Thursday, September 3, 2015

Avril and I Aren't Speaking

So, please, any help or advice to help mend our rift is much appreciated.  Here's how it ended:
The cause: Sulky; the possible solution: Isacord and Coats and Clark
I have quilted on my Bernina, and before her, on my Elna, for 20 years.  For most of those years I have used a variety of cool threads, and as you know, I love love Sulky threads, Holoshimmer and Blendables in particular.

Apparently Avril does not.

This is Wings, supposed to be on and off the longarm in a day, easy.  Use the KISS rule, Sandra, (Keep It Simple Sandra).  Uh huh.

Until I thought, well, okay, simple, fairly open FMQ... a meander... but those wings wanted a little definition, so I thought, "I'll FMQ with Sulky Blendables on the wings in different colours!"

Then I thought, "Those wings do need a "leedle" definition."  So I got out the vinyl, whacked off a hunk, traced one set of wings, thought hmm, how about a diagonal line from the edge of each 'log' to emphasize the diagonal flow?  Started to draw that with water-soluble marker (which does not adhere well to the vinyl btw).  I was holding the marker as you do when you are practising the flow of the FMQ, at the end of it, perpendicular to the vinyl, with thumb and two fingers.  Well, my straight line from one log to the other wobbled a bit...and lightbulb! Cue the choir!  SCALLOPS!
Thus was born this idea.  I know, really simple and open, right?
I laid the vinyl over the block to see the effect:
Yes, oh yes I'm liking it!  Might omit the feathers...
Pulled out my Sulky threads, got even more excited as I saw how many of them will work on the 12 wings blocks I have...

Here's the thing about the issues that arose:

It might have to do with having Shannon Fabrics' Cuddle (a Minkee type gorgeous fabric, cannot wait to show you what this looks like) on the back.  I have The Bottom Line in the bobbin.

I started with my own wound bobbin.  Then I switched it to a pre-wound one, thinking maybe the tension was off on my own.  No difference.

I have used King Tut variegated thread on Avril, 30 weight, and she loved it.  100% cotton quilt. The Bottom Line in the bobbin.  Granted there was a lot of fuzz to constantly clean out.  Still.

The meander you see on the neutral sections was done with So Fine on top, The Bottom Line on the bottom, and quilted out beautifully, both front and back.  Size 18 aka 110 needle, up a size from the usual.

The screwdriver is in the first photo to show you how often I was adjusting the bobbin tension.  More than I ever have.  Don't worry, tiny increments.  I was adjusting the top as well.

On my Bernina and Elna, I had to lower the top tension a LOT, like from the normal 4 down to 1 or 1.25.  So I have kept the top tension quite loose.  Still tons of top thread breakage, and being yanked down to the back of the quilt.  When I finally had some success with the top thread holding up, and this was now quilting with the 12 weight on the red wings, the back tension was horrific and will have to be ripped out.

I thought of these solutions after I walked away from her, giving her the "talk to the hand" treatment.

1.  Up the size of the needle again to 125/20 that you see in the first photo.  On the DSM, in the threads class I took that spurred me on to using these beautiful threads, we were told to use a Topstitch 90/14 needle and they work beautifully.

2.  Quilt my scallops with an Isacord or So Fine in the top, and then go over them on the Bernina when the quilt is all done.

3.  Use Isacord, period, where I have the colours to match, Coats and Clark variegated where I have those colours.  However, I think it's either outline all the wings with variegated, or not.

Other than those ideas "I got nuttin'".  So any advice or help is much appreciated from those who use a thicker-weight threads such as these on a longarm.  I don't have any issues on the DSM.

So yesterday afternoon, my beloved Bernina and I (12 years now, and our love affair has never wavered) whipped up this charity quilt, for a senior in a wheelchair, in less than 2 hours from fabric pull to cutting to flimsy finish:
Chinese Coins.  Rather manly, yes?

This is #3 of my wheelchair quilts and will be used at the September meeting when I do my demo.  I added in 3 fabrics of my own to those that are in the guild's charity stash. That gorgeous yellow is some my Auntie Phyl, recipient of Blue Ribbon Stars, sent to me.  It gives it a nice pop.

I'll have a tutorial for this easy peasy little quilt up shortly.  And one for Blue Ribbon Stars too, I promise.

It's the fourth day of the New Block Blog Hop sponsored by Fabri-Quilt, so head on over to Terri's blog, Childlike Fascination, where you will find about 15 brand new blocks, many with full-quilt design ideas!  And don't forget the giveway!

In case you missed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday blocks and giveaway chances, pop in to these three hosts,
Yvonne at Quilting JETgirl
Stephanie at Late Night Quilter
Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs
where you will see the links to all the other blocks.  Over 60!  I know I now have, ahem, a few more on my to-do list!

I'm linking this post up with Kelly at My Quilt Infatuation

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Mystery Quilt Progress

I had these done (finally) mid-week last week, but just never got up a post.  Here are my geese for Step 1 of Cheryl's Mystery Quilt-along at Meadow Mist Designs:

I  played a little after trimming them all up:

 I was rather amazed at the designs one can make just with a flying geese unit!
All I did was add 4 more units to the corners of the star block

There is a name for the block that is formed in the centre here...I think...
I like the squares that you get when you fill in the side gaps with another unit.

If you rotate those units from the previous photo, this is what you get!
As a kid, I LOVED my wooden mosaics; I've been a quilter longer than even I know...

In the end, yesterday I decided to lay them out all nicely for a proper shot. I got half of them all laid out, and then Bella got involved and mussed a bunch up.  I shooed her away, fixed them back up, decided that half of them laid out, all pretty, was good enough, and got a quick photo.

I'm looking forward to the next step!

Sunday night I tested a block for the Fabri-Quilt New Block Blog Hop we are in for my dear friend, Julie, at Pink Doxies.  It is a great one!

Head on over to her blog to get the instructions (no special rulers required, yeah!).  I even did it without a compass...think I may have got rid of my ancient um, 40-year-old math set.  Love this block.  Then again I do love the sun! My version is with my own stash fabrics, and of course, for a little more shine, Sulky Holoshimmer for the top-stitching. ;-)

Check out Cheryl's post today at Meadow Mist Designs for about 15 more brand spanking new blocks complete with tutorials.  If you want to get in on the Mystery Quilt you will find the tab for that there too!
If you missed yesterday's line-up for the New Block Block Hop, check out Yvonne's post.  My block is here! There's a fabulous giveaway on each host's post for oh, 3 yards of fabric...
For another 30 or so blocks, and more giveaways (Fabri-Quilt has been so generous!) on
Wednesday you can visit Stephanie at Late Night Quilter.
Thursday you can visit Terri at Childlike Fascination.

Monday, August 31, 2015

New Block Blog Hop

Presenting 3D Pinwheel Parade!

This is my block for the New Block Blog Hop.

Thanks so much to Fabri-Quilt for providing the set of fat eighths to each of us and for sponsoring the fabulous prizes: 8, that's EIGHT bundles of 1/2 yard cuts of each of the 6 fabrics for the hop.  That's a 3-yard total prize!  Pretty amazing I'd say.  Thank you so very much to our 4 hive mamas from the New Bloggers Blog Hop.  When that hop ended, the fun was extended. :-)  They dreamed this up, Fabric-Quilt jumped on board, as did over 60 bloggers.  There has been a ton of work done behind the scenes by Yvonne, Stephanie, Cheryl and Terri, from dreaming up the idea, to approaching the fabric company, to contacting the new bloggers, to cutting up and distributing the fat eighths, to answering a myriad of questions and concerns from the bloggers, and then--!  There is the organizing of the hop itself, the linkups, the gathering in of completed blocks and assembling them into quilts and then distributing the finished quilts.  Phew!  Every single one of the blocks will be made up into charity quilts, sewn up by our very own hive mamas.   Quilters (and their sponsors) just rock this world, don't they?  Did you know Fabri-Quilt has a great blog?  Check it out here!

I had fun playing around, coming up with various ideas, and it was a good challenge to my creative side.

So, Monday to Thursday this week there are approximately 15 blogs per day, each with a new, original block to share with you.  That is over 60 new blocks, tutorials provided for free.  AND prizes.  Suh-weet.  Here are the others presenting their blocks today:
My host is Yvonne at Quilting JETgirl  (enter to win the draw here as well as see her block) 
Kelly @ Quilting it Out
Martha @ Once a Wingnut
Irene @ Patchwork and Pastry
Cassandra @ The (not so) Dramatic Life
Andrea @ The Sewing Fools
Bernie @ Needle and Foot
Silvia @ A Stranger View
Wanda @ Wanda's Life Sampler
Vicki @ Orchid Owl Quilts
Jess @ Quilty Habit
Diana @ Red Delicious Life
Chelsea @ Patch the Giraffe
Margo @ Shadow Lane Quilts
Renee @ Quilts of a Feather

You can check on the following sites for the URLs for the blogs for subsequent days:
Tuesday:  go to Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs for the list
Wednesday: go to Stephanie at Late Night Quilter for the list
Thursday: go to Terri at Childlike Fascination for the list

Alright, on with the new block from moi!
A note about my block: it employs folded triangles in two corners of the block.  This adds visual interest in that you have a raised folded triangle that is unattached on one side, which lies on top of the larger triangle beneath.  A quilt created with these 3D or layered triangles provides tactile interest as well, which is great for a child, but also for a person with Alzheimer's or dementia, as it gives them something to fiddle or twiddle with.  This helps to calm down the agitation while they are amused by running their fingers over the quilt finding the little "pockets" created by the folded white triangles.

We were given a set of 6 fat eighths, from which to create a 12 1/2" unfinished block.  The palette is Fabri-Quilt's Prairie Cloth Cotton Solids and was named Watermelon Summer.  We had to use at least 3 of the colours in our blocks, and we weren't allowed to add any of our own.  Our block had to have a summer theme.  My favourite season.

I wanted to create a secondary design, only apparent if you piece 4 or more blocks together.  I don't have EQ7.  But I do have SQ1!  Sandra Quilts1... groan...
This mock-up doesn't show the folded white HSTs that meet in the centre; that was something I thought of after I drew and coloured the basic block.
The above arrangement is what led to the name, 3D Pinwheel Parade, since the coral and turquoise pinwheels parade around the centre pinwheel.  I loved the pinwheels on a stick, aka windmills, we'd get as kids in the summers, loved the secondary designs that only showed up when they were spinning.

If you rotate the blocks 90 degrees, you get this secondary pattern:
You'd still get the chartreuse and blue pinwheels forming if you were to make even more than 4 blocks

The block takes about 35 minutes from start to finish, according to my pattern tester ;-)

HST = half square triangle.  This is the shape you get when you cut a square in half on the diagonal.
RST = right sides together

Shape: 3 7/8" square
  • Cut 4 aqua
  • Cut 2 coral
  • Cut 2 turquoise
  • Cut 1 lapis blue; cut this one in half on the diagonal to yield 2 HSTs
  • Cut 1 chartreuse; cut this one in half on the diagonal to yield 2 HSTs
Shape:  3 1/2" square
  • Cut 3 white.  Cut only one of these in half on the diagonal to yield 2 HSTs. 
Shape:  3 1/2" X 6 1/2" rectangle
  • Cut 2 white.
The building blocks of the block


1. Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the other on the wrong sides of each of the 4 aqua squares. Place an aqua square atop a coral square, RST.
Love my Hera marker for this job

Sew a scant 1/4" on each side of the drawn line.  Cut apart on this line to yield 2 HST squares.

Press the seams to the aqua triangle.  Square the unit up to 3 1/2".  Repeat with the other aqua/coral pair.  In the same manner, place an aqua square atop a turquoise square and repeat this process.
4 coral/aqua HST square units that measure 3 1/2"
4 turquoise/aqua HST square units that measure 3 1/2"

2.  Note: these next 2 HST square units need to be mirror images of each other, so colour placement is key.

Set the lapis blue triangle right side up on one shorter, straight-of-grain side so that the right angle of the triangle is on the right, and the longer, diagonal, bias side of the triangle is on the upper left.  Place a chartreuse triangle right side up so that the bias edges are beside each other.  Do this with the other pair now.

Take the 2 triangles you cut and press them in half, RST.  Set one in the same orientation as the lapis blue triangle, at the bottom of the blue triangle.  Be sure to align the raw edges and have the folded edge on the body of the blue triangle.  Set the other white folded triangle on top of the blue triangle, RST, but at the top, aligning the raw edges here too.

Now flip the chartreuse HST on top of the blue triangles, sandwiching the white folded triangle between the two larger HSTs.  Pin.  Sew a scant 1/4" seam from the raw edges.  Press the white triangle onto the blue one, pressing the seams open to reduce bulk.  You will end up with 3 layers of fabric on one side of the pressed open seam and one layer on the opposite side.  If you wish, you can snip the white triangle seams so you can press them both open.  Square to 3 1/2".

This is what it will look like:

One raw edge of the folded triangle is sewn into the diagonal seam, the other raw edge lies on the outer raw edges of the block, and the folded edge rests on top of the blue triangle, unattached, which creates a layered white triangle.

Assembling the block

Lay out the units as shown below.
Sew each row together, pressing seams in opposing directions as shown on the photo.  Note: you may wish to press the centre seams that make the pinwheel unit open to reduce bulk.

Tip:  when piecing the coral and turquoise pinwheels, pull back the seams about 1/4", so you can ensure the seams abut or nest.
This will give you nice crisp points at the centre of your pinwheel.

Ta-da!  Here is your finished block:

I have a total of 4 blocks: the first one I did just to see if it would work out of my stash, the second I did following my instructions, still out of my stash, and the third and fourth were with the Watermelon Summer fabric from Fabri-Quilt, one to send away and one to keep.  Here is what they look like in real life, 4 together:

Or turned 90 degrees, as I mentioned at the beginning, and showed you with my graph paper drawings:

I love it when something I've drawn out on graph paper comes to reality!

Please remember to visit Yvonne today to enter to win one of the fabulous prizes.  Hope you hop on over to my new block mates today to check out their creations as well.  And remember to check back Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for more fun and inspiration and chances to win!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Parisville Weave - Finish!

I originally had hoped for a last week Friday finish.  The quilt was quilted, but man, the binding took me six days!  This is one of my goals on my Q3 FAL list at On the Windy Side.  That is 2 of 5 done, "Better get the lead out," as my dad used to say.  Still, 3 of the 5 goals are full-size quilts.

I've given you some sneak-peeks at this quilt over a couple of posts; well here she is.  I called her Parisville Weave because the fabric is mainly from Tula Pink's Parisville line, and the red rectangles give a woven effect.  The original quilt is "Over and Under" from Quilt Sampler Fall 2011, the first quilt I bought (I've since bought one more) from a magazine I have collected since, oh, 1998.  I've drooled over many, thought, should I? and usually talked myself out of the purchase.

Not this time.  Something about the pale sea foam paired with the vibrant red, placed amongst the other wild prints just called to me.  It might have been the primary photo, where the quilt was thrown over a red sofa.  We have a red sofa in our Florida home...

I didn't care for the way it was quilted in the magazine.  I wanted an Angela Walters-worthy design in those setting triangles.  No red thread there for me.  When I saw this design on a quilt of Kathleen's, I just knew that was it.  It  uses a signature Angela design, framed ribbon candy and elongated figure eights (note the figure eights in Tula's fabric too!) with Angela's dot to dot ideas, but put together in Kathleen style.  I love it.
Note the separate border quilting designs

The borders stumped me for a while.  Treat them as one unit, or two?  I ended up going for two, since they are sewn separately, and border 1 sections do not match up with border 2.  So in the first border I did Links, a design from Angela's book Shape By Shape, (let me just say it was a challenge quilting it sideways!)  I would use it again, as it is very effective, a continuously stitched design, with (bonus!) no marking.
In border 2, I did an Angela dot to dot border design from the same book.  Six passes, lots of ruler work, but what an effect, no?

I hand-stitched the binding down to the back, stitching for a while here and there over the first few days.  I only really sat for an extended length of time Wednesday evening and yesterday morning to get this done!  About 4.5 hours of hand-stitching all told.

I bought the backing from Fat Quarter Shop, on sale for $4.38/yard.  Like crazy-good deal.  Since I needed oh, 6-7 yards, they actually emailed me after I'd ordered to say they had the quantity but it was in two pieces; was I okay with that?  Great service.  No affiliation; I just adore them. :-)

Tried, with limited success, to get the texture to show up.  Maybe a wool batt would've shown more definition, maybe a solid quilt right?!
I wasn't sold on using this fabric when it arrived for the backing.  It is more blue than I anticipated.  However, I loved the ocean theme, since I thought it might end up living in Florida. :-)  In the end, I do think it works; that cherry pink is evident in Tula's ships fabric, the greens in many of the fabrics on the front.  And the blue?  It is in the turquoise family, so it works for me.

It is a pretty big quilt, so I had a hard time get a straight-on shot of the entire thing.  I laid it on the gravel at my neighbour's walkout basement level, then went up to his ground level, which is up in the air right, since he is built into a hill, (you got that?!) to take the above picture.  I am on his "ground" level in the picture below.

Beautiful view of Lake Erie, no?  My neighbour lives a few doors down from us.  He told me to tell everyone, if you like the quilt....his house is for view on the street.
I said in a previous post, that I bought this quilt kit before I'd even heard of Tula Pink or Modern Quilting.  I just loved the wild variety of colours here, the simplicity of the piecing, the overal impact of the design.  Who knew.

The sun was not full out; it was a typical southern Ontario summer day of that high haze for most of the day.
This is Kathleen's feather design. I saw it here.
I thought her feathers were super-cool, and since I do feathers on pretty much every single quilt,  Every.  Single.  Quilt.  well, they were perfect on the red polka dot rectangles.

In the floral red rectangles, which were oriented in the opposite direction, to create the woven effect, I did a flying geese design, similar to what Kathleen did in Pat Bravo's quilt here.
I think it enhanced the woven effect.  It separated the two reds, in that those headed "northwest" are the fun feathers, while those headed "northeast" (I'm really channeling my dad in this post) are the FMQ ghost geese.

In all the colourful squares of Tula Pink's gorgeous fabric, I did a Christina Cameli design from her book, Step By Step Free Motion Quilting, called Bauble.  It worked out super and, once again, echoes the shapes in some of Tula's fabrics.

Doesn't the Coats and Clark variegated thread look cool, at about the halfway mark of the 600 yard spool?
I used four different colours of threads, so it was a pain to constantly switch four times with each winding of the quilt, but I think it was so worth it in the end.  I lost track of my bobbins but I believe it was 4, maybe 5 pre-wound 215 yards each.

My label, as usual, applied to the backing prior to quilting:

I love this quilt so much.  I'm so glad I went for it!

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Over and Under from Quilts Sampler Fall 2011
Size: pre-washing: 74 3/4 X 86 3/4"; post-washing: 72 3/8 X 84 3/8"
Fabric: top: Tula Pink "Parisville", some Art Gallery, the floral red is Anna Maria Horner "Innocent Crush"; backing is "Tropical Dreams" by SPX Fabrics
Batting: Warm 'n Natural
Quilted: on my Avanté, Avril
Threads:  pieced with Gütermann, quilted with Isacord 40 wt threads in #5450 (green), 3951(blue), 1704 (red), and Coats and Clark 40 wt variegated 100% polyester in pastels (Avril loved both of these quilting threads)
Number of Stitches: 289 817!  Thanks to Jasmine, I am now tracking the number of stitches on each quilt.  My Avanté has 3 703 952 stitches in her lifetime.  Some are from the previous owner, who had her for not quite 2 months, but the vast majority are mine.

I'm linking up today with TGIFF, today at My Quilt Infatuation, (thanks, Kelly, for hosting), and with Crazy Mom Quilts, and with Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

This is also going to get linked on Saturday to Pink Doxies' Pet Project Show!  I am so proud of this baby.

I'll also be linking this up to the Q3 FAL at the end of September.  Two more big quilts on my list...I can do it, I can do it, yes I can!