My hiking partner has been telling me about a quilt she was making for her niece as a wedding present.  I have never been the type of person who can picture something accurately when it is described to me.  Not to mention, she would describe it while we were hiking.  That’s not my most attentive time. Especially if it’s hot or a tough steep trail, which most in the White Mountain region of NH are.  But I digress.

Moonlight Through the trees aCarol, my hiking partner, was trying to capture the look of the woods with the moonlight shining through the trees.  But it was a pieced pattern, on the bias no less.  She sent me a picture of the quilt top laying across a bed all bumpy and wrinkled.  I could see where she was going with the quilt.  When she brought the quilt to me, it thought it was stunning.

This is another instance where my customer knew exactly what she wanted.  Which in this case, was an all over leave pattern with rays of moonlight interspersed randomly throughout the quilt.  We spent some time going through leaf edge to edge patterns until we settled upon one.  Once I finished the edge to edge, she came over and pointed out exactly where she wanted the moonlight.  With the use of a straight edge ruler, I quilted the diagonal lines in and around the leaves.Moonlight Through the trees b

Now if you think you can come and sit over my shoulder while I quilt your quilt you are sorely mistaken.  This was a special circumstance.  Carol thought I would be able to put the lines in without her.  But I think I would have been heavier handed than she was.  We make a great team.

Here is the final quilt.  It’s stunning!Moonlight Through the trees c

Quilting for customers can be fun.  It can also be taxing.  I have some customers who have very specific ideas as to how they want a quilt quilted. Yet others have absolutely no ideas for quilting their quilt.  Over the next few posts, I will take you through my process of how I quilt some quilts.

This first couple will be quilts where the customer knew exactly how they wanted a quilt quilted.

This quilt customer pieced a very pretty quilt from the book “A Piece of Cake” by Peta Peace, published by That Patchwork Place. It was for her daughter, who was having her very first grandchild.  She wanted the quilt quilted exactly like it was in the book.  Which is great because I didn’t have to think of how to quilt it.  But on the other hand, the quilting was intense.  But I was up for the challenge.

I first ditch stitched around the letters. Then I put all the straight-line quilting, dividing the various sections, using a ruler. Some of the designs I followed exactly. Others I quilted a variation similar to the book.  The original can be found here.

Some of the original quilting designs required marking the quilt. I prefer to mark as little as possible. With this quilt being white, I shied away from marking it at all. I knew this quilt was going to be traveling in an airplane, that left out the Frixion pens. The ink from these pens will reappear when the ink gets cold. I tried using painters’ tape but did not like the results. So, I altered the designs to mimic the original, but where I would not need to mark. That meant more ruler work.

Wrapped-in-Love 2

The differences are subtle. The customer loved it. Her daughter did too.

Marking a quilt is not my thing.  I try to mark as little as possible. I generally mark guidelines for the area I want to quilt.  For feathered wreaths, I will mark the outer and inner circles to designate the inner and outer edge of the feathers.

I needed to mark a white quilt, but my go-to marking tool is white chalk.  I have a fear of using one of the various tools out there for marking quilts.  I’m afraid I won’t be able to get the marks off the quilt.  If it was my own quilt, I would have tried something.  But as I was working on a customer quilt, I was hesitant.

So here is what I did.FMQ Feather Wreath 9

I took a piece of freezer paper twice as wide of the design I needed.  Folded it in half and pressed the shiny sides together.  Creating a stiff but flexible template blank.  I then marked centering lines to assist in getting the circles centers.  I drew the inner, center and outer circles for the size wreath needed. For this quilt, the measurements I used were 8.5″, 5.5″ and 2.5″.

Once the circles were drawn, I cut on the inner and outer circle lines. This created outer and inner circle templates, leaving a large donut the size of the desired wreath. Using the original centering lines, I lined the large outer circle template up within the block.  Centering the template proved difficult, so I added more lines corresponding to the quilt block to assist in alignment.  I pinned the template in place.  If I had used template plastic, I would not have been able to pin through the plastic.FMQ Feather Wreath 6

To center the inner circle.  I found using the donut left from cutting the inner and outer circle as a guide worked best.  I pinned the inner circle in place.

With that done, I used my 5″ circle template to stitch the center spine, knowing my hopping foot would add a 1/2″ to the overall diameter of the stitched circle. I have a set of nesting circles.  If you are using whole circle templates, it would be easier to stitch the center spine then pin the inner circle template in place.FMQ Feather Wreath 2

A few years ago, I took a feather class from Suzanne Early.  She had a tip when stitching free motion feathers.  It helps to draw in the first few feathers.  Otherwise, the first feather can look less feather like.  Brilliant.  But how was I going to do this with my templates?  I used the remaining donut piece to draw my beginning feathers. Then I cut the template along the line of the last feather.FMQ Feather Wreath 4

With the center spin stitched, I stitched the outer feathers next. Then I stitched the inner feathers. Once the inner feathers were stitched, I echoed the inner feathers and stippled in the center.  It is at this point I stopped to cut the threads.  So I was able to stitch the spine, outer feathers, inner feathers, echo quilting and stippling in the center without cutting the thread.  Lastly, I echoed the outer feathers and stippled around the entire wreath.

The first few wreaths took a bit to get used to. But once I got going, the rest went fairly quick. This quilt needed 24 wreaths. FMQ Feather Wreath 1

I love the way they came out.  And, I can reuse the templates.  The only thing I would change is making the outer circle 1/2″ larger than the finished size.  I found my hopping foot would hit the template on occasion. With a larger template, I won’t have to hold the template down for the foot to go over it. I also got too close a couple of times and stitched the template down to the quilt.

It may sound like a lot of work but I believe it saved me time in not having to mark out all blocks requiring wreaths.

What do you think?  Do you like the feathered wreath?

C

Announcing a Color Challenge.

I haven’t posted in a long time.  I have been busy hiking and quilting for customers. I haven’t been able to sit behind my sewing machine to make anything.  I hope to soon.

One of my problems is I have so many ideas, I’m not sure which to try.  I also get stuck in choosing which colors to use. They are all so pretty.

As I hiked through the mountains of New Hampshire this summer, I came up with a great idea.  There is an app from Adobe called Adobe Capture. One of the things it does is pick out color combinations from photos you upload.  (Only draw back is it’s only available for iO and Android). My thought is to challenge myself to create a quilt each month using a different picture.

So using photos from my travels, I will be posting a color scheme at the beginning of each month.  Using this color scheme, I will create a quilt of some kind and hopefully post it at the end of the month.  I challenge you to play along.  Even if you only create one block.

Here are a couple of great photos I took just in the past week.

The berries on the Precipice Path in the Belknap Range were just beautiful.  The grass on the Franconia Ridge Trail was such a brilliant orange-yellow it glowed.

I hope to create a link up for anyone who wants to join the challenge.

What creative blocks keep you from quilting? Is it color? Fabric choices? Design choices?  Let me know.  Maybe we can conquer them together.

C

Upcoming Quilt Class

I will be teaching a class at Pine Tree Quilt Shop in Salem, NH.  The pattern was a mystery created by Debbie Caffrey.  The pattern name is Good Night, Sweetheart. It is now available as a non-mystery pattern. You can make it in two sizes.  I chose to make it in the larger size.  The finished size the is 81″ x 96″.  I did multiple borders. The pattern instructions were for a single large border, so my quilt measures differently. Goodnight

The pattern requires 4 fabrics, Light, Medium, Medium Dark and Dark.  I found a blue and yellow plaid in my stash to base my color choices off of.  The block looks more difficult than it actually is.  There are no fancy cutting.  It’s all squares rectangles and a few triangles. Goodnight 2

Goodnight 3You can even make a mini quilt from scraps you cut in the process of making the block. I love mini quilts. Especially ones made in the process of making another quilt.

If you are interested in the class. Go to Pine Tree Quilt Shop for more details.

I am currently quilting the top. The design is inspired by an on-line class I took by Lisa Calle.  I hope to get it done in the next day or two. As long as we don’t loose power from the snow storm.Goodnight 4

You don’t need to quilt yours so elaborately. I just wanted to practice some of what I learned in the on-line class.

I hope to see you in the class.  It’s a fun quilt. I’ll give you some tips regarding the piecing process and border choices.  Did you notice I cut the plaid on the diagonal for the first border?

What do you think?  Do you like the plaid?

C

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I have hiked Stinson Mountain twice.  But neither had the clear view of today.  With the last few snowstorms, the mountain is a winter wonderland.  The trees are laden with snow.  The sky was a bright clear blue.

Last spring, I hiked it with some of my family.

stinson-in-the-spring

This is the same view in the today.

stinson-mt-2

But I need to go back and hike it Sunday. Why, because today I cheated, so to speak.  Today I snowmobiled to the top with my husband.  At one point, we were breaking the trail.  It appeared the groomer had made it most of the way but had turned around near the top.  At that point, Tom broke the trail the rest of the way up.

stinson-mt-5

I wanted to stop and take pictures of the snow hanging from the trees along the trail.  I needed to duck to get under some, they were so heavy with snow.  But if I did stop, I would have sunk in the snow, it was that deep.  I kept saying to myself, “keep going, keep going.”  The reward was amazing.  Below is a gallery of the pictures from the top of Stinson Mt and a picture of the trail map posted at one of the snowmobile trail intersections.

If you are planning on hiking Stinson this weekend, the hiking trail was not packed out since the last snowfall.  But the snowmobile trail is.  I’m sure the hiking trail will be soon. I’m sure someone will hike it this weekend.  Maybe I’ll see you there Sunday.

Have you ever seen a sky so blue?

C

My Journey – Part 2

I love Mystery Quilts. They challenge me to combine fabrics without knowing what the end result will be.  Mysteries challenge you to choose colors, prints, and textures that work together. There are mystery quilts designed for a class setting or as a monthly series.  There are even some available on-line from various pattern designers and bloggers.

The following are quilts I made in a class setting using Debby Caffrey’s Creative Moments mystery patterns. These patterns give you fabric requirements initial cutting instructions. So when you arrive at the class you are ready to sew.

mystery-yardageRead the fabric requirements carefully.  The description of light, medium, dark. Most of the following quilts have 3 -4 fabrics.  Some patterns can have color specific requirements.  Most mysteries I have done did not. You will want to compare the yardage requirements for the mystery.  This will give you an idea as to how much each fabric will be used.  If there is one fabric you are unsure of and there is a larger yardage requirement. You may want to rethink that fabric choice.

Have you ever made a mystery quilt? Did you like the process?

Part 3 of my quilt journey will be more of the mysteries I have made. I don’t always follow directions. The next set will include some the quilts where I did not exactly follow the rules.

C

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