Evening in the Garden Quilts

Adventures in Fabric Art


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Coffee Quilt is Finished!

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I used the Labor Day Sew-In on Twitter ( #LDSI ) to make myself focus and get this quilt completed!  On and off all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday we sewed and tweeted away.  Everyone else shared multiple finishes ( it seemed to me), but they encouraged me through the various steps and cheered me along.  Monday morning I finished quilting the border and put on the binding.  Yay!

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Others agreed that we don’t enjoy piecing a large quilt back, but I really think the results were worth the work.  Love this!

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I quilted free-form feathers in all the card trick blocks using orange Highlights from Superior, and did a small stipple in dark brown Bottom Line on the espresso backgrounds.

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In the borders,  I outlined all the cats and books using smoke invisible thread.  I swear by Superior’s Monopoly.  I zoomed through the borders at a fast speed and never had the least bit of trouble with thread breakage.  That’s very important because I can’t see well enough to rethread the needle with that darn transparent stuff!  Honestly, I did not sew around every book;  I “laddered” back and forth, alternating books, which I think still give the appearance of them all being quilted.

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That border gave me fits.  I had found three yards of the out-print-fabric on Etsy, and expected to have enough to use on the back, too.  Au contrare.  First I discovered that the rows of cats did not contain enough space for cutting and seams, so I had to sacrifice a row of cats every time I cut.  Then I discovered that the rows were not all the same width.  Sheesh.  Who’s the nimrod who designed this?  So, in two corners the border miters nicely, and in the other two there is no way.  I feel that it looks as if I were careless, but it was the best I could do.  I trimmed the outer edges in such a way that I think is looks matched, if you don’t look too closely.  Oh, well.  It is a great border print.

This turned out dark and rich and cozy.  I think it will be just right for curling up with a good book, your favorite cat, and a glass of wine or cup of coffee.  And one of my Christmas gifts is finished!

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I’m linking up with Finish it up Friday on Crazy Mom Quilts.


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Border Confessions

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I want to come clean to you all about my border technique.  It’s something I need to get off my chest.  Then you can decide if you want to unfollow me or report me to the Quilt Police, or whatever.

I cut my borders to the size they are supposed to be.  To the finished dimensions of the quilt plus half an inch.  To the size they are on the EQ design.  No measuring, no averaging.  In this case, I had four 9-inch blocks across the top of the quilt.  I cut the border 4 x 9 plus 1/2″, or 36 1/2″.

Every time a new quilter asks about borders, I cringe a bit when I hear the measuring and averaging advice.  Maybe first, second, third quilts are so “off” that they need some averaging to try to get borders on them.  Certainly, no one should just start sewing on a strip of fabric and see where it ends up!  But after you’ve done this for a while, shouldn’t your quilts be the right size?

No one could ever accuse me of perfectionism, but I do like a square quilt.  It looks nice, lies flat, and is a whole lot easier to quilt.  I cut my pieces as accurately as possible without stressing.  I piece them together accurately.  When I put blocks together, I do the best I can.  Often, there are some plain blocks in the setting that I know I have cut to the correct size, so I fudge the pieced blocks to match them.  That’s what that little bit of gathering is for that happens on the bottom layer of fabric as it goes through your machine.  Use that to your advantage, and certainly don’t let it make things worse!  Pins are good, too.  I hate to pin, but I use a few to make sure things match.

I don’t want to measure the “field” of my quilt.  It had better be the right size, or very close.  That “close” we take care of with the feed dogs again.  All the 216 little 3 1/2″ squares on this quilt came out just a tad larger than they should have (like a quarter- to half-inch tad).  I discovered that when I pinned on borders cut to the correct size.  I pinned ends, centers, and again between the centers, distributing any fullness. I made sure that I had the larger, pieced side down when I sewed on the borders, and that took care of it.  Now I have a very square, stable top, hemmed in by borders of the correct size.  That teensy bit of fullness in the middle will quilt out completely.  It will also lie flat and square when I go to spray baste it.  I’m good.

So, am I the only one who does this?  No teachers or books ever say this.  Is it a secret?  What do you do?

Feel free the call the police now.  I’m going to go baste.


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Rainy Tuesday

International Audience

I feel like I’m off to a good start with this blog.  I’m still trying to learn the technical parts, so I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface, but my stats show that so many people are looking at it from all over the world, and that’s very exciting.  Thank you, viewers, and especially commentors.  As much as I like showing my work, be assured that that’s not all that I’ll be doing.  I hope to review tools and to tutorials and share lots of interesting things.

One thing that will be different soon is that I will be away from home for three weeks, traveling through Texas.  I plan to keep blogging, but obviously there will be no actual sewing to share.  I don’t want to do a travelog, but I wouldn’t rule out a few pictures of beautiful places.  What I hope to do is show patterns or designs I happen across in nature or architecture.  There could also be quilts or quilt shops, but hopefully not much buying.  We shall see.

WIP

I am going to show another personal quilt photo here.  The intensity of this quilt has been bothering me.  It is for a young man, an artist, who I know likes bright color and pattern, but I still feel it is too much.  Adding the blue inner border helped, and I like the way it is quilted, but it is still pretty hard on the eyes.  I joined the Flickr group, “Stash Pact II, Electric Bugaloo”, and Gab-Fab suggested using the back side of fabrics.  As I was working today I glimpsed the reverse side of the blue and gold border fabric and I really like it.  In the picture, I’ve placed some scraps on top of the actual border.  I think it provides the calm I was looking for, for floating the bright log cabins.  Problem:  the borders are on and partially quilted.  Do I rip the quilting out and the borders off, reattach, and requilt?  Keep in mind that I’m leaving on a trip Monday.  I think I probably will, because I really prefer the effect.  Hmmm.  Thoughts?

Inspiring Me Today

These tea towels  by Mae Engelgeer on Design*Sponge would make great quilts, don’t you think?  I love them.  And speaking of great quilts, I wish I had made this quilt, but it’s by Rita, of Red Pepper Quilts.  Her work amazes me.

Have a productive week!

I’m linking up with WIP at Freshly Pieced.