Friday, June 29, 2012

Trying something new

The main field of the MQ6 quilt is done in diagonal cross-hatch, and it looks pretty good.  This week I started on the borders.  I have some stencils that were inherited from my friend's mother, Shirley.  She was a hand quilter, but I'm strictly a machine gal.  Some of her stencils can be adapted to machine work, but marking has been a problem. 

I've tried pouncing chalk, what a MESS!  and it makes me sneeze.  I've tried tracing in the stencil grooves with a chalk pencil - it keeps breaking.  Tried a washable blue pen, but I have to go over each line three or four times to get it dark enough to see and the borders on this quilt are royal blue.  Time to try a new idea.

In a catalog I've seen paper quilting guides.  Pre-printed guidelines on paper which you pin on your quilt and then you stitch along the lines.  I decided to try printing my own paper guides and see how that works.  Since our kids are now all done with school, we seem to have an overabundance of partial packages of filler paper and spiral notebooks that are half empty.  The paper isn't as heavy as copier paper, but not as thin as tissue paper which clogs up in my printer.
Turns out it works pretty well, and the price is right - FREE!  I traced the stencil on paper, then photocopied it onto filler paper pages.  The paper was a bit stiff to fold into my lap while I sewed, but other than that I've been pleased with the results.  The first border is a simple cable pattern.   My machine has a 'lock stitch', which sews in place at the start of each section, and sews in place again when you push the button as you finish the section.  By using this feature I was able to start and stop, skip over areas, and start again - and know that the stitching will not pull out.

I used a trick I read somewhere of drawing the back of a seam ripper over the stitching lines before tearing off the paper- and that worked great!  The paper came apart so easily.  A bit of masking tape pulled off the bits of paper that were left behind.

I've left the corner pieces still partially attached because I still have to decide whether to quilt in that middle line on the cable.  I thought I'd wait and see what it looked like without.  I think I'd like to keep the spacing in proportion to the center cross hatch.

I think I'll do this scalloped bunting for the outer blue border, but still haven't figured out the best way to quilt the pieced center border.  I'm thinking geometric would keep with the look of the quilt.  Big X's across the four-patch and echo diamonds in the white squares might work.  A spider-web that might be nicer in the four-patch, but don't know if I want spider-webs on a bed quilt.  I'm not fond of spiders.....


We'll I'm excited to get this far, and that it worked.  Whoop Whoop!

Monday, June 25, 2012

This week's goal: quilt MQ6

After two weeks of trying to decide on a quilting pattern (or procrastinating, depending on your view) I finally put the quilt and machine together and just started.   The first pass is straight diagonal lines.  My goal is to get this done this week.  DS will be home this weekend and it would be nice to be able to give him the quilt to take back home.  The patches have so many little pictures in them that it has inadvertently turned into an I Spy kind of quilt.  Everything from airplanes to Teddy Bears, fish to flowers, pyramids and polkadots keep popping up.  I think that will play into the name of the quilt when I finally get to that step.

So, that's what's on my Quilting agenda for this week.  Take a look at what else is in the works for other quilters on Judy's Design Wall Monday.  Thanks for stopping by!

Here's what the whole quilt looks like.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Finale: Penny Lane

Stayed up late last night and quilted Penny Lane.  It's an adorable crib quilt that I made while I procrastinated on quilting up Mystery Quilt 6.  This morning I cut binding and sewed that on. 

Finished and Photographed! 

I don't know why photos get so blurry when I compress them for Web publication.  Sorry about that.  Maybe I'll figure it out someday.  I'd also like to know how to add my name or blog title on the photo as an overlay like some folks can do so that if it get's copied by someone it has the source on the photo.  I'm not a copyright fanatic, but do feel the need to give (and take)  credit when it's due.

Thanks for stopping by!  I'm pretty excited that this may make 4,000 page views for QuiltAwhile, and I only started blogging in March.  May not sound like a lot, but pretty exciting for me!

To Celebrate I'm linking up with Can I get a Whoop Whoop?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Sunflowers

What better way to celebrate the first day of Summer than to change the quilt on our bed to Summer Sunflowers!  According to my notes I finished this July 21, 2005 and the pattern came from the Holiday Crafts Magazine/ Better Homes and Gardens Fall/Winter 1996. 

The sunflower centers are one inch blocks in all kinds of browns and dark golds, pieced, then cut in a circle and appliqued over the petals.  The flower petals are Dresden Plate.  This is the only quilt I ever put prairie points around the edge.  The red sunflower fabric I originally purchased to make a dress for our daughter when she was 7 or 8 years old, but I never got around to making that dress.  Suddenly, it seemed, she grew up.  By the time she was in High School I figured I cold do something else with that fabric. 

Do you change the quilts in your home to celebrate the seasons? What quilt is on your bed to celebrate summer this year?


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What was I thinking?

This weekend I couldn't take my big quilt project with me so as I headed out the door on my way to the cabin I quickly grabbed a bag that contained fabric for a quilt I had started a REALLY long time ago.  When I had time to quilt awhile I opened it up. 

Inside was the magazine with instructions, fabric and some pieces already cut and put into a plastic bag.  Obviously, they were meant to be the flying geese called for in the pattern and so I spent quite a bit of time pieceing them up.  But... when I put them along side the center block to make a star they didn't even come close to fitting.   

I'm not sure what I was thinking!  Did I cut them the wrong size?  Do they need to be trimmed?  The instructions don't give a size to 'square up' to.  Ok, I have to admit I'm guilty of not using the same method of making flying geese as they recommended.  AND I used the sewing machine at the cabin, which doesn't make a very accurate 1/4 inch seam.  But they shouldn't be this far off, should they?   At any rate, it brought my weekend quilting to a screeching halt.

The pattern is 'Anna's Hands' from Quiltmaker magazine Nov/Dec 2007.  And I think I may have started it the summer following that, so it's been a UFO for a long time!  Looking closely at this I realize I have another problem.  My toile print is clearly directional, and the one in the magazine is floral.  Half my toile blocks need to be on point, so will not be 'square' to the quilt.  I'm wondering if this will work out at all, or if I should come up with another plan and try and make it fit the blocks I have cut.   As much as I LOVE the original pattern, I don't think this is working out for me.  Well, back in the bag it goes for now.  I have two other quilts to get finished first, and loads of company coming this summer to visit.  Just don't have time to solve this puzzle right now.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Penny Lane Crib Quilt

Well, yesterday I was a bit naughty.  I went to the fabric store 'just to see what what was on the clearance racks.'  And I got carried away.  (Is anyone really surprised to hear that??)

One fabric I picked up was this adorable print.  The little four-patch printed squares were just the size to be cut apart.  A little sashing and bright cornerstones - Voila! 

By co-incidence the chocolate brown I pulled from my stash for the border was from the same designer.  That was a nice surprise!  No wonder it matched so perfectly! 

This went together in one day. The inspiration was Kathleen Tracy's Scrap Squares Doll Quilt.  I cut out the blocks and then measured them.  Odd size - 5 3/4 inches, but so what.  I cut 2 inch sashing and matched the length to the 5 3/4.  Corner stones were 2 inches square.

 I used a sashing method that was different from my
usual.  I added sashing and corners to each block, and then put them together in rows.  It worked great - until the last row when I stopped paying attention and managed to get a couple blocks reversed.  rip rip rip

I decided on a 3 inch border so that the quilt would not be any longer than 42 inches and the back could be one whole width of fabric.  I like the soft colors.  Not sure it's bright enough for a baby quilt, but it sure is cute.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Civil War Stars

This week I've been working on finishing up Kathleen Tracy's Civil War Stars.  It's a little quilt, and I've used up a bunch of 1 1/2 inch square blocks.  It was nice working with the primary colors - red, white, blue and gold.  I think my eyes needed a rest after the very scrappy Mystery Quilt 6.

You'd think I'd be quilting away on the Mystery Quilt, but it's sitting all pinned up on our dining room table.  I'm waiting for some type of inspiration to figure out where to start on the quilting. 

So I'm procrastinating and finishing up this little star quilt. I think I'll use flannel for the batting and backing.  I did that with the last crib quilt that I made and I liked the way it quilted up.  Here's the finished top.  I LOVE it!  Just 19 inches square.  Since the Mystery Quilt ended up Queen Size this one seems tiny! 

Do you make small quilts?  What do you DO with them?  I've always made bed sized or at the smallest crib sized quilts. They all go on beds.  I really don't know what to do with the small quilts like this, though they are fun to make.

Linking with Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Stars on the Design Wall

This week I have Kathleen Tracy's Civil Wars Stars Doll Quilt on my design wall.  Don't know what it is with Flying Geese, but they always get a little wonky for me. (sigh)  Especially the little ones like this.  The blocks are cut 1 1/2 inches, which are really small for me to work with.

There are a few blocks on the wall and I have a few more lined up on the machine, cut and ready to sew.

I spent yesterday laying out and pinning up the Mystery Quilt 6.  That was a big job!  Had to move most of the living room furniture and roll up the area rug to make space to lay it out flat.  But, now it's ready to machine quilt and the dining room table is cleared off to work on.  The larger area helps support a big quilt like this one.  Next step to decide on a quilting design. 

In the mean time I'll dally with the Civil War Stars.  Can you say "procrastinate...??"

Linking up on Tuesday - better late than never - for Design Wall Monday with Judy at Patchwork Times.

Thanks for stopping in.  Hope you have time to Quilt Awhile this week.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

She shops...She scores!

Two weeks each June the Bloomington Crime Prevention Association has a HUGE used booksale fundraiser and I love to go browse the aisles.  This year they had loads of Quilting books and old magazine issues.  I scooped up an armload of Quiltmaker Magazine to take up north and look through on those warm summer evenings at the lake.  These should keep me busy for a while!  Fifty cents each, and to a great cause besides.  Now I need to figure out a good way to keep track the projects that catch my eye so I can find them again when I have time to Quilt Awhile.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mystery Quilt 6 top finished!

The quilt top is finished!  My version of the Quilters Club of America Mystery Quilt 6 is a true scrap quilt.  Not even one full width-of-fabric strip except for background muslin and blue borders.  There are three or four different muslins used for background.  One is a fairly loose weave and it's probably not going to hold up as well as the others.  Had to scramble at the end, I was short two 'diamond' blocks for the border and had to scrounge up fabric for two more last night.  I've completely emptied my gallon bag of 2 1/2 inch fabric scraps except for whites and lights.  And the 4 1/2 inch bag is low as well since much of it went into the four-patch blocks in the border.  The royal blue border was a curtain panel that my mother had sewn up to cover the shelves where her fabric was stored. It's only a slightly heavier weight than the rest, but not too noticeable. I'm so glad I came across it in my stash.  The color helps bring out the blues even though there are a lot of pink blocks in there.  Our son helped with the block arrangements, and has claimed this one for his new apartment, so I'd better get it quilted up right away.  Thanks for stopping by!