Friday, April 13, 2007

Folk Art Flowers from Buggy Barn


This one is mine. The book is called Perennially Crazy for Buggy Barn by two sisters named Janet Nesbitt and Pam Soliday. I took a Susan Baker class a few months ago using this book and have been waiting for the time to quilt this one for myself. The pattern is so fun, lots of different fabrics and prints. No rules. Some of the flowers have 3 segments and some have 4. I just decided to mix it up.

This is basically a stack and whack. The key to putting these Folk Art Flower quilts together is the first step, choosing fabric that complements or contrasts with it. You don't want to put a beige on top of another light color so you have to think about what fabric fat quarter goes in front of and behind of the one you are holding and stack them up so that when you shuffle, you still have a good contrast.


So now I am ready to quilt my Folk Art Flower quilt. I am going to use Gatsby Green on top and black Bottom Line in the bobbin. I am stuck on what to do in the border. I like the Funky Flower stencil (top on photo on right) but it may be too much considering that the quilt is already pretty funky. Then there is the square spirals on the left border in the same photo.

But I also like the lemon border in the photo on the left. And those big dancing leaves would be in keeping with the spirit of the quilt. I'll have to decide by tomorrow night when the quilting begins.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Lori L's Monterrey Medallions


Lori and I took a Susan Baker class on Monterrey Medallions by Atkinson Designs. This was a two-part class. Lori and I chose very similar fabrics. I have not even finished piecing mine. This one is for her son's birthday.

I used the Circle Lord to make spirals in the stars. I did continuous curves (CC) and L's in the 4-patches. Then I used the Megan Best ruler to make a secondary square around the center star. I used the Circle Lord to make a secondary square of 5 concentric lines around the center medallion.



I prefer not to accept thread from a customer. The speed of the longarm can really chew through thread. I prefer to use only thread made for the longarm. Lori had chosen a Star variegated thread #845 named Blue Clouds for the top. This was my first time with Star variegated. The thread color change is longer than Superior Threads' 1-inch color change but it was still very easy on the eye. There was less lint than I would expect from a cotton thread. That was a pleasant surprise. I have had tension issues several times because of the lint put out by cotton threads. Tension problems can lead to machine malfunctions. If my machine is not working, then I am not quilting. That is a not good. Luckily, I had no problems with the tension. I wound my own bobbins of Superior's So Fine poly thread #433 Out of the Blue.

I broke another one of my rules which was that I let Lori bring her own batting. She wanted to use a black batting. Black batts are not always readily available. I don't know where she got this one but it was awful. I had to cut off the top 8 inches because there was a perfectly straight diagonal 6 inch line cut all the way thru the batting. It looked like it had been cut by a razor or box cutter. Lori assured me that the plastic bag that the batting came in was intact. So the cut must have come from the factory. It would have been bad if it had been in the middle of the quilt. Of course, then I would have had to break the other rule, No Pieced Battings. The batting looked like it wave doubled over in a couple of places but when I tried to straighten it, it wouldn't come apart. I did notlike the feel of the batt either. It did not have a noticeable scrim but it felt like cotton candy to the touch. It stuck to my chapped hands. Ick! It was an airy loft and the doubled over parts could not be felt through the quilt.That was a relief.



Turn-around time:
In: 6 April
Out: 10 April






Carpenter's Star for Lori's Mom








Lots of Lessons Learned on this Carpenter's Star.
This quilt is for Lori P's mother. Lori wanted a custom job with a light touch. She wanted to see the design I was planning to do. She wanted to see what I planned to put in each segment. I always plan my custom quilts. I carefully look at the size and scale of the quilt and figure out what design/pattern looks good on it. I draw a rough road map (quilt map) so I know which techniques I will be using. I find that when I have to walk away from a quilt before finishing it, I don't remember the details that I have already quilted. Since the quilt is already rolled, I would have to unroll it to see how many lines I used or what direction the swirl went or what areas I used SID, etc. The quilt map helps me. This design phase can be time consuming. I learned the hard way that you don't try to do a custom quilt on the fly. It comes out disjointed and unprofessional looking.

Most of my customers just give me the quilt and let me decide what to quilt on it. The only information I need is:
-- who will be getting the quilt (age, sex, lifestyle)
-- rough idea of the feeling they want to convey.

Lori wanted to have a more active roll in this phase and she wanted to approve the design elements before I started thee quilt. That meant that I had to produce a clear (not draft-quality) quilt map and segments, scan them into a file, upload the file to the internet and draft a blog post with the scan shots of the pattern so Lori could make her decision. It was like writing a bid proposal. This step took me an additional 3 hours. I will remember that next time. I didn't find out that she wanted to approve the design until after I quoted a price to her. I need to factor that "post time" into my price.

Who will be using the quilt
Knowing who will be using the quilt helps me decide the treatment, thread, and batting. A dorm quilt is not a crib quilt. It is like the difference between a kids dragger quilt that will be used and washed frequently and a quilt that a senior citizen will be using to chase away the chill. Though you want both of them to last, one will be used hard and the other will be handled gently.

So many threads, so little time
The thread content and texture is almost as important as the color. You wouldn't put glittery thread in a kids quilt. Flashy fabric like Fairy Frost seems to go flat when you use a pure cotton thread with it; it needs some sheen just so the quilting does not distract from the fabrics used. I typically puddle several threads on top of the fabric to audition them. Then I start to eliminate the ones that "just won't work", followed by the "right color/wrong shade" threads. Then I make my choice from the remaining threads. Some colors seem to give me more trouble that others. Brown is the hardest for me. I have a tendency to go to the dark side for brown. I have to get help from the local quilt shop to get pulled back into the light. LOL.

Not all battings are created equal
It is also necessary to consider the batting to be used. I like to put cotton in a crib quilt. It isn't as warm but it is predictable. The poly batting gets a bit warmer but has a nice puff. Quilter's Dream makes a fire-retardant batting called Dream Angel. It is a very light poly. QD's poly deluxe is a very dense batting that holds it's shape. A quilt with QD deluxe poly would be good choice for a dorm quilt for a student in a cold climate; It is a bit heavier and of course, durable. But if the student is going to college in Florida, the quilt would be too warm. Warm and Natural Poly is a good choice for most quilts. It gives good definition and is not heavy. Quilter's Dream Puff which is so light and fluffy and is 1.5 times warmer than down according to the package. You can stitch up to 10" apart on this batting. It is as light as a feather.

The Carpenter Star is a very recognizable pattern, two nested segmented stars with background squares, setting triangles and corner units. Lori put 5 different borders in this quilt with a big 8 inch border of the rust color fabric with the gold and rust hearts. The stars were made of 8 different fabrics, from greens to rust and each star piece was the same fabric. Some Carpenter Stars put 2 different fabrics in each star piece. Makes it more scrappy. Lori chose hers to be more formal. The backing is the same rust fabric used in the large border on the front.

Once I figured out the batting and the thread, I started working on the design. I liked the look and feel of Sally Terry's Fleur De Vine pattern pack. The patterns consist of leaves, flowers and hearts. The stitching is light and airy. I thought it was perfect for the quilt. Since it was to be custom, I knew that both stars had to be stitched in the ditch (SID) on the outside so the star pattern would be the focus. The patterns in Fleur De Vine lent themselves well to placement in each segment with a minimum of resizing.

I used Isacord Thread for the first time. It was the perfect shade of rust(#1312 Burnt Orange). I also used a PolyTex Natural #747 in the background segments. I used Superior So Fine Ginger #426 which is a rust color in the bobbin. The tension was no problem, thank goodness.

I am so pleased with how the borders came out. I tried a couple of new techniques. The first border is a 3-inch scrappy border which I quilted with dancing leaves using the Isacord thread. Border #2 is a 1-inch Fairy Frost; I left this unquilted. It is essentially a "stopper".
The third border is 2 inches and is same as the background fabric. I used a stencil with scrollwork in it and the natural thread. The large 8" border is the focus fabric. There are 8" hearts (with leaves) on each corner and also in the center of this border. These are hard to see because the flash on my camera bounces off the metallic gold in the fabric print. I put in a big long "S" between each Heart shape and then used my Circle Lord to put in diagonal stripes in the border leaving the big "S" puffed up. The 5th border is the background fabric and I used a dart stencil in this one. The stars are the primary pattern and the secondary pattern is a an on-point square made by the straight lines. She plans to use the rust fabric for the binding.

Turn-around Time:
In: 20 March
Out: 10 April
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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