Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hand quilted baby blankets

 I started thinking tonight about my projects that I finished (or started) in 2010.  I realized that I finished these during the time that I thought that I had lost the camera so did not have photos of them.  This one was the second of the two that I did during a 3 week class at the local quilt shop.  It is a rose pattern in the center with a feather pattern around it.  It is about 32" x 32".  The lesson here was that I needed more practice making a scalloped border.  The front is a batik with an off white cotton fabric backing.  I used the polyester batting that was recommended in the class for both of these projects.  I found that, much to my surprise, I really like hand quilting.  I don't use a hoop, although that was part of the class, and I don't use between needles.  They are just too small for my hands.  I use the #11 milliners needles that I also use to applique with and I like them a lot.  I copied these 2 patterns from the instructor so I can reproduce them if I want to, but I am thinking that I would like to make up some of my own patterns for the Winter Moonlight and Dresden Plate quilts. 
This quilt is a slightly bigger one with a square border.  It is about 36" x 38" long with a tulip pattern.  The best part of this pattern was the diamond border around the tulip center.  I really like the traditional diamond pattern.  It shows up well and sets off the center very nicely.  The front of this is an off-white cotton fabric and the back is white muslin.  I used light fabric for both of these since the method being taught was to trace the pattern directly onto the fabric with a blue washable pen, then sandwich and quilt before washing the piece to remove the blue marks.  I did find that both pieces shrunk pretty significantly and that gave the hand quilting a different look and drape than the instructor's pieces where she washed and shrank the fabric before quilting.  When I do another piece, I'm going to pre-wash the fabric.  I will do more wholecloth quilts since I love the way they look.  But hand quilting is time consuming.  I worked on these two quilts every day for 4 weeks to finish them.  And the first one had to be washed in cold water with detergent to remove all the blood from the fabric.  Getting my hands sufficiently calloused to do all these little stitches without a thimble was a 2 week job.  And of course, after a few weeks of not quilting, now I have to start over.   

Brayden's Quilt

A baby quilt for Brayden Remillard.  It is a panel with farm animals and a block border.  The name of each animal is below the picture.  It's about 42" x 52" and machine quilted.  There wasn't much to making it, but it's the perfect quilt for a little boy to haul around.  I am really looking forward to meeting Brayden on Christmas Eve. 

Winter Moonlight

Winter Moonlight is basted and ready to hand quilt.  I did decide to use the letters even though they don't really fit the traditional pattern, but it certainly makes the quilt uniquely mine.  This is just tacked on the wall so it's not as straight as it could be.  I bought quilting thread today, but got home and don't like the color much, so I'm off to the store again tomorow.  I also changed the wren shape into more of a cardinal shaped bird.  It ended up about 50"x70", kind of small, but since I want it for a wall hanging in the library, I think it will be the perfect size.  My goal for quilting is to get it done by next month's quilt guild, the third Friday of January.  In a perfect world I would get the Dresden Plates done too, but since I am still appliqueing borders, I don't think so.    

Thursday, December 16, 2010

HST Trees

This is Winter Moonlight, the complete opposite of Amanda's quilt.  I love this traditional tree pattern and since it is my first time using significant numbers of half square triangles,  I made every one of these trees at least 3 times.  And the green fabric stretches like crazy on the bias.  Judy at my local quilt shop gave good advice though.  The pattern that I used didn't mention squaring with a traingular ruler or pressing and she said that if I wanted my points to match, I should press and square every time I put in a seam. And she was correct.  It did make it almost possible, but of course, like anything else, practice is needed.  Don't look closely, the triangles don't perfectly match, but with some hand quilting, I'm thinking they will be close enough.  The circle on the top is the moon (which will be significantly smaller when appliqued in place) and the red bird on the bottom is supposed to be a cardinal, though right now it looks more like a perky little wren.  It may need a new shape.  We will see.  I'm using a narrow 3/4" dark red for a border and then thinking about piecing the words Winter Moonlight on the left hand side of the quilt.  I'm going to piece the letters and see if they fit with the rather traditional pattern before deciding about the words.  There will also be a 4" dark green border.  I want to hand quilt using a traditional crosshatch pattern following the triangles.  The quilt is not huge, about 55"x75" or so, but it will make a fabulous wallhanging in my home.  Just for fun, I want to also make another one with scrappy red/gold/green triangles on an off white batik background as the summer/fall variety.  Presumably, the second one will be easier...  This quilt is already one of my favorites.  I looked at it this morning and had to remind myself that I actually made it.  It is going to look pretty cool.      

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Congratulations Amanda

Amanda, We love you and congratulations on graduating from West Virginia this weekend.  This is the quilt that I made as her gift for graduation.  The photo isn't great since I took it after dark in a room with lots of windows and had to use the flash.  It's really much greener than the photo shows.  The quilt is made up of scraps and several fat quarters of green, mostly batik, cotton fabric that I purchased (and then didn't use) for another quilt.  I literally patched until I got to the width that I wanted, about 55", and the length was dictated by the size of the words, about 85".  I knew I wanted it to be a bit wonky looking, and since I don't have patterns for the letters, I pieced until they looked right.  I hand quilted it using #8 off white perle cotton (thank you Clare for the idea) with bigger stitches.  I quilted rows lengthwise along the quilt about 3-4" apart and then stitched down the center of each letter for emphasis and to get some quilting into the letter areas.  I used Warm and Natural cotton batting, and a bright turquoise/lime patterned cotton for the backing.  I labeled and it was done.  It took about 5 days from start to finish with a couple late evenings.  My niece will never get another quilt quite like this one and I know that she will enjoy having it.  All your family and friends are proud of you.    

Friday, December 3, 2010

Computer Crap

I think my computer joined the list of spammers this afternoon.  I have now run Norton virus protection and it cleaned up a bunch of medium risks (whatever the hell that means) and hopefully it is gone, but I did just talk to the lady whose computer has been spamming me for the last couple weeks and she says the "experts" told her that she couldn't get rid of it as long as she had that computer and her e-mail address.  They said that the computer would continue to send out junk to everyone on her address list no matter what she did.  I did ask her to delete my e-mail address and anything that she had received from me or sent to me.  I hope mine has been cleaned up, or I'm getting that Apple sooner than I had planned.  Sorry to anybody getting unsolicited or other crap from my e-mail address.  Let me know.