Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Rock and Roll All Night

As promised, I am using this space to share completed custom orders.
Most of my more regular musings can now be found on Facebook and Instagram-- please join me!

Anyway, I just completed a custom T-shirt quilt out of an amazing collection of shirts:

Many of these shirts date back 30 years or more.  The oldest one with a date on it is from 1984.

Most of them are from rock concerts by iconic artists, including:  Elton John (twice!), Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, Fleetwood Mac, Counting Crows, Taj Mahal, Marshall Tucker Band, George Jones, James Taylor, the Eagles, Robert Plant (also twice), Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Petty.  There are also a few non-musical shirts from art shows, car shows and other personal events.

The biggest challenge for this project ended up being preserving the integrity of the designs (some of which are really iconic) while fitting them into the confines of a queen size quilt.  I mean, what are you going to do:  cut Tina off at the hips to achieve a standard 15" block?  I DON'T THINK SO. 

There's not a lot of additional fabric on the front of the quilt since I had a large number of t shirts to use but I did have a little room for a few fun guitar fabrics that I already had in my stash.

I love using extra wide 108" fabric for the back of a large quilt-- having a one-piece back just makes basting and quilting so much easier.  The cheerful magenta and white print is available here.  The binding is solid black fabric.

I did an all-over stipple quilting using a medium gray thread which blended nicely into both the white and black shirts (and everything in between!).  I used lightweight Quilter's Dream batting and, of course, my HQ Sweet 16 machine for the quilting.

I hope it looks as good in my customer's bedroom as it does in mine!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Oh Baby

My latest custom quilt was an exercise in how to make a random pile of fabric go together.

The customer had photographed her newborn baby for the first year of her life using 12 different fabrics, one fabric each month.

Something like this (photo courtesy of Pinterest):

 monthly photo idea - different fabrics

Well, her daughter is now about 1 1/2 years old and she was wondering what to do with the 12 yards (!) of fabric left over from the photo sessions.  Luckily all of the fabrics were quilting cottons that she had bought at Joann's-- with one exception:  the lemon print with the blue background is flannel. (Still completely usable)

I love combining bright colors with charcoal gray so that was my suggestion to bring everything together.
The applique flowers weren't part of my original design idea but I think they add just the right touch.

This is a lap size quilt so there was LOTS of fabric left over, plenty to do a pieced back.

I love scrap quilts so this was a really fun project!

Now on to other business:

I've been noticing recently that Instagram Is The New Blog.  I've tried it and have to say I agree.  It's a much more practical medium for sharing tidbits of information, plus it's totally portable as it is a phone-only application.  So it goes anywhere and I can use it anytime.  So I think I will be migrating most of my online communication to Instagram and using this space to share custom orders and other special projects.  I  hope you'll join me!

One last thing:  a little taste of my recent vacation.  I went BY MYSELF to Venice in June.  Because I wanted to.  It was great.

The Grand Canal

Rialto Bridge

Burano Island

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Neutral New Year

I started the new year off with some custom quilting.

My quilting friend Jean had made a quilt top and asked me to quilt it for her.

We grabbed a picture of it before basting.
It's a symphony of neutrals!

And it's BIG.  A king sized quilt measuring 92 x 104".
I understood why she wouldn't want to take on a quilt that size on her domestic machine.

Even on the Sweet 16 managing a quilt this size is really challenging.  I kept the quilting simple with long diagonal lines that show off the geometric pattern of the blocks.

Something that doesn't show up well in the pictures is the fact that many of these fabrics are metallic--Jean never met a gold fabric she didn't like!  So even though it's all neutrals, the quilt has a gorgeous subtle shimmer to it that's really spectacular.

This is the largest quilt I've finished on the Sweet 16-- it's just a few inches larger than my Scrappy Trip-Around that I made in 2013.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The 2 Grandmas

My latest custom order involves one granddaughter's baby clothes made into quilts for both of her grandmothers.

These custom clothing quilt projects always have a life of their own, and this one was no exception.

One thing that was apparent from the start of this project was that I wasn't given a lot of material to work with, especially since I needed to produce 2 quilts from one rather small collection of clothing. Coming up with a pattern was probably the biggest challenge of this project.

Pattern inspiration:  I had saved this panel quilt pattern from the August 2015 issue of McCall's Quilting, thinking it was a good all-around pattern to have on hand.

quilt #1
So using the pattern as a guide, I treated the pieced clothing portion of the quilts as a panel, which only had to measure about 23 x 43". The pinwheel blocks and the borders were all made out of regular quilting fabric.
The finished quilts are about 50 x 60".

quilt #2

I wasn't given instructions as to whether the quilts should be alike or not, but in the end having them alike was the most efficient way to complete this project.  Plus, I was happy with how the pattern worked!

On the back of each quilt is the front of a dress.

I attached the dresses with fusible web, like an applique.  

It also seemed a fine spot for my label!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A New T Shirt Quilt

My latest T shirt quilt came from the cousin of my friend/neighbor/orchestra coworker.  The cousin wanted a quilt made, and the job was passed to me.  Word of mouth really works to drum up business!

The customer had originally planned on making the quilt herself, but found herself a little lost on the process-- apparently she's a sewer but not an experienced quilter.

She had gotten as far as cutting and stabilizing the shirts, but was at a loss as how to proceed from there.

So it was a trade-off for me when I received the shirts:  I lost a little design control over the project since the shirts had already been cut BUT it saved a ton of time to have that already done for me.

This was a very well-loved, and rather well worn, collection of nature themed shirts.

I was a little concerned that the finished quilt might look a little shabby due to the age and wear of the shirts, but in the end I think it came out really well (and the customer emailed me after receiving it and she was absolutely thrilled with it).

The customer requested that I use earth toned batik fabrics which I think was a good idea.  One of our local quilt shops (Happy Apple Quilts) has an extensive selection of beautiful batiks, so it was a great excuse to visit them.

It's a twin size quilt, measuring about 64 x 90".

There are 16 blocks and they are 16" finished.  I used the batiks to fill in and get the blocks to the proper size.

I then added border strips at the top and bottom to achieve the right length.

There was even enough batik fabric left over for a pretty little table runner, now available in my Etsy store.  Click here for the listing.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

In September

Ah, September.  Summer has passed in a heartbeat.  Time for cooler weather, foliage, all that Autumn stuff, right?



Here comes Hermine, the first hurricane to directly hit the west coast of Florida in 11 years!

Here's a less technical, although highly accurate view of the current situation:


The current track shows the storm making landfall quite a ways north of here in north Florida, so we will not bear the brunt of it here in Tampa.  Really, the biggest issue here is several days of messy weather making travel difficult, localized flooding (not a big problem in my immediate neighborhood though, thank goodness) and the possibility of wind damage tonight when the storm passes close to us.  I'm just hoping the power stays on.  

Well, bad weather means LOTS of time for quilting, so it's not all bad!

I recently completed a new Christmas quilt:

Christmas Quilt, Red and Green Quilt, Lap Quilt, Modern Quilt, Scrap Quilt, Christmas Bedding, Throw Quilt, Dresden Plate, Patchwork Quilt

It's best described as A Trashy Christmas In Dresden.  I randomly pieced the background out of light and neutral holiday fabrics (that's the Trashy part) and then appliqued 3 Dresden plate blocks (made out of scraps of red and green fabrics) to the top.  

The fabric in the center actually has a tiny silver polka dot that didn't show up well in the pictures.  The same fabric is used on the outer borders as well.

More details here from my Etsy shop.

Keeping me company during the storm today:

Maybe if I work with a lot of fall fabric it will make it arrive faster?

Thursday, August 11, 2016

On The Wall

My longest-running UFO (Unfinished Object for you newbies out there) has finally come to a conclusion--

--of sorts

Waaaaaay back in 2010, when I first started Seriously Quilting, and blogging about it, I began an absolutely EPIC project:

Lollypop Trees Quilt 470x480
photo courtesy of Glorious Color

The awesome Lollypop Trees pattern by Kim MacLean.  It was an exciting project for me, since I was teaching myself machine applique and had yet to learn or even attempt free-motion quilting. Plus it's an absolute stunner of a quilt.  I even became a contributor to a blog devoted to Kim's designs (click here to go to the blog and see some fabulous eye candy of this quilt and some of her other designs).

But there's always SOMETHING that can be an obstacle when attempting a project like this, and of course it was TIME.  You won't be surprised to learn that this is an incredibly time consuming project.  At the time that I started it I was also a new Etsy store owner and had no idea how much time it would take to build up, and then maintain, even a modestly successful crafting business.  I quickly learned it takes a lot of time and if you want to have a successful business (even on a small scale) building that business needs to take priority.  Personal sewing definitely had to take a back seat. Plus, there was Life as well:  I was married, my son was a young teen, work, orchestra work, maintaining a rather large home, all of that.

So I made 6 blocks, loved every minute of their construction (blogged about the process here), and put them away. Always wanted to do more with them.  When I had the time.

Fast forward to maybe 2 weeks ago.  Saw the blocks hanging in the closet of my sewing room.  I had of course moved them to this new house 2 years ago with the rest of my sewing gear, but while freshly divorced their exuberant design didn't suit a season of mourning.  So they sat for a little while longer. 

Then suddenly it was time.  It didn't take long.

I knew I had a perfect spot for a wall hanging, so I purposefully left off any sashing or borders that would have made the quilt wider.

To hang the quilt I used this tutorial which I found on Pinterest. The author links the method to the one used at the San Jose Quilt and Textile Museum.  

I sewed a fabric cylinder to the back of the quilt, then used a piece of quarter round and two 
eye screws, plus 2 screws to go into the wall.   It was literally less than $2.00 of supplies.

A few quilting details:

I don't like how free motion quilting looks on top of fused applique, so I used the walking foot on my sewing machine to do some straight line quilting on top of the applique pieces.

I have since learned to "window" my applique, which eliminates stiffness and lends itself better to free motion quilting.

I've also learned how to free motion quilt, which I did around the shapes in an echo pattern.

 The quilting is easier to see from the back.

I have lots of white muslin at home so that's what I used for the backing.  And since there's no outer border that purple binding adds a nice pop of color.