Quilting a Sommer Quilt

As most of you know, Mike and I watch our granddaughter, Sommer, full time. She is a joy, and next year we’ll be doubly blessed because daddy and mommy are expecting her baby brother in February. During breakfast a few weeks ago, I asked her what we should name her baby brother and she responded “Minnie Mouse sticker”. We smile a lot around here  :-) !

Sommer will be moving into a big girl bed after Christmas, so grandma Chris needed to make her a quilt – of course. Her bedroom colors are pink, gray, black, white and teal – and the decor is very modern. A “modern” quilt would be ideal, but Sommer really loved the I Spy quilts she helped me make for her cousins. What to do? Back the modern quilt with an I Spy quilt!

Once both sides were finished, the sandwich was layered and it was time to quilt. The modern side has one wide, vertical band of a pink gradation fabric, and 6 different, wide, horizontal bands. I quilted around each of these areas with a walking foot first, and then the fun began. I made a curved template from card-stock to mark lines in the vertical band.

curvy template

I originally thought I would keep the curves lined up, but after a bit of experimenting, an hourglass shape seemed best. I marked the lines with a sliver of soap and continued to use the walking foot:

marking curvy quilting lines

This design simply hollered for circles to be added. I cut a bunch out of freezer paper, keeping the circles and the holes they were cut from, and ironed them to the quilt top.

freezer paper templates

I free motion quilted around the outside of the paper circles, and filled the empty holes with posies.

quilted flowers fill the freezer paper holes

And here’s the quilted vertical band:

vertical quilting full

You may have noticed that I personalized the simple “modern quilt” pattern. The owl is from a canvas Sommer’s Mommy painted for her room.

Sommers owl

and her doggies, Nirshey and Mosely, just had to be a part of the fun!

Next, I’m quilting around a variety of freezer paper circles and filling in around them with spiral designs. Stay tuned for a photo of the finished quilt.

 

Posted in free motion, machine quilting with feed dogs | 2 Comments

Even Stitch Length – by Hand and Machine

When stitching by machine with the feed dogs, keeping a constant stitch length is easy, because the machine is in charge. When free motion quilting without the feed dogs – an even stitch length becomes much more difficult to obtain. Using a stitch regulator is one way to handle this problem, but if you don’t have a machine with that feature,  I’d like to share my two favorite tips:

Tip #1: Slow down the motor speed to about half (if your machine allows for this). Push the foot petal all the way to the floor, and adjust your hands to match this slower machine speed. The advantage is you don’t have to think about what your foot is doing and can concentrate on your hand movement.

Tip #2: Practice, practice, practice!

When hand quilting or embroidering, keeping the stitch length even can also be difficult. Once again, practice will yield better and better results. Tiger Tape™ can be helpful. It’s a 1/4″ wide tape with regular marks on it. You simply stick it onto your quilt top, and stitch along the edge of the tape. It can be reused quite a number of times.

Tiger Tape

Tiger Tape may be purchased at: http://www.tigertape.com/

And one last suggestion that I found delightful! I stumbled upon this slick trick while surfing the internet and have to share. A picture is worth a thousand words:

Even Stitches

Don’t you love it? Simple and yet so helpful!!! I tried to find where this picture came from, but the facebook page the search engine sent me to was in Italian and I couldn’t find the picture anywhere on the site. I’d really like to thank whomever came up with this wonderful idea. I can’t wait to try it – and if you do – please let us know what you think!

Posted in Hand Quilting | 4 Comments

Barn Quilts – When You Don’t Have a Barn!

Happy December! Let’s kick it off with a very unique December Barn Block  :-) !

Mickey Miller was in a recent Mariner’s Compass workshop. She sent me an email after the class and here’s what she said:

“Thank you again for teaching the class yesterday, I had a great time learning. I didn’t finish my quilt block but I did use your compass method for my December barn board. Earlier this year I asked my husband to make me a small barn out of plywood. Each month I paint a new block for the barn. I am very excited with my December block.”

This picture shows Mickey’s innovative “barn”:

Mickeys barn

Here’s her painted December block:

Mickeys December barn blockAnd here it is hanging in all it’s December glory:

Mickey Miller compass barn quilt

Thanks so much for sharing your “barn” and blocks with us, Mickey!

Obviously these pictures were taken a few weeks ago, because we are now covered with a blanket of early snow. So, I’d like to close with a December picture of my barn block.

Winter barn blockHope you’re warm and finding lots of time to quilt those Christmas projects. I so love this time of year!

 

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Virtual Quilt Show – A Danish/American Challenge

Often I share things in my blog posts that pertain to places and events in southeastern, Wisconsin. I’m well aware that many of you live in other States. While putting together this week’s post about our Baltic cruise challenge, it occurred to me to mention that both of our upcoming Sew We Go adventures are currently priced without airfare. Our travel planner, Kristi, will work with each traveler to find them the best airfare possible and… since we’re not doing a “group flight”, she can help you arrange for flights from wherever you live!!!

(click here for Sisters, Oregon, July 8-13, or here for Europe October 9-19).

And now the quilts!

While on our wonderful cruise of the Baltic Sea, Wendy and I passed out “fat eighths” of a lovely blue/green batik, and asked our travelers, as well as the quilters we met at Kirstin’s Quilt in Roskilde, Denmark, to make something with it.

These were the “rules”:

Danish - American Quilt Challenge

And these were the fabrics:

Danish American Challenge fabric

The shop owner in Roskilde, our hostess Kirsten, designed a placemat pattern for our group – and even translated it into English for us. It was a very thoughtful gift:

Kirsten's pattern

 

Thanks to everyone who participated.

Here is our Virtual Quilt Show!

 

Mary Beth Weeks SWG placemats

by Mary Beth Weeks – “Attached is the project I made using the fabric you passed out to us on our (great!) Baltic cruise in May. I also included a very similar piece of fabric that I already had. I’m sure you recognize the place mat pattern as the one Kirsten gave us. I had only enough fabric to make two sets but my husband and I are using them now and enjoy the bright spots on our table.”

by Louise Sundquist - "I made four placemats using the challenge fabric and three other fabrics I purchased in Kirsten's shop."

by Louise Sundquist – “I made four placemats using Kirsten’s pattern, the challenge fabric, and three other fabrics I purchased in Kirsten’s shop.”

Ilse Jessen-Denmark

by Ilse Jessen – “I have always wanted to try this block. Now I had a chance to do it. Looking forward to seeing the other quilting items.”

by Eileen Diercks - "From the Danish/American challenge fabric I made a zippered pouch for my Kindle and its charging cord.   I used some of the “fancy” stitches on my machine, using a variegated green, blue and yellow thread which I had on hand, for the quilting.  For the lining I used a lime green batik fabric which I had in my stash, and the green zipper was also from my sewing supplies.  So it did not cost me anything extra for this handy pouch. Thanks for the challenge."

by Eileen Diercks – “From the Danish/American challenge fabric I made a zippered pouch for my Kindle and its charging cord. I used some of the “fancy” stitches on my machine, using a variegated green, blue and yellow thread which I had on hand, for the quilting. For the lining I used a lime green batik fabric which I had in my stash, and the green zipper was also from my sewing supplies. So it did not cost me anything extra for this handy pouch. Thanks for the challenge.”

Rostock, Germany

Nancy Hansen challenge piece

by Nancy Hansen – “The first photo is a border detail at Rostock Cathedral. The second is my attempt to replicate it.”

Margie Abbott Umbrellas

by Margie Abbott – “I just finished my challenge quilt. It is 46″x55″. It’s called “Dancing Umbrella” and was designed by Edyta Sitar. I used a brown batik in all but four of the blocks, where I used the blue challenge fabric to showcase the blue fabric. I enjoyed participating in this challenge and am anxious to see all the other entrants’ works of art.”

by Christina Yun - "Attached is a picture of my fabric challenge.  I used the challenge fabric for the top and the bottom of my smock cushion.  And, the remainder of the fabric I used as a ribbon for the doll's hair.  I had a lot of fun doing this challenge."

by Christina Yun – “Attached is a picture of my fabric challenge. I used the challenge fabric for the top and the bottom of my smock cushion. And, the remainder of the fabric I used as a ribbon for the doll’s hair. I had a lot of fun doing this challenge.”

by Karen Moore - A photo/Map memory quilt (note the addition of the pins she collected along the way)

by Karen Moore – A photo/map memory quilt (note the addition of the pins she collected along the way)

by Pam Merklein - "I used the fabric you gave us for the top portion of my “Oak Park Bag” and for the tabs and loop. The button was purchased in Tallinn, Estonia. I had a charm pack at home that provided the squares and the balance of the fabric was left from a senior HS gift quilt for my grandson. I look forward to using it and being reminded of our wonderful trip."

by Pam Merklein – “I used the fabric you gave us for the top portion of my “Oak Park Bag” and for the tabs and loop. The button was purchased in Tallinn, Estonia. I had a charm pack at home that provided the squares and the balance of the fabric was left from a senior HS gift quilt for my grandson. I look forward to using it and being reminded of our wonderful trip.”

Had a lot of fun making this table topper.   Have fond memories of the cruise. Thanks,  Jan Arndt

by Jan Arndt – “Had a lot of fun making this table topper. Have fond memories of the cruise.”

by Lisa Giesfeldt - Lisa made this small purse and said she "even used the ribbon that was wrapped around the fabric.  It's my zipper pull. The color worked with my batik choices."

by Lisa Giesfeldt – Lisa made this purse and said she “even used the ribbon that was wrapped around the fabric. It’s my zipper pull. The color worked with my batik choices.”

by Chris Kirsch - "I also made a tote. The fabric was mixed with many others is a tote pattern designed by a mutual friend, Kathy Frye. I used Wendy’s faux batik method to create the words “Sew We Go” for the front pocket of the bag."

by Chris Kirsch – “I also made a tote. The fabric was mixed with many others in a tote pattern designed by a mutual friend, Kathy Frye. I used Wendy’s faux batik method to create the words “Sew We Go” for the front pocket of the bag.”

"I also used the batik technique to put our logo on the pocket on the back of the bag. Kathy’s pattern is meant for a travel bag and this pocket has Velcro at the bottom, so the bag can be placed over the handle of a wheeled suitcase!"

“I used the batik technique once again, to put our logo on the pocket on the back of the bag. Kathy’s pattern is meant for a travel bag and this pocket has Velcro at the bottom, so the bag can be placed over the handle of a wheeled suitcase!”

And one more “non-challenge” picture! While in Helsinki we were treated to a visit to Marimekko Fabric. Nancy Hansen found a beautiful polished cotton and made it into a lovely jacket. She wore it to Patched Lives Quilt Guild this past month and it was stunning. She was kind enough to pose for a picture:

Nancy Hansen's jacketThanks Nancy!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Quilts on the Ceiling?

I’d like to begin with an apology to Cindy Gillingham. Last week I shared pictures of 2 beautiful silk landscape quilts made by Cindy, but I mistakenly changed her name to Sue. I’m so sorry Cindy. Thanks again for sharing your beautiful quilts.

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Just when you think you’ve heard it all – someone proves you wrong. While packing up my car after a workshop in Janesville recently, I got into an interesting conversation. I was asking Pat Burtness about her quilted jacket and found it was her own creation.

pats jacket

While I admired it, she asked me if I’d like to see the headliner of her SUV. She and her husband had covered the old, drooping headliner with a beautiful pre-quilted fabric!

Pats headliner

even the visors were covered (she had to un-quilt the fabric to make it work)

pats visor

My car’s only a year old and the headliner is fine, but this idea just tickles me, and has me dreaming…. thanks for sharing Pat. What a creative and talented lady you are :-D !

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Class Update

Friday, December 5th, I’ll be teaching a 5 hour workshop at WCTC called “Woven Star Stocking”. The stars are literally made from fabric tubes which are woven together (they’re not pieced!).

304-621K Woven Star Stocking

I got to thinking that this is a technique that’s fun to learn, and the strip of stars would be delightful in a placemat too. I haven’t actually stitched one yet, but here’s a virtual version I created in photoshop:

woven star placematThere’s still room in the class, and both the placemat and the Christmas Stocking instructions will be included. To sign up, please go to: wctc.edu.

*****************************Dark Side quilt lecture

And one last bit of information to share. Tomorrow, Monday, November 17th at 7pm, I’ll be presenting my lecture entitled “Gone to the Dark Side” for the Community League of Menomonee Falls (for a lecture description click here).

The address is W152 N8645 Margaret Drive, and guests are welcome!

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Pyramids, Neck Ties, and Floss – Oh my!

Once again I seem to be collecting recent pictures of quilts and projects that are too good not to share. This week’s grouping of short “post-ettes” (mini-posts ;-) ) may be a little eclectic, but I hope you’ll enjoy the variety.

To begin, I taught a somewhat unique class this past week at WCTC. The project was called an “E-Reader Pyramid”. A while back, Jean brought a catalog picture to Open Lab of one of these unusual devices for hands-free reading on your E-Reader. I thought it would make a great Christmas gift for my grandkids (since we gave them Kindle Fires for Christmas last year), and I jumped into designing my own version. It ended up being a different sort of class for me. It was a fun group of pyramid builders, and we had a great time creating together:

pyramid makers

Here’s the one I made for Hanna:

Nancy Drew e-reader pyramid

I couldn’t resist making it out of “Nancy Drew” fabric. She may be a little young for these mysteries now, but I’ve decided that I’m going to gift her one of my cherished, vintage issues along with her pyramid.

For Willy’s, I didn’t have enough of any one fabric that seemed to fit, so I took some of the leftover fabric from his I-Spy quilt, and made each side different:

Willy pyramid 2*************

Last year I introduced you to my friend from Arizona, Margit Kagerer, and her amazing quilts. You can revisit that post at: http://chrisquilts.net/blog/?p=4462. I was especially intrigued by her necktie quilts. She does small photo snapshot quilts and larger innovative pieces. Here’s just one of the larger tie quilts:

necktie quilts by Margit Kagerer

Margit sent me a copy of her new book.

Margits book

It’s filled with beautiful pictures of her fiber art and a bit of her own thoughts on each. You can contact her at: margit.artrageousfibers.net.

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Cindy Gillingham makes photo snapshot quilts from men’s neckties too. She recently sent me pictures of her very creative art:

Cindy Gillingham necktie quilts

Cindy Gillingham necktie quilts2

 

 

Aren’t they delightful? I found her bindings especially effective in framing the quilts.

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Moving on to a completely different style of quilting – I recently taught my Mariner’s compass class for a guild in Galesburg, IL. Joyce Kneer sent me a photograph of the project she completed from that class. Very impressive!

MC Joyce Kneer - Gaylesburg, IL

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The next few pictures are of projects embellished with embroidery floss. With my floss frenzy challenge in full swing, I thought they might provide some inspiration. Plus – they’re just fun to look at.

Barbara Byron sent a picture of her embroidered barn quilt:

barbara byron emb barnsPatti Votruba has made some “girly purse” blocks using floss:

Patti emb purse blockAnd in this one she “fringed” the floss along the bottom edge for a really sweet effect:

patti emb purse block with ef fringe

Thanks to everyone who shared pictures this week!

And last, but certainly not least –

A SEW WE GO Update! 

Our 2015 adventures may seem far away but the details require months of planning.  We are quickly approaching some commitment dates with our vendors so we want to be sure we make arrangements for everyone interested.  If you want to participate but haven’t registered yet, please let our travel coordinator know by November 25!

You may email Kristi at   or phone 262-786-6763.

Our 2015 travels will take us to Sisters, Oregon July 8-13 (click here for details) and to Europe October 9-19 (click here to for details).

We always have loads of fun, please join in!

Posted in Inspiration | 2 Comments

Biscuits Anyone?

Louise is a student in my Open Lab class at WCTC. She recently began making a biscuit quilt. I’d seen pictures of this style of quilt, but had never seen one “in the cloth”. It was fun to watch Louise’s progress.

Louise and biscuit quilt

She began with a cute, flannel teddy bear print, and cut out 4 1/2″ squares – fussy cutting each one so a bear was centered in it. She also cut some solid blue flannel squares this size, to create a pattern in the quilt. The backing squares were cut at 3 1/2″. I wasn’t quick enough to think to get pictures of Louise making biscuits, so I tried my own. Here are the supplies for one biscuit:

biscuit quilt

To make each biscuit she would pin the corners of a teddy bear square to the corners of a backing square, wrong sides together:

biscuit quilt

pleat each side, pin the pleats to three sides of the backing square:

biscuit quilt

 

and sew with a 1/4″ seam along the three sides:

biscuit quilt

She would then stuff a clump of fiber fill into the biscuit:

biscuit quilt

and machine stitch the fourth side closed:

biscuit quilt

She really got into a rhythm and we were amazed at how quickly she had made enough for her crib sized quilt (I now have my first biscuit made, and am on my way to my own biscuit quilt :-D ).

Next, Louise sewed the biscuits together with a 1/4″ seam allowance, placing the blue biscuits in a pattern among the bears.

Louise biscuit quilt detail

Once the top was made, borders were added, and this past week she layered it with a pretty backing fabric and a thin layer of batt to give the whole project a bit of stability.

Louise biscuit quilt edgeMy picture of the entire piece didn’t turn out too clear, but it gives you a feel for the finished design.

Louise biscuit quilt entire

The quilt layers are pinned together and Louise is now tying  the layers together at each biscuit intersection with blue pearl cotton. She’ll do a bit of tying in the borders, and finish the edge with a binding.What a lucky baby!

Have you made a biscuit quilt? We’d love to hear your stories!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments