I hope everyone survived Black Friday this year. With the news coming in about shootings and tramplings, I'm glad I stayed home! I have only gone out once on the Friday after Thanksgiving to shop, and realized it wasn't my thing.
That said, I did go out Saturday and made a huge dent in my shopping. I'm also making several gifts this year so I've been spending lots of my spare time (whats that?) working on them. I have 2 quilts waiting for binding and another needed to be quilted and bound. I made a small purse for my youngest DD and plan on one for my oldest DD.
I have also crocheted dishcloths for a White Elephant gift for our Sunday School class. I love using them myself so if I had received them as a gift I would be thrilled, but I don't imagine everyone else feels the same - especially the men ;)
Then there are the 2 dozen snowflake ornaments that I have crocheted for our Christmas tree. I still need to starch them, though. Hopefully I'll get to that tomorrow.
Tomorrow I'll also start cutting out the pieces for a customer quilt. This is a 2nd quilt of the same kind of embroidered blocks for this customer that she is giving as gifts this year so I didn't post the photos of the first quilt I finished for her last month. I don't want to spoil the surprise for the recipient, but they are soooo cute! I'll post photos after Christmas.
I have another customer quilt coming in on Wednesday, so I'll be busy with quilting up to Christmas.
I'll try to post photos tomorrow.
Friday, November 28, 2008
I was working on a Mystery Quilt top that I had completed last winter, and decided to quilt feathers into the background patches. These are irregular shaped 6-sided patches that are formed where the two different blocks join in the quilt. As I quilted the feathers, I took step-by-step photos of the process to post to my blog. This will give you an idea of how I quilt my freehand feathers.
There are many different ways to quilt feathers as there are quilters. I have taken various techniques leanred from different quilters and combined them along with my own techniques to quilt free-hand feathers. Here is the photo of the patch before quilting.
Here I have quilted in the spine - or the vein - of the feather. I start at the bottom and quilt a single feather at the tip of the spine. I tie off at this point and start back at the bottom of the spine to start my feathers.
Here I have quilted in the 1st 3 feathers on the outside of the feather spine. The first feather I quilt is formed in a tear-drop shape that points towards the top of the feather. This helps give me a base to form my other feathers on. Other quilters will make this 1st feather differently, but this is what works for me.
This photo shows the outer feathers being completed in the space. I quilted out pretty far past the beginning feather on the tip of the spine to help fill in the space. I just quilt these by feel. After awhile you get the "feel" for how the feather is going to fill the space and make adjustments in your quilting as you go along. That is what is great about freehand quilting!
To quilt the inner feathers, I again start at the bottom of the spine and quilt the feathers to fill in the available space. I backtrack over the tips of the feathers instead of along the long edges.
Friday, November 21, 2008
The Dick and Jane quilt top is completed and waiting to be quilted. It is hanging on my design wall while I work on another quilt that is on the machine.
This quilt is 47x61 inches - a good size for my youngest DD to cuddle under. I'll bind it in the gold fabric and will be using a poly batting and an overall quilting pattern.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I have received several comments on my feather sampler quilt and want to thank each of you for being so kind. Feathers weren't easy for me to learn, but once I did they have become my favorite quilting pattern.
The first feathers I learned were what I call "longarm feathers". This is where you quilt in the spine of the feather and then quilt the feathers one on top of the other backtracking along the long edge of the feather. I could never get those feathers to look nice and neat and consistant. So I turned to stencils and transferred the pattern onto the quilt top with an air soluble or water soluble pen, or chalk pencil or pounce pad. They were much better, but it was difficult to find stencils to fit the spaces where I wanted to quilt feathers. So I kept practicing.
Then I took a class from Karen McTavish at MQS back in 2003. Her method of backtracking over the tops of the feathers instead of the long side of the feathers made a huge difference in the way my feathers looked. They were much more traditional looking - "victorian feathers", more consistant and prettier than the "longarm feathers".
The problem remained of fitting feathers into spaces that stencils weren't made for. I just needed to learn to do the traditional "victorian feathers" freehand. I had already designed a group of "Filigree" quilting patterns that I used in my quilts as well as customer quilts and played around with them and turned some of them into "Filigree Feathers" patterns, using the "filigree" as the spine for the feather. This was after purchasing Ricky Tims DVD "Grand Finale". He has a section in that DVD that shows you how to draw feathers.
I also purchased "Fancy Formal Feathers" by Sherry Rogers-Harrison, "Infinite Feathers Quilting Designs" by Anita Shackelford, and "Quilting for Show" by Karen McTavish. I also view the videos put out by Sharon Schamber on her feathers.
Practice, Practice, Practice is the key to quilting feathers for me. Studying how other quilters make their feathers is also an invaluable learning tool. I am very thankful that so many quilters are willing to share their talent with the quilting world.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
My blog has a new look! I've been playing around with changes on this blog for quite a while and have finally settled on a new layout from The Cutest Blog on the Block. I may have to continue tweaking the fonts to make them more readable, but so far I like the way it has turned out.
Monday, November 17, 2008
The Wonder Block quilt is quilted and the binding is stitched to the front of the quilt waiting for the hand stitching to the back.
This is the quilting design I chose. It's a freehand design that I haven't quite fully developed yet. It still needs some work, but this was a good quilt to try it on.
The front of the quilt after it was quilted. I used a 6 oz poly batting. The muslin backing helps me see the quilting so I can tell where the quilting pattern needs some tweaking.
This is the Dick and Jane quilt I'm working on for my youngest DD. The main body of the quilt will have a 2 inch inner border of dark blue with a 4 inch outer border of the daisy print.
The small pieces at the top of the photo will be enlarged with the daisy print to the same size as the blocks and will be the first row in the quilt - at least that is the plan for now. Knowing me, it's likely I'll change my mind once I get to piecing the top.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
This is a set of block patterns designed by Terry Martin in her book, "Wonder Blocks - Stack, Cut, Sew, and Go." They are all made from squares and rectangles - no triangles at all, so they really are easy and fast to cut and stitch together. The book includes 7 block designs and I used them all plus several more that I designed myself using the same sized units that Terry gives in her book.
The biggest challenge for me was knowing when to stop piecing the blocks! This is an addicting design. I used 16 fat quarters and pieced 108 blocks, using 100 of them in this top set 10x10. The blocks are 6 inches square so I now have a nice 60x60" top to quilt. I've decided not to put a border on this top and just quilt it and bind it. Tomorrow I'll decide on a quilting design and hopefully have it finished for the guild meeting on Tuesday night.
My design wall is a bit short for this size quilt. I laid out the first 7 rows on the wall and the last 3 rows were laid out on my quilting machine table. I tried to place the blocks so that I wouldn't have to match seams other than the block seams. I succeded in all but 2 places in the quilt.
This quilt will be a Christmas present for my 12 y/o DD. She loves primary colors so this is a good quilt for her. My youngest has picked out Dick and Jane prints for her quilt. I'll be tackling that one next.
Friday, November 14, 2008
The new batteries are in the camera at last! Now I'm able to take photos of the Feather Sampler quilt.
These are a couple of the blocks with the Filigree Feathers quilted in them.
Here you can see the cross-hatched loops in the sashing strips.
I have several heart filigree designs in my sketchbook. This one of several variations.
This double heart is not one that I'm completely happy with. It still needs a bit of tweeking to make it a good feather pattern. It does make a great filigree pattern, though.
This is the quilt on my bed. The pink you see at the foot of the bed is from the 1930's repo quilt that I have had on the bed for a while now.
The plastic bag next to the night stand contains some cotton yarn I just bought to crochet dishcloths with.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Here are some photos of the quilt I made from a Moda Layer Cake in the Simplicity line. These are my own feather designs that I developed from my "Filigree" quilting designs. I call these "Filigree Feathers".
The quilt has 49 blocks and each block has a different variation of one of 10 patterns. I used this quilt as a quilting sampler.
Once I get the batteries changed in the camera, I'll take a photo of the front of the finished quilt. The batteries went dead in the middle of the photo shoot.
Monday, November 3, 2008
The fall colors are past their peak here in mid-Missouri, but with the help of my kids, I did manage to snap a few shots this past week.
This first photo is the red maple tree in our front yard. My oldest DD took this photo.
Here is a bush with purple berries against chartreuse leaves. This bush is at our local nature center. I probably take photos of this bush everytime we go there.
A close-up of the berries.
Thanksgiving plans are underway with ideas for cooking and baking. Apple, cherry and pumpkin pies. Roasted turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. Mashed potatoes, candied yams, scalloped mushrooms, and green bean casserole. All family favorites that will be served along with a few other dishes. Not forgetting the turkey noodle soup that mom makes the day after Thanksgiving.
Then Christmas is right around the corner. I have friends who started their Christmas shopping weeks ago, and then there is me - I have just now started thinking about Christmas! This time of year always sneaks up on me and then it's over way too fast.
Time to start getting organized for the holidays!