Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Horses (so far) and an Instant Light Box

Here's a picture of the Horses I started to piece together with fusible applique. The original pattern has 2 ponies in between the older horses, but I think I'm going to put a fence between them. My Dad has 2 "retired" horses, no ponies.

Karen over at A Cr8tive Kick in the Pants asked about the makeshift light table I had set up at Quilt Camp to do fusible applique. I mentioned it in a previous post, but did not explain it.

Under normal sewing conditions, I use a clear acrylic table for free-motion sewing and quilting.
This is the table.

Here it is with an Ott Light under it. Voila! Instant light box. Especially since I usually do have both my Ott light and the acrylic table with me at camps and classes.

This way, the light shines through the paper pattern so I can trace the designs onto fusible and accurately place the fusible fabric to the pattern. It works great!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wicked Easy Picnic Quilt Top in Blue

I finished this quilt top recently. I've been wanting to do a scrappy / fat-quarter quilt. I'm really happy with the way this one turned out. I plan to use this pattern again in future. When I get this one quilted and finished, I plan to use it for picnics. It may be the quilt that stays in the car.

The pattern is Annie's Wicked Easy Quilt by Annie Unrein. It's similar to a Yellow Brick Road, but not quite the same. There's something I like about Annie's pattern just a little better. The pieces came together very quickly and esily. No agonizing over what to put where on the design wall. I just made sure that no 2 same fabrics were next to each other as I pieced the blocks. Then I put the blocks on the design wall and agonized ...

The fabric is the Blue Scrap Bag from Keepsake Quilting -- plus a few extra fat quarters from my stash.

Annie's Wicked Easy Quilt in Blue

Twin Connection (Spools) Quilt Complete!

This was my big project at Quilt Camp a few weeks ago. I was quilting this puppy virtually the whole weekend. I forget how long that always takes! At home, it would have taken me MONTHS to finish the quilting.

Here you can see my set-up. I'm using a walking foot along with the pin in the "rut" of the sew line before it. Those blue and white things are "Sew Easy Quilt Discs." They made my life a lot easier once I realized I had them in my tool box. I was using a pair of gloves, but every time I came to a safety pin (about every 4 inches), I had to take off the gloves to undo the pins. It was slow going there for a while ... These Quilt Discs also allowed me relax more and grab onto more of the surface area of the quilt which made it much easier to push the quilt around.

Here's a page from The actual Sweet Leaf Notebook with notes on this project, including the quilting pattern ... I really did try to get a good picture of the quilting, but couldn't get a picture where the stitching showed up well.

For the quilting pattern, I used Leah Day's Matrix pattern edge-to-edge. It was PERFECT for this quit. I drew a curvy diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner and stitched it with the walking foot. Then I used the walking foot with the pin to trace that last stitch line. It worked beautifully! I did one direction Friday night. That looked fine in and of itself. I could have stopped right there. The lady next to me was a long-arm quilter. I asked her opinion : Did it need more, or not? Like any good counselor, she just said that was a personal choice. Did I think it was finished? Or did I think it needed something more? I slept on it (literally), then decided to quilt the cross hatches in the other direction on Saturday. It really completed the quilt.

Note added Jan. 2011 : This quilt was gifted to our friend Kevin Bradley and his wife Elena.

Back from Quilt Camp Feb 2010

I spent last weekend at Quilt Camp with my mom and Aunt Rosita and a bunch of other quilters who come every year. We finally realized that it would be a good idea to take a photo every year, because you never know who might not be back next year. My mom has had a battle with Shingles and nearly missed the retreat last year. Another lady has been recovering from cancer, but she made it this year with her 2 daughters.

So what do we do at Quilt Camp? We sew!
Here are a bunch of us hard at work in the lodge at Waypost. We have a great view of the Lake out the windows. And we don't have to go outside to sleep or eat. Everything happens in the Lodge.

Marla showed us how to make these Fast and Easy Table Runners. She said it was a 5-minute project. In truth, it took more like 10 minutes! Still a quick project. ;-)

I made progress on the Horses Applique for my Dad. He has 2 retired horses who look like the ones on the pattern : Cinnamon & Sugar. Maybe next year I'll have it finished! I haven't done an applique piece in a while. I forgot how much fun it is to "color by number," to see it build and come to life with each additional piece added.

* Indispensable Tools : My acrylic table with an Ott light underneath makes a great portable light box for fusible applique.

* Tweezers for placing picky little pieces right where you want them.

* My mom had a Fiskars Fingertip Rotary Cutter that was great for getting the pieces free of the larger sheet.

I spent most of my time working on quilting the Twin COnnection (Spools) Quilt, but I'll save that for a separate posting.

Here's what my mom (Holly Matucheski) was working on (and yes, she gave me permission to post these pics) :

This is a quilt top my mom made for one of her nurses who is retiring next month. The pattern is "Just Can't Cut It" by All Washed Up Quilts.

North Woods
This is another one my mom was working on.

Here's a blurry close-up to give you a better idea of the colors. Marla Arndt, owner of Cutting Edge Quilts in Antigo, WI, has a wonderful eye for color. She put this kit together.

This is my Aunt Rosita's Bargello Quilt Top. She showed this to me at Christmas time, and I liked it so much, she decided to give it to me. Thanks! She had taken a class based on the book Bargello Quilts with a Twist by Maggie Ball. It's actually a lot easier than it looks ... Get the book!

Creative Cue : Tie (or Mr. Cramer's Regrettable Easter Tie)

My Latin teacher in high school had a collection of ugly ties. He could wear a different ugly tie every day of the school year. They never failed to break the ice and start a conversation. He had quite a sense of humor about it all.

The one tie that I still remember 25 years later is his Easter Tie--made by one of his own children many years earlier. It was complete with green plastic Easter grass falling off of it, old jelly beans glued on along with a cotton ball bunny rabbit. It was definitely kid art (kind of like all of his students at the time!)--the kind of art that belongs on a fridge.

This tie was so awful, I'm writing about it now--still shaking my head asking "Why? Why? Why? Put that thing out of it's misery already!" Of course I don't have an actual picture, just this sketch.

When he retired, I don't think Mr. Cramer ever wore another one of those ugly ties again. Even he had had enough!

Here's to you, Magister!

Check out the other 3 Creative Studios Creative Cues inspired by Tie.

Friday, February 19, 2010

4-Patch Posey Parade of Blocks : Millifiore

As I sit in my rocking chair in the evenings, I have a good view of the Olympics (Hurray for ALL the talented skaters in the Men's Figure Skating Competition! What a great year it's been!). I also have a good view of the 4-Patch Stacked Posey Millifiore quilt laying on the couch.

Since this is one of those quilts that I don't get tired of looking at, I thought I would share some of the individual blocks here. I absolutely LOVE the variety you can get out of this pattern with a single large print fabric.

This is a shot of the original fabric, now part of the border.

Here is the parade of blocks (This is an usually LONG post, filled with eye candy. Enjoy!)