Sunday, September 30, 2012

Free motion quilting under the wire

I forgot about September's Free-Motion Challenge project! I confess to doing this one totally at the last minute. One reason is that I do not like this motif. It's too traditional. In addition, I find it very difficult to follow a drawn line while free-motion quilting; I much prefer the doodling style that is completely eyeballed. But not being good at something isn't an excuse not to do it, as I frequently tell my boys (although it does become an explanatory factor in procrastination) -- it means it's time to practice!

I traced the flower right onto the fabric using a Frixion pen. This is a really great tool for quilting, and it's both cheap and readily available. When you hit the ink with an iron, it completely disappears, and then (ostensibly) washes right out leaving no trace at all. The heat erasing works so well that, if you iron your fabric before tracing, you actually have to wait for the fabric to cool off before you can draw on it.

I will definitely be practicing this technique more, because I have big plans to make a presidential caricatures quilt sometime in the next year or so.
I traced the motif right from the paper with a Pilot FriXion pen.
In progress. I love how delicate this foot looks as it glides over the fabric...
At this point the ink is still visible. 
Ink removed! A respectable attempt, but not winning any awards.

Toodle-oo September!

Even by my standards, I had an incredibly productive weekend. (This was helped by the fact that I have a head cold and am just congested enough that sitting down for a long time results in compromised respiratory functioning.) Brace yourself for's what I accomplished:

I completed all of the quilting -- wavy border lines and 30 (!) embroideries -- on the Beatles quilt. However, I did have to remove one of the embroideries due to tension problems. I'll restitch this one and bind it up later this week, after I replenish my black Aurifil. That stuff lasts forever -- I use it for all my piecing, and it worked great in embroidering these quilt motifs -- but I burn through it!
Quilting the Beatles!
I made and attached binding to my cute little Pink Rink quilt, which by tomorrow night will be in the "Finished in 2012" list. I'll post finished photos when the binding is stitched down.

I quilted and bound the mini "Fire Drill" from Modern Patchwork. I'm not terribly in love with this one; I was experimenting with softer colors than the ones I prefer. Lesson learned.
"Fire Drill" mini (binding is still loose in this photo)
I quilted my orange squares for the Rainbow Scrap challenge. (I was thinking this was the only orange project I finished this month, but I guess the autumnal Rapid City started as an orange buster too.) I have eight of these finished now:
Simple spiral quilting on the orange squares.
Finally, sometime mid-week I realized that September was nearly over but I hadn't made anything for the Color Palette challenge. I really love this month's photo:
September photo for Judy Laquidara's Color Palette Challenge
I pulled my bins of appropriately colored scraps and got to work. The boys noticed that the colors are very similar to the colors in April's challenge (remember mine?); I agree -- I actually thought the moldy pie reminded me of the springs and pools at Yellowstone. Inspired by Elizabeth Hartman's new version of her Glam Garlands quilt that she's been working on this month, I decided to use my Wing Clipper ruler to make a version with a bunch of flying geese. Here's what I came up with:
Garlands of Geese (42 x 52"). Completed for September Color Palette Challenge.
A new habit that I'm trying to develop is to prepare the back at the same time that I complete a top; I'm thinking they're less likely to languish in the UFO bin if both pieces are ready to go when I'm ready to baste something. Here's the back for the September geese:
Pieced back for the Garlands of Geese quilt.
And it's only 7:50 on Sunday. What to do, what to do...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Autumn Blocks

To those of you who suggested the brown "branches" for the autumn Rapid City quilt, you called that one right! I finished the blocks late this afternoon; here they are all together (although I will likely rearrange them a bit before sewing them together).

My sewing room has lovely big windows on both the south and west sides of the house, so as the sun set it was shining right on this wall just as I was putting up the blocks. It positively glowed...and it made me want a cup of warm apple cider. Let the weekend equinox celebrations commence!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Branch options

I managed to get the borders onto one of the four block segments last night. I had been thinking of using a dark brown as the "branches" but I dug out a great autumn batik that I might use instead. Whatcha think, Dear Readers? Blur One or Blur Two?

Brown "branch" dividers...
...or batik "branch" dividers?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Autumn scraps

This month is focusing on orange over at the Rainbow Scrap challenge. Although I'm no longer finishing most of tasks I started back when the year was still young and energetic, I can't resist orange. I love it. LOVE it! I pulled out some reds, golds, and browns too, and started cutting the many many small pieces to make a full-size Rapid City quilt (from, yep, Elizabeth Hartman, once again!) in autumn colors. There are sixteen different sizes to cut for this, but I sped up the process a bit by trimming down any small bits in the right colors that I had already cut for other scrap projects.

Today while the boys held a K'nex-a-thon in the other room, I got all of the block units sewn together:

I think I'm going to use the ivory "rock candy" fabric (hanging on the wire in the photo) as the setting, and a rich dark brown stripey piece that I picked up this weekend as the dark "branch" segments.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pink? Pink? What's Wrong With Pink?

I got my little pink Roller Rink quilt all quilted this afternoon. This took three whole bobbins of super-fine thread, and a LOT more time than I had expected. I do not anticipate doing this tight echoing on a large quilt anytime soon.
"Pink Rink in Your Think" (36 x 48")
I started with one diagonal line from a corner, then did the whole upper-left quadrant in straight lines about a half-inch apart. That was boring, though, so I drew a chalk line from the opposite corner perpendicular to the first line to make an angle in the lower-right quadrant. But that was boring too, so I drew a 4.5" square where the perpendicular lines met and echoed both inside and outside of that to finish the bottom section. I'll hold off on the binding until I have a meeting that could possibly benefit from some handwork.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Happiness Is a Warm Quilt

The Beatles top that I'm making for the New Britain Symphony Orchestra is finished!

These fabrics are terrifically fun to work with. I have so many memories of listening to the Fab Four while I was growing up. My mother had all of their albums from before the Greater-Than-Jesus controversy (at which point she was no longer allowed to buy them), but my father had the later (better) ones, so that meant that I had them all! I have a pretty clear (and somewhat alarming) memory of a day in second grade when my "boyfriend" at the time sent me a ghost-shaped construction paper note that said "Boo! I hate you." I went home from school in tears and sat under the dining room table playing "I Need You" about a zillion times on my clunky little cassette player. Gather 'round and listen attentively, Children, for I shall tell you a story about the Times Before: This tragedy befell me in the days before CDs, so I had no Repeat function to ease the process of my grieving. Lo, I had to use what was called a "Rewind button" to make this song play in countless repetition; I played it so many times that I knew exactly where to stop the rewind process via a number counter, which looked thus:
Countdown to musical solace
If you're still reading at this point, you shall now be privy to a preview of the back of this quilt. I used Elizabeth Hartman's idea of freezer-paper stencils to paint the Help album logo on four half-yard solids. After these cure all day, I'll set the paint and sew them together with big black borders on the top and bottom to make the quilt back. I have an all-day editing session tomorrow, then I'll baste it up in the afternoon and get it quilted in the nick of time for the auction.
Remember, if you're salivating over this Fab Four in Fabric creation, it can be yours at the New Britain Symphony Orchestra's auction on October 12!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Magical Mystery Quilt

Lots of progress on the Beatles quilt for the New Britain Symphony Orchestra today. I got all of the pieces sewn and ready to assemble. Here's a partial layout (showing only two of six rows). The finished quilt will be 64.5 x 76.5". I was thinking I'd add a border, but that's a pretty healthy lap size snuggle quilt, so it may end up borderless.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Quilting for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!

A friend of mine asked if I would donate a quilt for the New Britain Symphony's annual fundraiser. Yes - I shall be a patron of the arts! (And, since the boys are learning about classical composers this year, maybe we'll actually get to some of their performances...) I still have a nice little stack of Beatles fabrics, so in honor of the string quartet's Beatles/pop performance this spring, I'm making a Fab Four Slide Show quilt. Here's a peek at my wall as this starts to go together...
In other artistic news, today I submitted my moebius strip for consideration in the New Britain Museum of American Art's all-member juried exhibition. I promise to keep you posted when I hear if I made the cut!

Craftsy for September

I was not a fan of all this fussy curved piecing, but I do really quite like the second of the September blocks for the Craftsy program. I had just enough teeny bits of these perfect fabrics hanging about for this block.

Only two more left on this project, and October's blocks involve paper piecing, which I love to do. Homestretch, here we come!