Thursday, October 31, 2013

HST Quilt Series - I

A while back I created a stack of HST's by pairing a bundle of fat quarters of Mod Basics by Jay Cyn Design for Birch Fabrics with some Kona Bone. Since then I have been playing around with different configurations to create a series of mini quilts.

This is the first of the series inspired by this pin

Pardon my makeshift design wall :0

Linking up to: TGIFF

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Plus Quilt

I needed a gift for a colleagues little girl who turned one year old. I planned to take the easy way out and buy a gift. But after my visit to the store, I realized nothing compares to a handmade quilt. It just outshines anything you can possibly buy. So I set about whipping up a quilt under a tight deadline. 

Picked a very simple pattern, rummaged through my stack and found some girl colors and stitched it all up together. All in a day's work.

To counter the bright colors in the front of the quilt I decided to add a linen border and use light colored fabric on the back. This is a great way to use up scraps.

Quilted it in wavy lines on my Bernina. Love the texture this produces.

Bound it using a black & white print from Summersville by Lucie Summers. It contrasts nicely with the bright colors of the quilt.

Added a little detail

And viola done. I am sure it will be the belle of the ball ;)

Linking up to: Fabric Tuesday

Friday, October 25, 2013

Bloggers Quilt Festival 2013

This is my 3rd year participating in the Blogger's Quilt Festival over at Amy's Creative Side and I decided to enter the Variable Sawtooth Star Quilt which is based off a pattern by Elizabeth Hartman.

This is the biggest quilt I have ever made and am proud to claim that I quilted it on my home sewing machine. I absolutely love the way it turned out. It has a nice drape to it and is large enough to cover a king size bed. I gifted this quilt to a dear friend who just celebrated a milestone birthday and I know it has found a good home where it will be cherished.

You can read about the making of the quilt: here, here, here & here

Quilt Festival Stats
Finished quilt measures at 96" x 96"
Hometown collection by Sweetwater for Moda
Kona bone by Robert Kaufman
Quilted by me on my home sewing machine
Category: Bed Quilts #10


Be sure to hop on over to Amy's blog to see all the other amazing entries for this year.

My previous entries for Blogger's Quilt Festival were Spring 2013, Fall 2012

Linking up to: TGIFF, crazy mom quilts

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Other Side of the Quilt

This post is for an interesting link up at SwimBikeQuilt. It's all about showing off the back of the quilt which for the most part goes unnoticed. If you are like me, I need to see the back. It kills me when I don't know what the back of a quilt looks like. There is a Flickr group called 'Quilt Backs' that I peruse often. Lots of good ideas there too.

Here is a look at backs of some of my quilts:

Improv back for the flying geese quilt

Improv quilt back

Wonky cross quilt back

FMQ quilt back, this is very plain. Since this was my first FMQ quilt I cleverly chose a fabric that would hide the flaws.

Stacked coin quilt back, that piece was just for effect. I had enough blue fabric to cover the back.

Marvel Comic quilt back. Worked hard on this. I actually came up with a block that I called the Kapow block. It has partial seams.

Kitchen Window quilt. I auditioned a ton of fabrics for the back and then settled on flannel with saturated colors.

Lastly my first quilt made with a jelly roll. I used the little endings to create two strips for the back. Talk about using every little bit.

Now that was a good trip down memory lane.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

House Bee Block

Our guild president Jessica Levitt really challenged us to go out of our comfort zone and come up with a pieced house bee block loosely based off this image.

This was definitely something I had never tried before but she provided us a sort of piecing template. Armed with my recent knowledge about paper piecing I quickly set about breaking this template down to smaller blocks I could paper piece and then sew together. This was the outcome.

I tried my hand at the simple windows first and once I figured it out I added a little detail, like the lace blinds in the upper storey windows.

Keeping with the holiday spirit I also stuck a christmas tree in one of the windows on the ground floor.

The block is not perfect but I hope she likes it. Actually with what I know now, if I tried my hand at another block it would definitely turn out a lot better. Oh well I am already behind on this block and time is running scarce.

Linking up to: Fabric Tuesday

Monday, October 7, 2013

Quilting Large Quilts

Just finished quilting the Sawtooth Star quilt. I love the way it turned out.

The quilt measures at 96" x 96". It is the biggest quilt I have quilted on my home sewing machine. I have a Bernina 440 QE with a fairly small throat space and quilting this one was a challenge. It required bit of planning.

I would have liked to quilt in straight lines but the thought of pulling the quilt back and forth along it's length did not seem appealing. Robin at RobinSueQuilts recently did something similar. Her quilt was even larger than mine but I did not feel up to it. I figured it would be easier to quilt it in small sections and decided on quilting it with a meandering stitch instead.

I had previously come across two approaches for quilting this:

1) One by Elizabeth Hartman of Oh Fransson! - Tips for quilting large quilts
2) Other by Leah Day of The Free Motion Quilting Project - Quilting big quilts

Once I basted the quilt sandwich I realized there was substantial weight to it. It was an effort to even carry it from the floor to the table. My sewing machine table was unable to hold its weight so I used the dining table. I sat at one end and let the quilt rest along the length of the table. 

At first I stabilized the quilt by stitching in the ditch in a straight line along the center of the quilt.

Then I tried Leah Day's advise - DON'T roll your quilt up into a log to get it under the arm of your machine! If you do this, the whole weight of that quilt will be fighting you

Unfortunately this approach did not work too well for me. It was all too messy and I was handling the quilt excessively. I was afraid the layers would shift and the fabric would bunch up on the back. My arms were sore from handling the quilt and progress was really slow. It was hard for me to keep track of the back of the quilt for tension problems.

I laid the quilt out on the floor again and rolled it into a log. This time around I tried Elizabeth Hartman's suggestion. This worked better for me as things were a bit more neat and organized however as Leah pointed out the weight of the quilt was definitely a factor. I could not traverse the quilt horizontally as easily but vertically it seemed doable. There was still excessive handling in parts but it was a lot easier for me to quilt.

Towards the center of the quilt I held on to the rolled portion of the quilt to move it but as I got to the end, the roll got a lot bigger on one side. Then I would let the roll rest on the table and pinch just a portion of the quilt from below. This is what Elizabeth also suggested doing.

I also did away with the gloves, bare hands worked better for me. I let the non quilted portion of the quilt rest on my lap and pushed the quilt away from me as I finished each little section.

In the end this is the approach I used to quilt it. Each time I was done quilting one quadrant I had to drag the quilt to the floor and roll it in the other direction. 

I learnt a few things along the way:

- Do what works for you. As Leah says there is no right way to quilt.
- Do not hesitate to re-pin the quilt. As a matter of fact I would recommend re-pinning it to smooth out creases as you progress.
- When quilting make sure that you don't let the weight of the quilt drag the stitching.
- Lastly sending it to a long arm quilter may not be such a bad idea. :)

Anyway now that it is done, on to binding and I promise there will be a lot more pictures soon.

Linking up to: Fabric Tuesday, Finish it up Friday

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Bee blocks

Last week made a few more bee blocks for the Scrapbeelicous bee I have joined this year. This time Gwendellyn at Rainbow Revolts asked for scrappy trip around blocks with a theme. I came up with these two from my scrap bin. 

First one using Kumari collection by Dena Designs. This has a summery feel to it.

This one is using Joel Dewberry's Heirloom in Ruby. This has a autumn feel to it.

I am thoroughly enjoying being a part of this bee.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Quilters Take Manhattan 2013

Once again it was time for Quilters Take Manhattan 2013 organized by Quilt Alliance at FIT in NYC. I had attended the same event last year and was so much fun that decided I could not miss it this year.

This time around Lori and I made it a day out in Manhattan. The crisp autumn weather only added to the otherwise fun and exciting day. 

Firstly we visited a couple of fabric shops in midtown. We started with B&J and feasted our eyes on some good Liberty fabric. Then tried to find our way up to Rosen & Chadick but it was closed so headed to New York Elegant Fabrics. We picked up some amazingly soft homespun fabric which was dual sided. Planning to make some infinity scarfs with it.

After that we stopped by City Quilter and perused some lovely fabric. I had a chance to finally meet up with Chrissie who works at City Quilter and had spoken to earlier on a few occasions.

After that we had a great lunch at a sidewalk cafe near FIT and headed to the event. The guest speakers this year were Hollis Chaterlain and the Semper Tedium team consisting of Paula Nadelstern, Amy Orr, Katheryn Knauer and Robin Schwalb. In addition, there were a lot more who's who of the quilting world in the audience which is always a plus.

A few of Hollis Chaterlain's quilts were on display of which Innocence was really intriguing. I was amazed how she had added luminosity to the eyes and lips with just fabric and thread. It was simply brilliant.

There were a few more of her exquisite quilts on display. I was really taken by the detail in each quilt.

Quilts by Semper Tedium members also made their appearance and did not disappoint.

I even won my very own Dancing Kaleidoscope umbrella from Paula Nadelstern in the raffle drawing. Isn't it a beauty!

All in all it was a fun day and would highly recommend it to anyone.