Saturday, May 31, 2014

AMB Fabrics - Whole Cloth Hand Quilting - and the May NewFO

May has come and gone in a blur.  The Bloggers Quilt Festival is always such fun, seeing lots of new-to-me bloggers' creations, and the fun of friendly competition and the chance of winning some fab giveaways.  I know many folks are also following the AMB Farm to Fabric Blog Tour, featuring the new all-American made solid fabrics recently introduced by Clothworks.  I was immediately intrigued, both with the blog tour, and once again being able to buy cotton quilting fabric totally produced in the USA.  I've been wanting to try my hand at whole cloth hand quilting, and what better time than now.

The AMB solids will soon be available at my LQS, but in the meantime I ordered a couple yards from Pacific Fabrics & Crafts.  I've always loved yellow and have wanted to create a light yellow whole cloth quilt since seeing so many gorgeous whole cloth quilts on the Celebrate Hand Quilting Facebook group.  Also, being new to commercial stencils, I decided to start small with a pillow or sham sized piece. 

So, without further ado, here is my progress to date on said sample pillow/sham in AMB's light yellow - my NewFO for May:
The actual color of the fabric is much prettier than my amateurish efforts with the camera would show.  I tried photographing this piece in various rooms under different lighting conditions, and even outside on the deck, all with dismal results.  You'll just have to use your imagination and envision a gorgeous soft yellow here.
I've been hearing the praises of Aurifil 28 wt. cotton thread for hand quilting, and thought this would be a good project to give that a go.  I had one small spool of a light blue-green in that weight, and with the addition of some Thread Heaven, it is quilting beautifully.  
Batting for this project is a polyester remnant I had in the stash, and it is giving this some nice loft.  I think I would plan to use a Hobbs Polydown batting for a large bed-size whole cloth quilt. 
All in all, I am very pleased with the performance of the AMB Brand solids.  They have a nice hand, with a bit more texture and perhaps a little less sheen than some of the other solids currently available.  They needle beautifully for hand quilting, which is a big plus!  And, they come in 50 gorgeous colors.   One caveat for anyone planning to use these fabrics - there is a shrinkage factor to take into consideration!  My yellow fabric piece measured 44 1/2" wide by 37" long before washing.  I used cold water and the hand wash cycle in my front loading machine, and then dried the fabric on low heat.  The after-wash measurements were 44" wide by 35" long.  A fairly significant lengthwise shrinkage, which would affect the symmetry of a whole cloth design if the fabric were not prewashed.  But, the good news is, the fabric launders beautifully and any wrinkles iron right out without a problem. 
So, there you have it, my May NewFO.  Linking up with Barbara at Cat Patches for the May NewFO Linky Party where you can see lots of other newly started projects, and link up with one of your own new creations!

P.S.  I have absolutely no affiliation with AMB Brand or Clothworks - just a love of hand quilting and a desire to support Made in the USA products!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Scrappy Handquilted Second Entry - Bloggers Quilt Festival!

My second entry in this spring's Bloggers Quilt Festival is in the Scrappy category since I've already entered little Zachary's quilt in the Hand Quilted category. 

I first saw this pattern in a post on Barbara Brackman's blog early in 2013, a small quilt she called Checkered Past 1862, and had accumulated several charm packs and a layer cake of Civil War and various other era reproduction prints that looked like they would make up into a nice rendition of this pattern.  Over the course of last summer I stitched the blocks between working on other projects.
I had help with the layout.
Paws of approval on the final(?) layout.  Now for a border fabric.
Where was my helper with those corner blocks when I stitched this together???  Hmm - too late since the borders were cut a bit too narrow to add the corner blocks back in.
Fast forward to early this year - the finished project:
The Stats:
Machine pieced and hand quilted by me
Finished size after washing:  51" x 67-1/2"  - perfect for snuggling or napping on the couch
Batting:  my favorite Hobbs 80/20 cotton (pre-rinsed and gently dried in the dryer before quilting)
Quilting threads:  Coats Dual Duty cotton/poly hand quilting thread (green spool) for grid quilting in the blocks in natural color 8030; Baptist Fan border quilted in Gutermann red color 2453.

Linking up with The Bloggers Quilt Festival Scrappy Category here, and you can visit all the quilts entered in each of the other categories by clicking on the Main Festival post here.   Please join the fun!!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Bloggers Quilt Festival 2014!

One of my favorite weeks of the year - the Bloggers Quilt Festival!  Hosted by Amy at Amy's Creative Side each spring during Quilt Market, this is our chance to visit hundreds of quilters blogs and see some gorgeous creations from the comfort of our own home.

When this year's Festival was first announced, the Hand Quilting category had been dropped for lack of entries in the most recent Festivals.  Members of the Facebook group Celebrate Hand Quilting successfully persuaded Amy to add the category back, and with over 6,000 members, we hope to have LOTS of entries this spring!

The quilt I've chosen to enter this time is one I completed for my youngest grandson who was born last fall.  Each of my grandchildren receives a hand quilted "heirloom" baby quilt,  and when they are ready to graduate to a big bed they get a child-friendly, rough and tumble twin size quilt that I generally machine quilt on my domestic sewing machine.    So, here is Zachary's baby quilt, a traditional single wedding ring pieced pattern inspired by a vintage quilt I found in Eleanor Levie's book Great Little Quilts.  The original quilt measured only 27 3/8 inches by 35 1/2 inches, so I up-sized mine a bit and added an extra border to make it a full crib size.

I free-hand quilted Zachary's full name and date of birth on one of the inner borders, a portion of which is visible in the close-up below. 
Quilt Stats:
Machine pieced and hand quilted by me
Finished size approximately 45 x 60 inches
Batting is an 80/20 cotton from JoAnn's (I neglected to write down the brand before discarding the wrapper)
Quilted with Coats 100% cotton glace thread

I'll be linking up with The Bloggers Quilt Festival Hand Quilting Category here, and you can see quilts in each of the other categories by clicking the main Festival post here.

Thanks for visiting, and I hope you'll enter one or two of your quilts in this Festival!