Friday, October 21, 2016

Vintage Dresden {Quilt}

"43 years in the making"

Many years ago, my good friend, Rebecca, were baseball moms.  You know.  Those moms that have only boys and live at the local Little League ballpark all week long?

She used to watch me work on quilt bindings at baseball practices and games and one day approached me about finishing a quilt her grandmother had started around the time we were born. 

She delivered a gorgeous Dresden top that her grandmother had added embroidery on the centers of. It had a backing and even the batting was basted to the backing. Just waiting for some quilting. 

Originally, the plan was for me to help HER finish it. We agreed we would set up a date.  Not quite that much later, Ole Betsy came into my life and I asked for her to wait for me to get to know my longarm.  I thought probably be a really enjoyable experience for her and I to do together.

Then, she moved to the northern suburbs in Houston from our southwest corner. And if you know the area well? You know that's equivalent to moving across the country. 

I messaged her a few times to set up a date. Then. We moved to Salt Lake City. I told her I was taking it with me and I would be mailing her a finished quilt. 
One year later, with house renovations out of the way, I finally worked on it.
And looking back?  All those years of waiting were worth it. I have 6 years on my longarm under my belt, I "found" my feathers last winter. I had quilted a few vintage quilts up to this point also and had learned so much from my research. 

 It would have been a completely different finish if I had quilted it on my domestic machine 7 years ago. 

It just seemed meant to be. 

Things of note.

Batting:  I did end up adding another layer of batting. The original batting caused a lot of tension issues in the beginning because it was lumpy in some areas and very thin in others. It still was uneven, but it quilted more smoothly and I love the extra depth it created. 

Quilting: Free motion feathers in the blue sashing and borders. Meandering/stippling around each Dresden. Loops on the pointy dresdens and indents on the straight plates. 

The binding?  A yellow gingham I had in my stash.  
That actually matched a few of the dresden yellow gingham in the top!

I embroidered a quilt label on the back. I sent her the proof to make sure she liked the wording.
I wanted all the hands that had a part of it recognized on the back!!

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Dresden Plate
Fabric: Vintage fabrics
Thread: So Fine/King Tut Brooklet Variegated and Omnithread Natural White
Quilted: Free motion quilting on HQ Avante


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A New Leaf {Quilt}

 "Everyday is a new opportunity. Another chance to make it.
Better, brighter, happier.
Please never forget.  Promise you'll hold tight.
Because wonderful surprises await you and everything
will turn out right"

On May 1, 2016, a wildfire began southwest of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. 
On May 3, it swept through the community, destroying approximately 2,400 homes and buildings and forcing the largest wildfire evacuation in Albertan history. 
It is the costliest disaster in Canadian history.

And my good friend Sherry had to evacuate her family.  
But not only evacuate, but leave her husband behind to fight the fires.  He is a firefighter.

To say she was terrified and anxious during that time is an understatement.

I'm always unsure if a quilt is the right gift during these moments. I've done charity quilts before.  But this one was different.  This was a fellow babyloss mom that was in need of a hug.  And if a quilt isn't a hug? I don't know what else is! 

I knew I wanted to do a leaf quilt for her.  Something that was "Canada" but also something that reflected all the photos she was posting.  The area is gorgeous and I knew a modern maple quilt might work the best.  I raided my stash and literally pulled all the colors I saw in her "before the fire" pictures. 

The blues were for the skies, but also a color I've seen in her home decorations.
The pattern I used came together really easily.  But I was a bit stuck on the quilting.

All I could think of was wind and movement and went with it.

I originally wanted to do a blue or black binding to match her home decor, but sometimes you just have to accept that it may not be their color, but a color the quilt needs.  An orange tone on tone leaf print was begging to be used!

I had a paisley blue 108" wide backing that fit the bill from my stash.
And I had to make an embroidered quilt label with a Canadian Leaf!

 Quilt Stats:
Measures: 59" x 70"
Pattern: Modern Maples by Lark Craft
Fabrics:  Complete stash
Quilted: Free motion on HQ Avante longarm

My favorite moment was seeing the quilt on her couch.  
The couch is in her home.  
They were one of the "lucky" families that finally were able to return to the area.

  I hope they find their way to recovery and the area returns, especially the leaves in all their glory, just as beautifully as it was before the fire.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Jamie's 7th Birthday {Quilt Block}

"In this life we are going to be disappointed. We will hurt. But there is great joy in the shadows if you know where to look." ~Angie Smith

Friday marked a special day. Our daughter, Jamie Lynn's, seventh birthday. This is the day when I have to awkwardly tell people that she was born very much alive and breathing, but swiftly left us an hour and fifteen minutes later. Her birthday isn't so much a celebration, but a Memorial Day. 

Two years ago, I was struggling with the idea that the older boys were no longer interested in cupcakes and balloon releases, and Button was becoming more and more confused by the concept of a sister he never met. 

Her birthday quilt was born. I needed to have a special time "with" her. 
A time where all my energy was dedicated to honoring her and not letting the distractions of our everyday life take her away from me. 

 This year's block is about books.

 I was a voracious reader as a child and I think I would have been so excited to be part of her journey into "girly" books like the Dancing Shoes and Little House on the Prairie series. I happened upon this adorable stack of books and had to purchase the book, The Paper Pieced Home by Penny Layman from Sew Take a Hike. I don't regret it one bit!

Source: Sew Take A Hike

Friday was a quiet day, in general, but I found much beauty in the peaceful time.  I took my time pressing, stitching, and tearing my foundation tissue with Button playing, ever so quietly, in the studio. 

I'm not terribly in love with my embroidery work, but the block in general pleases me very much!

I still need to work on her year one through four birthday blocks. I was able to finalize my decisions on two of them and hope to find time to work on them. 

Year 5: Cupcake Year         6: Mary Jane Shoes            Year 7: Stack of Books

My only requirement is that I work on them on days I can concentrate my full attention on just her.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Less than Exciting Navy {Quilt}

"Navy. Never looks like it's trying too hard- It's understated cool."

After a week of seeing our 14 year old son's long legs and arms hanging off the edges of his twin bed, hubby and I agreed it was time for an upgrade to a full sized bed frame and mattress. 

Only problem? New bedding. And working with teenage boys and home decoration can make a person beat their head against the wall. Not to mention that finding bedding to fit that awkward transition between boy to man can be a task worthy of a saint.   After weeks of showing him a million online options and bringing home different quilts and comforters from local stores?  He finally just said, "Mom.  Why can't you just make me a navy blue quilt?"

Uhhh.....why didn't I think of that?
Enter in 5 yards of Robert Kaufman 108" wide solid Navy. 

Note:  Lint.  SOOO much lint while making this quilt

6 M class bobbins filled with Navy Blue Superior Threads Omni Thread.

 And a Paradox pantograph by Urban Elementz

I translated his "it's fine" as 
after I took it out of the dryer and it was warm and crinkly.

I, personally, love how the pattern reflects the pattern in our carpet and his Minecraft Slime Quilt

 I *may* have pat myself on the back for finishing what is, generally, a boring whole cloth quilt in less than three days.

He even vetoed any "different" color or texture of binding. 
More Navy cotton *yawn*.

Quilt Stats
Measures: 86" x 94"
Fabric: Robert Kaufman Navy 108" wide
Pattern: Whole Cloth
Quilting: Paradox Pantograph by Urban Elementz on HQ Avante. 

Meanwhile, Button has been patiently waiting for me to finish his older brother's quilt so I can start his new quilt. 

I have a feeling it's going to be a bit more exciting!! Stay tuned!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Frosting {Quilt}

"Grandmothers are moms with lots of frosting"

I adore these quilts. I actually finished them in January and was supposed to mail them off to their recipients. But I just couldn't let them go. 

Honestly, I just didn't mail them because I never got around to making their labels.
And I let a lot of other projects, and life, get in the way. 

I used jelly rolls I had that I had picked up a million moons ago at either Joanns or Hobby Lobby. The Granny Square pattern by Blue Elephant Stitches from Moda Bake Shop was well done and it came together quickly. 

Very quickly!

My big problem was that I had a matching white issue. After a long drawn out process, I discovered that there are actually, not just dye lot issues, with Kona White, but there are actually two different manufacturers for Robert Kaufmann and the whites are NOT at all the same. 

After hunting down some that matched thanks to Hayley from The Plum Bobbin, I was able to find the right white and add the sashing. 

The quilting. These were quilted at a time where I was just really discovering my "feathers" and was playing around with them. 

I may have over-feathered them. If that's possible?

One backing is flannel and one is cotton. They both washed up really nicely!

From the beginning, I had in my mind to do scalloped borders/binding. I just knew I wanted them to have a vintage feel and if scallops don't say that?  I don't know what else would!

The key to scallops is a good amount of border space, a good scallop ruler to mark, and bias binding. 
The other thing I learned was to not get too worried about mitering the corners.  The bias binding started just naturally curving into the inside turns. 

My IRun4 buddy, Reagan.

And the final touch, sweet labels.  I forgot to take pictures, but one of the recipients  took one!
These are going to two super special people that had no idea that they were coming. 

Quilt stats: 
Measures:Approx. 54" x 64"
Pattern: Granny Square by Blue Elephant Stitches at Moda Bake Shop
Fabric: Kona White, Joann Fabric jelly rolls, Joann flannel and cotton
Quilting: Free motion feathers on Ole Betsy longarm (18"Avante)

I was so excited to get messages from them when they arrived!


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