Thursday, April 16, 2015

Wool quilt


I have been working on a wool quilt for grandson #8. I just finished it.

This is made out of thrift store wool sweaters. When I get them home I wash them in hot water and dry them. These are not felted a lot, but enough that the edges didn't fray when I cut them. For years I have seen in magazines and on-line the occasional wool sweater quilts and they all seemed to have bulky, puckered seams. I knew that I did not want that look so decided to butt the seams instead of the standard seam. Each place I started and stopped the feather stitching I knotted the threads and hid them on the back. (Bette White shows a cool technique that I might try next time :))
Once I chose the 3 sweaters I thought I could get to work together I over-dyed the yellow sweater with a stronger, brighter yellow. (It started out a very pale yellow.) I decided on the size based on the pockets in the lighter blue sweater and cut as many 6 inch squares as I could then I cut 3" squares then 1.5 inch squares. After laying them out I figured out what and how many yellows I needed. I also used the scraps to practice my seams and made a couple of postcards with them:

(I used all of the blue sweaters but have the back left of the yellow.)

The sweater squares kept creeping forward when stitching. First I tried a spray adhesive, it still moved. So I tried basting each piece down:
It still moved and those stitches were a pain to remove. So I used strips of steam a seam 2 under each seam, ironing it to a very thin interfacing, then stitched. It worked much better. After getting each block made I laid them out on the guest room bed.and rearranged it, and rearranged it, and played with it some more.
Then I went to EQ7 ( I love EQ7.)

 Then I sewed it together. THEN I tried to figure out how to bind it and quilt it. I thought maybe satin blanket binding.....NO that looked horrible. I even considered knitting my own binding....I went to Painted Pony 'n Quilts (a great quilt shop) and Tonya helped me select the only fabric even close to the right colors, a plaid.

 I decided to back it with thin-wale corduroy (since nothing else looked good- although now I think the plaid would have been fine). I tried to find a flannel but didn't. (now I've found a quilt shop that carries more flannel; Quilters Emporium in Stafford, TX)
 I added a border of yellow and cut the interfacing out from behind the blocks. So the back of the top looks like this:
In trying to figure out how to quilt this the pockets kept getting in the way so I got my magnifying light out and managed to pick them off. I gave the pockets to a friend to monogram the baby's last initial (no first name has been decided on) and the year of birth; '15. (Then after all the quilting I sewed them back on-the hardest part of the whole quilt!)


I would have liked to quilt a design that would allow the quilt to drape better but since I'm unsure of the strength of those butted seams I went with a tight baptist fan. The pin-wale corduroy on the back feels wonderful but the quilt is a little stiff. Next time maybe I'll leave the batting out.

This will be used for years. Unlike the baby quilts I've made in the past this will have a place on their couch every winter, at least as long as they live in a cold climate.
I LOVED trying something new and using some of my bin of wool....now to make one out of cashmere.....
When I asked for one more picture my son did this:

You CAN still see the quilt.....

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

zipper bag

Yeah! I used 4 zippers last week. I got to demonstrate how to make a bag at our woman's meeting. I had to refresh my memory before the meeting AND make one during the meeting. I considered giving it to one of the attendees.... but I am just to selfish....and I couldn't give up either fabric to someone else cause I used some of my bestest fabric EVER!
The yellow daisy I bought years ago for a doll dress..after my girls were too old for it, so it's waiting....hopefully there will be enough left for a doll dress. (The doll will have to be small.)
The green is a scrap from I dress I made in High school for myself. A BEAUTIFUL dress that I have no picture of :(. (Anyway it proves that I was young once and could wear that bright green....maybe it wasn't a good color on me but the dress was cute!)

The next 2 zippers I used in a bag that I'm loving. I first saw it on this blog. So this is what I'm using now while I wait for the hardware to come in so I can take it apart and add it.
In my stash of zippers I only had 2 repeats, these 2 hot pink ones and 3 beige ones. So I looked at my wall of fabric and choose something to go with the 2 pink zippers. I made it about midnight Saturday night and used it for church Sunday. It is so nice to use a small purse after using BIG ones for years. I did not have any pink thread so I used dots of fusible for the strap. I really like the look with out stiching but not sure how it will wash. Here is a link to a pattern (which I dd not use, but really it would be easier to follow a pattern than to make it up as you go). I think I'll make another one...or.... 5.

oh, if you want to know how to make the bags on top...here is a tutorial done by someone else...at least one of those bags were made like that....I experimented with the zip on the other...


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Tulip quilt pattern

Hanging in my front entry is one of my favorite spring quilts. It was an exchange I did over 20 years ago. I finished the quilt as a baby quilt for our 5th child, born in 1995. (This is one of 5 quilts I made him- I had a broken foot and had to stay off of it.) Turns out he was a boy and this quilt did not get used much. I get it out every spring and drape it somewhere. This year it got the place of honor since it is small and the dog can't reach it. (That is not true he could reach it if he wanted to I just hope he doesn't want to.)
 Here is my EQ7 version:
I love this quilt. This is the block as we sewed it. The background is different white on white fabrics. We were told to use pastel prints on the tulip, a solid in the center and a soft green print on the leaves. It is a 6" block:
 This is how I would do it now:
Here is how I grouped them. I made them into 12 inch blocks, needed 12 12"blocks....that's 48 6" blocks.
I quilted it on my domestic machine with a stipple all over, except in the border and in the tulips. I remember getting so bored with the quilting that I started hiding letters and a few pictures in the stippling. I did the whole alphabet and #5. The pictures were very simple like a sail boat, a canoe and a flower. When the light is just right you can find them.My 9 year old loved looking for them and telling everyone else to look for them.
EQ7 is so much fun to play with. I moved the blocks around here:
 and here:
They are all pretty. Wouldn't Kaffe fabrics look great in those tulips?
I've had fun playing with EQ today...and yesterday when I wasn't sleeping. A fever really knocks you out but I'm recovering...at least enough to play EQ.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Labels for my Quilts

I feel strongly that quilts need to be labeled. I took on the project of labeling the quilts my mother made, and the one's in her possession and have been making labels for 25 years. In the past I've written about my favorite hand stitch for making labels, here and here. I have done a couple of counted cross-stitch labels on 50th wedding anniversary quilts....but that is very time consuming. My new favorite way is to have a friends embroider them on her machine....like this:
This is the label I sewed on today...I wasn't sure when I almost finished this quilt but I did have a record that put the exchange in 1992; that's close enough for me. I generally make labels and get them on the quilt, somehow this one was skipped. (Because although I've been using it and have it bound I don't have the quilting actually finished...before it can be washed the border has to be quilted.)
Here is a label I made in 1989 using permanent pen;
I wrote it directly on the back of the quilt and you can see that the ink is fading. In 21 years the label faded a lot. This is a quilt that was seldom washed, since it was on the back of the couch during December only. When I took the quilt to add quilting to it I made this;
I added additional quilting on my long arm and made a new label.  So don't use ink for the label!
Here's another ink label, I remember making this one with freezer paper behind the yellow fabric and ironing it well to make it permanent; it has been washed once;
Redoing labels is never fun.
Here I had looked at the back of a speaker's quilt and she had labeled hers with the pigma marker on the hanging sleeve. So if you are in a hurry and don't have a label yet this will let you know when you finished it. But eventually it will need to be replaced with an embroidered one.
Here is a quilt where the label is part of the front, it has never been washed and the ink is fine...I will embroider on top of the ink before washing this quilt or maybe I can get away with photographing it and re-inking it after washing;
Here is another way I made a couple labels years ago;
I used a photo of the maker of the quilt; Lizzie Caughey, my Great-Great Grandmother. It has held up well but the label has never been washed.
Then I went through a stage where I made labels using my sewing machine;
It's very hard to read here, but still in good shape. Here's another;
This one has been washed a lot.The label has held up well.
Now I usually frame the label like the one on top of this post or like this one;
Often the frame is left over pieces of the quilt;
 This one was embroidered by machine and attached before I quilted it.
(the bottom one has an added little label I had made to indicate that it has wool batting in it.)

Once I incorporated the label as part of the back of the quilt before it was quilted like this;
This has space for the grandkids to sign when they get to sleep under the quilt.
Finally another way I labeled a quilt that was not very successful. I painted it. White acrylic paint on a blue background..
It's barely readable and clearly needs to be remade. This quilt actually has 2 labels with different information on each:
Here you can see it better. I finished this in 1994. In 20 years the label has faded a lot. This quilt has been just lightly used and has not been washed very much, maybe 4 times?

Clearly labels need to be made with care and with a method that will hold up over time. Ink and paint is out. Embroidery is much better. Take the time to make a label that will last.








Friday, March 13, 2015

Block of the month - Contrary Wife

I am the coordinator of our Guild's block of the month. I love the block I chose for March; I found it in EQ7. Although it is called Contrary Wife I did eliminate 4 seams that seemed extra to me; so it is
Modified Contrary Wife
Here is a bad photo of my block;

Finally an EQ7 version of a quilt made with this block;
I think it looks great!
I am just the coordinator, each month someone else is designing the block.
I have the April block now and will be playing with that another day.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Kaleidoscope Workshop

Maggie Ball came to our quilt guild and taught us a workshop on Kaleidoscopes. Really fun....not so easy. i finally used the hand dyed pink (I used a man's shirt and dyed it years ago-so have no idea how, so there is no more of it. The pink gingham is also a man's shirt. Yeah finally using some of my shirt wall. Here are a couple of my designs;
My first design, I could see the pink cross and didn't like it...so then I did this;

Better...
I like the pink star and the blue square....I still need to cut more....and play more.... A Texas wildflower quilt is in the works! HA HA I have no time to finish it for awhile. I did sew one block...the center. vbg. Love, love, love this but I will need to get a bit more fabric to make it throw size. This will make my 4th unfinished TEXAS quilt. (I do have 2 finished and 2 are at the quilting stage.)

I'm program chair for my guild and so I get to actually talk to the speaker and Maggie was a treat to talk to. Since we had a Saturday workshop My husband got to take Maggie for a 'bird walk' in the rain Sunday morning. They had great fun; I stayed in the car picking threads off scraps of fabric :). getting ready to sew them into my, yet unseen, project.

now back to the long arm....



Monday, March 2, 2015

Muddie Buddie

Saint Patrick's day is in March, so we have to suffer through green colored treats....when we could just eat spinach . I saw this St. Patrick muddy buddy on this blog post so I had to make it this morning for our Quilt Guild refreshments tonight.


So last week I went to several stores looking for just the marshmallows from the Lucky Charm Cereal and for green M&M's.....nadda...none found...so I figured I wouldn't make it. Until 10:30 Saturday night when I caved. Purchased Lucky Charms and a large bag of M&M's....so this morning I picked out marshmallows and green M&M's.
 This is the melted mass (mess) the white chocolate chips did not just melt..they had to be smushed into submission, each and every one.
Unfortunately, I'm sure it would have turned out perfectly if I'd had liquid green food coloring, I only had paste...so I tried coloring half of the powdered sugar, it did not work. So I colored half of the peanut butter mess, and got a muddy green so then tried to cover that mostly with powdered sugar. But it still looks St. Patricky....I'd say it was worth it to get those charms.....Here it is staged;
I put green colored sugar on top, but it just falls to the bottom of the bowl....it's just to make the picture prettier.