Saturday, March 30, 2024

mildred and ethel, a finish


after nearly 5 years, mostly due to extensive handwork, "mildred and ethel" is done.

looking at these full-quilt photos, i'm remined once again that a full-quilt shot gives such a different impression than the experience of seeing a quilt up close gives. yes, you get the idea of the overall pattern and general colors, but particularly with patterned fabrics, it loses much of the impact of the close-up feel of the quilt. the details are lost and the color play is not the same. quilts are so much nicer firsthand.

there, now we can see a little more what it's like to have this quilt in your lap.

this section happens to catch all 6 liberty prints together. top to bottom, left to right: eve, ed, poppy & daisy, betsy, xanthe sunshine, and tiny (something - i looked for nearly an hour yesterday and couldn't get any more than that).

three of these prints i did not like at all when they arrived in my mailbox, and i positively loathed that grungy green crossweave. but, for once, throwing good fabric in with bad worked a miracle and i now adore this quilt top to bottom, every piece.

really, she deserves much better finish photos than i took, but to be done properly, i'd have to photograph her either in cherry blossom season in utah, because what i remember of grandma gg (mildred) is her backyard cherry trees, or in a flower garden with the logan temple in the background, because that's what i remember of grandma ethel's home. 

the fact is, my house isn't great for quilt photos, and my yard only has one reliably decent spot, which i already used earlier this week for "crossroads." perhaps, someday, if and when we ever build the new house, i will have a light-filled studio for gorgeous process shots, pretty places for vignettes of completed quilts, and lovely yard for outdoor photos. but right now i don't.

one item of note about this quilt - i made quite possibly the most perfect mitered corner ever on this quilt. everything about it came together just right, surprising and pleasing me to no end. i'm no quilting perfectionist, but i sure can appreciate when things do work out exactly as they should. 

this right here is the reason this quilt took so long to complete - all the green handquilting in the diamonds. i started out doing a different design in each diamond, but that quickly changed to doing this design in most of them.

if you look you can see i also outlined the prints in white. because it is less visible than the greens and because i had already sewn across the bottoms of the triangles, i didn't go back and add more white quilting in the center of the print diamonds. also, it would have taken forever. i do love the effect it created, i just wish i was faster at handquilting so i could do it more often.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

wiltshire rows, a start

on sunday, i was reminded that a friend, neighbor, and church family member of 21 years will soon be moving, and i realized i want to give her a sunday liberty lap quilt to take with her. i thought about those i am completing and neither seemed right, so it'll need to be a new one. 

i fell asleep stewing over ideas for what to make and came up with a good plan (large courthouse steps with end borders). 

whilst thinking on this quilt and the need to make it sooner rather than later, probably omitting the handquilting option this time, i also realized there is another sunday liberty lap quilt that needs making. my 3rd daughter/5th child will be leaving for college in the fall and i want to send her off with her own liberty + chambray church quilt.

d3 is very partial to the liberty "wiltshire" print, and has mentioned she wants her own church quilt made of many "wiltshire" colorways like the "betsy" quilts i previously made. consequently, i have been collecting "wiltshire" with such a quilt in mind for the last few years. 

i realized now is the time to make that quilt. we'll be taking d3 on her senior trip to (mostly) wales in a few months and i would really love to have this quilt ready to take along with us. i imagine we can find a little welsh chapel somewhere as the setting for photographing the quilt, which would be perfect. the last quilt i made for her got completed at biltmore on her 12th birthday, which made for fun quilt photos. i'd like to repeat that.

generally, these quilt tops come together quickly, so i think i can pull this off. i'll either add the handquilting on the trip or maybe complete the binding, depending on how far i get by then.

monday afternoon i cut all the 2.5" chambray strips i'll need and began working on the "wiltshire" pieces. i still haven't decided on exact measurements, but i'll be making something very similar to "betsys all in a row," hence i'm call this one "wiltshire rows." 

i'm hopeful for a speedy make so i can also get to work on the courthouse steps project.
wish me luck!

Saturday, March 23, 2024

crossroads, a finish

my original "crossroads" quilt is complete!

as i mentioned, i have been working on the binding of this quilt from a comfy chair in my family room, and have lately made a special effort to take advantage of the late afternoon timing when the light hits the spot just right, lighting everything up beautifully. it's been magical.

one last golden hour stitch session and this quilt is now complete! i immediately put it in the washer and then dried it, so it's soft and crinkly, ready to go.

i got to thinking how nicely books and quilts pair together, so i looked over my collection of nice book editions for one to pair with "crossroads." the little prince happened to go best.

here's a look at the two prints i used on the back: a lovely heather bailey large-scale floral and heather ross's sleeping beauty print from ffa3 in yellow. i included both selvages in the backing, but the sleeping beauty one shows best.

you can also see the grid formed by the echo quilting i did outside the road pieces and on the joining block seams in a light yellow aurifil 50wt thread.

binding is a basic 1/8" navy and white stripe from riley blake designs.

"crossroads" is now in the quilt basket in the family room, ready for cuddles and naps. 
i think it's going to be a favorite!

two more crossroads coming up.

Friday, March 22, 2024

handbinding, upstairs and down


although i took a break for a bit to work on some sunny and citrusy march projects, i have not been neglecting all those quilts i prepped for handbinding in january. i work on the sunday lap quilts on sundays, naturally, and have two others also in process in two strategic locations.

if i'm downstairs in the family room, i might find some time to work on my original crossroads quilt. i have it draped on the arm of a comfy chair so i can snuggle and stitch when time permits. the last bit should be completed today. i'm waiting for the golden hour when light pours in on this spot and turns it to magic.

this is going to be so good to have around when it's washed, crinkled, and ready to go. the navy binding works really well with the navy couches in this room, a happy coincidence. i did think maybe i should not have used the touches of navy blue once the quilt top was complete, but they've grown on me and do make this quilt more at home in this particular room, where it will be housed and used.

but sometimes i'm upstairs and have a minute or need to bargain myself into doing housework, so i've recently started work on "aunt bet's mother's day" quilt in my bedroom. (as for the bargaining - if i complete a short, designated project i don't want to do, i give myself permission to sew one thread length of binding in place. it helps keep me balanced between life and sewing.)

today, oldest daughter and her two littles ended up sitting in the window and hanging out with me while i put some stitches in. that window is a lovely place to be this time of year as the weather is so perfect and the tree just outside it is beginning to bud.

the last few nights i've slept under this quilt, making sure to safely tuck the needle in first. i'm enjoying that, but it does have a bit of stiffness to it since the spray basting hasn't been washed out yet. i'm definitely anticipating the softening and crinkling of a wash.

a few stitches a session, a session or two a day, and it all adds up. that's how quilts get made.
i'm on a bit of a roll, so look for a finish or two coming up!

Thursday, March 21, 2024

spring break stitches, 2024


i slept under this quilt for 3 nights before i realized the needle was still in it from last year's spring break stitching session, haha. i had it well tucked in to the quilt, so it never poked me, thank goodness!

once i completed my first project, "beach brellies," i got to work once again on handquilting "cheery (easter) quilt." i was so glad i found the missing threads so i could work on the colors which had come to a halt. 

on occasion, i had a cute companion sitting with me while i worked. 

i spent most of the flight home stitching away. toward the end of the flight, the stewardess asked me if i'd gotten as much done on my trip as i'd hoped to. i just laughed because this part of the the project seems endless. every time i think i've gotten a lot accomplished and am getting close to done, i start counting what's left to go and realize i'm a ways off yet. 

with the machine quilting i did between blocks, the extensive handquilting i've already done, and the binding completed, i could call this one a finish at any time. but i keep adding to if anyway. sometimes i wonder to myself why i am investing so much into this particular quilt that was a branching-out experiment for me. i like it, it makes me smile to see it, but it's not one of my very favorite makes and certainly not the one i thought i would put so much time and handwork into. 

honestly, the handwork is probably the most special part of the quilt. but i don't know that adding more and more is making the quilt any prettier or more special to me. who knows?

in the end, adding handstitching to it over spring break every year for a few more years isn't going to hurt any, is it. so i guess i'll just keep stitching away.

Monday, March 18, 2024

beach brellies, a finish

"beach brellies" quilt went on our spring break beach vacation and was completed, but admittedly never actually made it on the beach. i just didn't feel like messing with it in the sand and thought the sunset photos i took of it on the penthouse patio were good enough.

afterall, the views from up there are pretty spectacular.

most of my stitching was done in the shade next to the pool off the beach.

i thought i had packed well for my quilting intentions, but when i pulled out my supplies to begin work, i discovered the only threads i had on hand were the green for binding "mildred and ethel", 12 wt for handquilting "cheery (easter) quilt", and 12 wt white thread from a previous handquilting project. 

so i used the 12 wt white thread to do my first big stitch binding. it was surprisingly fast and seems pretty durable. my only qualm with it was this quilt already has chunky 12 wt machine quilting in yellow. i was afraid the two didn't compliment each other, but i gave it a shot. i think they're fine together.

i also did some handwork while indoors keeping a sick 12 year old company.

this quicky little quilt is all finished up and ready to gift to my grandson when he turns 2 in a few weeks.