Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Class with Susan Brubaker Knapp

Project #11


I’ve known Susan for a few years so I was thrilled to have her come to my guild to teach a class!  Right from the airport we went to see the orchids and butterflies at the Franklin Park conservatory.


Followed by lunch at the North Market, Vietnamese for me and Indian for her; a quick trip to the Antiques store and the costume jewelry store before a stop at my house and then Greek dinner before her lecture at guild.

Saturday I took her November Leaves class, even though it is March.  This was so much fun! I didn’t know what to expect, just signed up. We painted tyvek with rubber sponge brushes, cut out leaves and arranged them on our quilt sandwich. If all your leaves were the same color then you could trade with someone and that’s what I did.


Next with free-motion, which I am trying to get better at doing, I stitched around the outside perimeter of the leaves and then stitched in the veins.


Then came the FUN part where we took an iron and MELTED the tyvek so that the backing fabric was showing. You can’t control it. You just hold the iron until you like what is happening. It only takes a few seconds. Wherever you stitched, the tyvek will stay but the open areas will ‘shrink’ away. You could end up with skeleton leaves.

Then I did some free motion of the leaves in the background. I didn’t want to fill it in completely with free motion because I like the ‘ghost’ leaves and wanted them to show. Also, I didn’t want to screw this up since I’m a novice free-motion stitcher!



The Lumiere paint by Jacquard is one of my favorites because it looks luminescent when dry and this paint dries quickly which is nice.

I looked at Philippa Naylor’s new book, Applique Mastery to see how she finishes the back of her small quilts. This is 17” square.  And the finished quilt will actually hang somewhere in my house! I have none of my own work on my walls.


I’m happy with it and it was a fun class! Susan is a charming teacher and a natural. Very easy and lots of good information. I encourage you to take a class with her or watch her on Quilting Arts TV!

Now I want to take more classes. Learn lots of new techniques to have in my quilting arsenal!  I encourage everyone to take classes. I’m even taking some gourmet cooking classes now, which has delicious endings!

We just finished 11 weeks of the year and so I’ve been very productive so far!

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Wedding Quilt

Project #10 for 2015!

I’m posting about these gift quilts and hoping that the recipients don’t read my blog! I want them to be a surprise but I also want to document my work this year.


When I offered to make a sofa quilt for the bride, she went on Pinterest and chose this quilt. It’s called Bella’s Bird by Jean Smith. I thought, simple enough to make but the fabric line was 2 years old!

It is by designer Lotta Jansdotter of Windham Fabrics and I scanned the entire internet and went to the sites of dozens of quilt stores that carry Windham’s fabric and with the help of etsy, I found 7 of the 9 fabrics needed! Thank goodness for a store in TX that had 3 yards of the blue graph for the backing!


I substituted 2 other fabrics that I thought complemented…the gray dot border and the light gray floral with white, in the center. Then I packed it all up and went to my guild’s quilt retreat at a lodge in the woods in the middle of nowhere’s-ville!  No phone service for the entire Friday to Sunday time.

I sat and sewed for 12 hours on Saturday not counting the breaks for food, and I got the top mostly finished. I ran out of gray dots and had to wait until I returned to get just a half yard more.


Decided to do simple straight line quilting since it is rectangle blocks and just stitched every few inches both ways. I just love to run that walking foot at top speed!

The quilt is 66” square and is a 5 blocks x 5 blocks pattern. Kind of reminds me of Marimekko fabric! It just needs a label with their names and wedding date and it’s ready for the September nuptials! I hope it is something they’ll use a lot in their new home for cozy nights on the sofa!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Elephant Quilt

Project #9

Some dear friends of ours are expecting their first grandchild so I offered to make a baby quilt for a gift. In talking with the mom-to-be, she said that the nursery would be gray and yellow and she wanted an elephant theme.  She found a beautiful elephant quilt on pinterest and sent me a photo.

IT is from a Scrappy Quilting book which I bought. The method to sew the patches to the body of the elephant was to sew close to raw edges of the cut rectangles. I didn’t like that and thought it also may not wear well in repeated washings so I made a new way.

All I took from the book was the outline of the elephant and then I changed it so the trunk went upward and removed the tail and added a braided 3-D version and an ear.



With the tracing pinned to my design wall, I sewed strips of her colors, lime, yellow and gray to the length of the elephant. After I had all the strips, I sewed them together to form one big, odd shaped patchwork.


Then I put the patchwork on my cutting table and placed the elephant drawing over it and pinned it in place making sure the horizontal line was parallel to the floor where the elephant would be standing.


This close up shows how I had to piece to fit the trunk and the same for the two legs.



After pinning, I placed wide strips of Steam-A-Seam 2 under the edges and then cut out the elephant body and placed it on the light gray background below.


I smoothed it out and pressed the Steam-A-Seam edges with an iron to hold the body in place on the background. It’s kind of a crazy way but I didn’t want to put the adhesive all over the body of the elephant since it measures 38” across and about 29” tall.

Next step was to satin stitch around the perimeter with paper under the backing so the presser foot wouldn’t tunnel the fabric.


After doing a patchwork with this cute elephant fabric for the backing, it was layered with batting and the background stitching was done with my walking foot. Gray thread on gray fabric.



I was taught to draw one line at the 45 degree angle to the rows on the elephant and then use the guide bar on the walking foot to stitch the remaining rows. So I set the guide bar to 2” intervals and stitched away. (Is it just me or do you love how that walking foot moves and sounds?)

Well I did 3 corners and then approaching the 4th side I could see that the lines were not parallel at all!  The right angle 2” squares on point were now diamonds with a different degree angle and the lines were not going to match up!!!  What to do???!

I ripped out about 3-4 rows and then called the MASTER in. I had my hubby draw some lines so it looked like it was a matching grid. He changed angles slightly and then made the lines not evenly apart so visually it looks fine.


What do you think? The lesson is that I should have first drawn a large X at the angle thru the elephant onto the background and then drawn in more 2” lines. If I saw that I was stitching off angle, I could correct it visually. Right now, I feel that I will draw in ALL the lines next time I want it perfect! (Then I could sew at top speed, hee hee!)

Then the binding went on smoothly. I didn’t have much of any one fabric left so I spliced them all together to make an interesting binding. I feel like the Queen of mitered binding as I have done it so often lately, but it is easy.  I looked in Philippa Naylor’s book, Quilting in the Limelight to see what width she cuts her binding and followed that for a nice 1/2” finish.

Now to ship it off and I finished it BEFORE the May delivery date. It will either hang on the nursery wall or be used as a quilt. I just need to add an eyeball to this!

The 100 yard Predicament


As you now in January I bought about 100 yards of fabric from an estate sale. All the pieces are lovely and it has inspired me. So much so, that I have been cataloging and organizing it all along with the other boxes of fabric in my stash.  With the help of my good friend, we have used the SEWING KIT app on my ipad and taken a photo of the fabric, then filled in the boxes with type of fabric, width and length and more important…Box location.  Then all the fabrics were folded nicely and put in boxes marked A through E so far but we haven’t finished yet.

Now I can look at my ipad and see a fabric that I may want to use and know if I have enough without even opening the box and I’ll know instantly where to find it!! Who knew?  This app also has a Pattern index so I’ve been cataloging my hundreds of patterns so when I am in a fabric store, I can check the yardage I need!  The app is good but has some flaws but it seems to be the only one of its kind and so is useful to me.

Which brings me to this green top and my predicament. I pulled out this granny smith apple green ponte knit because I really loved the color and thought it would make a great jacket but there was only 1 yard and 23” of it!! You can’t do much with that.  So I had to look for sleeveless top patterns basically.  I found this Vogue 9087 but I had ‘barely’ enough fabric for it and had to piece some facings. (Project #8)


After this, I wanted to know the yardage of every piece so started the fabric cataloging. But now I feel that I will have to buy fabric for things that I want to make instead of trying to make garments from the fabric in my stash. Or I’ll just have to mix two fabrics or more in a garment.  It’s a vicious cycle!!!

So, a trip to NYC this month will include fabric shopping at some of my favorite stores but I will try to only buy something that I will use right away and not put into Box ZZ! ha ha