Friday, August 23, 2019

Three Cheers For the Red, White & Blue! --- Part 5

First off, it's appropo that I get to post this finish this week because Alycia of the Alycia Quilts - Quiltygirl blog is picking up the reins for "Finished Or Not Fridays" today from Myra over at Busy Hands Quilts!

If you have not visited Alycia's blog before, I encourage you to do so --- especially if you are interested in Quilts of Valor.

Alycia is a longarm quilter who also serves as the Colorado Coordinator for the QOV foundation.  On her blog you will see so many great QOV quilts.  Heartwarming pictures (taken by Alycia who is also a photographer!) of the ceremonies when the quilts are awarded are always in her blogging queue.  You are also just in time to start picking up the instructions for Alycia's latest QOV mystery quilt series called "The Lone Rider"!  The fabric requirements are posted here and the first clue will be posted on her blog on September 4th.  Thanks to Alycia for picking up the link-up mantel for all of us!!

As for me:  Woo hoo!  My "Star Spangled Runner" is finally finished!!


Backing and Label Area

This is the "Star Spangled Banner", a free pattern from American Patchwork and Quilting magazine.  I made it with four blocks instead of the five used in the pattern because that was all I needed to fit our diningroom sideboard (really an old dresser).  The logs were cut with the Accuquilt Go! Log Cabin die.  As I like to do, the backing has an area pieced into it for me to write in the label information.  The stars appliqued on the front and on the label area were also die cut with fusible web attached using an Accuquilt die.

I should have been finished with this one a couple of weeks ago but it was held up by the quilting --- or more correctly, the decisions that went into choosing how to quilt this.  In my previous post about this I had previewed some quilting designs and was set to look through a few more books for ideas.  That led me to scrap all of my previous ideas and come up with a new one.  The log cabin blocks are so linear and I really wanted to "quilt against type" and try to either incorporate or just use designs with curves.  My finished stitch plan for the blocks and borders ended up to be this:

Up to now I had been sketching on the preview paper with a dry erase marker I keep in the kitchen with a board I use to make grocery lists.  The great thing about the Back-To-School period is that everyone has great sales on office/school supplies.  I was able to pick up some new dry erase markers at Dollar Tree that can now be dedicated for use with my preview paper and be kept stored with it.  Sweet!

With the stitching plan done, it was time to layer it.  The batting choice was simple:  about this time last year, Jinny Beyer had a sale on Quilter's Dream Select batting, precut 18" wide and on sold by the yard.  This is one of my favorite battings and my preferred loft (although she also carries it in the thinner Request loft).  At the time, I was comtemplating making a bunch of runners for the sideboard and since they need to finish 17" wide, this was a perfect fit for my plans!

So with batting already in house, it was a quick layering especially since as a smaller quilt, I could spray baste it.  Next up was to decide on which threads to stitch it with.  I started with stablilizing and additional rounds of decorative stitching in gold around the stars, ditch stitching with red around the borders and with blue between the blocks.  All of that was done with white in the bobbin.  However, when it came time to decide on what to use across the top, I was stumped.  I generally don't like to change thread color if I can help it, especially if I'm quilting a continuous design.  With every color I looked at, I felt that the contrasting thread along with the contrasting curved stitch design would overshadow the log cabins too much.  It took way longer than it should have to remember that I had another option: (invisible) monofilament thread!

I keep a supply of monofilament thread primarily for use to attach bindings but I have used it for the general quilting in cases like this where you need to stitch over a lot of different colors.  There was a time when experts like Harriet Hargrave and Diane Gaudynski promoted the use of monofilament as your primary quilting thread (although now,  Diane primarily uses silk thread).  I had purchased cones of  Superior's Monopoly in both clear and smoke a while back during a sale because I heard it was a great "low sheen" brand of monofilament.  I have another project that I had been considering using it for so was glad to get a chance to try it out on this extensively.  Nova the Nouvelle, which is a fairly new-to-me machine, stitched really smooth this round and had no trouble with the monofilament thread.  I'm pleased with her performance!

Close-up on the quilting

Edited To Add:

Close-up on how I stitched the Stars

Once the quilting was done, I already had the binding picked out -- the same red print used on the short side borders.  This was also another chance to put a new quilty gadget to use!

I had purchased this little ditty a couple of months ago when Green Fairy Quilts had it on sale.  After I press my bindings, I usually would wind them around empty toilet paper rolls.  I could then hang them on the lever that raises the seat on my quilt chair and feed the binding from there to the quilt while I applied it.  The challenge was to not pull the binding too fast otherwise the roll would slide off the lever.

This handy gadget helps wind it up when I make the binding and then can be attached to my sewing table and feeds it way more smoothly than the chair system did as I apply it to the quilt.  I also bought couple of extra winding rolls in the event I want to make up a few bindings in advance.

Glad to have cleared this project bottleneck and now can get the quilt traffic flowing smoothly again!  So with this one done, I want to get going on the other RWB Table Mat I have fabrics picked out for and a gift quilt that's already in progress and that I promised to finish by month's end next week.  I hope I can keep things moving!

Head over to Alycia's to see what else everyone has brought to the finish line this week as August soon comes to a close!  Even better, post your finished or not-nearly-finished-project and let us see what's occupying your quilt studio right now!

8/24/19 Edited to Add:  Also linking up with Amy Ellis through email for her "One Thing Challenge" Follow-up.  I had started using her weekly prompts to help keep me on track when making my most recent QOV top.  When that was finished this project was reported on (almost a month ago to the day) when I had finished this runner's top.  So now I can check in and say that it's competely done and in the can!


Kim said...

Three cheers for your Star Spangled runner....and hearty applause from me! Your runner is gorgeous and the quilting is perfect. Love those little stars that appear here and there; they set off those lovely fabrics wonderfully. That fancy binding gadget is cool. It is so lovely to happen upon your lovely place which just happens to be in New of my favourite destinations on earth. I cannot wait to see what lovely pretty you are working on when next I visit.

Mary Marcotte said...

That is one awesome runner. I love the little gold stars and that you honored them by stitching around each. You have a great way of figuring out how to quilt before putting the first stitch in. (I tend to fly by the seat of my pants.) In fact, you've given me a couple of new ideas and even that fancy little binder gadget. Thanks for sharing and for visiting my blog. :)

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

That is a great finish!! I love log cabins - this looks so great!! and thank you for the great intro!! I too love back to school time - All sorts of fun things to see if they will work in my quilting - ha ha!

Rebecca Grace said...

Lovely finish, Vivian! I’ve never tried monofilament for bindings but I love it for stitch in the ditch quilting, and it works better than cotton quilting thread for my baby quilts that have Minkee backing (cotton thread grabs the Minkee pile and pulls it up through the needle holes, but the slippery monofilament does not).