Monday, May 21, 2018

Once in a Blue Moon - Part Six - FINAL

This is part six of the blogs about making my "Once in a Blue Moon" quilt.

It covers the embroidery and beading.

I picked out embroidery floss that matched the colors of the cats and embroidered the whiskers on the cats.  Where the cat appears to be facing right or left, I lengthened the whiskers on the facing side and shortened them on the back side (of the head of the cat).

Whisker detail

My beads are mostly seed beads and a few crystals that I already had.  I pulled out my drawing of the constellations and added a few of the crystals where I wanted the viewer to be able to identify them.  Then I added beads willy nilly to give the quilt some sparkle.  They are barely noticeable.  Should have done hot fix crystals.

This quilt took quite a bit of time to make and lots of thinking through the process of the LED lights.  That is so good for my brain, and would be for yours too, to try something new.  It keeps the neurons firing and connected so that as I keep aging, I don't loose my capability to think.  (I know that is not even close to any of the technical terms, but you get my drift).

Moon Gazing by Joanne Adams Roth 2017

Step outside your box, push yourself to be a little uncomfortable, try something new, make new friends, see new places, be inspired by art..... it's all good.  Don't you think so too?

Monday, May 14, 2018

Once in a Blue Moon - Part Five

This is part five of the blog series about making "Once in a Blue Moon" quilt with LED battery operated lights.

OK, so I had the quilt done.  I had the extended sleeve with the swimming noodles done.  The final step was to really figure out how the quilt would hang in the show with the hanging devices used by our quilt guild.

We use lanyards with relatively flat curtain rods to hang the quilts from the top pole.  The only thing that goes through the sleeve is the relatively flat curtain rods.  There is a black curtain that hangs off the top cross piece, so the quilts are not hanging against a hard flat wall.  If I was designing the hanging apparatus for my home, I would use a stiff board through the sleeve and staple the extended sleeve to the back of the board.  This would insure that the quilt itself was sticking out from the wall enough so that the battery packs would not distort the top.  So, the key was to somehow replicate this with the noodle and the sleeve.

Gosh, I love having this type of problem to think through.  It really appeals to my engineering brain (did I ever tell you all that I have a mechanical engineering degree?).  On the other hand, the creative side of my brain does NOT let me sleep when there is a design element that needs to be resolved.  So after several nights of not being able to go to sleep and/or waking up and not being able to turn off my brain, I came up just the perfect idea.

I am going to support the quilt with a hanging sleeve that is in sections.  And I'm going to support the extended sleeve with smaller hanging sleeves that will fit in between the ones that the quilt is handing on. Close to loops actually.  I'm going to position the top noodle so that it hangs on the back of it's hanging loops and holds the top of the quilt out from curtain.  Well, that's the idea anyway.  Here's my sketch of the idea.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Once in a Blue Moon - Part Four

This is the 4th part of the blog about making the "Once in a Blue Moon" quilt with battery operated LED lights.

After the quilting was complete and the binding was added, I turned my attention to the mounting device for the battery packs.  When they were merely pinned to the back of the quilt, they bulged out and left the quilt looking pretty lumpy.

I showed the quilt to some of my friends, and they agreed with my husband, that I needed to have a separate piece of material hanging from the top of the quilt that would hold the battery packs.  I tossed their ideas around a bit and came up with a solution using swimming noodles and fabric with a couple of casings sewn in it.  The swimming noodle was cut lengthwise down the middle so that I had two pieces that were similar in depth to the battery packs.

I sewed a casing a the top and slid the noodle inside.  Then I pinned it to the back of the quilt and loosely pinned the second half of the noddle closer to the bottom, making sure that they battery packs would end up being right underneath the second noodle, and near the spot where they come out through the back of the quilt.    This is not a false back, which would have disqualified it from bring judged at our show.  It is merely part of the hanging sleeve, with an extended backside.

Here are some pictures showing the finished extended sleeve.  The quilt will hang on the flat side of the noodle, while this extended sleeve will hang off the rounded part of the noodle, leaving that nice gap between the two.  Well, that's how it supposed to work, anyway.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Once in a Blue Moon - Part Three

This is the 3rd part of the blog about making the "Once in a Blue Moon" quilt with battery operated LED lights.

I made pouches for the battery packs by quilting some of the blue sky material then sewing it up into a little bag open at the top and with a little strap.  I left extra so that I could stitch these bags onto something that would be on the back of the quilt; perhaps even the back itself.

Then I cut the backing into 2 pieces and hemmed each overlapping edge.  I positioned these to overlap at the point where I wanted the electric wires to come out of the back and into the pouches.  A small slit was made in the batting to get the wires through to the back as well.

 Slow and steady with fingers crossed, while carefully looking at the silver hand stitches,  I quilted the piece, making sure not to sew over the top of the wires.  The battery packs got in the way a little bit, but no enough to make it impossible to quilt the piece.  I'm glad I have a sit down quilting machine so that it enabled me to maneuver the battery packs.

Staying away from the wires

Maneuvering the battery packs

Close up of quilting 

I wanted to be able to turn the lights on and off from the bottom of the quilt and that's why I ran the lights towards the bottom.  They didn't quite reach, though, because there was only 19" from the last light to the battery box.  In hindsight, I should have put the boxes at the top of the quilt, and run the wires upwards instead of downwards.  This would have made the mounting of the boxes much easier.  However, it would have required a ladder to get the lights turned on and off once the quilt was hung at the quilt show.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Once in a Blue Moon - Part Two

This is the 2nd part of the blog about making the "Once in a Blue Moon" quilt with battery operated LED lights.

I glue basted the edges of the cats and mouse and did a little bit of highlighting with white paint.  I'm not sure that the white will show in the finished piece, but I felt that it gave the cats a look of moon glow.  Glue has become one of my best friends for applique.  This makes the edge turning so quick and it's easy to machine applique through the dried glue.

I added some batting and then machine appliqued the cats and mouse, and added the moon without the extra layer of batting.

The tricky part of adding the lights was next.   I knew generally where to run the lights for optimum effect.  To make sure that I placed the lights correctly, I traced over the top onto freezer paper.  What if the lights looked like constellations,?  Sounded good.  They were sketched onto the freezer paper.  Then the lights got taped to the freezer paper to hold them in place.  This part really helped to keep the wires flattened so that I could sew them into place.

A layer of tulle was laid on top of the lights and hand sewn to all of the wires.  When it was all sewn, I removed the freezer paper and tape.  Then the whole thing got flipped over onto the back of the quilt top and a second layer of tulle was placed on top of that.  Then I hand stitched the tulle and lighting layer to the back of the top with very fine silver thread.  This was to enable me to see where the lights were while quilting so as not to sew over the top of the electric cable or the lights themselves.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Once in a Blue Moon - Part One

Our quilt guild has picked a theme for next year's show, and it is "Once in a Blue Moon".  I always love to work on quilts for challenges and themes.  It's fun to think of something creative that you may not ever make otherwise.  Is that true for you too?

I started gathering ideas for a quilt with a blue moon and/or with blue fabric by looking on Pinterest and the internet.  Some pretty good ideas percolated.  Then I found (with the help of a friend) some really cool blue and white fabric with phases of the moon on it.  I bought 2 yards for the back of the quilt.   I found some blue velvet on our free table and some blue selvage at a quilt store.

And then I remembered a feeling I had when my husband and I laid on top of a picnic table at a campground and gazed at the stars.    Awesome was how it felt.  The universe is so vast and we're just a tiny spec.  There's so many stars up there!  I don't often lay out flat and look up at the stars... do you?  It only happens once in a blue moon for me.  Especially since I'm afraid of the dark and you can't get me out there very often, or for very long.  Anyway, this became my inspiration for this quilt.

I sketched up a few ideas of a couple looking up at the stars, but frankly, people laying down didn't look all that great; standing up was much more effective.  Then I thought about something more playful and ended up designing a quilt with cats (and one mouse!) looking up at the stars.

Genius ideas sometimes surprise me!  No, I'm not saying I'm a genius.  I'm saying that something genius moves through me from the universe.  Doesn't that happen to you too sometimes?  What if I was able to use battery operated LED lights and really bring this piece to life?  I went to my local craft store and bought 3 strands of blue lights, for a total of 90 tiny LED lights.  The lights don't emit any heat so that should be OK.  These strands are on for 6 hours and off for 18 hours - perfect for a quilt show!  I decided that I would attach the lights on the back of the top fabric only, and devise a slot for the battery pack to stick out of the backing fabric and sit in its own pouch on the lower back of the quilt.  Here is a sketch of my idea:

I drew up 5 cats that were slightly different and one little mouse.  Then I went through my stash and found some fun and bright prints.  I had some hand dyed dark blue fabric in my stash too, but it was only one yard and I needed closer to 1-1/2 yards.  Fabric Depot is so close that when I get an idea of what I want for the background, I can run down to Portland and search for just the right piece.  I found it in the Christmas section.  Dark blue, mottled, with dots of white and gold.  Nice.  I had just the right grunge white fabric for the moon in my stash and also the hand dyed orange fabric for the wall.

Here is a picture of the fabrics pinned to the background and the cats roughly cut out.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Clark County Quilters annual quilt show - April, 2018

Clark County Quilters held their annual quilt show at the Clark County Event Center in April 2018.  I love to work behind the scenes and be at the show while it is running.  It is so fun to see my friends, and drool over all of the wonderful quilts made by talented quilters in our guild.

Here are some of the winners this year:

BEST OF SHOW, "For Everything There is a Season..." by Bonnie Keller

"Blue Mooo-n" by Audrey Prothero

"A Bright Idea" by Lynn Czaban

"Red Tide" by Bonnie Keller

"Letters from Durban" by Audrey Prothero and Wilma Scott

"Out of Africa" by DeAnn Perigo
"My Happy Dance" by Shelly O'Brien

"Star Pluvium" by Mary Kay Price

"Boistfort Valley"by Bonnie Keller

"Sushi III" by Mary Key Price

"Circle Games" by Linda Burrell

"Navajo Weaving" by Jean Seele
"Midnight at the Oasis" by Linda Padilla

"Gemstones" by Ada Levins

"Passion and Whimsy" by Rosanne Hatfield

"Christmas Sampler" by Arden Shelton

"Mamas on a Mission" by Ada Levins

"The Albatross around my Neck" by Deena Morgan

"Baltimore Halloween" by Christy Hoffmann

"Finding the Light II" by Hedda Wright

"Believe in Yourself" by Nancy Tubbs
"Chickens" by Terry Knott

"Rue" by Terry Knott