Wednesday, August 25, 2010

There must be something in the water...

This coming fall, I have two nieces and the wife of one of my nephews who are expecting babies.  One in October and two the first week of November.  So I figured I better get started on baby quilts.  The good news all three of these nieces/nephews and their spouses are really into my quilting and have treated previous quilting gifts like gems.  My nephews first born, has not gone a day in 8 years without her quilt by her side.  It goes to school, play dates...  everywhere :-).  Her mom treats it like gold, washing it with fine washables, etc... (that is when she can get it away from her).  One of my nieces husbands is always drooling over the quilts I design myself and has asked for a quilt with a drum based theme, as they know they are having a boy.  So needless to say, I am thrilled to be making them quilts, there will be no 'cheater' panels on these!

Last night I finished drafting the 'drum' quilt.  I choose the fabrics and even created the pattern for the drum applique.  I had thought that was all I was going to do for the night, but when I stopped it was 1 a.m. in the morning and believe it or not, I had 3 drum appliques all fused down, ready for their satin stitching.  No quilting tonight, but after looking over my applique work with my 20 yr old son, he came up with a great idea.  They were going to need to be texturized....  soooo I decided to trapunto them.  Make those drums pop right out off of the quilt top.  The drums are basically 10 inches in size, on a 12 inch square, so they will give the baby plenty of area to touch and feel, especially with the 'flags' on the side, plenty of places for stitching....  I am sure a picture is worth a thousand of my words, so as soon as I do the satin stitch on one and get the trapunto behind it, I will post a pic.

As you can tell I have gotten back into my quilting mood...  after an endless summer running around in the sweltering heat.

Hope to see you guys here in blog-land more once we take my son back to college tomorrow.

Enjoy and sweet dreams :-)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Quilting for charity...

I have 3 baby quilts to make for nieces and nephews, but before I could start, I had to finished 2 charity quilts I committed to do this summer.  One was for my guild to donate to a local nursing home and the other was for a guild member who is traveling to Africa with a quilt tour group this fall.  They are bringing quilts for the babies, so I promised I would donate one for the trip.

Well, I am sure I am like most quilters on 2 accounts.  One, I usually work in similar colors and two, I save all the odd left over pieces from quilts I make.  So I was fortunate enough to look in my scrap basket and find some treasure.  Earlier this year I made two quilts for nieces, both with purple as the main color.  Since both also used turquoise, I was able to pull enough scraps with coordinating colors from the basket to make both tops....  talk about pay-day.

The first was real easy, as I had quite a few left over squares from one of the quilts, where I just didn't like some of the colors or fabrics for the look I was trying to acheive....  but since I took them all out whole, they came together to make the quilt for the African orphanage....
Nice bright colors, where strip sets and squares made a nice 46"x42" baby blanket.  It has almost a scrappy feel but still cohesive :-).  For the quilting, I just did a continuous line design, joining swirls and leaves.  It has been such a long time since I quilted large graceful work, I had a hard time getting into the groove.  My rhythm kept wantingto take me back to my small intricate quilting of late.  But, I managed and am happy I was able to finally free motion quilt with my Superior Rainbows thread.  I just lowered the top tension to .5 and the stitch length to 1.0 and off I went!  No snagging, breaking or spit up on the back, like I had been experiencing with the Rainbow thread.  I guess practice and learning your machine, really does pay off :-).

I then took the left over purple and turquoise strips and half square triangle blocks and put them together with Kona Black for the second top. 

This piece measures 42" square and they mustn't be any larger. as this is safe size for use with a wheelchair.  Otherwise, it can get caught up in the wheels of the wheel chair...
The top came together really quickly.  I did some free motion feathers in the black sashing and 6 other designs in the 'blocks'.   I decided to practice doing quite a bit of my filler patterns on this piece, except making them about 10 times larger. I decided to practice doing quite a bit of my filler patterns on this piece, just making them about 10 times larger. It was interesting seeing which filler worked or was easy to do on a bigger scale, and which ones didn't.  I will let you be the judge, but here is the one I like the best....

I realy enjoy what I call 'leaves on leaves'.  I love the way you can change directions and they look as if they were layered one on top of each other.

I used the same Superior Rainbow thread in this piece.  Again using Bottom Line in the bottom, with a 90/14 Sharp needle. 

All ran smooth as can be.  Just have to do the piping, which I do by hand, usually as I travel up and down the road.  Now I can get started on the 3 baby quilts that are joining the clan this fall :-).

The first will be drum themed.  I just have to design it first :-)...


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Progress against to do list...

So I finished the top and back of the quilt for the Pelham Quilter's outgoing President....  Thanks to the 19 other members who contributed squares.  It is funny that the yellow and blues were all so similar in value, that it made it pretty easy to create a cohesive piece.  The greens were different, but since greens remind us all of nature and leafs and such come in so many different shades of green and live together so wonderfully in nature, they still worked well.  I ended up using a very simple setting method, with a basic inner/outer boarder as not to take away from the beautiful blocks.

I was heading out of town, and ran out of time, so my DH delivered it to Mary Anne who will quilt it for us.  Our meeting is the 13th of September, so I wanted to make sure she had enough time to quilt it on her George.

Lorriane has been president for almost 20 years...  yes we are bit unconventional as a guild :-).  I hope this quilt will be a fitting tribute to her years of service.  I will post pics once we present it to Lorraine in September.

I also spent some time quilting a small piece for a friend, Donna Chambers, to take with her on her trip to Africa this September.  She is going with a quilting group and they will stop by a children's orphanage.  She has asked members of the guild to make baby quilts for her take with her.  I should finish this next weekend.  Will post pics of this as well, once finished.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I have broken a golden rule...

When I first decided to blog, I new that I would not do so daily, but felt that if I was going to be a blogger, than I had to do so at least once every 10 days.  Well, it has been almost a month!  Not good.  Seems as the stretches have gotten longer and longer.  Maybe it is because it is the summertime and we have so much going on as a family...  jazz concerts, trips to the local parks and pools, a great family vacation in Cancun, hosting a family re-union for my husband's family.  Yes, I have been busy this month.

I have done some quilting as time and the weather permits...  (It has been one hot July in southern NY.  We had 17+ days over 93, without the heat index and quite a few over 100!)  But back to quilting...  I made two charity quilt tops that will need to be quilted (pics once quilted, promise).  Had a wonderful quilty day with my girlfriend Ashley in my studio.  I have made some progress on the African dancer I started at retreat this spring, adding detail and embellishments on his neck, arms and legs.  He is now ready to be quilted, so I played with different quilting stitches and threads to determine what combination I like best...  right now a flame stitch with matching cotton 50wt thread, so that the quilting doesn't detract from the dancer....  at least that is the thought for now.  And this week, I will be pulling together squares made by members of the Pelham Quilters into a top for a quilt to be presented to our out-going President.

Now the real reason I wanted to post today is I am thinking about making a small wall hanging to Thank the pediatrician that has taken care of my children for the last 23 years.  At the end of the month, my 20 year old son will be going for his last yearly physical before he turns 21 (and is no longer able to see a pediatrician :-)).  My oldest was this doctors first newborn, so on her last visit they sat and chatted and cried for over an hour.  She has seen my kids through Juvenile Arthritis, a screaming, streaking kid who would run at the first sight of a needle, Asthma, ASD (or a hole in my then 16 yr old daughters heart that required surgery), and a  totally broken - not torn - meniscus that will have to be replaced in a yr or so with a transplant from a corpse.  She has done all this with a smile, patience and heart of a saint.  For some things, calling just to check in on them to see if they or I, needed to talk.  So....  any ideas on patterns or shapes I should use would be welcome.  I thought of a Heart, but it seems so literal and I wanted something with more meaning, to show just how special she really is.

All suggestions are welcome....  now back to work :-)