Friday, August 26, 2011

A Little Catching Up

It's been ages! Unfortunately, not a whole lot's been happening in my quilting world. The combination of not much time, and one project that's going to take hundreds of hours (I'll put that in the next post), keeps progress to a minimum. But, I decided I'd like to post when I have something to share, even if it's months in between.

First, here's the linen quilt that was in pieces back in October---finished! The lighting isn't the best, but it shows the texture of the quilting. The acid green looks almost the right color, but the hot pink looks orange. The size is somewhere around 45 x 50.

And some details, while it was still in the quilting frame ...

This next one shows the pinks, orange, and reds properly.

I wanted a relaxed quilting pattern, so this one was all freehand. Well, except for dragging a heavy pin tip on the fabric to roughly "draw" the chains and waves.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Quilting Details

The finished quilt! This view is almost like looking out over  a shoreline.

I really like the way the machine quilting turned out. I used a long, slightly wavy stitch in two different widths, so some lines are more wavy than others. This is one of my favorite stitches on my Viking. Each strip (about 3-1/2 inches wide) has three lines of wavy stitches and one line of straight stitches right next to the seam.

It feels so good to have a project done! Next, I'll start the hand quilting of the linen quilt. It's in the frame ... just have to carve out some time.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Quilt for My Husband

Yup. He asked for a quilt made especially for him. I was so delighted that I dropped everything else (except paying work) to plan it.

The catch is that he had requirements. Blue and beige (good! that describes most of the shirts in my stash), a simple patch layout (not a problem), and nothing chaotic or, um, weird (well, I couldn't promise anything except that I'd try).

The blue and beige kept reminding me of water and sand, waves and shore. So, I went with that.
Near one corner I included a little symbol of help and protection.

The top went together in no time, but it then languished for weeks, a victim of my heavy schedule.

Eventually, I layered it and pinned it ... with fine straight pins, because safety pins are way too thick. They literally tear the tightly woven shirt fabrics. Machine quilting was quite an adventure, but I drew surprisingly little blood. Quilting gloves and a long-sleeved fleece shirt provided fairly good protection. It also helped that the quilting was simple.

Soon, photos of the finished quilt!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Blue and Green, Finally

This is one of the main things that's been eliminating my sewing time----the transformation of the master bath from this

to this

(Ignore the gray foreground--that's just shadow.)

It took three years, but we finally got the wallpaper off, and the paint on. I smile every time I see it!

There's more to come. The other bathroom is wallpapered, and there's a wallpaper border in the master bedroom. It all has to go!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Linen Strips

My 7-year-old grandson saw these and said, "Whoa! That's different." Yup.

These aren't bad photos, but the colors are subdued a bit and the yellow and green are a bit washed out. In real life they really sizzle. I'm particularly fond of the hot pink and red-orange.

It's fun putting together unstraight edges. No rotary cutters used here! I chop away with large shears and, when possible, use the natural uneven edges of the scraps. I take some care to match up a concave curve with a convex curve, and also put wedges in so that the panels don't curve too much, but I try not to overthink things.

I can't believe how fast this top is going together. The plan is for roughly 45 to 50 inches high and wide, and I'm already at about 45 by 35.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A New Linen Quilt

I'm excited about this new quilt! It's one I've been wanting to get to for more than a year, and a few months ago I decided I finally had enough linen collected for it. The main reason I'm starting it now is that a couple of weeks ago we finished painting the dinette/computer area, and the off-white walls (formerly wallpaper and then scarred drywall) are so blank!

The fabrics are 100% linen from yardage (maybe a quarter to a third of the total) and clothing. The weights and textures vary quite a bit. A couple are thinner than I'd like, but the colors are too good to give up.

The emphasis will be on the reds. At first, I wasn't going to include all the colors from the blues through the black, but paging through some quilt books helped me decide that more contrast and added colors will be good. We'll see how it goes, though.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rug Done!

I love this rug! Design-wise, I was really winging it, but I couldn't have planned a better result. It actually looks three-dimensional, and the colors flow so nicely.

(Here's my previous post, which records most of the early steps in making it.) I purposely chose mostly medium colors, so it won't show the dirt as much as the larger one. These are entry rugs, so they trap the grit, wet, and general dirt coming into the condo.

In case you're wondering, washing one of these is not exactly easy, but it's not a terrible experience either. After a good shaking, I put it in the bathtub, add a little detergent and warm water, and then gently shove it around to get the dirt out. After several changes of water, when the water is clear and there's no more sand in the tub, I place it carefully into the washer, spin it, and pop it into the dryer. (I have a water-saving top-loader, so I can place the rug carefully around the sides to keep the strain minimal while spinning, and a very high percentage of the water is removed safely. Not sure how it would survive a front-loader.) I use cotton thread for joining the plaited strips, so I'm careful not to put too much strain on these rugs, especially when they're wet. I also overcast the two cut edges at least twice, and put two rows of wide multistitch zig-zags a little way in from the ends.

By the way, if you make one, make the plaited strips almost a foot longer than the desired rug length. After the plaited strips are sewn together, mark a cutting line on each end, do a straight stitch just to the inside of this line, then zig-zag over it before cutting. After cutting, do another zig-zag over the cut edge. If the cut line differs much from the marked line, add another straight stitch row and zig-zag row over the edge. I think that in every case, I've had to resew/recut the finished edges to make them more square. It takes some effort to keep the cut edges from expanding and ruffling. Add the two lines of multistitch zig-zag after you know you have finished edges. At first, the rug will not lie completely flat. It relaxes over the course of a few days.

Plaited rugs are not quick (they also eat a lot of thread). This one took roughly 35 hours (not including the ripping and resewing of the plaited strips, because the first time I couldn't be bothered to pin them), and it's only 28 inches by 57 inches. But they're beautiful, thin and flat, don't bunch up, light enough to wash and dry, and don't shrink or transfer dye to the floor. Definitely worth the effort.