Thursday, February 9, 2012

Quilting Away and a New Distraction

In the evenings I’m working on this-

I do at least one fan, maybe two each evening. If I keep at it I should be done in a month. Maybe sooner since the closer I get to the finish the more I want to do. I first posted about this project here.

During the day, I’m carving out a little time to machine quilt my lone star. I found directions in Harriet Hargrave’s Heirloom Machine Quilting (I have the third edition) on how to do a continuous curve. If my thread hadn’t broken midway (there was a knot coming off the spool!) I could have done the whole star without stopping. I’m happy with how it looks. Now I’m making feather wreaths in the corners.

Here you can see I’ve gone all the way around and come back to the start of my wreath. This is the trickiest part – getting it to fit. This is my second wreath. On my first I ended up taking out and redoing a feather because I didn’t like how it turned out. I again ripped out the last two feathers at the end for the same reason. On this second wreath I made it all the way to the end without any problems, but wasn’t totally satisfied with my last feathers.

I ended up with this little triangle where the little green frond is in the center of the photo. I decided not to undo it because I couldn’t see a way to fix it.

When you stand back and look at the whole wreath you don’t notice it. Especially since the green frond distracts from it (top, center of photo).  My feathers are very humble looking and I’ve decided that is okay with me.

I really worked on relaxing while quilting this time. It is a smaller quilt – about 47 inches square - so that helps. I went slower than I usually do - trying to take my time with it. I think some of us who took free motion quilting classes in the 90’s were told to go fast and I’m having to unlearn that.

So, what is my new distraction? Chalk paint! Have you heard of it? No, not chalkboard paint, although I understand it can be used for that, but chalk paint – specifically the Annie Sloan brand (haven't heard of any other). There was an article in the Home section of The Washington Post this morning about a local blogger Christen Bensten and her use of chalk paint to bring new life to old furniture. Her blog is Blue Egg Brown Nest. I’ve recently been thinking about painting my grandmothers dining room set. It's about 90 years old, very dark and very beat up and I’d like to brighten it up. I wasn’t looking forward to stripping it and all that mess and I think the chalk paint might be an easier solution for me. It can go straight onto most surfaces. I spent way too much time online this morning investigating it. I found another blog Miss Mustardseed, an online source in the U.S. Best Furniture Paint and a nearby shop that carries the paint. I just may stop by there tomorrow. I have some smaller pieces of furniture I can use for testing.

Have a great weekend and I hope you find time to stitch!


  1. Maureen, lovely fans!!! I think it is my all time favorite quilting design! I have a nine patch quilt that I will probably quilt that way. I admire your machine quilted wreaths! I'm thinking about taking the plunge and doing some machine quilting. I checked out the Harriet Hargrave book from the library, and liked it a lot. I'll probably do some straight line quilting first, though. I've used a little of the fabric from you for Cheri's "a little patchwork" mystery sew along! Thought of you!!

    Have a great weekend!

  2. Oh, the wreaths and feathers! My FMQ nemesis! I would love to make one as nice as yours.
    Your hand quilted Baptist Fans are beautiful! : )

  3. I just love that continuous curve look on the lone star diamond pieces, it is such a traditional and classic look! Your feather wreaths are looking good, and yes going slow is definitely the way to go, and you're right they did teach us to go really fast! could never figure out why!!!
    Love your Baptist Fan hand quilting, just beautiful!!! You're doing some really nice work!!!!

  4. I think your fans and feathers are beautiful! No need to fix that feather, or even think about's great! Good luck in the painting sounds great! I hope you take lots of before and after shots, too! I love those! :o)

  5. Great hand and machine quilting! Thank you for the furniture refinishing daughter likes that style of furniture, but has a this could be the answer.

  6. I enjoy doing and like the look of Baptist Fan quilting. And you do very nice machine quilting. I am not the best at that.

  7. hi -
    your fans look great and so does your wreath. I'm glad you're stepping back and realizing its fine - better than fine, great!
    I've not heard of chalk paint, but I've milk paint and I like it a lot!

  8. Your quilting looks very professional. The baptist fans look perfect and I love the feathers. Yes you can be my mentor.

  9. Hand quilting, machine quilting and painting! Wow! master of all trades!! LOL Love both ways to quilt! You are doing an awsome job on the feather wreath!!

  10. love seeing the beautiful hand quilted items but the machine quilting is starting to grow on me . . . yours certainly looks fabulous~! i think there is an art to either method and you have clearly mastered them both.

    i MUST follow your chalk paint links~! and i hope you will post further on this at some point.