February 2, 2014: Looking at Quilts


I look at a lot of quilts!  I am naturally a very early riser and am usually up by 5:30 AM and often earlier, between 4:30 and 5:30.  I love being up at that time when everything is quiet and still.  First I take a moment to look at the sky; often there are still moon and stars; or I can detect the first pink light of dawn on the horizon.  Then I make coffee!  The first half hour of the day I am curled up in my comfortable chair sipping coffee and reading my favorite quilt blogs and looking at pictures of quilts on those blogs.  After that, I try to fit some stitching in for a half hour or so before I have to get ready for work.

Not only is looking at quilts the first thing I do in the morning it’s the last thing I do before going to bed.  By 9:30 or 10 I start to feel too tired to read or stitch and I spend the last quarter to half hour looking at quilts on Pinterest before going to bed.  The number and variety of quilts that are available for viewing on Pinterest is amazing!!!  I’m partial to antique and applique quilts and there are an abundance of those.  So much inspiration!   Lately I’ve been trying to find pictures of quilts from the recent Tokyo International Quilt Festival on the internet.  The Japanese are incredible quilters and this show is fabulous.  I had the great good fortune to go to it 4 years ago and it’s the best quilt show I’ve ever been to.  I want to go back!!  I love the Japanese quilters’ sense of design and their workmanship.  So far Luana Rubin has the best/most pictures.  She runs the “equilter” web based quilt business and you can access her blog through their web site or I’m sure you can google her name and get there.  In fact, she was on the trip when I went to Japan 4 years ago!  She has a great photo set from the show that just took place in the last 10 days and she also has a number of great photo sets of quilts from wonderful shows – previous Tokyo festivals along with European quilt shows, US shows, etc.   Happy browsing!!

Spring Sonata has not been returned to me yet for hand quilting so I am making incredible progress on the Spirit of Japan (The Wheel) quilt.  The top is coming together much faster than I had anticipated.  I started sewing some of the quarters together with the sashing to make full blocks.  Here’s one “full” block  (double click on all pictures for great close-ups!!):

2214 SOJ #1one block


Here is a full shot of what I have done.  The 8 blocks that make up the top 2 rows are each sewn together with their respective sashings, but not sewn to each other yet:

2214 SOJ#2full


The colors are a bit darker than the above picture; the flash on the camera seems to lighten it.  Here’s a closer view:

2214 SOJ#3close


Soon I have to decide if I am going to embellish the blocks with embroidery.  Will that enhance the appearance/beauty of the piece or detract from it and look too fussy?  I may have to do a bit to find out and take it out if I don’t like it.  Here are some of my thread choices:

2214 SOJ#4 embroidery


I’m thinking of doing feather stitches around the inside and outside edges of the “fans”, perhaps the second one, the “long-armed”:

2214 SOJ#5 stitches


Perhaps I’ll have this figured out by the next post!!

I have managed to get 10 (out of 30) blocks for Sveta’s quilt made, but they aren’t quite done yet as the stitching around the leaves still needs to be done.  Each block requires mitered corners.  At first I thought this would be a problem, however, now that I’ve done a few, I feel very comfortable doing them, the extra work doesn’t actually take very long, and the final look is worth it.  Here’s the basic block before the leaves are added:

2214 SvQ#1


I think I mentioned in my last post that I had made 360 leaves for the blocks, 12 per block in fabric matching the centers.  I had to draw each leaf on fusible web and cut out each one, fuse it to the fabric and then cut the leaf out.  It sounds tedious but in reality it was kind of fun to do.  I actually enjoyed the process.  I then made up little plastic bags with the pieces for each of the blocks before I started putting them together.  Here are the 12 leaves for this block:

2214 SvQ#2


For some of the blocks I used Floriani’s Appli-Kay Wonder:

2214 SvQ#3


And for some I used Steam A Seam Lite:

2214 SvQ#4


Each product worked well.  Here’s a leaf with the paper mostly peeled off revealing the fusible underneath, now part of the fabric:



Then each leaf can be “stuck” to the block where you want it to be permanently, but it’s not permanent until it is ironed in place.  The leaf can be repositioned anywhere until ironing makes it permanent:

2214 SvQ#6


I have 10 blocks made, but 9 still need the edge stitching around the leaves to make them look nicer and to prevent raveling in the future:

2214 SvQ#7


And a couple of close-ups:

2214 SvQ#8


2214 SvQ#9


All the fabrics are sateens that I’ve collected over many years.  They are gorgeous!!!  I may call the quilt “Sveta’s Sateens.”

Am hoping by the next post I will have Spring Sonata back and be doing some hand quilting!  It will be nice to have the quilt on my lap in the cold weather!

Thanks for visiting!!


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