Monday, June 28, 2021

Vicious Villains Quilt for Anne

 Once upon a time, I saw a panel on a Facebook fabric selling group and new that instant that I had to buy it for my good friend Anne who is a huge Disney Villains fan.  Once the panel and the coordinating border and backing fabric arrive, I pieced it together and added it to the "to be quilted" pile and there it sat.  Forgotten about.  For way too long! 

One big thing the past year has brought front and center to my attention is to get my tail in high gear and get finished all these projects so that I can give them to the special people in my life that they are meant for.  Anne's birthday is in May so the plan was to get it completed as her gift.

Here's the result.
As many of you know, panel quilts typically don't look like much before the quilting is added and this one was no exception.
After the first row, I was happy with what I was seeing so far. Glide Medium Gray was the thread choice for this one.
Fresh off the frame.  What a difference!
Although I initially had a different panto in mind for this quilt, I ultimately chose to use Hurricane.  It had just the right amount of spikiness.
I was a tiny bit excited thinking about what Anne's reaction would be.  When I finished stitching down the binding and showed it to my hubby, even he said "she's going to love it!"
Sometimes, the wind blown pictures are fun but this is all the breeze I was getting that day.
When I purchased the panel and other fabrics, the shop owner didn't have enough of the pink print for the backing so I just pieced in another villains print I had along with a black spider web print. 
With all the business in the prints, the stitching isn't easy to see in the pic but it looks great in real life.  Black Glide thread was the obvious choice for the bobbin.
A couple of days after these photos were taken, it was gifted to the birthday girl and to tell you that she was beyond happy is a huge understatement.  She was absolutely giddy!
Anne has already decided that it's going to remain on her favorite chair to be snuggled with in the evenings when it's a bit chilly.  I'm beyond thrilled to finally have this one finished and to it's forever home.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Happenings in My Studio

I have 2 more finished and gifted quilts for my siblings to show you in a couple of upcoming posts but today I'm showing some work-in-process pics of the last one, which will be for my brother.  I've shared these on Instagram so if you follow me, you'll likely have already seen them.

It started with cutting 3 1/2" squares from 30 different fabrics that either were scraps leftover from other projects or fat quarters I had purchased over many years to round out the color palette for this quilt.  I'm using a range of creams, golds, brick reds, olives and browns. 

I stacked the squares to the left of my sewing machine so I could just grab and sew randomly to mix up the colors and the prints (I have the left print in 4 different colors in this).

I love how chain piecing makes quick work of sewing the pairs. 

Before long, I had the trios completed.

Next came sewing trios together.  I sewed randomly-ish, just keeping the same prints from being in the same block.  Luckily having so many prints in this didn't make that too difficult.
The last step in the block making was turning these into 9 patch blocks. The alternating blocks are Bella Linen which works well for lightening up the overall quilt while being a lot more subtle than something like White would have been. 
Yesterday I was able to get the lay out decided and sew pairs of blocks together before we had to head to Jammer's 8th grade moving up ceremony.  It's hard to believe he's heading to high school next year.  The big disappointment was that, although the various elementary schools in our district held in person outdoor moving up ceremonies for the 5th graders and the high school Seniors are having an in person graduation tomorrow outside at the football field, the 8th graders only got a drive by moving up ceremony.  I don't know why they shorted the 8th graders this year on their celebration and it definitely doesn't seem fair.  Even Jammer and his friends felt the same. Yes he desperately needs a hair cut!
Today is the last official day of school.  It's a half day.  Jammer is virtual today but I'll still pick up Sunshine up when they let her out for the year.  They're both looking forward to the time off, some summer camps and some much needed day trips and vacations for all of us.
 I'll still be doing a lot of sewing over the summer.  I have a huge To Do list of projects I need and/or want to get finished or at least in process so I'll be sharing more on those in the weeks to come.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Mickey Mouse Quilt for Sharon

 When I bought the Villains panel and fabrics for my friend Anne, I also knew that I also needed to find something for my friend Sharon.  Her favorite character is Kermit the Frog but after an exhausting search online, I came up empty.  She's also a big Disney fan and I found out that Mickey is her favorite character. Mickey panels and prints were much easier to find.

This is her finished Mickey Mouse quilt.

Once it was loaded on the frame, I knew that the quilting would bring it to life.
Picking the right panto was tough.  I auditioned so many options but in the end I chose Jacobian Flourish.  The thread choice for the top was Glide Empire which is a beautiful shade of Royal Blue.
All finished and ready for the binding.
The outside lighting on photo day wasn't idea for getting good pics of the stitching detail.
Here you can see it close up.  The design was perfectly playfully for this one.
The backing was a combo of another Mickey Mouse print paired with a leftover strip of Kona Gray.
I got one slight breeze photo that day.
For the bobbin thread I used Glide Medium Gray which showed on the fabrics just enough.
Sharon was and wasn't surprised when I gave this to her on her birthday.  She said she always suspected that I'd make her a quilt but didn't imagine that it would be of a character she loves.
Another long awaited quilt is done and in the hands of the person it was meant for.  Progress on my UFO pile feels really good.  There's more of this to come.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Sweeter Than Honey

 Since practically the beginning of my quilting journey I've had the plan to eventually make a quilt for each of my 4 siblings.  As with so many people this past year, I've thought long and hard about what I want to accomplish in my future and decided that these quilts needed to happen now, not in who knows how many years from now.

This first sibling quilt was for my oldest sister Tina, who also happens to be a quilter.  Long ago I started a quilt that I originally thought would be for her, but later decided it really wasn't her style.  She really likes bright fabrics like me and she's also a big Kate Spain fan.  Last summer, while reading through blogs, I came across a post by and an idea was hatched.  She created her Pathway Out of Here quilt with jelly roll strips but I wondered how it would look with wider strips.  I had a dessert roll (which is 5 inch strips) of Kate Spain's Honey Honey in my stash that would be perfect for this experiment.  Here's the result!

Sweeter Than Honey

 The first task was to figure out the progression of the prints.  I ended up using 16 of the 20 prints from the dessert roll. Since I have a vast collection of Kate Spain fabrics, using up the leftovers in a future project won't be a problem at all.
Being an accountant in my other life, the quilt math wasn't difficult. I just used graph paper to map out the cut sizes for each of the rows.  The center White pieces were 21 1/2" unfinished. Once the individual  pieces were cut, it was a breeze to sew it all together.  It finished at 64' x 72"
As soon as some customer quilts were done (paid work always comes first, of course), this was loaded on the frame and I was ready to have some fun with some freehand custom quilting.
I actually finished this quilt in November but couldn't post about it because she reads my blog. She recently came to visit for the weekend to quilt 3 of her own tops on my longarm machine so I was finally able to give it to her.
These are all the beautiful Glide threads that were used on the top.
Each row was stitched with a different design.  I scoured through may books to get inspiration and then drew out various options on graph paper to see how they played together.  The top row was initially only 1 inch wide piano keys but as I worked my way down the quilt, I knew it wasn't enough so I went back and added the side to side in every other row.
I literally decided which stitching design was going where as I went along.  The only rule I put on myself was to alternate the curvy type designs with the straight line designs. This row received some  simple meandering.
My purple disappearing marker was my best friend for spacing out the stitch lines evenly.
On some rows, I'd stitch one pass, such as the first set of this triangle design, and then wondered what it would look like if I echoed it a few times on either side.  This was the result. 
I truly enjoyed the freedom of coming up with ideas for each space.
This is another row where I initially did the first pass and knew that it needed more.  I was happy with the it after a few more lines were added.
For this quilt, I wanted simpler stitch designs, not heavy quilting.  That's not her taste and with all the busyness in most of the prints, I knew that it would be a waste of time since it really wouldn't show.  This row's treatment was a square meander.
I was glad that I have a variety of rulers to use so that I could stitch designs like this.
Here's another example of my experimenting, starting with one stitching pass and then going back to add more until I felt it was done.
The one challenge I found is that some of the ideas that I had drawn out on the graph paper didn't work well in these wider strips.  They were better suited for narrower areas. 
 I modified some stitch motifs such as the wishbone because it just didn't look right going up and down in the bigger area.  I definitely liked this side to side version better.
I've found that I really like coming up with straight line stitching ideas.  I can see more of this in my future on other projects.   
On her quilt Megan did small circles in the White strips and I knew that I wanted a similar motif for this area but again, the result after the first pass just wasn't enough. I went back added the overlapping circles and then it felt right.
I was completely thrilled with how this turned out and I can't wait to work on my next custom quilting project.  To say that Tina will thrilled with her gift is a massive understatement.  She loves it!
Although this fabric line came out many years ago, I was lucky enough to find a shop online that had enough of one of the prints for the backing.  In the future, I'm going to buy backing yardage from the fabric line even if I don't have plans yet for it.  Piecing a backing if it needs to be bigger is a lot easier than trying to find just the right print from another fabric line.
Being able to finally give this quilt to Tina was a great feeling and I know that she'll cherish it forever.  Keeping the secret was tough as I also couldn't post about it on Instagram so she wouldn't see it.
The quilt for the next sister is on it's way to her in South Carolina so stay tuned.  I was going to give it to her at my niece's upcoming wedding but she isn't able to attend.  I wish I could have given it to her in person but I didn't want her to wait to have it.  Who knows when we'll be able to get together again.