Friday, October 30, 2009

More Portrait Progress

Continuing from the last post, here are more pics from the creation of this special portrait.

I tried something new on this portrait.  Once I had all the fabric pieces fused in place, I used Derwent Inktense Pencils to add more shading where needed.  (My friend, Judy R. told me about these pencils.)  You can draw on fabric with them, then paint over them with a bit of textile medium.  The medium sets them into the fabric and also intensifies the color.

I really like the effect the pencils added.  Below you can see how I added shadows.  See how the khaki dotted fabric has been shaded?
And I was able to soften the edges of this white spot on the dog's chest.
And here's the finished quilt top!  The lettering at the bottom came from the dog's bedding.
Someone asked yesterday to explain my resources in making portraits.  Though many of you already know, many may not.  I developed this quick (and easy) method for creating portrait quilts from photographs several years ago.  My book (which explains the process) is Fabric Photo Play - it was published by AQS in 2005.  I still do it the same way - except for one little thing.  When I wrote the book, I used Microsoft Digital Image Pro software to help create my patterns.  Now I use Photoshop Elements.  But they work the same way and do the same thing.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Portrait in Progress

It's been some time since I made a quilt portrait, and it's been a joy to work on another one at long last!  And this one is so special.  Her name is Miss Masey.  Here it is so far.  I'll show more next time. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Wavy Quilt and a Happy Quilt

So here's the wavy quilt.  This is one I finished for someone - her aunt died before completing it.  It was already partially machine quilted, and I could tell it would be wavy no matter what I did to it, short of unsewing all the quilting, taking the quilt apart, and redoing tons of the work. I knew the recipient wouldn't want, nor expect, me to do that.  So I simply finished the quilting and added binding.  And I'm sure she'll treasure her aunt's quilt.  Better finished and wavy, then never finished.

And now for the happy quilt!  I'm currently quilting this wonderful quilt for a friend - it's from the book, Freddy's House, by Freddy Moran.  I smile just looking at the fun fabrics and happy houses!

Tomorrow will be a fun post - I'm working on a special doggy portrait.  I'll show photos of my progress - it's always fun to see a portrait progress.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Grid Quilting

I love to do grid quilting diagonally through squares.  This is a quilt I'm finishing for someone. It was made by this woman's aunt, who is now deceased.  The aunt's finished quilts were quickly snapped up by other family members.  The niece found this almost finished quilt for herself, and asked me to complete it.  Part of the quilting had been already done, so I only need to finish the quilting and bind it.
Got to love all this vintage fabric.  What a treasure this quilt is!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Happy Fabric

Isn't this the happiest fabric ever?  It makes me smile.  This is the backing fabric for a quilt I'm machine quilting for a friend.  And you should see the front of the quilt!  VERY HAPPY  indeed! I may have to make one of these.  With her permission, I'll share a photo of it in a couple of days.

I had a busy quilting day today.  I quilted half the special doggy memorial quilt (Tennessee Waltz) - should finish it tomorrow.  I started basting the Happy Quilt, as mentioned in the above paragraph.  And I even worked a bit on quilting another quilt.

I didn't stop working until dark thirty, which today was about 6:15.  Tomorrow I hope to finish two quilts!

Monday, October 19, 2009

I'd Love to Wrap this around myself!

My friend Tammie made this quilt top from Bali Pops.  It makes me DROOL!  The pattern is not complicated, but the fabric choices make it sing.

This will be a week for finishing quilts.  I have the Tennessee Waltz quilt (the one I worked on last week) ready to machine quilt.  I also have two other quilts dropped off by clients for machine quilting.  I'll post pictures as I complete them.

Then there another project I'm looking forward to starting - a sweet doggy portrait.  Can't wait!

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Finished Top!

I finished the quilt top today!  This was a big accomplishment for me, since I don't consider myself to be a great piecer.  To complicate matter even further, I decided this afternoon to make a pieced border.  What was I thinking?!  All those little squares, and if the seam allowances were off just a bit, it wouldn't have fit.  But much to my surprise, it fit PERFECTLY!  I still can't believe it.
This will be a fun one to quilt, with all the large white areas.  If I have time, I'll baste it over the weekend.  The quilting won't be started until next week, though.

This quilt pattern is a "Quilt in a Day" pattern.  It took me all week, working almost all day every day!  And this is just a lap sized quilt.  If someone can really make it in a day, they deserve a medal.  

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dark Thirty

My hubby's hobby is playing golf.  In pretty weather (which has been rare around here lately), he likes to stop at the driving range on his way home from work and hit a bucket of balls.  He'll hit balls until the sun goes down, then change shoes, pack up the clubs and head home.  He always tells me he'll be home for supper at "dark thirty," thirty minutes after it turns dark.  

One day last week he was even later than dark thirty.  He explained saying he challenged himself in putting.  He set out three balls, and wouldn't allow himself to leave until he'd hit two out of three.  He did it again and again, without success.  He finally did it, and allowed himself to come home.

I've been challenging myself the same way lately with my quilting.  Today I put the four patches (from Monday) together with the star points (from Tuesday) to make the primary blocks for this current quilt.  I wouldn't allow myself to come downstairs from my studio until I'd assembled, pressed, and trimmed the 18 blocks needed.  Okay, so I did take a lunch break - a girl's gotta eat!

Here's one of the blocks.  I impressed myself with the piecing.  I guess it all boils down to taking my time, measuring often, and paying attention to how scant the quarter inch seam should be.
Yes, I did finish all 18 blocks.  The breakfast dishes didn't get done until supper time, but that's okay with me.  Tomorrow I'll make the snowball blocks that go in between.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Star Points

Today I made 72 of these star points.  The points are blue though they show up as gray here.  The watery blue batik represents water; this special dog loved the water.  The creamy white background represents the diamond shape on the dog's chest.

Tomorrow I'll trim these little blocks and the real fun will begin.  I'll be able to put the four patches from yesterday together with the star points to make blocks.  The tedious part is now done.

As I'm making this quilt, I'm now realizing why I've never considered myself to be a great piecer.  It's all in the quarter inch seam!  I always thought that if I used a quarter inch foot and sewed a straight seam, then my piecing should end up perfect.  And it never did end up perfect.

Then I realized that  when you press the seam to one side, a tiny bit of fabric is taken up by the fold.  So even if you sew a seam EXACTLY a quarter inch from the edges of the fabric, the block will end up slightly too little.  BUMMER!

So in order for everything to measure correctly, you have to always use a SCANT quarter of an inch.  How scant, you say?  It depends.  It depends on the fabric weight.  It depends on the stitch length.  It depends on the pressing afterward.  BIG BUMMER!

When I made the four patches, I had to sew a VERY scant quarter inch because the dog bed fabric was much heavier that the tradition cotton.  But today, using only cotton on the star points, I just had to sew a slightly scant quarter inch.

What I want to know is, why do we even have quarter inch feet for our sewing machines?  Why don't they make scant quarter inch feet?

Monday, October 12, 2009

4-Patch Fun

Today I went to our October guild meeting.  I'm always inspired by the beautiful show and tell quilts!  And it's so nice to connect with friends with a like interest.

One of my guild buddies told me this morning that I was slacking up on my blog (you know who your are!).  And, as I told you, you're absolutely right!  I used to post almost every weekday.  Lately I've been lucky to post a couple of times per week.

One of the reasons I've had fewer posts lately is because I've been working for weeks on these three t-shirts quilts.  Though I did show one of them, the most special of the three will be a holiday gift for someone.  I don't want to show it on the blog to make sure the recipient doesn't get a glimpse.  Trust me, it's very unique, and if he/she were to see it, they'd know immediately that it is meant for them.

I do try to keep this blog to the subject of quilting as much as possible, with brief interludes for snake bites and engagements.  The good news is that I'm working on a new quilt, and I can share my progress here!

Here's what I have so far - lots of four patches.  This is a quilt for a client, a very special quilt to memorialize her dog.  The plaid fabric comes from the dog's bed.  The client helped me design the quilt with lots of meaning, which I'll explain along the way.  The chocolate brown in the four patches is representative of the dog's fur - a beautiful chocolate lab.  I've completed 40 of the 72 four patches needed.
The seam allowances here are very bulky due to the bedding fabric.  I've found it very helpful to use my clapper (after a hefty dose of steam).  I just press the clapper down across the seam as soon as I remove the iron, holding it in place for about 10 seconds.  Voila, a flat four patch!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Big News for our Family!

Please excuse this departure from the subject of quilting.  I'm too excited and have to share our news.

Daughter 1 (aka Emily) is getting married!  Tommy popped the question last night.  Hubby and I have known about it for a few days because Tommy called hubby to get our blessing, which we were happy to give.  Tommy is a wonderful young man, and we are thrilled she has found someone so special with whom to share her life.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Little Bouquet: Done!

I can tell already that this will be the year for finishing UFO's.  I finished my three commissioned t-shirt quilts Monday.  Tuesday I pre-washed the fabrics for another commission quilt.  While that happened, I quilted my Little Bouquet.  This morning I finished the binding - yes, my favorite black and white striped binding!

Today after running a few errands, I'm planning on doing all the cutting for the next quilt.  I can't wait to show you this one as it evolves.  It has tons of special meaning behind it.  And lots of love.

Here's my Little Bouquet.  I love the frayed raw edges.

Monday, October 5, 2009

More Bee Blocks

Our bee had a great time this year making these blocks for each other.  I can't wait to see the finished quilts.  I'm hoping to put together my LOVE blocks soon.

Here are Tammy's funky Christmas trees.

And these are Ruth Ann's birdhouses.
Introducing Jan's 30's applique flowers.
And then there are Beth's adorable paper pieced blocks.
We trying to decide what our next challenge will be.  Whatever we decide, it will be fun, I'm sure.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I Won Fabric!!!

I got a nice surprise yesterday - an email from  They give away fabric every Friday.  I'd signed up a few months ago, thinking I'd never win.  But I did!

I got to pick out 2 yards of any of their fabrics.  Click here to see my selection.  Then sign up for yourself!

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Reptile Dysfunction

Fighting fire with fire!

That's what we're doing at the Wood household these days.  We had a new "pet" delivered today.  And yes, I'm eating my words.  Last week I said, "I don't care if I ever see another snake."  And what did we do?  We brought in a snake!

Meet Rex.

Rex is a King Snake.  King Snakes are non-venomous snakes who eat venomous snakes.  So we are hoping Rex will make a meal out of our Copperhead Snake(s).  I really hope Rex is hungry!!!

The guy holding Rex is a local member of a reptile relocation group, who is also a vet tech at our vet clinic.  He offered to bring Rex over and let him go in our backyard to hopefully eliminate our problems.  After a bit of hesitation, hubby and I agreed.  A bit creepy, I know, but we're hoping it will work.

Here's Rex, slithering toward the bushes where bad snakes hide.  Eat and enjoy, Rex!
And now, back to our regularly scheduled quilting blog!  Our bee's block challenge is now done and here are my completed LOVE blocks, made by my friends.  Don't you just LOVE them?
I'm thinking of sashing them with black for a LOVE-ly wall hanging.  What do you think? 

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Bee Meeting Today!

This is one of those posts where the picture has nothing to do with anything.  This is from our European vacation back in June.

Today I'm hosting one of my quilt bees at my house.  So fun!  The house is clean, the food is cooked, the table is set.  I'm ready!  The menu is zucchini quiche (my own recipe), spinach salad, artichoke and spinach dip with bagel chips, grapes.  The dessert is a decadent apple cake made with coconut and chopped pecans with a buttermilk glaze.

I'll have my camera ready during our show and tell - this group does beautiful work.

On another note, we are adding a new addition to the Wood family today - a new "pet" of sorts.  I'll have my camera ready for its arrival, so stay tuned.  You may be surprised!