Thursday, December 26, 2019

Underground Railroad Quilts

This year I became very interested in the origin of quilt blocks.  I read Hidden in Plain View by Jacqueline Tobin and started to do some research on line about the idea of using quilts as symbols to guide slaves on the Underground Railroad.  I then read Elanor Burns Quilt in a Day Underground Railroad Sampler which has patterns for all of the quilts in the quilt code.  I decided to make a sampler quilt.  I then turned my research into a presentation for the quilt guild. 
Each block represents a code on the Underground Railroad.  The last square on the bottom right is a copy of the code printed on fabric paper.
There is a lot of controversy about whether the quilt code is true.  I made sure to address that in my presentation but also highlight that the idea of a quilt code is interesting in itself whether it is true or not.  And as a quilter I love the idea of the blocks symbolizing something.
I quilted each row separately and then attached the rows. This made the quilting easier to manage.  Especially because at the time I made this I did not have my new machine.
The presentation went well.  It was fun to lecture on a topic that was not work related.

Moda Quilt Along

Moda always has a quilt along going on.  This year I did the At the Seashore quilt along.  I really don't like this quilt.  I don't like the lack of symmetry and the colors.  It happens that sometimes we don't like our finished product.
Because I disliked it so much I decided to use the quilt to practice free motion quilting skills.  I quilted something different in each block.  This really helped to hone my skills but made me dislike the quilt even more because of the total lack of uniformity.  Someone someday will like it and it will become their quilt.  For now I plan to use it as a picnic blanket.

Holiday Table Runner

Holiday table runners are quick easy gifts and a great way to use up scraps.  Here is a quick table runner I made and free motion quilted with my new Juki.

Snow Panel

I love the free table at my quilt guild.  You can always find such wonderful treasures there. I found this snow man panel and with my new Juki I was able to do some fun free motion quilting on it.  I added some Victoria Findlay Wolfe candy cane fabric and I had a nice holiday quilt.

Merriment Panel by Gingerbear for Moda Fabrics

I think this panel was the most popular one for the holiday season of 2019.  I bought it in Arizona during my shop hop.  I had no idea what I would do with it.  I soon came up with lots of way to use it.  And I kept seeing it everywhere on Instagram and Faecbook.  I still have some panels left.  This was a great way to make holiday gifts and I look forward to seeing what Gingerbear comes out with next year.

4th of July

Another great scrap buster is this 4th of July pattern by Pat Sloan.  The pattern is called Grand Ole Flag. I whipped this up just in time for the 4th.  I loved using a different background color then I normally would have.  This turquoise is unusual and really makes the flags stand out.  The backing is centennial fabric I had in my stash.


This is Juki TL-18QVP.  She is new and she is all mine. I have sewn on a Singer Patchwork for the last several years.  Joining the guild and taking my first workshops showed me I needed a better machine.  I searched for about 6 months, trying out machines, talking to people, researching.  I finally settled on what I wanted most in a new machine - a larger throat space and the ability to do free motion quilting (FMQ).  This machine does all that.  She sews like butter and my FMQ has improved tremendously.  I love her.
Here are some example of the FMQ I can do on my new machine.  This is something my Patchwork could never do.  I don't dread FMQ anymore and I don't have to only do straight stitching any longer.
I love the ability to almost color a pattern and really make it pop by sewing around something.
I am so happy with my new machine.  I still have my Patchwork and I am proud of all the things we made together.  But having an expensive machine that is made for certain features can really change things.