Sunday, December 16, 2007

Orphan Train Has Left the Station

I mentioned that I started hand quilting on Orphan Train. (Looking back at that post with the completed top I realized it has been sitting around since June waiting for me to get to work. D'oh.)

I basted the quilt last Sunday and didn't have nearly enough pins to do a proper job of it. I ended up thread basting in this corner. It's about every 3", which is just right for me. It's so much nicer to quilt when I've used thread basting, I just hate how much longer it takes for me to do. For those who are interested, this is Quilter's Dream 100% Cotton Request Batting.

This is the lower right corner. I'm doing freehand fans--no surprise there-- with black quilting thread. I like how the fans unify a work and are just so easy to do. Very low stress. I would definitely be happy with fewer seams to go through, but isn't that always the case.

This Amish looking orphan is from a Hovering Hawks wall hanging I attempted to make in 1989. I was using a book that had you start by sewing bias cut strips together and make them into a checkerboard before slicing them apart and resewing to end up with four Hovering Hawk blocks. Can you imagine me working like that? I actually did pretty well, all things considered.

This was the first and only time I've ever used starch to stiffen the fabric. I hated it. I ended up with shiny places on the fabric and I don't know if that's because of the starch, but it's certainly what I'm blaming.

After I got the wallhanging together my friend noticed that I'd put one of the parts in wrong, so all my hawks weren't hovering properly. I got out the seam ripper and took it apart. And of course never put it back together again. I like to think that I'd just leave it as I'd sewn it if I were making this now, but who knows. I love how these Hawk orphans look in this top, so I'm just as happy to have them here.

Just to clarify the picture - that is one complete Hovering Hawks block, plus an extra couple of triangles from the next block. That's why it's a bit confusing.

One of the things I love about hand quilting is that it really gives you time to look at your fabric choices, color combinations and the blocks themselves. For instance, I love the black and deep blue/purple color combination. I know it's dark and there's not much contrast, but still gorgeous. This black fabric is certainly cheap and too loosely woven - glad I don't use that anymore.

[If you're looking for black fabric, go with Michael Miller's Jet Black Fabric. Absolutely incredible fabric - with a deep rich color. Beats all the other black I've found in recent years by a mile.]

Hand quilting feels like really slow going, but I took these photos on the 12th and just four days later I'm further along.

Lily came out for her photo op on top of the quilt:

And Christmas in the background:

My sweetie and I headed over to Montmartre yesterday for a celebratory lunch at our favorite restaurant. We've been married 15 years this week - pretty amazing. My poor darling has a wisdom tooth coming in which is making his face ache, so that's put a damper on his holiday spirit. Bout time he finally got some wisdom though. heh heh heh.

We've watched a couple more of our Christmas movies. Catch Me If You Can, which isn't particularly Christmasy but key events do take place on that date, and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, which is most definitely Christmasy. We also watched The Incredibles, which has nothing to do with the holiday season other than the fact I gave my sweetie the DVD for Christmas 2005. Like Catch Me, it has awesome credits and I love the music.

Kimberly asked the other day if I had a stash of fabrics that I've bought in cool places that I've lived. Nope, unfortunately not. Egypt exports its cotton and there's little there in the way of quilters' cotton fabric. Loosely-woven solids are available for the tentmaker applique artists, but that's about it. I'd have had a much better time if I were looking for linen, which I wasn't then but might now. I have other great textiles from that country though.

And buying quilters' cotton in Paris. Ha! I don't think so. With the current exchange rate, that would be about $26 dollars for a meter of fabric (a bit more than a yard). They don't have anything I want to pay that much for and most of it is the same fabric that's already available in the states. I have however bought silk, which I have yet to wash. Another thing on my to-do list.

Have you all seen Quilt Diva Julie's vowel quilt And Sometimes Y? I'd like to buy a vowel please. Hee hee hee. She made the quilt in my first online class. Here is her post about the quilt (and a hint to go and check out the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative project) and you can see a lot more pics over here.

We're having fun in the Winter Class. Wonderful projects have already been completed and there's still plenty of time to join up. Winter hasn't even begun yet - you've got time (next year). Go check out the blog here.

Other folks have been making quilted gift bags. Check out Kimberly's, Lynda's, and KOQT Kristin's here and here (where the bag is the gift, at least in part).

Finally, art quilter Susie Monday asked me to let you know about the workshop she's teaching in Tuscany, Italy, in March 2008. A quilt retreat in Italy, doesn't that sound heavenly?


joyce said...

I have enjoyed touring your class results. Now I have to resist adding a whole lot of names to my Bloglines. I already spend way too much time at the computer reading blogs. There are so many talented people out there!

GRACE said...

love your colors; the black really makes those jewel tones pop....beautiful!

Quilt Pixie said...

I didn't have enough orphan blocks around to make much of a quilt top when Finn started talking about an orphan train, but I've been thinking of using it as an opportunity to try some blocks I wouldn't get around to otherwise... not truly orphans I guess, but a wonderful chance to play... your hovering hawks is spuring my thoughts re colours to play with

Katie said...

I much prefer sizing over spray starch. And spray the back side of the fabric. I too enjoyed all the sites you led me too. Such talented and interesting quilters out there.

andsewitis Holly said...

That quilt has been waiting to be quilted only since June? That's not bad at all :) Hardly any delay there. Happy Anniversary!

Exuberant Color said...

What you love about hand quilting is what I love about hand basting, that intimate view of every piece and every seam. Then I machine quilt.

Dawn said...

Once again I had a great time checking out all the links to the gift bags and class projects! And I love how your orphan train turned out! And of course it is going to be "you" quilting!

Sandy's Quilter's Block said...

Happy Anniversary, Ton! I enjoy going to all your links to see what others are doing. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love the colours of the log cabin block. It's the sewing the seams bit that always puts me off! I agree with you about the exchange rate, although in our case its sterling to Euro - blech!

Kathie said...

That sounds like it was quite a procedure to make the Hovering Hawks blocks. A bit of re-inventing the wheel.

At any rate, congrats on resuscitating a project--from the late 80s, no less!

Susie Monday said...

Thanks for posting the link! The orphans look great all lined up.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Tonya ~ thanks for sharing the link to And Sometimes Y's photos... love your "Amishy" colors!

Colleen Eskridge said...

Tonya, you asked me for closeups of the South American hand work squares. I just posted what I was able to get from my friends blocks. Sorry it took so long. Love your colors too. Just wish I had time to search all the links from your class.Saw some...but need to get to the rest. Colleen in South Africa

Sassenach said...

Happy Anniversary!

julieQ said...

I also had an experience with black fabric turning very shiny.

I love your amish-ish colors. So beautiful quilted in Baptist fans!

Merry Christmas!


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