A joyous ending
Empty quilting rails
That attempt at haiku sums up the early part of my week. I finished the borders and pulled the quilt from the frame. Its now sitting in the machine with the binding halfway sewn.
I will be sewing a quilt from these fabrics for the new cousin arriving this fall. I am undecided on a pattern. I keep vacillating between pinwheels and tumblers. The fabric is a nuance gradient bundle thats 5″ by WOF. I purchased it in Paducah from SewBatik
I will probably put the baby top into the floor hoop, so I can also choose a top to put into the frame. I have no lack of choices. The tee shirt quilt was king size and not portable, so I’ve been spending a lot of hours by myself. My husband has been tolerant, but having a project that I can do during TV time will be a welcome change. As much as I love the quiet time in the mornings before the rest of the house stirs, I also love sleep, so I am debating if I keep my 6 AM studio time. I’ll probably keep the habit, but not sweat it if I miss a few days.
Since I have been quilting in the quiet hours, I have been listening to
Librivox recordings. I’ve completed Treasure Island by Robert Lewis Stevenson and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I think I’ll try Anne of Green Gables next.
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My thoughts are swirling this morning, so bear with me as I try to put this together. Lets start with an update.
The transition to life with baby has been so smooth. We are blessed. My older children are in love with the addition and treat her so well. It hardly seems possible that she is almost a month old, but it seems like she has been here forever.
The juxtaposition is the sorrow that accompanies a terminal disease. My grandmother entered hospice care and we are all walking a path of goodbyes. Why mention such personal details? Because anything can be inspiration, or in my case, therapy.
My way of working through is to bury myself in a creative project. In quilting, there is time to think, remember, cry, laugh. So despite my resolve to work on WIPS, I find myself window shopping for fabric and patterns that represent my grandmother. Her favorite holiday was the Forth of July, so for the first time I am looking at patriotic color palettes. I’m pretty sure I do not want to go with literal stars and stripe fabric. My first choice for a pattern is Baltimore Liberty by P3 Designs. I love appliqué, but completing this would be a challenge with family, so I am looking at pieced patterns that I could sew on the machine instead. Nothing is jumping out, so I may do the design work.
This quilted piece, whatever it turns out to be, will be kept for my children. My baby especially will never know her great-grandmother, so this piece will be a small slice of her life made tangible. Joy and sorrow, connecting generations, inspiration from odd places, a beautiful journey.
ETA: I started this post the day before my grandmother passed away in February. Its been sitting as a draft since then. I did not change a word. Its far from polished, but decided it was time to release it on the blog in its incomplete form. I’m still window shopping. Its too hard to commit to a design right now. Perhaps after the holiday.
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I have been quilting in the studio as often as possible this week. Little Miss has not been content to play with toys so I’ve been working with her in my lap. She is an expert at unthreading the needle.
I was able to complete a roll. That means 2 plus binding before the end of the month. It’s moving along.
The weather here has been lovely, so we have been outdoors. I keep a small project in a basket to take with me. I am almost finished with this Christmas stocking. It marries two traditions. From my family, a great-aunt made stockings for each child when I was small. I love how the sequins sparkle in a room only lit by tree lights. My husbands family has a tradition where each child gets a toy train for their first Christmas. So this will be a first Christmas gift for the new baby on my husband’s side, little bit of both of us. It just needs some smoke from the smokestack and the name embroidered.
I’m trying to choose what will go into the basket after this is complete. I have a lot (understatement) of UFOs so it is just a matter of making up my mind.
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The Quilt Show has unlocked a few episodes for this weekend, and one in particular is great for hand quilters. The blog post with links is here. In episode 802, Alex demonstrates how to mark feathered wreathes without a stencil. By learning this skill, a quilter will be able to create these designs to fill a space of any size. I’m watching as a refresher and may pull out some paper to doodle, because practice makes perfect.
One item that stuck out to me was the yardstick compass which Alex demonstrates. This is something I do not own, but want to add to the toolbox. I have several other compasses, but this one will let me do large circles. Omnigrid makes a set that sells for $9. This tool originated for use by contractors, so I am going to check out the tool store to see if I can purchase locally. Then again, if I wait, it would make a good stocking stuffer at Christmas.
News from the studio is slow. I have not been able to get in there this week like I had planned. Fortunately for me, it is a holiday weekend in the States, so I hope to get quite a few hours at the frame while DH is home. My goal is to roll the quilt again. I love starting a new quilt and when the end is approaching the momentum picks up to see the finished project. It is so easy to get bogged down in the middle portions. I’m resolving to push on and get to those final rows. But until I can sneak away, I am going to watch more quilting tv.
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It’s laundry day in our home and I thought I would pre-wash my fabric for the Spring Bouquet quilt. I am not normally a “pre-washer”, but since this is all batik I’d better just to be safe.
Most quilters are cautious of bleeding fabric. It is disastrous to spend copious amounts of time on a project only to have dye migration ruin it. Most fabric will have some dye release without being a true bleeder, one that runs and runs no matter how it is treated. With a low water washing machine (mine is front loading), the fabric gets wet but does not have enough water in the machine to suspend the dye. It tumbles through a small amount of water verses being immersed completely, and on my machine there is no mechanism to manually change the water levels. Thus more risk of dye transfer with fabric that would otherwise behave. I’ve been battling this with our clothing and did not want that for this quilt.
So I dunked the pinks and purples in hot water. Sure enough, some dye release into the water, so all the fat quarters are getting a Retayne bath. Retayne is a dye fixative, so it should stop any issues and thus far everything is working.
Reds and purples are done and the yellow/brown group is waiting on me to wring it out. Then the blues and greens will have their turn. These children’s pants hangers are great for indoor air drying. Just be sure to hang by the center of a side instead of a corner so the fabric does not bias under its own weight. After drying, each piece will be pressed and ready to use. I am air drying the fabric because I am not interested in preshrinking, just colorfastness.
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I have a few appliqué quilts in queue that I have not put into the frame because I was getting bored with a grid or hanging diamonds as a fill. So I stumbled upon this design and decided to show how I mark it. It was introduced to me as Baltimore Grid. I’m using paper to illustrate.
Start by marking the quarters of the block diagonally. The lines will be quilted. Then divide into quarters by marking the horizontal and vertical halves. These are for reference only.
Begin marking diagonals as illustrated being careful to not cross the midline of each side. I am marking 1″ lines parallel to the center diagonal.
Turn and mark in the other direction. It creates arrows, chevrons, or triangles depending on how it is described. This shows one half marked every inch and the other marked at the half inch for comparison.
I like this because it fills the space nicely. Is quick to mark and stays true to the 45* because I am marking each block individually. It will also quilt up a tad quicker because it has half the lines of a grid. Here are two blocks side by side to show an overall effect. Now I am excited to grab a new top, because I added this tool to my toolbox.
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This week has been short on sleep. The deadline for this tee shirt quilt is rapidly approaching, so I’ve been burning the midnight oil to make progress. Three more horizontal lines need to be run across the surface before it gets turned down again. Only three more rolls after that, so the end is in sight.
The kids have also not been sleeping well. My two youngest have been waking me up nightly. I have a rocker in one of their bedrooms and will sit with them until they are asleep before returning to my bed. If I try to read on my IPad, I tend to fall asleep in the chair, so I pulled out the hexagons to complete during the night watches. I can almost do them blindfolded, so I don’t need a bright light and busy hands mean I am not nodding off. It’s also not complex which it a good thing for a sleepy momma.
I started this quilt almost five years ago and it is halfway done. The plan was to English Paper Piece a queen sized quilt top seven by nine rosettes. Four rows are assembled, while I have enough single flowers for two more. Most need a cream round before connecting with a green path.
This has been my drag around project with pre-kitted baggies in my purse, coat pockets, car glove box etc. I started with 2 jelly rolls and two charm packs of Moda Aviary by 3 Sisters along with yardage in cream and green. It gives a pretty cottage feel.
My plan for quilting is to quilt concentric rounds from each flower center. It measures around 90″. I’ll keep the scallops but use a knife-edge facing instead of a real binding to finish the edges.
I’m hoping I have not lost any kits so I can finish as I intended. This week alone I have put together three rosettes. I need to cut cream patches today and have it ready to go for this evening. I never dreamed that sleep depravation could be so productive! This could be finished “overnight”, in a rather ironic sense. Instead, a more realistic goal might be adding on those two rows to reach 2/3 complete. Guess it will depend on how much sleep I lose in the weeks ahead.
Posted in Grandmother's Flower Garden | 3 Comments »