Thursday, September 25, 2014

Deer Quilt - a Luke Haynes pattern

I came across a QAL posted on Bernina's We All Sew website and knew I'd make it one day soon to hang on the wall at the barn on our hunting/retreat property.

One day soon turned out to be a couple months later but I made it. For the instructions and details, please click on the link above but for mine, let me detail it in pictures and a summary at the end.



 Auditioning backgrounds.


Auditioning binding.
I and most of Instagram liked orange but hubs said no. I put it on for a couple days only and then put on the dark blue instead.
Here he finally is!

I found this to be a well explained and easily followed set of instructions and I love the final product but for me personally, it's a fussy process so it lost some appeal part way through.  I tend to be as lazy as I can in the process and cut corners. For this one, that means I only spot glued the applique down and then didn't quilt it for a couple weeks. That meant I had to deal with shifting pieces. MY OWN FAULT. If I had taken more care in the basting/positioning, I'm sure I would have been fine.  Still, I can shrug it off because the overall raw edge look on this quilt gives a nice 3-D impression for the deer head.

Overall, I love it and hubs likes it, which is good since I made it for him.

Thank you Luke Haynes, for sharing your process and providing a pattern to let us achieve a little bit of what you can do!

Cheers!
Beck

Friday, September 12, 2014

Schnitzel & Boo Mini Quilt Swap -via Instagram

I may not have been blogging much lately but I have been getting things done.  Of course there is work and home. We had one kiddo graduate high school this past June - Yay K!
Then there were a couple customer quilts to quilt (one is pictured below). They were both very pretty and enjoyable to work on. I hope I've done a well enough job to make them repeat customers!

Aside from the other two quilts I last blogged about, I have been working on quilt blocks for two bees I'm in, the Stitch That Stash Bee and a LA Traveling Quilt Bee.  To keep me from wondering what I have and haven't blogged about with regards to those, I will save all the block photos and post them at once for each.

But lastly, and the focus of today's post, are three mini quilts I have completed. I participated in the Schnitzel and Boo Instagram Mini Swap and boy was it fun. I ended up making 3 minis instead of one but all were enjoyable and I got to stretch my creative wings.   This was a blind swap so the recipients never know what they are getting until they get it.

First, the angel mini for a person who still hasn't received one (it may be in transit from AU or it may be lost, who knows?). She said Camille Roskelly was an inspiration and she seemed to favorite a lot of rainbow quilts.  So, being quite smitten with the swoon block myself, I made her a Rainbow Swoon. It took a minute to figure out the cutting and color placement but once I did, sewing it up was nice and easy. I liked it so much I had a hard time mailing it but her happiness in receiving it makes me happy in the end.
Second up, a mini for a gal that did not have a lot of quilty inspiration on her IG feed to help me figure something out.  I stalked her Flickr and Pinterest accounts and ran across an entire Pin Board devoted to Alice in Wonderland.  Not the Disney version either, but the more vintage looking Alice. That gave me some ideas about rabbit holes and quotes.   So I used the template pattern from my Rabbit quilt and made a black and white "hole". I hoped the color placement would give the visual effect of falling and gave a couple simple swirl quilting lines to aid in that effect.

Then I added 4 quotes but jumbled them all up so it's like a phrase search for the rest of the quote.  They read, "Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop."  "The hurrier I go, the behinder I get." "How long is forever? Sometimes, just one second." "You have to be half mad to dream me up." I called it "Alice's Jumbled Thoughts."
This was a fun one to make and very nerve-wracking.  I mean, what if that board was there for ideas for a friend's wedding shower or something?  Turns out, however, it was her board and she liked the mini and uniqueness of it all the more. Yes!

Last but not least was a mini that had me truly nervous about sending.  Again this person didn't have a lot of quilty inspiration on her IG feed but had some family posts and posts about her horses. She gave me a good idea of her likes on her sign up sheet and I sat to thinking about how to get her something more personal for her, I browsed her IG feed more closely.  I happened upon a nice shadow photo which she labeled "me and my shadow." A light bulb, I can make that. But how? How to make it look nice? Ahh, wonky strips of her favorite colors with the shadow overlaying it. Yep.  So I did it. Then sent it. Then stressed she wouldn't hate it or be disappointed.
Her response just served to remind me that when we listen to our hearts, we create quilts which truly touch people.  This is what she wrote when she posted her receipt, "possibly the most amazing thing anyone has ever made for me... another pic after I pull myself together." "I was hoping it was mine but hubs was skeptical saying the pose was so common it could be anyone (in response to a sneak peek I posted) with a horse so I talked myself out of it. I retired Gracie last year and it has been a very emotional thing for me, so this mini is particularly special."  I felt like I did something good and I love that feeling when I make a quilt. Yay!

The person who made for me was Eileen (IG: Luckycharm933635) and she hit it on the head! I love her paper-pieced creation with fussy cut fabrics and color choices.  How can this not make me happy, just look at it!
If you've never participated in a swap, consider it. If you are open to receiving whatever, you will probably enjoy it quite a bit.

Cheers!
Beck

Friday, August 8, 2014

Notting Hill Mistress

When Joel Dewberry's Notting Hill line came out a couple years ago, I fell in love. It was the first, and so far since, fabric line where I loved each colorway and each print. All of it.

I had to have it.
I had to make a quilt out of it.
For me.

So, I bought FQs and a few half yards and then I pondered what to make. And pondered, and pondered. I wanted to show off the fabric and everything I thought of was not appealing to me. I just couldn't bring myself to cut the fabric.  A year of pondering later, I finally decided I didn't need to cut it. That patchwork would be perfect! Someone will need to explain to me why this light bulb took so long to turn on one day.

I cut 10" squares, placed them and
sewed.
Keeping to the concept of showcasing the fabrics, I quilted diagonal lines in each square. They are about 1.5" apart.

I bound the quilt in an orange polka dot and then set about looking for a place to photograph it. I love this quilt It had to be a perfect spot.  Of course, I couldn't find one for a while until I remembered that I had 40 acres of beautiful, raw land and it should work.  (fyi, I used Aurifil 50wt white thread on the top and Bottom Line cream on the back. I'm going to brag a bit on myself here, too. This quilting is done free motion and without a stitch regulator! Whoa, I feel good now that I look closely at it.)

I first took it out at my neighbor's place where one of the horses promptly rubbed his head all over it. I am a sucker, I just let him (of course, it was the back of the quilt so I wasn't too concerned about it getting dirty before the photos).
After I washed it and it got all crinkly, I hung it again on the frame for our fire pit.

I just love this quilt and it's mine, all mine!
Cheers!
Beck

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Poltergeist Rabbit - 4 years in the making

They say every quilt has a story and this quilt definitely has a story.  This story resulted in this quilt's name. Wait, do they say that and who's "they"?  Regardless, let me share a tale with you and since this took 4, almost 5 years, to complete, go grab a cuppa something, sit down and get comfortable.

It all started with my sister who wanted to hire me to make a quilt for my SIL.  I told them it was good practice (I'd only been quilting a couple years) so covering cost of fabric would be all that I'd ask for.

V (SIL) chose the Jinny Beyer Shimmering Sea pattern and asked for it to fit a king quilt. I thought, no problem, I love foundation piecing! I did not pay attention to my inexperience or the level of skill they cautioned as needed.

I took V to the store, she chose most of the fabrics and then I go started cutting. I cut, a lot. To put it in perspective, there are 45 pieces in each block and I decided to make a 6x6 quilt.  That's 36 blocks which means 1,620 pieces, borders not included in this quilt.  Add borders, binding and backing and I have 1,640 pieces of fabric in this quilt (I'm counting the back and binding as one each).
That's the most I've ever done for one quilt!


Anyway, I cut and then I copied and traced 36 foundation patterns but not before dealing with the first mishap.  A pup who, it seems, did not appreciate Ms. Beyer's pattern in the same way I did. 
I bought more tape that night.

Eventually I started sewing and on the third block, realized I had a problem. I sewed it backwards (the design was rotating in the wrong direction). Once I realized how this happened, I figured I could avoid it but no, I managed to do it 3 more times.  4 blocks I now have as scrap blocks. 
I kept  sewing. Each block took me between 1 hr and 15 minutes to 1 hr and 30 min. to complete. I wondered what was wrong with me. Then I would put it away for a while, months at a time. We moved houses, I lost the fabric pieces and blocks for a bit but I knew they would turn up sooner or later.


Eventually they did but then my sisters’ dog was ill and had a hard time controlling her bladder. I couldn’t justify rushing to finish a quilt that would have to sit in a closet.  I took my time with it but was feeling ambivalent.  So I put up blocks on a design wall and shared it with my sister. It did what I wanted it to do, set my sisters on my tail to find out when it was going to be complete. 
I had a plan. I was going to finish it and take it down to them when I visited at the end of February. I was making good time. I loaded the quilt on the frame and started quilting it.


Then, I started having machine problems. The knob to raise the presser foot broke, the tension screw was stripped and the lever to raise/lower the presser foot was out of alignment. 

That may not sound bad but I didn’t know those were the issues when they presented themselves. Thankfully, Nolting (Hinterberg) was VERY RESPONSIVE and super helpful with their responses. I couldn’t, however, finish the quilt in the time frame I wanted and I did have to talk with the tech/sales people at the same quilt show I was heading down my sister’s way for.  I threatened Ms. Midge (my machine) that it might be time for me to purchase a new one. 
I only had this much left to quilt when she decided to act up.
When I returned from the show, I was 80% decided I would hold off on purchasing a new machine. I set Ms. Midge up with new parts and started sewing but she STILL gave me problems. Clearly, she felt she should still be on strike but I had other plans.  I adjusted a few things and told her she better shape up or, my 80% would change from keeping her to trading her in.  She started purring sweetly and sewing straight.  AMAZING how management can threaten labor with being fired to get them to perform again. –wink-
I was able to finish it up and add the binding. Then I realized there was no way I could take pictures which would do it justice. This thing was big and beautiful. Now what?  Ah yes! I’m giving it to a photographer after all.

I sent it to her and then on Easter weekend, we went to the docks and took some photos.  Of course the day had to be windy and we were hanging on to it for our lives. We had visions of it slipping away and landing in the water. Talk about the most nerve wracking photo shoot ever! But it was worth it. Look at what she came up with. It makes this quilt look great and I’m a bit amazed I made it.  Despite the long term process and despite the hiccups I have come to love this quilt after seeing these pictures but I’m am glad I don’t own it.



 
That reminds me, of its name.  Poltergeist is the descriptor because, frankly, all the little things that happened during its making and all the time it took to complete it. Rabbit because it’s a substitute for the swear word I uttered often completing this quilt. The “f” word substitute came from my SIL when the kids were young and listening to what we said.


So here you have it, the Poltergeist Rabbit shown in pictures that are fantastic from Ren Photography in Hampton Roads, VA area. 

Cheers!
Beck

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Quilting for Another

So I have an announcement. I've been thinking about offering my quilting services for others but I wasn't sure if I'd really enjoy it.  I love quilting for me but would the stress of quilting for someone else in a certain timeline make me a little crazy? (Crazier than I already am.)

I decided to offer it up as a giveaway prize for the #sweatnsew entrants (the Instagram healthy & fitness peeps that support each other during their efforts to get healthier - open to all, if you are on Instagram, by the way).

As it so happens, a friend I had already met in real life, Safieh, won and sent along this beautiful top with the request for baptist fans.  I did have a few moments of heart palpitations when I unfolded the top and saw how pretty it was. Honestly, what did I get myself into? After a few minutes, I realized I was up for the challenge. I would not ruin it, I told myself.

I asked about thread, thinking that with the prints and grey, a pink would be pretty. Safieh gave me the go ahead so I loaded her up on the frame and got going.
I would post little sneak peeks on Instagram along the way but I did not want to post the entire quilt until I had approval from the quilt owner and frankly, I wasn't going to ask that until after she saw it.
 I used Auriful 40wt thread on top and Superior's Bottom Line in the bobbin.
Once I finished it up and pulled it off the frame, I got a good look at it and really liked the overall quilt pattern the top design. Thankfully, Safieh also loved how it looked. Talk about  a big "phew".

So, here's my before presentation to quilt owner shot.
Here's a photo borrowed from Safieh's Instagram post (in other words, her photo and credit goes to her - @safieh) showing the quilting a little bit better than the photos I could get.  In this photo, it's fully bound and I believe washed.
This experience clinched it for me. I am going to offer quilting services. While a little stressful, I really, really enjoyed it. It won't be long now before I post a page with some pricing information.

Thank you, Safieh, for trusting me.

Cheers All!
Beck