So, about 4 years ago I saw a picture of the Charley Harper mosaic in Cincinnati. Which I still haven’t been to. But I saved a photo of it onto my computer called “MUSTMAKECHARLEYHARPERQUILT.jpg”
I love Charley Harper and was inspired to finally do it by the (organic!) Charley Harper fabric that was just released.
Better late than never! I have threatened to divorce Matt and marry quilts before, but this time, I’m almost serious. I liked it so much I took it on a walk.
This is on the trail along my house. I spend a lot of time here and for a few weeks have been thinking, OH, I need to finish my goldfinch quilt so I can take a picture of it in the yellow leaves.
And here is is by the OSU football stadium. Mostly because Matt’s office is next door he had to run to turn off some science machine so I went with him to make him hold up my quilt. Multi-tasking.
I love birds and I love Charley Harper and I love fabric and I love fall and going on walks. It’s all happening at the same time! That is all. Please humor me.
Now I just need to get it quilted. But I also want to make the Cardinal now too. So many birds, so little time. And I’m linking up to Sew Cute Tuesday and Fabric Tuesday because I’m pretty sure it’s Tuesday. And since it’s also a work in progress, I’ll link to the other Works in Progress!
This evening I pulled some fabric.
Then I cut it into 5.5 inch squares to make 3.25 inch half square triangles via this method.
And then I started laying it out.
I’m very excited. It’s based on the Charley Harper mosaic in Cincinnati. Which I’ve not seen in person, but I have adored it for years. I’m linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday and Thursday Threads and Sew Cute Tuesday. Ok, back to piecing!
Sorry to show this quilt again – but I am entering it the Bloggers Quilt Festival – into the applique category. The previous post is here. All the applique quilts in this festival are really different, which is neat to me! There are fun prizes, you should go vote for your favorite quilts! I also entered into the baby quilt category – another applique quilt.
The quilt is quilted with copper colored thread and bound with a pinstripe binding that matches the Ohio fabric. The mauve background – is that color mauve? Let’s say it is. Is a vintage fabric I made a skirt with. These are the leftovers. So, I have a skirt that matches this quilt.
I used satin backing, so it’s super shiny!
This is my third time entering this Festival – last year my Rainbow Derecho Quilt (also appliqued) won a little prize. I swear I don’t just applique, but I do love it!
I actually got this Brother 1500s Nouvelle sewing machine a few months ago – but reading other reviews helped me make my decision. I have now sewn 8-10 quilts on this and am really happy with it for piecing, straight line quilting, and free-motion quilting.
I had previously sewn on a Pfaff Creative 2124 which is an older embroidery and sewing machine (I think about 10 years old – I got it used for about $700 in 2008). I sew A LOT and was having to do more and more repairs to the Pfaff – I was just over-using it. I decided I had to get a tougher machine before I completely ruined the Pfaff, as it is great to have an embroidery machine around for adding labels to quilts and other odds and ends – like when I need a zig-zag stitch -as the Brother 1500s is a straight stitch only!
If you sew A LOT I think having a machine with all the bells and whistles is just going to sacrifice some long-term toughness. I say this having had a reasonably nice, older machine (I can’t believe you can still buy that Pfaff 2124 for $1500+ used – it’s almost ten years old) that wore out after about 4 years my own heavy use (no idea how it lived before it met me). (For the record, I kept it clean and serviced).
Which is why I thought I’d try this tough workhorse!
What I like:
- Price – You can get this refurbished or used for less than $600. Compared to the $2000+ I might have been convinced to spend if my Pfaff had died completely, that is a steal to me.
- Harp space. It’s 8.5 inches deep and about 6 inches tall. The height of the sewing area makes a huge difference, it’s not just the width of the harp to look for. In addition to being able to quilt queen sized quilts much more comfortably, having all the extra openness is just more pleasant all around – more light on the sewing bed.
- Free-motion quilting – it has really nice stitches, great tension, it was really easy for me to pick up and get a feel for how to move the quilt to get the stitch length I wanted.
- Handles weird thread – I like to use wool thread, metallic thread, 12 wt. thread, whatnot. Not all the time, but this was always a production – playing with tension and different needles with my previous machines. I just pop the thread in and go, it hasn’t struggled with any thing (ok, I had to adjust tension with the metallic thread).
- TENSION is just so nice! Easy to adjust, rarely needs adjusting.
- Doesn’t skip stitches on 5+ layers of fabric – I hemmed jeans with no trouble.
- It’s fast. Too fast? I do worry about sewing my finger, which I have done on all my previous machines without much injury, but I think this one would actually tear my finger off. Hoping never to find out. Until I sew my hand to a quilt, I LOVE how fast this is and how much time it saves me. For real, I think it takes at least a good hour less to finish a quilt.
- It’s metal. It feels more solid than any new machine I’ve seen in the last 5 years.
- Smaller feed dogs and needle plate. Since this machine only sews straight stitches, it doesn’t need to have the wider feed-dogs to allow for wider stitches. The smaller needle opening and narrow feed-dogs means your piecing never gets eaten by the machine. It makes for much smoother piecing, even for tiny fiddly scraps you may be working with.
I am mostly sharing these to see if anyone has any solutions for me – I’ve looked in forums and not seen anything that worked. I love this machine and will use it for ever, but if anyone has any solutions for:
- Bobbin doesn’t hold a lot of thread. When is someone going to invent infinite bobbins that always match what I’m sewing??? But seriously, these bobbins hold way less thread than my Pfaff. I don’t know why or how, but I have to stop more to re-bobbin. Still faster though!
- Coming unthreaded. Ok, this is the one thing that aggravates me. It has a thread cutter, that 2 out of 3 times cuts the top thread so short it comes unthreaded. So I hardly use the thread cutter, which, waaaah, I want to! Worse though, it also sometime comes unthreaded when I give it 1-2 inches of slack – but then sometimes it only needs half an inch of slack and the needle stays threaded. I have taken to using top stitch needles (which have a larger eye=easier to re-thread) because I have to re-thread this so much. Note: still faster, even with re-threading.
- The reverse lever – yes it reverses, but you can’t lock it into reverse that I can figure out. Sometimes I want to sew in reverse for a while so I don’t have to adjust the quilt when I’m straight-line quilting.
- Not a free arm – every once in a blue moon, I need to sew up a sleeve or bag or something small and fiddly and this would be handy. But I have adjusted around it pretty well. I’ll be honest, I was often to lazy to pull off the table and use the free arm on my old machine even when I could have used it.
- The handle – ok, now I’m being nitpicky, but the handle on this machine is crap. Sewing machine designers, think about us folks who have to move our machines a lot, hmmm?
So, overall, do I love this machine? Yes, I love it. But — I do need a second machine for the occasional zig-zag applique and for machine embroidery on a label. I now dread pulling the second machine out and wrestling with the perfect tension and needle combo to get the poor old thing to perform.
My fishy baby quilt arrived safely in Boston! The benefit of being a year and a half late for my super-nephew Cyrus’ quilt is that he got to pick the theme! His daddy says he “makes a mean fishy face” so fish it is. The back is trucks, another thing the little guy enjoys thinking about. The fish applique images are loosely based off the drawings in the cute book Hooray for Fish! by Lucy Cousins.
But really, I think more quilts need to have googly eyes, am I right? My new advice for people struggling with design decisions is going to be: “Have you thought about adding googly eyes?” I had so much fun making this, it was so freeing to just play, play play. I love baby quilts!
The next few weeks is the Bloggers Quilt Festival - it happens twice a year and bloggers from all over share their favorite quilts. I’m just in love with this colorful guy and adding it to the Baby Quilt page – even though you can see, this little man is HARDLY a baby anymore.
Here is the quilt in action – it works! Look at those baby (I mean, big boy) legs!
I think this fish looks guilty of something naughty.
Letters with Google eyes!
Construction equipment on the back.
Colorful Scrappy Binding!
So many fun link-ups are happening today, I am going to go crazy here – this one is just for baby quilts – Let’s Make Baby Quilts! And TGIFF – lots of fun finished quilts. And another link up for finished projects LAFF.
This month I have been trying to focus on fun creative projects and less on my custom Etsy order, which were getting stressful. ON the one hand, it’s such an honor to work with someone to make their dream wedding quilt, on the other hand, sometimes I wish I’d picked a smaller, simpler project to build a business on The gals at the Columbus Modern Quilt Guild have seen this fun one finished, and the cats have thoroughly tested it out, but it hasn’t made it to it’s new home yet, so here is just a little peak:
I have also taken up running, which while I lead a pretty active lifestyle, is a step up from my normal workout routine, and got SOO TIRED as soon as I taped this quilt to the kitchen floor last night. At first I tried to bargain – how often do we really use the kitchen, maybe I can leave this here forever?? After a great deal of laying and a reasonable amount trying to invent a magic machine that pins your quilts while you lay there, I got ‘er pinned.
I’ve been making these funny cassette tape quilts for a few years – I think I’m going to make a pattern – my first quilt pattern! I never use patterns (too stubborn), so I’m really nervous it will be horrible, so I am going to offer it for free. I do like the idea of offering more quilting patterns and maybe selling some as I get more confident.
So, I’m linking up with Thursday Threads, since, you know, it’s Thursday, and I love seeing what other quilters are making. Oh and I saw on my cool friend Sam’s blog about this other link-up over at Needle and Thread Thursday. It’s a party.
I guess Columbus is finally growing on me – cause I made this quilt! I am planning to make a West Virginia one soon, so get tooooo uppity about it, Ohio! I love this tutorial for printing large scale images for applique.
The heart is more or less over the Columbus Metropolitan area. Luckily, the city has a big footprint so I have some wiggle room. The explosion lines are with copper colored metallic thread – so pretty in person! I used Sulky thread, which snapped twice in a row when I first started quilting it. I am out of metallic needles (which are specially suited for metallic thread) so was using a topstitch needle. I loosened the tension and hey presto – quilted the whole thing without a hitch! So, metallic threads bad reputation is very unfair. I do wish this was a slightly heavier thread as I adore the shininess of it – I want more!
I used a satin finish sheet for the back and the texture is delicious.
And the subtle pinstripe binding!
And I just remembered it’s still Tuesday, so I’m linking up with Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story.
I made this quilt for my darling friend Lauren’s wedding – she had a wedding in Oregon and a reception in Tennessee and brought the quilt to both events to capture all the signatures.
- Guests can’t mess up the squares - writing on the wrong side of the fabric, writing in the seam allowance, writing on top of the tape you put on there to keep them from writing in the seam allowance (!) are avoided if you have the quilt made in advance.
- Less worry about markers bleeding - sometimes the marker can bleed onto the square beneath it, if people are writing on a stack of the unfinished squares – or onto the table cloth beneath the fabric…With a finished quilt, I have never known a marker to bleed through the batting onto to the back of the quilt. (Let me know if you have!)
- Time - It’s less work over all to just make the completed quilt. It takes time to prep all the squares for signing, then find them all after the wedding, and then force yourself to sew them into a quilt. I get 2-3 requests a year to finish quilts for couples who have unsewn squares from their wedding 2-3 years ago! So, if you finish the quilt in advance, it can be really convenient for you and the happy couple.
- Easy to write on - Ok, it’s pretty easy to write on the unsewn squares. But it’s also really easy to write on a finished quilt. My favorite method, which isn’t as fancy for display, but very practical and still pretty – is just to lay the quilt over a table! I have also known people to hang the quilts on walls or on a display board (as pictured here).
But here are the potential problems -
- Guests all sign in one area – or sign in the wrong areas. You can tape up the areas you want to keep unsigned like in the above example – you can even use pretty washi or decorative tape – most masking tape works great for this, and it comes in all colors and designs. However, you might have someone check to make sure that the guests aren’t all signing in one corner, etc. A simple readjustment during the reception can help with that!
- Weddings are cray-zay! Guests sign with the wrong pen, spill wine on the quilt, pen explodes, someone draws a lewd picture on your quilt. Yes, I have personal experience with all of the above. But, these issues aren’t incredibly common. Having a quilt host – much like many weddings have a person host the guestbook – can help prevent a lot. Also, having the blocks near the entrance – i.e. away from the dance floor/bar – also goes a long way! If you do have disasters, you can mark over any mistakes with your signature pens, like fixing a regrettable tattoo. You might even have some artistic friends who can make that mistake truly awesome! You can also patch over mistakes with fabric, or use a bleach or stain pen to get stains out. I have gotten a lot of stains out of quilts – but be sure to do all stain removal before you put that quilt in the dryer!
- Quilts are bulky: If you are making a queen size quilt and/or flying across the world for your destination wedding, a ziplock baggie full of squares is a lot either to drag along than a quilt.
- Time: Most folks don’t have piles of free time for spare sewing during wedding planning. While it is less work overall to make the quilt in advance..umm..there was no way I was going to get our signature quilt done in time for our wedding, so I just brought the squares, and had plenty of time to pick out the pattern after the wedding.
Another great option is to bring the unquilted top to the wedding – then if there are problems, you can pull out the offending square and sew in a new one, which is a tricky bit of sewing surgery, but it’s something a rock n roll quilter like myself has done a few times before.
I think the main thing to consider is your personality – will your head explode if someone draws a penis on your quilt or a baby grabs the marker and goes to town? Or does that sounds like a hilarious memory you want captured forever? The quirky mistakes and silly drawings on my quilt make me laugh every time I see them, so it just depends on your vision.
Questions? Ask away!
I love the holidays and family, but am not crazy about commercialism, and while I could frame it politically or from a feminist perspective, if I’m really being honest, I don’t like, basically, doing housework which I think the holidays involve way more housework and running errands than I am willing to buy into. But I like my family! And jokes, I like jokes and movies with jokes in them. So, some years ago I made these Christmas ornaments and sold them in the shop. They have some naughty swears in them, friends, so warning!
For a few years, I sold the completed ornaments in my shop, but I fell out of love with them. But not before I made a pattern!
Here is a pdf version if you prefer!
An old friend (well, she’s my age, but we met in junior high) just had a baby (yay!) and I needed to make her a quilt. She loves games and I decided that the Settlers of Catan had the most quilt-like board of all the games. I am not the only one, as there is a whole craftster forum to similar projects.
Sadly, I’ve only played this game once about 12 years ago, so my board is likely not actually accurate to whatever the pieces are supposed to mean.
However! It is very cute and uses sweet fabrics without being too girly girly. For the back I used an amazing flannel by Heather Bailey. The quality and softness is incredible.
I borrowed my guild friend Ann‘s Hex n More Ruler to be thrifty, but ended up falling in love with the potential of this ruler and got my own. There is some back and forth about bias cut vs. straight-on-the-grain binding – here’s my opinion: if you are binding hexagons, use a bias cut binding. This binding wasn’t as awful as I thought it might be. It doesn’t look perfect, but I’m sure baby Abbygail won’t mind as she throws up all over it.
I’m linking up with Thursday Threads today if you want to see more pretty things.