I made one Christmas present in 2018, for my sister, Kathi, and sister-in-law, Stefi. They have a tandem bike, but I couldn’t remember what color it is and didn’t want to spoil the surprise by asking.
I started with the Bicyclist block from Quilted Adventures by Sara Nephew. I had a little trouble understanding the instructions, but managed to wrap my brain around it and then added the second cyclist. I sometimes have a kind of spatial dyslexia.
Since they are both musicians, I used musically-themed fabric for the shirts. I tried three times to make nice looking heads but they are both very blond and fair skinned. Translation: boring (and the first one was the wrong size). I opted for do-rags that matched their shirts.
I string-pieced the rectangular units…
Made some mistakes…
Had to figure out where to put the bar (maybe not mechanically accurate, but it looked the best) …
I added a small black border followed by more musical fabric.
I have been pin-basting small projects and ran across a box of these foam pieces (a gift that included a wrist pincushion). I thought I would try them, as opposed to my curved pins. I am giving the foam pieces away as this method hurt my hands–I’ll stick with the curved basting pins and basting spray for larger projects. Leah Day likes using PinMoors, a product you can buy on her website. Some of my friends had never seen this basting technique and thought I was embellishing the quilt. You never know with me.
I straight-line quilted the background, the tires, and anything that wasn’t lying flat, figuring out how to quilt with the least thread breaks. Sometimes this requires diagrams.
I changed the lyrics to “A Bicycle Made for Two” for quilting the outer border. I tried once again to sew the label into the backing fabric and still didn’t leave enough margin. I have been unhappy with my attempts at sewing in the label. Next time, I will sew the label into the center of the quilt backing, rules be damned (lower right-hand corner), allowing more room for information. I’ll be sending a better label to place over the original.
Quilting in progress.
Once again, I have failed to take a final picture before mailing. It had a simple black binding and is called “Ever in Tandem.” Le sigh. Oh well, it arrived before Christmas. I think I put rings on the back for hanging. It’s all good. Till next time…
… I drafted a post and rescheduled it three times. Then I unscheduled it–some posts just don’t make the cut.
LATEST PROJECT. My art quilt group, the Van Go-Go Girls, chose an architectural challenge. Take an actual building or a piece of architecture, design a quilt 30×30 to 40×40, add some orange, finish by November. Some years ago, we were in Puerto Rico and I took pictures of the tile floors because they were quilterly and chose one for this project.
I started by drafting a 12-inch block on paper, adding some extra lines to accommodate the size I wanted. Then I drew templates and added 1/4-inch seam allowances. I cut out a lot of pieces incorrectly (pesky angles) and my pencil marks were showing on the white pieces–I see another improv piece in my future. I used a scrap of black Grunge (why didn’t I buy a yard?) and cut out one strip 1/8-inch too narrow. I managed to use it anyway for the 2-1/2 inch squares, one side being 2-3/8 inches. Here are the subsets before piecing together for all four blocks.
I partial-seamed the black square to the subset on the left, sewed the diagonal, finished the black square and then added the corner triangle. Remarkably, it all fit together. The center grey square was a little wonky but I managed to straighten it out when I quilted it. I decided to add mitered borders to mirror the angled lines and they came out perfectly; however, they did get slightly distorted during quilting–and so it goes.
Quilting is straight lines with black YLI 100-wt. silk on the black border pieces following the inner piecing line and white Mettler Seralene polyester in the white pieces, traveling into the grey at times. I was able to quilt each quarter without breaking thread. After I started quilting, I woke up one morning and realized I had used no orange. I really didn’t want to blast in orange applique, so I quilted with a variegated orange Sulky 12-wt. cotton on the black in two places. You have to get up close to see it, but it’s there. You can see the print-out of the tile above, which was actually in black, grey, and white.
I have now taken a break for two weeks, redecorated the spare bathroom and have started making some new florals and freshening up existing wreaths and arrangements. I finally found more refresher at JoAnn (Panacea Decorative Accents Silk Flower & Foliage Cleaner), spraying outside. All floral sprays seem to work equally well, but some the flowers bled, perhaps because I forgot to shake the bottle. Here is the wreath for the bedroom. I wanted to maintain the wildness of the wreath while adding the colorful foliage.
Here I’ve auditioned placement, starting with five large sets of leaves, adding five smaller leaf sets and then three longer pieces with curlicue and berries–I took all the foliage from a large swag. I don’t have a wreath stand so I took a photo from above and then hung it on the door after hot gluing, filling in the blank spots. I used an old sewing machine needle for hanging.
I finally put the snowmen away and replaced them with a new arrangement.
The rest of summer I’ll be sprucing up the house so it looks like someone here actually cares, collecting things for Goodwill, and doing a general purge.
DIET AND EXERCISE. I quit exercising the middle of July–it was just exhausting me so that I couldn’t do anything else–and went off the South Beach diet. I have no appetite for hours after exercising and end up eating two meals a day. This is not effective. So, I’ll be resuming the exercise at an easier pace, adding Tai Chi for stress management, and going for a low-carb diet with lots of fresh veggies, fruit, and lean protein. I can’t quite do Keto or Atkins because I don’t tolerate fat very well. If this doesn’t get me to my goal, I am pretty much out of options.
RECYCLACRAFT. I lined these large lids with sticky-backed felt for bead trays.
THE HUMMER GAMES. We have had a lot of hummers even with the heat. They are so fun to watch and they have the sweetest peep. The males chase each other off the feeder, then one sits in the Bradford waiting. Then they chase each other off again and finally one will get to feed. They were buzzing me while I was cleaning the florals on the landing. Till next time…
between NWAMQG and TULSAMQG. Last month we turned in our forms for this swap and received a form from a Tulsa member with color preferences, etc. My swap partner, Lora Whitfield, indicated all colors but that she loves a teal and red combo, NO BABY PINK, any style. I used up most of my red and teal fabrics for the wonky churn dash exchange, but happened to find these in my strip box – the one that is now sorted by color.
These strips had been on the design wall for a couple weeks with no inspiration forthcoming. Writers have Erato for their muse–I need to invent a muse for quilting.
Friday I had 15 minutes before heading out to the Green Country Quilters Guild Quilt Show in Tulsa so I started sewing some pieces together. I was thinking about the MQG Challenge for 2019, using tiny piecing in a donation quilt. I was going to subcut this strip set and make a tiny grid (photo above) but Saturday I had a different idea. I started cutting up 3/4-inch strips and mimicked a quilt I have seen several times.
After piecing, pressing, and trimming, I layered this with Peltex (a stiff interfacing) and a backing with glittery Valentine’s fabric. I prefer Timtex (a little heavier than Peltex) but have not been able to find any for awhile. I left the red strips unquilted and quilted a line next to the border seam. This gives you a place to turn around with diagonal stitching. If you start at the edge, pivot/stitch/pivot and stitch back to the edge, you have no threads to weave in.
Finally I traced around this metal end caps (given to me by dd, probably from incense stitcks container from BBB) to round the corners and satin stitched around the edge. The butterfly pin reminds where the round starts. Satin stitch using #8 zigzag on Janome with three rounds:
Round 1: 5.0 wide, 1.5 length
Round 2: 5.5 wide, 1.0 length
Round 3: 6.0 wide, .5 length
Now I just need to make a label and turn in my mug rug at our August meeting. I have some small projects (camera strap cover, microwave bowls, pieced biscornu pincushion) to work on until I get my needle arm fixed–I just don’t dare do free-motion quilting and this is seriously putting me behind. Waiting to hear from Janome.
This was my viewer’s choice at the quilt show. Quilt by Janet Hoeltzel, quilted by Glenda Harkey, pattern by Mary B. Hayes; Thangles used.
DIET UPDATE: After seven weeks, I have a net loss of 4.5 pounds and almost 3-inches. Whoopy-dip is all I can say that’s fit to publish.
Next posts: My Artful Log Cabin with exactly 50 log cabins celebrating our anniversary and photos from quilt show.
I have finished my Too Precious to Cut (But We Will) Challenge for the Modern Quilt Guild of NWA. This was a challenge put out by Paula Mariedaughter, one of our members. I was in a panic last week thinking that it was due for our September meeting (next week), but it’s actually not due till October. Ah well, it’s finished. Go here to see what else this creative quilter is up to. She’s always putting a new spin on quilt design and makes the best labels.
I faced this quilt using Susan Brubaker Knapp’s tutorial. Check it out along with her other free tutorials.
The only thing I do differently is Step 4. I don’t like to pivot at corners, so I sew to the end, and then cross the seam at the corner. I also use these little clips instead of heavy pinning–you don’t want the facing to show on the front and this helps.
I had a little trouble with the quilting. After doing all the straight-line quilting in the center, I went to free-motion quilt the lily fabric and ripped out this lily twice. Then I quilted this spot with regular stitching, which required a lot of pivoting, cleaned and oiled the machine AGAIN, changed the needle AGAIN, and free-motioned the remainder with no problem. Gremlins, I’m tellin’ ya.
I also finished my placemats. See my previous post for the Round Placemat Tutorial. And why does spell check always want “placemat” to be two words? Not doin’ it.
Well, it’s back to my studio. I am putting everything away so I can get back to finishing up the rest of my Christmas UFOs. And here is one of my favorite Paula Mariedaughter quilts from a local Q.U.I.L.T. Guild of NWA show in 2013–those wonky flowers and the colors just make me happy. Till next time, do what makes you happy for at least part of the day!
Symphony of Colors was a special exhibit during Quilt Week at Paducah this year. The quilts are original designs by Japanese quilt makers, often pieced and quilted by hand. Sizes are rounded off as these quilts were measured to the 7/8-inch (perhaps because of a conversion from the metric). Part of the official description: “Quilts came to Japan at the end of 1970, as a new hobby from America. Japanese women received it as an American culture and started making them. They studied about quilts in books and some advanced people started a school to teach quiltmaking. After ten years, Japanese quilters found their own way to make and build up the new category of Japanese Quilts, instead of copying American quilts… In this exhibit, some of the quilts feature a strong expression of the Japanese style, while others express it more quietly.” p.136, Quilt Week, Paducah Show Book.
Notice the subtle change in applique shapes from fish to trees to birds to triangles.
All of these circles have finished edges and are appliqued by hand!
This was my favorite, Autumn Sky.
Next time I’ll wrap up Paducah with some of my favorite quilts, no particular category. Quilt shows can be overwhelming and make you doubt your abilities and work. They can also be very inspiring and encourage you to try new techniques. My only disappointment was that I was looking for Japanese taupe fabrics to make some quilted household items. I think I will try to dye some fabrics myself as I only found a couple batiks at Hancock’s of Paducah (not to be confused with Hancock’s chain store) and some hand-dyeds at a little shop downtown. I was also looking for a small red and green stripe for the binding of my Christmas quilt–nary a one in this huge warehouse of fabrics. I can get back to quilting this now that I have more 75/11 needles, which is what I’m using with the mono-poly clear thread. I have quilted the center blocks and now can do the outside blocks. If I were really brave, I would free-motion the straight lines but instead, I do a lot of pivoting.
The other project which is taking a lot of my time is rebranding myself. I want to change my blog/website name but I’m having some domain issues. We’ll see how it goes after holidays are over. Till next time, be sure to keep an eye on your local weather and stay safe. Poor Texas is floating away again.
My progress on handwork is going rather slowly, so after the 4th of July weekend, and getting three rooms partially ready for new flooring, I put some serious time into quilting my Redwork Quilt. I did straight-line quilting in the center redwork medallion, then some free-motion meandering flowers and leaves in the red border, and then straight-line quilting on either side of the seam lines in the pieced border (scrappy 1-1/2 inch finished squares). See the previous post for photos. Then I added yet more quilting to the center medallion to help it to lie flatter. All that remained was the 4-inch black border.
There was a lot of lint from the batting on the black Kona so I used masking tape to clean it up and then pinned the edges to keep it relatively clean while quilting. Making a tube with the masking tape was fairly ineffective. Placing a long strip and running your hand across works much better. A large lint roller would be even better if you have one.
After practicing the same meandering flower design, and choosing a variegated black and red thread, I started and 6-inches in, decided that the tension was not right and the design just wasn’t filling the space like I wanted. Back to the drawing board. I took out my Pajama Quilter Reloaded book and found a design I liked: flowers, leaves and ribbons. I also changed to a solid red thread. It isn’t perfect but it is finished and the binding is put on. More handwork for my poor arthritic hands but for now, I still only machine quilt the binding on donation quilts and potholders. Because of the overstitching in the flowers and leaves (only two of each, thank goodness), it took me 2-1/2 hours of ripping and then the afternoon to quilt all the way around.
Here is part of the border, showing flowers, leaves and ribbons. I see the PajamaQuilter Reloaded and PajamaQuilter Rethreaded workbooks/DVDs are sold out. You can check out Dawn Ramirez’ quilts at http://www.sewdawnfun.com/. I like her idea of practicing on a whiteboard before stitching on a quilt sample–this is really helpful for a new or complex design and you can just totally erase what you don’t like at any time and start over.
Here is part of the outer border before binding.
Till next time, expand your horizons and try something new–a new quilt design, a new recipe, a new technique, a new skill. This will keep your craft more interesting, fight boredom, and perhaps, prevent dementia. If it’s frustrating, it’s good for you.