Monday, December 30, 2013

New Hexie project(s)

 So, what happens when you order a five dollar template from Missouri Star Quilt Co?  Well, for one thing you make sure you check out their 'Daily Deal' .  I was surprised to see this charm pack for $1.88!!!  I loved the top print & for that price didn't even bother to look at the rest of the line. 

Well, I got my little hexie template and they tucked it inside the charm pack.  How cute!

Here are some of the rest of the charm pack prints. 

If I had any moolah left over from Christmas I would have gone right back and bought another two charm packs of this.   

I saw somewhere  a quilt done that placed the hexies in a way that they look like Chinese lanterns.
So I cut out the larger prints leaving the shorter sides at top and bottom.
I even am leving the pinked edges on the sides as it does look just like a paper lantern!
All I needed to add was the top & bottom.  
I know right??? How cute is that!   
So here is a not that great photo of my lanterns. 
Now what to do for the background.  I wanted them to swing gently in an arc but quickly dismissed that idea.  What I'm toying with is to inset some tiny piping that moves in arcs  under (and over) the lanterns instead.  Not sure yet.  But these colors are just luminous!

I thought I might take the other prints and create a background but realized quickly I was actually making two separate quilts.   

The photos below give you some idea of construction.   
I ran out of the dark grey material so I'll need to get more to complete the second half.
This was totally fun!
I was listening to my audible account to the Terry Pratchett novel 'Carpe Jugulum' and had a blast all weekend!

I'm glad I have a customer quilt to start to give my brain time to 'gel' these two projects for a bit & figure out what to do with them.  

Happy Sewing and
Happy New Year!  

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Stretching a bit

Every now and again I'm asked to make something in particular that I realize is outside my comfort zone.   I'm grateful for this!  Gives me a chance to stretch a bit. 

One of my friends Lynn Douglass was showing off her CatNip quilt to her friends at her modern quilt group.  No sooner did she text me how everyone loved it, than my notification on my phone went from my Etsy store that someone purchased two of them! 

Turns out that someone was Dede Bruington (co-owner of Picking Daisies Quilt Store) Lynn's friendship group meets there.  Dede wanted CatNip Quilts for her kitties Sally, her calico & Presley her 'monster Tuxie'. 

I mentioned to her that she could request custom colors if she liked and so she asked to have Miss Sally's quilt focus on red. And a Black and White one for Mr. Presley.  I said sure!  

Now,  I'm not into red, really...  So I pulled a collection I was going to use for Christmas potholders that I never got around to and used them. They weren't Christmas prints or anything but I loved the red polka dots/apples print! 
 It was fun to attempt the 'slab' foundation piecing I found in one my modern quilting books.  It looks deceptively easy and I quickly found out that while 'wonky' is fun to start, you need a wide variety of different sizes in order to get it big. Since I was actually cutting yardage I did end up converting it back to 'right' edges to make that easier given I only had 4 prints to choose from.  
I am happy with how it turned out.  The catnip was put on the backside of the batting so it wouldn't be visible under the white. 

I always enjoy putting their names on.  
Here's Miss Sally enjoying her quilt.

Next was Mr. Presley's.  His was really fun and easy as it allowed me to make a sort of prototype for a much larger quilt I was going to make and had already pulled all the materials for.   
 I knew right away this would be the perfect opportunity to test my design idea.  

I love black and white and wanted to experiment making smaller, random blocks and then putting them together without an overall repeating pattern. 

Here is Mr. Presley enjoying his CatNip quilt. 

I really like this look.  I may yet make that larger quilt! 

Happy Sewing!  

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Century Quilt

Recently I was commissioned to quilt a top that was 100 years old. 
The quilt top had been purchased on Ebay and the new owners had purchased the backing material and sent it along to me.  

I was amazed when I received it to discover it was all hand pieced.  I considered a long while before deciding that it would still be ok to machine quilt it. 

The materials in this top are very open weave and were rather difficult at first.  I went over the entire top with a fine tooth comb (expression, no actual comb was used)  and hand stitched all the places the seams had started (or continued) to come apart.  

While I did I had fun wondering what the original maker intended this for.  How did it come to be unfinished. It had all been sewn together including the borders.  

These are not my colors, nor type of design nor really anything else that appealed me which is fine given my only task was to simply get it finished.  

I didn't work alone as you can see;

I had my helpers: 

An invaluable tool for me on this quilt was my basting spray.  After I had hand stitched all the open seams I could find I really needed a way to stabilize it.  As much as I don't like (nor do I use this on anything any more) using this type of tool it really worked well on keeping the wavyness down on this top.  There were many squares that seemed to have stretched out completely next to their more stable row mates.  You can see some in the photo below.  

These are not my colors, nor type of design nor really anything else that appealed me which is fine given my only task was to simply get it finished.  

Then there was a lot of this type of piecing.  This is on the top, not underneath.  
You can see how beautifully the machine stitching is hidden on the side seams, it also gives you an idea of how large a weave the fabrics are. 

I decided to simply stitch in the ditch (to keep the cost down & do minimal machine work on it.  It really bothered me to put it under the machine given it had all been hand sewn.  Good thing that wasn't my call. In all fairness; the machine stitching will be what will probably preserve this quilt for many more years to come. 

My daughter loveed this quilt.  I stood there with the frowny face of 'really?' .  
I can see the allure now that it's all done.  It looked so very homey when I had it on my bed for final inspection, thread clipping & lint rollering.  Since the owners have a Century home they had purchased this quilt top to go with it.  Very nice.  I'd love to see the room/bed they put it in.  If I am given a photo to share I will. 

I would like to say that Aurifil; yet again, saved my bacon on this project.  Their 50w medium grey is truly invisible in this quilt letting the original design shine and yet keeping all those pesky fraying seams together.  I had to do some tricksy maneuvering on some of those seams and of course I needed a thread that could keep up with them and not break each time I needed to sew sideways a bit.   I bet the original quilt maker never anticipated her/his quilt would be completed with state-of-the-art; fine Italian thread!   

With all these threads to choose from; I went with what I knew wouldn't break, wouldn't be truly seen and what would preserve the integrity of the original design.
I even used it on the hand stitching I did in the repair work as well. 

seeing the fraying edges

Here's the backing material that was sent.  Thankfully there was enough for the binding as well.

These are all seams that are on top, not underneath.  

This one was a 1 1/2" by 2" rectangle inside a square.
I left all these original stitches in even after I did the hidden reseaming. 

I can say once it was all completed it weighs a lot! 
Very warm indeed.  For those of you wondering the batting was Warm & White. 
I was attaching the binding here.  Ollie only stayed for  a bit.  

All done & ready to ship back to it's owner 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Cat Quilt Revisited

I wanted to share this; when Trish sent me the photo of her finished bedroom, she said she 'finally got her quilt hung' .  I took that to mean the small prayer flag I had sent her.  But NO, she meant this one 
(these photos are of it on my Queen size bed)

 She and her husband care for 13 cats both in their home and the custom 'Catio' they built for them.  

So the flip side of her quilt has all 13 in effigy. 
All the materials are cat themed.  (with some blenders added)
Each block finished at  24" 

JUST LOOK WHAT SHE DID!!!!   I totally burst into tears when I saw this.
  (in fact; I'm still getting weepy)

I suppose it's a very good thing she has raised ceilings! I never put a rod pocket on it as it was intended for bed use but this clever girl did it herself & I am still overcome.  

So full of happy and gratitude.
Thanks for this special gift Trish.

PS. it was all pieced and quilted with Aurifil thread.
 Be on the lookout for my next post in which I share that the VOONDEBAR folks at Aurifil sent me some of their new linen thread to play with and one of the colors is ORANGE!!  How kewl!  *clappity clappity* I know just the quilt that needs to be finished using that fabulous color!   Can't wait! 
Happy Sewing!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Recycling for Pets

Has this ever happened to you? 
 You get a nice gift, say a wool scarf from England.
As the years go by it's worn a lot.  Then quite by mistake, someone who doesn't know that wool shouldn't go in the washing machine; 
does you a good deed and in the process ruins your beautiful wool scarf? 

So what do you do then? 

Well, after pricing cat toys for a gift exchange I'm in and realizing I couldn't get as many things as I wanted to put in the box if I were buying them all...
I realized I had all I needed to make something similar to the  coveted new online sensation 'the purple haze stick'.  
The makers combined valarien and catnip in one toy.  

After thinking myself how to make one I realized the key factor is not to encase the nip & valarien in cotton fabric but something like a double knit where kitties fangs & claws can really dig in and the (to the cats) heavenly scents can seep out.

Quite by chance I went into my coat closet to find a jacket to wear to go out to shopping in and found this scarf tucked up in a ball.  Perfect!  I felt bad using it in this way but it wasn't getting used for anything else and it seemed the perfect vehicle for what I wanted.  

Here's what I did

the scarf was already being perforated by moths. 
quickly overcame the cringing of cutting up something that was originally pricey I'm certain. 

I have Catnip and Valerian in my stash at all times!  
Perfect for CatNip quilts! 

Simply sewed up the bottom, side and stopped at the top with the fringe. 
Then turned inside out. 

Using a chop stick for the easy turn.

ready to fill!  I put Valerien at one end, added some filling (left over chair cushions) 

Valeiren is a very strong plant that induces calm usually.  It smells of a teenagers used shoes though; which is really the draw for cats I think.

whenever the nip comes out, there's always a quality control expert on the spot!

Lastly, stitch up the top.

So much for the Research and development phase! 

Now to testing...
Miss Jack says "you woke me for what?"

"OMCod!  gimme that!"

For her sensitive skin, it's best to have CatNip sealed inside. It's officially a hit with Miss Jack.

reminder, always use the right tool for the job! 

These two I finished after the prototype.  They are ready for gift giving! 

Everything was 100% recycled and that makes me happy!