Saturday, May 31, 2014

Tranquility is Done!

The label is on, the thread tails are tucked in and the binding is sewn and it is a good thing too because I wrote May 2014 on the label. I love, love this quilt. It is just so pretty and...tranquil. I really could stare into it for hours.

I made this quilt for my niece Amanda and it really was such a joy to work on - the colours and the fabrics are just beautiful. Amanda and her Mom went on a few shopping trips and picked out just the right fabrics for her quilt. Amanda provided 99.9% of the fabric and she chose such beautiful fabrics - I just added little bits and pieces from my stash.

I quilted it with a dark blue thread and used a pantograph called Alfresco. I love the way the dark thread looks on the front of the quilt and it matches the backing perfectly. You can really see the quilting design as well as the texture and it looks wonderful.

I bound it with the same fabric that was used for the backing. This quilt is absolutely huge and finished at 90" x 93". We, my husband and my son, did our best to take photos but it was just so big!

Amanda lives in Winnipeg so I won't be able to hand deliver the quilt to her. I will be visiting her Mom, Glenda, in the next few weeks so I will take it with me and the next time she visits her Mom she will be able to take it home with her. I know she is eagerly waiting to see her finished quilt and I can't wait for her to receive it!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


donation quilts for Rose of Sharon
Tonight I will be attending the last meeting of the season for the Region of York Quilters Guild. Man-o- man the time has just flown by! I have the two donation quilts bound and ready for delivery to the Outreach committee and I will be taking a salad for the potluck. I have my cheque ready to pay for next year's membership and I have the book I borrowed all ready to return. I think I have it all under control - famous last words!!

Daniel, Amanda, and Nick's quilts
I spent several hours in Toronto yesterday and I took my Mom and two of my sisters to the garden center and grocery shopping. My Mom really wanted to get a yellow rose bush and happily we were able to get her two. I took the latest three quilts with me to show my Mom even though they are not finished yet - I did have them trimmed though. Of course, she said she loved them...Moms are great that way!

When I got home I made the binding for all three quilts and so far this morning I cut a bunch of solid white squares to use as labels for these quilts. While I was at it I also cut a few extra for the next quilts coming up. Today I plan to sew the binding to front of the blue quilt 'Tranquility' and I will be working on stitching it to the back over the next couple days. All three of these quilts are huge.....I don't know what I was thinking!!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Tranquility is Quilted!

After all of the problems I had with the quilting on Nick's quilt I needed some Tranquility! Cheryl and I loaded the quilt on the frame on Saturday morning and started to quilt it. I had changed the thread to a dark blue for this quilt and almost immediately my thread started breaking again. You should have heard us and seen the looks on our faces!! I had thought that the thread breakage problem was due to a defect in the thread I had been using because I tried everything I could think of to fix the problem. Obviously, I was wrong unless the thread problem was contagious!!

So, when all else fails, dig out the manual. Sure wish I had done that sooner....

After looking at the manual and my machine I thought I could potentially have a burr or nick on the needle plate so I removed it and had my husband polish it. While he was doing that I read a little further in the manual and realized that I could have a burr or scratches on the hook. Guess what....that was what my problem was. So I took a bit of very fine sand paper and followed the instructions in the manual and it worked perfectly!

Quilting Tranquility became tranquil and all was well in my studio. I got it almost all done by the time my sister had to go home. She really wanted to stay and see it finished but I was so tired that I just could not quilt any more.

I finished the quilting Sunday morning and I am thrilled with the way it looks. I wish I could take photos that really show how wonderful it is.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Another off the Frame

I love the old fashioned look!
My sister arrived safely and we got this quilt set up on the frame and picked a panto and away we went...until trouble started that is!!!!
I honestly can't remember how long it took to quilt this baby. Maybe it should be that way - you know - like giving birth.

I think we had it loaded on the frame and ready to go at around noon or maybe a bit later and it didn't get finished until around 10 pm. Cheryl and I were delirious by the time we were finished and a wee bit cranky.

Things were going quite well and I was really happy with the way things were looking even though the panto I chose was a bit difficult for me. It is a star burst design and has many very straight lines ending with sharp points. Lets just say the points on my start bursts are dull and the lines are not so straight. I was going to have another quilt with a 'charming' quilt design and I really liked it.

The trouble started when my thread broke, and broke again, and again, and again and..... I tried everything I could think of that would stop the upper thread from breaking. I adjusted the tension multiple times, I changed the needle, I adjusted my quilting speed, I rethreaded the machine and I did these things multiple times but my thread kept breaking. All I could do was to keep going.

On top of the thread breaking issues, I realized that my batting was too short. How could that be?? I thought I measured carefully but it appears that I came up a few inches too short. As I was fixing the batting I realized that the end of the backing was coming up very close to the end of the top and I could only hope that I would not run out of backing before the quilt top was done. Thankfully, that worked out and I had just about an 1" of backing to spare. Talk about cutting it close!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Fresh off the Frame

Fresh off the frame!
I am so excited....I just finished quilting my nephew Daniel's quilt. I wasn't able to get a good photo of it so this will have to do for now. I used a new-to-me pantograph and it was a bit of a challenge dealing with the larger curved areas but I did it and it is done. I think I would prefer this quilting design in a smaller scale. Tomorrow I will trim it and I will use some of the trimmings from the backing to make the binding - waste not want not!

As I was quilting it I was thinking that I was missing my partner in crime quilting and when I spoke to my sister Cheryl earlier this evening I mentioned that I was quilting and that I wished she was here. So...she has decided to come visit with me tomorrow and we will work on getting at least one more quilt quilted but I am hoping for two. :)

I am making headway on my goal to get things finished and moved on. I have been itching to continue with my Midget blocks and my Dear Jane blocks but they will have to wait a little longer.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Backing Day

The top backing still requires a bit more work - it's for my Celtic Solstice quilt.
Yesterday was supposed to be the day I had planned as a 'backing making day' and I intended to make four backings. Things don't always work out as planned and that can be such a good thing because I had a most welcome interruption. My eldest son, Adam, had come home the previous evening for an overnight visit. He needed to take care of some business in our town and then he headed off back home in the early afternoon. We had a very nice visit!

Making backings is not my 'most' favourite part of quilting but it certainly is necessary. I got the backing for Daniel's quilt completely finished and the backing for Nick's quilt was well underway. I also got the third one, for Celtic Solstice, almost finished but I didn't have quite enough of the fabric that I wanted to use as the backing. Thankfully, my sister Cheryl just happens to have a piece that I can get from her. All I will need to do is prep the last piece and sew it to the section I have completed and then it will be done as well.

This morning I finished up the backing for Nick's quilt and the backing for my niece Amanda's quilt. Three of these quilt tops are quite large, with Celtic Solstice being the exception, and it took a bit of finagling to make the backings - they were all wider than two widths of fabric and that increased the challenge for me. Does it ever feel good to have those backings made and that chore behind me!

Watch out I come. You are definitely going to get another workout!!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Three Quilts-a-Quilted!

donation quilt - quilted with loopy-loops
I just may be on a roll because I got three quilts quilted over the past couple days. I do have a deadline to have two of these quilts finished for the York Guild. They are both donation quilts for the Rose of Sharon and I made one at a Sew'n Social with the Guild and the second one was made by another lady and I offered to do the quilting.

The quilt I made was quilted with a free-hand loopy loop - I just love that design - it is just so uncomplicated and fun.

On the second quilt I made another attempt at free-hand flowers but they are still as ugly as ever. I think that once it is washed many of my boo-boos will not be quite so noticeable. In the meantime, we will just say that the quilting is 'charming'!
donation quilt - quilted with flowers
back of donation quilt

Tonight, I will be spending time on the couch sewing on the bindings for both quilts. They are only 36" square so I think it just may be possible to get them both finished over the next day or two.

Kathy from Kathy's Quilts is hosting 'Slow Sunday Stitching' today - pop on over to check out the links!

Cheryl's quilt

Cheryl's quilt 
back of Cheryl's quilt
Before I quilted the donation quilt with the free-hand flowers I practiced on a quilt top made by my sister. Her quilt is really quite cute and I am glad that she allowed me to practice my quilting on it. It was only the second time that I have tried to do the flower motif and I am finding it to be quite challenging! I don't know who she is planning on giving this quilt may be a donation quilt.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Making Slow but Steady Progress

Daniel's flimsy
Sometimes, I think I have the attention span of a gnat and sometimes even less! But....I did get the borders on both quilts I blogged about the other day. Daniel's quilt top is quite large -  86" x 96" and I could barely fit it on my hall design floor. This quilt has five borders and it did take me a bit more time to finish than I thought it would but it turned out so nice!!

Celtic Solstice flimsy
I also got my Celtic Solstice to the flimsy stage with a bit of aggravation and fudging. For some reason, and I should know better, I cut the neutral inner border according to the instructions instead of cutting it to fit 'my' pieced border and of course it didn't fit properly. I must have used a bit larger seam allowance when piecing the border because they ended up a bit small. I didn't want to remove and recut the inner border so I did what I hoped would work. I had a few extra triangle in a square pieces leftover so I used them to make each section of the pieced border a bit larger. Of course, that made each border about an inch or so too large for the quilt top so I just trimmed some of pieces by a quarter inch and stitched it all back together. I don't think you can tell that some of the pieces were 'modified'.

In the photo it looks like the outer border is a solid green but in fact it does have a small print and looks really good.

Now....just to stay focused enough to get some backings made. I do have to wash some of the backing fabric first, but more importantly, I also need to get two very small baby quilts quilted and finished for my next guild meeting. I think I will have to move those up the priority list before I can get to those backings.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Making Borders

Celtic Solstice pieced border
I really, really need to finish off some quilts that I have in progress and I am determined to move forward and get them done and handed off to the intended recipients.
Daniel's pieced border

One of the quilts that I am trying to move along is my Celtic Solstice quilt.  I got a bit held up with it because I don't particularly care for square quilts but I think I have come to terms with it and I am going to finish it according to Bonnie Hunter's plan. I am also trying to finish the current quilt I am making for my nephew Daniel. I am at the border stage for both quilts and have finished making the pieced borders for both and I am so close to finishing. I have been really good with Daniel's quilt and have been working on it quite regularly and I am happy about that. There was a time when I used to work on only one or two quilts at a time until they were finished and I need to get back to my roots.

Today, I plan on getting both of these quilts finished to the flimsy stage...and dare I get the backings made so that I can move on to the quilting.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Quilting For Cheryl

Just off the frame - oh so pretty!
My sister Cheryl came to visit me for two reasons on Monday. The first reason was so that I could do the quilting on this bright and beautiful quilt that she will be gifting to our young niece - Alyssa. It turned out just gorgeous!! Cheryl chose a panto that was challenging and beautiful. This quilt is only around 65" x 74" and the quilting time alone was at least four hours. We had it all loaded and ready to go by 6 pm and I didn't finish quilting it until 11 pm but that included a small break too. It really turned out so pretty - my sister did such a great job and I think our niece is going to just love it!
Roughly trimmed and ready for Cheryl to add the finishing touches.
The other reason Cheryl came to visit was because our Aunt Iris Morgan had passed away in Tillsonburg on April 21 and we attended the memorial service in Lynedoch on April 28. Iris was a very talented and well known quilter and always won many ribbons for the quilts she entered into local fairs and shows. I had previously written a bit about her here. As a quilter, she will be missed but always remembered because her son passed on some of her quilting supplies and fabric to Cheryl and I.

While Cheryl was visiting we spent some time going through the boxes and thinking about Iris and what her plans had been for different items. There is one particular quilt that I do plan to finish for her but I will talk more about that a bit later.

Every time we use something that belonged to Iris...a pair of scissors...or some fabric she will always come to mind and we will pause for a moment to think about her.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Daniel's Quilt

Just about a month ago I started a new quilt that I will be giving to my nephew Daniel. I am really quite happy with the way it is coming along. I finished sewing the center portion together today and I took a quick photo of it laying on my hall floor.

At this point, the center is about 68" x 76" but I will be adding a few borders and it will make it large enough for a double/queen sized bed. I have the borders all planned out and did a little mock up in EQ7 and I like what I see. Of course, my design and the finished quilt will not be exactly the same because the fabrics used in the quilt will be quite different from the ones I used from the EQ7 library.

All of the green 4 patches in this quilt use scrappy green and neutral squares that I have collected in my scrap bins. That makes it a perfect project to work on for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge because the colour for May is green. Yaaayyy....I will have something to link up with! For now, I need to continue sewing my green/neutral 4 patches for the border and then once I think I have enough then I will cut the fabric for the first two inner borders to fit.