Sunday, December 29, 2013

Freehand Flowers and Leaves

This is another from my piecing marathon, Flowers.

The piecing on this is incredibly simple, as I wanted the quilting to bring out the flower shapes.  In retrospect, snowball blocks would have worked great for the flowers.

Each color has a different design, all done freehand.  
The pink ones are my favorite!

In the print fabric are some freehand leaves, and here's a tutorial on stitching those.

Starting at one edge, stitch a curved line for the stem and vein of the leaf.
Following the red arrows, stitch back along the vein, and form a half heart, creating one side of the leaf.
Stitch a half heart down on the other side, completing the leaf.  From there, stitch another stem and vein for another leaf.
Repeat the heart formation for one leaf side.  Notice here that I started the leaf on the left side this time, and finished on the right.
That way, after the whole leaf is stitched, I can easily continue into the open space, and haven't boxed myself in.  A lot of learning to freehand is to anticipate where the stitching is going.

Continue stitching stem, vein, and the two lobes of the leaf.
Vary the direction of the leaves to fill the space.

And the border is simple e's and l's.  This is definitely an easy, fun quilt!

Happy Quilting!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Nickel Three

Here's the last of the Nickel Trio, Nickel Three
The design on this quilt was perfect for playing with different fills.
From left to right, simple bars, circles within circles, bars that alternate from left/right to top/bottom, and swirls.

And here, left to right, a rope border trying to use the rope tool a different way (which didn't turn out so great!), alternating circles in circles, and overlapping figure eights.

Here are some backing pictures
 The above picture also shows back and forth wiggles that are in V formations, and a row of hearts.
The design of this quilt was a lot of fun to experiment on, and I highly recommend piecing bars as a great way to practice!  It's also a great way to use up fabric!

Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Do You Block Your Quilts?

Today's question, "Do you block your quilts?", usually receives a 'no' answer from me, but it really depends on the ultimate use of the quilt.  Since I make a lot of quilts that are going to be hugged, no, I don't bother blocking them.  But those that are made to hang or enter shows, those get blocked.

Now, my recent Trio Two
was really a bit wavy for this picture, and I had to pin it to some piles of fabric on the floor behind the quilt to smooth it out.  I could have waited until the blocking was done to take pictures, but I was just too excited to show it!

And then my husband was eager to hang it.  Which we did, and it waved at us every time we walked by!

So, on Monday, down it came, and onto the rack!  Well, not really a rack, just some towels on the floor and some pins.
First order of business was to find a backing that would take pins.  For me that's carpet, but it might be a foam board for you. The towels are flat and smooth, so no bumps transfer to the quilt.  Using a spray bottle of water to dampen the quilt, I started pushing, pulling, and lining everything up, checking for square using a carpenter's square and a measuring tape.  Measuring from corner to corner as shown, in both directions confirms square.  Pins were pushed in at the corners and other spots to hold the quilt in place.

Now the fun part!  Heating up my iron to cotton, and filling it full of water, I hovered the iron over the quilt, hitting it with bursts of steam.  I repeated this process once more, moving slowly over the quilt, without touching it with the iron.  

And then I walked away.  For two days, it rested and dried, conforming to its new shape.  And here's the nice, FLAT result!
What a difference!  No bumps, bulges, or waves.

Hope you try this the next time you have a wall or show quilt that's waving at everyone!  That's certainly not the attention that the quilt desires!

Happy Quilting!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Trio Two--Lots of Eye Candy!

Many things delayed the finishing of this quilt, but it is now ready to show!  Introducing Trio Two, the second of the Nickel Trio.
When I pieced this, I was intending it as a baby quilt (39" x 39"), with some quilting in the white areas, and something different in the blue.  
But then I saw a quilt that had quilting in an on-point square, and thought, that would look awesome on this quilt! 
Originally, I had stars planned in the blue areas, but brought those into the white, and into the on-point square.
The stippling around the stars help them pop.  Here's a picture before I did all the backgound fills.
I could have stopped there, but the fills really help the design stand out.
The center and the corners repeat the line design, and the fills are repeated;  stippling, pebbles, and McTavish.  Thread color is a medium light blue, top and bottom.
The back is a plain blue flannel (remember, it was supposed to go to a baby!), and shows off the quilting!

This turned out so pretty, I'm keeping it for myself!  I may make another, but with different quilting, of course!

Happy Quilting!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December Book of the Month and other miscellaneous

Another month has gone by, bringing us closer to the start of a new year, and my one year blogging anniversary.  How time flies!
For December, I thought I'd choose a book that had smaller projects, such as table runners and wall hangings.  So, Kim Schaefer's Skinny Quilts (affiliate link) gets the honor.
Maybe I'll do something seasonal, as I have a lot of holiday fabrics to use up.  Plus, I need some new placemats!

And how many of you took advantage of Black Friday sales?  Mine was spread over three days, and I have to confess I added to the stash, but it was a necessary infusion, really!  I took advantage of the sales at Joann, first with a lot of browns for a landscape quilt
then kids novelty prints and bolts of flannel, for all the baby quilts I make.  One of those prints was the pink monkeys to go with my pink/brown fat quarters--too cute!
And somehow I found room to store it all!

Happy Quilting Everyone!