Friday, February 27, 2015

'Ghost Quilt' #3

Using the lightbox VVHH (very versatile handy husband)
 made from stuff around the house

Last week another 'ghost quilt' (see the explanation of that term here) was started, and for the first time I had to trace an element instead of drawing it freehand. No way could I have repeated these...grapes? olives?...without tracing.

It turned out to be kind of fun, and very relaxing.

So fun and relaxing, that other elements got traced and repeated in the border, too--like this beautiful leaf.

This part was drawn freehand (more leaves were added later).

After stitching, squaring and trimming, it was time to steam block. See all the wavy areas around the perimeter?

All that waviness goes away after steam blocking.

Here's the finished 'ghost quilt'...

...and some close-ups:

As you can see, the free-motion stitching is not perfect. It's not supposed to be. That's one of the cool things about these quilts. You are basically sketching out in the border--even if you do cheat and trace some elements. Believe me, when you are stitching over the tracing (done with very light pencil lines) you sometimes lose your way a little. But that's ok. It's part of the charm!

Now, totally off-subject is this jar filled with dead pine branches. They came down in our back yard during a storm, and I snatched them up immediately. Do you see why?

The bark was long gone, leaving bare wood with strange markings everywhere. Those are actually channels carved into the wood by a colony of pine borers. (The marks are made more obvious by the black paint my husband rubbed onto the branches and then wiped off, leaving the paint to dry only in the channels.)

It never ceases to amaze me how beautiful the process of decay can be in nature. Some of those markings might even inspire a free-motion stitch design.

Off to link up with some favorite blogs: Confessions of a Fabric Addict's Whoop Whoop Friday, Lizzie Lenard's Free Motion Mavericks, and A Quilting Reader's Garden's WIPs Be Gone. Lots of good weekend inspiration there and in their reader linkups!

Also off to work on a fourth 'ghost quilt.' I can't seem to get enough of these floral/butterfly-type pieces. Maybe I'm pining for spring. And it's so nice to finish a project in one week!


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Something Fishy

auditioning background blocks and sashing

Last August saw the beginning of a quilt for my husband's and my first grandchild, Lucy Maeve, due to arrive March 15.

Not much blogging has been done in the many weeks since this became my main project, as I wanted our daughter-in-law, Shannon, to be at least a little surprised.

This week--after months of sketching, calculating, debating, cutting, piecing, pattern drawing, fusing, appliqueing, embroidering, hair pulling (and occasional cursing), template-making and quilting--Lucy's quilt is finished at last!

Lucy's papa, our son Alex, and her mama, Shannon. (Update: Forgot to say, the blank block at the bottom
is waiting for Lucy's name and birthdate.)

Laid on an an extra-long twin bed.
(There is an identical bed--frame, headboard and footboard--in Lucy's
house. The two beds were built as bunk beds by her great-grandfather
for my husband and his sister when they were little.)

Only the borders were stitched in free motion, unfortunately. With two layers of batting and lots of applique, most of the quilt refused to budge without a dual-feed foot to show it who was boss--which made it pretty challenging when echo-quilting around circular shapes. Thread had to be cut repeatedly. More than 300 knots are buried in the quilt. Is that bad?? I ask because I've never made a bed quilt like this one. My others were straight-stitched with no breaks.

Below are some close-ups (click on a photo if you would like to enlarge it):

The bottom border is supposed to look like scallop shells
sticking out of the sand.
Lucy's mama loves jellyfish, so I couldn't
resist making one the main feature of the quilt.

Leah Day followers might recognize the Bubble Wand stitch on the blue border.
The green border is supposed to be heart-shaped seaweed.

The turtle is the only creature breaking the surface.
Made a template for the waves
in the top border.

It looks like a very joyful quilt to me, so I'm tempted to name it Jellyfish Joy or something equally corny. But then again, I'd rather wait until Lucy is old enough to name it herself or maybe even decide it doesn't need a name. Actually, I can't wait to hear her ideas and opinions on everything!

Here are some photos of the back:

(Back corner flipped over on top of the quilt)

The idea was to have a peaceful side and a busy side, depending on Lucy's mood.

On to another project. If you've seen this blog before, you might remember this vintage knitted sweater pattern in progress from a previous post.

Last week it was finished, along with the matching bonnet. Here's Shannon just after receiving them at her baby shower.

The fastenings, a little hard to see here, are loops and shank buttons.
That was a very fun day, and seeing all the wonderful gifts and supplies brought home the reality that a new member of the family is arriving in just 4 weeks!!!

Before signing off, I'm linking up with some of my favorite quilting blogs--Confessions of a Fabric Addict's Whoop Whoop Friday, Lizzie Lenard's Free Motion Mavericks, (since I did free-motion stitch the borders!) and A Quilting Reader's Garden WIPs Be Gone. Check all of them out as well as their reader linkups, whether you are looking for inspiration or simply want to spend some quality time on the internet. You'll get both, I promise.

Meanwhile, a bit of encouragement for everyone expecting lots of snow, like we are tonight...spring will be here in just 5 weeks!