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

March 10, 2017

With Love for Darren {A Finish}


 Last week was my sweet hubbies 50th Birthday and I made his favorite German Chocolate cake from scratch. It was oh so delicious. The frosting was especially yummy and then topping it off with a couple scoops of vanilla ice cream....oh my! 


With it being Darren's 50th Birthday I wanted to do something special, I considered ordering a set of books that I thought he would enjoy, but that just didn't seem very special and I put it off. Then a couple of weeks before his birthday I stumbled upon the answer, a quilt of course. 


This particular quilt has a bit of a story. Way back in 2005 Darren's mom unexpectedly passed away during liver transplant surgery.  Because she had hereditary Cirrhosis of the Liver she knew her days were numbered, especially if she didn't receive a liver. She had made it clear to the entire family that when the time came she wanted me to have everything in her sewing room, since I was the only one in the family who sewed. It was such a blessing to receive everything she had collected, but it was an emotional and difficult time. I packed it all including two unfinished quilts, brought it home and didn't think much about it. At that time I was into sewing dresses, clothes and making stuffed animals and doing all kinds of alterations and repairs, but hadn't got into quilting yet.


When I packed this quilt away so many years ago it was folded exactly like it is in the photo above. It really didn't seem like much, just two blue fabrics sewn together and tied. Seemed kind of blah to me and I didn't investigate any further than enough to know that there was no binding on it. So from 2005 to 2017 this quilt along with one other were packed in a plastic tub and moved with us from Independence, MO to Woodbridge, VA to Bristow, VA and finally to Stafford, VA.  I always planned to finish these quilts someday, but you know how that is someday just never seems to arrive. 

Then a couple of weeks before Darren's birthday I was cleaning and organizing my quilting studio, trying to arrange things so I would have the floor space to layout the largest quilt I've ever made and pin it.  Well, in the midst of all this rearranging and cleaning I popped open that tub and pulled out those quilts. The first quilt I pulled out was a Christmas quilt, I'm excited to finish it "someday" hopefully that will be sooner than later. But the second quilt took my breath away. It was so much more than I had dreamed, denim and heavy weight cottons beautifully pieced and tied ready for binding. I knew this is what I needed to give Darren for his birthday.


 I quickly discovered that I needed to make a little fix before I could attach the binding. The backing had slipped when she was tying the quilt, leaving one end with extra backing and the other with a couple of inches where there was no backing. It was an easy fix, I carefully cut off the extra and stitched it to the other end. Then it was time to find binding. There was one little 5-inch piece of binding pinned to one corner, but not nearly enough for the entire quilt. Started digging through my stash and found a dark blue from Moda's Grunge Collection, it was perfect!



After finishing the binding it was time for a label that gave credit to Darren's mom for piecing and tying the quilt and told the story. I'm pretty sure that she had made this quilt with the intention of giving it to Darren, but that's just a gut instinct so I didn't include that on the label. 


 He loved his new quilt! The best part is that it's a queen size quilt with a great overhang so no more wrestling for the blanket, plenty for each of us. I sleep much better under this quilt than our previous one and I'm so glad someday finally arrived. I know it will be treasured and loved as we use it for many years to come.



Quilt Stats:

Quilt Name: With Love for Darren King
Finished Size: 96" x 108"
Pieced and Tied by: Karen Melhan - Silvis, IL
Binding by: Marcia King - Stafford, VA
Fabric: Denim and Heavy weight Cotton
Batting: Polyester High Loft
Tied with Polyester yarn
Given to: Darren King on occasion of his 50th Birthday

Thank you for stopping by and sharing in my quilting journey!
Happy Quilting and God Bless,
Marcia

February 27, 2017

Andrew's Graduation Quilt


 It took me more than a year after Andrew's graduation to deliver his finished graduation quilt so it's only right that it took me over a year to do a blog post about it. Enjoy!

A few months before his graduation I showed Andrew a picture of the quilt I was planning on doing  for his graduation quilt and asked him what he thought. He was honest and said it wasn't really his favorite. So I pulled out a binder of patterns I had been collecting and he started flipping through all the options until he found one he liked. He chose the Pattern Layer Upon Layer by Monique Dillard of Open Gate Quilts - a pattern that appeared in the August 2013 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting. We switched out the reds in the pattern for a variety of his favorite color green and left everything else the same.

When Graduation day came around I had all the individual units pieced. I been hoping to present him with the finished top so that all I had left to do was layer and quilt, but that wasn't the case. On graduation day I presented him with a wrapped shoe box with all those unit pieces stacked up and ready to be finished. He is such a gracious young man, he loved how it was looking so far and of course sent the box back home with me to finish.

Several months later I took all those pieces with me on a quilting retreat and managed to get the center portion pieced. Sadly while I was stitching away my machine quit working and forced me to stop sewing. If it hadn't have been for the machine issues I would have had the borders on it as well. But I had made good progress.
 

 Once I was back home I sent my machine off to the repair shop and pulled out my back up machine and got those outer borders attached. At this point I decided this was just too small and it needed an additional border to make it fit a double size bed. Which is when I discovered that I didn't have enough of the cream to add the 8 inch borders I wanted to add. So off to the quilt shop I headed praying they had more of the fabric I needed.


After buying everything the quilt shop had and ordering a bit more from an online shop I had enough to make it more of a man sized quilt.


Feathers are one of my favorite quilting motifs, but with this being a manly quilt I needed something less feminine. Open swirls would fit that bill perfectly.




 Of course once the quilting was finished and the binding complete it was time for a photo shoot.







I found the perfect piece of fabric for the backing in the scrap bin at the quilt shop. It was a rather large scrap.




When I finally delivered the finished quilt to Andrew he loved it. He even said it was worth the wait. 

Quilt Stats:

Quilt Name: "Andrew's Choice"
 Finished size: 76" x 88"
Quilt Pattern: Layer Upon Layer by Monique Dillard of Open Gate Quilts
Pattern can be found: August 2013 of American Patchwork & Quilting
Batting: Heirloom Premium Cotton 80/20 Blend
Quilting Thread: 50wt. Aurifil - Leight Beige #2310
Quilting: Free Motion Quilted using my Husqvarna Sapphire 875Q domestic sewing machine
 
Thank you for stopping by and sharing in my quilting journey!
Happy Quilting and God Bless,
Marcia
 

February 17, 2017

Radical Rose {Free Motion Quilting}


In June 2015 I had the privilege of Free Motion Quilting (FMQ) this amazing quilt which was appliqued and pieced by a the beautiful quilter Joan. She had taken Aunt 'Reen's class on Modern Machine Applique where she created this amazing beauty, called Radical Rose & Reel.  Joan had also taken my Beginners Free Motion Quilting class and decided that with practice she would one day be ready to do beautiful work, but since that would take time she brought her Radical Rose Quilt to me and asked me to do my thing. She gave me complete freedom to quilt it as I wished.  Talk about pressure! But I was in awe of being given this quilt top to enhance. This was a quilt I desperately wanted to make simply to be able to quilt it and here I was being entrusted with Joan's finished quilt top.


Of course I started with layering the quilt sandwich using my favorite pin anchor Pinmoors.
Then I was off!! I started by out lining all of the applique pieces and both sides of the thin pink border. Once everything was outlined I began doing what I call Free Form quilting.


 What is Free Form Quilting, you ask? 
Free Form Quilting is the swirls, paisleys, pebbles, and so on that I quilt without a predetermined plan where each motif flows into the next. It's my favorite type of quilting to do on a quilt top. I'm always excited to come across a top that calls out for this type of quilting.



 Once the Free Form Quilting was complete it was on to the outer Hour Glass border.
I didn't want to over quilt this outer border, thinking that the center Rose and Reel needed to stay the star of the show. So my original plan was to do a simple Stitch-In-The-Ditch (SID) along all the seams of that outer border. But once that was complete two things were obvious; 1) the SID work caused the white sashing to puff up and draw your attention to them and away from the center medallion and 2) it appeared very plain without any quilting, especially sitting next to all the quilting in the center of the quilt.  I spent several days contemplating what I could do in this border to calm down the puffiness and make it not so plain. Finally I was able to see the solution, Ribbon Candy in the white sashing and graduated loops in the triangles. I was very pleased with how it turned out. 


Testing quilting design with wax paper and a purple air erasable marking pen






Then in September the following year, on my birthday no less,  I received this note and photo from Joan:
 "I wanted to share with you that a wall hanging that I made from a class on modern machine applique by 'Aunt Reen and you quilted won First Place in the Traditional Mixed category. The show was the Coastal Quilters Guild "Harvest of Colors 2016 Show in Santa Barbara, CA. Comments made on the judging form stated "Individualized quilting motifs greatly enhance this quilt". Thank you so much for helping show case my wall hanging. Joan"

So happy for Joan to have received First place and a blue ribbon for her work and honored to have had the privilege of quilting it for her.  Reading the judges words felt pretty good too! 

Quilt Details & Stats:

Quilt Name: "Joan's Radical Rose & Reel"
 Finished size: 42" x 42"
Quilt Pattern:Radical Rose & Reel by Collector with a Needle available HERE
Batting: Quilter's Dream 100% Cotton
Quilting Thread: 50wt. Aurifil White #2024
Quilting: Free Motion Quilted using my Husqvarna Sapphire 875Q domestic sewing machine
 
 
 Thank you for stopping by and sharing my quilting journey!
God Bless and Happy Quilting!
Marcia

August 16, 2016

A Quilt for Adam {A Finish}



Last year (May 2015) I made this signature quilt for a young friend of ours who was battling cancer.  As our church family prayed for him and his family, we wrote out some of those prayers and words of encouragement to share with them.  Our hope was to give them a physical representation of our prayers and hope, to essential wrap them in our love.


I chose a selection of rich and comforting fabrics with Arctic White fabric for the signature strips. 
To make the blocks I started with a 6.5" white square and used 3.5" squares of various colors in the corners. On each of the 3.5" squares I drew a diagonal line and stitched directly on that line, trimming 1/4" from the stitching line. I chose to use two matching squares on each white square. Though you could easily mix them all up and it would look just as stunning.

** Before trimming a made another line of stitching 1/2" from the drawn line, in the portion that will be cut away. Doing this gave me a a bunch of Half-Square Triangles ready to make another quilt.


After stitching all the corners I ironed a piece of freezer paper (shinny side toward the wrong side of fabric) to the back of each square. This helps stabilize the threads, making it easier to write on the fabric. I also use a water soluble pen to draw seam allowances on the blocks in the hopes that people will stay inside the lines when writing.



I have two kinds of archival fabric pens I like to use on quilts. 
For this quilt I used the Zig Memory System Millennium Size 05 Pens.  
The other pens I like are the Pigma Micron Pens by Sakura size 05.
These pens are both Acid free, Archival Quality pens making them safe for use on fabric.


Once the blocks are signed I use a hot, dry iron to heat set the ink, making it permanent. 
The ink is supposed to be a permanent ink, but I have had the ink from both pens run when it gets wet, before heat setting. Since then I've made it a habit to always heat set inks that I don't want washing out or running, no matter how permanent the ink claims to be. 


To keep the messages the center of attention and to give space on the empty blocks for more messages I chose to simply stitch 1/4" from the edge of each seam in a grid format.  This kept the stitching out of most of the writing and made it easier to read.



When I delivered this quilt to the family I included several pens in varying colors along with heat setting instructions, so others could add their messages to the family. 

It was an honor to make this quilt for such a sweet family and I know it meant a lot to the family to have such a treasure.
Quilt Details & Stats:

Quilt Name: "A Quilt for Adam"
 Finished size: 60" x 66"
Quilt Pattern: Signature Quilt
 Fabric: Designer Essential Solids by Free Spirit (Arctic White)
Faith, Hope and Love by whistler Studio for Windham Fabrics
Selection of fabrics from my personal stash
Batting: Heirloom Perimum 80% Cotton 20% Poly
Quilting Thread: 50wt. Aurifil White #2024
Quilting: Free Motion Quilted using my Husqvarna Sapphire 875Q domestic sewing machine

Thanks for stopping by! 
God Bless & Happy Quilting!
Marcia


August 11, 2016

Shenandoah Valley Botanical Album Quilt {Sew Along Months 4 - 11}

Been crazy busy with quilts and travels so I've neglected sharing my SVBAQ monthly blocks. 
I was going to do a post about each individual block, but I think for the sake of time and space I'm going to share each of the blocks here. 

Month 4 - Star of the East


Star of the East was a quick and easy block to stitch together. 

Background fabric: Designer Essential Solids by Free Spirit Fabrics in Macaw
Flowers: True Colors - Making Waves in Sienna & 
Lady Bug in Mustard by Tula Pink for Free Spirit Fabrics
Leaves: Elizabeth - Bats in the Belfry in Tart by Tula Pink for Free Spirit Fabrics
Stem: Elizabeth - Bats in the Belfry in Tart by Tula Pink for Free Spirit Fabrics
Started with a 17-1/2" background square trimmed to 16-1/2" square.
Thread: 50wt. Aurifil


Month 5- Yellow/Pink Tulip


For the Yellow/Pink Tulip I chose to leave out the yellow and focus on the pink. My original intention was to fussy cut the center of the tulips so that the Queen Elizabeth's hair would be the base of the center portion of tulip, but I mixed up the tips of the center piece when I ironed the wash away paper to the fabric. It turned out nice despite my plans mess up.  This was another quick and easy block. 

Background fabric: Designer Essential Solids by Free Spirit Fabrics in Sky
Flowers: True Colors - Daisy Buds in Fuchsia by Tula Pink for Free Spirit Fabrics & 
Elizabeth - 16th Centry Selfie by Tula Pink for Free Spirit Fabrics
Leaves & Stems: Elizabeth - Chain Mail in Plum by Tula Pink for Free Spirit Fabrics
Started with a 17-1/2" background square trimmed to 16-1/2" square.
Thread: 50wt. Aurifil

Month 6 Tree of Liberty of the United States


As I studied this block I found the layout of the branches a bit odd, so I changed the layout of the branches so that at least to me it seemed a little more natural. For this block I made all my circles using a large washer I got at Home Depot. My only problem was that my circles were bigger than the original circles and I couldn't follow the original layout. I had to find a way to spread the branches and circles out more than I had planned on doing. With Aunt Reen's advice I used tiny applique pins to hold each circle in place until I had everything right where I wanted it and could glue it all in place. This has become one of my favorite blocks. If you look closely you'll see some bats and an owl hiding out.

Background fabric: Designer Essential Solids by Free Spirit Fabrics in Orchid
Flowers:Variety of fabrics from the Elizabeth and True Colors Collections by Tula Pink for 
Free Spirit Fabrics
Limbs & Trunk: True Colors - making Waves in Olive by Tula Pink for Free Spirit Fabrics
Started with a 17-1/2" background square trimmed to 16-1/2" square.
Thread: 50wt. Aurifil


Month 7 - Tiger Lily


The orange in the block is almost too perfect for the Tiger Lily block.

Background fabric: Designer Essential Solids by Free Spirit Fabrics in Orchid
Flowers: Elizabeth - Ship Shape in Plum by Tula Pink For Free Spirit Fabrics &
True Colors - Lady Bug in Mustard by Tula Pink for Free Spirit Fabrics
Leaves: True Colors - Daisy Buds in Grass by Tula Pink for Free Spirit Fabrics
Stem: True Colors - Mini Owl in Mint Julep by Tula Pink for Free Spirit Fabrics
Started with a 17-1/2" background square trimmed to 16-1/2" square.
Thread: 50wt. Aurifil


Month 8 - Bouquet


For the Bouquet block I decided to use a variety of fabrics to bring together a wide variety of the Elizabeth and True Colors collections I'm using the quilt. The only thing I wish I had done was to have threaded the stems of the flowers through the ribbon so that it would appear as though it were tied around all of them. It would have taken a little more effort to accomplish this type of layering than I was up to doing when I was working on this block.

Background fabric: Designer Essential Solids by Free Spirit Fabrics in Orchid
Flowers, Stems & Vase: Variety of fabrics from the Elizabeth and 
True Colors Collections by Tula Pink for Free Spirit Fabrics 
Bow: Yellow Solid Scrap from Fabric Stash
Started with a 17-1/2" background square trimmed to 16-1/2" square.
Thread: 50wt. Aurifil


Month 9 - Sunflower


This has become another of my favorite blocks! Instead of making individual points around the sunflower, upon the advice of another quilter, I divided the points/petals into two separate pieces. On one was the points on the other the rounded petals. By doing this it gave me more room to manipulate the fabric around each of the points and petals. I was concerned that the green in the leaves was going to be close to the background green, but this one turned out to be a perfect contrast. Love this one.

Background fabric: Designer Essential Solids by Free Spirit Fabrics in Olive
Flowers: Elizabeth -Tudor Windows in Sky by Tula Pink For Free Spirit Fabrics &
True Colors - Lazy Stripe in Amber by Tula Pink for Free Spirit Fabrics & 
Solid Yellow scrap from my stash
Leaves & Stem: True Colors - Making Waves in Olive by Tula Pink for Free Spirit Fabrics
Started with a 17-1/2" background square trimmed to 16-1/2" square.
Thread: 50wt. Aurifil

Month 10 - Moolon Lily


Definitely among my favorite blocks.

Background fabric: Designer Essential Solids by Free Spirit Fabrics in Thistle
Flowers: Elizabeth - Bats in the Belfry in Plum and in Sky by Tula Pink For Free Spirit Fabrics &
True Colors - Lady Bug in Abyss and in Lava by Tula Pink for Free Spirit Fabrics
Leaves: Elizabeth - Bats in the Belfry in Tart by Tula Pink For Free Spirit Fabrics
Stem: Elizabeth - Pearls of Wisdom in Tart by Tula Pink for Free Spirit Fabrics
Started with a 17-1/2" background square trimmed to 16-1/2" square.
Thread: 50wt. Aurifil

Month 11 - Yellow Tulip

On the original block there was a green piece was laid between the petals and the center section leaving the green showing. I preferred the layout of the yellow/pink tulip from month 5 to this layout so I made that small adjustment when I made the applique pieces and kept the green piece as the base behind each flower.
Background fabric: Designer Essential Solids by Free Spirit Fabrics in Hyacinth
Flowers: True Colors - Lazy Stripe in Amber by Tula Pink For Free Spirit Fabrics &
Solid Yellow Scrap from my Stash
Leaves & Stems: Elizabeth - Ship Shape in Tart by Tula Pink For Free Spirit Fabrics
Started with a 17-1/2" background square trimmed to 16-1/2" square.
Thread: 50wt. Aurifil
 Pop on over to the SVBAQ - Sew Along blog HERE to see all that's happening with the Sew Along. It's not too late to join in the fun, 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.
Thank you for stopping by and sharing in my quilting journey
God Bless & Happy Quilting!
Marcia  

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