Sunday, October 11, 2015

Engineer's Wife Sampler

After 19 months and hundreds of hours of work, the Engineer's Wife Sampler quilt is complete. I started calling it that way back at the beginning because my husband is not a farmer! You can see I went my own way from the start with this quilt, but I loved working from Julie Hirt's book.

This post is a little long, so feel free to just look at the pictures!

 January 26, 2014: I blogged that I might make a few blocks from this book for a table runner. Then my friend Sharon mentioned that she had started piecing this quilt. Knowing that there was someone nearby to commiserate with was somehow comforting. And challenging!

February 17, 2014: Day 1. As I pieced these blocks from my modern scrap bin, I made quite a mess! I pieced the blocks in numerical order, and wrote the date I completed each block in the book.

February 21, 2014: In four days, I had pieced 24 blocks and cut out the next 24.

March 8, 2014: Made 12 blocks on retreat.
Summer 2014: lots of blocks pieced when I needed a break from the wedding ring.

January 28, 2015: 20 more blocks. And I learned the term Maverick blocks.

February 2, 2015: 111 blocks complete! (Yes, I kept the stack in numerical order.)

March 2015: My original layout plan was to use alternate gray and white hourglass blocks. I made 8 of them and decided I really didn't want to make 100 more.

(crummy iphone photo)

 June 26, 2015: Layout plan B. The gradation in the background was inspired by a class with Vanessa Christenson. I had seen other samplers set like this (half on point, half straight) without the gradation. It's interesting to see how the colors pop differently on the various shades of gray.

July 18, 2015: Top complete.

September 4, 2015: Hand basting using Sharon Schamber's technique.

September 5-23, 2015: Hand and machine quilting. I started at the top, center. I would hand quilt a few blocks, then machine quilt them. After a few rows, I discovered that the best method for me was to machine quilt in the ditch around each block, then fill in the block with machine quilting (all in white thread, different design for each block). Then I hand quilted 1/4" around the blocks. Then I went back to the machine to quilt the background.

Hand quilting was done in a hoop on the dining room table with variegated #5 perle cotton and a no. 3 embroidery needle. I really enjoyed this process, but soon discovered that 100% cotton batting is not ideal for needling through, especially with thick thread and a big needle. (Apparently, wool batting is quite nice for hand quilting.)

 I used a different color thread to hand quilt each background color. One stitch at a time.

 Machine quilting was done on my trusty Bernina 153 on the kitchen table. The background was quilted with thread that matched the fabric color. Fortunately, I found a chart online that matched Aurifil colors with Kona colors. This photo commemorates the completion of quilting.

September 24, 2015: The binding matches the background colors - white on top, black on the bottom, sides pieced to match. (will add photo when I get the quilt back)

Since I only used 100 blocks on the front, the remaining 11 went on the back. Ten are pieced into a strip through the middle. (That area was fun to hand quilt through. Not!)

September 25, 2015: The last block became the label. Since it is so large, I "quilted" some lines and a heart so it wouldn't flap around. The stitches only go through to the batting and don't show on the front.

I am really proud of this quilt. You can see it (with Sharon's and Donna's) at the Ninigret Quilters show this weekend in Westerly, RI. It has also been accepted for exhibition at A Quilters Gathering in Manchester, NH, in early November.

Engineer's Wife
85" X 85"
Pieced & Quilted by Tina Craig
Started February 17, 2014
Completed September 25, 2015
Block Patterns: Farmer's Wife Sampler by Julie Aaron Hird
Layout: original

Kona solids: white, silver, medium gray, coal, black
Aurifil 50 wt thread: 2024, 2600, 2605, 5004, 2692
DMC #5 pearl cotton: 4200, 4124, 4077, 4050, 4025

Saturday, October 10, 2015

School Days Classroom Quilt

Since I was procrasti-quilting my way through August, it was the perfect time to make a new classroom quilt for my sister. In the late 90's, I designed a way to piece clear vinyl into a quilt block so you could slide pictures into the pocket. My sister got the first classroom quilt in 1999. It served her well for many years, but the homespun fabrics are starting to fray.

2015 on left, 1999 on right

Since I would be staying at her house in early September, I quickly pulled fabric and got busy. I had bought the focus fabric months ago, and I always have a roll of vinyl on hand. 

I did take pictures of the process if anyone is interested in a tutorial.
Are we really surprised that I chose the same title for both quilts? 

School Days
50" X 50"
August 29-30, 2015
Original Design

Friday, October 9, 2015

A Goosey Finish

 I'm always surprised when so much time passes between blog posts. It is never my intention to be gone for so long. If you ever wonder what I'm working on, check my Instagram account. I've been posting there for instant gratification. 

It does take some time to sit down at a computer, upload and edit pics from my camera, and write a coherent blog post. Since I'm all caught up with deadlines, I finally have the time to do all that. So get ready for a bunch of posts!

When we left off in August, I was finishing up the blocks for my little Wild & Goosey quilt.

When I started this project back in February, it was a leader/ender project. Toward the end, I just wanted to get it done, so it become a primary project. I cut all the pieces for the goose blocks from my bin of batik scraps. I wanted to control the chaos, so you might be able to see how I placed warm and cool colors in each block.

The binding is scrappy, too, but I used a fresh piece of batik for the backing.

I combined straight lines and free motion quilting with variegated YLI machine quilting thread. It's a neat little piece that I will be happy to hang up in January when I need color!

Wild & Goosey
36" X 36"
Started February 1, 2015
Completed August 28, 2015

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

WIP Wednesday

Yesterday was a soggy, rainy day. I have to force myself to be productive on days like that. I'd much rather spend the day on the couch with my laptop.  

I did manage to get two Wild & Goosey blocks done. That brings me to 20 out of 25 I need for my wall hanging. This riot of color was the perfect antidote for the crummy weather.

Quilting the Farmer's Engineer's Wife is at the top of my priority list. I have to add one more large piece to the back, then it can be basted. I will be trying Sharon Shamber's method of using boards to keep the parts square and flat. I haven't decided yet if I'll thread- or pin-baste.

In the finished column since my last WIP post, I have added another QOV for a cousin 

and a graduation gift for a friend's daughter.

I'm participating in the modern fabric postcard swap on Instagram. These are the 4x6" postcards I will be dropping in the mail later today. It was fun playing with the color and fabric choices of the recipients.

 I printed 4" New York Beauty blocks from EQ7 and added 2" of extra background on one side. I wasn't sure if I could piece such a small curve, but it wasn't too bad. I pinned a lot!

Have a great day!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Lea's Graduation Quilt

 I can finally show you the second stacked squares quilt. Remember the blue one I made for my cousin? The red one is for Lea, who will be heading to Catholic University in a few weeks.

Lea's mom, Janet, is a good friend of mine. Way back in February, we went shopping for fabric during a snow storm. She had originally considered a t-shirt quilt, but Lea wasn't ready for her shirts to be cut up. The lone shirt that we included used to be her brother's. We had fun shopping for reds, whites, blacks, grays and some fun cardinals.

A few extra  blocks were added to the back.

The quilt was finished in time for graduation, but it wasn't gifted until last week at her graduation party.

The quote on the label is a song lyric that was supposed to be including in Lea's graduation speech, but it got cut in the last edit. It still works.

Janet and Lea wore blue to coordinate with the party colors. I'm the short one in pink.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Quilt of Valor for Tom

 I was very happy to present this Quilt of Valor to my cousin Tom at a family reunion last week.

I had been working on this quilt, on and off, for several years. You know how that goes. Once I finished Leo's QOV, I decided I needed to finish one for Tom, too. And you know how well I work under the pressure of a deadline!

I had a minor mishap while quilting the border and quilted through the tip of my machingers. At least it wasn't my actual finger!

I turned to my brother for help with the label. Tom has written a book about his experience in Vietnam, so most of the info came from there. He did not, however, earn a Bronze Star. I'm not sure how we got that wrong. I know a QOV label is supposed to just have the first name of the quiltmaker, but in this case, I thought it was fitting to include my full name. 

 My son, the Marine, presented the quilt to Tom while I read my presentation speech. Another cousin's son graduated from Marine Corps boot camp a few days ago.

Tom was totally surprised and rendered speechless, which is really saying something for a Martiniano and a prolific author. And, yes, our family is so big, we wear nametags!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Selvedging Along

I will be playing with selvedges along with Quilty Habit and Quilts of a Feather. To start, they've asked us to show how we store our selvedges. Mine are all in this big lined basket in a jumbled mess. I'm in awe of the quilters who have their selvedges stored by color, folded neatly in ziplock baggies.

Earlier this year, I made this selvedge log cabin wall hanging in response to the RIMQG log cabin challenge.

I had a few extra blocks which became a giant pillow.

My first selvedge project was this spiderweb wall hanging made in 2013.

 I had so much fun quilting this one!

 I will be teaching a class called "Salvaging your Selvedges" in September. This table runner is my class sample of a sampler table runner.

I'm ready to play! Maybe I'll start by sorting my selvedges by color like the cool kids.