Monday, January 15, 2018

First Finish

This quilt has been finished for more than a week, but Florida weather hasn't been cooperative for getting outdoors to take a picture. We've had overcast skies (most contrary to Florida being the "Sunshine State"), rain, and cold temperatures - like Iowa in November. Not nice.

But at the Saturday Sew-In with Central Florida MQG friends, in spite of overcast skies, Cindy offered to hold my quilt for pictures. Thank you, Cindy! We picked a spot under a huge live oak tree dripping with Spanish moss. The gnarly texture of the tree trunks is beautiful.

To make this Rainbow Rounds quilt, over many months I foundation paper-pieced 16 12" X 12" quilt blocks. I prepped fabrics and papers, and in no hurry whatsoever, took them along to work on (using my tiny, aqua-colored Janome Derby) at weekly meetings of Big Cypress Quilters. In September, while on a week-long retreat with friends (#sixgalsretreat), I completed the quilt top.

In my last blog post I shared that I used homemade basting spray to sandwich five 24" X 24" quilts I made to hang in our living area. Rainbow Rounds is the first larger quilt (it finished at 57" X 57") that I also sandwiched using homemade basting spray. I used the same spray that remained from the first batch, and after giving the bottle a good shake, the spray worked just as it did well two weeks earlier. 

If I haven't expressed it sincerely enough, I will do so now... I love using homemade basting spray! It has changed my domestic machine quilting life - a surprise to me that after all these years of quiltmaking (since 1976) I have discovered something new to me.

Homemade basting spray is the bees knees!

I quilted an all over swirl on Rainbow Rounds. It's been a long time since I've quilted something other than custom quilting designs. The swirl was easy and fun to do. In case you'd like to try it, watch this video with Angela Walters. (Jennifer Keltner is in the video too, and ironically, she was my boss when I was an editor at American Patchwork and Quilting magazine back in 2001-2002. )

After quilting, I washed it. Even though I pulled the quilt from the dryer after ten minutes, and let it finish drying on a bed with a ceiling fan going overhead, it dried crumply - a look I'm not overly fond of. Perhaps it's unavoidable when batting is 100 percent cotton - Quilter's Dream Request. The thread used for quilting is YLI silver polished cotton.

I love the backing fabric because the print completely hides any hiccups in my quilting. The binding is pieced from different scraps of text prints used as backgrounds in the blocks.

Rainbow Rounds is a pattern by Jo Avery (MyBearPaw) that was in issue 24 of Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine. Jo originally called the quilt Bufferwheel, in case you'd like to look for it on Instagram. 
Rainbow Rounds, 57" X 57"
I'm tickled with my first 2018 finish. And even better, I have no end of pleasure in saying that I have NO quilt tops waiting to be quilted! What a delicious feeling!

Oh! And we're 15 days into January and I haven't bought any fabric! 😂 "No fabric purchases" is my 2018 goal and I'm stickin' to it! Linda

Friday, January 12, 2018

Wayward Transparency QAL

I've been looking forward to today, as this is when Yvonne (QuiltingJetGirl) opens up linkys to her  Wayward Transparency Quilt Along that began in mid-November. 

If these quilts look familiar, I counted them as one quilt finish in 2017. But until now, I haven't fully shared the quilt along process of them. I'm excited to do that now!

The most difficult part of the QAL for me was choosing three values of a difficult color: orange. I knew I wanted orange because it had the best chance of actually being used! 

Painter's Palette Amber is the light
Riley Blake Shade Tangerine is the medium
and Kona Flame is the dark

I tested the contrast in values by turning the color photo into black and white (an easy auto edit in Photos). It looked good! 

Upon completing four units, 

I considered quilt arrangement options, and put it to Instagram followers to suggest which arrangement to choose... 

...or whether to line them up to hang them above our quadruple sliding glass doors.

After settling on "hang above the doors," the question became whether to sew four together in a row; or five together in a row; or finish four individually; or finish five individually! By a majority preference for five stand-alone quilts, I moved forward. 

Having just discovered a recipe for homemade basting spray - you know how you get on the Internet and follow rabbit trails? - I made some to test on these five small quilts. 

The homemade spray worked so well that I have since used it to baste and quilt a 58" X 58" quilt. I'm now a believer, and it's my new favorite method of basting! Here's the recipe, in case you're interested.

I also highly recommend going here to read StringandStory's thorough tutorial about how to achieve positive results.

All batting is Quilter's Dream Request Loft Poly (leftovers from a large roll), and thread is 50-weight Aurifil. Since quilting wouldn't show very much with the quilts being hung so high, I made quilting simple by using the walking foot.

Wanting a clean edge on each quilt, I looked up and used a WeAllSew tutorial for faced binding and repeated that a total of five times. Not all my backing fabrics are the same, nor are the facing fabrics. I used only fabrics I had on hand.  

When they were finished, I took this picture of four of them together, and then...

... went to the living room and tested different arrangements. I used FunTack to temporarily hold them up while I took a number of photos. The staggered look was quickly nixed. 

The straight line look was best. Then came the challenge of figuring out which direction to point each quilt! On the Saturday before Christmas, I spent a couple hours hanging them. Just so.

It's tough to get a good photo when you're aiming toward light, but I think this picture best shows the impact of the quilts in the room. They're a nice complement to the adjacent orange wall.

I'm very happy I live in a place where it's acceptable to use bright colors year 'round!

Even more, I'm more thrilled with the outcome of this QAL! To have made something I can actually use -  versus the many quilts that immediately find their way into a pillowcase to be stored at the top of our master bedroom closet - is a real treat! And along the way, I learned how to achieve transparency.

Thank you, Yvonne, for leading us on this adventure! Linda

Friday, January 5, 2018

First Week of January

It was a quiet changeover from 2017 to 2018 at our house. We didn't even stay awake until midnight! And the week has begun quietly resuming usual activities: Big Cypress Quilters, line dancing, and Bible study. In Bible study we're doing Kelly Minter's book Nehemiah, an Old Testament book I've wanted to go in-depth with for a long time. I have many notes written in the margins of my Bible, having determined at least eight years ago, that Nehemiah is about taking on a God-directed project that helps others. For those who've known me for a long time, and are familiar with the quiltmaking ministry I led in Iowa, I made analogies between making quilts in Stitchin' Mission and Nehemiah's efforts to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.

The only activity it looks like I won't be engaging in for a while is Ukulele Players Club. I showed up at 12:15 on Thursday for the 12:30 start to the club strum and sing, and along with about a dozen other people was denied admittance to the room because it was at capacity (fire code says 115 people). To say I was crushed is an understatement because I was scheduled to go to the microphone and sing one of the songs, and have my picture taken with the Ukulele Players Performance Group. Apparently snowbirds and guests in The Villages have taken over for a while. It was suggested by the rec center manager that we come earlier to get a seat, but that's a seasonal game I won't play. Go early to sit in a chair for an hour or more before the club sing starts, just to get in the room? I have better things to do with my time. So, I'll continue to sing and strum at performances - we're playing and singing for a neighborhood group next Tuesday evening - and avoid the regular club meetings on Thursdays until I can get in again. Disappointing for sure. But that's how it is when you live full-time in a community with thousands of part-time residents.

In my sewing room, I've been working toward my first 2018 finish. It's my 58" X 58" Rainbow Rounds quilt (also known as Bufferwheel Quilt). I completed foundation paper piecing 16 blocks and made them into a quilt top in September, while on retreat with my friends. It's the only quilt top I have that needs quilting, so I've been excited about finishing it.

Also, this was my chance to use homemade basting spray on a large quilt. In December, I used this spray on smaller quilts that quilted-up easily, and I've been anxious to see how it works on a large quilt.

Dan commented on the smell when he came into my sewing room to see what I was doing. That comes from the rubbing alcohol. I opened a window and turned on the ceiling fan. An Instagram friend told me that the Pinterest recipe she found uses vodka, which likely doesn't have the intense odor. Here's the recipe I used.

One batch covers a lot, and would easily baste two large quilts. Also, the basting spray was still good in the bottle after two weeks. 

After allowing the quilt to stay on the table like this, under the ceiling fan, for about two hours, I untaped it and moved it to the guest room bed, where I placed the quilt backside up, and turned on the ceiling fan. I left it that way overnight and started quilting the next afternoon.

Choosing a quilting design is always a small hurdle. All I knew for sure is that I wanted to quilt an allover design. I browsed Pinterest to find this swirl pattern demonstrated by Angela Walters. The design is repetitive, so you get good at it pretty quickly. I tested it with my acrylic board and dry erase markers and liked it.  

By that evening, this is what it looked like. The basting spray worked beautifully! I haven't had a single issue with fabric scooching, or tucks. I love homemade basting spray! And how about that texture?! That's using only a single layer of Request Loft Quilter's Dream Cotton!

In the light of day... The thread I'm using is YLI 50-weight polished cotton in the color silver. 

Just as soon as I say I'm caught up on 6" foundation paper piece blocks for the Year of Scrappy Triangles, Leila releases another one. These are blocks 10, 11, and 12, and block 13 needs to be made.

Yesterday's mail delivered my long-preordered Modern Quilts book compiled by three leaders of the Modern Quilt Guild: Riane Menardi, Alissa Haight-Carlton, and Heather Grant. I was honored when Riane contacted me last February for permission to use my Lime 'n Luxe quilt in the book. 

Here is Lime 'n Luxe on page 173, right across from Kim Soper's glorious Lincoln quilt. Both our quilts were displayed at QuiltCon in Savannah (February 2017). 

Interestingly, whoever laid-out the book, rotated my quilt 90 degrees counterclockwise. Yep, it's laying on it's side! I'm trying to figure out how that happened. On the contract I wrote which way to orient the quilt, and I just confirmed that I wrote it correctly. Also, there's a sleeve on the quilt back, so the photographer would have known which way was up. Oh well. I guess it doesn't look bad this way either. I'm honored to have had my quilt included among those made by such a prestigious line-up of modern quilters. 

This is the pile of stuff in our guest room, waiting for me to take to Monday evening's Central Florida MQG meeting. It seems I often take a "pile" to our meetings! Five quilts are being passed on for our Central Florida MQG display - "What Makes a Quilt Modern?" - at World Quilt Florida. I think we have about 24 quilts being displayed from our chapter, so if you attend World Quilt Florida at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, January 18, 19, and 20, look for our display. Lime 'n Luxe is one of my own three quilts being displayed. 

Also, my Florida quilt has been juried into the World Quilt Florida show. I shipped it earlier this week.

This evening I plan to sit at my Janome continuing to quilt Rainbow Rounds. I'll be wearing Cuddleduds and have a quilt over my lap because it's been cold here in Central Florida... colder than we've experienced in the 5-1/2 years we've been here. Between no sunshine and high winds, a couple times it's felt as cold as 29 degrees. Walking the dog has not been fun! I know. I've turned into a Florida woo-sie. I'm not a bit ashamed. Linda

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Review and 2018 Planning

Since today is the last day of 2017, it's only appropriate to review the year and assess the quiltmaking and sewing that's been done.

While I know several quilters who make a quilt top and then call it "a finish," I prefer that my quilts are completely done and ready to use. My personal policy means that a quilt is quilted and bound before being called finished, and shown at a guild meeting Show and Tell. I know of at least one MQG chapter that requires that it's members show only completed quilts!

In the past, I've been known to choose a word of the year. Not so for 2018. Some bloggers like to post their goals. Not so for 2018. Given the multitude of quilts I've made in my lifetime (easily more than 300), I don't feel the need to create self-imposed goals for the upcoming year. At my age, it's nice to feel no pressure to do anything!

2017 in Review
All tallied, I made 14 quilts in 2017, a number that is very similar to last year, and the year before.
Seven of my finishes were what I consider small quilts - baby-sized and smaller.

The remaining seven quilts were larger.
I'm counting my five small Wayward Transparency quilts (at the bottom of the collage) as one quilt because they're hanging together in one spot. I'll blog about them in January.

Not pictured are a half-dozen tops I sewed for myself, four pairs of pajamas for grandsons, two pillows, six placemats, two Zip Up Tray Pouches, a Dainty Tote, an Essential Wristlet, a Sew Together Bag, and a case for my music stand. Those are the small "in between" projects I like for their fast finish-ablity.

A Word About WIPs
Works In Progress - Mine are genuinely being worked on fairly regularly, and I feel no compunction to rush to finish. They're truly on-going projects, and I like keeping them that way. Don't you agree that it's good to have a variety of WIPs on hand to suit any occasion? Like when you're away-from-home sewing with others, or a passenger on a long car trip, or at home in a cozy chair in front of the TV?

By my current count, I have seven on-going WIPs, some for which instructions are still being released over several months. English paper piecing also makes a couple appearances here. But no hurry. No worries.

I do, however, like to review plans for the coming year, and determine where I'm headed with quilts that need to be made, and quilts I'd like to make. Prompted by QuiltingJetGirl who is hosting a linky party, I've made a plan.

Contrary to my usual reaction to "lists," I even made one in Excel! The first seven items are my WIPs. The next two are UFOs, one of which I've got my hands on today for FMQ. The last two items are quilts I'm honored to make for the upcoming releases of two different quilting books (not mine). Eleven items... the list doesn't seem too daunting.

While I'd like to believe this is the extent of my 2018 list, I'd be kidding myself if I didn't think I'd participating in a challenge or two, or some other "let's make this project!"

Happily for me, none of the sewing, creating, or making has been a hardship, nor am I yet getting sick of it. So in 2018 I'll move ahead with my plan, but in the end, go with the flow.

I am determined though that this year I'll "shop from my stash." No fabric-buying unless it's essential for a 2018 finish. It's not so much about spending money on fabric, but rather using the stash that's been accumulating over the past five years, including several healthy piles of solids.

Happy new year to you reader-friends and relatives who are part of the online world that's an integral part of my life. Thank you for your interest in my doin's and for comments/chats where we get to know each other better. God bless you in 2018! Linda

Friday, December 29, 2017

Last 2017 Finish: Urban Trek

On my computer, I keep a Photos folder called "2017 Quilts." In it are the names of every quilt I've worked on in 2017. Some quilts are finished; some quilts are not finished. When reviewing them a couple weeks ago, I identified one that I could complete by year's end, and here it is: Urban Trek.

Urban Trek is a quilt pattern by Heather Black (Quiltachusetts) published in the March/April issue of Modern Patchwork magazine. I started it in April. It's pieced entirely from Kona solids. Colors are: Iron, Cerise, Glacier, Pond, and Sunflower. I began quilting while on a September retreat with friends. In the past week I completed the quilting, and today spent several hours hand sewing down binding.

I'd love to show you an outdoor photo of Urban Trek in a pretty setting, but we haven't seen sunshine here for several days. My indoor photo of the quilt on my design wall will have to do.
Urban Trek, 60" X 72"
Quilter's Dream 100 percent cotton batting is inside.

With such big expanses of negative space, I had a chance to have a little bit of quilting play. But I was very cognizant of not wanting to over-quilt. The simplicity of the design is what appeals to me, so I tried to keep the quilting simple too.

All the straight line quilting was done with a ruler and ruler work foot on my Janome 1600P.

In several places I added big stitch hand quilting. Not only do I like the extra interest it adds, but on an episode of Fresh Quilting (Season 2), Riane Menardi (VesselQuilts) talked about combining machine quilting with large hand quilting stitches for a modern look.

All the hand quilting is done with six-strand DMC embroidery floss. Before stitching, I separated the six strands and put them back together again, so the stitches would be distinctive. 

I got really good at machine quilting ribbon candy!

I still like the look of a well-done quilted spiral. Mine were done on my Bernina 440 with a walking foot.

This is the backing fabric. 

I'm happy with this finish, and even happier about counting 13 quilt finishes this year. Still, that 2017 folder of quilts will find 10 WIPs (works in progress) being moved to 2018. Please don't tell me that I'm the only one with a never-ending flow of projects! Linda

Thursday, December 28, 2017

My Best of 2017

Since the year-end is near, many bloggers are joining MeadowMistDesigns blog to review their 2017 posts and see which ones compromise the "best five" - Which blog posts were most popular? While I mostly share about quilting, a review of my blog posts, revealed some unexpected results!

Number 1 - Fiesta Placemats
By far, my most-viewed post was in May, when I shared about my purchase of assorted colors of Fiesta dinnerware, and made placemats for them. I guess you-all like color as much as I do!
Again, color took front and center as you liked my first 2017 finish, this quilt: Wiggle Me Colourful.

Number 3 - My Favorite Things
This January post was about several of my favorite things, including my ukulele, but perhaps this one was popular because of the Wiggle Me Colorful quilt hanging behind me!

In February, two of my quilts hung in the local quilt show, and both were awarded ribbons.

That this post came in fifth tickles me to no end. It means that you enjoyed seeing my Australian friend, Di's (SnippetsnScraps) travels in Florida and US, as much as I did. She was here for a month (from February 10 to March 11) and all the posts related to her visit had high viewing numbers. No doubt that's because her friends were following her travels. Di and I made wonderful memories, and I'm happy they interested you too. 

In 2017 I have posted 77 times. However, the year isn't over yet!

If you'd like to join MeadowMistDesign's Linky Party, or see what other bloggers are posting about, go here. Linda


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