Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Vintage Stocking for William Begun

My grandson, William, arrived on April 13th, 2018. He is my second grandson and fifth grandchild. He had the good grace to plan his birthday with plenty of lead time for me to make his vintage stocking in time for his first Christmas. These stockings are a family tradition and I have made them for my son-in-law Jeremy, my daughter-in-law Carrie and four other grandchildren. For William I gathered my essential supplies – yarn&needles, instructions, tips from past that I had documented in my blog, and charted name.

When I set out to chart his name, I found William is quite wide. I needed to narrow the M, W, and L to fit on the alotted space in the white  band of the stocking. When compared with a portion of the alphabet chart from the instructions it can be seen that the L is one space narrower (four instead of five at its base) and the W and M are seven spaces wide instead of nine. All are still recognizable as the letters they are meant to be.

The following photo is not upside down. The stocking is knitted from the top down so it is easier to read the chart inverted. As I knit the rows of the chart, I highlight them with yellow magic marker. I put arrows at the edges to remind me from which direction I should be reading the chart when knitting.

Last night was my first night and I completed the William name band. Yay! That is the most fun one.

The dates below are clickable links to posts about stockings previously knitted for other family members. Autumn and Isaiah are sister and brother. Vivian and Lillian are sisters. William is the little brother of Vivian and Lillian. The post for Vivian's stocking has the most knitting tips. I'd learned a lot by then, having made three other stockings previously.

December 31, 2011 Jeremy and Carrie
December 10, 2014 Autumn (born in October 2012 - I was late completing hers)
December 17, 2014 Vivian (April birthday)
December 28, 2015 Isaiah (July birthday - completed before the stroke of midnight Christmas eve)
November 29, 2016 Lillian (May birthday)
October 31, 2018 (this post; a later post upon completion) William (April birthday)

The original 1945 pattern can be downloaded for free from
Linking up now with Let's Bee Social #248.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Square Pegs in Round Holes

In the first quarter of 2018, I last worked on this quilt from a John Flynn pre-cut quilt kit. I had pieced it, assembled it, and prepped the backing for it. Now was the time for the free motion quilting.

Here are my progress posts on it:
This week (~ six months later) I "rediscovered" the quilt hanging neatly as a quilt sandwich on a hanger in one of my closets. [Quilts in progress are stored in more than one closet, are they not?]  Feeling brave after recently completing the FMQ on a yet-to-be-revealed quilt, I decided to keep the momentum going and FMQ this one. I should have reread my own blog posts first to jog my memory on my status. Having been unusually decisive on the pattern, I whipped the sandwich off the hanger and quilted away on a roughly 12" tall section by the width of quilt before moving on to another area to be similar patterned. Not very far into it, I discovered that this new area had a huge tuck in the backing fabric. Huh?

Apparently I had stored the quilt in a tidy sandwich but had not smoothed out all the wrinkles nor spray basted it. So pleased was I to find a sandwich ready to quilt, that I had totally failed to notice I had left out that pretty crucial step. I set out to smooth and spray baste with one end already quilted. That maneuver involved quite a bit of crawling around on the floor, taping and re-taping, adjusting and re-adjusting, smoothing and re-smoothing. The backing wound up a tiny bit catawampus at the far edges from where I began quilting, but thank goodness not so much so that the front hung over the edges anywhere. Whew! Breathe a sigh of relief. I could have needed to take out that entire band of FMQ but that was not necessary. I only needed to remove a small amount in the center of the quilted section where the seam of the backing was leaned over to one side and not open as everywhere else.

Angela Walter has a book Shape by Shape that I love to use for inspiration.

In it is a design for square blocks that I like to use. I have shown Angela Walters' sequence for quilting in the following diagram.

I adapted it for use in my four-sided blocks using curves instead of straight lines for the center cross. It works for blocks that are concave at the circumference of the circle ( ~wheels)...

... and for blocks that are concave at the circumference of the circle (~webs).

I made myself paper templates that I folded in quarters to help me visualize and mark with a dot the block center where the diagonal lines should cross. This is the template for the "web".

This is the "web" template folded in half, aligned, and marked with the midway point for transferral.

This is the template for the "wheel".

This is the "wheel" template folded in half, aligned, and marked with the midway point for transferral.

I have not yet decided how to quilt these odd shaped blocks that look like steer horns or angular bottomed leafs.

These are some patterns I am toying with but I am not thrilled by any of them. The feather one (upper right) would be fun to do but I do not know that it goes with the petals. The loops option (lower left) is within my skill level and could pass for tendrils on plants. The blocks are almost triangular so I may peruse that section of the Shape by Shape book for ideas. Also, if I split each along a "stem line" they do become two three sided sections.

I could echo quilt the shape but my echo quilting is wobbly. Notice how non-smooth this corner quarter circle came out when echoed with simple concentric arcs.

I tried petals as an option for the quarter circles instead, but feel that then there would be too many petals.

Besides if I did petals for a full circle, it would remind me too much of an atom symbol. So the circle pattern is also up for grabs.

Decisions, decisions. I am taking my time. This is slow going for me on my sit-down HQ-16 but that is perfectly fine. I like to decide as I go along and exercise my learned muscle memory in all similar sections at once. I need to come up with a quilt name too. Although Wheels & Webs as a working name is descriptive, I am not fond of spiders. At the rate I am going perhaps Petalmania?  The kit name Carnival does not float my boat. I already named a quilt Out of the Blue. I am seeking an alternative. Until then I am off to share with others at Let's Bee Social #247.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Visit to PIQF

Today I went with my husband to the Pacific International Quilt Festival held in Santa Clara, CA in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am fortunate to have such a large show so close to where I live. Due to recent traveling and recent illnesses neither of us had a lot of energy but I did not want to feel I had missed anything so off we went. I took only a few photos of quilts that caught my eye, and my purchases were minimal (yay), but we had a pleasant day out.

This three-dimensional quilt titled Snack Spread was an original design by Liz Piatt, a local quilter. It was a lot of fun but maybe it had an extra appeal to me because I am currently in Weight Watchers and was drawn to the food aspect . This quirky quilt was hand pieced, hand appliqu├ęd, and hand quilted. This year's theme was "That'll Be the Day" prompting entrant to complete the sentence. Snack Spread won a blue ribbon for "Best Interpretation of Theme".

This next quilt Seashore Restores My Soul to Eternity caught my eye because of the combination of technique and fabric selection.

Using a wavy striped fabric assembled in hexagons gave a sense of movement and flow to the quilt that inspired me to try that technique on the background of one of my own quilts in the future.

The designer was Cynthia Sojourner, also a local quilter.

I was in awe of the quilting in this tri-color wall hanging. I cannot bring myself to work with solids because I love prints too much. With a skilled hand at the long arm though, it might be worth forgoing those prints to show off the swirls, diamonds, orange peel, and other texturing on this beauty.

Pieced by Kathleen Robertson of Reno, NV, she reveals that double batting is a great help in having the quilting by Vicki Ruebel "sing" in Fly Away.

I start off my list of purchases with a non-purchase. My husband and I arrived at the show about one hour after it had started and a vendor booth was having trouble with some quilts not hanging properly. I overhead them saying they needed somebody tall so I volunteered my 6'4" husband who helped willingly. They were so happy they offered me a pick of a free pattern. I picked this Christmas Card Holder.

I really did limit my fabric purchases. This three yard piece of 108" wide fabric appealed to me for the back of a blue quilt I have planned or the back of a beach themed quilt. It is subtle and yet not blah and the scale of the print is large enough to be interesting. It was $15 /yard, not too bad for an extra wide width.

In the same booth this one yard piece of a musical print caught my eye. At $6 for one yard, It will make a nice pillowcase or pillow. The clarity of the print is so striking.

I have at thing for cloth books although my grandbabies are getting too old for them. I could not resist this penguin cloth book.

I was thrilled to find this crinkle material to put inside the book and have it make noises that the babies love. I have been stingily hanging on to one piece I had to special order at an exorbitant price over the internet a few years ago. I only made one page of each book crinkly. This package will make two books worth,  with an insert in every page!

As I was walking past a vendor booth, this Halloween quilt made me stop for a second look, and Halloween is not even my favorite holiday. But the grey and orange colorway was strikingly different from the normal Halloween colors – softly eerie without being ghoulishly garish – and I found it very appealing. They were selling the kit but I had sworn to myself I was buying no more kits

I asked though and the vendor agreed to sell me just the pattern. Had I seen just this pattern I would not have been so wowed. Once home I looked into the pattern and learned each house can be made from a square out of a layer cake. All the better! I am excited about this Halloween special and hope to make it up  soon... perhaps for Halloween 2019?

A sample was also made up in this colorway. This grabbed my attention too – not so much as the grey toned background but still pretty attractive. To me the gold tones call out Thanksgiving rather than Halloween. I also think the vertical channel line quilting is effective and would not be a stalling point for me in the quilt's completion.

After seeing a recent episode of The Quilt Show by Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims, the guest Susan Cleveland, a "stickler for impeccable piecing", highly recommended this pressing mat claiming it helps give superior pressing results since the wool material clings to the blocks and retains the heat. I decided to give it a try at show prices.

I do not like to mark my quilts and so I am a fan of Angela Walters' Dot-toDot quilting technique. On a recent video of hers however, she suggested using a stencil grid to mark those dots. I got the pounce pad at the show but was unsuccessful in getting a stencil grid. I will search for that elsewhere. I am sure they are readily available.

And finally I saw these adorable little critter gadgets. The fluffy tail pulls out for a tape measure. In the frog, his left eye pulls out to reveal a tape. I got five different ones for five grandkids. Yes, some kids are too young for them, I know, but they will grow into them. Does not every kid need to learn to measure sooner or later, even if it is just their own height?

Mary Poppins measures Jane and Michael's height with her own special tape measure fished out from the depths of her carpet bag.

And we all know that Mary Poppins was "Practically Perfect in Every Way". So you see, I had to buy all those tape measures! I was channeling Mary Poppins.

OK my PIQF visit was not perfect but it was practically perfect in every way where "Every Way" equates to "Seeing Quilts, Being Inspired, and Minimizing Purchases ". Now I will link up to Let's Bee Social #245 and share what sparked my interest.