Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Third Weekend in October


Here's a little preview of what I've got cookin'. But first lets backtrack a little from this gorgeous picture:

For a year now I have been a member of Quilting Around The World. I joined specifically for their Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt Along but this incredible group of women welcomed me with open arms and I've been signing into the quilting chat room & forum daily since then! If I need to get a second opinion on anything, or need some encouragement, or inspiration -- QATW is the first place I go. I've been part of mystery quilts, contests, block & goodie swaps, quilt alongs, BoMs, and all the other things the forum has to offer. Chat room is one of my (daily) guilty pleasures.

Hint Hint: Stop on by and join, there is a Recruit-A-Friend contest running now!

And now back to the picture! It shows a little section of an amazing quilt called "Third Weekend in October". HERE is a link to the pattern. As you can see the completed top is absolutely stunning and perfect to work on at this time of year! My dear friend Carol S has had this top finished for a few years as a result of a QATW Quilt Along. Several other members finished theirs but Carol stuffed hers in her armoire. Until a few weeks anyway when she asked me if I could finish it for her. I said "YES YES YES YES!!" or something like that.

Now that I have it in my hot little hands, I'm not sure I'll be able to give it back! It is a masterpiece of rich batiks and intricate piecing (not for the faint of heart!) I keep running back to the chat room to tell her "OMG Carol it is beautiful!" She keeps laughing at me -- I'm not sure why.

I'm adding veins to each leaf and partial leaf in matching colour threads (freehand, free motion). I'm using Superior Bottom Line 60wt for the first time and I'm really happy with it.

The Bottom Line 1,420 yd. spools

Bottom Line is one of the secret weapons of McTavishers. In Karen McTavish's book almost half of the quilt descriptions say "quilted with Superior Bottom Line". It is thinner than the standard 50wt cotton which means that your backtracking is less visible and the texture your quilting adds takes the stage, not the thread. I bought 5 spools through Superior's Try Me Special and all of the colours they sent are perfect for TWIO.

I plan to dive into the pile of fabric leaves after my second cup of coffee, and come back out in a few hours. Maybe. It really is that gorgeous!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Learning to McTavish

First of all, if you don't know what on Earth I am talking about when I say "McTavishing", go HERE. No really. Go now! Pay special attention to the gallery & McTavishing links. Then come back here :)

If you don't know this about me --- well, you weren't paying attention, were you?! I love to quilt. But more than that - I love to finish a quilt. All that stuff after basting but before binding is my absolute favorite. No sending out to a LAQ for me, no siree. I could probably be happy if I never pieced a top again and instead had piles of basted quilts waiting for me to slide under the needle.

{Aside from the fact that I have too many ideas of tops to make, too many unique pattern ideas to test, too many fabrics crying to be used ..}

In any case I love finishing and I am always looking for things that will help me improve my custom work. McTavishing has been something I have wanted to practice on, especially since I have started making applique quilt tops like Hop To It and Spirit of the Northwoods.  Errr ... both of which are tops, waiting backing & basting. Did I forget to mention that somewhere on this blog? Oops.

So I bought this book:

And let me tell you - it is glorious. It is a free motion quilter's bible, in my opinion. The book has a quick how to section [I haven't even gotten to the DVD yet!] and then page after page of examples. Full colour photos give you close-ups for every kind of quilt - pieced, applique, hand quilted, trapunto, whitework, wholecloth  --- as well as the artist's quick run down of what machines and thread they used. I think it is pretty cool that so many different quilter's projects are featured in the book, and not just Karen's. It just adds to my impression of her as a totally cool chick!

I practiced a little on a tree skirt this summer, but I think the real test was the quilt I finished today. It is a charity quilt I picked up at the Oakville Quilter's Guild meeting last Thursday. They always have tops that need finishing (and less finishers than toppers, which is a quilting tendency ...) and I almost bounced out of my seat when they held this one up.
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It was made and donated by a lady named Dorothy Baker and her applique is truly astounding. Somehow all those little circles and scallops are turned edge and sewn with the tiniest zig-zag I have ever seen. In fact, I couldn't see it at all! She also used clear monofilament in the top and cotton on the back. Every stitch is precise - I couldn't find a mistake anywhere as I quilted. No tiny little wander or anything!! Here is what it looks like now that I am done with it:

I'm really happy with how it turned out!

Friday, September 16, 2011

This summer ...

Mmm, feathers!

This summer flew by - unfortunately it seems they all do! Things went in this kind of pattern: Claire & I hid inside in the air conditioning while Gord went to work during the week. We quilted and coloured and napped and read Dr Seuss and did laundry. Sometimes we made it to the YMCA for playgroup and sometimes I was a wimp and only left the house for groceries. I had about half a dozen customer quilts to keep me busy: all of them were done with custom/heirloom quilting on my Babylock.

Here are some pictures:

The second of this pattern I quilted for a customer
Purple spirals - sooo fun

Some McTavishing practice

One day, one day I will be a LAQ. Until then I'm a QW - quilt wrestler.

Every weekend was an adventure! Early Saturday morning was almost always spent on Lake Erie for perch or bass - to the great delight of my stomach :) Miss Claire went out with us about half the time, ordering us around like a true captain and making sure we caught fish for her. Gord gave me a compliment of the highest order -- "Honey, you fish like a man!"

Captain Claire
Daddy's bass is approved!
And of course we let our little fishy swim in the pool at Uncle Don & Aunt Shelley's after fishing adventures.

I don't think life gets much better, do you?!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Farmer's Wife Quilt

Farmer's Wife Quilt, originally uploaded by sailbit.
I finished it!!!