Monday, December 18, 2017

A New Product for my Etsy Shop

After finishing my long list of Christmas Quilts, I was in the mood to try something different - and SMALLER - like placemats!  The perfect small quilting project.

I have a HUGE collection of batiks, so I spent a couple of days cutting some of the smaller pieces up into 5" Charm Squares.  Now I have this wonderful palette to pick from when I am designing each set.  Just like getting a jumbo box of new crayons when I was a kid.  Such fun!

I love the crisp "hand" of the batiks, and the "artsy" look they give to projects.

So far, I have completed two sets and have listed them in my Cotton Cellar Etsy Shop.  Etsy now lets me add 10 pictures for each listing, so if you want to see more, including the gorgeous batik fabric I used for the backs, just Click Here.  They are pretty enough to be reversible!

I tried a new batting for this project, Quilters Dream 80/20 Fusion, and I have to say, this stuff is awesome!  I haven't tried it in a quilt yet, but it's perfect for placemats!  The fusible side is very, very subtle - just looks like a few light strands of spider web - but it holds perfectly.  I used 505 basting spray to secure the tops, and the Fusion is fused to the backs.
Love, Love, Love it!

(note - while their website lists 2 Fusion options, Cotton or Poly, they have recently discontinued them and now offer an 80/20 blend of Fusion, which is what I used.)

Now it's time to step away for a bit and get some of my last minute Christmas prep items done.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Christmas Quilt Final Reveal

It's done!  The first king-sized quilt I've quilted on my APQS George!  This quilt was so satisfying to work on.  I like to try different techniques on each quilt, and I sure got a lot of practice hours in on this one!

I used a free-hand all-over holly leaf design in the center of this one, but followed a diagonal grid versus the random meandering holly leaf design I used in the previous Christmas quilt (here).  I didn't count them all, but that's a lot of holly leaves.
I used a twisted rope design in the inner border, and straight lines/piano keys in the outer border.

Thanks to the Quilt Suspension System I installed, this 104" square quilt was a joy to work on.

I used a pattern called Wander Through the Woods by Hope Nelson, but I enlarged both the size and number of the trees and added borders to scale it up to a king size.

So that is the last of the quilts I committed to finishing before Christmas.  Now I can enjoy the season and start a new project.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Last Christmas Quilt

I've been busy quilting the last Christmas Quilt on my list for this year.  I was afraid I wouldn't get them all finished in time, but it looks like I'll have time to spare for a change!

I really don't know why I was so nervous about quilting a king-size quilt on George, because it's going really well.  I still prefer making smaller quilts, but this is very do-able on this monster of a machine.  I'm really enjoying the quilting process and if all goes well, I should finish quilting it this weekend, so check back soon for pictures of the finished quilt.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Merry & Bright

I am happy to report that the Quilt Suspension System I wrote about in my last post worked great for this large quilt!  It's amazing how much easier it is to maneuver a large quilt when the bulk of it is held out of the way with the clamps.  This quilt is 84" square, and I quilted it with an all-over freehand holly leaf design.  The quilting is very dense (used 15 bobbins) and it gives the quilt an amazing texture.  My DIL started this quilt about 10 years ago, and finally asked me to finish it for her, just to get it done.  It was a perfect opportunity to practice doing a relatively large quilt, so now I feel ready to start my next challenge - 104" square!  That's only an extra 20", right?  Piece 'o cake!!! (I hope!!!)

Monday, November 6, 2017

Quilt Suspension System

I made another change to my Quilting Setup for my APQS George machine.  I added a Quilt Suspension System behind him.

I have seen several variations of this on the internet, and since George's table is only 24" deep, there's not alot of space for a big quilt behind the machine.  That's fine on a smaller quilt, but this one is 86" square, so I thought this would be a good time to try it out.  It's amazing how much of a difference this makes!  I leave enough slack in the quilt so that it moves freely, and adjust it as I move from one area to the next.

I followed these instructions from Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry at Bryerpatch Studio.  I did not use the upright posts, since I have exposed ceiling joists above me in my basement studio, I just screwed the eye screws directly into the joists.

When this quilt is done, the next one on my list is 104" square, and now I'm confident that this system will reallly help make these big quilts more manageable.

If you are interested in trying a suspension system, but would rather purchase something ready-to-install, Patsy Thompson has two different versions available for purchase in her on-line shop.  Click here for more information.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Christmas Quilts Continued

Wow, I'm really behind on posting pictures of the Christmas Quilts I'm working on this year.

I have finished Quilt #2...  (click here for more information about this quilt)  I quilted this one on my APQS George, using an all-over spiral swirl freehand design...

...and I just finished the quilting on Christmas Quilt #3 today - on my George too, of course!  The red binding is made and ready to attach next.

I used a light aqua SoFine #50 thread and quilted it with closely spaced wavy lines going horizontally across the quilt.  I love the texture it creates.  And the snowflake fabric for the back is a great match for the quilt.

I also finished piecing the top of Christmas Quilt #4.  At 104" x 104", this quilt is a king size, so I am curious to see how it goes on my George machine.  I'm sure the machine is up to the challenge - not sure about the operator...

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Wander Through The Woods

I have another Christmas Quilt on my work table this week.  I'm using this Wander Through The Woods pattern.  The pattern uses 2 1/2" strips, but I cut my strips at 4" wide to make the quilt king-sized, at my daughter's request.  She is aware of the quilt, and provided most of the fabrics in it, so it's not a huge secret, but I still don't want to reveal too much of the quilt just yet.  She needs a little surprise when Christmas gets here, assuming I get it done that is...

I have all my strips made...

...and have this huge pile of trimmed off triangles left over.

I bet there's enough there to make another small quilt!  Part of me says "throw them in the trash" because after all - what are the odds that I'll actually get around to doing something with them...  But then I look at all these pretty little triangles and the wheels start turning...

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Art Quilt Exhibit

There is a Juried Art Quilt Exhibit at the Gmeiner Art and Cultural Center here in Wellsboro.  One of my quilts has been accepted, along with quilts from several of my quilting friends in the area.  The opening reception is this Friday October 6th from 5pm-7pm and the exhibit runs through October 29th.  Please come and see all the quilts!

Here is a sneak peek at my quilt, called "Interleave Vase".
I have wanted to make an Interleave quilt for quite a while now, so this was the perfect opportunity to try something new.  The fall colors in this quilt are so much more brilliant in person - hope to see you at the show!

Monday, September 25, 2017

One-Block Wonder Update

I put the pedal to the metal this week and got all my rows sewn together on my One-Block Wonder quilt.  I have to admit, I'm in love with this quilt.

It was tedious sewing, with pressing all the seams open and lining up all those intersections, but worth every minute (hour).

I still plan on adding borders, but will mull the options over while I'm busy getting my Christmas quilts finished.  Priorities... 

A close-up shot.  My favorite hexagon in the entire quilt is the aqua one just to the right of center with the skinny orange spikes.

I think the back looks almost as pretty as the front, with all those seams pressed open.

And in case you missed an earlier post, this is the fabric I used.  Skyline by Hoffman Fabrics.  I cut my 60 degree triangles simultaneously from 6 identical stacked panels, cut from the 7+ yards I bought.  One quilt from just one fabric.  It still amazes me how the finished quilt looks compared to the original fabric.  Mind blowing...

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...  :)