Tag Archives: free motion quilting

Finish Along Q3 Goals – or, Living in La-La Land?

So, it appears that today is the last day to link up for the Q3 Finish Along, over at The Littlest Thistle.

I never quite got round to setting myself any goals for Q2, which is probably just as well as I’ve been so busy lately that I’m not entirely sure I actually managed to finish anything this past few months. I started a few projects, sure, but, well, they seem to have just been added to my ever-growing stack of Works In Progress rather than Beautifully Completed Creations. Oh well…

To be honest, I’m probably not going to achieve all that much this time around either. After all, it is the summer, and we have plans! Oh yeah, baby! Visits from my lovely niece, Miss B, and our Stateside friends Mr and Mrs S and their kids. A long weekend in Berlin. A trip back to the UK to see Mum and take in all 4 days of the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham with my friend Ms C. Days out locally, boat trips on the lake, picnics and barbecues. Not to mention a photography course I enrolled on to try and learn something about how to use my new-to-me camera. Phew!

But with about a bazillion projects on the go as usual, and an ever-growing stack of quilt tops waiting patiently to be quilted, I thought I’d link on up for Q3. Hopefully this will encourage me to get off my backside and actually finish something up over the summer.

Well, a girl can dream, can’t she?!

Dressmaking

Finish my Marfy Jacket…

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… which has been sitting in my sewing room ever since I got back from my couture sewing class in June. I’ve been finding the lining really tricky to put together, in particular attaching the sleeves to the lining body, as the silk is very slippery and there’s no ease in it at all. But it’s so beautiful, and I so want to see it finished and to wear it, that this is absolutely my number 1 goal for Q3!

Sundress

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Ha ha ha!!! Yes! This was on my list for Q1, and I never got round to it. But I still want to make a pretty sundress. I have the pattern, I’ve chosen the fabric and I’m all ready to go. But I’d better be quick about it or the summer will be over and I won’t get a chance to wear it…

Quilting

A while back, my friend Ms C decided that she wasn’t going to start on any new project until all her existing quilt tops were quilted. Now I have quite a stack of un-quilted tops awaiting my attention, and, what’s more, I really want to get better at free motion quilting, so I thought I would steal borrow her idea and focus on finishing things up for a change.

Well, this is a Finish Along, after all 🙂

Bear Paw Quilt

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I made this quilt top about 5 years ago, when I was still living in the US. It was a mystery quilt project at my local quilt store, and was intriguingly billed as a Trip to Alaska. All became clear when the top came together – a variation on the Bear Paw block in icy blues. The poor thing has been sitting forlornly in my cupboard ever since, waiting for quilting inspiration to strike.

Time to put it out of its misery, methinks.

Butterfly Quilt

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Another mystery quilt, this one, but much more recent.

This was the quilt I made at the latest Patchwork in the Peaks Quilt Retreat back in April. In the end I chose a butterfly print as my focus fabric, and I love how it turned out. I even know how I want to quilt it – with stipples and butterflies. I just haven’t got round to doing anything about it yet…

Solids Chevron Quilt

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I’ve become a little obsessed with solids recently. I obviously still love prints, but I’m intrigued about how using solids really focuses attention to the design and pattern of a quilt. I’ve also been wanting to make a chevron quilt for quite some time. So I combined my solids-obsession and chevron-desire and made this Solid Chevrons Quilt. And it’s big. Big enough for our super-king size bed.

All I need to do now is remove Mr. Boy from his new favourite spot before I can baste and quilt it 🙂

Craftsy BOTM Quilt 2012

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I signed up in 2012 for the free Craftsy Block of the Month programme, and made all 20 blocks – woohoo!

Then I signed up for Leah Day’s companion class on Free Motion Quilting a Sampler. I’ve watched all the lessons (several times!), and love the quilting designs she’s come up with for each of the blocks, but that’s as far as I’ve got. I really need to stop watching and get started quilting!

And finally…

Start Mum’s (long overdue) bed quilt

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Pattern chosen and fabric picked. Mum’s birthday in October. Or (perhaps more realistically) Christmas a few months after! Let’s get cutting!

So there you have it, a snapshot of what I’m hoping might get done over the summer. Is it realistic? Or am I living in La-La Land? Only time will tell, but I’m certainly going to enjoy getting to work on some of these babies!

Linking on up to the Finish Along – why not pop over and see other people’s plans for the summer?

Kaleidoscope Quilt

Well I never, another finish!

Actually, I finished this quilt ages ago, but never quite got round to taking any photos of it. But a timely reminder last week that the Q1 Finish-Along is about to, well, finish, reminded me that this had been on my To Do list. So I whipped out the camera, hopped onto the balcony, and got to it!

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I started this quilt back in September last year, when I took a class with Marti Michell at the Carrefour Européen du Patchwork in Ste Marie-aux-Mines. I’ve loved the look of the Kaleidoscope block for a long time, and the chance to take this class with such a well-known teacher, and in ENGLISH  too, was way too good to pass up. Now my French is certainly good enough that I can follow when I take classes here, but, well, they can be quite exhausting! I always have to concentrate really hard to make sure I’ve totally understood what I need to do, and then there’s all the having to translate cm into inches, which makes them somewhat challenging at times. A class in English for a change – well, hooray!

According to the pre-course information, highly contrasting colours work the best for this quilt. So I chose black and white, with a pop of yellow.

The quilt top itself was actually finished on the day of the class – which is an absolute first for me. I’m not a super-speedy quilter like my friends Ms JJ or Ms C, and I’m pretty much always one of the last people to finish any given project. But this time I was the first – probably because it was all in English!

Then I came home, and the quilt languished in the back of the cupboard while I tried to decide how to quilt it.

Back in January, I decided enough was enough, and added it to my list for the Q1 Finish Along and the projects I wanted to finish during my fabric fast. And I got stuck in. I started off quilting in the ditch around the distinct Kaleidoscope circles, hoping that this would make them stand out. But it didn’t have the effect I wanted. So I then quilted every seam in the ditch, thinking that this would show up the contrast between black and white.

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Now this worked a little better, but it still didn’t have the effect I was after. I wanted to highlight the circular nature of the Kaleidoscope. And given that the fabric had circular motifs and dots on it, I decided to try quilting some circles.

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The design then evolved to contain concentric and interlocking circles in the quilt centre, and overlapping circles in the outer border.

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Quilt top

 

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Border

It’s easier to see the quilting design from the back of the quilt – and yes, it really is that bright a yellow, one of the many perils of choosing fabric online…

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I finished the quilting back in January, and it was one of my first finishes of 2014. And I’m really pleased with it. It’s only quite small (measures 33″ x 33″) so it wasn’t too daunting to quilt. In fact, it was a great confidence boost for me, as I am always petrified that I’ll ruin my beautiful quilt tops with inexpert quilting or a badly chosen design. This time I just went with it, and let the quilting design evolve organically. And I think that it works. Maybe I should have more faith in myself!

So even though I’ve only just got around to sharing this quilt, I’m linking it up with the Q1 Finish Along Finish Party. Why not pop over and have a peep at some of the other beautiful finishes out there?

A lap quilt for Mum

For the longest time, Mum has wanted me to make her a quilt. And I was going to. Really I was. Then, just as I was about to cut up the fabric, I happened to ring her, and she just happened to mention she’d redecorated her bedroom, and all my carefully laid plans were scuppered.

Damn!

But  having got that far, the idea stuck. Mum deserved a quilt. I’d made one for Dad (out of desperation, when I had no clue what to get him for his birthday, and using the colours of our rugby team, Bath Rugby). I’d made one for my sister (for her 40th birthday). I’d made one for my niece, the beautiful Miss B. I’d made one for Mad Cousin Jude when she got married, and a baby quilt when she had little Jacob back in September. I’d made quilts for various friends, sundry babies, and several for myself, and yet no quilt for Mum. I felt like a terrible daughter.

And so, over Christmas, I hatched a plan.

I had a trip back to the UK booked for January, to spend a couple of days with Mum. A bed-sized quilt was out of the question in the time available, given my exhaustion following my pre-Christmas sewing frenzy. In any case I wanted to check out the new colour scheme in her bedroom before I made a decision about bed quilts. But, I wondered, could I make a lap quilt for her before my visit? Mum has a beautiful conservatory on the back of her house, and she loves to sit there and read in the morning, but in the winter it can be rather chilly first thing. A lap quilt would be ideal!

And sitting in my sewing room, in a box, all forlorn, were the remnants of the kitty camouflage quilt. This consisted of a stack of 9″ half square triangles, a tangle of unused jelly roll strips and a yard or so of border fabric that I’d decided not to use on the original quilt. All in warm colours that I knew Mum would love.

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So what to do with half square triangles? A pinwheel and hourglass quilt, of course! And because the triangles were already pieced and squared up, it went together really quickly.

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I pieced the backing from the leftover border fabric and some of the jelly roll strips, and I used more strips for the binding.

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I quilted a large circular flower motif in each of the 12 original pinwheel blocks…

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… and a smaller, travelling floral and leaf pattern in the centres of the secondary pinwheel and hourglass blocks.

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I finished the binding last Monday evening, the night before I went to visit Mum.

And so on Tuesday I arrived at Mum’s, and I gave her the quilt – happily, she loved it! As did her dogs, Barley and Anna (although fortunately their fur blends in reasonably well with the colours on the quilt…) It’s already installed in the conservatory and has already been put to use on chilly mornings.

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Quilt dimensions: 50″ x 66 1/2″ (127cm x 169cm)

Fabric for top and backing: Cinnamon Spice by Blackbird Designs for Moda Fabric

Batting: Quilters Dream Select Cotton

Thread – Isacord 0651 polyester

Anyway, I’ve now promised Mum a bed quilt before too long – to match her newly decorated bedroom, and to try and blend in with the fur of My Friend Samantha, her lovely, affectionate cat.

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Looks like it won’t be a white quilt then!

The Christmas Quilt

For the past few years I’ve been promising to make a special Christmas quilt for our bed. And the past few Christmasses have rolled round with no special quilt to be seen. Every year I truly believe that this will be the year that I finally do it. And every year it doesn’t happen. I could never find the right fabric or the right pattern, and anyway, life always just seemed to get in the way. Well, until now, that is!

For this year, in the space of just one week (the week before Christmas, to be precise!), I pieced and quilted this beautiful festive quilt, which has, since Christmas Eve, been gracing our bed (shown here, being modelled by Chief Quilt Tester No. 1 – Mr. Boy, before it even made it to the bedroom…)

Impressed? I certainly am!

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I’d been planning the quilt for a while. Back in the summer, I’d received ‘In from the Cold’ by Kate Spain as part of my monthly Jelly Roll club, and I immediately knew I wanted to use it to make my Christmas quilt! I loved the fresh colours and the cute prints, and decided that it would work perfectly with a pattern I’d had my eye on for a while – the Square in a Square quilt, from the Missouri Star Quilt Co. So I duly bought a matching charm pack, set aside some Moda Bella White from my stash, and put the lot in a drawer – after all, Christmas was ages away! Every so often I’d open the drawer, think about the quilt, and decide I still had plenty of time.

Fast forward to the weekend of 14th December. We’re back from NY. Cases are unpacked. All purchases have been put away. Washing machine and tumble drier on at full tilt. And thoughts start to turn to Christmas. And to the as-yet unstarted Christmas quilt. Ok, so a quilt for our king-size bed was looking to be a somewhat ambitious proposition, but I was sure a smaller quilt was feasible in the time available. So I decided to set to work.

By the Monday afternoon, when I rolled up to my quilt guild meeting, I had 42 partially completed blocks. The white 1 1/2″ sashing strips had been sewn around the charm squares and I busied myself with squaring up the blocks and cutting the strips required from my jelly roll whilst chatting away and catching up on all the news.

As usual, talk turned to what we were all working on, and when I said I was working on a Christmas quilt, a ripple of barely contained mirth spread through the room. The initial reaction was one of disbelief – nobody believed I could possibly finish the quilt before Christmas. A not entirely unfounded doubt, I have to admit! But being as stubborn as a donkey, I was determined to prove people wrong – and not only that, to make the quilt bed-sized if possible, just to prove to myself that I could do it.

So back home, work continued apace. To make it bed-sized, I would need to use a 7 x 6 block layout, with a 6 1/2″ border. I not only had no border fabric, but I also realised the inherent problem in using a jelly roll and a charm pack to create blocks is that there are 42 squares in a charm pack and 40 strips in a jelly roll. Which meant I was 2 strips short. Not to mention the border fabric I needed too…

A swift visit to the Fat Quarter Shop was very much in order! And 2 days later, after an enforced delay where no sewing was possible due to lack of fabric, a small package was handed over by my friendly UPS delivery man (God bless you, UPS!) – upon which sewing immediately recommenced!

So the weekend before Christmas was spent basting and marking the quilt top, before quilting the whole thing. Fortunately the 2 day sewing hiatus had been usefully spent deciding on a quilting design, which speeded the process up no end! I plumped for an idea from Angela Walters’ excellent book Free Motion Quilting. I stitched a poinsettia-like flower bang in the middle of the quilt top, and then quilted wavy lines radiating out from this, like sunrays. Simple, yet effective.

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Close-up of poinsettia motif in centre of quilt

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Radiating random wavy lines quilting seen on the back of the quilt

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Quilting close-up on quilt top

I finished stitching the binding on Christmas Eve…

And so, without further ado, here is the finished quilt in all her splendour, and adorning our bed in time for Christmas (just!)

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Phew!

So, to summarise:

Quilt dimensions: 83 1/2″ x 92 1/2″ (213cm x 235cm)

Fabric – In from the Cold by Kate Spain, Moda Bella white.

Backing –  Jubilee Grey Medallion Check by Bunny Hill for Moda – from my stash

Binding – some random mottled red fabric from my stash

Batting – Quilter’s Dream Cotton Select, bought from my lovely friend Elita at Busy Needle Quilting)

Thread – Aurifil 50 wt in 2280 (also courtesy of Elita)

I have to say I love the quilt, and I relished the challenge of making it in such a short time, but I don’t think I’ll be doing that again in a hurry.

Some nice leisurely mindless piecing is in order now, I feel! Watch this space…