Friday, November 17, 2017

Houston Show Favorite

Whew, it has been busy around here! My hubby, who is the most supportive person in my life, organized a trip for us to the Houston Quilt Festival -- and I am still almost speechless at what we saw! 

Most of the the winners are available online if you look for them. I want to show you my favorite. The quilt is called "At the Waterhole" and here is the photo that I took. You can see a better one at the artist's website. Her name is Sheila Finzer and she lives in Oregon.



I loved this one so much that when I noticed it was for sale, I just had to go find out the price. I told the lady in the "quilts for sale" booth that it was likely the price of a small car. She looked it up and told me, "More like a mid-size!"  Needless to say, I came home without it. My hubby teased me, "Where would you put it?" but I would have found a place. It is six feet high and over eight feet wide, but would go nicely with the painting I have of zebras. Sigh!

By the way, many of the quilts allowed photos, but they are not to be on blogs, etc. without properly identifying them. The photos are not to be used or sold to be used on t-shirts, coffee mugs, etc. either since this violates copyright laws. I've seen a few on Pinterest that have ignored this stipulation. I took about 150 photos (there were more than 1600 quilts) and will be careful to follow those rules. If you have never been to Houston for this event, PUT IT ON YOUR BUCKET LIST! And allow at least 4-5 days to see it all. Biggest cost is airfare and hotel (and whatever tempts you in the vendor booths)!

Scott's king-size is coming along. I've almost got burn-out on it and need to stop and make place-mats or doll quilts or something really easy every now and then.  The big one is pinned to the top of my design wall with the rest of it draped over my craft table so I can easily baste leaves in place. I'm also printing bird, flowers, and butterflies to hide here and there among the leaves, as well as a piece of driftwood etc. to go on the beach.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Progress on King-Size

This quilt is partly on the design wall and partly on a craft table. So the view is somewhat foreshortened. It actually has as much beach as water.

I decide to baste the leaves in place because pins are not too much fun when sewing complex applique. I wanted to post this in case someone ever finds themselves in the same dilemma — trying to manage a huge project and keep it all square and straight. This has a few wrinkles, but nothing serious. Pressing and quilting will fix it.


There are more leaves to go on the left end (just out of sight) and palm trees and leaves up the sides. I will look good on the bed, but right now I'm tired just looking at the picture.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Applque a few dozen leaves

Since the last post, I've been making large leaves, at least 18-20" high. At first, I didn't know the best way to do these. Raw-edge is prone to get fuzzy when washed and these would be impossible to piece. Finally, I decided to applique them using the following steps:
  1. Trace the leaf shape on to the dull side of freezer paper, cut out on the lines.
  2. Press the shiny side of the pattern to the right side of selected fabric.
  3. Cut it out with a scan 1/4" seam allowance.
  4. Turn the leaf over to the back side and place it on a piece of colored paper (red works).
  5. Ciip inside curves and V-shapes almost to the edge of the leaf. 
  6. Using a glue stick, put 3-4" of glue along the seam allowance. 
  7. Using the smallest Apliquick rod, fold the seam allowance to the fabric (wrong side) and press it firmly in place.
  8. When the entire leaf is done, let it dry then peel off the freezer paper.
  9. Press from the right side with a dry iron.
  10. Pin in place on the quilt background and to the next leaf...
  11. Repeat.
  12. When done, applique around the edges and enhance with quilting.

 This isn't as time-consuming as it sounds. The Apliquick Rods (See right side of the link for these) are amazingly helpful and even fun to use. It is going to take many hockey and soccer games to hand applique them in their final positions though. I just hope my son is not an old man before he gets this quilt!

PS... He told me he didn't want to see it until it was done, but then changed his mind. We invited him here for pizza Sunday night, but he had plans so invited us to his house. So I took the sketches (link here), and his reaction was a positive boost to my procrastination. For this I am thankful!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Progress on Scott's beach scene

I've got this much sewn together (after lots of improvising). The bit of lower sky is just pinned, and the way I will quilt it will give it some distinction from those far-away islands. I also have the rest of the sky ready to piece and put on the upper half. 


Next, a jungle of leaves go around the bottom and lower sides, with palm trees up to the top. This one is a king-size and taking lots of hours. Also the driftwood is just pinned on because I'm not sure where it will go, and I might resize it.


Here is my sketch for the leaves and trees, but as you can see, it is only a guide. I'm hoping the leaves will be a lot easier to make that that water and sand!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Another happy customer

This week Céline from Quebec sent me a photo of her completed nativity quilt. She bought the pattern from my Etsy site a few months ago. What excites me about this finish is that she used solids! She made the smaller version and it looks like she has a great eye for color and value! (She also gave me permission to publish her photo.)


Way to go, Céline!

If anyone is interested in this pattern, it is still available, either in paper form or digital. The link to my Etsy site is to the upper right.

I also finished another baby panel for Basically Babies. This one took only a few hours and was fun to quilt and bind. Also, I quilted 'cow' on the white part of the cow's back after taking this photo. It is 35" x 41" backed with fabric that looks like faded denim.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Early August Progress Report

Here is the child's quilt. It is a panel-practice quilting piece, but cute. The binding has a built-in flange. I saw this technique on a YouTube video and tried it. Easy! This and others will go to "Basically Babies" for layettes they assemble for needy families.



Scott's king-size is finally looking the way I want it to look. I'll post a picture soon. Right now, I'm getting ready to go have my eyes fixed... not a big deal -- I can still thread a needle!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

A gift comes back...

This fall, my sister who is my best friend is taking a giant step. She lost her hubby last year, and is having problems with some tasks. She decided it is time for simplicity, so is moving from her home of 40 plus years to a senior's facility, from a large split-level to just under 600 square feet. Her attitude about it is amazing. 

However, paring down is a big challenge. This week, I spent a couple days helping her clear out a bedroom and some other spaces. Years ago, I made her a wall quilt and she wanted me to take it, "I don't want anyone else to have it." So I brought it home yesterday. I'm looking at it with both joy and a big lump in my throat. Here is a photo. 


It is needle-turn applique with machine quilting and a few beads here and there. She had it on a dark blue wall in her dining room. 

I'm too emotional to write much else except that I'm nearly finished a baby quilt. Also, my sister took me to their town's local quilt shop and I found a fabric called "Sand in my Shoes" by Robert Kaufman that solves some of the perplexities of making Scott's king-size. I bought a hunk and will be un-sewing a hunk of what I've already done and replacing it with this beautiful piece! Yea!
 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

King-Size workout

Pressing on with Scott's king size and with the bottom half background, already feeling the stress of manipulating that much fabric. This is mostly improve with small mock-ups to follow and a bunch of fabrics in the right values and colors. I'm telling people who ask what I'm working on that it is working on me.



These mock-ups are a tip from an artist friend. The one on the left is an outline drawing with the most detail. The middle is a value sketch. The one on the right is a paste-up using fabrics that work with the values. I didn't finish the palm trees because that is not necessary (but it is a lot easier than making the large ones!) The tropical leaves will be on the sides that hang over the bed, with the beach on the top. He doesn't want a sneak peak so hope he likes it.


Here is a close-up of the right edge, which will be mostly hidden by large leaves, but shows how I'm keeping this monster on my work table - large paper clips - see one in the upper right corner! 


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Copyright obtained for Canada 150 logo!

I applied for the license to use this Canada 150 logo on Quilts of Valour, and make the pattern available on my Etsy site. The copyright license from Heritage Canada came through in 3 days! 

Their massive documents were for websites, ads, and a host of other communication media, but they had no provision concerning quilt patterns. However, they gave me a license that is "world-wide, royalty free" to do as I asked, as long as I comply with a host of rules. Mainly that it has to look just like their design and use the same colors and color combinations, as well as putting Canada 150 (their font or Helvetica) somewhere, and putting the license number they gave me along with it.   

I will be putting the pattern on my Etsy site as soon as the directions are finished. Writing them is almost as difficult as making the sample as this logo did not lend itself to easy foundation paper-piecing. Here is my sample. 



The center stem is too wide, but I decided not to resew it. The colors work with the 'rules' and it is 12" finished. I love this design and applaud the young woman who created it!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Importance of Copyrights

Just a quick note about a recent discovery. A quilter posted a .pdf foundation paper-pieced pattern of the Canada 150 Logo. Since I love FPP and really like that logo, I decided to make it. (See the logo here, and I have no affiliation with this company) 

After downloading the file, it was a fast project, but it has some flaws, so I designed my own pattern, which turned out much better. 

A friend asked for the pattern. I told her I first needed to check the copyright, only to find that the Canadian Government forbids the use of this design without copyright permission! The site to apply for it is HERE. After making another one from my pattern, I applied for official permission because this loge would be a great addition to a quilt made for Quilts of Valour.

Then I revisted the page where I found the pattern. The designer did not have permission to use it, changed it a little bit, and then 'copyrighted' her pattern. She also is not a Canadian. Hmmm!

The bottom line (I think) is not to copy anything someone else created -- without permission.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Palm trees on the island

While pondering the next steps on Scott's king-size Hawaiian quilt, I decided the nearest island needed some trees at the base of it. I found some fabric in my stash and used the back for the farthest row and the front for the nearest. They look like the trees on some of the actual islands (better than this photo), but most of them have at least a few palm trees. I do not have an embroidery machine, however my Bernina 1630 has a few simple motifs and it suddenly came to mind that one of them is a palm tree! 




I did a practice run, finally remembering to put on the correct foot (#40). Otherwise the tree was lop-sided. This sample is a close close-up as the tree is less than 2" high. I'm using Invisafil so the stitches almost disappear rather than showing up as they do in this picture. I also fiddled around until finding a nice zig-zag that looks better than this photo.

Then I used a permanent marker to fill in the leaves. I'm not sure about thread painting or more painting, but right now, it looks just fine from a few feet back. Here's hoping I don't fall off this learning curve (or ruin the quilt)!


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Halo and Hawaii

Since the last post, more of those flying geese in quarter circles are finished (but lots of them are not!) Here is what is done so far. They are just pinned on the design wall -- and will have a border between them and the star border. The main fabric is not as yellow as it looks here.



Also progress on Scott's king size. He wanted Hawaii, but I'm taking liberties for both the design and the colors. That aqua blue along with dark green foliage looks too much like a painting on velvet -- as in 'garish' -- even though it looks terrific on Maui. Anyway, these are the background 'islands' with aerial perspective. The white strip will be much narrower, just a contrasting highlight on the water way back there. I've pinned this to the full size pattern that is pinned to a big quilt hanging on my hallway wall. Even this bit was a bit unwieldy, but with practice, it should get easier to manipulate the pieces?


The photo is a bit dark, but you get the idea. Next is the water and sand, then the sky, then the foliage...

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Scott's King-size

Our son Scott is still living under the delusion that his mother can do whatever he asks. His request for a quilt to go on his king-size bed falls into that category. He wants a Hawaiian beach scene, with palm trees. 

For a long time, this was way too threatening to even think about. Then last fall, when we were in Texas visiting our daughter and her hubby, she was working and the house was clean. I hauled out some drawing material and drew several sketches. One seemed to work best. When we got home, I put the drawing into CorelDraw, saved it as a .pdf and took it to Staples. They have a 36" printer so produced for me a full-size pattern. The pattern is too big to work with this part, so I printed it out letter size. You might have to double-click on these to see them better ...




I stuck it up on the wall and shuddered every time I walked by it. But finally decided this will not get made with shuddering. So I opened CD and did a value picture, filling each of the elements in the quilt with an approximate value, only in black, white, and grays. 



And after another few weeks of shuddering, decided to do the same with color. I'd been collecting fabric, but some of it was too gaudy, or the wrong colors. The scrap bins helped. I didn't put all the palm leaves on the bigger trees, but enough to get a feel for what it would look like. Those leaves, because they are against a light sky, needed to be lighter than the other foliage, otherwise the contrast was too much. 

Also, those areas will be a lot bigger so will be pieced for interest sake. Note that the foliage will hang down the sides of the bed, and the beach will be on the top, with some leaves too. I'll be adding more detail, like birds, butterflies, shells, etc. 

Here is what I now have to translate into the enormous size. I told him I wasn't sure I had enough muscles to wrestle with this, but he didn't seem to understand what I was talking about! LOL.


Seriously, I'll need some prayer for this project!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


While in Italy, I used a small notebook without any capacity to download photos from my camera. Since I took so many, it will take awhile to get them sorted. In the meantime, just wanted to let you know some interesting things we experienced in Tuscany, besides high-priced fabric (see previous post).

- The trees are magnificent. They have more varieties of plant life than any other country. 
- We saw NO dandelions. Their 'weed' is red poppies. Google it. Those red fields are in Tuscany. The poppies grow in fields, roadsides, along train tracks, beautiful!
- Hardly any women wear glasses. Contacts? or good eyes? Don't know.
- Friends warned me about Italian men, now I know why. Hubby and I laughed and laughed. It does not matter how old you are or how old they are - they are charming hopeless flirts. I learned to avoid eye-contact!
- We saw less than ten obese people the whole trip.
- Food is wonderful. Satisfying without putting on pounds. I worried about salt, but Tuscany does not use much, none in their bread at all. I just bought two cookbooks for cooking Eataly!
- Trains are the way to travel. We did have a car for a week, which enabled us to see the rural areas, but parking is expensive and almost impossible to find... only when we prayed!
- The mountains have roads winding from one range to another, but the express routes go right through them. Some tunnels were 2000+ meters. Hundreds of them. All roads are paved and nearly all in great condition.
- We got to wade in the Mediterranean for the first time. 
- Prato is the textile city with a textile museum. Pictures to follow. 


Of course I've no quilting progress to report except one more 5.5" block for the Halo Medallion.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Fabric shopping? I don't think so!



We are enjoying a short vacation in Tuscany. While in Florence, it seemed a good idea to look up fabric shops. In this wonderful city, we found a few that were close by so stopped in...

Image result for casa dei tessuti firenze


You can tell by this picture that this is a posh store. I found the cottons - the lowest price was 38 Euros per meter, or about $60. Nope, not buying that, and it was very light weight, almost sheer.

We moved on. A clerk was sorting small bolts on a table. One was fine mesh like organza with colorful embroidery, very beautiful. He didn't want me to touch it... it was 600 Euros a meter (yes, you read that correctly). We looked around the store. Shirting was about €80 (one zero) but we found some lacy stuff that was €800, which is roughly $1200 a meter, more than that if measured in yards.

Obviously, finding quilters in Tuscany might be a problem... but there is scads of inspiration, not so much in the fabric store but in the centuries old buildings and their ornamentation. I am taking pictures!



Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Progress on Halo Medallion

The little (5") star blocks are done, now I'm working on the flying geese curved ones, which take longer (nearly 50 min each) but are more fun. They are also foundation paper-pieced... and the pattern calls for 36 of them. So far, I have 3.

You may note that I erred on the saw-tooth border, but since I've decided to put an almost invisible heart on my quilts, this one will have four of them to hide those mistakes.



As for other projects, I have the pattern for my son's king-size up on a wall. It is a landscape. The fabrics are in a box. That is progress. I'm still procrastinating because this one will be physically hard, never mind trying to figure out how to do it. Has anyone ever made a raw-edge applique that has to be washed now and then? I'm thinking that is not a good idea, even though it would be easier than piecing this big one. 


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Keeping Busy

I've been working on the Halo Medallion, and also taking a Craftsy class to force me to practice. The medallion quilt is here, and I'm on the round of floating stars. They are 4" with 18 pieces in each one. Cute, but 32 of them is hard on someone who is not crazy about repetition! Indoor lighting for this one. The background is much lighter in real life.



 The Craftsy online class is about mixing motifs to make an interesting all-over pattern. I threw some junk fabric on the longarm which is why this is hard to see. So if you cannot see it -- take my word for it -- I need a lot of practice!



Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Cobblestone Lane close ups, and Bob's Quilt

Here's a couple close-up shots showing the fun I had quilting this one. These two look the similar and actually there were two of each design on the quilt, but true to my ADD, I had to do a different design on each block. (See this post)





Also finished my hubby's lap quilt. I've been teasing him because he is treating it like a kid who never had a blankie! It is 52" x 76" and quilted with free-motion leaves. It is also really soft and cuddly. I might have to make myself one like this!


Next is a king-size for my son. I might not be back for awhile. I've been procrastinating on this one for a couple years.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Cobblestone Lane ready for binding

Finally this one is quilted and ready for the binding. I've cut the strips and just need to join them and get with it. 



Here's what it looks like thrown on the bed in our guest room.  It took 16.5 hours to quilt it (I was practicing with rulers - LOL) and at $30 an hour, that is a mere $495. Add 12 blocks, piecing, and fabric, and this one is expensive ! I've not decided what to do with it yet. 



But it was kind of fun... I used Glide to quilt it, and learned a great deal about making the long arm work with several different types of rulers.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Halo Medallion BOM

This one is behind schedule. I've done the star and the next round, but should be working on the staggered star border. It has 32 little blocks, 5" square all done in foundation paper piecing. I love that technique, but someone has to cook supper and make the bed!




Here is the progress so far. The colors do not look "dirty" like they do in this photo; they are clear and soft. The pattern is a BOM designed by Susan Garman (now desceased) for The Quilt Show. The pattern is available free to members (about $42 a year and totally worth every cent!). 

One nice thing about this one is that I can stop at the size I like -- or until I run out of fabric! I bought a hunk of the one used in the four corners of this section, but picked everything else from my stash. If you want to see the total picture, go here or here. It is really pretty in the original colors, except I didn't like the red (too much contrast) and wanted something less springy and more soft. See this for my fabric choices. 

Happy quilting!


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Quilts of Valour

Both Canada and the United States (and other countries) have organizations that specialize in making or collecting quilts to present to wounded soldiers and veterans. In Canada, it is Quilts of Valour. I've been involved with QoV for a few years, mostly in a minor way. One of those ways is helping to host a quilting bee where we make quilt tops.

We just finished a marathon two days with 28 quilters. Some stayed both days. Others came for one or the other. The work was fabulous and it was God-blessed all the way. 

On Saturday, a few had completed their tops from the kits and so on supplied by the QoV past president, Lezley Zwall. I'd brought the red top I'd made from red scraps. I'd roughly followed the idea of slabs that has been promoted by a quilter from Calgary, Cheryl Arkison. Lezley had bins of scraps leftover from other QoV bees and they were sorted by color, ironed by a volunteer who does not sew but came to help, and several of the quilters quickly discovered how addicting these 'slabs' become. 

I brought my bin of purples (with pinks and all sorts of related prints) and got a good start on a quilt that will be the right size for QoV. Here is the photo of a few of the blocks laying on the fabric that will become the sashing. Wanda at Exuberant Color often says that purple does not photograph well. She is right! But you get the idea. The sashing will be wider than it shows here, likely 3" or so. The blocks finish at 12" and are much more purple than they appear here.


It was a wonderful time. This is the second one we have had and they are already saying things like "next year . . ." However, right now all I can think is "how soon can I have a nap?" 


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A Mystery Quilt - in more ways than one!

I'm just plugging away on Cobblestone Lane, and on TQS's BOM. However, after doing a little surfing, I found these neat links. The last one isn't about quilting, but it is very cool!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ya6hxGoW3ZM
http://theinboxjaunt.com/paper-piece-patterns/
http://www.thebrickfan.com/wearable-lego-jacket-at-the-lego-batman-movie-premiere/


Here's one from years ago that I made for a new nephew. It was a mystery quilt, obviously a friendship star. His mom figured it was too nice to use -- so she put it in storage. He is almost a teen now, and the quilt has never been used... and likely will not be since they moved to the Cayman Islands and who needs a quilt there! Sigh!!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Slow Going

Cobblestone Lane (or whatever I wind up naming it) is going slow, mainly because those blocks have no 'one size fits all' quilting design. Each one is a puzzle and my experience is not extensive on this sort of quilt. However, it it happening... slooowly! I'm into the second row of blocks so have done about one third.



My side table has a pile of fabric to make a BOM, the one from The Quilt Show designed by Sue Garman. It is a medallion that could be any size, depending on when you stop adding rounds. I like her design, colors, except the red borders that too me are too much contrast. After much thought, I decided to give it a go with softer colors in taupe with some yellowish and greenish tossed in. The entire thing is paper-pieced, which is one of my favorite techniques and one reason for the decision to make it. The other is that Sue Garman passed away a few weeks ago. I have never met her, but for some reason shed some tears and wanted to do this because of her.


On the back burner collecting fabric and courage
  • King-size for son Scott, who wanted a beach scene landscape. I drew the scene, had it enlarged full size (cost about $50) and am staring at it in fear and trepidation.
  • King-size for daughter Karen, who wanted a minimalist 'subway tile' look in using dark to light shades of taupe. I have 1-2 more fabrics to find, a dark and a light.
  • Several baby quilt panels to make for Basically Babies
  • And prep for Quilts of Valour sewing bee near the end of this month... which I'm hosting and our Canadian past-president is working with me. We did this in Nov/2015 and had a wonderful time. Even presented a quilt to a PTSD soldier and his buddy who stayed most of the day and help the volunteers cut out fabric. 
  • And about a dozen project boxes with patterns/fabrics ready to go
  • And about three dozen 'I'd like to' patterns, some with fabrics or in kits
Now I need to make supper... that list makes me feel a bit weak...

Monday, January 23, 2017

Cobblestone Lane on the longarm

Finally Cobblestone Lane is on the longarm. I'm still not sure of how to quilt all the parts, but so far have used in-ditch, 1/4" parallel lines, and some curves.



That cord has children's scissors attached. I put them around my neck when at work. Some use an apron with pockets for their various tools, but this works better for me. The thing that isn't working is my body -- doing ruler work makes my shoulders sore -- at least until I remembered to put some tape on them so they don't slide as easily.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Floating Red Slabs pieced

This one is now ready to quilt. I've planned rectangle spirals (not the right term but you know what I mean) on the blocks and three parallel wavy lines in the sashing. Simple. 



I've enough slabs leftover for at least two more quilts. This is from a small box of scraps — and I am still astonished. Don't throw them away!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Floating Red Slabs

Happy New Year!

Every spare minute over the past couple of weeks I've been sewing slabs of reds, mixed with mostly reds and a few oddities that have red in them. There are now enough 12.5 x 12.5 blocks to make two, maybe three quilts. 

I tossed a few colors on the floor and tried the red slabs on them. Black was harsh, white not too interesting, but my hubby loved this one, and I think I do too. It is a bit darker and more dramatic than the photo. I'll make one with this print in likely a 2" sashing which makes the blocks look like they are floating. I've a plan for one with a lighter background but don't have the fabric selected yet.



All of these blocks came from a small plastic tote of scraps. I am amazed. I may have said this already, but one friend tosses all her scraps. I was thinking of these being charity quilts, but my hubby has already claimed the first idea for himself. He says he needs one for his occasional naps!