Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The quilting is DONE!

The quilting is DONE!!  I'm so excited, can you tell?!?  I need to bind it, but it smells like "All Around the Town" (Sue Garmon) is done!
I decided to do a little "memory test" quilting in the stop border (the road).  I quilted every street, town, and state I've ever lived in, starting with the house I came home from the hospital to when I was born.  
It was a little tricky getting it all to fit, but it worked out.  Now I don't have to remember anymore...I'll just reference the quilt if I need any of that information...grin.
One place in Bethesda, Maryland (where I was born), four places in Birmingham, Alabama (where I grew up)...
...three places in Auburn, Alabama (college years), two places in Ypsilanti, Michigan...
...one place in Galveston, Texas (sure loved living close to Houston for the International Quilt Festival for 4 years)...
...then back to Ypsilanti, Michigan, where I live now.  I should name the quilt "Around the Eastern Half of the United States."  Here's the empty spool of YLI quilting thread...I used at least 400 yards of thread in this quilt.
I decided not to try and assign specific addresses to specific houses...I just quilted them in chronological order.
I included family property in the Canadian 1000 Islands and northwest Alabama where we spend a lot of time.
I will bind it in the same fabric as the outside border.  Then I will probably put a hanging sleeve on all 4 sides and rotate it from time to time.



Now, I should pay a little attention to my chocolate bunnies...Easter is coming!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)


Monday, March 28, 2011

Quilting in the grassy knoll...

Oh, I know these detailed quilting shots are getting old and boring for you to see and read about, especially if you aren't a fan of hand quilting, but this is nearly the end!!  I am so close to being finished hand quilting "All Around the Town" (Sue Garmon).  And it isn't even the night before a quilt show where it is entered...LOL!
The quilt show block's grassy bit needed quilted grass to match the grass-like print.

I finally decided how to quilt the wooden end of the barn.  The quilting isn't this noticeable - the camera flash seems to really bring the stitches out.


This is basically all the background I have left to quilt...oh, and the skinny stop border (the road).  Other than that, all the quilting is done (happy dance...).
Oh, I spoke too soon...I see one little diagonal line of quilting on the church I forgot to do...DOH!
I tried to vary how I "quilt filled" the grassy bits so that no two styles would be right next to each other...I tried stars on the church lawn.  I drew some crosses, but they just looked stupid. 
The "hick house" is done, complete with a quilted pocket on the overalls and a fly on the boxer shorts (hee-hee)!
Hearts on the lawn around the kitty...but of course!

Another grassy fabric required more grassy quilting...it won't really show up...I'm the only one that will know about this quilting (and maybe you, if you can see it...).
The last house to fill in...
I've had to sit through some meetings and wait in the car for my daughter lately, so I managed to get some of the appliqued borders for my chocolate bunny quilt hand stitched.  The words are a very portable project once they are prepped and glue-basted into place on a piece of background.
I bet that word got your attention!
This is not the final phrase for the border, but it is fun to play "sentence scramble" as I get the words appliqued, out of order.

Apparently Weasley (yawn) doesn't find me as amusing as I find myself and my quilting in the wee hours.  He is getting bored with "All Around the Town."  Time for Bed!
I have two quilt tops ready to take to a machine quilter tomorrow to send to Japan.  I will share them when they are quilted next week!  I wish I had time to hand quilt them, but Rhonda Loy of Dexter, Michigan does a nice job, and her turn-around time is amazing!  I want to send these quilts as soon as possible!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Quilted sails and puppy dog tails...

The "Eulean" is now quilted and ready to board!  (it's a family name pronounced "you lean," which is what you do in a small sailboat...get it?  giggle-giggle).  I love it when the fabric tells me how to hand quilt something...less marking and brainstorming on MY part!

We are getting down to the nitty gritty now...filling in lawns and fussy little places on the houses....and all those tight little background spaces between other appliqued shapes. 
Depending on the fabric, the hand quilting is either "in your face" or impossible to detect.  I quilted random tile shapes on the roof above and it is completely hidden by the fabric.  Then I filled the lawn below and it really shows up (the flash on my camera makes it seem more noticeable than it really is).

I still need to go through the whole quilt with a damp cloth and rub away all my chalk marks.  I quilted a little heart on the dog's haunch to match the grassy area...
I was having a hard time trying to think of something to fill in the shrubs with, then I decided on half daisies.
I love quilting hearts...
Oooo!  I'm getting excited because I'm getting close to finishing the quilting.  Weirdly enough, that also makes me sad.  It has been a great project to work on.  I've decided to quilt addresses of places I've lived in the skinny "road" border, under the houses.  We'll see if I can remember all those addresses!

I am so touched by the calls for donated quilts to send to Japan...I want to see what I can do over the weekend to finish a couple of tops that can be machine quilted next week to be sent.  A quilt is the first thing I think of when I need to be comforted...either to work on or to wrap up inside. 

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Weaving my quilting web...

As I was filling around the barn of "All Around the Town," I finally decided on some of the quilting to fill IN the barn.  It seems like every time I go into a barn, I walk through a spider web, so that was a MUST. 

The "ROCK CITY" on the side of the barn only makes sense if you are from the southeastern USA, or if you were really observant when you were visiting that area.  There are these attractions (rock formations and an underground waterfall in a cave) to visit where the states of Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee intersect near Lookout Mountain.  They are called "Rock City" and "Ruby Falls." 

When I was growing up in the south some 40 years ago, advertising for these places consisted of paying farmers to paint a billboard-type sign on the tin roof or wooden side of barns located along prominent 2- and 4-lane highways.  Not only could you see the "See Rock City" or "Visit Ruby Falls" signs from a car, you could spot them from airplanes!  I get very nostalgic every time I see a faded sign on a barn that is still standing when I go home for a visit.  Now there are ugly billboards everywhere.
I've been filling toward the corners...actually made it to one!
I quilted along imaginary bad mortar joints on this brick house.  It's fun to let the fabric dictate the quilting design.
More trees to fill with hearts...

And the adventure continues...

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Quilting the swirly skies and other things...

After a couple of questions in the comments of my last post, I thought I would show my unsophisticated method of hand quilting the swirling sky of my "All Around the Town" quilt.  Some of the pictures may seem a little dark, but I have a hard time getting close-ups of hand quilting to show if I use too much flash. 

The picture above shows a blank space before I marked "a piece of spaghetti."  The picture below shows the same area with a VERY LIGHTLY penciled curly strand.
I mark it with a mechanical pencil VERY FAINTLY because I don't want to have to remove the pencil when I am through.  Here's the same curly strand after hand quilting.

Then I go back and fill in the space with some echo quilting, which I don't mark.
Similarly, here is the space right below that one.

I guess I have an overall idea in my head of how I want things to look, but I only pencil one little strand at a time.  Because I draw the doodle so faintly, if I draw too many noodles, the friction of manipulating the hoop around as I quilt can make the faint lines disappear.  After all, a pencil is just like a really compact chalk...little pieces of deposited graphite (pencil lead) can be easily rubbed away by accident (unless you bear down too hard, and then NOTHING seems to remove the pencil lines - LOL!).
Here's the area, now mostly filled in.

(I'm still in love with my new thimble...)

I quilted my daughter Riley's name on the little blue flag...I wonder if she will find it...
These little spaghetti strands are like little tubes.  It's not really what I originally had in mind.  I doodled a little on a piece of paper before I started, but then I had to consider what would work around all the applique.  
This is not really what I ended up with this time.  I like a lot of hand quilting, but get bored with stippling and cross-hatching as the only tools in my hand quilting toolbox.  Fortunately, with hand quilting, a doodled strand can just stop - I can get into the middle of a little design and not have to worry about how I'm going to get out.  I can just "knot off" or "travel" to start in another area.  In other words, I can paint myself into a corner with no big deal.  I love it...

(To "travel" is to move around between the backing and the top, down in the batting area - kind of like a submarine, moving around below the water's surface, and then popping up somewhere else.)
I quilted some defining details on the angel.  Here's a closer look.


I think this angel is related to Lady Liberty - they both shop at the same hat shop.  I should have fussy cut the face fabric...she looks like she has a big zit (acne) on her forehead.
I like this particular Sue Garmon tree...it was fun to fill it with hearts (I love trees!).

This is one of my favorite chalk marking tools.  I think it is made by Dritz.  It comes with white and colored skinny chalk sticks and a sharpener, which, as you see, I was too lazy to use last night (I was in "the zone" and didn't want to get up...).

Here's an "aerial" view of what I got done last night.  Some of you have commented that I work fast, and I guess I do.  Sometimes when I look at these close-up pictures, I wish I had slowed down a little when I see my stitches look a little funky, but then I just rationalize it all by telling myself that I AM making small stitches and a WHOLE LOT of them.  I don't let it get me down!
You'll think I'm crazy when I say this, but I'm not completely happy with the background quilting.  I have the same self-critical problem that some of you have when I am hand quilting...we all get so stuck when we are focusing on one little six inch area of our quilts. We forget the big picture and how all the elements will play together - the fabric choices, the applique and/or piecing, the quilting, the overall pattern - it all makes a delicious soup in the end, and hopefully I won't notice that the carrot chunks aren't the right size.

Happy Quilting Day!!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)