Sunday, July 30, 2017

Cardinal In The Snow - A Finished Sampler Quilt

What an exciting finish. I had expected this quilt to take me well into August, but I got into a quilting groove this morning, and look what happened!

It all started with a one yard purchase of Charley Harper cardinal print. It sat and sat in my sewing room. I wanted to use it but I could never settle on a project, until the Moda Sampler Shuffle began. I knew right away that fussy cutting those cute birds to work in the sampler blocks would be lots of fun.

When I started this project, I was blogging a lot more, and the pace was just right to provide a regular blog feature, a few finished blocks at a time. All of the other fabric in the blocks is from stash, which was a good way to use up some of my red, white, and black fabrics.

The only downfall in using older stash is that one of the reds is a bleeder. I'm not sure if you can tell in the picture, but the white with red print is starting to look a little pink because the red solid is making its way onto that fabric. I used a blue water soluble pen to mark the curves for the stems of my paisley feathers. When I sprayed the pen marks off, that is when I first knew I had a problem.

I thought about washing it with multiple color catchers and hoping for the best, but instead, I have decided not to wash it at all and hope for the best over time. It is intended as a wall hanging so washing isn't really necessary. That particular fabric is in five or six of the blocks. This is the first time I have ever had a problem with any fabric bleeding like this, so I consider myself fortunate on that count.

Look how the white thread shines on the red backing.

Here it is a little closer. There are plenty of imperfections but overall, I am happy with the texture of the quilting. The entire quilt was done in free motion and some of the straight lines are a bit shaky. It was great practice.

I was determined to use a feather pattern of some kind in the sashing. Most of the patterns I saw were a little too formal until I saw this paisley feather design by Angela Walters. She has some great You Tube videos and I must have watched this one ten times before giving it a try. Originally, the feathers were going to go in the vertical space, too, but once the horizontal rows were quilted, it was going to be too busy to do more of those. The evenly spaced vertical lines provide a good contrast to the feathers. Each of the pieced blocks has minimal quilting.

The shadows fell just right while the quilting was in progress. The design stands out nicely in this picture.

I have been wanting to use a striped binding forever. This quilt will be on display during the winter/holiday season and I like the hint of candy cane it adds to the quilt.

The backyard clothes line has become my go to place for quilt photographs these days. My helpers only get called into action for the bigger projects. This quilt finishes at 48 inches x 57 inches.

I live in the south, where it rarely snows, and I've always loved pictures of cardinals in the snow. Now I have my own version, with or without real snow.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Kite Tails - Believe Circle Finished Quilt

For our May Believe Circle quilt, members sent in strippy neutral blocks with a couple of bright colors thrown in. They have a border on two sides and a half square triangle on the corner. Those triangles remind me of either confetti or kite tails. I love how four blocks form a larger on point block. As with so many of the quilts I make these days, the design is inspired by a Pinterest photo.

Each member of the circle sent two blocks so there were enough to have four blocks as the center of the quilt back. The boring neutral that surrounds the blocks comes from fabric I was given in a box labeled "ugly fabric". And while it isn't the most beautiful, I used lots of bright colored thread in the quilting to cheer it up a bit.

This isn't my best quilting. I have always used a walking foot when quilting a large spiral or circle pattern, and that always became tedious near the end, guiding the quilt round and round and round. I decided to give free motion circles a try. They were great near the center, but as the circles became larger, the control became more difficult. There were lots of jumps when I would stop and start as you can see in the orange. You can also see on the right where I marked "ish" guidelines for my circles.

The free motion circles go to the edge of each block. Then, I set up my walking foot and echo quilted around all the circles until I reached the edge of the quilt. Those stitches are so much better.

The label is fused to the back and held by quilting.

Each set of circles is quilted in a different thread color. The quilts our circle makes are designed to use stash so the design is usually quite scrappy. This time I used thread stash as well, so many bobbins that had only a little thread on them were emptied during the quilting. There is blue, green, orange, red, and gold thread. In some cases, several shades of a color was used. Now, I have plenty of empty bobbins.

The quilt finishes at about 52 inches square. The binding is a dark blue print from the backing scraps of another quilt finish.

I won't free motion such large circles again but it was a worthy experiment.

A few of the pictures were taken before I sprayed the quilt top with water to get rid of all the blue marking lines. They come right off with a quick spray of water.

It's time to put this quilt in the wash and ship it off to My Very Own Blanket. This is the first time this year I have been caught up with all of my deadline sewing. It feels really good.
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