Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer Reading - a class in applique

My good friend, quilting buddy, and frequent breakfast out date - Leslie, has collected most of Elly Sienkiewicz' Baltimore Album books. I have borrowed a couple of these in the past and paged through them, looked at the pictures and patterns and that was about it. What I did not know is that three of her books are a series in lessons on applique. Each of the books has 12 lessons and the other books have supporting patterns. I am reading through all of these books as sort of my own summer reading program. I love when I find a good series of books.

It is a lovely three day holiday weekend and I have the biggest mess in my backyard. My husband is on call all weekend, so I have most of the weekend to myself. It has finally warmed up enough here to open our little swimming pool and the trees in the backyard are dropping seeds that look like oatmeal. They are EVERYWHERE:

No way am I going to take that cover off the pool. I will just stay indoors and read my applique books.
Happy Stitching all...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I Love Thread

It is with a little angst that I have to admit I have ordered a bunch of thread again. Here on my couch is the latest CWBQ block and all of my silk threads. I know, one of the advantages of using silk is you just need a couple colors and they just melt into the fabric and are hardly seen. And I have used a grey for most of the applique on the bride so far because it goes with so many of the civil war reproduction fabrics I am using, but...aren't those tubes the thread is in just the greatest? And really, what is the point of ordering empty tubes so I just got a few (11) more spools of thread also.

Fabric does not tempt me the way thread does, I never just buy fabric without a purpose just because I like the color or pattern, thread is a weakness, it is sooooo pretty, like crayons in a box.
Oh well

I have finished sewing the YoYoville top and it is now resting before the quilting starts.

Actually I am not sure how I am going to quilt the middle, usually I struggle with what I am going to quilt in borders, but I knew what I would do with these four borders when I first saw the pattern. The yoyos are the problem, I ended up hand sewing all 197 of them so they would not get crushed and I need to quilt around them. So the quilt is resting on my tables in the laundry room and every time I go to do a load of laundry I stare at it and wait for a pattern to jump out at me.

I have also finished a small quilt that a friend asked me to make for an office wall. It is a cute little patriotic quilt and it is actually the second time I have made it, a fun little project with 4th of July coming upon us.

So now with YoYoville moved to the waiting to be quilted list, and my quilts I am doing for others all completed, I am going to start doing some machine applique on Ladies of the Sea (pattern by Sue Garman). Just look at this great box of THREAD I use for it...

Happy Stitching All....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Other Bride in my Life

I have been working away on the Civil War Bride Quilt, enjoying every stitch I take, but I thought I would post a couple pictures of the other bride in my life.

Just like I am sure I have the cutest grandbaby in the world, I know I also have the most beautiful daughter in the world.

The wedding was a little over a month ago and it was a day of JOY, a great party.

Loved those hot pink shoes.

You guys are already a wonderful Aunt and Uncle to your niece and nephews,
a great brother, sister to your family,

and great friends to all those you know.

Love, Love, Love you guys...


Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Little of This, A Little of That

The Lake Forrest quilt is finished and it is to it's new owner. I always enjoy working on McKenna Ryan quilts, the batik fabrics are so gorgeous. The raccoons in the middle turned out so good, they just make the whole quilt come alive. Jan (the owner of the quilt) thought they looked like they were about to crawl out of the tree. It is always nice to complete a quilt and now I get to take it off my current project list.

I have been spending a little time this week on some other quilts from my list. I have the whole center of YoYoville finished.

The yoyos were fun to make, I used one of the clover yoyo makers and that really made perfect little ones. I was going to machine applique them down with invisible thread but it just crushed them. So I tacked them down by hand, they just looked better that way. So now I am machine quilting the border with a blanket stitch. I am using a cream colored sulky blendable variegated for all of the little houses. I really just wanted to save time and thread and use the same thread. I am going to do the little yoyo flower stems in green, again probably a variegated so I can just use it on all the different fabrics used for the stems.

So during the day (on my day's off work) I work on projects in the sewing room and in the evening I work on the CWBQ while talking to DH or watching TV. I am working on block 7. I just finished those bird feet, I have a gift for making clunky, chunky three toed bird feet which every bird in this quilt is going to have.

I just got my confirmation for a class I am taking this September at Baltimore on the Prairie.

I have choosen a class with Jan Carlson who is teaching a no template applique class. Maybe I will get some good tips for dealing with bird toes. Anyway, I am having fun, isn't that blue and green fabric just delicious - bird bodies are next.

Happy Stitching All....


Friday, May 7, 2010

A Day for Applique

It is a rainy blustery day that is keeping me indoors so I can devote almost the whole day to quilting. I have finished another block in the Civil War Bride Quilt. This is block one in the quilt and I changed it just a little. I put the little birds in the upper corners instead of the leaves on the pattern. The idea came from the Civil War Bride Quilt blog and another quilter had done this. I really wanted hummingbirds but I could not get any to fit in the left over space. I did my best to draw these and I am glad they will be WAY up at the top of the quilt when it eventually hangs on the wall so no one can see them up close.

I have started my next block. I am using the back basting (or template free) method of applique on this quilt. My first step in a new block is tracing.

I put the pattern upside down on the lite table and then trace the pattern onto the back of the background fabric. I am pulling fabrics and will start basting the chosen fabrics on the front of the block next.

I place a piece of the fabric on the front of the block covering the section I will first baste. I use a heavy quilting thread and from the back of the block I just baste around the individual applique piece with a long running stitch. I sometimes place a pin to hold the fabric on the other side of the block.

Once I have the piece basted I trim away the excess fabric leaving a scant 1/4 seam allowance. I like to take a Clover Fine White Marking Pen and trace over my basting stitches, this will erase when I iron the block when completed. I am now ready to needle turn applique. I remove a few basting stitches at at time. I also baste several areas before I start appliqueing. Yea ! Another Civil War Bride Quilt block is started.
Happy Stitching...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Pinned, Trimmed, Ready Set Sew

I have had a busy week with work, but I did manage to get the Lake Forrest (pattern by McKenna Ryan) top finished. I got it laid out and layered this morning and pinned. I like to trim away a lot of the edges after I have it pinned so I can fit more in my sewing machine while quilting. I also like to keep a little section of what I trim away to make a mini quilt to practice on the fabric and batting before I start quilting the real thing, just to make sure the thread and quilt pattern I plan to use will work. It is a good warm up also before I begin quilting. McKenna Ryan quilts are machine appliqued and quilted at the same time by stitching with invisible thread about 1/8 inch inside all of the applique raw edges. My sewing room is ready, I put an extra table beside my machine to help hold the quilt and I am ready to go.

I also took a little time to work on a block of the Ladies of the Sea 9pattern by Sue Garman).
It is finished except for the hand embroidery of the the sail lines. I love this quilt and wish I could work on it more often, but I keep putting other commitments ahead of it. I have all of the blocks and the border fused and ready to machine applique. This is my first block I have completed the machine applique on but I have a little of the applique in the border completed. I am doing the border a little unconventionally I appliqued the mariner's compass onto the border corners. I also fused the red inner and outer borders and made them an applique element instead of piecing half square triangles. So far I am happy with the results.

It is a beautiful spring weekend here in the Midwest. I would like to get a couple climbing roses planted to grow on the back fence. Hmmm...quilting, gardening, blogging, no wonder the weekends fly by.
Happy Stitching all...