Latest Quilt I’m Working On

November 17th, 2019

I’m finishing up the quilting for my current hospice donation.  I am madly in love with the background fabric on this quilt.  It’s a shade between blue and purple so I am calling it “blurple.”  It is rich and contrasts really nicely with the vivid colors in the Kaffe Fasset fabrics in the center.  Here’s a shot of it on my machine bed as I’m working on that swirly plumette background:


I am a real sucker for having blues and reds/oranges next to one another.  That dramatic contrast just thrills me.  Here is a closer up shot of the background fill design I’m adding to the center section:



I try to be kind of “light-handed” in adding pebbles between the swirled plumettes.  I do that partly because I don’t like to see large expanses of pebbles and also because this is meant to be a snuggly quilt, not a wall quilt, and pebbles really flatten a quilt.  If you haven’t tried to stitch swirled plumettes yet and want to give it a shot, here’s a video Ern and I made awhile back to show how to do it:



…and here’s a shot of the wider borders on the outside.  I love quilting these feathers that are tightly curling around in circular formats:



I’ll post shots of the final quilt once the whole thing is done, but I won’t have a chance to work on this baby again until next weekend.  (Bummer!)

No post in a LOOONNNGGG Time!

November 8th, 2019

It’s been a really long time since my last blog post and there really is no one reason for it.  Life got very busy and our new dog took up much more time than I thought she would (but we are still overjoyed to have her in the family!), and the hours of the day just got away from me.  We also did some major renovations on our home and we’ve never done renovations before, and we learned just how much upheaval they can bring with them!  We are about 99% done with renovations that took over almost the entire main floor and we have just started on some major outdoor renovations that will also last for months.  So far, we are very, very happy with the changes in our home and for two people who were already homebodies, we now feel like we never want to leave home.  We are now officially “nesters.”

In spite of this, I have been sewing up a storm, mainly charity sewing.  If you haven’t tried it, give it a shot as it is quite gratifying.  I pieced, quilted, and bound 14 quilts over the past 12 months and several hundred butterfly pillows, ear/heel pillows, and other assorted comfort items for 2 different hospices.  It is really satisfying to be able to complete projects quickly, and this has kind of been lost on me for the past few decades as I’ve worked on quilts that take several months to years to finish.  It’s also a nice feeling to know that my sewing skills help other people.

Here are some shots of one of the quilts I made for hospice earlier this year.  It is a very basic quilt that began with a center feathered wreath block that was an old leftover and I added borders to it in a classic Amish style:

This was totally fun to quilt.  Here is a close up of the center portion:

And here is a shot that kind of focuses on the widest blue/purple border area:

That section was quilted using the bump-back feather method, and the spine curves were made by tracing around acrylic circles that are used for ruler work quilting.  The narrow side borders are also quilted using the bump-back feather method, but the spines are straight, so the feathers have a very different look.

This next shot is a tangential shot that gives a good sense of the texture created by the quilting:

Ooooh, la-la!!   just love the warm colors and all that feathery goodness!  I sure hope the person who received it loves it as well!

I will try to post more often and I definitely will be posting next week as I have some exciting news to share…

Sidelined from Quilting

February 1st, 2019

The month of January came and went without even a single blog post…sorry about that!  I picked up some respiratory bug that really slowed me down for the first half of the month, but I was also sidelined because of something wonderful.  We adopted a shelter dog named Blondie who has wormed her way into our hearts:

She will turn 15 years old this April and is a gentle, sweet-natured dog.  Many folks have asked us why we would adopt such an old dog and that was a big part of why we adopted her.  She lived in shelter in another part of the state for 4 years and was transferred to a local shelter here last October when the original shelter closed.  We figured she was so old that no one would ever adopt her and she was so good-natured that we couldn’t resist making a wonderful home for her final years.  She has been a wonderful addition to our family and she’s been great for me because we go on two long walks each day.  She has both Ernie and me wrapped around her little pinky (paw) and she pretty much gets everything she wants.



So, where does that leave my quilting life?  I completed only 1 hospice donation quilt in the month of January:


I really toned down my color choices on this one because I was worried my quilts might be a bit too bright for some hospice patients’ taste.  The orange peel center section was quickly quilted with ruler work:


Here’s another view that shows the texture a little better:


The outermost borders were quilted with long featherettes:

Hospice Donation Quilt #6 for the period of 10/1/18-9/30/19.



…and just one more shot of my new buddy, Blondie, as she prepared for a 9-hour car trip:

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: