Jan 10 2020

First Finish of 2020

Echo is now ready to hang on the wall. It was machine quilted on New Year’s Day with pantograph Fang from Urban Elementz.

Echo was quilted with Superior Threads’ Bottom Line which is the first time that I have used this thread. It took almost as long to get the tension set as it did to actually machine quilt this little project. However I made a note of the settings, so any future project using this brand will be easy to set up. I really like how the thread gives texture without contrast.

Now that Echo was completed, I turned my attention to the remaining 13 medallions. My first plan was to have the X in the X-block cut from the corresponding stripe, however I could not find any background in my stash that played well with the background in the medallions. Therefore I reversed my thinking and used the background as the X with the stripe as the triangles.

This is the only block where the triangles top-bottom & left-right mirror, the rest were just random.

I named this quilt Goldfield (45 1/2″ square) for a ghost town in Colorado and is finished without borders. Goldfield will be my next quilting project since the machine is still setup from Echo.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Marlene

Jan 05 2020

Out with 2019 – In with 2020

My 2019 end-of-year post is a bit late, but here it is. The binding on the Baby Bear Quilt was finished last Thursday, but I am counting this as my final 2019 finish.

Baby Bear was machine quilted with a pantograph from Urban Elementz named Parchment. I am very pleased with the end result and smile every time I look at it.

However the last couple of years has increased (head hanging in shame inserted here) my UFOs, so the plan is to decrease the number in 2020. So in an effort to begin that goal, I pulled Bin #10 from the shelf. It contained these fussy cut medallions that have been patiently waiting for inspiration for several years.

There were 16 medallions which is an odd number to set in a quilt, so I decided to put 13 in this setting with an alternate block and the remaining 3 in a wallhanging. After consideration, the 3 blocks were cut into quarters and reassembled as shown below.

The border came from the pattern Melbourne Medallions by Jean Boyd and is named Echo (22″ x 27″).

As the final picture for 2019 – my empty spools! Not as many as some years, but still proof that some quilting was accomplished in 2019.

May 2020 be filled with quilt inspiration, quilty time and many finished items.

Marlene

Dec 25 2019

Charlotte’s Baskets

Yeah – another finish! I am averaging one quilt finish a week with the new quilting machine and love it. This quilt top (50″ x 50″) is wider than my frame, so my plan was to use a pantograph in the center of the quilt, then free motion quilt the inner & outer border. This plan mostly worked – the biggest issue was stopping the pantograph before stitching into the inner border. I will need to give this some more thought before trying it again.

The next quilt top on the machine was Autumn Card Tricks. Several years ago I had purchased the Top Anchor Baptist Fans ruler, but never had the courage to attempt it with the sit-down machine. Now that I had a quilting machine on a frame it was time to give it a try.

For the most part I was happy with the fans and I knew the more I used the ruler the better they would look. However that came to an abrupt end Friday evening.

As you can see, the ruler broke. I was finishing the third row when this happened, so everything came to a standstill while I reevaluated my options.

It was a clean break, so the two ends could be glued back together to finish the quilt or I could take out the Baptist Fans stitching and redo with a new quilting motif. I decided on the second option since I did not trust the ruler would perform properly until the quilt top was finished.

Now that Autumn Card Tricks is in the “unsewing” stage, I will need to decide which quilt top will be loaded on the frame next.

Merry Christmas,

Marlene

Dec 20 2019

Mini-Metro and Ballerina Girl

It’s official – my brother is in charge of naming my quilts.

I recently finished this quilt top from the pattern Zig Zag Zoom by Mary Ann Altendorf. The name given to this quilt is Mini-Metro because it reminded my brother of a video game. Mini-Metro was made from recycled shirts including some of the pockets & tags.

I can just imagine gifting a small boy this quilt with several Matchbox cars hidden in the pockets. The quilt features “streets” and would provide hours of entertainment with cars zooming around.

The last Christmas gift was completed last weekend – Ballerina Girl pattern by Carrie Payne.

Instead of making a wallhanging, I framed this small quilt (12″ x 12″). Even though I am not entirely confident of this technique, I am happy with the final result. The best part is seeing my granddaughter’s face when she unwraps the package.

Happy Holidays,

Marlene

Dec 14 2019

Another Quilt Finish

The Spiral Lone Star quilt is finished.

It looks better than I expected, especially with all the fullness in the quilt top. Below is proof of the tucks and pleats, however I think that the curvy quilt motif along with washing & blocking the quilt help disguise them.

The pantograph used is Caliente by Urban Elementz which can be found as a free self-print design on their website.

While hand-stitching the binding on Spiral Lone Star, Charlotte’s Baskets was loaded and machine quilted. Since it is larger than my frame, I tried something different. I used a pantograph in the center of the quilt, free motion quilted a design in the inner border and quilted straight lines on the outer border. Right now the binding is being machine sewn on before the hand-stitching starts.

And of course, the next quilt top has been selected and the winner is –

Autumn Card Tricks (pattern by Eleanor Burns and pieced between 2002 – 2007). I plan to quilt Baptist Fans with a gold thread on this top. It feels great to get some quilt finishes at the end of the year.

Season’s Greetings,

Marlene

Dec 01 2019

Thanksgiving Weekend

My first finish on my new Simply Sixteen machine and frame.

The pattern is Summer Breeze by Kim Brackett in her book Scrap-Basket Surprises. The quilt top was pieced in 2009 and measures 52″ x 68″. I quilted a large meander in the center and loops in the border.

The second quilt top loaded onto the Simply Sixteen frame is a Spiral Lone Star. My best guess is that this top was pieced in 2005 – 2006 (I didn’t keep better records until 2008). I learned so much about color choices & accurate piecing while working on it . . .

and now I am learning about pantographs & stitching out fullness. As you can see, the quilt top did not lay flat which is the biggest reason that it had not been machine quilted before now.

To be brutally honest, there are tucks and pleats in the Spiral Lone Star quilt and I knew that would happen going in. My plan is twofold – use a curvy pantograph, then wash & block the finished quilt. I will let you know how that turns out.

Tea Party in the Rose Garden (pattern name Metro Maze by Bloom Creek) top has been completed. My brother came up with the quilt name which I think is so appropriate.

The following quilts were all given as gifts, so I can now show them. First up is Emerson’s Snail – this wallhanging was made from an original drawing by Emerson. Isn’t it the cutest? Turning a drawing into an applique project was a new challenge for me, however I am very pleased with the results as was Ms Emerson.

A Mini-Bookshelf wallhanging for my son –

And last – by not least – Sunrise at Stonehenge for my daughter & family who live in England.

There is one more small wallhanging to make as a Christmas gift, so I had better get busy – Christmas is just around the corner.

I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving weekend with lots of food and family time.

Marlene

Oct 28 2019

Exciting News

I have a new addition to my sewing room.

I have been thinking about getting the Simply Sixteen with the Little Foot Frame for the last 4 or 5 years. And every time I talked myself into buying one, I talked myself out again. But this time when I decided to do it, I did!

The frame takes up a little bit more room that I had anticipated, so I had to reorganize my sewing space. It is all good because I like my new layout even better than the old. I haven’t machine quilted a top yet, but that will be happening soon. From Thanksgiving Day until the end of the year, I plan to devote myself to machine quilting and see how many tops can be moved to finished quilts.

And speaking of quilt tops – the Space Invaders quilt hit a snag forcing a return to dry dock. The center of the quilt was completed, however the Space Invaders border fabric appears awkward and uninspired when placed next to the center.

After considering the matter for a couple of days, I decided that two issues were causing problems. The first is the direction of the colors. The border fabric has horizontal stripes and the center has vertical stripes. The second issue is the size of the designs on the Space Invaders fabric – they are too small.

My solution is to have the Space Invaders fabric become the accent instead of the border fabric. This change means a LOT of unsewing and resewing, but I will be so much happier with the end result. Right now I don’t know what fabric I will use for the border, but I have some time before I need to make that decision. Once I have a couple of the strips converted from solid black to Space Invaders, I will post a picture.

Below is the second of four wallhanging that were made as gifts. Two grandchildren take piano lessons, so when I saw this pattern I knew just where it would go. The “Music is Life” is the beginning of a quote. The whole quote is printed on the label and reads “Music is Life – that’s why heart’s have beats”.

Happy Halloween,

Marlene

Sep 29 2019

Hello – I’m Back

I know that it has been awhile since my last post, however I do have some quilty projects to share.

First up, the Elephants on Parade quilt top is completed. I think the rings really showcase the elephants.


The next project was a wallhanging for a grandson to hang above his bookcases in his bedroom.

The name of this pattern is Mini-Bookshelf Quilt by Elizabeth Dackson and can be found at https://www.dontcallmebetsy.com/blog//2011/04/mini-bookshelf-quilt-tutorial.html

I made a change to the pattern by increasing the size of the bottom border so that I could add the words at the bottom. It was fun finding selvedges to use as book titles.

JP’s wallhanging is actually my second attempt of this pattern. The first time the background fabric for the leaning book was short. If you look close you can see the extra fabric added to the top right corner. Going with the philosophy of making lemonade, I turned it into a placemat.

I have a couple more finished quilt to show, but that will be for another day.

Happy Autumn,

Marlene

Jun 16 2019

Periscope

My Periscope quilt top – a free pattern on the Quilted Twins website – is completed.

I made quite a few changes to the pattern while constructing this top from recycled shirts. The first thing I did was scale the block sizes down to 3/4 size. The original pattern finishes at 100″ square which is way too big for me. My Periscope is 75″ square and contains multiple background fabrics (second change to the pattern).

Originally my plan was to go all scrappy, but after I had a few blocks on the design wall I decided it was too chaotic as shown below.

Continuing the background from the Shoofly block out into the Courthouse Steps block gives the top a calmer appearance and more interest. The next design change was to add Hourglass blocks to the center of the Courthouse Steps.

It took some attention to detail to make sure the background was positioned in the Courthouse Steps block correctly, but I think it was worth it. The final change was to the border – instead of piano key borders, I used larger rectangles.

I am glad that this quilt top is finished, but I will admit that it is not one of my favorites. If I was going to make it again with the intent to keep it for myself, I think that I would downsize the blocks again and use a scrappy two color combination. However at this time I have no plans to make another Periscope quilt.

The recycled shirts have been put away and now it is time to let the animals run free.

How do you build an elephant quilt? One stitch at a time.

Marlene

Jun 09 2019

Recycled Shirt Quilt Top

A recycled shirt quilt top was completed over Memorial Day weekend. I know – I am so behind in my blog that it isn’t even funny.

Anyway, the pattern that I used for this quilt top is called Stonehenge Square Dance by Kate Mitchell.

This isn’t the type of pattern that normally catches my eye and to tell the truth, I am unsure why I actually bought it in the first place. However I am very pleased with my recycled shirt version.

It is unusual for me to make a red, white & blue quilt, but it worked with the shirts that I had and was fun to do something different. The stronger contrast and scrappy border are two of my favorite things in my version of Stonehenge Square Dance.

Marlene