21 May

It wasn’t weird at all

You may remember that I bought this quilt as a top from Wanda about a month ago. I thought it would be weird  to quilt and finish someone else’s work, but it wasn’t at all. In fact, it was really fun and as soon as I started working on it, I couldn’t stop. Firstly, Wanda’s workmanship is impeccable. All the seams were even and all edges and points aligned. There were no poufs to “quilt out.” Basting was easy-peasy. The quilt is not quite twin sized, so I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly it came together despite it’s being large enough to wrap oneself up in.

More significant though, was how the quilt revealed itself to me as I worked on it. Normally, I would already have a relationship with the fabrics from piecing them together. But since I didn’t piece this one, I got to meet each and every fabric and see how it interacted with it’s neighbor as I quilted. I enjoyed seeing how individual stripes modulated in color, and loved being surprised by each pairing that picked up on a hue in it’s partner. It was quite fun.

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I don’t know how many readers are relatively new to quilting and it’s associated gadgets. I may be preaching to the choir, but here are two of my favorites: my walking foot, and the bar thingie that came with it. Walking feet come in several varieties depending on your machine, but they are all variations on this foot-with-box contraption. The purpose of the walking foot is to move the top layer of the quilt sandwich at the same speed as the bottom layer and thus eliminate lots of frustrating puckering. I do all my straight line machine quilting with my walking foot. On this quilt, I kept the quilting simple, because really, with fabric like this, fancy quilting is just unnecessary.

Often, I just use the side of the walking foot as my guide for stitching parallel lines. That’s how I did the first round of quilting 1/4″ from the edge of each zig zag. I wanted to quilt a line down the center of each zig zag too, so I used one of the guide bars that came with the walking foot. It is L shaped and slides through a hole in the back of the walking foot and is locked in place with a screw. You can adjust it so the “leg” sticks out anywhere from right next to the foot, to about three inches away. I also have another guide bar for the other side of the foot, depending on what I want to line up with. (As an aside, my machine came with another two guide bars that fit into the back of many of the regular presser feet too.) Once you get the hang of it, there’s all kinds of uses for these guides. I measured the width of my zig zags (4″) and set my guide bar two inches from the needle. Then, off I went, quilting down the center of each zig zag, making sure the leg of the guide bar followed the seam line. In the photo you can’t see the lovely line of stitching behind the walking foot, but it is perfectly parallel to the edge of the yellow zig. You can see that I am about to pivot the quilt and sew the zag (this is where the needle-down function on many newer machines is also very convenient). I considered more lines in between these, but the quilt didn’t seem to need them. It’s for a kid’s bed, so it didn’t need to be quilt-show-fancy.

24 Jul

Happy Birthday Dad

The zig zag quilt started out on a whim, but as I worked on it, the taupe and scraps told me that it would be a nice gift for my dad. The timing couldn’t have been better — I finished it in time to get it to him for his birthday.

In my mind, the quilting was to be a lush forest of free form critters and odd forms.

What came out of my hands was a sampler of sorts of the overall patterns I am comfortable with. The scale compliments the echo quilting on the zigzags themselves and it all looks good, so I’m not complaining.

I used various colored threads in the zigzag section. From afar you wouldn’t notice, but up close it’s a nice detail. The free form in the solid areas is taupe to match the fabric.

The repurposed duvet cover I used for the backing had a hole in it. I “darned” a patch over it and it’s one of my favorite parts of the quilt — besides the zigzags, of course!

24 Jan

It’s all about the guys

First: I owe a huge thanks to my Technical Support department! That would be my husband who, even though he’s on the other side of the world doing far more important things, is willing to muck around in the html of my blog when I can’t figure it out on my own. I am also amazed that technology allows for him to do this kind of thing remotely and with the worst bandwidth ever. Thanks to TS&WGH (Tech Support & World’s Greatest Husband) I have now been upgraded to the newest WordPress and have a Flickr badge and cute category cloud (I’ve always wanted one of those word cloud things. Not sure why.).

I made him go through all this because I can now share stuff I have in my Flickr account since the two gifts posted there for my sister (who reads my blog) are now at her house. I’ve already shared the Wee Kitties Bowling Rainbow, and now I can share the quilt I made for my new nephew, born just last week.

His name is Tanner, which is an Anglicization of the German, Tanne, meaning Pine. Obviously, a tree quilt was in order.

This was the hint back in November, and pretty tree-like, but I REALLY wanted to make a zig zag quilt. I’m very pleased with the plain chocolate linen background paired with the bright string-pieced scraps (I chose linen because it was the only plain fabric in my stash that I had enough of).

Tanner’s Treeline ©2008 Kristin La Flamme

The linen was a little fussy to work with since it moves around a lot more than more tightly woven cotton, and I was being a bit too cavalier with it, so the finished product is a bit wonky, but I don’t think Tanner cares.