Saturday, August 15, 2015

Nesting Robin Clue 2

Things have been very busy for me lately. I have had house guests and some job training that have kept me away from projects. I have been working on my forever handquilting project though and making great progress on that.

In any case the clue for August is to use triangles. for your nesting robin. The challenge this month is to put it on point with big triangles. If you do not want it to be on point when finished you can always do the on point treatment again to bring it back to the original orientation and still get that nice movement of the on point setting. You can make your triangles any way you like, you can piece the on point setting or just make a border or components using triangles in any way you choose.

I have used the on point setting for my nesting robin and as you can see in the upper right there is the beginnings of applique. Next month you will see what the design looks like.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Schlep Bag

I finished another UFO today. It is a Schlep Bag. These were all the rage a few years ago. I still see variations of them where people have made more squares and call it something else. This is from the original free pattern I found years ago online.   I started this project as something to work on at the retreat I attended in Phoenix last February. I cut big squares and quilted each one differently on my longarm. I thought there was a quilted handle too but I guess that did not get done at the time. The square units were cut to 6 1/2 and sewn together. The bag is a great size for putting a carry along project in or some clothes for the weekend or whatever. I was cleaning up my sewing room and found this with a stack of fabrics and decided instead of putting it somewhere I would just finish it.

 Last night I started a new quick quilt project. These are half square triangles cut from 7" squares. Hopefully I can get this top sewn up sometime next week as I will not have time to sew it together this week. It will make a nice sized lap quilt and I used about 2.75 yards of fabric. So with the backing and binding this should bust about 7 yards of stash.

 When I tried to take a photo of this the top few fabrics flew off and I had to run downstairs and go out into the yard to retrieve them. It is a cloudy afternoon with brooding storm clouds that did dump some rain but not as much as we have gotten in the past few storms.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Focus Is Now A Finished Top

 I got a very late start on my first go round of the Nesting Robin. I began with one block and could not find inspiration. One day I was just messing around with scraps and such and made the word Focus. I just kept going with it as my Nesting Robin. I have started the second go round and this was not finished. Yesterday I was determined to remedy that so I put the parts back up on the design wall and began piecing together the puzzle. This is how it finally ended up.  This was just a fun project not a work of art. It will hang in my sewing area as a reminder to keep on track with one piece and see it thru. Now I just need to quilt and bind this. There is not enough of the dark blue for binding so I will have to make a decision on that when I get to that step.

It is another beautiful day in New Mexico. We have been getting lots of rains in the evenings and it is about as green as I have ever seen it here.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Nesting Robin July 2015-Dec 2015 Clue #1

I left my blocks up on the design wall and went and looked at them a few times. I had some ideas for some of them but those will be for another project for another day. You can see in the photo below the second row down the second from the left is the lucky block chosen for my Nesting Robin. I made this as a test block for a Dear Jane swap I did about a decade ago. We used Civil War reproduction fabrics and made a group of 9" blocks. I do not remember the name of the block or the fabric I used for the swap but this is my test block. I used fabrics that were in my stash that made be happy. The block came out nicely and went together quickly the test block had served its purpose so ended up being put aside................until now.

I chose this block because I love the bright vibrant colors. I also like the sense of movement the block had by appearing to be on point when it was not.  I decided to proceed with clue one and washed two new one yard cuts of  rust colored fabrics. While those were in the wash I was cleaning up some things in the sewing room and I came across the strips below that I had made at the retreat I attended two years ago. They were sashing for another quilt and I made too many. They too have been hanging around with no real purpose. On a whim I placed them around my block and played with the right colors.

Humm..................not at all what I had envisioned but a win because they were already made and they look pretty nice. The colors do not match perfectly with what is there but as the quilt grows it will all balance out. Now the fledgling quilt has been started and awaits the next clue!

I hope those of you that are participating are enjoying figuring out your beginning and coming up with a plan to work on the first clue. Don't forget to share your progress.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Nesting Robin July 2015 thru December 2015

What do the blocks in the photo have in common?

Well it is not really a trick question because they are all made of fabric and that is about it. As quilt blocks they really do not have much in common. Some are from swaps and are left over blocks. Some were made by me out of "junk" fabrics to try out blocks before I cut into my "good" fabric. There is one vintage block in the lower right. The big yellow star in the center was made because I was sending off three blocks for comfort quilts and I made one to keep as a reminder of my dear friend who had passed away. The one in the upper right was all hand pieced and has a few faded spots.

Ok so what is the point here. This is a group of Orphan blocks. They are not part of a bigger group of blocks for a quilt...................but each could become part of a new project. I am inviting you to participate in a Nesting Robin with me.

So what is a Nesting Robin? Well it is not a round robin where you send away a block to someone and they add something and send it to the next person who adds something and so forth till you get it back. Nope this is a Nesting Robin in that you will be doing all the work on yourself as the block stays in the Nest.........or with you. This means that you get to make all the decisions on what happens to it and you can follow the rules as you want to interrupt them.

This will be done with a series of "clues". Each month I will tell you what to add next. You will get to decide how to use that clue. If you just do not like my clue then do something you want that month. In the end you will have five borders, rows, or components to put together. Note that you do not need to do borders (or if you do borders they do not have to go all the way around.

If this sounds like fun there is a flicker page that was made for the last go round of this. Those that were working on the Nesting Robin posted a photo of the beginning block or components and then each addition. If you would like to add your photos to that page let me know and I will send you information on it. Please send me e-mail thru my blog with Nesting Robin July 2015 in the subject line and I will tell you how to proceed with the flicker page.

I will post the first clue here: Choose a block, a row of blocks, a panel or whatever you will start with and add something that is with pieces that are longer than they are wide. In addition as an extra challenge use at least one color that is not in your block.

The next clue will be published the second week of August.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Scrappy Trips Around The World

 My Scrappy Trips Around the World has been finished for a couple of weeks and I have been enjoying having it on my bed. It just makes me happy to look at it as I love green and purple. This took longer to make than I had planned but finally with lots of work I get to reap the rewards. The project was about using fabric I do not really care for but in the end I LOVE the finished quilt. It has fabric in it from when I first took up quilting in 1984. The pattern is Bonnie Hunters and can be found on her Quiltville site HERE Bonnie is right that this pattern will look good in ANY fabric...........and my quilt is living proof. The quilt measures about 100" square.

 I have taken to piecing backs for my quilts. The back of this was all about using more "ugly" fabrics as well as scrap strips. The green was a thrift store sheet that was not large enough. No problem: I just cut it into parts and inserted pieces to make it large enough. Some of my AZ retreat friends might recognize that fabric in the close up below on the top right of the large green..........yep that will all be used up some day but not in this quilt...........I did go thru a 1/4 yard though.

 Here is a close up of the back above showing the allover feather meander that I love to do. It gives a beautiful flowing design to quilt and looks good on almost everything.

The allover feather meander can be done in any size and baisicly is a stipple for the spine and then a feather is built around it. The photo above gives some guidelines for using a longarm but you can sure do this on a sit down machine as well and not have to worry about the long line so much.
The photo below shows the feather..............any type of feather will work as will leaves or other stuff.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Quilt The Living Daylight Out Of It!

 Sometimes the only option is quilting the living daylights out of a quilt. This a the quilt hanging down off the longarm. As can be seen, it is not flat. Nope! Those wedding ring circles would really lay flat over a basketball..................ok instead of running screaming from the room I just continued to sew around the outside of the big circles all that way down the quilt. I pulled and tugged, pinned and patted to get at least that part flat. Ok after TEN hours of that I am finally done! Now to tackle the center of those larger parts.......................they are seriously puffy, well some of them are. The top part of the quilt really was not as bad as this part. So deep breath................I had to modify my lovely plan for quilting this and will file it away for another wedding ring quilt in the future.

 Yep look at those bad boys puff and pucker!

 Close up...................yikes!!!!!! So I decided to start in the very center and do some dense pebbles which if I have to pick out later because it did not work would be really painful. The pebbles helped, ok maybe there is hope. Deep breath and I did the outline of the petals of the flowers............helped a little more. Then I added the lines in the pedals and did outline around the outside. Finally I did the corners with some kind of random swirly lines and actually ended up with a flat design. There were a couple of puckers in this one and that was unavoidable so they will just stay there like they are.

 Here are a row of flowers and they are not bad. So there is hope for this to be really pretty.
 Here is a slick trick: I put cans around the block during quilting and this pulls on the fabric and helps with getting it to ease out some of that puckering. I am now up to 10 of these flowers and they are looking pretty good.

The backstory behind this quilt is that the customer passed away and I kept putting off the quilting. She was 95 when she gave this to me to quilt and she passed away shortly after that. She said this quilt was an experiment and she hoped I would be able to quilt it........she knew it had problems. When I am finished I will contact her family so they can get this back and hopefully have a nice heirloom. I really think once it is all done it will be a very pretty quilt. 

The lady that pieced this made really beautiful cutting edge modern pictorial quilts that I quilted for her. For some in their 90's she was a VERY young spirit!!!!!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

How To Quilt A Man Quilt

Women like all sorts of flowey fussy designs. Men not so much. Trying to come up with a masculine design for a quilt took a bit of thinking. I wanted clean crisp lines. My friend Mel asked for leaves as the recipient of the quilts loves the outdoors. I finally came up with the plan of the oak leaves in the brown squares, and the acorns in the blue squares. Everything else is just straight line ruler work. This only looks simple to do. It really took quite some time to do all the stitching in the ditch and get all the ruler work done.

 Closer view of more detail.

 There is a sheet under there to protect it from the ground and I guess it is peeking out of the lower right.
 Detail of the quilting.

Closer yet.

If you would like me to quilt for you please contact me thru my e-mail.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Fiber Arts Fiesta 2015

 I was very thrilled to win a ribbon at Fiber Arts Fiesta with my Improv piece which I have not named Echos of Spring. I attended the Fiesta yesterday and saw some beautiful things in all the categories. I wish I had taken more photos but then I would have spent my time on that and not enjoying the sights, products and friends I ran into. I really enjoyed a variety of things. I test ran a sit down Phaff quilting machine.................I just loved it and could see using something like that for smaller quilts. I also test drove the Innova Longarm which I really like. My favorite thing was the Brother Scan n Cut. I think I am going to save up a bit and buy it. I was so impressed with what it can do. I also bought a stuffed dragon pattern and am looking forward to making one or three of them.Here are a few other quilts from the show:


Monday, May 4, 2015

Going Crazy

 I have been taking an online crazy quilt class taught by Kathy Shaw HERE. She does an amazing job with her lessons. Her instructions are awesome and the best part................she does these for free. I have done my share of crazy quilting before but I learned so much that my time was very well spent doing this beginner class. I would recommend her classes to anyone that would like to try this form of needlework, or those that want to hone their skills. Above is my finished class project.

 This is the bottom half. I learned how to do quite a few different ribbon techniques. I love the spider web roses and the irises were really fun as well.

There were lots of great techniques to embellish the seams. My favorite is the row of hydrangeas along the top right. I just love the look of those.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Focus - Round 6

I am finally caught up with my Nesting that is such a good feeling. The next clue will be revealed next Thursday so this can rest till then. The clue for April was to "repeat". My repeat is more flying geese. This time around the little landscape. They are half scale to the ones around the word, so only 1 inch by 1/2 inch. They are indeed tiny and took just as long to make as their larger version. I love the precision of paper piecing but do not really enjoy the process, especially pulling off the paper at the end.
 Here are all the components of the the quilt so far. There are two more rounds so there will not be much more added but I am coming up with a few things. I am not really pleased at how the current layout looks so I am considering some options. This is where I really need to make a makeshift design wall so I can see what this looks like every day for a few days and just play with it.

Here is a close up of the cone flower and the miniature flying geese.

Now that this is caught up I need to focus on some projects for a few challenges. This quilt has really pushed me back into daily working so I am now focused and rearing to go with the first challenge that I designed a few months ago. I just need to take the design and make it into a finished quilt. The design is really a huge step in the process so now to just do the work.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Focus - Round 5

 Round 5 for the Nesting Robin says "If it has a name, it's fair game". My named blocks are pinwheels. I made 6 of them in a 4 inch size. I have not sewn them together because I want to keep my options open for placement. I also added the cone flower to the landscape.

 The making of the cone flower started with auditioning of fabrics. I wanted to to stand out from the rest of the block so I used more red/purple to contrast to the blue/purple mountains in the background.  Then I assigned each flower part a number and traced these on the mat side of freezer paper. I pressed these to the right side of the fabric and used a white clover pencil to mark around the outside of the freezer paper and then cut out each part.

I also made a freezer paper template of the complete flower to use for placement. I pressed this to the fabric where I wanted the flower and marked around the outside with the white clover pencil. You can see all the flower parts ready to go.
I pulled all the freezer paper off and carefully pinned each part where it needed to go. I then began with the petals and used the same technique I did with the bird which was to pin the adjoining part out of the way so I could applique around the shape.

When I got to the top of the flower I decided that since there were so many seams underneath that I would stuff it so it would look nice after the piece is quilted. I appliqued the around both sides and the top and then stuffed some poly fibers inside and appliqued the bottom. I am really happy with how that turned out. I did not take a close up of the finished flower but will once I do a final photoshoot of the finished quilt.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Focus - Round 4

 The fourth round for the Nesting Robin says to add something with here are some mountains and hills. This is a miniature landscape that will finish around 5 x 15 inches. There will be a flower appliqued to the bottom left corner. The flower can be seen in the sketch at the bottom of this post.

 I am now thinking about putting the two new elements on top of the main part but still not sure.

Making this little landscape was quick and fun. The curves are not so tight that they have to be appliqued on, but can be machine pieced using a technique by Ruth McDowell I learned years ago. I love to use this technique because it is faster to sew on the machine and is really accurate. I made the sketch to scale and then numbered the parts. Next I drew the mirror image on the dull side of freezer paper. I cut apart the freezer paper into the pieces and pressed them with a hot iron to the back side of the fabric. I cut them out with a 1/4 seam allowance (this is just eyeballed). Then I marked around the outside of each template and included the little registration marks. Next was figuring out what order to sew them together. I added template 3 and 5 to 7. Then added 2 to 4. Then I attached the 2/4 unit to the top unit. Next I added 1 and last 6. You can see the little flower in the sketch.............that will be done by needle turn applique at a later time.