Sunday, September 19, 2010

Enjoying the Process: Small Table, Big Quilt

Inspired by so many blogs I visit, I bought a new camera and am taking the time to take photos as I work, rather than posting finished projects and telling you about them.

The first project was the quilting of my brother's wedding quilt. This was a slightly larger than queen-size top, made 96" square to have enough drop for a large mattress. I have a cutting table but it's set up in my bedroom/office/studio where I can only raise one leaf. It's crammed in tightly enough that moving it to a larger area is a nuisance. So, I pin-baste my quilts on the tiny, cherry kitchen table using Sharon Schamber's board method.

Now, Sharon says to be sure that your boards are 10" longer than your quilt back, and I learned why. The ends beyond the board don't roll properly, and I ended up with a ginormous fold in the center of the back. I had to unpin 1/3 of the quilt and re-baste! (And as I'm typing this with Sharon's video playing in the background, I hear Sharon saying she will never use safety pins...hmm. Maybe I'll try thread basting on the next quilt.)

 I found that using the shorter boards allowed me to baste the center of the quilt properly. Next time I'll bast the center then turn the sandwich when done and baste the sides using the weight of the quilt to help stretch. We'll see how that works!

So nice to see no folds on the back after pinning!

 I decided to quilt the white areas with white thread and the blue with blue, using a meandering vine with heart shape leaves. If you click on the photo, you can see the hearts. I love my new camera!

 My green cheek conure gets lonely in the bedroom when I'm in the front of the house, so he and his cage come out to watch me work. I imagine the quilt would have taken a few hours less time if I hadn't gotten distracted with the camera. Say hello, Jasper!

As I quilt, I smoosh and stash the quilt sandwich around on the table, my lap, my shoulder, to keep the weight off the section I am working on. As this shot shows, this quilt dwarfed my little table. But with the Juki's longer neck it's easy for me to work in quarters and keep the stitching even.

I didn't get a photo of the finished quilt as it would have been the same as this one of the top - it's taller than my walls so I can't get the whole thing in one shot. The pattern is Past and Present from Scrap Basket Surprises by Kim Brackett. Since my brother just married a woman he dated in high school, I thought the name was perfect!

Now it's time to get back to the other blue wedding quilt:
Judy Neimeyer's Wedding star, which is now a "several months past the first anniversary" quilt for my daughter and her husband!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Happy Little Quilt

If you've ever participated in a round robin, you know sometimes the resulting quilt knocks your socks off. And other times, not so. This is the story of a not so.

I mailed out the center paper-pieced flower and green surrounding border. I knew not all the gals in my group could paper-piece and that was fine. But I was left a little flat by the solid-color borders that came back to me. I figured it'd be a great foundation for some pretty applique and put it in the UFO pile. Where it sat. And sat.

As I prepared to move earlier this year, my quilty friend Becky in Oregon volunteered to finish a UFO for me and mail it back when I was settled in the new place. I decided to send her the  robin, but told her she could make a charity quilt from it or keep it herself.

Dumb move! She just shared a photos of my sad little quilt.

Can't you just see it smiling? Becky added the braided border and final border, the the iris, butterflies and moths. She used patterns from various sources. In the quilt she added both our names as creators.

Not surprisingly, she's keeping the quilt, and will make a charity quilt in my name. I knew from block swaps that Becky is awesome at applique, and this only proves it.

I'm sharing this as inspiration for your UFOs that no longer wow you. No, you can't all send them to Becky, but maybe you can swap with a friend, or organize a swap in your guild. Many quilters enjoy finishing someone else's project.

Or, pin up what you've got to work with and look at it with a fresh eye. Would a fancy border add some excitement? Some applique or other embellishment? Sure, we can hurry and finish them and send hem off to a charity, but I wonder if the sentiment might stay with the quilt. Wouldn't you rather send a happy quilt?