Monday, 26 October 2015

The House Quilt

Made to help raise funds for Rotary House, this House Quilt has been a labour of love. Blocks were contributed by my guild mates, and we worked together to piece the top.

Basted and waiting...
It was on my frame for over two weeks - I loaded it before Thanksgiving so it would be ready to go as soon as the holiday was over.

And then I caught the plague, or something. It has kicked. my. butt.

I forced myself out of bed to teach in Fairview last weekend, plague and all. The workshop (sponsored by the Fairview Agricultural Society) was a ton of fun, but by the end of the day I could barely croak out any sound at all. Luckily, by then, everyone was on their way to mastering paper piecing!

Piecing was well under way, and some even had veins on their leaves by the end of the day!
My husband and I celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary that evening with a quiet dinner (mainly because I couldn't speak!) and an early night. To mark the occasion, we took a silly selfie before I crashed. (Still better than our anniversary seven years ago when I had a mastectomy...yup, really.)

Still smiling together after 29 years!

On Thursday I dragged myself out of bed again to hit the frame.

Four days later, I'm happy to say write that the House Quilt is Fresh off the Frame!!!
(Still no voice and not feeling 100%. Blah.)

I love me some before and after shots . . . I hope you do, too, 'cause I have lots!
Each block has its own character, which I tried to enhance with the quilting.


Shonna's birdhouse clearly required a flower filler. I also stitched around each bit of applique. I think it helps things pop, and makes a crisper finish to the block.


The next one required some research. Vertical siding? Horizontal? Both? How would a house like this have been finished in its day? (Yes to both, as it turns out.)


Just for fun, the background quilting for Margaret's mid century modern house is loosely based on a wallpaper design from that era.


 What do you do when you live in a shoe?


Quilt a grid in the background, that's what!
And, of course, outline every bit of applique and stitch where it makes sense to stitch.


One house needed stonework. (Cannot remember who contributed this one - sorry!)


Another needed charming roof tiles and a swirly sky.

Liz modeled this after her own abode.

Alice's block was particularly perplexing . . . what did it need?


It wasn't speaking to me, so I just tried not to mess it up. That was my big plan. Do NOT mess it up.

There were plenty of things to ditch around, so that's where I began. All that ditching gave me time to think about the next step. And the next. ("Start with what you know" and the rest will follow.)

Notice the pins in some of the "after" photos? I've mounted the quilt on a piece of Styrofoam to flatten and block it. Some of the applique wanted to ripple, so I spritzed with water and patted everything flat. The pins are to hold things in place as the quilt dries.

Top half of quilt, pinned to board

When I loaded the quilt, I had stitched-in-the-ditch around the perimeter of every block using a ruler to aid the process. The applique and piecing in each block were all stitched and ditched freehand as I got to them.

Bottom half of quilt, spritzed and pinned.
As you can imagine, I changed thread colours a lot.
I worked block-by-block because the quilting ideas had to develop organically. That meant I couldn't just slap a colour on the machine and do ALL of that colour throughout the quilt. Nope. That would have been too easy. Ha!

One more quick before and after!

Oh, man, I love that quilty texture!

Fresh off the frame - not yet blocked.
As I said - it was a labour of love.
I don't suppose it will raise enough money to cover so many hours of quilting, but that's beside the point. There are twelve little works of art in this quilt that needed showcasing. . . and the quilting is mine to donate!

When the quilt is auctioned, we are hoping that whoever buys it will donate it back to hang in the Rotary House when it is completed. That would be so cool!

Have a happy week, everyone!

Linking up with:

Main Crush Monday, at Cooking up Quilts
Monday Making, at Love Laugh Quilt
Linky Tuesday, at Freemotion by the River
Fabric Tuesday, at Quilt Story

Try, Learn, & Grow!
P.S. Find me on Instagram under my blog name, FreshofftheFrame

Friday, 16 October 2015

Doodle Quilting!

Eons ago I celebrated a bloggy milestone with a give-away. The idea was to make a wee piece of art specifically for the winner of the draw. I had planned to make the piece right away, but it took longer to connect with the winner than anticipated!

Judge Certification work, travel, and a super busy summer took over.
Long story, short(ish), Emily @ Toothpaste & Orange Cat won the draw, and has been waiting patiently for her prize to materialize!

Happily, this sweet little quilt will be on its way in the very near future!

Based on our emails, I chose a dance theme for Emily's quilt. After a couple of half-hearted attempts at something more realistic (blah), I decided to allow a fun doodle to come forth. I love it, and hope Emily will, too!

I'm a girl who likes to keep her word - so finishing this is such a relief. Now I can move forward with a clear conscience and a happy heart.

Speaking of hearts - another doodle recently came to life.

I'm currently experimenting with black lines and colour, attempting to achieve a painterly effect in my work.

First I do a quick sketch of an idea in a spiral bound notebook. It can be messy because the book's not precious.

A messy sketch in my notebook

If I like something I've drawn, I quickly trace it onto tracing paper, keeping lines loose and not worrying about being too exact.

Traced and laid on top of the block for consideration

I lay the tracing paper over the fabric to see how things look. I can flip the paper over to see how things look in reverse, too. Always worth considering.

Flipped to consider the reverse image

At this point drawings can be moved around or revised to better fill the space. When I'm ready, I pin the tracing paper in position and free-motion stitch right through it. It is easy to pull away when I'm done.

Drawing is stitched and tracing paper removed

Once the basic drawing is stitched, it's time to add some colour.

Crayon and ink look darker when they are wet

Caran D'Ache Neocolor II artist's crayons are permanent on fabric once they are heat set. After "painting" with wet crayons, I decided to spritz the whole thing with an ink meant for use on paper. I figured ink would stain, wouldn't it?

I let it dry overnight, and pressed it with a hot iron to heat set the colour. The heart still needed help, so I kept stitching and colouring until I was happy.

Stitch and colour until it feels done - can always add more!

The ink worried me, so I decided to rinse the whole thing and see what would happen. To my surprise, the ink completely washed out, even after heat setting. Hmm. Guess that didn't work (but, that's okay!).

Finished heart, rinsed and pressed - no more ink!
Confession Time
Honestly, there were times when I took the next step and then dearly wished I hadn't - despairing that I'd ruined things - but it all worked out in the end. Without a map to follow, a person has to embrace the idea of serendipity and follow new paths as they appear. Knowing when to STOP can be the trickiest part!

Quick Tip
If you decide to try a doodle, stabilize your stitching before you begin. Either work on a quilt sandwich (like the giraffe), or use a fusible interfacing on the back of your fabric (like the heart).

Such fun!!! There will be more of these in my future, for sure.

Progress Update: Brynne's Quilt

Brynne and I sewed like crazy on Thanksgiving weekend to get her quilt top pieced. We finished all except the borders!

Brynne and my son, Derrick, in the family room/temporary quilting workshop!
We broke out the paint for the finishing touch on one of her hand-drawn critters. Just a dot was all it took. (I think that paintbrush has 6 teeny tiny bristles!)

We took it out to the studio so Brynne could select thread and choose a pantograph before she left for the city again. Since Brynne doesn't know how, and we are out of sewing time for now, I will finish things up for her.

Brynne's scrappy quilt top, minus borders
Isn't it amazing how scraps come together in a quilt?

My Mom and Latifat joined us on Saturday, working on their own projects. It was a happy and productive time!

My Mom, discussing a project with Latifat

All three of our kids were home for Thanksgiving . . . AND their partners were all present, as well! That's practically a miracle for this globetrotting group!

On "turkey day", we decided a family picture would be a good idea.
Ha! Getting us organized (and behaving) is darn near impossible!

Eventually we got formed up - only to have my husband get up to his usual mischief of hiding behind me and poking me in the ribs! What a guy!

Our family says "Happy Thanksgiving!" hubby (Chuck) and I (Carole) are standing on the left, our grandchildren (Laina and Riley) are down in front, my Mom (Bev) is on the right. Our two boys (Brandt and Derrick) are standing on the right, and their girlfriends (Amy and Brynne) are seated in front of them. Our daughter (April) is seated beside me, and her husband (Chad) is standing behind her.

Didja get all that? There's gonna be a quiz later, so I hope you paid attention! (ha!)

Here's hoping you had a wonderful weekend, too!

Linking up with:

Needle and Thread Thursday, at My Quilt Infatuation
Free Motion Mavericks, at Lizzie Lenard Vintage Sewing
Whoop Whoop Fridays, at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Fabric Frenzy Friday, at Fort Worth Fabric Studio
Finish it up Friday, at Crazy Mom Quilts
Creative Goodness Linky Party, at Quilt Shop Gal

Try, Learn, & Grow!
P.S. Find me on Instagram under my blog name, FreshofftheFrame

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Would You Like Paint With That?

Clients hand over their precious quilts, trusting they will come back beautifully finished.
Sure, the quilt is discussed when it's dropped off, but in the end it's truly a leap of faith.

Wedding Quilt

Messages, a gorgeous photo, and a huge emotional investment made this wedding quilt absolutely irreplaceable. Not gonna lie . . . that adds a wee bit of pressure!

One challenge was to avoid quilting over the messages while adding enough quilting to hold the seams. The idea of double-bump, continuous curves appealed to my client AND met the challenge. Sometimes simple is best.

Chalk marks the spot where the bumps need to meet.

My client requested hearts. I had a couple of initial ideas, but nothing felt quite right.

I needed to sit with it for a while until the right idea came along. As I was doodling for something completely unrelated, the perfect idea popped into my head!

Quilted hearts merge with feathers, but are difficult to see.

I loved how they quilted out, but the hearts didn't really show.
I decided to change threads and use something a bit bolder . . . but they still didn't show.

Enter, TRUST.

My client gave me permission to PAINT her precious, IRREPLACEABLE quilt!!!

Painting the quilt!

Strangely, I wasn't nervous at all. This felt so right.

First I folded the quilt to cover the photo - just in case! A plastic table cloth under my fancy paint palette (margarine lid) protected the rest of the quilt.

I mixed fabric medium into an acrylic metallic paint and applied it with a small, stiff paintbrush. After it dried overnight, I set it with heat to make it permanent.

Isn't that the most gorgeous photo of the happy couple?
It was the perfect solution - I'm so glad the risk paid off!!!

I love how the continuous curves look from the back. (Actually, I love all of the texture from the back!)

Yummy texture shows on the back!

I never did get a shot of the whole quilt . . . in case you are wondering, the outside border is filled with feathers to match the ones surrounding the photo.

OH, and I ran across this gem while I was quilting. It may just be the best advice, ever!!!

Always fight naked!

Speaking of texture . . . here is my paper-pieced leaf after quilting!
Several people have asked for the pattern information. This is the Tea Time Placemat pattern, by

Quilted leaf

This sweet quilt is also Fresh off the Frame!
It laid so flat and straight, it was a dream to quilt.

Well, except for this freakin' nightmare at the beginning!!!

AUGH!!! Bobbin issue...

I'd cleaned my machine, but didn't wipe out the bobbin casing well enough. Extra lube caused tension issues. Grrrr...!
Luckily I didn't get far before noticing, so there wasn't too much cursing ripping involved.

Drum roll, please . . . 

These cushion covers (and pot holders) are finished! They look totally amazing now that they are bound.


I took a ton of pictures - NONE of which turned out!

I'm embarrassed to admit that I could NOT, for the life of me, figure out the problem! It finally twigged that the lens on my phone/camera was smudged.

Colour returned to my world and I grabbed two quick shots before these babies went to their new home.

Just LOOK at the difference!
Here is a shot with the smudgy lens.

Not so gorgeous :-(
It helps to clean the lens...just sayin!
Seriously! *shakes head*
Should have been obvious, but I kept thinking it was the lighting!

Ha! Well, now that you know exactly how I roll, what was I saying about trust???

Would you like paint with that?

Linking up with:
Linky Tuesday, at Freemotion by the River
Fabric Tuesday, at Quilt Story

Try, Learn, Grow!
P.S. I'm now on Instagram under my blog name, FreshofftheFrame - come find me so I can find you, too!