Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Scrap Management

My little Ikea boxes are beginning to overflow with scraps.
(I really must find another solution.  Perhaps larger or more boxes?)

I decided to take the box marked "yellow/lights" and attempt to organize as suggested in crazy mom Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkison's book Sunday Morning Quilts.  The pile I started with:
 And following their suggestion, this is what I ended with:

Much neater.  I also discovered that I have been mixing up Kona Snow and Kona White in my scraps.  I will have to assess if I am compulsive enough to separate them.  OK, so next question...what do I do with all these piles?  It doesn't seem right to put them back into the scrap box by color.  Should I start another system...2.5" strips (sub-organized by color or color saturation?), strings, snippets, etc., etc.

I know this is a much discussed topic so I plan to do a little on-line research.  Any suggestions or recommendations by the viewing audience are welcome!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tuesday is Looking Great

Still smiling (and more than a little tired) from last night's Red Sox victory, I woke up this morning to this view:
Over coffee, I received an email from my blog friend Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts.  She has a nifty method for basting a quilt that gets you off the floor that she pictured in this post of her beautiful Holiday Sparkle quilt.  Lorna was so sweet to send me this tutorial which is very similar to her approach (Lorna uses thumbtacks to attach the backing to the frame instead of pins in the tutorial).  This got me thinking about a Craftsy class with Cindy Needham wherein she describes her table basting method.  Another cup of coffee later, and now I have two new basting methods to try!  I am so excited!!  ( after two cups of coffee it doesn't take too much for me to get excited!)

Lorna's blog also has a post about a new project to provide quilts to a children's hospital in Kenya.  This looks like a great opportunity to me!  Here is the link to the Blossom Heart Quilts site who is hosting.
                                                       Lala Salama 100 quilts for Kenya
Remember the two character quilts I made for my two buddies (hiding under the quilts below)?  This post tells the full story of all the new techniques I tried on these quilts.
And then there's this text message I received from their mom this morning:
    Quote of the day and it isn't 9 AM yet -- P wakes up and says "when we go to Chicago for Christmas, can we please bring our Ms. Kathy blankets??"

Now, if that isn't the perfect way for a quilter to start the day, what is?
Go Sox!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bloggers Quilt Festival - Triangle Sampler

I am thrilled to be contributing to the Fall 2013 Blogger's Quilt Festival!


My contribution is a recent finish, my Triangle Sampler wall hanging.

It started with a bag of mis-cut squares purchased at the Keepsake Quilting annual tent sale and some natural Essex Linen.  My goal was to practice triangles and play with linen.  
 And play I did!  I made hourglass, flying geese, half-square triangles, zig-zag and other triangle combinations (that probably have official quilt block names?).   I even cracked open a couple of the beautiful quilt books I have been adding to my quilt library.  There are Migration, Bowties and Blooms and Three in the Breeze all by John Q. Adams from the Shape Workshop book.  I also used Amanda Sasikirana's Criss Cross Triangle and Monika Wintermantel's Front & Center blocks from Modern Blocks.

Fitting all the various sized triangles with some negative space for eye resting was a good challenge for me.  For the quilting, I considered just sewing lots of straight vertical lines (I love that look).  However, I thought a little more dimension might be interesting, so I drew four random triangles on the quilt and just started echoing at about 1/2" apart.  Some of the triangle intersections were a challenge.
Although this is a wall hanging, the back actually shows the quilting nicely.

Looking around my little sewing/office/guest bedroom (blogged about here), it was obvious I needed something quilty on the walls.  Much better don't you think?

Summary of the Triangle Sampler:
Size:  36" by 48"
Fabrics:  Essex Linen in natural, scrap neutrals, Kona Snow, Curry and Ash and a little Comma by Zen Chic
Thread:  Pieced and quilted with my go-to Aurafil 2021Cream
Quilting:  On my domestic sewing machine with my trusty walking foot.

Thank you for stopping by KayakQuilting!   I feel so fortunate (and inspired!) to be part of a wonderful community of talented, sharing people.  Please join me in supporting all the other quilters participating in this festival by viewing their blogs, nominating your favorites and voting! 


Friday, October 25, 2013

It's the Great Pumpkin Runners, Charlie Brown

Yes, another Peanuts classic honored in beautiful fabric.  The inspiration for the first table runner came from Charlie Brown himself...yellow shirt, with zig-zags maybe.

 Table toppers are a great size for practicing new quilting designs.  I used calmer, fall themed fabrics for the back to extend the use of the runner after October 31!

 And the second runner:

 More fun with quilting on this one!

Happy Halloween (a week early)!  Linking up with crazy mom finish it up Friday as well as Karen's Sew Darn Crafty!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

WIP Wednesday October 23

I have a new WIP to share with you.  First a close up (before serious ironing):
I had a lot of fun this weekend playing with fabrics and triangles.  This will be a wall hanging for my sewing room:
 (Have I mentioned how much I dislike the basting stage?)  I am quilting this now and will have a finish with all the details to share soon.

Meanwhile, I have some eye candy for you!  You see I have been (finally) making a dent in my fabric stash and my birthday is getting closer and the Red Sox are in the World Series and I haven't purchased any fabric in a long time....oh heck, I just had some fun fabric shopping!!  It turns out my wonderful mother-in-law lives near the Marden's in South Portland, Maine.  How did it take me so long to find their fabric department??
 Gorgeous fabric that reminded us of French Impressionist painting.
 Lovely low volume Christmas letters.
These colors were completely missing from my stash...can you imagine that?!
 I still have not had enough of aqua, red, green combinations.
And really aren't those purses so cute?  The prices at Marden's are amazing.  On average these fabrics were $4.99 a  Lucky me I have a legit reason to visit South Portland, Maine on a regular basis (wink, wink!).

Linking up with Lee's Freshly Pieced Wednesday party:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Hope you are having a wonderful week!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Hand Quilting Experiment

I thought I would try a little hand quilting on my hexie pillow.  This little project started out with scraps from THE bedroom quilt (you regular readers are SO sick of hearing about that quilt, I will do you a favor and NOT include a link this're welcome).
After hand sewing the hexies together, I decided to applique them onto the background fabric with a simple zig-zag stitch (not sure I love the result...will try something different next time).  I then used my new favorite marking pen, the Frixion, to draw echo lines.
An action shot of the quilting in process:
The thread is Sulky 12 wt. cotton.  Here is the result:
 I needed a little pillow for this funky chair in my bathroom.  The shape and the colors work fine.
 However, the hand quilting looks a little flat, maybe even too tight.  It almost gets lost against the linen background.  What went wrong?

  • Stitched through two layers (background and batting) and not three (no backing)?
  • Pulled thread too tight?
  • Linen background not cotton?
  • Ironing off the marking flattened the stitches?
  • The pillow is stuffed too full?
  • Color of the thread should have been brighter?

After I finished this and was pondering what I could have done differently, I found this great tutorial from the amazing Susan at Canadian Abroad.  I am not discouraged; I will try again with perle cotton and figure this out!

Linking up with crazy mom"s Finish It Friday.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Building Blocks

The lovely selvages remaining from our master bedroom quilt are finally getting some attention.
And I have a plan (sort of) for this growing pile of HST's.
Stay tuned!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Happy Wednesday,

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Weekend Update

There are seven quilts patiently waiting in the queue to be quilted. Time to get serious before the pile gets any larger. Quilt backs are a good place to start, here are two I pulled together this weekend:

Next step, basting!  

My bag of selvages is overflowing.  
Look what happened when I organized by color.  Hmmmm, must do something with the pile of teal, aqua selvages.  Stay tuned!

I am surprised I got anything done, after all we had this adorable four month old to play with this weekend:
Hope you've had a good weekend!

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Fun Way to Practice

Rachel at Stitched in Color has a great post about practicing quilting skills, particularly FMQ'ing.  Many of the techniques in quilting require some practice to perfect and the question she raises is whether to practice on practice sandwiches OR jump right in and learn while you do on the real thing. There are many different learning styles out there but for me, I am a learn-as-you go person.   To wit, I have two finishes that epitomize that approach.

 Let's discuss the new things I tried on these quilts.
1.  Prewashing Fabrics
When I began my quilting adventure last year, I did some research on the need to prewash.  I concluded that so many of my most admired quilters were creating magnificent quilts without the extra step of prewashing. Being a good follower, I have not pre-washed any fabric up to now.  In view of the saturated colors, the abundance of red, using fleece and, frankly, this was not the most expensive quilting cotton I have ever purchased, I decided to pre-wash all the fabric.  All the character prints, all the sashing cotton, the backing and the bindings.

Conclusion:  I will pre-wash in the future only under extreme situations.  Not only does pre-washing delay the process (particularly when one makes a calculation error and has to cut more red sashing and wait to wash, dry and iron it!) but different water conditions can effect the result.  Note the two different shades of white that resulted from washing Kona white at different times ( bad).

 Having said all that, I feel very good about the lack of shrinking and color running risk for these quilts.

2.  Working with Fleece
This is inexpensive character fleece that I purchased at Joann Fabric (mother of three boys...what can I say, it was calling out for me!) and not the minky fabric I see on so many lovely quilts.  As forewarned, this stuff is stretchy and a bit difficult to work with.  For Spidey's quilt I used my usual method of taping the backing to the dining room floor and tons of pins for basting.  For Star Wars, I used spray basting (thank you Deb for that suggestion).

Conclusion:  The spray basting method was MUCH easier to smooth out and control the movement of the fleece while quilting.  Surprisingly, sewing the fleece was easy both for the domestic machine and the quilting machine.  I will try this again!  I used a layer of cotton batting (my usual Warm and Natural) and with the fleece, these are SOFT and fluffy quilts!

3.  No-Binding Envelope
Given the bulk of the fleece, I thought I would try the envelope method instead of a binding for the Spiderman quilt.
Conclusion:  The biggest issue was the slippery fleece (see above about pin basting) when turning the quilt right side out for quilting.  I think this method of finishing a quilt would work well with a quilt that had little quilting.

4.  Sewn on Binding 
After the experience above with Spiderman, I decided to try yet another binding method and that is a sewn-on binding.  There are many tutorials out there, but I thought this tutorial from Amanda Jean of crazy mom quilts was the most relevant to my project.  As you can see, the machine stitching is visible on the backside in places, particularly where I slipped.

Conclusion:  Love it!  This is something I am definitely going to work on improving.  As much as I enjoy the coziness of hand sewing down the binding, this was FAST!  Yeah!

5.  Stitch in the Ditch with FMQ
I decided to keep the quilting light on both quilts.  For Star Wars I decided just to stitch in the ditch (with a few FMQ stars here and there).  Typically I use my walking foot on my sewing machine to stitch in the ditch. Oh heck, why not try it out on the quilting machine?
Conclusion:   Getting those lines in the ditch (even using a ruler) is going to take more practice!  But I think I will continue to work on this, for no other reason than it is a lot easier to work with a large quilt on the quilting machine than on the domestic sewing machine.

6.  FMQ Spider Webs
My Sweet 16 and I are getting to know each other more and more.

Conclusion:  Not perfect but so much fun!

I selected patterns that would showcase the character prints:
Spiderman is based on Picnic in the Park by Cathy Slattery (found in the summer edition of Modern Quilts)
Star Wars is adapted from Going Bananas by Sandi Irish (found in the June/July 2013 McCall's Quick Quilts).

In summary, these are quilts that are going to two little buddies of mine who I am sure will appreciate soft, snuggly quilts and will not really care about my quilting imperfections!  And look at all I learned!  A win-win!!

Linking up with the one and the same Amanda Jean's finish it up Friday!

UPDATE:  I am also linking this post to a  linky party at Pretty Bobbins that focuses on the quilting process.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend,
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