Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My first "real" quilt

January 2007 - from a Beginner's quilting class

If I was sure I'd stick with it, I might name this post "Time Travel Tuesdays."  Alliteration seems to be the style for blogging titles.  I'd like to share my photos of older quilts with you because I'd have a much easier way to find them.  (Labels on posts are really handy!)  But alas, I'm not ready for that kind of commitment.   So Time Travel Tuesday might just be an every-once-in-a-while Tuesday.

After getting hooked on the idea of quilting as we prepared for a quilt themed Ladies' retreat, I decided to take a class and learn a few techniques.  The ladies in my class were a lot more experienced beginners than I was!  They already knew terms like "sashing" and "piecing."  I brought along my sewing machine manual, just in case I had to re-thread my machine or wind a bobbin.  I was intimidated by our weekly homework and by all the seam ripping we had to do until those blocks were just the right size.

I'm glad this class was so challenging!  It gave me confidence to try new techniques.  Since I wrestled with the LeMoyne Star in the center of the quilt (Y seams!), I later made another quilt using this block to improve my skills.

I think it's funny that I can still hear Barbara's voice guiding me along as I piece tops.  She's still prompting me to pay attention to press those seams well, fully open and toward the darker fabrics.  She reminds me to walk my hands down that long ruler as I make a cut so that the ruler won't wiggle.  And later to cover the blade before I set the rotary cutter down.  I know it's her voice because she's one of the few people who call me Kimberly.  So do you think she could read her students in each class, predicting which ones would tuck their half finished class project in a closet and forget it?  Looking ahead to see others who would start with her excitement and build their own enthusiasm for expressing their creativity through fabrics....

The only hand quilted one I've finished so far.

This quilt is one of the ones I've kept at our home.  It's a nice reminder of starting this journey.  The tips of my stars don't touch the outer edges just like they're supposed to do.  And I love it all the more because of that fact.

It gets used a lot and you'll often find it draped over my shoulders to ward off the chill as I sit at the computer or read a book.

Enjoy your day!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

More quilting over batiks

This quilt top was made from a jelly roll of batiks.  I loved this design when I saw it on Dee's blog Bitten by the quilting bug.  It holds dear memories of my first quilting retreat.  Some wonderful quilters who helped me arrange and rearrange the blocks until they were just right.  Libby, aka SouthCarolinaLady was a special part of helping balance those lights and darks.  They didn't want to behave!

I couldn't wait to start quilting it ... until it was loaded on the frame.  Then I began to feel that intimidation set in.  Other than being certain this one didn't need an overall quilting design, I wasn't sure where to start or what it needed. 

What am I gonna do?  What if I mess it up?  What if ... 
How silly.  Don't we all do that to ourselves at some point?
Texture!  I really love it.

I'm thankful that we had a full house last week with a few extra teens and their activities to keep me distracted.  During that time, I could doodle and brainstorm, but didn't have any time to sneak into the studio.  It made this weekend's free time more precious to me and more productive.
More texture!
There are 2 customer quilts waiting patiently for now, but not forever.  So, this weekend, I knew I needed to get over the fear and Just Do It!

Next, I might test out my new circle templates on a Project Linus quilt top.  Then I can repeat those circles on a baby boy quilt.  It should be fun!
Whoops!  I see a thread that needs to be clipped.

Once it's bound, this one will reside in our rec room for snuggling while watching movies or ball games.  It needs a name.  Hmmmmmm. Something besides the obvious reference to a brick wall.

Back fabric is actually a little more caramel colored.  Photography & lighting.  Sigh.  I still have lots to learn.

From the back, you might be about to tell that I stitched in the ditch around the inner portion of each block.  I have rulers and like to use them.  But ... decided that for this one, the little bobbles and wiggles would be more at home than the perfection of lines made with rulers.  I don't regret it at all, but I probably wouldn't do it on a customer's quilt.  I guess the trendy adjective "organic" works here.

Next week:  a full house again.  More giggles and even full bellied cackling at the dinner table.  It's amazing how the dynamics change with 2 more teens!  Everything's a little more magnified.  More rowdy.  More clutter.  More laughter.  More shoes strewn around the laundry room.  More last minute needs to be handled.  Much more food consumed as everyone's appetites seem to increase.  I would have expected that it would be overwhelming, but instead, I miss them when they leave.
One more photo ... just because.

Also, my husband returns home tomorrow from visiting his momma.  It will be great to have him back here even though I'm happy to share him every once in a while with Roxy.   They've tackled a to-do list as usual this weekend.  From what I've heard, some parts of the list have been more successful than other parts.  For instance, the UNC basketball game was attended and the good guys where able to be victorious with the aid of their loyal fans enthusiasm and cheers.  However, the ceiling fan installation still has issues.  Somehow, it came to the house a decade ago with no instructions and a rebellious heart.  I'm thinking a fan shopping trip during the President's Day sales might be the answer.

Enjoy your next week! I'm looking forward to mine.
- SeeingStars

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Few More for Project Linus

We had a fun day with a room filled with quilting supplies, sewing machines, energetic ladies and men, and some awesome BBQ!  It was our quarterly Project Linus day yesterday.  They meet Friday and Saturday, but I was only able to play on Friday. 

Speaking of the men who were there, Norm is a retired gentleman and new local quilting celebrity, who happens to be a woodworker during the more mild seasons, when it's pleasant to be in the garage.  His handiwork is evident in the quilt shop - large spool holders which are sold to benefit Project Linus along with several helpful additions in the shop for displaying all the goods.  However, this past November, he decided to take up sewing in the colder seasons.  We had an impromptu quilt show with either 18 or 22 quilts that he donated to Project Linus.  His daughter is a gifted longarm quilter, so she was able to help him by quilting them once the tops were made.   I am positively sure that I have made no where near 18 quilts since November!  Way to go, Norm!  Each of these was beautifully pieced.  Many were patriotic and simply amazing.  What a generous spirit Norm has to pass these on to so many who will never meet him and have the opportunity to thank him for the hours and care invested in each quilt.

The Bottled Rainbows quilt was finished, including hand stitching the binding down.  (My preference).  Maybe it should be called the Color Wheel instead.  

Then, since I noticed a stack trying to topple over with quilt tops and backs just waiting for a quilter to sandwich them, I took home a few small projects.

First, there was a puzzle quilt. 
Quilted Top for Project Linus
Fun sashing details
Back of the puzzle quilt shows the funky stars quilted over the puzzle pieces

Next, a strip quilt.  It's a quick way to practice border ideas so they're fresh in your muscle memory.
Very small strip quilt for Project Linus
I liked the swirls in this orange strip.
More quilting detail.  The white bobbin thread is showing a little bit here. ... Tension.
Cute backing fabric ... the colors went well with the strips

Finally, a fun purpley-pink simple squares quilt.
Backing shows off the wiggly sashing stitches and the flowers

Whole top

One block from the top

I worked yesterday evening and this morning to get them ready for binding.  Then delivered them back to QC for anyone who needed something to do today during Linus Day.  Gail snatched them up and began to trim them before I dashed out the door on my way to the grocery store.  Actually, since there were so many friendly faces there, my dash out the door took 30 minutes or so.  The stack of to-be-quilted was still high today, so I took an armful home.  They should be quick finishes when I don't feel like getting involved in a large project.

Enjoy your day!
- SeeingStars