Friday, February 27, 2015

Double Nine Patch Quilted and Finished

Another  project finished this week!  I'm on a roll and I can see the end of Freshman Year is getting close.

This project was a bit larger than previous projects. It ended up 60x60 with the borders, a true throw size quilt.  Previous projects were more of wall hanging size, or samplers.

I bought some backing fabric when I saw it on sale a while back at Joanne's. It was a green Paisley, and I thought it would be perfect for this quilt top, but as I pulled it out to use I realized it wasn't enough. I didn't have the measurements yet when I bought it, as I hadn't put the borders on.  I went back this week and the green was still there, but not on sale. I found a black "backing" fabric which is 108" and thought that would work real nice because I wouldn't have to make a seam to get to 60" on the bottom. There was only 61" left on the bolt and in the moment, I thought "YES, Just enough!"  Now, that would have been perfect if I was basting to quilt, but on a long arm I need at least 3" on each edge.  I spent way too much time trying to figure out how to make the outside edges cut straight with SO much fabric!  I could NOT figure out how to fold it that many times to get a good cut. And, do I add just a small panel on the edge? No, because if I ended up having that quilted onto the pieced top, it would look funny.  I've done that with the top and bottoms of several quilts.  In order to be able to attach the backing onto the zippered leader clothes, I sometimes need to add a strip across the top and bottom just for space.

Then, I had the "Ah, Ha" moment while doing dishes. .  .   Rip the fabric down the center!  Harriet has us rip fabric along the grain to find the straight edge.  Why not rip it down the center and add a middle panel?  YES!  And, I have just the fabric to use.. the green paisley!

By ripping it, I have a straight edge to work with, and I was able to cut my 10" strip of green easy 
enough. This is the first time I've had to piece my backing fabric. And, I'm now debating what color thread I'm going to use for quilting because black on the back would be nice, but green is the preferred top color, and I know I can't put two contrasting colors together or I have a hard time with getting the tension exact so the wrong color doesn't show up.

Making the backing was the biggest hurdle with this quilt!

I was going to try a different batting this time too. I've been using Mountain Mist 100% cotton from Joanne's. But, I thought a thicker poly blend might be nice to try.  The quilt store was all out! I'm really glad I threw the batting in the car just in case.

Again, I chose a pantograph to use and I decided to use green thread on both top and bobbin.  My quilting is good enough now that although the quilting will show up boldly on the back, I won't be embarrassed :)
Here it is finished:

And, this is the back!

And, here is the close up of the pattern I used.

I think there is improvement with all the practice I've been getting.

So, another project finished. That leaves 2 more quilts and 2 table runners remaining.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Harriet's Town Square Quilted

Another project competed!

With this project, I finally felt comfortable with the entire process.

  • I was able to get the borders measured and straight no problem.
  • I got my angles correct for the binding without any seam ripping.
  • The Long Arm Quilting Machine didn't give me any fits with tension, and I was easily able to   find a pantograph that fit the proportions fine.  I was actually able to find the same fabric used   for the inside border still at the fabric store, so I was able to use it for the backing.  That made   choosing thread color for top and bottom easy... they were the same :)  It is much easier to pick the same or near same color thread for top and bottom so that tension is easier to adjust without noticing the wrong color on the other side.
  • I was also able to come straight home and cut the edges and attach binding in the same evening!

Here is a close up of the quilting.  I felt comfortable with the stitches, and how well I'm able to get them to be continuously fluid. Its a big improvement from my first quilt.

As much as I appreciate not having to baste the quilt, and force it to go through my small machine, I'm having trouble with taking my time to do any free motion at the rental machine.  Pantographs are faster and easier on the long arm frame system, unless you were to have one at home where you can stop and start easily enough.  My dream would be to have a long arm at a sit down table, APQS: George, or HQ: Sweet Sixteen are the two I dream about when I think about browsing Craig's List and forums :)  First step is to find one to see, touch and try!  If anyone out there reading this has any experience with either of these machines please leave me a comment and let me know what I should be aware of, consider, and how you like yours after years of use!

This week, I also opened up the book to the "Final Exam".  Since I am getting close, I thought it would be nice to at least start working on it.  It is simply a picture of a quilt that we must figure out how to replicate!
First step was to choose a size and figure yardage.  I'm glad I'm starting now!

I've got my borders done for Harriet's Double Nine Patch, and I picked up the backing fabric when I was out this week, so when I was at the quilt shop yesterday quilting, I went ahead and made my next appt. for Wednesday this coming week.  It is sure nice to be able to finish all these project tops.  I will have used up all my rental hours on my first 10 hr. card with my next quilt.  That leaves 2 quilts and 2 table runners remaining. I'm hoping to gain the courage to work my home machine for the table runners. LOL.  But, I'm saving them for last.  Still having anxiety over the mitered borders for that runner!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Interlacing Circles project complete

Next quilt finished!

I was planning on getting it done last week, but I had a surprise visitor!  As most know, my quilting room is also my guest room, so I took it all down and stored all the tables against the wall in our family room and set up the  air mattress guest room :)
It was fun week spending time with my sister and was an easy reassemble when she left this morning.
I had everything put back together before noon, and at 8pm I can show you my finished quilt!

Last week I brought my sister along to the quilt store while I used the long arm machine to quilt this. We picked out a pantograph called Flower Power.  It was labeled "Advanced" because it had a lot of tight curves.  I was only planning on an hour rental, but this took 2 hours, but I think it was the right design for this retro colored quilt.

Today, I was able to cut the edges straight, make the binding, sew it on, and finish by hand.
Another crossed off the list!  I'm getting closer to that Final Exam :)