Thursday, December 30, 2010

Star quilt is done

It was more than four years ago that I learned how to do chicken scratch embroidery.  A very nice lady from my quilting group shared her knowledge of the old art.  Up until she brought in some of her work, I had not seen this technique before.

It probably took me close to a year to finish the blocks.  There are 20 blocks and they are 16" square.  When I dug the quilt top out about a month ago because of a post I saw online, I decided it was time for me to get busy and quilt it.  Before I started the quilting I found a scripture that I wanted to add on the sashing strips.  The stars are the only part that is hand stitched.  The scripture verse, Proverbs 3:5-6, is machine embroidered. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas y'all

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

I have been busy with many projects, but one in particular... I finished a very detailed quilt yesterday.  I used several techniques and it turned out pretty nice.  It is not a quilt that I pieced, but knowing how much work the lady put into it, I wanted to be sure it was quilted extra special... at least to the best of my ability.

It has been a great day, good weather, good food, and especially good (the best) friends.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Another quilt done

I have been quilting up a storm.  I just finished quilting my 4th quilt in two weeks.  There is alot going on this time of year, so finding the time to get these done has been a challenge.  I delivered the third one yesterday and today I finished the 4th.  After you have been quilting for a while, one would think you'd learn what not to do.  This last quilt was very small, but I created a challenge that didn't need to be there.  I found the most perfect thread to go with the patterned fabric.  The thread I used was variegated and picked up almost all the colors.  This worked fine in the setting squares and triangles and the solid points on the star, but when I was stitching on the patterned fabric, I absolutely had the hardest time seeing where I was going.  The thread totally disappeared into the fabric.  I think it turned out pretty good, but I did cross the line... more than once.

We had our Christmas party yesterday for our Monday quilting group.  Lots of quilters showed up and we had lots more food than we needed, but it was all really great.  The lady who hosted the party this year had a lovely home that accommodated all of us very comfortably... and on fine china... no paper plates.  I would not have enough settings for that many people... at least not all the same that is.

 I have not sat down at my sewing machine for a couple days... the quilting machine does not count.  I need to make time to work on some of my own quilts, like my Farmer's Wife Sampler.  I think I have 68 blocks done now.  After I pulled out the Chicken Scratch quilt the other day I found a scripture reference that I want to embroider on the white sashing.  I'm getting excited about finishing this quilt now that it has been re-discovered.  

It's getting really close to Christmas when people will be busy getting ready.  Stay focused and get those little projects done that you need to do before next week ends.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Chicken Scratch anyone?

I answered a question today about a quilt that I had packed away in a bin on the top shelf... which meant that I had to go pull the bin down and take it out to look at it.  Chicken Scratch is an old hand stitching technique.  One of the ladies in my quilt group who is 80 something introduced this art to me, maybe 5 years ago.  It probably was close to a year that I worked on these hand stitched blocks before I had the right number of blocks completed so that I could put the top together.  There are 20 blocks and the blocks are 15" square.  I have procrastinated on the quilting phase because I want it to be just the right quilting.  It was pointed out that if I had the quilt out, what would be a good reason to put it back up on the shelf.  My husband would be happy to have a new quilt for our bed.  He said he was anxious to see what I would come up with.

For those who have not seen chicken scratch before, I have a close up here.  It is probably not a quilt I would do again... not because it is hard to do, but rather it just takes a long time.  I'm sure that I will find the right way to quilt it and it will be a beautiful display of an old art.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Farmer's Wife Sampler

I still have a few more blocks to go, but I think I'm making pretty good progress on my Farmer's Wife Sampler.  I now have 66 official blocks done.  There are three additional blocks on the far end of the design wall that are extras.  One is from the SBS book, one really was not as square as I wanted it, and the third one I made way back when I started and used my HST template just guessing at the size.  When I finished the block, it was way smaller than it was supposed to be... I used the wrong size HST template.  The book didn't tell me to do it that way, I just thought it looked about that size.  I added more HST's to make it be the right size, but it would not be an official FWS block... so it is an extra for now.

A closer look at the last four blocks I completed.  As I have mentioned before, I converted to paper piecing early in this project... but even with paper piecing, sometimes you run into a challenge.  The Darting Bird 27 block had lots of units and after I got all the units sewn, I could not figure how to put the jigsaw puzzle together, so I had to go to my computer and look at the layout in EQ.  Most of the blocks are intuitive to figure out how the units fit together... not so on this one.

I have a quilt on my frame that I am quilting for a friend.  I think it is a quilt for her granddaughter, so I wanted to find some nice girly pattern.  After I got the quilt loaded and looked at my pantographs, nothing seemed to speak to me, so I came back in the house and designed a "daisy" pantograph.  I had other flowers, but they were too busy for this little girl quilt.  I think the daisies are going to look nice.  It is predominantly pink on the quilt side and she is using a solid white backing.  She wanted variegated pink thread... so that meant it had to be a nice pattern cause it is really going to show on the backside of this quilt.  I have it about half quilted already, but may be a couple days before I can get back to it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Getting projects done

I have had a fairly productive week.  Last weekend I got the quilt for the music director finished... that is I got it quilted for my friend who pieced the quilt.  I will see her this evening, so I stitched out the label for the back this afternoon.  So that is one task completed.

I have lots of friends that want quilts done before Christmas, but it has probably been a month since my husband suggested that it would be nice if he had one of those scrap catchers for his remotes.  What he was referring to is a thread catcher that I have made many of in the past.  I don't have a picture of the one I completed for him yesterday, but I modified the bag from the way my tutorial shows and his "remote catcher" has 4 compartments.  He's very happy with it.

Two days ago he made another suggestion, and this time it was to replace the cover on the stool that I scoot around on when I am quilting from a pantograph.  It is a shop stool that works great for that purpose, but it had a plastic cover that has been split for quite some time.  He took the seat off and then proceeded to remove the hundreds of staples they used to fasten the plastic to the base.  I first took some fleece and covered the foam then I used upholstery fabric and cut a big circle and turned the edge over to create a channel for the cord that I cinched it all up under the seat.  There is not one staple in this setup and if I need to replace it down the road, I just untie it and cut a new circle.
Now back to quilting, I created a block design to use on a quilt I was quilting for my sister.  The name of the pattern she used was "Charming Lonestar".  I didn't get a picture of it opened all the way as I was without assistance to hold it up.

Now a few days ago I was watching a video by Linda Taylor that was for longarmers.  I pretty much have my technique all set, but you can always learn something new when you watch someone else.  It is a series and I only watched the first two episodes.  I have all the tools I need... but Linda was indicating that an apron was an essential part of the operation.  That way you can have all your tools at your fingertips when you need them.  I got to thinking that I didn't really want to put an apron on to do my quilting... but a quilter's vest would work for me.  I started digging for a pattern.  I have a book with some neat patterns and I scanned the pattern and enlarged it 285% like it instructed.  It was way wrong size.  I probably could have worked with getting it right, but decided to look through my patterns that were already sized right.  The only one I found was not the style I wanted, so I modified that pattern and ended up with my Quilter's Vest.
It has pockets on both sides that go across the whole front at the bottom.  The pockets are divided inside, but the dividers do not show on the outside.  I sometimes need to use a few pins or a needle randomly, so something I could park my needle in was one item I needed.  At the IQF show I got a needle holder from the Moda booth... the cupcake.  My husband said it would not be good as it was because I would stick a needle in my shoulder.  So I used a piece of clear stiff plastic and cut it in the shape of the cupcake, then I used double stick tape to stick it under the red felt needle holder.

I feel like I really accomplished something this week.  
Have a good week.