Saturday, June 30, 2012

Victorian Quilt Challenge

It's done, it's done!!  In the end, I didn't add as many beads as I thought I would.  I think I was just tired ... very happy with the result, though.
If you're interested, look back a few posts to see the three challenge fabrics.  Mine won't be in competition of course, since it is a challenge offered by my store, but I wanted to participate.  The entrants still have one month to go until their due date and then I will have some more interesting interpretations to show off.  Here's one detail photo.
"Technical" information:  all of the embroidery was done with three strands of embroidery floss.

What will I work on next?  Oh, I REALLY need to get back to the hand quilting on the feed sack project!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Taking Longer Than I Thought it Would

Once I had the six triangles sewn together and solved the minor problem with the size of the center hexagon, I still had a lot of embroidery to do.  I worked on it off and on all day yesterday and today.  I have finally finished!  Every seam has some sort of stitching embellishing it.
Each triangle was pieced on a fabric foundation and I embroidered as much as I could before the assembly.  Once everything was together, I basted it onto thin Quilters Dream cotton batting and the rest of the embroidery was done through all layers.  I gave it a good spritz of water and pressed it well, front and back. Now it is "relaxing" on the counter.  I will trim it and layer it onto the backing tonight.  No quilting, just ties here and there, plus a few well placed buttons.  The last touch will be a little bit of beading.  Baby can't wait.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Batiks Happened to My Day

Today I didn't end up doing what I thought I would be doing.  The day began with deliveries of batiks from two different companies.
It took a while to get everything entered into inventory and onto the shelf.  I had to do a bit of rearranging to accommodate the 18 new bolts.  Nobody wanted to shop today, so I had the afternoon to myself.  I mixed and matched, cut and folded, and came up with three nice new combinations of fat quarters for our "batik rolls".  They are popular in the store and at quilt shows.
That, and a visit from Lilly, who is a professional machine quilter (Lilly's Machine Quilting, Vanceboro, NC, 252-244-1988) finished off the day!  I want to get back to my Victorian project next!!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Quiltin' Cat

Today's Saturday morning class at the store was titled "Introduction to String Piecing".  Everything was organized on the table, just waiting for the students to arrive.  Sure glad I have a quilting cat to guard things.
There was a little bit of noise and confusion as sewing machine cases were rolled in.  Baby came back as the ladies sewed.  I don't know if she likes us or just wanted to enjoy the ceiling fan.
She claimed that corner and stayed put until the last person left.

Friday, June 22, 2012

What Does the Back Look Like?

Do you ever wonder what the back looks like?  Here is my Victorian project in progress.  I finished embroidering the individual triangles and joined them this morning.  It's not pressed yet.  And I will wait to trim the outside border until just before I bind it.
One of the three challenge fabrics was a large floral print.  I planned from the beginning to fussy cut one of the motifs and applique a hexagon to the center.  It was silly to get it ready ahead of time.  Too big!  I'll have to cut it down and try again if I don't want to cover up too much of the work already done. 

Once I settle the hexagon question, I'll be ready to layer and add a bit more stitching.  I'm not sure yet how I am going to handle the six main seams.  Any suggestions?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Crazy Quilt Progress

Progress on the Victorian crazy quilt has been slow.  As you can see, Cassie can barely keep her eyes open as she waits for me to get something done.  I am adding hand embroidery to each of the six triangle pieces, changing colors of threads and changing stitches and I have all of them partly done.
Sally loaned me a nice book on embroidery that illustrates a number of stitches and that has helped a lot.  Here's a close-up of two parts.  I'll try to get it put together next week.
So, what else have I been doing besides not getting this project finished?  I must confess that I discovered the author Lawrence Sanders and have been very entertained by his series that feature the character Archy McNally.  I've checked out and read about four in a row now.  Fun!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

ANOTHER Quilt Challenge

Each year, Cotton Fields Quilt Shop offers a quilt challenge.  This year, the secret package contained fat quarters of three fabrics:  a very Victorian looking floral on neutral background, a deep royal purple texture, and an olive green small tone on tone print. 

The rules instruct the entrants to make a cotton crazy quilt.  All of the given fabrics must be used on the front and other fabrics may be added.  The challenge started May 1 and is due by the end of July.  We will have a mini-quilt show at our annual anniversary sale in August and award prizes based on viewers' choice votes.

This year, I decided to join the fun (mine will not be in competition).  Last week I rounded up some fabric coordinates. and tonight was the night to get started.  Here's what the work table looked like as I began.
Out of the chaos eventually came six crazy patched triangles.  I will add hand embroidery before I put everything together.
Here is a close-up of one section.
I guess you know what I'll be doing over the weekend.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Little Baskets Wall Quilt

I freed the trapped fabric when I completed the four flower basket blocks.  Yesterday I put them together into a simple setting for a small wall quilt (22" x 22").
This won't take any time at all to hand quilt.  It will be a nice take-along project.

This afternoon I rummaged through all sorts of scraps, cutting 4" x 5 " pieces to make kits for my "Crooked on Purpose" pattern.  Baby, my faithful assistant, was on top of it all!
Fabrics will vary, but this is the quilt that the kit will make:

It's our best selling pattern.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Trapped Fabric

We've all done it ... a project isn't completed for any number of reasons, so we pack it away, with it's coordinating fabrics for borders, binding, etc.  Now that fabric is TRAPPED.  You don't dare cut into it because you might not have enough left to finish the original  project.  Here's the fabric that is trapped this time, a nice cream tone-on-tone.
Last month, I was on the "Paper Panache" website looking for the foundation patterns to finish these basket blocks when I came across the Round Tuit and I was distracted.
Here are the blocks, finished except for the trimming.  The leftover cream fabric is now fair game again!  I'm planning on putting this little top together today with these other ingredients.  It will make a nice small take-along hand quilting project.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Blondie's Castle is Complete

Blondie's Castle was almost together when I shared it last:
The flat roof on the right side bothered me, though, so I added a wedge of purple.  Then I added aqua binding before I started the embellishment.
The finishing touches were 1) a bat, 2) bead fringe below two roofs, and 3) embroidery in the form of asterisks and chain lines.  There are also a few random beads covering bloopers in the machine blanket stitch.  How about a couple of close-ups?

This was supposed to be a "cityscape".  Funny how Blondie claimed the whole construction!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Rick Rack Mats

Thanks again to P.  I saw this idea on the blog "String Thing Along", but she actually has a tutorial of the entire process on HER blog "The Way I Sew It".  Very good instructions. 
Here's one little tip that I'd like to pass along.  I learned it years ago when taking a class that involved sewing and turning circle shapes.  Instead of clipping curves, trim closely with pinking shears.  It has the effect of many, many tiny clips and really helps to form smooth curves.  Here are my two table toppers at the trimming stage.

And here are the finished table toppers.  They are approximately 15" in diameter.  P. warned that the application of the rick rack was a bit tedious, and she wasn't kidding!  It got easier on the second mat as I got the hang of it.
"Blondie's Castle" is getting its finishing touches and the finished piece will be available for viewing soon.

Right now I've got to get things rounded up for a beginning quilting class that starts here tomorrow ........  

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Blondie's Castle!

I've finished the machine work on the "cityscapes" quilt.  With the fusing done, I machine quilted straight lines in the background and buttonhole stitch around windows and flowers.  The discovery of BLONDIE fabric fit right in with the whimsical feel.
What's next?  Beading and binding ... this project was fun and went together fast.

I made a little more progress on the black, white and red table topper, too.  Before I started, I replaced the blade in my rotary cutter and it made all the difference.  I am famous for waiting WAY too long to change a blade.  Maybe that is why my cutting mats are getting so ragged?   
Here are the pieces for the first one cut out.  I made enough strip sets to make two in these colors.  More tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

New Projects

Where in the world did the last week go?  I knit a little and hand quilted a little and finished the samples for my little demo about the "Crazy Squares" (next weekend at the TRPQG meeting in Rocky Mount, NC).  Our family also celebrated the 30th birthday of our daughter .... so I guess I WAS busy with a variety of things.

On May 15, on the blog "String Thing Along", P. showed an adorable rick-rack-trimmed table topper that she had made.  It took me a little bit to get everything rounded up, because I had to order the EZ Dresden ruler, but today I was ready to go.  I cut and sewed strip sets in red, white, and black.  I'll cut the wedges and put one together tomorrow.  If I'm happy with the results, watch out, there will be more!

On Saturday, the Artrageous Quilters met at the store once again.  Our topic was "cityscapes" and Pat C. generously shared ideas and had lots of samples for inspiration.  Here's the beginning of mine, just rough shapes.
To really define the shapes, I decided to couch black yarn on the outlines.  Here it is in progress.
Here's the back.
When the couching is done, I'll add the back.  Then I'll do some machine quilting and finish up with the really fun part - embellishment!  Beads and ribbon and maybe a couple of surprises.