Friday, May 26, 2023

My First & Last Quilt on Off the Wall Friday

 This time of year is always brutal around here.   We have Paul's birthday, our anniversary, Mother's

Day, and my birthday all in the same four weeks, it adds up to a lot of socializing and family time.  It is better than it used to be because before we also had all the end-of-the-school-year activities to add to the list.  Now as empty nesters, we are used to our creative time and that has sure been in short supply.  

So this week, I thought it a good idea to share my first and last quilt.  In 1993, I started quilting by mistake when I received the book, Quick and Easy Quiltmaking instead of the cross-stitching book I ordered.  Before sending it back though, I decided to read it and well, the rest is history.  In typical Nina fashion, I thought oh that doesn't look too hard.  (For the record, if anybody needs a beginner quilt book I can HIGHLY recommend this book.  It has a TON about basic quilting making and was easy to follow.  I ended up doing about 4 projects out of it and it's written by some of the best quilt authors of the time.)

I did make a table runner and a baby-size quilt, to begin with,  But recently we found this one, which really was my first major project.  I used Nancy Martin's half-square triangle method where you sew bias strips together and use a bias square to cut them out.  I fell in love with that ruler and when I wore out the lines on the first one I had to buy the second one on eBay.   You will notice that I still hadn't mastered getting my points to match and it's still not bound because at that point I had no idea how to bind.  This was the first quilt I hand-quilted and it truly is a mess.   I actually taught myself how to hand quilt from a book.

It's about 45" by 60"

Seeing these hand-quilting stitches its a wonder I stuck with it!

By 1995, I had managed to get through the QNL Block of the Month's Heritage Medallion.  Notice points still not matching but by then I had learned to hand quilt, hand applique, and bind.  (I discovered that you could actually take a class at your local quilt shop!)

Over the years, I seem to be doing more art quilts than traditional work.  In 2022, after taking a class with Timna Tarr I made this.

But 2023 has been dominated by getting back to my roots.  I am in the middle of hand quilting my Rain, Rain quilt with big stitches.  Notice that the even hand stitching skill translates nicely to big stitching.  It's still on my quilting frame but I'm about 3/4ths done quilting it.

And as you know I'm not working on the BOM Homeward Bound from The Quilt Show.  This month I am once AGAIN  struggling with half-square triangles where my points are AGAIN having trouble meeting.  This time I'm using the method of cutting a square, drawing a line down diagonally down the middle, and sewing 1/4th seam beside the line.  So you get two half-square triangles.  Now this is an old method, but I never tried it before.  It's been working nicely but getting the points just right is hard.

To tell you the truth, I just thought after 30 years of quilting, I could finally learn how to get my point to meet!  I was hoping to have May done by now but nope, half square triangles are turning into a lifetime nemesis,

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

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Sherrie Spangler said...

I loved seeing how your quilting changed over the years, and I think each one is beautiful!

Andree G. Faubert said...

Hi Nina Marie, isn't it amazing how much we learn over the years? I must add that my half-square triangles are better but still not great except when I use foundation paper piecing - but that comes with another set of issues! I've also gone back to making more traditional quilts along with art quilts. It's fun and will only remain fun if it doesn't need to be perfect :-)

Gwyned Trefethen said...

Getting your points to match is overrated. It is only an issue if you enter your work into a judged exhibition. My trick is to make my HST units slightly oversized. The guideline is add 7/8" to the dimension of the finished size of a square for the method you are currently using. The math is right. So in theory it should work. In practice that gives you zero wiggle room. Therefore, for say a 2" finished square unit I cut 3" squares and the trim them down to size using my ruler to "nail" the points.

Nina Marie said...

For this project, I have been making them slightly over sized and cutting them down which has been working nicely. BUT for the Heritage Medallion quilt, I did use paper piecing which took longer but came out perfectly. Those blocks were all 4" square and some where really, really complicated. Like I always say, the idea of doing a BOM is learning and honing new skills.

Jenny K. Lyon said...

Oh I love that story; so funny! I have that ruler and I need to dig it out and reacquaint myself with it. "You've come a long way baby!"

Rebecca Grace said...

Happy Birthday, Nina Marie! I'm a May baby and so is one of my sisters so our Mays are always overloaded as well. I love the story about how you "accidentally started quilting." As for those HSTs that are plaguing you -- I absolutely abhor those methods of drawn diagonal lines, subcutting, etc. Whatever their benefits may be in terms of time saved, convenience, or not needing specialty rulers, it's not worth it to me because of the reduced accuracy. I like to cut my triangles with my Kaye England HST or QST rulers from Creative Grids based on the size I want them to finish and sew two triangles together with a 1/4" seam allowance, no matter what the pattern instructions say. And my favorite quilting books for accuracy are both by Sally Collins, either Mastering Precision Piecing or The Art of Machine Piecing. She suggests measuring your block in progress after each and every seam so that, if something is off, you discover it immediately instead of waiting until the block is finished. That was a game changer for me. I am also a huge fan of foundation paper piecing. I hear what Gwyned is saying about matched points being overrated, but getting them just right is SO SATISFYING! I don't do it for the quilt police; I do it for the RUSH OF VICTORY! ;-)