Friday, August 26, 2011

Quilt #8: Bear Claw quilt

This will be my 8th quilt this year!  So excited to get started on it.  I actually started two weeks ago, I made a prototype square to make sure I knew what I was doing, and I wanted to show my brother to see if he liked it.  This quilt is a (late) birthday present for my twin brother.  He chose the pattern and color scheme.  Here's the prototype block (wrinkly because it sat for two weeks before I got around to taking a photo of it):

Trimmed to 14.25" square.

The past week has been crazy, since we got a new roof, and I hardly stepped foot in my sewing room.  The roof is finally finished (hurray!!) and I've been trying to get organized for this quilt.  I started with a drawing using measurements from the prototype block:

I draw up something like this for almost every quilt.  The small grey squares will be the green and red fabric that's in the center of the prototype block.

I started coloring in some of the blocks to be able to visualize it better, and realized despite having a bunch of fabric for this quilt, I didn't have a plan for what and how I would use it.  At first I just had this stack of precut squares:

Looks good, right?

But since I have to make 20 bear claw blocks, I wanted there to be an even number of blocks per color.  So my options are 5 colors--4 blocks each, 4 colors--5 blocks each, or 10 colors--2 blocks each.  I asked my brother is he cared, and he didn't but said 10 colors would be fine.  So here are the 10 colors I have (two of them are fat 8ths, but there's enough fabric for two blocks):

The small squares on the left are for the corner stones, and center of the blocks--I like that it brings all the colors together.
And now it is time to get started making the next 19 blocks!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

HST Complete!

I finally finished sewing on the binding Tuesday night, but have been away from the house (due to getting a new roof) and it's been raining or too cloudy to take photos until yesterday evening.  Anyway, here is the half square triangle diamond layout quilt:

I love how it turned out!

Following the advice of other bloggers that have done the spiral quilting, I started the center with a drawn spiral (I used a disappearing marker) and my free motion foot.  Once I was out from the center about 5 or 6 inches I switched to the even feed/walking foot.  And for those thinking of doing the spiral quilting, there is a right way and a wrong way for the spiral to go!  Go read about it here.

Here's the backing and close up of the binding:

Lots of paisleys!

I can't wait to give it to my sister for her (belated) birthday present, but first it is going to the State Fair for a month.  I've already started on the next quilt, and will post about it when I get a chance!

**Update** This quilt won 1st Place for it's category!

Friday, August 12, 2011

HST: Almost finished!

The quilting only took two days, which seemed rather fast to me.  I love how it turn out!


Today I went to Joann's (coupons in hand, of course) and picked out some possible binding material, then got three woman's opinions on what they thought looked best with the quilt.  Two out of three voted for this one:

Which won, obviously.

The third woman didn't really vote, except to say if I chose the other one, to put it on the bias.  The only thing I have left to do is to hand sew the binding onto the back of the quilt!  Hooray!  Once I get it back from the state fair I'll add a label (it would have to be covered to be entered anyway), and finally give it to my sister.    :-)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

HST Update

Well, I took a two week break from this quilt, last updated here.  Once I finally got back to it, I realized I still had nothing for the backing, and no plan for the quilting.  Sheesh.  So I went thrifting and found a nice sheet to use for the back, and quickly had it sandwiched.  Then I was completely stuck on how to quilt it.  I think what made this quilt so much harder to figure out is that I am planning on entering it at the State Fair (completion deadline is Sept 2nd!).  I guess the idea of people judging it makes me a lot more hesitant on what to quilt...I just want it all to work perfectly together.

Well, that ain't happenin' with this quilt.  The backing coordinates, but doesn't match.  And after spending hours looking at other people's quilts online, there just isn't anything that would be perfect for this quilt.  My husband suggested just doodling out some of the options to see how things turned out:


At one point Matt suggested I do a big spiral, but I said no, it'd be too hard.  About an hour later I came across this spiral quilt and was sold.  Seeing/reading how someone else did it made it sound simple.

So first thing this morning I got started.  Everything was going great until I realized my spiral was going the wrong way.  I hadn't thought of a right or wrong way when I started, but it became quite clear as I quilted that there was!  The wrong way means that for every outward spiral you're adding more quilt that has to be shoved through the throat of the machine.  By the time to you made it to the edge of the quilt you would be shoving/pulling/wrestling the entire quilt through!

If the spiral is going the "right" way, the opposite is true: for every spiral outward, there is less and less material that goes through the throat!

So this was a problem, a problem that was only getting worse with every turn.  So I took the quilt off my machine and decided there had to be a better way.  First I did more doodling:

The bottom two are my original practice spirals.  The top one is going the "right" way.

The only way to continue on with my current spiral was to flip the quilt over (quilting on the back) and jury rig my walking foot guide:

The guide is made to fit on the other side of the foot, but I needed it on the left side.  The only way I could get it to stay in the right place was to use the my other guide (the one on the bottom) and then tape the walking foot guide on top.

I taped it in two spots for stability.

Then I got quiltin' and wow did that make a difference!  Everything was going great, until I hit a pin (on my 6th go-round, so that's not too bad, right?).  The pins are on the top of the quilt, so every time I get near one I have to blindly take it out before continuing.  And one got past my radar.  Whew I'm glad I was able to salvage the quilting!  Here's how far I am now:

The lines are 1" apart, so this is rather slow going.

And now it is time to go put in a full bobbin and go around in many, many more circles!

Quilt and bind it

A friend recently asked if I could be hired to quilt and bind a baby quilt she'd had in the making for more than a year.  She wasn't able to finish it because every time she tried to work on the quilting it would clog up her machine to the point that she had to take the machine in to be repaired.  Yikes.  So I said sure.  I have this new fancy machine that needs to be put through some more paces.

Well the problem her machine was having was that she used a high loft batting and minky backing.  I had read recently that minky backing can be tricky because it stretches and shifts a lot. So I went googling for tips, and ended up repinning the whole quilt:

I used all 100 quilting safety pins I had, pinning it every 2-3 inches.

All the pinning was worth it though, I had no shifting, stretching, bunching, or wrinkles!  And my machine had no problem getting through all the layers.  It didn't even flinch when I accidently sewed through the head of one of the safety pins!  

My friend gave me free range on what to quilt, so I chose large vines and leaves:


I think this photo really shows how lofty that batting is!

The large leaves worked great for the backing too, the monkeys didn't get distorted at all:


You can sort of see the leaves in this photo.

I forgot to take a picture after I added the satin binding, but oh well.  My friend loved it, I'm so glad :-)