Thursday, April 27, 2017

Ruler Work on a Bernina Q20 Sit-Down Long Arm Machine

When I got my Bernina Q20 sit-down long arm, I was determined to learn ruler work. This involves using 1/2" thick rulers to create designs while free-motion quilting.  I took two Craftsy classes with Amy Johnson to learn the basics, and watched lots of  YouTube videos. Like anything, there is a learning curve but it's fun and I'm getting there:

At International Quilt Festival Chicago a few weeks ago, I got to spend a little time in classes with Kim Brunner, Jamie Wallen, and Linda Taylor. Each of them taught me at least one thing that is very helpful.

Kim showed us how to create a pencil guide to allow me to draw lines with the rulers that will be exactly where the stitching line will be. The foot is 1/2" wide so the needle is 1/4" away from the ruler edge. It takes a bit of practice to figure out where you need to start and stop. Being able to draw/design with the rulers and paper is very helpful:

I've been saving scrap paper to draw designs on. On one page I drew a 6" square and two 4" squares--then I copied them on the back of the scrap paper. This gave me lots of pages to play with the rulers and designs:

Once it was time to stitch the designs on the quilt, I needed to draw some reference lines. Everyone has their favorite marking tools, I like these and, yes, they do wash out:

 I also like chalk markers/pencils and use those whenever possible.

With this quilt, Random Ohio Stars, a free pattern from Bonnie Hunter, first I stitched in the ditch over the entire quilt. This made it possible to remove the safety pins I used for basting the 3 layers together. The only pins left once I started the detail quilting were on the borders. Then I jumped in and started the designs on the larger empty blocks, around the star points, and anywhere else that needed some more quilting.

Here is a shot of the whole quilt top:

Now I have to decide how to quilt that border. Threads used on the body of the quilt are King Tut #968 on the top and Bottom Line #617 in the bobbin. They pair nicely together and the bobbin thread matches the back almost perfectly.  But that border is very dark so I plan to switch the top thread to a darker color. Balancing the tension may take a little doing. The Bernina is very easy to adjust tension and the bobbin holds lots of thread so I can happily quilt for hours. I have a Mettler 60 wt. black cotton and a Superior Sew Complete 50 wt. polyester--I'll try both of them with the Bottom Line bobbin thread and see which performs better. Then it will be time to figure out the border design. I'm thinking really simple to let the border print show--marking it would be difficult so I'm leaning toward simple ruler work designs. Stay tuned...

Let's Quilt!


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

What Do 4096 Triangles Look Like?

My Lifetime Quilt is progressing:

Each triangle is 1.25" finished. There are 32 of those triangles in one 5" block. Four 5" blocks become one 10" block. Four 10" blocks become one 20" block. Four 20" blocks become one 40" block. Here are two 40" blocks joined together, 80" x 40", about half of what the finished quilt will be, I think. It might become bigger, time will tell.  Here you see 4,096 triangles.

The rest of the story on this quilt and how I came to make it my "Lifetime Project" can be found here:  Lifetime Leader/Ender project.   

Now that this "half" is done it's back to making a bunch of 5" blocks:

They get made as I am piecing other projects, like the Long Time Gone blocks and the Halo Star Medallion quilt. I need to cut more triangles as the bin is getting a little low. I cut leftover fabrics into 1.75" strips, put light/dark strips right sides together, then use a Half-Square Triangle ruler to cut the triangle pairs. They are sewn, pressed and trimmed right along with whatever project I'm working on.

There is very little planning as I assemble the blocks. I try not to use one fabric more than twice in any 5" block. And I try to use a variety of colors in each block.  This one has a lot of green. Some have a lot of brown. I try to have at least one cheddar/gold in each block.

I like to think of some fabric historian having fun with this quilt 100 years from now, trying to guess the years these various fabrics were made. Since some are accurate reproductions of fabrics first printed 100 years ago, that should be interesting detective work.

Let's Quilt!


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Long Time Gone

Long Time Gone is a Jen Kingwell pattern I saw in Houston 2016 and liked. I found a Block of the Month on Homestead Hearth and ordered it, receiving fabrics each month over the course of a year--that started in February. Then I found a blog working on it, one block a week, Gnome Angel and decided to use my own fabrics for the first one. This top will be finished in July. Here is what I have so far:

The sashing between these sets of blocks might be gray, or lavender, or something else entirely. Still on the hunt for the perfect background color.

Yesterday I received my swap quilt from Lori's 4th annual doll quilt swap :

This came to me from Jan H, in Markesan, WI. She hand quilted it, very lovely.

Here  is the one I sent to Danice, only about 75 miles west of me:

I finished a small  quilt the other day, part of the samples for my "Work Faster, Not Harder" class:

My free-motion feathers are getting better, practice makes perfect, so they say. I would forget the direction I was going so some of the feathers are not headed in the "right" direction but some baby doll won't care.  The X blocks are 3" small, the instructions can be found on my Tutorial, here.

Our guild program the other night was about "creative backs". Years ago I made a back that took almost as long to make as the front did, but I was determined to use up as much of the fabrics/parts from the front as I could, to NOT put anything away in the closet. I really like this back but didn't have a photo of it. So here is the Front of Purple Plus!:

And here is the Back:

And, wonder of wonders, Delta fixed my suitcase, this came home the other day:

They ordered a replacement pocket and fixed it--no more rip. Who knew they could do that?! It's ready for its' next trip in just a few weeks, to Spring Market in St. Louis, home of my grand-girl, Stella:


I am eager to do  more ruler work quilting on the Ohio Stars quilt. I got lots of great information in classes in Chicago. Stay tuned,..,

Let's Quilt!


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

What's on My Wall

I've been working on Long Time Gone, a Jen Kingwell design:

Crosses of the UK Blocks, 4" finished

Trip Around the World Block, 13" finished

A hand-work project I take on my travels, each petal block is 3.5" finished.

Soon, I'll get back to work on the June instructions for the Halo Star Medallion, 1.5" finished sawtooth borders. After the curved flying geese, they should be a breeze.

Let's Quilt!


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Make Plans: Sapphire Celebration

During all the excitement of the Ruby Jubilee, the 40th anniversary of the International Quilt Festival in 2014, I was often asked if I was making a quilt for the 45th Celebration. I just laughed and said "no", since I had not made "Red and White--By the Numbers" specifically for the 40th anniversary, it was just a matter of lucky timing. See my post here about what that marvelous experience meant to me. I didn't even know what the color scheme for the 45th anniversary would be--now we do:

This spectacular quilt is a Sue Garman design, Sarah's Revival, and it was beautifully executed by Gail Smith and quilted magnificently by Karen McTavish:

It was recently on display in Chicago along with this blue and white art quilt by Sarah Ann Smith:

There were posters and flyers around the show announcing the Sapphire Celebration, Celebrating 45 years, which will be the 45th anniversary of the International Quilt Festival in 2019:

No matter what your style, it's not too early to plan and make a Blue and White quilt. It just might be included in what is sure to be a stunning exhibit of blue and white quilts, a favorite among quilters for many years.  One of the women in my Halo Sunday Sew and Sews group is making her Halo Star Medallion in all blue and white fabrics. It is so beautiful--I hope to see it in Houston in 2019.

I must admit I'm now thinking of a blue and white quilt. I've only made one years ago:

Easy Star Sampler
I gave this away. I've always wanted a blue and white log cabin, maybe it's time to start buying a few blue and white fat quarters...

I hope you'll give some thought to a blue and white quilt. I can assure you it's lots of fun to be included in such a fun event.

Let's Quilt!


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Happy News!

Yesterday I got the Happy News:  Stars in a Time Warp was selected for inclusion in the Special Exhibit "In the American Tradition--Pieced Quilts" in Houston 2017:

While this means it won't be in our guild show in October, 2017, it does  mean 60,000 of my closest friends will get to see it.  What a thrill!

A huge thank you to Barbara Brackman for her wonderful history lesson she provided with this project and to Mechelle Armstrong, Magnolia Longarm Quilting for the beautiful and simple way she chose to quilt it.

See you in Houston!

Let's Quilt!


Monday, April 10, 2017

Recovery Day

That's what we call the day after we travel home from working an International Quilt Festival show. For me today that's even more appropriate:  I came home with a bad case of the "head crud". Coughing and stuffy head commenced about the time I left Atlanta and has been most unpleasant today. The air in the hotels is so dry and the air in the planes is too "re-circulated"--a few more days and I should be good as new.

Delta got me where I was going with no delays yesterday, despite the problems that linger from last Wednesday's major storm system. BUT they also did this:

You can just barely see it, but there is a 3" RIP in the front of the beautiful new 29" Travelpro suitcase, which was on its' second ever trip. We noticed it as we put it in the vehicle last night and I thought I'd have to send photos to Delta. NO! I should have gone right back in to the Baggage Service desk to start a claim. This morning I checked online and learned the claim starts at the airport. So, back to the airport we went this morning--I wasn't fit to drive so my husband went with me. They offered to replace it on the spot with new luggage they had but it was all black and 25" or smaller. NO! I want a 29" Travelpro PURPLE suitcase. They shipped it off to see if it can be "repaired" and if not, they'll offer to replace it. Time will tell how that goes. I dug out the original receipt: 8-22-2016 showing the price. I'll let you know what happens. The agent was apologetic and I wasn't mad, it wasn't her fault. Just be nice, things go in your favor more often that way.

I'll keep this short and will have quilt photos later this week. Here is my favorite meal:

A dark greens salad with cranberries, walnuts, blue cheese crumbles, balsamic vinaigrette and the best salmon filet I've had in a while. Park Tavern in the Entertainment District.

Two friends from home drove up, they are sisters and wonderful students who take most of my classes. They had a ball and Jo Anne won a terrific goodie bag at Iron Quilters Challenge:

They drove 11 hours home yesterday and promptly got online and booked a room at the brand new Marriott for Houston and started on flight reservations. I told them our Houston show is at least 8 times bigger than Chicago, they'll have to pace themselves! Chicago next year is a great chance to see wonderful quilts with smaller crowds and have great vendors to visit. Hope to see you there--April 12-14, 2018. I did see several people who follow this blog or are Facebook friends who made it a point to meet me. Fun!

They also attended my two-hour Open Studios presentation "Work Faster, Not Harder--Tips and Tricks for Speedy Quilting". Several people who attended my presentations the past two years were front and center when I went on--they were eager to hear what I had to teach them this time and I was glad to see familiar faces. I talked for two hours non-stop and was a bit froggy by the end but the loud round of applause at the end made it worthwhile:

My beautiful purple suitcase weighed 6 lbs more coming home and here is all I bought:

I was all packed up and ready to leave my hotel room for the airport yesterday when I did one last check to be sure I had everything--I did NOT! Here is what I almost left behind:

My bag with ALL my supplies for my Open Studios presentation, including two finished quilts. So glad I didn't leave that behind--I am teaching that as a 3 hour, hands-on class this summer. And I love those two quilts. Always double/triple check your room before you leave.

Today is our 41st wedding anniversary. I was lucky to find the best Marine out of 2000 at The Basic School in 1975 and he found the best woman out of 50. My philosophy of what makes a great marriage:  When each person thinks they are the lucky one, and they are BOTH right. That is still us:

That's it for now, more to follow. I thought I would sew today but I'm still in "recovery" mode so it will be tomorrow or the next day before I am safe around sharp implements.  Let's Quilt!