"She seeks wool & flax, And works willingly with her hands" ~ Proverbs 31:13

November 16, 2015

Shenandoah Valley Botanical Album Quilt {Sew Along Month 2 - Iris Block}

I'm really enjoying working on the blocks for this quilt each month.  I'm especially enjoying the process of choosing fabrics for each block, finding the coordinates from the Tula Pink collections I'm working with that play well together as well as the colorful background fabrics I've chosen.

November aka Month 2 of the Shenandoah Valley Botanical Album Quilt Sew Along was the Blue Flag or Iris Block. I was a bit puzzled at when I first saw the name Blue Flag for this block as it appeared to me to be an Iris. I did find it interesting to learn Blue Flag was just another name for Iris. Iris' are one of my favorite flowers in the garden. I was a bit sad to see that there were no Iris anywhere on the property at our new place when we moved in, yet even after two years here I haven't managed to get any planted....too busy quilting I guess, well that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I made a couple of changes to the layout of my block from the original. I took the stems for the side shoots and extended them down into the bulb instead of having them come out from the stem so abruptly. I thought it seemed a bit more natural if those additional buds came up from the rhizome. The difference is very subtle and barely noticeable, though I like the change.

Original Blue Flag block

Background Fabric Designer Essential Solids - Hyacinth
Shenandoah Valley Botanical Album Quilt - Sew Along Progress

Pop on over to the SVBAQ - Sew Along blog HERE to see more blocks from others participating in the sew along.  While you're there you can pick up the pattern for the quilt and join in the fun. All the proceeds from your pattern purchase benefit the Virginia Quilt Museum.

I'm off to create a label for my son's Graduation Quilt, he'll be impressed that I'll be giving it to him when he comes home for Thanksgiving (only 6 months after he graduated).  Pictures and the story behind the quilt coming soon. 

Thanks  for stopping by and letting me share my quilting adventures with you!
You're invited to visit my online fabric shop at www.littlepinkrose.com where everything is 30% off with the coupon code on the home page.  

God Bless & Happy Quilting!

October 30, 2015

Rock Legends T-Shirt Quilts {Two Finished}

Rock Legends T-Shirt Quilt at Auction.
Photo from Rock Legends Cruise III

Until recently I dreaded making T-Shirt quilts. But when I learned about the "Too Cool T-Shirt Quilts" method I immediately downloaded their book with step by step instructions and tips. I poured over the book and was excited about my next T-shirt quilt.
In the Too Cool T-Shirt Quilts book I discovered:
          • there is no need to use stabilizer on the T-Shirts
          • no sashing is required
          • a faster method for cutting the fronts and backs of T-shirts
          • template sizes to ensure designs aren't cut off
          • a formula to figure the size of quilt needed for the number of blocks
          • a quicker method for fitting the puzzle together
          • an important step that insures the stretchy T-shirts lay flat after quilting.
          • the joy of creating a beautiful T-shirt quilt to be proud of.
          • the method I will use for all future T-Shirt quilts.
          • a book I highly recommend! 
Several months ago I was asked to make 2 Queen size T-shirt quilts for the raffles on the Rock Legends Cruise III presented by the Native American Heritage Association. I had just 2 weeks to piece, quilt and deliver both quilts. Because of the Too Cool T-Shirt Quilt method I was ready to dive in and knew I'd be able to save time with cutting and skipping the stabilizer. These would be my first quilts with this method so while I was ready, I was still a bit nervous about the time frame.

 Cutting T-Shirt Designs and keeping all the autographs and designs intact was a bit of a challenge on some of the shirts. When my brother learned what I was working on he told me it was just sacrilegious to cut up all these autographed T-Shirts. I'm sure many agree with him, but I had to do what was asked of me. It was an honor to work on such a great project.

Autographed T-shirts were among what I had to work with

 After cutting it was time to organize all the squares by size.

 I'm not the best with computers and the excel program so I went old fashioned with graph paper and a marker to create all the pieces for my puzzle. Then it was onto organizing them into an arrangement I liked.  Once finished arranging and rearranging I divided the design into four quadrants for piecing.

 Partial seams are a necessity when piecing a quilt with multiple block sizes.

I was thrilled to discover who flat everything was after all the quadrants were sewn together!

 Once layered and pinned together with Pinmoor anchors and straight pins I was ready to Free Motion Quilt. For these quilts I outlined each of the designs with matching thread and then did a large meander across the rest of the quilt.

Completed Rock Legends Autographed T-shirt Quilt....Auctioned off on the cruise earlier this year.

The second Rock Legends T-Shirt Quilt

I really like how both of these quilts came together and turned out. In the end I was able to finish both quilts with a day to spare thanks to the Too Cool T-Shirt Quilts method of preparation and construction. Amazingly I'm actually looking forward to my next T-shirt quilt.

Thanks for stopping by and letting me share another quilting adventure with you.
God Bless & Happy Quilting,

October 12, 2015

Shenandoah Valley Botanical Album Quilt - Sew Along Month 1

October first marked the beginning of the Shenandoah Valley Botanical Album Quilt Sew Along (SVBAQ) hosted by the Virginia Quilt Museum.  The sale of the pattern helps support the Museum and the beautiful work they are doing.

The full Pattern is available through the SBVAQ - Sew Along Blog HERE.

Two amazing and inspiring quilters, Doreen aka Aunt Reena and Dawn aka Collector With A Needle, will be walking/blogging us through this 23 month Sew Along, their information is below: 

Aunt Reen's Place
Collector With A Needle

Since I heard about the quilt along I've been contemplating what fabrics I would use for this quilt.  I like modern bright and fun prints and wanted to do something that would be unique and even a bit out of the ordinary.  I chose to use a combination of two of Tula Pink's more recent collections, Elizabeth and True Colors.  For my background fabrics I've chosen to use Designer Essential Solids by Free Spirit Fabrics that coordinate with Tula's collections. 

All of these fabrics are currently available in my online shop at www.littlepinkrose.com.

 I'll be making a couple of changes to my version of the quilt.  First I'm turning the blocks on the top two rows so that they're all right side up.  The other change is that I won't be making the center Rainbow block, it just didn't speak to me, so I've moved the Liberty Tree block to the center position and made a fourth pineapple block to have the requisite 25 blocks.

I made two photo copies of the pattern cover and cut out the blocks that I needed to shift around so I could have an image of how my quilt will be laid out when it's finished.

The new layout for my version.
October 1st Aunt Reen revealed that block one is the three pineapple blocks. Link to that blog post here: http://svbotanicalquilt.blogspot.com/2015/10/pineapple-blocks.html

Here are my four 16" pineapple blocks.

Background fabric Designer Essential Solid - Macaw

Background fabric Designer Essential Solid - Macaw

Background fabric Designer Essential Solid -Aqua

Background fabric Designer Essential Solid -Aqua

I'm having a great time working on this quilt project and already looking forward to November 1st when we find out what which will be the block for month two. I invite you to check out the SVBAQ - Sew Along Blog, order your pattern and join me in this wonderful botanical adventure!

Thanks for stopping by and letting me share my quilting adventures with you!
God Bless & Happy Quilting,

May 26, 2015

Shades of Alabaster {An All White Dear Jane Quilt}

Shades of Alabaster

Quite some time ago, October 2013 to be exact, I started a Dear Jane quilt.
My adventure into Jane started with signing up for a technique class taught by Aunt 'Reen of Aunt 'Reen's Place who was teaching a 13 month class at my local quilt shop, Kelly Ann's Quilting.
I chose to do that quilt in modern bright fabrics.

A few months into the class, Aunt 'Reen encouraged us to come up with unique ways to use the Jane blocks either in a quilt or another unique item. I really wanted to make a unique Jane quilt, preferably something that hadn't been done before, but was having trouble coming up with something new or different.  There have been so many Dear Jane quilts made over the years, I began to question if it was even possible to come up with something unique. I contemplated my options, but it seemed that everything that could possibly be done with Jane had already been done. 

Then on a drive home back to Virginia from a visit to my parents farm in Missouri, I was reading random blog posts while my hubby drove. I came across Molli Sparkles blog post entitled, "No Value Does Not Equal Free".  When I saw the all white Trip Around the World that Molli had created, I knew exactly what I wanted needed to do for my unique Jane Quilt. I had never seen Jane done in white and was sure if I added some white-on-whites and off whites to the mix it would be something I would enjoy working on and it might even turn out okay.

I pulled all the whites from my stash, got as many whites as I could from local quilt shops and finished off the mixture with some online purchases.

Once I had all the white, white-on-white and off white fabrics I needed, I chose 64 of the 169 center Jane blocks. In choosing which blocks to include I wanted to be sure that most of the techniques we had learned and used in class were included in the quilt.

There are Traditional Pieced, Foundation Paper Pieced, English Paper Pieced, Reverse Applique, Piecelique and Hand Applique among the blocks I chose to use.
Shades of Alabaster - Quilting Finished, Ready for Binding
As I started working on the blocks this white Jane began to consume me. I put aside the modern, bright Jane I had been working on and it still lays in the state I last left it with blocks joined into rows waiting for the rows to be sewn together to finish the center and a whole bunch of triangle blocks left to make. I will soon return to finish it.

Modern Bright Jane - Started Oct. 2013
The Jane blocks so much fun to make they are absolutely addicting.
For the background fabric of every block I choose to use Arctic White Essential Designer Solid by Free Spirit Fabrics.  Choosing to use a solid white as the background fabric combined with a white-on-white or off white fabric for the focus fabric in each block made working in all white much easier than I had anticipated.

Four of the 64 blocks

Once the top was completely sashed I put it up on the design wall and it took my breath away.
It reminded me of a vintage wedding gown. I was in love and could hardly wait to start free motion quilting.

Top complete on the design wall

When it came time to sandwich and begin quilting, I was really nervous about using my usual sandwiching anchors of safety pins to hold the layers together. I had found that the quilt top fabric tended to get caught in the hinge of the safety pin and then it would either rip the fabric or leave a gray smudge that I had trouble removing.  It was at this point I ordered some Pinmoors and flat head straight pins. I had seen Leah Day use and recommend them and thought this might be the solution to my safety pin issues.  Be still my heart! I could hardly believe how easy they were to use and there no troubles with snags or smudges.

Sandwiching with Pinmoors
I could hardly wait to get the sandwich together so I could get started with the Free Motion Quilting (FMQ), my favorite part of the whole process.  I used a floating darning foot on my Husqvarna 875Q with 100wt. Superior Silk Thread on top and 50wt. Aurifil thread in the bobbin. The silk thread gave me the ability to quilt some very delicate and intricate designs into the small 4-1/2" squares that I wouldn't have been able to do with my normal 50 wt. thread choice.

The first step in my FMQing process was to FMQ all the stitch-in-the-ditch work along the sashing and border. Once all the ditch work was done it was on to the individual blocks. I stitched in the ditch all of the seams in each block before stitching the designs within the block. 
Some of my favorite blocks

 Finally it was time to stitch the one-inch outer border. My original thought was to stitch feathers in the outer border, but with it being only one inch wide there just wasn't enough room to do what I had in mind. It seemed that curly cucumber vines might be just the thing for such a tiny space.

Because there was already so much going on within the quilt I chose to use the solid Arctic white fabric as the binding, machine stitched on the front and hand stitched to the back.

 The saddest part of the photo shoot is that photos don't even come close to doing justice to the sheer beauty of this quilt.

Indoors I just don't have the lighting to make her show off properly.

Outdoors the bright sun washed it out and took away from the overall design.

 Throughout the entire process of piecing and quilting I played with ideas for a name for this white wonder. I had so many possibilities to chose from, it wasn't an easy decision. 

Alabaster stones range in color from snow white to light brown, exactly the range of color I had used in this quilt. Often Alabaster is also used as a reference to purity, which takes me back to the feel of a vintage wedding dress. Combined, these facts brought me to the perfect name for my white Jane...."Shades of Alabaster".

The astounding part is the honor of having my quilt chosen to be a part of the exhibit, "A Virginia Tribute to Jane Stickle," at the Virginia Quilt Museum, Curator Doreen Johnson.
The exhibit runs from May 5- July 4.

With my quilt, "Shades of Alabaster", on exhibit at the VA Quilt Museum
The crazy part, even after all the hours of work required to finish such a small piece I'm now collecting whites to make the full Jane Quilt in all white. My goal is to have 225 different white fabrics and to finish by December 2017. 

Quilt Details & Stats:

Quilt Name: Shades of Alabaster
Finished size: 41" x 41" (Before quilting the top measured 43" x 43")
Quilt Pattern: 64 of 169 Blocks from Jane Stickles original quilt aka Dear Jane
Fabric: 46 white, white-on-white and off-white quilter's quality fabrics
Batting: Heirloom Perimum 80% Cotton 20% Poly
Piecing Thread: 50wt. Aurifil White #2024
Quilting Thread:  Top Thread - 100wt. Superior Silk Thread
Bobbin Thread - 50wt. Aurifil White #2024
Quilting: Free Motion Quilted using my Husqvarna 875Q Domestic Sewing Machine

 Hours to complete: 400+

Thank you for stopping by and letting me share my quilting adventures with you!
God Bless & Happy Quilting,

March 10, 2015

Custom Free Motion Quilting {Aunt 'Reen's Mediterranean Tile Quilt}

I recently had the honor of being asked to custom quilt an original quilt design by Aunt 'Reen.
Of course when I say recently I mean several months ago.....last year in fact.
I'm still playing catch up with sharing all the projects I've been working over the last year.

And now with no further ado I present Aunt 'Reen's Mediterranean Tile Quilt.

It laid out so nice flat and square. I love it when quilts come out square.
For this quilt I used 1-1/2" curved safety pins to hold all the layers in place while I quilted.

Ready to pin the layers

The "grout" lines aka sashing between each of the blocks gave me the perfect place to start quilting and stabilizing the entire quilt. I started by Stitching-In-The-Ditch (SID) up and down the longest strips of sashing. I started with the center most strip by stitching down one side of it and back up the other side. From there I moved over to the center strip of the left half and did the same stitch down one side of the strip and up the other side and quilted all the long strips in this manner. By doing this it stretches the quilt in both directions and keeps the quilt from being pulled in only one direction which would cause it to become wonky.

After all the long sashing strips were SID I moved on to quilting the shorter sashing strips stitching in the same manner as the longer strips, with the one exception of the added travel stitch at one end of each short strip. This took a little longer due to all the stops and starts required.

"Grout" lines stitched
Once all of the grout lines were stitched down I continued my SID work in the 16-patch blocks.
While it's not required to do SID in those pieced blocks it does give the block a more finished look it adds to showing off even emphasizing the piecing work. The added benefit to me as a quilter is that later the SID work will keep the fabric from migrating or moving while I work and it make the quilting designs I add to the block even more precise.

Compare the two 16-patch blocks in the picture below. You can easily spot the difference between the block that has been SID and the one that hasn't been stitched yet. The block on the right hasn't been SID yet and it looks nice but not nearly as nice as the block on the left which has the SID work done.

Compare the 16-patch blocks: Left block SID work finished, Right block no SID work yet.

When I had all of the SID work was finished along all the seams I started working block by block with SID work along the edge of each applique piece and then adding the additional quilting designs.

Applique blocks quilted viewed from the back of the quilt
When quilting the applique blocks the only lines I marked were the straight lines forming the pearl frame. Everything else was stitched free-form.

Front of quilt showing quilting on in the applique blocks

With all of the applique blocks quilted I moved on to quilting the 16-patch blocks.
For these blocks I again used a blue water soluble fine-point marking pen to draw in all the straight lines for the inner frame and corners. All of the pearls, loops and flower petals were stitched free-form.

Quilted 16-patch block

I never get tired of how the quilting shows itself off on the back of a quilt!

The goal I was given was to do some amazing custom quilting that will enhance the quilt, but not take attention away from the quilt itself. We didn't want the quilting to overwhelm the applique designs, but instead to play well with the quilt and keep the quilt the star of the show.

Quilt Details and Stats:

Finished size: Approx. 74" x 74"
Quilt Pattern: Mediterranean Tile by Doreen Johnson
Batting: Quilter's Dream Blend 70/30 Cotton/Poly
Thread: Aurifil Sand #2326
Quilting: Machine Free Motion Quilted on my domestic Husqvarna Sapphire 875Q

Be sure to stop by and visit Aunt 'Reen's Place. She does beautiful, amazing work and is such an inspiration!

Thanks for stopping by and letting me share my quilting adventures with you!
God Bless & Happy Quilting,
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