White Quilt Elegance

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OK, here we go: the white whole cloth quilt is finished.  It’s crisp, fresh, modern, elegant and lives up to my every expectation.

BUT working with white is not without its unique difficulties.  The idea of an all white quilt and the reality of it are different things!  If you think a white blouse or t-shirt is going to show even the tiniest of spots or flaws, you should try working with a big chunk of white everything from top to batting to backing to thread and see how far you can go without a mishap🙂

Now I know that on a long arm machine this project probably wouldn’t involve so many risks, but when you’re working on a sit-down machine every movement of the project is an opportunity for danger!  Not to mention the fact that even the most carefully checked yardage can still present a flaw here and there when you are staring at bright white under LED bulbs while quilting it.  But I’m not going to tell you what I found because nobody will see it anyway.

This is not something I would want to do as a custom quilting order for anyone else, simply because the risk is too high – therefore my anxiety and stress would also be high – for any kind of mark to be made unexpectedly while their valuable project is living in my craft room.  I would have to hold white quilt insurance!  But the results are so stunning that I might just have to make another one down the road, at my own risk and expense of course🙂

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I had a moment of sheer frustration until I did my routine pre-wash once the quilt was finished and it came out looking just fine.  Whew!  Crisis averted.  It was touch and go for a while …

Then there’s the picture taking challenge.  I have a LOT of trouble photographing white.  I’m not a skilled photographer and unless we’re talking basic features, my use of Photoshop is also limited, but it did help me to get these light enough for you to actually see that the quilt is white!  I’m also no good at “staging” – although I did manage to throw in a rocking chair at the top – and my attempts could be filed under epic Pinterest fails …

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I had a really hard time getting the whole quilt into one picture and still having details show (and I don’t have an assistant present right now so my options are limited!) so I had to settle for a picture of each side separately for now.  The top photo shows the left side and the bottom one shows the right side.  If you use your imagination you can get an idea of what the whole thing looks like!  (Really, do I have to do all the work here?)

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As they say, you can’t be good at everything; perhaps when I become rich and famous I’ll hire a photographer to capture the perfect images for me.  For now, thanks for looking🙂

This quilt is for sale in my Etsy Shop.

Modern Baby Quilts

What a great way to use up strips of solid fabrics, have several areas to practice border designs, and still have open space to go a little wild! haha  I totally grabbed this idea from someone else whose quilt appeared on Pinterest and if you’ve used Pinterest at all you know that tracking down random picture owners is a rabbit hole, so I will just admit the idea wasn’t my own and leave it at that.

I had leftovers from my two recent larger striped quilts and this was an ideal way to use them up along with some white scraps I found in my basket.

The blue/green/lilac one has been washed already, and the pink/peach one just came off the machine and the binding isn’t finished yet.  It also has a special element that I hope will be visible in the pictures when you see them at your end: part way down I have free motion quilted “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine” just for extra fun and because so many people love that line🙂

 

 

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I could quilt on white all day; it is so calming and peaceful and always looks amazing when it’s done!

On that note, I have a white whole cloth quilt sandwiched and ready to go.  It’s going to be great fun.  It will, however, break many whole cloth quilt “rules”, which shouldn’t surprise any of you.  Stay tuned …

 

Two for One

I’ve been busy the past couple of weeks getting ready for a Christmas craft sale, and I realized I haven’t yet posted the pictures of the blue/green quilt I mentioned last time, and I know you’re probably still sitting there waiting anxiously …

OK, maybe not anxiously!  But I do try to follow up when I say I’m going to do something, so this time you’re getting a couple of quilts in one post, as the blue/green one might not look a lot different to you than the pink one did and I don’t want anyone getting bored🙂  Actually, if you look closely and compare, they really are quite different!

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I went a little swirl crazy on this one, but I can’t help it, I just LOVE those swirl chains so I carried them up and off to the right at the top.  That awkward-looking cone shape is my best attempt at getting a picture of the solid back that didn’t wash out in the light in my room.  Once again, my Magnifico thread did not disappoint!

And here is the newest one, hot off yesterday’s press, Dictionary Strips.  I tried out the woodgrain stitching pattern to keep it modern, give it a cool texture, and make it suitable for guys, since most of my stitching patterns involve swirls and feathers with lots of embellishment!

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I’m really enjoying the modern look and looking forward to doing more along these lines.

As much as I get a little attached to each quilt I finish, both of these are for sale🙂

Marshmallow Candy Quilt

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The quilt I saw that inspired me to make this one was done in blues, greens, and lilac and I decided that while ordering my solids for one like that, I should go ahead and pick another color palette as well.  I was attracted to the idea of making strips from solids to give the quilt an interesting color dynamic while keeping it open for intricate quilting designs to show up more clearly, as solids are much better for this than busy prints.  I do enjoy making a quilt that is pretty much all one color, but a mix of solids has proven to be fun as well.  As it turns out, the blue one is still waiting to be quilted because I dove in and did this one first – it reminds me of marshmallow candy🙂

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I used one thread color overall and I like the way it shows up clearly on some of the strips and blends with others so there is kind of a gradient thing going on that wasn’t necessarily planned but the effect satisfied me.  I’m often surprised by the overall effect of the quilting once I finish a project and spread it out to see what it all looks like! I think I probably defy a lot of basic guidelines for quilting that come from various sources, like planning ahead!  That’s okay because the basics are there to help us when we need them but sometimes we need to go wild.  Obviously, as you can tell from many of my quilts, I prefer to live on the wild side. (This only applies to quilting, however, as I’m generally a fairly cautious and structured person in my daily life!)

Once this one came out of the dryer it was so soft and cushy and marshmallow candy-ish that I couldn’t stop cuddling it.  I even considered keeping it (how often have I said that about a finished quilt?!) but alas, I have to stock up my store as some weeks I sell more quilts than I make and the holidays are coming.

Besides, I did keep one that I just finished.  I had made a quilt last year from the Hello Darling fabric line, and it was so popular in my house that my daughter adopted it for herself.  (She will say that I gave it to her, which I probably did in some conversation I don’t remember …)  I really wanted another one for myself, so I tracked down on eBay the now hard to find layer cake that I wanted, managed to find some coordinating pieces for the border and binding, and then left it sitting on my shelf for a few months while I made other things.

I dug it all out recently and when I looked it over I felt a bit bored with the fabric and wasn’t sure I even wanted it anymore (that’s why I do NOT stash!)  so I decided to make it up and put it up for sale in my shop, since I’m stocking up.  However, when it was all done and laundered and crinkly soft and cuddly, I spread it out and decided that while I’m not overly crazy about some of the fabrics, I still like the overall combination, and having to track down the fabric in a couple of places wasn’t exactly cheap, so  I will keep it.  I didn’t do anything fancy with the stitching because the prints and piecing are busy so the quilting barely shows, but I wanted a nice dense pattern so it would crinkle up properly.

I guess once in a while it’s okay for me to have one for myself🙂

 

 

 

Downton Abbey Quilts

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I found myself buying a large set of Downton Abbey fat quarters from Andover Fabrics at a quilt show I attended in the spring.  Now go ahead and call that stashing if you must, but seriously, they were all packed up inside this too cute little quilted bag with a special Downton Abbey label on it and I could see that I would make good use of that bag long after the fabric was gone …🙂

It even has pockets inside!

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Plus, the whole set was on sale for a ridiculous price I couldn’t pass up, considering the bag and all.  I’ve used Andover fabrics before and they’re just so lovely to work with, and I’m a huge fan of the Downton Abbey program myself so I figured that there just had to be other fans out there who would want to have a quilt with this theme.  (Purchase justification over.)

I made one with the Downstairs collection in pastel colours and one with the Lord & Lady collection in darker, rich colours.  The block design is the same on both quilts because it’s fast and easy piecing and I wanted to get these finished and into my online shop as soon as possible so I could get going on a couple of bigger projects.

The pastel coloured one just sold yesterday, but the darker one is still available as of this posting.

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And yes, I AM making use of that bag, just as I planned to!  It not only looks cute on my shelf, it now neatly holds together a couple of other small projects that are in line to be put together, but they’re extras for my daughter and there’s no rush.  I have to stock up my shop for Christmas first!

Wool Batting -#Winning

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I’m kind of excited to share today’s post.  Don’t be anticipating anything life changing here; small things make me happy🙂

I’ve been hearing about wool batting, reading things about how to use it, how to wash it, whether or not to let it dry flat or use the dryer etc. I’ve also been hearing and reading things about what makes a finished quilt soft or not so soft; there are people who think it’s about the density of quilting, others who think it’s more about batting.

So I decided to do a little test for myself to see how the wool batting behaves for me.  I want to be able to use my thread and my quilting style and then launder it the way I would expect to launder a quilt that is being lovingly used (which means no hand washing or laying flat to dry because I just can’t be bothered!  Even clothing that requires me to forego the typical laundry day routine isn’t allowed in my house…)

I made this small quilted piece with some open feather plumes and some dense quilting so I would have different spots to compare.  A friend suggested to me that using wool batting can give the quilting a trapunto effect without actually doing any extra work of adding another layer, so I wanted to try that out as well.

Here is a close-up sort of cross section view of the batt I used:

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You can see in these first three pictures the lovely loft that the batting has and the texture you can create just by doing your regular stitching.  Open spaces will really pop (like uber pop – even more than with my usual batting) when the surrounding areas are densely quilted.

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I tossed this sample into the washer with a load of towels (ie. no special temperature, no special treatment, no gentle cycle) and when it came out I was glad, but not surprised, to see that it was still in tact and there were no obvious issues.  So, into the dryer it went, with the towels, and again with no special settings.

Here is how it came out when it was dry:

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It came out of the dryer just fine, no clumping or anything.  It’s softer than my other quilts, made with either 100% cotton or cotton/bamboo blend battings, and I love the  “trapunto” effect.  Win.

Shrinkage?  No more than my other battings, as far as I can tell.  The piece went into the wash at 9.75″ X 25″ and came out at 9.5″ X 24″.  Another win.

Now the practical reality of all this is that wool batting does cost more and the difference in cost for wool for the size of quilts I usually make amounts to approx. 1.5 times the cost of the others.

For example, my typical batting cost works out to around $14.50 for a 60″ X 60″ size batt (I do purchase in bulk).  For this brand of wool, the cost would be approx. $23 for the same size batt.  It sounds like a lot more – and in some cases it won’t be worth the extra money – but for special quilts, it would be very nice, especially if the trapunto effect is desired.

**I do think it’s a bit lighter in weight overall than the other battings I use, so if you are a person who prefers the heavier weight quilts, you might find that it’s better to stick with the others.  I haven’t tried any other brand of wool yet though, so will update this post if I have additional info to share when I do🙂

 

Custom Quilting for Mom

 

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I just finished quilting a panel that my mom wants to give to a friend.

Even though it fits into the color scheme upon which I recently placed a ban, I conceded because I want to help her clear out her fabric and make good use of it.  I’m also not a fan of panels that are printed in blocks because they are rarely ever printed straight and square and it bugs me.

However, you know how it is with moms; they have that whole carried you for nine months, raised you, fed you, kept you safe, still worry about you and are always there just waiting to help you in any way they can thing going on…so what can I say?  If she wants it, I quilt it!

My happy moment came when I turned it over and saw the back, which for me is ten times better than the top because I just love the look of the quilting on that solid color.  OOH-LAH-LAH!

I’ll just pretend the quilt is actually cream colored with a printed back, and mom will be happy with the colored top!

I think I might have to make myself a solid cream quilt now🙂

Coral Tranquility

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It’s always hard to decide what name/title to put on a newly finished quilt.  I number my quilts so I have a record with pictures of them, but when I advertise them I need to come up with something other than just a number, and it’s especially difficult when they are mostly a solid color with just a few prints for accent.

But as I look at this one on my table, all washed and cuddly, and I run my hands over the texture (as Angela Walters does when she’s showing her quilts during an online class!) the word “tranquil” comes to mind, so that’s what I’m calling it.  Just don’t be expecting fantastically creative names every time I post a quilt because that is not my forte!

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And because it’s been a while since I posted a new project, I will include here yet another bright strip baby quilt that I did in between quilts number 100 and number 102 (I LOVE the wild quilting but after I finish one my brain does benefit from a little break and a smaller project, just to relax).

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Both quilts are for sale and information can be found on my Quilts For Sale page🙂

My plan is to quilt the Downton Abbey print tops that I pieced recently, so that will likely be my next project, but we all know that the best-laid plans can suddenly change if a new idea pops up!

Number 100

 

100bYAY! My most recent project is now finished and if only bright green fit into my home decor ….

Yet again, upon laying the whole thing out in front of me I was faced with a decision about whether or not to keep a finished quilt, but alas, it isn’t my color so as much as I love it, I know there will be more to come.  I think it’s hard to part with the ones like this that I’ve spent so much time with day after day, putting my creative energy into overdrive.  By the time they’re finished I’m kind of attached🙂  But I’m also realistic and while some would say “you can never have too many quilts”, there is a limit to how many I can actually store!

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I thought I was pulling out all – well, maybe most of – the stops on this one as I happily stitched away with my favorite quilting thread, but even as I worked on the finishing touches, I had new ideas spinning around, so it’s a good thing I have another “almost whole cloth quilt” sandwiched and ready to go!

Seriously, this wild quilting on solid colored fabric is just about the most fun I can have without landing in jail.

This one is for sale in my Etsy Shop.