Monday, June 27, 2011

Borders are on, let the decorating begin...

 Side two of the quilt is the columns/modified coin.  If you remember from a previous post, I went a bit nuts on the freehand and ended up with multiple lengths of the columns and the resulting challenge to even the ends.  So - now side one is beautifully square - and side two is a bit more rectangular.

This side now has a triple border - two solids the same as the strips in the center and a scrappy inset.  To make scrappy border, I sewed the remaining strips in somewhat random order and then cut those sets to 2.5 inch widths.  Because the strips themselves were not all the same length, I ended up with a nice variety of short strips which I then sewed together.  I did make a point of aligning the dolphins to be right side up in the border, so there was a little revising to change direction of a few pieces.  The borders on the top and bottom are about 1/2 inch narrower than those on the sides which brought side 2 to a square instead of a rectangle.
 Before adding the final outer border, I did re-square the quilt - and measured for the edges using the length from the middle of the quilt. Happily, I was 1/8 inch or less off at the edges!

Now, the one error I did make in cutting the final lengths was to once again not measure correctly - so what I ended up with is a back for the quilt that is almost exactly the same size as the front. Oops - that will make the sandwiching a little more challenging.  I am in the process now of adding the dolphins to the front border and once those are done, I'll be able to trim the really wide borders for the front to a size that I prefer, and will once again have a front smaller than the back to make centering the quilt easier.
So - here is the finished back of the quilt. I'm very pleased with the scrappy strip in the border, though it became a little stressful to measure/finish. I finally decided to lay the scrappy border on the quilt to align the way I liked best and then trimmed the overlap.
  I did pay special attention to the corners as at one point it looked like there would be large blocks of the same fabric on two corners. Because of the dolphins, I couldn't just flip the strip over - so I pulled a few of the leftover strips out and replaced some pieces on the ends.

I'm thinking about doing a scrappy binding instead of using the dolphin batik on the border, but have some concerns about the bulk of the added seams - so the leftover scrappy strips are not suitable for the binding. Thus, I think I'll stick with the dolphin batik as it will tie both sides together nicely.

The final border work I'm doing prior to sandwiching is on the front of the quilt. I'm appliqueing dolphins along the border as the dolphin fabric in the 9 patches features bits and pieces of dolphins.  Unfortunately, there is not as much contrast as I'd like to see between the dolphins and the border teal, so I'm using a white zigzag to secure the dolphins. Three down, 24 to go...  Last night I tried satin stitch on the first two dolphins and decided that it wasn't the effect I wanted. So I spent several hours undoing those stitches and have discovered why people replace seam rippers - mine is decidedly dull now.  This is my first attempt at applique. One of many firsts with this project.  Hopefully I can finish the applique work this week and sandwich over the weekend.

Monday, June 20, 2011

This is why you MEASURE thrice, cut once...

One of these day's I'll learn.

For side two of the signature quilt, I went "free form."  I was not worried about widths of the various strips between signature blocks, more that they looked pretty even.  The end result was that two were substantially shorter than the others.  Now, the best time to fix that would have been BEFORE adding the sashing strips, when I could simply have sewn a little wider seam allowances.  And definitely BEFORE trimming the sashing strip even with each column.

So - if you look carefully at the top left corner of the picture, you can see where I hacked off most of a strip, and didn't catch on until later that it was also uneven.  It was not until I started to measure for the binding strips that I realized just how badly I had messed up the lower edge of the quilt. Fortunately I had gone to be before making another mistake that might not be fixable.  What I ended up doing was opening the stitching on the sashing on either side of the signature blocks - as they could not be trimmed without losing names, and then shortening the column by trimming some of the coin above the block and/or re-stitching the seams above to shorten even more.  NEXT LESSON  - MEASURE!  Yep, you guessed it, after cutting and sewing it back together, I suddenly had several short columns.  At this point, I did what I should have done earlier and added another coin to the column to even it back up.

By the end of the evening, I had resewn quite a few of the seams around the signature blocks, and then to add to my joy, did not notice that the bobbin thread ran out 8 inches into one of the border seams until I was about 8 inches from the other end of the seam - and of course, the careful pinning is now gone...

 The first borders are now attached and Monkey has provided her seal of approval.  Next up the pieced scrappy border.  That should be lots of fun!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Getting ready for FNSI

The sashing is in place between the columns now.

Tomorrow I plan to put the borders on side two - the center one is pieced-scrappy and almost done.

Depending on how productive the evening is, I may get to the applique dolphins on side one.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Friday Night Sew-In coming soon - June 17th

What will you be working on???

I'm planning to continue working on the signature quilt.  I've pieced the strips for the back of the quilt and added the initial sashing strips. Next step is to join the strips and add the first pieced border, then the final border.

On the front side, I'm planning to applique some dolphins in the corners. Hopefully by the end of the weekend, I'll be ready to sandwich and start quilting.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

More quilts from the NC Quilt Symposium

I am just in awe of the talent and creativity so many of these quilts represent.  Here are a few more of my favorites from the symposium.
Little Red School House 2010 - made by Sally Cascario. 
Each of the school houses is a different red fabric. The border then
uses all of the reds to tie it all together and is just stunning.
First prize winner in Pieced Bed Quilts
Enchanted Forest made by Marilyn Wunsch. Pattern is by Renee Peterson.
I am in awe.  I love the colors and would love to hang this in my house.
Must first learn to paperpiece...  2nd prize, Small Wall Hanging.
Americana made by Carol Robinson.  3rd Prize Wall Hanging Large.
I think this one is stunning in its simplicity.  It reminds me of a Hawaiian Style quilt.
I am fascinated by the miniatures - and the workmanship that goes into them.

Top to bottom - left to right:
Amy's Choice made by Sheila Wright. (3rd prize)
Lilliputian Floral Urns made by Mary Abbott Williams (1st prize & Best Hand Quilting)
1011 Pieces made by Amy Takaoka Losordo started in a workshop with George & Gini Siciliano, Glow in the Dark Pattern. (3rd Prize)
Scrap Happy Repro made by Kary Guinn
Broken Dishes mady by Candy Joehrendt
Mini-Compass made by Jan Struble (2nd Prize)
Hand Pieced Baskets made by Carla Handshaw
Star & Geese made by Joanne Lentz

The detail for the birds is incredible in this lovely quilt.
Favorite Songbirds made by Wanda Thompson, quilted by Kim Zebrowski.
This mother and daughter team appliqued and hand quilted this amazing quilt.
Judge's Choice winner.

A very unusual quilt in the Studio Art category - I'm including the card as I really like her description.

Going Green or Not by made by Lois Griffith

And last but certainly not least - the one I picked as viewer's choice...
Deco Beauties made by Kate George & quilted by Cathy Kirk.  These gorgeous ladies
are dressed in 1930's high fashion.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A trip to the NC Quilt Symposium

The NC Quilt Symposium is held annually during the first week in June.  Last year, I discovered the Symposium too late to register, but did travel to Charlotte to see the quilt show. It was amazing, and the source of lots of quilting inspiration.  This year I had every intention of attending because it was practically next door in Raleigh. Unfortunately the last week of school for Gus combined with tryouts for ice hockey consumed my week. But I did make a point of heading over to the quilt show on Sunday morning.  Here are a few of my favorites from the show.
BEST OF SHOW!  Swamp Hibiscus Made by Judith Heyward 
Center detail for Swamp Hibiscus
This is one of my favorite quilts. The workmanship is fabulous, as is the detail. Plus I learned about a native flower to NC.  She totally deserved this ribbon. 

In keeping with the flower theme - these two wall hangings are just stunning. Someday, I'd like to learn threadpainting and beadwork.

Patty's Petals made by Linda Black

Detail for Patty's Petals - beautiful thread painting on the Clemantis blooms.

Beadazzling Sunflower made by Marilyn Alexieff.
The method is piecelique, and was started in Sharon Schamber's class.

Detail work from Beadazzling Sunflower - showing the dazzling beadwork.
There is always a selection of fun quilts too...
Chickens on Parade made by Dorothy Karvelis.  The applique work on this is incredible!
Dinosaurs on Parade, made by Joan Byron.  Inspired by the Celestial Circles pattern by Cheryl Phillips.
Hopeful Returns made by Susie Williams

Shadow E. made by Kim Frisk. The quilt was started in David Taylor's 2010 workshop at Symposium.

Purrfect Panel made by Laura Jackson

I really like the quilting detail on this one.
I'll stop for now and say that I find these shows so much fun to attend and so very inspiring!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Zebra Quilt meets Sean

While I did manage to finish the quilt before Sean was born, in a comedy of errors trying to get to the airport to meet him, I forgot to pack the quilt.  Sean and family came to visit this week, so I finally made the quilt label last night and sewed it on tonight.

Sean settled right in...

And then Aunt Kirsten learned what happens when something touches Mr. Sean's feet.

The label is white cotton fused to the zebra fabric from the front border with WonderUnder, then zigzag stitched.  I then fused the zebra fabric to the back of the quilt and hand stitched along the edges so that it won't be tempted to peel off.  The pen used is a Sakura Pigma 0.5 in burgundy, heat set.

Hopefully he'll enjoy this quilt for many years.  My first start to finish project is in good hands!