weren't straight.  And, I was afraid the rows would get more and more distorted as I went.   Also, I was concerned that since it was such a big quilt, the pressure of the walking foot would cause the top layer to shift and distort after each 96" row of stitching.  AND, I knew that maneuvering that big of a quilt with my walking foot wasn't going to be easy (FMQing would have been much easier).  And, I knew it would take me 4.ever!!

I can drive myself NUTS and totally paralyze myself!

But, I reduced the foot pressure on my walking foot, and that seemed to do the trick.  I spaced the rows about 1/2" apart by using the edge of my walking foot.  I was able to keep the rows fairly consistent and straight, for the most part, thanks to the block design of the quilt that provides a natural plumb line here and there throughout the quilt.  I marked an initial plumb line in the center of the quilt with blue painters tape to get me started, then worked out from there.  It got easier and easier to maneuver the bulk of the quilt as I got to the sides.  The stitching isn't perfect of course, but as always, I have to remind myself that nothing looks perfect when you have your nose  right up to it.  And, I have to remember - perfection isn't the goal here! I want something hand-crafted, not factory made.  All those little imperfections are what gives a hand-made quilt its charm.  Bottom line, it just feels right being able to say that I did both the piecing and the machine quilting.

I love the texture the straight-line quilting gives!  Ever since I saw Camille's version, I knew that's how I wanted to quilt mine.

And, I love how it looks on the back, especially with this funky backing fabric that is a perfect match color-wise for the front.  :)

OK, I just need to add the binding, then it's ready for the fair in a few weeks!  I may rip out a few wonky stitches here and there and redo them, but other than that, it will soon be finished!

Note:  Next time I think I'll use Warm and Natural batting vs. the Hobbs 80/20 just to be safe - the 80/20 has a bit more loft and does cause more shifting.