Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Too many seams

Since I've gone with this version of Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Mountain Majesties, well, there are too many seams that are all ironed in the same direction and the seams just don't lie flat and are bulky when that happens.
So, what to do?   The top section had a few seams that were in the same direction and a bit of unsewing had to occur and that was when a plan had to be made on how to handle all those seams.

First thing, each row is marked with a letter.  Next, the arrows were pinned on pointing left or right (for ironing all the block joining seams in one direction).  Lastly, do you see on Row F the FIX  in pink?  It means that all the blocks in this row are to have the inside seams (not the joining block seams) ironed towards the light coloured fabrics.
Once the FIX row is done, the rows are pinned on my design wall so that the seams are facing towards me.  This is where I can visibly line up the seams to make sure they are all in opposite directions before sewing a section together.  It is easier at this point to make any corrections before sewing.
Below, the top section has all the stars appliqued on.  Doesn't this sparkle?  My trademark stars and I'm in love with them.
What is better than one section done?  I'll take two sections, thank you.  Only two more sections to go.

Later this afternoon, my sister and I are flying to Mexico for a week in the sun.  With all the snow shown in a previous post, we need a bit of warmth and sunshine and it will be so nice to look at sand and the beautiful blue sea and sit under a palm tree/palapa and sip a nice cool drink.

Have a great day!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Hanging my quilts and tops

Recently, I was asked by Nan V.:  How do you hang your quilts? Looks like you have batting looped over curtain rods, and then you pin the quilt to that? Is that because it's a top, or do you do that with your finished quilts as well? It's a brilliant idea to be able to view tops - I sure have plenty of those! 

Yes, I hang up my tops.  Why not?  Instead of being stored in a closet or on a shelf, why not enjoy all the hard work that was put into the making of the top.  Since it takes me so long to hand quilt all those tops, they are starting to pile up (12 tops + my hexagon that is almost a quilt) and I might as well enjoy them as a top and then as a quilt down the road.

All my quilts have sleeves for hanging.  Not a problem for slipping the quilt onto a rod and hanging them up.

Now, my tops are another thing.  Before, I did use curtain rings with the clips and it worked in the past.   (Oops, this is one quilt that does not have a sleeve.)
Something a little more permanent was needed for my tops because I didn't want the metal rings leaving any marks on our freshly painted walls.  After rummaging through my batting scraps, two long pieces were cut to the correct size:  5" wide x 45" long.  Two sets were made because there are two walls for hanging large tops in our home. 

In our dining room:
In our foyer:
How did I make them?  On the batting, using Crayola Washable markers, an 1/2" line was drawn and my batting folded over to the line and sewn using 1/4" seam.    
 There is a 3/4" lip just below the sewing line that is used for pinning the top to the batting.
Can you see the line of stitching below where the arrow is?  That is used as my pinning line so that my top looks straight once it is hung up.
My rod is an electrical 3/4" conduit pipe (cut down to 100") and the brackets are electrical brackets cut in half.  Both the brackets and pipe were painted the wall colour so that the whole system fades into the wall and you focus on the top/quilt not the hanging rod and brackets.
Three brackets are used to hold up my tops/quilts so that there is no sagging in the center.  The rod slips easily through the sleeve opening .... just be extra careful with the pins.  You don't want to stab yourself and bleed over the top or the batting sleeve.  On a side note, when we were down in Amish country, seeing all these straight pins reminded me of  the Amish women with all the straight pins on their dresses to keep their openings closed since they don't use zippers or buttons. 
For my quilts (large or small), all have a sleeve with an opening in the center so that the center wall bracket can be used and my quilts hang perfectly.
So, go and hang up your tops and enjoy them!  :o)   Thanks to Nan V. for asking the question.

Have a great day! 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

So close

Clap your hands because my hexagon quilt center is done and the remaining three borders are being worked on.  It is getting so close to the end and I can taste it!   I brought this quilt down with me to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to work on during the evening.  The hand quilting helped me to wind down after each whirl wind day of activity. 

Lancaster, Pennsylvania .... wow .... what an adventure that was.  The fabric stores .... the unbelievable prices .... the selection .... the quilt show ..... the everything. 

My DH snapped this photo of me with all my stuff  purchases that I came home with.  It was very hard to just stop buying things.  It was all so overwhelming and we were warned to go down with a list of what we needed to buy.  I did have a list and bought just about everything on it and then indulged with other fabric to add to my stash.  I did buy a lot of solids for the making of an Amish memory quilt for me.   Mostly, though, I came home with a few backings, a lot of background and border fabrics.  Also, thread and stencils and batting.
One of my purchases was this Amish basket.  For now, it is up on top of this cupboard filled with small quilts. 
While down in Lancaster, there was not much snow on the ground and when we opened our motel room door, we could smell the scent of manure on the nearby farmlands and hear the clippity clop of horses' hooves on the pavement.  Gentle rolling hills with horse and buggies all over the roads.  How tranquil it was.
Then, we came home to lots of snow still on the ground and more snow coming down today.  Where or where is spring?  I think I need to go down to my studio and drool over my new fabric!  :o)
Have a great day!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Promise of Spring & Lancaster quilt show

Lancaster, here we come!

Two other quilt guild members and myself will be driving down to Lancaster, Pennsylvania for a week of sightseeing, shopping and attending the two quilt shows that will be on during the time we are down there.

Oh, how exciting!  I have always wanted to attend a major quilt show in the U.S.A. and when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped in.  Tomorrow morning, we start our long drive south for our week of fun, fun, fun.

Before I leave, here is the promised photo of my version of Kim Diehl's Promise of Spring (it is also known as Serendipity).   The top size is 95" x 95".  In other words, another large quilt!  :o)
Do you see the date at the bottom of my top?  That is my incentive to get this top sandwiched and basted very soon so that it can be hand quilted and finished before the end of 2014. 

When you take a look at the original pattern, can you tell that I went off in a total different direction?  Simply put, I made this version my own.  I have always loved this pattern, except for the center.  Everything looked too jumbled and too close to each other and me being a fussy person, well it bugged me.  Also, I wanted my version to fit a queen size bed.  Thus, things took on a life of its' own and that is how my version came to be.  Huge difference, eh?

When I showed this top to my day quilt guild, a member came to me afterwards and asked for the designer's name.  She loves to applique but cannot manage the small itty bitty pieces anymore and she got excited when she saw how big my applique pieces were.  These she can handle quite easily.

So, Kim Diehl, not only are you a wonderful designer, but everyone can easily make your patterns.

Since finishing this top, I have been itching to get it hung up on the wall in our foyer.  It is a huge top and it covers this wall very nicely.   It will be another month or so before my hexagon quilt will be close to being finished and I might as well enjoy this top now before it gets taken down and marked up for quilting.  My DH has informed me that he really likes the applique but is not sure about the plaids and stripes.  In other words, he finds it a tad too much.  Oh well, I just can't please everyone all the time.  :o)  Don't worry, dear, there will be another one that you will like up on the wall soon enough.
 The top on the banister has been paired with it for now. 
On second thoughts, those two tops don't work together.  Now, this top on the banister looks better.  Can you tell that I just love decorating our home with quilts .... err tops?  :o)
Have a great day!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

OPAM and Hexagon update

What did I do for the month of February for my OPAM (One Project a Month)?  Well, two baby blankets for the NICU section at our local hospital.  There is no batting in these blankets.  Just flannel on the back and cotton on the front. 
What do you think of my backs?  Pretty neat, eh!  The backs were made from a kit that had strips of flannel and I just trimmed and sewed them together.
This winter has been a good time for me to tackle the hand quilting on my hexagon quilt.  It has been a long, cold winter (and still is) and this quilt was most welcome to snuggle under during the evening hours.  Progress has been made and I'm thrilled with how close this quilt is to being finished.
 The left vertical border is done and Miss Ashes likes the feel of this quilt!
Here is a close up of the border.  This was a problem for me for the longest time.  What to do with the border?  Finally, I decided to just keep it simple and the problem was solved.  Time to move on and tackle another border on this quilt.
The section to the right of the arrows is what remains to be quilted.  After some diagonal rows are done, I switch to a border section.  Got to keep it interesting or boredom will set in and this quilt will be abandoned, once again!  :o)  So, this section below and three more borders to go.
I hope to have this quilt finished before the warmer weather in May arrives.

Have a great day!