Thursday, December 12, 2013

First quilted projects

Since I was blessed with my new quilting set up, I have been practicing as I mentioned and finally decided to try a real project.  First up is a table runner I was making from scraps for myself.  I love the Fall and leaves and have a thing lately about trying to use up what I have for fabric, so I decided to make myself a new table runner.  I managed to get it finished just in time for Thanksgiving and brought it down to my mom's house for dinner and then brought it back home again.
I took these photos after having washed/dried it so the quilting looks slightly different from when I first finished it.
The top is a linen-like center fabric with machine appliqued leaf shapes made from a bunch of different scraps I had on hand.

The border is an all-over leaf pattern fabric and the back and binding is a different all-over leaf fabric.  The quilting is a free-hand meander/stipple using King Tut Superior thread (purchased from Sew Thankful) in a variegated cream/sand color tonal color.

My second project was a challenge and a labor of love for a very special man.... my Dad.  He rarely asks me to make things for him, but he just had a knee replacement done about a month ago and is dealing with feeling cold a lot right now.  He had plenty of crocheted afghans thanks to my amazing mom, but also likes the feel of cuddly fleece sometimes.  At Thanksgiving he asked me if it was possible to make a double layer fleece blanket with batting in between and quilt the entire thing.  I told him I really wasn't sure if it was possible as fleece stretches and if you put in on the frame I wasn't sure how it would work.
The more I thought about it my mind started considering possibilities, so I started doing some web searches to see if I could find any information on quilting fleece on a frame set up.  Surprise!  It can be done!  I found some posts on various quilting sites and after doing some reading, decided to give it a shot.  I figured if nothing else, I'd have something that could be used for one of the dogs or cats to sleep on.

I used 2 lengths of the same pattern fleece - an all over cardinal print that came from some of those tied blanket kits my Mom had bought a few years ago and never used.  I loaded the backing piece of fleece on the frame rails and stitched the top edge of a piece of cotton batting to the top end of the backing.  I then 'floated' the top piece of fleece over the batting.  This just means I didn't pin it or stitch it down but let it rest freely on the top allowing me to smooth it as I quilted.

I used a pantograph of a simple leaf design and using the same variegated thread as above, I quilted edge to edge on the fleece. 
It was a bit challenging to keep things smooth and I did have to adjust the height of my rails toward the end as the the take-up roll was getting large!  Two layers of fleece plus batting is a lot of bulk on a roll.  Thankfully I'd loaded the fleece sideways otherwise I think I'd have had to take the whole thing off half-way and turn it upside down to finish since my quilting area is limited with my machine.  In the end I was pleased with the way it came out and my Dad loved it when I gave it to him this week.  It was exactly what he'd had in mind and I'm sure it'll be warm for him as he rests in his recliner chair.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Practice, practice

My amazing new quilting set up is going to take a lot of practice, but I'm very pleased with how things are starting out.  Now that we've re-arranged and taken care of some leveling issues, my practice pieces are getting better and I've found some fun (free!) pantograph patterns online.  I've been printing, copying and taping into the lengths needed to practice.  A pantograph is a printed pattern that I follow with a laser light as I guide the machine to stitch said pattern onto my quilt.
Below are some photos of my practice work.  Sorry they are dark - it's hard to photograph cream tonal thread on white muslin fabric on an overcast day.  Steve could do it better I'm sure but I was faking it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sewing Room Upgrade

Last week my darling husband bought me an amazing gift - a quilting frame and mid-arm machine with a stitch regulator.  It's a New Joy Gold standard frame (fully adjustable from 47" to King size) with a Janome 1600P and Quilter's Cruise Control.  God provided bountifully via a very nice couple from the next town who had purchased the entire set-up and never even used it once!  The machine was still in the box with the styrofoam packaging!  She wasn't going to use it and he wanted it out of the house so they gave us a phenomenal deal.  I was just giddy with excitement and anticipation.
It took a few days to get things set up and running, and then we opted to re-arrange and expand the frame to the 3/4 length that will accommodate pretty much everything and anything I will be making & quilting.

Welcome to my newly upgraded sewing room!
From the doorway - Brother Serger & regular Janome sewing machine
The rack in the corner that is over-flowing with fabric is all for our church quilt ministry and will become baby quilts and other lovely things over time (Lord willing).

New Joy frame with Janome 1600P mid-arm machine
This mess of fabric is all mine and needs some re-organizing (yet again)
I've been busy practicing with the new machine and will post some photos of my practice work soon.  Today I started piecing a baby boy quilt for the church ministry and am looking forward to being able to quilt it myself when it's ready.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Two for Two

A precious family in our church was blessed with the addition of twin boys and I had the opportunity to work on two darling baby quilts as part of our church quilt ministry to bless their family.

This first quilt had no pattern to work from - our ministry group is blessed by donations of fabric and sometimes you just have to make it up as you go.  The animal square print was the inspiration fabric and the quilt was pieced from there - filling in from the church fabric stash to build the quilt around those blocks.

It is backed in a cuddly flannel print and machine quilted using a walking-foot in a criss-cross wave pattern using a variegated thread for both the top & bobbin threads.

The second quilt uses the pattern "yellow brick road" and again is made with prayer of thanksgiving from all donated fabrics.  I especially loved 'fussy-cutting' the alphabet print fabric to anchor the top corner with the last initial of the family.  This quilt also incorporates one of the same fabrics (blue swirl) from the other quilt - brothers sharing a link in even their quilts.  The binding is pieced from all the fabrics used in the quilt top to add a scrappy flair to the finishing.
This one is also backed in a flannel print and is machine quilted in a double line grid pattern.

Baby quilts are so much fun!  They work up fairly quickly and it is a tremendous blessing to be able to pray for the babies and their families as they are stitched together with Christ's love.
It is our prayer that each child will feel the love of Jesus surrounding them.


*Special thanks to my dear daughter for her help in taking these photos.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Happy Pillow

Appliqued quilt block,(about 14"), machine quilted.
Thanks to a lovely friend, I have a new pillow for the sun porch.  My friend Emily gave me several pre-cut quilt block kits that she decided not to use.  This one was an applique' block that I decided would look great as a pillow on the porch.  I machine quilted the block onto a piece of muslin (I'm learning to machine quilt on my standard machine) and then used a random fat-quarter of mottled blue for the back to create the pillow.

It looks lovely against the new lap-blanket my mom made for me!

This makes me happy and I think it is pretty as well as functional.  Now to wait for Steve to test it out and let me know if he thinks it will help with afternoon naps. :-)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

My New Digs

This sign hangs on a wall in my new sewing room.
My new sewing room... in photos.
From the doorway looking into the room.

Cutting table, etc.
Fabric closet & doorway
Tools hung in a small corner space
Fabric storage closet
another view

another view 2 (yes... I have a LOT of fabric!)

shelf mini-closet with books, magazines & patterns
It's a bright and cheerful space and I am looking forward to many hours of happy sewing here.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

New Space

For anyone still lurking around here... I thought I'd toss up a post. 

We moved in March out to "the country"...  a very small town in the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire.  It is our dream and we are very blessed to be where we are, especially as we really saw God's hand in the entire process.
In the run-up to the move, all my sewing stuff was packed right away and put into storage.  This was due to time/space issues - not the quantum physics kind - the kind where I have WAY TOO MUCH stuff and it had to be put into storage in order to show our house and sell it.
Now that we've settled in a bit and have crossed off a few major projects in our new home, I'm finally unpacking my sewing things and all my fabric.
I am beyond thrilled to have an entire room for my sewing here - my very own sewing room!
These are photos just after the room was freshly painted and the new wood floor installed.
At the moment I'm in the midst of unpacking and washing all the fabric from the 6 giant cardboard boxes, 4 huge plastic totes, several miscellaneous drawer container units and figuring out where things will go in my new space.  Steve has mounted adjustable wire shelving in the closet for me and I'm sure that everything will have to be re-arranged 973 times before I'm happy with the arrangement and where things are set up.  But it is progress!

And, I've had the blessing of being able to work on some quilt ministry projects during the time that B is practicing with the worship team at church, so I'm being productive a little bit on that front.  I am almost finished with the hand-quilting on a baby-girl quilt, have binding to do on another girl quilt, have begun work on a baby-boy/generic quilt, and am part way into final piecing of a top for a scrappy lap size quilt that may be used as a ministry fund-raiser or for some other purpose.

Blessings on the sewing journey ~ I hope to post some finished projects before too long.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Last Quilt

Okay... that is a misleading post title.
This is the last quilt completely made in Merrimack.  Prayerfully it won't be my last ever quilt!

I started this project months ago.  It covers the top of the queen size bed nicely and is soft & snuggly.  Grace approves heartily and has staked her claim on top of it at every chance she gets.

I used mostly left-over fabric from another big flannel quilt project made for a dear friend's daughter.  There has never been a sampler quilt before and this was interesting for me.  For no reason I chose 10" blocks and just started with whatever sized scraps I had and even invented a few blocks along the way.  Some are a bit wonky to fit, but it works.  There was even a bit of adventure in the first ever drunkard's path block as I'd not attempted rounded seams before now. 

The back is the floral print flannel that is in the front as well.  The sashing is a cream tonal flannel and the border is the green tonal flannel.  Machine pieced, hand tied, and binding finish is done by hand.  Finished on 2/11/2013.  My quilt label will be added once we move and I find the box that they are packed in. :-)