Paisley Kaleidoscope Stars and a Question or Two

There has been a slight change in plans. More about that in a bit. I made a few kaleidoscope stars while I was pondering what to do about the pickle dish quilt. First were a few of the brown and … Continue reading

Happy Birthday, Quilting Gallery

It’s Quilting Gallery’s 5th birthday! Help Quilting Gallery celebrate by taking part in the birthday celebration blog hop. There are over 150 bloggers participating, each with a giveaway just in time for Christmas! You can click on the logo above … Continue reading

Bright New York Beauty 2

The partially completed block I showed yesterday is now finished. And it’s bright. Almost need your sunglasses bright. I think I may do a series, as Wanda at Exuberant Color does, of small quilts with these blocks. That way I can play with the colour combinations as much as I want, play with the layouts as many ways as I can think up, and just generally have fun. I’m going to print some more shapes from the 12″ Sunflower collection and do quarter blocks that will play with the NYB 1 and 2 collections. Some will be for the Tiffany Lamp quilt, some for the more muted Monet type effect and some will be … well, I don’t know quite yet.

Even with the thicker metallic fabric it still presses like a dream. And, of course, grading the seams as I finish the block helps.

We had a lot of rain and a couple of little thunderstorms yesterday. I hope that’s it for the rain for a while as the window cleaners are about to do our windows.

This shot of Baxter was taken last week but the look on his face makes me laugh so I couldn’t resist using it.

A Few More Drunkard’s Path Blocks

Another 10 blocks were stitched. I only have to make another 491 of these to complete the blocks I’ll need for the quilt. Perhaps I shouldn’t be keeping track as that number does seem somewhat daunting. I love the fact I can finish making them using the 2″ Inklingo Drunkard’s Path collection and have, I think, printed the vast majority of what I’ll need. This will be a very long-term project.

I may start putting them together in groups of four soon. It would be easier than leaving that step all to the end.

And just because I get such a kick out of how cute they are once pressed, the back of one of the little blocks.

Am I the only one who is finding it more and more difficult to leave comments on Blogger blogs? While I do try, a lot of times the security words are absolutely indecipherable and I just give up. Surely there’s a better way to add some security to catch spammers.

Baxter was posing beside the mouse doorstop.

My First Applique Quilt

While I work on the red and white quilt, I thought I’d revisit some older quilts. Tuesday we took this one out to the roof garden for a photo. It was made about 12 years ago — I didn’t date the label and have no notes about it anywhere, so am just guessing. It was my first appliqué quilt and was based on a pattern in a McCall’s Vintage Quilts magazine, although I did amend it somewhat. The blocks are 15″ and the quilt finished at about 66″ by  81″. It was pieced, appliquéd and quilted by hand. The only time the sewing machine was used was to attach the binding.

When I look at it now I get a laugh out of the fabrics – I mixed up everything in it. Muslin was used for the background. There are batiks, ’30s prints, florals, checks, you name it in the plates. I wasn’t following any rules about what goes with what. It was just what appealed to me and I thought played nicely together. I remember using a dinner plate to cut the corners of the quilt so that they’d be curved. That was my first time working with a bias binding and I loved it! In fact, I’ve pretty much always gone for bias bindings ever since then.

As this more current (and still being quilted) quilt that I’ve called Ferris Wheel shows, Dresden Plate quilts are something to which I’m really drawn. I’m contemplating a third one now. But now they are so much easier. No more tracing templates over and over. I just print my shapes with the Inklingo Dresden Plate collections. I was playing with some design ideas last night for another one, using EQ, and I think that it’s not too far off. First of course, I have to finish the red and white and my Tiffany lamp New York Beauty (which won’t be very big).  And start the quilt I’ve designed using the fabrics I won in the Love the Lines contest. And finish Pickled Ladies. And finish … oh, okay. The list is endless.

Baxter doesn’t care what else I make. He has his quilt now. Just about every evening he curls up on it.

Four Little Quilt Tops

First up, the little tumbler star table runner that finishes at 12 x 48. I’m Not sure exactly how I’ll quilt this one, but it’s going to be pretty basic.

Second, the 24″ square tumbler star doll quilt. This one is going to be quilted, I think, to emphases the stars.

Third, China Plates. I think I’m going to do straight line quilting through the middle of the hexagons.

The fourth is the pink and red Winding Ways that finishes at 27″. I’m going to quilt to emphasize the circle effect. This one I should have done before now. It would be great  to have this one hanging around Valentine’s Day. Next year it will be!

All of them have the batting cut and ready and I’ll get the backings and bindings ready for them on Friday. I’m going to baste some temporary muslin borders on each of the four so that they’re large enough to put in the hoop and I can get right to the edges, although I may do the table runner without a hoop. I think that will work as long as I baste it well enough.

Why have I got all 4 of them out? Because I really want to get back to hand quilting the Ferris Wheel quilt, but would like to use these tops as my warm-up quilts.

Last night I designed yet another quilt in EQ but that’s it for a while. I need more stitching time! I’m almost three-quarters of the way through making one of the pieced borders for Scrappy Star. Once I get that done and added to the main body of the quilt, I’ll decide whether it needs the final pieced border I was thinking of adding.

Baxter is 10 months old today. He’s growing so fast now that we’re seeing changes in him almost daily and his silver markings are starting to show more and more.

Hand Quilting Tools

Ferris Wheel is still in the process of being hand quilted. I have actually taken out some of the hand quilting because what I thought I’d like I definitely don’t like. So I’m redoing a couple of blocks. Now that I’ve got a plan for the quilting, it will go much faster … I hope. Not only have I taken out the machine piecing I originally started with, I’ve also taken out some of the hand quilting.

My favourite tools for hand quilting include these 4 thimbles and the YLI thread. For the most part, I use either the cone Thimblelady thimble or the original silver one. The little black leather thimble I wear on my finger beneath the quilt. It saves wear and tear on the finger underneath, but is thin enough that I still feel the needle as it comes through. The spoon thimble is my favourite when I quilt without a hoop, which I sometimes do, particularly when I’m at the edge of a quilt. YLI hand quilting thread is my absolute favourite and the one to which I always turn.

This is my favourite hoop, although it’s a bit large and sometimes too heavy for me.

On nights when the round wooden hoop seems too heavy, and there are many of those, out comes this Q-snap rectangular hoop. The difference in weight is really noticeable. How lucky are we that we have so many tools that we can find and use the appropriate one, depending on the application and how we feel?

Then there is this, my wonderful floor frame which I’m not quite as comfortable using for hand quilting but what a bonus it is for basting! I can put the quilt sandwich in it and baste that way. No more crawling on the floor to pin or breaking my back leaning over a table to baste.

I taught myself how to hand quilt mostly from books. These are two of my favourites. I picked up a lot of hints from the Jinny Beyer book Quiltmaking by Hand, some from That Perfect Stitch but I think the most important lesson I learned was from watching the Thimblelady’s DVD on hand quilting. I’ve developed my own method which is a combination of all of the above.

There’s one thing that I find makes a big difference for me and that’s using my index finger, rather than the middle finger, to rock the needle. I’ve often wondered if anyone else finds that it’s easier to quilt using their index finger. I find my hand doesn’t fatigue anywhere near as much.

What about you? How did you learn to hand quilt? What are your favourite tools and methods?

A Baxter close-up. He was reclining near a quilt book.