Friday, September 1, 2017

Summertime Quilting

We are deep in summer, and looking forward to weeks more of hot weather--a good time to stay indoors and quilt!

Above is a quilt called 'Stretched Star,' pattern from one of the Nickel Quilt books. I sewed the stars on a 1926 Singer 99 handcranked machine when the electricity was out after Hurricane Hermine last year.

This quilt is another one from the set of 1/4-log cabin scrap blocks that I made in an effort to sew up my scrap bins. Both of these quilts were donated to a local homeless shelter that provides quilts to the kids who stay there.

This quilt is from a Bonnie Hunter pattern called 'Midnight Flight.' I have been quilting it over the past few weeks, in between working on all my other projects. Finishing the quilting on it is on my list of things to get done this weekend. I like the sunset colors of this one.

This quilt is based on two Bonnie Hunter patterns--the setting is from 'Narragansett Blues,' but she used 4-patch units in the quilt--I substituted spool blocks from one of her other patterns. The red fabric drawer in my sewing room was getting full, so I needed to make a red quilt. I finished the borders and pieced the backing, but still need to baste it. I love the spool blocks, they are only 3 inches finished and there are more than 280 of them in the quilt. I am tempted to make this quilt again in blues, just so I can make more spool blocks.

Blue, green, and turquoise triangles were part of my piecing efforts over Christmas vacation. I haven't even started quilting this one! I learned from this quilt that I like quilts that mix warm and cool colors.

Oh look, another 1/4-log cabin quilt! I have been experimenting with different settings for variety. I think this is the 6th quilt I've made from these blocks--and I still have more of them! I will probably make one more quilt from what I have left. This one went together very fast over the course of a few days since the blocks were already made. I had barely enough green in a 2-yard cut for the background of this one. The borders are made from leftover string strip panels from a project I made last year. This quilt is basted and ready for quilting. I always have so many projects going at once that it takes a while to complete them all, but I am never bored. I just started cutting strips for a new quilt yesterday, so there is no chance that I will run out of projects...

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


So, can you see it?

There is one rotated half-square triangle unit in this quilt. I sewed the blocks, pressed them, and squared them up. Didn't notice it. I arranged them on my design wall and stared at them off and on for at least a week while I auditioned several different colors of sashing and worked out the border design. Didn't notice it. I sewed it together, pressed the entire top, spread it out on the floor and crawled all over it, basting it with safety pins, and then took a photo of the quilt. Didn't notice it. I spent several hours machine quilting the quilt. Didn't notice it. I spread it out on the floor again and buried the quilting thread tails and carefully pinned the binding to the front of the quilt. Didn't notice it. Not until I hand-sewed a quarter of the binding to the back of the quilt and spread it out on the floor again to check that I wasn't getting any border wave did I see the one rotated half-square triangle unit.

I am not fixing it.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Tumbler quilt wavy borders fixed

To fix the wavy borders, I added three more rows of quilting to the borders of Tumbler quilt. The extra quilting drew in the edges of the quilt.

Next I ripped the binding off. I spritzed the borders with water and pressed them, and then pinned the binding back on the quilt. When I re-sewed the binding to the quilt, I cut about 2.5 inches off the binding. That's how much the extra quilting shrank the perimeter of the quilt.

I finished the binding by hand. No more wavy borders. Next time I will be more careful with how the quilting density is distributed across the quilt.

Now that the Tumbler quilt is fixed, I have been working on machine quilting the Charlie Harper quilt (the colors were inspired by a Charlie Harper print). The pattern is 'Tumalo Trail' by Bonnie Hunter. Two biologists saw me practicing the quilting design on the whiteboard outside of my office at lunch one day and they both said 'algae'. I ran out of thread before I finished the quilting on this one and had to order more. It took 6 hours and 40 minutes to machine quilt it.

I also finished sewing the quilt top for the quilt on the design wall behind the sewing machine in this photo, but I ran out of cotton batting so I put it away for now.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Spending some time on finishes

I decided my count of unfinished quilt projects has risen as high as it needs to go, so I've been spending the last month or so of quilt time on getting some projects completed.

This one is very, very pink. It is a signature quilt for a sick friend, signed by members of our book club. It is backed with a pink flannel that is very warm.

This small wall-hanging was made with leftover triangles from cutting out diamonds for another quilt.

And this is my problem child. I basted this Tumblers quilt, and it looked great. Then I quilted it and sewed the binding to the front and began blind-stitching the binding to the back of the quilt by hand. When I laid the quilt out to see how it looked, I discovered this:

Argh! I have border wave. I am fairly certain that the problem appeared during quilting. The tight looped design in the center of the quilt appears to have made the quilt shrink up more than usual during quilting, and I didn't quilt it densely enough in the borders to balance out the shrinkage. The uneven shrinkage has given me wavy borders, and it is way noticeable with the binding on. I considered not fixing it, just finishing the binding as-is. But it is so ripply. I am going to try adding some quilting in the borders. It may still not be enough, but I don't want to rip the quilting out of the borders. I can do another sine wave in the inner border and echo the spiral border with gentle scallops. I am hoping I don't need to pull the binding off, but I suspect I will have to. I suspect adding extra quilting will make the ripple worse if I don't re-bind it.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Some days, you should just go read a book instead.

I finally finished squaring up the Tumalo Trail blocks (my least favorite part of the quilt-making process). I cut sashing rectangles and cornerstone squares to go between the blocks. Next step is to lay the blocks out on the design wall to figure out the final layout and balance the colors in the quilt. Oh wait, the design wall already has a quilt on it that is half-sewn together and has been on the wall for approximately 3 months. No problem, I can lay it out on the living room floor instead. But there is a Christmas tree in the way. Oh well, it is nearly a week after New Year’s and definitely time to take down the tree. I spend an hour un-decorating the tree and remove it from the living room. Now I have a clear floor space and can lay out the blocks.

I try two different layouts, rearrange a few blocks.

Crawl around on hardwood floor and start to lay out the sashing and cornerstones between the blocks.

Stare at quilt. Realize that I forgot to factor in putting sashing around the edges of the quilt and therefore have seriously underestimated the number of sashing rectangles and cornerstones that I need. I didn’t cut enough. And the quilt is looking sort of short. I think I need an extra row. But I made some extra blocks. Hmm, only 3 extra blocks and I need 6. Get calculator to recalculate the size of the quilt, including blocks, sashing, and the approximate size of the border that I haven’t decided on yet to make sure it is big enough. Yes, one extra row will work.

I look up to discover that my cat has decided to roll on the quilt I laid out on the floor.

Right. I’m just going to go read a book now.