Sunday, March 25, 2018

Apologies to Sting and the Police...

Every seam I make
Every stitch I take
Every quilt I make
I'll be pressing you.

(next verse courtesy of Sarah Shulman)
Oh can’t you see
You belong to me
My poor hands ache

With every quilt I make!

(repeat chorus)

Saturday, March 24, 2018

A Design Wall Epiphany

 My quilty friends are the best.  Holly, with help from Sarah S and Melissa, took my money to QuiltCon 2018 and shopped for me.  Holly knows what I like before I even know what I like.  Look at that terrific red print by Brooklyn Mojo. ( I have already ordered more of this fabric.)  And for the past few weeks I've been looking at a collection by Moda called Catnip.  Relax - no cats.  Just a terrific selection of black and white prints.  And Holly gets one (I have since bought more charm packs and one jelly roll of Catnip).
Other booty:  some metal zips, a wonderful blue denim/linen fabric, some great bits of cork fabric in different colors, several terrific prints, a couple of excellent grey textures, a new product Kraft-tex Paper Fabric ("rugged paper that looks and feels like leather but sews/cuts/washes just like fabric").  Seriously.  But what really caught my eye is this panel of fabric that's at the bottom to the left.

This is a yard of fabric by Yoshiko Jinzenji.  Google her for some wonderful images of her Japanese minimalism.  I took a class from her at QuiltCon 2015 - here's a link to that blog entry.  Then I bought some of her fabric, which was all black and white.  This panel that Holly just bought?  Little bits of colors and design - all abstract and whimsical.  So, what to do with this terrific yard?  And I must confess that I have been hoarding the black and white fabrics.  Sometimes pieces are just too beautiful to cut into.

And here comes my epiphany.

 These blocks are 15" square.  And they have each been hand quilted.  There are 14 outer blocks and 6 inner blocks.  But these blocks must now be connected, and I will use the "reversible" quilting method by Sharon Pederson.  I taught this method over 10 years ago - see the blog index for more on this method.  I've been pondering what fabric to use on the front of this quilt.  To use any of the jewel-toned solids from the crosses just seems  too much.  But a light fabric doesn't work for me either.  The answer?  this Yoshiko Jenzenji fabric.  It will be perfect for the front sashing/border for the front of this quilt and perhaps even for the binding.

A word about the back of these blocks. The block backs are all scraps from other quilt backings.  Some of these backs are pieced.  The same goes for the batting.  I had lots of bits of wool batting left over.  Most of these 15" blocks have a pieced wool batting.   I feel good about using these leftover bits.  This quilt will be one I will hold on to.  Note:  the other person in this house walked by this design wall and said, "Meh..."  It's okay.  It really is...  We don't all have to love the same things!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A Scrappy WIP, A UFO, A Commision, and a New Machine!

  I started these cross-ish blocks 6 years ago and am finally figuring out what to do with them.  Looking at this picture, it doesn't look like much, does it? But look at the next picture - there's handwork which isn't quite showing up on the big picture.  The outer 14 blocks may need more stitches for texture, but meanwhile I'll work on the big circles in the middle, and see what develops.  The back of these blocks and the batting - all wool - are leftovers from other projects.  And the texture and weight of the quilt will be perfection.   There's no urgency to this project, so I can work on this evenings.  Or whenever.  And I'm still plotting what fabrics to use on the front and back in order to attach these blocks reversible style. 

This Glampalot project from June 2016 is together, and it will be a part of the silent auction for the Morgan Park Youth Ministry annual fundraiser.  As I have said before, somebody is going to love this quilt - it just won't be me.  In preparation for quilting, I made a backing of neutral leftover bits that are getting too old to live.  After a good pressing, I cut all these fabrics into 20" widths and sewed them together.  This backing will work nicely with the front - I'm excited about quilting it!  Since the backing is tall enough, I am putting a narrow green border at the top and bottom - for unity.

 Meanwhile, Nurse Meg - I met her 9 years ago during my knee replacements - needs a t-shirt quilt for her youngest daughter.  We have already done t-shirt quilts for the older 3.  The shirts are together.  Meg has requested black and white for the borders.  So that's the next step.  I want to get this to Terri and Frank for long-arming before we leave for Portugal in April.  Just to make this quilt different from those of her siblings, we are making this big enough for a queen-size bed quilt - 90" x 114"
Here's the really big studio news - there's a new workhorse!  This machine is a Brother PQ 1500 SL.  It is a purely mechanical machine that is FAST (1500 stitches per minute, if anyone is counting) and goes back and forth.  No zigging or zagging.  I was thrilled to get it from Amazon for under $450 because the box had been opened.  Yes, the box had been opened, but the machine was never used and all the parts were there.  It has a knee-lift which I knew I would like.  I didn't know however how much I would love that feature.  We are now friends - upper threading , bobbin winding, needle changing all a piece of cake.  I love how it quilts and I love how it pieces.  And when I go into Warp speed, John can hear it on the first floor!
And this pile?  It's time for period purses! 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

All My Bags are Packed

Baby Trip Around the World - 48" x 60"
  Well, at least the quilts are packed. I'll carry the big one on the plane, and John is packing the baby quilt in his luggage.  I have enjoyed my month of quilting for the Chrisses and am excited to go to Orlando tomorrow.  My nephew Chris T was one of the first kids that I fell in love with.  To go to a baby shower for his wife Andi and hang with my sister and my niece Jen is definitely exciting.  That my sister-in-law Chris will drive me to this venue and that it's so close to her home is even better!

 My sister-in-law Chris's quilt is the biggest one I've ever quilted myself - 104" x 120".  Sometimes, in the middle of a project, I get sick of it or I'm ready to move on to the next project or I just want to get it done.  But this quilt?  I slowly fell in love with it, especially when I decided to do a piano -key border.  I love the two jelly rolls I used - one by Carolyn Friedlander and one by Zen Chic - and how they work together.  I splurged on the backing, a wide backing by Moda that has the nicest and softest feel.  
It's batted with a very light Mountain Mist batting.  Perfect I think for its home in Orlando.  Kona Snow, a great shade of white, is the background for the quilt.  A bit ironic, eh?  Chris and Jerry will no longer have to deal with snow.  And this quilt whispered to me that it needed some handwork.  So there are 12 of these circles stitched at the junction of  four log cabins.   This picture shows the detail from the back.

My sister, soon to be the grandmother of three, put together her Hungry Caterpillar kids' room.  And of course it's charming.  There are still two little doll quilts coming from the leftover fabrics.

 So, now what?  The Caterpillar projects are complete, and the projects for the Chrisses are packed. Here's my trick for getting over the end of a project that I love:  start a new one.  And I've been doing just that for the past week .  At my first Chicago Modern Quilt Guild retreat I was working on a project.  But once I put it together I didn't like it.  So I put it away.   Debbie Pine's November 2017 CMQG meeting about Unfinished Projects really hit home, and this is one of my UFO's.  So after getting it out and thinking and playing, I now have a plan. 

 Seeing these little 8" blocks joined to one another wasn't very interesting to me.  So I took them apart and just let this project sit.  Now?  I've made larger blocks from 4 of these smaller blocks and added some hand quilting.  These blocks are now 15.25" , but I only have 14 of them.  above all, I want this quilt to be a usable size.  What a great design opportunity for some handwork in this middle 6 blocks.  These blocks, once individually quilted, will be joined using Sharon Pederson's reversible method. This quilt is also a great opportunity to use up batting scraps.  Piecing batting is undetectable.  I'm also using scrap bits for the backing.  And yes, I have enough...

Here's to March and Spring!