Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Jana and the tumbler blocks

Whoo hoo. I've finally got my granddaughter over for a day. It's hard for a grandma to fit into the busy schedule of a teenager, but when we do get together we try to make the most of our time together. Roasted chicken sandwiches and peach tea for lunch. Her favorites. We need our energy after all.

Selfie Jana took with my camera.

  On her last visit she used the Go Baby to cut nearly 300 tumbler blocks in various shades of purple.
Lots of purple tumblers

She started her quilt and finished three rows. Each row is 18 tumblers wide.  She has decided to do all her rows before she puts them together.  That way she may choose the most pleasing layout. It might take all summer, but hey she's on vacation and I'm retired.  Oh yes, the quilt inspector approved her work.
These look good.

Not sure he appreciated the hug of thanks for his approval.

That being said the object of her recent visit was to help me cut even more tumblers. I'm making a six foot by six foot quilt for my eldest son for Christmas. He insists on keeping his house around 60 degrees in the winter and wants something with a flannel back. I decided on a winter theme, and thank goodness Jana likes to use the Go Baby. We stopped counting at 400 tumblers. That's a lot of cutting and rolling through the Go Baby cutter. I still had to cut more to finish the quilt, and am so grateful she got me off to such a strong start.

Grandma cut the squares and Jana rolled them through the GoBaby
More tumbler block

Since this is a winter theme, but not Christmas, I selected shades of blues, whites and greens, and a  brown fabric with pine cones.

10 rows of the Winter Tumbler

I ended up making 22 rows, so the quilt is a little big more than a 6 foot square. It should be plenty big enough to wrap up in on a cold winter day.

Along the way I made a few mistakes that turned into design elements I ended up repeating throughout the quilt. I tried not to repeat a fabric next to each other, but discovered early on that some blocks matched up between the rows. I actually liked the look and then repeated it throughout. I felt it provided more movement. And perhaps a little more contemporary look. The same for the darker colors, especially the blues. I tried to space them, so they provided movement through the quilt.
The first match

Added more matched blocks.

As you can tell the rows are not sewn together in the pictures above. As of today's writing I have my rows together, the sides trimmed and stitched. I had preshrunk my flannel backing. I even have my binding cut and pressed.  All that is left is to attach the leaders for the long arm machine to the backing. I don't have a quilting appointment until August. I am on the cancellation wait list, and am hopeful I will get in before my August date. I am also working on a quilt for my youngest son, also a Christmas gift. I know that is a long way off, but I have some medical treatments coming up this fall, so I'm trying to get my Christmas sewing done. If I can get them quilted and the binding sewn on by machine. I can finish off the hand sewing of the binding at my leisure. By Monday I should have three quilts waiting for space at the longarm studio. Here hoping. I will post an update when it's quilted.

Coming attractions: One pattern, two quilts. Is it horrid or fun and funky?

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Loving the Workshop at Quilter's Studio in Loveland, Ohio.

When I first started quilting it was all I could do to cut fabric correctly and sew it together with that 1/4 inch seam. Along the way I discovered I loved piecing. Fortunately I had a wonderful mentor and friend who was also a long-arm quilter. That allowed me to focus on developing sewing skills and leave the quilting to someone else.

Over the last year or so that has changed.  I knew that I needed to take the responsibility of finishing my quilts, if possible. At the very least I needed to give it a try.  It was with some anxiety I took the long arm class at the Quilters Studio. I was intimidated by the computerized quilting machine and was sure I would ruin something, either my quilt or heaven forbid break the machine.  The staff assured me that neither would happen.  My worries where unfounded and it has been a very pleasant experience.  There are usually several months between my appointments, so there is a little relearning at each visit. The staff is so patient and ready to help.

I  recently spent an afternoon at the Quilter's Studio with the long arm machine. As usual the staff was so supportive and helped me pick just the right design. I was able to finish two quilts. I used Hobbs 80/20 in both quilts which results in a light and soft look and feel. I love the way they turned out.

My first quilt was my Scrappy Hexies. I made a scrappy binding too.

Scrappy Hexies

Quilting detail

I also finished and quilted Crab Apples. I used a vining leaf panto for that quilt.

This quilt turned out very different that I intended.  I was inspired to do this quilt because of a piece of fabric with barns and apple trees, but the inspiration fabric just didn't work. Instead I decided to just focus on the apple trees.

My Version of Crab Apples

Finally I bound my winter version of Bonnie's Celtic Solstice. It had been sitting in my sewing area for months. Now that it's complete it  will be put away for next winter (it has a flannel back).  Despite tons of mistakes on this quilt, I am happy with the results. I pieced it when I first discovered I had Multiple Myeloma. Just to finish it was a victory.  There where times I was not sure I would be able to finish it, but I was determined, even if I could only work on it for short periods each day.  And the mistakes don't show too much from a distance...
Friendship stars, instead of Chevrons

Detail of quilting.

I still need to do labels, but for now I have my, Must Get Done, quilts completed.  Bonnie's Cathedral Windows quilt in a work in progress. I am not feeling pressured to get it done. I still have my fabric for last year's Mystery Quilt in it's bin. I'm learning that we really never know how many quilts are in our future.  I have accepted that it's best to make the most of today.   I'm kind of in the mood for something simple.  I might just  use some of my blue stash and make a Ironi (sunken hearth) quilt that is in Japanese Quilt Inspirations by Susan Briscoe.  It seems to be the perfect summer project.

When I'm not working on the quilts you can find me in my shade garden. It's designed in the style of a Japanese stroll garden. It my refuge. And there is even a gazebo where I can sit and bind quilts. Who could ask for more? 

Coming events:  the return of granddaughter Jana.  Jana has been busy being a teenager and we have not had opportunity to sew together. However we are planning and working on a Tumbler quilt. She loves my Go Baby so I'm counting on her future help to cut out tumblers for a Christmas present for her Uncle. It should be fun....we will see if she can keep a secret.