Monday Memory – Take One

I am going to try to feature a quilt from my “past” every Monday.  So many are worth seeing again.  This one is Rambling Rose meets Jamestown and was a Block of the Month featured by Sew n Sew, one of our local quilt shops.  The pattern is by Marti Michell.   It was beautifully pieced by Joanne P.  I quilted feathers in the light areas of the log cabin blocks, used a stencil in the sampler blocks to give them unity.   In the dark parts of the log cabin I freehanded a motif from the stencil and added swirls.
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Special cross stitch quilt

Yes, I know I haven’t posted in awhile.  After the Ponderosa Retreat I spent a week at Edisto Beach with my good friend Carol and her hubby and three college age boys – the oldest is 22 and then twins 21!!  I forgot to take my camera.  We had a wonderful time and I came home very rested and refreshed.  Last week I worked on this special cross stitch quilt.  The cross stitch part was done by a family’s grandmother.  They asked another quilter/piece to put the blocks into a quilt top and then she brought it to me to be quilted.  I was able to use a lot of new free motion patterns I learned at the Jamie Wallen classes I did in July.  I also stretched myself to quilt BIG to fill the spaces and to meet the customer’s budget.  You need to put some quilting in the cross stitch areas but you don’t want to quilt on the actual stitching.  So then the amount and size of the other quilting designs need to be compatible.  I am very happy with how this one turned out.





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Sisters’ Choice ala Betsy

Every year or so the Sew’n Sisters work on a joint/mutual project.  A couple of years ago we decided to make Sisters’ Choice blocks and do a block exchange.  We cut lots and lots of 2 1/2″ strips from each of our stashes and tossed them all in a big plastic tub.  We found a white background that we all liked and cut strips of that also.  Then once a month or sometimes more often we would dive into the plastic tub – select two strips that we liked together – and start cutting and sewing.  After about a year – maybe a bit less – we decided we had enough blocks made.  So we put them all out in a pile and started choosing.  That way each of us had blocks made by each and every sister in our quilt.

Next we had to choose a setting and start putting out quilt tops together.  Frances was the first to be finished – is anyone surprised about that?  Frances is FOCUS with a capital F and she keeps at a project till she “gets ‘er done.”  You can see Frances’ finished top and how I quilted it here.  Hers was finished in November of 2011.  The other Sisters have been very distracted.  Me by quilting for lots of customers, Betsy by weddings and babies in her family, and Sheila – well if I had to name all the major life changes that gal has been through in the past two years I would need another page.  All good but her life has been a very big whirlwind and much piecing/sewing got put on the back burner.  But her top is done and I can’t wait to get it quilted.

I was the second one finished but mine is yet to be quilted.  Betsy was the third – she had to make a lot of setting blocks and then cut those blocks and add them to the Sisters’ Choice blocks.  Lots of work.  Well worth it as you will see from the photos.

I used two different quilting stencils for the setting blocks and the Sisters’ Choice blocks plus some freehand continuous curves in the star points of the Sisters’ Choice blocks.  In the setting blocks I also echoed around the outside of the stencil and I added continuous curves in the centers of both the setting and the Sisters’ Choice blocks. The background has straight lines and pebbling.  I used Superior’s Sew Fine thread on top and pre-wound Bottom Line in the bobbin.

The back is just wonderful – I love it when the back looks as good as if not better than the front.

Hopefully I will have Sheila’s and my own quilted within the next few months.  We want to display them together at our next quilt show.

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I love Betsy’s setting around the Sisters’ Choice blocks and the on point.  Where the blocks come together it makes a new block/secondary pattern.  This is the scrappiest quilt that Betsy has done – she was not sure about this the entire time we were working on it.  But I think she is very happy with the final product.

SunBonnet Sue through the year

One of my very good customers sent me a SunBonnet Sue quilt top to quilt for her.  When she told me it was a Sunbonnet Sue I cringed!  Yes, I cringed!  I have never been enamored of the originial SBS block – I always thought it was flat and uninteresting and in some cases Sue looked pretty darn pregnant (what was that darn Overall Sam up to anyway?).  But Donna is an excellent customer and does wonderful applique work so I said sure, send it on.  She told me she had started it for her granddaughter (working together) when the grand as 5 or 6 years old.  Then it got put aside but in the past year Donna pulled it out and finished the blocks and wanted to give this to her granddaughter for her 18th birthday in July.

Imagine my joy when the packagae arrives and this is what I see!  A calendar style quilt with wonderful scenes of SBS doing something for each month.  Beautiful borders showing a different season of the year in each one.  I was excited and ready to get quilting.

First you need a plan.  Donna  had selected a dark red backing fabric.  Usually I try to match the bobbin thread to the backing fabric instead of to the top thread.  If the fabric is very busy with lots of colors then that isn’t as important to me.  But especially with a quilt top that is different applique in each block – the back can get very strange looking as you go around the individual applique pieces.  With a pieced top where you quilt repeating motifs the back can and usually begins to look like a whole cloth quilt.  I debated and debated about using a dark red bobbin thread.  Especially since there would be a lot of cream/light beige top thread on the top.  I finally went with a darker beige bobbin thread and began quilting.  This was not a good choice – nor was my original border quilting plan.  Of course I kept hoping it would be better and quilted about 2/3rds of the light backgrounds before I knew this was not going to work.  The dark beige threadbobbin thread looked almost white against the dark red fabric and just stood out like a sore thumb.  Back to the drawing board…………but first an entire evening/night/and morning unquilting.

I ended up using FIFTEEN different thread colors on top and continued to use dark red Bottom Line prewounds in the bobbin.  I had to tweak tension with each color change and sometimes with each fabric change as I moved from one block to the next.  But it was well worth it as there is nothing now standing out and looking bad on the back.  I hope I can get a picture of the back to load up with this post – I’ve been having problems getting pictures to load the past few times I’ve tried to blog.  I am debating whether to spend the $99 to go premium with wordpress or to move my blog somewhere else (are you listening wordpress?)  I need simple, easy, use-friendly and the ability to post lots of media.

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Finally!  All pics are here.  The last ne is the back and you really can’t see much quilting – which was the whole idea.

Split Personality

A couple of years ago I found an applique pattern by Pat Campbell. Pat was a very famous applique artist known for her Jacobean pattern.s  I purchased it for my friend Virginia who does lovely hand applique work.  When I gave it to her I told her I wanted this to be a joint project – she would do the pattern and then I would quilt it and we would enter it into quilt shows as a collaborative effort.  Somewhere I had seen a quilt done with one side having a light background and one having a dark background.  We decided to try that out with this quilt top.  So the background fabrics were pulled from my stash and then Virginia worked on the applique motifs using fabrics from her stash.  She finished it a while ago and then I had to find time to get it into my quilting schedule.  The only way I could do that and keep it there was to go ahead and enter it into a show before I had even begun the quilting (show entry forms typically have to be submitted at least a month in advance of the show if not more.

I finished the quilting yesterday evening.  This one gave me fits at the beginning – I had a light colored backing fabric and it was showing everything and I had a dark bobbin thread and it was just not pretty.  So I spent an entire night – yes I was up all night with a good audiobook – removing all of the first go round of quilting.  Then I had some things on my schedule and could not get back to quilting until this week.  I’m leaving to go to Florence (SC not Italy) tomorrow for four days  for Annual Conference (United Methodist) so I needed to get this finished and to Virginia for binding while I am gone.  It needs to get shipped to Columbus, OH for the NQA show by next Saturday.

Just got home from the handover to Virginia.  We have a great striped fabric for the binding (it will be done on the bias) and she will also make the hanging sleeve from leftover backing fabric and do a label for us.  I switched to a busy backing that has a black background with a Jacobean floral print that worked much better and carries the theme of the quilt to the back.

Well, enough with the words.  You want to see the quilt and the quilting, right??  I’ll do pics again when it gets bound.

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The border was to also have applique but a miscut and not any additional fabric made us decide to leave it open for quilting.  While I love feathers this quilt just didn’t say feathers for the border.  I went through my extensive collection of stencils and foudn the perfect one by Pepper Cory.  It had a floral motif that mimicked the flowers in the applique.  BUT it was too big for the width of our border.  I looked online to see if it came in a narrower version.  No luck.  So I took my  stencil – traced it out on copy paper and ran that through by four-in-one copier/printer in reduced mode until I got the perfect width.  The I transferred that to the fabric using tracing paper.

We bounced names for the quilt around for a long time and finally settled on Split Personality.

Thread – I used Bottom Line prewounds in the bobbin – light grey and dark grey.  Top threads were a stew….Glide, So Fine, a King Tut variegated in the border, and trilobal poly embroidery thread from Long Creek Mills.  Lots of thread color changes as I worked on the applique motifs.




Memorial Day Weekend quilting

My BFF Jolene was in for the long weekend.  I always try to get at least one of her quilts quilted when I know she is coming in.  This time….THREE!  The computer system allowed me to do two large ones with pantographs and I did a smaller one on my other system all freehand custom.

First up….the pattern is called Big Ten.  I chose a panto with some flowers that were similar to the patterns in the fabric.  This one was BIG – 89 by 105!!

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This next one is not as large – 77 by 77.  I love the colors in it.  Jolene chose a very simple pantograph called Whipped Cream that really complements the quilt top’s piecing.  I used the same backing fabric for both quilts – it’s a wide back by Timeless Treasures called Fleur and it works so well.

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Finally Bento Box.  Jolene started making these blocks many “moons” ago.  She first made the big blocks that are on the outside of the quilt.  She had leftover fabrics from each and I suggested she make smaller blocks for the interior of the quilt.  Then we decided to set those interior blocks on point.  I used a bright variegated thread for the quilting and lots of freemotion “line dancing” and swirls for the quilting pattern.  The backing for this one was a very busy and bright batik and the quilting did not show well.

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I wish I could say that this put a dent in the quilts that Jolene and I have waiting to be quilted but alas………..

And of course we worked on new projects.  We cut out everything for our Chubby Chicks and have the chicks fused to their backgrounds. I put borders on four Quilts of Valor so they are now ready to be quilted.  And Jolene worked on numberous other projects moving them along to the next stage of completion.  Plus we got the bindings on the two large quilts of hers that I just quilted!

Am I tired today? Oh, you bet, but it is a great tired. And I am taking it easy and catching up on the first season of Longmire.






Batik Three Dimensional Baltimore Album quilt

This one has been finished for about a week and will be delivered to its owner tomorrow afternoon.  Swirl feathers and feather waves……swirls and stippling………….and a scroll frame are the quilting motifs I chose to enhance this absolutely gorgeous contemporary Baltimore Album style quilt.  All the applique was done by hand.  All of the blocks were just beautiful.  Check out the ruching and the tiny stuffed berries and the little 3-D flower buds.  It is very hard to give this one back – and A++ to owner and appliquer Rhonda V!!!!!

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