Sunday, February 23, 2014

Granddaughter's project completed and continuing the search for accuracy.

"Jana loves colorful fabric"

What a week. I have been waiting, not so patiently, for the weekend to come so my granddaughter could see her quilt. We just received it from our long arm quilter, Sandy Erwin. Before it was quilted Jana liked it. But quilted she LOVES it. Quilters know that no matter now nice the top, the quilting brings the quilt to life. I was supposed to take a picture of the back to share, but being easily distracted I forgot until now. Here is a close up of the quilting. The back is a tie dye dark blue and the quilting shows, adding additional interest.

Jana said that she wanted to hang this quilt in our sewing area, but I knew she would change her mind once she saw it. Surprisingly she is keeping it at grandmas, for now. It's on her bed, "So when every I come I can wrap up it in". She loves, loves, loves it, and warned me it's staying here for now.....but she might be taking it home.

Several of these blocks where a challenge and we both learned that we don't particularly care for some of them, such as the star. Overall it was fun. I still have to complete my quilt, which is not nearly as colorful as Jana's. There was a border of half square triangles in the pattern, but we both where ready to move on to a new project by then.

Grandpa is very bad, he is a big teaser, but Jana is holding on her her quilt.

Quilts are good to cuddle up with.

Saturday night Jana headed home and  I spent my evening catching up on the Delightful Stars Quilt-Along.
Besides making a new star, four stars where joined together to make one section of the quilt.

This weeks lesson

Since I knew this was going to be placed with three other stars I decided to use fabric I used in those blocks. This quilt is going in the direction of a softer palette. I do worry about the quilting in the end. I saw someone mention they should not have used a white thread. I am using a grey. It is a challenge with the dark fabric for the background. However Kona is a nice fabric and the grey isn't showing through. It also blends with all the fabrics I have used up to the point. I also splurged and purchase some Superior Masterpiece thread. I am really liking it.

First section complete.
 I realized that I made a mistake when I put the two rows together. My stars where off less than an 1/16 of an inch, but it drove me nuts, so I took it apart and corrected it. I am so glad I did. There are still a few grey threads to pick our, but I would not have been satisfied if I did not fix it. After all it's about improving accuracy.

I am really enjoying the Delightful Stars Quilt-Along. Michele Foster does a wonderful job. The lessons are well written and the pace is just right. Looking forward to the next lesson.

Thanks for checking in.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Delightful Stars QuIlt-Along and Wishing Winter Away

Like much of the eastern US we are experiencing another snowfall. Before this snowfall our total for the winter was 42 inches. This is more than double our normal snowfall. Last night we got another five inches. It is one of those beautiful wet snows (much nicer than sleet and ice). I am hoping this is our last snow for the winter. They predict near 60 by Thursday. I will believe it when I see and feel it. Of course that does not mean it will stay nice. It will most likely be a teaser.

The deer fence gates are frozen in the snow. 

All this snow pretty much eliminates outdoor activities for me. So quilting it is. Last week I shared the quilts I finished. This week I have started the Delightful Stars Quilting-Along designed by Michele Foster from Quilting Gallery.Com. Michele's projects are about accuracy, and of course beauty too. See the link on the side of this blog.

Have you every over thought something, changing your mind again and again, but ended up going with your first idea? That is the story of this quilt. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and use a dark background. I thought black might be too harsh, so I picked a nice deep grey (Kona Steel). I was not sure I liked it. I was also excited about the many other quilters use of batiks for the background, so I ended up purchasing two different fabrics (6 yards each) for a different background. I think one could be my ugliest fabric purchased. I really like the second one, which was a dark blue. But as I auditioned the fabric I planned to use they just did not work, it was too busy. So after a month or procrastination I return to the grey. I decided this project is about new skills and not making a work of art, so I am getting to it.

I choose a dark background so it would look as if my stars are floating. This is a combination of light blue batik and an oriental fabric. This block went together quickly. I used a new process for the flying geese (four in one). It was easy.

Lesson 1

The second block has squares in the center. I see that a challenge is going to be sure that the fabric that touches gray will need to have strong contrast so they my stars float above the background. This photo is not the best representation of the fabric. It does accomplish my "floating" goal. My second goal for each block is to keep it simple. I want the contrast to be between the background and the block, not necessarily within the block. I do want the details in the block to show, so it may be a balancing act.

Lesson 2

Uh, Oh Lesson three was not a piece of cake. I started along with lesson 3 feeling pretty confident. That confidence was misplaced. I did not like the way the block turned out. Can you see what is wrong with it?

Lesson 3 reject

The problems? The method I used for flying geese did not work here. I made the units a little bigger so I could trim them, but that meant that I trimmed off what needed so it would match the corner block. The second problem was the directional light blue fabric. I used this in lesson one and it looked great. Here it seemed to mismatch. I was going to take this apart and try to fix it. In the end I just started over.

lesson three final block.
 Another picture that is not very good, but you can see that the seams match better and I got rid of the light blue fabric, using the beige batik instead. Keeping it simple, I like how both the blues and the beige fabrics carry the color from the center of the block to the edges.

This weeks lesson is lesson 4, which is a more complicated block and borders. I am not sure if I am doing the border. I also want to be sure I have enough fabric, so I am postponing the border until the center is completed.

Lesson 4
When I first saw this block I thought it might be a bear to do. It was not really so bad. I did get off track and reversed my purple and blues, so had to take a few apart. This impacted my seams, because I had already trimmed the blocks. My pinwheels do not meet as well as I would like. It actually shows up more in the photo. I have considered redoing this block, but overall I like it. The fabric I used on the star points actually has the same colors that I used in the center.

Lesson to learn. Find the balance between scant quarter inch and quarter inch. I think I am focusing too much on the scant part, but the blocks are coming out the right size. So I am hoping it just requires a little tweaking to get improvement.

Finally I received two more quilts back from my long arm quilter. This weekend it's making and sewing on binding. One quilt belongs to my granddaughter. I am hoping she is able to come over to pick her fabric for the border and make her binding. Pictures of those next week.

Virginia Sweet spire
What a tough plant. Deer prune it, it's covered with ice and snow. Luckily it blooms on new growth so when spring really comes it will be beautiful. It plants could talk they would say enough already!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Finishing up old projects and moving on to new.

This week has been productive. I got Bonnie Hunter's Lazy Sunday back from the long arm quilter and have finished the binding. I have a label (somewhere). Once I find and attach the label it's ready for use. I love this quilt. I love the colors and the design. One thing that I don't love, is the size. I think it is a twin, so it is tall, but not so wide. I have no twin beds, and I really want to use this quilt. I tried draping the long size across the bed and I think it will work. I learned a neat trick from my long arm quilter who own the Bed and Breakfast, Our Sunset Place. She has white comforters on all her beds and quilts on top. This allows her to use various size quilts. They look fabulous.

Place length wise across the bed.

I've also been playing with my camera and taking "glamor" quilt shots. I really have no idea what I am doing, but I have fun playing with the camera and the quilts.

Pretty as a picture. Backing and binding is purple.

Another fun project I worked on this week is in my Round Robin Project. This level is a six inch border made up of squares. I spent days walking around the block, think about different ideas. Several things I considered where not within my skill level. This is done and ready to go back to Port Clinton for the next Ohio Star Quilt Guild. Only one more round to go.  I am curious to see what my block is looking like.

Last project to be completed is this throw size quilt. I debated about the binding. I thought I would use a tan or brown. Nothing seem to speak to me, so I started sorting through my stash and found a complimentary aqua blue. My long arm quilter picked a nice batik for the back. You can not tell from the picture, but the back has some teal petals so the aqua binding goes well with the backing too.  I really like how it turned out. I will put it in the mail this week . I hope the person it is intended for likes it. It's a surprise. He has no idea a quilt is coming his way.

 With these out of the way I am going to start the Quilting for Accuracy Delightful Star quilt.
Check out the link on this blog.  There is a new lesson every week or so. I hope to start the first lesson this week and have several to show next week. They are already on lesson three, so I have some catching up to do.

Thanks for checking in.