Train Tree Skirt – Quilting the center

With the quilt loaded and concentric octagons marked I just needed to decide what I wanted to quilt on it. I wanted the quilting to take more of a back seat on this quilt, but not disappear into the background.

I was really drawn to this quilt by StitchingMatters.

So, that’s what I went with. I marked triangles in the octagons. I decided to start with pebbles.

Train tree skirt - quilting the center

I decided I wanted to mix up straight fill patterns with curvy fill patterns. Totally liking how its coming along!Train tree skirt - quilting the center

The 3rd octagon got some free hand mini clam shells, and the 4th octagon got horizontal lines. I like how the horizontal lines end up looking like rails on a train track.Train tree skirt - quilting the center Train tree skirt - quilting the centerTrain tree skirt - quilting the centerI can move on to quilting the outside now. And for a change, I know what I want to do in this space.





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Train Tree Skirt – Marking the quilt

With Ms M’s quilt done, it’s time to start N’s. For his I wanted quilting that wasn’t as front and center. I want the trains to be the star of this quilt, not the quilting.

Train tree skirtBut, at the same time I still wanted some cool quilting. So I decided to do some concentric octagons and quilt different motifs in each ring.

I started by marking circles, then I drew radius lines at each 45 deg angle. The points where the circle and radius lines intersected would mark a perfect octagon.


It’s hard to see in the pictures because of the glitter fabric, but the are plenty dark for me to see while quilting.

I still don’t know what I am going to do inside the octagons. But it’s loaded on Millie waiting to go. And tomorrow I am sure I’ll have some ideas for the quilt.

train tree skirt loaded on millie


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Triangle Tree Skirt – Quilting the Edges

The kids are in bed and Mr. Steam is at work. Which means it’s quilting time!! Time to finish up M’s tree skirt. Or at least get the next step done. The center was done. But there was still quite a bit of unquilted white space next to the trees.
center quilting whole view
And, yet again, I had no idea what I was going to do. This quilt has been doing a really good job letting me know what it needs. So I just sat in front of it for a few minutes. And, yep it started talking.

First I drew out extended “arms” for the stars. And filled them with, you guessed it, pebbles and squiggly lines. I was really happy with how they looked. But there was still to much open space.
Edge quilting stars

I tried drawing out a few designs on paper. But, none of them spoke to me. I wanted something that said winter and Christmas. But I still wanted a modern look. I didn’t think that more angles would work.

But, what if I added some swirls. It could look like a blustery wind. And then fill in any gaps with pebbles. That could be some snow. Yea! That’s the ticket.

Edge quiting fillEdge Quilting detailEdge quilting finishedThat was just about PERFECT!!!!! I loved how it looks. I was able to finish 3 of the 8 trees. I should be able to finish up the rest of the trees tomorrow. Then I’ll have to figure out how to quilt N’s train skirt.

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Triangle Tree Skirt – Quilting the Center

With all the trees done I needed to move on to the large white space on the center of the quilt. I had been really torn about how to quilt it. So I sat in front of it for about 5 minutes. And then the design started letting itself be known.
Not Your Normal Steam - Designing a tree skirt

I had wanted to keep the quilt modern. And that is what it was asking for. So I got out a ruler and started marking. I started by drawing 3 concentric 8 point stars. I decided to keep with the same elements I used in the trees – pebbles and squiggly lines. The smallest star got a plain stipple, which didn’t keep with the theme, but I wanted the inside to be tight. The next star got pebbles.
center quilting peblesAnd the final star got the squiggly quilting complete

center quilting

center quilting whole viewYep. Pretty happy with how it was turning out. There was still quite a bit of unquilted white space next to the trees. And I still didn’t know what I was going to do. So, yet again, I slept on it. Tomorrow, maybe the quilt would tell me the next step.

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Triangle Tree Skirt – Quilting the Trees

I decided to start quilting on M’s quilt first, since the quilting design was the furthest along. The quilt has a modern feel to me. So I wanted to keep the quilting modern as well.
Not Your Normal Steam - Designing a tree skirt

I had already design 8 different quilt designs to use in side the trees. All the tree designs were some combination of pebbles and squiggle lines.
trees (3)Not Your Nornmal Steam - 8 Modern Quilt designs15 space
trees (2)Not Your Nornmal Steam - 8 Modern Quilt designs
15 space
The other six look like this. But I forgot to take pictures. So it will have to wait for later.
Not Your Nornmal Steam - 8 Modern Quilt designsNot Your Nornmal Steam - 8 Modern Quilt designs Not Your Nornmal Steam - 8 Modern Quilt designsNot Your Nornmal Steam - 8 Modern Quilt designs Not Your Nornmal Steam - 8 Modern Quilt designs Not Your Nornmal Steam - 8 Modern Quilt designs

There was quite a bit of open space in the center of the quilt. I had been thinking about doing concentric 8 point stars. Something like this:Not Your Normal Steam - Designing a tree skirt
But I wasn’t convinced. And what would I fill it with. N got this really cool gift called a boogie board. I take it borrow it while the kids have swim lessons and try out quilt motifs. Here were some, that I thought I might use.

Holly leaves:Holly quilting concept
Stockings:Stocking quilting concept
Candy canes and wrapped candy:Candy Quilt conceptI decided that I needed to sleep on it. And see what the quilt had to say about it.

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Train Tree Skirt – Adding the detials

Now that the main portions of the train cars were assembled and stitched down to the quilt top it was time to add some details.

The first detail I worked on where the wheels. There were 40 wheels for the whole quilt top. That was a lot of circles to cut out. And I really wanted them to be round. VERY round. The best way for me to get the round was to use my Cuttle bug and Nestabilities dies. It cut perfectly round wheels. Plus, believe it or not, steam engines have tires. Now, the tires are steel, but they are tires all the same. The tires were usually painted white so that any cracks were easier to spot. So of course both engines also had to have tires. So even more circles needed to be cut.Tires

I really like using cookie sheets to keep all my applique pieces together.1489

After taking all that time to cut out tires, I decided that it would be easier just to use a satin stitch to make the tires. I also free motioned on the engine number and name.Daylight engine Finished

On the tender I drew out the name before free motion stitching it. All the applique pieces are sewn down with a blanket stitch.Daylight tender finished

Both the passenger car and parlor car names were marked with my high school drafting stencils. (Yes, I still have them. I am a horrible pack rat. You just never know when you will need something!)Daylight passenger car finshedDaylight parlor car finished

The 1003 is a SOO line engine that is stored very near our house. Mr Steam gave me advice on what equipment pieces to add and what details to add. Before the accent stitching was added it hardly looked like a steam engine. But now it looks SOOOO much better.1003 engine

I had fun doing the $ SOO logo. I drew it first in chalk pencil and then free motion stitched it. I thought the tender still needed a little something and then noticed from the picture that there were hand rails on the back. Much better!1003 Tender

The box car is modeled after an old fashion wooden box car. I really like how it turned out.SOO Box car

And last, but not least is the SOO line caboose.SOO cabooseAll that detail work took forever. Blanket stitching down the wheels and satin stitching in the tires took about a full day. The rest of the accent work went much faster. Both Mr Steam and N say that it looks like a real train.

And bonus, this weekend I got to show off the skirt to one of the 1003′s owners. He was super impressed. And hey, if he likes it, then it must look pretty good!

Now that all 3 tree skirt tops are done… Let the quilting begin!!!!

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Train Tree Skirt – Assembled Cars

Phew. I can’t believe that the last time I worked on these tree skirts was FEBURARY!!!! WHAT? Sigh.

Well I had better get rockin’ if I want these done and under the trees this Christmas. Now that birthday’s are done and Halloween is finished I can get back to them. Both my and M’s tops were done. But N’s train skirt has a LONG way to go!

The cars were going to be applique. Basically I found pictures on line of the engines and train cars that would work and went from there.

Daylight Engine:

Daylight engine

Daylight Parlor Car:
Daylight Parlor Car

Daylight Passenger Car:Daylight Passenger Car
Daylight Tender:Daylight tenderAll the detail would be added once the cars were sewn down to the quilt top. There were also 4 cars for a freight train.

Here are all 8 cars sewn on the quilt top.

Train tree skirtNow on to the details. You know, like wheels! Grin.


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The 1 Week Quilt – Part 5 Fill for the Flower Blocks

The only thing that was left on the quilt was to do the fill on the 4 flower blocks. I knew that I would just outline the flowers and maybe trace the inner petals. But I needed to do something in the brown faux border and fill in the cream.

1 week quilt - piecingI had no idea what I was going to do in the blocks at all. I hadn’t been to worried about it because usually as I am quilting the quilt lets me know what it wants. In this case it wasn’t saying much.

So I moved the quilt to a block. And just stared at the block. I decided that I would do my favorite – Feathers (’cause really are you surprised?). I did BIG feathers in the brown faux border. But they looked too big and empty to me. So I went back through them and added a center stem. MUCH better.

1 week quilt - flower block

For the cream center areas I really wanted to try McTavishing. I have been practicing it A LOT on paper. Pretty much whenever I am sitting down I have a pen in my hand and am practicing. But I haven’t had the guts to try it on a quilt.


I think its time to try.

I am so glad I did. I am THRILLED with how it looks. It was really quick to quilt. It provided GREAT texture. And it played nicely with the fabric to make it look like someone painted the fabric. It looks like the texture of an oil painting to me.
1 week quilt - flower block 1 week quilt - flower block 1 week quilt - flower blockWith the quilting all done…. It looks like this:

1 week quilt
I was thrilled with the texture, the feathers, the mix of formal and informal quilting. It was all just right.

I didn’t like how the border just kind of went off into forever because of it being such a light color. But I had already planned on using the burgundy fabric as binding. I felt confident that it would help frame the quilt.

So I bound the quilt. Put it in the wash. And my heart broke. I thought there might be a chance that the burgundy would bleed. So I checked the quilt for pink before putting it in the dryer. There was no pink in sight so I threw it into the dryer. When I pulled it out there were blue grey streaks all over the border and occasionally on the feather blocks.
1 week quilt
At first I thought it was from the wash out blue marking pen. However, the marks weren’t any where close to where I marked the quilt. If the marks were bleeding from the fabric I would have expected it to be more close to the color that bled rather than in streaks. I was stumped.

But, Mom was going to start her treatment and I wanted her to have her quilt. So I gave it to her anyway. I figure at least since it was already stained then she wouldn’t feel as bad about taking it to the hospital. She of course claimed that the bleeding gave it character and loved her quilt.
1 week quilt

Next I have to get ready for our annual pumpkin carving party!!!! I can’t wait!

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The 1 Week Quilt – Part 4 Feather Block Quilting

If you recall from the design post, this was my concept for the feather block.
1 week quilt - design

I really didn’t mark much, just the center and 1/4″ from the edge in the corners.
1 week quilt - feather block

Then I echoed the petal shape and finished up the cross hatching. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be.
1 week quilt - feather block

Once those were done I changed thread and started the feathers. First I used the same variegated that I had used on the borders. It looked HORRIBLE! The thread was variegated was: blue, green, red, yellow on a 1″ interval. While those colors looked great on the border these feathers were MUCH smaller. There were single feathers that were only 1″. So there were feathers that were all yellow, and feathers that were mostly yellow. They completely disappeared on the fabric. Which made the feathers look like they were missing parts. Ug!

Now what? Tap, tap, tap. I liked the blue and green feathers. So what if I used a dark solid? Much better!!!!
1 week quilt - feather block

What to do about those feathers I already stitched? Well if it was for a customer, if it wasn’t for my deadline I would have ripped them out. But this was for Mom. It was meant to give her comfort. So, yep, I stitched over those offending feathers with the brown. And yes, you can see it, IF you know it’s there (dang it, I spilled the beans again) and IF you look REALLY hard. So I didn’t loose any sleep over it.

On to the fill inside the petals. I thought pebbles would be too informal. I could do a stipple, but I already know how to do a stipple. I wanted to try something I hadn’t done before. ECHO!
1 week quilt - feather blockLove how it turned out.

Next up, those darn flower blocks. I STILL hadn’t decided what to do with those guys. Sigh. Tick Tick Tick.

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The 1 Week Quilt – Part 3 Border Quilting

With the piecing done it was time to get down to some serious work. The design and piecing took up all the “extra” time over the weekend. So the quilting had to be finished in my few hours in the evening between when the mini-steams went to bed and when I couldn’t stay awake any longer (sometimes that time is MUCH shorter than it really should be).

I knew the feathers would go super fast. But I wasn’t sure how long the ruler work would take. And I hadn’t even decided on a fill for the flower blocks.

I used two layers of 80/20 for batting. There were two reasons 1) I wanted some great texture on the quilt and 2) I wanted it to be really warm. Recently Mom has been getting cold pretty easy, and I have heard that the treatment rooms are pretty chilly.

So out come the rulers to make the arcs in the border. I started on the corners because those arcs needed to be 3/4 of a circle and it would be hard to adjust if any fudging was required.
1 week quilt - bordersBut I did design the border to fit the arc ruler that I had so that I would fit an exact number of repeats. Yea. That had been the design. Only I forgot to account for the ECHO of the arc. So I was off by about 3/4″ to fit a full arc in the center.

Eh, not a huge issue. I already had lots of practice using my compass with a blue marker on the second QOV quilt. And the circles weren’t so different in size as to be noticeable.
1 week quilt - borders

Here’s a picture of the top border with their piano keys added. Doesn’t that texture look great?! The 2 center arcs are about 3/8″ smaller, but you would never know unless I told you. Oh, wait, I just did. Dang it.
1 week quilt - borders

Now that the frames were done it was time to add the feathers. I decided to add the feathers using a variegated thread. I wanted to pull some color from the flowers back into the border. I was really happy with that decision. But I wanted the center feathers to look more like a flower. A little bit of thread painting to add a disk. It was just the right touch.
1 week quilt - borders

1 week quilt - borders

1 week quilt - borders

Borders done, now it’s time to move on to the feather blocks. Clock is a tickin’!

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