Learning Curve: Lone Star Quilt

“I am missing Texas . . .  Will you make me a Lone Star quilt?”

GF is from Houston, and every once in a while, she threatens to move back, but mostly she tells me she misses Texas.  I don’t understand it, but I take her word for it.  So I went searching for a Lone Star quilt pattern, and found Terri Ann Swallow’s Jellied Lone Star Quilt on the Moda Bake Shop website.  I liked her pattern so much that I hunted down what may have been the last existing jelly roll of “Feed Company” by Sweetwater.  How hard could it be?  After all, it’s supposed to be appropriate for ambitious beginners, and I was under the impression that I was now an intermediate quilter.

I should have paid attention to the part about starching the fabric first . . .

And this is what happened:

Lonestarversion1

Lone Star Quilt #1

See those huge puckers?  When your points aren’t at perfect 45° angles, your sewn top is never going to lie flat.  Ever.

Sigh.

So, the quilt top is going to become this floor quilt (some day):

Lonestarversion1.1

After much stomping and whining, I made some DIY sizing using potato vodka and distilled water (1:2 ratio), bought a new jelly roll — “Mama Said Sew Revisited” by Sweetwater — and unleashed my not-so-hidden OCD with a vengeance:

Lonestar 2

Lone Star Quilt, version 2!

 

The finished quilt is 90 inches by 90 inches, and I did the quilting at Jukebox Quilts on one of their super duper Innova longarm machines.  I fell in love with the stylized modern “chain link” stitch; I think it provides a nice counterpoint to a very traditional quilt pattern.  The star I made is bigger than the original pattern, and I chose to insert the white pieces surrounding the star using Y seams.  In retrospect, I probably should have used the same off-white fabric for the entire background, but at the time I thought it would be more interesting to have two different whites.

I will not make another Lone Star again; as with knitting, I don’t like using the same pattern twice.   It’s a learning curve, right?

A Lesson in Quilting

Chain Link front

Chain Link Quilt

A few years ago I entered my “red-and-grey” phase and bought a bunch of — you guessed it — red-and-grey fabric collections.  And then I couldn’t figure out a good pattern for them, so they all sat in the stash.  Last year, I ran across a vintage block pattern from the 1930s that formed the basis for the Chain Link Quilt.  The pattern appeared as part of the “Nancy Page Quilt Club” series, a Depression-era creation of an enterprising home economist named Florence La Ganke Harris (1886-1972).  In the original pattern, the block finished at 10.5″ square, but of course the size is easy to manipulate by varying the width of the patterned strips.  The block is easy to assemble, and as the author commented in the advertisement, the “over and under effect is both good and unusual.”

I broke into my Etchings by Three Sisters jelly roll, and began to assemble the blocks.  And then I got bored.  This is why the finished quilt ended up with patches of bright blue, greens, and yellows, most of which came from Mom’s housedresses.  She was, after all, born in the early 1930s.

Pattern:  Chain Link Quilt, from Florence La Ganke’s Nancy Page Quilt Club.

Fabrics:  Etchings, by Three Sisters; various red and greige scraps from the stash; patches from Mom’s housedresses

Modifications:  I used 2.5″ strips, so the finished block was somewhere around 14.5″ square

Thoughts:  

1.  I should have planned better for the over-and-under effect, but I piece the same way I knit, more or less on the fly.  Oh well.

2.  I know some people say that you are not a REAL quilter unless you actually quilt your own work.  Well.  Fighting words, right?  I learned TWO new skills with this project: (1)  Quilt-as-you-go, and (2) actual quilting.

For the QAYG, I wasn’t thrilled about any one method out in blogland, so I came up with a combination method that involved a fair amount of hand-sewing.  Since I have more than a touch of OCD, it’s all good.  As for the actual quilt pattern, I probably should have gone with something curvy/flowy, but at the time I was quite enamored of Anne Bright’s “Square Dance” pattern, so that’s what I went with.

IMG_3625

 

The back, as well the batting, were all scraps; the purple is part of a sheet (c. early 1980s) from Mom’s linen closet.

I love the border fabric.  I love all the hand-piecing and hand-sewing I did on this project.  And I love Mom being part of this quilt.

London Tube Map Quilt

A year and two machine quilting later, the London Tube Map Quilt:IMG_2457Pattern:  London Tube Map Quilt, from Tikki Patchwork.

Fabric:  Truly a work of scraps from pretty much every quilt I have ever made in my short quilting life.  I felt so very thrifty and virtuous while sewing 🙂

Quilting:  Long arm machine quilting done at The Sewing Circle.

Thoughts:  I balked at cutting out 653 (!) 2.5″ squares of the white background — so quite a few of them were in fact 4.5″ squares.  The actual sewing of the top did not take that long, but shortly after finishing the top and while piecing the back, I lost my quilting mojo . . . .  for about 7 months.

Last month I finally finished the back, and went to one of my favorite quilt stores to do the machine quilting.  Unfortunately, Bella the long arm machine was having fits that day, and the backside of my quilt had many (and I mean many) loops of loose threads — so many that the owner of the shop decided that we (or rather, they) needed to unpick ALL the quilting and start over.  Which they did, bless their collective hearts.  And now, the quilt is finally ready to give to my travel GF in Salt Lake City!  Given the price of plane tickets to London, it may be awhile before we head there again . . . .

The Red Thread Quilt

A Red Thread, symbolizing all your ties from the day you are born to those that are and those to be — a thread that can never break.

Almost a year ago, after I finished my very first lap quilt from the Quilting 101 class I took, I started another quilt.  Being very ambitious, I immediately resized the pattern into a twin size, and decided I would hand quilt it.  Never mind that I had never hand quilted anything in my life . . . .  I found some wonderful (and clearance-priced) Michael Miller black-and-white print fat quarters, pieced a simple nine-patch top with piano key border, found a funky red print backing fabric, and started hand quilting.

Did I mention “between” needles are really sharp?

Anyway.  Many months later, many patches later, the quilt is just about done.  The quilting did become easier, although I don’t think my stitches actually improved much over the months.

This is a quilt for my beautiful daughter, the Teenager, the Lemming, and I hope she sees the red thread running around the perimeter, and knows how much I love her.

Red Thread Quilt

The "Opie" patch

Modern Affair

For the Kid’s godmother, the Modern Affair Quilt:

Fabric: “Modern Affair,” by Patricia Bravo for Art Gallery

Pattern: Scrappy, with scrappy binding, finished size ~ 60″ x 70″

Batting: Kyoto Bamboo Blend (50% Bamboo-50% Cotton)

Quilting: Machine quilted on Bella, the Gammill Longarm Optimum machine with Statler Stitcher, using edge-to-edge paisley pattern

What I learned: The Modern Affair line is absolutely gorgeous, and I love the blues and greens, but I need to work on contrast …  There is always a next quilt, right?

Funky Fandango Quilt

My second finished quilt:

Fandango Pig!

Pattern: It is not obvious from the picture, which shows Opie loving the back side of the quilt …  The pattern is the Funky Windows Quilt, by Carlene Westberg; I added an extra repeat to the length, for a final size of 72″ x 101″ — DH likes to keep his feet warm.

Fandango Funky Windows Quilt

Fabric: Fandango, by Kate Spain

Quilting: Machine quilted on Bella, the Gammill Longarm Optimum machine with Statler Stitcher, using edge-to-edge “Japonica” pattern.

What I learned:

Sewing is not nearly as forgiving as knitting; it’s OK to keep squaring up at the block stage and beyond 🙂

Two hours to set up on Bella — but actual stitching time … maybe an hour?

Bamboo batting is a thing of beauty!