Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Quilt Along with Leah Day - week 7

This week was really busy for me. I didn't get much time on the sewing machine. The baby was sick(had an allergic reaction and had rashes all over his face) and didn't get much sleep. I'm glad he is finally feeling better. But I did manage to get the quilted pieces to be bound together yesterday. I was also able to do the binding for my quilts/wall-hanging from previous week:
Butterfly quilt with binding on

Sawtooth Star Wall Hanging

Here are some of the pictures as I'm making progress with putting the quilted pieces together:
Showing the back binding holding the quilted pieces together

Front binding
 Since this was my first try it was hard to get a perfect 1/4 inch seam on the back binding. I noticed that I had stitched generous 1/4inch seam in the middle of the pieces. But I was able to hide it because I hand bound the pieces. Like Leah mentioned in her post, the hand binding finish does look beautiful. 
Hand Binding on the back of the Quilted pieces

I am still thinking on which quilt to practice the Stippling on. I have put something together before I can start quilting. I really don't have much time to piece the quilt. So, I have to pick something less time consuming.

Can't wait for the baby to be completely feel better :-). And I will try to get more stippling done in this week.

Leah I have couple of questions for you:
1. While binding these quilted pieces if we happen to stitch generous 1/4inch at some places, should we go back and rip the stitches and start over again? Or if we can hide it using hand binding, should we do that? I personally feel that I can pull the fabric little bit, since cotton has some stretch and hide the mistake.  Is this a good idea or practice?

2. Once bound, do you put extra stitches on top of these binding for the pieces to hold together? Or this is not necessary since the quilt will be strong to hold all the washes ?

Thanks again!
Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

SewCal Gal's 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge - February

I have been working on the Sawtooth Star Wall hanging Quilt for past couple of weeks. I want to enter this for the February challenge. I had initially started this quilt for Leah Day's Quilt Along - Week5.
Here I have combined the lessons learned from Leah Day on Stippling and Diane Gaudynski's February tutorial on Echo Feather Plume.

This is my first time ever to try the feathers in free motion quilting. If you have been reading my blog you would know that I just started learning free motion quilting this year.

So here is how my process started towards the feathers.
I doodled on paper quite a few times to get the feathers as seen in Diane Gaudynski's tutorial(link provided above). Then thought about how can I quilt them. I drew the stem of the feather first using a pen(this mark goes away when you iron the fabric). Then started quilting the feathers as per Diane's instructions.

After quilting few feathers, I was more confident and quilted the feathers with the flow. I got the idea to micro stipple around the feathers from reading Leah Day's post Texture Stippling. This definitely seemed to enhance the beauty of the feathers. Since, I didn't have any experience with any other FMQ method. I decided to stick with stippling around the feathers.

Here are few pictures of the wall hanging/quilt I made:
Showcasing the block

The Middle Block
Quilted Wall Hanging

Below is the picture of the wall hanging proudly displayed on the walls of my living room :-).

Click on the picture to see it big.

I wanted to thank Diane Gaudynski's for the wonderful 2012 FMQ Challenge's feathers tutorial, Leah Day's Quilt Along tutorials for teaching me stippling and last but not the least Sew Cal Gal for giving me the opportunity to participate in FMQ challenge.

Quilt Along with Leah Day - Week 6

Thursday  Feb 9th
I was so glad to see Leah blog this week. A big sigh of relief that I won't be getting myself into piecing more quilts. I can just focus all my energy into finishing up the two quilts which I started for Week 4 and Week 5.

This is really fun, I wish I had more time to piece more quilts. Sometimes I feel I get hung up on small details and may be trying to be a perfectionist. Which is sometimes hard on my self.

Okay, lets talk about more stippling now. I feel I don't have control over my stippling. Actually looks like it always takes a life of its own. So, I would like to go back and practice Week 1's Wiggle Along to get a hold of the basic shapes for stippling. I am using 1/2inch scale, so that I can quilt my butterfly quilt with this. Hoping this practice is going to help with my butterfly quilt.
Here is my new changing pad :-):
Practicing on 1/2 inch scale stippling

Wednesday Feb 15th
This was a very challenging and intense week for me trying to finish up the two quilts which I started in Week 4 and Week 5. I wish I was able to finish the binding too for both of them. But I'm just happy that I was able to finish quilting both of them.

Baby Changing Pad:
I'm glad to say that at least I finished the binding on this one.

Butterfly Quilt:
This was a very tricky quilt. Had I planned it ahead of time how I was going to
  1. quilt around the butterfly
  2. quilt inside the butterfly
  3. Allover quilting 
It would have looked better. But having said that this is my practice quilt and being a beginner I'm very happy with the results. The quilt looks really beautiful and once I finish the binding I will add more pictures here.

Sawtoo-Star-Quilt/Wall hanging:
This one was very tough to finish and took lot of time this week to quilt. But I am happy that I was able to finish quilting it to show for this week.
I wanted to combine this to enter for SewCalGal's 2012 FMQ Challenge, so I did the feather plume all over the borders of this quilt.
Thank you Leah for your post yesterday. Before I read your post I was wondering what I should be using for a filler design around the feathers. After I read your post, decided to do micro stippling around the feathers. I think it came out nice. I'm so in love with stippling, especially dense/micro stippling. Stippling is overall so relaxing and smoothing. The flow just helps me to relax so much. Having done the feather I can compare how different stippling and quilting feather plume are. Feathers are very labor intensive but they do look beautiful.

Last week if you saw my pictures of the saw-tooth-start wall hanging there were lot of white space, but this was just perfect for quilting feather plumes. I just went with the flow finishing one feather at a time and then branching out from there. Finally micro stippled around the feather plumes.

Areas of Improvement - Speed:
I constantly feel that this is something I'm struggling with all the time. To get smooth curves I need to maintain certain speed with my pedal. But when I'm faster with my pedal I tend to move my hands around too fast too. I need to get this pedal and hand co-ordination when I can maintain the speed with the pedal to be medium and then my hand to move slowly enjoying the quilting I'm doing. As a beginner I can't complain but to practice more and more.....more.

This week I really don't have any questions. I'm just glad that I was able to finish quilting two of my quilts. I would have been extremely happy if I had finished the binding but that's okay I guess. I can't beat myself over that.

Thank you again Leah for the quilt alongs. If it wasn't for you I wouldn't be able to find time to quilt or improve my FMQ :-). You're AWESOME!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sawtooth Star Table Runner

I made this sawtooth star table runner for Leah Day's Quilt Along - week5 quilting.
Here are some of the reference tutorials which I had watched before doing this table runner:

For the center block I fussy cut the birds from the fabric, this tutorial was helpful:

I used the 3"x6" flying geese ruler from Quilt In a Day to make the flying geese rectangles which really speed up the piecing.

The finished block size is: 12.5inches
Here is what you need to make each block:
1. Flying geese rectangles - 4 (measures 3.5"x6.5")
2. 3.5" squares - 4
3. 6.5" square - 1 (This is fussycut for the center of each block)

I used a sashing of 3.5" rectangle by width of the block and then 3.5" by the height of all the blocks pieced together. This is too big. If I have to re-do this all over again, I would rather go with 2.5" sashing. There is too much white space. And then add a dark color outer border to frame the quilt.

Here are more pictures of the quilt/table runner:
My flying geese rectangle before I cut them using the 3"x6" flying geese ruler.
Flying Geese blocks in progress
Closeup of the flying geese before they are cut

Sawtooth Star Blocked piece - finished size 12.5"x12.5"

Another Sawtooth Star Block

Sawtooth Star Block
Sawtooth-star top finished

The center block has been quilted
I stitched in the ditch for the center block and the star and then quilted the star block around the bird and the branch. Then quilted the outer line for the bird and the branch.
Here is the closer look at the quilted center block:

Free motion quilting on the blocks with stippling inside the block and feathers for the borders.
Quilted with stippling inside the block and feathers for the border
Finally I added a wide binding to the wall hanging.

I really enjoying doing this project. Thank you Jenny for your tutorials and Leah for your Quilt Along. I couldn't have done it with your help.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Quilt Along with Leah Day - Week 5

It was just so exciting to see comments from Leah, Pat & Anee and all! Leah you are my free motion quilting inspiration. Thanks again for all the tutorials.

This week I am taking the things Leah taught and apply that to my butterfly quilt. If I have extra time,then I will try to piece up a table runner with saw-tooth-star. Lets see if its possible.

Butterfly Quilt:
Here are pictures of the butterflies and lady bugs I tried to stipple into, I would call this micro stippling. The butterflies on my quilt are approximately 4x4inches and looks like my stippling scale is probably 1/8th of inch or less. The lady bugs may be 1/16th inch of stippling. So tiny or dense.

Micro-stippling on the lady bug with circle motif

Another attempt at micro-stippling
So far, this is my best quilted butterfly
More stippling

I am planning to finish my butterfly quilt with pink thread. Since, this is my try out quilt. I wanted to play with the thread colors. I would like to go and finish up the rest of the butterfly's body in purple thread but didn't want to waste thread in traveling from one butterfly to the other. So, I am just going to finish up the quilt in all pink thread. Any suggestions? Leave your comments below if you have a suggestion.

The butterflies will be quilted with micro-stippling as shown in pictures above in pink thread and rest of the quilt in 1/2inch stippling. Will post pictures when I finish my quilt.

Sawtooth Star Quilt:

So, I did piece my sawtooth star quilt/table runner with three blocks. This was a big undertaking for this week.
I made flying geese to make the star points and then center square was fussy cut with birds. And small square for the outer. Will make another post with the full details.
Fabric used:
1. Moda bella solids antique white
2. Debbie Mum's 3 different bird print. The pictures shows the 2 different bird prints used for the top. 

Here is the pieced sawtooth start quilt:

Sawtooth start table runner pieced/top
I started stippling inside the block as per Leah's Quilt Along week5 and then quilted the tree branch and then the bird. For first timer I think it came out great.
Sawtooth Star Block with bird motif and 1/4inch stippling
This is my third quilt which I pieced and I am very impressed with how it came out. Its just too beautiful to be a table runner. So, I'm thinking of making it a wall hanging. I am thinking of finishing up the other two blocks with stippling and then quilt with feathers for the borders. Will post pictures when I'm done with this quilt. Probably this is going to be my first pieced and finished quilt ;).

Looks like I have a lot of working projects which I need to finish up.

Leah if you're reading this, I have two question for you this week:
1. First, what type of needle do you use in your machine. Since, you have mentioned that you always use the IsoCord threads. Did you ever have to use different weight needles? If so, why and when?

2. Second, when we have motif in the center of a block, which do you do first? Do you stipple the block first and then the motif? Or do you finish quilting the motif first and finish the thread. And then stipple or quilt the block?

That's all for this week. Its time to shut up and quilt like Leah says :-).


Friday, February 3, 2012

Quilt Along with Leah Day - Week 4 - Issues-Resolved

Thread Issue:
I was using variegated thread for my butterfly quilt and my top threading was very loopy and I was thinking that my thread was an issue. Then last night I felt like changing my needle from 90/14 quilting needle to 100/16 needle. As soon as I did this, my stitches were pretty again. So, looks like the variegated thread needs a heavier needle like 100/16.

This morning I was reading SewCalGal's quilting suggestions:

Guess, what here is the what I found, BINGO!
"Sewing machine needles:
  •   Topstitch needles 80/12, 90/14.  100/16 topstitch needles for heavy decorative thread and 70/10 for thinner threads, such as silks."

At least one problem solved. I'm just thrilled :-).