National Quilting Day

It’s National Quilting Day on Saturday, March 17th! What will you do to celebrate? Here are a few ideas:

Visit the National Quilting Association website to find out more about National Quilting Day. Visit the Virginia Consortium of Quilters for a list of Games for National Quilting Day (these would be great for a quilt retreat too!).

Go to a quilt show! Check out the Dallas Quilt Celebration, The Cabin Branch and Stone House Quilters Quilt Show, The Glendale Quilt Guild Quilt Show, The Broward Quilt Expo, The Seaway Trail Foundation’s Quilt Show, or The Quilters Anonymous Quilt Show, just for starters. If you’re in my area, check out the Gussy Goose Craft Shop’s Quilt Show! Yes, despite the fact that the big spring bazaar is going full steam this weekend and the parking situation is madness (more than the usual madness at Patch Barracks!), the Gussy Goose is open, and presenting their annual Quilt Show.

Can’t get there? Grab some friends and have a Quilting Bee! Visit your LQS and buy fabric to start a new quilt project, then spend the rest of the weekend quilting! Or, get out a UFO or WISP (I know you have them!) and quilt all weekend so you can make some progress.

At the very least, snuggle up under a quilt and watch a movie like How to Make an American Quilt or read a book like The Quiltmaker’s Gift with your child.

Irish Chain Quilting

What will I be doing? Hangin’ out at the Gussy Goose, presenting machine quilting demonstrations, signing books and CDs, and then later, hosting a Quilt ’til You Wilt with my quilting buddies until the wee hours on Sunday! I’ll also be machine quilting a UFO: an Irish Chain quilt that I pieced for a class a few years ago, and I marked it and started the quilting while I was in the States with Dawn for the Gaudynski workshop (I’m showing a sneak peek of the quilting that I already have done here). Whatever you do for the day, stop back by and share!

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Appliqué Experiments

A couple of years ago, sometime before I damaged the tendon sheaths in my hand and wrist, I started a quilt with a Feathered Star in the middle, and I planned to border it with a Jinny Beyer border print. I was kind of hoping to enter the quilt into a show that year. I was going to appliqué the border with Jinny’s Soft Edge method, so it would look like this:

Appliquéd border

Well, after the hand problems started, I had to put it aside, and I just can’t see that I’ll be able to do that much hand appliqué again, ever. I can do delicate work like needle-turn appliqué for about ten minutes before my hand starts hurting, so it’s probably not going to get done that way. I pulled this project out of the UFO stash the other day to see what could be done to salvage it. I started trying to see if I could do the appliqué by machine with a really narrow satin stitch.

First satin stitch attempt

A couple of problems here; first, the satin stitching is way too bulky and just looks out of place to me, and second, when I was stitching it on the machine, it was difficult to keep everything flat and nice while the machine moved along. The border print fabric layer kept getting pushed out of place ahead of the foot. Definitely not satisfactory results.

Now, I’ve never been a fan of fusible anything. It’s just not my thing, especially for quilts that are…well…really nice quilts, like I would send to a show. Continue reading Appliqué Experiments

We interrupt this UFO for a new project!

I spent part of the morning yesterday trying to figure out what to do with the sashing on the UFO Dresden Plate quilt, with no success. I finally started thinking about other projects that I need to do shortly here, and reluctantly put the big quilt aside for a bit. This is why UFO’s are what they are, obviously. I don’t think the UFO will be finished in time for its 11th birthday. 😦 No guilt, though, that’s just the way it goes.

Convergence Quilts

Convergence Quilts,
by Ricky Tims

I needed to pitch something together (or decide to finish some other UFO) for a demo that I’m supposed to give at the Black Forest Quilt Guild meeting in February. I’m supposed to show everyone how to embellish with the Swarovski crystals, but at the moment I don’t have anything around that needs crystalizing! I spent some time thinking and digging through other projects in progress, and didn’t really see any that I thought needed crystals in the end (or that I could finish quickly enough to matter), so I grabbed Convergence Quilts by Ricky Tims, and decided to see how quick and easy that process is. I’ve had the book for at least a year, and haven’t gotten around to doing anything with it. Continue reading We interrupt this UFO for a new project!

Help with quilting designs?

Here’s where I am with the quilting on the UFO Dresden Plate quilt (click for a bigger pic!):

Dresden Plate quilt sashing

I’m almost done with the feather quilting around the plates, and I’m ready to start on either the sashing or the stippling between the plates and the feathers. In the planning stages, I thought I’d quilt a small diagonal grid in the sashing, to echo the larger grid that’s in another part of the quilt, but now I’m not so sure I’m happy with the way it looks. Too much thread on the quilt, I think, and I can’t figure out what to do with the green cornerstones either, not to mention how long it’s going to take. I’ve only done the one piece of sashing this way, so I can still do the frog stitch and try something else, but the question is, what do I do?

Anybody have any ideas for a design for the sashing? It measures 2″ wide and the longest piece is 14″ (they vary since there are half blocks and those sashing pieces are 2″ x 7″). HELP!

Quilting with Patches and Shadow: What cats do

Here’s how Patches spent his morning:

A very comfy computer chair we have

in one of his favorite places sleeping off the late night last night. Their schedules are all out of whack because of our late nights over the past few days, so he’s catching up I think. Then there’s Shadow:

Helping.  Yeah, right.

While I did my quilting (before I did anything “work-ish” today, just like I said I was going to) Shadow sat in the middle of it and tried to play with the end of my quilt marker while I was using it. When he finally got tired of me telling him “no,” he settled down to nap as well, and only woke up when I left the room to get my camera and then he gave me this annoyed look when I took a couple of pics.

I don’t know if I’ll actually get to really quilt today on the machine, but I did get some of the marking done anyway. Maybe later I can reward myself if I get all the other stuff done! 🙂 I’m off to start Christmas cards and packages!

UFO progress and basting questions

Sometimes it’s amazing how much you can really get done when you just do one thing at a time. I’ve been machine quilting this UFO quilt, and while my mind has been free to wander and think about other projects, I haven’t let myself get sidetracked and actually do any other projects. I’m almost done with the main quilting in the center of the quilt, and it feels like the whole quilt is half done already, even though I know it’s really not. After the main quilting on the whole thing, I have tiny grids and stippling left to do, so that will take a while.

One thing I discovered about a UFO that’s been sitting around this long: I basted this quilt with batting and backing at least 3 or 4 years ago, and then didn’t continue on with the quilting for whatever reason. Except for brief moments when it got unfolded to look at it or show it to someone, it’s been folded flat on a shelf with other quilts and quilt tops piled on top of it. As I’m working on it, Ivve realized that the batting is quite compressed and flat, which makes it much less bulky to push through the machine. Wow! What an epiphany!

When I get ready to baste a quilt, I take the batting out of the bag and unroll it to let it fluff up, and sometimes I even pop it in the dryer on fluff to really puff it up. I don’t know where I learned that, probably from a machine quilting book at some point, and I’ve always told my quilting students to do that too. But what if we’ve been shooting ourselves in the foot all this time? We fluff and puff the batting before basting, only to have to fight with it to squish it though the machine when we quilt the quilt.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens when I wash this quilt that I’m working on right now. Will the batting puff up in the quilting designs the same way as other quilts? I think the next time I baste a quilt, I’m leaving the batting compressed to see how it goes. Maybe just this simple thing will make machine quilting large quilts that much easier. What do you do when you baste a quilt??