Monday, October 29, 2012

Design Wall Monday

Pressing the leftover HST.

Trim them nice and neat.
What I had in mind.

What I think that I am going to do.
Recently I posted about working on some blocks for the quilt guild board's auction quilt.  It used the method of putting squares together and sewing on the diagonal and then trimming off the corner triangles.  I just can't throw out those triangles!  I like to make mini quilts out of them.  I decided to see what would happen with the triangles left over from the auction blocks.  I had 16 large hst units and only 8 small ones.  I thought I would be able to do some thing with the small ones, but I guess they will go on the back.  I like both ways I had the squares laid out, I think that I will go with the second option.

This is my offering for Design Wall Monday.  Check out what everyone else is doing at Patchwork Times.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Never easy.

Can't finish it!

Threads galore

I know, glue is the answer!

Quilting is compete!

Close up.


How can anything simple never be easy?  Murphy's Law rules my life.  Last week I had all the photos ready for my post and wrote it up while at my son's house helping with the new baby and almost 3 year old.  I must have selective memory, the baby quilt barely got finished in time.  But I digress.  I thought that this week I could for sure get that little fused quilt finished.  I have Dove chocolates, I have my cutting table cleared, I have my fingerless mitts on since the weather turned cold, so why did it take all week to get my butt in gear?

Yesterday I made a run for it. I finished the stems, tucked those threads to the back and tied them off and moved on to the free motion quilting.  I got the red thread done and the threads moved and tied on the back.  Went on to the orange thread, got a few squiggles in.  Actually, it was more than halfway there. Tuck the threads to the back and tie off. Oops, broke off a couple really too close to tie off.  Ok, get out the Elmers glue. I don't care how the back looks, I am fusing a fake back. Hmm, why won't the glue come out?  Well, the tip is full of dried glue.  Spend at least half an hour picking out dried glue from the nozzle. Ok, threads glued, time to finish the orange thread.  The bobbin ran out.  Really?  Ok, wind a bobbin, all set.  No, the bobbin wasn't in properly and fell out.  Take out the few bad stitches and put the bobbin in correctly.  Yuck, what happened to the tension?  Pick out more stitches.  At that point I decided it was time to walk away and try again another day.

It is another day.  Well, maybe I should write up a post for the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  I am trying to get out there more, so that would be perfect.  I am blogger #149. Well, it is polite to look at some of the other blogs.  Like all of them.  And more keep getting added.  Oops, what about the quilt show entry that is due?  Better get that going. Where did the day go?  I only have a few squiggles to go, better get to it.  Found my issue with the tension, finished the 2 minutes of quilting and then tied everything off.  Trimmed the quilt to a pleasing shape and then Sweetie gets home.  Cocktail hour!  And I need to find something decent for dinner.

I guess the fused back can wait until morning. 

This is my Off the Wall post for the week.  Maybe next week you will actually get to see a tiny quilt that is finished!

The Most Important Quilt---Blogger's Quilt Festival

T-shirts are prepared.

Working on the layout.
The finished front of the quilt.
The back of the quilt.
On display at the Memorial.

The 40th birthday quilt.
Me, my Brother and Peaty, hiking in the snow.

Blogger’s Quilt Festival Stats
Finished quilt measures : approx 80″x 90″
Special techniques used : Fused interfacing to stabilize t-shirts, wiggle quilting. 
Quilted by : Sylvia B. Lewis
Best Category : Bed Quilt, Home Machine Quilted Quilt

The most Important Quilt that I have ever made was for my Brother, Tom Borschel.  He had requested it.  He was a trail runner, snowshoe racer, bike riding, adventure seeking man.  He had a vast collection of event t-shirts and asked if I would turn some of them into a quilt.  Some of his friends had sent away for one and he thought that I could do "better".  Of course I said yes.  He brought a bag full of his favorites and we sorted through them.  I wanted to make sure to include the most desired ones in the quilt.  As we looked through the memories, the smile on his face will be forever etched in my heart.  My brother had been recently diagnosed with ALS and I knew that there would be no more t-shirts.

It was very difficult to work on this quilt.  Every time that I opened the bag of shirts I would start to cry.  Finally a friend had come over for a visit and with her there I was able cut up the shirts and get the project going.  I rough cut the designs, then fused some lightweight interfacing to stabilize the knit fabrics.  I cut the prepared shirts into sizes that were divisible by 2" plus 1/2" for a seam allowance. I had cut a bunch of strips in varying widths and colors, browns, blacks, greens, golds and whites.  I used the white strips to surround the colored shirts and the others to surround the white background shirts.  This way there was white on every block to tie them together.

I had worked on the layout at a quilt retreat in California. It was a puzzle to get all the shirts in. I used the border fabric to fill in all the spaces. I was able to get the top and back together that weekend.  A week later I was at another retreat at Ruby's Inn near Bryce National Park.  There I was able to get the machine quilting and the binding finished.  I used big chunks of various fabrics for the back.  I tried to include all kinds of novelty prints that represented things that were important to Tom.  There was one leftover t-shirt block from the Power Bar shirt, so that went on the back as well. I also made a pillowcase to put the quilt in for gifting.  It went via our sister since she lives halfway between.  The message from my brother when he saw it was that it was the most Awesome quilt!  Way better than he expected it to be. Some of his friends had been disappointed with the ones that they had ordered.

My brother died late December of 2011.  The quilt went to the hospital with him.  At the Memorial it was hung as a backdrop to some of the displays that  were set up by his wife and sons.  I had dozens of his friends come up to me and tell me how much they loved the quilt and how much my brother meant to them.  They would talk about the races that they had ran/snowshoed/biked with him that were represented in the quilt.  The small wall hanging that I had made for his 40th birthday was also on display.  

Yes, it is just a T-shirt quilt.  It will never win any ribbons or awards.  It is the most important quilt I have ever or will ever make.  And I didn't really make it.  My Brother did.  He earned those shirts.  He made those memories. I just sewed the seams.

This is my entry to the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  Check out the other entries.  It looks like it is going to be a great show!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Iron basting

When I am working on a smaller quilt my preferred method of pin basting is to do it at the ironing board.

Eddy likes to help

My Ironing station.

Backing and the batting.

The top.

Smooth everything and give it a good press.

I like to slide my little mat underneath to make pinning easier.

I love this tool for closing the pins.

After I pin what has been pressed, I slide it over, smooth
the backing.

Then the batting and the top and press again.  

The last section.  Make sure to take the mat out after you pin
each section, you do not want to iron with it underneath the quilt.

I like to use a larger stitch length for machine quilting,.

I keep a sample piece handy to test the stitch and tensions.

My hokey set up to boost up the quilt.

Rolled up and ready to go.

My favorite, wiggle quilting.

Both directions finished.

The finished baby quilt!

I found that this method works best for me.  Pressing the layers seems to make them stick together a bit better.  I found that my sewing room was so crowded with the big ironing board in there and I mostly just used it to press a few seams.  So I took the big board out and set up a small ironing mat on my table.  I put the big board in the linen closet.  So when I need to iron yardage or big stuff, I just pull it out of the closet and set it up in the hallway.  It makes much better use of my sewing studio.

For simple quilts I like to use variations of my wiggle quilting.  You can do gentle curves with a walking foot and going edge to edge, no threads to tuck in!

The baby quilt was finished in time for the arrival of our newest grandson, Scott!  He is so sweet!

This is my Off the Wall post for this week.  Check out what everyone else is doing at Nina-Marie's blog!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Baby Quilt

Fabric selection

Making 9 patches

Cool Lion print

The quilt top

EQ7 drawing
Our son and his wife are expecting their second child.  Another boy.  He is scheduled to arrive on Monday. When they were expecting the first "Most Beautiful Baby Boy in the World" I had the baby quilt finished even before we found out it was going to be a boy.  This time I am pushing the deadline.  I don't know why I haven't gotten this project going sooner.  I didn't have a real good vision for it.  But really, it is just a drag around, use it up kind of quilt so it really shouldn't be such a big deal.  

A month or so ago I was in the small little quilt shop in town.  I found a really cute flannel print with giraffes.  I bought a yard.  I figured it would be perfect for the backing and a yard x width of fabric is just the size for a newborn.  Well, that piece of fabric sat around my sewing space since.  I couldn't decide what to do with the front of the quilt.  On Tuesday I had some errands to do and stopped at Kent's (the grocery store) and across the parking lot is the quilt shop.  I headed in there, mainly for ideas.  I am looking around the flannels and then I saw the lion print.  Oh, that would be so cute!  So I bought 3/4 yard of that one, another 3/4 yard of the giraffes and then a 3/4 yard cut of another cute giraffe print.  I found a nice rusty brown for the binding and bought 1/2 yard.  Ok.  I am set.  

Or am I?  What do I do with these fabrics?  Cut a bunch of 6 inch squares and toss them all together? Fussy cut the lions and the add logs of giraffes?  Ok, how about my favorite the 9 patch.  I calculated that if I cut binding strips 2" I would need 5 of them and then I would have enough of the binding fabric left to use in some of the blocks.  I decided to make it the middle square.  With the 2 giraffe fabrics as the corners and sides I make strip sets, cut, sew them back together and have 11 blocks. I could have had 12, but one of the fabrics (the binding) was a good 2-1/2" shorter than the others. I had decided to just cut the lions into 9-1/2" squares.  The print would have been hard to fussy cut.  But because I only had 3/4 of a yard (27") minus shrinkage and straightening the edge, I could only get 8 lion squares out of that piece of fabric.  

I laid out the blocks and it just wasn't quite there.  I decided I needed to add some more plain squares.  I had enough of the second giraffe print to cut out four 9-1/2" squares.  I played with the layout some more and put 3 of the giraffes in the center and all the lions to the outside alternated with the 9 patches.  It is a bit off center, but if I tried to make it one row wider the backing would no longer fit.  As it was, I used the last bit of lion sewn to the original yard of giraffes plus the extra of the 3/4 yard to make the backing large enough.  Whew.  Tomorrow I will pin baste and get it quilted, and work on the binding in the evening.  Now hopefully my DIL doesn't go into labor before Sunday and I will be set.

I really liked the layout of the blocks, but I wanted to see how they would look with the extra row so I drew it up in EQ.  

That is how I work.  I sort of have an idea, buy some fabric or raid the stash, start cutting and sewing and then try to figure out the math.  Usually I have to change plan because I don't have enough of something to make it work the way I thought it would go.  

My Off the Wall post for this week, check out what everyone else is doing at Nina-Marie's blog.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Inspiration in Moab





Castle Valley Winery

More redrock

A memorial for Lyzz


More offerings

Angel earring, found at our campsite.

You can feel the love

Carved rock offerings

VW fence

Bike wheel fence

Bug gate


Wreath made from plastic bottles and cd's

I love this guy!

We went to Moab for the weekend.  I found a lot of inspiration there.  Beautiful red rock, weeds, memorials, VW parts shop, and the coolest junk shop you ever saw!