My sister, Stephanie Serrano of VenusdeHilo.com nominated me for the Around the World Blog Hop. I’m not sure how many times this hop has been around the world, but it just hopped from Hawaii to Idaho.

The first question I’m supposed to answer is “what am I working on?” The answer is – my garden! Ha ha, no quilting done at all this month. So, maybe you’d like to see what I am SUPPOSED to be working on. Oh yeah, and I did make something last month, a quick mini you can read about here. The post about it was written kinda quick too, hopefully someday soon I can write up a longer one.

I have two WIPs I need to finish for QuiltCon, plus a couple xmas gifts, and a challenge quilt for QuiltCon that isn’t even started yet.

First up is Twister, which is basted and ready to quilt. I almost started on it tonight until I remembered I needed to write this post. (Guess I can blame my sister if I don’t get it finished, heh heh.) I was inspired to play with a variation of Stacked Coins – what if I put the “background” in the middle and made it the focus? (Sorry for the crappy photo, I was in a hurry.)

Next is Eyelash (working title, I need something better), which I had Marcia of  Marcia’s Crafty Sewing and Quilting (www.craftysewing.com) quilt for me (and she took this photo). Being all quilted means – in theory – that it won’t take long for me to finish it. I need to add some bias-strip applique, and the binding, sleeve, label. The inspiration was an image I “saw” as I woke up one morning. I thought it would make a neat quilt idea and sketched it out before I forgot. It evolved from there.

Eyelash quilt quilted

This airplane quilt, which I started quilting then set it aside earlier this summer, is for my Dad. It’s been a UFO for about 15 years, so I thought maybe I should try and finish it before he dies (he’s 80 now but should be good for a few more years, having had a triple bypass a few months ago).Dad's quilt top
And somewhere are pieces intended to become a table runner for my mom. Plus the one I haven’t started yet but have all the fabric.

So that’s what I should be working on. I can’t believe it’s almost mid-October and I have done nothing on any of them. The QuiltCon entries are due by the end of November!

How my work differs from others and why I create what I do sort of tie in together. I started out as a traditional quilter, as nearly all quilters were back then. It gave me a solid foundation in the mechanics (and math) of figuring out how to put a quilt together. With rare exception, I’ve always done my own designs, others patterns are boring and were scarce when I learned quiltmaking. But it took me awhile to branch out and start working improvisationally. The airplane quilt was one of my first attempts, and reached the point where I didn’t know how to pull it together and put it in a bin. I must have learned something in the years since, as my only problem once I pulled it out again was running out of fabric. That’s why the border is kinda different.

I like to think I’m an eclectic quilter – I try anything that looks like fun and usually give it my own twist. Traditional, improvisational, scrappy, Art, Modern, or anything in between, it’s all fair game in my studio. Although making a Modern quilt has been a challenge for me, and I’m not sure I’ve pulled it off yet, as the part of Modern quilting I like best is “no rules.” That’s great, except if you have no rules, who decides what is Modern and what isn’t? I’ve read over lists of characteristics and try to fit within them, but the quilts tell me what they want and I keep straying outside the lines.

Like with this one, which I finished back in June. What do you think, is this Modern, or Art? Or something else? latest quilt

What’s most important to me is to have fun. And finish some UFOs. The best projects are the ones where I can have fun with my UFOs, even if the end result is not what I started out to make.

And now I’m going to spin the globe and send you to Jan Quigley over at Molly’s Meanderings, who will post on the 20th (right Jan?). She’s a crafty Aussie who likes to quilt, check out her blog here.

 October 14, 2014  Posted by Abby at 7:36 am Uncategorized No Responses »
 

Here it is, my mini for Project Quilting’s September challenge. When I read about the challenge for this month I thought “perfect, I can use up the scraps on my cutting table and finish this in no time.” (Hmmm – note to self – define “no time.”)

I finished it yesterday and am writing this blog post in time to get it linked up just under the wire. In fact, I will need to come back later and write a bit more about how I made this one, because I took a pile of process pics that I don’t have time to edit tonight. All I’m going to say now is it started with some scrap strips leftover from another project (not yet done). I sewed, I cut, I sewed, I cut, I played on the design wall. Then sewed some more.

It is quilted in simple spirals all over, with a variegated thread (Superior Rainbows) that doesn’t really show except on the green portions. The binding was a leftover bit in my “scrap bindings” box.

It finished 15 1/4 inches wide and 20 inches long. I named it “Sprawl.”

 September 30, 2014  Posted by Abby at 7:47 pm Uncategorized No Responses »
 

Jean of Layers of Hope – Quilting 911 is collecting quilts for people who lost their homes in the recent Eastern Washington fires. For details, see her post here: http://layersofhopequilting911.blogspot.com/2014/07/please-help-spread-word-quilts-for.html.

I’m off to my sewing room to finish up something fast.

 July 30, 2014  Posted by Abby at 4:21 pm Uncategorized No Responses »
 

I managed one finish this quarter. Yep, just one. I spent most of my time in my garden this quarter which left little time for quilting. I just barely finished this Modern quilt in time to submit it for a special exhibition. I’ll know in August whether it was accepted or not.

Looking back, I see I had hoped to finish 5 quilts – man, was I dreamin’!

Quilt #1 is now a finished top, and I need to get it to fully finished by July 10th – 10 days from right now. Gulp.

Quilt #2 “Yellow Squares” is the one I finished, now called Golden Hour.

The others have not been touched. And I doubt I will touch them next quarter either. In fact, everything I need to finish next quarter is unstarted except for the airplane quilt.

 June 30, 2014  Posted by Abby at 8:44 pm Finish-Along 1 Response »
 

OMG, how did it get to be May already? I never did get a post up for a finish for April. Not that it mattered, since I didn’t finish anything in April. But I am making 80th birthday gifts for my folks and I need to get them finished this month. One I plan to send out to be quilted, so the other one is my intended finish for May.

I wrote about it here for NewFO, since it was my only new start last month. A table-runner for my mom, to go with the napkins I made her for her birthday last Fall. Small should finish up fast, right? Well, it might if I knew what I was going to do with it. I’m figuring out the design as I go along, which sometimes works fine and sometimes not so fine.

Spring is here, and that means lots of time spent preparing and planting my garden. And lots of time in the garden means not much time for sewing. That will have to change if I am going to get these gifts done on time!

I posted this image last time but I’ll put it here again so it will come up for the linky thing.

 May 6, 2014  Posted by Abby at 8:12 pm Uncategorized No Responses »
 

This month’s project focus was to make gifts for my parents, who turn 80 this year. Originally I planned to make one art quilt as a gift for both, but then I discovered a UFO that I had started for my dad about 15 years ago. He got something else for a gift that year, as I only managed to get half the top put together before my lack of improvisational experience caught up with me and I couldn’t figure out how to put the rest together without more flying geese units, and I had no more fabric for them.

By the time I pulled it out again I had forgotten whatever rules I was following at the time, and, with some cutting apart of segments and rearranging, I pulled a top together. I had just enough WoW for assembly and not enough to flesh out all the corners to 90degrees. But improv quilts don’t have to be square, so I called it good and sewed on a light blue inner border, using that to fill out the corners first. It still needs one more border. I hope my stash holds something that will work.

For my mom, I decided to make her a table runner (small projects finish quicker) from the fabrics we made her some napkins with, last Fall. That’s my NewFO for this month, and here’s some of the pieces.

This is not the planned design, just the focus blocks and some of the fabric strips I’m working with. I had in mind a colorwash style background but I don’t think these fabrics will give me the desired effect. I’ll save that idea for some other project. I’m not sure exactly what I will do, something with strips because I have a bunch all cut, but not log cabin.

 April 30, 2014  Posted by Abby at 2:33 pm Quilt Alongs 1 Response »
 

As many women do, I decided to make a quilt when my son was little. If I remember right (always an iffy proposition) he was five at the time. I’ve liked quilts since I was equally little, being fascinated by the vintage quilts my grandmother had on her beds. Exactly why I thought making a quilt might be a good idea I don’t know. I think I had this vague idea that I could make money selling quilts and quit my day job. Ha ha ha! I’m still trying to figure that one out, although the day job is long gone.

While I hadn’t made a quilt before, I had made a patchwork potholder for my mom in 6th grade, as a sample to go with a term paper I wrote about quilting. This was back in 1968 (don’t you dare do the math), and there weren’t many quilt books out there (none I could find) so my research was done at the New York State Historical Society, which happened to be in the town we lived in at the time. For the potholder I did a star, possibly an Ohio Star, and I can’t remember if I had a block pattern to follow. No step-by-step instructions, I had to figure it out, and I used scraps my mom had. I have no photos of this early masterpiece (or of my first real quilt, for that matter).

I also made a patchwork blanket for one of my model horses, from sample bits my mom gave me. No batting so technically it isn’t a quilt. I still have it around here somewhere, but the horse is long gone.

So I had a little bit of piecing experience when I set out to make a quilt, and a treadle sewing machine my dad had given me for my 16th birthday. I might have made the model horse blanket on it. (It’s not like I had any interest in sewing clothes or home decor.) I needed the treadle because we lived off the grid and our itty bitty solar power system couldn’t handle a sewing machine or iron. I sewed at home, then took the pieces to my mom’s house to iron them. The work got done in stages.

For a pattern I went shopping in my mom’s craft book collection, and found a Quilt-in-a-Day book by Eleanor Burns, complete with cardstock template pieces to cut out. The book was for a sampler quilt, but I chose one block (a pinwheel variation) to use for my first quilting venture. And yes, I cut out the templates, layered fabric, pinned the template in place, and struggled to cut through four layers of fabric with my mom’s old sewing scissors (read: dull). (I discovered rotary cutters soon after that first quilt.)

Once I had all the pieces cut, I learned real fast how to fudge a seam! My memory has faded over the years, so I don’t know how I managed to get it all put together, but I did. Then I had to figure out how to quilt it. First I basted the layers with straight pins and tried to sew a simple quilting line on my machine. Didn’t work. The pins didn’t hold and everything moved around.

After ripping out those stitches I resigned myself to hand quilting. I may have rebasted it, or I may have struggled with the straight pins, I’ve forgotten those details. Maybe I’ve blocked it out. All I remember was doing the bare minimum to hold it together, and my stitches almost qualified as Big Stitch. And somewhere along the line I lost a needle.

Eventually I finished it and gave it to my son, who loved it dearly. About 8 months later, he called me in to his room soon after bedtime, and said, “Mom, there’s something sharp in my quilt, it pricked me.” He showed me where it was, and I felt around and worked it out, thinking one of the straight pins had ended up inside. Nope, it was the missing needle. Sure made me feel like Mom of the Year for that one!

What I don’t understand, looking back, is why that wasn’t my last quilt as well as my first. I guess I’m a slow learner, because I’m still making quilts 25 years later. Although I’ve stopped leaving needles in them.

 

This post is my entry in the Blog it to Win it Contest sponsored by Interweave. If I win I want the following prize package:

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Digital Imagery in Fiber Art: Using Textured Backgrounds for a Painterly Effect DVD

Digital Collage for Quilt Design From Start to Finish DVD by Diane Rusin Doran

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2013 Studios Collection CD

 

 April 14, 2014  Posted by Abby at 4:40 pm Uncategorized 1 Response »
 

OMG we are well into April already. Spring has sprung, the weather is beautiful, and I am busy in the garden. I may or may not have much time to quilt this quarter, but I’m going to try and finish the following:

1) Airplane quilt. (Wallhanging) I started this one years ago – can’t remember how many but over 10 – as a gift for my dad, then realized I wouldn’t finish in time and gave him something else. I recently unearthed in during an archeological dig in my UFO bins. He turns 80 this year, so I think it’s time to finish it. I’m also making a small quilt for my mom (also turning 80), but that one is not started yet.Airplane Quilt

2) Yellow squares. (Wallhanging) I made these blocks (only a few of them shown) recently to use up scraps that were cluttering up my work tables. I’d like to turn them into a finished quilt soon rather than add another UFO to my list.

Two more unstarted quilts are on my list. That’s 5 already so I’ll be lucky to get them all done, but just in case I discover a cache of extra time, I’ll include these three as repeats from last quarter:

3) “Stripes” – A QAYG quilt made by sewing strips directly to the backing and batting, which, I’ve discovered, is boring as hell. I may have to pay myself in chocolate to finish this one. Why did I make it twin size??

4) QAYG blocks #1 – Layered and basted blocks, ready for some free-motion practice. I expect to get these quilted, but whether I’ll get them assembled into a finished quilt by the end of the quarter remains to be seen. (Twin, I think.) [edit - I copied these as is from last quarter and just read it over - these blocks did in fact get quilted last quarter. Now I need to assemble them.]

5) QAYG blocks #2 – Another set of basted blocks waiting for free-motion quilting, [edit - centers are done. The wide sashing will be used for feather practice, which awaits some other quilt I want to use feathers on]. (Another twin, if I calculated right.)

 April 8, 2014  Posted by Abby at 10:08 am Finish-Along 1 Response »
 

Down to the wire, but it’s FINISHED! I sewed the binding on this morning. Here is “Cardinal Sin” in all it’s glory. (Sort of, darn camera distorted it a bit.)

You can read about the construction of this quilt here, here and here. When it came time to quilt it, I chose a leafy branches motif to fill the smaller areas, and added a few along the edges of the bird patches. Then I took inspiration from the berries and used a “pebbles” fill around the birds – except I called it “berries.”

The leafy branches are sewn with green thread, which worked beautifully. It shows enough to see the design, but not enough for my many little “oopsies” to jump out. White thread would have disappeared on the white fabric and stood out too much on the red, and vice verse for red thread. Green was just right. For the “berries” I used an off-white thread that doesn’t show, but you can see the design anyway from the texture of it.

This quilt is finish #3 for the Finish-Along (original post here), and my March finish for the Lovely Year of Finishes, and is my finished quilt for the Tea-Towel Challenge. Hah – three birds with one quilt!

 March 31, 2014  Posted by Abby at 7:47 pm Finish-Along, Quilt Alongs 3 Responses »
Mar 302014
 

(I finished this quilt back in late January but held off on a post because I planned to become a Craftsy affiliate. Of course, I haven’t actually applied for one yet, and time is running out on posting for the Finish-along, so here we go. This is also finish #2 for the Finish-Along, original post here.)

This quilt had it’s beginnings in Joe Cunningham’s Craftsy class Pattern-free Quiltmaking. In this class he teaches several processes for making fast, easy, arty quilts. First lesson is for a Three Sisters (or Rail Fence) variation he calls Three Crazy Sisters. As I worked on this first version, I started referring to it as a Twisted Sister, so that’s what I called this quilt.

First thing I did, after pulling fabric from my stash, was to misread the directions. It says to cut two 7 inch strips and I cut two from each fabric. Turns out it is two total – one from each fabric. By the time I was done making pieced 2 1/2 by 6 1/2 inch strips, I had twice as many as I needed. And I had half as many unpieced strips as I needed, because I ran out of fabric.

Well, what the heck, this is supposed to be pattern-less fun, so I made the blocks with the pieces I had, even though the result was a bit different from Joe’s version. Nothing wrong with exploring the “what-ifs” and nothing wrong with exploiting your mistakes.

Here’s my first layout with my blocks, where I put them up on the wall as they came off the pile.

Not bad but not very interesting either. I played around with pulling the greens to green and the pinks to pink for larger chunks of color.

Better.

Then I remembered I meant to use a rectangular layout so I could add a border and make a crib-size quilt for charity. As I moved the blocks around again, I thought, I wonder if I can connect all the greens? This was the best I could do. There are three blocks that couldn’t be fit in. Or, I couldn’t fit them in with the time I allowed myself to play with it.

Now you see why I call it Twisted Sister!

And here it is finished. I used a thick batting, which I don’t like but I have a whole roll of it to use up. I was worried it would be difficult to free-motion quilt but it wasn’t.

 March 30, 2014  Posted by Abby at 5:01 pm Finish-Along No Responses »