Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Attempting Applique

Chinese Coins VIII began as a value study for the demonstration I planned to give to my guild earlier this year when life intervened. Originally these columns were to be combined with light yellow columns and dark green/blue columns; that is, until I saw all of these soft blue/greens together. They make a perfect background for appliqued vines so I set them aside for a while.

Chinese Coins VIII quilt background

Especially after working with Circular Anomaly, I knew strong reds would play well with these turquoise shades. Red reminded me of roses but I had reservations about making applique as large as seemed to be needed. At that point I remembered the pieced roses that were so popular a few years ago which always reminded me of crazy quilts and irregular pineapple block. IMO some of the prettiest were made by Tim Russell; I spent a while soaking in ideas from his roses.

QS and I took a crazy quilting class years ago. The teacher {whose name I've forgotten} suggested beginning with pentagons so I made one for the centers of these flowers and then continued around like a log cabin. I wish I'd trimmed the petals more like Tom's; mine got larger and larger as I went around. Still, they look alright.

The next step was determining where to add leaves. You can see my first large leaf on the left of the lower rose in the photo above. Eventually I sewed a smaller dark green triangle on the left. Being a bit unhappy with how it looked, I only pinned the one on the right. Too dark and heavy.

Auditioning dark green leaves near the rose

The odd white with large dark leaves gives hints of leaves in the distance but keeps the rest of the background light. Only a light blue-green triangle needed here.

Auditioning light background instead of dark leaf near the rose
That's how my attempt at applique turned into piecing. Sigh. Now to add more roses.

Linking with Linda at Kokaquilts for Sew, Stitch, Snap, Share where there are always wonderful projects.
Enjoy the day, Ann

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Inspiration Strikes

Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Pin basting several quilts at the same time has worked for me lately. So what the heck. I pinned the small medallion from last year (CCIV) that has been waiting to-be-quilted for several months - perhaps a year - at the same time as CCVII. And it sat again.

The continual problem? It looks unfinished. Of course, it is unquilted... but I mean the top itself. I've never been satisfied with this quilt. The center is chopped off. There's absolutely no more fabric so Sue Kelly's suggestion to broderie perse some elements from it wouldn't work. That's why it rested in the UFO pile for so long.

As soon as it was pinned though, inspiration struck because of that chopped-off white flower. {I would say, "Isn't that always the case?" but unfortunately, inspiration frequently strikes me after everything is done. A day late and a dollar short as it were.} What if I extended the flower with solid white fabric? And what if I scattered a few more flowers about?

I cut some mockups from paper. Looking good so far.

Potential flowers added to medallion Chinese Coin quilt
After preparing solid fabrics and letting them dry overnight, I cut the shapes out and pinned them on the top. The next problem is that the quilt is pinned and trimmed fairly close. Two choices: machine stitch through all the layers or judiciously unpin a small portion. To be even safer, I stitched the flower closest to the edge of the quilt.

Machine appliqueing a flower onto a quilt

I took the table off the machine so I'm sewing by inserting machine arm between the top and the batting-and-backing. Not an ideal situation but it works. The small arm fits without removing too many pins.

Starting at the center, without the orange star portion, I outlined petals. With the needle down on the outside edge, I put the star in place before outline stitching over it. Then I went around that shape again, a bit inside the first and ended with some circles for the very center. Now the outside edge didn't look uniform so I traveled back and went around again... deliberately very casually.  The hardest part actually was tieing and burying the threads.

Flowers are machine appliqueing onto a quilt
I thought this would take a day or more to finish but it took less than an hour {after the material was prepped.} In fact, cutting the shapes out took longer than sewing them on. While it would look better done before basting, it turned out pretty well.

Now to choose a quilting design and thread color.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Pi Day 2018

Ok, so Pi Day is tomorrow - 3/14 - but I couldn't wait.

I've been wanting to make a Wagon Wheel or Ferris Wheel block for several years, simply haven't gotten around to it. The joy and bane of rotary tools is that they make straight cutting so easy.

The 10-degree wedge ruler was a find at a quilt show... about three years ago. {It had to age on my bookshelf, you know.} When I was finally ready to start, I considered using bright fabrics but have a collection of oddly colored green, beige, red, and white fabrics sitting unused in my stash. Hmm.

Wedge ruler and fabric pull for Ferris Wheel blocks

So I made a sample that turned out to be a mess. Granted, I extended the ends of the ruler in both directions by adding my regular ruler but the wedges are disconcertingly inaccurate. Into the Future Box it went. {Doesn't that sound better than UFO? Like a Hope Chest, perhaps?}

First Wheel
Rod Kiracofe showed a Wheel quilt at a recent lecture with Julie Silber that has similarities with my original plan. The varying blade widths are attractive here.

Julie Silber holds a Wheel quilt from Rod Kiracofe's collection

On the drive home I remembered Audrey's quilt with striped binding. Red and white striped binding. And I have some red and white stripe fabric. I pulled everything out again adding a random grey-green solid for a background. {I'd forgotten she put quarter circles on her quilt.} Possibilities.

Quarter Ferris wheel block with red and white striped binding

This was the last photo I snapped before leaving on the family emergency so there's no telling when I will get back to it or how it may change. Well, it's been in the Future Box before.

What other circles have I made this past year? Well, I finished the Thirty Year Sampler

Thirty Year Sampler quilt

and Rabbit 1.

Rabbit 1, a Strips 'n Curves variation

Pluto and the moon on these Christmas stockings,

Velveteen Christmas stockings for grandchildren

the Racetrack quilt,

Racetrack quilt
Circular Anomaly {which isn't finished},

Circular Anomaly quilt in progress

and the Propeller baby quilt {which is still basted but not quilted.}

Start Your Engines propeller baby quilt basted

Not a bad collection of Pi(e)s. Off to make an apple pie. Lots of family around so it will be gone before it's cooled. Yum!

Enjoy the day, Ann

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Rabbit 2 Top Finished

Using the absolutely last of the Strips 'n Curves fabric, I finished this top while DH worked late last year. Then the "demo that didn't occur" took over so I hadn't posted it. Again I only used the Negative/Positive template set. It has an '80s vibe but a child might like to race his cars or horses, build a city or irrigate farmland on this quilt. It is open to the imagination.

Yellow/green Strips n' Curves quilt top sewn
I love some of the subtle changes from one curved area to the next in this Rob Peter to Pay Paul variation. Amazingly the strips lined up well. Only a couple of seams didn't match up at all. I'm not sure why but I'm not going to worry about it.

Once the blocks were sewn, this top took another three days to put together. After the strip sheets of fabric were created, I didn't press anything again until it was all together. Then I carefully used up/down motion only with the iron; no back/forth movement at all. All the outer edges are bias cuts so it definitely needs a border. Probably very narrow, just to stabilize those edges.

DIL has requested this quilt for a friend. Done deal. Just need to quilt and bind it.

Enjoy the day,

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Spiderweb 3 Quilted and Gifted

The third spiderweb quilt, the one with the blue stars finished quickly once I decided on the spiral quilting design.

Spiderweb quilt with blue stars

Nothing but parallel or echo quilting will show on all these busy prints. Plus I expect the quilt to receive constant use.

I started the spiral a bit too close but like it anyway.

Starting the spiral quilting

Even better, this time there are no waves on the edges. I quilted more slowly {although it only took the afternoon} and made sure to not pull the quilt on the bias. Success. Previous spiral result here.

The circles aren't perfect but I think the stitch length is a bit more uniform.

Spiral quilting on Spiderweb quilt

Because of all the bias edges, this top did not pin as flat as most of mine. Choosing a quilting design without crossing lines always helps scoot those bubbly areas into the quilt without tucks. Think this spiral, echo quilting or {best of all} meander or stipple quilting. Parallel quilting lines may be okay or may simply "push" the excess along a create bias stretch waves between rows of quilting.

Due to bias edges on the blocks, the top of this quilt is not flat.

The back is a single fabric remnant and the binding is almost the last of the pink and green stripe used in Strippy Nine Patch border and Bars 2 binding.  And there's still some left in the binding box. Always a joy to have binding ready at hand.

Binding and backing on Spiderweb quilt

Previous posts:
  1. Starting with leftovers from previous spiderweb
  2. Changing the border
Quilt Details
Size: 40.5"" x 40.5"
Design: Spiderweb 
Batting: Mountain Mist Blue Ribbon100% cotton
Thread: Aqua Aurifil cotton 50/2 thread
Quilting: Free motion spiral 

Spirals remind me of circles which remind me of Dale Fleming's method for making circles. It looks like applique although it's pieced. Instructions were on an old Simply Quilts episode that Patty mentioned a while ago. She used it to mend a quilt of vintage wool; I used it to mend a hole in this quilt.

Circular mend in a palm tree

The technique inspires me to consider making more Quilty365 blocks. Those are on my to-do list this year.

Linked to Finish it up Friday.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Bars 2 Quilted

This quilt went together very quickly because many of the strips sets were already made (leftover from the Bars quilt top.) Quilting roughly parallel lines with a walking foot is a perfect utilitarian finish that only takes a couple of hours on a small quilt.

Bars 2 baby quilt in pastel solid fabrics
Although the quilt was small enough to fit on WOF, I used two pink fabrics to get enough length for the back. Most of the chevron was the back for this t-shirt quilt. Only a few narrow lengths remain.

The binding is a remnant of the pink and green stripe originally used in the ribbon border of my Strippy Nine Patch. What a lucky find. It segues nicely between the solid front and printed back. I also used it on the recent Spiderweb quilt... and there's still a bit more. Perhaps enough to go around another quilt or two. Into the binding bin it goes.

Back, binding, and quilting on Bars baby quilt
Again I quilted simple unmarked parallel lines like Fifth Chinese Coins but these run across the Coins/Bars and are about an inch apart. It should keep the seams from pulling and still keep the quilt flexible and soft for a baby.

Previous posts:
  1. Designing Bars 2.
  2. Bars 1 workshop.
  3. Sewing Bars 1 top.

Quilt Details
Size: 38" x 38"
Design: Chinese Coin
Batting: Mountain Mist Blue Ribbon 100% cotton
Thread: pink Metler cotton 50/3 sewing weight
Quilting: Straight lines with walking foot

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Scale Change and an Ohio Star Quilt: AHIQ 30

Reading Kaja's prompt reminded me of a scrap quilt I made years ago. The small shoofly and star squares were from a block exchange. Because we traded two blocks at once, most of the resulting quilts were very similar - an alternate set like the center of mine.

I didn't have many blocks, didn't want to make more but also wanted a queen-size quilt. As everyone knows I've always loved interesting borders. Setting the small blocks in a really large star was my solution. The navy points were too severely dark so I exchanged part of one point for a striking Japanese-style print. {I put the extra dark navy on the back of this quilt so historians would know this was a design choice rather than a lack of fabric. Just amusing myself.} I also wanted to extend the star to its points but, fortunately for me, it became too large. Chopping them off makes a much stronger design.

Shoofly Star quilt set in a large star

It still didn't look right. I recall folding and overlaying various fabrics thinking I'd change more points out when ribbons came to mind. Now this is where I ran out of fabric. There are several different reds. Then gold because a second ribbon of red didn't look right. And somehow I decided to play with transparency where the ribbons passed over darker and lighter sections and crossed each other.

Border of Shoofly Star quilt plays with transparency

This has always been one of my favorite quilts. I gave it to QS for Christmas that year {198? mumble} and sleep under it when visiting. It's a special treat to have quilts scattered across the country. I feel like a grandmother: I get special time with them but don't have to care for them. Audrey made good points about sharing quilts with others in a recent post. Funnily enough, QS didn't quilt back then but this gift inspired her to start. See; I still make my sisters do things. Ha. Tag! You're it, Sis!

Quilt Details
Size: about 90" square (?), fits a queen-size bed
Design: Shoofly and Ohio Star blocks, original border of enlarged Star
Batting: Mountain Mist Blue Ribbon 100% cotton
Thread: cotton, gold metallic, and YLI nylon monofilament
Quilting: Walking foot, free-motion

Enjoy the day, Ann

An InLinkz Link-up

Linked to Finish it up Friday.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Bars 2 Quilt

My stack of baby quilts finally ran out at year's end. Good news that they all found homes but more will be needed soon. Plus, having reserves was one of my smarter moves. I decided to replenish the stack by using extras/leftovers from larger projects. {Yes, I have a bunch of Chinese Coin tops, too, that I'm holding on to in case I'm asked to demonstrate them again.} So here's the first baby quilt for the TBD pile.  These light sections came from the Bars workshop so this is Bars 2.

Since I didn't start numbering my quilts in the beginning, I've decided to number them within series. It's so much easier to name these quilts sequentially rather than coming up with original names. {I've never been good at that.} Frankly, many of my quilts begin with a traditional block idea.

Pastel bar sections for a baby quilt

As you can see, the photo above was taken at night so the lighting is off. It's another one taken before I got wrapped up in making class samples for the Chinese Coin demo. Some more sets with white are waiting to become the Bars 3 baby quilt but I don't have a photo of them yet.

Once the sections are sewn, they easily move around until the final arrangement takes form. The simplicity and speed of construction are advantages of small quilts that I must remember.

Bars  2 quilt top

Pinwheels have been my leader/ender project since the end of the year. Wow, these fabrics are dark. They were made from squarish remnants. I'm not sure why I didn't cut them into Coins but found this a nice change. No idea what they will become but again, it's good to have a small stash ready for an occasion.

Leader/Ender project 

Tuesday will be the next AHIQ linkup. Kaja invited us to work on scale changes but we're interested in all utility or improvisational work. I'm wrapped up in family issues but found something to share. What about you? Please join in; your posts are my late night relaxation for now and serious food for thought when we are scared to make a leap into creativity.

Linking with other scrap quilters at Cynthia's Oh Scrap.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Circular Anomaly Fused

There's not a lot of time right now and I don't feel very creative or original but several workshop projects are sitting around. So I can continue to push these partially finished tops and UFOs along. For example, fusible interfacing was ironed to all the second layer pieces of Circular Anomaly as each was pinned in place. They should be fused before pieces get lost or start fraying. Here's a late-night photo I took in December but never posted.

Circular Anomaly layout

I started fusing that layer in the top right. Although the ironing time spread over several days, it only took 2-3 hours to arrange and press that quarter. And fortunately I took breaks because there seem to be too few red circles.

What about this instead? I switched out about ten kisses although some are partial (on the border.)

Circular Anomaly fused

I'd use more circles in the top left but I want to highlight that rose. Remember? And in middle on the left is a wonderful scrap of blue circles that screams for kisses around it. Those are my limiting features.

Next step is topstitching all those hugs and kisses. Since this might be a lap or toddler quilt, satin stitch will not be a choice but I am considering blanket stitch. I don't have the energy for creative thinking or the time to try different stitches right now but this will be a good one to work on in a couple of months.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Saturday, February 17, 2018

CCVII Quilted

Chinese Coins VII was quilted and bound for the "demonstration that didn't happened." Both it and CCVI illustrated my topics well so I think I'll keep them until I can finally give that class.

Chinese Coins VII quilt

Both have simple walking foot lines across the coins: soft yellow thread on CCVI and light green on CCVII. After SID with cotton thread in the bobbin and nylon mono-filament in the top, I stitched about 3/8" on each side of those seams with cotton top and bottom. Why 3/8"? That's the width of my walking foot and I used it to track the seam line. Then I halved the columns and halved twice more until the density looked right. I like the slight variations that occur when the columns are different widths. In fact, in the photo below there's still another set of lines to be quilted in the narrowest green column.

Walking foot parallel lines in progress

Stripes make great bindings. For once I did what I always intend: I purchased three yards of the yellow and green stripe.  I don't use much yellow so I'll add it as the binding for several of these quilts. {Making hay while the sun shines.}

Chinese Coins VII quilt with green and yellow striped binding
An older print of large yellow and orange roses on a green background made most of the back with the last of the yellow and green conversation bubble print (about an eighth yard WOF) added to get the right length.

Quilt Details
Size: 40" x 42"
Design: Chinese Coins
Batting: Mountain Mist Blue Ribbon 100% cotton
Thread: light green Aurifil cotton 50/2 thread, YLI nylon monofilament
Quilting: walking foot parallel lines

Linking to Cynthia's Oh, Scrap, a welcome site for all us scrappy quilters and at Amanda's Finish it up Friday.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

CCVI (Yellow and White) Quilted

Chinese Coins VI (the yellow and white one) worked out better than I thought. Three different column widths are symmetrically placed. The Coins and columns are rotary cut although I didn't try to keep the coins parallel.

Such a low volume quilt needed some solid white fabric to emphasize the lightness of the "white" columns. I.e., ensure everyone realizes they are not beige. I'm finding that adding some solid white to areas I want to read as white is better than using all prints.

Chinese Coins VI quilt

As I've mentioned before I like to ditch stitch major seam lines and on Coins I like to add rows of stitching about 3/8" to 1/2" on each side of the ditch. Here I mimicked that design down the centers of the yellows and the wider (outside) white columns. Then I sewed my usual: quilt by splitting the distance in half until it looked right to me. Because the center yellow column is wider, those quilting lines are spaced further apart than the other yellow columns. I considered quilting as many divisions on the two narrow white columns but decided that was too tight.

Parallel quilting can seem stiff until the quilt is washed. Then is softens up beautifully.

Chinese Coins VI quilting detail

There was a lovely yellow and white stripe in my stash waiting to become binding. Even better, it had these unique bulleyes. Now I see I should have fussy cut the binding so theys lined up around the binding. A note to remember for next time.

Chinese Coins VI binding detail
The buffalo plaid/gingham on the back makes me quite happy. It has a slightly roughened texture - almost like kitchen toweling or hopsack - although it doesn't snag. Usually I like soft finishes but this texture certainly offers comfort on a cold day. We've been having lots of cold days in Texas lately. I'll have to remember this backing choice in the future.

Quilt Details
Size: 45" x 52"
Design: Chinese Coins
Batting: Mountain Mist Blue Ribbon 100% cotton
Thread: yellow Aurifil cotton 50/2 thread, YLI nylon monofilament
Quilting: walking foot parallel lines

Enjoy the day, Ann

PS: Linked to Finish it up Friday

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Another Attempt to Use the Strips

The previous quilt top for my Chinese Coin demonstration sorted the columns by color regardless of value so I thought it would be helpful to sort this one by value, regardless of color. The plan was to have 1) very light value yellow and white columns, 2) medium to light value green and blue columns, and 3) dark value green and blue columns.

First step was to sew all the mediums. I was determined to finish these off so you can see I ran out of  a coins in the middle. I could cut more strips or sew two narrower columns together to get the wider column.

Chinese Coin quilt with double column bottom middle

Another idea is to add in a strip of contrast. And move the green column to the far right.

Using a sashing strip to fill a short column section on Chinese Coin quilt

I thought it still needed the light and dark value columns until I realized this is a great background to applique on. Hmm. Change of plans. I've been wanting to add applique to a Coin quilt. This will be Chinese Coins VIII...

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, February 6, 2018


An unexpected family emergency. The demo must be postponed.
Some posts are queued up but I won’t be checking much.
Best wishes to you all. Hug your loved ones.

Enjoy the day, Ann