Spring Quilt

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I started this little quilt a few weeks ago from some fabrics that were already in my stash.  The main squares in the middle of the quilt were from a stack of fabrics from Camille Roskelley.  I love the combination of the red and the light turquoise which happens to be her signature color combination.  Then, I added some other fabrics along the way for the borders.  This quilt was not pencilled out or designed before I started sewing.  Rather, I just let the fabric selection and final design come to me as I stitched.  So, we pick up the quilt here:

Measuring for the Second 6" Border

I love adding borders to quilts.  I have tried all different styles and sizes and each quilt wants a different type of border.  You just have to pull different colors out and see how they work.  And, then play with sizes.  I ended up doing three borders on this quilt.  A 2″ border in white to frame the squares in the middle.  A 4″ turquoise border and then a 6″ border in the large pink floral.  The other thing that I paid attention to is the colors that were in the quilt that I wanted to highlight.  In this case, it was the pale turquoise and pink.  Also, you will notice the scale of the print on the two border fabrics is quite different; the turquoise with a smaller scale print and the pink with a larger scale print.  I didn’t particularly plan it, but I do know that you want to change up scales of print throughout your designs.  Too many large scale prints next to each other is often offensive to the eye and too many small scale prints makes it too busy.  Rely on your eye and play with combinations.

Pinning is the Key

My tips for making sure your borders fit correctly:

  • Measure your border size using the middle of your quilt and not the ends.  If your quilt is “wonky” and not perfectly square at the corners, this will help to straighten it up.  Measure from the middle, but the border and then attach to the end of the quilt.
  • Now, if the size is not exact, you will need to stretch or bunch up the border and then pin.  You want to spread out the excess or the lack of fabric across the entire edge.  Trust me – we all create “wonky” quilts at one point or another.  The border is the trick to fixing this.  Be patient and don’t get too pissed off.
  • Pinning is the key to making sure that your borders are affixed correctly and match up end to end.
  • DO NOT measure your border at the end and then free sew.  Your quilt will be worse off…trust me.  Been there…done that.

Close Up of Front Panel

When your front panel is all done, make sure you iron really good so that it is ready to be sandwiched with the batting you have selected and the back.  I like to create the backs to my quilts so that they have a little bit of personality.  When I first started quilting, I hated doing anything on the back because I just wanted to get the quilt finished.  Now, I like to take my time so that the front and the back are just as nice.  The product of a good pressing job is that the back of your panel looks like the photo below.  Well, kind of…there are still a few seems that need to be repressed.  By the way, I hate ironing my clothes….but, I do iron my quilts.

Back of the Front Panel - The Iron is Your Friend

Then, it is off to creating the quilt sandwich:  front, batting and the back.  I always use 3M 303 spray adhesive to create the quilt sandwich.  It is the quickest and easiest way to do this…I have tried all different ways and this is my preferred method.  Then, I quilt.  I use my own Bernina to quilt all of my quilts.  I drop the feed dogs and go for it.  The next few pics show some closeups of the quilting.  I just used the standard stipple (meandering) pattern.

Quilting Close Up

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Quilting Close Up

And, here is the finished product.

She's All Done

Perfect Spring Quilt

Here’s a quick snapshot of the back of the quilt and my label….I wasn’t very good at labeling my quilts in the beginning.  Now, I label all of them.  You never know where they will end up (or where I will end up).

Back is Matching

This quilt is up for sale at my etsy store.  Check it out here>>>> Spring Quilt on Etsy

My next quilt is already rolling around in my head.  It has something to do with green pastures and cute sheep.  Stay Tuned!  Have a lovely day and do more of WHAT YOU LIKE!

 

Quilt Gift

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Last weekend, I finished one of my first “commissioned” quilts.  This quilt was for a husband and dad’s 40th birthday present.  The quilt design and color was centered around the high school letter that never made it onto a jacket.  So, this inspiration guided the selection of the fabrics and the style of the quilt.  Here’s the journey from drawing to fabric to quilt:

I pencilled this quilt out a few weeks prior to get the approval of the customer.  It is always hard to get my ideas on to paper, but once I do it moves the creative process along quite quickly.  My initial design is below which I changed slightly as I purchased the fabric, worked the blocks and figured out the sizing.  I ended up going five blocks down rather than four because it just looked better to the eye.

Initial Design

One of my favorite things to add to add quilt is a border and stripes.  I never know exactly what border will look right until I get the main part of the quilt complete and have the fabrics all in front of me.  The final design with the stripes changed slightly, but they are still there.

Dimensions

I decided to start this quilt with 4 1/2″ squares when sewn together in blocks of 9 would make a full 12″ block.  You can see my ever present companion (Baja) below the table.

The Beginning...4 1/2" Squares Sewn Together

Sewing the blocks together and creating the main portion of the quilt.  Once these blocks come together, the quilt gets pretty large and a little hard to manage.  The key in getting the corners and lines to match up is pinning.  Yes, it pays off to pin things.  I used to skip this step, but would always regret it!  PIN IT!

Sewing Blocks Together

The addition of the personal touches like this high school letter is when the quilt design really started to take shape.  It is when the concept on paper and the reality of what is sitting in front of you starts to move into what looks right now that you can see it right in front of you.  I used a blanket stitch with green matching thread to stick the letter on the quilt top.

High School Letter

So, here’s my secret to getting the perfect letters.  It is probably not a secret to many, but I discovered it a few years ago when trying to figure out how to get perfect quilt letters.  I just use Microsoft Word to locate the type of font I want and the size.  I print out the letters that I want to use in the correct size.  I then use these letters to trace onto the fabric adhesive.  There are several different products out there to use:  Steam A Seam, Heat and Bond, Pellon, etc.  They all work well, but try different types out and use what you like the best.  Make sure it is two sided adhesive and not one sided.  Otherwise, you will be unhappy!

Font for Lettering - My Trick

Once the letters are all cut out and ready to go, I sew them on to the base fabric using my favorite blanket stitch with matching thread.  This is something that you will get better at over time.  One thing that you will want to play with is the size of the stitch and the tension in your bobbin.  If you see your thread from below peaking through, your tension is too tight.  I first attached these letters with a blanket stitch and then went back over the letters after the quilt was complete and washed with a decorative stitch.  It created a nice effect on the letters that allowed them to standout.  Oh, and make sure you change presser feet before you start the blanket stitch….or, you will break a needle.  Trust me…I know.  I broke two last weekend.

Sewing on the Letters

Here is the actual quilting in progress (after the back of the quilt and batting have been assembled with my preferred method of spray glue basting).  One of my favorite parts…the part that makes a quilt A QUILT!  I used just a meandering stipple pattern done freehand.  I drop the feed dogs, adjust the tension, change the foot and go for it.  Check the back of the quilt occasionally to make sure your tension is correct; you will have to adjust if you start sewing fast as it will pull a bit.  Just keep an eye on it and adjust as needed.

Quilting

Here is the final quilt.  You will notice that the stripes made it to the binding on the quilt.  I love the effect.  I debated whether adding another border, but liked this look so much that I kept it like this.  I quilted using a silver grey thread on front and a black thread on back.  The back of the quilt has a brushed cotton flannel which will be super cozy and warm.  I love to wash my quilts right after they are finished so that they shrink up, become cuddly and are nice and soft.  Also, if you have done some applique, you can check to make sure you don’t have any places where you need to go back and touch up.

Quilt Front

Here is a close up of the letters.  Notice the decorative stitch that I used on the blocks that the letters sit on.  And, how the letters puff out a bit.  That is a result of coming back after washing the quilt and sewing around the letters a second time.  You can also notice how the quilt shrinks up and gets a little “wrinkly” after washed.  I like this look…

Quilt Detail...Lettering

Close up of the message on the back of the quilt…I should have gotten a better picture.  I had embroidered this on the back of the quilt with cotton thread.

Quilt Back - Message

I used left over binding to tie up the quilt into a perfect package.

Quilt Package - Ready to Give

The quilt was delivered the next day and I hear that it was well received.  In fact, it was given a few days in advance to the birthday boy because they couldn’t wait!  Always, good to hear.

If you are interested in a custom quilt, go to my etsy page to see the options.

Happy Day!

Featured….

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A post is in the works on the first “customer” quilt that I finished up this weekend.  For now, just a quick note to say Happy Valentines Day and to let you know that my Valentine’s Day project was featured on another blog.  Click the button below and check it out!!

 

Bubbly NatureTalk to you soon….Wendy

For the ‘Joy’ of It

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It might seem funny, but there are days that I am filled with so much anticipation for whatever is to come that I am worried I won’t have time in my life to experience all that I want to. But, I love that feeling. It is a validation that my life is full and spilling over the top. I like the anticipation. I realize that it is the experiences in my life that I enjoy the most; not the stuff that fills it. (Now don’t get me wrong…I still eye that new Kate Spade bag or the perfect shoe and often indulge.)

For example, I am looking forward to an amazing moment in the future when I get word that the project that so many have been working on for so long is officially ‘approved’. It is not the piece of paper, but the moment that I anticipate. It is the feeling that will overcome us, it is the collective joy of the team, the settled feeling in your heart.

It is the same reason I love to give gifts. It is about finding just the perfect gift and watching the person enjoy the gift. It is also the reason that I love to travel. I want to see how other people live, experience different things and to just be in another place physically and in my mind.

My list of things to do in this life is long and probably more than is possible, but the thought of that fills me up. It can also be overwhelming and remind you of all the things that you cannot or don’t do. But, I don’t let it take me there. I allow it to be my day dream whether it is a small corner bakery or a quaint quilt shop born out of my fantasy and all the people that inspire me daily.

Without knowing what brings you fulfillment and joy, you won’t notice it when it crosses your path. You will miss the moment without even knowing that it was supposed to be yours.

I realize that this blog is really a product of all of these things; it is enjoying the process of creating and the anciticpation of what comes next.

What fulfills you and brings you joy?

Spring in February ?

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I do really enjoy flowers and gardening.  I haven’t really had much time of late, but I do often gaze into the yard.  Our new house has a great yard with lots of flowering plants that I love.  I keep thinking of all the tiny additions I could add to make it even more colorful.  The great thing is that all the hard part is done; all it needs is some small pops of color here and there, a little green thumb and some time.  It’s on the list of things to do for the spring.

For now, here are a few shots of spring in the making:

The orchid tree … I have always admired these trees, but never had the pleasure of having them in my yard.  They have these great double leaves and beautiful blooming flowers that resemble an orchid.

 

Next is the sweet pea bush which I have always like because of the texture of the leaves and the great sweet pea “like” purpose flowers….it is a great shrub.

 

Last and definitely not least is the wall of jasmine that is about to burst into bloom in the next few weeks.  You can see all of the pink buds in this photo which will all turn into beautiful spidery white flowers in the next few weeks with an amazing fragrance.

 

I also have a shade area that has beautiful ferns that I love because they are so delicate.

As I am uploading all these images, I am thinking about the other things that I haven’t shared….the bloom calla lilies, the gardenias, the azaleas, the lavendar and my favorite tipu trees (tipuana).

No instructions, nothing to do…just enjoy the photos.   🙂