Friday, March 27, 2015

Replay Finish

Oh, a finish feels so good! I was very close to finishing this quilt when I posted on Wednesday. I stayed up extra late that night to complete the binding. Now it's been photographed, washed and dried, and photographed again along with it's "fraternal twin." (Just yesterday, I said that I don't often repeat a quilt, and now look what I did.)

Gray day. Sigh. Borrowing the neighbor's fence out of the breeze.
It was fun making this pattern again in a different way. You can read about the first quilt and the progress on this one hereherehere, and here. And I did stick with my plans: making it a little longer and wider so that I could make a symmetrical zigzag edge, and stepping up a bit from just meandering in my quilting. 

For the quilting, I did the same squiggles in the white parts as I did on the first quilt (as suggested in the pattern) and I did some free form flowers on the colorful fabrics based loosely on the suggested quilting design. I had read on someone's blog recently (Sorry, I can't remember who) that when you get into a tight space when quilting, just echo your way out of it. I think my quilting has more echos in it than actual flowers, but that's fine. I meant this as practice, and it was the perfect quilt for it because the fabrics are so busy that the lines don't really show up anyway, especially after washing. I did find that in paying attention to where I was going with the flowers, I didn't pay as much attention to my speed and tended to end up with more uneven and bigger stitches, but again, it's practice. 
If you look closely and enlarge, you can see some of the flowers and echos.
It was fun to try something new for me with the binding. I have never done inside angles--or outside angles bigger than 90 degrees. Looking back through my photos, I see that I've done scallops twice in the past, but other than those, all my bindings have been on straight edges.). I like the effect, but not quite as much as I thought I would. I think I would have liked it more if the scale was smaller, but that would have required smaller triangles (and more inside angles, yikes), and no, I'm not going there. 

I used a new batting (for me) with this quilt: Hobbs 80/20. It does give a different feel to the quilt. (The other quilt has Quilter's Dream White Cotton Select). It has a nice soft drape, and feels a little more spongy than the other quilt. The quilt was just over 50 by 52.75 inches before quilting. It didn't really change after quilting. After machine washing on gentle/cold and machine drying on low, it was 47.5 by 50.5 inches, roughly 5% shrinkage in each direction, which is at the upper end of what the package predicts. I really like using 100% cotton materials, but I think I would use this batting again, especially if I'm working on a quilt that has to fit a particular size bed. (The other quilt had 8% shrinkage by comparison.)

As usual, I pieced this quilt on my Singer Featherweight and FMQ'd it on my Singer 115 treadle. The quilting thread is Superior King Tut Cotton in Papyrus. 

Here's the back:
I used nearly every last scrap of the 1/2 yard cuts I had for the two quilts.

And another close up to show some of the quilting:

And a different view, courtesy of our backyard neighbor's fence: 

And one more picture of the quilts together: 
I took this picture this morning--still gray, and even flurries in the air. Enlarge to get a better sense of the colors.

To recap these quilts, they are from a pattern by Christina Cameli called Gently Down the Stream that I found in Quilter's Newletter Fat Quarter Quilts from fall 2014. The first quilt is like the pattern. The second is more scrappy, and with the zigzag edges. I like both versions of the fabric placements. (You have to look closely to see the difference.) I'm sure I'll make this quilt again. I wonder which version I'll pick--the more controlled diamond-y one or the more scrappy one. We shall see. Someday. (Which version of fabric placement do you like better?) 

I don't really think I named the first one, but I thought of the second as Replay while I was working on it. Now I think of them together as The Fraternal Twins. They'll be joining each other at my favorite quilt-gathering organization to give comfort to others in need of a quilt hug. 

I'm linking up today with Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop, Simply Pieced for TGIFF, and Lizzie Lenard Vintage Sewing for Free Motion Mavericks. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Throwback Thursday Quilt Edition--Ohio Star Twofer

Every once in awhile I claim that I don't repeat patterns much, and I guess I don't. It just depends on your definition of "much." Today, I was going through old photos for this post, and guess what I found? Yup. Two quilts, same pattern, made 12 years apart. Even the same quilting. I guess I really liked that pattern. The weird thing is that although I found some very sketchy notes from the second quilt, they don't really help with figuring out the exact size of the blocks. I also found patterns that I drew for the quilting designs. I'm not sure where the original plans are. Did I base the second quilt on a photo of the first? Or on the original quilting drawings? We'll never know.

The first quilt was for my husband's step-grandma Jenny. She lived in a senior residence and had just moved to a new room. We visited her there (about a four hour drive from our home), and she showed us the new bedspread she had bought to celebrate her move. I took careful notes (in my head) of where she bought it, then went home, took a bunch of fabric swatches to a department store from the same chain, and matched them up to the same bedspread there. A sales clerk wanted to assist me with a sale, but I said I was fine and continued to hold up my swatches to the bedspread, taking notes of what went with it. She must have thought I was nuts. But it worked, and I was able to make the quilt in just the right colors. I finished it in time for Jenny's 77th birthday in July 1990. The quilt disappeared for awhile near the time she passed away in 2009, but then mysteriously showed up again sometime later. It must have been in a storage room somewhere. By then, my husband's parents were living in the same residence. Since I had labelled the quilt on the back and included my last name, whoever found it made the connection and gave it to my mother-in-law. It now hangs in her bedroom. I guess there is a lesson in there to label quilts. As it is, I usually don't label mine anymore except for quilting my initials and the date somewhere. Maybe I should label them better--at least if they are gifts to commemorate an occasion. (That label also helped me with dating the quilt.)

So here's Jenny's quilt:

Ah, but this is a twofer, so if you're still with me, here's that other quilt. I made this one in the summer of 2002. My dad and I traveled to California that year to sell my aunt's house after she passed away. At that time, I met a couple who had been friends of my aunt and had helped her out with various things. They also had me and my dad for dinner while we were working to close down the house. So after returning home from that trip, I decided to give them a quilt as a thank you. Their family room was decorated in country blues and pinks, so I made this one for them:

Both quilts are Ohio Stars set on-point. They are machine pieced and hand quilted. I first thought they might be the same size, but now that I look at the pictures more closely, I'm not so sure. There are more scallops in the border of the first quilt and the feather circles are slightly different. I'm not sure if that means it's bigger or if I made the design in a different scale. From my patterns of the quilting, I think the second quilt might be about 42 by 52 inches. Your guess is as good as mine. I'll have to measure the first quilt next time I visit my mother-in-law. 

I guess if I ever decide to make this pattern again (not really likely, as my style preference has changed), I'd have to reconstruct from the bit of info I have and the photos and then keep decent notes (not really likely, either).

I'm not sure my usual linky party link site is up this week (spring break and all), so I'll just let this one hang out there...Have a good weekend, everyone. Update: Ah, there she is. I'm linking up to My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Binding Project

This week, I'm learning how to bind inside angles and 90+degree outside angles. It's taking awhile, but it's going pretty well. I looked at a lot of different tutorials and thought about doing the whole thing by machine, but in the end I decided to stitch it on the front by machine and do hand sewing on the back. That way I could fiddle with the miters. They're not perfect, but I'm pleased with how they're turning out. I'm glad I could do this with crossgrain binding. Bias binding and I don't get along. 

I'm hoping for a Friday Finish and nice enough weather to get some photos of the quilt outside.

I'm linking up today with Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday, Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social, and Freemotion By the River for Linky Tuesday.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday Quilt Edition--A Little Home Decor

Today's throwback quilt is one I made in 1996 to dress up our family room after we moved into a new house. 

It's a strippie quilt that seemed to have a mind of it's own when it came to shape. It looks like a simple design, but it was really complex to plan and I may have made a few errors in measuring and in seam allowance. In the end, the centers of each side pulled in way out of square. My solution was to put sleeves on every side of the back and to use a yard stick and two strips of screen molding to hold the quilt square. It worked, and the quilt has been hanging from a decorative oak shelf in our family room ever since. It used to be a focal point over the couch, but over the years we rearranged furniture and placed a TV cabinet under it. Our TVs have grown a bit over the years, so the quilt has become more of a backdrop than a focal point, but I still like it, and it fits the color scheme of the room perfectly. Sorry, no recent picture, but here are ones I took when I finished the quilt. (A bit blurry, but they're scans of pre-digital photos.) I suppose I could take another, but the lighting's not great right now.

The following measurements are approximate due to the wonkiness of the quilt and the effects of quilting on the top: The whole thing is about 36 1/2 inches square (ish). The flying geese are 3 1/2 inches by 1 3/4 inches, and I remember that it was difficult to plan the size of the square in square blocks to fit 9 of them in the same length as 12 flying geese--they needed to be 2 1/3 inches, which is an odd measurement. I think I had a ruler at the time that had 1/12 inch markings, but it because it would be difficult to cut fabric accurately with it, I drew strips out on graph paper and paper pieced parts of the quilt. I also had to plan the sashes so that I could fit 12 square in square blocks around the central portion. You can see that there was a LOT of room for error. But it all came out well in the end with the moldings to hold everything in place. 

The batting is a light polyester and the hand quilting is with cotton, 1/4 inch from seams in the blocks and in a little vine pattern in the sashes and outer border. I pieced the quilt on my Singer Featherweight. 

I really like strippie quilts and would consider making another sometime, but probably with a less complex design--probably more truly strippie with only vertical rows. And in consideration of the now common improvisational approach, I probably wouldn't worry about lining everything up. It would be liberating indeed!! 

So there you have it: a bit of my home decor. I'm linking up today with My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday. 

Have a good weekend, everyone. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

More on Replay

Just a quick one today. I got my Replay quilt all pieced since my last post, and I even used the leftover fabric to piece a wide strip down the back. (I'll show the back when the quilt is all done.) I really tried to use up every last piece of fabric. There are a few extra blocks that I was going to put on the back, but I decided not to. 

This week I'm quilting. I thought I might finish the whole thing, but since I'm doing a kind of fiddly binding, I think next week is more realistic. So far I'm doing the quilting the same way as the first version of this quilt with (wobbly) back and forth lines on the off-white zigzag strips. I will probably meander the rest, although I did make a stylized flower on a practice piece to check my tension today, and it went okay. So maybe...

I'm using Hobbs 80/20 batting this time instead of Quilter's Dream Cotton Select. I like quilting on it so far. I want to compare these two battings for shrinkage before deciding which I might use on a larger quilt. These twin (sort of) quilts seemed to be a good opportunity for that kind of comparison, even though this one is slightly bigger and has a zigzag edge. 

When I'm not quilting, we've been taking some little trips to see the grandkids and to check the status of spring's arrival at Lake Michigan. Here's a sample of what we've seen at the lake.

March 10 (Warren Dunes):
Those aren't the dunes, but frozen waves with sand trapped in them.
Walkin' on water
No open water
March 12 (Warren Dunes)

A bit of open water shows up
March 17 (Grand Haven Lighthouse)

Only a bit of open water. More frozen waves, but not as tall as at Warren Dunes

Okay, that's it for the travelogue. I love the many faces of Lake Michigan, though. 

I'm linking up this week with Freemotion by the River, for Linky Tuesday, Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday,  and Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Throwback Thursday Quilt Edition--Carolina Lilies

The weather's warming up this week, and I'm in the mood for spring. So for Throwback Thursday (when I share quilts I made in my pre-blogging days), it seems like a good time to show a quilt I finished way back in June 1989. My sister-in-law asked me to make her a spring quilt to match her living room, so I made this Carolina Lilies quilt using a pastel version of her decorating color scheme.

I'm kind of amazed that I chose this pattern because it required applique for the leaves and stems, and that is not my favorite sewing technique, but I love how it turned out. The quilt is cotton, probably bleached muslin with small prints (kind of hard to see here--this is a scan of the only photo I have of the front). The batting is polyester, and the back is muslin. I used cotton hand quilting thread. The quilt is 34 inches square, so I'm guessing the blocks are 12 inches. At the time, I was hand quilting for a living (well, no, not a living, but I did earn enough to pay for piano lessons), and I charged by the yard of thread I used for the quilting, so I kept meticulous records of how much thread I used. This quilt took 118 1/4 yards. I'm glad I don't have to keep track like that anymore!

My sister-in-law still uses this quilt in rotation with two others in the fall and winter. I really need to make her a summer quilt one of these days to fill out the year.

I'm linking up today with My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday. Have a good weekend everyone!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Hmm, I seem to have skipped a week blogging. Oh well. Not much was happening. Except...the weather! It's warmed up!. Well, enough, anyway so that we could go out walking again without a ton of outerwear. And I want you to know that I've taken down anything in and around my house that screams winter, so I expect that the weather will continue to get better for everyone. (You're welcome.) 

I've abandoned my big project for the time being. (It's still in consultation--long distance planning is kind of hard. Sigh.) So I have decided to make another little quilt. I don't usually make more than one quilt of a pattern, at least in recent years. I used to make tiny quilts, and I may have made some duplicates of those, as well as some Trip Around the World quilts. But I had so much fun making my last quilt, that I'm going to make another one. I have plenty of fabric left over, so the overall look will be similar to the first quilt. But it will be a bit wider and longer so that I can make symmetrical zigzag edges. (Okay, now that I've said that, I can't lose my nerve. I haven't done a fancy edge in many years.) And, instead of matching the triangles to make a diamond pattern, I'm going to put them together randomly. The off-white zigzag will still show, but the rest of the fabric will be even more scrappy looking. I've already cut the strips and triangles. Here's a sampling of the layout: 

For the last quilt, I used my long ruler and taped my pattern to it to cut the triangles. This time I bought a 60-degree triangle ruler. Surprisingly, it took me awhile to get comfortable cutting with it. I found myself cutting toward myself at times. Awkward. It also slipped a bit, so I taped some sandpaper to the back. That was much better. I also started out cutting the little points off at the top of the triangle. But I got impatient with that and decided to just leave them be. I'll trim as I sew. I used masking tape to make sure I kept the strips even as I cut. 

And here are the rest of the triangles ready to go on the design wall:

I think they look pretty with part of my florist pottery collection. Before you know it, this quilt will be done. But not this week. Right now I have some grandkiddie cuddling to do.

I'm linking up this week with Freemotion by the River for Linky Tuesday, Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday, and Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social. 

Check back tomorrow for a little throwback breath of spring.