Blog 9

Finished Quilting Frame

After waiting for and paying installments on over four months, my new quilting frame was FINALLY delivered to my house today, finished in all its glory, and set up in my loft, which serves as my “crafting/sewing” room!   It is GORGEOUS  — far beyond what I ever expected!  Constructed from the highest quality of walnut wood, Mike (the craftsman) combined his skills as a master furniture maker and creativity to produce a frame that will make me the ENVY of all quilters in Southeastern Missouri!  When Mike and I settled on the plans (size, wood species, stain, varnishing, etc) I had no idea it would be SO LARGE when finally constructed.  Having never seen one in person, I was content with what appeared to be a “standard size” quilting frame from the picture presented by the company which sold the blueprints and hardware.  I instructed Mike that I wanted it big enough to accomadate a KING SIZE quilt, even though most of my quilts are “full size.”   To deliver the frame, Mike had to bring it “unassembled,” and then put it together once in my loft.  I took several video clips of him putting it together, and giving me specific guidelines on setting it up properly, so that I would not FORGET how to do this when I make my move to Missouri.  Mike advised me, if possible, to have my movers load the frame completely assembled for the trip across country, to avoid problems with “warping” while in the truck and improper assembly procedures by people who are unfamiliar with the frame and how it is supposed to work. Hopefully, this will be possible.  However, the frame is SO HUGE that I worry it will not make it down the stairs completely in tact.  I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it!  My next step is to sew the “leader fabric” onto each of the three roller bars.  This fabric enables the quilter to “lead” her quilt top, and bottom, over the rollers so that they can be easing adjusted as sewing begins.  I plan to purchase a held held sewing machine, from Joannes, just as soon as they go on sale.  The blueprints, that were ordered from Hinterburg, gives instructions on how to attach these leaders.  I’m also “a bit” worried that since it takes up so much room in the loft, it will pose a negative response to “would be” buyers who come to look at my home, making the loft appear “smaller” than its actual size.  I knew the frame would be big, taking up an entire wall in my loft, but it actually turned out about three feet longer than originally anticipated. Ah, well!!!  It’s gorgeous, nonetheless, and once settled in Missouri, it will be placed in the basement providing many hours of creative quilting!

Mike informed me that he makes many furiture pieces and is able to ship them to buyers all over the world.  When I can afford it, I want him to make a prei-dieu for my new home in Missouri.

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Blog 8

Row By Row Experience; 1st Block Kit

Yesterday, I went to Quiltique to pick up my FIRST Row By Row block kit for this summer.  The nationwide theme is “Home Sweet Home.”   Each quilt shop across the country designs its own, unique quilt block based on this theme.  I CAN’T WAIT to collect them from shops in my neighboring states!   Many of the shops in Nevada, Arizona, and Utah have incorporated “desert” themes into their blocks and they are absolutely STUNNING!   Quiltique designed this extraordinary block, using the desert theme combined with a “Route 66” motif, producing a picture POSTCARD that represents “Las Vegas.”   It’s one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen in this project.  I cant wait to get started on it!!!!

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Blog 7

Mama Hen block; Farm Girl Vintage

Late last night, I completed my “Mama Hen” block, of the Farm Girl Vintage BOM program.  It wasn’t very difficult, once I got started, and it seems to have worked out “ok.”   I just hope it fits properly with the other blocks in the quilt.  I’ll have to take the block to Darlene, at The Christmas Goose.   She will be SO PROUD that I did it all on my own . . ha ha!

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Blog 6

Hand Quilting Frame

This morning I met with a gentleman who I’m hiring to build a “hand” quilting frame for me.  For as long as I’ve been quilting, it has always “bothered” me to take my completed quilt top to a skilled artist to be “longarmed” on an "industrial style” quilting machine.  In addition, I’ve never been truly thrilled with the texture of the quilts after this process; they always seem too “flat” and “stiff.”  As it is, the piecing is done my machine . . . the “quilting” should AT LEAST be done by hand to exude a genuine, hand crafted work of art!  My maternal grandmother always wanted to teach me how to hand-quilt, the way she did in Oklahoma during the Great Depression.  As told to me by my mother, as a little girl when dinner was over and the dishes washed and put away, she remembered how grandma would let down the quilting frame, which hung from the ceiling on ropes, enabling it to be lowered and raised when needed in the living room of their house, and work on her latest quilting project into the late hours of the night.  Following in the traditions of my amazing grandmother, I am bound and determined to learn hand quilting on a traditional style frame which comfortably allows for 3-4 people to work on the same project; a scenario that would have been common in my mother’s home.  After my meeting this morning, I am most confident and extremely impressed with Mike’s knowledge of wood and in designing beautiful pieces of furniture.  We are still deciding on the best choice of wood species according to my needs, but I am leaning toward maple.  I can’t wait to see the finished product!   When I get to Missouri, the frame will be placed in the basement where my sewing and craft room will be and, like my grandmother, I will quilt sitting next to the window, while snow falls and rain drizzles!   

Quilt Frame

Above, is a photo of what the new frame will look like.  However, mine will be stained to give it more of a “warm,” furniture-like feeling.  

Blog 5

Previous Quilts

In this post, I would like to share some of my past quilting projects.  This is BY FAR not all of them, as many have been given away before pictures could be taken, OR are still in my “work in progress” closet, waiting for finishing touches.

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Above is a baby quilt I made while attending a foundation paper piecing class, with Carol Doak, at Quiltique, in Henderson, NV. I used it as a wall hanging in my office at West Career and Technical Academy.

The 13 photos below are of the quilt I made for Fr. John Assalone, of St. Francis of Assisi, as a gift for the anniversary of his ordination.  Most of the blocks are embroidered, each depicting a theme in Fr. John’s life.  Some of the other blocks are paper pieced.  With the exception of the block backgrounds, 100% of this quilt was made from Kansas Troubles fabrics.  

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The five photos below are of a quilt I made for a little girl at St. Viator’s who was celebrating her 1st Communion.  It’s one of the most simple patterns I’ve worked with, yet so striking when using a fabrics from a specific line.  Each of the center blocks in the four squares depict part of the school’s motto at St. Viator Elementary School:  Act justly, love tenderly, and walk humble with God.

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The three photos below show a “Christmas” themed quilt, which I made for my mother just a few weeks before me made our very first visit to New York City to celebrate the holiday season.  This very simple design is what is referred to as a “rail fence” quilt, made of strips of various Christmas fabrics I had been collecting from the quilt shops in Las Vegas.  The quilt traveled with us to and from New York and gave our hotel room a “touch of home” on those cold, snowy nights.

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Below, is a quilt gave to my aunt as an anniversary gift.  When I first started this quilt, it was “intended” to be a baby quilt, consisting of only the four bear claw blocks in the center.  For “some reason” I wanted to use Asian themed fabric, as opposed to baby fabric.  As I completed the center blocks, it dawned on me that with its vibrant colors, this quilt belongs on a regular size bed and I began to add borders, including one very wide band of “piano kets” made of strips of Asian fabrics.  Shown in the photos are me and my mom.

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Blog 4

June Block of the Month Club at Christmas Goose

Last night, I attended my monthly Block of the Month club for the Farm Girl Vintage quilt.  As always, we purchase our monthly kits for $20 which contains enough cut fabric to assemble FOUR of the blocks for this quilt.  We were given material for the Haystack Block, the Kettle’s On Block, the Kitchen Window Block, and the Mama Hen Block.   The Kettle’s On block seemed the most challenging, so I chose to work on it during my time in the class.  Darlene, the instructor, spent a lot of time helping me to cut the pieces and follow the directions according to the book.  For the most part, my block turned out “ok” however Darlene suggested I start “drawing on .25 inch seam lines to help gauge my work.  As I complete the remaining three blocks this month, I will follow her advice.  Below, is a picture of my finished block I made last night.


Blog 3

Snugglicious Quilt Finally Finished

I finally completed this quilt yesterday morning and put in in the washing machine to begin the “fluffing” process.  i was quite pleased about the way it turned out, however I wish it retained it softness after the washing.  This may be partly due to my hard water and that I did not use a liquid fabric softener.  Instead, I used three dryer sheets.  If doing another of these quilts, which I will, I will use liquid fabric softener to determine the difference.  I took to quilt, along with some other graduation gifts, to my friend, Alex, who will give it to her son tomorrow as he graduates from high school.


Blog 2

Farm Girl Vintage Quilt

The Farm Girl Vintage quilt was designed by Lori Holt and is currently one of the hottest quilting projects in quilt shops across the country, including The Christmas Goose and Quiltique in Las Vegas.  Both stores offer a Block of the Month program and I have joined the one offered at The Christmas Goose.  The group meets on the 2nd Wednesday night of every month and, so far, I have attended TWO of the meetings.  At each meeting, we are given fabric for FOUR blocks and the instructor assists us with “one” of the blocks, usually the one presenting the biggest challenge.  At our last meeting, I worked on the pear halves block.  Although I didn’t finish, I think I can have it completed by the next meeting night.  Because I’ve been preoccupied with another quilting project, I haven’t devoted any time to it.  

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Snugglicious Quilt (Rag Quilt)

The pattern I’ve chosen for this rag quilt, isn’t a “traditional” rag quilt, as it doesn’t use “blocks.”  Instead, it calls for the the making of “strips.”  In hindsight, I wish I had used a traditional pattern.  I’ve run into a lot of difficulties with this quilt, especially in the measuring of the strips.   The pattern I’m  following is from a local pattern designer called “Melon Patch Designs.”  Since the quilt is for a young man, who will be going off to college in the fall, it was my intent to utilize a “masculine” theme, while patching in representations of some of his “favorites,” the Chicago Bears, Iron Man, Soccer.   While trying to follow the sequence of the strip widths, I am having difficulty with the placement of the fabrics.  I wish, now, I had developed “my own” layout.   In addition, I modified the pattern by adding an additional 14 inches to each of the strips to give the quilt more width so it would cover the size of a dorm room bed. 



Current Projects

At this time, I have been working on TWO quilt projects; a rag quilt, Snugglicious, for George Karvounidas who will be graduating from high school on June 8th, and Lori Holt’s FARM GIRL VINTAGE.  My first priority is to complete George’s quilt; hopefully it will be finished “before” he graduates.

.© Mary Darby 2016