Thursday, February 26, 2009

Last Blast of Winter

I have always said that the weather can change in a blink of an eye in Walla Walla. Last night, I was on a roll. I stayed up until 4 am hand stitching the binding down on a quilt. Sometime after 2 am, I put a load of laundry in the dryer. Our basement felt cold and damp - colder than it was when I put the load in to wash; like a winter fog had just rolled in. When I returned upstairs, I looked out the window in our living room from where I was curled up with the quilt over my lap, no sign of fog.

But soon a heavy slushy rain came pelting down. It was almost hail but not quite. It splattered and started to cover the ground. I stood and watched and all of a sudden, a huge thunder clap broke through the sound of the pelting rain and lightening lit up the sky followed by a sound that could have been a jet breaking through the sound barrier. The sound was so low and close, I almost expected to hear a crash but only silence came and snow fell heavily.

By the time I went to bed, there was probably over an inch of fresh heavy snow. When I woke up to blue skies at 8 am, it looked like there had been about 3 inches. But did the sun last? No! It is now snowing heavily again. There is always a last blast of winter at the end of February in our valley. It brings a cruel halt to the signs of spring and often surprisingly warm days.

And the quilt? The binding is on. I will do a label for it after it is washed. The batting is cotton, I like to see how the shrinkage shows up the quilting.

This quilt top was made on my Sweet 99, Minnie, a hand crank, on Christmas Day. We didn't get to be with family due to snow. I had to celebrate the season by making a Christmas quilt. And, I love sewing on hand crank sewing machines. There is just something so relaxing about the process. I forgot my disappointment over Christmas with every turn my hand made to stitch the quilt.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Postcard Perfect

Sometimes the right inspiration just happens. Our niece is attending a Journey with Christ retreat. We were asked to send her a card or letter with a special message.

Robin loves Irish dancing, so I spent an afternoon googling for an Irish blessing I could use on a quilted postcard. I found the perfect one and then found a Celtic Sun embroidery design with the symbol of the Trinity looped four times inside. Since St. Patrick's Day fabric is in for the season, fabric selection was easy! Now to get it in the mail. Trips to the PO are not my favorite thing to do.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sew Funny

Frank & Ernest

January, '09, Reader's Digest
In Seattle you haven't had enough coffee until you can thread a sewing machine while it is running.
Attributed to: Jeff Bezos, owner of and Blue Origin

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

First Quilt for First Grandbaby

This quilt is a first - first project made on the Davis Vertical Feed treadle (Victoria), first quilt quilted on the HandiQuilter 16, and first quilt finished for our first grandbaby to arrive in June!

Originally, I intended to quilt the top on a friend's machine on a quilting carriage and frame. I tested the set up and loved it!! I decided that a HandiQuilter 16 with their Portable Professional Table was the perfect quilting machine and frame for my needs and space.

I spent about three weeks bonding with my HQ16 and then loaded the baby quilt on the frame. Being a newbie, I didn't do everything just right. Despite the fact the borders were fine when I started quilting, I found I had too much fabric to ease in when I attempted to do them last (after watching Kim Brunner's video, I now know what my error was).

I took out the quilting in the borders and what looks like ruler-work on the HQ16 was actually achieved with individual arcs of freezer paper that I arranged repeatedly to create the rows of scallops. The batting is Soft and Bright by the Warm Company. It allowed me to use a hot iron to position the same seven waxed freezer paper templates on the quilt border. I stitched with a regular sewing machine, following the edge of the freezer paper template. (Note: Don't attempt to iron freezer paper templates with just any batting. You must test the batting between layers of your fabric, first. I have used cotton batting and Soft and Bright with great success for this method of marking a quilt.)
Now to get a label made for the quilt, a job for the Janome MC10K v. 3.