A COVID Swap

As for so many people, I have missed scheduled retreats with my usual group due to COVID. The situation appears set to drag on for a while more, so we decided on a monthly block swap to give us something to look forward to.

We take turns deciding what the block will be. All blocks are made from batiks and all finish 9″ square, but there are no other “rules”. Here are the blocks I’ve made or received so far.Obviously this is going to be more than one quilt. The original rule was make one block for each person each month, but mostly we’ve done 2 for each. And, as you might suspect, the most over-scheduled person in the group made 3 for each last month!

What are you doing to make up for missing your quilt group?

Have fun and stay safe.

Two Finishes with Kaffe Fabrics

As sometimes happens, I bought a fat quarter bundle of Kaffe fabrics for something else entirely but changed my mind.

If you’ve ever tried making a quilt with fabrics designed by Kaffe Fassett, you know that you have to choose the pattern verrrry carefully if you don’t want a hot mess.  The fabrics are beautiful in their own way, but they don’t play very well with traditional patterns or patterns requiring good contrast between pieces. Therefore, I found a pattern written specifically for Kaffe fabrics.

The pattern made a larger quilt than I wanted, so I sorted the blocks into Kaffe 1 and Kaffe 2.  Here’s the larger one:

Quilt Name:  Kaffe 1

Pattern Source:  Free Spirit Fabrics (see link at bottom of post)

Finished Size:  58″ x 70″

Quilted by: Julia Madison

And here’s the smaller one made with “leftovers”:

Quilt name: Kaffe 2

Pattern source:  Free Spirit Fabrics (see link below)

Finished size:  48″ x 60″

Quilted by: Julia Madison

It was fun working with those wild fabrics, and the pattern was fairly easy.  Here’s the source for the free pattern if you’re interested: Carnival of Color

 

Guest Blogger: Linda Reviews Rulerwork Quilting!

This is a guest post by my blogging friend Linda Hungerford (flourishingpalms.blogspot.com).Linda at her machine; photo courtesy of Linda Hungerford

 

This post is to review a new book published by C&T: The Ultimate Guide to Rulerwork Quilting by Amanda Murphy.

Photo courtesy of C&T

Mary invited me to review the book knowing I’m an avid domestic machine quilter who began quilting in 2000, and started quilting with rulers in 2011.

Here’s one of my first rulerwork attempts – doing a no-no by using a regular free motion quilting foot against a Fine Line brand quilting ruler.

Ruler work quilting with the WRONG machine foot!

And here’s a picture showing how it should be done 🙂

This is the Bernina #72 foot.

For ruler work quilting, a quilter should use a ruler work quilting foot with a quarter-inch heel.

Two overall observations about the book:

  • Because Amanda quilts on a Bernina (both a domestic machine and a longarm machine) the book focuses on how to rulerwork quilt on a Bernina. One page is devoted to: “What if you don’t own a Bernina?”
  • Pages 29 to 102 of the 127 pages having photos of rulers being used on a Bernina longarm.

Amanda states: 

“As a Bernina expert I am very familiar with the machines in the Bernina line, so that is what is shown here.  There are obviously a lot of other machines on the market, too.  If you have questions about any of them and their suitability for ruler work, please consult your local dealer.”

For me, currently using a Bernina 770QE for quilting, (I do not own a longarm), I was able to apply much of the information to my own Bernina experiences. She references using a stitch regulator, but those of us who quilt on a domestic machine with a stitch regulator, are unable to use the stitch regulator and a ruler work foot at the same time.

Interestingly, she mentions that rulerwork quilting is better for distributing quilting evenly across the surface because of being able to quilt in all directions:

“When you quilt with a ruler, you naturally change directions more easily than you would with a walking foot, and quilting in many directions generally ensures a squarer top than quilting in just one.”

This made me smile because Jacqui Gering, a renowned walking foot quilter with two quilting books under her belt, says precisely the opposite! According to Jacqui, there’s no need to change directions when quilting. Is it any surprise that two quilters have differing views? And doesn’t that make you feel better about how you quilt?

Amanda covers these important topics:

  • thicknesses and shapes of rulers
  • ruler work quilting table set-up
  • sewing machine settings
  • needles

I concur with these points covered in the book:

Ruler thickness is important, and which thickness ruler to buy depends on whether your machine’s ruler foot is high shank or low shank

Each sewing machine brand needs its appropriate high shank or low shank ruler work foot.

Buy a ruler you will use most often

Though Amanda mentions that different ruler brands are available, she definitely focuses on and uses her own line of Good Measure rulers made by Bernina.

Photo from the book showing one of Amanda’s rulers. Photo courtesy of C&T

Just as a quiltmaker invests in one or two most-used rotary cutting rulers, a rulerwork quilter need only invest in one or two rulers. Begin rulerwork quilting with a straight edge and/or gentle curve ruler and you’re good to go – like the Good Measure straight edge/curved edge ruler (shown in the book), or Westalee straight edge/curved edge ruler (shown below).

These are some of the brands of rulers I’ve accumulated in the past nine years, with Fine Line rulers being the ones I use most often… probably because that’s the brand I started with. I don’t own any Good Measure brand rulers.

Photo by Linda Hungerford

My ruler photo includes a picture of a roll of skateboard grip – a sort of sandpaper that’s grittier than sandpaper with an adhesive back. It’s the best product I’ve found for the bottom of the ruler, to make it “stick” to fabric while quilting. Amanda suggests putting blue painter’s tape or Stable Tape (by Westalee) on the bottom of the ruler.

A bit about Fine Line rulers… They’re different – made with two vertical posts to “hang onto” when quilting (see first blog picture). However, after buying a sewing machine with the dual feed feature, I quickly learned that these ruler posts bump into the dual feed! I can’t use the ruler on the back of the ruler foot, so that’s something to keep in mind when considering a Fine Line brand ruler.

Fine Line ruler posts bump into dual feed mechanism

Amanda mentions Bernina’s echo clips, something I frequently use, though the brand I own is made by Westalee. Each slips on/off the ruler foot, and has different spacing, so you can choose how far away to quilt from the previous line of quilting. It’s well worth $10 for the Westalee set!

Westalee Echo Clips

Set-up is important: have a flat work surface with a means for easy quilt gliding

Amanda recommends the Sew Steady table, and that’s exactly what I have. Top it with a Supreme Slider (or a Queen Supreme if you have a large machine harp), and you’re good.

Here’s my quilting set-up contrived by placing two hollow-core doors across four IKEA adjustable-height Finnvard trestles.Amanda mentions wearing quilting gloves for rulerwork quilting. Personally, I prefer rubbing Neutrogena original formula hand cream on my hands, and then donning a pair of Marcia Baraldi Quilting Grip Gloves. It’s the perfect combo because my fingertips are  “grippy” and yet free to grab threads, tie knots, and even change a bobbin! (Neutrogena hand cream won’t harm your quilt.)

Although I have my favorite methods for rulerwork quilting, I also learned a thing or two in the book. The tip that meant the most to me is this one…

“Machine baste all the way around the sandwich through all layers, about 1/8″ from the edge of the quilt top.”

I’ve heard of taking a final “lap” around the outside of a quilt top, but I’d never heard of stitching around the perimeter of a basted quilt sandwich. I tried this on my latest quilt finish, my “Hole Punch Ribbon” quilt, and it worked to help keep my quilt “on the square!”  I blogged about this quilt here.

Amanda concludes the book with 31 pages of colorful quilt examples, showing different quilting designs on real quilts including quilt-as-you-go; followed by 14 pages about domestic machine quilting and troubleshooting; and 10 pages on longarm quilting and troubleshooting.

One of Amanda’s pretty examples from the book  Photo courtesy of C&T

All in all, this book is a good resource for a thorough introduction to rulerwork quilting, and is especially worthwhile if the quilter quilts on a Bernina. Then, it’s a must-buy!

Linda

 

 

Project Planner!

So, here’s the new Quilter’s Project Planner, which I’ve already started using!

Photo courtesy of C&T

I love paper planners generally and was already planning to do a post about this one, then my friends at C&T invited me to take part in this Social Media Tour.  Woo!  Be sure to check at the end of the post for other blogs on the tour and for a chance to win your own copy of the planner.

Yes, it’s formatted to start in January (holiday hint for someone?), but I don’t see why I can’t start in September and go through August of 2021.

Ha! Fixed to suit me!

I’ve decided to use the planner for my own designs.  And yes, I design at least one quilt a month, I just choose not to sell patterns.  You get to see all the quilts here eventually, and some of the patterns are done for Studio Stitch to give away, so there are sources if you want to make my quilts.

The planner includes the kind of features you’d expect but without the bulk of some of the other quilting planners I’ve tried.  There are pages for planning individual projects as well as pages for quiilting goals, etc.

Photo courtesy of C&T

I’ve already started the project for September and filled out part of the pages.  (The quilt shown isn’t the real thing, but my preliminary drawing from EQ8.)

Here are the other blogs on the tour for you to visit:

9/9 C&T Publishing kickoff ctpub.com/blog/
9/10 Terificreations- Teri Lucas terificreations.com
9/11 Quiltville- Bonnie Hunter quiltville.blogspot.com
9/12 Quilt Fabrication- Susan Arnold quiltfabrication.com
9/13 Zippy Quilts- Mary Puckett zippyquilts.blog/
9/14 Lilo Bowman lilobowman.com/
9/15 SewVeryEasy – Laura Coia youtube.com/sewveryeasy
9/16 Slice of Pi- Laura Piland sliceofpiquilts.com/
9/17 C&T Publishing ctpub.com/blog/

And if you’d like a chance to win a copy of the planner, leave a comment and include your email.  My husband will draw a winner after the blog hop ends on September 17, so you must enter before midnight on September 17 to be considered.  C&T will contact the winner by email to get an address for sending the planner. Sorry, but U.S. addresses only.

Image courtesy of C&T

As always, please note:  C&T provides books to me for review, but I only blog about my favorites.  Links in my blog are NOT affiliate links; they are for your convenience but do not provide income to me.

 

For a Good Time…and OMG

For a good time, see if you can visit your local quilt shop! I was able to visit Studio Stitch last week because they are observing strict social distancing and mask guidelines, including limiting the number of people in the shop at a time. It was SO MUCH FUN to get to shop for fabric after being quarantined for 6 months!  I appreciate the care the staff are taking to try to keep everyone safe.

I should mention that I also checked the public health report and noted that COVID was trending down in Greensboro before going there.

Here’s the haul from one visit to the shop:Yes, the gray and white fabrics are metallic! And the fat quarter at the far right just jumped into my basket while my other fabric was being cut.  (Not my fault!!)

Which leads me to the OMG part.  For the first time, I am joining the One Monthly Goal challenge.  I’ve seen several blogging friends doing this for quite some time but haven’t joined up.  So, here is my OMG for September:

In September my goal is to make a quilt from these fabrics and write a pattern for that quilt.

These lovelies are from Studio Stitch, too

The pattern will be available through Studio Stitch when I finish it.  If you subscribe to their free newsletter (subscription form is about half way down their home page) you will see a picture and information on getting the pattern when the time comes. And of course I’ll show the quilt here when it’s finished!

That’s all the excitement for now.  Has anybody else been able to visit a shop in person with precautions in place?  Thanks for reading, and stay safe!

Class With Maria Shell!!!

COVID rolled over my plans to attend the Vermont Quilt Festival (VQF) this past summer and take classes there with Maria Shell.  So imagine my excitement when I got an email from VQF offering one of Maria’s classes online!  (Here’s the link if you want to learn more.)

This is the Announcement from VQF

I signed up immediately and started gathering the materials–there really isn’t much needed in that department since I’ll be in my own studio for the class!  The class will be interactive, and the student information included lots of funny reminders like “Remember, we can see you.  Wear pants if you plan to stand up!”  I have no idea how to mute my microphone or much of anything else, so there’s no telling what they’ll see/hear from me, but I’ll be sure to be fully clothed 😀

As you may know, I love Maria’s book (here’s the link if you want to know more about the book.).

I’ve made some “mat-cut stripes” inspired by her, though I haven’t figured out yet what to do with them next,

as well as a little art quilt for which I used her method for making free-cut flying geese.

This quilt is titled “Blue Ridge–Cardinal”

One thing that is different about Maria’s technique for improvising is that she does NOT just combine fabrics randomly.  She looks to see if they go together visually before she sews.  Her quilts are graphic and striking, and I look forward to learning more from her.  I’ll let you know how it goes!  And here’s the link to Maria’s site if you want to explore her work more.

Just a reminder:  The links in this post are for your convenience; they are not affiliate links that generate money for me!

Elizabeth’s Village

My blogging friend Elizabeth (OP Quilt) has designed a number of nice patterns and I recently found myself “forced” to make one because it is so cute.  Here is one of her samples.

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Eastman

She has given instructions for multiple variations in the pattern.  (I love all of them.)

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Eastman

Naturally, I didn’t quite follow the pattern.  I had some cute fabric left from another project so used it for the town square in the center.

When I was finished, I wanted to make the quilt large enough to be used as a donation quilt (crib size), so I ordered some wilderness fabric to surround the town.

And here’s the finished quilt:

Quilt Stats

Name:  Elizabeth’s Village

Pattern:  Merrion Square, by Elizabeth Eastmond

Finished size: 39″ x 39″

Quilted by:  Julia Madison

And yes, I used the same fabric for binding as for the border.  You may want to check out Elizabeth’s beautiful projects on her blog and website: OPQuilt.com.

If you’re interested in her patterns, they are available through Payhip.

Serendipity Quilt

Due to a series of fortunate events, I made this quilt:

Here’s how it happened.  You may recall that C&T sends me quilt books and products to review, and if I really like them I write about them here.  So a while back I received this book:

Photo Courtesy of C&T

Then a couple of weeks later, I entered a contest sponsored by Pineapple Fabrics and my project was a runner up.  They sent a wonderful box of pre-cuts, including a jelly roll.  So the only question was which quilt to make!  The book had many attractive options, including these:

Photo courtesy of C&%

Photo courtesy of C&T

I eventually chose the lattice quilt because it looked so do-able.  And it was!  The instructions even suggested designing your own spacing for the border, and you know how I like doing my own thing, so that was great.

Here’s a picture of the pretty flowers quilted on it by Julia Madison:

If you are thinking of making this quilt, know that it was fast, easy, and fun.  I did flip some of the seams when joining the pieces so the seams would match up well at the intersections.

Quilt Stats

Name:  Serendipity

Pattern source:  Love Jelly Roll Quilts, pictured above

Finished size:  51″ x 61″

Quilted by:  Julia Madison

Candy Cubes

Remember this? I started on the quilt on page 34 soon after I got the book

I didn’t like the first background fabric I chose:

So I took the quilt all apart and put it together again, this time with the background fabric matching the centers so that the blocks look like square lifesavers.  I’m calling it “Candy Cubes”.

To be honest, I’m not sure I like the new background fabric any better–the value is too close to the value of the cubes, even though the color is different. But a done quilt is a good quilt, so I’m on to the next project. 

I still like the pattern and enjoyed making the quilt.  And I still think it would be a great “make your second quilt” class.

Quilt Stats:

Name: Candy Cubes

Pattern SourceNew Patchwork & Quilting Basics by Jo Avery

Finished size: 53″ x 77″

Fabric:  Cubes are Moda Grunge.  I don’t know what the background fabric is.

Quilted by: Julia Madison

What I might do different next time: Change the cube fabric rather than the background fabric.

I love the fabric on the quilt back, too!

Barn Quilt to Wall Quilt to Lap Quilt

We live in a rural area and one of the barns I pass on the way to town has a quilt block on the end, where it is easily visible as you come around a big curve.I enjoy seeing the “quilt trail” quilts wherever I encounter them, though sometimes they look like something nobody in her right mind would make out of cloth.
This one is different. Its relatively simple design has a striking visual impact and it is something a person COULD make from cloth!.I thought it would make a good wall hanging or an unusual center for a medallion-style quilt.  Because of that, I drew it out in Electric Quilt. (I’ve been an EQ user since EQ5, and am now on EQ8!)

I submitted the design to a publishing group for a magazine, where it was accepted.  Then there were changes in publishing world and nothing happened for several months.  Eventually Eileen Fowler at McCall’s Quilting made a design of her own, giving me credit for inspiration.  It’s in the July/August 2020 issue of McCall’s Quilting, page 35.  Her quilt is lovely and easy!  Check it out!

And Melanie, please note that McCall’s Quilting was very ethical.  I probably wouldn’t have recognized Eileen’s quilt as based on mine, but they asked permission and gave credit.  It’s always nice when that happens.