The tree and the fog

Tree and fog. I’m lovin’ it!

I’ve got not quite a quarter of the honeycomb blocks done for the background on Lorr’s quilt.  In this picture I have only about half the finished fog on the wall.

It’s gone a bit slowly because I’ve been testing ironing seams this way, that way, pressed open . . . I think I’ve got what I want now.  I’m happy, happy, happy.

The colors, the variety, the textures.  Yup, I’m happy.  If all goes as planned, this will be a stunning quilt.

Now that the picture is up, can you see what’s wrong?  This is why pictures are so important!  In the very center of the picture, see the blue sky showing through the leaves?  Oops.  Can’t see the sky through the trunk.  I’ll have to replace that with a non-sky piece.  It’s the little things . . .

A new project

Nostrils and tail yet to do, but looking good!

I started a new project last night.  I haven’t been able to appliqué for a couple years so I’m really excited about this.

I’ve wanted to try some new stuff.  A friend supplied the material and will get the resulting coat.  I’ve made tests of the coat pattern (A Little Something), made the necessary adjustments and I’m ready to go!

This is a three color coat.  The left side of the jacket is purple batik.  The right is green batik and the accent is ink navy.  The sleeve bottom and coat bottom will be bordered in Oriental Dance blocks.

This bit of the project is all hand appliqué.  The horse head pattern is on a piece of paper on the back.  I sew the three layers together (paper, background and foreground) using a sewing machine and staying on the pattern lines.  From the front I carefully cut the foreground material away and, as I unpick the stitching, I turn the edge under on the stitching line and appliqué the foreground down to the background being careful not to catching the paper in the stitching.  This technique gives me accurate and flat appliqué.  It always looks like the appliqué was just ironed flat.  So far, so good!  I think it’s looking awesome!

I’m not sure how it’s going to be quilted.  I may give Karen the background and batting and have her pin the coat pieces to it and quilt them.  So far I’ve got the pattern pieces cut extra big so there’s room around the outside to stitch it down to the backing before it’s mounted on the quilting machine.  That might work.  You can tell I’m still pondering this part.


Eva’s Confetti Stars

Starting to look like a quilt . . .

I’ve got the majority of the body put together.  I need to cut blocks to fill in the edges.  I need to get baby quilt (non-flammable) rayon batting and some pretty pink and green or purple and green flannel for the back.  I won’t add borders.  This is supposed to be a drag around quilt as she gets older so there’s no point in getting fancy or “heirloomy”.

Let’s get leafy

Lovely fall colors

I’ve gotten a good start on the tree top for Lorr’s quilt.  I think it’s going to be lovely.  The quilt isn’t as complex as the sunset quilt so, when I have time to work on it, it’s going together pretty fast.  I still need dark browns, charcoal/ink navy/midnight green fabric for the border and silvery pale blues for the background behind the tree.

This is going to be a simple yet striking quilt that Lorr and Patty should be able to use without fear of ruining something of heirloom quality.

Glorious color

The glorious tree-top color

I sorted fabric two days ago and started cutting the treetop yesterday.  I mumbled something to Wadly about scaffolding so I could walk back and forth while applying color to the top of my design wall.  I think he’s a bit aghast at the concept of  having more construction like stuff in the house.  I have a step stool to use for now . . . wholly inadequate but it’s what I’ve got.

Maybe I should give him a choice . . . 8 foot step ladder or scaffolding . . . <evil grin>

Lorr’s Quilt

Line drawing of Lorr's quilt
Dance template will be used for grass section
Blunt pinwheel for tree truck blocks
Oriental pinwheel for the leaves.


My next big quilt is going to be for my son and his SO.  He and Patty both like fall colors, so I’m doing a tree in glorious fall oranges and reds using the watercolor technique I used for the sunset.

This time I want to use a variety of blocks and not set them in columns and rows.  I want the application of the color to be less organized so I’ll set some of the parts askew and join the blocks of like colors in a running bond pattern where I can.

I have designed four different types of the pinwheel blocks.  One produces a triangular block which, when assembled produces six pointed nested pinwheels when the color is organized.  The pinwheel element is the sharpest of the blocks and I’ll use this one as grass.

I have a blunt pinwheel block that I’ll use for the tree trunk and a rounded pinwheel I’ll use for the leaves.

I’ll use the square dance block (same as the sunset quilt) for the backgound.

I’m having trouble finding pale silvery blues for the background.  I’ve got lots of yellow/orange/red/burgundy for the leaves and lots of green for the grass but I could use more dark grayish brownish for the tree trunk and more charcoal darks for the 8″ border.

Bog Coat Finish

Lips of the camo seam sewn together from the paisley side. You can see the soluble stabilizer in the seams.
Running stitch from the camo side

The paisley side closed up. Here I'm using a series of running stitches followed by a whip stitch, repeat.

I’m pecking away at getting the pink paisley/camo bog coat seams closed up.  I’m using a running stitch to close up the seams.  For one set of seams I’m leaving the soluble stabilizer untouched.  The other set I will dissolve the stabilizer before sewing.  This will help me establish which method produces a better result.

This coat is so girly cute I’m temped to add lace in the front bodice seam.  I won’t, but I’m tempted.

LouAnn has offered to finish stitching down the binding on the nested stars quilt and, bless her, I’m going to let her.

Tangled Stars

All quilted and looking beautiful

Here’s the Tangled Stars quilt back from quilting.  It looks beautiful!  Karen did such a nice job!   It’s quilted in variegated thread which beautifully compliments the colors of the big pinwheels.
The variety of color in both the big multi-color AND small yellow pinwheels really adds to the quilt’s appeal.

I’ve got the binding sewn on but it will take a while to hand stitch it down.  I can do about two feet per sitting/day.  I don’t need the quilt finished until the next Guild quilt show (July 2011) so I’ve got lots of time to peck away at it.

Compass Update

Quarters pinned together with "will not work" center pinned behind

Well, this center certainly isn’t going to work.  Ugh.

I talked with Mindy.  Our next test will use the final points fabric (looks like ocean waves) as the center background and a smaller (2/3 to 3/4 height/width) star in the two shades of green.  I’ll set it off with a small 1/4″ border between the center and the compass points.

I’ll get it put together and we’ll see what it looks like. Just about anything would be an improvement over my first attempt.

Project for family

Mariner's Compass

Years and years ago (in the 70’s) Mindy (LouAnn’s daughter) bought fabric for a quilt of ocean waves around a mariner’s compass center.  In the last half-year, LouAnn has been diligently working on getting the ocean waves blocks done.  The construction of the compass portion of the quilt top falls to me.  I want to finish this up today.  So far, so good.

Skimpy Border

Stopper border attached

I’ve got a Guild Board meeting tonight.  If Karen’s there I’ll pass this quilt top on to her.  It really needs one more border, maybe a 3″ or a bit wider.  I don’t have anything in my stash that will work.  The quilt came out really nice.  I love working with batik and the pattern looks complicated but is actually a quick sew.

Last bits

Precise cutting, sewing and ironing produce perfect pinwheels

I’m down to the final bits on this sampler.  I’ve got all the partial blocks cut for squaring up the top.  I still don’t have a plan for the border.  Once I get all the assembly done I’ll dig through my fabric to see what I can find that appeals.

This pattern only work with batiks.  The long narrow points will get lost in a heavier fabric.



It’s rainy and dismal today, so the colors in the photo are muted.  This is a decent sized test of the Starfish” block.  I’ll have to come up with a more representative name, maybe “confetti stars”.

There are enough blocks to make a small comfort quilt, depending on what I add as a border.  The finished size of the blocks is ~38″x~40″.  I may have enough background fabric scraps to make the necessary half-blocks to fill in the outside edge.  The three blocks on the right end will have to be used as filler blocks.

The blocks for this quilt go together amazingly quickly because the fabric is strip pieced before the blocks are cut.

I think I would like this pattern better with a dark background, but then we all know I prefer dark background quilts where the bright colors can really pop.  One of the dark fabric I used as pinwheel fabric is a blue/black that would be perfect.  I’ll have to keep an eye out for more of that fabric.

Wood quilts

Carved wood quilt

Fraser Smith carves beautiful wood things, including quilts.  I love his stuff.  I’m so intrigued by his stuff I have to try to replicate a few.

This quilt pattern is one I’ve been working on for a while.   I’ve figured out a way to strip piece it.  It goes together amazingly fast but is definitely an advanced pattern as Y seams are a must.

Starfish quilt test

The is a test of the strip piecing method of constructing this pattern.  The background for this test is leftover backing from the Ichthy bog coat.  The pinwheels are scraps from my stash.

Quiltable Bog

Layered and trimmed
Mark and cut the sleeve
Soluble stabilizer cut into ~3
Stitching and trimming - note the layer of stabilizer between the fabrics
Clip the inside corners
Press. Isn't that a luscious paisley?

This is what the sleeve cut will look like after the stabilizer is stitched together. This gives the quilter a visual break for the quilting.

This is the step by step of preparing the bog coat for long-arm quilting.  If you don’t know the basics of bog coat construction, you’ll need to bone up for this post to make any sense at all.  Because this post has a lot of pictures, they are thumbnail size.  You’ll need to click to see the enlarged version of the image.

Because the fabrics and batting I purchased were all pretty close to the same size, layering and trimming was pretty simple.  Press all three layers, stack them with the fabrics right sides together and the batting against the fabric that will be the main outside fabric.  Trim the selvages and square up the cut edges.  Once you have the stack of fabric and batting trimmed, pin the edges to keep everything aligned while you’re cutting and sewing.

Using 45″ width fabric , the 45″ will be the vertical measure.  Purchase the amount of fabric you need to go around your body or to go from wrist to wrist over your shoulder, whichever is longer.

For determining how deep to make the sleeve cut, I do not follow the standard bog coat construction.  Physically, I have more real estate in the front than in the back.  It’s a girl thing.  Instead, I measure from underarm seam to underarm seam across my back at underarm level and add 2 inches.  That’s the amount I leave intact across for the back of the coat.  The extra in the part that has been cut to make the sleeve I will put to good use in the front covering said real estate.

Insert stabilizer between the fabric layers on both sides of the sleeve cut and between the fabric layers at the front edges, matching the edge of the stabilizer to the edge of the fabric and extending the stabilizer ½” beyond the end of the sleeve cut.  Pin in place.  When the garment is turned right side out for quilting, the soluble stabilizer will be sticking out of those seams.

The goal isn’t so much giving the quilter something to grab as it is to prepare the seams for construction after the quilting is complete.  The bottom, front and neck can be bound.  Binding the yoke and under arm seams would create bulk and the result wouldn’t be reversible.  I’m hoping this technique will allow the fabric seam lips to be slip stitched together inside and out  to create a completely reversible quilted garment.

For the sleeve cut I’ve stitched from the outside edge in, then across ¼” from the end of the slit and back out the other side, as if sewing the box for a welt pocket.

The batting in the seam allowance needs to be trimmed away to reduce bulk.  I didn’t grade the seam allowance.  There’s only a scant ¼” of fabric in the seam allowance, not enough to trim and expect the seam to hold together.

Clip the inside corners of the sleeve cut almost to the stitching so the fabric lays smooth once the garment is turned right side out.  This is the same thing you’d do for a welted pocket.

Remove all the pins holding the layers together and turn the coat right side out.  Make sure your iron is set to no steam and press the seams.  Don’t touch the stabilizer with the iron, it can melt and distort.

And finally, before it goes off to the quilter, the pieces of stabilizer sewn into the sleeve cut need to be sewn together ¼” from the seam allowance.  This “repairs” the cut making the cloth entire and allows it to lay flat for quilting.  Sew these pieces together so the excess stabilizer sticks up on the side the quilter sees while working.  This gives a visual guide so no quilting is done beyond the seam.

When the bog coat comes back from Karen I will trim the sleeves to the right length, trim the front to match the yoke and hand sew the under arm and yoke seams before adding binding.  Because this coat is reversible I want to sew the seams to allow a button hole in the seam allowance to allow the bottom edge of the sleeve to be turned up into an accent cuff.

For the next bog coat using this technique I will trim the sleeves to ¾ length and the front to the proper length before sewing in the stabilizer.  Once the coat is turned right side out and pressed, I will baste stabilizer to the remaining raw edges using soluble thread to give the quilter something to grab.  No trimming should need to occur after I get the coat back from the quilter.  I want the next coat to have a cheetah pattern quilted in a border around the edges which can only be done if the garment is trimmed to size and completely stabilized.  I’ll have to mark the front and neck openings so the border continue around those edges.

Border fabric

Orange batik for the back, dark green outside border, dark red inside border and gold flange

I pulled the sunset quilt off the design wall and have packaged it away with the black wedges, border and backing fabrics.  I’m short 4-6 more black fabrics needed to fill in the black section.  I’ll have to get by Sisters and pick up the little bits of fabric  needed for the last wedges and centers.  Until then, I’ve put this project away to work on another quilt I’ve had in the works for a while.  I’ll pick it up again in a couple weeks when I’ve collected the last of the fabric I need.

Sunset purple

One section left to build

I got the purple stripe added to the quilt.  I love the dark purple against the dark green.  Lovely.

I picked up the material for the borders and backing.  I got a lovely shades of orange and green batik for the back and a great dark green for the border.  I wanted a fabric with all colors but Fabric Depot didn’t have anything that would work.  The colors were either too bright or too muted or not the right shades or in splotches too big in scale.

I also picked up a gold and a deep red.  The gold will be a flange around the center of the quilt, with the red acting as a 5/8″ stopper between the gold flange and the green border.

Dark green

Dark green blocks are now ready to add.

I finally got the light green section done and the blocks for the dark green section assembled.  I’ll get them sewed together and joined to the body of the quilt top next.  The dark purple and black sections are still left to do, but I’ve less than a 100 blocks left to sew to be done!

I moved the quilt top up to the ceiling so I could work on the bottom and now the clothes line is visible near the top.

Back to quilting

The bottom two rows are the last of the orange blocks

Now that the planting and planning for the new plant wall is winding down I’m getting back to working on my sunset quilt.

When I pull the top off the design wall to sew the rows of orange blocks on I’m going to resew a portion of the sun.

If you click the image to enlarge it you can see there’s a bit too much slack in the lower right quadrant which causes the sun to lose its roundness.  That may seem like a nit-picky thing, but that part of the sun doesn’t appear to be behind gauzy clouds.  It’s a small detail, but it’s going to drive me nuts if I don’t do something about it.

Having a picture helps me see which blocks need to be swapped or rotated.  See the second row from the bottom?  The farthest left block and the 3rd from the left have the same material at the top.  I need to rotate one of those to break up any impression of a pattern.