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

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  

August 9, 2016

Proverbs 31 Woman {A Finish}



Last year I was asked about the possibility of making a quilt featuring select phrases from Proverbs 31, specifically the verses often referred to as the Proverbs 31 Woman. 

This got the wheels turning and I pulled out the graph paper and colored pencils. I actually own the EQ7 software, but I haven't figured out how to use it efficiently yet, so I'm sticking with graph paper and pencils for now.


My first design wasn't too bad.
For the center cross portion of the quilt I used the Log Cabin Christian Cross pattern from  Quilt FOX Design as my inspiration. I did a few things differently, so it's not an exact match to the original pattern. 

After creating the first layout design my next task was to decide how I wanted to put the words on the block. I could use any of a plethora of applique techniques, drawn them on with water color pencils or markers, use fabric paint, machine embroidery or hand embroidery. 

I had so many choices that I worked myself into kind of a "quilt paralysis." What I wanted to do was to do it all by hand embroidery, but I knew that would take huge amount of time. Every time I made a decision I'd second guess that decision and end up going back to my thoughts on doing hand embroidery for it all.  All this back and forth indecision only caused me to waste valuable time that I could have been using to stitch words.  After too many months of waffling I FINALLY decided I should just suck it up and get started doing the hand embroidery. I knew I wouldn't be as happy with any other method. 

Thankfully just before starting on the hand embroidery I was inspired to redesign the quilt. I'm so glad I did the redesign I like the more formal symmetrical layout of the blocks.

 To create the phrases and layout of the words for the blocks I used the "PrintShop2 for Mac." 
Each phrase was then printed out on regular 8-1/2" x 11" printer paper. Since I don't have a light box I use my plexiglass extension table with a small light under it to create one. This allows me to place the fabric over the printed sheet and trace the letters onto the fabric. 

I back each block with a piece of lightweight flannel which has been pre-washed.
The main fabric is the Designer Essential Solid in Pearl from Free Spirit Fabrics. 
Since these pieces are so big I baste the layers together to make sure nothing shifts when it's being hooped or while I'm stitching.

My needle couldn't handle the many, many  hours of embroidery work.
I chose to use a combination of satin stitch and stem stitch for all the words.
There are 14 embroidery blocks, with 440 hours of hand embroidery 
time using 22.5 skeins of DMC floss #782. 


 Each of the Embroidery blocks was framed in another Designer Essential Solid from Free Spirit Fabrics this time in Scarlet. Using my flannel design wall I started laying out the 2-1/2" squares. Of course my goal was to have a nice balance of the different colors spread through out what I would call the background of the quilt. I suppose it could also be considered the sashing.

Pieced and ready for borders.
 After all the 2" squares were pieced it was time to add borders. At this point I made the decision to add a third border to the two that I already had planned and cut. I kept the dark chocolate border next to the squares and added a cream border, using the same cream fabric that's the background of the cross. From there I kept the 6" Scarlet border as the final outer border.




Layerd and pinned using PINMORS and straight pins. 

Time to Quilt. My favorite part of the entire process!!


I started with some ruler work along the edges of the cross then moved to FMQ the pebbles behind the cross. I really wasn't thrilled with how the pebbles looked after I completed the first section. I thought it was too busy and possibly a distraction. But, at that point I had stitched so much I was committed to seeing it through. I'm so thankful I did too. Once all four quadrants were finished I found it to be much more appealing, verging on the perfect choice for background quilting that kind of faded away to almost being unnoticed.

More ruler work in the outer border.

Free Motion Quilting (FMQ) Swirls and Paisley in the middle border


 Binding and label finished. Ready for delivery.





 This is a one of a kind quilt for me.

Quilt Details & Stats:

Quilt Name: "Proverbs 31 Woman"
 Finished size: 95.5" x 112.5"

Quilt Pattern: Log Cabin Christian Cross Inspired by QuiltFOX Designs. 
Surrounding Blocks and layout by Little Pink Rose Quilting

 Fabric: Designer Essential Solids by Free Spirit (Pearl & Scarlet)
Batiks Tonga Firestorm by Timeless Treasures
Cream Stonehenge #3934 bySunshine Cottage for Northcott fabrics
Chocolate borders and binding A year to Crow About by Red Rooster Fabrics

Batting: Heirloom Perimum 80% Cotton 20% Poly

Quilting Thread: 50wt. Aurifil Burgundy #1130, Pine #2892, Toast #2930,
Very Dark Brown #1130, Limoni di Monterosso - Verigated #4658,
Light Beige #2310, Shining Green #5017
 Embroidery Floss for Hand Embroidery blocks DMC #782 (22.5 skeins used)

598.5 hours to complete

Quilting: Free Motion Quilted using my Artistic Quilter SD18 Longarm.

Thank you for stopping by and being a part of my quilting journey!

God Bless and Happy Quilting!
Marcia

February 12, 2016

Gabby's Butterfly Garden Pinwheels {A Finish}

I made my last quilt of 2015 for a very special young woman and incorporated her name right into to title of the quilt, "Gabby's Butterfly Garden Pinwheels." It was even delivered on New Year's Eve right before she left to move into her college dorm. I wanted to send her off with a hug from home made especially for her.  

"Gabby's Butterfly Garden Pinwheels" ready to quilt
I was visiting with Gabby one day about her decoration plans for her dorm room and when she said her favorite colors were purple and coral and she loved butterflies I knew I had the perfect fabric and pattern in my stash just waiting to be a quilt for her. I had picked up a Jelly Roll and some coordinating yardage (the outer border) of the fabric over 4 years ago on a shop hop in Missouri with my mom. It's Watercolor Garden by Benartex.

One of my goals when making a quilt for a specific person is to make it something they will love and enjoy. So I asked her mom to help me out a bit. Once I had all the pinwheels made I posted three pictures on my Little Pink Rose Quilting Facebook page and another Quilting page asking for opinions on which was the most pleasing/which they liked the best. 

Option 1 - Diagonal color blocking
Option 2 - Color Blocking in Rows
Option 3 - Random layout
There wasn't really an overwhelming consensus among the quilters on a favorite layout, which didn't really matter since what I really wanted was Gabby's opinion. But, I did get a good suggestion for a better layout was to go with the diagonal layout but rearrange the colors using the Rainbow (ROYGBIV).

Final Layout {LOVE!!}
Oh what a difference the rainbow made.  This made me so very happy!! 
But I still hadn't heard back from Gabby's mom about what Gabby liked. I added this option to my layout choices on my page and held my breath.

Turns out that her younger sister got involved in secretly finding out what she liked. I love that it became a family effort to surprise her! 


Butterflies and loops Free Motion Quilting
A month earlier my hubby and I decided to order an Artistic Quilter Sit Down 18" Longarm for me. I had just gotten back my Husqvarna Sapphire back from the repair shop. They said I had broken it because of the way I was Free Motion Quilting. After an almost $400 repair bill and on the recommendation of the repair tech, my hubby agreed it was time to get me an industrial strength machine that could handle the kind of quilting I was doing.

My Christmas/Anniversary/Valentine's Day/Birthday/Mother's Day gift from my hubby for at least the next year.
 Happy dance this sweet baby showed up just in time for me to quilt Gabby's quilt

 I only had 3 days to do all the quilting, binding, label, wash and photograph the quilt before I had to have it ready to deliver on New Year's Eve. The timing of this machine arriving couldn't have been better! If I had, had to use the Husqvarna with a 10" throat there's much more wrestling of the quilt involved. It's a strenuous battle that wears me out and limits how long I can quilt in one setting. With all of the wrestling and rearranging required to quilt on a regular sewing machine causes it to take longer. Having 8" more space to work in I was able to quilt much more quickly. What would have normally taken me over a week to complete I was able to do in just a day and a half. If there had been any doubt on whether I'd like this new machine it was gone. 

Feathers in the border - Marked only the center spine of the feathers as a reference point to anchor the feathers as I stitched.
Feather border seen from the back. Backing fabric Fairy Frost in Snow by Michael Miller


I do have a few quilts out in the world that I've failed to label. But my goal is to label every quilt I make or quilt. Along with a personal message I've recently started including on the label care instructions for the recipient, so they never have to question what it was I had told them about caring for the quilt.

I LOVE giving quilts and seeing how happy the person receiving it is because they feel so special when they receive a quilt made especially for them!!



Mom showing Gabby the butterflies in the quilting.
Reading the message on the label
I think she likes it!!
My only regret in the whole thing was that in my rush to finish and wrap the quilt I completely forgot to take any pictures of the finished quilt. But, Gabby and her parents were awesome and took some pictures of it for me after they arrived and set up her dorm room.

Ready to snuggle under the warmth of a handmade quilt on cold winter nights.
"Gabby's Butterfly Garden Pinwheels"

Quilt Details & Stats:

Quilt Name: "Gabby's Butterfly Garden Pinwheels"
 Finished size: 85"x91"
Quilt Pattern: Jelly Roll Spin by Moda
Fabric: Watercolor Garden by Benartex, inner violet border from stash,
binding and smallest inner border Simply Pleasures by Debbie Beaves,
Backing Fairy Frost in Snow by Michael Miller
Batting: Heirloom Perimum 80% Cotton 20% Poly
Thread: 50wt. Aurifil White #2024

Quilting: Free Motion Quilted using my Artistic Quilter SD18 Longarm.
Thank you for stopping by and catching up with my on my quilting journey!

God Bless and Happy Quilting!
Marcia
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