Sunday, 10 July 2022

A Lesson in Quilting


The term "quilting" is frequently used for the entire art of quiltmaking, from start to finish. But, in its strictest sense, it refers to the part of the art where the layers of the quilt - quilt top, batting and backing - are stitched together. This can be done by tying the quilt (using thread, embroidery floss or yarn), quilting by hand using needle and thread, or quilting by machine. The machine quilting can be done either on a domestic sewing machine or a longarm. 

I made one tied quilt, but the ties started working their way out. I intended to use an X-stitch on my sewing machine to replace the ties, but never got around to it. That quilt might still be in my stash somewhere... I have never hand-quilted and I doubt I will ever try it, but I won't say "never". I have surprised myself by the things I have tried. 

My earliest quilts were quilted on my domestic sewing machine. Most of which was straight line quilting using a walking foot. Sewing machines tend to feed the bottom fabric faster than the top fabric, which would result in puckers in the back of your quilt. A walking foot ensures the top and bottom feed evenly, but it also works quite slowly. Zzzz... When I tried free motion quilting (kind of like doodling) on my domestic machine, it was not successful. In order to do this, you have to drop the feed dogs on the sewing machine, switch to a darning or embroidery foot (newer machines designed for quilters actually come with a quilting foot) and make other adjustments on the machine, most of which I don't remember. The most important part of free motion quilting on a domestic machine is learning to synchronize how fast you move the quilt around with the speed of the stitching (how hard you push down the foot pedal) because most domestic machines don't have stitch regulators that coordinate this for you. I never mastered this and either ended up with huge stitches or really tiny stitches. I did slightly better after taking a course in machine quilting, but by then I had discovered longarm quilting. Another issue with quilting on a domestic machine is what to do with all of the bulk of a quilt. The last larger quilt that I finished on my domestic machine was my grandson's John Deere quilt. In addition to the sewing machine cabinet, I set up two extra tables. 

It certainly didn't help that my cats took turns
going along for the ride. 
But even with the tables (and without the cats), I still had to wrestle the bulk of that quilt through the throat space of the machine when I wanted to quilt in the centre. No easy feat! And this was only a 70" square quilt! Yes, the newer machines do have larger throat or harp spaces, but still not a fun challenge, especially not with a larger quilt. Imagine trying to maneuver a king-sized quilt!

 And then there is the whole issue of basting: in order to keep all layers equal and hopefully not get any puckers with the quilting, the layers need to be basted together somehow. This is generally done using an adhesive spray or safety pins. Either way, you need a large area to lay the quilt out while basting. The adhesive spray, which I have never used, is likely the quickest method, but you need to make sure you are in a well ventilated area. Where the safety pins are concerned, you can actually get special curved safety pins so that they are easier to get in and out of a quilt without moving the quilt around too much. You must tape the backing down with painter's masking tape to keep it taut during the procedure. Then lay down the batting and backing and crawl all over the quilt applying safety pins, hurting your knees, your back and your fingers. How many people have a large enough flat surface that they don't mind getting pinholes in to use for quilt basting? Some people have actually bought plywood or foam board, but then you have to store it somewhere. I've tried doing it on an unfinshed basement floor, and then the basement flooded before I finished. I've tried doing it on carpet, and of course, I ended up with the quilt pinned to the carpet. I actually bought a basting gun that applied those little plastic tags kind of like what's used to apply price tags to garments. But that soon jammed. Ah, what we put ourselves through to make a quilt. 

So, yes, I do still quilt things like hot pot holders on my domestic sewing machine. Admittedly, I'm quite lazy about it and mostly just use the regular foot and no special settings and just straight lines. And don't always even pin the layers together. 

When it comes to longarm quilting, there actually are sit-down longarm machines. You encounter some of the same problems that you encounter with a regular sewing machine, except that it has a bigger throat space. For me, maneuvering the quilt rather than the machine seems couterintuitive because it's kind of like drawing by moving the paper instead of the pencil. And one of the best things about longarming on a stand-up machine is that the basting is all done on the frame as you advance the quilt. No more pins or sprays!!! However, I've longarmed long enough to recognize that there are advantages to being able to freely maneuver the quilt, as you can with a sit-down machine. 

When it comes to quilting, there are actually several methods of quilting a design. First of all, there is free motion. As I mentioned, it's kind of like doodling. And as someone who has never really been much of a doodler, it definitely does not come naturally to me. There are also stencils that can be traced onto the quilt. I do have a few, but they would have to be traced onto the quilt first, which makes it more time consuming. I would also have to have a method of tracing that shows up well enough for me to be able to follow it with the machine, lasts long enough for me to complete the quilting and then is easy to remove once finished. So far, I haven't been thrilled with the options. Then there is this lovely gold paper on a roll, about the weight of tissue paper, that I can draw or trace my desired design onto, and then stitch directly through the paper. The downside is having to remove all the bits of paper afterwards. Then there are special quilting rulers. These are ¼" thick acrylic and not cheap, but then quilting does not tend to be an inexpensive hobby. I bought a bunch of them once during a Christmas "stuff your stocking" event at one of my favourite vendors. But then I had to buy the ruler base for my longarm (definitely not cheap) and the Sure Foot (also not cheap). But the thing I like about rulers is their precision. Don't get me wrong - it's still quite easy to wobble and wander off in the wrong direction. And using them can make one wish that one had 8 arms like an octupus, and feel like a contortionist. This might be one of those times when having a sit-down machine might work better... (The jury is still out on that). But using rulers is very labour-intensive. It's not a fast method of completing a quilt. 

Finally, there are pantographs, my preferred method of quilting. Pantographs are quilting designs on a roll of paper, usually 12' long, the width depending on the width of the design. 

Someone has already created the designs. I just have to choose one, lay it on the pantograph shelf at the back of my machine 
and stitch out the design by following it with the laser light. 
One edge to edge design used for the entire quilt. I don't have to try and figure out a design for each section of the quilt. And I can quilt many things like horses or cupcakes that I would never be able to replicate using free motion quilting. 
And I can usually find a pantograph that suits the theme of the quilt. I will admit that doing a simple fmq design would actually be faster than most pantographs. I did a simple loop-de-loop design on a baby quilt once. And it was pretty speedy, but I was disappointed that I didn't use a pantograph that would have been more suitable to the quilt. 

I also will admit that there are times when I look at a quilt and think that it would benefit from something more than just a pantograph. Such was the Maple Leaf quilt that I made for my daughter. I had considered using a maple leaf pantograph, but didn't really feel that it would be the best method for dealing with this quilt. Instead I opted for rulers and free motion quilting. 

While there are plenty of imperfections, I'm really pleased that I didn't go with a pantograph. 

Of course, there was also my Practice Makes Perfect quilt, which I did for a course in free motion quilting. That wasn't just a simple all-over design. It was practicing different motifs for the entire quilt. And my comment at that time was that I didn't enjoy it enough to keep doing it. 

However, I keep seeing new quilting challenges that I'd like to try in spite of my reservations. And thus it was with Welsh quilting. Welsh quilting is a form of whole cloth quilting. And whole cloth quilting is, as the name suggests, quilting on one whole piece of the same cloth. There is no patchwork involved, and the only piecing involved would be if the piece of fabric isn't big enough to make the desired size of quilt. But the quilt top would be all of the same fabric, generally a solid or a fabric that would "read as" solid. Because the emphasis in a whole cloth quilt is on the quilting, not the intricacies or colour play and geometric design of the patchwork. And when I saw the projects in the Craftsy Welsh Quilting course, I wanted to try it. I wanted to take a giant leap out of my pantograph comfort zone and tackle this intricate quilting. Especially since a lot of it could be done with rulers. 😊

And I did it. 

And I am actually quite thrilled with the results. 
Of course, I used Michael Miller Fairy Frost, one of my all-time favourite fabrics. Because it's not a solid, it conceals more of my imperfections than a solid would.
These two will be 20" pillow covers. After I finished both of them, I then went on to play with the octagon quilt block (Brackman 292, Hexagon Beauty Quilt) at the top of this post, which will be a cushion cover for the peacock chair in my craft studio. This one isn't Welsh quilting, just me playing with rulers and fmq. Each one of these small quilts probably took longer than quilting most of my larger quilts. But the results, in my not so humble opinion, are pretty spectacular. 
Now I need to finish them up so that they can actually be used (and admired - at least by me. LOL!). 

Monday, 4 July 2022

The Study of Geometry Crocheted Afghan


I really, really, really did not need to take on another project. With knitting, crocheting, quilting and miscellaneous other crafts, I have so many WIPs and UFOs that I haven't even attempted to count them. I had made some progress by completing a couple of years-old UFOs and wanted to continue that progress. But instead I added a couple of new ones last summer, this one - The Study of Geometry, and the moss stitch variegated afghan

I think I started the moss stitch one because it was a good use for variegated yarn. I love variegated yarn, but it doesn't work well in a lot of patterns. The varying colours often mask the stitch patterns and the beauty of the stitching is lost. But this one is such a basic stitch that the colours are allowed to shine. 

Progress as of last August
It's going to be a pretty attracitve afghan when it ever gets done. But I find the moss stitch quite boring, though I did opt to do the waves version. I think the monotony would have nearly killed me if I was just doing straight rows. I really don't understand the people who say that they love the moss stitch...

As far as The Study of Geometry is concerned, I couldn't resist. It has so much visual and textural interest, which is what I like in a project. When it got to the border, however, I decided to switch it up. It was supposed to be 4 rounds of single crochet, one round of V-stitch and one more round of single crochet. I do NOT like doing round upon round of single crochet. So I opted to take some of the textural stitches from the main body of the afghan and use them in the border as well. 

I only ended up doing one round of single crochet at the beginning of the border and one round at the end. That's much more aesthetically pleasing to me. Finished, it measures approximately 58" across and 70" point to point. Another work in progress completed!

I have now moved the Knit and Crochet Aghan to the head of the cue. This is from the Red Heart book, "It's Great to Give". I don't know when I started this afghan, but it's supposed to be for my daughter, and it would be great if I could finish it for her birthday, 2 months away. It features 8 different sampler blocks - 4 knit and 4 crochet. So, it's quite an unusual and interesting project. 

Meanwhile, in the quilting world, I decided to try my hand at Welsh quilting. 

It's much more intense quilting than I normally do, but I'm enjoying it. And it gives me a chance to use the quilting rulers that don't see much use since I'm usually quilting with pantographs. 

Now, I'd better close as I need to get my laundry off the clothesline before the next rainstorm comes. 

Sunday, 19 June 2022

Bake Someone Happy

Back when BluPrint was having its closing out sale, I bought as much fabric as I could afford (I wish I could have afforded more because they were really good prices and I especially liked their Boundless Botanical). Because I use them in my Quick and Easy Baby Quilts, I bought several layer cakes, plus coordinating fabric for backing when it was available. One of the layer cakes I purchased was the Lily and Loom Stir Crazy line. It features baking-themed fabric, plus other coordinates. 

I also purchased 2 - 3-yard cuts of the light aqua baking equipment and supplies print, since I can make 2 baby quilts from one layer cake (plus background fabric) and each baby quilt requires approximately 3 yards for backing. 

But... while it is a fun fabric line, is baking-themed fabric the most appropriate for baby quilts? No matter. It sat in my stash for the few intervening years. And currently, I am ahead of the game where baby quilts are concerned. Work Zone, Blast Off, Plum Perfect, Baby Alter Ego II, Leah's Ladder and Heat Wave are all waiting for the next baby to arrive. And I don't think I know anyone who is currently pregnant that I will be giving a quilt to. Since quilts are expensive and time-consuming, I only give one per family, unless it's my family, where everyone will eventually get one. But it was my goal to create a stash of baby quilts so I had some readily available should the need arise. 

So, when I was looking through my Craftsy courses, and saw the Tumbler quilt in the Quilting Quickly II course, and realized that I had the MSQC tumbler template, I thought this would make a great project for a quilt for my dining room table. And I decided to do it now because it was one of those quick and easy projects that are just for fun when I need a break from the more intense quilting projects. Except that I did make it a little more complex because I decided to use the trimmings to make an extra border. I hate wasting fabric and so, aside from removing about 2" from the sharpest points of these trimmings, I ended up with a zero waste quilt. 

Because it was a baking-themed layer cake, I chose the Sweetness pantograph to use for the quilting. 

What fun quilting cupcakes! I used this Aurilux thread from my stash as I felt it had the perfect blend of colours for this quilt. 
(It actually has more aqua than the picture shows). 
I managed to squeeze enough fabric out of the 2 - 3-yard cuts for the 2 borders, backing and binding. Here it is on my table. 

In coming up with a name for this quilt, initially I was going to just call it Stir Crazy after the fabric line. But I really didn't like that name, so I started tossing around ideas connected with baking. And then the old Betty Crocker slogan came to mind (I still have the tune running through my head...) and I liked it. So that's how it became Bake Someone Happy. 

Thursday, 9 June 2022

Take Four Placemats


I don't remember how many years ago I purchased this placemat pattern. It's fairly simple, made from 4 different fat quarters and offers 5 different choices of layout for the placemats. I chose variation 2. Because I had a bundle of 5 fat quarters, I also chose to make 5 placemats. 
I like this set because they "match" as they all feature the same fabrics, but each one is unique. The pattern offers two different methods of finishing the placemats, either the "pillowcase" method (front and back, right sides together, including a layer of batting, stitch all the way around, leaving an opening to turn right side out, and then quilting), or the "binding" method (making a quilt sandwich in the usual way, quilting and then binding the edges). Obviously, I chose the binding method, and I also chose to quilt them on my longarm. As I've said before, if it's big enough to fit on the longarm, I will quilt it on the longarm. I used one complete piece of backing. Because the fabric is lemon-themed, I chose the Lemon Drop pantograph by Melonie Caldwell from Urban Elementz,
and a bright yellow Glide thread for the quilting. 
If I had chosen to quilt on m domestic machine or use the pillowcase method, I could have used 1 fat quarter for each placemat.
Normally, I do not use Walmart fabric in my quilts. Most of it is thin and inferior quality, though there is some that is reasonable quality. However, in making something other than quilts, like wallhangings or gift baskets or placemats, I am not necessarily so fussy. I have admired this fat quarter bundle at Walmart for a while. I love the lemon theme. It's so fresh looking. So I decided that this was a good project to use it in. They also sell individual fat quarters, so I used 3 of the sliced lemons for the binding. If I had only made 4 placemats, I would have needed just 2, but I couldn't quite make it around the 5th placemat using 2 fat quarters. 
Not sure if I will keep this set or gift it, but I will say one thing: quilted placemats are much nicer than plastic ones, in my opinion, at least.  

Wednesday, 1 June 2022

Red Hot Chili Peppers


I had to darken the picture to make the colours look more true to life. Otherwise, the red looked faded and the other colours looked like they would glow in the dark.

Maybe I should just stop asking.

For people's favourite colours, hobbies and interests in order to incorporate them into their quilts, that is. After all, I have gifted many quilts without knowing the favourite colours of the recipients. And they have all been received with gratitude. However, it is nice to personalize them, if possible. But not only is it not always practical, it has not infrequently been a source of frustration and well nigh impossible. 

Allow me to elaborate with a few examples. But first, let me explain by saying that I have asked family members for their favourites in advance, as it is my goal to make a quilt for every sibling, niece, nephew, great niece and great nephew (not to leave out my first great, great niece, who has already received hers). As I have stated previously, I seldom buy fabric that is not on sale. So, when I see some sale fabric that would work well for a given family member, I will often purchase it, but I may not get around to making the quilt for a few years. Work and other projects often take priority and I can only make so many quilts in any given time span. But it's great to have the supplies for that project in my stash for when I get a chance to work on it. 

However, I haven't heard back from every family member, or their parents, in the cases of children too young to respond. Maybe that makes it easier, because then I can give them whatever quilt I want. I was told that the favourite colours of one great niece were pink and yellow, and she was also a dancer. So I had purchased fabric for a pink and yellow, dance-themed quilt. Before I had the opportunity to make that quilt, she was no longer dancing and fell in love with a quilt block I shared on Facebook. So that's the quilt she got, and now I have to figure out who will get the pink and yellow dance quilt. A great nephew liked blues and greens, but now he likes purple. Another niece told me she wanted a quilt in red, white and blue, so I purchased fabric in her colour choices. But then I think she forgot that's what she asked for and asked me for a Christmas quilt instead. I think before I make her quilt up, I will ask her once more... Meanwhile, I figured I could make the red, white and blue quilt for the great nephew who is the recipient of the quilt pictured above, as I was told that his favourite colour was red. "Was" is the operative word. As his graduation is coming up, when I finished the Double Star quilt, I figured that quilt would do. Unfortunately, I then found out that red is no longer his favourite and he now likes bright colours, although his mother did say that he would likely be happy with the Double Star. <sigh> So, I started the Flower Power quilt as the bright-coloured option in my stash with no intended recipient. 

However, once I had a row made up, I thought that it was too pretty and femine for a young man. With graduation only a week away, how was I going to be able to pull together an alternate quilt in that amount of time? My anxiety kicked in and I couldn't sleep, so there I was rummaging in my quilt studio in the wee hours of the morning. The Children of Israel quilt would have been ideal, with its bright colours without being pretty and feminine, but it's Jewish-themed and already has an intended recipient.
The red, white and blue quilt I had previously considered was too detailed to complete in such a short time. I pulled out a layer cake in more or less bright coloured solids and another in black, figuring I could do something with that. I considered a larger version of one of my Quick and Easy Baby Quilts, but I didn't think that was personal enough for a family member. I also toyed with the idea of the 10-minute quilt block, but didn't feel it would like great in solids. I watched a few other YouTube videos, but really didn't find anything suitable. And I really didn't have time or money enough to start from scratch. 

Then I remembered the chili pepper quilt: it's bright and appropriate for a man. Thank the Lord! Interestingly, this is one of the quilts I had originally considered for this great nephew, together with Finish the Race, back when red was still his favourite colour. But red is a bright colour, and, together with all of the other colours, I think it's sufficiently bright enough to make him happy. 

This is the first time I've tried a Moda Cake Mix Recipe.

This is a pad of 44 sheets of 10" square papers, preprinted with stitching and cutting lines, for use with fabric layer cakes. You take one sheet of paper, together with a square of print fabric and one of background, stitch and cut along the appropriate lines and then assemble the resulting pieces according to one of the block layouts on the front of the pad. My pad was recipe 1 and I used block 4.

Honestly, I wasn't sure if I actually liked this block, but I continued, hoping that once I saw more blocks together, I would be happier with it. And now that it's altogether, I'm very happy with it. It's a fun quilt. 

While I do find that the Cake Mix Recipe makes using layer cakes easier and more flexible, I'm not sure if I really like the concept. I keep going back to the idea that, for most quilt designs, yardage works better than pre-cuts.And you have to pin the papers to the fabric. I very seldom use pins, and when I do, I usually end up poked at least once. If I really need extra help holding things together, I prefer quilt clips. But this is not an application where clips would work. So, pins it is. And I did end up poked several times. Furthermore, the rotary cutting blade dulls quite quickly, cutting through all of that paper. Plus, you have to add in the time it takes to remove all of the papers once you've done all of the stitching and cutting.  However, I still have quite a few layer cakes in my fabric stash and, aside from my Quick and Easy Baby Quilt concept, I think that this will become my new favourite for using them. So, I am likely to buy more Cake Mix Recipes. 

Back to the quilt, another objection I have to layer cakes is that, once you've made a quilt with them, you then need to find coordinating fabrics for borders and binding. I don't often think about that when I buy the layer cake. And often, I buy them on sale, so I'm limited to what's available at the time I purchase the layer cake, or what I can find that will work with the layer cake when I finally get around to using it several years down the road. 

I suppose there are dozens of variations on the colour red. I had some red solid fabric that I would have liked to use for the border on this quilt, but it wasn't quite the same shade as the solid red layer cake. I rummaged around in my vegetable fabric to see if I had a pepper fabric that might work, but no. I have cauliflower, tomatoes, red onions, etc, but not peppers. I do, however, still have plenty of fabric on my bolt of solid black, so I opted for that for my border and used the solid red for the binding where the slight difference in shade won't be so noticeable. 

And, for the backing, I had this in my stash.

I think I originally bought it for the Go Broncos quilt for another great nephew's graduation from university, but opted for a WMU Broncos fabric instead. Then I thought of using it as the backing for a quilt for when one of my nephews graduated from college, but that was already a few years ago and I still haven't made the quilt. And, personally, unless a quilt with this kind of fabric is given on or around the actual graduation, it seems rather dated, irrelevant, ridiculous. 

Now on to the quilting part. I had originally purchased the Mexicali pantograph to use with this quilt. But this design is only 4.5" wide and has lots of straight lines, corners and points, so pretty labour intensive. And I was under a time crunch. I next considered Zen in the Sun. Also, lots of points, and some straight lines, but a wider pantograph at 10". But the focus of the fabric in the print layer cake is hot peppers, and I remembered seeing a hot pepper pantograph. And I found it: Abundant Peppers from Urban Elementz. Just saying that I love this pantograph and it suited the quilt to a T. What I don't love is self-print pantographs. I don't like using my copy paper and my toner and mostly I don't like having to line up and tape all the pages together. But with my great nephew's grad looming, I didn't have time to order it, and neither of my primary Canadian vendors carry it anyway. However, I decided to try tracing the design onto a paper roll that I bought for making my own pantograpsh. That really wasn't a great option either, but it worked. 
The quilting thread might look light grey/white, but it is actually a variegated yellow/orange/green.
I had already chosen a thread from my stash. I wanted something that would stand out against the red, and chose a variegated yellow/orange/green. 
It matches the colours of the peppers. I had never used this particular thread before,
and when I looked for it on the Superior Threads website to find what size of needle it suggested, it couldn't be found. It looks fabulous against the red, but I was having constant breakage. I tried everything I could think of: adjusting the tension both up and down, different needle sizes: 16, 18 and 20, loosening the quilt up on the frame, piece of batting in the thread mast, no batting in the thread mast... I persisted almost halfway through the quilt, but finally gave up and switched to Glide. 
When I asked about this thread in a Facebook longarm quilting group, one commenter said that Superior made it way back when they first started up. Another Googled it, and found this info: "#30/3-ply extra-strength Spun Polyester thread. Designed for longarm and home machine Quilting. 2000 yd cones. 
The look of cotton with the strength of polyester. Poly Quilter has been designed for longarm and home machine quilting and decorative apparel stitching. Available in 26 variegated colors. As a heavier 30 wt. thread, Poly Quilter is intended to stand out." G-Poly Quilter Longarm Quilting Thread - Accomplish Quilting. Well, I've still got most of those 2000 yards, so I will no doubt try again, utilizing some of the suggestions I received on Facebook: Sewer's Aid, a size 21 needle, stitch slower with a longer stitch length (10 or less), plus my own thought of prewashing the backing. as recommended in this video: 
I've tried pretty well everything else. 
When I took this quilt outside and hung it on the line to take its picture. I discovered something. Something rather alarming and disappointing: a hole in the backing fabric! The sun was bright, hitting the front of the quilt and I could see a white spot towards the middle of the quilt: a very large piece of lint? No, it was a hole. Not sure how or where that came from, whether it was a flaw in the fabric or if it got caught on something while I was wrestling with the quilt to get the binding sewn on (there has to be a better way...). Disappointing though it was, I'm glad I found it before I had gifted the quilt. Matching up a small square of fabric to the spot as best as I could, I stuck it on with Heat'N'Bond and then zigzag stitched the edges. Fortunately, it was behind a print area of the quilt top, and I was able to thread-match the fabric relatively well, so you'd really have to search for it to find it. 
Done and ready to be gifted. I just have to find a gift bag the right size. 
Just for the curious, here's the original photo of the quilt, before retouching. I feel like I need to wear sunglasses to look at it. 

Monday, 23 May 2022

High Tea


You may recognize this quilt setting. It's the Trellis Setting by Sharyn Craig  that I also used for Where the Charming Roses Bloom, only in that case it was a square version and this is a rectangle version.  I bought this one as a quilt kit from my local quilt shop. While the fabric is beautiful, I likely would have switched a couple of things up a bit. First of all, I'm not entirely sure that I like that cream coloured fabric for the setting triangles. I think it's too great a contrast with the mostly black background fabrics in the rest of the quilt. Even if it had the little rosebuds on it like the black sashing and the blue framing fabrics, it likely would have been more satisfactory. But this is just a tonal, with a print so indistinct that I had to be very careful to make sure I wasn't sewing it with the wrong side out. The next thing is the same focus fabric is used for both the large and small squares and this is a really large print, with the result that the smaller squares have bits and pieces of teapots. It really doesn't suit the smaller squares. I did use the same focus fabric for both large and small squares in the Charming Roses quilt, but it was a smaller scale print, so it worked much better. Finally, there's the matter of the framing and sashing fabrics. 

In the charming roses quilt, both the sashing and framing fabrics have a totally different background colour from the focus fabric. This worked well when putting the framing around the small squares, where it was only put on two sides of the square. 
And it's supposed to go on the outsides of the small squares. But in High Tea, because the background colour of both the focus fabric and the sashing is black, there wouldn't be a strong enough demarcation between the two fabrics. 
And so I put the framing fabric on the inside. It doesn't give it the same finished look, and, if I had enough of the blue framing fabric, I might have considered framing the small squares all the way around. 
I googled this fabric line. It's several years old, so not much can be found online. However, I did find this fabric, which is the same print as the fabric used in the wider border, only with an ivory background. 
Perhaps I could have used this for the sashing, changed the focus fabric for the smaller squares to the black rosebud fabric that is used in my quilt for the sashing, and changed the setting triangles to the same fabric as that used in the wider border. I think that would have been more aesthetically pleasing, though I still think it's a beautiful quilt. 
I used the Coffee Break pantograph from Urban Elementz. It's coffee (or tea) cups with swirls of steam rising from the cups. And this is the backing fabric I used. 
It's a totally different fabric line, but I felt it suited this quilt. I did have a hard time parting with it, however, as it's so beautiful 
Originally, I purchased this quilt kit for my oldest sister, who collects vintage tea pots. However, when my youngest sister wanted a bed-sized quilt, I knew that I would have to make all of my sisters bed-sized quilts. And this one is defintely not bed-sized. However, I was hoping to make a quilt for a friend who is a ceramicist (potter) and I felt that teapots and cups would be appropriate for her. 

Sunday, 15 May 2022

Double Star Quilt

 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
Isaiah 30:21

This is the Double Star pattern from the book, Strip Tubing, which uses the Strip Tube ruler. It's not too hard to see the red pinwheel stars (there are 4), but the black ones are less noticeable (there are 2). And the quilt is actually more vibrant than the picture shows. 

As you likely know, I like to share my quilts with people that I feel need comfort, encouragement and support. And I was making this one with a particular recipient in mind. But I just wasn't getting it done in as timely a manner as I would like. There was a certain day when I knew I would likely see the individual for whom I was making this quilt and I tried to get it finished before then in order to gift it to her, but I just didn't manage somehow (now realizing that my mental health challenges have certainly contributed). 

I believe that God speaks to us, if we're willing to listen. Not generally audibly, but He speaks to us through His word, the Bible, through nature, through other people (and not just preachers) and sometimes He speaks to our hearts, our minds through what the Bible calls the "still, small voice" (I Kings 19:12). As I mentioned, not usually an audible voice, but more an impression, an idea that comes strongly to our minds, as mentioned in the opening Bible verse. Of course, we have to be careful that any "impression" is consistent with the word of God. Otherwise, it's not His voice we're hearing! So, as I was laying in bed on the morning of the day that I would likely see this person, the idea came to me that I could give her Sunrise in the Serengeti instead. 

I had originally made this one to sell, but my selling efforts had fallen flat (though I hadn't gone farther than displayng it at a place that sold the works of local artisans). And this quilt was just hanging around on a quilt rack, waiting for me to decide what to do with it. So I listened to that "Voice" and I packed it up and took it with me. 
When I saw my friend and asked her how she was doing, it was not a good day. And I believe that our omniscient God knew that this was a day she needed the encouragement of a quilt given in love from a friend. So that's why He told me to give her Sunrise in the Serengeti, instead of waiting until I completed Double Star. And I pray that it will continue to be a blessing to her, a tangible reminder of God's love. 
But I still wanted to finish Double Star, even though I now had no recipient in mind. I didn't want to add to the pile of UFOs I have. I finished the quilt top and then, because there is so much red in this quilt, I chose Spiced Apples as the quilting design.
Ugh! Mystery's hair is everywhere!

While I normally do a star pantograph - and I have a few of them - for a star-themed quilt, on this one, the stars are not so distinct and I wanted something different. And I'm pleased with my choice. 
This quilt only took 20 strips from a jellly roll, so I still have the remaing 20 to do something with. However, between this one and Finish the Race, I think I've had enough of red, white and black quilts for awhile, and I need to work with some different colours.