New Orleans House Project

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Veggie Dye - Done

I still haven't come up with a name for this quilt other than "Vegetable Dye" in honor of the fabric printing process.  The fabrics remind me of India-import bedspreads one used to find at Pier One type stores back in the day.  I've blogged about the fabrics and the quilt pattern here and here.  My one regret with this quilt is that I didn't make it bigger.  I thought about taking it apart and adding more blocks, but that just interferes with my Finish the UFOs Program!

Since the quilt has such a 60s vibe, one idea I've entertained for quilting involves creating long strands of quilted "beads" on the quilt - like beads one would hang across a doorway.  We'll see what Cindy, my longarm quilter thinks of that!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Slow Weekend Stitching

I am almost embarrassed to tell you all that I am STILL stitching down the binding on my huge cow quilt.  I haven't made many opportunities for hand stitching in the last week and I have missed it!  My job required me to do copious traveling last week, and in the evenings I was just too tired for much of anything.

So after errands and chores yesterday morning, I settled on the couch with plans to hand stitch.  As I watched the Olympics, inch by inch the binding was stitched.  I'm almost three-fourths of the way around - I feel like I'm working on a marathon!

I did take the quilt up to the camp last weekend so I could hang it from the deck and get a full-size picture.  It's so large it doesn't even fit on the top railing - I had to wrap about 5 inches around the corner support post!

As soon as I finish this post and link up with Kathy's hand-stitching linky party, I'm going back to the sofa for some more binding stitching.  I'm ready to have this finished so I can move on to something else!

For those who are still reading, here's an updated picture of McKenzie.  She wanted to help me in my sewing room today, but there's just too much mischief for her to get into there.  I think I'll have to do some puppy play with her before I go sit 'n stitch - then maybe she'll nap a little while I'm sewing!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

End of the Blues

Today is the final blue Saturday of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I've really enjoyed creating some blue blocks for my Rainbow Scrap Quilts and revisiting some blue and white quilts from my past.  I'm inspired to make another scrappy blue and white quilt...just as soon as I finish some of the other UFOs clamoring for my attention!

Blue and white nine patches, enjoying some blue and white daisies.  This will be my last set of blue-themed blocks for the month - looking forward to Soscrappy's color decree for next month!

There will be more blue blocks to be seen via Soscrappy's Rainbow Challenge link-up - go find yourself some inspiration!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Elsie - Are 'Ya Done Yet?

I finally attached all of Elsie's pieced borders.  She's been hanging on the design wall this week, auditioning some red binding fabrics.  I keep telling myself she is done and doesn't need any additional borders.  Now that I've seen this photograph, I'm not so sure.  The second to the last gold border has a strong visual "pull" and I think a strong outer border might be needed to balance things.  It could be a plain border, red or gold or a fabric containing both colors.  Or maybe the outer border should be alternating red and gold triangles.  Time to dig in the stash and see what inspiration pops up!
Just for fun, here are some close-ups of the fussy-cut centers

of the Ohio Star blocks in the last border.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

True Blue

It's another scrappy blue Saturday, time to share our Rainbow Scrap Challenge fun from this week.  I did some Greek Square blocks this week, but I think I created more blue scraps than I actually used!

I was hoping to try getting another picture of these blocks using outdoor lighting, but it's been so rainy this week I never had the opportunity.  I'm looking forward to seeing all the secondary patterns created when all the rainbow colors get combined in this quilt.

A few posts back I talked about the blue & white anniversary quilt I made for my parents.  I completely forgot about this blue & white cracker quilt I made for some friends as a wedding gift.  This one is also a signature quilt.  I took along a box of pre-cut white fabric strips and some Pigma pens and had all the wedding guests write messages during the reception.  I assembled everything after the wedding and presented it several months later.  This was done at least 15 years ago; happily, the friends are still married!

Speaking of weddings and anniversaries, today DH and I celebrate 33 years of marriage!  We're pretty laid back about celebrating, but I think we will make a trip down the road for a romantic dinner.  

In the meantime, I'll be linking up with the other Rainbow Scrap challengers over at Soscrappy's blog.  Check them out for lots of great scrappy ideas!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Cow Jumped Onto the Quilt!

Sunday morning is fast becoming my hand stitching time.  The dogs always seem to wake up around 5 AM and I get up to let them out so DH can sleep in.  It's nice to have the house to myself and I invariably wind up on the couch watching reruns of "Law and Order" and working on the current hand stitching project.

I'm still working on stitching down the binding on the ginormous quilt I mentioned last week.  This is a scrappy, scrappy quilt that was meant to use up a huge stash of cow novelty fabrics I accumulated back in the early 1990s.  I turned to the queen of use-it-up scrap quilts - Bonnie Hunter - for block inspiration, although my layout is different from hers.

I worked on piecing all the blocks during weekends at our camp;  I really had that treadle sewing machine humming!  Eventually I took a stack of blocks home and arranged them on the design wall.  Holy cow - it was one of the biggest quilts I'd ever created!  After adding the sashing, it came out to be almost 100" by 100"!  

I took the finished top to Cindy Braiwick, my local longarm quilter.  I told her I had no specific ideas for quilting and to let her imagination roam.  She quilted a whole 'nother menagerie onto the quilt.  Above:  flying pigs

Cats in the moonlight

Dancing cows

I managed to get a little over a quarter of the binding stitched down this morning.  I'm hoping I'll get some more hand stitching time later today.

If you enjoy hand stitching, be sure to stop by Kathy's Quilts to see what other hand stitchers are working on today!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

My World is Blue - Part Two

It has been a fun week thinking about and playing with blue - this month's color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  In addition to working on some scrappy blue blocks, I've been drooling over blue & white transferware on eBay and humming "blue" songs.

Today I've been playing with granny squares.  As it happens, Lisa Holt of Bee in my Bonnet is hosting the Great Granny Along - her take on the fabric granny square AND a giveaway.
Lori's block is a little different and a larger size - might be just the thing to help you use up more blue scraps!  The Great Granny Along will continue for the rest of the summer.

As for me, I stitched up one blue granny square using some sock monkey fabric (sock monkeys at the beach!) left-over from pillow cases I made for my nieces.  I was anxious to do some fabric auditioning though, so I stopped at one block for today.  After window shopping several online fabric stores, I found two stripe fabrics I thought might work as the alternate fabric for a strippy setting for the grannies.

Here's the first stripe, along with some different colors to help with the audition.  Even though my design wall is a white quilt batt, the cafe au lait painted wall shows through, so imagine all white setting squares between the grannies!

The stripe is a Riley Blake fabric from the "scoot" collection.

Next audition:  a stripe from the Santa's Workshop collection, also by Riley Blake.

So far, this one is giving the fresh and crisp image I pictured in my head for this quilt.  I'm not sure if this is "the" fabric, but I've still got plenty of time to look around.  Feel free to offer your opinions!

In closing, I offer up one of the blue songs that's been bouncing around my head (along with MANY others!).  I know Carl Perkins originally recorded this song, but this YouTube version by Elvis is just a perfect snapshot of that era.  After you enjoy a little Elvis, be sure to rock on over to Soscrappy's blog to see what all the other Rainbow Scrappers have been up to this week!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Machine Applique Prep

These applique shapes are all destined for the outer border of the Origami Bow-Tie quilt.  The shapes are all backed with SoftFuse, ready to be positioned, fused and machine blanket stitched.  The stems are also ready, but not pictured.  Now I just need to prep 32 cherries and 40 leaves!  

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday Night Hand Stitching

I procrastinated for quite some time when it came to binding this quilt.  It measures almost 100" x 100", so that was a lot of bias binding to make and stitch in place.  I finally tackled it this week; now I just need to hand-stitch the binding to the back.  I started on Wednesday evening, while we watched A Capitol Fourth on PBS.  I'm hopeful I'll get some quiet time to stitch tonight as well.  My guys are watching the Yankees v Red Sox on TV though - not exactly my favorite hand stitching fare!

There's another distraction tonight as well - a new family member!  McKenzie joined us this past Tuesday; she's half English Lab, half Golden Retriever.  We've had a few rough nights as she adjusts to her new home, but she's a sweetie and loves to snuggle, so I guess we'll keep her!

Sharing my hand sewing and linking up to Kathy's Hand Stitching party...hope you all have the opportunity to do some hand stitching this week!

My World is Blue

Purple has always been my favorite personal color.  Purple clothes, purple jewelry, purple handbags, purple shoes...well, I don't think I've ever owned any purple shoes - guess I will have to fix that!

But when it comes to quilts, fabric (especially toile), decorating, china - blue and white are my all-time favorites!  Blue and white china (transferware) - small but growing collection.  Blue and white toile fabric - an embarrassment of riches!  Decorating schemes - some day I will have a blue & white bedroom.  Blue and white quilts - only one so far!

This Friendship Star quilt was made in honor of my parents' 50th wedding anniversary in 2003.  The star blocks have anniversary wishes from friends and family around the country, as well as pictures of my folks as children and newlyweds.  Wedding pictures of their three daughters round out the display.  The center medallion is a family group picture taken on the beach during the weekend of their anniversary celebration.  Mini friendship stars and more family pictures round out the outer border.  The free-motion quilting was done by my friend Annie Kusilek, using a treadle sewing machine.  

You would think after completing that scrappy memento I'd have a huge assortment of blue scraps.  The dirty little secret is that I don't really have scraps...more like yardage!  I have always intended to make more blue and white quilts, so I just keep collecting blue and white fabric!  Especially light-toned fabrics, as they can be hard to find.  Maybe what I need is a blue and white (scrap) quilt challenge!

I did have a fair number of ready-sliced 2" strips and squares, so assembling these 16 patches went pretty quickly.  I'll have to cut more strips and squares to complete my other rainbow blocks this month.  Maybe what I need to do is cut lots of blue squares and white squares and use them as leaders and enders.  I could have another blue and white quilt before the end of the year!

Blue is the color for this month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge installment - be sure to stop by Soscrappy's blog to see more amazing uses of the color blue!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Playing with Bias Stems

I have been working on a folk-art style border for the Origami bow-tie quilt I shared back in May.  I want to finish this quilt sometime this year, so I'm fusing the applique shapes and finishing the raw edges with a machine blanket stitch.
One of my LQS staffers recommended SoftFuse for the applique shapes.  It seems to adhere well and is very soft and flexible - more so than other fusible products I have used.  I have only blanket stitched the heart in the center of the vase, but the fusible provided stability for the stitching and didn't gum up the sewing machine needle.

There are a number of stems included in the applique border.  I wasn't sure how I wanted to proceed with them, as I'm still rather a novice at appliqueing stems.  First I tried the method I learned for hand applique:  applique press bars.  I cut a stem wider than needed, folded the wrong sides together and sewed a 1/8" seam.  Then I used the 3/8" press bar to press the seam to the back side of the stem.  When you use lots of starch, this creates a nice crisp edge for hand stitching.
Bias press bar (top) & back side of folded and stitched bias stem
Unfortunately, I thought the finished stem was a little too thick, especially compared to the other applique shapes that were just one layer.  

Next I tried fabric glue.  The glue held the fabrics together adequately.  There was no additional stability to support the stitches, but it didn't seem to be a problem.

I also wanted to try narrow, paper backed fusing tape made specifically for applique.  Apparently Clover makes this type of tape specifically to use with their bias tape makers.  I only had time for a quick run to my nearby Hancock fabrics, and of course they didn't have any of the Clover product.  I did find this wash away 1/4" Wonder Tape.  It doesn't need heat to fuse it in place - it's more like a double-sided adhesive tape.

Here's the Wonder Tape applied to the wrong side of a 3/8" bias stem.  The paper backing is peeled off to the left.  I applied the stem to the background fabric and could continue re-positioning the stem until I had it curved just the way I wanted.  No need to worry about glue residue getting on the background fabric!

The Wonder Tape provided good fabric adherence.  It also added a little stability, but since it's not as wide as the bias stem, it didn't really improve the quality of the stitching.  Still, I think the machine blanket stitch looks just fine.  I didn't photograph the practice curve, but the Wonder Tape worked well at holding curves in place and easing out the bias.

Now I just need a chunk of time to get the bias stems stitched in place!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Second Thoughts

Recently I pulled a UFO out of the pile to prepare it for hand quilting.  I've been without a hand quilting project for some time now, and this was the oldest top in the queue.  The design was good for hand quilting - lots of empty blocks to fill full of stitches.  But the more I worked on marking the quilting lines, the more I wondered if this quilt was really a worthy choice for hand quilting.

Yes, the smaller quilt is truly a scrap quilt!  It was cobbled together using leftovers from this Lone Star I made for my mom years ago.  The nine patches effectively used up all the Lone Star scraps, but I didn't have just the right setting fabric to go with the nine patches.  The blocks languished for many moons until I pulled them out about a year ago and found the perfect pink for the alternate blocks.

My rationalization for not hand quilting the nine patch quilt is that it's too large for a wall hanging - and a wall hanging is where one wants to show off one's hand quilting skills.  It's a better size as a lap quilt, and I just can't see doing a lot of fancy quilting on something that will probably be used and abused by kids and pets.  So glad I marked the quilt with a FriXion pen - one swoop with a hot iron and all the marks will be gone!

Not that I'm shying away from hand's just that I have some more worthy projects coming up next in the queue!