Blocking a quilt

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I need to get my quilt in the mail for the AQS show in Grand Rapids

The event is Wednesday, August 20 through Saturday, August 23, 2014,DeVos Place Convention Center,Grand Rapids, Michigan but they need the quilts in Paducah by Friday.   So once again I am scrambling to get it together on time.

I have to add, for people who have not seen this one before, it is hand quilted.

I had to wash it because I have brought it to several lecture/trunk shows and it got a bit dirty.    I wash it in the washing machine and dry in the dryer but that tends to contort it a bit.

I take the quilt out of the dryer while it is still a bit damp and pin it to the floor pulling out the wrinkles as I pin.   I pin it directly to the floor using T-pins.   Now don’t be scared that I am ruining the floor.  The floor is not a perfect hardwood floor.   It is pine and has lots of imperfections, cracks, gaps, scratches etc.  The house is 130 years old and there were 2 layers of linoleum and carpet and sub-floor nailed over it  so it it full of holes.   A good thing to use if you don’t have a floor to pin it to is Styrofoam insulation sheets.   They come in 4 x 8 foot sheets and are easy to pin into….but then you need to find a place to keep them.

Anyway I use T pins

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They go into the floor and I add as many as It takes to get it to look nice and flat. (if this we just going on my bed, which it will after shows, I would just fully dry it and let the wrinkles work themselves out naturally)

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After it is fully dry I will take out the pins and then any extra wrinkles will be steamed…that should take care of it and it will be ready pack for shipping.

I also have to pack this one

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This one needs to have its hanging sleeve adjusted so it hangs better….right now it bunches up a bit on the right.

If you plan to go to the AQS show in Grand Rapids I would love to meet you.    I plan to be there for sure on Saturday Aug 23.  I will plan a time that I will be hanging out by my quilt and let you know when that will be in a later post.

Here are a bunch more pictures of the quilt drying (hopefully more entertaining than watching paint dry)….click on the pictures to enlarge

If you want to see how I did the Trapunto I did a short Video here 

Happy Quilting

Tim

The Quilt Top Told Me

I couldn’t wait to start hand quilting the  vintage star top that I just re-made ( see post here  ) .

Remembered a piece of fabric I had that would be perfect for the backing and I had a wool batting waiting to be used so I got it basted and ready to go.

I always pin baste on the floor.   I start by pinning the backing fabric to the floor (you can use masking tape but I use push-pins) .  next I add the batting and smooth that out, then the top smooth again, then I add the safety pins.  I do not use a huge amount of pins, they are at least a foot apart.

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You can see in the picture that the top is not even and square.   The reason for that is that I did not re make the borders.   I used wool batting because it is easy to quilt but also has a good loft which will help to fill in the bumps puckers in the top.

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Here, folded over the corner, is the backing which I purchased a few weeks ago….I intended to use it to back a much older top but it was too dark.

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I think it works great with this top.   It is not a color match with any of the fabrics in the top but is a good coordinating color.

On to the quilting.  I have described how I select a quilting design in the past but often I don’t plan at all.   That was the case here.   I put the quilt in the hoop and I said “how do you want to be quilted?”.   This sounds crazy and I really didn’t say it out loud but I did ask the quilt how it wanted to be quilted.    The quilt told me “I’m not a fancy quilt so don’t get carried away”.  The quilt was right …it is a basic scrap quilt, the star it made up of lots of scraps all pieced together to make the diamonds, the fabric is very coarse, the border is very wonky, it is NOT a fancy quilt.   Elaborate quilting on this would look silly.   As Mammy said in Gone With the wind:

” we could give ourselves airs and get ourselves all rigged up and we were like race horses and we were just mules in horse harness and we didn’t fool anybody. “

So I’m not going to pretend this mule is a race horse.  A mule is a fine animal and this is a fine quilt.   So simple it is.

I went to the cupboard and took out a plastic bowl (this came from a healthy choice frozen dinner and I call them my fancy eatin dishes) to use as a guide

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I used a pencil to draw the line around the bowl and then just did the inside arcs by eye.

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I think it is going to look just right.

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It adds texture and movement without being overly done.

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And Teddy approves.

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I have made some progress on the applique quilt as well.

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This one is a race horse ….so I want to take my time and do it justice.

Both are beautiful but in different ways.

Happy Quilting

Tim

Circles

I took a break from hand quilting and did a little hand piecing today.

I recently bought these vintage circle blocks

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and I showed them on a few different fabrics to show how different a block can look when the setting fabrics change.

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The fabrics I placed them on were all fabrics from other projects so I didn’t plan to use any of them….although I liked all for different reasons.   There was however a problem with all of them, they were too bold for me.  Not that I don’t like bold but in this case they made the vintage blocks secondary to the bolder fabric.

I went with a very different fabric …

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Now It is what I envisioned.   I will do big stitch hand quilting with black #8 perle cotton thread but I have a lot more piecing to do first…and then a border

Happy Quilting

Tim

Updates

I have about 3/4 of the first block done in the Antique Applique quilt

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So if it takes 3 days for one block…..20 blocks = 60 days and then there is the border which is equivalent to the area of the 20 blocks so another 60 days…so 120 days then I might add trapunto….several more days….and I will be working on other quilts at the same time…I can’t only work on one quilt for that long, I need to take a break and work on other things to keep fresh.   Anyway the message is that this is going to be a long-term project.

When I finish this block I plan to play with piecing a few vintage blocks for a change of pace.

The forecast for the next few days is for thunderstorms.   I got some yard work done today  and took some pictures again so here they are (click on picture to enlarge)

Happy Quilting/Gardening!

Tim

Next Hand Quilting Project

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I started the next hand quilting project last night.   I posted pictures of this beautiful antique applique quilt previously and I am excited to begin work on it.

I am using Mountain Mist Cram Rose cotton batting.  It is a thin batting that is easy to hand quilt and I love the results.  It washes beautifully.  I used vintage unbleached muslin for the backing and I am doing the hand quilting with a #11 John James between needle and YLI cotton hand quilting thread.

I did my normal basting.  I use pins and very few of them.  I used a pin in the corner of each block.   I really only need the pins to hold the layers together until I get it in the hoop, once in the hoop the pins are removed in the area I am working on and the top and the back are smoothed out.  I start in the center of the quilt and work out to the edges and any extra fullness is worked out to the edges as I go.

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The applique fills most of the space in each block so I didn’t have a lot of space for anything fancy in the quilting.

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What I don’t want is any quilting that will detract from the beautiful applique.  I want the quilting to enhance the design of the top.  I decided to do outline quilting around the individual applique pieces just inside the seams and then echo quilt around the applique.  I then decided to add a line of feathers at the edges of each block…the feathers act as the sashing to frame each block.

I am drawing the feathers as I go …the seam acts as the spine and I am using my embroidery scissors as the template.  I trace the curve of the finger hole and then draw in the rest.  For the drawing I am using a #2 disposable mechanical pencil.  I get them at the office supply store for very little money.  If the marking is light it is very hard to even see the lines once they are quilted and remaining lines will wash out when I am done.

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You can see my marking in this picture above, but once quilted the lines are much less apparent.

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One other note about this  you can see that there is some staining on the right side.   I did not make any attempt to remove that.  So what happens if when the quilt is finished and washed the stain remains?  It will be a clean stain and I will live with it.  I do not like to wash before quilting.  I have many vintage quilt tops and blocks that have been destroyed by washing before quilting.  The quilting adds strength because it is now attached to a sturdy backing and batting.  If it is just too dirty to deal with I might do a gentle soak and then air dry and press  but never use the washing machine!  I use the machine when the quilt is finished but never before.

This is not going to be a short project. There are 20 blocks and each will take at least a few days, and then there is a wide border and as I am working on this I think that the feathered sections would look great with Trapunto added….will see how it looks when the quilting is done and then decide.

Happy Quilting

Tim

 

Liberated Baskets Finished

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Back In April I started a liberated basket quilt. see that post here http://timquilts.com/2014/05/27/something-new-and-old/

I finished hand quilting it today.

I used Aurifil 12 wt thread and a big stitch Quilting needle (Colonial Needle Co.) for the quilting.   The Batting is Mountain Mist Creme Rose, and the backing is unbleached Muslin.

After I got it out of the wash I took it outside to get some pictures.   (click pictures to enlarge)

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It finished at 64″ x 78″

Teddy gave it a test inside on his chair.

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While I was outside I took some more garden pictures

Happy Quilting/gardening

Tim

Finished!

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I finished hand quilting the New York Beauty quilt last night.  I started with a vintage quilt top that needed some work …DSCN1784 DSCN1783

You can see how I fixed it here    http://timquilts.com/2014/06/06/new-york-beauty-re-make/

Here you can see how I decided on the quilting design    http://timquilts.com/2014/06/09/how-i-decided-on-a-quilting-design

The quilting in the white spaces was easy.  The quilting on the pieced sections was not!….it is always much more difficult to quilt across seams.  These little triangles had quite large seam allowances and made it very bulky…several layers to quilt through.  My quilting stitches in these areas are not as small and uniform as they are in the white areas but I think the overall look is fine.

It took 3 weeks to hand quilt….but to put that into perspective it was about 200 hours of quilting….( I was a bit obsessed ;) )

After I finished the quilting and binding I washed it and dried it, and here is the result. (click pictures to enlarge)

While the quilt was in the washer and dryer I decided to finally finish the pillow I started back in April, see that post here  http://timquilts.com/2014/04/15/vintage-lone-star/

Here it is finished

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I am going to try to finish one of the many quilts I have already started in the next few days.   I put this one back in the hoop…the quilting is easy and It should go fast.

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Happy Quilting!

Tim

Preview of the next project

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I am nearing the end on the current quilt

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and I am planning for the next hand quilting project.

This mid 19th century top is the next big project. This is a special project that I am doing for a good friend and quilt collector.

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I get so excited about it every time I look at it.   It is such a great design and the fabrics are beautiful. (click on the pictures to enlarge)

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here is the back to show the stitching.

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It will be a few more days before I start this but I will be sure to post lots of pictures as I work on it. The quilting on this will be very dense so it will not be a fast finish.

Here is what is growing in the garden today after a few more days of rain. (click pictures to enlarge)

Lots of weeds growing!  time to get to work on that

Happy quilting and gardening

Tim

 

Progress pictures

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I am making good progress on hand quilting the New York Beauty quilt.   One full block and 2 half blocks to go.

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Teddy found a circle to sit on…..he always finds the circle
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Happy Quilting

Tim

Unusual Pattern Antique Quilt Top

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I have another antique quilt top to share today.   I have not seen the pattern before but it is rather simple.  Two things drew me to this top.  First are the alternating solid squares.   The solid squares leave a lot of room for me to do some nice hand quilting.   Hand quilting always shows better on those unpieced areas.   Second is the fabrics.  There is a great variety of fabrics!   When dating a quilt top I have to look at the entire piece and find the “newest” fabric.  The top could not have been made before the date of the newest fabric.    I am NOT an expert on antique fabric but I have hundreds of quilt tops and have looked at a lot of antique fabric….My best estimate is 1890, much of the fabric predates that but some is not.   it is always fun to look at all the fabrics and every time I look at it I see one that I missed before.
As always I took a lot of pictures so here they are (click pictures to enlarge)

Now Back to work

Happy Quilting

Tim