You may have noticed my blog posts have been a bit skimpy. That is because work has been crazy plus I am building two baby quilts for a pair of little girls born this month.
This weekend I did get out to a few estate sales. The feature photo is from a tree at a house I stood in line at. It so demonstrates that fall is here in the Pacific Northwest. A maple tree was vivid pinky red showing herself off. Add some lovely raindrops and you have a fall picture to die for.
Today I powered on to get the two quilt tops finished. Here they are ready to sandwich up the batting and a back.
Each of the quilts have a theme panel that is made from vintage embroidery I have picked up.
The pinker quilt is using a dish towel that is a cross stitched kitty carrying a basket of food. It says Good Luck Thursday because this was the Thursday towel. A little flash back to another time when we had time to make these cute towels.
Each of the quilts are balanced out by contrasting windmill squares.
The second bluer quilt uses a baby bib I picked up many years ago. She is so cute I knew she would be a great baby gift. Instead I cut her down and made her a feature panel on a quilt.
There you go.. busy time but feeling very productive and creative.
No nature this weekend! It is all about getting my latest quilt project to the finish line. The baby is due in mid-September, so time is a wasting.
I put the final pieces on the quilt top and started the sandwich process. For those that are not quilters, this is where you put the pretty quilt top, the batting and the quilt bottom all together. First step is get all the pieces pressed and I mean no wrinkles allowed. Next, spread the bottom on the floor and smooth it out. Add the batting on top for the middle of the quilt of the sandwich. Top it off with the pretty pieced top.
Now what do you do? You have to get it into the machine or your lap to quilt it. The trick is to secure it while it is all flat on the floor with hundreds of safety pins. That will keep the three pieces from slipping or bunching while you do the quilting. Hence “All Pinned Up!”.
The cool thing about this quilt is one of the fabrics I found. The pattern is safety pins. Double Pinned Up!!
Once I have all the safety pins in I shift it to my dinning room table to save my back from leaning over. My helper-supervisor Reggie followed me over to make sure it is done correctly. There I basted it both horizontally and vertically about every two inches. Lastly, the pins come out.
We are now ready to quilt. That will be next weekend’s adventure.
When times are tough or when I just need my weekly time with nature, I walk to the madrona forest on the side of the Salish Sea. That little oasis is just a moment away for me. Here is a link to the daily prompt that has inspired this post – Oasis
You may have seen me write about these lovely rusty trunked trees. They have not only a warm color but their form is so reaching and expressive.
On my trail to the beach, I am embraced by them and the wildlife that resides in them. I have found my beloved crows, spotted towhee’s, raccoons, and sparrows inhabiting this world. The little trail has a small platform with a bench overlooking the beach and forest. I always stop there to drink in the calming energy of the forest around me.
Here are a few things I have documented in this urban forest on the edge of Puget Sound. Hope you may find calm and a small oasis in them as well.
My crow family greeting me from an old madrona snag.
Madrona Crow in the Rain
Can you see the crows in the forest?
Baby Crow Quilt Finished
Baby Crow crying for Mom to feed him silhouetted against a blue sky
The finish line is near now that the binding is all that is left. It had been months since I did the fabric auditions and I had to search around for the fabric. I went through my cloth bins to no avail. Then I went through the dresser drawer I was using for storage twice before I found it in the back.
First I measured the quilt to determine how long the pieces should be. Next I decided that I wanted a narrow binding so the math was 3/4 inch times two plus two 1/4 inch seam allowances. That makes it a two-inch binding strip. My helper was there all the way making sure I got that right.
Measuring with some help
Start with ironing
Rotary Cutter and board to insure even cutting
Cutting a two inch binding
Reggie is testing the quilt for jumping
double checking was done
The binding was folded in half in prep of sewing it to quilt
The next step is to sew the binding to the quilt. I like to do this to the top since the other side will be hand stitched. That way the top will be nice and crisp. I machine sewed the two sides on, pressed them over, ironed a 1/4 inch seam allowance and turned it over. Next I pin it all down and with a blind stitch sew the backside down on both sides. Then the top and bottom are put on using the same method. The only difference is the corners are squared and pressed in. A small slide show shows you these steps.
The holiday vacation time is here and I have time to do the doodling. I took out the mini practice quilt and did a few refresher wind swirl quilting patterns. Then I bite the bullet and did the background quilting. Next I did the square motif on the borders. As in earlier in the project I saved the area around the baby crow for last. That way I had practiced up to that key area. Want my little guy to look his best forever.
Here are a few pictures for your viewing pleasure.
Darning foot doodling away
Cloud swirls out of baby’s mouth
Once the quilting was all completed, it was time to trim the sandwich down. This tidies it up for the binding which will be the last step. The quilt should be as square as you can get it now. Plus I had an area where the top wasn’t quite big enough so I had to fudge it some on that side. Otherwise when I sew the binding on it would have had batting showing.
Now that I have practiced the stitch it is time to pick the thread. I need the right color for top and bottom. Remember I did this once for the sewing in the ditch. I lugged the many spools I own out again to stay true to my no new purchases theme.
What a busy year it has been. In June I found some time to build a mini quilt sandwich. Then over
Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays I was able to make more progress. Watch for more posts as the days go on.
With this little sampler I practiced different free form machine quilting patterns. It takes practice to obtain the proper stitch length while moving the fabric around. The Feed Dogs are lowered and the machine does not push the fabric to insure an even length. However, this is how one quilts with a machine. I think of it like drawing with a sewing machine instead of a pencil. As usual, pictures tell the story.
The quilt is basted together in its sandwich state ready for quilting. I decided to sew in the ditch around all the applique and around the borders. This would set all the pieces nicely and stablize the sandwich.
Frist thing I did was audition the thread I was going to use. Yes it is another tryout to get the color right. I continue along my motto of using only what was in my stash. That was not too tough since when it comes to thread I have accumulated a bunch over the last 40 years. Here is a picture of it so you can see I have lots of choices.
Pulled all the brown or grey threads and set them on the background to see which is the most invisible. You can check it out with this small slide show of the audition.
When quilting the sandwich together one should start in the center and work outwards. I stated with the branches going outward. This insures that there are limited bubbles or bunched fabric. Once I got the branches done, I moved into leaves and twigs. I saved the little crying baby crow for last.
The next step is to sewing around the borders to make them nice and secure. After that I pulled the white basting thread out. No need for it now.
And here is the finished piece. See how it got kind of puffy and gained depth to it. Next step will be to do the squiggly quilting on the sky background that is called stippling.
It is time to put the three layers of the quilt together. Here is a little slide show so you can see the steps. First the backing is pressed and laid as flat as possible right side down. Next the batting is put down and last the top is put on top of the sandwich.
Next I pulled out all my quilt safety pins. They really aren’t special except I have lots of them and they are real big ones. The batting had some adhesive in it so I pressed the pieces together to help keep it together a little better. Then out comes the big needle and contrasting white thread. I baste it starting in the middle and working out with both horizontal and vertical basting. Once that is done I remove the pins and have the quilt ready for the quilting process.
I am thinking I will use my sewing machine with a freeform foot that allows me to doodle on the fabric. I’ll do that in the sky background plus sew around the applique pieces.