Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Blue Star Mom

 For my modern quilting lecture that debuted last week, I needed an example of alternative grid work. Since my son left for his first overseas deployment, I felt ready to hang a red star banner. This quilt killed two birds with one stone!

"The Service flag is an official banner authorized by the Department of Defense for display by families who have members serving in the Armed Forces during any period of war or hostilities the United States may be engaged in for the duration of such hostilities." You can read more about the Blue Star banner at Blue Star Mothers. Pete is in a relatively safe place, but I do miss him more than when he is in his office in North Carolina. I try really hard not to worry.

I started piecing when I was on retreat in January. My first attempts at wonky 5-pointed stars were horrible!

I turned to a crazy piecing technique that worked much better for me. It creates a positive and negative block at the same time, so I have a stack of white stars on a blue field that might become a flag someday. Only a few of the blue stars were bordered in red. I used some Kona solids and some prints.

The blocks were laid out on Peggy's bed since we didn't have a design wall.

After making a couple more stars, I had to figure out how to fill in the negative space around the blocks. I couldn't just start cutting white fabric and wing it. My brain doesn't work like that. So I drew it all out in my graph paper notebook and came up with a piecing plan. The numbers are finished sizes without seam allowances.

It didn't take long to complete the top.

The quilting was done at home a few days later. I selected a star to echo quilt around. In the photo below, the red lines indicate the sections that are already done. The blue tape marks the line I'm getting ready to quilt. 

This style of straight line machine quilting with a walking foot is really tedious! I was ready to quit after three sides, but I knew I had to see it through and complete all five directions.

Oh, the texture!

I had a Marine Corps print in my stash that I had to use on the back. 

When I showed this quilt to the Clamshell Quilters, a lovely woman presented me with this star to send to Pete. I had read about this project before, and I wanted to cry when she gave this to me. Now I remember why I was saving my worn out flag and didn't give it to the scouts to burn.

Rather than putting his stuff in storage in NC, he brought it all home! I found his gloves in his car and the cover was on his desk. Yes, his dress blues are hanging in the closet.

Modern Blue Star Mom
28" X 39"
Started 1/30/16
Completed 2/3/16

Friday, February 19, 2016

Changing Gears

 Here's another recent finish that made its debut this week. I'm calling it Changing Gears because it was not what I had originally envisioned when I started this project. And because the hexie rings look like gears.

 I started English Paper Piecing the fussy cut hexies in July of 2014. It was fun going through my more modern scraps to select motifs. 

It didn't take long to get this far. Then the project stalled. The rings were stashed in a pretty zipper pouch and there they waited. 

 I dug them out in mid-January and played with a couple of different background fabrics. I love how this deep teal Kaffe print shows off the other colors. 

After the hand applique was done, it was time for quilting. I started with hand quilting with pearl cotton inside the gears. 

I marked some ghost hexies in the negative space and hand quilted inside those.

Then it was time for free motion machine quilting. The background was quilted with a pretty teal rayon thread. Before diving in, I had to practice that combo fill with swirls and pebbles inspired by Angela Walters. 

I quilted the hexies in matching thread color, following the motifs. This one is my favorite! You can see the crazy backing here. I couldn't find a fabric in my stash that I liked for binding, so I used a facing.

I brought it with me on retreat a couple of weeks ago for photos. The Hampton Inn has elongated hexie wallpaper in the gym!

Changing Gears
 26" X 30"
Started 7/15/14
Completed 1/28/16

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Jeweled Wildflowers

 I'm excited to have completed a challenge piece in time for tonight's guild meeting! Narragansett Bay Quilters issued a fabric challenge way back last year in preparation for our show in April. I purchased 1/2 yard of the selected Kaffe Fasset print and it sat untouched for months.

Finally in January, I searched my Pinterest boards for inspiration and found Rebecca Bryan's pattern for English Paper Pieced Wildflowers. Perfect! I wanted a portable project that I could work on during breaks at work.

After piecing a test block, I cut out all the parts. I didn't have enough of the white background print, so the gold became a built-in border.

I sort of fussy cut the challenge fabric, so I was left with odd bits leftover. And a generous selvedge strip!

This is what happens when you're not paying attention. Oops!

I pieced a block or two on retreat. I have to take my glasses off so I can clearly see the tiny stitches. Wonder clips work great for holding the pieces together.

I pieced a whole flower while waiting for an oil change. #EPPeverywhere!

When I posted this picture to a Facebook group, I noticed a fabric placement error in the top left corner flower. It's only an error in my mind, so I left it.

I quilted in a variety of threads that matched the fabrics.

The fabric on the back is a Philip Jacobs delphinium print that I love.

I use transparencies and dry erase markers to play with quilting designs. Many thanks to my friend Pat Harrison for giving me a small supply of transparencies!

You can see better on a white background. If I don't like something, I can easily erase it and try again.

 I'm ready for tonight!

Jeweled Wildflowers
22" X 22"
Pattern by Rebecca Bryan
NBQA challenge fabric
Started January 26, 2016
Completed February 13, 2016

Narragansett Bay Quilters Association, April 2016
3rd Place Exemplary Piecing

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

WIP Wednesday

 My guild challenge piece is coming along for Narragansett Bay Quilters. It's due next Thursday, so I really need to get moving. I was at my sister's house last weekend, basting pieces for the top row. Her granddaughter had fun putting together the stars with Grammie.

 Most of my free time recently has been spent preparing for lectures. Last night, I spoke to my home guild, Ninigret Quilters, about quilting on the internet. The topic wasn't my idea, but it was fun! I got to drag out all my swap pieces, BOMs, mysteries, and trendy patterns. Berta was one of my holders, and this post is for her! Pat, thank you for taking pictures!

Yes, I'm that short and my hands are always moving.

A note to my Ninnies: If you need more info for something you saw last night, click over to my Completed Projects page or try a search in the box top left.

Since my last post, I finished a bunch of small projects for my next lecture. I'm saving the big reveals for the Clamshell Quilters next week. Here's a tease...

I'm a Modern Blue Star Mom!

Fussy cut hexie gears and lots of quilted texture.

What do these three minis have in common?

All this snow has given me plenty of time to stitch! 

Lee is taking a break from her WIP Wednesday link-ups. Thanks for 5 years of fun, Lee!