Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Retreat Projects

I just got back from a wonderful Quilt Retreat.  It's so nice to have a few uninterrupted days of sewing with friends.  The time flies by and we get so much accomplished, in between our laughter and conversation, of course...

I made two quilt tops while I was there.  First is an improvisational tree quilt (Christmas Quilt #3), using this tutorial I found from the Diary of a Quilter blog.  (colors look better in person - aqua, red, gray and white)



Second is a Batik Square-in-a-Square quilt that I threw in as a last minute project.  I've been in the mood to do a simple quilt with batiks for a few weeks now, and this seemed perfect.  And it uses every bit of a 40 strip jelly roll.  No waste!  Not sure if I will add a border...  Should I?



Once those were finished, I started sewing my half-hexagons together into strips for my One Block Wonder quilt and got 12 out of 20 made.  I'm really liking how this is going and can't wait to see it finished!



The weather was gorgeous while we were there and I enjoyed going out for walks every day.  I was so excited to stumble across this perfect bobcat print!!!  That's a first for me!


This week I plan to finish the binding on Christmas Quilt #2 that I finished quilting before retreat.  Hope to post pictures next week if I get it done, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Christmas Quilt Finish and OBW Started

I found some spare time this holiday weekend to put my One Block Wonder blocks up on my design wall.  After many hours of rearranging them, I finally forced myself to stop and say DONE!

Every time I thought I was finished, I would find just one more block to change.  Then that move would lead to another, and another, and I realized this could go on forever.

So now I'm really finished, because I took them down in organized piles and I'm ready to sew them together.  No turning back now.  

  

There will probably be some borders added at some point, but for now I'm going to focus on sewing this section, hopefully at the quilt retreat I'm going to later this month.

While I was laying out the design, I asked myself what I'm going to do with this quilt.  I have to honestly say, I don't know.

Do I need it?  No...

Do I have a place for it?  No...

I make quilts because they make me happy.

I also finished the Christmas Star quilt this weekend.  I really love how this one turned out.  I quilted fairly tight swirls on my George sit-down machine, using pink SoFine #50 thread, which gave just the right amount of contrast against the red fabric.



Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Christmas Star Quilt

I finished up some other projects in the last couple of weeks that I hope to be able to share with you soon - a Memorial quilt from clothing and an art quilt that I'm entering into a juried show.  I'll share that one here once I hear if it's been accepted.

In the meantime, I'm back working on my list of Christmas quilts.  I spent Saturday night pin-basting this Christmas Star quilt...


...then I stitched all around the perimeter with my Bernina to stabilize the edge.  After all, I spent all that time pin-basting to get everything flat and straight, it just makes sense to lock down those edges now before I start quilting.  Not everyone does this, but it works for me.


I'm now just a little over half-done with the quilting on my George sit-down longarm.  I chose pink SoFine #50 thread, and I'm doing an all-over "spiral swirl thingie".  I really like how it's turning out so far.  Maybe I'll have a finished picture for you next week.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Settling in with George

I am still making little adjustments to my workspace now that George has moved in.  I have a small plastic folding table beside my left elbow to help support the bulk of my quilts while quilting, as well as my cutting table beyond that.  So my left side is perfect.  But I still had trouble with my quilt sliding off the front of the table on my right side.  Today I stumbled upon this little wooden folding table at my favorite thrift shop.


It was only $5 and it's the perfect solution.  So now I sit in the middle, with a small table on either side, so I'm surrounded by workspace.  Perfect for supporting my quilt!




And I'm happy to say that George is still behaving perfectly.  No skipped stitches, no thread breaks, just perfect stitches.  I'm a happy quilter!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Kids Quilting

I can't share this week's quilting project with you, because I don't want to spoil the surprise for the recipient.  Maybe later after I've passed it on.

So for today's post, here are pics of some fun I had with my granddaughters this weekend.  The 6-year old has been arranging fabrics on my design boards for a couple of years now, and has just recently started to sew them together on my Bernina now!  Yay!!!

And now her 2 year old sister is joining in the fun... Aren't they doing a great job?



And sometimes you just have to sit back and admire your work...  :)


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Another Finish with George

My daughter-in-law pieced this quilt and asked me to quilt it for her.  I just finished it up a few days ago and it's in the mail on it's way back to her.  I'm still learning more with each quilt and love the process of quilting on George!  I  used Quilters Dream Orient batting in this one (her request) and love how soft and silky the quilt feels when it's finished.  It's a little fuzzy while I'm working on it, but that cleans up with a lint roller, so it's not really a problem.  It feels so luxurious!  The polka dot backing fabric obscures the quilting, but the texture feels amazing.







Monday, July 24, 2017

One Block Wonder Progress Report

I didn't get a chance to write a blog post last week because I was away at a fun-filled Quilting Retreat with a great group of close friends, but I'm happy to report that I finished making ALL the hexagons for my One Block Wonder quilt!  These were so much fun to make, with three different options for each block, depending on how the triangles are arranged.

The last morning of the retreat, I quickly threw some blocks up on my design wall just to get an idea of what they might look like.  This isn't my final arrangement, by any means, but it's fun to see how they all go together.  I would like to try a circular or spiral arrangement by color.


Another highlight of our retreat was our block exchange.  The 11 people in our group spent the last 1 1/2 years making 4 sets of 11 paper-pieced basket blocks, so each person got to take home 44 different blocks to make their quilt.  Here we are going through our basket block buffet, picking up our blocks.  Can't wait to see how all 11 quilts turn out when they are done!



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Christmas Quilts 2 & 3

I now have the second Christmas Quilt pieced and ready for quilting.
(Click here to see the first one.)
The pattern is Ballerina from Jaybird Quilts.


And I have the fabrics picked out for number three.  I started with a Mingle & Jingle fat-quarter bundle, then added several others from my stash until I had an even mix of the four colors.  Yes, I have a plan, but I'll save that for a future post.


And I'm getting more practice time in on George, as I quilt an all-over design on this quilt pieced by my DIL.


Now I'm preparing for a full-filled visit from one of my grand-daughters.  She is coming to spend a few days with us, and we have lots of fun things planned before I leave for Quilt Retreat next week.  I'm sure I'll have lots to share with you by then, so stay tuned...

Monday, July 3, 2017

One Block Wonder Quilt

I'm so excited to start sewing my first One Block Wonder quilt!  I don't know what planet I was on when the OBW craze took off, but I must have missed the boat.  They have been popular for quite some time now, but I just discovered this style of quilt recently when I came across some images of these type of quilts by quilt artist Bruce Seeds on Pinterest. His work is amazing and so inspiring!
I knew I just had to make one.

I searched for weeks, looking for the perfect fabric, until I found this one.  Bingo!  I think it will look amazing....


I cut all my triangles this week... 



 ...and arranged a few hexagons, just to see what they look like, but I'm saving the sewing until I go to Quilt Retreat in a couple of weeks.  If I can wait that long...



Monday, June 12, 2017

Christmas Star Quilt - Top Assembled

I put all the blocks for the Christmas Star Quilt on my design wall this week.


Once I was happy with the arrangement, I sewed them all together.


It will be a while before I quilt this one, because the grandkids will all be here for much of the next week, so there won't be much sewing going on in the Cotton Cellar unless it involves the kiddos.  And I need to order thread before I can quilt it anyway.  Yes, I have lots of thread, but not pink...  That's right!  PINK!  for a Christmas Quilt?
Oh, and I just realized, I don't have a backing fabric yet!  Guess I need to go shopping...

Monday, June 5, 2017

Shot Cotton Stars Quilt - Finished

As promised last week, here are pictures of my latest quilt, Shot Cotton Stars.  This is the 3rd quilt that I have quilted on my new APQS George sit-down quilting machine.  While the quilting isn't very obvious on the front of the quilt, it shows up really nicely on the back.  It was a great opportunity for me to practice my free-motion quilting, and I'm really happy with the results.

It measures 38" x 54", and I used Quilter's Dream Black Poly batting and So Fine #50 thread 
in a medium taupe brown to match the backing fabric.







Monday, May 29, 2017

Shot Cotton Star Quilt - planning the quilting

As a drafter, I prefer to use my computer to experiment with different quilting design layouts before I start stitching.  My motto has always been "If I can draw it, I can quilt it".


Once I came up with a design I was happy with for this Shot Cotton Star quilt, I then had to figure out the most efficient way to quilt it, with the fewest stops and starts possible.  That's what all the numbers and arrows are for - kind of a "road map" for quilting.  If I follow this diagram without taking any wrong turns, I should be able to quilt all of the main arcs around the stars (traveling through the stars) in one continuous path.  Of course, I'll have to break thread for each of the cross-hatched diamonds.
(I'm not sure about the piano key design around the outside edge yet - I'll figure that out after I get the inside quilted.)



First, I pinned all three layers of my quilt sandwich to my styrofoam basting wall, then I marked the quilt top with a white ceramic mechanical pencil and a mylar template that I made for drawing the curves. If I had the correct size curved ruler, I would skip the marking and use my ruler foot on George, but I don't... so marking is the next best option (assuming I can stay on the lines when I'm stitching... we'll see how that goes...)



Once all the marking was done, I basted the three layers together with safety pins, and now it's ready to quilt!  Check back next week and see how far I get with the quilting.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Progress!

It's been a busy week!  I finished the 4" Christmas Star blocks (all 68 of them) in a few long sewing sessions.  Now all the blocks for this quilt are finished, and I hope to start assembling them into a quilt top soon.



 Aren't these little guys just the cutest?


I would have had the assemby started already, but I got side-tracked...  I'm trying to decide how I want to quilt this one...


,,, the wheels are turning and I can't wait to start quilting this one on George.
Check back next week to see what I come up with.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Christmas Star Quilt

Yes, I know it's only May.  I have a few Christmas quilts on my to-do list, so I'm getting an early start.
This quilt was published on-line as a quilt-along called Oh My Stars! by Thought & Found.  It's perfect for the fabrics I have to work with (from my daughter).

The quilt-along calls for many different types of star blocks, in three different sizes.  I'm sticking with the three different size blocks and the original layout, but decided to make them all Sawtooth Star blocks.  Keeps it simpler and works better with the amount of fabric I have on hand.

I finished the 12" stars and the 8" stars at a retreat this past winter and now I'm working on the 4" stars.

The flying geese units for these 4" star blocks finish at 1" x 2" and I have MANY of them to trim.  My little Quilt In A Day Flying Geese ruler works great for this, but tends to slip.  I saw this trick on Pinterest and it works great!  Just put a little Nexcare Flexible Clear First Aid tape on the back of the ruler.  No more slipping!!!  Yay!


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

What's New? George?


It has been a LONG time since I've done a blog post and I've made some changes to my business plan.  As I approach my 60th Birthday (gasp!) I ask myself "how do I really want to spend my time?"  - and the answer is "CREATING".  My passion is the creative process, not worrying about how to entice buyers to buy my work.  It takes an enormous amount of time (for me at least) to photograph a quilt, edit the pics, write the descriptions, etc. etc. etc....  and quite frankly, I don't enjoy it.  I would rather spend my time creating.

I analyzed my customer base and found that the majority of my clients find me through word-of-mouth/personal referrals.  Yet I was spending so much time on my on-line listings.  Obviously, that's not the most efficient use of my time, so that's why you have heard and seen less of me on-line over the past year.

I am still actively quilting, and I will continue to do so.  However, there won't be as many new listings in my Etsy shop.  I will post quick pics (unedited) and updates here on my blog from time to time, so you can still follow along and see what's new in my Cotton Cellar.  Some of what you see might be for sale, some might be custom orders for clients, and some might simply be quilts I'm making just for the pure joy of making them, for me or my family.  If you see something you are interested in, or want something made, don't hesitate to contact me and ask.  I love hearing your comments and questions!

I've made some changes to my studio space lately too, as you might have guessed from the title of this post.  I finally gave in to my years of dreaming and bought an APQS George.  I have always wanted a longarm machine, but don't have the space for a frame.  I'm used to quilting on a domestic machine, so George is the perfect choice for me - the benefits of a longarm machine, in a smaller footprint.  We are getting along nicely and getting to know each other.  Of course, that meant a serious cleaning and reorganizing of my studio to make space for everything, but we all need to do that once in a while anyway.  George just gave me a good reason to "get it done" now.

Here are some pics of my new "roomie" and the first 2 quilts we've done together.  (To give her some much earned credit, the fabric selection and most of the piecing on the Hourglass Quilt was done by my daughter.  She started it several years ago and asked me to finish it for her.  She's a young working mom and elementary teacher who hopes to get back into quilting one of these days when her life calms down a little.)  Both quilts are custom orders for one of my long time customers.  This makes 14 quilts I've made for her over the years...  hopefully there will be many more.