what they said, a quilt series

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Finally! All the quilts were finished, excess thread dye was removed, and I spent yesterday measuring, photographing and cataloguing the eighteen small quilts in the “what they said” series. My goal was to allow the words to be preeminent in each quilt. Who said the words was also important for the context. I tried to think about what each person was thinking and feeling and to convey that in the way the wording was embroidered.

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The quilting was secondary. Some of the quilts have little hints at the setting behind the speech.

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All of the quilts have a single block from one of my self-retreats, and Kona Snow fabric is the setting.

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I was going to create a slide show of them, but after fooling around with that for a while, I realized that I could put them on a gallery page on my website so that they could easily be viewed as an entire group. You can view all the quilts in the galleries on my website. Enjoy!

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This ‘n’ That

First of all, a big THANK YOU to the people who suggested using Vicky Welsh‘s method of dye stain removal. It worked!!! That will be my go-to method in the future. Hopefully I won’t have to use it too often.

I finished another almost-completed quilt. I had stopped because I wanted to somehow be able to do “cobblestone street” quilting in the white sections and I didn’t know what to do. Then, I started making these brick patterns on some of the “what they said” quilts, and I knew that was what I wanted to do. This is actually a verse in the Bible–in Jeremiah 6–but in The Message paraphrase. I really like it.

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A question about the Juki came up. It is a long arm sit down Juki. I got it in February. And there was a learning curve, which I hated. But now that I’ve gotten more comfortable with it, I love it. It seems to work right every time I start it up. I still keep a little sandwich nearby to try out the stitches, especially after I change the bobbin. I wrote about the learning curve on the Juki here and here.

And speaking of learning curves…This Hallelujah Chorus quilt just about did me in this week! I knew it was going to be difficult to work with. Each panel was made into a sandwich for the embroidery. When I was all done, I cut out the excess batting and backing, so now each piece was partly floppy silky fabric and partly heavy quilt sandwich. I had planned to cut each down to a specific size. I had kept fairly good notes on my plan. Then I changed my plan. Why not make them all 36 inches instead of 32? Oh, except one of them I had cut to less than ‘width of fabric.’ And then, something went haywire with my math brain. 34 + 12 = 46, NOT 44. Egad. Anyway, it took several days, and a couple of breaks to calm me down, but I got it put together into a quilt top. And now I have to figure out what else I am going to add to it. Either more embroidered circles or some very nice quilting.

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Adding to my angst (maybe that’s what happened to my math brain) was thinking about how I was going to make the quilt sandwich. I usually use all cotton fabric and batting and rely on steam to do a great deal of the work. And I knew that would not work with this silky fabric and the wool batting that I was planning to use. So I googled “making a quilt sandwich with wool and silk” and of course, there was an answer. The author used misty fuse and fused the entire top, and then strips of fusible to adhere the backing. So I tried this. And I found, once again, that I DO NOT LIKE FUSIBLE. That’s just my own preference.

Here’s the sample I made with the fused top.

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Then I made a sandwich with no fusible at all. I pinned fairly closely, and then took it to the machine to machine baste it. BTW, I LOVE the basting stitch on the Juki. It is very stable and does not distort your sandwich. So then I did as I usually do, and just removed the basting stitches from the small area I was quilting on. I don’t know if anyone else can tell the difference, but I think the quilting is prettier and softer without the fusible.

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And then, to reward myself for my hard work, I allowed myself to make a quilt sandwich with some fun “homespun” cotton fabric to embroider this saying, which I love. Because I really hate dusting 🙂 Thanks to Kris for sharing this. I’ve had it on my computer desktop for a long time.

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Busy Busy

I have been busy busy busy. Finishing and quilting and embroidering and starting. Here’s what part of the studio really looks like.

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I actually finished all eighteen of the “what they said” series. I will do a slide show for you soon. But I have a question. Five of them had some of the hand-dyed threads on them, and the thread colors ran. I put Shout on them, and then I ran them through the washer with a “color catcher.” Some of the offending color came out, but not all of it. Do any of you have any other ideas? Have you tried applying color-safe bleach with a Q-tip to the dye stains?

Anyway, I am very happy to have completed them. My plan is to mount them on cradled wood panels. So that part is not done. I will order some this week, to make sure my idea will work, and then I will order the rest of them.

That left the Juki free. And so I got out two almost-finished quilts. I placed the lettering on one, and then, because I had used a “brick” design on some of the ‘what they said’ quilts, that was exactly what I had been wanting to do for the quilt nearest the Juki. The verse on there refers to a crossroads. I finished quilting that today. Only needs to have a binding on it. and a sleeve 😦

By the way, I love the Juki more than ever. I love how very accurate  each stitch is. It is easy for me to exactly stitch over a line of stitching to get to the next area I need to work on.

You can see some of the panels for the Hallelujah Chorus quilt perched over there on the chair. I have almost finished the panels and the four large embroidered circles, and so this week I should be able to put the panels together into a quilt top. And then I will have to decide what the next step is. More embroidery, or machine quilting. Any which way, I am very excited to get to this next stage of the project.

I entered four quilts in Quilting in the Garden, and they were accepted. This is such a nice event, and of course, I LOVE the nursery where it is held. I am planning to take my mom to it this year, and thought it would be fun for her to see some of my quilts hanging.

And then, about that “thinkie” project. I spent a little time on it. I traced the photo on my 1/4 inch graph paper, and then went to the copy store and enlarged it 400%, which made it a 10 inch finished block. Then I spent some time drawing a pattern for it.

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And made one block.

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I don’t like it. I can see that the embroidery makes a tremendous difference in the appearance of the block, and choice of fabrics also is important. Anyway, I might try again, using some of my reproduction fabrics. I also drew a different design, and I am interested in trying that also…

I made the pattern because Kris had suggested that it might be a fun group project. I don’t think that’s gonna happen, but if any of you are interested in the pattern, you can email me (schnabel@volcano.net), and I will be glad to email you a copy of it.

So that’s about it for now. I started working on the rug of Noah again, and I occasionally knit or work on my Kantha blanket, just to get a little color in my life. I have more ideas for some fun color-work blocks, but they are still in the thinkie stage today 🙂