Monday, October 25, 2010

My first baby quilt

Some neighbors just had their 2nd child, so I thought I'd try a baby quilt for them.  I wanted to do something pretty quick, so I chose the Rail Fence pattern.  It was a boy, so I did it in shades of blue, with the dark blue print containing some cute little dogs.  I used a coordinating flannel print for the back.  I quilted it all on machine, not very close, so it would be nice and "loose".  Upon finishing this, I decided that the sign of a good quilt is that you do not want to give it away!  This one felt so nice and snuggly.  (But, I did give it up!)

Beginner's Luck

In the spring, I joined the Durham Orange Quilters (DOQ) guild.  The group held their bi-annual quilt show this past weekend in the old tobacco district of Durham NC.  The setting was fantastic; the old brick tobacco buildings have been incorporated into a convention center, athletic park and restaurant area.  Bay 7, where our quilts were displayed, is airy and open and sunny.  Unfortunately, the sunniness at times made it hard to get good pictures ... but that's a small price to pay!

I entered 2 quilts -- my log cabin sampler, in the bed, pieced category, and a wall hanging called POP - Pinwheels on Point.  Unbelievably, both got 1st place ribbons in their categories.  I'm still in shock.  Not bad for a newbie, eh?  Here are some pictures -- first, a picture of bay 7, and then my 2 quilts.  (Again, sorry for the sunshine on the POP photo).


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Weird Halloween Quilt

I just finished this one. It's kinda weird, but I like it. It was not quite all "scraps", but a personal challenge I gave myself. Every month, our guild has some door prizes, and in September, I won one of these. It was about 1/2 yd of Halloween fabric. It had 16 pictures in various sizes, all pumpkins and black cats, etc. I would never have bought this myself, as I prefer geometric designs for blocks, rather than fussy cut kinds of things. Anyway, I challenged myself to make a quilt from it without purchasing anything new, using only scraps and leftovers that I already had.

I had been wanting to try a spider web design that I saw on the web, and decided that would be a good Halloween-ish thing to incorporate with the picture blocks. So, here's what I ended up with. I'm learning FMQ, so I quilted spider webs over all the main blocks, and a "radio static" pattern in the sashing. (These ideas came from Leah Day's web site).

I did manage to make it all with scraps from my stash, with the exception of thread; I bought some silvery grey thread for the spider web.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

diamond string quilt

This one was pretty easy, and a lot of fun.  I love the colors.  I found the fabric used in the border on a trip to Florida (it's a Laurel Burch design).  Then, made the rest of the quilt to go with it.  I used silk batting, just to see how that would quilt.  My machine quilting was supposed to be smooth swirls, but it didn't come out all that smooth.  But it was good practice.

Here is the finished top before quilting:

After quilting:

After quilting:  

The back:

I gave this quilt to one of my brothers, who has a place at the beach.  I think it looks quite happy there:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Erin's quilt

Goddaughter Erin graduated from high school last week.  Hard to believe she's past that milestone already! I made this dragonfly/butterfly quilt for her to commemorate the occasion.  It took me about 3 weeks to decide on the basic fabrics.  After several trials with different materials, I finally found this dragonfly print that I could fussy-cut a dragonfly for each center square.  The quilt pattern is Tennessee Waltz, which is great for Erin as her mom went to school in Nashville and she and Erin often go back there to visit friends.

Lessons learned from this quilt:

  • don't use white-on-white type fabric where the top layer isn't woven in... almost looks like it's painted on.  This fabric was not very forgiving; when you take stitches out, they still show in the "painted" part.
  • I actually CAN do picture-type machine quilting!  I did dragonflies and butterflies in most of the white squares, and even did Erin's monogram in 4 corner white squares
  • DO NOT leave an unfinished quilt sitting out in the workroom ... well, at least MY workroom.  I was almost done with the quilting, and a mouse decided it liked my quilt. It chewed a hole in the backing and shredded a section of batting. Fortunately, it didn't break thru to the front.  I stuck another piece of batting in, and patched the backing.  Once it was quilted over, it wasn't that noticeable.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Log Cabin Sampler

I've named this king-size quilt "Log Cabin Sampler" because it has
  1. several ways to arrange log cabin blocks to create different patterns
  2. many machine quilting techniques -- there is straightline stitching and stitch-in-the-ditch with a walking foot, free motion stippling, and a free motion pattern.  While I was in the process of making the log cabin squares, I took a free-motion class, and used the black sections of the quilt to try out different patterns.  They're all  angular (squares or triangles) to match the quilt ... and because I'm not too comfortable with curves yet!
  3. quilt-as-you-go (the large sections are quilted separately, and then connected using sashing) as well as traditional block assembly (inside the large sections.)

Here's another view that shows how I did the corners: 

If you're interested in the details .......


It took 186 of these log cabin squares.  These were combined with plain black sections to create 2 white diamond sections, 3 black diamond sections, 4 windmill sections, and 9 vee sections for the zig-zag around the edges


Then I quilted each section.  I did straight-line quilting or stich-in-the-ditch for the log cabin blocks, because they are already busy enough, and I wasn't quite ready to try free-motion going over all those seams.  I practiced my stippling on the black sections.  Here's one example -- I used black thread on the black fabric, because I really did not want the quilting to be the focal point of the whole quilt.  The design created by the log cabin blocks was really my focus.  Anyway, I tried to get a picture of some of this stippling, but the black-on-black was kinda hard to photograph .... it looks a lot better in real life!

Finally, I came up with a free-motion pattern for the blocks in the corners, and also for the 3 "header" sections at the top of the quilt.  This pattern was actually a doodle that my grandfather's 2nd wife,  Mabel, taught me when I was a kid.  I didn't really know her that well or spend much time with her, but I do remember sitting with her and learning this doodle.  Funny the things we remember. 
Stephanie, the quilting class instructor, had suggested using red thread for quilting on the black fabric, but I was  (at that time!) a little bit afraid of doing anything that would stand out and show all my mistakes!  By the time I had done all the large blocks, however, I was ready to give it a try, so these header blocks are for Stephanie!  They came out great, although they have almost an Oriental style that doesn't really match the rest of the quilt.  But I like them anyway.  I used a programmed stitch on my machine to do the extra border inside each section.