Sunday, September 15, 2019

In Fits and Snatches: Modern Baby Clam Shells + Christmas Outreach Quilt

Good morning, my lovelies!  Remember that baby quilt I designed last DECEMBER for a new mom in our family?  Well, her baby just turned nine months old yesterday, and I finally finished...  cutting out the fabric for the quilt top!

I Finished Cutting Out All the Pieces!
You thought I was going to say the whole quilt was finished, didn't you?  Bless your heart.

As you can see in this photo of the entire design wall, these clam shells are gigantic.  They will finish at 9 1/2", making this a 40" x 40" top once I add narrow turquoise borders:

Design Wall With Clams On the Left, Modern Building Blocks On the Right
Why has it taken me ten months to cut out this silly "quick and easy" baby quilt, you may ask?  Okay, so first, for the print clam shells, I was using an acrylic template that I found on Amazon here, but I was tracing around the template with a pencil and then cutting out each clam shell with scissors.  That got old.  Then, I put some of the grippy tape that I use on my longarm quilting rulers on the back of my clamshell template so it wouldn't slide, and discovered that I could cut out the turquoise background fabric with my 28 mm rotary cutter. Yay!  But then there were those pesky giant circles in the center row of the quilt to cut out.  Ugh.  I ended up using a circle cutter contraption that I found on Amazon here (thank goodness for Amazon Prime, right?!) and it worked okay.  You fold a slightly oversized square of fabric into quarters, press lightly, and line your folds up on the right angle lines on the circe cutting template, and then slice through the curved groove corresponding to your desired circle size with a 28 mm rotary cutter.  My acrylic clam shell template has tiny holes for alignment along the seamline, so I used the clam shell template to put markings on my circles that will line up with the clam shells for stitching.  Then I had to cut the partial clamshells, the sideways halves and the top/bottom halves and the quarter clams for the corners.  It was just annoying cutting and I had to think about the best way to do it, and I wasted a good deal of that turquoise fabric from the template sliding around or whatever.  Anyway, I'm glad it's finally all cut out and ready to sew!  The clams have to come of the wall to make room for laying out Double Wedding Rings for a Queen bed runner, anyway, so don't hold your breath thinking I'm going to have the clams pieced together by my next post, either.  See, I'm managing your expectations so you won't be disappointed.   You're welcome.


I quilted the outreach top that I pieced during our guild's Christmas in July Sit-and-Sew.  It's not amazing, but it's acceptable and it's done, and I still have time to bind it and turn it in so it can be given out during the holidays.

One Inch Grid With Amoeba Meandering
I had originally wanted to do something more interesting with the quilting, but ended up settling on a 1" grid in the red squares and "amoeba meandering" in the white squares.  Top thread is Superior King Tut cotton in a green and red variegated colorway with a dark green So Fine wound on the bobbin.  

Miss Millie Has Been Misbehaving!
My longarm machine is still not running smoothly, though, and after LOTS of trouble shooting with APQS Tech Support, we think that one of my encoders is bad.  Instead of the machine running at a smooth, steady speed according to how quickly I'm moving it over the surface of the quilt, mine does a racing lurching thing just randomly.  Apparently it's an electrical problem.  Anyway, the new head encoder will be here Monday and if that doesn't solve the problem, we'll have to replace the more expensive Bliss encoder as well.  These are parts that would have been covered under the APQS Lifetime Warranty if I was the original owner of the machine, but it's out of pocket for me since I purchased the machine secondhand, even though I bought it from a dealer.  It is what it is.

So, what's on my agenda for the upcoming week?  We'll be swapping out the head encoder on my longarm machine on Monday or Tuesday, as soon as that part shows up.  Meanwhile, I have a bit of a mess to clean up in my studio and then I will want to get my machines set up for different tasks.  I'll be doing the curved piecing of the clam shells and double wedding rings on either my 5.5 mm Bernina 475QE (my Goldilocks) or else on my 1935 Featherweight (Bette).  My big machine, the 750QE ('Nina) needs to seam backing together for another outreach top and bind that Christmas quilt.  So much to do, and so little done.  Story of my life.  So here's my Tuesday To Do List, a few days early:

  1. Double Wedding Ring
  2. Modern Baby Clam Shell
  3. Christmas Outreach Quilt
  4. Next MMBB Block for Anders' Ishmaelites Quilt

That ought to keep me plenty busy until next week.  I'm linking up today's post with:


·      Oh Scrap! at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework


·      Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts 
·      Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts
·      Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
·      Moving it Forward at Em's Scrap Bag
·      BOMs Away Katie Mae Quilts 


·      Colour and Inspiration Tuesday at Clever Chameleon
·       To-Do Tuesday at Home Sewn By Us

Saturday, September 7, 2019

F. Schumacher Gone Quilting? Quilting Inspires Interior Design Inspires Quilting...

Those of you who have been with me for awhile know that I am more of a designer than a maker.  For every 10-15 quilt ideas that I sketch out on my iPad or in EQ8, only one or two of them ever makes its way into the tangible reality of fabric and thread.  I spent 20 years in the interior design industry, where I used to pass my window treatment, bedding and pillow design sketches off (along with bolts of gorgeous fabrics and trims and detailed work orders) to the amazingly talented hands of my custom drapery workroom.  Then the makers in the workroom would turn my designs into reality while I got started dreaming up new ideas for another client.  

So anyway, because of my interior design background, this glossy, oversize design magazine from F. Schumacher called The Bulletin appears regularly in my mailbox.  And I had to share with you guys that, according to the tastemakers at F. Schumacher at least, "American Folk Art" is #2 on the list of up-and-coming interior design trends:

This is a Hot NEW Trend, According to F. Schumacher
Now, how cool is that?  We quilters have all just been so ahead of our times...  Those two fabrics pictured above are jacquard woven matelasses.  Although the one on the right is named Tristan Patchwork, it's not actually patchwork -- or quilted -- at all.

76762 Tristan Patchwork from F. Schumacher, Retail $236/yd
Naturally, as a designer AND a quilter, I love this fabric.  It would be fabulous for light duty upholstery, throw pillows, or a structured window treatment.  It comes in Yellow, Charcoal, or Indigo and the scale of the "blocks" is a good deal smaller than they would be on an actual quilt -- the pattern repeat is 13.5".  So that's interesting -- modern quilters are playing with scale by making quilt blocks that are larger in size, while textile manufacturers are playing with smaller-scale versions of the same traditional block patterns.  I also love how the traditional 2-color quilt idea is kicked up a notch by adding a second, paler yellow to the mix that almost reads as a visual echo or a shadow.  

My Pea Soup Paint Strip Challenge
Hmmm...  Our guild is doing a "paint strip challenge" for next spring's quilt show, and I had the misfortune to draw a very BORING strip of sage greens that doesn't feel challenging AT ALL.  I'm supposed to use at least two of the greens from my paint strip in my challenge quilt but I am sick of those greens already because they are in my Frankenwhiggish applique project, my Pineapple Nostalgia, even in Lars's Mission Impossible quilt.  I guess I misunderstood the challenge -- I thought they were going to have two or more "difficult" colors in each envelope, or colors that you don't typically think of as "going together" or something.  When I saw that Tristan Patchwork fabric in the Schumacher magazine this morning, I realized that I could definitely do something similar using my two shades of green where they are using yellows, but I'm not sure that's going to be interesting enough to hold my attention all the way through to a quilted and bound finish, you know what I mean?  I'd rather do a color challenge based on THIS story in the same magazine:

I Want THIS to Be My Color Challenge!
How much fun would it be to come up with a quilt based on THOSE two pages?  This is fashion designer Johnson Hartig of Libertine, and I absolutely adore his new interior fabrics collaboration with F. Schumacher.  I love how Hartig has taken this uber-luxurious, high-end cotton viscose velvet fabric and decorated it with goofy, campy Tibetan tigers.  It just makes me smile.  

77231 Jokhang Tiger Velvet from F. Schumacher, Retail $700/yd
Even MORE fun?  Check out this 3" wide trim, also from Johnson Hartig's collection for F. Schumacher, adorned with SAFETY PINS.  This is so delightful to me that it ALMOST tempts me to return to interior design, just so I can talk someone into decorating their living room draperies with a wide band of safety pins down the lead edges: 
77270 Punk Rock Mix Tape from F. Schumacher, Retail $198/yd

(Attention, DIY Fashionistas -- anyone with a sewing machine can recreate this look by sewing a bunch of safety pins to ordinary 3" wide grosgrain ribbon from JoAnn's...)

So my own PERSONAL interpretation of our guild's color challenge is going to be: How can I incorporate my boring greens into the weirdest and most unexpected quilt possible???  

But that challenge piece is WAY down on my list of priorities at the moment.  At the moment, I'm focused on:

  1. Getting back to my longarm machine to try out a different thread combination and hopefully get one of my two outreach tops quilted
  2. Working on a commission to finish a Double Wedding Ring UFO
  3. Anders' sampler quilt, Beware the Ishmaelites

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

I'm linking today's post with:


·      Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts 
·      Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt


·      Colour and Inspiration Tuesday at Clever Chameleon

·       To-Do Tuesday at Home Sewn By Us
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