Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Two Journal Quilts for QA

At last I feel I have the time to construct some journal quilts to commemorate the last few weeks of my life.  This is the first one of two journal quilts I've constructed for my week at Quilting Adventures.  I bought a fat quarter from teacher Cara.  The fabric is a clever print which depicts the scrolls that formed the quilts she was teaching us to make.  I've simply used a square of that fabric, surrounded with lime green and purple borders.  This journal quilt (unlike my house quilts--but I'll get to them eventually) is machine quilted, as is the baseball-themed one.  I don't enjoy machine quilting, and feel I'm not very adept at it, so it is simply quilted.  With the green thread I outlined all the sharp green points.  Next I "echo quilted" around the curves and points with white thread in the white spaces.  Finally I used a favorite serpentine stitch in green for the green border and in purple for the purple.  Here is a close-up that shows the quilting more clearly and also shows the very clever print of the fabric.  It is these "scrolls" that Cara is famous for.  And five scrolls make up the very large quilt-in-process that I started at QA and that now adorns my design wall. 
Next I made another journal quilt featuring a batik fat quarter that was a gift from the Creations store that was located on site at Quilting Adventures.  This batik has a cactus design, very appropriate for the hill country in Texas.  I paired it with a dark green batik from my stash.  The block pattern is called Whirligig, and it seemed appropriate too, given that is is sort of windmill looking and that  Texas is famous for having lots of wind!  Like the other one, I bordered a small 6" block to bring it to the 8" size that all of my journal quilts measure.  I quilted it with straight line machine quilting, outlining the 12 different triangles, using a serpentine stitch in the brown border, and a simple straight stitch in the
cactus border.

And here is a close-up of the quilting
of my Whirligig block and the cactus fabric: 

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Ribbon Winners, Part One

Now that my design wall is up and running, I have a place to put the various ribbons I've won since 2002.  My grandchildren, on seeing these ribbons in a drawer, asked me last time all were here:  "Grandmommy! Why don't you put these ribbons up somewhere, where people can see them?"  So now they'll be happy!  And I confess, I am probably inordinately proud of them.  So now I'll show a few of the quilts themselves that won the ribbons and talk about them a little.  BUT I'll be restrained and save some for another posting!

The first ribbon I ever won, a red second place in 2002, was for this quilt, which I believe I called Blueberry Bear Claws.  This was a wedding gift for Sally, daughter of dear friend and daily emailer Sherrron.  Sherron had told me that Sally loved the color purple, and we purchased the blueberry fabric when Sherron and Charles and Bob and I were on a cruise to Alaska.  The block pattern known as Bear Claw seemed appropriate for a young couple who lived in Colorado.  Sherron took this photo for me of the quilt hanging above Sally's youngest child's crib.

My second two ribbons were won in the next Waco Quilt Show, in 2004.  I wasn't present to see these quilts at the show with their ribbons, but dear friend Erin took these pictures for me and collected the quilts at the end of the show.  The first one is called Scrappy Stars, and it now hangs above our bed in our new house.  I took a class from my good friend Patty (she and her little grandbaby were recently featured in this blog) and learned how to make this quilt.  I used scraps and no star repeats a fabric in its construction, and no star is like another. 

The third red ribbon winner (I seem to be stuck winning either reds or whites!) was a crib quilt I made for my great-nephew Wyatt.  I named this quilt Krazy Kats Klowning Around.  The crazy cats ARE clowns, and the blocks that surround the cat-featured ones are crazy quilt blocks.  Yes, I know, the name is rather corny!
Here is a close-up of the blocks in this quilt, which is one of my all-time favorites quilts!  Stay tuned in a future posting for pictures and discussion of my other three ribboned quilts.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

New Design Wall/Re-Discovered House Blocks!

Now, at long last I have a design wall put up, after over a year living in our new house which has a quilting/crafting room that, while anything but huge, gives me more room and more storage than did my quilting space in our old house.  I had such a wall in the other house, a fairly nice-sized one, which was actually an old cork bulletin board that I covered in batting.  But this new room was deliberately designed with a blank wall that was wider and much higher (natch, since our ceiling are 10' rather than 8') than the old one.  But it is only this weekend that I got around to putting up a design wall.  I used two 6'x8' insulation foam boards, with 4' cut off each.  Husband Bob nailed them to the wall with some very sturdy long nails, and we lucked out in actually locating some studs into which to nail some of them.  We put one foam board on top of the other, with the 6' lengths parallel to the floor and thus the two 4' sides making the design board 8' tall.  It is about 17" off the floor, allowing room beneath for an electrical outlet.  Too, I had learned with my former design wall that if it is too close to the floor, it is difficult to pin anything very low on the board.  Today after church we stopped by Jo Ann's for me to purchase 6 yards of pale yellow--really cream-colored--flannel.  I cut this in half and then pinned the two lengths along the top, sides, and bottom of the foam boards.  I used the sturdy yellow-headed # 28 pins that QA quilt teacher Cara Gulati recommended for the pinning of our scroll quilts to their backgrounds.  I used tiny dressmaker pins to secure the flannel where the two pieces overlap.  I love my new board and now can hardly wait to get my scroll quilt pinned up on it!

While straightening up my quilting room, I discovered a box where I had three house blocks stored.  These I made about a year and a half ago, when friend Linda tried valiantly to get me to be a journal quilting buddy with her.  But at the time I was so obsessed with the building of this new house, that all I could think of each week was "house, house, house."  I think Linda got frustrated with me for making these with the same theme each time, and felt that I was missing the point of journal quilting!  After just a few weeks, I dropped the project.  Now, however, I find that they are exactly the same size as the journal quilt I made a few weeks ago in honor of the time spent during Spring Break with my little Michigan grandsons--the baseball-themed journal quilt.  So why not go back to calling these house blocks journal quilts, too?  I have these four pinned way up at the top of my design board now.  Surely it will be a rare day that I use every square inch of this board, particularly that very highest section!  I'll keep these pinned up as I make them periodically and as I await deciding if I want eventually to sew them all together into a quilt to decorate this space.  Or just leave them as is, as does Linda.