Saturday, May 26, 2012

Off the frame

Toddler Quilt
This lovely quilt was hand-embroidered by a grandmother (I think) for her granddaughter.  I've had the top for over a month now and it is definitely time to return it.  This customer would like a little help with the binding and we discussed adding a label to one of the corners too.

So the bias binding is ready to be sewn to the front and I just need to get the label for the back.  I know there's a little girl who will be delighted to cuddle up with this special quilt.

We decided to match the quilting threads with each fabric.  That's a lot of thread changes, but it showcases the embroidery, which is definitely the star of this show.  The backing and binding is the same pink gingham as the sashing.

More technical details (feel free to skip this if you don't quilt on a frame) :
I didn't have the right size circle template for the wreaths and really didn't want to trace a lightly drawn circle.  There would be slight wiggles and I wouldn't be happy with that.  Since the templates don't come in the size I needed, I would have had to have one custom made, which would be cost prohibitive.  Waaaay more than the price I quoted to quilt this one.  So, I asked for help from other longarm quilters.  One suggestion was to purchase an embroidery hoop in the desired size (minus the hopping foot radius).  I tried it a few times on practice fabrics first to make sure it wouldn't slip and I was pleased with the results.  I prefer templates, but the hoops work when needed.  I started at the circle top (12 o'clock) with the inner metal ring pinchers at the 10 o'clock position.  Then traced around the circle until I approached my thumb (near 5 o'clock) .  I pinched the inner ring and rotated it to 2 o'clock.  Then repositioned my hands so I could complete the circle without needing to reposition again. 

I'm off to a fencing tournament today.  It's been a long time since we've fenced regularly, but it's definitely time to put this back in my routine.  It's felt good and a bit awkward to pick up that sword again.

Enjoy your day!
- SeeingStars

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Table Runner with Mug Rugs

Woohoo!  I was able to finish the hand sewing on this table runner and the mug rugs while my mom and I had a week long slumber party in the hospital.  The best news is that she's doing much better and plans to make a full recovery.

Curved improvisational piecing
The mugs were the inspiration for these fabrics.  They were all extra pieces in my scrap pile or fat quarters stash.
Mug rugs with more scraps
The quilting was a pattern from DayStyle Designs called, Star Flower Bands.  Here's the flip side of these rugs. 

And the reverse side of the runner ....

I really like this quilting design.  It's fast, easy and doesn't require any marking.

Enjoy your day!
- SeeingStars

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Time Travel Tuesday

Here's one from about 5 years ago.  A twisted four-patch of sorts.  It was made to try out a stack 'n whack technique using 4 alike pieces cut into 4 patches.  I loved the tropical fabric that we started with.  One of my kids, a 5th grader back then, helped me with the design, layout and a little of the sewing.  It was a gift for the teacher.  So we named it, Summer at Camp L_____.  The teacher often called her class Camp L______ and these flowers seemed to us to be a summertime celebration.

It's fun to look back and see how my fabrics selection has begun to change, along with quilting designs.  Of course this one was done on my regular sewing machine, so I have to shuffle more quilt layers around as I was quilting it.
 The bird of paradise doesn't grow here, but I enjoyed it when we visited my dad and his wife in March.  Their plant was glorious in bloom.  (Maybe summertime wasn't quite right, but it worked for us when we named the quilt.)
Part of my reasoning for sharing this twisted 4 patch is to motivate myself to finish another one.  I started quilting it by sewing machine years ago and once I stopped and the Tin Lizzie made her home here, I haven't continued.  It will become one of my favorites once it's done!

I'll take a week or so from blogging.  Family health issues have arisen.  So  my dad and his wife are coming here to enjoy our teens as well as feed them and drive them all over town to various activities.  Meanwhile, my husband and I will go separate ways to be with our mothers.  We're praying for both of these sweet ladies to recover ask quickly as possible.

Enjoy your upcoming week.
- SeeingStars

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Quilt Block Candle Tutorial

My first tutorial, so bear with me.  : )

I made a couple of pinwheel blocks today for one of our door prizes for the upcoming quilt guild meeting.

1.  Find the candles on sale for 50% off, so you don't break the bank.  Think of a large craft supply store with the initials : Hobby Lobby.

2.  Measure the candles in height and circumference.  You'll need to plan a quilt block smaller than the smaller of these two dimensions.

5 inches in height
Wrap a selvedge edge around the candle to get the circumference
Then stretch out that selvedge over a ruler.  This one is 9 inches around.
3.  Decide upon the quilt block design and size.  My choice was a pinwheel.  It's pretty and cheerful and 8 pieces.  Although I love Mariner's Compass blocks, some of them are around 32 pieces and I wasn't ready for that challenge today.

Since the smaller measurement is 5 inches, I chose a 4.5 inch block.  You can make it 5 inches, you just have to be more precise.

4.  Look at your tissue paper collection and select your "fabrics."  Following the tornado damage, we donated all of our gift wrap supplies to charity before moving.  So I got to shop for more to do this project.  Now that we're settled, I'll save the leftovers so I can gift wrap again.  My choice was a black/white print and a lime green.
I though this black/white floral was adorable!
5.  Cut your shapes with no seam allowances.  I cut 2 1/4 inch squares and then cut them again on the diagonal.

Shhh!  Don't tell the quilt police!  I used my rotary cutter and quilting rulers.  It was fast and precise this way.  Plus, the blade can be replaced when it gets dull.  No worries.

6.  Line up 2 pieces on the candle.  I decided to align the bottom edge of my quilt block with the bottom edge of my candle.
Beginning of the pinwheel block
7.  Wrap waxed paper over these 2 pieces and use the embossing gun to melt the candle wax enough to make the tissue paper absorb the wax.  When it cools, the tissue paper will stick to the candle.

Sorry, I could not figure out how to hold the candle, the paper pieces, the waxed paper and the embossing gun in action and also photograph this step.  Just hold the waxed paper taught over this section of the candle.  It keeps everything from slipping while the wax melts.

8.  Continue adding 2 pieces at a time.  I worked my way around counter-clockwise (probably because I'm left handed).

2 pinwheel candles with charms
9.  As an added touch, you can wrap the candles in some of the same tissue paper and use a coordinating gift bag.  I love polka-dots!
Also, feel free to embellish.  I tied a thin lime green ribbon around the top of the blocks and made shrinky dink charms to dangle from the ends of the ribbons.

Pigma pens and quilting motifs shrunk down to charm size.
I'd love to know if you make any of these candles.  If you do make them and post photos on your blog, please leave me a comment and let me know so I can enjoy them too.

I also tried out this technique with the remnants from quilted scraps.  I had four half-square-triangle units.  It was okay, but not great.  The fabric didn't absorb the melted wax as quickly.  The result is that the candle became a bit lumpy on the exterior.  We'll enjoy it here, but wouldn't give it away as a gift.
Candle made with scraps of fabric

Enjoy your day!
- SeeingStars

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Time Travel Tuesday

I stumbled across some photos I'd like to share with you today.  Not quilts, but almost!

Years ago, before I became a quilter, Sharon gathered a few friends to plan a ladies' retreat for our church.  We used one of her books which ties together various quilt themes and devotionals.  I chose the Grandmother's Flower Garden pattern.  When I found a GFG quilt in an antique shop for a decent price, I snatched it up!

We made these candles using scraps of tissue paper and an embossing gun (basically a hair dryer, but gets hotter).  You put your paper in place and heat the candle.  As the wax melts, the tissue paper absorbs the liquid wax.  Once it's dry, it's fused together.  The candles became table decorations.

We made one quilt pattern candle for each of the topics, except for the sampler quilt, because that would have been very challenging!  After the retreat, these 3 candles remained.  I've kept them, even moving to/from the rental house during the repairs.  They got dusty and began to look a little shabby.

So, I washed them off and fixed the paper edges, then brought them on our quilting retreat this weekend.  Many of our group would take a break and sit in the shade on the back porch.  So I plunked those 3 candles on various tables.  I told our wonderful hostesses that they could toss the candles once we left.

Glad we were able to get double use from them! And also very glad to have them out of the house.  I may decide make some new ones as gifts.  No seam allowances and no seam ripping either.  Grin.

Enjoy your day!
- SeeingStars