Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Summer Hiatus 2017

It's happened again!  The summer is upon us and I want to be outside.

Hiking, cycling, gardening, outdoor concerts, camping and traveling.  Too much to do this time of year.  All fun, and all outside.

So, this is my annual summer hiatus.  See you again in the fall!

Smith Rock Misery Ridge hike 2017

Cycling near Culver, OR

Back Yard in late May

Monday, July 3, 2017

Graduation quilts presentation day

I wrote a blog earlier about high school graduation quilts that I make and give to my family members.  This year, we had two graduations, so I'm showing you the two pictures taken at the presentation of the quilts.

This first one is of me and my grandson, Nick DeJarlais.  He graduated from Bellevue High School and will be attending the University of Washington in the fall.  His favorite color is orange.

Nick DeJarlais graduation quilt

The next one is of me and my great niece, Katherine Adams.  She graduated in Sammamish, WA and also will be attending the University of Washington.  Her favorite color is dark green (which is on the back of her quilt).  

Katherine Adams graduation quilt

Monday, June 26, 2017

Washing and blocking a quilt

I almost always wash the quilts that I make as soon as I am done making them.  This blog is to show you how I do it.  (I wrote a previous blog about the products and steps, so this is a bit of a repeat).  I urge you to also do this for several reasons:

1.  If you use a disappearing blue pen to mark the quilting lines., like I do.  This helps to get rid of them completely. Instead of just spritzing the areas that are marked, get the entire quilt wet.

2.  If you use a lot of dissolving products in your applique quilts, like I do.  This includes a dissolving foundation (like Ricky Tims Poly Stable Stuff), school glue, and dissolving thread for basting.  Soaking the quilt is the only way to insure that all of these products are dissolved.

3.  If you use starch, and I don't like to leave it in the completed quilt.

4.  If you like to be able to block your quilts.   Getting them wet helps to be able to get the fibers to relax and stretch a tiny bit.  It also helps to get the quilt flat if you're entering competitions.

5.  The quilt is almost always dragged around from house to house as it is being constructed or finished (especially the binding part).  If you want to get all of the dirt, pet hair, and body lotions removed; maybe even some food or blood; it needs to be washed.

OK, so here are the pictures of the process.

Here is a completed quilt, showing the blue markings and the wonkiness (is that a word?) from the quilting phase.

Fill a tub with just barely lukewarm water and add 1/2 cup of Orvus Paste (horse shampoo).  I buy it in a big jug from the farm supply stores and it last me about 4-5 years.  I also toss in a color catcher.

Then I dunk in the quilt and swish it around gently with my hands.  If the water starts turning color, I don't let it sit for too long, because this could be fugitive dye.  I let the water out, and refill the tub in that case.  If the water is milky or gray looking, this is OK.  It's probably the dissolving products.

Let the quilt soak for 10-15 minutes.  Then let the water out and gently squeeze the quilt.  Fill the tub and rinse the quilt a couple of times.  Do this until the water is running clear and the soap is clearly out of the quilt.

Gently squeeze excess water from the quilt.  Remove the quilt gently and put it into a plastic laundry basket.  Put the quilt into a washing machine and run ONLY the spin cycle.  Put the quilt into the dryer and on air or very low setting, dry it for 5-10 minutes until the quilt is still damp, but not sopping wet.

Lay down a sheet on the floor, then the quilt (smoothing it out as you go), then another sheet.   You can start to square up the corners and even out the sides now, but don't do too much yet.  Put some fans on the quilt and air dry for a couple of hours.  Jamie Wallen suggests that you purchase some indoor/outdoor carpet and lay the quilt and sheet on top of this.  Let this sit flat until the quilt is nearly dry.

Remove the top sheet and pin the quilt so that it is square and has even sides.  You may need to smooth out the quilt or pull gently on the corners or the sides to get this into shape.  Remember that knitters and crocheters have used this blocking technique for years.  It is an important last step to get a nice flat and square quilt.  Some people will put something large on top (like their large cutting mats) to help flatten out the quilt.

Use large rulers to get the corners square

Use T-Pins to pin the quilt to the carpet
If there is a gap on the sides, gently pull and pin the quilt until it lies even with the edges of the rulers.  I put 2 end to end, or even 3 (since I have 3 large rulers and a couple of large square rulers).

See the gap?

Fix the gap

Let the quilt dry completely as it is laying flat.

Well, that's it.

I hope you will wash your quilts and try blocking them too.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Painted Flower Completed

I wrote an earlier blog about how fun it was to take a class from Susan Brubaker-Knapp.  She taught her painting on fabric technique at Asilomar this spring.  The flower that I chose to paint was from a picture taken by my friend, Rachael Brake.

In an earlier post, I showed the painting part.  Now I'm showing you the finished piece.

I quilted it in several colors of thread.  I did rocks and gravel in the gravel background, leaves in the leave background, and very little stitching in the flower so as not to cover up the painting.

Rachael's flower by Joanne Roth

close up of gravel quilting

close up of leaf quilting

I hope you like it!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Modern Chic and Jazzy, Part Two

I wrote a previous blog about sewing the top for this fun and modern quilt.  This one is about the quilting.

I played around with a couple of different ideas for the quilting.  At one point, I thought that I might do feathers.  At another point, I thought that I would do a lot of circles and other fun stitches.  In the end, I went with the more modern approach, and I ending up liking it a lot.

The quilting templates that I bought from Jamie Wallen a make it so easy make nice small circles.

Since I made this quilt for our charity auction, I was not being that careful in the quilting.  I don't know if this is a bad thing or a good thing, because once I give myself the license to NOT worry about it being judged, it gets progressively sloppier and sloppier.  But sometimes, it's nice to give yourself a little more artistic freedom and go for the fun and not for the perfection.  Don't you think so too?

So here it is all complete, with a close up to show you the quilting.

Modern Chic and Jazzy by Joanne Roth

Close up of quilting

I hope you like it!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Binding Services

I've offered binding services to raise money for the auction for Clark County Quilters for a couple of years in a row now.  I wrote a blog about the scalloped edge quilt that I bound last year.  This year I finished a quilt that is large, but had nice straight edges.

The person that bid on the services made a quilt for a friend's son who is undergoing cancer treatment in Texas.  What a special gift this person made, and what a special person she is.  I have run across so many generous and giving people in all the years I have been quilting.  Yet it always amazes me when I hear the stories.  Do you go to your local quilt guild meetings and hear the same kind of stories? I bet you do.  And if you aren't a member of a local quilt guild, why not?  Get out there and absorb some of the kindness in this world.

While I worked on the binding for this quilt, I vibrated my good thoughts for this unknown son.

Quilt by Monique Clark of Portland

I hope you like the quilt.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Modern Quilt - Chic and Jazzy Pattern - Part One

I have so much fun making modern quilts.  One company, Sew Kind of Wonderful,  has been putting out patterns to go along with their tools and I've made my second pattern now.   The pattern name for this one is called, "Chic and Jazzy".  The pattern instructions call for making 12 blocks and sewing them in a strong vertical and horizontal setting.  But I thought that I would like it better as a block set on point, so that's what I did.  Here are the changes that I made.

First, I had to make 13 blocks instead of 12.  Second, I changed the sashing from 6" to 4" so that there would be less white space, but still plenty of room for fancy quilting.

Original pattern

My design idea

I like lime green - have I told you that yet?  I bet I have.  I also like turquoise and teal.  So for this quilt, I used the green in place of the gray called for in the pattern, and used different fabrics for the centers and the surroundings for each block.  I have a lot of lime green fabrics.  Who knew how much, just a lot!  I also have a lot of turquoise and teal.  Yes, many piles reside in my stash.

So fast forward.  In order to do an on-point setting, I had to calculate the size of the setting triangles for the edges.  Since I had 12" blocks and 4" sashing, this was an easy calculation = 16".  I drafted a pattern on freezer paper that was 16" on each edge.  This was placed on the white fabric so that the long edge was on the grain line lined up with the selvage edges.  Then I folded this pattern in half, and cut another pattern for the corner triangles.  Those were placed on the white fabric so that the long edge was on the diagonal.  Paying attention to the grain line is important to make sure the outside edges are on grain when the top is completely sewn.

Pattern piece cut from freezer paper

I always over-cut the setting triangles so that the quilt can be squared up in the end.  In order to get the right sized triangle to fit, I marked the 16" from the corners, and made sure this lined up with the edges of the blocks.

Over-sized triangles for the edges

The top ended up measuring 60"x 60".  Here it is almost done sewing.  This picture shows how you sew the rows to get the on-point setting.  It's sewn into diagonal rows.  Then the rows are sewn together.

Top almost sewn together

Top all sewn, waiting to be quilted
 I plan to use the green for the binding, and do the quilting with heavy batting so that it'll pop.

I hope you like it so far.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Binding a quilt that has been trimmed even with the edge of the top

My previous post showed you what I do to maintain full binding when I start with an untrimmed quilt.

Sometimes, I sew on binding for our charity group or for a friend.  In those cases, the quilt usually comes to me already trimmed.  And most of the time, it is trimmed even with the edge of the top, leaving only 1/4" seam allowance.

Since most binding is cut at 2-1/2", which gives a 3/8" finished binding, the 1/4" seam WILL NOT fill the binding.  There will be a little bit of space with nothing inside.

To fix this and still end up with a full binding, I sew a 3/8" seam.  Start the first end 3/8" from the edge, and pin the binding even with the edge of the quilt.

Sew with a 3/8" seam.  I eye 1/8" outside my 1/4"mark on the walking foot because I can't see the 3/8" mark on my sole plate while I'm sewing this seam.

When you fold the corners, place the fold even with the edge.

Keep sewing all side, leaving a tail at the end.  Sew a corner per my previous post.

You don't need to trim anything off after you've sewn on the binding.  It will be FULL with the 3/8" seam allowance.

I hope you use this technique the next time you add binding to a quilt that has been trimmed even with the edge of the top.  Yes, you will lose 1/8" of the top, which may end up cutting off the points of some blocks.  But most of the time, there is a solid piece of border fabric on the outer edges, so it won't affect the look of the quilt at all.

May all of your bindings be FULL.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Just serging away the day

I have been sewing nearly all of my life and I have finally bought a serger.  So I'm learning how to use a new machine.  That's good for my brain, don't you think?

My friends advised me to go with a Baby Lock serger, and to make sure and get one of the newer models with the automatic threading and the ability to do a cover stitch.  So I sold some old diamond rings that were sitting in my safe, and splurged.

Here is my new serger!  Its the Evolution, which can sew just about everything and hold eight spools of thread.

So far, I've taken one beginning class and have watched a ton of YouTube videos.  What did we ever do before YouTube.  And a huge shout out to those of you that do videos!

I dived right in and pegged an old pair of yoga pants (so that they're not the old fashioned bell bottoms), made two pairs of legging/pants, and have made two knit tops.  

I'm having so much fun.  I don't know why I waited so long to get one!  Well, maybe it's all the quilts that are running through my head that keep me more interested in making quilts than in making clothes. And one more toy.....

I hope you enjoy learning new things too.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Quick technique for quilt hanging sleeve

I learned a new quick technique from a quilting friend and I thought that I would pass it along to you!

Most quilt shows call for a 4" hanging sleeve, and I've heard that some are calling for a 4-1/2" sleeve now.  Wow.  In order to make the quilt hang nicely, the sleeve needs to have more space on the outer (or back) edge and less up against the quilt itself.

My friend told us to cut the sleeve at 9" wide and the length needed for your quilt.  Then press this is half lengthwise.

Open it back up, then press both sides to the center.

Put these two raw edges together and sew a 1/4" seam.  (in the picture below, you can see that I sewed the seams on the edges first, since these are easier to sew when the sleeve is flat).

Press this seam to one side carefully, so that you keep the previously pressed edges.

Now when you put this on the back of your quilt, you will automatically have two pressed sides to sew onto the quilt.  The beauty of this technique is that you will also automatically have more space left for the slat.

Hope you like this technique too!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Corner binding tool - update

I wrote a blog about my favorite corner binding tool, called the "Corner Mark-It " on March 14, 2016.  You can find it here:  binding blog on March 14.  I have told so many people about this tool, and unfortunately, it had been taken out of production, so was not available.

One of my friends has sleuthed out a new tool very similar and showed it to me this week.  Its called the "The Binding Thingy ".  She found it on line at Annie's Craft Store.  They have a great set of pictures on how to use it and there is also one on YouTube.  Here is a picture of it:

So go and read my earlier blog about how to use this device and look at the new videos and pictures on the internet.  Happy binding at all of your corners!

Empty Spools class with Susan Brubaker-Knapp

I have been wanting to take a class in painting on fabric, and the expert is Susan Brubaker-Knapp.  One of my friends mentioned that she was going to Asilomar to take classes and that several other people from my guild were heading that way in April 2017.  So I jumped at the chance to take this week long class and have some fun traveling with my local quilting friends.

I didn't think too much ahead about where Asilomar was and how long it would take to get there.  But a few weeks ahead of time, my husband asked me where it was, so I looked it up.  Wow, I discovered that it's a long ways away and 4 days of travel R/T is what it took to get there.

I also started looking at the supply list and realized that I need to get my rear in gear and take and print the pictures and match thread to what I think I wanted to paint.  Yikes!  One of my friends takes fantastic up close pictures of flowers in her yard.  I asked her if I could use one of her images and she said yes!  So here is the one that I chose to paint in the class.

Photo by Rachael Brake
The class decided that the white tips on the flower petal should be "up", so I painted it that way.  The technique is super easy.  Well, easy when the teacher is in the room with you for 5 days!  You enlarge the photo to the size you want to paint, trace it onto tracing paper, trace the design onto PFD (prepared for dying) fabric, then just mix up your paints and paint the traced areas.  Add a little thread stitching, and that's it.  So here are some pictures at the class and at the retreat center.

Paints all mixed

Photo on bottom; painted piece on top
Here is my shot with Susan.

Susan Brubaker Knapp and Joanne Adams Roth

Here are some pictures of my friend's pieces.

Cat by Wilma Scott

Bird by Wilma Scott

And here are some pictures of the beach at Asilomar and my friends relaxing in the lodge.

Beach at Asilomar

Sharry, Margie, Audry and Wilma

Flowers from Asilomar

I just couldn't resist sharing pictures of all the flowers that were blooming at Asilomar.  We've been drenched this year in Washington, and some are calling our area "The Pacific NorthWET".  Our flowers and blooms are a month late.  So when I went to Asilomar, which is just outside of Monterrey, California, I was knocked over by all of the color.  Here are some pictures taken on my daily walks.  Enjoy!