Looking forward

/ Wednesday 16 November 2011 /
I have been enjoying looking at all the posts that people have been sharing with photos of all the new fabric coming out.  I am trying to be dispassionate about all that eye candy, but I must share with you one collection that is getting a lot of hype.  I must admit I love it, too.  It's Curious Nature, by Amy Butler's husband.  
And I can't wait to pair it with this other upcoming line: Nightshade by Tula Pink.

I'll have quite a wait, since Nightshade isn't coming out until Halloween 2012. Never mind, it will give me time to save up.  

Got your passport?

/ Tuesday 8 November 2011 /
I hope you do have your passport, because the Trip Around the World is finished at last!

Here she is in all her splendour!
Trip Around the World finished!
It finishes at 60" x 72", batted with cotton, machine pieced and quilted.  I used Bonnie Hunter's tutorial, and I recommend it if you are looking for a quick and easy quilt that adds up to more than the sum of its parts.

And what about the back? I have a few big-yardage pieces down in the basement that I have bought on sale at various times that I keep for backs, and I was hoping that one of them would fit the bill for this quilt.  There was one in particular that I was thinking of, a Kaffe Fassett print with birds (the recipient of this one is a big time bird lover and has several birds in her home).  It would have done well enough, but when I pulled this one out, I realized that it was the only choice.  Doesn't it match the top well?  It even looks like I could have used it as the inspiration fabric for the rest of the initial fabric choices! But I had not even remembered that I had that fabric until I opened up my bin of backs.
Back of Trip Around the World
The binding is some Habitat; a few pieces from that line are in the top, as well.

In my last post, I showed you my plan for straight and diagonal line quilting.   It went well!  The quilting is a combination of vertical and diagonal lines.  Diagonal lines that trace the diamond shape in the centre and at the corners, and vertical lines that fill in the rest of the quilt.  Here you can see how the vertical and diagonal lines meet near the centre of the quilt.
Quilting detail 1
You can almost see it better on the back - here is the same view on the reverse.
Quilting detail 2
I feel like the straight line quilting (my first time ever) went fine.  Several commenters advised the use of a walking foot.  My Pfaff has an integrated walking foot which is very handy and I'm glad it does.  The lines were easily spaced with hardly any puckers.  In the photo below the lines look wavy, but this is just the clothes pins as they hold the quilt up, pulling against its own weight.
Not really wavy
I used a new foot that I picked up at the fall sale at my LQS.  As you know, feet for the sewing machine tend to be expensive but I got this at half price.  It's a stitch-in-the-ditch foot for my Pfaff.  Here is a photo of it.  I'm not sure if you can see it very well; it has a little metal guide that sticks out of the presser foot just at the centre, just where the needle will hit.  In this photo, I am using it to stitch down my binding, you can see that it's lined up just at the ditch where the binding has been stitched onto the the quilt top and folded over.  It's a great little gadget. I don't do a lot of in-the-ditch quilting, except for sewing my bindings on by machine, and this has been just terrific for that purpose. It increases accuracy and speed since it gives you an unobstructed view of where the needle is going to hit.  For that reason, it also worked great for sewing along the painter's tape that I used to mark the quilting lines.  I feel that I definitely got my money's worth out of that impulse buy!
This quilt is destined for a friend in the LA-area who has been through the mill over the last 18 months.  I'm taking it out there in about a week - it's a surprise and I hope she likes it.  Oh! Anybody know any good quilt shops in Orange County???  Do sing out, if so!

And now some housekeeping!  The winners of my birthday giveaway are:

Julie, who admits that she is old enough to have played with Barbie Fashion Plates, and claimed that the person below her liked fried pickles.  You win the French General charm packs, Julie!

Manda, who says that she does not like vintage sheets, and thought the person below her spent too much time blog surfing and not enough time sewing.  Manda, you win the Clermont Farms charm packs!

Rachel, who can play a musical instrument, and accused the person below her of dressing her dog up for Halloween. Rachel, I hope you like Habitat, because I have five half-metres for you.

And because I like surprises, a fourth, mystery giveaway will go to Tusen, who was not going trick or treating, and suspected that the person below her had green eyes and freckles.

Ladies, I'll be emailing you for your mailing addresses.  I hope everybody enjoyed the Person Below Me comment thread! I had a great time reading them all!  I'll close with some more quilty photos.

Trying something new

/ Thursday 3 November 2011 /

Photo, originally uploaded by Shadrach Meshach & Abednego.
I'm going to LA in two weeks and I'm going to be bringing this quilt to my friend, who has suffered all kinds of personal setbacks over the last 18 months. I feel like there's nothing better than a quilt to stand as a reminder that you are loved, especially when the people whom you care about are so far away. So you've seen photos of the Trip Around the World quilt top, and now I'm getting ready to quilt it up. I'm trying something new in the quilting department! I've mostly done FMQ swirls or meanders or flowers, but this time I thought I would give straight lines a try. When I pin-basted it this afternoon I used low-tack painters' tape to mark some quilting lines. The tape is about one or one and a half inches across, and my plan is to quilt along each side of the tape that is currently stuck on there. Then I'll shift the tape over to the next row of blocks and repeat the process, so that there is quilting through each line of squares, either on the diagonal or straight. I am excited to try this - I think the quilting in different directions will give some extra interest to the final product. Wish me luck!

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