Friday, February 27, 2015

Quilt Show Ready

As you know, there are so many little details before a quilt is truly finished: burying threads, binding, label, sleeve (if it's in a show), washing, blocking. But finally, all three quilts are ready for the SCVQA quilt show March 14-15 at the Santa Clara Convention Center.  It's not judged; simply a way to share what we've been working on the last two years. And Bay Area Modern has a section, too. If you're in the area I hope you will come.

My entries are Round Robin Improv (workshop), Curved Improv and Propellers and Planes. There's no room in my house to get a photo of the entire quilt. Hopefully I can get one at the show. And that will be my last photo of this quilt. Promise!

Steam Punk blocks and enlarged propeller blocks on point with sawtooth sashing.
Propellers and Planes (118"x118"), partial view.

Now to clean up the sewing room, relax a bit and then see what I can do with those New York Beauty blocks. Don't forget Pi Day! 3.141592653... translates to March 14, 2015 at 9:26.53 AM. How are you celebrating?

Linking up to Sarah's Can I Get a Whoop, Whoop.

Enjoy the day,

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Valentine Pillow

By a bit of luck, I found Sanae's blog in early January where she and Ute were hosting their second Secret Valentine Exchange. We filled out a questionnaire with contact information, favorite colors, and places we posted (Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest, blog) which were sent to our secret Valentine. Sanae suggested using our stash to make a present.

My Valentine is a lovely Irish woman who loves mustard. Me, too! Tracking through her photos I saw several pillows. One was made of mattress ticking (I had some leftover from the placemats.) Several others had beautifully tied bows. Suddenly I had an idea.

Bow tie pillow with mattress ticking

The pillow is 16". Since the mattress ticking is canvas-weight, it didn't need to be quilted. The bow is  8" wide indigo and 8.5" wide mustard broadcloth. Both were cut about 18" long to leave room for the gathering. These were sewed into a tube, then turned and pressed so the mustard appears to be a narrow piping. A second, smaller tube made the center of the bow.

ChrissieD had a wonderful tutorial on her blog for a hidden zipper closure on a pillow. Ironing double-sided fusible to the zipper made it the easiest I've ever put in.

Here's a close up of the zipper...

Bow Tie pillow back showing hidden zipper
and a full view of the back.

Bow tie pillow back
Thanks, Sanae and Ute, for a delightful Valentine party!

Enjoy the day, Ann

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Round Robin Improv Quilted

Next in the queue is the Round Robin Improv quilt from a workshop with Sherri Lynn Wood. Several anonymous people worked on this top which I think turned out beautifully.

 The technique is one of the scores in Sherri's upcoming book, The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Practical Guide for Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously. Her book is coming out next month but you can purchase it early at QuiltCon. See her post here.

Round Robin Improv quilt

Someone added the lovely fabric with large dots. This inspired my choice for the red and black sunflowers on the left side as well as the appliqued circles. All the circles are leftovers from Propellers. How lucky is that?

Originally I tried this little wavy zig-zag stitch several others quilters have used. The thread is a softly variegated 18-weight cotton. It seemed to pull the quilt a bit tighter than I expected. The reason shows on the back. The bobbin tension is much too tight.

Machine quilting with very bad tension. The bobbin thread is much too tight, pulling the top thread through the quilt and creating eyelashes.
Several samples later with no better results, I changed to 50-weight Metler cotton in grey-blue (#0789.) Random straight lines with a walking foot cover the quilt. I considered following the flare of the patchwork but decided I wanted more uniform widths across the quilt. I started quilting about two-inches apart then came back and filled in. This keeps the quilt better aligned. The "cross angle" didn't look good when the spacing was wider; however, it improved tremendously with closer quilting. It's not as close as matchstick; more like channel quilting.

Round Robin Improv quilt detail

Remaining decisions:
  1. Would you keep the quilt edges like this or straighten them out? 
  2. Would you choose a regular wrapped binding or knife-edge binding that won't show at all on the front?
Previous posts about this quilt:
  1. The day of the Round Robin workshop here.
  2. In progress plus a link to all the quilts from the workshop here.
Enjoy the day, Ann

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Binding Propellers and Planes (Steam Punk)

Propellers is finally quilted. Wavy free motion lines about a finger width apart fill the border. It's an easy, relaxing design which I needed after wrestling with the bulk of this large quilt. Maintaining a relatively constant width was the hardest part. Do you find that your line spacing grows and shrinks depending on the day? I certainly do.

Propellers and Planes quilt detail

When we visited friends in Berkeley last fall, I took the opportunity to purchase the binding and border at New Pieces. The binding is cut on the bias to create diagonal stripes. The first side of the binding is attached (by machine) and I'm hand stitching the back in the evenings.

It still needs a label, hanging sleeve and a good soak and block. It will be in the SCVQA quilt show at the Santa Clara Convention Center March 14-15. If you're in the area, please stop by. It would be so delightful to meet in person.

Some of my backs are unusual, even downright ugly. In my opinion, people only see one side of bed and wall quilts. That's my excuse to cobble those backs from leftovers and older fabrics. Propellers is a good case in point. The squadron of planes on the back used up many quarter yard remnants. These are good quality fabrics; many were used on the front. Most of the back's sashing is leftover from previous quilts. This keeps my stash and scrap bag in stasis. And it amuses me to think I'm providing fodder for future quilt historians.

Here's a view of most of the back...

Prop planes in formation, back of Propellers and Planes quilt

followed by a detail of one single prop plane.

Prop plane quilt block

The quilting shows up better in the detail, don't you think? All the quilting is Aurifil Mako 50/2 except the ditch quilting which is YLI Wonder invisible Nylon in Smoke on top and Aurifil in the bobbin. Smoke show less with medium to dark fabric values.

Sketch of airplane block here.

Lucky me. I recently culled some fabrics from my stash but forgot to take them to the guild meeting. They will make good hanging sleeves.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Monterey Pines... Someday

The large pine cones I collected this fall to put in decorative glass jars had pine nuts. [Since I obviously don't have enough to do] I planted them. Here's my method:
  1. Put the seeds in a glass of water overnight.
  2. Keep the sinkers and discard the floaters.
  3. Put them in a small zip lock bag with a damp paper towel and store in the refrigerator for a week. (I left them for a month.)
  4. Plant in potting soil in a starter pot (or a cardboard egg carton.) It felt like grade school science fair!
  5. Transplant into ground or larger pots.
Ten of the twelve came up within two weeks. They grow a very long, strong taproot which easily broke through the egg carton. I now know exposure to the air is not good for new pine roots.

Monterey Pine seedlings at 10 days.
Don't you love the way these seedlings squeeze out of their encasing brown pod and white kernel? They remind me of construction paper lanterns. Once free of the kernel, the seedlings spread like the ribs on an umbrella.

Monterey Pine seedlings transplanted to larger pots for their first year.
Eight healthy seedlings need to be transplanted to a permanent location this autumn. Any ideas?

Enjoy the day, Ann