Friday, May 3, 2019

Old Guys Rule Quilt

A scrappy queen size quilt I just finished.  The title is "Old Guys Rule".    

While constructing it, I referred to this quilt project as  "Biddies and Growd Ones".  I'd seen a farm sign announcing--"Far Sale Chickuns, Biddies and Growd Ones."  I thought the sign was charming.

The sign prompted me to explore building a quilt from little biddy pieces, and seeing it growd up into one big ol' quilt.    

My goal the last two years has been to cut up remnants--left over fabrics from other quilt projects.  My focus is random lengths of 2.5" wide strips sewn end to end to distribute colors. The second step: sew the strips together (side seams) to form a rail fence block at least 14" sq. No measuring necessary, just eye ball it.  Every once in a while I added skinny strips 1.5" wide for interest.

Next step: trim down the block to 12.5" sq. using an acrylic square ruler.  

In my studio tools I have an assortment of square acrylic rulers, 2.5", 4.5", 6.5", 8.5", 10.5", 12.5", 16/5".  This allows me to quickly square up sub assemblies or completed blocks.  Accurate sewing begins with accurate cutting.

In this photo, I have four 12.5" rail fence blocks and joined them with a gray "concrete" fabric sashing with a dark blue corner stone.   This larger sub assembly I call a quadrant.

I stitched together the quadrants, end for end to build the first row of the quilt.  I continued adding rows to flesh out the quilt, and finished the perimeter with a two-piece border of another gray fabric and dark blue used in the corner stones.  The gray is a constant to bring the quilt together.

I confess the corner stones and border is a dark blue with a light purple printed fabric.  From a distance, it reads dark blue.  I chose it because of its darkness and ability to prove "contrast". 

Contrast is my best friend when improvising a quilt.

When I was a portrait and still life artist (oil painter for 35 years) I learned early on--that one cannot show "light" without having "dark".  I know, that sounds silly.  It is--what my eyes understand, but difficult to express in words.  

"Old Books"  painted by me in 1985.

I didn't long arm quilt this one right away.  I was looking for a great backing fabric and finally found  a FISH print fabric at Herschner's in Stevens Point.  Best fabric ever!  Good prices.

Be sure to attend Herschner's annual warehouse sale June 12-16.  I know I'll be there!

I read the salvage legend on the fish fabric and was pleasantly surprised to see, "Old Guys Rule" by Robert Kaufman.  Hot dog!  Love the fish, love the name "Old Guys Rule" and adopted it for the title of this quilt.

I added to art panels to the backing fabric, to reintroduce random strips of color, contrast, and pattern.

To finish, I sewed on a dark blue binding; 2.5" wide is what I prefer.  The prep for the binding is to cut eleven 2.5" wide strips, joined diagonally to reduce bulk.  Then fold and press the 440 inches of binding, and then sew binding around the quilt perimeter.  Better to have enough than to run short, right?

It takes me a good 4 hours work to turn the binding and hand stitch in place.  To hem, I make a stitch forward, then a back stitch, and every 6th stitch I knot.  Selecting a thread that matches the binding will result in stitches that cannot be seen, and never come undone.  Forgive me, if that is a repeat of information  I wrote on my last quilt post.  

My intention is to deliver a quilt that will withstand years and years of joyful use,  and the convenience of machine washing and drying.

This is how I like to read quilts. Squished in a pile--as it will be on an unmade bed.   By the way, I shipped this quilt to Chicago to a client, and it will be arriving today.  I hope it is as satisfying to receive, as it was for me to make.  Best wishes. 

Worth Repeating:

You can see me, and perhaps you'll buy one of my queen size quilts, quilted body pillows, beautiful beaded purses, fabric journal covers, or over sized farmhouse potholders on display in my tent.  Also, I'll be demonstrating sewing on several antique hand crank sewing machines--and offering a couple of those machines for sale.  Feel free to sit down and try one!   

Memorial Weekend - Sat/Sun May 25-26, 2019
10a until 5pm
Rising Star Mill Arts and Craft Show
Nelsonville, WI

Monday, April 8, 2019

Farmhouse Quilt and Body Pillows

The start of Farmhouse Quilt No. 2--sewing 200 plus 4-patch blocks from fabrics I long forgot I had.  

Some fun fabrics of fruit loops, butterflies, checkerboard, Christmas tree lights, paisleys, polka dots, bug-eyed fish, lots of colorful small prints and ivory.  Cool beans when you sew them all together. 

If you like to draw, then you'll like long arm quilting.

Quilting is finished

Lifted up the bottom of the quilt to show you the backing with art panels

After removing the quilt from the frame, I take it to the layout/cutting table to trim and square.

I prepare 400" of binding and machine sew it around the perimeter.

Then I turn the binding and hand stitch with a blind stitch technique; one stitch forward, one back stitch, and every 6th stitch I make a simple knot.  4-5 hours to complete the quilt.
Result is stitches that cannot be seen, and stitches that will never come un-done.  

This is my favorite way to photograph a scrappy quilt--squished into a pile as if it were on a bed after a good night's rest.  The quilt measures 92 x 104, an ample queen.

Because I made too many 4-patch blocks, I decided to make quilted body pillow zippered covers.  They are 54" long by 20 inches wide.  

Thank you for looking at my work.

Come see me Memorial Weekend, May 25-26 Sat-Sun
Rising Star Mill Arts and Craft Show - 10a until 5p
Nelsonville, Wisconsin

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Fabric covered journals

I've been sewing lots of padded fabric journal covers out of blue jeans and other printed cotton fabric.  Its been fun recycling pockets for function and decoration.  The journal covers will be offered for sale at some summer events.  I'll keep you posted of the dates, ok?

Each journal cover holds a 100 page lined composition tablet.

Sewing on the pocket

Hand embroidery work on each fabric journal cover

Also introducing this year is my new creation, a Traveler's pouch . . .

The Traveler's Pouch starts out as a long quilted pocket to store and hang up your curling iron, or fill it with your cosmetics and fold it up and put in your suitcase.  

 Fold up the Traveler's Pouch, secured with a button/loop closure to use as a mini purse with cross body strap.  Because this is a padded item, you can be confident your cell phone will be protected and easy to answer a call.

I'm making lots of the padded Traveler's Pouches in different fabrics.  All of them are quilted on my long arm machine prior to construction, then hand decorated.

Come visit me at
Rising Star Mill and Arts and Craft Show
Saturday and Sunday Memorial Weekend
May 25-26, 2019 - 10a until 5p
Nelsonville, WI

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Personal Appearance Quilt

Personal Appearance Quilt is finished.

Here are lots of photos my long arm quilting adventure, working on Personal Appearance, a queen size quilt.

Such a colorful  quilt.  I added the electric blue fabrics to scare ya!

What a wonderful way to blow through lots and lots of leftover fabrics.

Four - 4-patch blocks (4" squares) joined with a variety of sashing fabrics and 
contrasting corner stones.

Edge to edge free style long arm quilting - I call my design "Feathers and a Swirl" .  The long arm design sequence is built upon a wide serpentine line, and back-tracked with feathers and big swirl to close areas where a little more space is left open.

This is an improvised quilt . . . I had no real idea how it would look in the end.
And isn't that what makes it all so much fun.

I must admit the colors did photograph "brighter" than in real life.

I turned off the lights in the studio for a moment, and got a better color reading of the fabrics

Double sashing with corner stones.

Squares of course = a very square quilt, 
so I added an extra border top and bottom to accomplish a queen size quilt.

Just finished quilting first row.

When I install the binding, I move my machine to the layout/cutting table where I can spread out the quilt.  The large table surface supports the quilt well and makes installing the binding easy.

This is my 1992 Kenmore Sewing Machine (old faithful).  

Review of My 10 hour Day:

I cleaned and oiled the long arm machine, wound 10 bobbins, then loaded the quilt, changed needle, and threaded the machine.  Completed the quilting in 5 hours.

Removed the quilt from the frame.  Trimmed away the batting.  Prepped 400"+ of  binding.  Sewed binding to the quilt perimeter.

I rolled up the quilt and moved from the studio to the house.  Prepared dinner.  After dinner I sat in the big leather chair, and listened to TV while turning, pinning, and hand stitching the binding to finish.  It was a good day.

Thank you for looking at my work.

My first show in 2019 is Memorial Weekend Sat/Sun May 25-26
at Rising Star Mill in Nelsonville, WI - Arts and Craft Fair, always a big crowd.
Lots of vendors showing their beautiful hand crafted items for sale.

Story:  What a difference 6 weeks makes!  Remember April 15, 2018 with the big snow storm that dropped 20 inches of snow?  Six weeks later I was sitting under my tent at the Rising Star Mill Memorial Weekend Arts and Craft Show trying to catch a breeze (there was no breeze all day), and the temperature was 95 degrees F.   Mercy.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Biddies and Growd Ones Quilt

Calling this quilt "Biddies and Growd Ones" 

Saw this photo on the web . . . and thank you to the person who put it out there.  It made me smile.    When I saw it and had an ah-ha moment . . . a title for my next quilt.

From bits and pieces of scrap fabric (biddies)--growing some 12.5" square quilt blocks to build a queen size quilt.

Biddies and Growd Ones Quilt
42 blocks sewn, joined with a concrete gray cross sash and navy corner stone.  Two rows assembled, 5 rows to go.  Then I'll add a two strip border to finish piecing the top.  This quilt is being constructed with my very reliable 1990 Sears Kenmore.  

I'm sewing from the comfort of the red dining room during the month of January and February.   Its just too darn cold and icy walking from the house to the studio.  

The WIND CHILL: we had some brutal -50 F below last week.  Its the kind of weather that kills car batteries, and makes you stay home and make potato and ham soup, and we had some darn good chili too!


I keep carving up scraps to produce 2.5" wide bits, and some 4" squares when possible.  If you think this is my only bin of scrap fabric--you'd be wrong.  I'm not saying how many.  I'm just saying . . .

When I do summer shows--I bring along a turn of the century hand crank sewing machine--to demonstrate and get some work done while sitting.  

Here's one of my favorite hand cranks, a 1916 Singer Model 28 with "Victorian" decals

I stitch end to end random lengths of  2.5" wide fabric.  I sew and sew and sew until I have a palm size roll about 100" long.  I store the rolls of scrap fabrics in a basket.  From those rolls I make quilts and purses. 

I busted through a lot of scraps in January 2019.  Finished another quilt top called 
Personal Appearance from 4" squares.  What a great stashbuster quilt.  

Here are some photos of "Personal Appearance".  When the weather breaks, I'll go back to the studio and do the long arm quilting on it.

Thank you for looking at my work.  Leave me a message, and we'll discuss why we quilt and why there is no time left over to do anything else . . .