Friday, April 26, 2013

Finish Friday-To The Rescue

I have now finished both To The Rescue quilts!
I am entering them in the Bloggers Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side !

My goal for April was to finish binding the fire truck quilts.
Second goal: finish machine quilting the Starburst. I've got a few days left to work on that goal!

Ok, here's a few informal pictures of my little guy's fire truck quilt. It is "To The Rescue" from Quiltmaker Magazine Sept 2009. Two years in the making for both of these little wall quilts! One for him, and one for big brother. This one achieves my goal! I'm still hand-stitching the binding on the other one, as well as hand-embroidering both labels.

Quilt stats:
Approximately 30x36
Fabrics: Robert Kaufman American Heroes collection, Marbleous in red; yellow Pizazzaz and blenders from Cranston Village; random fat quarters from Joann. They are almost completely twins except for the scrappy fabrics in each truck, and the border fabrics are different (red and red stars)
Thread: Metrosene yellow and Natural for piecing and quilting, Bottom Line by Superior, Superior King Tut in Chariots of Fire, variegated yellow by Star Machine Quilting Thread
Techniques: Paper-Piecing, piecing, fusible appliqué circles, machine quilting
Pieced and quilted entirely by me, Rachell Reilly, on my Bernina Domestic machine.
Reason: for my two little sons for wall and play quilts, because daddy is a firefighter.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


You know you're making quilting progress when your box of basting pins is filling up with pins again--as you remove them from the quilt!

I think I'm liking those straight lines echoing through the burst points. Maybe I will try out the ideas I had last time with filling in between a few of the lines.

Now I'm auditioning more quilting motifs--tracing paper really helps to see the color shapes underneath, to get an idea of what the motifs look like. And pictures help with another perspective!

I'm taking votes--the passion flower, or the loopy hearts?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sketching and quilting

Happy Sunday night, I think. A little guy is sick, but despite that and cleaning up after the other one's constant messes, I managed to get a few things done.

First, I decided to sketch some ideas for the Starburst quilting, after watching and sketching along with Angela Walters' Craftsy class "...Negative Space". I uploaded my quilt and sketches to the class questions and we'll see what my classmates and Angela think. What do you think?

Then between all the interruptions, and after bedtime routines, I was able to finish all the motifs I had planned and marked. It is called "Follow Your Dreams" by . It's one of my favorites! It's continuous, curvy, covers a lot of space, is reminiscent of Arabic/Spanish art and architecture, and can be girly if you make the inside points meet and create flowers within flowers, like I did.

"Follow Your Dreams" is in the center star, the small corners around the center star, and all four corners. The big outer motifs are larger than 11" x 11" and when the arm of my machine is only 7" from needle to machine, it was hard controlling the smoothness and spacing of the lines and the bulk of the quilt itself.

Now I'm at a standstill because I haven't quite decided what to do with the rest. I don't really like all over quilting in one design to cover everything. I like emphasizing the block designs, and I like the quilting to make the design shine. This is a Starburst, so I want the quilting to be a pretty background, and help the burst points explode and expand outward. Hmmmm.
And yet there are such big, beautiful negative spaces in the quilt design, that are begging for something interesting to be quilted there. Swirls, meandering stars like the night sky, or simple wavy lines from the center out?

While I've been at this decision standstill, I was wishing today that I had more than one machine, or a mid-arm machine. Then I could leave my machine set up for quilting (tensions with threads, feet I'm using, etc), and do some regular block piecing on another machine while I'm thinking about design. It's not easy waiting for something you want and need when there's no plan available and no foreseeable timeframe to be able to get it. But I do try to teach myself and use what I've got to the best of my ability. And I guess I do pretty alright.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Practice takes time

Ever noticed that preparation and warmup and practice take longer than the actual task you're going to do? And that it takes you a lot longer than you planned for? And just when you get into a great rhythm on the actual task, you look at the clock and realize it's way too late and you're tired?! Yeah. Happened tonight. Happens all the time.

They tell you to warmup. I couldn't find any sandwiches to practice my motifs on...they were full! I had to make more quilt sandwiches; but I used up some scraps of batting trimmed off other quilts!
Waste not!
Then I spent considerable time looking through my book of "501 Motifs" from Quiltmaker Magazine. (love that book!) and DesignBuilder book, looking for more inspiration.

Finally, I got comfortable with my motif, and moved onto the actual quilt. The center star is a complicated print, so it was hard to see my markings. Add that to the bulk under the little arm of my (beloved) Bernina, and it ended up a bit more wobbly than I wanted.

Then the motif in the smaller square was much more precise, thanks to the smaller area and less big movement. Now I'm excited to do more, But it's late. And I was up way too late last night. (I worked noon to 12:30 am, and got home at 1:00 am, chilling on Facebook to relax before bed when my brother, stationed in Korea in the Air Force, grabbed me for a conversation. Yikes--almost 3 am before I got to bed! So I was groggy most of the day.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Invisible stabilizing

Hey hey hey! I finished the Celtic appliqué on the Quilt U Be Mine borders! Yay! Happy dance! Whee!

I'm really glad that I decided to try the invisible nylon thread for the top on the appliqué. It's a bit shiny, but otherwise pretty invisible through all the different shades of red and pink.

I also got started on stabilizing the Starburst.
I decided to go ahead and try stabilizing with the invisible thread on top, and variegated purple Star cotton machine quilting thread in the bobbin. So far, I'm loving it! Even with the stitch-in-the-ditch guide on the walking foot, sometimes the stitching still turns out wobbly off and on, not quite in the ditch sometimes. That's not noticeable with the invisible thread! Hooray!

I might not get much done the next few days, because I'm working the next two days.
Buenas noches!

Monday, April 8, 2013


I guess it looks like I've been incognito lately....and I think I figured out why! After I posted last night, I noticed my Blogger app was on my private family blog, not my CladdaghsQuiltsandStars blog! it looks like somehow, I switched blogs without realizing it, and the last few posts went on my family blog!


lately, several of my coworkers and friends and extended family have asked if I will make them quilts or if I sell quilts or patterns. I have told them "not yet"!

I've been thinking about it, and I've come up with a few reasons.
One: I'm slow. I enjoy what I'm doing...but I do need to speed up somehow.
Two: I have several projects that I'm trying to finish, and they're taking longer than expected.
Three: I have three more projects that I have everything ready for, but haven't started because of the UFO's.
Four: I have one, small, domestic machine, that I do all my sewing, mending, and quilting on. I figure that until I can afford some type of mid-arm or long arm, I won't be ready to make a business out of my quilting. This is also probably why I struggle to complete projects, because it is awkward and slow with a small machine to fit quilts under.
Five: I'm slowly improving and adding to my free motion quilting skills. I feel I have a lot of progress to make before I can do that professionally.
Six: my children are small and they take a lot of my time and energy, especially one that has a disability. Add that to working part time, I have a lot on my plate. I know a lot of other quilters have more children than I do, but I guess we all have different abilities and circumstances.

long time

I originally posted this post on April 4. it accidentally posted to my private blog, not my quilting one!

I know, I know, it's been a few weeks since I posted. One, I haven't felt like I've made a lot of progress on my projects. Two, I've been able to pick up more hours at work lately. But I have done more than I think I have.

Here's my Starburst baby quilt all pin-basted today.

I've been slowly stitching on the Celtic appliqué. I need to sew a bit slower because of the bulk of the quilt top and sewing along so many curves, long curves, and both edges of the bias tape. I also need to sew slower because I decided to use nylon invisible thread, and it's stretchier than regular cotton....hence the need to go a bit slower. I used invisible clear nylon on top, with Gutermann sew-all polyester in a medium red in the bobbin, so it will blend with the bias tapes in case it peeps through the needle holes.

I have also started hand-stitching the binding on the fire truck quilts.

Ok, that's my progress report, and now I need to report to bedtime. Goodnight!

Heart Corners and Spring Break

It was a long Spring Break week. We took the kiddies to mini-golf Monday in the rain...well, the indoor course. Monday night, I worked the graveyard. I woke up Tuesday afternoon and worked a longer graveyard shift. Needless to say, I felt pretty crappy Wednesday and Thursday, but we took the kiddies for walks to the park since the weather turned nicer. I worked 12 hours Friday and 7 hours Saturday. I'm exhausted!!!!

Whew, it's been so nice to sit and be a bum, listen to my Church's Conference on the radio, play with my boys, and hand-stitch binding today. Tonight, I got some more stitching done on the Celtic appliqué. Isn't the heart in the inside corner so sweet?

I posted this yesterday on my private blog. oops!