Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I'm Allowed To Change My Mind, Right?

I have now finished the tablerunner that I was using as a practice piece before piecing my Jane Stickle quilt, and I think I'm changing my mind about what thread to use for the quilting.

My initial idea was to use monofilament thread on the top because of all of the different colors in the quilt, but now that I've quilted this piece that has the same basic colors/fabrics as my DJ quilt, I don't think it's good enough.

Don't get me wrong... the combination of MonoPoly on the top and Bottom Line in the bobbin worked just fine on my machine. And the quilting shows up well enough on the "plain" batiks...but it disappears on the batiks that have more color and design to them. I don't plan to do an overall quilting pattern on my DJ, but to quilt each block individually. And since I'm hoping that it will be my "magnum opus", I want everything to be right, not just good enough.

So that means that I have to go back to my original thought (and the suggestion made by several of my quilting friends)...that is, to quilt it using different colors of thread to match the individual blocks....and that means buying thread in every color of the rainbow....

And with all of the thread changes ahead, it will take a lot longer to finish.

Here's a shot of what the quilting looks like on the back. I was very pleased with the combination of threads.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Only God Can Make A Tree

I'm certainly not very good at it...

My local challenge group met several weeks ago to reveal our latest projects. The challenge was to use the Gail Garber-style curved-flying-geese method in our piece. What you see in the photo is the small quilt that I made. (the greens are much nicer in person)

The inspiration for this piece came from the Christmas card that was sent to me by my friend Nancy. Since Nancy was the one who assigned this "mission", I felt that it was appropriate. Initially, I was going to make a larger quilt with three trees, but after many days of frustration, that piece wound up in the trash (for many good reasons).

The deadline for the reveal was getting closer and I was starting to sweat it, but I decided that there was no reason to stress out about it so much. This is supposed to be fun and a learning experience, not something to raise my blood pressure and keep me up at night. And I did learn something new...not just the curved flying geese, but I also learned how to embellish with seed beads.

So I went with something small and simple, but I think it fits the goal of the challenge quite well. And I'm happy with it, and that's all that matters.

You can see my previous posts about this challenge here and here...Eventually, I'll post a photo of all of the completed projects from the group, but in the meantime, you can see Susan's and Madalene's.

And, if you're interested in seeing my first quilt from the group's first challenge, you can read about it here.

Friday, February 24, 2012

My Guild Rocks!

If you want to see some of the great stuff my local quilt guild does, check this out...

It was a fun day -- we accomplished a lot!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Another "Green" Idea for Quilters

In yesterday's post, I showed how I piece scrap batting together using a flat joining seam on my sewing machine. One of my regular readers, Diane, commented that one of her customers had pieced a batting using the fusible tape that is now sold for this purpose. I had read about that idea several months ago, but figured out another way to do this with using some scraps of another project.

A number of years ago, I made a quilt using a Quiltsmart pattern (fusible interfacing). After cutting up the interfacing for the quilt, I had scraps left, so I saved them without any idea of how I'd use them in the future. A few months ago, I needed to piece two fairly-large-size pieces of batting together and didn't want to deal with the bulk on my machine while sewing the seam. So I just used some of the longer strips of the leftover fusible interfacing from the Quiltsmart project and fused the two batting pieces together...

It worked just fine and I could barely tell the strip was there.

If I need to do this again and don't have enough scraps of the fusible left, I'll just buy yardage of regular fusible interfacing and cut it into strips. No need to buy the roll.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Using It Up

For my practice piece, I've sewn together some leftover pieces of Hobbs Thermore, my favorite batting. I'll be using a whole piece for my Jane Stickle quilt, but a patchwork piece of batting will be just fine for the tablerunner (see my previous post). It looks a little wonky in the photo, but it will work.

I always use the flat joining seam (#13) on my Bernina when I piece my batting. It leaves a very nice flat seam and is easy to do. Here's a closeup shot...

And, of course, all other batting pieces that are too small get used up as cloths for my Swiffer floor sweeper.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Getting Ready: Part 3

Before I quilt my Jane Stickle quilt, I plan to quilt a small practice piece first, just to make sure my machine is working correctly and to make sure that my thread choice is a good one.

This is a table runner that I quickly put together using strips from many of the batik fabrics used in my DJ quilt. The strips are cut 2" wide and are of varying lengths. I put them together using the jelly roll race method. Quick and easy!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Blogger Craziness

Apologies to any of you who have tried to comment on my blog using Blogger's new word verification system recently! I thought I had disabled the word verification a long, long time ago, but perhaps I turned it back on after receiving a spam comment or two. Anyway, I finally figured out how to disable it again with Blogger's new interface, so hopefully, everyone will have an easier time commenting...And I love it (and appreciate it) when you do!

Thanks for your patience and for reading my blog!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Getting Ready: Part 2

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a wonderful quilters' day out with friends and bought this wide batik backing for my Jane Stickle quilt at Verna's Fabrics in Mifflinburg, PA.

Wild and crazy, isn't it?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Getting Ready

The thread for quilting my Jane Stickle quilt has arrived from Superior Threads. I plan to use MonoPoly on the top and either the cream or silver Bottom Line in the bobbin. I will test both out on a practice piece and decide which one works best with the Mono-Poly. I've used Superior Threads in most of my quilting, so I'm fairly confident that these will work, especially if I follow the guidelines on the website about tension and needle size.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Quilter's Eye

My quilter's eye sees quilting patterns everywhere...I'm sure most of us see patterns in tile floors all the time, but how often do we see a sofa in a design that would make an absolutely lovely quilt? This sofa is in the Country Cupboard Restaurant in Lewisburg, PA -- a great place to stop for a meal after a fun quilters' day out!

Click on the picture for a larger view.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

New Blog Feature

I've added a new feature to my blog...You can now sign up to get an email to alert you when I write a new blog post. Just sign up using the gadget (follow Hills Creek Quilter by email) on the right sidebar of this blog. Thank you all for reading my blog!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Moosewood Monday

I haven't posted a Moosewood Restaurant recipe lately...Here's one that's perfect for a winter's day. It's Russian Cabbage Borscht.

Having grown up in a Russian household where we had soup as a first course for dinner almost every day, I can vouch for this being the authentic stuff...Unlike other restaurant borschts (including in overpriced delis in New York City), this recipe is the way real Russians make borscht. Someone needs to tell those delis that BORSCHT IS NOT JUST BEETS WITH BEET JUICE! It's supposed to have lots of other vegetables besides beets and you can also add meat if you live with a carnivore like I do. I grew up with both the meat and meatless (served during Lent) versions. Add some fresh bread (preferably dark rye) and a dollop of sour cream. Yum!

If you're not familiar with the, don't walk, and get to Ithaca, NY to try the food in person. If you can't do, don't walk to buy a Moosewood cookbook. (No affiliation, I just LOVE their food). The menu at the restaurant changes daily, so you can try something new every time.

P.S. If you don't have tomato puree as the recipe says, just use any kind of tomato can be from a can, jar, or (gasp!) even ketchup.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Can't Pin Me Down

I don't usually pin much in my quilting except for when I sew borders on a quilt (that's a definite must-do!), so this recent challenge from my art quilters' group was definitely a challenge... I've discovered that "planned" curved seams are a lot harder to sew than the free-form Gee's-Bend-style curves of my finished quilt in the last challenge.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Happy Holiday!

Punxsutawney Phil lives just 150 miles from me and believe me, the only way he could have seen his shadow at 7:30 this morning in Pennsylvania is because of all of the TV lights!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

For the Birthday Girl

This is the second of the strippy quilts that I made for a couple of special children in my family having birthdays soon. See my previous post for details on the pattern.

And here's the pieced back...

...and closeup of the quilting...

You should be able to click on the photos to see a larger view. Sorry for the washed out colors -- it was a bit dreary the day I took these shots.

The mother of the two children told me that she "can't believe anyone can sew such straight lines"! Hah! I need to tell her that curved lines are the difficult ones to sew -- but I don't think she'll believe me. I think only quilters understand...