Amish With a Twist II Update

Amish Quilting

When I returned from our little visit to the East Coast, my quilter called me and said the Amish With a Twist-2 quilt was finished. I was really happy to jet over to her house and pick it up, and was really happy with the quilting.  There was lots of discussion about what color of thread should be used on this quilt, if a person wasn’t going to pay to have it custom-quilted, and needed to travel over both the lights and the darks of the quilt top.

Blush Thread label

I was able to take my quilt top to the Superior Threads quilt booth at Road to California, and run about comparing threads.  They told me that King Tut would sit on top, So Fine would sink a little deeper and that the very fine Bottom Line thread would almost disappear into the quilt.  We unwrapped a billion thread cones (just kidding) and I finally chose this one: Blush.

Blush Thread_Superior

In spite of its name, it is a coppery colored thread, and goes perfectly with this quilt.  I still have oodles of thread left, so check with your long-armer on how much thread to buy.  I know that Superior also has a thread app, available on the Apple iTunes store, that can calculate how much thread you’ll need to buy for your project.  I figure I’m good for about a hundred years of needing copper-colored thread.

P.S.  That wild Jane Sassaman fabric you see it the backing I chose.

P.P.S.S.  I promise a picture when I’ve finished sewing on the miles and miles and miles of binding.

In Bed With a Bad Cold

cold and quilt

In Bed with a Bad Cold
by Pam Rupert

Posted without permission. (Pam, if you wish, I’ll remove it, but thanks for your great rendition!)

UrgentCareTree

And this was the Christmas Tree down at Urgent Care this morning (my second trip–I’m going to lick this yet!)

ToteBagClass

But I need to digress backwards and show off the three totes made in my Tote Bag class by three wonderful students.  They worked hard and all finished up.

Quilting Santa_1

I had taken some time this week to work on the quilting on my Santa quilt, and as always, How to Quilt This can really take over my mindset and stop me in my tracks.

So Fine Thread

I have had troubles free-motion quilting (FMQ) in the past, and have worked to figure it out.  I now have three different FMQ feet (the last one was the one that worked best), and am still experimenting with threads.  This one, So Fine by Superior Threads, is a dream, as is using their topstitch size 12 needles.  I purchased, and read, both of Diane Gaudynski’s books on quilting, which nudged a bit further along on this path. Both were helpful, but I don’t really see myself heading in her direction of teensy-weensy quilting decorated by gorgeous swooping feathers and lots of echo quilting.

Wide Open Spaces

This week, Judi Madsen’s book arrived, and this is more what I hope to quilt like.  I’m already behind because she has a huge quilting machine, so our techniques of moving the cloth and figuring out the quilting stitches will be different, of necessity.  But I found it really helpful in so many ways.  She also has a video up on YouTube which is also instructive.  So I quilted until the Bad Cold determined that I would not be quilting.

Quilting Santa_2

So the quilt is loosely folded up on my sewing room floor, waiting until I get better, get the Christmas tree decorated, the Christmas caramels made, the stack of research papers graded, the final given, the final graded. . .  But you know, Santa doesn’t come until the 24th of December, does he?  I doubt mine will arrive much before that either.  And somewhere in there we need to do a little bit of shopping.  Yessiree, it’s a bad time of year to be in bed with a bad cold.

Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope Top unquilted

At long last,  I have finished Kaleidoscope.

Kaleidoscope Front

Here she is on the fence, all quilted and bound and ready to be hung up in our home.  The first picture was merely the top, unquilted, but I like that image quite fine (it’s my home screen pix on my phone).

Kaleidoscope first block cut

Krista got me started on this process and the above is a photo of my first block, blogged about *here* so I don’t need to redo the gory details (just do a search for “EPP” in my search box, if you do want the whole story).

Kaleidoscope first block begin

I liked how I could sew bitsy pieces together into a new design and they could become something else.

Kaleidoscope more1

I finished my first block in February 2012, wrote about it *here,* using the completion as a sort of a milestone capping off a cancer experience.  While I do like the quick quilts that sew up in a month, or whizzing through a bee block, there’s something gratifying about a longer quiltmaking experience, as it serves as a thread through many experiences and days and months and weaves in and out of other quilts.

Kaleidoscope block 3

I liked how every block was a puzzle, a mystery, waiting to be figured out, laying out the pieces to see what it should become and how to sew it together. I liked that it was portable, going to many doctor’s offices, on a road trip, and certainly while making my way through three seasons of watching Downton Abbey.

Kaleidoscope on computer lid

One center laid out on a computer laptop one night.

Kaleidoscope on a trip

Photographed on a hotel chair, pieced while on a road trip to San Francisco.

Kaleidoscope block another

The way I cut and laid out the pieces was like a twist of the wrist on a childhood kaleidoscope viewing toy, the glass pieces tumbling into another design, another shape.  So I started to think of the blocks as visions through a kaleidoscope.  I didn’t know how many of these blocks to make–it was one of those things I just kept working on and I figured I would know when I was done.

Kaleidoscope three blocks

There were three.

kaleidoscope six

Then there were six.

Kaleidoscope trying out background

And then seven, and I was trying to figure out what to do.  I ordered more fabric (bless the manufacturers who don’t yank their lines so quickly!).  The small bits in the lefthand lower corner didn’t work.  So I went with bigger triangles, trying to let the seven kaleidoscope shapes rise to the top.

Kaleidoscope background ready to sew

I labeled and sewed those together by hand as well.  Then onto the existing top.

kaleidoscope feb 2013

It sat on my pin wall and I just didn’t know what to do–wasn’t really sold on it.  Then I thought about the border, chose the bright lime, auditioned it for placement: large medallions going down the middle of the border, or small ones?  Again, trying to make the quilt center the star, I went with the latter.

Kaleidoscope borders on

Sewing the top to the borders–the only time I used machine piecing on this quilt top. I decided to leave in the papers until it was all sewn, so they could stabilize the edges.  One thing about the edges in this quilt–none were placed with regard to straight of grain, so the top was very flexible, and needed careful handling.

Kaleidoscope Top unquilted

Once those borders were sewn on, the whole top began to sing together again.  And now the next puzzle–how to quilt it?  I let it sit some more, until I worked up the courage to move forward.

kaleidoscope backing

Cut and sewed together more of that second batch of fabric, trying to match medallion to medallion.  It worked well enough.

kaleidoscope pinned

I stretched out the back on my living floor, taped it down, then the batting, then the quilt and pinned it all together.   Still didn’t know how to quilt this thing, so it sat for another spell.  Finally, I realized it was never going to get done if I didn’t get going on it, and I had three days free–all in a row–so found the perfect thread in my bag from the last run to Superior Threads and got going.

Kaleidoscope quilting1

I like to sew on my dining room table.  I put down a placemat for my sewing machine and notions, and let the quilt slip-slide all over as I work.

458547_sk_lg

To grip the quilt because I’m not a fan of quilting gloves, I use that stuff you can buy at an office supply store on my fingers (one brand is SortQuik–don’t know what mine is).

Kaleidoscope evaluate quilting

After two and half days and sixteen bobbins of thread, I wanted to be done.  Really, I did, but the border was a little ripply, so it needed some more.  Final tally?  Seventeen bobbins of thread.  The quilt is 53″ wide by 54 1/2″ long, so that’s fairly dense quilting.  I used a polyester thread with little bit of sheen for the top, as well as Masterpiece, a cotton thread.  I used Bottom Line for the bobbins–it holds more; I did loosen the top tension to get the stitch balance correct.

Kaleidoscope detail 2

Kaleidoscope detail 1

Kaleidoscope Back

The back of the quilt, with the two colorways of the medallions.  I came to really love this fabric: Michael Miller’s Gypsy Bandanna.

Kaleidoscope quilt label

I had decided I didn’t want a narrow border to show on the top, so went with a faced binding.  This label was the last thing to be sewn on, last night as I lay in my bed with my foot propped up on two pillows, recuperating from another surgery (this one not life-threatening, a planned event).  But still, for those of us who like to keep busy, like to be doing, this forced idleness is really hard to deal with.  I plan to try to figure out how to do some quilting this afternoon, my good foot on the sewing machine pedal and my gimpy foot propped up on a pillow on a drawer.  I figure I can get 30 minutes in before I say “uncle,” and head back to bed.

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This is the 116th quilt I’ve made in my life, and the quilt is also part of the Finish-A-Long, quarter two.