Saturday, January 30, 2016

Cheese Platter Quilt

I am taking a Craftsy online class from Cyndi Souder called, "Hitting the Mark: Perfect Quilting Every Time".  Learned some important techniques for more accurate work--transferring designs, and was fascinated by all of her quilt examples.  Love, love her color combos.  

I fell in love with one of her wall hanging quilts--with a black background, yellow and orange stars.  

I was hooked.  Using her color inspiration,  I made a different star block--eight point star block with a 9 patch center.  I call it Cheese Platter.

When I build a quilt, I don't use a pattern.  I design on the fly--I don't know exactly what it will look like until I start sewing blocks together.  I changed the block layout twice.  I was happier with more negative space.  A bit more modern style.

I worked on the Cheese Platter blocks, while I was building my friend Sue's Folk Art Quilt (previous post).  That makes for a messy studio and a piles of cut pieces, half assembled blocks.  I use shallow, clear, rectangle plastic storage containers (like ones you store stuff under the bed), one for each quilt project to keep some kind of order.

The big checkerboard backing features two art panels.  Being able to take something of interest from the quilt top and re-introduce it again on the back is appealing.  And, there are other reasons I do this as I will explain later.

I always make extra blocks and sub assemblies so I can have my pick--keeping the variety alive.  

For me there is never any despair making an extra 8-10 blocks and oodles of sub assemblies.  I tell you the left over blocks made some pretty fancy over-sized potholders.  

Rolling the finished quilt off the frame

details of long arm quilting in progress.

Lots of sunlight streaming into the studio today.  Made it difficult to see where I was quilting.  Black thread on black fabric . . .

I turned off the overhead studio lights so I could see better.

I reintroduced same cheese flavor fabrics into a coin border. 

The long arm quilting design I'm free-styling I call Feather Bouquet.  

I chuckle saying that, cause it reminds me of  the BBC TV program "Keeping Up Appearances" with Hyacinth Bucket (which she pronounces Bouquet).  My husband calls me Hyacinth to tease me.

Like Hyacinth who is always telling her husband Richard to mind the road . . . I'm always scolding Jon about the way he drives the car--especially my car.  

We live in rural Wisconsin, and yes it is lovely driving in the country, but he drifts off the road, because he's taking in the scenery.  One winter he drove off the road, into the snowy ditch that we rode like a roller coaster, and then jerked the car back on the road again, all in about 7 seconds flat.  He laughed, and I told him a thing or two!

Ok, ok.  Back to the Cheese Platter Quilt . . . 

 Had a wonderful time driving the quilting machine today, (and I didn't run off the road!)

Feather Bouquet is an 8" x 12" serpentine stem sequence; then back tracked with feathers.  

I design 12" wide stitch sequences, edge to edge work: Squirrel Feathers, Fish Feathers, Cherry Tomatoes/Green Beans, Solar Flares, and others.  Zentangle elements really have my attention these days, and I adore Patsy Thompson and Karlee Porter's free style work.

Completing first row of free style stitch sequence.

When the light is just right (depends on the time of day) I can see black on black perfectly.
I was so happy with the top and bottom thread tension.  No thread breaks.  It was truly relaxing work.

After I finish a row,  I advance the quilt to the next row, reset the tension clamps (left and right) and begin again.  I quilt from right to left.  I don't know why.  I guess I do this because I practice drawing new designs on an erasable whiteboard from right to left.  And come to think of it, my stitch sequences are always 8" x 12" (just about the size of my whiteboard).  

After removing the quilt from the frame, I turned it over and draped it on the frame so you can see the backing.

Backing Construction:
The art panels help stretch the checkerboard fabric to 100" width I needed.  Without the art panels I would only have 88" width.   My quilt top is 91" wide, and I needed extra 3-4 inches of backing fabric at both the left and right margins, (some extra fabric to attach the tension clamps on the frame).  

There is also the very real problem of matching seams when sewing together two panels of checkerboard fabric.  The solution: the checkerboard fabric is interrupted by adding the art panels to eliminate matching checkerboard seams.  

Well that's the cheese today.  

Did you notice I put some blue here and there among the yellow and orange fabrics?  Got to have a little bleu cheese.  Also in the border I put some mottled brown fabric (head cheese).  My husband actually likes head cheese.  I won't touch it.  Looks nasty.

About 80 hours to cut fabric, sew blocks, assemble, quilt, prepare binding, hand stitch binding. 

My next quilt will be Cherry Pie, or Blue Lake.  Got some new block designs in mind.

Today, I put the those bolts of fabric out on the layout table just to coax me to get crack'in.

Thank you for visiting my blog.  Hope you'll leave me messages and follow my blog.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Folk Art Quilt

Here's the Folk Art queen size quilt I just finished.  I had a great time experimenting.

Simple 4 patch Kaleidoscope blocks,
Hand applied button yo-yos,
Lined prairie points (border decoration),

Kaleidoscope Simplified

I began by stacking 4 identical layers of fabric and cutting 6 inch squares.

Once the cutting is complete, it was fun spinning the 4 identical images
to make simple 4 patch kaleidoscope blocks.

My client Sue loved the finished quilt when she picked it up last weekend.  She had given me her sofa pillow for color inspiration to begin the quilt project.  A well known acrylic artist and wood carver, Sue is a beautiful friend inside and out.  

I added gold fabric frame, and cornered the growing block with rust, teal, olive, and espresso.
Added green sashing strips, and hand sewn button yo-yos.

I took an online Craftsy Class called "Quilted Kaleidoscope" with Marilyn Foreman--fabulous instructor.  Great class with lots of information for people like me who haven't tried Kaleidscope blocks.  Wonderful results.

Spent many evenings hand sewing 5 inch fabric circled into yo-yos while listening to TV in the background.

Added buttons for extra stability to make sure the yo-yos will stay put for years to come.

Then sewed button yo-yos to sashing.

Cool Technique Alert:  I learned how to make lined prairie points for border decoration
in Susan Cleveland's Craftsy Class, "How to Bind a Quilt".  She has some great techniques for adding piping to borders, that I will sure try out on my next project.

I chose a running stitch of No. 8 perle cotton to tack down the prairie points.

There was still a little flap at the tip of the prairie point, so I hand stitched a decorative bead.

Here's the quilt coming off the frame (finished long arm quilting).  It's a great size 92 x 102.

Next I squared the quilt . . . and prepared 440 ft. of binding.

Sewing the binding on the perimeter.

I moved my sewing machine to the corner of the big extended dining room table in my studio. 

 Yes, I have a dining room table in my studio I use for measuring, cutting, squaring, and in this case I am sewing on the binding.  Perfect table for building bed size quilts.

Then I turn the binding strip to the back, and begin a day's work on hand stitching to finish the quilt.

Today, I'm working on a new quilt.  Will be done soon.  More photos to follow.

Monday, January 25, 2016

On The Road, Finding Decorative Pieces

There is a fine second hand shop in Appleton, where I used to find the most interesting pieces to decorate our old Victorian.  I found this beautiful two-piece Northwood punch bowl and cups at that shop.  It looks splendid in our tomato red dining room.  

A friend Kathy was with me and she saw the punch bowl first, sitting on the counter.  Being a collector of antique glassware herself, she wanted me to see this piece immediately.  After circling the store, she found me and whispered. "there is an lovely Northwood punch bowl at the counter you need to see". 

I bought a lovely 5 light chandelier for the east bedroom there and a credenza there to store bed linens in my upstairs laundry room.  Also, four gold rimmed pressed glass berry bowls, with matching cream and sugar pieces (pictured in these photos). 

On another adventure, Kathy and I took a road trip to Galena, IL and stayed at a Victorian Bed and Breakfast.  It was lots of fun visiting all the shops on the main street, but the tags were priced for royalty.  However, on our return trip to Wisconsin, we stopped at a little collectibles shop in Cuba City, IL.

In the Cuba City shop Kathy spotted a four piece set of  marigold color "Anniversary" Jeannette-McKee marigold plates, cups, and saucers, and salad plate  (c1960s).   

The marigold candy dish I believe is Fenton.  Ceramic birds and stack of old books made a good looking Thanksgiving table.  

Have you every noticed all the different birds in my house?  Every room is decorated with a bird or two.  It is so subtle, no one sees them but me.  I don't think my husband even realizes it.

Henry is the pheasant who lives on the mantle in the dining room.

Iron curtain holders with bird in the upstairs bath

Blue Heron, Front Door

Two Blue Herons Etched Glass Door 
West Porch Door

Iron garment hooks on several bedroom doors and bath upstairs

Iron garment hooks on several bedroom doors and bath upstairs

The early bird gets the worm, and I've gots lots to do today!  

Talk to you later.