Wednesday, June 5, 2013


My oldest brother got married when I was in high school.  His wife is one of my best friends.  My niece, Lisa, their first child, is expecting her second baby.  This time it's a girl.  Noah, her son, is 5, and looking forward to being a big brother.  I made him a quilt featuring Disney Cars fabric a few years ago, and wanted to make something sweet for the new little one.  An online friend was clearing out her supply of nursery prints, and I grabbed this Michael Miller print, plus the white with pink stars, among some others.  The fabric is a sweet shade of pink, with bears and words like "precious, lullabye land, miracle, It's a girl, and Bundle of Joy."  I added a sweet brown with little dots, and lavender with hearts (there are lavender buttons on the Michael Miller print), and used the newest pattern by Quilt In A Day called Girl's Best Friend.  Get it?? Diamonds!!

This uses Warm & Natural cotton batting, and a really soft Minkee backing with stars.  It was pieced and quilted with Aurifil.  I used 50wt for piecing, and in the bobbin, and 40wt in variegated for quilting.  I did a simple design through the blocks, and did feathers in the outer border.  The lavender border has freeform hearts. 
 I LOVE how the pink variegated thread works with the colors in the Michael Miller fabric, and the lavender is the perfect blender for the inner border.  The light pink is a perfect match for the backing.  

So, in reference to the title of today's post, how is quilting exercise??  Well, when I started quilting this, I forgot to lower the feeddogs on the machine.  Those are normally what feeds the fabric in straight lines, but when doing Free-Motion Quilting, or FMQ, they are lowered and a special foot is used, so I move the fabric in all directions, and the machine stitches.  I control the size of the stitches and where they land by pushing and pulling the quilt.  Working with the feeddog up makes me work harder to move the quilt.  Adding in the Minkee back, which adds weight as well as friction, makes it even more challenging to move the quilt.  This one measures about 46 by 54", and although it's not as large as other quilts I've done, my shoulders and arms got a good workout.  Normally a smooth muslin or fabric back glides a little better, but this back is so soft and snuggle worthy!  It's almost like velvet, and my new great-niece deserves it.  Once I remembered to lower the feeddogs, it was a little easier, but still a workout.  In addition to that, I had started using my old exercise bike.  I'm only doing a few minutes a day, but it has arms and legs moving.  The combination of quilting and exercise is really good!  Fun, creative and many health benefits!   
As soon as my great-niece is born, I'll embroider the label and ship it to Lisa.  I can't wait to see pictures of her, and hope she loves this quilt. 

Here's a picture of Noah's quilt before it was quilted. 
Thanks for visiting!! 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A finish!

Last year, during July, I worked on this Patriotic star quilt top.  It's about 34" square, so it's for a table topper or wall hanging, or even a small baby quilt.  The pattern was free, to celebrate Eleanor Burn's July birthday.  I finished the top, and then went on to other projects, which means this top is a UFO!  UnFinished Object (for non-quilty friends, lol).   Occasionally, I make a top and don't get to finish it right away.  In this case, it was probably because July had passed, and I wanted to work on something else.  Red, white and blue decor is for Summer, I think. 

I did bring it down to Enright's to layer and pin baste, but when I calculated the backing, I mis-calculated, so the top was put in the pile for "later".  The funny thing is, I often wait until the last minute to make the binding, and in this case, the binding was made, pressed, and coiled, waiting in my drawer.  I have never done that before.  This meant an even easier finish, but I still put it off.  Weird, huh?? 

I decided on Memorial Day that I needed to work on something Patriotic, so I searched for backing and batting, pinned the layers, and started to quilt it.  I used Aurifil 50wt in the Red, White and Blue variegated for most of it, and some cream for the background.  I finished the quilting and did the binding yesterday.  I can see an improvement in my Free Motion Quilting.  This includes feathers, stars and swirls, all free-hand.  I'm so glad to have another item crossed off my UFO list, and have this cutie listed in my Etsy store.