Web Site: http://quiltaddictsanonymous.com/
Bio: I'm a social media marketing professional by day and a quilter by night.
Posts by :
Last summer I spent a lot of time piecing and no time on the longarm, which means I have a backlog of tops in need of finishing in my sewing room closet.
So I’ve resumed my monthly trips to Quilting By You in Bettendorf, Iowa, where I can rent time on a longarm machine and finish the quilts myself. It’s not cheap, but it is less expensive than paying someone else to finish my quilts. Plus, I have the satisfaction of knowing I made the quilt from start to finish.
One of the more fun tops to quilt was one my mom and grandma put together. My mom is a new quilter. She says she only wants to make table runners, but lap quilt kits are already starting to catch her eye and I think it’s only a matter of time before she moves on to bigger projects.
Last winter, shortly after I taught my mom to make her first table runner from a charm pack, my mom, grandma, sister and I made a trip to the local fabric shop to pick out fabrics for the my sister’s baby quilt. I should mention that neither my sister or grandma sew, so I’m sure we were quite entertaining to watch.
As we picked out colors and prints, my mom spotted a panel of ducks flying in a winter scene and remarked that my grandpa would love that. My grandmother agreed. Then my mom said, very loudly, “Is that a panel like the quilt we made last weekend?”
I shot my mom a stop talking right now glare as my sister cocked her head, knowing we were up to something. We of course were working on a secret quilt for her baby that I helped my mom and cousin piece, but my sister wasn’t supposed to know that.
I told my mom that yes, she could make a wall hanging from the panel and add some borders. That night instead of working on finishing her table runner, I helped her cut out the borders for her brand new project, a duck wall hanging for my grandpa.
I live about three hours from my family, and the arrival of my new nephew last summer took up all the family visit time. So it wasn’t until our family vacation over the summer that we finally got around to putting the borders on. We even got my grandma involved. She pinned and pressed and my mom sewed.
Then it was my turn to quilt it. I have a tendency to go a little overboard with free motion quilting, but I really wanted to keep this quilt simple. I quilted a wood grain design in the border, stitched in the ditch around the frame edges to help stabilize the quilt for hanging and then outlined the elements of the panel.
I’m a big fan of outline quilting for panels. It really helps make the designs pop and transform it from a boring panel, into a beautiful design you’re proud to display. I did add some subtle wavy lines in the water because it was a big space that needed something extra. But I left the sky between the trees free of quilting for now. Since the quilt will be a wall hanging, it will never need to be washed, so the batting should hold up, and if it starts to sag, then I’ll bring it back to the machine and fill in where needed.
Next up the quilt goes back to my mom for binding and quilt sleeve, not that she knows what a quilt sleeve it, but we’ll work on that.
Last weekend I traded in my husband and dogs for a weekend of quilting in DeWitt, Iowa. The small town about 30 minutes from the Quad-Cities, where I live is home to Grace Lutheran Camp, the site of my guild’s semi-annual quilt retreat.
Normally I take Thursday and Friday off for four glorious days of quilting, productivity and no distractions. But poor planning of vacation days, meant I headed out after work on Thursday and Friday, and the only full day of sewing I had was Saturday.
Nevertheless it was still a very welcome break from my too-busy life. I went to bed when I was tired, got up when my body was ready and quilted in between.
I’ve been cleaning out my sewing room. More on why in a couple weeks. But I’ve identified a few projects that take up too much space in pieces and, with just a little effort, could become quilt tops so they can hang neatly in the closet.
My Christmas New York Beauty is one of them. I have a giant tiered plastic container that contains all the parts to this quilt and another one that houses the blocks. It takes up far too much space, but after two years of working on this quilt, it’s time to finish it.
I had been putting it off for two reasons. First, it is difficult to find a moment when my mind is clear enough to tackle paper piecing and curved seams at home. Second, I’ve always wanted to quilt it myself, but didn’t think I was ready until now.
So that’s how it came to be that the Christmas New York Beauty was the only project I brought with to retreat. The decision proved to be a fruitful one. I finished 17 blocks, and just have eight more to go until I have the 64 needed to make a king-sized quilt.
The end is so close I even experimented with possible layouts one night after I was done sewing. What’s even crazier to imagine is that I may have a fall quilt finished and one my bed in time for Thanksgiving, and a Christmas quilt finished and on my bed in time for the holidays. I’m normally the quilter who intends to finish something by the New Year and finishes it in June instead, so this is a big accomplishment.
What project would you like to see get out of the UFO pile and onto your bed?
For years I wanted to combine the maple leaf and log cabin blocks and I had a basket full of fat quarters to do it with. But it took a back seat to other projects until I took at log cabin class by Marti Michell when my guild, the Mississippi Valley Quilters Guild, brought her in to lecture and teach earlier this year.
I made up four maple leaf blocks ahead of time and brought the entire basket with to class. My only requirement was I use the bright fall colors for the leaves and the brown, greens and creams for the log cabin strips.
Marti’s instructions made piecing the blocks fast and easy. Her method has you cut strips for four log cabin blocks at one time. Since you’re cutting to size and laying everything out to piece, it makes sense to also piece the four blocks right then and there. In just a few hours time you have four completed blocks, a visible sign of progress that kept me going on this quilt.
It is very motivating to be able to finish a dozen blocks in a weekend instead of first piecing all the triangles for the maple leaves, then sewing all the maple leaves together, then sewing the first strip to all the side of the maple leaves. You see how that could get old and you’d loose interest in the quilt? I love piecing blocks in sets of four so much, I’ve carried it over to the next quilt I’m working on.
Once the blocks were together, there was the matter of laying out the quilt. There are so many patterns you can chose from for a log cabin layout. Having one light and one dark side of the block can make for some very interesting arrangements.
I chose the barn raising setting for my quilt, in which the light and dark sides of the blocks are arranged so they appear to form diamonds extending out from the center of the quilt. Since I was also careful to make sure the maple leaves all pointed in the same direction on every block, that also means the leaves look like they are falling in circles going in opposite directions depending on which ring of the diamond you’re looking at.
Then came the final border treatment. Originally I planned to make 80 or so more maple leaves for the final border, I even had all the fabric cut. But by the time I got the king sized center pieced I ran out of steam and decided to go for a border that resembled the log cabin blocks. There are three borders, each attached in a log cabin fashion. That still took quite a while to accomplish, you’re basically attaching 12, 100-inch borders, but it was less intense than making 80 more maple leaves and I love the results.
If you love this pattern, it is available in my Craftsy shop. Just click here or on the photo and you can download it and start your own maple leaf log cabin. There are instructions for multiple sizes, so you don’t have to make this behemoth, a couch throw is just fine.
This year is the year of the UFO. I’ve been trying to wrap up all my unfinished projects.
So far I’ve finished seven quilts, but only two are on my list of five major UFO projects I would like to finish this year. But after this weekend I should be much closer to finishing a third.
Tonight after work I’m headed to my guild’s semi-annual quilt retreat and I’m just bringing one project with me, my Christmas New York Beauty quilt. I’ve been working on this quilt for two years, mostly at retreat. The blocks include both paper piecing and curved seams, which require more attention than I can usually give to it when I’m at home.
I’ve got 39 of 64 blocks done and the plan it to plug away until they are all finished.
I thought about bringing a second project, mostly because I have a rule that no good comes from paper piecing after 10 p.m. But the plan is to take break and walk the grounds or get in an afternoon nap if I need a break. That should make for a nice relaxing, yet productive weekend, which is exactly what I need and why I look forward to these retreats.
I love going to quilt shows, so when there is one practically in my backyard, I just have to go. So last weekend I dragged my husband from the Quad Cities to Geneseo, Illinois. Just kidding on the dragging part. I took him to five quilt shops on our honeymoon, so he knows fully what he got himself into when he married me and came quite willingly.
The quilt show is housed in two barns, one for the quilts and one for the vendors.
The quilting on this piece was also interesting. The quilter followed the lines of the fabric to help make the details stand out. I’ve experimented with this a little bit and was inspired to see how another quilter made it work.
Here are some of the other quilts. Enjoy and be inspired.
I’ve loved this quilt since the moment I started it. And judging from all the Facebook likes, retweets and hearts on Instagram, you all do too.
Now you can make your own maple leaf log cabin quilt with my pattern on Craftsy. The pattern includes instructions on how to make half square triangles from squares, which means all those leave points will end up where they are supposed to. And it teaches you how to cut on the lengthwise grain to create log cabin strips that don’t stretch.
My favorite part of the pattern is constructing the blocks in sets of four. For me, that was a great motivator, because I could work on the quilt for a couple of hours and see real progress each time.
The pattern is fat quarter-friendly and includes instructions for a table topper, lap quilt, queen and king-sized quilt. So you can make four blocks, call it a day and have a beautiful table topper for your dining room table, or you can keep going until you have a quilt so large no amount of cover stealing will leave you chilly on a cool fall night. Just click here to download it.
Enjoy the pattern and please share your quilt photos with me on the Facebook page. I’d love to see your variations.
This is the first in a series of crib quilt I’m working on that takes a modern twist on pictorial kit quilts that were popular in the mid-20th Century.
I have a few of the antique crib quilts in my collection. They feature one large image that is appliqued, embroidered or both. Some are on a plain background, others feature decorative borders.
My modern versions are made entirely from batiks for a bold look instead of the soft pastels the antiques feature. Instead of a white background, I’ve pieced green, beige and gray batiks for additional interest. The applique features a three foot high monkey.
Even though I’ve never blogged about the finished quilt, this is one of my designs that I am asked about frequently from quilters who would like the pattern. Well now it is available for download on Craftsy.
Just click here to download the pattern, complete with applique templates you can print right from your computer.
And if you like this pattern, be sure to bookmark this blog. I’ve designed an owl applique quilt that is next on the crib quilt list.
It’s fall, and that means spending more time in a classroom than at my sewing machine.
I teach journalism and advise the student newspaper at my alma mater. We’re not talking going back to school after a summer off. We’re talking about working eight or nine hours at my main job at an ad agency, and then heading over to the college for three or four hours almost every day of the week.
I love working with the students. It makes me feel like I’m really making a difference. But I do miss having my evenings free to quilt, especially since I’m so close to finishing my maple leaf log cabin quilt.
I’ve been trying to get a little quilting in everyday, that way I can continue to make progress on my projects, even if it is slow. Plus, quilting is my way of relaxing in an otherwise packed schedule.
I decided not to make 80 more maple leafs for the final border and instead sew three borders each
1 1/2″ wide, sewn on in a log cabin fashion. I really like the way it looks, but even that is slow going. I’m basically, attaching 12, 98″ to 105″ borders. It is tedious, but it is worth it.
I’ve got six sewn on so far, with six left to go. If I continue at this pace, I’ll have the quilt top done and ready for the big reveal this weekend. That means I just might have it on my bed yet this fall, which is a pretty good record for me when it comes to finishing a large quilt quickly.
How do you fit quilting in to your busy life?
Every time I rent time on the longarm machine at Quilting by You in Bettendorf, the shop owners ask what crazy plans I have. Occasionally I use one overall pattern, with one thread. But most of the time I’m trying out new stitches, techniques and changing thread half-a-dozen times.
That was the case this week when I brought my chevron lap quilt in to practice some of the new stitches I’ve been learning on Quilting Negative Space with Angela Walters on Craftsy.
I started with the basic swirl pattern Angela teaches in the border and then started adding other designs to create a look that was cohesive, but still challenging as I tried new stitches.
I truly believe the key to trying new patterns, is being OK with the fact that it is not going to turn out perfectly to first time. I chose this quilt to practice on because it’s just a simple lap quilt and I really don’t care how it looks in the end. In other words, don’t try a brand new technique on a quilt you intend to be an heirloom someday.
Let’s take the pebble/circles I’m quilting in the beige chevron strips as an example. If I go slow so I can stay on the lines I’ve already quilted, then the bobbin thread shows through. If I go fast enough to correct this tension issue, I have little to no hope of staying on the lines.
It’s a give and take that will only be solved by practice, practice and more practice. Hopefully by the time I reach the bottom of this quilt, I’ll have a better grasp on it. And if I don’t, then that just means I need more practice.