Sunday, November 29, 2015

Picking Up...

...where I left off.

Last spring I resumed blogging after a year's absence.  A month later, life stepped in again.  No apologies; that's how things go sometimes.  So now to catch you up on what I've been doing.

Downton Abbey Bed Runner

Two days after Christmas, we attended the wedding of two very dear friends, Stephen and Beth.  Their happiness was contagious -- everyone had a wonderful time!  I wanted to make them something quilty as a gift, and they chose a bed runner (whew!).  Beth wanted black and white, to coordinate with her existing color scheme.  Stephen was looking for a bit of color.  But two days after the wedding, I broke both my legs, and sewing was off the table (so to speak) for a few weeks.

Once I was back on my feet (with casts and a walker), Beth and I headed to my LQS to pick out fabric.  She found a lovely black Downton Abbey fabric, plus two grays and a white-on-white.

 I decided to do large star blocks, making the runner one block wide by 5 blocks long.  It would be quick to make, and I was on a roll after the star pillow top I'd made earlier.  The star was no particular pattern, I just made it up in Quilt-Pro.

The black fabric was a challenge to mark and cut with the tools at hand.  I put the squares on a piece of white paper to mark, but neither white nor black marking pencils really showed up well. 

 Because of the casts, I had to sew using the buttons on the machine and slow very slowly.  I was really happy with the result!  Best flying geese ever!  (Note to self:  sew slowly!)

 A finished block...
(underexposed, but it does let you see the floral in the white-on-white fabric)

I did a cross-hatch quilting pattern on the flying geese and four-patches, but I wanted to feature the quilting in the pale gray squares.  I used a simple continuous-line flower pattern that I've had success with in the past.  Rather than marking the squares, I marked on Golden Threads quilting paper and stitched with the walking foot.  All quilting except the border was done using a metallic silver thread.

By now I'd gotten rid of the casts (yay!!) so I decided to try my hand (and feet) again at free-motion quilting in the border.  I used a pattern called "Cat Tails" from 501 Quilting Motifs (Martingale), again marking paper and stitching through it.  I figured the busy pattern of the fabric would disguise my mistakes (the backing is the same fabric).  This part was quilted with white thread.

 To avoid cutting off part of the border pattern, I connected the sides in the corners with a heart.

 At last, for Stephen, bright red binding!

The finished quilt after washing.  If you look carefully, you can see the cat tails in the border and flowers in the gray squares.  I'm actually a bit sorry that I disguised the border quilting so well; it actually looked pretty good.

Stella tested the runner to be sure that Beth's dogs would approve! 

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