Needlework, Finishing, Designing, Quilting, Some Discoveries and Adventures in Stitching from Windy Ridge Designs

Monday, September 3, 2012

Experimental Quilting - - - and other tales

So I went up to my aerie Saturday  to fool around with fabric.  I had started the morning, early at 6 a.m., as I usually do; with a cup of coffee and the Fons and Porter show on PBS.  This particular show was tips and tricks for long arm machine quilting.  Generally I find these shows that they do really, really boring as I am not - nor ever will be - a long arm machine quilter.  I delete the show and move on to something else.  This time, however, I decided to let it run while I drank my coffee and stitched.  Who knew, I might see something interesting.  No sooner did I have that thought when the show opened with the camera on the long arm quilter lady and all I could see was the quilt on the wall behind her.  It was patches of multicolored fabrics surrounded by white.  Just looking at it I knew it had to be dead easy, I just had to figure out the block configuration.  I sat there with the show on pause and did sketch after sketch - about four of them, before I got it figured out.  First thing I did in my sewing room was try it out.

 I worked it out that the white strips are 2.5 inches wide and the center strip is 4.5 inches wide.  They get cut at 8.5 inches long so that they end up making 8 inch blocks.  Then you just alternate how they are turned.  The overall effect is something like the photo mock up below, they just had all sorts of various colored (printed?) fabrics as the center pieces.  It was SO pretty!  I've already got about five different batches of fabric set up so I can start whipping this quilt out!

So, after that worked out so well, I started on the next thing which was based off the Quilts of Valor show that I recently watched on PBS.  I've known about the program for several years and tried to get involved before, but have no quilt shop that is participating.  I am now going to get into that and figure it out, because now I really want to get involved.  I particularly loved Mark Lipinski's quilt in the show which was a drunkards path/ohio star combo that made like a flag quilt.  It was GORGEOUS!  I had done a drunkard's path block in the Civil War quilt (Path to the Civil War) and it had come out really well - much better than I'd expected to be honest.  So, I knew it wasn't beyond my ability.  Now Lipinski was showing a "quick" way on the show to do the drunkard's path - no pinning, no matching, blah, blah, blah.  But, he only showed the beginning who was sewing with him, not the camera.  So, I tried it anyway.  Here are the results:

No so good.  So, I went back to the way I did it before - the F & P method of the three-pin-hold (sounds like I'm wrestling doesn't it?).  One pin on each end and one to match the centers of each piece.  Here are the results:

 Top shows the pinning method.  Middle is the finished and ironed block on the right side.  The nice thing about this method is that I don't do any cutting, I just press the wedge seam outward, toward the bigger portion of the block and it just opens up.  Makes it pretty fast!  So, there is one of those quilts in my future.  THE BEST NEWS - is that the quilt, with all the directions is featured in the September-October issue of Fons & Porter Love of Quilting magazine.  I would put a picture up, but I forgot.  I'm going to get my DAR chapter involved in the Quilts of Valor program too!

Next was this big pile of scraps from the Path to the Civil War quilt.  The pile was about eight times bigger than in this picture (cause I forgot to take a picture when I started):

 These were all leftovers of squares, triangles, flying geese, some mismeasured pieces, etc. etc. and I just thought, what if I try to make something out of this . . . .

 Above you can see a bunch of stuff slapped up on the design wall.  My design wall is not nearly so nice as Jackies (whose style I am totally planning on copying).

 Here's the low down on what I did.  I slapped stuff up on the wall and tried to make it fit.  However, these blocks were all sorts of different sizes and fabric cuts, so not everything fits together so well.

Here for example, you can see I've got an open spot where the arrow is pointing.  So I took those extra strips and squares that are hanging about on the design wall and sew them on - sort of a log cabin style.

I sewed the two block strips together, but they're still going to be short of the same height as the block set to the left.

Added the strip and was then able to sew the
block set to the left onto the one there in the center that I'm holding.

Now you can see they're sewn together and I just have to square it up so I can go on to the next piece in the puzzle.

Well, after two days of this I finally ended up with a pretty nice top for a table runner.

 There it is, all finished and ready to go; the binding will end up being the outer border.  I'll have to think about what color and what fabric I want to use for that, but can do down the road.  Now that picture I started with earlier is the pile of scraps that I actually threw away when I was all finished.

 I had two "squares" left when I finished the runner top and so I made them into pincushions.  Here they are stuffed, but have to be sewn closed.

Next I wanted to see about how accurate my feet sew.  Above is the all-purpose foot that sometimes I forget to change out for my quilting foot.  See how it's riding the edge of the fabric, and where the fabric is on the throat plate?  Well, below is the quilting foot.

It is riding the edge of the fabric and you can actually see into the throat of the machine.  Below is a measurement.

The quilting foot stitch line measures at exactly one quarter inch which the all-purpose foot measured about 1/16th of an inch bigger.  I have learned my lesson Deb - only quilt with the quilting foot!

Next up is a wonderful Give Away that I won from Nancy over at Victorian Motto Sampler Shop.  She's having some more terrific give aways now, so go and check them out.  Tell her I sent you.  And, thank you again, so much, Nancy!  The background fabric is a top that I purchased at a thrift shop.  I think it is Indian in origin - and it is handmade - hand embroidered too!  Sadly, it does not fit me.  But, it is in the colors of my granddaughter's room, so it is destined to become a pillow case that will be among her Christmas presents this year.  No sense in letting good embroidery go to waste.

I have a Give Away of my own - this is fabric I have hung onto for years and finally decided that I will never, ever use.  The bulk of it is feedsack material.  One is actually still a sack!  One piece measures about 3/4 of a yard, but the others - except for the one that's a sack - are about one yard.  Then, there's a bonus piece of material that is just cotton and about 3/4 of a yard.  Be a follower, post on your blog, recommend to a friend - and let me know about it all on this posting.  I will draw a winner on the last day of the month.

Finally, something pretty that I had a heck of a time capturing with my camera because she's shy - an Eastern Swallowtail butterfly on my butterfly bush.

 Hope you enjoyed!


  1. Beautiful work! I love the jigsaw puzzle quilt.
    I'll pass on your giveaway, it sounds great but I think posting that lot to England if I were to win would be horribly expensive for you

  2. I don't do any quilting so don't enter me in your giveaway, but I wanted to say that you got a wonderful photo of the butterfly! It's so hard to get them to pose just right!


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