Thursday, 31 December 2015

The Story of Brynne's Quilt

Brynne's scrappy quilt made it from northern Alberta to Arizona just in time for Christmas!

Brynne and her folks in action!

It all started when Brynne (our son Derrick's lovely girlfriend) decided to rescue some special fabrics from her grandmother's stash.

Some of Brynne's fabrics.

I'd volunteered to make memory quilts for her and her family, but Brynne surprised me by wanting to help.

What??? You want to learn to quilt?

OH, YAH!!!

As soon as we had a plan, Brynne got a crash course in cutting, how to use a sewing machine, and how to piece the ear/body units for the "regular kitty" blocks. (Click here for more on our first session.)

We worked hard and fast so she could learn what she needed before her visit was over. She left with a borrowed machine and homework! She would sew all of the "regular kitty" ear units, and I would sew their butts (it's a glam life for me!). I'd also look after the "tiny kitty" and the "stacked kitty" blocks since we were out of time for more lessons.

Here is our "before" design wall, full of kitty parts!
(We raided my scrap bins to round out our palette.)

Oh, and Brynne also drew three, important "tiny kitty" blocks for her Mom - they represent special family pets.

Two kitties drawn, but not yet pieced.

Third drawing, pieced.
When Brynne returned for a visit in October, we started putting things together. We set up in the basement and worked like crazy again!

Brynne & Derrick.

Brynne pieced her first row! (Which was actually the bottom row of the quilt - ha!)

Ta Dahhh!

We finished piecing the rows, and made plans for the borders, backing, quilting, and binding. Distance is always an issue, so Brynne left the quilt with me for finishing.

Ready for borders. it is, Fresh off the Frame!
(Brynne chose the wrought iron panto. I think it is purr-fect!)

Daisy Kingdom fabric was a favourite of Brynne's grandmother. There was almost enough of this print for the back of the quilt. A bit of creative piecing made it work!

Quilt back.

And, finally, here it is - bound and ready to go.


We discussed possibilities every step of the way, but I left every creative decision to Brynne. I think she made excellent choices. It sure would have been easy to keep this for myself . . .

 . . . but this picture of Brynne's mother tells me the quilt is right where it belongs!

Enjoying one of the kitties drawn by her daughter.
A grandmother's fabrics, through a granddaughter's hands, to wrap a mother and father in love.

Circle, complete.

In case you are wondering, I did manage to finish this client quilt before Christmas, ripping and all!
Giant, "floofy" feathers (similar to those in the blocks) helped fill the borders, along with more back-and-forth loops to finish things off. I think it will look fantastic when the binding goes on!

Floofy feathers with back-and-forth loops in the borders.

And, lest you think we neglected celebrating the is a bit of my husband's handiwork to prove otherwise!

I'd rather have eggnog, but Chuck's rein-beer were awfully cute! (Perfect for that Boxing Day potluck, don'tcha think? Ho ho ho!)

Linking up with:
Let's Bee Social @ Sew Fresh Quilts

Try, Learn, & Grow!
P.S. I'm on Instagram under my blog name, FreshofftheFrame

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Almost There!

The last client quilt before Christmas is almost ready. Whew!

So far, sew good!

A couple of days ago it looked like this.


After many hours of quilting I've finished the white background, the skinny blue border, and the squares where the rings connect to one another.

In progress

I've also (almost) finished quilting the rings. Unfortunately there is a failed experiment in the first row of rings (12 sections), so tomorrow I will rip and re-do.

AARGH - wish I hadn't done that!

Sometimes when I'm ambivalent about a design it helps to keep going. Sometimes it doesn't. It's always a gamble, and this time I lost. The design wasn't a bad idea, but my execution was not consistent enough to make it work. Yuck.

Ah, well. Win some, learn some.

In the meantime, another beautiful Frozen quilt came and went. Most of it was done with a pantograph, but the panel and its borders were custom quilted.

Also Fresh off the Frame is a quilt destined for an orphanage in Mexico!

The outside border (above) looks like striped fabric, but is actually (meticulously) pieced, and so is the back!


My grandson was dressed the part, so we took a quick "Elfie" after his concert - ha!
If you celebrate the season, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

Try, Learn, & Grow!
P.S. I am also on Instagram under my blog name, FreshofftheFrame

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Prayer Flags

My wish for the world.

Wind brushes by a prayer flag, spreading its wishes and good energy to all.
When I held this fabric to the light (a piece I'd dyed, and then wondered what on Earth will I do with this?) I knew it would be perfect for my prayer flag. I love how it glows!
Other than keep it simple, I had no plan for this project.
The fabric spoke to me of peace, love, and the 70's, so I followed its vibe.

It was satisfying to let things evolve as I worked along, and surprising how deeply I felt the message by the time I finished. What had started as a fun project with my guild became a call from my heart.

Two other guild members have finished their flags in time for this post, too.

Terry's flag: Faith, Hope and Love

Terry's flag - photo by Terry.
Sarah's flag: Celebrating Love in the Birth of a Baby

Sarah's flag - photo by Sarah.
Suggestions for flag makers:
  • Use what you have on hand
  • Keep things simple
  • Enjoy the process - relax and take it a step at a time
  • Fuse, stamp, glue, and finish! Let it fray, let it fray...
  • Hang it where you can see it every day
    or, give it to someone who needs to see it every day
If you start with a 5" x 11" piece of fabric, you can fold the top edge down about three inches to make the hanging sleeve. The raw edge of the sleeve can be turned to the front or back, as you like.

Or, just make something up, like we did - see the first suggestion, above ;-)

Fresh off the Frame

I had Brynne's (not-so-secret-cause-I-blabbed-here) secret sewing on the frame this week, and finally finished today. Woo Hoo!
(Keep it under your hat, though, K?)

Just a peek!

My heartfelt apologies for slow comment replies lately - with having been sick, and then trying to catch up, and then repeating the cycle again this week (stomach bug - enough with being sick!) - I'm in a time crunch. I love the conversations and friendships that have come with blogging, and truly appreciate your comments. Thank you, so much. I shall return the favour as soon as humanly possible!

Still a couple more Christmas quilts to finish for people, so please pray that I stay healthy!!!

Linking up With:
Show off Saturday, at Sew Can She

Try, Learn, & Grow!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Homemade Tags, Capturing Fabric, and More!

Bindings & Tags
This pretty "binding banner" (the result of chain piecing) reminds me of prayer flags.

I'd like to finish six runners before Christmas. So far, I've finished two. Having the bindings ready will speed things up, so there's still hope!

Labels are important, but time consuming. I needed a shortcut, so decided to make muslin tags to sew into the bindings.

Pressed in half, sewn inside-out, flipped right-side-out, pressed again.

There was just enough room for my name on one side, and washing instructions on the other.

A folded piece of paper between the layers kept the marker from bleeding through.
Machine stitching secures both the binding and the tag.

Care instructions are on the reverse side of the tag.

Sunflowers & Smiles! 
Part two of the applique workshop (click here to see part one) included arranging fused units onto backgrounds. Sunflowers, being a natural element, can be arranged any number of ways. I like to encourage people to position things as they like rather than being married to the pattern.
Here, petals and leaves are being arranged and fused. Some bits will be tucked under the accent flange, and some will overlap.

Student work

Here, the flowers are stretched to fill the whole space!

Student work

Next, people stitched and stitched.
The applique is stitched in place as part of the quilting process.

It's a good sign when people are still smiling at the end of a long day.

High Prairie quilters

Each project is an expression of its maker's aesthetic, which is a beautiful thing!
(Sorry to the ladies who are missing from the photo - I didn't think to take it until we were almost out the door!)

One of the things I show in this class is how to manage excess fabric. Sometimes a background wants to ripple, or a border decides to wave. We all know fabric doesn't always cooperate.

The trick is to evenly distribute the excess fabric before quilting so you can "capture" it and fill it with batting.

Evenly distributing fabric in a slightly wavy border.

The same principle applies on or off the longarm.
Spray basting helps with small projects - just pat the fabric into place and let the glue hold it for you - and pins can help on the longarm until you get things basted with stitch.

Border is basted and ready to quilt.

After quilting, the batting puffs up and fills the fabric. 

Ta dah!

Borders are handled when quilt tops are folded, unfolded, held up to be shown, etc., so stretched edges are quite common. Having a "fix" for the problem is essential!

Fresh off the Frame this week! 
A beautiful bargello - I decided to use the Drunken Feathers panto on this quilt for the same reasons as I used it on Carol's quilt. (You can see the quilting in the photo,'s the same gorgeous quilt!)

Two memory quilts made with t-shirts worn by a special little boy - both quilts feature a few of his favourite things, and both have the same phrase stitched into their bottom borders. It's something he used to say every day.

"It's a beautiful day"

When I got near the bottom of each quilt, I modified the panto so the quilting would flow around the words.

Modifying panto

Here is the smaller quilt

And, here is the larger one.

Both have cozy, flannel backs to make them cuddly.

Guild Sewing Day

I thought I'd be productive and knock out three (identical) Dear Jane blocks for an international group project.

My assigned block finishes at 4.5 inches, and has 33 pieces.
What did I get myself into?

This was all I had by the end of the day.

Before I could even touch my sewing machine, I had to draw a paper piecing pattern for the block.
In triplicate.
An actual size photo of a finished block was my guide. 

I may have whined and moaned a bit about that whole operation. I felt like a real time killer.
Especially because my Mom has an assigned block, too, and they sent her the flippin foundations she needed!!!

So I came home and decided to finish ONE stupid block, come hell or high water!

Exploded block!

I had a little trouble because my drawing wasn't accurate enough (it's out by a sixteenth of an inch, and it made a difference), but I'll adjust it for the next two and press on.

They would prefer the blocks untrimmed, so the outside edges look a bit tatty right now. But, look! It's done!

Untrimmed block.

Did I mention they are due this month?
Sometimes I make myself laugh! (Why do I do these things to myself? Ha!)

Tomorrow is a new day, and by then I'll be over my-cranky-self and life will be fun again! ;-)
In the meantime, yes, I will have some cheese with that whine, thankyouverymuch!
Linking up with:
Creative Goodness, at Quilt Shop Gal

Try, Learn, & Grow!
P.S. I'm on Instagram under my blog name, FreshofftheFrame