Friday, 29 August 2014

Common Threads Indigo Quilts

I just got back from a trip to Vancouver, and I had the opportunity to see a lovely collection of quilts. The Common Threads Indigo Quilts display, at the Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver is absolutely beautiful. My timing was perfect, as the quilts are normally only viewable before & after Sunday service, or by appointment.  But a few days before my visit my father happened to be in a meeting with a member of the church, and a tour had been arranged (for the Pacific Northwest Modern Quilt Guild gathering, I believe) on the Saturday I was to be there.  When they found out I was a quilter, I was invited to join the tour.

The collaboration and process in putting this together is incredible.  118 people created 26 quilts from hand-dyed indigo fabrics. The red ribbon running through all of the quilts is carefully placed to connect the quilts, and represents the community of the church. The quilts cover the 4 walls of the parish hall, and each wall represents a view from Vancouver - the north shore mountains, the west coast, and east & south views.  This is the southern wall pictured here.

And a portion of the west view with an orca whale.

And east here.

I love the salmon stitched into the ribbon, on this quilt.

And the letters on this quilt are all individually hand beaded.

Such beautiful work. I have a few photos here, but please check out their site for photos of the entire collection and the story behind the project.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

A finish!

This quilt was started last November. It was Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice mystery quilt. I stayed right on track until the last couple of clues. Finished up the top in the spring, and it's been languishing since then in my "to be quilted" pile.  Finally pulled it out last week, got it on the longarm during a lull, and even finished the binding. Now it sits in a new stack, waiting to be dropped off for donation :)

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Stash Report - Aug 24

Just a short stash report this week, although backings do make for good numbers.

1 yard used for binding on 2 quilts
6 3/4 yards for backing on single girl quilt
4 yards backing for red anvil quilt

Stash totals for the year:
463 1/2 yards in
164 yards out
Total: 299 1/2 yards in

Drop by Judy's blog for more stash reports.

Friday, 22 August 2014

10 Million Stitches

My longarm has a stitch counter on it, and I just passed the 10,000,000 stitch count.  2 years, 10 million stitches.  That's over 25000 yards of thread, or 14 miles of stitching.

When I bought the longarm, I had planned to use it just for my own quilts. By the time it arrived, I had 8 tops backed up, waiting to be quilted - because once I'd made the decsion to buy it, there was no way I was going to do any more quilts on my domestic machine.

But then I was convinced to do a couple of tops for friends.  And then their friends. And before I knew it, the business side of things took off last October.  I've done over 50 customer quilts since then.  I'm still loving it, although longarming for others has drastically cut into my production of quilts.  But that's ok. I'm still quilting, and instead of having to buy fabric, I'm getting paid for it :)  (No, that has not stopped me buying fabric, as those who read my stash reports know).

And now, 2 years after buying the longarm, I have only 18 tops waiting to be quilted.  Oh.  Well, at least the original 8 are not all still waiting, although I think 4 of them are.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Productive week

I had a really productive week this week.  I got 3 of my quilts on (and off) the long arm.

First, a quilt for my son.  I want to try to get this one bound before he leaves for university next week.  That may be pushing my luck, but I'm hopeful.  This is made from Kaffe Fassett shot cottons, and is my second quilt of this pattern. Quilted with the same panto, too. I think I see a pattern here :)

This is Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice, her mystery from last November.  It's actually looking like it might get done before the next one starts.

And finally this one. I picked up the blocks from the exchange table at guild in the spring. Added the pink setting triangles, and finished it off with a bias border and the darker pink border.  It will get bound with more of the stripe - hopefully cut on the bias again, if I have enough of it.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Design Wall Monday, Aug 18

I've been plugging away this weekend on my Toes in the Sand blocks. I fell pretty far behind, so I did a catch-up blitz.  Months 7 through 10 are now up on my design wall. Which I think means I am in fact all caught up.

Drop by Judy's blog to see what everyone else has on their design walls today.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Stash Report, Aug 17

I've dedicated the last few days to getting some of my quilts onto (and off of) the long arm.  That means making backings, which means lots of usage to report this week :)  And, I was a good girl at the fabric store this week and have no incoming fabric to report.

Mystery quilt - 5 yards
backing for mystery quilt - 5 yards
backing for Celtic Solstice - 3 yards
backing for Grant's quilt - 5.5 yards

total used: 18.5 yards

Stash totals for the year:
463 1/2 yards in
152 1/4 yards out
Total: 311 1/4 yards in

Drop by Judy's blog for more stash reports.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Removing Blue Lines

I posted the other day about my difficulty in removing the blue lines from one of those water-soluble (yah, right) markers on a quilt. I think the lines may have been ironed, which will set them pretty much permanently.

But I really wanted to get them out, and avoid replacing the 2 blocks with marks.  First, I tried a few suggestions I found on the internet. Soaking in water - removed all but these last 2 areas. I tried vinegar.  I tried cream of tartar (mixed with vinegar). I even tried a Tide Stick (TM).

Searching on-line, I found this promising product with some pretty good reviews Blue Line Eraser. But shipping from the US is more than the product actually costs, and that's just annoying. 

A bit more googling, and I found a suggestion to use hairspray. Hairspray? Really?  Well, in fact, YES! That stuff was a miracle cure.  I sprayed one section of the quilt with 3 or 4 lines on it, and literally watched them disappear.  Then I rinsed the quilt to remove the hairspray, and after drying the marks are completely gone!

Went back and treated the rest of block, gave it a rinse, and you can't even tell the marks were there.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Work in Progress Wednesday

I'm working a quilt this week - not my own, but one that I'm trying to repair.  One of our guild members brought it to the silent auction, hoping someone would take it off her hands.  There's a lot of time and effort in this quilt, but it was fraught with disappointment for her (a story that's not mine to share) and one of the final straws was the quilting job that was done on it . As she put it, "it was quilted by a drunken sailor".  Looking closely at this picture, you can seem some of the stitching marks.  It was supposed to be a baptist fan, but there were fans with straight edges, "backtracking" that missed by almost 1/4", and unequal sized fans.

She had completely unpicked all the quilting, and then disassembled most of the blocks because several holes were introduced in the unpicking process.  I pulled it out this week, started looking for good pieces, and put together what blocks I could.  I came up with 16 full blocks (rather than 20). Still a good sized quilt.

Then I gave it a gentle bath. The quilter had a rather heavy hand with the blue marker and I didn't want to press all the seams until I made sure the blue was gone, since heat can set that.  The end result has been hanging over a railing to dry overnight.

Looks pretty good, except this one block :(  Anyone know how to get out blue that water won't touch?

I see the original owner used a couple of different greys in the quilt. I wonder if she intended a pattern with those fabrics. I seem to have a bit of randomness, and I think I'll leave it that way (partly because I don't think I have an equal number of each background colour).

Next step - create a backing and quilt this with a baptist fan pattern. One that hasn't been done by a drunken sailor :)

I'm linking up on Freshly Pieced and Needle and Thread Network today.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Design Wall Monday - Aug 11

It's been another productive weekend in the sewing room.  I finished up my Border Creek Station mystery quilt top.  When I got to the final stages, I looked at the fabric that had been selected for the borders, and I hated it.  My fabric is not the standard fabric for this quilt - it was selected by me with some help at the store.  But when I put it together, it looked terrible - both border fabrics were very dark, and they didn't quite match the other purples, and itmade the quilt just sooooo purple. 

So I did a bit of hunting through my stash - and found nothing usable. And I refused to buy any more fabric for this quilt. But, I had lots of fabric left over from the rest of the quilt  - not sure why I had so much, but I'm not complaining. I tried a few options, and came up with this arrangement which I am very happy with.  The original border fabric will head into the stash for another project, another day.  It's still a purple quilt, but I knew that heading in. And now I think the look more closely mirrors the original plan.

And then, continuing the spirit of not buying any more fabric (well, trying not to anyway), I found some fabric in my stash for the backing. Not quite enough of it, but I still had even more of the quilt fabric left over. And an extra block, because I changed the shape from a bed runner to a lap quilt.

This arrangement was a total surprise, however.  I knew the leftover block would go in the middle.  And the 4 patches seemed like a good idea, because they reflect the 4-patches on the front. Then I was looking at the remaining spots - I considered 1/2 square triangles, but decided I liked quarter square better. And I had just enough of the 2 purples for that to work.  I debated the orientation, but decided I liked the way the lighter purple extended the middle block. Then I put it together and stepped back to take a picture - and noticed the star I had come up with :)

Now this is all off my design wall and neatly folded, into the "quilt me" pile.  And I'm debating my next project - finish Toes in the Sand, or start something new.  I've been doing so well on my finishing kick that I think finishing is going to win out.

Drop by Judy's blog to see what everyone else has on their design walls today.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Stash Report - Aug 10

A productive virtual quilting weekend helped my numbers this week.  I started - and finished - a Christmas tree skirt, from the fabric I bought at the Christmas in July sale.

Christmas tree skirt - 2 3/4 yards
backing - 2 yards
binding - 1/2 yard
backing for Metro Lattice - 4 1/2 yards
Total: 9 3/4 yards out

However, the sale at the quilt store broke my resolve. Actually, I was OK on the sale part - but then I saw this fabric, and it just had to come home.  Not sure what it will be yet, but I'm sure there's something beautiful in there.

5 yards in.

Stash totals for the year:
463 1/2 yards in
133 3/4 yards out
Total: 329 3/4 yards in

Drop by Judy's blog for more stash reports.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Kit for my Quilt!

My lovely blue quilt is now available as a kit! I'm so ridiculously excited about this :) The Running Stitch has the sample now, and the kit is available on their web site.  The pattern is also available, as a free download from the same place.

Mystery Progress

I worked on more of my Border Creek Station mystery last night. I'm not worried about spoiling the mystery for people, since this was June's clue I think. Or maybe even May. But, if you are working on the mystery and don't want to see the center of the top, look away now :)

Too late.

I am making the "bodacious bed runner" - but I really don't like the size/shape of it (57x93). So instead of using the 10 blocks, I think I'm going to use 9 of them in a square pattern, and make it about 70x70 - a big lap quilt.  That means I have an extra block, and a couple of options for the layout.

I'm leaning towards the first one, but am open to opinions on that.  Looking at the center squares, I'm a little bit tempted to remake one or two of the little 6-inch blocks.  3 blend into the quilt, and 2 stand out much more.  Not sure yet, but I'm kind of ready to be done, so they may stay as is.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Work In Progress

Rather than starting a new project (but oh, how I want to start one) I decided that I should catch up on some of my block of the month projects.  First up - Border Creek Station mystery. This one is actually over - I picked up the last clue a month ago, and I'm 3 months behind. But since I have the finalclues, I know this will be a good stash buster when I can claim the top complete.

So, Clue #6 last night

And I also have a finish for this week.  My blue quilt - tentatively named "Tree of Life", because that's the fabric line I used (from Timeless Treasures) is now complete and delivered to the store.  It's going to be available as a kit, and the pattern will be on that site too.

I pieced the backing from leftover fabric and 3 different turquoise fabrics I had in my stash.  It was *really* hard to use those - my absolute favourite colour and I put it on the back of a quilt. But I am determined not to buy more fabric, and this was the perfect colour for this quilt.

I'm linking up over at Freshly Pieced and The Needle and Thread Network today. Drop by to see what everyone is up to.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Design Wall Monday

My design wall is actually empty this morning, but it's been busy over the weekend. I started & finished this top, for a Christmas tree skirt.

I also made really good progress with my long arm this week, finishing a customer quilt and one of my own.  Today, I will be sitting myself down to sew the binding on a quilt, so I don't expect any activity on the design wall for a bit. But I have my next project already planned out.

Drop by Judy's blog to see what everyone else has on their design walls today.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Stash Report - August 3

I finished a top and backing this week. The top doesn't get to count since I didn't count the fabric in, but the backing is all stash (plus leftovers from the top)
4 yards out of my stash this week

And, amazingly, nothing in again this week.

I am determined to start using and stop buying fabric now.  I'm not saying I won't buy anything (that would be setting myself up for failure) but I'm putting a heavy lid on my purchases. Let's see how long that holds out :)  I figure I can realistically aim for using half of what I've bought this year, before the end of the year - which means I need to do as much in the next 5 months as I did in the previous 7.  Not too optimistic I don't think.

Stash totals for the year:
458 1/2 yards in
124 yards out
Total: 334 1/2 yards in

Drop by Judy's blog for more stash reports.

And now I heading back to my sewing marathon. Check yesterday's post for my progress so far this weekend.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

A sewing weekend

It's a long weekend here, so I decided it was time for a sewing marathon :)  I have a custom quilt to finish, and then one of my own to get quilted and bound before the end of next week, so it can go up at the local quilt store.  And I'm determined to make a dent in my stash over the next couple of months - gotta at least make up some of my recent project purchases.

I finished the backing for the blue quilt yesterday, and now it's just waiting for a turn on the long arm. That should happen in the morning.

And I started on a quilt from my "Christmas in July" purchases.  My poor old tree skirt is over 20 years old, and never was in very good shape to begin with. So I've decided to replace it with this. 

I have more green for the background (I think - still debating between that and the fabric I bought for the backing). And a stripe for the binding. And the stripe will also be a spacer between the star and background if I use the green.  Or maybe  I should hunt my stash for a different (lighter) gold for the background.  Decisions, decisions.  I'll have to figure it out tomorrow.