Saturday, May 16, 2015

Progress on Ellie

I have finished Ellie and stitched her down. I added the sun, but still need to adhere it with stitching. The fabrics on either side are being auditioned for borders. I have also made a small utility baby quilt and three burp cloths for a little girl. They are the best kind - shopped totally from my stash from fabric to batting to backing to thread. The new baby is also getting a "good" quilt in the mother's choice of colors, but it felt good to whip out this little freebie. The fabrics have been hanging around in the closet since I made the last flannel baby quilt - over ten years ago!

The idea is for this quilt to be tucked into the diaper bag or used in the car. I always shudder when I see those fold down baby changing tables in restrooms. Does anyone ever clean those things? The mother will always have this quilt handy to put down on the changing table and it can be washed and washed without worrying about it.

Monday, May 4, 2015


I took a workshop this weekend at a local quilt store. It's "Ellie" from BJ Designs. I had tried the project on my own and after wasting a lot of fabric and not liking the results, figured I could use some help. The teacher was excellent and she swooned when I rolled in with a ginormous bin of Kaffe Fassett fabrics. She said she hadn't seen this wide a selection even at a quilt store. I have been collecting his fabrics for years, picking up pieces everywhere I go. So, yes, I have a lot of Kaffe fabrics.

The instructor asked us to use Floriana Appli-Kay Wonder fusible web. As far as I am concerned, the jury is still out on this product. You have to use more heat than with other fusibles - at least 7 seconds to get the first bond. Then you can peel off the paper backing and it is tacky, allowing you to place and remove the piece until you are satisfied with the results. I have experienced the fusible sticking to the stabilizer, however, and the fabric coming away from both adhesive and stabilizer if I left the piece too long before trying to move it. So I have been pinning it in place until I am sure it is the piece I want to use. At $9.00 per yard, it is more expensive than any other fusible I have tried and I expected better performance from it. One nice thing about the Appli-Kay Wonder is the sturdiness of the paper backing which makes handling the fused fabric very easy to handle and cut out.

Once I am satisfied with the fabrics and placement, the pieces are permanently fused into place. A satin stitch is used to outline all the interior seams. The stabilizer, which has no fusible on the back, is then trimmed away from the finished elephant and the entire appliqued piece is glue basted onto the backing fabric. Finally, the outer edges are satin stitched to finish the edges.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Applique Idea

After hanging on the design wall forever, I have finally gotten off my duff and come up with an applique idea for "Two of  Us", the 2013 BOM from The colors aren't real accurate here. The greens are really pretty lime green and the oranges are all orange, not yellow as some appear in the photo. I didn't care for the flower pot applique that is in the original pattern. I decided on an applique from the Rose of Sharon contest and book of the same name by Sharon Pederson. I increased the size of the applique a bit so that it filled the open area better.

I lost my mind somewhere along the way dealing with the fusible web. I don't like Steam-a-Seam because I can never figure out which paper side to draw on. The instructions indicate to draw on the side that comes off easiest. My past experience with this product was a nightmare. I finally realized, by placing an X on the side I drew on, that the paper does not come off consistently on either side. Halfway through a sheet of the stuff, the paper on the opposite side began to fall off. After reading Pam Holland's blog (she is rendering the entire Bayeux tapestry in applique using this product), I realized that the manufacture had stopped making the product for an extended period due to problems with the product. Whew!

So, back to the old tried and true Pellon Wonder Under. Another problem reared its ugly head. The fusible falls off the paper rendering it unusable. Some salesperson told me that happens if the product is old. Really? So you buy several yards of the stuff to have on hand as you work through a project. Then you put the project away for a few months and when you go back to it, the product is coming apart. It's inexpensive enough that it's not a big financial loss. Just a big headache at 10:00 p.m. when the stores are closed and you are trying to make it work. Grrr.

I am going to try a brand new (to me) product - Floriana Appli-Kay Wonder Fusible Webbing. Alex Anderson has been touting Floriana products recently. I bought a roll (18" X 3 yds.) for a workshop I will be taking next weekend. Since I won't need all three yards for that project, I am going to try it out today and see how it works. At $27.99 for the roll, it's not cheap. But if it works well, it will be worth the price.

By the way, my Chinese fortune cookie yielded the following "fortune" last night: "The item you lost will be found tomorrow." What a relief. I guess the mind I lost yesterday will return to me today.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Bunnies for Easter

Dinner is at my daughter's house today. I am only bringing the dessert. A coconut covered rich yellow cake decorated with Peeps and chocolate Easter eggs.

I am going to carve out a bit of time today for some work on my rail fence blocks from Cultural Fusion. Also a bit of cleanup in the sewing room is in order. I have been avoiding sewing the past couple of days due to the mess. Enough already. next up - vacuuming.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Hexie Madness

Some time ago I blogged about a new hexie project. I have been working on it fairly steadily as an evening in-front-of-the-television project. I finished making all the colored diamond lozenges some time back and have been assembling them into rows. Three of the longest rows in the quilt are completely sewn together; a fourth is in progress. I thought maybe it would be interesting to throw it up on the design wall and take a photo.

I see I should have done this earlier as there are definitely things I would have moved around. But, it is what it is. Another lesson learned is that the black on white prints used in the sashing would show up better if they were more white than black. but, again, it is what it is. I was using what I had, which is the point of making these things in the first place. Eventually, when the entire rectangular ground of the quilt top is done, there will be a border of white on black (i.e., more black than white) hexies. Maybe two rows if one looks wimpy.

My daughter asked for a quilt to raffle off at her organization's annual benefit dinner. I had these blocks sitting around for two or three years - they are from a local quilt store's BOM. The photo is not the best as it was taken on my phone, uploaded to Dropbox, then downloaded to my computer. My husband says that every time you manipulate a photo this way, you lose quality. The sashing and setting triangles are Dots by Riley Blake. White on black and black on white.They kind of look bluish in the photo. The backing is another dotted print. White coin-sized dots on a black background. My daughter promises that it will be displayed properly - hung up and not folded on a table somewhere. My friends think it should have a minimum price set. What do you think? If they only get $100 or $200 for it, I could just write them a check and be done with it.

It is off to the longarm quilter who said she will work it in with other quilts so that it will be ready by the April 19 benefit raffle. Did I ever mention what a great longarmer I have available?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

More Quilt Show Photos

As promised, here are more photos from my guild's recent show.

Our featured quilter was guild member Hallye Bone, also an AQS certified appraiser. This is one of hers that is hand pieced.

I really liked this one. It's a classic bear paw but the craftsmanship is superb and the color choices are especially nice.

This is my "One Blue Zebra" which is being gifted to a friend for her grandson this week.

Some may recognize this quilt from the AQS magazine where it was featured in an article about George Siciliano. George is renowned for his miniature quilts. Dolores Keaton has taken classes with George and made this quilt according to the pattern as a miniature. She made it again, this time enlarging the pattern to the size of a queen sized bed. And just to up the ante, she rendered it entirely in silk. It is stunning.

This alphabet quilt is from a pattern by two South African ladies, Jennie Williamson and Pat Parker. It's from their book, "Quilt the Beloved Country." All the animals and plants are native to Africa.

Ann McNew made this quilt, "All My Rowdy Friends." It is a whole cloth quilt and any color that you see is thread work. Ann is a very accomplished longarm quilter. This is a masterpiece.

A closeup of the thread work.

And another. Breathtaking.

This quilt was made by one of the Pettways of Gee's Bend. It is owned by Diane Corley who inherited it from her great aunt. Diane grew up in Alabama and her great aunt was a visiting nurse who received the quilt in gratitude for her services from Mrs. Pettway (of course, I didn't write down her full name). Diane traveled back to Gee's Bend and Pettway's daughter authenticated the quilt as having been made by her mother. With the provenance firmly established, Hallye Bone was able to make an appraisal of the quilt for Diane. The quilt is titled "Housetop", which is what the Gee's Bend women call quilts that we know as log cabins. Despite hard use as a picnic quilt, the quilt's seams remain intact; they were quite obviously very well sewn. The batting is field cotton and the front was pulled around to the back to finish the edges in lieu of binding.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Favorites from Quilt Magic

Our guild's quilt show is over. Thanks goodness it is only every two years. Lots of tired but happy people by the end. We had strong competition this year from the weather, which couldn't have been lovelier. As a result, attendance was down from 2013. Here are some of my favorites.

I loved the general scrappiness of this quilt which nonetheless has structure to it - probably due to the white space provided in the sashing and piecing.

There wasn't a Best of Show; instead three ribbons of equal value were awarded by the judges in each of the categories - large, small, and miniature. This quilt was hand pieced by Kathy Fueglein and machine quilted by Candy Grisham. In the opinion of many, it was the best of show.

This was a personal favorite of mine. The colors just sing and the use of log cabin blocks as setting and corner triangles is superb. There are a fair number of checked fabrics which always add extra interest.

This hand appliqued quilt was made by Wanda Kruse, who frequently amazes us with her wonderful handwork. The pattern is by Piece O' Cake.

 Russell Horne made this beauty. Pattern by Jacqueline deJonge.

Another one by Russell Horne. This time it's a pattern by Judy Niemeyer. Russ also quilts his pieces exquisitely on his home sewing machine.

More soon! Including a Gee's Bend quilt owned by one of the guild members.