Monday, December 12, 2011

Polar Fleece?

I know polar fleece may seem too thick for quilting, but I think it works.  It is thick but it's lightweight while still being very warm and cozy.  Probably NOT a good quilt for Florida, but fine for Wisconsin or snowy New York.  

I haven't tried it often, although the quilt I made with it became one of my favorites.  I used it not only as the backing, but also in the pieced top.  This one went to my brother-in-law Tom and if I remember right, it was for his 50th birthday.  This year he said he turned 12 on his birthday so I must be wrong about the 50th!  Regression isn't a bad thing and I do believe you should get to be any age you choose.

A quilting friend just asked about using flannel as a backing and I'm sure that's why I was thinking about the polar fleece.  I loved the feel of it and the distinct detail of the quilting.  No batting was used.  I only tried flannel once (Tavern quilt); I like the results and will probably do another.  I've never used wool although I've always planned to.  Plaid woolens in a simple, classic pattern like Ohio Star would be nice.  Old flannel shirts, cut into 4" squares with a lightweight denim backing would be interesting too.  Ah...  so many quilt ideas!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Older Quilts

Today I'm going to share some more of my older quilts.  After moving back to Orlando in 1998 (or was it '99?) I had more time to sew and more room too.  I had the passion to quilt, after my early Jinny Beyer success, but few of the skills and none of the knowledge.  Deciding to make something for our queen size bed, I decided to try a mariner's compass.  Here's the crazy part:  I didn't know where to look for a pattern so worked it out on graph paper myself.  At the time that seemed like a logical thing to do; now I know it was unnecessarily difficult and there were lots of places I could have turned for help!  I was so pleased with the top, but then it all went wrong...  I used a horrible spray basting adhesive that resulted in a tragically wrinkled back, my first try at machine free motion quilting was startlingly bad,  I should never have used inexpensive muslin for the beige parts, I didn't know anything about choosing batting, etc.  The list could go on and on.  Of course we used it regularly for years and I still use it once in a while.  If you did a drive-by, looked through the window and saw it, you might think it looks nice.  But once you got within 20 feet you would see how pitiful it really is.  But I know how hard I worked on it and how proud I was to work out the compass angles, so I'll never get rid of it!

Here it is: Mariners' Blues.  I called it that because we had to sell our boat when we left
Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay.

In the couple years after Mariners' Blues, I made a few more for family.
This is a simple but pretty quilt for my brother and his wife.  I called this one Biltmore Rose after a fun trip we all made to Asheville NC.

This next one is GrayC's Garden, made for my mother around 2002 I think.  Mom was a fabulous gardener and her beloved cat GrayC was out there with her most of the time although she was and is a confirmed house cat the rest of the time.  Mother chose most of the fabric and encouraged me to use a Stack-n-Whack pattern I had recently found.  We had a blast working on this; it was an important time for both of us.  After Mom passed, I just couldn't keep this one around and was thrilled when my sister in law wanted it.  She and my mother felt great affection for each other so it was the perfect home for the quilt.
I don't have a picture of the back but it's wide alternating stripes of the light gray and the deep maroon-ish purple.   

I've got lots more quilts to categorize and post, but I'll save them for another day.  Here, instead, are a few GrayC pictures then and now:

And now:  22 pounds and the queen bee of the household!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Almost my First Quilt

Many years ago - not even sure how many but probably over 25 - I made a very simple quilt with 4" squares for my friend Margaret's first child.  As I look back on it, the colors were nothing you would pick for a baby quilt but I don't recall if I was trying to be different or if I just didn't know enough to make a good choice!  I don't have a photo of that first quilt and it's probably a good thing.

In 1992 or 93 I was pretty new at exploring the internet but somehow came across Jinny Beyer's website.  I had never seen such beautiful fabrics!  Stunned, I decided I had to try my hand at quilting again and found a shop in town (Baltimore) that carried her designs.  Here's that quilt, which I really consider it to be the beginning of my quilting life.
It's a smallish wallhanging, about 2.5'x3', more heavily beaded than you can tell from the picture; I called it Executive Wing because at the time I was working in the corporate offices of a large manufacturing company.  I was involved in many projects at work that took months and even years to see completed, so quilting gave me a dose of almost instant gratification.  It was also a way to express my more creative side and that was fun too.  This quilt hung in my office at work for several years.

Later, I gave a similar quilt to my niece, but this one hangs in my sewing room.  I still like it and I'm still attracted to Jinny Beyer's fabrics and her great borders.  I've always wanted to take one of her classes but the closest I've gotten is visiting her shop near DC.