To the Moon and Back

Reposted from my other site

This is another quilt I should have put up on my design wall before quilting it, because the colors and the pattern are striking.

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Kathy called this her Universe quilt.  It has the 4 quadrants in colors.  Do you see the circles of color in the blues down in the lower left?  Those look like planets, too, and all the mottled batiks in the borders look, to me, like an Aurora Borealis.  So, how would you quilt this?

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The colors are so magnificent, that it’s hard to see the quilting, but I decided to stitch a stun into the upper right hand (yellow) corner with the 9 planets circling around it.  The orbiting circles are anything but perfect.  I hand drew them on with chalk and then stitched following the chalk lines.

In the purple down in the lower right is where I put Earth and its circling moon.  Can you see it?  The moon’s orbit is elliptical, so maybe if you find that semi-sideways oval, you’ll see the big circle inside, which is Earth.  I also drew the Big and Little Dipper with the North Star to the lower left of Earth.  Of course, my ADD brain struggled with which way to put those stars (they’re not in correct proportion anyway)…as I am looking at them on the quilt?  Or as I would look at them if I were on Earth?  I also put shooting stars and meteors in the quilt, but you can’t see them here.  The backing on the quilt did a good job of hiding them, too, which I’m always glad for, because my pea brain talks smack to me about my quilting abilities.

This particular quilt was a good example of some of the strategies I used for getting a quilt squared up as it rolls on the frame for the quilting machine.  And, since you can’t see the quilting too much, I thought I’d add some tips here.

First off, this quilt has lots of straight lines.  I use those lines to guide me to getting the quilt straight.  I’ll explain the tape measure in a bit, but for now, take a look at the lower edge of the picture.  That’s where the lower roller bar lies.  I use the lines in the quilt to help me gauge whether or not the quilt is straight going across.

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I’m sure I’ve showed you before the laser level I use to make sure the lines are straight as well.

I used to use these white clips on the rear roller bar to help me with placement of blocks and borders as I quilted, but, unless you find a way to make them stay put, they roll and move.  By the way, if you look closely at the edges of the quilt top, you will see a line of basting on the batting.  There are 3 roller bars on my machine’s frame.  The backing fabric is attached to 2 rollers; one at the bottom and one above this black roller you see in the picture below.  That roller is used to keep the fabric in place at it rolls. So, first, I attach the backing fabric to the canvases that are attached to those 2 rollers.  Then, I lay the batting on top of the backing fabric.  I use my channel locks to stitch a straight line across the top of the batting – it helps to have a dark thread for this so you can see it better.  That is my guide for where to butt the quilt top fabric up against.  I then pin the quilt top fabric in place and then stitch it down about 1/4 inch along the edge.  I’d like to make it 1/8 inch, but I’m just not that good.

As for the tape measure, I use that as a guide for where to stitch the sides in place.  When I get the top stitched down, I use my laser level to tell me where to butt the sides up to and then stitch the sides down to about 12 inches from the top.  Then I see where the sides hit the tape measure and write those numbers down.  I use those numbers for placement of the rest of the quilt along the sides.

A machine quilter’s job involves a lot more than just quilting.  The above tips are just a sampling of the many things we do when we work on your quilt.

I Spy

My final quilt for 2014 was an “I Spy” quilt for Charlotte’s grand-daughter.  What’s an “I Spy” quilt, you ask?  It is a quilt with lots of pictures to look for, using the quilt as a game board, of sorts.  Here’s a shot of the full length of the quilt.  Can you see what I am talking about?

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How about now with these close-ups?  Can you see some of the things you might “spy” with your “little eye?”

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I doubt you can see much of the quilting, but I added numbers and the letters of the alphabet around the borders.  Inside the borders I just quilted and Edge to Edge (E2E) of assorted drawings of things I saw in the quilt.  I hope Charlotte and her grand-daughter have a lot of fun with this quilt!  I know I did!

A Day Late and a Dollar Short… aka Merry Christmas!

Please forgive me.  The Christmas season is always crazy busy for me, and this December we had the added bonus of our daughter graduating from college as a doctor of Chinese Medicine.  Currently I am quilting one of my own quilts (on my holiday vacation) and I will fill you in on more details of my personal life then.  For now, let me share Diane’s holiday quilt that I quilted for her in December.

It is a BIG quilt, so this picture doesn’t give a good shot of the full length.

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Here’s a few more shots of close-ups.  Diane did a great job of piecing, embroidering and applique on the entire quilt. I enjoyed quilting it, and it sure helped me get in the mood for Christmas this year – just what I needed to get me out of the doldrums.

For the most part, I quilted holly and swirls throughout the quilt, but I added “branches” to the trees, which you cannot see in any of these pictures.  Diane chose a variegated red and green thread for the borders and trees and a cream color for the background.

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What do you think?  Would this put you in the mood for Christmas?

Quilting for a Guy?

What do you see when you look at this picture?

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Janet made this quilt as a Christmas gift for her grandson.  Her grandson tinkers with machines and vehicles, so when I looked at this quilt, I thought of wheels and gears.  So, I started with the borders and put gears in the corners and midway between the corners.  Janet also wanted tools scattered randomly in the borders, so I added those as well and then scattered tools throughout the quilt.

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As a filler, I added flames to resemble the “smoking hot & fast” work that her grandson does.  😉  Actually, I figured he might like fast cars, too, so the flames were to make it look like the wheels were moving fast.

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Here are a few more pictures of the tools strewn about on this quilt.  I must admit that when I first started working on this quilt, I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t be able to pull it off, that I wouldn’t do a good job of drawing (with thread) the tools on this quilt.  But, once I got started, I had a ton of fun drawing on this quilt!

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And, what a great way to finish off a quilt for a guy!  Don’t you agree?

A Flair for Fabric

Martingale - A Flair for Fabric (Print version + eBook bundle)

I was excited to do this book review, because the very talented Linda Lum DeBono is the one who compiled the projects from 15 different fabric designers with Henry Glass Fabrics that are in this book.  If you know of any of these designers, you will want to get your hands on this book: Leanne Anderson; Dana Brooks; Linda Lum DeBono; Kim Diehl; Anni Downs; Jill Finley; Amy Hamberlin; Liz Hawkins and Beth Hawkins of Lizzie B Cre8ive; Margot Languedoc; Janet Nesbitt and Pam Soliday of Buggy Barn; Vicki Oehlke; Heather Mulder Peterson; Jacquelynne Steves; and Mary Ellen Von Holt, Alice Berg, and Sylvia Johnson of Little Quilts.  Not only do they share their secrets for designing fabric lines, but they also show you how to mix and match your leftover fabrics with secondary fabrics for other projects.  An added bonus, if you choose to buy this book, is that the designers are donating the royalties from the sale of this book to the Red Cross; a notable good cause.

So, let’s take a looks inside at some of the information and projects.

Martingale - A Flair for Fabric (Print version + eBook bundle)

Martingale - A Flair for Fabric (Print version + eBook bundle)

Martingale - A Flair for Fabric (Print version + eBook bundle)

Martingale - A Flair for Fabric (Print version + eBook bundle)

Martingale - A Flair for Fabric (Print version + eBook bundle)

Martingale - A Flair for Fabric (Print version + eBook bundle)

And, last, but not least, a quilting caddy for hauling your quilting tools on outings…

Martingale - A Flair for Fabric (Print version + eBook bundle)

As you can see, there is a lot of variety in this book; variety of styles and projects.  It would make a great gift for yourself or for a fellow quilter!

Many thanks to Martingale Press and their photographer, Brent Kane for providing this book and the pictures for this review!

A “Royal” Occasion

For those of you who don’t know, I live in the Kansas City area.  The Kansas City Royals have been batting to make it into the World Series.  And, tomorrow night they play the San Francisco Giants – of course, I am hoping for another “Royal” win.  For whatever reason, this quilt made me think of the Royals.

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Okay, maybe it’s really a “pitch” for the Pittsburg Steelers (different team, different game, and on the other side of the country), but it’s cool nonetheless.  If for no other reason than it is blue – cool color, but also the color of the Kansas City Royals.  😀

Nancy always tells me to quilt what ever I like, but I knew she wanted a piano key border.  I should have just stayed with the piano key but felt compelled to embellish it somehow, so the piano key became a bead-board with lace.  I think I would have been more precise with a simple piano key border.

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I could have quilted feathers all over this, but I work at adding variety to quilting.  And, since she wanted straight-line quilting in the borders, I needed to think of something else to compliment the borders.  So, I came up with this for the insides of the blocks.  It looks kind of regal, don’t you think?

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I love Nancy’s choices of colors for her quilts.  This one is no less stunning than any of her others.  The different shades of blues, yellows, and whites really pop on this quilt.

Fabric Play

Fabric Play written by Deanne Moore is the perfect book for a beginning quilt-maker.

Martingale - Fabric Play (Print version + eBook bundle)

In her book, Deanne gives you a mock-up drawing of the entire quilt for you to play with different fabrics in creating your own quilt.

Martingale - Fabric Play (Print version + eBook bundle)

She also gives suggestions for using different fabrics with each quilt.

Martingale - Fabric Play (Print version + eBook bundle)

Martingale - Fabric Play (Print version + eBook bundle)

Martingale - Fabric Play (Print version + eBook bundle)

Many thanks to Martingale Press and their photographer for providing the eBooks for these reviews.  You can find more information on this book here.