Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Flaunt - Scalloped Binding

Call it a finished "Big Sister" quilt! It took a bit more time and patience to add binding. Though the sides are straight, the top and bottom edges are scalloped.

As always, when preparing to sew binding to a quilt, I mark a straight edge around the perimeter of the quilt to ensure it's on the perpendicular.

On medium and dark colored fabrics I like to use a Clover White Marking Pen. The line disappears from the heat of an iron.
The quilt sides have kiwi-colored binding. I sew binding to a quilt with batting and backing still attached.
Then, I rotary trim 3/8" from the sewing line, removing the batting and backing.
Time for the thinking cap! It took a little math to figure out how wide to make seven scallops that curve evenly along the quilt top and bottom. From parchment paper I made a pattern and drew onto the fabric following the curve.
For the scalloped binding I cut a stripe on the bias.
With a walking foot, and a slow pace following the marked line, the curves were easy.
The inverted corners took a little more effort. At each one I stopped sewing, pulled the quilt from under the needle, folded and pinned a miter, and then resumed sewing.
Again, I trimmed away batting and backing 3/8" from the stitching.
With the quilt back side up, and laying on my lap and legs, I stitched the binding to the quilt back using a blind stitch.
The inverted miters turned out pretty good!

Visit Cinzia's blog for a complete list of bloggers participating in our "Friday Flaunt."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Making Friends

Today, Mary Jo and I, who are both in QDU (Quilting Down Under) chat group met in real time, something that doesn't frequently happen in blogland.

She's a lovely person, and very easy to talk with. Being quilters and mothers, it was no problem at all finding a couple mutually interesting topics!

After lunch on Main St. in Ames, we walked a few doors down to the Quilting Connection and enjoyed a bit of fabric shopping together. The shop owner took our picture. That's a lovely French Braid quilt behind us.

A few necessary purchases were made.
All for WIPs (Works In Progress), of course.
And, as I was only eight miles from Nevada, Iowa, before heading back home, I stopped by the fun Block Party Studios. This is the place that makes and sells "word" fabric. (See last week's Friday Flaunt.)

A nice outing, a nice day, and a nice friend. Can a day be more satisfying than that?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It's Tuesday and I Can't Wait

...for two things!

First, this evening my bestest friends, the Batting Buds* small group, is coming over for our monthly get together. We'll share what's been going on in each other's lives, some yummy hors d'oeuvres and wine, and quilting. A few buds will bring hand work.

Tonight I'm also playing the I-Movie I produced: "Australia Revisited," a one hour and 20 minute slide and video show of our March/April trip Down Under. It's not your typical, boring home movie. This has "Ken Burns effect" photos, captions, background music, and sound effects. You might guess rightly that I enjoy playing with technology.

Second, on Wednesday I'm meeting, face-to-face, for the first time, a quilter from QDU (Quilting Down Under Yahoo chat group). She lives here in Iowa and also loves all things Aussie. We're meeting for lunch and then guess where we'll go... you got it! To a quilt shop. Quilters may be predictable, but one of their best predictable features is that they're the nicest people you'll ever want to meet. I can't wait to meet Mary Jo.
Join the bloggers who are playing "It's Tuesday and I Can't Wait..." at Buttons by Lou Lou.

*Batting Buds - The name comes from quilt batting. Batting is what's inside a quilt that makes a quilt a quilt! It's the inside stuff that's the most important, just like these dependable friends who share faith and themselves with each another. Buds is short for buddies, of course.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Riverside Lutheran Bible Camp Quilt Auction

On Saturday, four of us who are in Hope Quilters at Lutheran Church of Hope, drove about an hour north of Des Moines to Story City for Riverside Bible Camp's annual fundraiser quilt auction. It was an unseasonably mild and gloriously beautiful day.

Riverside's prairie was in lovely bloom.
Quilts were live-auctioned in the chapel.
More than 150 quilts were auctioned - everything from intricately pieced and hand quilted masterpieces to strip quilts, cheater cloth quilts, panel quilts, and t-shirt quilts. See four pages of pictures here.
Here are a few I liked.
How easy to strip piece!
Disappearing Nine Patch in batiks.

The auction historically raises $50,000 to $58,000 for the camp. In these tighter economic times we pray that the auction came through for Riverside again.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Flaunt - Fruit

And now for something completely different...

You know how it is when you're plugging away on a project and it seems like it's taking forever to make discernible progress? Maybe you just want to shove it aside and move on to something else? Just something for a change of scenery, so to speak?

On Wednesday as I was pulling fabrics for a project, those feelings came over me when I found this "lost" fabric. I remembered buying it, but three weeks ago, after turning my stash upside down, I gave up looking for it. Then, wouldn't you know, I lifted the lid on a bin, picked up a piece of green fabric and voila...there was the lost fabric.

This piece came from Block Party Studios right here in Iowa. The company makes all sorts of word fabrics. This is a Bible verse: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22-23
Thinking to make a special block, I pulled out my favorite block book. I needed an on-point block center that finished at the odd size of 4-1/2". Nothing suited.
So, I simply used my trusty triangle measurement chart to cut squares that I bisected diagonally to make setting triangles.
Instead of being prudent, and choosing prints matchy-matchy to my home decor, I went on a whim and chose brights.
By Thursday evening, I ended up with this colorful 23" X 27" wall hanging.
Find the fruit prints? Bananas, lemons, raspberries!
I've found that when quilting on a domestic sewing machine, it's way more easy and fun to machine-quilt a small quilt than a big quilt.
I made an unsatisfactory first-time effort to draw the quilting motif on Glad Press 'n Seal and then machine quilt through it. A gummy needle, and Sharpie red ink under the quilting thread doesn't work for me.

Golden Threads paper remains my favorite free-motion quilting product.

Whew. I feel better for getting that change-of-pace project out of my system.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It's Tuesday and I Can't Wait start piecing these fabrics to make Sawtooth Star blocks for the next round of my Snowflake Medallion quilt, a pattern from Ballarat Patchwork, Victoria, Australia.
I'm happy to have finished hand applique in the center medallion, and along the pieced border.

This is the first time I have tackled so much hand applique, and I quite like it!
Not only do I get to listen to audio books while I'm stitching (currently, The Shifting Fog, by Kate Morton), I'm lovin' doing back-basted, needle turn applique. For basting, I'm using quilting thread and a large needle, and for applique I'm using silk thread and a size #11 straw needle.

The next several border rounds should go together more quickly since they're mostly machine piecing.

Join the bloggers who are playing "It's Tuesday and I Can't Wait..." at Buttons by Lou Lou.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

New Zealand Travel Article

Queenstown, New Zealand
Today's Sunday Des Moines Register
"Iowa Life" section has the travel story I wrote about our March/April trip to New Zealand.

Here's a picture of our family at Willowbank (New Zealand's south island), enjoying an introduction to the Maori culture.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Update

The total number of kids who attended VBS at Lutheran Church of Hope this week is...
No wonder I feel tired. But praise God!

Friday Flaunt

Since completing the quilting on my friend's quilt (see Tuesday), I haven't spent time sewing. I'm helping with VBS (vacation Bible school) at my church, and have found it to be the most amazing, fun, and tiring activity I've done in a long time.

Another adult "shepherd" and I have 19 kids going into sixth grade. We're just one of five sections of sixth graders. And overall, the sixth grade class has the fewest number of kids of all grade levels! At least 700 kids are attending every morning. And unbelievably, the pastors, staff, song leaders and more volunteers will repeat the whole thing next week - in both a morning session, and an evening session! By the end of the two weeks, more than 2,000 kids will have participated. Every one of those kids is learning about God's desires for us: "obedience, trust, courage, love, and strength." The message is coming through loud and clear through prayer, skits, catchy songs and motions - oh my, lots of energetic, bouncy-hoppy-jumpy dancing motions - with tunes and words such as "Macho, macho, man. David is a macho man," singing the Old T and the New T books in order, and short memory phrases - with motions - like "My God is bigger than your giant." As a born and raised Lutheran, it's been a real eye-opening experience to see how VBS has changed from the felt board stories I saw a kid!

But some things never change... what kids like to do during outdoor play time. That's what I have to share in the way of sewing. I sewed together three-yard pieces of elastic to make several Chinese jump ropes.
How many of you remember jumping over these elastic bands on the playground?

Two kids stand opposite from one another with the elastic band looped around their ankles, while the jumper hops in and out of the elastic, chanting "In, out, in, side out, side out, in, out." Remember catching the elastic with your toes and jumping over the other side of the elastic to make "scissors"? Then, the elastic is raised to calvsies and kneesies, and the jumping patterns are repeated.

I've been gratified to see how much my VBS kids are enjoying it.

I'm also flaunting an Ebay purchase. These Marti Michell templates arrived so I can start selecting and cutting fabrics for "Candied Hexagons" - the neatest pattern ever, from a 2005 issue of Australia Quilters Companion made by Kerry Dear. You can see a lovely bit of this quilt on the header of Janet's blog. Hers is beautifully made.
This will be a great take-along, hand-piecing project when traveling to Australia. Or, when just sitting down for a breather after a morning of "aerobics" at VBS.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It's Tuesday and I Can't Wait show you the domestic machine quilting I did to finish my friend's quilt. Tah-dah.

Join the bloggers who are playing "It's Tuesday and I Can't Wait..." at Buttons by Lou Lou.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Quilt Show Vendor

Thanks to - or perhaps blamed on - my insatiable interest in Aussie blogland, the tastes and styles of some down under quilters are rubbing off on me. 

I attended a local quilt show this weekend, and went ga-ga in one of the vendor booths: Material Girl whose retail store is in Grand Island, Nebraska. 

Here's the take-home evidence of my attraction to the fabrics she sells. Fabric manufacturers: Rowan (Kaffe Fassett); Michael Miller, and Windham. And the hand of every piece is terrific. What more could a quilter ask for?


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