Weblog and Idea Spot for Quilters

06 January 2017

Quilting in the New Year

It's not even going to be about using up my stash this year.  I doubt I'll even see my stash much.  This year I'll be using up my scraps.  2017, the year of the scrap.  Cue Al Stewart.

There are four lawn and leaf bags FULL of scraps in my closet. Not garbage bags, not shopping bags, lawn and leaf bags. This doesn't even count the scraps Beth gave me.  I used some of those to make a quilt and it hardly made a dent in the poundage.  It doesn't count the scribbles everyone gives me at the end of a retreat either.  You know, the little dog ears and squaring up strings and bobbin knots?  They all go into a shopping bag that hangs off the end of my sewing table during retreat.  When I get home I chop those up and add them to a dog bed liner.  When full, they go to local shelters. 

When I square up a back before loading it onto Terpsichore the oddly asymmetrical strip that gets torn off goes in my scrap bag.  It's usually about 3/4" wide at one end and four threads wide at the other.  Every time I make flying geese blocks the old fashioned way I make two seams and cut between them to make sure the waste triangles are sewn into an hst before it gets tossed onto the scrap pile.  After nearly 40 years of quilting, there are lots of those 1 1/2" tails from a WOF strip that didn't get used when cutting 3" squares.  (4" squares, 5" squares, whatever!)  There are a few fussy cut whatnots from various novelty fabrics.  There are a few whole blocks that got built as extras for some quilt or another that it turned out I didn't need or maybe they were faulty in some way.  There's a collection of 18 gingerbread men blocks - I don't even know where these came from!  But they're squared up into 8 1/2" x 7 3/4" rectangles.  Maybe that's why they're in the scrap bag.

I have a basic plan of attack ready.  I'm going to sort by color.  I'm going to make crazy patched fabric from as much of it as I can stand.  I'm going to cut lots and lots of blue hexagons for a project I've been piddling around with for nearly five years.  I'm going to sew hsts from all the corner trimmings.  I'll be making string quilts, crazy quilts, another scrap vortex quilt, and lots of crumb blocks.  I'm sure I'll even attempt a postage stamp quilt, although there's a fair chance I'll pop an aneurysm before I get it finished.

I've delved into scrap bags maybe a couple dozen times in my life to find something that would work just so.  Most of the time I've been lucky enough to be able to go to the fabric store and buy whatever I wanted or needed.  Only twice have I reached into the scrap bag to build an entire quilt.  The first time was way before the internet, and the second time was for this quilt.

2017 isn't going to be a year full of weekly finishes because scrap quilts take way more time to select fabrics for, cut, and assemble unless you're going for a completely random look.

But I bet when 2017 is over I will have one very small bag of scraps left.

30 December 2016

Moonlit Garden Strips

Here's the last finish for 2016.  Connecting Threads had this kit on sale for a ridiculous bargain so I purchased two.  (These kits are no longer in stock on their site.)  Together they make a queen sized quilt with plenty of scraps left over.  The piecing was very simple with the trickiest bit being getting all the pseudo rail fence blocks oriented correctly.  The kit as a lovely piece of grey and black fabric for the binding but it didn't seem to match as well as the fabric I used for the back, so a substitution was made.

I always make a couple of extra blocks in case something goes desperately wrong during the assembly process but this time it went flawlessly so the extras were used on the back.  Thank you, OFG for helping me with the photography.

This quilt was saved for last this year because it looks a little like fireworks.  Have a Happy New Year everyone!

25 December 2016

Purple Pixelated Quilt

Not the only pixel quilt on the internet by any means, but this one is mine.  Mixing up browns and purples and getting the fade right was more challenging than I thought it would be and would have been impossible without a design wall.

Unless you zoom way in on the picture of the back above you won't be able to see that the quilting changes from dark purple through shades to lavender then neutral also.  Simple curls and swirls made the quilting go by quickly, and the color changes kept it interesting.

The binding isn't even purple!  It's blue with pink squares and metallic gold accents.

Gotta sign 'em.  :)

Merry Christmas everyone, and a Happy Holiday Season!

20 December 2016

Coffee Embroidery Sampler

I got an embroidery machine recently and spent a little time learning how to use it.  By the time the basic ideas were embedding in my mind there were several small pieces of embroidery sitting around looking useless, so I gathered a bunch of coffee colored scraps and made this little wall hanging.

Being a super impatient person, I find machine embroidery much more satisfying than hand work.  Plus the stitching comes out way better!

I made up the "title" myself.  It's pretty dweeby, but it was fun to get the process figured out.  Quilting with the wonky diagonals worked great.  Those little squares are 1" finished, so there really wasn't much room for anything fancy.  

Now I have to find a spot on a wall in my house that isn't obscured by a bookcase so it can be hung.

15 December 2016

Jacobean Moderne Simple

Very easy square in square blocks combined with even easier squares of focus fabric practically turned themselves into a quilt top.  All the scribbles went into a piano key border.  

The thing I love about quilting jacobean flowers is that anything goes.  Anything.  If it doesn't look right, add more decorative swirls.

Leaving the background alone (which was my first choice) was wrong, wrong, wrong.  It looked puffy.  Like a quilt from the 1970's.  Channel lock to the rescue!  Horiontal lines worked great.

Not much quilting on the focus fabric because it wouldn't have been especially visible.

The quilt police might come chase me down for using a paisley back on a jacobean front, but until they do I'll just enjoy the effect.

10 December 2016

Purple Carpenter's Star

A very dear friend and good customer did her very first paper pieced block for the center of this quilt.  She made it for her grown daughter who loves purple.  I put the binding on, but she's going to fold it over and sew it down.

Quilting such large open spaces is always a blast.  This time I tried to keep the theme floral, feathery, and a little formal.  My customer was a little disappointed with how white the top turned out, so I liberally employed purple thread.

Since the center block is a miniature of the larger quilt, I went with feathers in the outer border for it too.  Kept it white though.  Here I really wanted the contrast to show off her paper piecing.

Big chunk of solid purple for the back shows off the quilting really well.

Best part?  Done in time for Miss D. to get the binding sewn down and put it under the tree!

05 December 2016

Cozy Cuddle Quilt

Someone gave these home dec strips away a few years back at a guild meeting I attended and who am I to say no?  The top sat around for quite some time while I quilted for customers, grandchildren, and friends.

I added a few fabrics from my stash for simple blocks and threw the little end cuts together in some pinwheels and quarter squares to add a bit of visual interest.

The backing fabric had been waiting in my stash for a long time too.  It just didn't realize this was the quilt it was going to back.

Don't you just love the story that this elephant tells?

One of the pinks I threw in for the little squares on the front worked well for the binding too.  Now we just have to find the kid whose quilt this is so it can be handed over.

26 May 2016

Colorful Stripey Experiment

The post title really says it all.  I saw the technique somewhere on the internet and decided i had to try it.  It is far simpler than it appears at first glance and it's a great way to use up leftovers.  I might get brave and try a scrappy version in the near future.

19 April 2016

Two-Thirds Rail Fence

I found an inexpensive jelly roll at a variety store  last November.  The colors were interesting but I wasn't in the mood for fancy piecing.  A friend pointed out this pattern to me and it seemed appropriate for these fabrics.

WHOOSH!  the top went together in no time.

I have a pretty extensive stash that goes fairly far back in time, but even still i was surprised when i found this perfect border fabric right there in the stash.  A tiny bit of planning made the repeats come out very nicely.

A sunburst design with variegated polyester thread made short work of the quilting, which can be seen well from either side of the quilt.

Yellow and orange striped binding also came from the stash and was OFG's idea.

Spring time quilting at it's most fun.  Thanks for stopping by!

13 April 2016

Got a New Toy

Yeppers, got a new toy and now I'll be grossly unproductive in every phase of my life for the next several weeks while I play with it like crazy!

Thanks Vince, for cutting me such a good deal.  Thanks Debra (at Embroidery Library) for these cool coffee designs!

21 March 2016

They Chirp-Start Spring

Every single year.  :)

Cedar Waxwings waiting for the mulberries to get ripe.

02 March 2016

Hunter's Star Finished

Originally inspired by this picture, this hunter's star quilt took about a year to make. The pieces were cut last winter and the top finished in the summer. Quilting didn't get moving until around Christmas 2015 and the binding was finished only a week or so ago.

I tried to make the frost shimmer with Magnifico (a Superior threads shiny polyester thread).  Up close it works great.  I still can't photograph stuff like that well.  I love love love the way that thread handles.  You take one look at the shininess and start sweating, thinking it's going to break every seven stitches, but I had no trouble at all with it.  Marvelous stuff.

Small pieces cut on the bias made these blocks challenging to work with, but a little starch and a little patience paid off.

Don't ask me why the dark star.

This quilt was sold before it was finished and will be winging it's way to the Windy City next week.  Sometimes it's hard to let them go.

25 December 2015

Merry Christmas Everyone

A very happy holiday season to you all!

03 December 2015

Decorated for Christmas

Got this one finished in time for the holidays, yay!  Again using a pattern found in Pam and Nicky Lintotts' Jelly Roll Quilts, I made up this version of Both Sides of the Pond in some green and red batiks with a liberal dose of Kona white.

Serious hat tip to Lori Kennedy of The Inbox Jaunt for her really cool christmas doodles from a couple years ago.

And with the addition of some grinchy flannel for the back (which you can just see peeking out the corner in the picture below...

...the house is now decorated for christmas!

01 November 2015

Go Ahead and Quilt!

Go ahead and quilt, mama. We don't mind.