May 08 2020

Victory – Space Invaders Conquered

For such an simple pattern, Space Invaders quilt top took a lot of perseverance, unsewing/resewing and stubbornness to complete.

The last picture of Space Invaders looked like a bomb was detonated on the black rectangles.

And the quilt top looked a lot worse before things improved, but it was worth it. The center looks so much better with the focus fabric replacing the solid black rectangles.

Once that was completed it was decision time regarding the borders. The pattern called for 5″ borders which required careful cutting since the focus fabric is directional.

However the more that I looked at the borders, the more unhappy I was. The Space Invaders characters printed on the fabric were too small for such a wide border, so the first decision was to trim the border down to 3 1/2″.

Better – the next challenge was what to do with the side borders. Since I started with 1 yard of the Space Invaders fabric, I knew that there would need to be alternate blocks to achieve the length needed.

Nope, blocks with random colors wasn’t going to work – what is Plan C or is it Plan D now? Okay, 3″ finished alternate blocks on one color with 3″ focus fabric squares. Since there is only one strip of yellow in the center, maybe it would look good with yellow alternate blocks.

That isn’t what I wanted. The yellow alternate blocks are yelling “Look at me! Look at me!” instead on complimenting the center. The dark turquoise squares, however, receive an A+ for playing well with others.

And ta-da!

The Space Invaders may have won a few skirmishes, but I won the war. Right now all I feel as I look at this top is frustration, tired of all the decisions necessary and relief that it is finished. In a couple of months or years I will know if I am really happy with the final result. For now, done is good.

Why is it that some quilting projects are a battlefield from start to finish and some flow so smoothly that you are sad when they are completed?

This marks another UFO off the list – YEAH! – and time for something different. I wonder what that project will be. Hmmm

Happy quilting and stay healthy,

Marlene

May 03 2020

Sewing Room Updates

Two non-quilting project – fabric weights and crocheted ric-rac – have enn made.

The fabric weights ( https://weallsew.com/fabric-weight-tutorial/ ) were a quick and easy sewing project once I figured out the fusible interfacing issue. All I have is sew-in interfacing and this project was a use-what-I-already-have project. My solution was to use a glue stick to adhere the sew-in interfacing to the fabric and it worked. The tags were cut from the ribbon around a Moda jelly roll. Isn’t it fun to do something different once in a while?

At the bottom of the picture is a length of crocheted ric-rac. The directions can be found here: https://foxslane.blogspot.com/2010/09/how-to-crochet-ric-rac.html I don’t have any idea what I am going to do with the ric-rac, but it was relaxing to crochet in the evenings.

My current UFO project is Space Invaders. This quilt project had been packed up in October 2019 because I was unhappy with the color choices. The solid black was too predictable & boring and the focus fabric had a small print that wasn’t playing well with the center. Frankly I just didn’t want to take the time to unstitch all those dang rectangles.

Well, now it is time to get this quilt top finished. Here is my progress so far.

I like it – the focus fabric brightens up the quilt top and is worth the time of unsewing and resewing. The border may be a bit of a challenge since there was only a yard or so of the focus fabric, but I will worry about that when I get there.

So the Simply Sixteen didn’t get lonely, I loaded a quilt onto the frame. The panto-graph is spiders and webs which is the most detailed panto-graph I have attempted to date.

To keep on track, I made a list of 12 goals for May. I have three vacation days in May and the list is divided between quick items and more time intensive items. Finishing the Space Invaders quilt top and machine quilting ShortLine are the top two goals, so I am off to a good start.

Marlene

Apr 19 2020

Blue Onion

Since I have several works-in-progress that has stalled due to different reasons, so I decided to pull out a project that would be fast, fun and no thinking involved. Does such a quilting project truly exist?

The first challenge was choosing the fabric. The pattern calls for 3/8 yard of 12 different prints which means no raiding of the fat quarter stash. A shopping trip to the local quilt store (the end of January) produced 7 of the 12 and I was able to cull the remaing 5 from my yardage.

The next step was to cut out rectangles and organize them into 6 stacks of 6 different fabrics.

Using the Ovals All Ways by Creative Grid, the curved pieces for each block was cut. Each block contains 5 pieces with 4 seams, so the piecing went smoothly.

Remember my comment about no thinking involved – well that part of the plan hit a brick wall. After sewing the below block, I had second and third thoughts about including the turquoise polka-dots on white background fabric in this quilt.

After careful consideration, thinking through all my options and a headache, I decided to finish the quilt top without fabric changes.

The Blue Onion quilt top (50″ x 70″) was completed today and I have to admit that I am glad that I left the polka-dots in. To me they add a lot of playfulness and energy to the quilt.

This weekend was very productive in the sewing department. Besides Blue Onion, I also sewed two tablecloths and one pink pillowcase. The last time my youngest granddaughter visited me, she told me that the pillow in the playroom should really be pink.

Happy Quilting and Stay Healthy

Marlene

Apr 08 2020

Amaryllis Table Topper

I was hoping to have this table topper completed last weekend, however it was not to be. Amaryllis was my first machine applique project which ended up stuck in a box for years. At first glance everything looks good,

however on closer examination the issue with this quilt top becomes apparent. Being new to quilting and machine appilique, I thought that the edges would fray even with the buttonhole stitch.. Since I had sewn clothing for 25 years before quilting, my solution was to Fray Check the edges – without testing this solution on a scrap first. What was I thinking? – the Fray Check discolored the fabric!

For the longest time I thought I would remake the center, but a couple months ago I came up with a better solution – couching the edges.

The thick green yarn did a good job on the stems, however the purple yarn is too thin to cover the edges well. Plan D – or is it Plan E? – is to do a single crochet chain to see if that will be thick enough to cover the discoloration on the flowers.

Amaryllis is machine quilted with the binding already sewn down, so once the couching is done the table topper will be complete. I didn’t anticipate the amount of fussing around I would need to do to get the yarn couched down, but since I am so close to finish I want to have it look as good as possible.

One thing I do have to admit is from quilt top to finished quilt, this table topper has taught me quite a few new lessons.

Happy quilting and stay healthy,

Marlene

Mar 29 2020

Ready for Halloween

Last year one of the vendors at the Denver Quilting Expo had a small flag stand with a holiday banner which was really cute and I wanted one. So this year when I saw the flag holders at Jo-Ann’s, I knew it was time to get busy on this project. Jo-Ann’s didn’t carry the stand base, however I located exactly what I needed on Amazon. All that was left was the banner.

Years ago I had picked up the quilt book Motif by Jeri Kelly that contains 14 patterns for 12″ x 16″ banners. Now it was time to make one. I picked the Halloween banner because it had the fewest applique pieces and the cat is so dang cute.

Be Safe, Be Healthy and Happy Quilting

Marlene

Mar 17 2020

Two More Finishes

Batik Sampler 44 1/2″ x 60 1/2″
Autumn Card Tricks 47″ x 55″

Yeah! – two more finished quilts. The Batik Sampler is a birthday gift and the Autumn Card Tricks is a charity quilt.

Isn’t it fun to look back at earlier quilts and see how far you have progressed in the quilting craft? If I was making the Autumn Card Tricks today, I would use smaller blocks, explore different settings and maybe add a pieced border. However every journey has a starting point and this quilt is part of my beginning.

Marlene

Feb 27 2020

Oldest Quilt Tops

I started quilting in the fall of 2001 when my youngest went off to college. The first 5 or 6 years were spent trying out different techniques, designers and fabric combinations to discover what made a Marlene quilt. It wasn’t until sometime in 2007 that I realized that I didn’t know what was where, so I started numbering my quilt tops and keeping a list.

The first quilt top completed in 2008 has the number 2008-1, but how were the quilt tops made between 2001 and 2007 be identified? Going the easy route, they are numbered U-1, U-2, etc.

The goal this year is to machine quilt the remaining 5 U-tops, so it seemed appropriate to have a lineup of the remaining members of the U-tops gang.

U-01 Batik Sampler Quilt

I don’t remember what book or pattern originally inspired this quit, however I do remember substituting a couple of different blocks for the ones in the pattern. The sleeve needs to be hand-stitched down, then U-1 will be a completed quilt.

U-02 Autumn Card Tricks Pattern by Eleanor Burns

Autumn Card Tricks was machined quilted last weekend and is waiting for the binding and sleeve. This top was also on my 2020 UFO list since it had been a quilt sandwich for several years. My definition – quilt tops are not UFO’s, but quilt sandwiches are.

U-05 Shadow Box

Shadow Box was a quilt kit that was purchased (I believe) from Holly’s Quilt Cabin. The fabric designer – Jason Yenter – has been a favorite of mine since this quilt. I like the layering effect that is a trademark of his fabric designs.

U-09

Other than U-09, this quilt does not have a name. Maybe I can find one on the list of Colorado ghost towns.

U-09 was the project of an online quilting class from Quilt University – the only online quilting class I have taken.

U-15 African Courthouse Steps Pattern by Eleanor Burns

As you can see, there were at least 15 quilt tops before I started my current numbering system. I think it is time that these pre-2007 become finished quilts, don’t you? The bottom three are all bigger than my new quilting frame, so I will be getting experience in machine quilting larger tops.

Next post I will have a new project and a finished quilt to share.

Happy Quilting,

Marlene

Feb 16 2020

Goldfield & the Rocky Mtn Bear Claw Wallhanging

As promised, here is Goldfield quilted with the panto-graph Ajoure and

Rocky Mtn Bear Claw quilted with the panto-graph Sweep.

I can’t have my quilting machine sitting around naked, so on Saturday this sampler quilt was loaded on the frame.

This batik sampler has been promised to my middle daughter since the top was made sometime before 2007. I think she has been waiting long enough for it, don’t you?

There are only four more pre-2007 quilt tops left and the goal is to have them quilted & bound by the end of the year. Two of the tops are larger than my frame which will provide me with a whole new learning experience.

Happy Quilting,

Marlene

Feb 09 2020

A Table Runner and a Quilt Top

The Rocky Mtn Bear Claw table runner is officially finished. The original plan was to machine quilt this table runner on Super Bowl Sunday, however things went awry. To be honest, the spacing of the panto-graph went awry which then involved unstitching 1 1/2 rows.

I believe that the laser light was bumped which caused the issue of the gap between rows. Thank goodness for zippered leaders which assisted with the removing and reattaching of the quilt sandwich. I was concerned that it would be difficult to realign the panto-graph once the quilt was reloaded on the frame, however that did not turn out to be the case.

Although a lot of machine quilting has been happening, there has been some time spent on piecing. The outer borders were sewn on a quilt top yesterday morning. The pattern is Once Upon A Dream by Patricia Pepe in her book Once Upon A Time in X-Blocks Land. There is something so dramatic about a red, white and black quilt.

To help me name my quilts, I googled a list of ghost towns in Colorado and picked the name Coalmont for this quilt. I had several pictures showing the progress, however they are lost somewhere in time and space.

There have also been two other quilt finishes this year, but their pictures have ridden off into the sunset along with the progress pictures from above. The good news is that I still have both quilts, so new pictures will be forthcoming. What would life be without a few challenges?

Marlene

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