Monday, October 09, 2006

Breast Cancer Awareness Quilt

The Back Country Quilt Guild

This year the guild decided to participate in the Breast Cancer Awareness campaign Quilting for a Cure. Members of the guild met at Ramona’s Crazy 9 Patch Quilt Shop to put the quilt top together using blocks created by guild members. Quilts are auctioned off on eBay with the proceeds going to breast cancer research.

When I was in the quilt shop last week, I overheard Janet from the guild speaking to a friend about the quilt. She was planning to use white muslin on the back. Now Janet is a busy lady. She teaches quilt classes for the Adult Education program at the local high school as well as teaching for some of the San Diego quilt shops. There is a special place in my heart for Janet. I attended my very first quilt class at the Crazy 9 Patch a month after they opened the shop in January 2004. Quite an event for our little town. Janet was the first teacher and she taught the Elongated Star quilt pattern. I was hooked from the start.

So when I heard about Janet’s planned quilt, I volunteered to quilt it on my longarm. The quilt is 72” x 81” and very pink. It is a rail fence with alternating blocks of the Loralie Design’s “On the Mend – Ladies” fabric collection. The rail fence blocks are flowers and lots more pink. The borders….pink, of course, with the Breast Cancer pink ribbon.

I will be using the Caring Hands from Threadsongs pantograph by Lisa Thiessen. At first I was thinking about using Deb Geisler’s Breast Cancer Awareness panto which has ribbons and hearts. I went to the Quilted Rose in San Diego, which is where I prefer to buy my longarm supplies, and one of their friendly staff, Joann, suggested I also take a look at the Caring Hands Panto. The pattern is flowers, leaves, hearts, ribbons and hands with hearts in them. It is a very smooth and sweet pattern. Joann and I have similar tastes and I always listen to her advice. She has never steered me wrong. After looking at the two pantos side-by-side, I decided that Caring Hands was a better choice for this quilt.

I am still waffling about the thread. I have several pinks.
· I really love the King Tut Extra Long Staple named Cotton Candy, a variegated thread with light and dark pink and rose. But it may be too busy for this already busy quilt.
· I also have Superior’s So Fine! #50/3 poly with a polished cotton look named It’s a Girl. It is a soft baby-pink.
· Signature 40wt cotton thread named Praline Pink is another possibility.
· There is the Signature variegated offering named Pink Ombre which is 30wt Pixelles trilobal thread. It is pretty strong, though and may overpower the fabric design.

Now the bobbin thread decision is daring. I am still a relatively new quilter but I am going to take a chance and use the So Fine! It’s a Girl prewound bobbin on that solid white muslin back fabric. I better be extra careful with this quilting because you will be able to see every mistake on the back. Just living on the edge….

Post-quilting: Ok, it is finished. I had a pucker right at the top when I SID'd the border edge and then did the border. But I noticed it right away so it only took a short time to pull that out and fix it. I'm finding that mirror and light method to peak under the quilt really saves headaches later. But the rest of the quilt looks great. I am so pleased with the back; that pink on white looks really cool.

But here is the coolest part. This was my first 'full float' quilt. I just learn this full float method from Lois Russell, an experienced quilter nearby. Lois had a class for longarmers and showed us how to float the top. I still put zippers on the top and bottom of the backing fabric. But I didn't put a zipper on the bottom of the quilt top like I have done in the past. The quilt top gets pinned/basted at the top of the quilt and it hangs down like the batting in front of the belly-roller (the roller which holds the backing). This enables you to adjust as you go and keep the borders lined up. But most importantly, the bottom corners don't get the dog ears.

When you quilt, the fabric and batting get pulled in toward the center of the quilt. It isn't a lot but even a 1/2 inch can make a big difference (and make dog ears)when the bottom of the quilt top is secured to zippers that do not allow for this 'quilting in' effect. As I got down to the bottom, I just pinned the bottom edge a bit. But now the bottom edge had been easing in with the quilting above; it was not pulled taut by the zippers. After I finished the body of the quilt, I could put my border SID in and then quilt that bottom border. No dog ears. It looks great. Thanks, Lois!

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My life has changed in the last couple of years - some bumps, I retired from quilting, and then I moved to Texas. I'm anxious to see what new adventures await me in the next phase of my life.

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Ramona, California, United States
I started quilting when a quilt shop opened in our little town in January 2004. I have been hooked ever since.

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  • The Help (Kindle)
  • The Appeal by John Grisham
  • Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  • To Kill a Mockingbird (again) by Harper Lee
  • Bleachers by John Grisham

This is called Fruit Cocktail

This is called Fruit Cocktail
It is all batiks