November 15, 2017

Australia says YES!!!

No quilt talk today.

Today is a day of great celebration here in Australia.

The issue of same-sex marriage equality has been hotly debated.  The government opted to ask Australians directly what they want - in a simple, voluntary yes-no postal poll.  And just a few minutes ago the results were officially announced:

61% said "yes".

This was only a poll, but it clearly shows that the majority of people in this country support marriage equality.

The people have spoken.  Now let's see our elected representatives get busy and make it the law!

Australia said "YES!"

November 8, 2017

Quilt 97: Scrappy Squares Table Runner - DONE!

Last year I gave my friend Lil a Christmas table runner as a gift.  She loved it and not long ago confessed that almost a year later she's still using it!  When she asked if I'd do another, how could I refuse?

I invited her to browse through my scraps box and see if there was anything she liked.  She had no trouble finding some salmon and mint scraps which would go very well with her dining room colours:
There wasn't quite enough there to make a runner the size she wanted, so I did have to buy a fat quarter piece to be sure and have enough - but for the most part, this table runner is just from scraps.  I fiddled around and finally came up with this design - on-point squares:
For the quilting, I used cream thread (which pretty much fades into the pale green edges).  Keeping it simple, I did stitch-in-the-ditch (with the help of a ruler) going around the squares.  The pale mint triangles on the edge, however, needed something a little more complex.  I've done a little bit of free-motion, and after practicing making leafy-vines on some throw-away scraps, decided that was the way to go.  In the photo below, you can see the wavy vines and leaves:
I have to admit it was nerve-wracking to quilt that design.  Once I got started, I realized the cream thread I'd chosen really does fade/blend into the pale mint fabric - so much so that it was nearly impossible to see the stitching, looking straight down.  You can see the stitching in the photo aboe because the light is casting shadow.  But looking straight down in bright light... no.  The stitching is almost invisible.  EEK!  But it turned out fine.

The photo below shows the backing (solid mint homespun) and the cream stitches are a lot easier to see here.
And here's the final runner - binding fabric is the same as the backing.
2017 - 13.5" x 71" - quilted on the longarm (free motion and ruler) - cotton batting    
I'm very encouraged with this bit of free-motion quilting.  I'll certainly be doing more of it from here out!

November 1, 2017

Echo Feet - Foot Problems

A while back I purchased a set of "echo" feet for Matilda, my Handi Quilter longarm.  These special feet help you to stitch varying widths of parallel lines - similar to what you see on Hawaiian quilts.  The set Handi Quilter offers has three sizes:

I haven't had a quilt where I could use them until now - so I opened them up and put the medium-sized foot on. 

Whoops!

This can't be right.  The needle should be in the center of the foot - but look at the photo below:

It's sitting way to the right of center - right up against the side of the foot.  Not good.  With echo quilting, you want your lines to be even - I'll never get there with this.

I discussed this with Howard, my Handi Quilter dealer, and he showed me that what I have to do with these feet is adjust the mechanism that holds them on the machine.  There's a small screw that has to be loosened and will allow the foot-base to swing into the position you want.  Well... it works.  I don't like it, but it works.  I can't understand why Handi Quilter's echo feet aren't aligned with the ruler foot and other feet - but that's the way it is.

At least  now I can move on and use these on a project!

October 25, 2017

Quilt 96: Squares of Sharon - Autumn Gold - DONE!

In September of 2016, while shopping with my sister Carolyn in Ohio, we came across a fabulous print, which she just loved.  I told her I'd love to make her a quilt, and would be happy to do one with that fabric, and she gladly agreed.  The line to the cutting table was a bit long, and there wasn't time to get the fabric that day (and I was leaving for Florida the next day) - so we decided for her to go back later, get the fabric, and post it to me in Australia.  Carolyn got the fabric, but it was several months before she got around to posting it to me and then, on my end, I managed to procrastinate several months before getting the fabric out and makinig the quilt.

But it's done now - and I'm thrilled with the result.

The fabric has narrow stripes in green, gold, orange, and maroon, highlighted with glittery gold lines between them.  The gold really sparkles.  Wanting to maximize the effect of the strips, we opted for "Squares of Sharon" blocks, which turned out just stunning using only that one fabric (but cut at 2 angles, to create a kind of prism effect.  (When I made my first Squares of Sharon quilt, I posted a tutorial showing how to do it - click here to see that tutorial post)

Here's the quilt on the longarm - In this picture, you can just see some of the sparkle of the gold.  I tried and tried to get a photo that would show that sparkle - but neither my phone or camera really catch that glint.

(double click the photo to see a larger image)
Just before I started the quilting, Caroly asked if I could somehow incorporate the word "hope". In the corners of binding, I've got medium-sized squares of the coordinating deep red fabric - and in those blocks I used the longarm to stitch the word in each block.  Here's the one in the upper left corner:
 And here's the finished quilt!
54" x 66" - quilted on the longarm (free-motion loop-d-loops) - polyester batting
 And a close-up of the Squares of Sharon blocks.
I'm really liking the blocks done this way, and will am thinking seriously about doing another one with a striped print.

The quilt is finished now, and I'll pop it in the mail to Carolyn early next week.  It will reach her just in time: it's starting to get cold up there in Ohio now, and I love the mental image I have of her curled up under this quilt with a good book!