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Archive for the tag “Amish”

The Schoolhouse Quilt is back!!

I was lucky enough to get a call from my quilter on friday, she said my Schoolhouse quilt was complete!  Yeah, me!!  I picked it up at lunch and brought it home with me, full of promise for getting it bound and hanging on the wall.  Alas, It was not to be as I was still on-call for work and had a VERY busy weekend.  I did however manage to finish binding three of the sides and with only one side left and me not being on-call anymore I’m certain I can get it completed tonight.

 

I really enjoyed making this one and can hardly wait to get it hung.  Here’s another picture of it close-up.

Eat your Vegetables

Work has been very tough on my schedule lately, but I’m back to writing again and have accomplished a lot in the last few days.  I’ve wanted to start… okay, I’ve been dying to start a couple of new queen size quilts that I’ve already bought the fabric for.  After telling Kay about this, she not so politely said that I really needed to finish my other projects before starting on new ones.

 

Let’s take stock… I finished my Arbor Lane quilt and even washed it!  I needed to deconstruct my “Spools and Dreams” mini and then sew it all back together.  I needed to start and finish the hand quilting on the Amish mini quilt and then bind it.  I have another Sage Garden quilt that needs to go out to the long arm quilter after I sew the sashing on it and get the backing sewn together.  But what I really wanted to do was to start the two new quilts that I had in mind.

My wife’s response was a little like “Eat your vegetables and then you can have desert”.  Well, as much as I hated to admit it, she is right.  With all of those unfinished projects hanging over my head, I really needed to finish them before I started my new projects.  I’m eating my veggies now in anticipation of desert.

Here’s the “Spools and Dreams” mini with the backing fabric I chose…

Your Opinion Matters

Okay, so I took the night off… sort of.  I have a couple unfinished projects, or more correctly projects that were started and went horribly wrong so I stopped where I was at.  I had finished the nursery blanket but havent cut the batting for it yet.  I cut out all the white squares for a beautiful blue and white quilt and they are languishing in the closet right now while we talked about our next weekender quilt.

So last night I watched television while doing nothing.  I actually felt a little out-of-place and guilty knowing I could have been hand quilting my Amish mini.  Have you ever felt guilty for taking a break?  I must admit my mind has been on work a lot lately with quite a few projects on my plate.  We also have the 4th of July holiday coming up which I have off and my wife is working.

Send me your encouragement and let me know which project I should finish first:

Re-sew the messed up mini, hand quilt the Amish mini, piece the blue quilt, or start a new “quick quilt”.  I’d be really interested to have your opinions.

Move Day 1

Well…  the movers didn’t show up yesterday which would normally be a bad thing, however I ended up working late anyway on a project that was supposed to take one hour (read noon until 1pm).  The movers called and said they were delayed at another site and wouldn’t be able to make it until tomorrow (which would be today) and it actually worked out well since I would be at work until almost 7pm!!

My wife had done all the preliminary work of getting the storage facility to clear out the house and boxed everything up that would be going to the storage facility.  She even with our daughters help, made a trip to storage after loading both cars up.

I stopped off on the way home and brought dinner which we ate and then relaxed.  So, no work was done last night but I’ll be posting pics tonight or tomorrow of the before and after.  Speaking of pictures…  Here is one of the completed quilt top for my Amish Quilt!!  I’m so excited to be quilting this one myself…

Thimbles and Batting

Have you ever wanted to know which product to use only to go through the process of searching and only have a headache and more confusion for your trouble??  When I first started quilting and figured out how to piece my quilt together through trial and error I was finally ready to put the sandwich together.  Which batting to use?  I went down to the store to find myself inundated with cotton, polyester, cotton/poly, and wool.  Which would be best?  I couldn’t find an answer, not even after I searched extensively online.  No one just came out and said, “this is my favorite!”.  So for anyone searching out there, here’s my opinion for what it’s worth…

Warm and Natural 100% cotton batting is the ONLY batting I have used on any of my quilts.  Another look into what constitutes GOOD batting makes my head spin.  Bearding, loft, composition, and drape… for me it couldn’t be more confusing.  When I start to search this topic through numerous hops on the web, after 2 – 3 pages of information the final answer I read about is they don’t have a straight answer.  Well, polyester is used for some wall-hangings, but is harder with a higher loft to quilt…  blah, blah, blah…

Warm and Natural 100% Cotton

Usually if someone has asked a question or does a web search, they have a specific need in mind.  The bulk of what I make are quilts ranging in size from 12” x 12” up to a King size  of 100” x 120”.  When I ask what batting should I use I not looking for a discourse in batting or a run-thru on the thermal-dynamics of polyester vs. cotton vs. cotton/poly blend.  I’m asking about a personal preference, what would you use if this was a quilt you were making for a family member and why would you select that particular batting.

Microsafe Traditional Loft Polyester

I have noticed that there is far fluffier (read “more loft”) batting out there, but MY personal preference is warm and natural 100% cotton because of the weight and feel of it and it may be kind of goofy, but it says natural (no dyes).  I’ve made enough quilts now that I am relatively sure it will survive my grandchildren tussling and still keep them warm and that’s good enough for me.

Mountain Mist Traditional Loft Polyester

Now on to thimbles…

I have to qualify my remarks first.  I’m a guy and my hands are on the large size, so when picking out a thimble I’m only trying out large ones.  So far I’ve tried out thimbles from Dritz, Clover, and Pons & Foster.  I’ll give you my impression of each one.

I started out using Fons & Porter brass thimble for my hand quilting and after a while was very pleased with the result.  The third day of use however, left me with a green thumb… which is great for gardening, but not so nice when dealing with fabric.

I looked around for an equivalent thimble that kept my finger its natural color and came across the Dritz thimble.  This thimble was fantastic and I did a lot of work with it on my Amish swap quilt.  Alas… after so much use it was cutting into my cuticle on the back side.  I’m not sure if this was due to bad technique, sizing of the thimble, or combination of both.  There was enough pain though to prompt my searching for another.

Enter the Clover thimble, soft supple leather and a steel coin to protect the finger.  This is the MOST comfortable thimble that I’ve used and still use when I want to give my finger a break from the Drizt, but it had a couple of disadvantages for me.  The coin is located on the front of the finger and when I’m using the rocking motion for quilting, I can get more stitches per inch if it’s on the top of my finger.  The other issue is that at times the needle head will get wedged between the leather and the coin.  That can be real annoying when you are on a roll.

The last thimble I’ve purchased seamed like a good idea, it just didn’t work for me though.  The top is solid and the body is elastic.  It stays glued to my finger without any issue and protect it as well… but without the stiffness of the solid thimble I, once again, had trouble with not enough stitches at a time.

So for now i use a combination of the two thimbles, the dritz with its solid performance until my finger hurts, then the soft leather clover to ease the pain.

That is all I have to say on the subjects of batting and thimbles.  I would LOVE to hear everybody’s preferences and opinions.

Great Book

I originally got this link from http://lazygalquilting.blogspot.com/ and it’s about a book that she suggested and I did end up ordering. If you’re interested in Amish quilts and the history behind them then this book is fantastic.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/B0058M82KA/ref=dp_image_z_0?ie=UTF8&n=283155&s=books

The Schoolhouse blocks are finished!!

I’ve said before that I work in IT (Information Technology), what that basically means is I sit at a desk and am on the computer a LOT… So yesterday, I was thinking about getting home from work and being able to do more work on the Schoolhouse quilt. One of my commitments however, is to get to the gym at least 3 times a week because, let’s be honest… I am NOT getting enough exercise at work! Some weeks I make it to the gym three times and sometimes just once.

Even though I’m practically desperate to finish those Schoolhouse blocks, I knew it was time for me to get myself to the gym. When I arrived home from work, I had about 30 minutes until my wife would get home as well and change into my workout outfit so we could go to the gym. I quickly changed and then started sewing!! I imagine it was a funny sight when my wife saw her husband in shorts and running shoes on my Viking Sapphire furiously trying to get a little bit more sewing completed before we left. She did laugh by the way.

By the time we arrived back at the house, it was 7:30pm and we had a very nice dinner that we brought home. After dinner I proceeded to spend the next 2 ½ hours getting my blocks put together, ironed, and trimmed. I’m very happy with how they turned out and when I looked at the clock and saw that it was past 10pm I knew that I’d accomplished everything I had wanted. I know the blocks are not perfect, I haven’t quite got the ¼” seam down as much as I’d like to think, but I’m proud nonetheless at how well this quilt is coming together. I still have to sew the sashing on to bring the blocks together and then put on the border. What color should I use for the backing??? I still haven’t decided and would really like some input.

Tonight and tomorrow, I’ll be working on the sampler quilt with my wife to finish the last two blocks and start sewing that quilt top together. I’ll post photos of that tomorrow. I will finish the Schoolhouse quilt top this weekend and hopefully come up with an idea of what to do to the backing by then as well.

School House Quilt

Its been a long time in the making but when it’s important, a person makes time.

For the past four months, I have been wanted to make an Amish inspired Schoolhouse quilt that I saw in a book.  I’ve almost been obsessed with making this quilt!  I AM a quilt book junkie, but that is a story for another time.  We were right in the middle of our inspired and unplanned quilt sampler and one of the blocks I made for it was a Schoolhouse block.  The next thing my wife knew, I was pulling out my purple and black fabrics to start cutting out the pieces for my schoolhouse quilt.

At times I have to work very odd hours, it’s not too often but yesterday I was up working at 3:30am.  I work in the IT field and there are a lot of long pauses between when I have to do something.  Yesterday morning was no exception, what was the exception was that I continued to cut pieces for my new quilt in between doing what I needed to.  By the time 7am rolled around, I had finished all of the paper piecing and the cut out all of the purple pieces.

Later on that day I was able to start the sewing (and Ironing) process that would bring order to the mess of strips I had positioned all over the front room…  my wife, still working on our sampler quilt was in the midst of her last two and most difficult blocks.  She was really wonderful about me going off the reservation for the day however and only asked one time if I was going to resume my work on the sampler quilt sometime this week.  I have promised her that I will but want to get the Schoolhouse blocks sewn up first.  I have only two blocks to go for our sampler quilt and we can start the process of sewing it all together.

I think it’s important to DO when inspiration strikes and never pass up an opportunity to have another project in the works.  It might make me feel overwhelmed at times, but after it’s all accomplished, I just feel amazed.

Strips and bits already put together.

Roof under construction

Assembly line for bottom front of school house.

Quilt swap

I’ve been involved with two quilt swaps now and wanted to do much better this second time around than the first.

This is a picture of the first one I made for the quilt swap and unfortunately made last place.

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I decided to put a lot more effort into the next one and had been reading about Amish quilts, the colors, the quilting, and the styles. It was a lot more effort to put it together.

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