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

December 17, 2013

"Memories" {A Christmas Finish}

Today I'm happy to reveal the finished "Memories" Quilt a non-typical T-Shirt Quilt. 

I say non-typical, because as you will notice there are absolutely no T-Shirts to be found anywhere in this quilt, it's all plaid and flannel shirts that were favorites of the soon-to-be recipient. Additionally the blocks are only 4-inches square instead of the typical 12-14 inch blocks with sashing normally found in a T-Shirt quilt. 


To prepare the shirts I cut away the seams, buttons and pockets then ironed a feather weight interfacing to the  back of the fabric sections. On a typical T-Shirt quilt I add the interfacing to stabilize the T-Shirts and tame the natural stretch they have. I chose to interface these shirts as well even though they didn't have any unruly stretch, I knew I wouldn't be able to cut every block on the grain and I wanted to avoid some blocks stretching out of shape due to being cut off grain. 
 The interfacing does add a little bit of weight to the quilt, but not too much.


I'm sure you've already guessed that the recipient of this quilt is a big Ohio Buckeye's fan.  The Block "O" is a layered applique. The red is from the same red shirt as the solid blocks in the rest of the quilt top. For the white and gray in the applique I used Pure Elements Solids from Art Gallery Fabric: Moonstone Gray and Snow White. The Buckeye and the Leaf are both made from shirts. 

To keep all the pieces in place I used fusible web on each layer. This did cause it to be a bit more stiff than I had hoped for, but it will soften with use and washing. The red and white layers of the "O" were satin stitched to the gray before it was attached to the quilt. Then to attach the entire "O" I fused it to the quilt then satin stitched it the around the gray layer  to quilt top before adding the leaf and the buckeye. Once everything was stitched in place I did an outline stitch around each element. The only place I had a little trouble was when straight stitching around the leaf where there were several layers of fusible web and fabric. My needle didn't really care too much for the fusible web, but we made it through it.


The numbers came from the sleeves of an Ohio Buckeye's jersey and are a part of the quilt in memory of this young man's brother whose Volunteer Fire Fighter number was 11 and who was tragically killed in a car accident earlier this year. 

To attach the number I added some fusible web to the back of each number to help tack them in place until I was able to stitch-in-the-ditch between the red and gray stitching.


The quilting is a Free-Motion All Over Medium Meander Stitch. It's bigger than a stipple stitch, but smaller than an a regular meander. I like it for it's ability to give a good amount of stability to all the layers while remaining soft.  If you're curious about how I use an inkjet printer to create my labels click HERE and scroll to the end of the post. 

I just have to share this picture....love it when I can catch my helper peeking at me over the top of a quilt! He's just too cute and so much fun!!! 

Quilt Info: 
Finished Size: 56-1/4" x 71-3/4"
Backing and Binding: Free Spirit Designer Solid Slate Gray (available at www.littlepinkrose.com)
Thread: Aurifil 50Wt. Color number 1158
Batting: 1 layer 70% Cotton 30% Rayon

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog, I greatly appreciate the time you've spent with me here! 
Merry Christmas & God Bless,
Marcia 

December 13, 2013

Keeping it Real

I've been kind of quiet on here lately, but for good reason. 
I've been working like mad on a couple of quilts, one due before Christmas the other as soon as I can finish it.  I'm one of those that as I'm working things tend to get messier and messier until the deadline is finished and I can take a breath. As I scanned my studio before heading off to bed last night it occurred to me that you might enjoy seeing what it looks like when in use. 


Time to get back to the machine today is sandwich day for the quilt on the ironing board. 
I'll be back in a few days with pics of the finished quilt. 

Thanks for stopping by and sharing part of your day with me.
Merry Christmas & God Bless,
Marcia 

November 3, 2013

A Tour of My New Studio

It's only taken me three tries to finally get my studio/shop set up just right for sewing, quilting and packaging fabric. I thought you all might enjoy a tour of the studio.  Our new house is about half the size of our last house and surprising to some we absolutely love the smaller house! 

I have to say that my husband is the best husband a girl could ask for! I happily gave me the entire finished portion of the basement for my shop/studio. 

Straight in front of you when you first walk in is the sewing, pressing and project cutting stations.  The fabric shelves extend around the right side of the room.

On the sewing table to the side of the machine is an area with all the little gadgets most often needed when being creative.

To the left of the sewing station is the office/computer area.

This is my personal stash, WIPs, and a comfy rocker for handwork or a friend to join me for a day of fabric play and visiting.

To the right of the sewing area the shop's fabric shelves continue around the room. I'll be adding some more shelves soon for all the new fabric on it's way. In front of the sliding patio doors is a room divider displaying several of the quilts I've made and situated to protect the fabric from the afternoon sun. Just outside the sliding doors is a wonderful porch swing where I can take my hand stitching and enjoy the fresh autumn air.


Opposite of the fabric is the cutting and packaging station as well as my design wall. 
A wonderful feature of the area is that it has a full bathroom so I'm not having to run upstairs all the time. Thank God for the little things! 

 It is a wonderful creative space and shop area and I thank God and my husband for blessing me with such a wonderful gift! I'm enjoying working here and look forward to many hours of sewing, packaging fabric and sewing with friends who come by to enjoy the creative space with me!


Thanks for joining me on this tour of my studio and shop. 
I hope you enjoyed the tour!

God Bless & Happy Quilting!
Marcia

November 2, 2013

Retirement Dreams {A Finish}



 A friend of ours retired from the US Army last week and being the somewhat unconventional woman that I am I wanted to make a quilt for his wife who had become a good friend over the years. Since I figured a quilt wasn't something a man would truly enjoy as a retirement gift I told my hubby it was his job to find an appropriate gift while I worked on the quilt. I love having a reason to make a quilt especially when it's for a  sweet friend!

For this quilt I used all batiks, those beautiful hand-dyed prints from Indonesia.
 Just gorgeous!!


The pattern uses 8 1/2" squares and 1" x 8 1/2" strips. 
Then working one block at a time slice it straight across, sew the strip where the square was just cut, continuing to cut the square and sew in strips on each block. 

If I were to make this pattern again, I would have started with 9" squares, sewn in the strips and then cut the squares down to 8 1/2" square.  As I worked with the squares I found it a bit difficult to keep everything perfectly lined up and square, being able to start larger and trim it down would have saved me a lot of headache and aggravation.  


When it came time to layout the blocks I put everything up on my design wall.
I wanted to make sure that the layout was balanced. 
To be able to see the balance better I took a picture of it up on the design wall, then switched it a black & white photo to help me see how the dark, medium and lights were laid out against each other.


 Doing this helped me see that there were several sections where too many of the same tone were right next to each other.


I printed off the black and white pic and went to work rearranging the blocks for the right balance. 


Tested it again with another black and white photo and found this to be a much more pleasing balance. 

The finished quilt

 Personalized label.

Monique and her finished quilt.

Quilt Stats: 
Pattern: Cranberry Chutney by Madison Cottage Design
Finished size: 64" x 72" 
Free-motion quilted with an allover medium meander stitch with 50 wt. Aurifil #1318.
Batting 1 layer of 70% Cotton, 30% Rayon batting. 

Monique, I hope you enjoy your quilt for many years to come! 

Thanks for stopping by and allowing me to share with you what I've been working on recently. 

God Bless & Happy Stitching!
Marcia 

October 1, 2013

Running with Eagles Wings {A Finish}

I've been neglecting my blog for much too long! But, while I've been gone I have managed to accomplish quite a bit. We moved out of our house and into a hotel for 35 days while we waited for closing day to arrive on our new home.  Tried really hard to not let the cramped quarters of the hotel keep me from sewing and quilting, but in the end the hotel won as I wasn't able to make the quilt sandwich to be able to finish a custom T-Shirt quilt (so that had to wait until we were in our new home).  So, while I wasn't able to finish the quilt I wanted to I finished up a couple of other Works in Projects. 

This piece started as the center of a quilt, but I'm making a substitution and thought this would make a great wall hanging.  The vines are all free-motion quilting.


I made this little embellishment with small yo-yo's and seed beads.

 The other Work-in-Progress I was able to almost finish was this hand embroidery piece. 
I found the pattern at www.dreamalittlebigger.com 

Once the embroidery work was finished I used it to practice my free-motion quilting. 
I love the texture accomplished when combining quilting motifs!
Eventually this will become either a pillow top or a framed piece of quilt art. 



Alas, closing day/move in day finally arrived and after a few days of unpacking essentials I was able to make the needed quilt sandwich. Once that quilt sandwich was put together it was just a matter of days to complete the quilting.

It is completely free-motion quilted with no markings whatsoever.
I chose specific areas of each design to outline and then between the blocks I stitched a small to medium meander stitch. This size stitch gives the quilt more stability while allowing the hand of the quilt to remain soft.





To create the label I cut a piece of freezer paper to the size of a regular sheet of paper (8 1/2 x 11) then ironed it to a piece of white muslin and trimmed away the extra fabric to match the freezer paper exactly. This makes the fabric stiff enough to be run through an ink jet printer.  I used Print Shop for Mac to layout the wording and logo. After printing the label on the fabric, I removed the freezer paper and pressed the label to heat set the ink. To further set the ink I ran it under cold water, blotted it dry with a white towel and then finished pressing it dry with an iron. This process will permanently set the ink so that it  won't run and makes it washable the same as the quilt. Once it is set I press under the edges, cut a piece of light weight Wonder Under fit just short of the edges of the label. Peel off the paper and press the label to the quilt, then to keep it in place I do a tiny slip stitch completely around the  label attaching it to the quilt. 



A note on the quilt itself:

Tiffany is a runner and had many T-shirts from the races she has participated in over the years.  Her desire was to have a quilt created that reminded her of the most meaningful races and family moments.
Among all the stories of the many blocks the Green Apple Block is my personal favorite, it is the shirt  from the race where her husband proposed to her at the end of the race. How very romantic!!
When I asked her if there something special or meaningful that she would like to name her quilt she said that, "Running with Eagles Wings" would be the most meaningful to her, as Isaiah 40:31 is their family verse.  It is a verse they have looked to during times of difficulty for courage and strength, it is a verse that reminds them that it is the Lord that cares for them in all things.

Thank you for stopping by and catching up with me!

God Bless & Happy Stitching!
Marcia

August 8, 2013

Nancy's Quilt {Finished} & A New WIP


No, I didn't drop off the face of the planet though it may have seemed like it. I've just been working myself to death every day. We went absolutely crazy and decided to save some $$$$ by packing our entire house ourselves and then loading it all into two16 foot pods with help from some great friends! 

In the midst of packing we were blessed to find a new house with some acreage that I desired. Then just after starting that process we drove to Missouri for a College Reunion, Nancy's Quilt Delivery, to do some major work on our sweet little house in Independence and put it on the market.

As far as I was concerned the best part of the trip was being able to personally deliver Nancy's quilt to her. I absolutely LOVE being able to see a persons reaction to their finished quilt. Since Nancy has become such a good friend it was an extra special quilt to be able to deliver. 

Pieced by Nancy and Quilted by Marcia


Here are some other shots of Nancy's finished quilt, with some closeups of the quilting.
All of the quilting is free-motion quilting done on my domestic sewing machine, with a few guidelines on a couple of the blocks. Yes, even the Stitch-in-the-Ditch on every seam and the triangles in the outer border are all completely free-motion stitched.
 I used 23 different colors of 50 wt. Aurifil  thread throughout the quilt. Aurifil has such a great selection of thread colors it was easy to find colors that blended well with these beautiful batiks!

Inner Border Swirls and outer border Triangles
Flowers in the Corners
Flying Geese Block with pebbling. Outer border stitched with random continuous squares.

Random Squares

Pinwheels with micro-stippling. Out border stitched with swirls.

Hourglasses stitched with paisley and pebbles.

Applique double outlines and stipples
Small Stippling in center block and Orange Peel in outer portion (I used a 1/2" grid as a guide for the orange peel).
Closer view of the orange peel
Square in a Square, Swirl in the very center and stippling in the neutral pieces
Feathers in the Border

Star block with Stipple stitch inside and outer border with swirls and pebbles.

Pebbles and Bishop Fans

Closer view of Bishop Fans

Applique flower outlined and stipple stitched to make it pop.
Outer border McTavishing that mimics the fabric print

Stipple stitch and McTavishing

McTavishing

Swirls of Wind in the Trees

Pebbling in the yellow border is among my favorite parts of this quilt.

The back is a piece of art all its own!

 There is a wonderful story behind the creation of this quilt and why it is such a special quilt to Nancy. Stop by her blog, "Cool Beans" and read the rest of the story.


_________________________________________________________________

The sale of our home in Virginia was a huge blessing, but the timing of closing on our new home didn't line up at all with closing on the one we just sold. Which has put us in a wonderful little hotel room. Thankfully Candlewood Suites was been a great temporary home! Sadly for all our fabric it has been relegated to boxes in the corner of our hotel room, until someone gives it a new home.

A second blessing with the room is that the table provided is big enough for both a cutting area and a sewing area!

The living room/kitchen/sewing studio and fabric shop aka our hotel suite
I'm not letting the cramped quarters stop me from quilting. The floor has become the design wall and is working well, that is until someone wants to go through one of the doors.

Custom T-Shirt Quilt


Thanks for stopping by! As always I've enjoyed sharing my latest projects with you.
Be sure to stop by the shop www.littlepinkrose.com and set some of our beautiful fabric free.

Happy Quilting & Many Blessings,
Marcia
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