Thursday, July 18, 2013

Little pillow for a friend

A lovely lady that I work with is in the hospital after having major surgery. I have been filling in for her (and not doing such a great job). I wanted to give her something to help cheer her up and didn't want to bring the usual flowers and I think chocolate is out of the question.

So, of course, I decided to make her something. I thought that a little pillow would be 'quick and easy' and maybe even useful while sitting in a hospital bed for a week (or 2). I do have a problem - not recognised as a diagnosable personality disorder - but a problem none the less. I cannot choose the quick and easy road. I have to do things 'right'. Not perfect, but right.

So, I could have made a single layer pieced pillow, stuffed it with fill, and then stitched it up. And, at 1am this morning, I regretted my choice. Instead, I have quilted the front and back, made the cover removable and created a pillow inner that can be removed (no running to the shop for a pillow insert at this time of night).

This morning I discovered that we were out of coffee, so I am tired and grumpy. Luckily I am alone in the office today and there is a cafe less than 100m away. That's where I'm going right now.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Getting ready to quilt the hexis

I finished piecing the quilt top last week and have been trying to figure out how I will quilt it. (The photo looks a bit odd because I have to 'glue' two photos together into one.)

Because this quilt was made from bee blocks made by the Monday Modern quilters, I wanted to do 'modern' quilting. But, I can't come up with anything modern except for painful stitch in the ditch or carefully-marked diagonal cross-hatching. Neither of these appeal.

So, after staring at my quilt hanging on the wall for the past week, I can't help seeing flowers in a field of grass. And when I think hexagons, I think bees.

So, some doodling has resulted in this plan.

Not a great rendition - it will be easier to do on my Swiftquilter than using my right-handed mouse (especially because I am left handed). The bee will take some practice, but I only plan on including a few.

This quilt is the largest of the ones I've done on my Swiftquilter and is just slightly (2 inches) too big to fit on the un-extended frame. Hubby helped add the extension on and I now have a 9-foot contraption sitting in my living room. It seems like overkill for the extra couple of inches, but from experience it's better to have a lot of room on the edges as a staging area for the machine. The last quilt I did maxed out the space and I had to reach under the quilt to change my bobbins.

Speaking of bobbins, how many will it take to quilt this? It's a problem to stop and refill them and I go through a lot. I am guessing 10-12. But, it's impractical to fill up so many (do I even have enough), so I do them in batches of 4.

Hubby and daughter are away skiing next week, so this will be my opportunity to stay up late and get this done. It needs to be finished by 5 August, so I better get moving!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Happy Independence Day (a week late)

Last week I was sure that I would have this done on 4 July, but ran into a few snags and didn't finish until a few days later. The rush to post it was gone.

I started this quilt as part of a challenge for the Modern Modern quilters. The challenge was to make a small modern quilt inspired by traditional quilts. This is my entry, although the whole challenge thing seems to have disappeared and we are simply adding them to our upcoming exhibition.

Last year while in the US I saw a some very traditional quilts in Williamsburg, VA. They were green and red Baltimore Album style quilts. Many of them included a patriotic motif and this has been an ongoing theme in many quilts in the US for the past 200 years.

My modern flag is a study in using one colour (is it even a colour?). There are probably about 25 fabrics grouped light, medium, and dark to represented white, red, and blue. (I did not include every grey in my stash, by the way.)

I didn't have a grand plan when I started out and as usual had to improvise a bit with the sizing and relative proportions. After starting, I looked up the official sizes of the flag components and realised why mine was starting to look funny. The end result is slightly off the standard dimensions, but it's close enough for me.

I quilted each stripe with a different pattern - a new take on the sampler - and did a stipple around the 'stars'. I used a wool batting that is puffier than my usual cotton batting (something I found lurking in the back of the closet). I like the effect, especially on the stars.

Happy 11th of July!!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Busy, busy, busy

There seems to be so much going on in my quilty and non-quilty worlds. Sometimes the two merge and other times they clash. July appears to be a month of deadlines - the contract work that I am currently doing is scheduled to end on 31 July. I also need to have at least 2 quilts finished for the Monday Modern exhibit that we are having in September. Meanwhile, I have started a new business (see the Sew Frisco button on the right) and am gearing up to do some concentrated work on that in August.

After giving up all hope on the final round of the Cotton Robin, my last round arrived in the mail late last week - it took 11 weeks to get from Canada to New Zealand. On close inspection, I realised that it was sent surface mail (a lesson to everyone to always specify air mail).

Because the round robin was finished and all other quilts had made it home in June, I committed to doing a rush job and get it home safely to its owner. So, I spent some time quilting it this weekend. Luckily, it was small (24 inches on the longest side). But, perhaps because it was small, I thought it needed more quilting. The busy black and bright colour scheme led me to choose a black metallic thread with subtle variegated colours that I found lurking in the back of my closet. I also decided to keep the quilting simple, so I ended up doing some stitich-in-the-ditch, some randomly spaced parallel lines, and some outlining. All of it was with the walking foot - no FMQ this time.

I mulled over the binding for a while and ended up previewing several of them and taking votes from hubby and daughter. Hubby was surprisingly helpful and I took his advice (unprecedented).

Next up - the small grey quilt that I am doing for the exhibition (it's still a secret, so no too revealing photos). I loaded it onto the Swiftquilter and thought that I'd wizz through the quilting in no time. But, my haste was my mistake because I did not take the time to make sure everything was set up correctly and I had to unpick the first few rows because I discovered a tension disaster was brewing - this was because I did not thread the machine correctly.

The quilting is almost done (after having to run up the road for more bobbin thread). I took it off the Swiftquilter and decided it needed a bit of ditch stitching. This is best done on my other machine with the walking foot. I should finish it tonight.

The final project actively on the go is the green & black hexi-in-a-hexi quilt. Yesterday I started piecing the second half of the front. I'm using a different machine now - the Juki Exceed F600 - and am loving the feature to automatically backstitch and cut the threads at the start and finish of each seam. Very handy when doing these y-seams.

I also finished binding on other quilt last night. Will post some finished pictures soon.

Linking up to Freshly Pieced WIP.