My First Orange Peel Quilt

December 23rd, 2018

I completed another hospice donation quilt and this one is the first orange peel quilt I’ve made.  Totally, totally fun!  This one is made with very large melon shapes so it makes a very bold statement.  Here are some other shots:

While I was piecing it, my plan was to do far more intricate ruler work inside the orange peel designs.  I ended up leaving it very basic because I thought it would be  more appealing as a snuggly/comfort quilt that way.

There is something very appealing about that bold center section, at least to me! 

The melon shapes are all quilted with a loop-d-loop design.  I just can’t see any point in working hard on an intricate design on busy printed fabrics.  I’ve already started the next melon quilt because this one was so much fun.

Avoiding Quilting Withdrawl Syndrome

December 12th, 2018

 

I don’t know about you, but the hardest part of the holiday season for me is that it’s stressful not to be able to work on some sewing/quilting for all the days spent visiting with relatives.  I love seeing family, but I still need some kind of quilting “fix” everyday.  There is no denying that being about to touch fabrics and run threads through them is part of my soul.  This isn’t that big of a deal if I’m traveling somewhere by car, because it’s easy to pack a big quilt and work on sewing the binding to the backside.  Traveling by air gives you less options because there just isn’t space on an airplane or at the gate to pull out a whole quilt.  These are the times that I like some hand applique to soothe my soul, but this takes some prep work ahead of time.  I’ve been on a roll with creating hospice donation quilts and this is a good opportunity to use some orphan “pieces” to make a hospice donation quilt.  I have about a million Dresden plate fans that I cut for 2 earlier quilts.  I made these using the Darlene Zimmerman plate tool shown below:

 

What I like about this template is that you can choose just how long you’d like your fans to be.  The millions of remaining fan blades that I’d already cut are for the longest fan blade possible.  Here’s a stack of them so you can see what they look like, and next door is a blade that has had its”tip” sewn together:

 

 

You use the wooden “turning tool” to turn the blade tip inside out with a point at the tip:

 

 

 

(I’m ashamed to say that yes, that is my filthy/stained giant ironing board these pieces are sitting on.  I have meant to re-cover it for a few months and this post is probably going to shame me into finally taking care of that task!)  The next step is easy, you just press the fan blade and they are ready to be sewn together into the circular Dresden plates:

 

 

 

 

This shot shows what the center 50 in x 50 in section of this quilt will look like.  I had hand appliqued that center block about a year ago, and had pieced another circular Dresden plate that I separated into 2 halves.  The other 2 halves were made this week as I explained above:

 

 

 

So…all this is leading up to me prepping some hand sewing that can be accomplished in airplanes and on airport layovers.  It’s hard to see in the photo below, but I’ve hand-basted each half Dresden onto its background fabric.  This will stabilize it in place as I work, and also avoid any pins with points that will make it harder to carry this project around:

 

 

 

 

It’s hard to see on the next shot, but the basting includes the edges of the Dresden as well as just beyond the circle.  This basting goes very quickly; I’m guessing that each half Dresden took about 3 minutes to baste:

 

 

The last thing I do is to roll my blocks around an old cardboard stabilizer roll.  I hold it securely with vinyl tape and I am ready for travel.  It all fits easily inside my backpack that I use as my carry-on:

 

 

Are you ready for holiday travel?!

 

Latest Quilt Finish

November 30th, 2018

The one good thing about all the angst I am feeling about what’s happening in this country is that I am spending a ton of time sewing and quilting to soothe my soul.  This has resulted in me cranking our several new donation quilts fairly quickly and I am enjoying every second of it.  The quilt above is another donation quilt for hospice and it was my first experience with slashing blocks up and then sewing them back together.  From a quilting standpoint, this was the first time I’ve used circle templates to create the curve of my feathers.  I  have always admired that look of tightly curled feathers, and now I know that I also love the physical action of stitching them that way!

I’m not wild about how they spring from the center of that border, but I can live with that.  More photos:

All of the slashed blocks are just stitched in the ditch; it seemed like it would be too much to do anything else there.  The sashings between the slashed blocks just have long featherettes:  

Personally, I like the juxtaposition of the rigid linear strips against the flowing curves of all the feathers:

The outermost border is a series of arched swags with tapered channels; all stitched with my PTD 12 arc.  The stitch in the ditch was all done by ruler work using my straight line ruler:

Hospice Donation Quilt #4 for the period of 10/1/18-9/30/19:

Two Finishes

November 27th, 2018

There is something so satisfying about totally completing projects and I have 2 that I can now cross off my list!  My sister’s knitting bag is done and she loves how it came out:

Unfortunately, she had this photo taken with the “bad side” in front, but I guess that means she’s ok with the bad side, so that’s positive!  I also finally finished sewing down the facing on a wall hanging that has been folded up in my sewing bag for over a year.  That may be a new record for lugging around a 95% completed project and not taking the time to finish it!  It’s developed creases in it from being folded for so long:

The background fabrics are cotton sateens that I dyed and the appliques are all cotton batiks:

A Different Kind of Improvisational Quilting

November 14th, 2018

These are 2 improv blocks laid next to one another on the floor.  Wouldn’t more of these make the coolest quilt?  These are actually going to be used as the front and back of a giant knitting bag for my sister, but I definitely want to return to this technique for a real quilt.  Totally, totally fun!  The circles are made separately and appliqued to a block using a small blanket stitch.  I used invisible thread in my top needle:

Here is the front of the bag:

…and here is the back panel:

(I like the front much better, that’s why it’s the front!)  And here’s a shot of the front panel quilted with a spiral design:

Isn’t that cool?  I’m not gonna lie-that spiral was really hard to quilt and my neck was in spasms.  I did it with my walking foot and I NEVER do walking foot quilting because it sends my neck and shoulders into a cramp.  The whole time I was doing it, I was dreaming of throwing on my free motion foot but I persevered and it came out great!  Will post the knitting bag once it’s done.  The interior is a custom job with all kinds of special compartments that Marnie wants, so it will take me awhile to figure that part out.