Winter’s Work, Put to Rest

Here in Mid-Michigan we experienced a relatively mild winter, but it has been very reluctant to leave.  That meant a lot of days when quilting was a very appealing activity, and all the projects destined for the Midland Quilter’s Squared Quilt Show, held last weekend, were completed in time:

Below is the completed Mystery Quilt, composed of many more tiny squares than have ever crossed my table before for a project.  Fortunately the errors aren’t too visible from here, and it makes me happy that my granddaughter, Isabella, is looking forward to receiving it.

 

This is a photo of another project I posted on earlier.  The blue fan squares were part of a 1930-40 quilt top which was quite misshapen and had never been finished by its creator.  The blocks were taken apart and reconstructed into flowers.  White sashing and borders were then added and I spent the entire winter hand quilting it during the long evenings.  The idea came from a presentation by Tim Latimer, but, unlike Tim, I am not very fast.

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The last photo is a small wall hanging, done for this years quilt show challenge.  We were to base our piece on a song.  This one was inspired by “Swing on a Star” written for Bing Crosby.  “Would you like to swing on a star…Carry moonbeams home in a jar…”

Swing on a star

So, at last, gardening time is approaching and I have lots of smaller projects on the way.  Happy May!

 

Hibernation Projects

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The hand quilting on the vintage project is coming along nicely, what with our long Michigan evenings.  Retirement finds me quite content to while away the hours with fabric in hand.  The vintage quilt ended up having nine squares, consisting of four fans put together to create flowers.  I am now quilting the eighth one, and, when the ninth is finished, will begin work on large-stitched vines in the borders, to help it blend with it’s surroundings when it reaches it’s home (the “She Shed” of a special friend).

The machine sewn project, which has been keeping me bIMG_20160125_165754usy most recently, is a “Mystery Quilt” project, organized by Midland Quilters Squared, to which I belong.  Each month we were given a segment of the directions, until this month, when the final diagram was revealed.  This has been a challenge for me, as piecing is not my favorite style and I am not given to perfectionism, so this has been a good stretching exercise for me.  Somehow, it has resulted in a gallon sized baggie full of extra squares and triangles, so I obviously misunderstood a direction along the way.  It was a happy day when it all came together this week.                                                                                                                                     Here is a closer view that also gives a better ideas of the colors.  (Pale sky blue and raspberries)IMG_20160125_165926

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Finally, the other technique tried since moving from the busy holidays into hibernation mode, was inspired by a class taught by Tawni Young from Interlochen, Michigan.  This was totally fun and a process that allows completion of a small landscape quilt in a day.  I believe it is termed “confetti quilting”, as you begin by shredding piles of several colors of fabric, using a rotary cutter.  The results are then sprinkled onto batting topped backing fabric.  Trees, etc. are then layered on with embroidery floss branches in places.  When happy with the result you cover all with black tulle and begin quilting.  The trees and any other large objects are outlined first, and you then just enjoy lots of free-motion quilting all over the rest, to hold everything together.  Tawni often puts hers in a frame, but here is my first attempt.

A new art quilt was started today.  More on that in the future.

Vintage Quilt Remake Progress

Quilting has been a daily event most of the week, as I finish up a few projects and continue to work on this one.  I finally have a project together that will hopefully keep my hand quilting skill intact through the long winter evenings.  It is a peaceful, relaxing activity at the end of the day.

Here is the previous photo of the quilt as it arrived.Vintage quilt on arrival

As you can see in the photo below, I have used 36 of the original 100 blocks, so I’m sure these will appear here again some day.  It measures about 58″ square, which will make a nice sized lap quilt for the garden.IMG_20151109_175859

After taking the original squares apart from each other, I squared up the corners with the quarter circles and added white borders to make each 8 1/2 “.  The fans were then arranged in circles, which was a bit like assembling a puzzle, as thy were irregular in size.IMG_20151107_102402687

Once this was accomplished and they were sewn together, they were attached to each other with 2″ borders and another 2″ border surrounds the whole thing.

It goes into my hoop tonight, which means it might be done by the end of the winter…maybe.

Restoring a Vintage Quilt – And So It Begins

Vintage quilt on arrivalAwkward vintage blocksThis beautiful old quilt top arrived in the mail about ten days ago.  As is the case with many of these old quilt tops available on e-bay, the quilter found that it wasn’t quite square and she never got around to quilting it.  Because the squares were so irregular, and because of the influence of Tim Latimer  (see timquilts.com), I decided to separate the blocks and make the quilt my own.  Above are two average blocks, to illustrate the irregularities.  Below is a shot of the back of a block, to show the hand work.

Pretty handwork

As I take the blocks apart I am pressingthem, squaring the corner with the fan, and trimming the other two sides in whatever straight line works.

vintage ready to square

I am now past half done with this chore.  Aren’t these old feed sack (?) prints pretty?

Pretty vintage block

White will be added to square them all out, so I had to try a couple to see how they looked.

Completed vintage block

It’s all a bit tedious as the squares were machine stitched, but I do think the result will be worth it.  Stay tuned.  Meantime I’ll also keep posting the other projects that are currently entertaining me.

Happy Halloween

IMG_20151031_095251Thought I would share my Halloween wall hanging and a few notes on it’s design.

It was inspired by a panel purchased at Material Mart here in Midland.  I knew I wanted to use it for some blocks in my own design, and began by paper piecing 3 pumpkins from a Leisure Arts book, “100 Paper Pieced Quilt Blocks”.  This book was published in 2009, so may be hard to find, but I especially like it because it includes a CD of the patterns so that they can be printed any size.  I keep a shelf of quilting books that include a wide variety of techniques, both as inspiration and for occasions such as this.

For me, paper piecing always includes a bit of quiet cussing and some seam ripping, but then it turns out looking just like it’s supposed to!  Very rewarding.

Anyway, once the pumpkins were done I mixed in some blocks taken from the panel and added borders using both panel and some other fabric I thought worked well, and here it is!

IMG_20151031_093846 Happy Halloween!

It’s a Mystery

IMG_20151029_111445741Here it is.  Piles of pieces, which my local quilt club, Midland Quilters Squared, tells me will become a quilt suitable to be shown in their show next spring.  This is my first mystery quilt experience, and I have some doubts.  This could be in part because my edges aren’t exactly even.   What is this?

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And how about this?IMG_20151029_111513501

There will obviously have to be some fudging involved.  I can’t very well start fudging until I get the gist of what is to come, though.  It is called “The Cat’s Meow”, so some of you may have knowledge of the pattern.  I stuck with plain fabrics in case there are actually cats involved, thinking I can dress it up with quilting.  Now you see why I am not crazy about traditional quilting.  I’d say I may not be very good at it.

I’ll show you my vintage quilt rescue progress in my next post.  That was so badly pieced that I will again feel good about my skills.

Meanwhile, feel free to send me your best piecing tips in the comment section.

Too Many Coffee Breaks

Paper Pieced Coffee Quilt
Paper Pieced Coffee Quilt

Believe it or not, I actually do quilt almost every single day.  Blogging about the work as I go, however, has not been my strong suit.  Maybe if I bring this quilt to my PC for coffee breaks, I could write a few lines about what I am working on daily.

You may have noticed that I don’t have a lot of interest (or ability, for that matter) when it comes to piecing by a pattern. It is exciting to me to try many different techniques, with the expectation that some trend will develop in my quilts, but thus far that hasn’t happened.  That being said, I am currently working on a quilt club “Mystery Quilt” which is involving hundreds of little pieces, which may (or may not) evolve into a neat, precise whole.

Also in the works, thanks to Tim Latimer  (see timquilts.com)  is a redesign of a vintage quilt top rescue.  I am still in the process of deconstruction, but have a plan in mind.  More on that later this week.

The third project in the works, which will also appear in days to come, is a baby quilt, designed in the black, white and bright colors that are of the most interest to infants.

So back to my Coffee Break Quilt.  I found a free paper-pieced pattern for the coffee cup on Pinterest, selected colors that make me happy, and surrounded the blocks with those colors in solids, to give me a nice background for machine quilting.  The backing is flannel, to make it a nice cozy quilt for actually curling up with a hot beverage.  Here’s a close-up, for a better look at the quilting.

Coffee Break detail
Coffee Break detail