Thursday, February 1, 2018

What a LOVE-ly Time of Year

Ah February… the month of hearts, valentines, love, and pinks and reds.  And I have none of that!  Except love, of course, for family and friends… and, of course, quilting!  Now, let’s see what I have to talk about this month.  I know!  First, I’d like to commend my fabulous husband, Mark, for building and installing a new design wall for me.  I LOVE IT!  We followed some instructions that a good friend, Jerrianne, had written up for her own design wall, and it came out beautifully!  The “wall” itself is made from 4’ x 8’ insulation sheets that we picked up at the hardware store.  I covered them with queen size white flannel sheets, which I ordered VERY inexpensively from an online massage supply shop.  And Mark hung them on my studio walls with regular screws, but added some white screw caps to the heads, so they almost look like cute little buttons.  LOVE!

My beautiful new design wall, with some blocks laid out on it...
more on those in a minute!

Now, is anyone curious about how many quilts I’ve managed to get quilted in the last month?  I had to go back and look!  There are only three, but that’s not too bad, considering I still have a full time job during the day, and a 10-year old son and husband and take care of.  Right?!  The first is a community service quilt that was made by Jerrianne, using fabrics that Mom (Sue) donated to the guild.  They’re the fabric line that she designed for P&B Textiles a number of years ago.  They’re so cute! I got some good practice in on working with borders and corners, using various block patterns, and playing with cornerstones and sashings.  I ended up doing some free motion meandering for the sashings, instead of a computerized pattern, and I think it turned out really sweet.  Lesson learned on this one… take time to draw outlines for the actual borders to ensure that you don’t quilt over the edges and into the binding area.

I played with using one border-corner pattern across multiple borders,
and I think it turned out nice!
An overhead view of the whole quilt.  LOVE it!
Another view from the corner, this time with the meander
complete in the sashings around the blocks.
A close up view of four of the blocks.  I love the quilting patterns!
Next up is another community service quilt that I picked up at our last guild meeting.  I don’t know who put the top together, so I can’t give credit.  Since the fabrics were all red, white, and blue, I decided to pick a patriotic edge-to-edge quilting pattern.  Wow, did I really pick one… or four!  There’s a set of patriotic E2E patterns that comes with the Statler, which are pretty pictoral, with images of the Golden Gate Bridge, an eagle, George Washington, the Statue of Liberty, the Liberty Bell, etc.  That’s what I did!  It’s pretty hard to see because of the range of fabric colors, and me picking a neutral thread, but it still looks pretty cool.  Lesson learned: if you want the quilting to be seen, pick a thread color that doesn’t disappear into any of the fabric colors.

An overhead view of the whole quilt.  See how it's difficult to see the quilting?
Here you can see the Statue of Liberty.
And George Washington's face, surrounded by stars.
And the Liberty Bell, with stars all around.
Third, and last, but most definitely not least!  I quilted Papa Bear, the charm quilt that I talked about last month.  And, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how it turned out!  I wanted to find a curvy E2E pattern, to offset the geometric triangles in the quilt top.  I searched and searched, found some feathers and decided against them, found some swirls and decided against them, then found the absolutely perfect pattern!  The Baptist Fan is a long-time love of mine, and is just traditional enough to feel right on Papa.  And, even better, I found a version of it with pearls inset in every other row at Wasatch Quilting.  The final design I used alternates between the traditional fan and the pearl fan, and I couldn’t love it any more than I do.  My plan is to bind it with a cheddar print that will match the fabric I used for the backing.

A nice view at an angle across the top of the quilt.
This close up really lets you see the pearls in every other fan!
A view of the back of the quilt.
This is me auditioning the cheddar print for the binding.  It wins!
What’s my next project, you ask?  Well, that’s a great question, and I’m SO EXCITED to share!  Of course, every great quilter has a bazillion UFOs, right?  Well, I didn’t for a couple of reasons.  First, I have only really been quilting for four or five years now.  Second, and most importantly, I’m totally OCD about things like that, and can’t stand to have unfinished projects laying around!  Now, notice that my comment was in the past tense… I didn’t… now I do, and I have a lot.  Mary and I split up all of the projects that Mom left behind last year, and even with only half of them I still have a ton!  There’s one that stands out to me more than any other, and I’m pushing myself HARD to try to get it complete within the next few months.  Mom finished a pattern for a quilt that she called a Double Oak Leaf Reel.  It was finished, all except for the cover photo, because she never had the chance to make the quilt.  So, this beauty is my tribute to Mom… one of her very last patterns, and I think it will turn out to be a stunning quilt.  So much LOVE!

Stacks of oak leaves for each of the sixteen blocks.
See the background from the earlier quilt?  Each of the sixteen blocks will
be appliqued with two oak leaf sets, a red ring, and eight berries.
This is the first one out of the gate, with just one of the eight berries
waiting to be stitched down.
Last topic of the month, and it’s more of a plea for help or ideas.  We’ve seen all of the notes asking us to publish a book of Mom’s quilts.  We actually came up with the idea last year, right after she passed away.  Time got away from us, but the idea and the desire are still there.  Last year, we spoke with a small publisher up in the Dallas area, and got a quote for publishing a coffee table book.  We still have that, although we probably should shop around a little more to make sure we get the best deal possible.  The real holdup is photography.  We tried to photograph one of the quilts ourselves, and it was a very long and difficult day… for one quilt.  So, we are looking into hiring a professional photographer.  We’ve gotten one recommendation from three different sources, but we suspect that he’s out of the business because he hasn’t returned any of our e-mails.  So, if anyone out there has suggestions for quilt photographers in the Houston area, send them our way!  Or publishers even… we’re not locked into the one we spoke with last year! 
I hope everyone is warming up now, and getting to spend lots of time with needle and thread.  See you next month.  Keep quilting!