Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sharing at Show and Tell

Here's what happened at Breakfast Club on Thursday:

March's Method...very quick strip quilt from Sheila

Sheila's String Quilt - She used scraps from children's quilts she had made for one family and this quilt is for the mom!

Carol's McGuffey...Schnibbles design.

Carol's Delectable Mountain quilt.

Cathy's Rancher's Daughter by Debbie Caffrey

Cathy's bargello runner

Melody's Nine Patch - Simple but effective.

Erin's window bow quilts...she has and old window frame that these will hang in...too cute.

Erin's Hot Cross Buns, another Schnibbles quilt design

Erin's Kleenex Box...that's what we call this quilt...this was our first ever Breakfast Club pattern and it was called Eggs Benedict.

Friday I felt very puny...couldn't even muster the energy to sew...a good day to lay in bed all day and watch the royal wedding several times. I enjoyed see all the hats! 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tomorrow is Another Day

Wew! Did you hear my big sigh of relief? Tension issue resolved...maybe it was a bad bobbin. That was all I changed and problem resolved. I couldn't see or feel anything wrong with the bobbin but it went in the trash can. I got one of my runner/valences quilted.

I also got the binding stitched to the Mckenna Ryan for some hand sewing lots of thread tails to bury...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Design Wall Monday

Tension Issues! I am sounding a bit like a broken record...what's an updated version of that cliche?

This is what was going on underneath!

Pretty on the top. Impossible to rip out without destroying the fabric. Decided to live with it! But the tension issues continued. I spent more time ripping out than quilting. But mostly I am bummed I didn't get to "paint" more with the thread. It got to a point where I just had to push through the minimum amount of quilting and claim it done. It has been my experience that a simple issue creates a tension problem so I am confident I can and will resolve this issue. I have three simple quilting projects I would love to get done this week...please Quilting me find the problem!

If you are a Mckenna Ryan quilt greatest suggestion if you want to quilt them on a long arm is stick to batik fabrics. With the larger needles longarms use, the non batiks fabrics just didn't hold up as well. The higher thread count of batiks is worth the extra cost in this situation. This was a kit and more than half are not batiks though they are cottons designed by McKenna Ryan. They were pretty fabrics but...not batiks.

If a machine deters me then I switch to handwork. I finished a Shivery Snowman Block...

I picked up a block from a Moda U quilt that's from a few years ago. 

But the most fun is starting a new project! The last Thursday of the month is this week and my quilting group is tackling another Kim Brackett quilt.

The ladies will be so surprised to see me working with earth tones...not! Sometimes the comfort zone is the necessary can quote me. (Lots of dark chocolate m&ms really help too.)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up

Taking the next step...that's what seems to get in the way of finishing a quilt which leads to the creation of  UFOs. I'm in that "next step" phase of my April UFO.

I'm sure many of you recognize this as a Mckenna Ryan art quilt design. I love doing the cutting and fusing reminds me of paper dolls. The stitching part...not so fun. All that fusible webbing is not fun to stitch through...especially when there are four layers in some spots.

Rhythm of the Sea
This is the first Mckenna Ryan quilt I tackled. I remember the anxiety I had quilting this top! I went with the method suggested by the designer and used monofilament thread to top stitch everything. I did it on my Bernina 440 which has a stitch regulator. Looking at it today I think it came out very nice. (I used Bottom Line in my bobbin.) But I remember thinking at the time that it might be more interesting to actually use colored threads to top stitch. 

Here's the threads I have used so far on "Calling Me Home." And this time I'm quilting on my Nolting Fun Quilter. 

So now I have a huge number of thread tails!

Since there are so many layers of fusible web, burying the tails as I go is really tough so I have started taping them out of the way.

The jury is out on which way is better. I have two-thirds of the quilting done. 

I have some other Mckenna Ryan projects planned...

Here are two more Mckenna Ryan kits I have sitting patiently in my quilting room ready to be made. (I got them for a great price on EBay).  Plus I have a set of patterns for a Christmas design too. I cannot draw realistic nature pictures so I find myself very "drawn" to these designs...they allow me to look very impressive to my non-quilting friends. I think these designs were also my introduction to batiks...I'm hooked.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday Tour

UFO # 1 - Nutcracker Quilt - COMPLETED!!!

It all started when I saw this ad in a quilting magazine in 2005. I had only done a very small of amount of applique for Christmas stockings...not an entire quilt. But I had a weakness for nutcrackers.

This was the first block I received in the mail and I think it was one of the most difficult...look at all those tiny pieces! The shoulder emblems. The hat bands. The eyebrows. The eyes. But by far the most difficult part was the teeth!!!!

I used needle turn applique and this was my instruction for the method, Linda Jenkins and Becky Goldsmiths, "The Applique Sampler."  An updated version of this book is available. I consider this one of the most influential books I have in my quilting library. 

Nutcrackers on Parade - 63 x 94
Fast forward six years! This quilt was designed by Sue Garman. She is a retired rocket scientist from NASA...really. She was working full time when she designed and made this quilt. If you aren't familiar with her work check it out at Quakertown Quilts. This quilt shop is the exclusive distributor of her designs and still offers this pattern as a BOM.

One more picture to point out things learned. I was reluctant to cut away the fabrics behind my appliques...sometimes I just forgot. With this white beard you can see the dark fabrics create a shadow image behind the white...not ideal. And the teeth...I finally created a paper-piecing pattern to make the teeth.  Every set of teeth was a different size so a new pattern had to be made for each. Ms. Garman gave some suggestions in her pattern for how to tackle the teeth...this was my own idea.

*Update from April 30, 2011 - The teeth...I forgot I didn't like the paper-pieced versions so I went back and    changed out all the teeth with new ones...I used pigma pens on white to draw the black teeth spaces then appliqued. Lots of work went into those teeth!

I have two other needle turn applique quilts in the works since starting this of those is another Sue Garman quilt. I didn't put those on the UFO list...maybe next year. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Design Wall Monday

I tell you...Miss Judy's UFO Challenge has just been the best blog event for me. A silly little list published on my blog is enough to get me to make the effort to get projects done that were becoming dust collectors. I am binding my UFO that was due in March.

Two sides of binding left to go. I am just trying these handy binding clips for the first time. Love them. So nice not to be poked by pins.

Sunday I added the borders to my valences for my kitchen window. This was not on my UFO list but could have been. The cut pieces have been sitting in a bag for two years. 

I took a break from major projects to catch up on some blog BOMS. 

And I finally...I got the backing and batting loaded on Marta to start quilting this Mckenna Ryan art quilt. This is my UFO due for April.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Six Year Quilt Project

Life with Nolting had a two-day hissy fit which recked havoc on my quilting progress...and then just as mysteriously became my perfect quilting companion again.
 I just pulled my Nutcracker quilt off the frame. A work in progress since 2006.

Not officially done yet but I sure feel like celebrating.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tuesday Tour

I'm working through my tension issues on Marta as I quilt my March UFO. It will be worth it...I know it will. Before I try that chore today it's time to have fun and share a couple of other quilts.
 First flimsy from the Layer Cake Quilt Along is done.

Whimsy - 59 1/2 x 73 
I really enjoyed this quilt along. A block came out every two weeks which was a good pace, especially since they were all pretty simple. I'm going to quilt it with a very easy all-over wavy waves of water. Several people commented that the colors reminded them of the beach. Right now I could really go for a nap on a warm beach...ahhh. I used Tonga Treats Coffee Cake color way of a layer cake and the Tonga Treat version of a jelly roll. The brown batik sashing was my addition from my stash...I have no memory of buying it but it sure works.

There's More!

Here's my version of Debbie Caffrey's  Rancher's Daughter. Mine is Secret Mountain Meadow. I'm definitely keeping this delectable mountain block in mind for future easy and just wonderful looking.

Butterfly and other quilting detail of the delectable mountain blocks. 

Flowers in the meadow.

Bees a buzzing. (Debbie means little bee in Hebrew)

The backside.

It always amazes me how much dimension comes to the quilt after it's off the frame a few days. I did the double batting again...I'm pretty hooked on that now. The backing is a hand-dyed from Sew Batiks. It is a looser weave than I would like but the color is scrumptious.

 Okay...I'm a little more motivated now to tackle some more quilting.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Design Wall Monday

I'm still struggling with tension issues quilting my March UFO. I'm starting to wonder if it is the thread...probably more likely user error.

 Thank goodness I have the setting of the Layer Cake Quilt Along to divert my attention.

Just one more piano keys border to add. I bought a set of Tonga Treat 2 1/2 strips to compliment my layer cake and used them to get me through the end...I never would have made the flower block without the extra fabric the strips gave me. I  have no idea when or where I bought the brown Bali  batik I found in my stash for the sashing. When I have pieces in my stash of two or more yards I figure I got them on sale. This piece was at least three yards but full of flaws in the fabric. I am so amazed at how much I enjoyed this project!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Weekly Accomplishments

I'm plugging away on quilting my March UFO...I ran into tension problems which meant ripping out...ARGH!
 It will all be worth it when it's done. So I took a break and worked on other projects.

These two sets of blocks will become valences in my kitchen. I just have to decide how I want to finish them.

Here is the final block for the Layer Cake Quilt Along from Moose on the Porch.

Here are all 12 together. I really liked many of the blocks...lots of original designs. I found a dark brown batik in my stash I think will be great for the sashing. This quilt is destined to be a throw for my navy leather sectional...perfect for my male-dominated household.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April Showers...Snow Showers

This would be a great day to quilt... we just got four inches of snow this morning. But when you own Bernese Mountain Dogs who are made for becomes a dog walking day.

Forrest and Jenny patiently wait for the front door to open.

Jenny after a snow dive.

It's very hard to get photos of two Bernese Mountain Dogs playing in the snow...they never stop moving.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Design Wall Monday

I got a little behind in March...or did I just take on too much?
 I am starting this week trying to finish the UFO for March. Yesterday I marked the top for quilting...

Reviewed the quilt designs for the 12 sampler blocks...

And now it is loaded on the quilt frame with double batting.
I started two runners last week...

I made a wall hanging from this block and cut out the remaining blocks for the runner but somehow years passed without the runners getting made. 

If you followed my IditaQuilt adventure but never saw the finished quilt please check out my IditaQuilt Finish.