MCM #99 – One More Customer Quilt

It’s only two weeks away people! Christmas will be here in a flash. I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season and enjoying the time leading up to December 25.

This week will be a busy one for me. I am working on my last customer quilt of 2017. It’s a large quilt – 94″ x 108″ – with 16″ blocks, and all are custom quilted. I’m using various rulers and doing just a bit of marking. It’s time consuming, but my goal is to have the quilt finished by the weekend. I would love to take the week before Christmas and concentrate on family activities. That can’t happen unless this quilt is out of my house (it’s a Christmas gift) so I’ll be quilting like a mad woman this week.

Here’s a look at the block:

Nancy's Fancy blockThe pattern is called Nancy’s Fancy and was published in Fons & Porter several years ago. It’s a cool looking block and I really like the secondary pattern that is created when the blocks are put together. I’ll show that to you once the quilt is finished as it’s difficult to see while the quilt is on the frame.

Below is the detail of the star quilting. These stars are in each corner of the quilt, acting as cornerstones for the borders. They are also the centers of each of the blocks.

Star Block quiltingJust straight lines inside the star, and a lotus flower design along the outside. Stephanie asked for the flowers, so I’m quilting them in all the background areas.

Lotus FlowerMy favorite part though are the borders. I used my HandiQuilter wave template and quilted a wavy line, echoed it, and then added piano keys to the outside of the wave. The pic below shows just a bit of the border. I will do the top and bottom borders, as well as all the blocks. Then I’ll rotate the quilt and do the side borders so I can keep the wave evenly spaced across the border.

Borders - Piano KeysI haven’t decided what should be quilted on the inside of the wave, if anything. I’m open to any suggestions you might have. I’m also stuck on what to quilt in the pink sashing strips around each block. Stephanie had originally suggested a rope design, but I don’t think it fits the feminine feel of the quilt. For now, they are unstitched until I come up with something that feels right.

That’s it for me today. Short and sweet, so I can spend more time on Steph’s quilt. But I will definitely be taking time to read about your projects and what you are crushing on this week. I know many of you are working on last minute gifts and are furiously stitching away. I hope you’re having fun!

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Friday Finish: A Cute Baby Quilt

I didn’t plan on having a Friday Finish post today. To be honest, I didn’t feel like I could claim this finish for a couple of reasons. One, I didn’t piece the top. I just quilted it for a customer. And two, the quilting is pretty basic and not (IMHO) something that necessarily needs written about.

Then I talked to a friend yesterday who reminded me that ‘a finish is a finish, no matter what’. She also said that what may seem like a not post-worthy finish to me may be exactly what someone else needs or wants to see. As you know, friends who can slap you upside the head in a very gentle and loving way are priceless and are keepers. Not to mention they’re usually right…. 🙂

So here is this weeks Friday Finish:

Baby Girl QuiltWanda pieced the top for a new great-grandbaby that is on her way. She used some really cute pieces of fabric and I love how bright and colorful this quilt is.

Wanda is a fun person full of life and I love working on her quilts. She has had some hardships but no one would ever guess that. She is the only quilter in her family, and is totally self-taught by watching YouTube video’s and scouring the internet for tutorials. The first time I met her, the first question she asked me was ‘can you read quilt patterns?’ She was worried about her tops not being ‘good enough’ but I quickly reassured her everything would be fine. She needn’t have worried.

Quilt loaded on FrameThis is only the second quilt Wanda has made. Both quilts I have quilted for her have been almost totally square. There has been no waviness of borders or puffiness in the blocks. The top lays flat when I load it on the frame and the sides have all been straight. I love quilting her tops.

This one has a fun print on the back:

Quilt BackWanda asked for an allover design, so I quilted a freehand loopy meander. For a fun surprise, I stitched in a heart here and there. I hope that Wanda and her grandbaby have fun looking for all the hearts tucked in.

Freehand Heart FMQ

That’s it for today’s finish. Wanda will be spending the next couple of months in Florida with one of her daughters so I won’t be seeing more quilts from her for a while. I hope she enjoys the warmer weather, and look forward to seeing the tops she’ll make while she’s gone!

Have a great weekend!

 

 

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MCM #98 – A Link to the Past

So, apparently I was off in LaLa land last week. Yes, that is a real place. At least in my world… I totally spaced out and let Monday and Tuesday pass me by and didn’t even think about a Main Crush Monday post until Thursday. At that point I figured I would just wait, especially since I couldn’t turn back the clock and hop back to Monday. I hope you’ll forgive me!

My crush for this weeks MCM is a very special quilt, and I’m excited to share it with you.

Lately I have been honored to get to quilt and repair older quilts. While it’s fun to quilt more contemporary tops, and play with quilting motifs in a more modern way, working on older quilts helps me connect with this craft in a way nothing else can.

hand stitched piecing

The quilt I recently finished was pieced by my client’s husband’s grandmother. They found the top when sorting through boxes after his mother passed away. All the squares finish at approximately 2-1/2″, and every one of them is hand stitched.

hand stitched piecing

The design we chose to quilt on the top is a modified orange peel stitched on every other row. I used Omni Natural White thread on the top, and it just melts into the busy prints. I love that the quilting is barely visible. After all, the focus really should be on these fabulous pieces of fabric.

I used a small oval ruler for the quilting. The ruler work required me to touch every piece of fabric in the quilt. I was about half way through the quilting when the enormity of what I was doing hit me.

I began thinking about the woman who spent so many hours stitching those tiny squares together. Who was she? What season of her life was she in? Why was she making this quilt? Why was it never finished? And I began to really see each piece of fabric. Where did they come from? Were some of them pieces of her clothing? Was this one part of a blouse, or maybe an old dress? Maybe they were feedsack pieces. Or were some of them scraps given to her by other women? So many questions..

As my fingers skimmed over the top, I felt so connected to this woman and to the past. My hands were touching the very pieces she had touched. And I was overwhelmed that I was given an opportunity to finish this quilt for her family. Two women, years apart in time, working on the same project. Out of nowhere tears starting streaming down my face. I’m so glad no one was home to see me because I felt so foolish. I mean, who cries over a quilt?? Especially one that doesn’t even belong to me?

As I thought about it, I realized that my emotion comes from knowing how attached the family is to this quilt and how special it is to them. My client will be gifting the finished quilt to her husband, and plans on displaying it proudly on her living room wall. His mother and grandmother have both passed, and this is a piece of them that he will always have.

This is a true scrap quilt, and it is beautiful in its simplicity. I love quilts that tell a story, and this quilt is part of a family’s love story.

Do you have a special quilt in your life?

Many thanks to Brenda and her family for letting me quilt this.

That is my crush for this week, now it’s time for you to share yours! What has you excited to be in your sewing space this week? You can link any blog post, Instagram or Flickr pic – here’s how:

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Give Thanks

Many of us are celebrating Thanksgiving today, and by the end of the day we’ll likely be in a turkey/pumpkin pie stupor. 🙂 Before our delicious dinner, I want to take a few minutes to give thanks.

In many ways this has been a quiet year for my family. Everyone has been safe, we’ve lost no family members, and gained a sweet little one. A nephew has married the love of his life and our family has grown. For this I am thankful.

Quilting is a huge part of my life, and this past year my business has grown. I’m longarming for more people, pattern sales are good, I’ve added classes to my teaching schedule, and I’m helping out at my local quilt shop. For this I am thankful.

Social media can sometimes drive me crazy, but it allows me to maintain a close relationship with my sister Wissa (a nickname she’s not crazy about), and stay in touch with family/friends. For this I am thankful.

Speaking of social media, this blog has allowed me to make many new quilty friends. Some I have had the joy of meeting in person, others I have an email relationship with, and I communicate with others through comments on the blog. I love being part of your quilting world, and am so happy you are part of mine. For this I am thankful.

There are so many other things on my gratitude list – too many to list here, and some too private. I am so blessed, and I am so thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

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MCM #97 – Bringing New Life to an Old Quilt

My sister recently sent me a worn quilt that belonged to her step-daughter. It had been much loved and was in need of repair. Our goal was to fix the worn areas, replace the batting and backing, and make it usable again.

The quilt was originally tied, and a blanket was used for the backing. There were a few seams that were torn and needed repaired.

Ripped seam in quiltThe first thing I did was remove all the threads used to tie the quilt top. Sounds more tedious than it was – they were pretty easy to cut and pull out of the quilt. There was a big pile of threads when I finished.

Knotted Strings

After removing the ties, I cut off the binding and removed the back and batting. I would have rather taken the binding off by removing the stitches, but as you can see in the picture below, the binding was pretty messy. It was difficult to pick the stitches, so cutting it off was the best option for this quilt.

Worn Quilt BindingAfter separating the three layers, I clipped all the strings from the back of the top. After years of washing, there were a lot of threads from where the seams frayed. These needed to be removed before I quilted the top.

Look at all the threads I removed:

Trimmed ThreadsThat part might have been just a bit tedious. 🙂

Fixing the seams stumped me for a minute or two. The seams were ripped, so there wasn’t enough fabric to simply re-sew them. I used a wide zig-zag stitch with a short stitch length and sewed over the seams, joining the two fabrics. There were three different areas that needed the seams repaired.

Seam RepairIt’s not the prettiest repair, but it’s effective and not as noticeable as I was afraid it would be. When looking at the entire quilt, the repairs blend in pretty well, so I was happy about that.

At first I worried about quilting over the dense zig zag stitch, but ultimately it wasn’t a problem. Sister wanted a very big, loose quilt design so it was easy to avoid the repaired seams when quilting.

After the repairs were made, I added Warm & Plush batting and a flannel backing. I quilted it with a really big all over meander, that took just a few minutes to do. Well, more than a few, but it was a super fast quilt job! The picture below shows the size of the quilting (and my foot, used as a deterrent to the wind.)

Quilting DetailOnce the quilting was finished it was time to add the binding. This quilt was the perfect project for practicing machine binding. I’m not a fan of machine binding, mostly because I can’t do it in a way that looks nice. But a few of my quilty friends have convinced me I need to use it more often on certain projects. So I tried it.

The good thing about machine binding this quilt is that the back is flannel, which helps the thread disappear. Here’s the back of the binding:

Maching Binding BackYou can just barely see the line of stitching alongside the binding.

Here is the front:

Machine Binding FrontNot too bad for a machine binding newbie! But I definitely need more practice. And tips – do you have any tips to share on how you do your machine binding?

Overall, sister and I are pleased with the finished quilt. It’s nowhere near perfect, but it’s ready for Jamie and her family to enjoy for many more years. I’m looking forward to sending this quilt back to its permanent home, knowing that it will get lots of use and cuddles. Which is all any of us can ask for the quilts we make, right?

Repaired Quilt

Knowing that this quilt is ready for many more years of love is my quilting crush for this week’s Main Crush Monday. Now it’s time for you to share yours! What has you excited to be in your sewing space? You can share any blog post, Instagram or Flickr pic – here’s how:

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Posted in Main Crush Monday, Quilt Repair | Tagged , , | 24 Comments