Tuesday, November 11, 2014

'Ghost' Quilting

The main occupation around here for the last 4 weeks: cutting fabric from the 142 fabric sample books obtained for free this past summer into squares and strips, and dividing them into groups by length and color.

This is most of it, but not all.

Here's a tip: save all those big mixed-greens containers you might be getting from the grocery. They really came in handy!


There are probably enough strips and backing squares for at least 4 q-a-y-g quilts. The quilts will be donated to the Center for Women and Families here in our town. The most recent quilt we took in will be auctioned off at their annual fundraiser in February. This makes me very happy, and all the more excited to make the next one.




After all that cutting, I was itching to get back to the sewing machine. So I pulled out something that has been on my radar for quite a while: Martha Ginn's article on Ghost Quilting in the January 2013 issue of American Quilter Magazine.



You just fuse a section of print fabric onto a solid fabric, and then sketch extensions of the print designs out into the border (hence the 'ghost' in ghost quilting). It can be as precise or as casual as you like. Then make a quilt sandwich, baste, and stitch both the print outlines and your extended lines with free-motion quilting.





It's fast and easy if you keep it small (I used a fat quarter for the background), and it's fun! You can paint or thread-paint any, all, or none of the 'ghost' parts--your choice. In this case, there needed to be a little color out in the border to balance the overall design, so another flower was sketched there and painted, similar to the printed one.

Before blocking


Then the piece was steam-blocked. For anyone who is familiar with my work, you already know why I always block. If you're not familiar with it, these two photos pretty much speak for themselves.







After blocking



In case it isn't obvious (click on the photos to enlarge), the steam-blocked version always turns out smoother and prettier than the fresh-stitched version, which is generally somewhat warped. This makes a huge difference in the way it looks when bound and hung on a wall.






After blocking, the piece was squared and trimmed. The binding, made from roughly 1/3 yard of a batik print, was soon attached.

Pay no attention to the little piece of red thread that doesn't belong here--just forgot to use the sticky roller!

Again, this was fun and quick--as well as a great way to practice free-motion quilting. It is NOT supposed to be perfect...far from it! The whole idea is for it to look like a sketch. The leaves could all have been painted, but that would have slowed me down. Besides, I liked the outlines just fine.

Meanwhile, the studio bathroom has been partly converted to a winter greenhouse for the houseplants that had taken a summer vacation outdoors.
Every bathroom should have one. Just don't try to take a bath.

On the baby front, the yarn destined to be a baby afghan for our first grandchild (a girl, named Lucy, due in 4 months!) arrived this week, and I cannot wait to start! James C. Brett's Flutterby Chunky, a chenille baby yarn, is arguably the softest yarn on the market. It reminds me of the fur on our pet rabbit, Nibbles, when he was a baby (some 50 years ago)--it's that soft. The current plan is for a crocheted fan-shell pattern.






In progress is a vintage pattern (1960s) sweater, bonnet and booties set in a pastel green yarn my friend Kathy gave me, part cotton but mostly acrylic, with a beautiful sheen. The bottom two-thirds of the sweater is a wide ribbing. The yoke is in a mock cable pattern (barely started here). Just gorgeous, and definitely feminine.





One more photo, below, shows a tip that I'm pretty sure came from Sarah Ann Smith's wonderful book, Threadwork Unraveled.


The pincushion is labeled at the top with the first letter (or two) of each type of machine needle you have. The different sizes for each are written beneath each letter.

The pin is placed according to what type/size needle you currently have in your machine, and stays there until you change to a different type or size. You can also stick new or slightly used machine needles in their respective spaces so that they'll be ready and waiting when needed. I love this tip and wish I'd seen it years ago!




Time to sign off and go knit. It's also time to get out the flannel sheets...first freezing temps of the season tomorrow night!

UPDATE: If you love landscape quilts and/or free-motion quilting, do yourself a huge favor and check out the latest Free Motion Mavericks blog entry from Lizzie Lenard's Vintage Sewing. I'm also linking up with Sarah Craig's Whoop Whoop Friday blog...go there for tons of inspiraton!

Linda

28 comments:

  1. Such pretty ghost quilting. I shall have to give this a try!

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    1. Thanks, I hope you do. Definitely a quick project!

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  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Vicki! I'm anxious to try another one. Great project for a break.

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  3. Hi,

    I just found your blog through Leah Day's site.

    I love the way you extended the pattern design - it flows so easily into the border as if it were coordinated fabric :)

    Maria

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    1. Thank you, Maria. Oh, Leah Day's site is one of my absolute favorites. I've learned so much from her.

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  4. Gorgeous piece - I've seen that done before with a photo - I like this better. Love the idea of the pincushion and needles - very handy idea. Thanks!

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    1. Hey there! Thank you, it's something I'm looking forward to doing again. The pincushion--can't tell you how many times I almost threw that thing away because I never used it--until I saw that tip!

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  5. Beautiful ghost quilting!! I had not heard of that before. I also like the idea of the pin cushion--it's so hard to keep needles straight. I like the old-school tomato, too--it reminds me of my mother's sewing basket.

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    1. Me too, those tomatoes have been around a long time! Thanks, I'm looking forward to the next 'ghost' project.

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  6. lettuce containers... great idea! Do you wash all the book fabric first? Who knows what it will do in a bed quilt... The ghost quilting is lovely! I figured out how to find you on my google plus page, so now just have to remember how to use it again... I'm hopeless. LeeAnna your google plus sew sister at not afraid of color

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    1. I washed all of the upholstery samples except for the silks. It took weeks, and oh my gosh, what a mess the edges were when they came out of the washer and dryer--tons of unraveling. But it was surprising how well most of the fabric took to washing and ironing!

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  7. Linda, the ghost quilting is gorgeous! I have been wondering for a while how to combine bold prints with FMQ, and this is the answer. And your colour choices for the border and binding are perfect. I hope you have saved some really choice pieces from your collection of furnishing fabrics so you can do some more.

    Nice seeing the progress with the sweet baby projects, but alas the needles in a tomato tip is too late for me. I'm irredeemable. All my needles are mixed up in a tin. I only have four types, fat, thin, blunt and sharp.

    Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks!

    Love, Muv

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    1. Thanks, Muv! Happily, I do have some more pieces from the fabric samples to use for this. Can't wait to pull them out and go through them again.

      Well, your needles are certainly working for you, whatever condition they're in. Your stitching is superb.

      Just glad to have something to finally bring to the table at Free Motion Mavericks--it had been too long since my last free motion project. Good to get back to it!

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  8. Love your ghost painting. Very pretty and great details added.

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    1. Thank you, Emily. This is a fun and quick project!

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  9. Congratulations on an ! It is the first time I see a ghost quilt and I love it. Its gorgeous.

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  10. Wow! I came for a look as the term ghost quilting is new to me. Beautiful.

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    1. Thanks, I'm just glad I saw Martha Ginn's article in the magazine; otherwise I wouldn't have known about this, either. Would have missed a lot of fun!

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  11. Love the ghost quilting, will have to try this!

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    1. Oh, I hope you do. Such quick results and so much fun!

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  12. Your quilted piece is beautiful, and I love the pin cushion idea!

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  13. How inspiring this quilt technique is and love the way you "know" which needle is stored where and in your machine, very clever.

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    1. I can't believe it took me so long to try that technique--I'd been eyeballing that magazine article for months! And I almost threw the pincushion away a couple of times before seeing that tip...glad I didn't. :)

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