Two Bargello Quilts

I finally finished piecing the two bargello quilts that I have been working on for quite awhile. The first one, Wind Song, has 24 fabrics and is a king sized quilt. I started working on it over a year ago but put it aside for awhile to work on other projects. IMG_1205

I designated this year to complete most, if not all, of my UFO’s (a hefty aspiration!). Wind Song was on that list and although it was a very easy quilt to put together, the sewing of the strips was very boring and monotonous to me. I hardly ever watch TV but decided to put a television in my sewing room so I could stream shows while sewing. It really helped the time fly by so I was able to finish it quickly.

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I haven’t decided if I want borders on this quilt. On the plus side it would make it a very large king size quilt and it would drape nicely on my bed. I’m just worried that borders will detract from the movement of the quilt top. I’ll have to audition a few more fabrics and see if I can find something I like.

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Wind Song is a pattern that can be found in Eileen Wright’s book Twist and Turn Bargello Quilts which I purchased from my LQS.

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The second quilt is a three fabric bargello I began in a class a couple of months ago and posted about previously (for pattern details, please see earlier blog post on three fabric bargello).

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This quilt is a spin on the 2 fabric bargello quilt pattern. It is a very large throw size and I love how it turned out. I mitered the borders using the focus fabric and one of the insert fabrics.

I am having a hard time trying to decide how to quilt it. I don’t have a computer on my long arm machine and I am limited in my free motion quilting skills. I’ve been practicing some new designs so I will update when I get it quilted.

I’m doing something right now that I have never done before, I am in a test group for a new quilt pattern! It is a lot of fun and very interesting to see how much work goes into a pattern. The designer did not use any quilting software to design the quilt, but did it the old fashioned way through trial and error.  To give you a hint it is a twist on an old favorite, the Dresden quilt. I look forward to sharing it when it is done!

T-Shirt Quilt Continued…

I’m still working on the t-shirt quilt for my son. I added the borders and got it quilted over the weekend. I added the binding this morning and now it’s time to hand sew the binding to the back which takes me forever! I am so slow with hand work, I would never have the patience to hand quilt like my grandmother did! The quilt turned out to be 102”x70” which is a good size since my son is almost 7 feet tall (6’8 to be exact and still growing). I loaded it sideways on the longarm machine because it’s much easier to work across a long row instead of starting and stopping constantly.

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I’m not happy with the backing of the quilt but there is nothing I can do about it now. I went to my local quilt shop on Saturday to buy wide backing so I wouldn’t have to piece it (I’m on a very tight time schedule). I guess we had a miscommunication about yardage because when I got home and loaded the quilt on my machine I was short about 15” of backing fabric. I take full responsibility for the mistake because I have been overwhelmed with everything going on trying to get my son ready for school. My LQS is about an hour and a half round trip and it’s closed on Sundays so I went to Walmart and bought a sheet to use for the back rather than waiting and making another trip. I’ve used sheets in the past but to get the color I wanted I had to buy a (more expensive) brand that I have never used before. It has a sateen finish and the tension on my longarm really gave me problems, most likely because the sheet has a very high thread count. I finally worked through the problem using King Tut thread and loosening my thread tension and roller tension. (I have a bad habit of rolling my quilts too tight!) Tonight I have a date with a needle and thread. I’m going to put on a good movie, fix a cup of coffee and start sewing…

Mistakes in Quilting– Rapid Fire Hunter’s Star

There is nothing more frustrating than to realize you have made a huge mistake when working with a pattern for the first time (or any time!). I usually catch it early enough to correct the mistake but this was not the case when making the Rapid Fire Hunter’s Star Quilt. I had heard from several people that it was an easy quilt to make but it looked impressive and complicated. I bought the Rapid Fire Hunter’s Star ruler, pattern and pulled fabrics from my stash and was ready to get started. I had a dear friend help me with the first couple of blocks and I was impressed with how simple it was.

When it came time to sew my blocks together, I must have turned the first one the wrong way. Not realizing it, I put the whole queen sized quilt together with the blocks turned incorrectly. I added the borders, quilted it and even completed the binding before realizing it!

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Example of a correct block

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Incorrect block (my quilt)

One day while visiting one of my online quilting forums someone posted a pic of her Rapid Fire Hunter’s Star quilt in the same colors. In my mind they looked identical but when I posted a pic of my quilt to show her I realized my mistake. Unfortunately it was too late to correct it.

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I was so disheartened I wouldn’t even use it in my spare bedroom. My mom came over for a visit and fell in love with it so I gave it to her. She didn’t see a mistake but simply a quilt she thought was beautiful and colorful. Looking at the above picture I can appreciate it a little more but I haven’t made another quilt with this pattern because I was very discouraged. The ruler made it easy so I will eventually make another one but I will use a design wall and make sure my blocks are turned correctly next time. I’ve made lots of mistakes in my quilting  journey but this was the worst one.

My 5 Favorite Quilt Patterns

#5 Scrap quilt-

Being a quilter for almost 14 years I have accumulated a huge pile scraps. If I didn’t donate them by the trash bag full my house would be over run and I wouldn’t have anywhere to put them. I have passed them down to thrift stores and new quilters wanting to make a scrap quilt. This quilt is very easy to make and requires no pattern. I simply cut muslin squares 9 1/2” and sew random width strips corner to corner starting in the middle of the square and working out. Some people sew the strips to newspaper and tear it off when done but I like the sturdiness of using a muslin foundation fabric. When the block is finished, I square it up with a 9” square ruler. I usually work on 4 blocks at a time and sew them together when completed. When I have enough for whatever size quilt I want, I sew the 4 patches together and then quilt it. This method allows me to put a gift together quickly and easily plus there’s the added bonus of using up that forever growing pile of scraps!

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#4 Carpenter Star-

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I ordered this book from Amazon years ago and have made quite a few quilts in this pattern. The book has 2 patterns, the Carpenter’s Star and the Broken Star. I have made both but prefer the Carpenter’s star. It goes together quickly and easily and the instructions are great. It comes with printable paste up charts and there are no y-seams.

 

 

 

#3 Walk about pattern-

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I’ve made this pattern so many times that I rarely, if ever, take pictures of the finished quilt anymore. I also barely need to look at the pattern because I have it memorized! This quilt can be chain pieced and also goes together quickly. The patten offers instructions in every size from crib to king.

 

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#2 Keyboard Kaleidoscope-

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This is the quilt that I currently have on my bed. The colorful keyboard border around the center of the quilt makes it pop!

I made this quilt in a class at my local quilt shop, Accent Sewing, in Murrells Inlet, SC. I love the fabrics and haven’t changed out the quilt on my bed since I completed it. That is saying a lot because I used to change the quilt every time I changed my sheets! Now, the only time I use another quilt is if this one is being washed. I alway hang my quilts to dry (inside my house) so it usually takes a couple of days to dry.

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#1 Dresden (Express)-

I guess I am a traditionalist at heart because the Dresden quilt has always been my favorite. This was the 3rd quilt I ever made and my first queen sized quilt. At the time, we were living full time on our motor home and I wanted something pretty to put on our bed. The plates went together surprisingly fast using the Dresden Express ruler.

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My mom loved it so much I made a king size quilt for her bed also.

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mobile pics 172After I finish my current project (3 color bargello) I plan to make one in a king size for my bed. We no longer live on our RV and now have a king bed so the first one I made is too small. Maybe a Dresden quilt will tempt me away from the Kaleidoscope quilt!

 

Roses for Mary Quilt

I have made several embroidered quilts but the first one I made was the Roses for Mary pattern by Jenny Haskins. At the time, I had just bought a new sewing machine with an embroidery module and couldn’t wait to get started.IMG_1385

I signed up for classes with high expectations of getting this quilt on my bed in the near future… boy was I mistaken! The process was very slow, I had to multi-hoop the designs repeatedly and change the thread thousands of times on my single needle machine. It took me over 6 months working on it several hours each day to complete the embroidery. When the embroidery was complete, I used bright batiks that matched the thread for the sashing and borders. For the quilting I decided to echo quilt around the embroidery designs which took about a week to finish.

I finally got it on my bed and I was in love! I purposely walked into my room several times that first day just to look at it. One of those times my dog followed me in and jumped on my bed (something he’s allowed to do). I didn’t realize he had gone outside and gotten his paws dirty. He left a huge, muddy paw print on the edge of the white fabric where he jumped up. I immediately pulled the quilt off of the bed and tried to spot clean it. I have used everything and there is still a small stain on it. I put the quilt away because I didn’t want to chance something like that happening again. A few months later, I decided to try it again on my bed. I bought a baby gate to keep the dog out of my room (there were several other beds he could lay on) and was excited to see it again! Every time I walked into my room I noticed my cat sleeping on the bed (I’m sure you see where this is going…) I thought he looked sweet so I didn’t shoo him off. Later that night, my husband came into the den to inform me that there was cat vomit on our bed. It left a pale yellow stain that also didn’t come out. So, back in the closet it went where it remained for 7 years. I hadn’t seen or thought about this quilt in quite some time and I came across it while packing recently to move.

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My sewing room in the new house has a bare wall that my long arm machine sits on. I decided hang it on the wall behind the machine. The quilt is so long that I had to hang it sideways but at least I can enjoy it now without the fear of my animals doing any more damage to it.

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Maybe one day when our animals have passed (hopefully not for a long, long time), I will try it on my bed again. For now I will just enjoy it on the wall!

Peter Rabbit Cross Stitch Quilt

I was recently asked to finish a cross stitched quilt top and I have to share it because it is so beautiful! The cross stitch blocks were started over 30 years ago when the maker was pregnant with her daughter. After working on it for several years, she put it away but never forgot about it. This past Christmas, after having back surgery, she decided to finish the blocks and have it made into a quilt for her grandson.

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I was very nervous because I have never quilted anything this special before. I cleaned my long arm machine very well and practiced quilting on counted cross stitch fabric to be sure the tension and settings on my machine were correct. I also experimented with a few different threads until I found one that I liked (OESD). I used a low loft 100% cotton batting by Quilter’s Dream and did a free-motion, edge to edge meander leaving the cross stitch designs untouched.

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I cut the binding strips 2 1/4” and hand sewed them to the back of the quilt. I also added a large sleeve because this is going to be a wall hanging.

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For the finishing touch, a monogram was added with the baby’s initials in the bottom right corner. I used the Serif motif in Monogram Wizard Plus and used satin fill stitches because it complimented the cross stitch design very nicely.

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My husband and I decorated our first child’s nursery in Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit 22 years ago. It was done with a Peter Rabbit border and baby blue striped wallpaper. This quilt would have been gorgeous hanging over his crib! Maybe I’ll make one for my first grandchild but the blocks will have to be embroidered with the designs instead of cross stitched because I would never have the patience to finish this!