Thursday, March 16, 2017

Frivols Finish

A year ago at the Winter Quiltfest, I received a Moda Frivols collectible tin as a door prize.

It included 42 7-inch squares of Eliza's Indigo fabric by Betsy Chutchian, a pattern for a little quilt, and a couple quilty goodies -- a quote and a mini note pad. A couple weeks ago I decide to make up the quilt. 

It worked up very quickly -- just square-in-square locks that were made even easier by using the Fit to be Geese ruler to square up the blocks. The 7-inch square is a great pre-cut -- more versatile than a charm square, yet absolutely no waste except little slivers of fabric from squaring up the blocks. Here's the quilt draped over an easy chair in my living room.

The only tricky part -- not hard, just something you need to be careful with -- is matching the points of the blocks between rows. 

I used a brown fabric from my stash with black dots to back and bind the little quilt.

When it came time to quilt it, I chose a wave pattern with "pearls". I shrunk the pattern down from the original two inches to about a half inch -- suitable for a little quilt.

Sometimes a little quilt is a nice diversion from the larger ones. I started it on a Saturday and finished it on a Monday, leaving my mom a day to bind it. (Thanks Mom!)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Pony Express Quilt

Several years ago I ran across Pony Express themed fabric by Jodi Barrows. I purchased the fabric to one day use in a quilt honoring the Pony Express.

You might wonder why I would want to do a Pony Express quilt. It's because my great-grandfather's two older brothers and one brother-in-law were Pony Express riders. I previously memorialized these great uncles in my family history cross-stitch sampler (stitching is still a work in progress). They are represented in the lower-right corner. These are all on my mother's father's line.

Now they are memorialized in a quilt, named "Stations". I finished the quilt top in about 2013 and it sat around needing to be quilted. Well, last week I decided to finally put it on the frame and quilt it. 

The four center buildings represent the stations John and Billy (William) Fisher and Erastas Egan were assigned to. The smaller buildings in the outside border represent more of the 157 stations that extended from Missouri to California.

John and Billy had immigrated as teenagers from England with their parents in 1854. I've always thought it kind of funny that these two young men -- with British accents -- were part of the Pony Express, one of the iconic enterprises of the American West. They also carried the news of Abraham Lincoln's assassination.

My father told me after seeing the quilt that another of my ancestors (this time on my father's line) had a Pony Express connection. The home of my great-great grandfather, Absalom Wamsley Smith, served as a Pony Express station in Draper, Utah. 

A few close-up photos of the quilt:

Here is more information about these Pony Express riders (click to read):

Billy Fisher history by his son: Includes the story of when he was caught in a blinding blizzard.

John Fisher history by his daughter: Includes stories of encounters with Indians.

Some amazing people in my family tree!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

My Version of the Gardenvale Quilt

Just finished my version of the Gardenvale quilt...although technically it should be called the Lollies quilt since mine uses Lollies by Jen Kingwell rather than her Gardenvale fabric line.

Unlike the original, I used the new double-wide Dresden plate ruler. So it has only 10 wedges rather than 20 -- which means it was much quicker to make. Just ordered backing, so not quilted yet.

I went to QuiltCon in Savannah. While I was in the Atlanta airport returning home on Monday, I checked Facebook and was excited to see this in my feed:

The quilt on the left is an original design I did for McCall's Quick Quilts for the June/July issue. They are running a contest/survey to decide which quilt to put on the cover. I'm hoping that my cover wins so I can be a "cover girl". After all, I'm already a "calendar girl" when one of my quilts was in the 2015 That Patchwork Place calendar. 

Here are some better photos of the quilt (which I named "Log Chain". 

Spent the day quilting my Pony Express Quilt. I'll do a separate blog post about it -- and explain why it's called "Pony Express Stations".

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Zeke's Quilt

I finally finished the quilt for Zeke, my nephew's son. Both of his older sisters have quilts, but this one definitely is the cutest. I saw the design on Pinterest and knew I could replicate it myself.

I printed the numbers and letters large on my printer, laminated them, cut them out, and used them as the templates for tracing and cutting from fabric. I had ironed Misty Fuse to the back of the solid fabrics before cutting them out and adhering to the gray background fabric. I then stitched around the letters and numbers with invisible thread, sashed the blocks, added borders -- and TA DA! Quilt top was done. Very quick project. And except for the outer border and backing, all the other fabrics came from my stash.

Here's nearly 18-month-old Zeke with his quilt. I actually finished the top last fall and quilted it. After taking it off the frame, I discovered about a square foot of loops on the back. ARGH! I procrastinated picking out the stitching and getting it back on the frame to requilt that section. But, a couple weeks ago Zeke's dad, Ian, accepted a job in Southern California, so they are moving in a week. So, the deadline was looming and I had to get it done!

I backed it with Minkee and quilted it with a digital design by Wasatch Quilting with the numbers 1, 2, and 3, letters A, B, and C, amid lots of pebbles/bubbles.

I should have scooted the rows closer together, but hindsight is 20/20. Still love this quilt -- and I hope that Zeke does too!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Second Finish of the Year

Unfortunately, I can't show my first finish of the year yet. It is a quilt that will be published in McCall's Quick Quilts later this year -- and I figure I shouldn't scoop the magazine. (I'll share it after the magazine comes out in a few months.)

That quilt was started in December 2016 and finished in January 2017. But I started AND finished this one in January 2017.

This quilt is for my brother who has a cattle ranch (although he currently isn't running it as a working cattle ranch). He also uses his 2000+ acres as recreation property. Last year I bought this cattle drive fabric on a whim -- some fat quarters and some yardage of the cream and brown prints to add to it. Figured I'd eventually turn it into a quilt for my brother when I figured out what pattern to use.

I was browsing some copies of Block magazine and ran across this Illusion quilt by Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Company. It was perfect. It would showcase the fabrics. It had a masculine feel to it. It would be quick and easy to make up. After all, I want this quilt to get used! And I think it definitely was the right choice.

I quilted it with HQ Pro-Stitcher on my HQ Avante using a simple spiral digital motif. I found lots of cute western motifs, but I felt they competed with the fabrics. The spiral all-over design kind of looks like lassos (to me, anyway). It adds texture and movement to the quilt, without distracting from the ranch fabric motifs.

I'll be giving the quilt to my brother later tonight. My mom gets my siblings, spouses, and me (and her) season tickets to the local community theater each year for Christmas. It means we get together about every six weeks, have dinner with my parents, and then go to the theater which is only a mile away. And tonight is the first show of the season.

I hope he likes it. I'm pretty sure he will. He is very generous to me and has even let me build a tiny house/cabin on his ranch property. And I've even hosted a quilting retreat for friends at the ranch. So, he deserves a quilt.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Two More Quilt Tops Quilted and Bound

I've quilted two more of the many quilt tops waiting patiently to be quilted.

The first quilt, made from an American Jane pattern called See Saw. It can be made from a jelly roll, although I used a fat-eighth pack for the main fabric in each block and a jelly roll for the centers.

I chose a simple edge-to-edge motif for the quilting.

I'm not sure who the lucky recipient will be, but with lots of grand nieces and nephews who have outgrown their baby quilt, I'm thinking it's time to start gifting them with a twin-size quilt.

I definitely know who the next quilt is for -- ME! It matches my living room furniture perfectly.

This fabric is Basic Gray's second Little Black Dress line for Moda. I loved using this fabric because it was designed by my cousin's daughter, Rachel, who owns Basic Gray.

Time to get another quilt on the frame. No time this week and traveling for work the beginning of next week. But having quilted seven quilts in the last month or so, I'm making good progress.

Update on the reunion quilts: They each garnered $400 towards the family fund for maintaining our grandparents' homestead property. Yay!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Quilting Catch-Up

After quilting three reunion quilts (see previous post), I was feeling good about my successes with quilting edge-to-edge designs with HQ Pro-Stitcher, the computerized quilting robotics that works with my HQ Avante.

Until now, it seemed like I had some major blooper (usually user error) with each quilt. But with more than a dozen quilts under my belt, I had figured out most of the tweaks I need to do to quilt without issues.

I've learned that I prefer Omni thread from Superior Threads for my top thread. It's 40-weight thread that is nice and strong, and shows up well when quilted. I've also found that I prefer So Fine (also from Superior Threads) in the bobbin. It's a slightly thinner thread (50-weight).

I also have the most success with my needle (size 18 rather than 16) rotated slightly to the 5:30 position. And, if I stitch at a speed just a bit slower than the HQ Avante's middle speed, I get the precision I like and no thread breaks or shredding. I've now finished four quilts with no thread breaks. Yay!

So, with my new-found confidence in computerized machine quilting, I've been finishing lots of quilts from my to-do pile.

The first quilt was from a class I took from Amy Smart at January's Winter Quiltfest. Easy quilt -- I could have made it without the pattern or class -- but I enjoy taking classes in hopes that I'll learn something new (even after several decades of making quilts). My Pfaff machine that I take to classes was acting finicky, so I did most of the piecing on my Baby Lock, which is too heavy to take to classes. And, ta da! It's done! (But can I just say how much I hate assembling on-point settings? I love they way they look, but don't like putting them together.)

So, I started looking for a quilt top for which I already had backing. (It's been an expensive month due to getting a new water heater and some costly car repairs, so I didn't want to buy backing if I didn't have to.) I decided on a quilt made from a Moda Bonnie and Camille line called April Showers.

I saw the block online and drafted it in Electric Quilt. I quilted it using an umbrella motif designed by Nancy Haacke, Wasatch Quilting.

It will be the perfect quilt for the next great niece born to one of my nieces or nieces-in-law.

I've since quilted two more quilts that have been waiting to be finished. They are with my mom, who thankfully hand-stitches down my binding. I'll share them when I get the quilts back from her. (Thanks Mom!)

All in all, it's been a productive past few weeks. Seven quilts quilted and bound!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Family Reunion Quilts

My mom's family has an annual family reunion at the farm/homestead property that had belonged to my grandparents. Their descendants now own the property in a very small town in southeastern Idaho named Oxford.

Photo of Grandpa Fisher's dairy barn -- complete with a barn quilt
Technically Oxford is a "living ghost town" because fewer than 50 people live there. The official count from the 2010 census was 48. When we have our reunion we literally quadruple the population because there are typically more than 150 people who attend -- including the first generation (my mom and her siblings), my generation (including my 47 cousins and their spouses), their children (great-grandchildren to my grandparents), and now their children's children (my grandparents' great-great grandchildren). I would guess that if everyone were able to attend, we would have close to 300 people in attendance.

To raise money to pay the property taxes and maintain the property, we need to do fund raisers at our reunion. I decided to make a quilt to contribute to a silent auction.

My grandmother was a quilter and I blogged about one of her quilts here. It's no coincidence, therefore, that many of her granddaughters and great-granddaughters are also quilters. So I invited them to donate blocks for the quilt -- which turned out to be three quilts!

I asked the contributors to use traditional fabrics and make a traditional block that would finish 12 inches. One cousin was especially energetic and she made nine blocks -- all with the same block pattern. Although I expected the finished quilts would be sampler-style quilts, since she did multiples of the same block, I made three more so I'd have 12 blocks for the quilt. Of course, the blocks are scrappy, so here's the scrappy setting I came up with for the first quilt.

I'm hoping that since my cousin made most of the blocks, that she'll strive to be the high bidder for this quilt!

For the next quilt I was able to cherry-pick the blocks that I felt worked well together. For the setting, I created a pieced sashing with pieced 9-patch cornerstones.

For the third quilt, I was left with blocks that had very little in common with each other. One cousin sent three blocks that shared some common fabrics, They went well with each other, but not necessarily with the other contributed blocks. My challenge was to unify the blocks in a pleasing way. Here was my solution:

The result was a very nontraditional approach to the quilt setting. Although the donated blocks were great, I felt that I almost needed to create something that downplayed the blocks. The striped alternate blocks did that well. I think this is almost my favorite of the three quilts. I especially love the backing and the scrappy border.

Here's hoping the quilts garner several hundred dollars towards the funds necessary to maintain my grandparents' property.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

One-Woman Quilt Exhibit

Featuring MY QUILTS! Before you get too excited, the gallery is the gallery at Handi Quilter (where I work). But it is fun seeing about 25 of my quilts all hanging together.

Most of the quilts are from my book with Martingale/That Patchwork Place, Triple-Play Scrap Quilting. The book features scrappy quilts using one of my three strategies for getting a scrappy look: (1) Planned Scrappy, where you select fabrics that all adhere to a color scheme of three or four colors; (2) Coordinated Scrappy, where you buy precuts and yardage featuring the fabrics in a fabric line; and (3) Make-Do Scrappy, where anything goes and you use dozens of fabrics literally from your scrap pile.

Here are a couple examples of planned scrappy quilts:


Although I'm calling this a planned quilt, it kind of breaks the rules of following a limited color scheme. But I did stick to a particular style of fabrics -- all solids.

Here are some examples of coordinated scrappy quilts:

 And here are examples of some of the make-do scrappy quilts -- my favorite style of all!

The exhibit will be up until the end of April. And then I have to find space for all of these quilts again at home.

By the way, whenever the Handi Quilter offices are open (week days, normal business hours), the public is welcome to come and see all of our quilts -- both in the gallery and hanging throughout the building.


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