Thursday, 14 February 2019

carolina chain

My 'carolina chain' quilt top is almost finished. This happy scrappy quilt is made using a pattern from Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville, here's the link- carolina chain quilt. At the end of last year I was halfway, and after a little break, I was back raiding my overflowing scrappy strip basket to make up more of these little tiny 5" blocks again. Today's show & tell is a few progress photos.

One more group done, onto the next . . .

Checking things out on the 'design floor' . . .

four more blocks . . .

and pressing as I go today . . .

on the last stretch now . . .

a good afternoons stitching - almost there
Linking up my progress with Kelly for 'needle and thread Thursday' here

. . . until next time

Saturday, 9 February 2019

a cluster of quilts

What's this I hear you ask?

I started out this year thinking I would try and improve my 'start : finish' ratio. And the photo above is what I'm calling a 'cluster of quilts'. Which in reality =  a group of unfinished quilts. Which brings me to wondering lately what others do about quilting.

I don't know about you, but I find free motion quilting challenging. I do try from time to time, but have never been happy with my efforts. So like many, I resort to functional straight line quilting on most of my quilts. Lately I've been combining quilting techniques in the same quilt, a little big stitch hand quilting to highlight certain areas and keep things interesting.
Hand quilting everything does take time, but it is such a relaxing meditative part of making a quilt, so I do try to have at least one project in-the-hoop.  I always melt just a little when I see a totally hand quilted quilt, very special.
So I guess it comes down to personal choice . . . hand quilting . . . machine quilting yourself . . . or sending your quilt out to a professional quilter, some call this quilting by visacard!

I have sent some of my quilts out to be professionally quilted over the past few years, usually ones that are quite big, and I have always been very happy with the results.

This weekend I'm getting my 'chamomile' quilt top ready to send away. It's quite a big quilt, and the light airy feel with all that white space seems perfect for just a little extra detail & texture . . . a little extra structured but loose quilting, which I can't acheive on my home machine.

What I want to chat about today is what I've learnt by sending my quilts away to be quilted.
I tend to sew quickly, and as a result I know I am a maker of perfectly imperfect quilts. I don't make quilts to show or be judged, and I find it a bit daunting to have one's work closely scrutinised by someone else. Each quilter has personal preferences of course, but I have found my quilter's feedback to be so rewarding for my development as a quilter.

For the most part, I'm self taught in the processes of quilting. I did attend a group many years ago, which was held in the garage of an old lady in Christchurch. She gave us lots of encouragement, shared her patterns, but didn't really explain the simple sewing basics. I have of course picked up heaps of info over the years, but also enjoy the charm of imperfection.

I now take my time pressing my seams carefully, throughout the whole quilt making process. I've found pressing makes for much better progress photo shoots too.
And today, I spent a lot of time triming away all my loose threads. I found with my 'Chamomile' quilt that the cream/white solid frays constantly, which I know will still be a pain for Leeanne from quiltmekiwi, but she knows I've done my best.

Ensuring my borders are on straight still is a bit hit & miss for me, you know, even though I measure twice, cut once, and sew with my glasses on, carefully using the 1/4" thingy on my machine foot as my guide, it still doesn't always work out right.
And I know it's so worth it trying to get the whole quilt top straight, but this is another problematical area for me too sometimes. Often a certain techniques can create a ‘springiness’ to the finished quilt, or sometimes a bulky ‘Dresden Plate’ makes things a little tricky, but I know Leeanne has a can of starch handy

So I've still got room for improvement.
But I'm hoping it's nothing a bit of longarm quilting love can't camouflage.

And on the topic of unfinished quilts, I was very encouraged to see many of the quilts featured in Roderick Kiracofe's book 'unconventional and unexpected'  were in fact unfinished quilt tops! And they still looked amazing.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on quilting too.
Have you mastered fmq? 
Do you handquilt your quilts? 
Audrey from quiltyfolk seems to be able to make a considerable dent in her WiP pile 
- mostly all beautifully hand quilted, and so inspiring.
Do you love big stitch quilting?
How do you feel about combining techniques? 

Thursday, 31 January 2019

chamomile quilt

Here in NZ we are in the middle of a heat wave
. . . almost too hot to sew
However, I do a finished quilt top to share, with lots of photos

- guess where this quilt is going to end up!

Quilt top stats:
Chamomile quilt
20 x16-patch blocks made up from fabric scraps with lots of low colour value
49 sashing units & 30 cornerstones
{he,he if I'd added things up before I started, I might not have gone down this road!}
Finished size: 69" x 84"
All ready now for basting & quilting
Pop on over to woodberry way to get the pattern

Linking up with Kelly for 'needle and thread Thursday' here at myquiltinfatuation
and with Wendy for this week's 'peacock party' over here

Monday, 28 January 2019

lots of low colour love

Lots of progress photos today. I made my 16-patch blocks up from fabric scraps with lots of low colour value, a great mix of light fabrics that actually seem to add some major interest.
To save some time I strip pieced most of the blocks and joined them with a random layout. However, I also added in a selection of pre-cut squares which I had found in my scrap basket, it took a bit longer but added to the variety.
Piecing simple units together like these squares is such a great scrap buster, and a favorite way to use up some of my itty bitty fabric stash. And while it is repetitive work, I do find it relaxing and rather satisfying.

Once I had twenty blocks made up I decided to sash them inspired by a quilt made by Allison from woodberryway .  'Chamomile' quilt, so pretty & soft, is a pattern I've ordered but it hasn't arrived here yet, snail mail to NZ I guess {head on over to woodberry way to get the pattern}. So I just went with what I had, I worked out the maths and started making up the sashing strips, {with fingerscrossed}.

I joined up one long row of five blocks today, and it worked
. . . onto joining up more rows this week
. . . it's getting exciting

Friday, 25 January 2019

and now for something completely different

Taking a break from sewing with the bright saturated colours and contrast that are usually just what I love. Lately though, I've been tempted by a few softly coloured quilts, ones with lots of scrappy low volume fabrics, like this one here .. and here .. and over here too.
I rummaged around and selected a few pastel fabrics and assorted 'greys' to start off with. I cut out strips and also sorted through my scrap basket and found a bunch of pre-cut squares, perfect. It's a real mix of leftovers, odd bits, and new, so long as it has a low colour value it's going in.

I've made up six 16 patch blocks so far. Loving the simple repetitive process of piecing these, even very pale fabrics have subtle light & dark value differences. It's looking fresh & sweet & pretty . . . and it's a nice change to work on something that's so completely different from my 'red' quilt.

Linking up with Wendy for the 'peacock party' here 
and with Cynthia for 'oh scrap' over here after the weekend.