Annual Post?

Looks like I am going to be posting annually on this blog for awhile. I would say it is that fourth baby, but really it was the third. Also, reading, summer, photography, and pretty much every other passion in my life take their own chunks of time.

I felt like I was in a quilting funk for awhile this spring. I went to HMQS, and enjoyed Judi Madsen’s fantabulous feathers class, and another great class on borders. I used both classes as I finished the autumn colored quilt below. When I got home, I realized that my funk is because I keep doing other people’s quilts, and I have not been finishing my own projects. I have resolved to finish more of my own things for awhile before I accept any new clients or projects. Still, I have got a lot done, so I will share a few here.

This first quilt is one I am finishing because a friend in quilt guild passed away. It is from the Y2K, and it involved an amazing block exchange from around the world. I felt so grateful her family allowed some of us to finish things. I knew this would be a good way for me to work through my grief. I just quilted it, and I will soon be binding it. Then my guild will donate it to a local charity of some sort.

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Aren’t these blocks from around the world delightful? I wish there were some way to contact the people who made them and let them know where one of their blocks ended up.

IMG_9276This following quilt has been a dream for me. One of my quilting mentors has a talented daughter, and I shop her amazing nursery regularly to adopt plants for my garden. She pieced and embroidered this beautiful quilt and allowed me to do the quilting.
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Ali Reynolds Autumn Oak08 Ali Reynolds Autumn Oak12I learned the triangle detail above at my borders and fill class at HMQS. I love it!
Ali Reynolds Autumn Oak14Pay no attention to the poor orange bunny face down in the corner of the picture above.

This last small baby quilt is for a good friend. I made it for her because she had a little girl this spring, and it helped me practice feathers and acorn leaves for the autumn one above. It has the distinction of being the only thing of my own I have finished in a long time. Time to change that trend!
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Show and Tell

In 2013 I worked on a great many quilts, but did not finish any sewing project except that peach dress.

However, this year has been completely different. I have finished four quilts that were all in process last year in the last two months. Here are a couple.Susannah Feb 2014 7This is the back of one I finished for my sister, Susannah. She had a baby last summer, and I usually make one for each new-mom-sister of mine. It just took longer than usual for that one to get done.Susannah Feb 2014 9This is the binding, which I thought very cute, and below you can see the top. I just stitched together a layer cake, and quilted each block with a different free motion pattern.
Susannah Feb 2014 1The pictures below are of the heaviest quilt I have ever made, and the first one I finished on my insane Christmas present (a long arm machine, which my husband explained by saying “We’ve been married almost ten years, and this quilting thing does not seem to be going away.”)

This quilt is a t-shirt / memory quilt my brother asked me to make. It was a major headache in some ways. I had to iron interfacing to the backs of all of the stretchy t-shirts. After extensive fruitless internet searching about what interfacing to use in a t-shirt quilt, I just used the cheapest non-stretch stuff they had at JoAnn. It worked great.

The only problem I had was initially my cruddy iron. It was small, broken, and given to me as a wedding gift. Or maybe I bought it at  a thrift store in college? I can’t remember. After much weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth on the first part of the project, I bought the cheapest iron at Costco to replace it. The new iron has a significantly larger footprint, magnificent steam power, and it made the rest of the backing process not nearly so dreadful. Also, my husband’s shirts actually look pressed after I iron them now. Bonus.

I backed, and bound the quilt with cotton fabric. Gray business in the front, bright striped party in the back. Jesse Tshirt Memory quilt-8This is the final product. It contains t-shirts from his high school and college days and travels, parts of his white shirts, suits and ties from missionary service, and even part of the back of his college graduation gown. Notice my attractive model’s strained neck? I was not kidding. It is a heavy quilt. Jesse Tshirt Memory quilt-2I warned him it might be five years or so before I got it done, but I had his name in the sibling exchange on both sides of my family for Christmas, so he got a rush job. I am glad, because that was a large heap of shirts and memorabilia to store in my sewing room. I am also glad because I love my brother, and it gave me joy to do this for him.

I have finished a couple more items, too, but I need to photograph them with a better camera than my phone before I post.

Post Christmas Post

I always have blogger frustration in the fall as I finish projects that I have been excited about all year and cannot post about them because, “What if the recipient accidentally saw?!”

When I gave this quilt to my sister, she cried. I was very satisfied. She has often lamented that she wished someone would give her a nice quilt. I was inspired by this quilt:

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By a Blogger Crafter from across the Sea (I assume). I loved her modern layout and color choices. I also needed something to distract me from the endless flying geese and squares of the quilt for my dad, so when I got sick of working on the repetitious one, I would make a star from my guild’s block of the month for the one for my sister.

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When the time came to piece them all together, I took them to my local quilt shop to borrow their design wall. In the end, since they are not open during my late night quilting hours, I laid it out on my bed, and it ended up having wide borders with nothing on them. That didn’t bother me, though, because the borders hang on the side of the bed.

Sara Quilt

I found out that one of my guild friends rents time on her machine for less than the shop I used last time, so I quilted it on her long arm. She was a wonderful teacher, and I highly recommend Judith Davis, of Primrose Creations. She took this photo for me with her iPad.

And here you can see the result on my sister’s bed, because I ran out of time to have a proper shoot with it before I gave it to her. Those pesky busy holidays.

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My next block of the month for this year is this America the Beautiful Quilt, by McCall’s. They did it as a series, and then in a magazine at the end of the year they included the entire pattern, which is a great deal for the cost of a magazine. I have started working on it, but I am pausing for a little while because I am in the middle of a forest of blocks I can’t see for the trees.

Quick Easy Project, Paired with a Long, Arduous, Hard Project

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What is this, you might ask? Let’s zoom out about eight months: Patriotic Quilt

Back in February I went to some political breakfast with my dad, where he saw a quilt very similar to this one. Tired of purchasing endless raffle tickets and never getting his own quilt, he asked me to make him one. So I did! I have made 37 quilts, and this is the first queen sized one I have made.  I will admit, there were some boring parts, but I have a great sense of accomplishment now that it is done.
Detail Tag
Instead of the traditional tag on the back, I tagged it along the bottom in free motion quilting. It says, “Over 750 pieces of love for my dad,” because he used to write me letters when I was far away, and instead of newsy gossip I wanted to hear, he would write, “I have this many cows, this many businesses, etc. blah blah blah.” So I wrote an approximation of how many pieces went into this top.
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I rented a long-arm machine at Let’s Quilt, in St. George, and chose a stars and swirls pantograph. It was pretty challenging, so don’t look too closely for neat, precise stars.
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Close-up, you can see how it is really just a bunch of flying geese sewn together and set en pointe.
Oval hot pads
After I finished, I wanted something quick and easy to throw together, so I made these hot pads. They are probably my favorite hot pads I have ever made. Thank you, bias binding!
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Bird Quilt + Quick Easy Quilt

This year I have been working on my first Queen sized quilt. My dad saw one just like it at some political thing and asked if I would make it. Ha! I thought. Then I told him I would do it if he would buy the materials. I am nearly done, but during my arduous journey since February, I took a break and finished these two.

The first was for our local Peach Days Celebration. Our quilt guild holds a challenge every year, and this year the challenge was “hand quilting.” Not my favorite, as you may gather from my quilt.
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This little quail pair was my favorite of the birds, I think.
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Then I finished this quicky that only took two charm packs and a yard of fabric for my sister:
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It looks really busy, but I did try to do darks on the right and lights on the left. The fabric line is “Oh Deer” by Moda, and fits my sister because she and her husband are into nature and deer and all that stuff. The top came together in a snap, because I only had to cut the rectangles, and the pre-cut squares saved so much time.
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I backed it in flannel, because I like flannel even though it is so hot here we don’t need it. The orange is a little wild, but I couldn’t resist those cute little birds or the orange, which is my favorite color.

I will post about Her Majesty soon. I am going to quilt it on Thursday at a store that lets you rent time on the long-arm machine. It will be my first time and I am so excited.

Thanks to Linz for the inspiration!