Tag Archives: free motion quilting

Seeing Spots!

Laura’s name has come up in a previous post –  The Girlfriend Quilt .  You’ll also find her, and her husband Greg, in the blog that I kept while we travelled through India in 2013 –https://samosasojourn.wordpress.com  We met at Willows Elementary School in Victoria in September, 1969, and have been great friends since then.

Last year I offered to make a quilt as a housewarming gift for Greg and Laura’s new home on Shawnigan Lake.  We looked at many different quilts on Pinterest, in books and in magazines.  Finally, we found a photo of a quilt, by Zen Chic, on Pinterest – lots of bright coloured dots on a white background.

The background is a solid white cotton that I purchased at Fabricana.  I pieced it to make it queen-sized.  The dots were a multi-step process.  First, we chose fabric in colours that reminded us of our trip to India.  Many of these fabrics were remnants from “Delhi Dreams” Start To Finish #6 – Done!  Then, I cut the dots in three different sizes, using plates and bowls as my templates!  The dots were sewn, right sides together, to fusible interfacing.  I cut a small slit in the interfacing and turned the dots so that they were right sides out and fused them to the white background.  Each dot was then edge stitched to ensure that they would stay attached.  Then, to cut down on bulk, I cut away any excess fabric from behind each dot.

The back of the quilt is the same white fabric as the front, with just a few dots.  The batting is bamboo.  I quilted this on my Husqvarna domestic machine using Superior King Tut thread in ‘Temple’.  It’s a meandering pattern that was fun to do and looks great with the dots.

We originally wanted to use white for the binding, but decided that it needed some contrast, so I chose an orange/yellow/gold fabric that sets the quilt off well.  The binding is attached by machine to the quilt front then pressed and folded over towards the back.  Normally, I would hand stitch the binding, but the 400″ perimeter seemed daunting, so I finished it by machine.

The final step was to choose a name and make/attach a label.  I enlisted Laura’s help and we came up with all kinds of silly possibilities.  In the end, and as a joke, Laura suggested “Laura’s Quilt”.   Seemed perfect to me!

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“Laura’s Quilt” was made with love and with countless memories of 46+ years of friendship.  Curl up, snuggle and enjoy!

Thanks for reading.  Happy Saturday!

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Christmas in July

It’s not really Christmas, although the summer weather has been a bit chilly this month.  We’ve seen single digits, lots of rain and some high winds.  Today is a perfect day for the 5th annual ‘Ewe da Best’ golf tournament, which is held on a local sheep pasture.

Last summer I participated in my first webinar, called ‘Wedge Quilts Go Modern’.  It was put on by the Modern Quilt Guild and the instructor was Christina Cameli.  Christina showed us how to use a wedge-shaped ruler to cut strips of fabric.  Yes, it could be done without this tool, but it would be more difficult and I don’t think the results would be as accurate.  We learned how to join the strips and ways to work with the hole created in the centre of the strips.  (In my quilt the white circles fill in that hole.)The webinar also covered making pieced strips, fractured strips and negative space strips.  Webinars are a terrific way to learn a new skill, without having to leave home.  You could even be in pj’s having a glass of wine!  Here are some wedge rulers.
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Without an end in mind, I made the three circles last fall.  Then they sat.  After a couple of months I added them to a white background.  They are appliquéd on using the blanket stitch on my machine.  At the same time, I made the backing, using bits and pieces of reds, greens and whites.  I squared up the top and the backing and then put them away until May.  This is the second quilt that I’ve done this way and it seems that taking a break from them makes them exciting again.

I made a quilt sandwich with the top, the backing and bamboo for the batting, but wasn’t sure how to quilt it.  In the end, I started with the three circles and did a pebble pattern in each of the coloured spokes using Superior King Tut thread in White Linen.  The white spokes are not quilted so they puff out a bit.  The grid pattern is random and I used the same thread in Limestone, White Linen, Cheery Red and Holly and Ivy.  The binding is a great fabric that I stumbled on in Fabricland.  It doesn’t show well in the photos, but it’s Christmas candies in all of the colours that are in the quilt.  The finished quilt is approximately 60″ x 60″, perfect to curl up with on Christmas morning.  While I love it, I am going to put it up for sale in the Denman Island Studio Tour August 6 and 7.  Here are some photos; you can click on them to enlarge and see captions.

HO! HO! HO! and thanks for reading.

Restoring Order

I like it when things are in their place.  I’m not obsessive about this, but when things are where they should be there’s a sense of calm in my world.  Recently, in the book shops, I’ve picked up a book called the life-changing magic of tidying up: the japanese art of decluttering and organizing.  It’s a pretty book and a nice size too.  It’s a New York Times #1 best seller, written by Marie Kondo.  So, why don’t I buy the book and find out what the magic is?  Mainly because it seems to me that it would just add One More Thing that I’d need to declutter.

Three weeks ago I had some dental surgery done, and was instructed/ordered not to exercise for a week.  That week ended up being almost two weeks and then, just when I thought it was OK to get out there, I got a nasty cold.  Minor stuff, but I listened to my body and just hung about.  The benefit of this little break was having lots of time to clean up my sewing room and finish some niggly bits and pieces.

I got down to the bottom of my ironing bucket.  I finally sewed a hanging loop on my jean jacket.  Honestly, it took less than five minutes and I’ve put it off for two years!  I sorted fabrics that are leftover from three different quilts.  I put aside fabric and notions that will be donated or swapped.  I put hanging sleeves on my wall quilts so that they can actually hang and not spend their days in a pile on the floor.  Everything is labelled now.

This quilt, which was started over two years ago, was promised to Project Linus.  It will be my second donation to them.  Their donated quilts and blankets go to a transition house in North Vancouver.

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It’s free motion quilted with different patterns on each block and then a meander on all the white.  I hope that it brings comfort and joy to someone.

There is one more UFO, (unfinished object), waiting to be quilted and I’ve just ordered some thread for it.  I’m sticking to my goal of not buying any new fabric as my collection is full of wonderful pieces that are calling to be used.  And, this afternoon I began working on a lined linen blazer.  That fabric’s been around for a while, but linen is timeless, right!?

Yesterday marked five weeks until my Half Ironman race.  I’m definitely not where I’d like to be as far as training distances.  Three weeks off, at this point, isn’t recommended, but I had a good solid base and should be able to build up the mileage.

My mind and my sewing room have been decluttered.  Order has been restored and I can get excited again about new projects and spending time in the water, on the bike and on the road.

Thanks for reading.

 

Abbreviations

Saturday is kind of a ‘wordy’ day for me as it’s the day that I tackle the cryptic crossword in the National Post.  There are cryptic puzzles throughout the week, but I like the one constructed by Henry Rathvon and Emily Cox. Sometimes I can crack it in one sitting, usually I work at it throughout the week.

On the topic of words and language, I’ve been thinking about the abbreviations that have worked their way into my speech and writing.  For example, in my sewing room right now I have two UFO’s, several WIP’s and I’m about to start some FMQ on one of the WIP’s!   The UFO’s are UnFinished Objects.  They differ from WIP’s (Works In Progress) in that they’re tucked away and haven’t seen action for several months.  I really am working on the WIP’s.  The FMQ,(Free Motion Quilting), will get me very close to finishing one of those projects.  And, when I’m in need of supplies, I’ll check out my LQS, or Local Quilt Shop.

Abbreviations come into play in my sporty life too.  Recently I signed up to race in the Ironman triathlon 70.3 race in Victoria in June.  The distance is one-half of a full Ironman race, (140.6 miles), but instead of calling it a ‘half Ironman’, it is often referred to as a 70.3.  Training has begun and that means it’s time to focus on my DPS, RPM and to throw in a weekly LSD run.  DPS is Distance Per Stroke.  Swimming is all about technique and greater DPS means fewer strokes, which equals less fatigue.  RPM is for the bike and it is the number of Revolutions Per Minute the crank is turned.  The LSD run has nothing to do with psychedelic drugs!  Rather it’s a Long Slow Distance run, which is now 10 km, but will build to 20 km in the spring.

I love words and language.  And right now I’m going to exchange today’s WIP for the cryptic crossword and a cold beer.

Bye for now.

 

 

First Finish of 2016

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I’ve just thought about my title and realize it sounds as if I view quilting as a type of competition or race.   Not true at all, or is it?  My aim isn’t to become a prolific quilter and turn out dozens of quilts in a year.  This hobby is teaching me to be patient and to enjoy all aspects of each project – planning, cutting, piecing, quilting and binding.  However, no matter how patient I become, I will always be goal-driven and finishing a project will always have a wonderful feeling, which, for me, is so similar to the feeling of crossing the finish line in a running race or a triathlon.  So, I guess it’s kind of the same, but in a different way.

This quilt, as yet unnamed, started as a pre-cut kit that I bought at the National Quilting Association show in Little Rock, Arkansas last spring.  The 50+ squares were cut at 10″ and the pattern was Japanese Jigsaw.  When I got it home and started reading the instructions I discovered two things.  One, I didn’t really like the finished quilt and two, there would be tons of scraps/waste if I followed the pattern.  So I decided to use 42 of the squares and placed them in such a way that I liked.  I pieced them and then added a very narrow red trim line between the blocks and the border.  This brightened it up and tied the front to the red batik backing.

This was my first go at Free Motion Quilting a large project and it was so much fun.  I’ve practiced on lots of little scraps and bits, but felt a need to ‘just do it’.  Each different block pattern is quilted differently. Patterns include pebbles, meandering, spirals, clamshells, cross-hatch and flame stitch.  The fabric is busy and unstructured and very forgiving – a great piece to learn on.  I bound it in a grey fabric that picked up the greys, black and white in the body.

Here’s the finished quilt, hanging on the fence.  Good timing, as the next day there was 3 inches of snow!