Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Anniversary quilts gifted

I have been absent again, but the garden isn't to blame this time.  I enjoyed a vacation in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, visiting family and soaking in the sights and sounds of the coast.

East coast of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada

Both my parents and my husband's parents celebrate 50th wedding anniversaries this year.  What's a quilter to do?  Mark the occasion with  quilts, of course. Did you know that two queen sized quilts can smoosh into one carry-on sized suitcase?

You have seen this one before.  Vintage Sparkle was made with my in-laws in mind.

Vintage Sparkle
What I didn't share before were the personal touches, because Pat reads my blog and she didn't know this one was for her and Bob. I didn't want to spill the beans!

Their last name is quilted in one corner. "1968", "2018" and "50th" are quilted in the other three corners.  I can't take credit for the idea.  Liz Meimann, who longarmed this one, suggested it.

I shared a glimpse of the second quilt before I sent it off to Liz for quilting. Mom knew I was making this for her and dad but I wanted her to be at least a little surprised, so I didn't share again until I delivered the quilt.  Here is Fundy Skies for my parents.

This time I asked Liz to leave some unquilted space in the corners.  When the quilt came home I added some hand quilting.  It was a little bit hectic around here just before we left on our trip and I didn't get as many photos of the quilt as I should have. While I was visiting, I was busy, well, visiting, so didn't take as many photos then either. I don't have close-ups of Liz's quilting, and only of some of the hand quilting.

Hand quilting in progress
Some machine and some hand quilting

I hand quilted mom and dad's last name, Lalonde, in one corner,  Initials in another, and years in the other two.

One little note about the batting.  I chose wool batting for this quilt. I had never used it before but I certainly will again.  Hand quilting through the wool batting was a dream!  It almost makes me want to rip out all the stitches I have already put in Laura's quilt.  Almost, but not quite.

There will be a pattern for Fundy Skies soon, with wall/baby, throw, twin and queen sizes.  I think it is about 95% complete.  If you'd like to be a tester, please email me! (UPDATE:  pattern is now available in my Etsy shop)

I will leave you with a few more picture of Nova Scotia scenery.  It was so hard to leave this behind!

Louisbourg Lighthouse Trail, Nova Scotia, Canada

Louisbourg Lighthouse, Nova Scotia, Canada

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Playing with FMQ rulers!

Look what I am doing this month:

Let me back up a little. Last fall I made the top for an ISU Cyclones baby sized version of Jelly Bean Stars.

It launched the rewrite of the pattern.  You can read about those thought processes here.  After re-imagining the design I had to make another version,which I named Magnitudes.  That one is quilted, bound, photographed and ready to be the pattern cover quilt, and the pattern is with testers as I type (thank you testers!!!)  After all that, Cyclone Baby remained forgotten in a box, unquilted.

Backing up even more, two years ago I bought a Westalee Rulers starter set to start adding ruler work to my limited freemotion quilting skill set.  I tried a few test sandwiches, had skipped stitches, broken thread and frustration.  The rulers have been in a box until I had spare time to figure out what was going on.  Spare time?  Hah!

Fast forward to last month.  The local quilt shop hosted two classes on beginner ruler work with Westalee rulers!  I'm so glad I was able to take the class. Thank you Teresa for switching work days with me!

After adjusting a few settings on my machine I had great success on practice pieces.
Ruler work practice

I have always had trouble replicating FMQ success when I start working on a larger pieced quilt, so I was a bit apprehensive about just launching into the two big projects I want to custom quilt with rulers.  Honestly, the rulers might have gone back into the box again if Cyclone Baby hadn't whispered in my ear.

Cyclone Baby is larger than a practice sandwich, but not huge.  It's pieced.  It has blocks and sashing providing space for trying different things.  It doesn't have a purpose at this point so I won't be crushed if I mess it up (well, not too crushed).  OK, let's break out the rulers!

I stitched in the ditch around the stars with a straight edge ruler.  I had a little trouble where there was bulk in the seams, because the highest I can set the ruler presser foot is still pretty tight over thick seams, so it caught a little bit.  Still, it was easier overall and a lot easier on my shoulder that wrestling the quilt round and round to quilt around the star with my walking foot, and definitely straighter than I can manage with freemotion without rulers.

I used the "Circles on Quilt - Circles Set 3" to stitch concentric circles in the background of the star block.  Again, doing it with rulers was much easier on my shoulder than moving the quilt under a walking foot.  When I stitched two small circles on each square of Tic Tac Hoot I worked a lot harder than I did to make these multiple circles!

The petal shapes in the sashing are made with the 2" inside circle template.  These gave me trouble with skipped stitches and breaking thread and made me very, very unhappy.  I tried changing the needle. I tried re-threading the machine. I tried cleaning out the bobbin area.  I gnashed my teeth.  Why did it work on the practice sandwich and not on my quilt?

My non-sewing husband came home, took one look at me and gave me a wide berth before asking "Have you tried changing the thread?"

Hmmph. Well. No.  I shouldn't have to.  So there.

OK, I changed the thread and I think I'm back on track.  I'll share again when I reach the borders.  It might be a few weeks.  Summer activities exert a pretty strong pull...