Monday, April 24, 2017

Powerline #6

I sketched up a few background designs while watching TV the other night.  I had in mind to make a white and light gray background.  So I played around with straight lines, wavy lines, complicated complex lines and ended up with about 20 ideas.



Then I cut up some green construction paper and laid the strips on top of my sketches to see how it looked.  In the end, the most simple background seemed to be right.  All the more complex ones kind of lost their look with the strips on top, so I figured...why go to all that work when it would barely show?  Save those ideas for a future version.

I pulled out all my gray fabrics and took monotone pictures with my cell phone.  The lightest ones looked the best and I narrowed it down to 3 shades.  These were cut into relatively narrow strips varying from 2" to 3".



The white background, which I wanted to predominate, was cut into varying widths as well, from 3" to 5".  The strips were laid out on my design board in a pleasing manner, then sewed and pressed.



I turned to a lesson from a strip piecing class and used it as a jumping off point to design the strip set for this quilt.  I wanted to use some of my green fabrics, and when I pulled them all out and laid them in color waves, I decided to add some of my light turquoise/teal fabrics too.  I knew that I wanted to stay in the light to medium range since I had an idea to offset the color with dark gray and wanted the contrast.

After sewing and pressing the color strip set, I cut it into 6" wide strips and added gray borders.  I have found through the previous 5 powerline quilts that it is easier to sew together the odd pieces, which are on the bias, if I first stabilize the strip sets with a solid piece.  That way I'm not dealing with multiple bias edges, raveling edges, and seams that want to pull apart.



This quilt was a little tricky to piece because of all the horizontal lines.  I first folded the vertical strip in half and marked the background along this line.



In order to make sure it was straight, I used two rulers at a time, then removed one of them to do the cutting.  This left me with the left and right pieces.




 I then did the same kind of marking of the center for the horizontal strips.  After calculating the distance from the center to the seam, I marked and cut it then inserted the horizontal strip between the cut lines.  I did this to both of the left side strips pieces.  In order to make sure the right side would match up, I pinned it in place, matching the horizontal gray lines and matching up the previously sewn horizontal strip sets.


After marking and cutting the background, I inserted both right hand strip sets.  And voila!  It worked out.

Powerline #6 Piecing done
And here it is quilted and faced.

Powerline #6, 47" W x 56" H, by Joanne Adams Roth


I hope you like this more modern summery version.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Powerline #5

I'm been on a roll again.  I still had a few strips left over from my Nancy Crow class in October.  I liked the colors a lot and thought they would look good against a gray background.  I pulled out several of my gray fabrics to give them a test run (and forgot to take a picture to show you!).  But in the end, I picked a slightly tan shade of the gray.

This is one of the quilts that I quickly drew up a couple of weeks ago while watching TV.  I wanted to make a square quilt this time and give the strips an edging of color.



I fell in love with the dark maroon/purple fabric and thought it gave the strips sets a nice pop against the background.

I decided that I really wanted the thread to match the top of this quilt and of course,  I didn't have the right colors.  So, I ordered more thread.  I think I now have thread lust to go along with my fabric lust.

So here it is all quilted and faced.

Powerline #5, 47" W x 49" H, by Joanne Adams Roth
I hope you like it!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Clark County Quilter's Show




Clark County Quilters has an annual quilt show in April, and this was another stunning display of quilts.  It was bigger and better than last year, which was hard to top!

Here are a few pictures of the setting-up stage, some of the quilts, and some of the winners.

I hope you like looking at the show.
Laying out the equipment

adding the drapes
Getting the quilts ready to hang
The quilts are all hung

Hand quilting demonstration

Comfort Quilts display

Raffle Quilt and committees




My friends visiting the show - Chris, Me, Dianne, Lynn, Kathy

Best of Show by Janet Fogg

Best Machine Quilting prize by Terry Knott
Best Applique Award by Audrey Prothero
Blue ribbon for pieced quilt by Linda Padilla
Blue Ribbon for Art-People by Lynn Czaban

Blue Ribbon in Art - Representational by Judith Phelps

Blue Ribbon in Art -People by Wilma Scott
Blue Ribbon in Modern Category by Gerrie Thompson

Blue ribbon won by Virginia O'Donnell

Blue ribbon in theme by Lynn Czaban




Monday, April 3, 2017

Binding - filling it to the edge- when you start with 2-1/2" strips

I like to make sure that my bindings are "full" all the way to the edge.  If you have your quilts judged, this is one of the things that the judges scrutinize as they feel all around the edges of your quilt.   In order to make sure this happens, I sew on the binding a little bit different that most other people.

Here are the steps that I follow for my double French binding.

Step 1
Trim your quilt with 1/2" extra on all edges.  The seam line will be at the 1/4" from the top's edge, but you will have 1/2" extra of batting and backing beyond the top's edge.  Use very large square rulers and your 24" long ruler to keep the edges and corners crisp.



Step 2
Cut the binding 2-1/2" wide  This gives you approximately a 3/8" finished binding.  In my mind, this is the most attractive width on most quilts.  The only time I deviate is on really small wall hangings, where a slightly narrower binding looks good to me.

Step 3
Sew the strips so that the edges are joined on the bias.  This reduced the bulk at the seams.



Step 4
Press the seams open and then press the binding in half lengthwise.



Step 5
Leaving a small tail (2-3") start at one corner.  Pin the binding onto the front, leaving 1/2" from the edge of the binding and putting a pin at 3/4" in from the edge.  Pin the binding on one side only, putting a pin at 3/4" from the ending edge.




Step 6
Sew on this binding, using a 1/4" seam from the edge of the binding, or 3/4" from the edge of the quilt.  Start and stop at the pins with back-stitches.  My walking foot has a little mark at the 1/4", so I line that up with the edge of the batting.  I hope you can see that little mark below.



Continue with step 5 and 6 for all the sides.  Here what to do at the corners.  Fold the binding back on itself, leaving the diagonal to the stitching.


Fold it back to the next side that will be stitched.  Leave 1/8" extra beyond the edge of the binding, or 3/8" from the edge of the quilt.


Pin it in place, leaving that extra 1/2" of batting and backing.



Step 7
Mark and sew the corner seam where you started and ended.  See my previous posts about how to do this.


Trim the excess from this corner after it is sewn.


Step 8
Fold the binding to the FRONT and trim the excess batting and top.  Make sure NOT to cut your binding as you trim away this excess.  Sometimes, I wait and do this by hand as I'm sewing on the binding.  This is the step that insures you have the binding exactly the right size to fill it when its turned to the back.



Step 9
Fold the binding to the back, and hand slip stitch in place, folding the corners as you go.

I hope you use this process and like how your bindings are "Full" too.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Block Contest Entry - A Nest!

Clark County Quilters makes a quilt to raffle off each year.  The process starts a couple of years before it's raffled off and I'm really fond of how it's done.  So I'm going to tell you all about it, then show you the block I made for this year's contest.
Bird Nest block by Joanne Adams Roth


The whole thing starts with a block contest, where participants are usually given some material and instructions on the theme.  Most of the time, the cost for the material is $1, but last year it was 39 cents!  The blocks are revealed at our annual quilt show in April, and the visitors to our show get to vote on their favorite.  The person with the most votes wins and gets a cash award and their block gets made into a guild pin.  After the quilt show, the organizer sews the blocks into a top and gets it quilted.  This quilt then becomes our raffle quilt for the following year.  Tickets are sold over the course of our fiscal year and the proceeds of the raffle go to a local non-profit that we choose each year.  The winner of the raffle of course gets the quilt.   This means that we have 3 raffle quilts going at all times.  The current one was a block contest 2014/2015.  The next one is being made and will become out raffle quilt in July 2017.  And this block will go into the quilt that will be raffled starting in July 2018.

This year, we were given a really cool off white background with a hint of sparkle in it and were told to make a spring themed bird house block, 9" square.  We could also make bird nests and add embellishments, as long as they were soft.

Guess what I decided to do?  A nest, of course.  We weren't supposed to have any raw edges, so I sandwiched the nest materials between two layers of tulle and sewed it all together pretty tightly.  I'm hopeful that it will be accepted.

I added 3 eggs, a bird, and lots of embroidery embellishment.

Here was my sketch for the block.  As you can see, I change things up quite a bit between concept and finished product.



I hope you like it!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Removing stray threads from a quilt

I'm sharing with you a trick that I learned back in my hand quilting days.  It seems like no matter what you do to trim threads before you get a quilt basted, there are stray dark threads that show through on the front of the quilt.  This is a particular problem when the top is white or light colored, and a dark colored thread gets trapped between the top and the batting.  Here's a gray thread from the seam that showed up.



I use the tiniest crochet hook, size 13, 0.85mm.    It is so tiny you can hardly tell that it is a crochet hook.  I've shown you a picture of the tip next to a safety pin that is 1" long.





It fits easily between the threads of the top fabric, and if you scoot it carefully to the thread, you can scoop it up and pull it out.  Here are some pictures showing you how it works.

Insert the crochet hook close to the thread and work it just underneath the thread.


Pull out a little hook of the thread, then pull this little hook of thread until you get a tail, or the whole piece.  You may have to go in a second time to get the last little bit.  If the thread is attached to a seam, go in close to the seam.


I can't remember where I found this crochet hook.  I think it was at a specialty store, not a big box place.  I have used it like crazy to get those pesky little threads out of the quilts.

I hope you can find one and use it on your quilts too.