Saturday, November 26, 2016

Two Sided Quilting

 Instead of shopping on Black Friday, I quilted this new quilt. The top was made last year and the reverse was made to match the size but as you can see, a totally different colorway. Hand dyed cottons, and commercial prints and plaids, machine pieced and machine quilted 51x63". I used light violet threads for the quilting. $250 Email me.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Scrappy Fun

As I was cleaning up the tornado debris of scraps, a thought arrived to leave out just two bins of bits and strips and sew those down to a manageable lot.
O! What fun this turned out to be. While doing my laundry (room adjacent to the studio) I made use of the time by corralling small leftovers into big beautiful blocks, a sourdough starter for the next quilt top.
 These will work in any color scheme I should choose. Hurray! I know full well that this is nothing new, and many many of you are already doing it, but it is really a great feeling to be using up the 'scraps too small to save' and emptying a bin or two. I feel like I know what I would bring if I ever had the opportunity/ability to go to a quilting retreat.

Sunday, November 20, 2016


 The new scrappy top. Hand dyed cottons, commercial prints, 51x65", machine pieced. The plan was to bring out my scrap bins and see where that led me. No color scheme was planned but it soon became blue and pink, for which I had plenty of bits to get me started.
Aiming for large negative areas, I was happy to find big chunks in the bins. as well as long wider strips. And of course previously patched semi-blocks to add to the mix.

Did a bomb go off? Scrap quilting always gets out of hand in a hurry. On the other hand I learned that my set up is just right for this sort of work. I have an ironing pad on the left and a cutting mat for trimming, and another bigger matt on my stand up work table for cutting yardage. Very efficient, if messy.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A New Point of View

 I've been a quilter since December of 1981. 35 years! My goals have changed over the years and again just this week. The goal now of using up my 'good' fabric is starting to make sense to me. And with the genuine emotional release of getting a quilt quilted in one day, it's quite a motivator.   This is a top I made last year in the old house and instead of just quilting it, I am planning on making another top just this size for another double sided quilt. This way I can plan on more open space to feature the quilting on the new top where it will be visible.  The design wall is now covered with batting and just walking into my fabric closet (the bathroom/laundry room) I think I'll begin at the bottom with the scrap bins, as a jumping off point.
Plenty o'fabric to last me til I keel over. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Return of the Design Wall

Now that I am enthused about quilting my tops, I realized I needed to re-mount my design wall, which fell down months ago. Hopefully it will stay put this time.  Photographing quilts is better if they are pinned up. I still haven't covered the surface with batting, but that is next.

A Yellow Affair backed with an untitled top. Hand dyed and commercial cottons, machine pieced and machine quilted, 46x60" $250.00 SOLD

Thursday, November 17, 2016

That Settles It

The wheels did the trick. I evened out the two tables and quickly sandwiched a top and back (both pieced) and sat down for the big try out. I also switched out my chair to one that raises and lowers more accurately.
Two hours into the quilting and I had to break for a doggie walk. Back soon afterward and I put in another hour of quilting. I am 3/4 done with this 48x62" top.
 The table makes it very easy to guide and slide the quilt and I don't need any other mechanisms to accomplish the work. Simple is best. Of course the tops I am quilting are not fancy, but functional and I am happy to be reducing the UFO bin as I play. I am excited to finish the rest this way, with allover quilting, so fast and still decorative.
Yellow Affair cottons including hand dyes, machine pieced, unquilted, 47x62": Untitled top, 48x60", machine pieced,  unquilted.:
These are the two unrelated (except by yellow) that I quilted together. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Double Sided Quilt


Here she is, FINISHED. 46x59" 💓 I really like how this turned out and am so enthused to finish more of my tops, and even make new ones.
As for the quilting machine, I'll make this short. Unless I can sell these quilts, I can't justify another machine.
Here's a question from Nancy:
I have been considering putting something like this on my Wishlist, so am grateful for your reviews and those of your readers. What are the most important features too look for, how do the brands differ, and is this a reasonable purchase for someone who has ruled out a long arm? My older Bernina works fine for piecing, but the short throat makes free motion quilting anything bigger than a small baby quilt a challenge. Thanks for the advice!

What I felt was important in quilting machines:
The sound it makes. If it is too loud, and/or whiny, I would not buy it.
Smooth running at high speed. (My sister tells me that no one sews that fast when they are trying out the machine, so the vibration never sew really fast!)
Needle up and down, which most of the machines have, totally necessary.
A large table to hold the gathered up quilt top.
Thread cutter that I am used to this on my Janome 6500P, I just can't live without it.
Bright light over the work.
Built in bobbin winder.

Since we moved I have instituted a rule that I am not buying anything that I can't move myself. To that end, the machine table that I have is not making me happy so that came into the discussion. The resolution is to add wheels to my table, which in turn will raise it enough to be even with the work surfaces adjacent. Here's the ridiculous set up I have now. Definitely make do.

So, after using the two wonderful LARGER quilting machines, and then trying out the same designs on my Janome, I am happy to stay with my machine and the set up I have. And of course, I can do quilt as you go for larger works...see the ones I've already made here.
guest worthy:

Update: The solution for my sewing table. Brakes on two wheels and free rolling on the others. Lowe's had just what I needed. I raised my big white table with doubled spongey pads, and we have smooth sailing ahead.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

New Tricks for an Old Dawg

Recently I have been 'trying out' the sit down quilting machines at my sister's store. They feature the Babylock Tiara and it's pretty fabulous. My friend Mary has the Juki and it is also pretty fabulous. I've been trying out all over quilting designs on both of these, assuming that they would help me quilt a larger functional quilt in a super hurry. 
Smooth, Adjustable Table Included: Juki TL-2200 QVP Quilt Virtuoso Pro Long Arm 18 inch x 10 inch Quilting Machine Sit Down Package w/Sit Down Quilting Table:   
I practiced some patterns I found on Pinterest and felt ready to quilt SOMETHING. I do have a bunch of tops waiting in the wings, including these two that are about the same size. Mary invited me over to play on her machine Sunday afternoon, so I quickly sandwiched these two tops into one and hurried over there. Keeping in mind that these are nap quilt tops, about 45x60", the idea was to get them quilted and ready for use, so they need no fussiness for the quilting.

Lily: The Yellow Quilt. A mix of cotton prints and solids, including the big Marimekko floral from my old bedspread! 48x62", unquilted.: August 6th, because I couldn't think of a better name. Machine pieced cottons, 48x63.5", unquilted top.:
I learned some new designs, but still incorporated some of my old stuff into the mix too. The difference in the quilting machine was the ease of movement because of the table. And the huge bobbin allowed for hours of quilting without having to change the bobbin. I learned one important thing that made a huge difference in the reverse side of the quilt. I pulled up the bobbin thread at the start and that left the back looking better. Not that it matters but that is something I never usually did.

 Here's the back, which because of the busy prints, the quilting is difficult to see.
  It took about three and a half hours to quilt the thing and I am really jazzed about the experience. I am ready to quilt up the remaining 10 tops waiting in the wings.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Finished Friendship Star Quilt

This quilt was part of a challenge done with my arty gals group. We were to use fabrics from the resale shops or traded fabrics from family clothing. When I first began to make mine I was stumped because the fabrics I collected were uninspiring, to say the least. Just awful and boring. I couldn't make myself work on it.
Eventually I just took the Friendship star blocks and added my own hand dyed fabric and that made all the difference. I didn't follow the rules, but if I had, this would never have been done.
My  design wall is dismantled so I had to improvise to take these photos.  Skirt hangers did the trick.