Saturday, April 28, 2012

Texas flag quilts make pretty good farewell gifts

 Good Morning! I hope your weekend is going to be a very good one. I will be quilting a couple more Texas flag quilts. You see, it is just about moving time around here. When you live your life in the military you know that with the end of the school years comes moving season. What gift does a group give a particularly helpful spouse? Well, a Texas flag quilt of course! I love making these quilts. The quilting is so fun and free...much like Texas itself?

 If you have ever visited or lived in West Texas you know that it is a windy place. I think the swirls look like wind. The little pebbles are pollen (at least for my family) and the paisleys represent how things are just a bit different around these part. Not wrong, just different. I love some of the differences, others I am not quite so thrilled with.

 All in all it makes for a pretty neat quilt. This is a throw sized quilt. I have taught this project twice while I we have bee stationed here. And each time the students have pinned their own touch on the quilting. There is so much open space you can really go wild with the quilting, or not. Lines would be lovely as well...just not quite are thrilling to quilt.

 I am not going to say Who I am making these quilts for....but I hope they find this gift to be a bit more useful that the typical plaque. These can also be personalized with unit patches or a signature label for the back....lots you can do with a Texas flag quilt.

Have a lovely weekend! It will be HOT here. April and it is already up into the triple digits. This is going to be a brutal summer!


Friday, April 27, 2012

Eagle quilt

 I finally finished this quilt. I made it for the book review I did for Sarah Fielke's wonderful book Quilting from Little Things. I love that book. It is not directly from the book...I took the eagle applique from one quilt and her star making technique from another quilt.

 I am not really sure what I am going to do with the quilt. I could give it away...or I could keep it. I would make a nice wall hanging.

I added some Welsh quilting to the inner boarder. Cables are really fun to quilt. And I don't think anyone can go wrong with arcs. Ever.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Welsh Quilting Tutorial

 Hey there! Do you want to have a quick Welsh Quilting tutorial? I want to take a break, so here it goes. First you need to own the Book "Welsh Quilting Pattern & Design Handbook" by Marjorie Horton. It is difficult to find, but I have been emailing back and forth with her and I think I have convinced her to have it re-printed. Isn't that thrilling? I think it is. I have learned so very much from this book.

You will also need a circle (or a half circle). Before I found this "Circle Cut" I was just flipping my mixing bowls upside down and tracing them onto butcher paper and using them as templates. This circle tool is neat because you don't have to have a pile of ratty looking papers cluttering up your sewing room. I found it at Hobby Lobby. Oh and you need a chalk pen or a regular pencil to mark your arcs. For this demonstration I used the chalk because the strip I will be quilting is black.

 Find the center of the area you want to quilt. I only mark the section of the quilt I am getting ready to work on. I don't mark the entire quilt at once. The chalk would just all shake off anyway.

 Mark your first arc.

 Mark the arcs on either side. I like to make a little dash where the center of the circle are. That will help with the next step.

 Now you chalk in the overlapping arcs. That is all I mark. I will now quilt them down.

Quilt one line right on your chalk arcs, then quilt another line right under the first line (about a quarter inch space between lines) This outline or Echo is important. It makes a frame to keep all the detail controlled.  I know this isn't perfect. But I love the imperfections of this. I am not a computer. Thank goodness!

 Now quilt the design of your choice in the arcs or windows.

And before you know it you are all finished! It looks difficult, but it is really quite simple. Look at it like layers of quilting.  You can mark your design in each window, but I just freehand it.

Good luck! I would LOVE to see how you go if you try it.


Friday, April 20, 2012

I have a new sewing machine

 Good Morning! How are you doing? I sure hope you are good. I just wanted to pop in with a picture of my new sewing machine. Isn't she pretty?? She did not come with the Dr Pepper or the tea mug, but I just wanted to demonstrate how much room was under the harp. Isn't that lovely? I think so.

 She stitches like a dream...well she does now. She was a bit dirty, so I cleaned her really well and oiled her parts and lubed her gears and she purrs like a cat in the sun. I dig her so much.

that is not rust on the needle is just discolored. I need to give it another wipe with the cloth
 She has a slanted needle shaft. I bet you are wondering Why? Right? Well, so you can see that you are sewing better! It is so cool! I am sure my posture will improve with this machine. I am normally sitting all humped over with my breasts in my lap trying to see my stitching. I bet your posture is better than mine.

 Here are my 301 and one of my Featherweights for comparison. The Featherweight is 11 pounds and her big sister the 301 weighs in at 16 pounds. Not bad? They are so sweet. Nothing like sewing with a sewing machine well older than me. This 301 was made in 1951 right here in the States.

So you may be wondering why I have bought yet another machine, right? Well...I wanted another that I can free motion quilt with, or TEACH others to free motion quilt with. Right now I have my Old Necchi that I can easily teach quilting with, and of course I have 2 Bernina sewing machines I could teach with, but no one is allowed to touch my 820. She is far too much of a snob and the 165 is a great little quilter, but even she is sometimes intimidating to new quilters. This 301 will not be intimidating at all. She came with a sweet Rattan case with a Bakelite handle. Lots of bobbins and a myriad of feet. I have no clue what to do with them.

I won her on Ebay. I always wonder why people sell these great old machines for next to nothing. The featherweights came be quite expensive, but the 301s are very reasonable. Oh, the parts are interchangeable between the 2 models.

OK, I am off to sew some more! I think you should try to find a fine little machine on Ebay for yourself. These old gals are too special to be tossed out.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hero Quilt

 Hey there! I am making a Hero quilt for the Windorski family. Karin and I have been working together to come up with a quilt that represents Philip and the 3 men who were killed with him. Needless to say it has been sad work, but I want this quilt to be just right. Karin wants 4 large gold stars on the quilt. I love stars. They are one of the most popular shapes in quilting, right? Well, 5 point stars are quite difficult. I was going to use Lily's Army Star, but I could not figure out how to make the star really big. I am no technical wizard.  SO I went hunting for a suitable block. I scoured the Internet and could not find anything I liked. I finally went to my Library and I would this book. I checked it out because I wanted to learn more about Civil war era quilts, but as I was flipping through it at home I noticed all the 5 point stars! Hot dog!

 The template was still too small and my printer was not able to enlarge the pattern big enough form me.

 Good thing there is a "reproduction center" around the corner. I had it blown up and printed on Blueprint paper. Pretty cool, huh?

So this is where I am now. I still think I am going to have to tweak the final block some, but so far I think they will be just fine. I will be putting these 4 stars together with Philips flight suit.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Welsh Quilting with my Long Arm

 First off, Happy Easter! It is such a beautiful day here in West Texas I can barely stand to be inside for this short moment of blogging. It has been raining and everything is so beautifully green and the wild flowers are amazing. It just smells divine outside. So, I have been quilting with the garage doors open. I have also bee trying out quilting Welsh style, but with my long arm instead of my domestic machine.

 When I learn a new quilting style I need to test it out on my smaller sewing machines ( my Berninas typically) and when I am pretty comfortable with the motions and techniques there, I will take the ideas to my Gammill.

 I absolutely LOVED quilting this quilt. It is a very simple design, just 9 x 62 inch strips of Grunge Basics (by Moda.). Four of one color and 3 of another. All I really wanted the focus to be on was the quilting.

 I wanted more practice on vines and of course more quilting with the Celtic style leaves and arcs.

 I really want to do one more...but I have some bags to work on first. I also have a couple Texas quilts to make.

I bound and washed this red cross quilt. I was nervous to put it through the wash, not because of the hand stitching, each stitch was incredibly strong. I was afraid of all that red not being colorfast and running all over the white. But it turns out I had nothing to worry about at all. It looks fabulous! No bleeding, and there is only one small area where the initial discoloration did not come clean.

I hope your Easter Weekend is going as well as our is!


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Red Cross Quilt

 Hey there! I finished this quilt yesterday evening. I was really excited to quilt this one. There were so many ways I could have done it, but I wanted to keep it quite simple. In the end I think it was just the right amount of quilting. If time were not a factor (and 3 busy little kids) I would have hand quilted it. I did consider if for about a second each time I looked at it. For such a modern looking quilt, this is actually a very old quilt. A very old quilt with crazy inset Y seams.

 I studied this quilt while I had it on the long arm. Each block is a pieced hexagon segment that has been sewn to the blue squares. I am pretty sure there were at least 2 people who pieced this top. The hand stitching was quite different on the 2 different colored sections. Oh, and those reds are totally different shades, NOT fading. Funny, isn't it?  There are a couple discolored spots, but I really think they add to the charm of this quilt. It is old old old after all. I am curious to wash it. Actually I may not wash it at all since I am afraid of all the reds running, but then again what is the point of having a quilt if I am afraid to use it?

 Here is a shot of the back. It is simple and quite pretty, I think. Almost like a little decorated tea cake.

This is what it looked like when I bought it from eBay. Something about this quilt called to me over the Internet. I have a suspicion that this may have been a quilt intended for the red cross during one of the World Wars.  Maybe names would have been added to the blue blocks? I do wish I knew more of it's story. At any rate I am thrilled with how it turned out and now I need to figure out what to do with it (after I bind it of course).

Have a happy day!

Adding a Tutorial List to my blog

I am adding a list of tutorials I have made over the years (many of them are on my other blog) to my side bar. I am doing this both for you and for me. I hope you use them and link back to them. 
Have a great day!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Bindings and messages

 Hey there! All quilts should have bindings right? All quilts should also have a label. I will admit that most of my quilts do not have a label. It is true. I just get so excited that when I see the finish line in the distance (in the making of a quilt, not an actual rice) I just want the quilt done and in circulation as soon as possible. Well, lately I have been just adding my signature INTO the binding! I think that is so smart.

 See, it is so subtle, but totally there. I made this quilt! See, it says so.

 I also bound and washed the swoon quilt. It has been on the bed and in service before I got a good shot of it.
Since the quilt is for my husband I let him select the binding. He decided on black. Not bad I think.

Well, as I was binding this quilt, it dawned on me that I didn't make a label for it. Crap. I worked quite hard on this Swoon quilt and I for sure what something to indicate that I made it! Well, I decided to write a little message to my husband in the center of this star. I left it mostly blank because I just couldn't think what to quilt in it. Thank goodness I did.  Since the quilt is made with Echo (by Lotta Jonsdotter) and the maps of places we have lived I thought that message to him was a good one. It says " Thank you for this wonderful adventure, Dean  Love Tia"

You should write on your quilt too! Just use your free motion foot. Oddly (or maybe not) my quilt hand writing looks the same as my regular handwriting. Funny, huh?

Have a great day!

A strip Quilt Tutorial

 Hey there! How about a happy Monday morning tutorial? If you are anything like me I bet you would love to have a quilt all finished by the end of the week. You may have some jelly rolls laying around the house and have no clue what to do with them, right? Well, this is a really simple and terribly fast quilt.

I found a tutorial on youtube somewhere, but I can't find it again.

 You will need a Jelly roll and the same amount of solid fabric cut into 2.5 inch strips. I used a jelly roll of hand dyes and it was smaller than your typical jelly roll, therefore my quilt is a bit smaller than the other one I made with a Moda Jelly Roll.

Sew your strip together like this.

solid-jelly roll-solid


jelly roll-solid-jelly roll

You need the same amount of each pairing - so divvy your fabric up in little stacks that look nice together.

 After your strips of 3 are sew together you will need to sew them into strips of 6. So once again divvy them up into sets. You will sew down both sides of the set to make a tube. I know it sounds wrong, but trust me.

 see, I am sewing  down one side....
 and now I am sewing down the other. Make sure your quarter inch seam is nice and straight.

 OK, so here is the step it gets a bit tricky. The is the most important step so cut carefully. You are going to slice right angle triangles out of the "tube". If you have one of these biggish square rulers use it for this step. You will cut these triangles out of both sides of the "tube". See, that is why you put seams on both side of the tube. You will have an Ahh haa moment when you cut your first and second block.

Go ahead and do that for each tube strip. It goes fast when you get the hang of it. Don't worry.

 You can stand back and admire your little stack of stripey blocks. My what pretty diagonals you have?

 there are several ways to make the blocks come together. Above is squares and below is hourglasses. I did not bother to try to match up the prints, too much work and I think scrappy is easier.

 Trim all your blocks to the same size. Very important that they are all the same size.

 Now, try out some layouts.



sew your blocks together.
 I had a couple odd pieces left over, right? So I decided to a fancy narrow boarder. You know how you make the seams to make binding? Well, you can to something similar to make random triangles in your narrow boarder.

 See? it is like making a really WIDE flying goose.....or a small goose in a wide sky.

 Viola! Make the triangles random in the binding and they drive yourself nuts trying to match up the triangles with the triangles on the sides of your quilt top. I finally was able to manage it and it was totally by accident. See the picture at the top, since I did not catch the phenomenon in the shot below.

I also added another more wide boarder to the outside of the quilt to make it big enough to make it worthwhile. Too small quilts are annoying.

OK, let me know if you have any questions. I know this was a pretty slap shot tutorial, but maybe the pictures explain my technique better than my words.

Have a great day!