Jun 29, 2010

I changed my mind--again

I was so excited today, it's time for me to lay out the blocks for this quilt.  I just have a bit more embroidery to do on the flower appliques.  I spread out the blocks on my bed (no design wall for me--my quilts are intended to be put on beds anyhow, not hung in a museum). I got out my big tape measure and my calculator and started planning the sashes.  Sashes were in my original sketch for this quilt. I had that all figured out.  I was trying to decide on the color of the sashes--and then I took a closer look at this photo.  Guess what, I decided that I don't need sashes!  I think that I just need to square up these blocks, cut out some yellow blocks to go on each side of Jenna's name, and sew it all together.  Then I'll add a border to the edges.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I have washed some cute flannel for the back of each quilt--although Sabrina's quilt is only a thought in my head at the moment, I already picked out a backing for her quilt. There's a lot of quilting to do!

Jun 24, 2010

Applique under construction (and Disneyland)

What a struggle I'm having arranging these photos on the blog page!  Anyhow, here's some photos of when my family took me out to dinner at the Disneyland street.  We had so much fun.  My sister was visiting us, too.  So needless to say, I've not been sewing as much as usual.  However, I do have these applique squares underway for my "Jenna" quilt. I'm planning to sew alternating squares of the pieced stars and the applique blocks.  I must say that as far as I'm concerned, designing and doing your own applique beats following some pattern in a book hands down.  I don't have to worry about the placement of design parts exactly as they are in some diagram.  I just make whatever picture I decide on, pick out any fabrics I have on hand, and place the design elements "by eye."  The most important things to remember when working by this method are to cut the background blocks in generous proportions, and square them up after the design is completed.  It also helps to find the exact center of the background block before placing the design elements. I'm putting lots of little pink hearts on the quilt.  As you can see in this photo, some of the applique patches are only pinned on at this point, and there's a lot of embroidery I need to add--especially the bird needs embroidered feet and an eye.

Jun 17, 2010

Is it embroidery or?

Do you call this embroidery, or am I simply too lazy to remove the basting?  I've been making some larger-sized appliques by this method that I invented for a few years now but I never fessed up to it before.  First of all, for this particular (about 7 inch)applique shape, I saved the cardboard insert from a heart-shaped box of chocolates.  Those chocolates were a gift quite a few years ago. The candy is long gone, but the heart-shaped cardboard endures. I placed the cardboard on the right side of my fabric and traced around it with a piece of chalk.  Then I cut out the heart with a quite generous seam line--larger than for a regular applique--OK I better go and measure--alright, it's 1/2 inch seams.  Clip the seam where necessary. In order to prepare the applique for sewing, I used to baste this hem in place, press it, and then rip out the bastings.  So I said to myself, "Self, why am I ripping out perfectly good stitching?"  So now what I do is use embroidery thread when turning under the edges, and leave it there--presto, an embroidered applique!  I have now pressed it, pinned it in place, and it's all ready to be sewn down.

Jun 16, 2010

It's slow work

I have made the 5 star blocks now, and it's time for me to get the applique blocks organized.  I think that I will be using a yellow gingham as the background.  This requires me to paw through some of my stash.  What fun, I usually find a piece of fabric or two that I've forgotten all about.  And I'll be able to use some of them in the applique.  I also came across a bit of pink gingham that I think I'll be using for this quilt.  To be continued.

Jun 12, 2010

Jacaranda trees are in bloom

It's a sure sign that warm weather is on the way when the jacaranda trees bloom.  Many of these trees line the avenues. 

Jun 11, 2010

Starting Jenna's quilt

I've made a rather slow start now on the second of the quilts for my three granddaughters.  I sewed Jenna's name in free-piecing using solid colors.  Then I made a sample star block.  I love to make these free-pieced blocks like Gwen Marston has in her wonderful quilting books. Right now I've been planning a lay-out for the quilt.  I'm thinking of making large star blocks alternating with some other blocks, such as applique hearts.  Or perhaps pieced hearts.  I hope that I can cut out some blocks today.  Meanwhile, life goes on and I've been busy with other things.   Even if I'm not quilting, I'm planning quilts in my mind. 

Jun 6, 2010

Jera's quilt with hearts

Here's the quilt top with the hearts appliqued.  I also added a couple of hearts to the border.  And now there'll be a pause in the making of this quilt, because I want to buy some special fabric for the backing.  I'll probably be able to go to the fabric store in a couple of weeks.  Meanwhile, I've started on the second quilt of the trilogy.  Jenna's quilt is next.  Jenna is the name of my next-in-line granddaughter.  After her, there's Sabrina.  Don't they all have beautiful names?  I have a fourth granddaughter, Sara who goes to University, and I made a denim quilt for her last year, so she's taken care of in the quilt department, for now.  Meanwhile, I have cut out a few strips of fabric for Jenna's name, and decided on the background, which will be off-white.  The quilt will be a different design.  Something free-pieced and I think that I will continue with the appliqued hearts on all three quilts.  This is so much fun for me.  The temperature is already over 100 degrees Fahrenheit where the three granddaughters live in Nevada, so there is no big hurry to finish these quilts!

Jun 3, 2010

Little hearts take shape

These photos show how I sewed a yellow fabric border on the quilt after I had added some more patches to make it longer. Now it's time for embellishment.  I'm planning to sew on a bunch (that's a mathematical term) of hearts here and there.  For my appliques, I first found one of my plastic templates that was left over from a previous project, and I used a pencil to trace around it unto the back side of some iron-in non-woven interfacing.   Then I sew the interfacing to the right side of the fabric and cut out.  See below:(Gosh, it's a bear to arrange these pictures on the blog!) Anyhow, you can hardly make out the stitching on the interfacing, so I turned one of the hearts over so you can see how it's sewn.  Then I trim the edges and I carefully cut a slit in the interfacing, and turn the heart right side out.  An old plastic crochet hook helps to turn the edges.  Voila!  A heart with all the edges turned under and ready to iron on and sew down on the quilt.  The sticky stuff on the interfacing holds it in place while preforming this operation.  I'm a pony-tail and hair band type of person when it comes to sewing on appliques, so I usually hand sew the edges in place and then I either hand or machine embroider the edges.