autumn 2

We had a hard frost so many plants in my garden have bitten the dust :(   but there are still lots of fall colors around.    I have been thinking of a new quilt idea in fall colors so I drew up a plan.

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I am not sure when I will actually make it….I decided to work on the snowflake quilt and get it finished….

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the #11 between needle I use for hand quilting this one sure seems small compared to the size 5 embroidery needle I used on the last one

 

I also want to finish the batik quilt top

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and several others before I start a new one….but thinking about new things keeps me moving along.

Happy Quilting

Tim

More vintage tops

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I have a few more vintage top to share today.  I plan to get to these soon, but as you know I change plans frequently ….

This lone star is really great!   I love 2 color quilts.

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As is often the case with these it has a few issues.

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the center is rather mountainous.

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and the setting triangles are on the bias and very puckered.

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I think the easiest solution will be to take it apart into the 8 main pieces/star points and trim them to the correct size and replace the bias cut triangles.  When I get to work on it I will post all about how I do the fix.

Next is a spool top.

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A very simple design but I really like it.   It is a bit less than well made

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not really flat and not very precise in the piecing

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and some of those vertical stripes would be much better if they were horizontal…more like thread on a spool.

but I really like it as it is.

I think I will just press this one well and quilt it as it is.

Teddy likes it the way it is

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Remember this quilt?

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I made it with a line of fabric from P&B Textiles called Interplay

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P&B Textiles now has my pattern (as well as many others) available as a free download on their website here http://www.pbtex.com/free-patterns/

It is an easy one to make…and could easily be made larger with the addition of borders.

If you are going to be at the Houston Quilt Market visit P&B at booths 1356 & 1361

 

I have a Floral Design Class to teach Saturday Morning …pictures of that soon

 

Happy Quilting

Tim

 

Foundation piecing

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I am working on the Batik project and I thought it might be a good time to talk about foundation piecing.

Paper foundation piecing is very popular these days but it is nothing new.    This vintage top used Montgomery Ward catalog pages as the paper foundation

 

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Older quilts often used Muslin as the foundation…this partially finished quilt used muslin foundation.

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Here is the back of one of the pieces.

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When using fabric as the foundation it is left on….paper is removed

These vintage string star blocks were paper foundation pieced but the paper was removed after they were made.

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I am using paper and I remove the paper when the block is finished.   Some people will leave the paper on until the entire top is done.

Today I am working on the borders

here is the plan that I designed on the computer

Batik plan

you can see that the border has a lot of long narrow points.   the advantage of foundation piecing is that the foundation prevents the fabric from stretching and becoming distorted as it is sewn.   This makes for much greater accuracy.  In my vintage and antique quilts I really don’t worry too much about accuracy, but for this quilt I thought I would try to be as accurate as I can.

I start by printing the pattern.   Computers make quilting so much easier!   In the past the patterns would need to be traced onto the paper.

I hate to waste fabric and one of the drawbacks of foundation paper piecing is that there is a lot of waste from all the bits that are trimmed of.    Since all the pieces in the border blocks are the same size I was able to pr-cut the pieces.  I had to do some figuring to get the size right and it worked out that if I cut 2.5 inch strips and then cut them in half on the diagonal I have the pieces the right size with very little waste.

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next I arrange the pieces in the order I plan to sew them

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I pin the pieces to the paper before I sew.   I line up the piece 1/4 inch beyond the line (1/4 inch seam allowance) and pin in place

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The fabric goes on the back of the paper so that it fits into A1  The next piece is pinned on so that after it is sewn on and pressed it will cover the next area (A2)

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sew on the line then press open….this is how it looks on the finished side

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Now I trim the piece in A2 so that there is 1/4 inch seam allowance on the long side by folding the paper up to the line and trimming the overhang…and then pin the next piece in place

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sew that one down and press it open

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and then fold the paper back to the line

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and trim to 1/4 inch

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fold the paper back to flat and add the next piece

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sew and press

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fold back and trim

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keep adding new pieces

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until they are all added

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Looks like a bit of a mess until it is trimmed.    It is important in the block that I did not sew beyond the line at the top (where the large purple piece will be added)

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I fold back the paper at that line

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and trim that overhanging fabric to 1/4 inch and then fold back the paper

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Now I can add that big piece…make sure it fits

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pin in place

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sew and press open

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now flip it over

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trim all the edges

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and it is done.  here are a few of them finished in place

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I partially made one block before I realized I was doing it wrong.  I had reversed the order of the pieces….see how it doesn’t fit with the others

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the points go the wrong direction.   It can be easy to get it wrong because the sewing is all done from the back of the paper.

I should also mention that I turn the stitch length to almost as short as I can for this.   The smaller stitch length gives the paper more holes  so it is easier to rip the paper off…it breaks easily along the stitch lines with all those little holes.

 

 

Teddy the Helper

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Today I have been working on the Batik Project.    The Fabrics are from Lelia and Co. Fabric and Design and the blocks are paper foundation pieced.   I am getting better at paper foundation piecing the more blocks I do.

I have 21 done now of the 100 needed to finish

Here is the plan which I did on the computer

Batik plan
I decided to see how the blocks look laid out and Teddy was there to help me arrange them.

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and he did a pretty good job

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he needed some help getting that last one flat

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I hardly ever mention my other job as flora design instructor but my nephew got married yesterday and I did the flowers for the wedding.

The ceremony was at the Grosse Pointe Academy Chapel …here is a picture of the chapel (It is a picture from their website not the same wedding)

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I am really bad about getting pictures of weddings , usually I am in such a frenzy trying to get it all done on time that I just forget to stop and take some pictures.    I did take a few in the work room before I delivered them.

Brides bouquet

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Bridesmaid

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Chapel flowers

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centerpiece

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My Sister made the cupcake wedding cake

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Teddy says it is time to get back to work now

Happy Quilting

Tim

New top

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I started making a quilt top about a year ago.    I was planning to do it with spiderweb blocks.

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I made a few and it just didn’t feel right so in December (while cleaning up to decorate) I packed it away.   I started again on Sunday with a fresh perspective.   Over the course of the year I have expanded my view of quilts.   I still love the very traditional, but I also appreciate the less formal improvisational style.  When an idea strikes I need to go with it right away so that is what I did.

Using the same fabrics I did the piecing like I did in the last quilt.

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I incorporated the blocks I had already finished into the top

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Now i like it.   I might add a border

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without a border it is 58 x 68 inches

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Teddy looks good in(on) these colors

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The pictures without Teddy are a truer color ….I took the Teddy pictures without a flash so he eyes wouldn’t get spots.

I was very excited to get a new book today (I have been waiting for months for it to come out) Unconventional & Unexpected  American Quilts Below the Radar 1950-2000 by Roderick Kiracofe

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I have one of his other books “The American Quilt:  A History of Cloth and Comfort 1750-1950″  and this book completes the story.    People often view quilting as nonexistent between the late 40’s and the quilt revival of the 70’s.  This book shows that this was not the case.  The nearly 150 quilts in this book are surprisingly improvisational, much like Jazz is to music .   The notes are the same but they are played differently.    It is a beautiful book and I highly recommend it.

Now that I have satisfied my improvisational desires for a few days I am back to work on some traditional hand quilting.

Happy Quilting

Tim

Big Thread Throw Quilt Finished

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I made the top on Aug 31…..see that post here http://timquilts.com/2014/08/31/quilt-top-in-an-afternoon/ and I spent the last 4 days hand quilting it.   Sounds really fast (and it was fast to make the top)  but it actually took about 60 hours total to make this quilt.    At an hour a day that would be 2 months.

I used Hobbs Tuscany Cotton Batting.   It was the first time I have used it and I love it!    Easy to quilt, soft, great drape, I will definitely use it again.

The had quilting was done with #8 perle cotton thread.  I used black because I wanted it to show.

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This would not be my choice for every quilt but for this one I think it was the right choice.    I did big overlapping circles because I wanted a contrast with the linear look of the top, I think it adds movement.

I did not do any marking ….I quilted it by eye….and it is NOT perfect…..and that was intentional.  I didn’t think perfect/uniform/symmetrical would fit with the free form piecing of the top.

I am calling this “Big Thread” quilting because I think it more accurately describes it.    The Term “Big Stitch” implies that there needs to be a specific size of stitch to qualify as “Big” and I honestly believe that the size of the stitch or stitches per inch is not what is important.   As long as the stitches look the way you want them to look they are the right size.   I used perle cotton thread and it is much thicker/bigger than normal hand quilting thread so “Big Thread” describes it.

For comparison here is a quilt I made using #8 perle cotton thread

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the stitches aren’t necessarily big

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but the thread is.

here is one with much less quilting and larger stitches

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but the same size thread.

and another

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all different stitch density and stitch size but all with “Big Thread”

Here is the quilt before binding

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And the finished quilt after binding and washing and drying (in the machine)

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The angle of the picture distorts the shape a bit.   it is actually square ( about 56″ x 56″) after washing a drying.

here is the back

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and some more pictures (click pictures to enlarge)

 

Now back to work on one (or many) of the other projects.    But I have some ideas for a variation on this design……..I might need to do that soon

Happy Quilting

Tim

 

quilt top in an afternoon

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I decided to take a break from hand quilting and foundation paper piecing today and make a quilt top.

Sometimes it is fun to make something different and fast.   I purchased a bundle of fat quarters at the Grand Rapids AQS show

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The one on the left is what I used.

No pattern here just cutting and sewing.

I started by stacking up 7 of the fat quarters and trimming them even.

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Next I cut it into thirds using a rotary cutter…I cut curves (gentle curves are easy to machine piece)

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It is hard to tell from the picture but there are 7 layers of fabric here.

Next I rearranged the pieces so the colors alternate

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And sewed them together

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I stacked them up again and then cut them again

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Next I rearranged the fabrics again

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and sewed them together

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Now I cut them apart in thirds again the opposite direction…this time with straight lines

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rearrange those pieces again

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sew them together

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and then I did it all over again with 7 more fat quarters and then trimmed them all to a uniform size

and then sewed them all together

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finished size is about 57 inches square…I have some purple fabric that I will use for backing and binding and I will hand quilt it.   I think I will use black thread.

This was a fun and fast project!

Happy Quilting

Tim