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

February 23, 2018

A Memory Quilt for Mason

 
I've hesitated over the years to write about this special quilt I had the honor of creating. It comes from a very sad time for our family and especially for Mason's mom and dad. When Mason was just 2 months old SIDs took him from us and we mourned deeply.  We take comfort in knowing that Mason is safe in the presence of the Lord Christ Jesus.  A few years after his passing I approached my Sister-in-law and asked her if I could make a memory quilt from Mason's clothing for them. I was truly humbled that she entrusted these precious clothing items and blankets into my hands.
 
On our next visit I received the items and took them home with me to create a precious quilt.
It didn't take me long to realize that I didn't want to cut these items up into smaller pieces to create a sampler type of quilt that I had originally planned. The clothes were so tiny they needed to remain as they were.  The one request my Sister-in-law made when she gave me the items was to incorporate the puppy dog quilt, which was a gift from a dear friend, in the center of this larger quilt. 


 Step one was to carefully prepare the puppy dog quilt so it could be used as the center block.  Since I had chosen to use the blankets as the background fabric for the clothing items it was a matter of deciding how best to lay everything out, which took a bit of experimentation.  I didn't want to cut into anything before knowing what sizes I really needed, I didn't want to regret a single cut I was going to make into these precious items, so I started by folding the blankets into approximate block sizes that would work with each clothing item and laid them out around the center quilt block.


 The only fabric I added to the quilt top was a strip of yellow as the background for Mason's name to be appliqued onto it. With the yellow name stripe in place and a little more rearranging I was ready to start cutting the blankets into the perfect sizes and adding stabilizer to back of each one.


The clothing and name were first backed with Heat n Bond, ironed into place, then appliqued in place with a close zig-zag stitch.
 


 To create Mason's name I used fabric from one of his blankets.

 
 To keep the clothing and blankets the star of the quilt I choose to do a simple meander around the clothing.


 For the binding I chose to use the same yellow fabric I had used as the background behind Mason's name. 


 Finished are ready for an emotional delivery.









The day of delivery was truly a bittersweet day. Surrounded by family and friends the quilt was presented, tears were shed once again as we remembered sweet little Mason's life with us and how much he is truly missed.  I pray that this quilt offers comfort and hope to my dear sister-in-law and her husband.

Quilt Stats:
Quilt Name: "Mason's Memory Quilt"
Batting: Heirloom Premium Cotton 80/20 Blend
Quilting Thread: 50wt. Aurifil
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 5, 2018

Rock Legends Cruise T-shirt Quilts {3 Cruises - 3 Quilts - 3 Finishes}


As I prepared to write this post on my latest finish, a T-shirt Quilt for Native American Heritage Association's Rock Legends Cruise, I realized I had failed to share the quilts from the previous two cruises.


After the whirlwind finish of two quilts at the beginning of 2015 the Association contacted me about the possibility of making another quilt for the 2016 cruise (Rock Legends Cruise IV), of course my answer was yes. I had enjoyed making the first two so much and it was for such a great cause I couldn't say no. Click HERE for info on the Native American Heritage Association and HERE for info on the Rock Legends Cruise, with proceeds going to support the Native American Heritage Association.



Just as with my previous Rock Legends Cruise T-shirt Quilts I used the "Too Cool T-shirt Quilt" method of construction. If I have my choice it's the only method I'll use for all the  T-shirt Quilts I have the privilege to make.

 I hear you out there, asking, "What is it I like so much about this method?" first the fact that there is no need for adding a stabilizer to the back of the T-shirts, which saves a bunch of time and money. Best of all with no stabilizer the quilt is wonderfully soft and cuddle worthy.  Secondly the fact that each block is custom cut to the design so that no design is cut off and lost and small designs aren't left floating in a huge square of fabric. In my humble opinion it's simply the best T-shirt Quilt method out there.

On the design wall - working out the puzzle and the partial seams.

I hear you protesting, "But look at all those partial seams, aren't partial seams hard to do!?!"

Not difficult at all. They just take a little forethought and some planning. Probably the biggest thing is figuring out the order of your seams, making sure to pay attention to which seams you need to leave open until later. On those seams leave a couple of inches or so open so that when the other seams are sewn together you've got room to come back and finish up the seams as you go.


 When it comes to quilting I choose to custom quilt in and around each t-shirt design. Then after custom stitching each design I go back and do a medium meander across the open areas between the designs.



Finished December 2015 for Rock Legends Cruise IV - January 2016

Quilt Name: "Rock Legends Cruise IV T-Shirt Quilt"
 Finished size: 64" x 72""
Pattern Method: "Too Cool T-shirt Quilts"
Batting: Heirloom Premium Batting 80/20 Blend
Quilting Thread: 50wt. Aurifil
Quilting: Free Motion Quilted using my Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 875Q


________________________________________________________________________________________

Rock Legends Cruise V - 2017 at the Fundraising Auction during the cruise

 When I'm handed the box of T-shirts for the next quilt I always feel a surge of anticipation and excitement, as if looking at a blank canvas ready for those first brush strokes.  I start with washing and drying all the T-shirts to remove any sizing, loose dyes or allergens that might be an issue while working on the blocks. Then out come the rulers.  I absolutely love this set of rulers ranging in size from 4.5" square to 16.5" square with the ability to combine the rulers for larger blocks when needed.

The best investment I've ever made for making T-shirt quilts



Layered and ready to pin

Quilting with my Artistic Quilter SD18. Love this machine!!


Finished January 2017 for Rock Legends Cruise V - January 2017

Quilt Name: "Rock Legends Cruise V T-Shirt Quilt"
 Finished size: 72" x 80""
Pattern Method: "Too Cool T-shirt Quilts"
Batting: Heirloom Premium Batting 80/20 Blend
Quilting Thread: 50wt. Aurifil
Quilting: Free Motion Quilted using my Artistic Quilter SD18
_______________________________________________________________________________________


Finished January 2018 for Rock Legends Cruise VI - February 2018


Quilt Name: "Rock Legends Cruise VI T-Shirt Quilt"
 Finished size: 76" x 84""
Pattern Method: "Too Cool T-shirt Quilts"
Batting: Heirloom Premium Batting 80/20 Blend
Quilting Thread: 50wt. Aurifil
Quilting: Free Motion Quilted using my Artistic Quilter SD18

 If you're interested in having a soft, cuddle worthy T-shirt Quilt made from your T-shirts send me an email to info@littlepinkrose.com and we can discuss creating a treasured quilt just for you.

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



November 28, 2017

Stars & Stripes for Bill {A Finish}



Stars and Stripes for Bill was made (August 2015) in honor of my Father-in-law, William "Bill" King, who passed away in 2008. He retired from the Air Force after 20 years of service and when the idea came along to make a quilt in his honor the quilt pattern, "Happily Ever After" by Mary Jeanine Ibarguen was the perfect design.


I changed some of the color placement and made a smaller version from the original.
In the original the center red square was all blue with only the third row in red. I really like the balance the red center brings to the quilt.



Quilted on my Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 875Q home sewing machine I chose to quilt stars among loopty-loops with white thread.


 One of my favorite binding choices is stripes cut on the bias so that they appear to wrap around the edge of the quilt. I was thrilled to find the perfect fabric for this.


One of my favorite photos from the photo shoot. It's as if little Red Henny Penny was inspecting the quilt.


Another favorite from the photo shoot with all twelve of our chickens along with the quilt.
Quilting and Chickens two of my favorite things.

The all important label.

Quilting Stats:

Quilt Name: "Stars and Stripes for Bill"
 Finished size: 68" x 68""
Quilt Pattern: "Happily Ever After" by Mary Jeanine Ibarguen from Just Us Quilters
Batting: Heirloom Premium Batting 80/20 Blend
Quilting Thread: 50wt. Aurifil - White #2024
Quilting: Free Motion Quilted using my Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 875Q
Thank you for stopping by and sharing in my quilting journey!
Happy Quilting and God Bless,
Marcia

October 25, 2017

Double Wedding Ring Signature Quilt {The Making of....Part 2 of 2}



 See "Double Wedding Ring Signature Quilt {The Making of....Part 1 of 2}" HERE

Test Blocks before starting this quilt - testing whether my applique idea would work

Once the blocks were sent off with the bride for the big day it was time for me to start working on the things that needed to be done before the blocks could be sewn together. First up was hand embroidering the two center blocks, one with their wedding date and the other with their names. Next was to prep the border half blocks with an arc and corner triangles.


Upon the return of the blocks I discovered some amazing artwork on several of the blocks. 
These are just two of my favorite. 

 
After admiring all the artwork it was time to heat set the ink on all of the signed and drawn on blocks. Even though permanent fabric ink was used to sign the blocks, doing the extra step of heat seating the ink adds to the hope that the ink won't run or wash out overtime.

My heat setting process:
1. Protect ironing board from stray ink by covering it with a white cotton flour sack style dish towel (remove towel if ink transferred to it)
2. With iron set on cotton setting, iron each block with drawings and signatures
3. Allow to block to cool
4. In sink gently run cool water over block
5. Gently squeeze out water
6. Lay wet block on another white cotton dish towel
7. Roll towel up with block inside and squeeze out excess water
8. Cover ironing board with a dry flour sack dish towel and Unroll towel and lay damp block on it
9. Using iron on cotton setting press block until it is dry, being sure to move iron often so it doesn't scorch the block
10. Celebrate that the ink didn't run and it's ready for the quilt!
 

Once everything was heat set I stitched on the corner triangles. I used 3" squares, but if I were to do this quilt again I'd use 3-1/2" or 4" squares, then drew a diagonal line across the back and sewed directly on that line to attach it to each corner. Finally trimmed off the excess block and corner leaving a 1/4" seam. If I hadn't trimmed off the corners I would have been working with 3 layers of fabric on each corner and when the four blocks came together there would be 12 layers of fabric to work with, making for a very thick intersection and adding unnecessarily to the overall weight of the quilt.


Before proceeding farther the blocks went back up on the design wall in order with the hope that all blocks were returned. I've found that wedding guests are notorious for throwing away a block and signing another when they don't like how their signature/message came out on the block.  Which is a great reason to buy extra fabric and be prepared to make a few new blocks.

I was impressed that there was only one block missing.


It wasn't until I had the first two rows sewn together that I discovered that I had turned the corner block causing the arcs to not line up correctly. Thankfully it was an easy fix and  only required ripping out two seams, turning the block and sewing those seams back up.


If I remember correctly I didn't discover I had done my math incorrectly until after I had added the border. The bride had requested a Queen size quilt approx. 96" x 108".  But in the design process when I added the outside border to finish all of the rings I forgot to adjust the number of blocks needed. By the time I discovered my mistake and because of how this quilt goes together it was too late to make any changes. Which gave the bride a King size quilt finished at approx. 108" x 120". Thankfully a King size quilt fits nicely on a Queen size bed giving you really nice droop over the edges of the bed. Or it's a great excuse to upgrade to a King size bed.


Often I'm asked, "How do you decide what to quilt on a block or quilt?" 
There are several answers to that question. One being that I'm limited only by my ability, meaning if I can't figure out how to quilt a specific design or don't like how it looks when I've done it on a practice block then I move on to a different choice. But, with most every quilt I print off an 8-1/2" x11" picture of the quilt and even a single block and spend some time doodling different ideas and options.
From there I consider several things; the difficulty of actually stitching out those doodles, the time I have available to do the quilting (what kind of a deadline am I looking at?),  whether I want to quilt each block uniquely or quilt them all the same and of course which doodle is most pleasing to me and complimentary to the quilt.


Often times I'll spend a little time practicing the design I've chosen on a practice sandwich before starting on the actual quilt. I want to work out as many issues as I can before quilting starts.


    Step one: Outline stitching around all the arcs             Step two: Draw out the design to be quilted


Step three: Stitch out planned design
Step four: decide there are too many thread breaks required for this design
Step five: tweak stitching plan


 Step Six: Start stitching including what was             
just a reference line                                                    Step Seven: Use Curved Ruler for smooth curves















By stitching the X that I had planned to use only as a reference line I was able to stitch without having to break thread and only had to bury threads twice on each block instead of the 8 times I was going to have to do. Saved me a bunch of time!






I used a purple air soluble pen to mark my quilting design one block at a time. Since it disappears quicker with higher humidity and only lasts about 24 hours if the humidity is low enough I didn't want to spend time drawing all the designs and have them disappear before I could stitch them all.



When the corner triangles came together they created a square on which I could use the seam lines as my stitching guide to stitching a nice little flower that disappeared into the block.  


On the outer border I stitched parallel lines somewhat evenly spaced, except for in a couple of spots to add some interest. I suppose you'd call it a stitched piano key border.


Dark brown binding to frame it all







With the quilt being so large it's a fairly heavy quilt. I didn't think this fact through before I tried hanging it on my quilt display rod for pictures. It was heavy enough that it permanently bent the rod. If it's ever hung the hangers will need to be firmly attached before the quilt goes on it.

Quilt Stats:

Quilt Name: "Double Wedding Ring Guest Signature Quilt"
 Finished size: 108" x 120"
Quilt Pattern: Double Wedding Ring Applique
Batting: Quilters Dream Cotton - Select
Quilting Thread: 50wt. Aurifil - Silver White #2309 & Gutermann - Midnight #278
Quilting: Free Motion Quilted using my Artistic Quilter Sit Down 18 Long Arm

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

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