Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Progress on Improvisational Quilt & Paper Pieced Trees

 Yesterday I finished up the paper pieced trees. The panels are not yet sewn together to allow for possible changes. Today I will begin the left side border after sewing down a hanging sleeve and label on another quilt. 


Early this morning I had a dental appointment and while driving to Uptown listened to Christmas music. Finally it's beginning to feel like Christmas with the temperature at 39 degrees and seeing the Christmas decorated store fronts, banks and street lined lights with wreaths and lights. Uptown Charlotte is so full of life! I love the experience. Unfortunately, I didn’t capture the lights and decorations. I did get a shot from my dentist’s office 6 floors up overlooking Trade Street. Each corner has a statue.


I was planning to go to Mary Jo’s Fabrics after my dentist appointment but our painter, who is painting the trim work on our house, called and said he was coming to finish. Yea! On that but Oh Well! on putting my trip off to Mary Jo’s Fabrics for another day. Mary Jo’s is a 32,000 square foot fabric and notion retail center is filled to capacity with wonderful fabrics and notions at bargain prices. When I go I plan to spend several hours. Maybe tomorrow instead. http://maryjos.com/ Bus loads of quilters come from various states to shop at Mary Jo’s.

If you stop by my blog share what puts you in the Christmas spirit and whether you have begun shopping or making that special gift from your sewing studio?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Spiced Up Paper Pieced Trees

I noticed on various bloggers pages that they have taken the pledge. The pledge is that they promise to show the process of their quilty project. I've not officially taken the pledge but thought I could at least share the process.

Today I am working on paper pieced trees for my improvisational quilt. My selection in stash for green fabric is limited but did find a couple of possibilties. That means a good reason to visit my favorite quilt store soon. On this particular tree I am using a batik green. As pretty as the tree is it needed to be spiced up. I used a Jungle print that I picked up at my local fabric store. So what do you think? Oh, by the way the foundation for the tree is printed from Electric Quilt.
I think this quilt is representative of my new found freedom after resigning from my position after 2 months shy of 14 years. The best description I can give is that it is like jumping out of the nest and learning to fly on the way down. Hmmm, maybe this quilt needs a bird or two.  

It is a beautiful day today with the temperature being 71 degrees. Is this almost December? I have the window open while stitching away. I'm going to work on another tree or two, do some laundry while sewing and maybe finish up raking up leaves if I can convince my sweet hubby to come and help me since today is his day off. What is your day looking like today?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My First Quilts

Thank you Bonnie Hunter for opening up an opportunity for us to show and tell our first quilts. It was fun to go outside and take pictures of my first three quilts this morning. I have a new appreciation for each one and have been reminded how I love quilts! Each quilt is a progression, a road to reaching new challenges of quiltmaking. I have a long way to go but at least I am enjoying the journey.

 The Album Quilt
This is my first finished quilt. I had played around with making various blocks but never had completed a full bed size quilt until this one. I was inspired by Georgia Bonesteel with this quilt pattern and quilting motif, a quilt that is shown in her book, "New Ideas for Lap Quilting." I just flipped through the book and many of her quilts are timeless. This quilt was made sometime in the early 90s, either 1992 or 1993. My intention was to free motion quilt the top but gave up and hand quilted this one, my one and only hand quilted quilt. I was recuperating from surgery while handquilting The Album Quilt. I was to stay off my feet and could not drive for two weeks. What a better way to spend my time - Quilting! The binding is store purchased bias tape. Never again! How much nicer quilts are when making your own. Most likely I didn't know how to make the binding or didn't have enough patience to learn at that time. It only took seeing some beautiful quilts that look more appealing with binding that matched, coordinated or enhanced the quilt.


Crossroads
Crossroads was the second quilt top to be pieced but was not completed until 2006. I had debated as to whether to junk it or complete it since the colors no longer inspired me being from the early 1990s. Remember all those mauve and blues? As you can see I decided to complete it and fully machine quilted it with the Baptist Fan quilt motif. The quilt pattern came from Leslie Linsley's book "The Weekend Quilt", another quilting book on my shelf.  It is amazing how a quilt can come alive after it has been quilted. Notice the binding? Yes, it is handmade by me and sure makes the quilt look nice. It is my favorite nap quilt. It has a couple faint stains. Hmmm. I need to see if I can get them out.

Nine Block on Point 
I saw a picture of a plaid look like quilt in a quilting magazine in the early 90s. It was on an elegant four poster bed and decided I wanted to have one just like it. The nine blocks are 3 inch blocks and are made from fabric that was in my stash for making Raggedy Anns and Andys and unbleached muslin, a venture for raising income while single parenting. Since I was no longer making the dolls I needed to use up this fabric. This definitely is a scrappy quilt. I didn't even know the term "scrappy quilt" when I made it.

It is king size and took about 12 years to complete since I had decided to go back to college and get my accounting degree, which took about 6 years while working fulltime. Thus, there was not much time for making quilts. I had intended to grid quilt but as you can see it is parallel quilting using a walking foot on my domestic sewing machine. The quilt was so heavy that quilting it was hard on the neck and shoulders.




What Inspired Me to Quilt Again
My youngest son called one day and requested that I make a quilt from his ties. I followed no pattern. Many of the various blocks are 3-dimensional. The background fabric is washable faux suede. Notice the kittens, Mercedes and Beamer, the names of my son's cats, stray cats that he found at the dealership, have ties that are cut-off from the ends of ties.



Then I found the world of quilting on the internet. First was the Eons Quilters Passion Group that I moderate at http://www.eons.com/groups/group/quilters-passion, a group of folks passionate about quilting and a place where friendships have been made, and then there was finding quilters such as Bonnie Hunter. I found her website and was inspired to make a scrappy Double Irish Chain as she has shown or her website. This was the a quilt top I made after making a quilt for my oldest son and then one for my husband. It is on my UFO list of quilts to finish.  Thank you Bonnie! 


Miss Cassie Says Hello
Miss Cassie was at the groomers yesterday. A day after the groomers is a day to sleep in her opinion. Getting beautiful is hard and tiring work. She likes the Wyoming Star Quilt that I made. It is free motion quilted with some grid quilting. This is the quilt that I made for my hubby. Cassie says she is prettier than the quilt!

House Quilt Blocks Having Been Inspired by Freddy Moran Quilts


This is a quilt I started a couple of years ago by making house quilt blocks from a pattern that was in "Quilts, Quilts and More Quilts!" by Diana McClun and Laura Nownes. Pictured in their book was a quilt made by Franny Moran titled "Freddy's House." Freddy uses a lot of black and white prints with various bright and bold printed fabrics.

In my quilt I am designing it as I go along. There is something about being free to do whatever you feel inclined to do as you progress with different segments of a quilt. The panels are not sewn together. I'm planning to line each side with paper pieced trees. My question is, "How organized or symmetrical should a quilt be to be appealing to the eye? Or is it strictly the fabric pallette that makes a quilt appealing to the eye, or both?" As I look at the picture I need to add more cheddar so the blocks will work with the cheddar in the border. Anyone seeing this please feel free to make comments on how to make this quilt look better.

The border is paper pieced. I drew the lines for the 1" x 3" pointed triangles. The paper pieced trees are from Electric Quilt. I took one of their blocks and resized it to the size that I needed to fit the length of the panels. At this moment I am planning to frame the two or possibly three house panels that will be tree lined with the pointed triangle border. Well off to work on the trees. Come back to see the progression of this quilt.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Calendar Block Quilt Top is Finished!

If you have been following my blog you will notice that the blocks in the quilt top shown were just blocks on the design board a couple of weeks ago.  So I am making progress with completing UFOs (Unfinished Objects).

CoffeeQuilter's Banner was too pretty to put on the back of the quilt so I decided it needed to be on the top of the quilt. This made for a long quilt - 78" x 54".

Lime Green was the most consistent color in the majority of the blocks. There is a story behind why there is so much lime green. It was established by one member of the Quilters Passion members that lime green was the new neutral color. For about a month our small group's messages centered around lime green to the point of being silly and having fun. Another member sent a private message suggesting to all participating in the block swap that we add lime green somewhere in our blocks.  I made 12 blocks with the brightest lime green background. Can you guess which block I made for each of the participants? I took the lime green to the extreme by making paper pieced flower baskets for the month of August. Each basket has a 3-dimensional napkin being held down with a butterfly button. Some of the other baskets made for friends had green napkins and one batik warm red napkin.

Back to describing the quilt. The fabric I chose for the sashing had cool and warm colors predominately being lime green with pinkish/reddish flowers which seemed to work with most of the blocks and helped to pull them together. The warm color in the sashing fabric that was the most evident was butterscotch which worked well with SandySoup's May tulip paper pieced block. There was also tan and taupe which worked with the last quarter of the month blocks. Take notice the first quarter blocks have white backgrounds.

The sashing fabric has some black so I ended up choosing black fabric with purplish pink feathers and cherries which worked well with the sashing fabric. I took a swatch of the sashing fabric to my favorite quilt store where the shop owner assisted me in choosing the fabric for the border. I experimented with purple that matched the purple easter basket and batik reddish/purple shades. The one we chose seemed to make the quilt pop the most. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Challenge Quilt Completed!


 Through the Charlotte Modern Quilt Guild we who chose to participate in the Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton Solid Challenge received a packet of charms that contained 5" squares of various colors, a total of 38 squares. This is what I designed using Electric Quilt. Each Crow's Feet Block has a quilting motif/filler pattern derived from Leah Day's website using her techniques for free motion quilting. This was done on a domestic sewing machine. For more on Leah Day's designs go to http://www.daystyledesigns.com/365project.htm.

For more on Charlotte Modern Quilt Guild go to http://charlottemodernquiltguild.blogspot.com/.


The backside of the quilt shows up the quilting designs. I used about 1600 yards of cotton white thread.

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