Archive for the ‘Quilting’ Category

Quilting for Customers Part 2

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

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Quilting for Customers Part 1

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.

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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

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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

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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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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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This post contains an affiliate link to amazon if you so choose to purchase the book.

Every year at the Merrimack Valley Quilt Guild, we have a program that consists of 3 different members talking about their journey in quilting.  I was honored when asked to talk about my journey.

I have been quilting since the mid-90’s.  So, if I brought all my quilts for a trunk show, it would take a lot longer than the time allotted. I had to narrow down the scope of my talk.

I thought you, my readers, might like to hear/learn about how I got started in quilting. Over the next few weeks, I will show you some of my earlier quilts and how color affected the resulting quilt.

color-from-the-heartOne of the reasons I got into quilting was because of a woman I worked with. She was creating some interesting quilts.  She and I got to be great friends.  Shauna’s work can be found on her site The Crafty Monkey.

One project we worked on together was a book, “Color from the Heart” by Gai Perry  This book looks at color theory from the quilter’s perspective.  This is where I started my talk.

“Color From The Heart” by Gai Perry has chapters discussing the color wheel as well as the texture and scale of prints.  But what I liked best were the 7 exercises/patterns which bring you through different ways of thinking about color, pattern, and scale of the print and how those choices affect the resulting quilt.

Spontaneity – The first exercise works through how colors, textures, and patterns work together.  You put squares in a bag and blindly pick from the bag as you arrange your squares.

This exercise works best if you are working with another quilter.  Especially if that quilter has a different fabric taste than yours.

When I worked through this exercise with Shauna, we had very different tastes in fabrics.  I lean more toward traditional, Shauna toward modern.  Our quilts came out quite different even though we shared fabrics.

Color Enrichment –  This exercise uses 2 colors to create broken dish block.  Using two colors with varying prints, textures, tones and scale of prints, you create a small quilt with broken dish blocks.  I chose burgundy and green.  Shauna chose teal and brown.  How different they look.

Value Recognition – This exercise guides you through finding dark medium and light of nine different colors.  This is to demonstrate that even though a yellow fabric may be lighter than say a red or blue fabric, it may actually be considered a dark in the yellow family.

I wasn’t sure what to do with this quilt once done. But I kept adding to it. It ended up almost twin size. It became a gift to a nephew for his 2nd or 3rd birthday.  I called my niece to get a picture.  They still use the quilt, even after 15 years.  It was great to see it again.  I had forgotten all that I added to that quilt.value-recognition

Contrast – This exercise we skipped.  It was using primary colors, yellow, blue and red, to make Cake Stand blocks.  At the time, I thought it was ugly.  Looking at it now. I think I might give it a go.

Inspiration – This exercise required you to find something, anything, to use as inspiration for color choices to make a trip around the world quilt.  I chose my drapery fabric. Shauna chose an album cover. The only piece of inspiration fabric I had left was made into a shoulder wrap. The drapes themselves have faded.

Visualization – This exercise delves more into the art quilt arena.  You were to choose a moment, person, place etc. With that choice in mind, you are instructed to choose fabrics that remind you of that moment, person, or place.  I choose my trip to Jackson Hole. My husband and I took a snowmobile vacation to Yellowstone and Togwotee Pass. The close up is of the snow fabric. There are clocks for the time change, buffalo, cowboys, mountains, deer, and wood for the boardwalks in Jackson.  I took the upper corners off because I didn’t like the direction of the wood grain.  I have yet to fix this.  Now I have to find where I put them.

The Artist Eye – Based on a border fabric of your choosing, you create various nine patch blocks that are placed on point with one patch blocks.  I love the way this quilt looks.  But I have become an impatient quilter.  If I can’t chain piece a bunch of blocks all at once, I’m less likely to start, never mind completing, the quilt. For this quilt, you audition different fabrics to make many different nine patch blocks, which is a bit more tedious than the strip piecing method of making them.the-artists-eye

There are many books on color theory for quilters.  I found “Color From The Heart” a book for those who want to understand color choices within a quilt without all the technical color wheel theories.  While color theory is important, it is not the only way to choose fabrics and colors for a quilt.

If you find it difficult to choose fabrics, or even if you don’t, I challenge you to get this book and work through the exercises.  Work through it with a friend or two.  I found I got more out of it seeing Shauna’s choices and how they varied from mine.

Do you have this book?  Have you done any of the exercises?  How has it affected your color choices since?

E-mail me some of your work from the exercises.  I would love to see them.

C

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