Some Useful “Finds”

Today I’m sharing a few non-quilting items that I have found useful for quilting.

Clear Plastic Trash Bags. I keep a package of these handy and wrap any quilts or fabric I’m going to mail in one of them.  I seal it with clear packing tape.  That way, if the box gets wet in transit, the fabric has some protection.  I won’t tell you how I learned that the trash bags you can’t see through are a BAD idea…  Glad makes the clear ones in several sizes.

Binder Clips.  I have these in two sizes as a legacy of Judy Niemeyer’s classes, which require extreme organization.  I now use them to hold binding in a reasonable roll while I’m storing it, to hold quilt pieces together when I’ve cut a bunch of the same size for a project, etc, etc.  They’re pretty handy as chip clips in the kitchen, too–they don’t break like the usual plastic chip clips.  You can find them at any office supply store.

Ponytail Holders.  These are handy for putting around a spool to keep the thread from wandering, tangling, etc, while the spool of thread is in storage.  If found this small size,

which is handy for the smaller diameter spools, for $1 at a store that will remain nameless.  These also come in a larger size that works well for larger spools.

What non-quilting items do you find useful in your studio?

 

 

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Practice, Practice

A friend started this quilt about 15 years ago and did a beautiful job, but quilting didn’t “take” with her, so she had this unfinished quilt but not the expected huge piles of fabric, tools, threads, patterns…well, you know.

The wonky shape is my camera angle, not the quilt!

She had already hand quilted a fair amount of it, including quilting around the central motifs and quilting a design in some of the bars.  She just had no enthusiasm for finishing it, so I volunteered.  (Full disclosure: I just took Susan K Cleveland’s Craftsy course on machine quilting without free motion, so I used this as a practice piece!)

I left most of the hand quilting that was already done.

As always, I learned a lot doing this.  First, it was basted using those plastic tacks that were the latest in quilt basting at the time.  They didn’t hold the layers together as securely as the basting spray I now use, so there were some “challenges” in avoiding  puckers as I quilted.  Second, the batting was the fluffy polyester most of us were using at the time, and it isn’t nearly as stable as the Quilters Dream and Warm Company battings available today.  It worked out just fine, but the whole thing moved under the machine needle more than I’m used to.

It was fun to see the changes in the technology of quilting since this quilt was made.  And it gave me permission to finally get rid of my plastic tack device.  More room for the other tools!

Shaking Up the Gypsy Wife

I almost never follow directions when using a pattern, and this Gypsy Wife quilt has been no exception. Many of the pictures of the finished quilt are beautiful, and I really like the idea of a variety of blocks put together in an unusual way, so I decided to make this quilt. However…

The directions are just as inadequate as I have read they are. Some of the bigger problems have been solved by various bloggers, and Gnome Angel links to them in her introduction to the Gypsy Wife sew-along 2017.

You’ll see in my picture of sections 1 through 4, shown here on the design wall, that I’ve made a few changes. OK, more than a few changes.

Gypsy Wife quilt

Sections 1 through 4 of the Gypsy Wife quilt on the design wall

I started out making the blocks in their order in the booklet.  However, when I put them up on the design wall, it was apparent that I needed to switch to making a section at a time (in the order in which the sections will be assembled).  I did use the coloring sheet (see the Gnome Angel site for the link) to plan my quilt, but the blocks are not labelled by name in any of the layouts, so it was very difficult to determine where the block I was making would fit into the quilt!

I had made an effort to distribute the colors evenly among the blocks I’d made, but the problem was with this little guy…

card trick variation block

Colour Wheel block from the Gypsy Wife quilt

I have only scraps of this fabric and I want the little guys distributed evenly around the quilt.  However, I had put them in blocks where they FIT without realizing they would be so close together in the final layout.  Therefore…

Gypsy Wife quilt

Nurses Cross and Half Square Triangle blocks from the Gypsy Wife quilt

In section 4, shown above, I substituted the Nurse’s Cross block where the plan called for a courthouse steps block of the same size.  And, as you can see, I turned the  pieces in the half square triangle block to give it a different layout.

I’m enjoying the beautiful fabrics and variety of blocks in this quilt, and consider it well worth making.  I just need a few tweaks as I go along to make it work for me.

Reblog: Quilts for Texas?

This week I am reblogging a post from my friend Melanie. Sometimes, in some ways, it is wonderful to donate quilts. I do a fair amount of that myself. But before you donate, be sure there is both a need for the quilts and a mechanism for getting them to those in need.  Please read Melanie’s post about how best to help folks in Texas.

And while I’m on my soapbox, could we PLEASE call people affected by the hurricane “flood survivors” instead of “flood victims”?

Another Experiment

In one of my modern guilds, several of our members have volunteered to teach techniques we want to try out.  Some of these may be more “art quilt” than strictly “modern quilt”, but what matters is that the members want to learn the technique, not how it could be classified.

pencils fabric use

One member who does some fantastic art quilts is going to teach us how to use colored pencils intended for fabric.  At the last meeting, she suggested that we get a head start by making a palette of the pencils we have so we won’t be wondering how the color will turn out when we do her project.  I had this grid-print fabric from another project, so I used it for my sampler

fabric pencils color

After reading an article in Quilting Arts about how to use pencils on fabric, I got some textile medium to try  textile mediumTo make the sampler above, I brushed a thin layer of fabric medium on the square, then applied pencil. The color went on smoothly while the textile medium was damp.

I haven’t yet tested how colorfast it may be.  The woman who will be doing the program applied her pencils directly to the fabric (without textile medium), then brushed with water.  The colors had a lovely watercolor-like appearance as they bled a little into each other.  I presume the textile medium will hold the color and prevent that bleeding.  That would be good for things where precise placement is needed, but of course sometimes fuzzy edges might look better.  More to come!

Not Arkansas Crossroads

Arkansas crossroads is a block I’ve wanted to make for some time, but I can’t put my hands on a picture of it right now.  Anyway, I ran across this very similar block last week and just had to make a few of them.

donatin quilt

This block is not Arkansas crossroads, but it’s the same idea 🙂

This quilt will be a Ronald McDonald House donation when finished.

Also this week, I gave away a quilt I made several years ago to a friend who is retiring (again) after volunteering for many years at the free clinic where I work.  I don’t recall the source of this block, but I do recall the quilt was a lot of fun to make using scraps.

scrap quilt

This quilt was made from real scraps left over from other projects.

How was your week?

 

A Finish, and One Lovely Blog Chain

After several years (due to my dislike of free motion quilting) I have finished this little quilt, which I started in a class years ago at Quiltfest in Jonesborough, TN.

Art Quilt

Mount Pisgah

In other news, one of my fellow bloggers, Morgan Lipkin, has included me in the “One Lovely Blog Award” chain.  As I discovered a few years ago, this isn’t a contest, it is a way for bloggers to promote each other, and I’m all about that.  You can see Morgan’s blog at BrambletonThreads.com.  She’s does a lot of other fiber-related things in addition to quilts.  Thanks, Morgan!

The rules for the One Lovely Blog chain are:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and leave a link to their blog.
  • Post about the award.
  • Share 7 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate at most 15 people.
  • Tell your nominees that you have nominated them.

I’m nominating the following bloggers because they do fiber-related things, too, but are a little different from me.  So if you check them out you’ll add some variety to your reading!

Pauline Barrett at Reflectionsofafiberartist.wordpress.com

Sue Janson at Sue’s Journey

Lori Brewer at QuiltingNeeds.com

And now for 7 facts about me, which is part of the deal:

  1. I live in a rural area,
  2. which means that my “local” quilt shop is 45 minutes away;
  3. but I get to visit a midsize city fairly often.
  4. I have a demanding day job as a physician assistant,
  5. which cuts into my quilting time!
  6. Besides quilting, I enjoy reading
  7. and cooking.

Check out the other blogs above to broaden your blog experience!  And have a good week!

Trees All Around at Studio Stitch

In November I’m scheduled to teach a cute Christmas pattern at Studio Stitch in Greensboro (North Carolina).

Quilted Garden Designs

“Trees All Around”, class sample made from the pattern by Quilted Garden Designs

The design makes either a tree skirt or a round table topper.  The pattern is by Jenice Belling of Quilted Garden Designs.

I made two of these several years ago because, as soon as my daughter saw mine, she had to have one!

The class is Saturdaay, November 5, 1-4 p.m.  It’s a great way to make a quick project while learning about BOTH fused applique and quilt-as-you-go. There’s an opportunity for fancy embellishment, too!  This class will be lots of fun!

Finally, here is another view, this one from the pattern cover.  I hope you can join us!

Trees All Around, photo courtesy of Quilted Garden

Trees All Around table topper, photo from  Quilted Garden Designs

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Outdoor Quilt Show!

Two of my guilds participated in the “Airing of the Quilts” yesterday. This is an event to attract tourists to our area, and it certainly does!

There were a number of guilds there, as well as several shops with tents. I just walked around and took pictures.Unfortunately, the makers were not identified since this isn’t a “real” quilt show, so I have all these lovely pictures of unidentified quilts. However, since they were on public display, I think it is fair to publish them. A few are mine 🙂Franklin NC

outdoor quilt showFranklin1Franklin8Franklin7Franklin6scrap quiltmodern quiltsmodern log cabin quilt

airing of the quilts

modern quiltMary J Puckett quiltMary J Puckett quilt

raffle quilt

This is the Smoky Mountain Quilters raffle quilt this year

Alison Glass fabrics quiltmodern wall hangingI hope you enjoyed these, even though you didn’t get to walk around in the beautiful spring sun to see them!