Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Jody's Log Cabin



I love the fabric choices and colors in this Log Cabin. This is one of Jody's first quilts from 2004. She was just starting to piece.



I decided to use the Circle Lord with the Spiral template. It really quilts up
so nicely. I used Sinature Wheat thread on top and APQS prewound poly cream bobbins on the bottom.

I had some issues with a wavy border. There were two places that I had to fold over the excess fabric. I think that Jody will be happy with it. She will just be happy that it is DONE.

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!

Belle's Ginkgo 9-patch

Belle is a meticulous quilt piecer. She takes the time to carefully plan, measure, and sketch her quilts. Belle is very organized and that orderly precision comes through in her piecing. It is always a pleasure quilting for her. Belle and I attended a class this past summer called the Scalloped Edge. I volunteered to do the quilting for the class since it was a 2-parter and we had to have the center quilted before the second class. So I know her work. First, she buys quality fabric. She sews 1/4 inch seams. She trims threads off and presses all her work. I was in the quilt shop and saw her putting together a quilt with beautiful floral fabric and 9-patches with Ginkgo Biloba leaves. I think that Ginkgo leaves are like art. The perfect fan shape with accented veins and cut-aways. This was going to be a pretty quilt. So I was very pleased when I got the call that she wanted me to quilt it.

I just got the Circle Lord and bought the Ginkgo template which has the leaf shape in 2 or 3 sizes. You can be sure that I will put some of that in Belle's quilt.

* * * * * * *
Update 15 Oct 2006




Belle wanted Warm & Natural; I used Warm & white. I used Tea Rose Perma-Core TEX 40 thread from American & Efird, the same folks that make Signature thread. I had tried Signature Victoria Rose but with the thin Warm and Natural, the Signature was too heavy and it was hard to make a good stitch. My friend Christi helped me frog the Signature thread out. I switched to the Perma-Core; it was the first time I had ever used it. Easy to handle and lays nicely on the fabric. Plus a perfect match to the back fabric and looked great on the front, too.

My original plan was to use Ginkgo leaves in the 9-patches but it did not work out. So I put those ginkgo leaves in the patch border alternating with a simple loop. The body of the quilt was pretty busy so I tried the new panto named Oma's Garden by Sew-Phie Quilts. It's a bit complex but looks good on the quilt. I hope she likes it.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Mema's Butterfly Quilt




Mema made this modified rail fence quilt for one of her granddaughters. So she wanted it quilted with butterflies. I used a Hermoine Agee for Lorien pantograph called Butterly Charms.

There is a lot of lime green in the fabric and Mema wanted me to use YLI's Kyoto Gardens thread. I decided to try YLI's new Variations thread called grass in the bobbin because the back was even greener than the front.

The only trouble is my machine HATES YLI thread.

After the first 4 or 5 breaks, I decided to count the breaks. I had 47 thread breaks. That's 47 trips around that 14 foot table to fix thread that, in my humble opinion, does not hold up to the speed of longarm quilting machines. The tension was perfect when it wasn't breaking. Great definition on the stitching. The back was beautiful.

Things I tried that did not work:
-- I tried just slowing down first but it still snapped.
-- I adjusted the tension top and bobbin; moved the spool from the back to
the spool holder on top and then returned the spool to the back
-- I Cleaned out the hook area thoroughly
-- I dosed the spool with Sewer's Aid
-- I changed out the bobbin case
-- I used my Towa tension gauge to verify the setting on the bobbin.
Nothing helped. Once I had struggled thru the first row of the panto with 6 breaks, I was committed to using the thread. The color was perfect for the quilt because it had blues and greens in the thread.

YLI thread has some brilliant colors and wonderful variegated combinations. There is no doubt that it is a quality thread. I have used it in my Bernina with excellent results. But I hope that this will be my last quilt on a longarm with YLI thread.
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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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Books I"ve read lately

  • 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