Strip Quilt

IMG_2981Like most quilter, I have lots of fabric in my craft room.  But, unlike other quilters, I try to keep the amount as low as possible.  I no longer purchase fabric “just because see it and like it”. I have to have a specific project that I plan to use it in before I will purchase any fabric.  Over the past few years, I have also received fabric from my sister, my mother and some of my friends.  So, I really do not need to add to my stash.

When I am designing a quilt, I try to plan around fabrics that I already have.  If I do need to purchase fabric, I calculate the amount of fabric yardage I need to be a careful not to purchase more than necessary.  Sometimes this has been to my frustration, especially if I decide to change the design and find that I am needing more fabric to make the changes.  But, usually this works well and keeps me from having too many scraps left over.  I have even created an Excel spreadsheet that helps me calculate the yardage quickly.  If you are interested, email me and I can send you the file.

Every once in a while, the quilt design I am working on is too abstract or too intricate to be able to calculate yardage exactly.  This was the case when planning the “Moonscape” quilt for my son.  I did not plan out the quilt in enough detail prior to sewing to be able to calculate how much fabric I needed.  Using grey fabrics and black fabrics I already had, I added other shades to create the gradation I was seeking.  Not knowing how much fabric I would need, I purchased a half yard of each shade.  After I had pieced his quilt, I had a lot of excess fabric.

What to do? Make a scrap quilt?  Stick it back on the shelf for another day?

Make a strip quilt?  Now, this was an idea I liked.  I have been wanting to try piecing with strips on my longarm machine for a while now.  So, this seemed like the best idea for a quilt to try this out on.

I loaded the backing onto the frame and pinned the batting in place.  After basting the first strip in place, I cut and pieced 2″ x 72″ strips in the gradiant order of the fabric shades.  To sew, I carefully measured and marked the placement of the begin and end point of the seam that I was planning to sew. Then, I used the multipoint placement, border only sewing to sew the next strip to the the first strip.  The new strip sewn was flipped and ironed lightly in place before going to the next strip (my cordless iron was really helpful for this step).

A pop of color was incorporated with scraps of yellow, orange, red and purple.

I successfully used up my shades of grey and black and have another nice quilt to donate.

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Last summer, my third son moved into a new apartment.  Prior to that, he had been renting a furnished room in a brownstone house in Brooklyn.  With this change, he needed to purchase some furniture, especially a bed.

Since I really enjoy designing new quilts, I asked him what he would like for a custom quilt for his new bed.  When expressing his ideas, he said he wanted a quilt that was not traditional block based, but rather something that was more flowing and organic. I suggested that he try to find an image of what he was thinking and asked that when he found something that he send it to me.

ForMomA few days later, I received an email with an image attached. The image was a topographical map of a section of the moon.  This was going to be a challenge – designing a quilt to represent this image!

After thinking about this challenge, I settled upon a modified bargello design. To help create that quilt, I printed out a copy of the map overlaid with graph lines.

The sewing of the quilt was probably one of the most difficult quilts I have made.  While there were no Y-seams, inlaid areas, or applique, the challenge was keeping the transition of eleven different fabric, ranging from medium grey to deep black, straight. There were numerous times when I thought to myself “I must be crazy”.

However, once the quilt was finished, I was very happy with the result.

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Embracing my son’s desire for a more “organic” design, I decided to do free motion quilting connecting each fabric along the topographical lines.

The thread for the top of the quilt was grey 50 wt cotton following the topography, and black 100 wt silk crosshatching on the black background. The thread for the back of the quilt was rose colored 50 wt cotton ( to mimic the topography lines of the original image) and grey 100 wt silk.

This is certainly a one of a kind quilt !

Sunshine in St. Kitts

Spring Break has been a great escape from the snow of Minnesota.

Day One: MSP – MIA – SKBIMG_3215

We left behind the snow in our front yard…

Day Two:

…and after settling into our villa, we awoke to sun, sand and beautiful landscape.

Day Three: Tour of the Island

Overlooking the Southeast Peninsula of St. Kitts

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Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Ocean, Frigate’s Bay and Basseterre.

Basseterre’s sites and Wingfield Estate.

Romney Manor and Caribelle Batiks

 

Brimstone Hill Fortress

 

Convent Bay

Lots of Sheep

Day Four:

My Birthday – Time to relax in the sun

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Sunset Dinner in Frigate’s Bay

Day Five: More relaxation in the sun

And some really cute cats to play with.

Day Six:

Ferry to Nevis

First Hotel in the Caribbean and Bathhouse (the water was really, really hot!)

Montpelier Estate – really quaint hotel!

Hermitage Plantation Inn – another really nice hotel.

Lots of old churches – all still active.

Back in St. Kitt’s

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We have one more day of sunshine before heading to back to Minnesota.

Hopefully Spring will arrive soon.

Custom Thread Racks 2

My favorite thread company is Superior Threads.  They carry a wide variety of thread contents, colors and spool sizes.  Occasionally they have a sale and that’s when I like to purchase for my “collection”. Recently they had a sale on their “Try Me Specials”.  These are thread options that you select the thread content, but have no selection of the color.  Because the price was so good, I decided to purchase some spools of thread that I had been wanting to try.  I also purchased several spools of Masterpiece thread. This is my favorite thread to use for piecing and quilting.  It is a 50wt thread and does not add much bulk to seams or on the surface of the quilt.  I thought that if I received a color I already had  in my collection, that would be fine because I knew I would be using it.  But, if I received a new color, that would add to more options for quilting.

I order five spools each of Masterpiece, King Tut, Bottom Line and Metallics.   When they arrived the colors were beautiful.  But, when I brought them up to my sewing room, I realized that my thread racks were full.

So, I needed to figure out a way to store them.  I thought about making a pegboard thread rack (like I have done before), but wanted more flexibility in the location for mounting them.  So, I looked around at Home Depot for other options that I could try.  I really like these because I can mount them in any configuration and more easily sort my thread options rather than having them all on one large rack.

Supplies Needed:

  • 3/4″ x 1 1/2″ x 8 ft White PVC Trim. Purchased at Home Depot for about $6.  Unfortunately I could not buy this in a short piece, so I have some left over for other projects, or more thread racks.
  • 1/4″ x 12″ Plexiglass Rods, opaque white. Purchased from Amazon for $10.
  • E6000 Industrial Strength Adhesive – already had available. Can be purchased at Hobby Lobby.  Use a 40% off coupon and its only $3.
  • Total spent was $16 for four thread racks.

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1. Cut PVC trim to length desired.  I used 12″ to fit the space I would be mounting them. The trim cuts really easily with a circular saw.

2. Cut the rods to 2″ pieces. The easiest way to cut the rods is to score them with a hand saw and then snap the pieces apart. Use fine sand paper to smooth the edges of one end of each rod.
3. Mark the locations for the rods, making sure that they are space far enough apart to fit the thread spools.  My spools are spaced 2″ apart. Using a 1/4″ drill bit, drill holes about to about half the depth of the trim board.
IMG_30794. Fill each hole part way with E6000 adhesive.  Place one plexiglass rod piece into each hole.  They will be snug and may require a small tap with a hammer to fully seat them.
6. Allow to dry.  I mounted mine to the wall with velcro strips.

I now have space for 48 more spools of thread.

Birthdays, Weather and Walks

Very early this morning, I returned from Phoenix where I spent a few days with my parents.  My father’s 83rd birthday was last Thursday and I flew down to celebrate with him. Happy Birthday Dad!!

For his birthday, I made him a quilt to use when he is sitting in his recliner and/or sleeping.  Because he really likes eagles, I purchased two different fabric panels from Amazon and incorporated the printed eagle pictures into a pieced quilt. The other fabrics were pieces I already had in my fabric stash.

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By using panels, this was a really quick quilt to make.  I think I spent a total of 12 hours cutting, piecing, quilting and binding the quilt.  That’s certainly a lot quicker than most of the quilts I make!

To celebrate his birthday, we went to Thee Pitts Again in Glendale, AZ.  This restaurant has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and is well known for their tasty BBQ.

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When planning my trip, I was looking forward to some warm, sunny weather in Arizona.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.  The news headlines while I was visiting my parents was all about the record levels of snowfall throughout the state of Arizona. While no snow fell in Glendale, where my parents live, it did rain almost the entire time I was there.

Poor weather seems to like to create havoc with my recent travels. My departure on Wednesday fell on the day of a snow storm.  All of the schools in the Twin Cities were closed that day due to the storm.  After working in the morning, I went straight to the airport, only to find out that my flight was delayed by about two hours due to the weather.  Again last night, my return flight was during a snow storm with another two hour delay.

Both of these were better than the flight I took to Tampa two weeks ago.  My departure flight for that trip also fell on the day of a major snow storm.  That time I was delay five hours.

Dealing with weather delays in an airport calls for creative ways to help pass the time.  Waiting for my flight to Tampa, I was sitting near the gate working on a hat.  Knitting was a good way to fill the time, but when another major flight was posted, I realized that I  needed to move around rather than sit for so long. So, I set out on a challenge to discovered the distance that a person could  walk in Terminal 1 of the MSP airport.  Utilizing my Fitbit, I discovered that if a person walks to each gate of all of the concourses (A-G) it involves 11,266 steps (4.6 miles) and takes  two hours and 15 minutes.

This was a great way to fill the time and do some people watching.  And, until setting out on my walk, I had never been to Concourses A or B. Now I know where they are if I ever need to quickly get to one of their gates.

On Wednesday, learning that my flight was once again delayed, I completed my walking circuit again.  This time my goal was to try to walk faster  – kinda hard to do in a crowded, busy, snow-delayed airport.  I did, however, successfully reduced the time to 1 hour, 45 minutes.

Last night, being delayed yet again, I decided to do the same thing at the Phoenix airport.  Starting at gate A30, walking to the end of each concourse, and returning to gate A30 required 6,951 steps (2.8 miles) and took just over an hour to complete.  Terminal 4 of the PHX airport is definately smaller than Terminal 1 at MSP.

I may have started a new challenge for my self!  Whenever I am in an airport for longer than two hours, I think I will set out to measure the airport walking distance.