Saturday, January 31, 2015

Wall Quilts

I was asked if I would make a wallhanging quilt for a raffle at the guild retreat. I agreed then realized that I rarely make wall quilts. I make little doll quilts or quilts that are at least throw-sized. So, I have been thinking about what I might make for the guild and some wall quilt-sized UFOs in the studio.

I thought putting these bright little log cabins on the design wall might inspire an idea. These are 6-inch blocks from a block exchange long ago. I always intended to make more-enough for a bed quilt ... but since that hasn't happened, I am thinking they might become that raffle quilt.

The other project I pulled out of a bin of UFOs is this set of redwork squares and some fabrics put aside to use with them.

This one will stay with me, but I am thinking it might be time to put it together. The January lotto block has inspired a new setting idea and a plan to make some scrappy double 9-patch blocks on this snowy, overcast day.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Lovely Day, A Lovely January Finish

Lovely Day, Lovely FinishI finished stitching down the binding on the plaid zig-zag mystery quilt Sunday night and it was such a beautiful sunny day on Monday, I thought to take it outside for a photo.

Of course, Johnny protested that I was outside in his territory without him.

Johnny asks, "What about me?"

It was perfectly calm UNTIL I hung the quilt over the wall of the upstairs deck ... I waited until the wind died down enough for the quilt to become mostly flat again. Here it is again, from a different perspective.

A different perspective

I'll be linking this post to the finishes party for A Lovely Year of Finishes later this month. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Blocks on the Wall

Here's a look at my design wall today.

Design Wall - January 19, 2015

 On the left are five black and white Double Nine-Patches for the January Block Lotto. You can read more about these (and download the block pattern) here:  New Year, New Block.

On the right are a pair of red and white blocks called Serendipity blocks for the new block lotto at the local guild ... as many years as I have been organizing the lotto for, I have to support anyone who is taking on a similar project.

On the wall just before this photo was taken is my first February lotto block. Now all I have to do is write up the block pattern.

There are some much more interesting design walls over at Judy's Design Wall Monday link up.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Calming, Meditative Quality of Handwork

Stitching Down the BindingI planned to spend this afternoon in the studio. I knew I would come back from the quilt show full of inspiration and would be itching to quilt.

After I had followed up on some lovely blog comments and email messages, I felt torn about what to do next: play with the pressure foot and rulers I bought at the show to do ruler work? Baste the big broken dishes rainbow scrap quilt and start quilting it (with threads acquired for that purpose at the show)?  Finish the thread work cat? Something else?  Something New? Make more January blocks for the Block Lotto? Make the February blocks and get the pattern written for the sneak peek next week?

I decided to retreat to the den, pull out the flannel zig-zag quilt, stitch down a bit more of the binding and think about it.

I made more progress toward finishing this old UFO and I came downstairs feeling more centered and equipped with a plan for my afternoon.  Since any progress is progress, I'm joining the WIPs be Gone list on a Quilting Reader's Garden.

Kathy asked for a show of hands for Slow Sunday Stitching today ... here's mine, wearing the tailor's thimble which is my choice for hand sewing. I will return to this binding later today ... the end is in sight and I'd love to be putting this snuggly quilt on the bed soon.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Rainbow Scraps Inspiration

I had a plan for projects I wanted to work on as part of the Rainbow Scraps Challenge in 2015. (You might have noticed that since the arrival of the new year, I haven't worked on any of them).

I had been thinking that I didn't want to make another "rainbow" quilt, then I saw this, hanging outside the Accuquilt booth at AQS Quiltweek in Albuquerque.

Accuquilt Inspiration

(Photo taken with their permission.)  Most of these shapes are made from smaller units and I already own most of the dies I'd need to do something like this from my scraps.

I am headed back to the show to see the rest of the quilts and ... maybe buy one of the dies I'd need if I decide I DO have another rainbow quilt in me ;-) 

I'm sharing with the Scrap Happy Saturday crowd ... in case anyone is inspired to join me. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Neither Rain, Nor Snow, Nor Freezing Fog, Nor Wintry Mix ...

The drive from Santa Fe to AQS Quilt Week in Albuquerque this morning was filled with interesting weather, but I just slowed down and persevered and accepted that I might be late for the workshop. Somehow, even though traffic on the highway came to a dead stop for no apparent reason when I was only about 10 miles away, I made it.

I spent the day in a workshop with Jennifer Day and here's what my piece looked like at the end of the workshop.

I can't wait to finish this up at home this weekend, but first ... I will be enjoying the show and doing a little shopping tomorrow.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Marquette Ave NW,Albuquerque,United States

Sunday, January 11, 2015

I'm Still Quilting

Still quiltingThings in my studio pretty much look the same as last weekend ... I'm still quilting the flannel plaid zig-zag quilt.

Here's a detail of the motif in the plaid squares.

Soon after I started quilting this on a new machine, I knew this project would become an opportunity to become familiar with free motion quilting on this machine and ... practice, practice, practice.

For the borders, I decided to try two of the designs from Angela Waters' books ... why not try something new since I'm climbing the learning curve with this quilt?  And now, the end is in sight.  I'm working on the outer border now.  You can see all four designs used in quilting this quilt here, from the back of the quilt:

From the back

Sophie's Double 9-Patch #1I have been so focused on quilting this flannel monster that there has been anything much up on my design wall, except the first of my January blocks for the Block Lotto.  We're making 9-inch Double 9-Patch blocks in black and white.

This year we'll be making 9-inch squares and 4 1/2 by 18-inch rectangles. As usual, there will be a mix of styles and techniques. This block is a great one to learn how to work with strip sets and practice those 1/4-inch seams. 

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Free Motion Quilting ... with Help

Grace helps baste the quiltThe only thing Grace Hopper likes more than helping me change the bed linens is helping when I am layering and pin basting a quilt on the work table. It usually ends up looking something like this.

Grace is also a chaser of light and shadows, so as soon as she noticed the small red light coming from my camera as it auto-focused, I had no chance of getting her to look up at me and away from where she had last seen the red light.

I basted the flannel quilt on Saturday and started quilting it on Sunday.  At the end of the night, I folded it, with the pins on the inside so that neither cat (but most likely, Johnny) wouldn't try to help me remove them ...

GraceI came home from work on Monday, ready to quilt, but found myself in a stand-off with Grace, who didn't want to give up her new soft perch.  She refused to even acknowledge me, she was so insistent that I didn't need to quilt right now ...

After I displaced her, she played another game with me which involved her running to the far end of the studio, meowing up a storm until I got up to see what was wrong at which point she raced back to my sewing chair, jumped into the seat and held on tight.  Apparently, I had taken her seat and she was now taking mine ...

Some quilting did happen Monday night, in spite of the kitty antics ... at times, both cats settled into a spot on the large quilt on the table, as I worked my way across it and were irritated with me when I needed to shift things around.

Johnny helps when I'm quilting the quilt

My approach to quilting this big flannel zig-zag design is:

  1. Stitch in the ditch along the edge of the white strips (done)
  2. Quilt feathers in the white areas (done) 
  3. Switch thread color and try something new (a sort of pod shape) in the plaid squares (in progress).  
THEN, I'll figure out what to do about the borders.

I'm joining the list for WIP Wednesday on Freshly Pieced. What's in progress at your house: something new or are you, like me, working to finish an old project?

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Rockin' the Golden Oldies for a Lovely Finish

January Goal for a Lovely FinishWhile other quilters are finishing up their January mystery quilts from yesterday, I have pulled out one of my golden oldie UFOs today–a New Year's Day mystery from quite a few years ago made from woven plaid flannels.

I have pulled out the quilt top and the pieced back with a plan to quilt it this month–my January goal for a Lovely Finish.

I had an idea of how I would quilt it (unmarked, free motion quilting designs), but after I pulled it out and actually looked at it for the first time in a long time, I see the proportions are different than I remembered them and I'm thinking my original plan ... I'm sure I'll have made a decision by the time I get it basted.

This is just a piece of it, photographed on top of my work table under the skylight while I have some good light in the studio. The quilt top is approximately 84 inches square.

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