8 Projects for April and May!

In keeping with the plan to finish a UFO a month during 2015, here is the April finish.  Since this fabric has been waiting for about 5 years, I’m calling this a significant finish!

donation quilt

Flower Fairies, A Donation Quilt

The second April finish is not only finished but delivered to the Quilt Alliance for their 2015 challenge. This one is called Cat Circus. The Laurel Burch fabrics reminded me of how just one cat can be a complete circus (polite word for disaster) in just a matter of minutes in any room in the house. I love cats, so that’s OK by me.

Quilt Alliance

Cat Circus, my 2015 Quilt Alliance challenge quilt

And here is the May finish, along with two other donation quilts I made in April and May. This means 6 so far this year–I’m caught up through June!  I’ll have more information on some of these in a later post.  They are an improvisational quilt, an orphan block quilt, and a quilt using Cuddle charms and cat fabric.

I made two more blocks for My Modern Sampler this month.  You can read about the improvisational one here, and I will blog about the Humbug Star at a later date.  For now, here’s a preview:

Finally, I bound the Charley Harper quilt that came back from the quilter a while ago.  These organic cottons from Birch are stiffer and less silky than my usual quilting cottons, so I washed the quilt when it was finished.  That helped some with the stiffness and also made the quilting stand out more.

Charley Harper

Turning Twenty Again pattern in Charley Harper fabrics

On to the June projects–I’ll have much more news coming up!

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My Modern Sampler: Improv Block I

Sherri Lynn Wood’s book finally arrived,Improv Handbook, Sherri Lynn Wood and I’ve been enjoying it.  I have NO intention of making a full-size quilt for every exercise in the book!  However, an improv block for my sampler quilt seemed just right.

The first exercise in the book involves cutting fabric into squares, then using background fabric as needed to join them improvisationally.  I’ll mostly let the pictures speak for themselves here.

Improv quilt block

I chose  2 fabrics and a background to start–my notes are lying on the background fabric

Improv block

Then I cut a bunch of squares

About half way through, the design looked too static to me, so I cut a triangle of background fabric to set in the middle and throw the whole thing onto diagonal lines.

Improv block

I joined some of the pieces, but then…I decided to add a triangle!

The finished block:

improv quilt block

The finished block, which will be 12-1/2 inches square

This ended up resembling my previous work much more than it resembles Sherri Lynn’s quilts.  I think that may be sort of the point 🙂  Here are some of my previous improv blocks:

I’ll probably go on to Improv Block II, etc, as I go through the book.  Stay tuned!

The other posts in my modern sampler series can be found here:

My Own Modern Sampler–It May Take A Year!

The Modern Sampler Continues

 

FMQ on a DSM*

*Free Motion Quilting on a Domestic Sewing Machine, that is!

free motion quilting

I started out quilting placemats, because they are a manageable size and not much was lost if I goofed!

I’ve been working on this for years. Here are some things that have helped me, and some that haven’t:

Very Helpful: Taking an in-person class on quilting with a domestic machine. The first class introduced me to the walking foot for relatively straight lines, and to the darning foot for free motion quilting all sorts of shapes. It was helpful to have in-person instruction and feedback.

My most helpful hint: Take some cheater cloth to practice on! That placemat above is one of my original practice pieces.

Very Helpful: After practicing the basics for several years, I took Michele Scott’s advanced machine quilting class at an AQS show.(She teaches elsewhere, too). This covered different types of thread, couching, and bobbin work. She also has a good book and DVD from which one could learn this, but she’s lots of fun in person. And again, the personal feedback was helpful while I was learning. Free motion quilting
Helpful: I got a couple of books on machine quilting and worked through the exercises on my own. After learning the basic skills, it’s mostly practice, practice, practice.

Helpful: Just do it! I found a few free-motion patterns I was comfortable with and quilted whole quilts with them. It went just fine! They turned out waaay better than I expected, so I was encouraged.

Free Motion Quilting domestic sewing machine

Stars and Loops is one of my favorite free motion designs

Helpful: Jacquie Gering’s machine quilting class on Craftsy. It boosted my confidence that what I was doing was just fine.

walking foot quilting

Multi-stitch zigzag stitch is a great way to make interesting quilting lines with the walking foot

Less Helpful: A friend and I spent a lot of money to take a machine quilting class at a well-known craft school. We did not get our money’s worth, but we had a good time because we got to be together.  We should have checked more carefully on the level of the class before we plunked down our money.free motion quilting

Less Helpful: Another class on Craftsy that went through many different free-motion patterns. I got bored with that many slight variations. However, the class itself was just fine and probably would work well for some people.free motion quilting

And finally, I am undecided about the real value of my BSR, the very expensive Bernina Stitch Regulator. I do feel more confident using it because it decreases the problem of toe-catchers, those extra-BIG stitches that are all-too-easy to make when doing FMQ. However, it IS still possible to make uneven stitches if you don’t use the BSR just right.

The BSR’s main value to me is more confidence doing FMQ on things that are really important, when I don’t want to make a mistake.  I continue to use it in preference to going back to quilting without it, so obviously I find it useful.  The leaf designs in this post were quilted with it, and I like the stitching.  The BSR is just not a miracle worker, which I sort of think it should be for the price.

What do you think helps with FMQ on the DSM?

9 Quilts from AQS Paducah

Many quilters consider the AQS (American Quilters Society) annual show in Paducah, Kentucky the top of the heap among quilt shows.  So, I just had to go see for myself this year.

AQS Paducah

For Tanya, by Emily and Miriam Coffey, won first place in the Modern Wall Quilt category

Here are some of my favorite quilts from the show.  If some of them look a little wonky, it’s because they hang the quilts in 3-sided booths and then don’t let you into the booth!  The result is that, unless the quilt you want to photograph is directly at the back of the booth, you can’t get a straight shot of it.  Enjoy the pictures anyway!

modern quilts AQS Paducah

Flowers and Gears, by Robbi Joy Eklow, won a ribbon in the Longarm Quilted Small Wall Quilt category

I had a great time in Paducah, because I had a friend with me and we found COOKIES!  Luckily my friend knew where to find good food and a good place to stay 🙂

AQS Paducah modern quilts

It Takes the Case, by Karlyn Bue Lohrenz, won a ribbon in the category of Large Wall Quilts–Pictorial

I have pictures of a few of my favorite quilts here, but on the whole this show had fewer quilts that I really loved than any show I’ve attended in the past year.  Probably because of the emphasis on “show quilts”.

AQS Paducah

In the Marsh #2, by Carol Bryer Fallert-Gentry

However, there were some outstanding quilts like the ones above and below.  I suppose they are “show quilts” too, but they are not so heavily quilted that they appear 3-dimensional, and they don’t have rhinestones!

AQS Paducah

Canola Fields, by Leah Gravells, was made of 199 strips 3/4 inch wide–and she got them all straight!

One of the reasons I go to shows is to be inspired, and these quilts certainly were inspiring!

AQS Paducah improvisational quilt

Boardwalks of Asilomar, byt Jody H. Rusconi, was one of the few improvisational quilts in the show

improv quilt AQS Paducah

Playing It, by Pam Beal, was another nice improvisational quilt

quilt photo AQS Paducah

Windows #1-Antigua, by Brenda S. Wall

AQS Paducah

Rainbow Play by Brenda S. Roach

AQS Paducah

Rhythmic, by Karen Neary

2 Quilts, 1 Set of Instructions

It’s here! The latest issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited, containing a quilt designed and made by me!Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine
The editors did a great job of providing clear diagrams for my instructions, and of photographing the quilt.  It is made from Michael Miller batiks, supplied by the company for this project.  I love MM fabrics, and was happy to use batiks for a little change from the “oh-so-solid” solids that are currently popularModern Quilts Unlimited.And here’s a second quilt made with the same feature blocks, arranged differently. (The solids are Michael Miller Cotton Couture left over from another project.)  You can get the templates from the magazine and make your own blocks, arranging them to suit yourself.

Quilt Pattern

Alternate colorway and block arrangement from the same pattern

modern quilt

Look at this fun quilting done by Joyce Miller!

So go make it your own way!