Threads of Resistance

My friend Claire made me aware of Threads of Resistance, “a juried exhibition of work created to protest the Trump administration’s actions and policies”. I usually avoid politics here, since this is a blog about quilting.  But I am very concerned about some of the Trump administration’s plans, so I’m making an exception.  Here is my quilt, the Statue of Liberty wearing a hijab, because it’s un-American to exclude immigrants based on religion.

Threads of Resistance quilt

The Statue of Liberty stands for freedom, including freedom of religion.

As always, I learned a lot doing this.  First, there are a TON of public domain pictures out there.  I finally found a couple showing the Statue from the perspective I wanted, and sort of improvised from there.  Second, it IS possible to find verdigris-color fabric, and it’s easier than I thought because everyone seems to have a different idea about just what shade “verdigris” is.

I drew my design on a big piece of paper then traced it onto the verdigris fabric.  I quilted the rays on the background, then cut out the statue and horizon pieces and fused them to the background.  I consulted one of Sue Bleiweiss’ books about how to do the black outline, but ended up not using her method because I was too far down my own road before I consulted the book!  I would like to say I think a project through thoroughly before beginning, but the truth is that often I have no idea how I’m going to do something until I’m doing it!Threads of Resistance quilt

I outlined most of my drawn lines with black thread, but then had to go back over the lines in the face with marker to make them stand out.  One final lesson:  Kona cotton was a poor choice for fusible applique; the weave is much too loose. I had to fray-check the edges even after I fused them, and then had to go back and trim some “whiskers” even after I had satin stitched the edges.  From now on I’m sticking to Michael Miller Cotton Couture, which is a much finer weave (similar to the hand of the batik here, which gave me no trouble with fused applique).

If you’d like to make a quilt to submit for the Threads of Resistance exhibit, which is juried, click on the highlighted name and it will take you to the link you need.  And if you disagree with my politics, please do not take offense–allowing differences is what America is all about.

 

Tech Shirts in a T Shirt Quilt

I’m making a T shirt quilt for a friend, so she sent a large sack of T shirts to be used.
This friend and her future husband are both very athletic, so many of those T shirts are tech shirts–meaning they are 100% polyester knit!

I searched the internet for specific instructions for using polyester T shirts in a quilt and found NOTHING useful. So, here’s how I solved the problem, and I expect it will work for you, too.

The blocks for T shirt quilts are backed with fusible interfacing to stabilize the knit fabric. I buy lightweight interfacing so the quilt will drape well. A while back, I bought a bolt of Pellon 906F for that purpose. It is very lightweight and is intended to be used with semi-sheer fabrics, so it bonds at a relatively low temperature–very important for polyester T shirts!Polyester T shirts in a quiltAs you can see, the 906F is lightweight and thin.  It fuses just fine at a temperature between the silk and wool settings on my iron. That setting requires only a few seconds to fuse, so there is no damage to the polyester shirts! Score!

This interfacing is working fine with the 100% cotton shirts as well. All that’s needed is a backing that keeps the T shirt from stretching as it is sewn and quilted, and this does the job.Tech shirts in a T shirt quilt

Here’s a look at some of the quilt blocks, waiting for final arrangement on the design wall.  My husband came along and said, “How did you get T shirts so flat?”  The answer, of course, is the backing 🙂

I’ll have a picture of the finished quilt as well as more information about it in a few weeks. Meanwhile, be warned: another friend who requested a T shirt quilt ended up making it herself (with my help)!

Guild Challenges, Part I

When I volunteered to arrange programs for one of my modern guilds this year, I didn’t realize the job included coming up with a challenge each month.  Luckily, there were lots of ideas for guild challenges in internet-world, so the challenges weren’t too much of a challenge.  (Sorry, that just slipped in!)

I thought it might be helpful to other modern guilds if I posted our proposed challenges, since I’m sure other folks are in need of ideas, too.  So here’s the first one: slabs.  If you don’t know what a slab quilt block is, Canadian quilter Cheryl Arkison published the idea in her book Sunday Morning Quilts.  You can see a picture and instructions here.

modern quilt challenge

Slabs can be addictive!  And a quilt of many colors is fun.

In January, each member received brief instructions on how to make a “slab” of a single color of the rainbow.  Sort of.  While trying to figure out how to set up the rainbow challenge, I found this quote from Isaac Asimov (one of my heroes):

It is customary to list indigo as a color lying between blue and violet, but it has never seemed to me that indigo is worth the dignity of being considered a separate color. To my eyes it seems merely deep blue.

So our colors for the challenge are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple.  Seems like the main value of indigo and violet is that they let us spell out ROY G BIV.  Huh.

Our slabs are 15-1/2 inches square, to be 15 inch finished blocks.  Each person makes one in her assigned color, then can make as many others as she wants in as many of the six basic colors as she wants.  At the next meeting, we’ll put all our slabs in a pile and each person’s name will go in a basket once for each block she turns in.  Then we’ll draw a name and somebody gets all the blocks.  Of course she’s expected to make something wonderful with those blocks before the next meeting!

I e-mailed examples of slab quilts to guild members as part of the challenge and also took some of my quilts to show.

slab quilt

Jerri Szlizewski combined her purple slabs with neutral slabs, then appliqued purple dots on the neutral backgrounds

Improvised slab quilt

I cut up the yellow-orange slabs I got in a swap and inserted blue

Does your modern guild have some great challenge ideas?  Let me know!  I’ll be posting about our other challenges as we go along so you can use them, too.

 

Finished! In 2016

First, the Christmas tree picture with fireplace was at the Grove Park Inn, in Asheville, N.C. That fireplace is big enough for a man to stand up in. Hopefully when there’s no fire.

And now, the 2016 finishes.

Asheville Quilt Show

Scan Me, a quilt made to promote safer sex.

improvisational quilt

Cherrywood Toss won a blue ribbon.

art quilt, gwen marston

Refrigerator quilt inspired by Gwen Marston. Bev Manus came up with the idea for refrigerator quilts.

modern sampler

My Modern Sampler Quilt

improvisational quilt

“Gwen Visits the Farm” is the quilt I made for the Quilt Alliance contest this year

Quilted Adventure

Roxie bag made as part of Quilted Adventure online retreat

Loes Hinse blouse

Blouse from a Loes Hinse pattern, in Cherrywood fabrics

Tumbling Blocks

Tumbling Blocks placemats, made in class with Karen Combs

Sweetpea Pod pattern review

These Sweetpea Pod bags were so fun that I made a LOT of them!

And, of course, the quilts for Ronald McDonald House:

Happy new year, and may you have a great year of quilts in 2017!

Slabs, Round 2

Cheryl Arkison is one of several people to suggest putting together scraps of the same color to make a quilt block (or fabric from which to cut quilt pieces).  Cheryl calls hers “slabs” and makes them big–15 inches square finished.Mary J Puckett quilt

Above is the quilt I made from a slab swap with one of my quilt groups a couple of years ago.  I had asked for slabs made from the yellow/orange family, and I loved what I got.  But I’m not one to leave well enough alone, so I cut them up and made the quilt shown above.

A relative-who-will-remain-nameless looked through my quilts online and asked for something similar, but in a larger size.

I’ve had fun collecting orange and yellow fabrics.  My friend Linda donated a large bag of orange “scraps”; I felt free to ask her since she claims to hate orange 😀  Then she brought me a big cut of solid orange to go with the scraps!

slab quilt

Linda even found an orange patterned bag to put her scraps in!

The rest came from my stash and from a few things I bought while travelling.  I improvised the squares, featuring a few funky fabrics in each one from the fabrics I bought especially for this quilt.

Then I used Moda Bella Amelia Blue to sash each square and cut the sashing so they are all wonky.  Each will finish 18″ square with sashing.orange4

This one will be big enough that it will need to go to the long-arm quilter.  I’ll have more pictures when it’s finished.

Meanwhile, how are those holiday projects coming along?

 

Two Quilts, 3 Reviews, 4 “Learning Experiences”

“Wow!” my husband said, as he watched me taking quilting stitches out with my new skin4electric seam ripper.  And his is an informed opinion, since he has seen PLENTY of seam ripping over the years between my adventures and those of his 3 sisters.

So here’s the story:  I designed a quilt made of all equilateral triangles, in all solid colors, several years ago.  It was one of those projects that looked better in my head than in reality, so I backed up and started again.  (Learning experience #1: this design stinks.)

The Lombard Street pattern by Sassafras Lane caught my eye, so I ordered it, thinking I probably could re-cut my blocks to work.  When the pattern arrived, it was just as beautiful as it looked online, and the block size was such that I could, indeed, salvage my fabric. But it is paper pieced–not my favorite technique.  (Learning experience #2: check the construction method before ordering!)

In any case, I got the top made and was pleased with the result

modern quilt

The pattern is Lombard Street, by Sassafras Lane Designs.  The blocks are on my design wall.

Review #1:  the Lombard Street pattern had excellent instructions, and came out just as great in person as it looked on the pattern.

I layered the quilt with Quilter’s Dream bamboo batting.  Review #2:  The batting felt just wonderful, soft and with a good drape.  But OH MY did it make a mess of the black fabric!  I don’t know how, but it kept giving off lint that completely covered the quilt top.  I LOVE Quilter’s Dream batting and use both the poly or the cotton request loft almost exclusively. But this bamboo!  Yikes!  My trusty lint roller fixed that.  Several times.  (Learning experience #3: I won’t use bamboo batting again.)

It’s a long story, but after several trials, I decided to use Metrosene poly quilting thread in dark grey, thinking it would blend in with all the fabrics.  This strategy has worked well on several other quilts, but not so much this time.  I didn’t like the way it looked–when I had the quilting 80% done!!!  (Learning experience #4: stubbornness isn’t always a virtue.  Sometimes sticking with the task is not the best option 😀Review: Lombard Street pattern

Enter the electric seam ripper.  I went online and researched just HOW other people had gotten the quilt stitches out of quilts in similar situations.  I read about 3 different electric seam rippers and watched demos on You Tube.  I purchased one, put in a AA battery, and got to work.Review: electric seam ripper

By the way, removing the backing from a quilt this way, in order to remove the quilting stitches, is called “skinning the quilt” according to my online research.

Review #3:  The electric seam ripper worked amazingly well!!!  I had the entire top un-quilted by 1 p.m., and I did two loads of laundry, made breakfast and lunch, and put dinner in the crock pot besides!  I had to use a traditional seam ripper where I had made tiny stitches at the sharp corners, but otherwise it went very fast.  The only holes created were a tiny hole in the batting made with my traditional seam ripper, and a tiny hole in the backing made by the electric seam ripper when I tried to insist that it cut through those very close stitches (it just said no).electric seam ripper

The discussions online reported being able to lift the top quilting thread off in one long piece.  As you see, that didn’t work for me–maybe when I’ve had more practice?  (Oh please, no more practice!)  Anyway, the trusty lint roller saved me again.

And this top is going to a long-arm quilter.  Done!

 

 

Next Scrap Project

I mentioned I’m doing a Lego Quilt, based on instructions from Tonya Ricucci.  I am lucky to have changed to a 4-day-a-week job, so I spent my first Friday off getting all the strips done.  I put them up on the design wall as I pieced them to be sure I was getting a good balance of colors and values.

lego quilt

Strips on my design wall

Tonya’s instructions say to cut 1-1/2″ strips and join them to make the rows in each block.  I have a lot of strips, sorted by width, so I tried the 1-1/2″ strips first, joining them end-to-end and cutting into the lengths I needed.scrap quilt, strip quilt

That was tedious, to say the least. I switched to using wider strips, joining them lengthwise, and cutting 1-1/2″ strips from the sets.lego-3

lego-4Now I have 420 strips, enough to make my 42 blocks (finishing 10″ each) for a 60″ x 70″ quilt.  This will be my next leaders-and-enders project.  Here are all the strips laid out ready to go!  scrap quiltStay tuned!  I think it will be fun to see it come together!

One UFO Makes 3 Quilts!

I made these “prepared fabric” squares some months ago with John Cage’s “prepared piano” in mind.  Then they sat in a box while I wondered what to do with them.

At a quilt retreat, I got some of them out and put them together into a 40″ x 44″ quilt top for Ronald McDonald House.nov-ufo

So the November UFO (UnFinished Object) project was to do something with the rest of those squares.  I modified them further and made 2 more Ronald McDonald quilt tops, each 40 inches square.

That UFO box is empty!  There were a few scraps for the scrap bin, and 3 blocks for the orphan block bin, but that project is DONE!

Sort of like that turkey…how was your Thanksgiving?

Quilting Thanksgiving

Gratitude is always a good practice, so it’s especially nice to have a holiday specifically dedicated to thanksgiving.  Here are 10 reasons I’m thankful for quilting:

  1. Every project is a new learning experience.  Even if it is, sometimes, “another *%@!! learning experience” 🙂

    rotary cutter accident

    A learning experience!

  2. There is no failure. Projects that don’t turn out as planned can be recycled into something.  (It may take a while to figure out what.)

    This one had to be cut up and made into placemats!

    This one had to be cut up and made into placemats!

  3. Friends.  Quilting is a great way to meet interesting people and make new friends.  I love making friends online, too, even though I may never meet them in person.  It’s such fun that people from 3000 miles away follow my blog and I follow theirs.

    A new friend holding up one of my quilts at a recent guild talk

    A new friend holding up one of my quilts at a recent guild talk

  4. Quilting is a great creative outlet, whether or not I choose to be an “artist”.

    Gwen Marston iQuilt class

    Quilt made for a class with Gwen Marston

  5. Gifts.  I’ve made quilts, placemats, table runners, potholders, and bags to give to friends.

    Divided basket made from pattern by Noodlehead

    Divided basket made from pattern by Noodlehead

  6. Opportunity to give to the community.  I make quilts for Ronald McDonald house.

    One of my quilts for Ronald McDonald House

    One of my quilts for Ronald McDonald House

  7. Color!  Who doesn’t love playing with all the beautiful fabrics?

    Yummy fabrics at Studio Stitch, where I sometimes teach

    Yummy fabrics at Studio Stitch, where I sometimes teach

  8. Socializing: it’s great to get together and work on a project with friends.

    An especially quilty friend!

    An especially quilty friend at a sewing group

  9. Being alone: it’s equally great to spend a quiet day alone in my studio

    View from my home

    View from my home

  10. Problem solving: Many projects present problems that need to be solved, and I love the challenge.

    modern quilt

    I enjoyed the challenge of designing and making this quilt

What are you thankful for?

A Nice Surprise and a New Scrap Project

ribbonFirst, the surprise: One of my quilts, Cherrywood Toss, won first place in the Modern category at my local show! Needless to say, I was thrilled!

improvisational quilt

Cherrywood Toss. Read about it here.

And then it was on to a new scrap project!  I’ve been wanting to make a scrap quilt with a zillion pieces ever since my friend Jerri made her postage stamp quilt.

I came across the “lego quilt” on Pinterest and followed the links to this post by Tonya Ricucci of Lazy Gal Quilting, which gives specific directions.  Go visit her post–there’s a cool picture of an antique quilt that gave her the idea.

lego quilt

Strips on my design wall

Tonya made her 10″ (finished size) blocks using 1-1/2″ strips composed of scraps of various sizes.  She mentioned that there was some difficulty getting them to come out the right size.  Because of that, I am making my strips 11″ long unfinished so I can trim the blocks to 10-1/2″ wide after they are assembled.  Also, I’m making the first strip in each block 2″ wide unfinished so I can trim in that direction as well.  lego-2

So far I’m just making strips and putting them on the design wall to be sure I have a balance of values throughout the quilt.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  This takes a LOT of time!  And like most scrap quilts, it doesn’t seem to use up even 10% of the available scraps!  So far I’ve used only one drawer of the scrap cabinet!!!!

This might be a good leaders-and-enders project, since it seems like it could take forever.  I’ll let you know how it turns out 🙂