Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rainbow Over I-10

I don't remember exactly when I made this quilt - I suppose I could look at the label. I was driving down I-10 Eastbound in El Paso with my mom, just after her sister died. We saw this rainbow that was so brilliant, we could see the ends moving along with us by the guard rails. Though this is an abstract quilt, the vague rectangular shapes on the bottom left and right are the buildings along I-10, and there are some headlights and taillights sprinkled in the highway.

May UFO is finished

I thought about my dad a lot while I was finishing this quilt. The hearts represent how much we loved each other. The four hearts motif that appears in the small squares and in the center of the large rainbow square and the carpenter's wheel remind me of the four leaf clovers that he was so good at finding. He was an automotive engineer, and a tax preparer in retirement, but he was one heck of a good carpenter too. I thought the large rainbow colored block pattern was "World Without End," but it's not. World Without End has four long isosceles triangles attached to a center square on the diagonal. I have an antique quilt like this. Elsewhere I have seen something like this called Milky Way, but that might be a more complex pattern. Eventually I found it - it is a variation of "Eccentric Star." Milky Way is four of these stars overlapping. This is the pattern of three of the four smaller blocks. The fourth small block in the upper right is called "broken dishes" which has nothing to do with my dad. It's just a favorite pattern of mine.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Stitching in the ditch

These are the two blocks that are quilted with the "stitch in the ditch" method. The rest of the blocks will be quilted with motifs that don't follow the seam lines. I use stitch in the ditch when I think the pattern is dynamic and interesting by itself, such as the carpenter's wheel. For the triangles on the left, I didn't want to come up with another motif to fit it, and it was a good warmup for the stitch in the ditch process.
This picture shows how I pinned the carpenter's wheel block to start. Next I am going to free-motion quilt some of the simpler motifs. The whole top is pictured in the post May Works in Progress.
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Friday, May 27, 2011

Starting out on the May UFO

I have marked the whole top, and I took some pictures. But I won't publish all those pictures at once. I'm not an expert on machine quilting, so I hope what I decide to do will be encouraging for others who are starting out. I am quilting the twelve yellow half-square triangles in the ditch using free motion machine quilting. It was hot in my sewing room today, so I have only just started. But there really are only six blocks in this quilt. This one is a good place to start.
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Four roses

These are the four best Mother's Day roses that were still beautiful almost two weeks later!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Free-motion practice

I finished this today - the colorful blocks were an experiment from a few years ago, to see if I could quick-piece kaleidoscope blocks. I had it in a box for a while and decided to use it to practice free motion quilting. I made the heart pattern on the colorful blocks first, then once I got "better" at it I filled in the plain pink blocks. I practiced free-motion stitch-in-the-ditch and then did the usual meander on the border. Lots of mistakes but good enough for my first try.
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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

This year on Mother's Day I was lucky to have so many flowers. My husband ordered the white hydrangea from a public radio benefit just in case he couldn't get to the flower market before it closed. But he did, and he got some very fresh red roses that opened up beautifully. The little bouquet of roses and other things is from my mother-in-law, the orchid a gift from a friend a couple of weeks ago, and the African violets and Christmas cactus by the window are in full bloom today, probably because I gave them Miracle-Gro last month.
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May works in progress

This is my May UFO challenge. I want to machine quilt it with traditional motifs - wreaths, hearts, etc. But first I have to practice on some others, and also practice free motion quilting in the ditch on a Roman Square quilt. Next is my first practice quilt. The colorful interior diamonds are experimental
"quick pieced" kaleidoscope blocks from a while back. The quilt is sandwiched and ready to machine quilt. The 1/4 inch tape was a bad idea because it made the needle sticky and caused it to skip stitches. I quilted heart motifs on the colorful squares first, to practice before I quilted the pale pink diamonds. It definitely gets easier with practice.
This will be a doll quilt made of scraps from the dual trip around the world quilts that I used to publish my method. I am going to use it to practice machine quilting animal shapes.
Here's a very old picture of a somewhat young (also quite pregnant) me with one year's raffle quilt from my old quilt guild. I would love to take the full credit for this beautiful quilt, but I cannot. It was a group project, and I didn't even choose the pattern. But I was the main leader of the project, and this picture was taken after I finished putting the binding on it. I made the large block on the right side, second from the top - a carpenter's wheel. But first I practiced on another block, which is in the May UFO. The smaller blocks with triangles were made with leftovers from this project.