Sunday, September 29, 2019

SIZZLE Month 10--the Borders Begin

This is the  2019 Block of the Month from The Quilt Show. This quilt pattern designed by Becky Goldsmith is FREE to Star Members.  Join Today  to be part of the fun.

Be sure to READ ALL THE GENERAL DIRECTIONS and WATCH ALL THE VIDEOS. Each month's pattern has detailed instructions as well. 


Block 1
Block 2
Block 3
Block 4
Block 5
Block 6
Block 7
Block 8
Block 9

It is finally time to make the borders. As I am making two of these, the Cool Kit and a Warm/Combo version using my own fabrics, I decided one quilt will have an applique' border and one a pieced border.

The Warm/Combo is getting the applique' border. Here is the top before the borders:
Here is my Cool Kit top with pieced borders--the instructions for this posts October 6:

I had just enough Kit fabric available to make this border--I was careful when cutting fabric for the blocks. If I had fabric left over, I cut pieces from the leftovers for the next month before cutting new strips. If you run low, any blue or green fabric that looks like these can easily be substituted in the border.

FIRST, before you begin the applique' borders, READ THE INSTRUCTIONS, and WATCH THE VIDEOS. Becky has put a lot of time and information into both the Instructions and the Videos--they will really help you. Find the Applique' Instructions HERE.

IMPORTANT CUTTING NOTE:  Cut the borders wider and longer than called for. They shrink some with all the applique--you can always cut off the extra but it's harder to add more later.  I recommend the side borders be cut at least 7.5" x 64".

This post will show you how to use her vinyl overlay technique. I will also offer you an alternative method you may prefer.
I printed the border pages following the instructions in Month 10 and taped them together to form the Side Border Pattern. At first, I thought I might be able to see through it on my dark border fabric. Alas, I could not. Here the pattern is on top of the border--I was  not able to place the applique' shapes under the pattern accurately. Here the shapes are simply laying on top for the photo:

So, on to the vinyl applique' method. Using an old rotary cutter blade, I cut the vinyl overlay material included in the Kit into a 5" wide long piece--I needed two of those to be able to join them to form a 60" long piece.

I pinned the vinyl to the paper pattern and used an Ultra Fine Sharpie pen to trace the pattern onto the vinyl. Tracing is not my favorite thing. My drawn lines are not perfect but close enough:

The entire border is traced on the 60" long vinyl overlay:

Now I was able to place the prepared applique' shapes on the border where they are supposed to go. Top photo shows shapes under the vinyl:

The vinyl is carefully removed and the shapes are pinned in place, ready for sewing. You can glue the shapes down if you prefer:

It took time to trace the 60" pattern onto the vinyl and I didn't enjoy that task. I got to thinking: What if I printed the pattern pages onto Vellum???

Here is the Top/Bottom border, printed on Vellum, taped together, ready to go. So much faster, so  much more accurate than my poor tracing. I can easily see through the Vellum to place the applique' shapes on the border. You don't see the prepared shapes here because I haven't made them yet--still working on the Side Borders:

In the next blog post, October 2, I will show you how I cut out the applique' shapes and prepared them for machine applique'. My method is different from Becky's--she uses freezer paper which she puts on the RIGHT side of the fabric before gluing the turned edge under. I use a wash-out fusible fabric product that I put on the BACK side of the fabric before gluing the turned edge under.

Let's quilt.


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Little of This, Little of That

Just a few things, none of which demand their own post, sort of a "Miscellaneous" Post.

1. Both my garments for Houston are done, in September--yeah!!  The blue fabrics are Michael Miller, selected to help celebrate the Sapphire Celebration 45th Anniversary of International Quilt Festival in Houston. I love the way this turned out and the fit is perfect.

Indygo Junction Contemporary Kimono
These fabrics are from Art Gallery Fabrics, the Indie Folk Collection. I love the fabrics but wish I had used the Kimono pattern for this too. The pattern I used is from the early 90's and it is too big--I think I will take in the side seams a bit, without taking it apart--no, that is no happening. The back hem also swoops down, even though I cut a lot off and thought I had fixed that. With a dark top and black slacks it will be fine.
Nonaim Jacket from Design and Planning Concepts
UPDATE: I took in the side seams 1.5" on both sides, it fits better but it's not as good as if I had made a smaller size. SO, I made a tunic from the leftover fabric--this fits well and is easy to wear:

2. Last week I finished this quilt for my niece who graduated from Harvard in May. I wrote about the quilting here.

After quilting and binding it, I washed and dried it, mostly to be sure those dark blues didn't run. I laid it on the guest bed until I could box it up and that's when I saw--the center diamond I missed quilting! Good thing I checked. Back under the needle to finish that diamond and it was ready to go and it is now in her possession:

3. Next up for quilting is my Sizzle--Warm--it needs to be done to take to Houston in 4 weeks. I've just about got the thread colors figured out and will start the quilting this week. 

4. Our family celebrated two birthdays this weekend: Sam, Mr. ONE-derful, turned ONE--he is such a happy little guy:

Sam and BB
The next day my eldest son, Joshua Black Wilkins, turned 40! That doesn't seem possible since I think I'm only 39. He is a professional photographer and musician, and lives in Nashville--glad he could make the 2.5 hour drive for Sam's party:

I don't get the "Smash Cake" event but apparently that's a "thing"--Sam loved it, his Dad painted on icing eyebrows, and many photos were taken. He appeared to be in a sugar coma but kept both hands going. He likes cake!

After Sam was given a bath, there were more photos. The rest of the family, my younger son Andrew Black Wilkins and his wife, Lauren, with Sam and Stella, 4: 

Lest he be left out, my beloved, my better half, the father of my children and love of my life, Charles "Will" Wilkins. He just loves being PopPop!

So, that is what and who keep me busy.

And: RETREAT UPDATE--only TWO spots remain for the first Joyful Journey Retreat--get more info HERE and send me an email for the brochure. It's going to be a lot of fun!

Let's quilt.


Sunday, September 22, 2019

Slow Sewing

I enjoy handwork and always have something going that I can easily pick up and work on.

The other day I started quilting my newest little quilt--see post Nothing New Under the Sun for the story of this one:

The method is "Big Stitch", using a thick thread, Perle #8. I find it very fast to quilt and that is what I wanted on this quilt. While I can do fine hand quilting with small stitches, not every quilt deserves that much time and attention.

I am still thinking about the border design--either a simple cable that requires marking with a stencil OR a simple cross hatch that can be marked with painter's tape. Stay tuned.

The other long-term hand piecing project is this hexagon star. This layout shows the stars touching--it looks a bit crowded:

An alternate layout allows some breathing room between the blocks and means I can cover more territory with fewer blocks. A large plain hexagon from a variety of small background prints like shirtings would fill the blank spaces:

Which do you prefer?

How do I get these done? I cut some out and leave them beside my comfy chair. At night, while listening to TV, I start sewing them. I can do several a night if I choose. And I can easily put them in a zip loc bag with a needle, a few pins, thread, scissors and my thimble, to take on the road:

 They are cut from 2" wide strips, using a 60 degree angle cut--I use a pencil to quickly mark the sewing line on the back of  the light diamonds, that doesn't take long. Easy to prep, easy to sew.

Back to my garments now--the lining arrived and has been washed so it's time to get those jackets finished.

Let's quilt.


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Garment Time

Though it doesn't feel like Fall yet, it is time to make the Garments--the two I need to make for International Quilt Festival/Market.

As part of the Education Show Team in Houston, we work each year at Festival, helping students and the Faculty to have a wonderful, even thrilling, experience. To help identify us as "education staff", we are given great new fabrics from manufacturers that we use to make whatever kind of garments we want.  Here is a photo from 2011 to give you an idea:

This really helps with wardrobe choices all week. We need to look professional but we have to be comfortable too. I work Quilt Market, also, so I am in Houston for 13 days with no time to do laundry. A simple jacket over black slacks and tank shirts works well.

This year is the 45th anniversary of the International Quilt Festival--the Sapphire Celebration! Blue and White will be seen everywhere, just as Red and White was 5 years ago for the Ruby Jubilee--the 40th anniversary.

For a blue garment, we are working with Michael Miller fabrics, selecting from several of their collections from specific blue fabrics. My selections, including a pattern from Indygo Junction--they kindly offer us patterns as well:

The other fabric line is from Art Gallery Fabrics: Indie Folk. We get to select up to 5 yards of whatever we want for our garments. Here is my choice with the pattern I am using:

This week I started both garments but have to wait for lining fabric I ordered online to arrive to complete them. Before Hancock's Fabrics closed, a few years back, I was lucky enough to have one just a few blocks from my home. I sure miss them when making garments--linings, interfacing, buttons, trims, patterns--all used to be right there. No longer, I have to shop for those things online now.

Progress shots:

I head to Houston in just over 5 weeks so these have to get done. My guild quilt show is two weeks before that trip and I am pretty busy working on that as well. At this point, I think I am ahead of schedule...

Let's quilt (and sew).


Sunday, September 15, 2019

Nothing New Under the Sun

I enjoy making quilts inspired by antique quilts or tops--an homage to the unknown maker of many years ago.

That is not what happened here. 

Six months ago I made this small quilt for an upcoming special class. I dreamed it up, using some of my favorite blocks:

The strippy style is an old layout, occasionally used today but often with the rows running horizontally instead of vertically.

Mine is 34" square and I used charm packs as a fabric starting point.The blocks are small.

Two months ago I saw this top for sale by Cindy Rennels, my friendly "antique quilts" pusher/dealer, who seems to know what I like:

It struck me as very similar to mine, though the blocks are much larger--this quilt is 63" x 94". It doesn't have any flying geese, but it does have X blocks, also called Old Italian Block, and nine patches.

The old top has lots of "issues"--it's wobbly, not the same size from edge to edge in any direction. It will never be finished unless I took it all apart and I am not doing that. The fabrics are thin, a few are crunchy, it just needs to be cared for in its' old age. It does make an interesting fabric study piece. Some of the darks are old purples--so I love that. The old pink is really thin but it sure adds needed light to the center.

Since the price wasn't too high and it looks so much like my ORIGINAL designed quilt, I just had to buy it. The note Cindy included with the quilt said it came from Berks County, PA--my home state--another "it was meant to be" moment for this quilt.

Often, people think they own the design of old quilts they have acquired--that always strikes me as odd. The original maker was the designer, we just get to care for and love old quilts in our collection. If they inspire us or others, so much the better.

Perhaps it will inspire you to make a simple quilt, maybe from "orphan" blocks. Simple can be lovely.

Check out Cindy's Antique Quilts--maybe you'll find something you just have to have too. Follow Cindy on Instagram where she often puts up new items for sale--@cindysantiqequilts.

Let's quilt.


Sunday, September 8, 2019

Lots of Quilting Going On

Mostly, I'm a piecer--spending the majority of my sewing time making tops. They begin to pile up and it's time to quilt them.

With the Heritage Quilters of Huntsville Quilt Show coming up October 11-12, 2019, I had one top that really HAD to get done--my Lifetime Quilt. Read about this quilt HERE.

100" X 100"

It has 12, 800 triangles, 1.25" finished Half Square Triangle units. It is heavy! Thank goodness I have a longarm friend who offered me time on her machine to baste it--there aren't enough safety pins to baste it that way--that process took 3 hours.

Thank goodness for my Bernina Q20 sit down longarm machine--with both extensions in place the table is 76" long which provided plenty of support for this beast while quilting:

This top has been under construction for 3 years. I've known for a while how I planned to quilt it:

Practice block

The back of the practice block

I never planned to stitch in the ditch--that would only show any place where the ditch was "wobbly" and there are a few of those. Using the Line Tamer Ruler, it was a breeze to quilt down the center of each diagonal row. Bottom Line thread in the bobbin, So Fine 50 wt in the top--for those who will ask. Quilters Dream Wool batt, soft and breathable.

Beginning at an outside corner, I just started. Those first rows were really short and it was so easy. The Line Tamer keeps the ruler foot in place and the rows were straight, most of the time.

Of course, each row got longer and longer and there was much squishing and bundling as I approached the middle. I worked on it two hours a day, in one hour increments so as not to hurt myself--the shoulders were sore after an hour.

The first half took 9 hours over 5 days. Then I turned it around and began in the middle, another really LONG row--that middle row! BUT each row got shorter after that and the squishing/bundling was easier so the second half was done in 6 hours.

I love how the simple quilting is exactly what this quilt  needed--here you can see the not-quilted area in the upper right:

 I am 15.5 hours into the binding process now with one side remaining:

Since I was on a quilting roll, I decided to keep going, quilting a gift for my niece Devon who graduated from Harvard in May, 2019. I promised her she would have it before the weather turns cold:

75" x 75" Southern Star

The border still needs to be done, I'll add more quilting in the star itself and there are 3 more white sections to go, but it's coming along nicely and the weather is still hot.

Next week I have to baste one more 75" square quilt and get it done before Houston--looking forward to showing you that one as it gets quilted.

In between quilting these two I pieced a top, because that is what I do. A very scrappy New York Beauty, 42" x 42":

This probably won't get quilted for a while, just get in line and wait your turn...

Let's quilt.


Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Secret Stitcher--My Plan

My quilt guild, the Heritage Quilters of Huntsville, just wrapped up a one-year program--the Secret Stitchers Gift Exchange. We've done it before, years ago now, when it was called "Secret Pals". At our annual birthday party recently, we revealed ourselves to each other:

Those who wish to participate fill out a questionnaire about the kinds of gifts they would enjoy receiving, some quilt related, some about foods, snacks, books,  collectibles, etc. The person in charge assigns the pairs, only she knows who gives to who, and each month every participant brings a wrapped gift for their "Secret Stitcher".  The person you give to is not the person who gives to you.

I was happy to be given Lois K as my "Secret Stitcher". I know and like her and saw this as a chance to surprise her each month. She is a longarmer and the one thing I know about longarmers is they don't have enough time to make tops for themselves.

So, each month I made two 8" New York Beauty blocks, exactly alike, and gave one to her and kept one for myself. Lois said she collects thimbles so each month I wrapped one of my collectible thimbles in the block and gave her that too.

After the first month, a card from her let me know she liked this plan.

At the "Reveal"  Lois said she had no idea I was her Secret Stitcher, and told me again how much some enjoyed receiving the blocks and thimbles.

I also had no idea who was giving to me. It was Pam A, a member I don't know really well but she's a great person. All year she provided nice gifts and even made me these special items:

The swap was fun and I was glad I participated. If  your group wants to do this, here are the RULES our group used:  HQH Secret Stitchers Form

While hunting around Facebook for photos, look what I found--a photo of BOTH Lois and Pam, looking good, ladies:

The other day I put my New York Beauty blocks on the design wall to think about what I wanted to do with them. I decided I needed four more, so I got those made and created this wallhanging/crib quilt:

I don't like to finish outer edges with points that have to be nice and pointy at the outside edge--I will if I really have to, on very special quilts. But this one didn't need that so I added a 1" finished black border to frame it:

Time to move on to something else.

Let's quilt,