Thursday, March 31, 2016

March Mumbles

"Diamond Down the Drain", 32"x32"

This is the red/green scrap quilt I was working on last month. The name refers to the pieced diamond just off left center and the spiral quilting. I used a lot of my red and green scraps but there's always more where they came from.

I used Crazy Mom Quilts instructions to make a Scrap Vortex quilt and her tutorial for spiral quilting. Here's a link to her blog with the instructions. That spiral quilting just about did me in but I love the effect!  Linda, at Flourishing Palms blog, has some tips for spiral quilting success too.
I've been wanting to try some simple walking foot machine quilting for some time and now that my arms are no longer aching, I'm glad I did the spiral quilting! 
During March I also bound my Mediterranean Hexagon quilt which was the result of a class I took with Kaffe Fassett at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. It will hang in my quilt guild's upcoming quilt show, Common Threads Regional Quilt Show, June 16-18, Wichita, KS.

 I asked my machine quilter, Jan Hutchison, to follow the lines of the flowers. I've lightened the photo so you might be able to see the quilting. Most of the fabric is Kaffe Collective but I especially like that I was able to use some thrift store Jinny Beyer fabric in the triangles.

 I decided I'd ignored Love Entwined (LE) quilt long enough! This is what Part 8 looked like on March 14. I finished the flowers in the pot on the right border and added some 1/8" circles in the pink flowers. They were definitely a challenge to make. Each of those yellow flower petals are less than 1/2" square! At this point I'm wishing I'd made those broderie perse.

 The green leaf wreath - kind of fun to applique.

 The pink and gold flowers and leaves (what are those things?) - its going to be a long time before I feel my inside curve applique is good. More green fried eggs! Do I sound excited?

My progress as of today - March 31. 
I feel like I've been stitching in slow motion but I just realized I've only been working on LE for the past two weeks. I was hoping to finish both the upper and lower part 8 borders by today but maybe my slow and steady applique progress isn't too bad after all!
Still no final color/fabric decision for the border between the zig zags. Today I'm leaning toward gold but tomorrow? I think when I'm finished with the part 8 & 9 borders I'll try out fabrics at the quilt shop until one speaks to me. 

My goal for April - finish part 8 and start part 9. Its interesting to me that the upper and lower borders are a different design than the two side borders.

Until next time, Mayleen

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

February Fumble

How is it possible that I didn't accomplish much during February, even with an extra day?

"A Light in the Window", 19 x 24", unfinished
 This was my color challenge project using only neutrals and 10% or less of an accent color. Also was supposed to be an "original" idea. Because I've always wanted to make a landscape quilt, that's what I chose. This has got to be my first ever neutral quilt and especially my first ever using the color peach.

This is what it looked like when I posted last month. I added two borders to make it larger and then let it take me wherever it wanted. I hope you can tell its supposed to be a snowy scene at daybreak.

As with almost all of my projects, it became more complicated. I embroidered more snow covered tree branches, a few rows of crops peeking out of snow, a farmhouse and hedgerow in the distance, a squirrel on one of the tree branches and a birds nest.

The title of the wall hanging is "A Light in the Window" which refers to my struggle with insomnia. You can see the light in the upper room of the appliqued farmhouse.

Here's the tree and if you look closely, the bird nest on one of the upper right hand branches. The trunk and branches are embroidered to look like bark.

Here's my chunky looking squirrel. He's obviously stored enough nuts to have a good winter. He was appliqued (fusible) but if I were to do this again, I'd probably just embroider him too. 

I'm not sure when or if I'll finish the wall hanging. I had hoped to embroider or quilt sleet/snow coming down. I enjoy hand quilting and embroidery but it wasn't long before my hands were painful and I had to stop. For now, the wall hanging is on my design wall.

You can only imagine how happy I was to learn our next challenge was to use Complimentary colors! I got started right away but a few weeks later, the decision was made to postpone our challenge until later due to everyone's commitments. Since I had finished piecing my quilt top and because I think I broke a few of the challenge rules, I'm going to reveal my project now and make a new project later.

Here's my starting point - red and green strips and scraps.

On my design wall. Unfortunately, Minnie, the pieced Christmas block and the white with red polka dot fabric did not make it into my project. However, there are cows and elephants.

I'm trying to learn a new skill with each project and this time its spiral machine quilting with a walking foot. This wall hanging might be called Wobbles and Bobbles because of my quilting! I've picked the stitching out once but not again. I'll share a finished photo and the details of my spiral machine quilting next time. This is really giving my shoulders and back a workout.

In other news, I'm still binding my Mediterranean Hexagon quilt (pictured last month) and should be ready to start stitching on its sleeve and label soon. When I decided to finish my 27 days of Quilty 365 circles, I discovered my circle template had melted into an oval shape! Time for a new template.

There is no shortage of quilt projects to work on around here.

Until next time, Mayleen