Life is a Carnival Quilt

fullsizeoutput_2d4aI started this quilt back in the 70’s with great intentions of making this fabulous fun quilt for my girls when they were little. It turned out to be harder than I thought and more time consuming than I expected. I completed the center part and the bottom panel, all by hand (note that this was way before rulers, rotary cutters, and fusible appliqué paper). The pattern that I followed had blocks of appliquéd carnival rides all around the center of the quilt. The thought of hand turning and hand stitching all those itty-bitty pieces was daunting. That’s when I stored it away for another day.

fullsizeoutput_2d4bSo 2017 rolls around and all my girls are grown up. While organizing my stash, I came across the unfinished carnival quilt top. I’m a quilter and semi-retired, so now I should think about how I might finish it. I ended up trimming it with rulers and my rotary cutter and eliminating about 4 inches between the bottom panel and the center panel. I completely removed the top panel. It was not that interesting and made the quilt too long. Finally, I made a variation of a pinwheel out of vintage fabrics for the vertical borders. For the top and bottom, I pieced together borders with the left over vintage fabric.

IMG_5368I added vintage buttons to the center of each pinwheel, then I sandwiched it, and prepared to free-motion-quilt using my Elna 680. It does a pretty good job, but I’m the one who struggles to keep my stitches even. Despite the imperfections, I had fun using different colors of thread and coming up with the quilting designs. I always use bobbin thread that matches my quilt back so it blends in nicely.

fullsizeoutput_2d4cI’m really happy that I was able to finish what I had started over 20 years ago! It needed to wait until I had better quilting tools and more experience. I’m a person who likes to finish what they start and this quilt is certainly proof of that!

I’ve entered it in the local Redwood Empire Fair…… I’m hoping for a ribbon. 🙂

IMG_4746Happy Sewing!

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Little Cowboy Quilt

fullsizeoutput_2d47Happy Independence Day in the USA! I’m celebrating our western themed annual local Frontier Days in my hometown with this Little Cowboy quilt. It’s made using a panel of batik like images related to the Old West.

IMG_4533Each little motif was carefully cut and then sashed with coordinating fabric.

fullsizeoutput_2d43To make the quilt a suitable size, a pieced block was set in each corner.

IMG_4543I used my Elna 680 to free-motion quilt with stitch-in -the-ditch and loops around the the boarder.

fullsizeoutput_2d45I applied my go-to binding method (two strips sewn together, one is the flange at 1 1/4 in. and the outer binding is 2 1/2 in.) to finish the outside edge. I love this type of binding because you can sew it on with the machine and it looks great!

IMG_4532This little quilt was one of four of my pieces that were recently displayed in our local art gallery and also will be joining the home arts display at the Redwood Empire Fair next month.

fullsizeoutput_2d41Needless to say, I’ve been enjoying the art and design of quilting lately!  This quilt is a gift for my new grandson, the first boy in our family of all girls.

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Pink and Blue Charity Quilt

fullsizeoutput_2d3dHave you ever had clothing that you just could not part with? The fabric just begging to be kept and eventually made into something else?

fullsizeoutput_2d3cThis little lap quilt is made from pieces of dresses and shirts that I just couldn’t let go of. I’m very pleased with the result of this particular combination of fabrics. It’s sweet and happy looking.

IMG_5079For a change of pace, I enjoy a good upcycle of fabrics over purchased fabrics. It’s a great way to save the resources of our planet, even though it is such a small contribution.

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free motion quilting on my domestic machine

The greater contribution is the joy found in creating it and the pleasure of giving it away. This quilt will go to our local children’s shelter and will be given to a child or teen. My hope is that it will bring comfort and warmth to them during difficult times.

fullsizeoutput_2d3aOur local group of charity quilt makers, make hundreds of handmade quilts for the children in our community. We purchase most of the materials and greatly appreciate donated fabric.

fullsizeoutput_2d3bIf you would like to donate fabric to our charity quilt makers, please contact me. We use only 100% cotton fabrics. Thank you!

 

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New Brand Name!

SEAM QUEEN

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I have changed my domain name to something more sewing related. Zibergirl has matured and perfected her skills. Seamqueen.blog is my new name! Stay tuned for more quilts and other sewing related activities, including alterations!

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St Kitts Island Quilt

fullsizeoutput_2d35My husband and I celebrated our 25th anniversary on a cruise in the Caribbean. One of my favorite tours was on the island of St Kitts which is known for its batiks made on the island since the seventies. Caribelle Batiks is located in the historic Romney Manor, “Once home to Sam Jefferson II, the great great great grandfather of Thomas Jefferson (3rd President of U.S.A.) the great house was renamed Romney Manor following its acquisition in the early 17th century by the Earl of Romney”. You can visit the website here: Caribelle BatiksIMG_4756The grounds of the Romney Manor are quite lovely, with a 350 year old sprawling tree that spans over a half acre as a focal point. Colorful island flowers and plants complete the magical garden.IMG_4757Within the Manor, rooms filled with expertly dyed batiks of all colors and patterns are made into scarfs, garments, bags, pillow covers, napkins, tablecloths, wall hangings, etc. Just about anything you can imagine is made from the expertly designed and dyed batiks. I purchased a bag of scraps and a large table cloth.IMG_4761With the bag of scraps I wanted to make something special and representative of our trip to the Caribbean. Once home, I looked through the scraps for inspiration. The colors reminded me of the turquoise water and waves, the amazing sky and picturesque sunsets, and the ships and boats.IMG_4774I researched quilt blocks of sailboat patterns and when I found just the right one, I started to cut and sew. My mini quilt came together quickly, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had used just about every inch of the scraps except for the yellow/ purple pieces that just didn’t fit the color palette. fullsizeoutput_2d30I added white sashing and a  turquoise border with a tiny border made from the bits and pieces left from the nine sailboat blocks. fullsizeoutput_2d33I free motion quilted the little wall-hanging with designs that resembled waves and sails, and used my favorite sew-by-machine binding method to finish it.fullsizeoutput_2d2fIt presently hangs on our living room wall, a sweet reminder of the wonderful trip we took together. It was a  fun and exciting trip that I enjoyed more than anything. I look forward to more adventures together with my husband in the years to come. Meanwhile a quilting and a sewing I will go as I love that too!

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I Remember Mama

Thinking about Mom today and to all the moms out there…Happy Mother’s Day!

ZIBERGIRL SEWS

I Remember Mama

Yes, I fondly remember Mama. I’ve spent weeks thinking about my mom and trying to remember everything I could about her. You see, my mom passed away when my youngest daughter was just over three years old. Mom was only 68 years old. Unfortunately her health declined rapidly in her later years and she died during surgery.  One thing I distinctly remember was that my mom did not want to end up in a nursing home, old and needy, so I guess it was a blessing that she left us before that. Still, even as I write this, emotions well up inside me, because she could have been her now, and not missed so much of our lives and we her’s.

Mama and Me

I remember a lot of this and that about Mom, she was born and raised in Mass. in a big…

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My First Bargello Quilt

fullsizeoutput_2b4cAttracted to the complex design of the Bargello quilt pattern, I did some research to find out how to put this seemingly complex quilt together. I learned that the original Bargello design is a type of needlepoint embroidery consisting of upright flat stitches laid in a mathematical pattern to create motifs. The name originates from a series of chairs found in the Bargello palace in Florence, which have a “flame stitch” pattern. (Wikipedia).

fullsizeoutput_2b46This pattern as been adopted by modern quilters to replicate the “flame”. It is accomplished by cutting and sewing strips together in a particular order. The size, width, color, and the variety of different shades and hues of the strip sets make for a multitude of pattern designs.fullsizeoutput_2b52You can learn the fundamentals from Craftsy. Angela Walters has a great 3 minute presentation on making a bargello quilt block .

I followed this tutorial to make my first one. I chose to make a smaller size using vintage fabrics. I made 6 identical strip sets, then sewed them into loops. Then I cut the loops vertically. The trick is to unpick between two squares so that when you sew it to the previous strip, it is offset by one. Angela does a great job of explaining this.

fullsizeoutput_2b5aI free motion quilted my quilt using this easy pattern. I quilted in columns from top to bottom. First I quilted the center wavy line then I quilted a line to the right and to the left, adding a circle at each indentation. For the inner border I quilted “e’s) and a simpler wavy line with loops for the outer border.
Quilt design

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fullsizeoutput_2b48Visit my previous blog posts to see how I make a binding with a flange and attach it to the quilt by machine instead of by hand. I will never hand sew a binding again! I love this method!

This pretty quilt is a donation quilt destined for the Local Children’s Shelter. The fun is in the making and the joy is in the giving.

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Maya’s Quilt

fullsizeoutput_2a87I made this quilt as a gift for my oldest granddaughter and gave it to her on her 19th birthday. My daughter, pieced this simple rail fence top together when she was in high school, but never finished it. It got passed to me and I’ve held on to it for years.IMG_4384Now that I’ve taken up the art of quilting, finishing this quilt as a gift for my granddaughter was high on my list of projects. It didn’t take long to find a suitable fabric from our quilting guild stash for the backing. It looks like it came from the same era, the 90’s!fullsizeoutput_2a8dI tried a new free motion quilt pattern, a meandering loopy design with occasional flowers. It worked out very nicely, although, it took about 8 hours to quilt.fullsizeoutput_2a8bI used my tried-and -true binding method, which is stitched on by machine. It looks so pretty with the tiny contrasting flange edge. I probably will never hand sew another binding, since this looks so wonderful. It is stronger and also practically invisible.

fullsizeoutput_2a90 You use 1 1/4 in strips for the binding, and 1 1/2 in strips for the flange. The strips are sewn together, seam pressed, and then folded in half. The flange fabric faces up and is sewn to the back side of the quilt. When you fold it over to the front, the binding fabric covers the edge and just a tiny edge of the flange fabric extends out. You can machine stitch in the ditch, and it turns out wonderfully!

Needless to say, my granddaughter was delighted with her new quilt and it’s history: top pieced by Mom at age 17, completed by Grandma 20 years later.fullsizeoutput_2a93

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Little Birds and Spring Lake

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It’s finished! My new quilt is on the bed! It’s been a laborious but enjoyable project that I’ve been working on for several months. After the holidays, I pulled it out again and set up my machine for free-motion quilting, enlarged my sewing space by adding a table behind the sewing cabinet, and then covered both with a large piece of oilcloth. This allowed the 72″ square quilt to glide and rest happily on it’s surface.

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I used a Supreme Slider on top of the oilcloth for easier quilting.

img_3533My featured fabric is from White Tree Fabrics, a curated fabric store with a wonderful assortment of patterns, notions, and amazing fabric. The featured fabric is by Tilda. I used an assortment of prints from the Spring Lake Collection. I included the little bird fabric, to add a bit of whimsy and a pop of color. I decided to use a pattern that I found on the McCalls Quilting Sew-Alongs called “Show Case Your Fabric“. The pattern comes with a movie that walked me through every step of the process. That was just what I needed! img_3535After I cut all the pieces, I made the snowball blocks and the rectangle blocks.fullsizeoutput_286aI shuffled the blocks around  until I was happy with the final arrangement.fullsizeoutput_2864My dog, Heidi, gave her approval after the top was finally pieced.

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Free Motion Quilting

The next step was to make the quilt sandwich. This is hard to do on the floor (for me anyway). So, when I had the opportunity to join the local quilting group for a Sew Day, I was able to use two big tables set up side-by-side. I used masking tape to make sure the backing fabric was smooth and secured to the table. Next, I placed 100% cotton batting on top of the backing and then the pieced quilt top on the batting. I used spray adhesive and quilt safety pins to hold all the layers together.

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Binding with a decorative flange

I liked the binding method. You use 1 1/4 in strips for the binding, and 1 1/2 in strips for the flange. The strips are sewn together, seam pressed, and then folded in half. The flange fabric faces up and is sewn to the back side of the quilt. When you fold it over to the front, the binding fabric covers the edge and just a tiny edge of the flange fabric extends out. You can machine stitch in the ditch, and it turns out wonderfully!FullSizeRender.jpgThis is the biggest piece that I have ever free-motion quilted, so I didn’t want to try anything to0 complicated. I decided to do an overall pattern of “ripples”. I guess that would describe it. My quilting is not perfect, but it certainly  improved after I achieved a good rhythm. While I didn’t keep track of all the hours I put in to make it, I did keep track of the free motion quilting work. It took 8 hours! Don’t worry, I did it over several days, but even so, my neck and shoulders felt it.

Thank you, White Tree Fabrics, for the opportunity to work with you!

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Happy New Year Quilt

You could say patriotic or you could say red, white, and blue with a few apples and tomatoes tossed in. This was the fabric I chose from the donated fabric given to our local quilting club. The purpose and intention of the fabric is for the quilters to make quilts for a child in need.img_3929I chose colors that were bright and bold, with the thought that a particular child would love it. Most of the donated fabric is very dated, and not in a cool retro way.  So my selection had to be very precise for what I had in mind.

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Free motion quilting practice

I’m really pleased with how it turned out. Each log cabin block consists of blues on one side and reds on the other. When I played around with the orientation of the blocks, I decided to face the reds toward the center creating a design that looked planned instead of haphazard. I added blue sashing and borders to isolate the bright bold squares. Easier on the eye, don’t you think?

img_3914It turned out crazy cool, even if I do say so myself! I had fun stitching-in-the- ditch with my new machine that has a walking foot and free motion quilting settings. I must say it was really a fun quilt to put together from start to finish.

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Heidi helps to hold down the layers as I sandwich the quilt together

The backing and the binding are made from a striped fabric that was simple enough to not detract from the busy-ness of the top.

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Striped backing and binding

Soon I will deliver it to the shelter and then think about my next quilting project.

img_3927Thank you for following my blog and leaving such encouraging comments. I hope all of you have a new year filled with love, peace, and understanding.img_3917

Happy Sewing and Quilting!

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