Saturday, December 24, 2011

Late Fall 2011

 Keeping quite busy this fall, leading into Christmas time.  My sister dropped off several quilt tops following a pre-holiday quilting frenzy.  First is a top designated for her grandson, a HUGE Packer fan.  Another Packer quilt is on the long arm now, but will be delivered some time later--a family emergency has put these on the back burner (she won't be able to bind them before Christmas, so she's going to deliver them sometime in the new year).

Next is a top for her granddaughter, a sweet pink dots quilt.  This one was super-easy to make, and just a ton of fun! I quilted it up with "3s and Es", which is pretty and fast to do, so it makes it one of my favorite all-over patterns to use.  I used the same pattern for the Packers quilt and again on another quilt for my sister's neighbor.

Then there was the emergency quilt for Linda, who is terminally ill.  At the time, we knew she was ill and my sister decided to go visit with her for a week, but the week has turned into a month as they make arrangements for her comfort in her final days.  The color on this photograph is not great, and it's hanging on another quilt on the wall, which makes it difficult to see where one quilt stops and another one starts.  I'm working on finding a new place to display finished quilts for photographing.  Hers has a black border, then a blue and purple checked border, then the black binding.  Tara picked up the quilt just before getting on the plane to fly out to be with her.

Just before Thanksgiving, I was given a stack of quilts to work on some antique quilts.  These were made by Tina's grandmother, all sewn by hand, all fabrics from her scrap bag.  There's a little bit of everything in these--dress materials, shirtings, kitchen towels, bedsheets, feed sacks...just everything.  It's like a "Kitchen Sink" quilt.  How's that for just coining a new phrase?  Two of the quilts look like this one--squares on point.

The third one is this much more complex hexagon pinwheels, again, all sewn by hand, all different fabrics.  Her plan is to have all these finished to be able to distribute to family members as completed heirlooms.  Tina does not sew except by hand, and completing seven of these quilt tops would be extraordinarily difficult to finish by the holidays, or any time next year.

At the last minute, I got a call from Margaret, a mom from my kids' school, who needed a quilt finished up for her sister ASAP.  She dropped it off on Thursday, I quilted up most of it that day then had to get a new spool of thread for the back (I was about 1 foot square short of completing it), and finished it up on Friday for her to pick up before the end of the school day.  Since this quilt was all green and leafy, she asked for a leaf pattern to be quilted all over the top.  I pulled the birch leaf pattern out of my repertoire and covered the surface with leaves.

The other thing I've starting doing is card weaving.  In the SCA, there is quite the demand for woven and embroidered trims. Although this may not be a documentable pattern (called "Ram's Horn"), it is plausibly period design using a period technique.  I don't have a plan for all these pieces, so I'm considering partnering up with a merchant to sell them on consignment.  I'm not a merchant and don't have enough wares to justify sitting at a table all day, but those who do and love it can earn a few bucks by having a few extra pieces in the shop...a little more variety.  I think of it as a win-win.

Here is my loom set up with a lovely piece that is also finished with a simple six forward-six back weave.  It created a gorgeous pattern on the top and an equally beautiful pattern on the back.  I'll have to do some more in different colorways.  I recently picked up some non-heraldic colors that I'm anxious to get into, although I need to replace a few of the colors I'm running low on, like red and green.

Right now I'm experimenting with a new weaving pattern that is documentable--a Saxon threaded-in pattern that alternates weaving the even and odd numbered cards, creating a narrower band, but is twice as thick.  This makes it a more complex pattern but it also is nice to have a documented design that I can put on a garment or enter into competition.

Hope you all have a great holiday--whatever you celebrate--and a fantastic new year!


Friday, November 11, 2011

Fall Season

I have not been as busy posting here as I have in the past.  Here are a few items I've worked on in recent months.

A quilt for American Heroes.  I have one more quilt left in the pile, and should probably do that today, being Veteran's Day.

Halloween costume for myself as Mrs. Annabelle Bransford (from the movie "Maverick").  I made it from a pattern that I bought at the local fabric store, although it wasn't technically finished when I wore it.  I ran out of fabric (and time) to make the bustle and couldn't find the boning for the back to add rigidity around the lacing, but it was wearable.  I loved the red taffeta--it sewed up really well and wasn't nearly as expensive as I thought it would be.  I hope to finish up the costume so that all the seams are finished and it's fully wearable.  What you can't see is that I made the petticoat and under-trousers to go with it.  I'd like to make a Civil War Southern belle dress, too.  There are some really great patterns for those available, and I plan on picking one up soon. 

My darling husband's Halloween costume, Brett Maverick (from the movie, "Maverick").  I wanted to make it out of some kind of tapestry or decorator fabric, but had to settle for quilting cotton in a Civil War reproduction.  When it was lined with muslin, it worked just fine, although I think if I were to run it through the washer, it would probably not look quite as nice.  I will likely open up the sides and add some interfacing to stiffen it up.  Again, if I were to make this for something other than a Halloween costume, I would have put a little more effort into it.

I also made two vests for little girls to dress up as Medieval saints for All Saints Day.  They both dressed as St. Margaret Ward, a woman who smuggled a rope into a prison to help a priest escape.  They knew she had helped him (she was his only visitor).  She was tortured and killed for refusing to tell where he was and for not attending Protestant services.  The skirts were identical, made out of cotton broadcloth I had sitting in my stash, the undertunic is unbleached cotton muslin. 

My friend, Tyrssen, lives in the Midwest and commissioned some tunics from me.  I made three and have one more to finish.  This is the red one...
And the yellow one...

On the quilting end, I quilted up this baby quilt for Susie in July.

I quilted up this little thing for Donna's mom, who entered it in the fair as her First Quilt, and she won second place for her age category!  I think she just turned 82!
Next here is a little quilt I made for our guild's "Celebration" challenge.  I just used scraps to make these "presents" and made candles as the loops to hold it, and 3-D ribbons adorn the boxes.  I didn't win, but it was fun!

Val handed me this quilt top to quilt up for her.  She won the $50 gift certificate that I donated to the Christmas raffle.  This cute top of printed mooses among stars has echo quilting around the mooses and stars quilted in the yellow stars.

Violet brought over this giant quilt top that she is finishing for her daughter.  It measures 108" square!  My machine maxes out at about 110", so it was just big enough to fit on there.  If I had more room in my quilting space, I would get longer rods to put on my machine frame so I can quilt up even larger quilts (up to 120" with room on the sides to easily change bobbin thread, etc.).  Although I can put a top on there that is up to 120", I cannot quilt the five inches on either side and changing bobbins becomes quite difficult. 

 Michele gave me three quilt tops to finish for her for Christmas.  This is one of them.  It has holly leaves quilted across the green parts, and veins quilted into the leaves.  

There are several more quilts in line, including two Green Bay Packer quilts for my sister Tara, three other Friendship quilts she also finished recently, and the first three of seven antiques that Tina gave to me to finish that her Grandmother made.  She plans to distribute them to her family members as heirlooms.  I have a few things on the list should make for a busy month!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Shop Hop!

I went on the Western Washington Shop Hop this weekend with my good friend "Chicken" Linda and my middle kid, Cammie.  Although she has not quite reached the double-digits, Cammie is already an accomplished quilt maker and pattern designer--at least, for her age, I think she's quite accomplished!  She has a talent for very creative designs that she draws out and reproduces in fabric, which I helped stitch down.  I hope that she learns even more this year and has samples to show next year when we go on the 2012 shop hop!  

Shop Hop is a great time for the camaraderie of quilting friends, exploration of new ideas and techniques, and of course, supporting your local quilt shops!  I filled my mental files with lots of new and interesting ideas, took lots of pictures, and purchased some patterns and books for future projects.  I'm inspired and can't wait to start on some new projects...or finishing some old ones!

Just before I headed out to do the Shop Hop, I finished this American Heroes quilt.  The pattern is an all-over loops and stars pattern (not sure what the white dot is to the far left--I think it was lint on the camera lens--it certainly wasn't something on the quilt).  I have three more to go in the pile of quilts for this great organization!

Stay Merrie!
Karen, Ye Merrie Quilter

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A few more projects from recent weeks

As I was going through the old photos, I found a few that I didn't post.  Here are a few from as far back as January that I worked on.  Of course, not everything that I've worked on was photographed--chronic problems with a camera or simply forgetting has resulted in a few missed works.

This is actually just a bunch of blocks pinned to the "design wall" (aka a quilt hanging in my dining room) that I later sewed into a quilt top.  It still needs a border and then it will be quilted up and given to the guild for its community service committee.  

This is a quilt that I finished for a school auction for a friend.  Sharon did the top with the kids in the class who drew self-portraits with fabric markers.  She then pieced up the top, handed it to me, and I quilted in the blue areas.  We both agreed that we shouldn't quilt over the kids' faces, so I filled the blue areas with loose curly-cues that I call "Dr. Seuss Feathers".  Sorry it's upside down.  

This quilt was a love gift for a guild member who lost a family member.  We made these log cabin blocks and Donna arranged them, put the border on, and handed it to me to quilt up.  It turned out beautifully!  I quilted loops and hearts all over the top.

This was a quilt made for Lauri's brand-new niece!  I love the brights and the contrast with the black and whites, like those early visual stimulus toys but with pink instead of red.  It's big enough and mature enough to grow into it.  I'm sure she'll treasure it for years! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Late June Update

I've been working on a few projects this past couple of weeks.  Besides the yurt, which is a personal project, I've had time to finish a few jobs in the world of softer fibers.

This tunic was made for a friend of mine on commission.  He joined the SCA just a couple years ago and needs some good period tunics, and I am thrilled that he chose me to get him suited up!  The tricky part is that he lives in the Midwest and I'm on the coast.  Thank goodness for email and the USPS!

All the seams are finished to prevent unraveling and increase the life of the garment.  As long as he doesn't change sizes, this should fit him for a long time.  I was really happy to find that I already had a spool of thread in my stash that matched the tunic perfectly!  The fabric is 100% linen and was pre-washed to prevent further shrinkage and warping later.

Since it's officially summertime--according to the calendar, anyway--it's time to start knitting Turkish socks!  I don't know why, but last year about this time, I was motivated to make Turkish socks...and here we are again!  These are for myself, but this is a great period accessory to add you your ensemble!  This pair is being made from 100% alpaca yarns from Norway and the pattern is called "Mirrors" from the Fancy Feet book.

Here's a quilt that I finished for the American Heroes quilt project.  These tops were made by other quilters and volunteers, like myself, quilt up the tops up and hand them off to the next person for binding.  These quilts are given to the soldiers returning from war at Madigan Hospital in Tacoma.

Detail of the quilting and blocks.  I did a medium loop-de-loop all over the surface.  It went really well and things were stitched down  smoothly.  

Today started with a tune-up on the long arm frame.  Several of the fittings on the ends of the rods had wiggled loose over time, so a quick tightening with a wrench and we're ready to go!  A new quilt is up on the racks now, ready for quilting!

Have a great summer!
Karen, Ye Merrie Quilter

Friday, June 3, 2011

Some Recent Projects

This is a quilt I'm very excited about...because it's MINE!  I swapped these blocks online several years ago and finally got them into a completed quilt top, added some hourglass blocks as a border, and used scrappy blues as the outer border.  I then quilted a very detailed pattern all over the surface.  I love the way it turned out and I'm so excited to get it finished and on my bed for the summer.  It measures 105", which is about as big as I can comfortably get on my machine.  I have had one that was 110", but it was much more awkward to work with, and once a quilt was 114", but I had to quilt most of it, then shift it over to finish one of the borders that I couldn't reach with the machine.

This is a great detail shot of the quilting pattern I did on the sawtooth stars.  I used plain old white thread, but the quilting was very dense and really makes it pop!  It took about seven hours of quilting to finish, though, and it required that I take several breaks to get the kink out of my neck.  I'm not sure what I would charge for something this detailed...probably 2 or 3 cents a square inch.  I don't normally like charging that much, but this particular one was very time consuming.

Just laying the next quilt on top of the first, this is a quilt I finished up for Kathleen.  I LOVE the background fabric, which looks like the old fashioned marbled paper that they used in books.  I believe that this Irish Chain was a store sample that she needed for a class she taught.  Now that the class is over, she decided it was time to get it quilted up.  

This is a little thing from Donna.  This little patriotic table topper measures about 20" square.  I covered it with a stipple of stars and ribbons (stripes?).  I believe that this is a gift for her mom.

Pat, from one of the guilds, gave me this one to finish as a gift for her husband.  It took some time to find just the right quilt pattern, but the day before it was due, I found the right one.  I got it to her just in time for her to put the binding on it and present it to him for their anniversary.

I've also been making socks.  I have a couple pairs that I have already made and sent to the new owner, but here is a sample I made for myself.  These are a reproduction of simple 16th century women's stockings.  I later made garters to accompany them--because the did not have ribbing stitches, the stockings did not stay up well on their own.  For a picture, yes, but once you begin walking around, they're at your ankles almost immediately.

Here is a little quilt that I quilted up for Michele--it was a round robin that she did in another guild.  I did a different pattern for each round, but sadly, I don't have any detailed pictures of those.  Wasn't really thinking ahead, there....

I have been working on some other quilting projects around the house recently, mostly from my stash.  These blocks started from a collection of 6" charm squares that were traded in our guild.  I cut a few extras of the ones that I had used to trade and made these split 9-patch blocks.  With some difficulty, I found this was the most pleasing arrangement.  Perhaps with more blocks and colors, I would have made something that I would like even more.

This quilt was made from donated fabrics to the guild which I made into a lap quilt or maybe something big enough for a toddler or elementary school kid.  Most of these quilts get donated to the local Children's Hospital to be given to kids who have extended stays at the hospital.

This was just a few pieces that were left over that I made into a matching doll quilt.  This is also donated to local charities.

This is a costume I made for my daughter for a school activity.  She required a pink kimono, which I made from some linen that I had set aside for our history society.  I wasn't sure what I was going to make out of it, but this seems to be the perfect thing!  

More soon,
Ye Merrie Quilter

Thursday, June 2, 2011

New Home

I am happy to report that Ye Merrie Quilter (and Costumer!) now has a new home.  I hope to include several new additions to the blog for the various projects that I've been working on, both in quilting and costuming. I have begun to expand my business in what I'm doing for hire to include the various knitting and sewing that I have been doing for others as well as the quilting.

Enjoy!  And as always, I remain,
Ye Merrie Quilter