Friday, September 28, 2012

Boo Bee Round 2 - Kathleen's Quilt

I'm back with another round robin update!  This time I got Kathleen's quilt start, which looked like this after Mallory had done her magic: 

I felt that the center needed a bit of breathing room, so I decided to incorporate a lot of white in my round.  While I was pondering, I came across these images for Rita Hutchens' class on zig-zags and chevrons.  Pretty, pretty!  I haven't taken her class, so I'm not sure what her method is, but I just made strips and cut them on the bias.  It worked out just fine, although my method wasted a lot of white fabric. 

Even with the strip piecing, this took a loooong time.  I calculated that there are more than 450 pieces of fabric in my round.   Bee mates.  I know I said one month for next round, but I forgot that the rounds are getting bigger & bigger.  Let's go back to 2 months for the last round, k?  

I hope you like it, Kathleen!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Orange Peel quilting with a walking foot

This post explains how to do orange peel (also called cathedral window) quilting using your walking foot.  I used this quilting on my Gingham Patchwork quilt:

I like using my walking foot because the result is a little smoother for me than using a free motion foot.  I recommend using this method if your individual petals are going to be 1.5" or larger, i.e. one full motif is 3" or larger.  For smaller designs, the curves are too tight to be done easily with a walking foot, but you can try Elizabeth Hartman's excellent tutorial for doing orange peel with a free motion foot instead. 

Let's do this!

Mark your quilt with circles.   I'm using a jar lid that happened to be a good size, but if you need a specific measurement, you can also create your own circle template in the size you need - just print a circle & transfer it to something you can trace around, like plastic or cardstock.  For marking quilts I have had good success using crayola markers - the ones labeled "super washable" and with the blue water erase pens from Joann's.  Since I love Clover products, I was shocked when I had problems with the yellow color Clover chalk pencil, which I spent days get out of blue fabric after I accidentally ironed it in).

Measure the width of your circle and mark a line 1/2 of the circle width from the edge of your quilt. Draw circles in a grid, first tangent to the line and then to each other:

As you can see, I have good taste in tea...

Draw circles in the other direction, 1/2 width to the right and 1/2 width down:

Over a large area or if you have design elements in your quilt that you would like to line up precisely with the quilting, I draw additional grid lines every 3-4 sets of circles, to prevent them from migrating away from a straight and even grid.

Time to quilt!  Work your way through the pattern on the diagonal.  This minimizes the amount of turning that is required, definitely important when you are working with a walking foot!  Quilt down one direction in a wave (you could also do scallops, but the waves are easier because you don't have to stop to turn constantly):

At the far edge, continue off the edge of your quilt and then cut your threads before starting again at the starting point and filling in the other half of the diagonal.  Now you have a 2D representation of a DNA strand:

Woops I forgot to take a picture before starting the next step... ignore that extra line to the upper right, please!

Now you are ready to get a little bit fancy.  Quilt down the diagonal, and at the end, turn the quilt 90° and quilt down the diagonal again, then turn, quilt, turn, quilt twice more to get back to your starting point... then you are ready to travel that route again and fill in the second half of the "DNA strand".

Hey look, we made two flowers already!  On my tiny "quilt" I just need one more round and then to fill in the last diagonal:

And we're done!

When you are feeling more lazy and don't want do to as much marking work, or when your quilt already has a grid, you can mark instead with a simple grid and judge by eye where to place your curve.  Here's an example:

You can see that the result is (lots) less precise, but when the quilt is finished it won't be terribly obvious, especially if you are better than me at eyeballing.  It just depends on how important the perfect circular look is to you, and how confident you feel about winging it. 

Either way you wanna do it... go forth and quilt, my friends.

Gingham baby quilt

I am very slowly working through using some fabric that I inherited from my mom & my grandma to make charity quilts.  After I volunteered to do a quilting demo for my guild meeting this month, I decided to make a small donation quilt to demo on, instead of wasting batting on a quilt sandwich that I wouldn't be using afterward.

My mom had stashed a bunch of different shirting-weight gingham (about the weight of vintage sheets), so I pulled out a stack.  Some were already cut in 4" squares, and I knew I would be demoing orange peel quilting, so simple square patchwork was the obvious choice for this quilt top:

Here's a closeup of the quilting on the front.  It is the same finished pattern as the orange peel tutorial that Elizabeth Hartman shared on her blog, Oh Fransson!, however it was done using an entirely different method and uses a walking foot instead of a free motion foot.  I'll be following up with a tutorial (tutorial is here!) for those of you who didn't make the guild meeting or who couldn't see everything (and for the like... 3 people who read my blog and aren't from my local guild - love to you guys, too!).  

And the quilt is backed with a vintage small scale floral print.  Little sister helped me pick out binding again.  :) 

The fabrics on both the front & back are very light weight, and with the relatively loose quilting this little guy turned out super light and summery. I'll be donating it via the guild to the Stanford NICU.  In case you are wondering why I keep making quilts for the NICU, I really like what they are doing with them, and they accept donations as small as 30" square!  The small size is awesome for testing out or working on a new technique without getting into a project that will be tiring by the time it's done. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Linen Quilt - another UFO put to bed

My husband & I are celebrating our first wedding anniversary today.  Steve, you are my rock and I love you with all my heart.  Thank you for marrying me!

Ok, enough with the romance and on to the quilty business:

This quilt has been a flimsy for almost two and a half years.  It started with linen upholstery samples that I picked up for free.  I loved the fabrics that I started with, but to be perfectly honest, I think I made a mistake with the green sashing.  Shoulda gone with cream, for a sweet low-contrast look, but I decided that after it was already quilted.  And at that point... no.  The only direction to go was forward, so I went ahead and put on the binding.

Besides the color (which I don't love), unfortunately the green linen is also pretty scratchy.  The quilt is lap sized, so scratchy is not good, eh?  Don't be sad though, guys.  I am glad that this is finished, and even though I do wish some things were different, I still have happy feelings about it overall.  I love the quilting, which I designed to mimic that white & brown fabric in the center.

I marked this by drawing double straight lines across the quilt, then coming back along with two octangular (octagon + rectangle, ftw!  I thought that I invented that word, but then I looked it up and it's real).  Er... where was I?  Ah, I used octangular templates that I drew & cut by hand.  I placed them purely by eye and traced around.  Then I quilted with a walking foot, which took quite a long while because of all the turns I had to do.  At the middle of the quilt, it took 15 minutes to do each line (yeah I timed it) - so 30 minutes for each set of chained octangles.  The edge of the quilt was faster at about 4 minutes per line, since there was much less to work through the throat of my machine.

This quilting was sort of like a cocoon.  I went into it an impatient quilter who always looks for the end of the project, and I baked in there for a while and came out the other side as a butterfly.  Ok, so, not exactly a butterfly, but I did learn to enjoy the peaceful repetition of slowly quilting.  When I was tired or bored, I just put it down.  (Instead of swearing in my head and pushing sloppily toward the end like I usually do).   And then one day it was just done. 

The back is grey dots from the DS Quilts line for Joann's, and the binding is a pezzy print in blue.

Yeah, my cocoon didn't make me want to start hand sewing bindings again.  I still love the binding, though, so how about another shot?


I cut the pezzy straight relative to the pattern before I started cutting the binding, but next time I might also cut in multiples of the pattern repeat so that it doesn't migrate around the quilt.  Er... if that made any sense.  I mean I might try to make it so that an on-edge picture like the one above shows a uniform pattern.  Er... if that made any sense either.  Well, if not, just hang around and maybe someday you will see.

Anybody else been feeling the tranquil quilty vibes lately?