Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Stardate 2015.322

Sometimes, the Bigger, the Better.

Okay, so I’m a PBS nerd.  Yep, I have always liked watching the “how-to” shows on PBS, and I still watch Sewing with Nancy which airs on PBS.  With some of my graphic design background, I also very much love BOLD statements in the quilting world.  So, when I saw an episode of Sewing with Nancy where she showed you how to sew grand Dresdens, I was hooked.  I’d always loved the Dresden block, but had never seen any on such a large scale.  I bought the template and am finally getting a project going that I’ve had years in the making – in my mind. 

Enter in the grand Dresden that will become a Christmas Tree skirt this year.  Yeah!  I’ve only gone many multiple years without having a real Christmas Tree skirt, so, now’s the time to make it happen... 

I selected some holiday fabrics from my stash, and started sewing strips together to build the Dresden.  These fabrics are from various collections which caught my eye over the years, including Jason Yenter fabrics as well as Hoffman and others.  Plus, I had just recently ordered a Kate Spain holiday white/cream fabric, and it was the perfect accompaniment to the other holiday fabrics.
So, here we go.  The strips were all sewn together with ease, on hopes that the cutting would be a breeze. 

With the oversized template in hand, the organized mayhem began.  Cutting, cutting, and cutting away, soon I had enough fabric pies to play. 

Up on the board, organized they went; soon to be sewn together with such reverence.

Assembled in a circle, ready for more, I sandwiched the lot and began to explore.  How to quilt, how to quilt, my brain did ponder.  Doodling and thinking, until an idea came yonder.  Feathers, I said, to highlight the white; straight lines to emulate beams lighting up the night.  Off I went to free motion quilt frenzy, when to what to my wondering eyes did appear, but grand feathers and style that made me grin from ear-to-ear.

Almost finished; I may beat the Christmas rush, and under the tree it shall go.  For an improperly dressed tree, I shall no longer be known.  ** Grin**

Have fun as the holidays approach. Enjoy !

And, now, just some quick narrative on some of the specifics ~ 
I used double the batting here to make the feathers stand out a bit more and to give the skirt a bit more body.  I marked the vein on the feathers, and then I free motion the feathers by "eyeballing" the space.  I still have to quilt the straight lines in the colored pie pieces, and then add the binding and I'll be done.  All my free motion quilting is done on my Janome 6600 machine.  It's a workhorse!  

See you next time...

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Stardate 2015:314
Kaleidoscopes are Cool!

I love Paula Nadelstern’s kaleidoscopes, but since I’m not quite at that level, I resort to the smaller venue.  A simple pattern from BH&G American Patchwork & Quilting magazine gave me the inspiration I needed to create a simple quilt of kaleidoscopes by fussy cutting fabric.  This is really fun to do – as I’ve notice many other quilter’s blog posts showing similar compositions. 

Here’s my rendition.  What's really challenging is selecting the right center to go with the five points of the block.  Some I got dead-on, where you can hardly tell the center is a different piece of fabric.  Others, I wasn't so good at, but they still turned out nicely.

I pieced these by hand (I do a lot of that while watching hockey in the evenings – GO AVs!), and I just about have them ready to set together.  Now, my work will focus on trying to get the placing of all the various colors distributed nicely in the quilt.

Do you have favorites of quilt pieces you make?  I do, and I feel like it’s my nature to put those in the center of the quilt.  I read somewhere, a while ago, that we should put our favorite blocks on the edge of the quilt since quilts often times are folded and draped over chairs and such.  The theory being, when the quilt is folded, your favorite blocks are in full view where you can enjoy them.  Definitely an interesting theory.  We’ll see how it plays out as I determine the placement of the blocks. 

Monday, November 9, 2015


Stardate 2015.313
Greetings…and welcome to my blog.  Clearly, it’s in its infancy, so I’ll start with the basics.

I am a quilter (boy, it feels good to say that…).

I started many moons ago, and by my math, that means 30+ years I’ve been making some level of quilts.  I’d say I’m more of a traditional quilter, starting off with hand piecing and hand quilting traditional patterns.  My grandmother quilted and I started by putting together quilt tops with the blocks she had left behind (she passed away before I knew her).  I quickly caught the bug and over the years have searched for patterns that challenge me in learning quilting techniques.
I’m moving away from super-traditional quilts, leaning more towards modern and contemporary quilting, but still holding strong to some of those traditional patterns.  I’ve learned to use my Janome 6600 sewing machine for piecing and even free-motion quilting, because I knew my hands wouldn’t forever let me do all the handwork.  So, luckily technology has lent me some assistance, although, I still do some hand piecing and quilting; it’s just more for specific quilts.

So, if I had to categorize my style, I’d say it’s “transitional”, meaning, I still love some of the old patterns, but like to see them in a different, maybe more modern, light.

I’m hoping to show what I’m working on, all the while hoping to offer tips and tricks that I’ve learned over the years and to share different things happening in the world of quilting.  It’s a vast world, so I’ll not even profess to cover it all…but I’ll share what I find interesting and exciting.  I’ll also include links to some of my favorite sites and posts on those sites – after all, when you find a good tutorial, why reinvent the wheel?  

Thanks for joining me on my quilting journey.  Let’s see where we can go…