Friday, January 24, 2014

Airplanes and Quilting

This week I have a commissioned quilt to make for one of our favorite organizations, Bahamas Habitat. I designed an airplane block the old-fashioned way, with a pencil and paper. Most of the block is simple, but the body of the plane required a template, as badly as I hate them.

I'm still working on the layout, so I'll either make 16 or 25 of these bright little Tailwinds. And while I have the hang of them, I may make a few extra. It's hard to believe that I have never made an airplane quilt.  Well, other than this one:

I pieced that quilt as a memory quilt for the first airplane my husband built, an RV-6A. We have since built two other planes, and currently fly this one (an RV-12):

Of course, the cutest airplane I've seen lately was the one Grampy built for our Gingersnap for Christmas:

Back to stitching!


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Week Three of The Year of the UFO

I finished another long overdue project this week. I pieced this Irish chain quilt in 1994 when my babies were 2 and they are both married, and my granddaughter is two! Weird how fast twenty years goes by...

You can see the plain, six inch border I chose to finish the quilt. When you wait 20 years to finish a top, you are actually LUCKY to have yards of the green set aside, but sadly, none of the white-on-white print (it's very subtle). I also opted to play with my machine a bit and make this one a learning experience. I try to learn something new on every project, or at least practice a rusty skill. So, I quilted with dark green Glide top and bottom (Totem Green & Christmastime), and used a double layered batting. I put cotton/bamboo on bottom, and topped it with 80/20 cotton-poly for loft.

I bought the digital "Hearts and Feathers" set to fit an Irish chain, and I really like it. I think I'll piece a couple of baby quilts later this spring and use this motif again. 

I had one single strip of checkerboard left over from 20 years ago when I had been working on a pieced border, and I hated to waste it, so I slipped it into the center of the backing fabric I chose (you can see it on the take up bar):

The "sharp star" on the checkerboard blocks was kind of a whim. I had quilted another gorgeous Irish chain last fall, and quilted a more elaborate block on the alternate blocks of it. But it had a plain back that really showed the quilting, and this one is more visible on the that hearts and feathers motif is busy enough. Here's a picture of the previous Irish chain:

The one thing both have in common is that I had to turn a block that was designed to go on point so that it fit a square in order to get a strong diagonal feel. I need to shop for digitized block designs that have an "X" vibe.

I had just enough backing fabric. I hate being that close. Fortunately I had plenty on the sides to turn it in my frame to quilt the other two borders. The border knots are a "wrought iron" design. Again, after the frills of feathers, I thought a place to rest was nice along that border, and it looked very Celtic to me.

And UFO2 of 2014 is completed. I also had a beautiful client quilt in and out of the frame this week, and I'm working on piecing the commission for Bahama Habitat (a raffle quilt) for the next week. Here's a sneak peek of the beautiful CQ1402:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Week Two of The Year of the UFO

I've promised myself to tackle some of the many unfinished projects that I've moved with my USAF family over the years. A lot of these projects are unfinished because of my attention lapsing when something newer and shinier came along. But some were a result of hitting a snag in my ability or skill set at that point in my life, and it is definitely time to reclaim them.

A New Year's resolution of mine is to be more attentive to the project at hand. Focus until finished. That being said, I spent last week finishing a beautiful log cabin quilt I started a few years ago for my mother.

I had pieced the "core" of the quilt--all the blocks--and it only needed borders. What stopped me years ago was that I had decided the blocks needed one more round of lattice of the pretty floral to "float" and frankly I was sick of it. More 11" strips to I put it away. As you can see, I changed the design, and instead put a narrow border of the dark rust from the cornerstones, a wider 3" border of the floral, and then another narrow light rust border.

I opted for a piano key border to finish off the quilt (I just love the effect), and then planned to bind with the same light rust as that last border.

I love using my longarm table to pin borders. The bulk of the quilt is managed so easily.

I thought this quilt needed some beautiful feather quilting, and since I'd chosen a light green solid backing fabric, a strong rust thread would look beautiful on the back. My machine is sewing like a dream, and the Glide thread just glistens. I bought "Fantasy Feathers" from and started painting feathers on...

I am still stitching the binding, but will finish it up today. I will post final pictures before it's mailed off to my mom's (apparently soon-to-be repainted and refurbished to match the quilt!) master suite (sorry, Dad!).

I have already chosen UFO2 for my next project! Update next week!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Happy New Year from Island Time!

It's great to be back in the routines of regular life after the holidays. We had a hectic season of travel with visits to both my husband's and my side of the extended family, including five generations of family with both of my grandmothers as well as my granddaughter. Those treasures are not to be taken for granted!

But I am happy to be home, back with my sewing machines after a much needed break. I have declared 2014 "The Year of the UFO" at my house. I have scheduled four long-overdue pieces for my frame this month. I also moderate a UFO support group on Facebook for quilters who could use accountability assistance and encouragement. If you are on Facebook and would like to join in, the link is 

I have also received my first commission of the year. I'll plagiarize from the website:  "Bahamas Habitat is an international service organization that partners with volunteer pilots, aircraft owners and aviation industry professionals to fly their own aircraft to provide dignified humanitarian outreach to the people of The Bahamas, Haiti and Mexico. They serve by delivering disaster relief and basic medical, economic, housing and other services." My husband and I flew our plane down two years ago and did several projects, including roofing after significant hurricane damage. We are going again next month, and the organization contacted me to design and provide a quilt for raffle. I have several ideas for designs, and a great aviation themed quilting design I have been dying to try. For more information, or to donate to this worthy cause, check out