Saturday, February 24, 2007

Crayons and Quilting

Last Wednesday night was our monthly quilt guild meeting. We had a demonstration on colouring on fabric. I can see that this was a dangerous demonstration for me to watch, because I can feel the start of another project coming on. This is exactly how I get distracted from my focus on finishing my UFOs!

I came home and "Googled" crayons and quilting and came up with a lot of interesting information. There are many variations of colouring quilt blocks with crayons, but the link that I found that was most like the technique demonstrated to us on Wednesday night took me to the June 2003 (No. 353) issue of Quilter's Newsletter Magazine:

The article in QNM was written by Cheryl Wittmayer. If you visit Cheryl's website, you will be even further tempted by the designs that can be created using this technique: Cheryl says that the basics to the technique are:

Trace with a .01 black pigma pen.

Color with regular Crayola crayons—not fabric crayons.

Set the colors with your iron.

Color and set as many times as you need to get the depth of color you desire.

Stitch with a backstitch by hand, or free-motion machine stitch 4 times on the drawn lines, or triple-stitch by machine on the lines.

The only differences in Cheryl's technique and the technique that was demonstrated to us at guild night were:

- Another method to trace your design from paper to fabric is to use ordinary carbon paper - simply put a piece of carbon paper between your design and your fabric and trace on the lines of your design. The design will be transferred to your fabric

- Another method to outline your design after you have finished colouring it if you don't want to do embroidery by hand or machine is to use needle punch to outline your design. Our instructor suggested doing needle punch on the reverse side of the fabric that you normally do your needle punch on--you want the stitch line on the top of your design and the "puff" of the needle punch on the back.

I can envision the possibilities of this technique. In fact, this is an excellent project for those who consider themselves to not be appliquers. Any applique design would translate well to using this technique.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Quilting and String Blocks

Although I haven't been posting, I have been busy working on quilting activities--most of them have been customer quilts so there hasn't been much to show.

I did finish quilting my Wicked Easy Quilt this past week. I quilted it with a zig-zag design and random stars. The stars made for a lot of stopping and starting--it took all of Friday to tie off the threads and bury them in the quilt. I have never been a fan of back stitching to finish off my stitching. I prefer to hand tie knots in the threads and bury the ends inside the quilt sandwich so this takes quite a bit of time.

These are some pictures of the quilting detail.

I was also tempted to make some string blocks. This is a picture of the 10 blocks I made today.

These blocks are made using used dryer sheets as foundations--6" x 8 1/2". I understand why everyone has started making these--they are incredibly fast and easy to make. Today while taking to my Mom on the phone, I made two from start to finish--including the trimming. They are also "feel good" blocks because you realize that every block you make you are decreasing your pile of useless strings. Less strings means you can free up space in those totes and drawers that we all have bulging with fabric.

I like how Patti set her blocks together and I am thinking about doing something similar. I think she really made her blocks pop with the use of the narrow sashing and cornerstone between the four blocks contrasting against the wider sashing and cornerstones outside the group of four blocks. Excellent idea!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Wicked Easy Quilt - Flimsy

Today was a beautiful sunny day! We are considering today's weather a bonus as the forecast was for rain and we got sun. Since my regular quilt hanger was not home and his sister is much shorter and does not have near the arm span, I took this quilt top outside and hung it from the deck for the picture. It is not every day that I get the option to take my quilt pictures outside.

I finished this Wicked Easy Quilt to the flimsy stage this morning. I did make a slight modification from the pattern. The pattern called for a "flap" as an inner border instead of a regular border. A note in the pattern indicated that if you intended to have the top quilted by a long armer, you might want to reconsider inserting the flap and just continuing on with the outside border. I like the looks of the inner border (red in my quilt) and I definitely plan on quilting this one on the long arm so I inserted a narrow 1" regular border in place of the flap. The pattern mentioned that the inclusion of the inner border would anchor the quilt and give the eye a place to rest. I definitely think the inner border adds to this quilt--especially if you are using busy fabrics like I have. I had to insert a small block in the outer border to compensate for the increase in size of the outer border but because this quilt is pieced in a random sort of way, I don't think it detracts from the overall quilt.

This afternoon while I was out running errands and grocery shopping, I stopped by the local quilt shop and picked up some batting so that I can begin quilting this one tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

February Goals Met

I am happy to report that I have met my goals for February!

My first finish is my February bluework snowman. As you can see, he is currently blind and buttonless. I have discovered the most wonderful beads and so I have given up on the French knots. I will add the beads after the blocks are finished, assembled into the finished top and quilted. It is much easier to deal with embellishments after the quilting is finished.

I have not yet pressed this block because I am still looking for the perfect stain remover that will remove some stains near the snowman's head (they don't seem to show up in the picture, but believe me, they are there). I have been successful in fading the stains, but not in totally removing them. I have tried everything I can think of including rubbing alcohol, lemon juice, the Tide pen, the bleach pen, and some solvent based stain remover. Nothing wants to to totally remove the stains. I must be more careful on my next blocks to make sure I don't end up with more mystery stains.

The second finish for February is my Double Four Patch quilt. The last stitches were taken on the binding tonight. I quilted this one with Circle Lord's Zig Zag / Wave template.

I tried a new batting in this quilt by the Warm Company. The batting is an 80/20 blend and is so light and soft compared to Warm and Natural. It also shows off the quilting nicely. I am going to be using this batting again!

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Wicked Easy Quilt

I decided to take Judy up on her February Stash Reduction Challenge and try out a pattern that Linda J sent me at the same time.

Judy has asked us to dig a piece of fabric out of our stash that we have been saving and use it in the month of February. There was no one single piece of fabric that stood out in my stash, but there was this bundle of fat quarters from Teresa Kogut's Williamsburg fabric line that I won at my quilt guild meeting in June. I have been looking for just the right pattern that wouldn't require the fabric to be cut up into too small of pieces as some of the prints are large and I did not want to loose the design in the cutting process. This pattern is called, Wicked Easy Quilt by Annie Unrien. With a name like, Wicked Easy, I just had to give this one a try.

My quilt still requires the borders, but so far, I can say that this is a super simple pattern that would be well suited for charity quilts.