Saturday, August 27, 2016

Blue Skies . . . smiling at me

Clear Blue Sky Colors for my latest quilt

I could say I stumbled on this one.  I was looking for contrast and grabbed the bolt of gray to frame the 9 patch of white clouds and blue skies.  Once I got going I just let the quilt be what it wanted to be.  Simple blocks and cornerstones using fabrics I like.

While picking sky colors and clouds,  I was thinking about Irving Berlin's 1926 hit song Blue Skies. Ella Fitzgerald sang it in the 1940s.  But I love it most when Willie Nelson sings it.

Blue skies smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies do I see 
Bluebirds singing a song
Nothing but bluebirds all day long

Never saw the sun shining so bright
Never saw things going so right
Noticing the days hurrying by
When you're in love, my how they fly . . .

I always thought the music sounded a bit sad, but the words uplifting.  Why did Berlin write it that way?  

In this photos I'm finished and rolling the quilt back to the beginning, checking to make sure I didn't miss anything.  It happened once during a bobbin change, I missed a spot and I had to reload the whole darn quilt just to take care of an obvious 4 inch space.  

There is a long list of considerations, things to watch for when doing long arm quilting.  Knowing, (feeling) just the right vertical tension so the quilt lays close to the throat plate--keeps the stitches going just right.   I crank the belly bar to snug the quilt, then backing it off to give it some slack to touch the throat plate.

Be careful, don't crank the belly bar so tight . . . doing this can distort the quilt (stretching it). 

Yes, lots of things to watch for . . . like forgetting the basic no-no rule of having the machine needle in the down position in the fabric and cranking the belly bar creates problems with the bobbin assembly . . . ask me how I discovered that???  It was a $200 repair discovery, uhhhh.  I'm long arm quilting three years now and still learning, improving.

This is the only quilt I've made this summer.  I've been so busy helping my brother on his 1892 Victorian in Wild Rose that I haven't had much time to work in the studio.  

I took time last week and this week to get it loaded on the frame with 100% cotton Warm and Natural batting, and do the long arm quilting.   Also I made four purses.  I have a show Sep 4 and Sep 17.

I like the edge to edge free style Floral Bouquet I created and use often on quilts.  It is a sequence design that is relaxing to do, and has predictable spacing.  A joy.

I'll take more photos later.  Since these photos were taken I made lined prairie points for this quilt--placed the points facing inward, around the border--between the corners stones.  Then I added the binding, hand stitched the binding, and hand stitched around each prairie point to secure properly.  

Ah, what I do for love . . . 

Back again with a photo of the prairie points installed and binding completed.  

Photos taken at 6 something this morning--looks different under lamp light than the photos taken in the studio with natural daylight.  

I really like this shade of green prairie point made with a purple-blue lining.  

If you'd like to review how to make the prairie points, check out my Toast and Jam Quilt.

Nice to visit with you again.  See you later.  


  1. What a great quilt - full of lots of my favorite things, but my favorite part is the "just go with it" - ness of the whole thing! Beautiful, beautiful quilt.

  2. Hi Elaine. Thanks for checking out my Blue Skies quilt. How has your summer been? Our Wisconsin summer has been hot and humid without a breeze. I am looking forward to turning off the air conditioner, wearing a sweatshirt and blue jeans, baking a pie, and enjoying crisp fall days when the leaves blow across the yard! How about you?