Sunday, February 26, 2017

February Progress

I may have to rename my current quilt project, "Diligence in the Chugach." I live on the side of a mountain in the Chugach Mountain Range and I had named this quilt, "Chugach Mountain Hike." I have been working "diligently" almost every day for two weeks and I am only about a quarter of the way done quilting this top. In the photo are my three main quilting tools. The quilting ruler is a new purchase from Judi Madsen with Green Fairy Quilts. Her modern take on machine quilting is inspiring and has influenced my quilting designs. Of course there is also a seam ripper...I really like this little green one when I am working on my midarm. And I love my little green, Karen Buckley serrated scissors. I just bought a second pair because one pair was really not enough.

I am also feeling like I am moving at a turtle's pace with the blocks for, "En Provence." 

I did make it to Breakfast Club last week were I worked on the pattern we started in December. Loving the colors. I am using a Bali Pop called, "Splash," along with a few strips added from my stash. There will be a one-inch sash of the dark gray around each block. It takes a bit of time to deal with all those points.

Two little reindeer ornaments from a Bucilla kit are finished...nice to get a little something in the done category.

Still several weeks of winter to enjoy. Today was perfect...sunny and 27 degrees. My ideal winter day...and it seems the dogs agree with me.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

February Projects

Having a very playful cat in the sewing room created a big problem whenever I loaded a quilt on the midarm frame. My cat would find the batting hang from the frame to the floor a big play area. I would come back to find the batting completely torn apart. I had seen quilters rig up a pole hanging from their longarm frames to hold rolls of batting. I took that idea and bought a galvanized 1" x 10' metal pipe to hang with "S" hooks from my gardening supplies.  

It did the trick and was an inexpensive solution. I later basted all the layers together and am now ready to start the actual quilting.

Finished up another cross stitch ornament, a Gardening Santa. I am anxious for less winter though I won't be getting my hands into any dirt outside until May.

I have been getting back into the habit of working on my Bucilla kits in the evenings. They really do come together rather quickly when you work on them a little every evening. Most of Santa is complete so it is time to start layering a reindeer into place.

I finally got Bonnie Hunter's specialty ruler in the mail so was able to get to the block construction phase for her En Provence design. I have to make 16 of these blocks. I think this first one took me 45 minutes with all these points to match up. This is the first time I have made one of Bonnie's mysteries and I would definitely say these are for advanced quilters.

Even though I have many of my own quilt designs I should be working on...I really like making designs from other quilters when they have different techniques for me to try. I used the three rulers she recommends and they gave me very accurate components so it is all coming together smoothly...always a bit of stitching and ripping to get those points where you want them.  

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The First Finish of 2017

"Northwood Stars"
74 1/4" x 90"

I made this quilt from fabrics in my stash. The border fabric is from a Robert Kaufman line called Northwoods. There have been several variations released over the years. 

The blocks were made from a template set and book from Karen Montgomery.  I made the top in 2014 when this template set and book were the project featured at that year's September Breakfast Club meeting. So glad I had my blog to check the date.


The quilt design, "Big Sky," was my inspiration.

The book suggested a secondary star as an option with a color change in the background fabrics. As I recall it was very simple to make and went together very quickly.

A fun look at the backside. 
I discovered a quilting line that was overlooked and will fix that missed area in one of the stars.

Logan was such good boy for this photo. Often, as soon as I call him to get his attention for a photo, he starts running to me but this time he took a beat to see if I had further instructions.

Although the sun is finally high enough in the sky to shine on our house for a few hours a day, it is still just skimming the tops of the mountains so it is a challenge to get a great photo that shows the fabric colors.

I used two layers of Hobbs bleached cotton batting. I used Bottom Line thread in my bobbin, sticking with the same silver color for the entire quilt, even when I changed to darker thread colors. I find the double batting really alleviates the top and bottom threads from showing to the other side when I am quilting.

I plan to hang this in my bedroom for the heart of Alaska's winter months...but of course I have to wait until I share it at the February Breakfast Club meeting.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Too Busy to Talk

The last three weeks I have been diligently staying on task...trying to finish a quilt. I'm in the binding close. I tried three new techniques with this quilt and I am counting at least two of them a success.

The quilting design on the outer border is a technique called "Curved Echo Border." You can find a wonderful tutorial for the design on Kathy Schwartz's blog Tamarack Shack. She has a wonderful blog and I encourage you to visit her if you have never been to her site. Wonderful quilting along with Aurora photos and some quilting designs in snow.

The second new technique I tried on my latest quilt is marking with ordinary chalk. I got this tip from Margaret Solomon Gunn when I met her at the International Quilt Show in Houston. I even tried colored chalk and it worked beautifully too. Just sharpen with an ordinary pencil sharper with a larger pencil option. This is such a treat to work, easy, washes out completely and I can actually see my marks no matter what color of fabric I am quilting. Most batiks are of medium value so this has been a issue for me in the past. Such a simple solution. 

The third technique was also one I got from Margaret. Wash the quilt before sewing on the binding. I'll decide if I like that technique when I actually finish the binding and see how it lays.

Sunshine is in the forecast for tomorrow so I am planning on a quilt photo session in the snow.

In an effort to stay on task with my machine quilting, I have started getting the next quilt ready for loading on my quilting frame. This quilt top has been waiting so patiently for me to quilt her that I had to spend some time ironing out all those hard creases from having her crammed on the shelf for many years. I had a lot of paper-pieced points in this design and I had to spend some time getting seams pressed for the least amount of bulk.

Don't worry...the iron is unplugged...a habit I am trying to instill in my routine since my quilting space is shared with a cat that loves all things quilty.

And I just had to share a puppy picture. Logan is four months old. He still loves to cuddle. When my husband is out of town the puppy gets to spend a few minutes in bed with me before we go to sleep.

I never made it to the January Breakfast Club gathering. That morning I woke up to the sound of rain...the worst possible weather when you have snow-packed roads. Many cars slid off the main road I would have had to drive that was a wet ice rink everywhere. Fine the next frustrating!