Monday, August 12, 2019

Summer 2019

I knew I had procrastinated writing a post, but when I realized the last one was June, I will admit being surprised. Summer has been going ok, but I have failed to show much of anything. I will say that this summer has had much less quilted work than past summers. I have nobody but myself to blame for that. The kids have been around, and it has been harder to just sequester myself downstairs and work. I have also had more custom work, which takes longer and more concentration, etc. Somehow it just seemed easier to wait on it until September.

That said, some quilting has been done. This is for a MA client. She made this for her husband. The center square is her design and is embroidered.
 The quilting is in a fine gray thread and just echoes the stitching.
 Because it is intended for a man, I kept the quilting more linear and masculine. Except for the center, it is quilted in burgundy thread. This is one way to keep costs down -- less thread changes.
The next quilt is a wall hanging. Erin is a client that I have quilted extensively for over the years. She sent 4 quilts, two of which are done. The next two are huge and very detailed (2 week jobs). This one was a fun piece to quilt.
 It is quilted in coordinating 40wt threads. I also double batted it since I knew the quilting would be dense. The applique is beautifully stitched by hand.
 Some stripes for the border, and a double ribbon candy to resemble a ribbon.

 Neutral backing fabric makes for a gorgeous back!
 This is Erin's other quilt. It's to hang in her daughter's room. The piece is in the vicinity of 35x45".
This is also double batted.
 I love this paisley pattern in the narrow border. I have been meaning to do a tutorial on it, and it's variations. It's freehand and so easy to quilt (no markings!).
 Such pretty applique...
 Her daughter's name and birth date are quilted in rose thread at the bottom. I go over the lettering 3 times to make it pronounced. These will be heading home soon.
 And, another neutral back with loads of texture!
I quilted this top last week. It's 70x80 or so with 30 of these embroidery blocks. This is the most intricately and beautifully stitched embroidery I have ever seen. She had to have taken forever doing it.
 And, after quilting...
 The quilt has a single wool batting, and pretty traditional quilting. Each plain square has a free-hand quilted feathered wreath. Quilting around the wreaths is in a soft green thread. Though the photos dont show it well, these squares are a pale green Grunge fabric.
 The rest of the quiting on non-embroidered blocks is white Glide. The embroidered blocks are done in a basic 1" crosshatch using clear nylon thread. You just cannot avoid the embroidery; it will make the blocks look odd. I have done many of these over the years, and quilting right over it works the best way.

 And, you guessed it...another pretty back!
 Here's a loon at the embroidery on one of the blocks.
So, I managed to quilt 4 quilts between late June and mid August, so what else did I do this summer?...

You mean, besides putter away my time in my garden or shuttling kids to and fro?

Well, my middle kiddo learned to sew. He made 4 quilt tops to be donated to Project Linus. I cut all hiss squares from my scraps and "encouraged"...He has to have 20 volunteer hours as graduation requirements. He'll be halfway there by Sept. 
 Here's one arranged on the floor...
Four were quilted. I did this part, mostly because it's faster for me to do it. He has no great burning interest in learning to longarm.
 And here they are awaiting a binding fairy...
 In July, I taught at the Quilt Odyssey show in PA. I took my youngest two kids along for the ride. They hung out at the pool, played mini golf, and basically tried to stay out of trouble while I worked. We had a day before the show to go to Hershey Park.

Creating a new quilt has been as slow as digging a tunnel to China. I currently have the units all appliqued to put most of it together. BUT...I decided to add embroidery on the colored border pieces. It's pretty, and ties the units together nicely. Only a slight delay!
 I test dyed some fabrics in hopes of creating the yellow fabric I used. I want this on the other border of this quilt. I know...I have fallen off my rocker because I hate yellow. But...it will work, I have a plan! Now I just need to actually dye the silk yardage and hope it matches the swatch!
 Other summer fun...

He got a perm. Don't ask, I have no answer. He just wanted it.The 1980s have come back.
 It's been warm here and we made several beach days of it. I don't need bribing to go to the beach, ever.
 At the beach, everybody is content, everybody behaves, everybody finds their own fun.
A week ago, I got to relive my 16-yr old's happy place. I have been one of the biggest Queen fans over the years. When I was 16, many of us went to see them - back when Freddie was still alive. My school buddies were all over the warmup act, Billy Squier, but not me...It was all about him...That curly-headed guitarist had me 37 years ago. He's still as phenomenal as ever, and they are lucky to have a great vocalist so we can still experience them live. It was fun!
I am inching towards the finish line on next year's show quilt...It has a name and a few secrets that you will just have to wait to know. But for now...it is off the frame, trimmed and blocking, and binding, painting and embellishments are started.
Now, I am in full force mode of getting ready to go to teach next week at the AQS Grand Rapids show. Hope to see you there!

Friday, June 28, 2019

June Quilts

Here are two of the custom quilts I finished this month. They will soon be flying their way back to California.

This cutie is such a unique baby quilt, in its pink and blue. This client does tons of applique, and you know how I love to work on fun applique quilts (especially when they are simpler than the Ladies of the Sea!) It was her Ladies of the Sea quilt done a few years that spawned the interest of at least 6 others to get theirs done.
The quilt has just a single layer of wool batting and is quilted with a variety of threads. Roofs were quilted to resemble thatching or shingles. I particularly like the puffy smoke exiting the chimneys.
Cats and dogs (and maybe other critters) adorn the houses and gardens.
So fun...
There's a variety of fills and designs to give the quilt lots of texture.
The second quilt I did for her is very different in style from the first as well as from most of her other quilts that I have done. This is applique & embroidery to the max, all done on this really wild newsprint fabric.
The newsprint is a super cool and textural looking background fabric, but it poses ALL sorts of issues for the quilter, namely...what do I do to make the quilting show??

My first line of attack was to double batt the wool with a layer of 80/20. Then I had to think carefully about what fills were placed beside of each other. The picture above shows the quilting, but it also has a location with really good side light.

Here's the backside, which has a slightly less printy fabric.
 The blocks received a variety of designs from crosshatching to stipple. I don't normally stipple, but seriously, it does not show at all whatever I use!
The 4 blocks were framed using my Quatrefoil template (see my website and look at the templates if you are interested in getting your own). Then each block was quilted in a way that suited the piecing or applique of the block.
I carried a small bit of x-hatching to the top of this one, as space allowed, but the rest is just stippled.
Another side view shows the pretty texture.
Have a nice 4th week-

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

California Bound

Not me, unfortunately! I'm due to go somewhere, but my summer adventures are not that adventurous. These client quilts are trekking their way back to their Napa owner, as I type this. She has been a client of mine for many years, and always sends beautifully made, creative work. It's a joy to quilt them. This post has several quilts shown, because you know I have been very negligent in posting. The list of excuses for why is exhaustive. And boring.

This first quilt gets the "most creative use for yo-yo's". These are Dresden plates, with yo-yo's appliqued around the center opening. The fabrics are mostly reproduction.
 I wanted to break up the background a bit, but still keep the quilting relative continuous to manage the cost. The fabric of the outer border has ribbons on it, so I chose a ribbon-meander fill to go closest to the plates. It's like a 2-line stipple (but not as unattractive as a basic stipple).
 The swirl fill that surrounds the scalloped frames which surround the plates is actually quilted in a sea-foam green SoFine thread. I wanted to give a subtle contrast to the background. Because it is 50 wt thread, it does not overwhelm the background.
 I love the paisley pattern placed in the pink narrower border. I saw something similar done on somebody else's blog, and sat down and and drafted half a dozen ideas of my own. It is freehand and unmarked, and fills quickly.

Here is another of her quilts...more repro fabrics. She mentioned she likes feathers and I had not feathered the previous quilt so this one got lots of them. To manage costs again, the squares were done with continuous curve, which can be quilted continuously and fast. The time was spent on the SID and the feathers.
 For visual interest, feathers alternate directions. This quilt is a bed quilt that should be nice and snugly, as it is not overquilted.
Somebody is going to ask about battings and thread...they always do. Both quilts are 80/20 batting only, but threads on the white...I think a 40wt Glide.

These next 2 quilts belong to the same client but they were completed a couple months ago and returned. I just failed to share them, so here goes. 

I told you she does pretty applique, and this one is no exception. I cannot remember the exact size, but somewhere near 45" square.
 Thread is anybody's guess now (code for "I forgot!"). I combined simple motifs that show on the print. One of my pet-peeves is when a busy pattern is quilted on top of a busy print so that neither is visible. The border print only needed simple lines.
Generally, I probably would not feather on a floral print, but these simple and larger molar feathers seemed to look OK. The shapes are framed out to set them off.
 The center medallion of applique is all SID, and also got some very basic top stitching on the larger patches.
 This is one of my favorite whimsical quilts. It is also another crazy use for yo-yo's if you didn't have one (or should i call them barnacles?).
 I just wanted to give the background an ocean-like feeling. I also wanted both areas to have distinctly different but connected quilting - so some gentle movement in the middle, and wavelike action and pebbles around the outside.
 The fish each got some air bubbles added at the very end in a turquoise thread. I marked these using a template, and freehand quilted them. The circles are stitched 2 or 3 times to deepen the line of stitching.
So, there you have it. There are some of the custom quilts that have come in and out of my door recently. I have been working on my personal quilt off and on as well the past 2 months. It's a painfully slow ordeal, but I think I am coming closer to having the quilting done. Today I did 2 E2Es (a markedly productive day for me considering how my days usually go), and tomorrow I have the start of another custom planned. As soon as I muster the patience to rip out some errant circles on my next show quilt, I will be ready for the final push on that one. It will debut in early 2020, but finishing it will involve a goodly amount of time even after I decide that the quilting is done (when I self-impose the "you are done" and cut off the excess that facilitates loading on the longarm!!).

My kids are out of school at the end of the week, and tomorrow starts 1/2 days and finals for my older two (otherwise meaning that my life is over for a while). Hopefully they all continue to sleep late, giving me my morning quilting window. Oy!