Memorial Day Sew-In Success

I thought there was a chance that I might not even get to join in on the Memorial Day Sew-In on Twitter due to a hectic week or two of travel and visitors, but, not only did I get to sew on Memorial Day itself, but I also got a very good start on putting together my Birds in the Air blocks for the Twilter block exchange (and I finished the last few tonight).

For the blocks I used a white solid (I’m pretty sure it’s a Bella solid) and varying scraps for the colors. I can tell you what project each of the fabrics I used came from. As a matter of fact, I’m about to do just that. First up, the ones I made on Memorial Day.

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The top two blocks are made with fabric from the 2009 FQS Designer Mystery BOM which has lingered in my quilting frame downstairs waiting for me to not have anything more important to hand quilt. I got it onto the frame a month or so before my daughter became engaged to her now husband and the wedding quilt took over the hand quilting mojo. Since then, most of the hand quilting time has gone to the church quilt which is a wholecloth quilt and requires a lot of quilting! Here’s what the top looks like:102_3033The one on the lower left is the border fabric from my eldest daughter’s quilt (Janni’s Woven Star). Here’s a reminder of what that one looks like:IMG_0544 IMG_0545 IMG_0554And here’s a closeup of the border fabric with chalk marking on it:IMG_0532Then the fabric on the bottom right is from the backing fabric for my youngest daughter’s wedding (AKA, Spotts’ Sea of Love) quilt and Hearts of Flowers. Here are the blocks I finished tonight:IMG_4022The top fabric here is the border fabric of the first church quilt for which I was the project manager. This one:100_0662And last, but not least, the fabric on the bottom is from Philippa’s Mug Rug from last year’s swap. Here it is:IMG_4230

Happy Easter!

This is the strangest Easter in years since we are not home an are not going to church. We are dogsitting this gorgeous guy:

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Because he misses his mommy so much, our method of dogsitting includes never leaving him alone while we are here. So, no church for us.

Part of visiting his mommy includes visiting and sleeping under this quilt:

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I don’t usually sleep under a quilt that I’ve made because I haven’t yet made one for our bed. Maybe I should get on it!

I found my needlework bag a few weeks ago and took stock of what is in it. (This was part of the realization that I’m almost done hand piecing my BOMs – at least the ones that I was hand piecing.) Here’s some of what I found:

Jacobean Sampler – This one is unfinished mostly because I really don’t like embroidery. It came from a company called The Creative Circle that sold kits during home parties. I fell in love with the sampler, and I did start it. One of the reasons I quit was that I thought my satin stitch looked pretty bad. I was pleasantly surprised that I don’t still feel that way.

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Next up are a couple of counted cross stitch items. The first is a Christmas cross stitch which still needs lots of work:

IMG_3869Next up is an alphabet that I started with the idea that I’d give it to the baby my sister was expecting and no one would expect me to knit the official Christmas stocking. (When my sister was expecting her first, my mom was very ill and asked me pointedly who would knit the baby’s stocking. I actually had to take it over to her house and knit in front of her to prove I was doing it. There’s a family pattern that is involved. My nephew’s is the biggest of all the stockings. For second nephew and second daughter, I hired it done. Carolyn kindly knitted my son-in-law’s stocking and is lined up for any grandchildren who come along.)

Anyhow, said nephew turns 29 next month. When I realized that I wasn’t going to finish it in a very timely manner, I put it away. Then I found out I was expecting and did a little more on it, but that baby just turned 28 so…

I misremembered how much I had gotten done and was pleasantly surprised to see that it was this much:

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Sure, I have the rest of the alphabet to do, but this was about three letters more than I thought I had done! This may well become a quilt someday.

I’m hoping to complete block 12 of the 2011 Designer Mystery BOM today, so this may well be relevant very soon.

Quilt on!

End of the Line with the Wovens

In an earlier post found here, I mentioned the fact that three of the quilt patterns I used/completed this year had the word “woven” in them. Those patterns were named Woven Star, Woven Double Wedding Ring and Woven Links. The first two were completed last spring.

Woven Star quiltJanni’s Woven Star

Quilt in blues and greensMegan’s & Madison’s Woven Double Wedding Ring

Quilt in blue, green, gray, and purple shadesWoven Links (sorry about the lighting or lack thereof)

And thus ends my foray into the World of Wovens. What did I learn from this? I’m not sure at all. Maybe lesson number one is that quilts always look better after they’ve been washed. I just don’t know. Why were there three quilts in my life this year with the word “woven” in their titles? I don’t know. Was there any deep cosmic meaning in this? I don’t know.

Do you?

 

Blogger’s Quilt Festival, Fall Edition

Yes, I guess I am going to do this yet again. I think the Blogger’s Quilt Festival is fun. Amy had a great idea when she thought of this!

This time I’ll feature the quilt that it took me the longest to make (at least, the one that is finished).

Back in 2008, my eldest was planning to be married so, of course, I wanted to make her a wedding quilt. She chose a pattern and colors (“Woven Stars” from the book Amazingly Simple Star Quilts – and yes, that is an Amazon affiliate link in case you want to pick up a copy), I bought fabric and started assembling the quilt top which I would then hand quilt. It was the first quilt I made with sashing and set on point. Both of those would look better if I did it now, but here’s an example of how my lack of skill with both affected the corners of the sashing:

Next I assembled my new hand quilting frame (which meant I didn’t have to baste it) and marked the quilt. I chose a motif for the borders that would have been better in a block area and which took me almost 8 hours each to do at the beginning. (Practice brought it down to 3-4 hours by the last border of the quilt.)
 

I started quilting in the first border and realized that this was going to take me forever. Maybe it would be a first anniversary gift. Then the wedding was postponed. A few months later the engagement was off. And I took a year off from quilting. No hurry. My daughter still wanted the quilt, but there were church quilts to get finished. I’d work on it a little, but with no sense of urgency not much progress happened.

Then in the fall of 2011 my niece got engaged, and I wanted to make her a quilt. I knew I needed to finish my daughter’s quilt before I gave my niece one. Not that I was going to attempt to hand quilt my niece’s quilt, but it just didn’t seem fair to me. So I spent last January through March really putting in the effort on my daughter’s quilt.

I finished it in late March. I had spent months spending several hours a day either hand quilting this quilt or machine piecing my niece’s quilt (when my fingers wore out).

Here’s the quilt laid out on my bed. It’s current name is Janni’s Woven Star, although my daughter still calls it her wedding quilt.

Here it is over my railing.

And here it is on her bed.

As I got near the end of the quilting, the number of things that I saw that I know would be better if I pieced it now really bugged me. She seems to be very happy with it, however, and that is what matters most.

Blogger’s Quilt Festival Stats

Finished quilt measures : 88″ x 109″

Special techniques used : hand quilting, strip piecing in the sashing

Quilted by : Me

Best Category : Bed Quilt, HandQuilted

2 Out of 3 Ain’t Bad

Yes, that is an old song title. What I’m referring to, of course, is my number of finishes in the 2012 Finish-A-Long hosted by Rhonda at Quilter in The Gap.

Here is the post with my original goals: Finish-A-Long. I had three goals, only two of which were quilts. The third, which really isn’t a quilt, was to get the family room transformed into a neat and organized quilt studio. Yeah, I made some progress, but that didn’t happen. But one corner does look pretty cool:

But that is the unfinished job.

The first finish was over 4 years in the making, Janni’s Woven Star. Here is the post with the finishing announcement: A Big Ta Da! And here is a repeat picture of the lovely quilt in its new home:

I will be posting another blog post with my other finish in just a few minutes. Sorry, but that is what I need to do for Rhonda’s contest, and I’m afraid that if I don’t post and link right away, I’ll forget. (Getting older sucks that way!)

Still Paper Piecing

Janni’s Woven Star has been safely delivered and now resides on her bed! She sent me a picture this weekend:

I have to admit it is starting to grow on me! From this distance, even I don’t think it looks so bad. Maybe I will keep making quilts. In all my spare time because….

I only have two more days of work. Ever, as far as I know.

This may affect this blog adversely because I usually have done most of my hand piecing (and some of my blogging if I am being honest here) at work. So soon we will find out whether I do much (any) hand piecing at home. Actually, maybe I will because the sunroom is so enticing, and my sewing machine is in the basement. (Note: This sunroom picture was taken several weeks ago and there is now much more green outside.)
Right now, however, all I’m working on is the paper piecing project (tongue twister alert!) which is owning me. I am working 3-6 hours a day on it, and I still don’t think I will get it done in time. Sigh. 
So, as you can see, I really didn’t have anything interesting to say, but I just felt like I should blog today. Sorry! 
Quilt on!

A Big Ta Da!

The Big UFO in the basement is no more. The Big WIP in the basement is no more. Instead, Janni’s Woven Stars is now a finished quilt.

Here it is on our bed. It is huge (88 1/2″ X 106″ or thereabouts), so I had some problems figuring out how to photograph it. And, no, I don’t think I would put it in my bedroom, the shade of blue that it is. But it is not staying here anyway.

Here is a side view.

I tried hanging it over the railing in the living room, but, as you can see in the picture below, you don’t even see half of it.

This quilt looks better from a distance than it does close up. Now that it is done and I am not closely examining mistakes every day, I do think it looks kind of nice. 
I learned three big lessons from this quilt. Well, that is not exactly true. I learned two lessons from the quilt itself and one lesson after I had marked it and begun the quilting. Want to know what the lessons are? Keep reading – yes, there will be more pictures.
Lesson #1 – I have mentioned this one before. Don’t take four years to complete a quilt, because your quilting improves and then you have less respect for the quilt you are working on that you started so long ago. (Yes, I have mentioned this one before.) This was the first quilt I ever did that was set on point and I did not deal well with the setting triangles which resulted in the cut off points like these:
I have gotten better at them now, which is a good thing because this year’s church quilt requires them! But working on the hand quilting was much less enjoyable because I kept seeing the mistakes in the quilt that I wouldn’t make if I were piecing it now.
Lesson #2 – (This is the one I did not exactly learn from the quilt itself.) Quilting should be kind of evenly spaced and should fit the shape of the quilt. The borders and setting triangles of this quilt have elaborate curvy motifs which leave big gaps in the quilting between the motifs. Not the best look. Simple crosshatching might have been better used. 

(I guess maybe you can’t really see them.)

Lesson #3 – Pay attention to details – all of them. This quilt was the first quilt I ever put on my “new” four rail frame. I probably hurried too much putting it on because there are places where the backing is a little wrinkly and the batting bunched up in a couple of places. Sigh. I know that I was very anxious to get started quilting, but I should have been more careful.

The other place I should have been more careful is in the marking of the motifs.

I hope you can see these. The two motifs are not at exactly the same angle. Although you can’t see the border, there is no rhyme or reason to how these are arranged. “Somebody” should have really been more careful. Really.
I don’t think hand quilting a queen-sized quilt will always take me four years. (After all, I took at least a year off and let every other project under the sun take precedence over this one.) However, the next quilt that goes on the hand quilting frame will be a bit smaller. Maybe that won’t take me four years!
Quilt on!

Q2 Finish-a-long Goals

Yes, I know that I didn’t participate in the First Quarter Finish-a-long hosted by Rhonda at Quilter in the Gap. I knew there was no way that I was going to finish anything.

This quarter I know that there are two queen-sized quilts that must be finished by mid-May. I have no choice. I sort of felt like that might be cheating (especially since one of them will be finished by the end of next week!), but Rhonda assured me that was not the case, so here goes.

The first quilt has been fondly nicknamed “The Never Ending Hand Quilting Project” and has been over four years in the making. (There will be a detailed post later this week about why you should never take four years to finish a quilt, trust me.) The real name for this quilt is “Janni’s Woven Stars” and part of it looks like this:

The second quilt is a paper pieced quilt for my niece’s wedding. It is from a pattern called “Woven Double Wedding Ring” that I purchased at Paper Panache. I have all the pieces printed but only a few done. Here is one:

The third thing I plan to finish this quarter is the quilt studio rearrangement and organization. I had to put it on hold to be working on these finishes. I’m not sure that the organization counts toward the Finish-a-long, but I wanted to put it in this post so that I would make myself finish it as soon as these quilts are done! No pictures of that yet!

Friday Fun

I finally re-cut the square for the center of the Centennial block. Now I can finish that block sometime in the near future. I did not, however, cut fabric for anything else as long as I was down there. Instead I spent a couple of hours working on the big UFO.

This is the stencil for the borders. Imagine putting quilting eight of these at each end with several down the middle also! It took me quite a while to work out a method for quilting this so that I didn’t lose my place. I am sure that the first few of these don’t look very good.

This is what the stencil looks like chalked onto the border fabric. I am really going to have to wash the chalk out of this quilt! There must be a ton in there.
This is the stencil for the setting triangles. It is a simplified version of the other stencil. And yes, it takes a few hours less time to quilt.
 

You can’t really see this well, but it is a finished setting triangle. You can almost see it because the chalk still kind of shows up.

I am sorry that the pictures are a little washed out, but I was using my phone’s camera. And the flash reflected off the stencil plastic. I’ll do a better job with the rest of the Centennial block pictures.  I think.