Monday, August 30, 2010

Eight Pointed Star Quilt

I have just had great fun quilting this little Eight Pointed Star Quilt for my customer Cheryl.  Cheryl has made this special quilt for her sister who is seriously ill - it will hopefully be a quilt her sister will be able to take along to hospital and take comfort from when at home.

Cheryl has hand-pieced the stars using fabrics from her stash including some of her favourite Liberty fabrics.  I have quilted the quilt with a feather border, continuous curves in the points of the stars and line-dancing and swirls on the plain fabrics.  I managed to quilt each block continuously - the quilting really seemed to flow.  I did change colour on each block to match the plain background fabrics.

The line-dancing on the plain fabrics has made a secondary design where the four corners of the blocks meet.

Thanks for letting me quilt this quilt Cheryl - I hope your sister loves it and that is brings her joy and comfort.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Piping Hot Binding

Sometime ago now, a friend gave me the book "Piping Hot Binding" by Susan Cleveland.  The book describes in detail how to make and apply piping in the binding of a quilt.

I have now made a number of quilts where I have finished them with piping in the binding and love the result - it makes for a quilt with a distinctive touch to the finish and frames the quilt beautifully.  I have found that it works really well with quilts which have either solid fabrics or solid borders - it is important that the piping fabric is in high contrast to the outer border and binding.

Following are some close-ups of some of the quilts where I have included piping in the binding.

King David's Modern Crown Quilt

Crop Circles Quilt (top)

Zigue Zague Quilt

The book describes in great detail how to make and apply the binding.  Susan Cleland has also created the Groovin' Piping Trimming Tool which is used to trim piping seam allowances to a consistent width.  The procedure is not difficult, although it is time consuming - it takes me twice as long as applying binding alone, however, I think it is well worth the effort.  The book also describes a number of variations such as double piping, blanket stitch on piping and pieced piping.  I have not yet been adventurous enough to tackle these variations.

How do you like to finish your quilts?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dad Saves the Day

This week my quilting machine had a major break-down for the first time ever.  I hardly ever have quilts with a definite deadline but, of course, this time I did.  I was stitching along one evening early in the week in stitch regulated mode when all of a sudden the machine's speed picked up to the point of sewing uncontrollably fast.  Eventually, the machine would sew at full speed from the second it was turned on and would not turn off with the switch on the handle.

Bruce Brown, the Australian Gammill guru from The Finishing Touch, who unfortunately lives interstate, advised that I had blown my speed control transistor which would need to be replaced - this sounded serious!  Bruce put a part in the mail for me and talked me through the instructions for replacing it.  The part was a very small electronic component which lives under the motherboard and would require soldering in.  I certainly can't solder, nor can my husband.  Who to ask but my handy father....  My dad is a retired tiler but is generally a very handy person who has turned his hand to many trades.  While he has done some soldering before, he had never worked with electronic components.

Friday morning, Dad and I opened up the quilting machine and were faced with the very scary inside of the machine - wires and plugs everywhere.

After carefully numbering all the plugs, we unplugged them, unscrewed the motherboard and found the part to be replaced.  The replacement part was only about 3/4 inch in size with three prongs which required soldering onto three wires - work much finer than Dad is used to.  Together we did manage to solder the wires on, re-attach the motherboard, plug the numerous wires back in and put the cover back on.  We both held our breath as we turned the machine back on.  The first signs were good - at least it didn't start stitching uncontrollably as soon as I turned it on.  After some testing all apeared well - we had done it!  We must have even put the plugs back on in the correct positions.

The quilt with a deadline was finished over the weekend and has already been collected by my customer Linda from Quilts in the Barn.  Linda has made a stunning Dresden Plate Quilt which I have quilted with lots of feathers.  The quilt is going to be published as a pattern in an Australian magazine later this year so I can't show you the whole quilt as yet.  Here is a little sample - I will show the whole quilt once the magazine is out.

So, thanks Dad for a great repair job, Bruce for wonderful instructions and Linda for your patience in waiting for the quilt to be finished.  I am looking forward to a less eventful week.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Baby Quilts

I have just quilted three gorgeous baby quilts for my customer Hilary.  All three babies are yet to be born.  The quilts look just beautiful together and I am sure they will be treasured by their new owners.  These quilts don't really need much explanation - I think the pictures speak for themselves.  Enjoy!