Category Archives: Completed Projects

First Finishes of 2018

Frigid temperatures have discouraged me from gadding about, so I’ve been busy in my work room and have two finishes to show for it. You’ve seen them before in their unfinished states, but I trust they are now done, or done enough to suit me.

“Not Quite Nancy” is the last of my Nancy series. It took a lot of time to quilt as I decided to do crossed curving lines a half inch apart. Never again.

I decided I like it best with a horizontal orientation. It’s not my favorite of the series even though its boldness is in my wheelhouse.

Another series carryover from 2017 is “Bloodshot Bullseyes,” one of my three responses to an Ohio SAQA challenge. I created eight curved piecing quarter squares with scraps and sewed them to felt.

The ribbon on the sides has been lurking in my trims box for a few years, so I was delighted to put it to work. I also did a bit of beading in the bullseye centers. Beading is right up there with dainty embroidery in my most disliked embellishments list. That is, I dislike doing them. When other people do them well they’re lovely.

I have at least two more tops to quilt (more of the bullseye series) before I can really dig into new work. In the meantime I’ll be working to improve my photography skills or at least my equipment. I’m waiting on the lights now.

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Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects, Modern Quilting

Another In Nancy Series Gets Quilted

So Not Nancy got quilted this month with few headaches. Yay! I dyed the large mottled solid fabrics and pieced the busy squares using some of Nancy Crow’s methods. Nancy just doesn’t use large blocks of solids, ergo the title.

I even drew out a quilting plan. (Imagine a picture of me patting myself on the back.) Well, it wasn’t rocket science, but consisted of following the piecing and keeping the diagonal line pattern straight.

I used a hera marker to draw those long quilting lines in the solid areas. You can see the “line” drawn on the right side, below. I found that worked well with the solid fabric and saved me the fuss of masking tape. I don’t think the line would show well on a busy fabric.

As usual, the FMQ in the two pieced areas didn’t go smoothly, but I expected that. I feel naked doing FMQ on solids; prints hide so much.

The quilting in the solid areas was done with a walking foot. The larger spaces between lines are 3/4 inch wide, while the smaller ones are 3/8 of an inch.

I used a heavily discounted dark blue Judy Niemeyer fabric for the binding. I don’t think the barbed wire fence in the print appealed to many quilters, but it doesn’t show when it’s 3/8 inch wide. While I’m fond of facings, I decided I wanted the STOP of a contrasting binding on this one.

Only one more to quilt in this series. Now if I only knew how I should quilt it.

Technical details: 34 x 36 inches; Quilters Dream cotton batting, Aurifil thread.

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Filed under Completed Projects, Modern Quilting

Gift Buckets

Heaven forfend, I found my stash of small gifts on hand was depleted. This is not a good position to be in at this time of year. Luckily, I subscribe to Christine Cameli’s blog, where she gave me the perfect quick (and small) gift to make. She calls it a bucket though I think you could call it a basket.

Since Christine teaches free motion quilting she has scads of fat quarter size quilting samples that are perfect for her project. I have a few practice squares, but I also have upholstery samples. After a scrounge through my large scraps I matched up bucket exteriors and liners and went to work.

A video in Christine’s post shows how she makes her buckets. The post also has a link to her free pattern on Craftsy. If you know the size bucket you want, just watch the video. Christine’s pattern makes a bucket about 4.5 inches wide and tall. I think it’s a good size for gifting with some candy or sewing notions tucked inside, but if you want something larger adjust the size accordingly.

As you can see, I used the same fabric for the liners and cuffs, but a contrasting cuff would definitely be fun. The bucket and liner are made from 8.5 by 6.5 inch fabric pieces (2 each of both exterior and lining), and the cuff is 4.5 by 16.5 inches.

After you sew the exterior pieces (then the linings) together around 3 sides, you cut out a 2 inch square of fabric at each bottom corner. Then you match the seams and sew the cut edges together. I don’t know if that’s clear, so just watch the video.

The short ends of the cuff are sewn together and the cuff is pressed in half long ways, right side out.  You nestle the lining inside the exterior (wrong sides against each other), then pin the cuff inside everything, raw edges together. Once you sew around all the layers you can turn over the cuff and admire your bucket.

I think you could also use pre-quilted fabric for the exteriors. I thought of using some fancy silk scraps but stopped when I saw I’d have to interface the silk. I was in production mode, which meant done was better than fancy.

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Filed under Completed Projects, Project Ideas

My Nancy Series

I just can’t seem to get serious about quilt series. Usually I lose steam about the third or fourth iteration, and my current series is no exception.

As is often the case, my Nancy series began by accident. I attended a presentation on Nancy Crow’s way to create quilts, and we attendees played around with slicing and dicing solids using her methods. I sewed together most of the solids scraps I owned to create several starts of what I’ll call pieced cloth.

The first completed top was “Not Quite Nancy,” in which I included prints and circles. Many of you commented on this one while it was in process, and it is the better for those comments. The tag at the top is the dimensions.

Next, I finished off a smaller piece I named “Nearly Nancy” as it was made totally with solids. Oops, there’s one bit of almost solid fabric. I think the binding color sets off the other colors nicely. It’s actually quilted.

Then, I went Anni Albers with “Nod To Nancy,” which is more regularly pieced, though still asymmetrical. It’s quilted but the edges need to be finished. The waviness is in my piecing, not your screen.

Finally I devised “So Not Nancy,” which features two densely pieced blocks surrounded by shades of red and a bit of blue fabric I dyed. The large unpieced blocks run counter to the Crow method of dense piecing.

Right now I have just a few pieced fabric starts left. They’re in my parts department so they may show up in future work. Of course, I have yet to quilt two of the above tops, so it’s not like I have nothing to do. I expect you noticed I quilted the smaller ones first.

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Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects, In Process

In The Weeds

Sometimes I quilt a piece I’m not so enamored of to avoid dealing with a piece I haven’t a clue about and don’t want to screw up. Yet again I’ve sidestepped a larger (around 45 by 50 inches) piece by tackling a smaller one that I’m not heavily invested in emotionally.

In keeping with my recent efforts to use fabrics I created, I combined tissue paper and stamped fabrics with orphan blocks to make “In The Weeds.”

I kept cutting off bits and then adding strips, and finished up with a thermofax print; so the piece is a hodgepodge of surface design techniques. I decided it looked like a patch of weeds so I called it “In The Weeds.” I recalled that term being used by restaurant workers so I looked it up and came across this post at The Word Detective.

I decided the following sums up my methodology:

. . . as Mark Liberman points out, the use of “into the weeds” to mean “delving deep into the details” doesn’t carry the same sense of painful confusion as the restaurant use, and such “weed wandering” is actually the sort of thing true policy wonks enjoy. As he says in his Language Log post, “The metaphor here seems to be that when you wander off the beaten path, you can explore arbitrary amounts of not-very-valuable intellectual foliage (“weeds”) without getting closer to your conceptual destination.”

In other words, I’m on a side spur just detouring around that larger, more serious piece. Because I didn’t really care whether or not the piece was ruined I ran roughshod over it with free motion quilting. That was fun but resulted in quilting that would elicit “strive to maintain consistency in stitch length” from a show judge. I also learned that tissue paper fabric needs a longer length stitch than I used.

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October 20, 2017 · 5:11 am

Itty Bitty Quilts

In fact, these are so small I shouldn’t call them quilts. They came about because a group I belong to wanted to do an artist trading card (ATC) type swap. The size was set at 3 by 5 inches and a deadline was announced. I went home and created seven ATCs from my tortured fabric scraps. Then I wrote down the deadline wrong and missed the swap by a month.

Oh well. Maybe I can turn them into mini gifts.

I pieced the two cards on the upper left and added felt trimmings and embroidery. The card on the bottom left is a mop up rag with a plastic freebie attached. The remaining four are based on fabric painting, printing and stenciling experiments, with embroidery and some beads added. All the edges are finished with fabric paint. They were a fun way to waste an afternoon or two, and I could feel justified for saving those scraps.

If you have have any ideas for how I could use these, please let me know.

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Filed under Completed Projects

Finishes in September

Amid a lot of local travel I managed to finish three serious quilts, including hanging sleeves. I don’t count pillows, table runners and the like as serious work, though they can take more time than I expect.

In order of completion, “Wayside Weeds” and “Nebula” preceded “Redlined.” I had to laugh at how different these three pieces are from each other. So much for developing a coherent voice. I’ll show them so you can see what I mean.

“Wayside Weeds” is based on prints I made using Thermofax screens. I constructed dividers with tubes of handpainted fabric attached to other painted/dyed fabric plus the last bit of McKenna Ryan fabric I had, and sewed the dividers between the printed sections. I had fun playing with different lengths.

“Redlined” is an abstract design I made based on a photograph of a sideboard. After I added the red fabric I decided it reminded me of a real estate map that showed redlined areas, the poorer neighborhoods where mortgages are considered risky and are difficult to obtain. I also used red thread in the quilting. It’s made with commercial fabric and finished with a single fold binding.

“Nebula” is a mashup of an art quilt group UFO challenge and scraps left over from theatrical costumes. I used photos of several nebula as inspiration. Thank you NASA. The black mottled background is from the challenge. Most of the sheer and sparkly bits are from costumes. I added some black sheers from my stash. All the fabric piece edges are raw. Many of the pieces are held in place with Misty Fuse with stitching on top. I sewed on a skewed border and faced it. In the right light it twinkles.

As for those other projects, I made a table runner from old left over blocks as a hostess gift for my husband to give to his landlady in Mexico. He’s in Puebla doing an intensive Spanish course. Luckily, the recent earthquake didn’t affect him.

While I still have tops to quilt, I’ve cleared out many of my incomplete projects. I anticipate a dearth of finishes for a few months as I work on a large (for me) piece that will use many of my blue and blue/green fabrics

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Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects