Weblog and Idea Spot for Quilters

22 September 2017

Gift Card Holders

Because it's fun, that's why!

10 April 2017

Solids and Cabbage

It's not a healthy living hack of my blogger account, I promise.  There simply wasn't anything else to call this quilt!  Any suggestions for names will be taken seriously from my faithful readers.

I purchased two jelly rolls on clearance at a very nice little shop in Gainesville last year while on a quilting retreat.  Made some very quick strip blocks from them and zapped them together into a top.  I had to look around for a while, but I was CERTAIN there was a Kaffe Fassett fabric that would be perfect for the border.  :D found it.

Boy did I ever have fun doing a little bit of every kind of fill work I've ever seen, tried, heard of or thought up.  It's a little zany to look at the front, but it grows on ya'.

The back (I encourage you to click through for the enlargements) restores a little method to the madness.

Butterflies are amazingly strong and sturdy for as delicate as they appear, and I had hoped to capture some of that strength along with the delicacy in this representation.  It feels both over- and under-worked to me however.  I suspect this is due in large part to my lack of artistic ability - that is, my lack of ability to draw.  I'll probably try this again after i've had time to think about how better to approach it.

Whimsy.  I love getting to do whatever the heck I want on my own quilts.  That's a cameo of a butterfly above. 

Can't have butterflies without flowers of course!

This is a closeup of one of the butterfly wings' eyespots.  You should have seen me fiddling with my circles to get them lined up right.  Had my tongue sticking out the entire time.

Got my "Better Homes and Gardens" shot taken (always the last one I take of a quilt) about ten seconds after the rain started this afternoon.  Fortunately it was a very slow start and was just sprinkling.

First time I tried the flange binding.  I think it worked wonders on this quilt and I'll try it again sometime as it was pretty easy.  This one is too thick for my tastes though and it will get cut slimmer (the binding part) for the next run.

14 February 2017

Box of Chocolates

Isn't that sweet!

Or as we say in Texas, "Idn'at swait!"

Found these adorable candies in a ten inch stack a year or so ago.  Had to have 'em and knew what I wanted to make with them by the time I got them home. They didn't want to be cut up; at ten inches there was just enough of each pattern to really show them off, so they were sashed, ribboned, and tied up with a bow.

The bow was way easier than it looks.  
I sketched it out on paper, decided what was foreground (red) and what was background (maroon), then enlarged it on some old packing paper, smoothed the sketch into something nice, and used the packing paper as a template.  Cut it up, pinned it to the appropriate color, cut out the pieces.  Satin stitch got it firmly sewed to the top.

In the chocolate squares the quilting is pretty innocuous as I didn't want to detract from the lushly detailed prints.  

The ribbon got some fairly dense quilting just to show off a little.

There were a few squares left over so they got turned into a pillowcase.  More and more I've turned to using leftovers for a pillowcase to match the quilts I make.  Even if the recipient doesn't want to use the case on their pillow, it makes a handy storage sleeve for the quilt when it isn't being used.

10 February 2017

Autumn 3D Bowtie

I'm still working through my obsession with bright autumn colors.  Using the border and knot fabric as my focus, several fabrics from my stash were brought together to make these 3d bowtie blocks.  Random block placement enhanced the overall look.

The back fabric has nothing to do with the front, but is a cheerful neutral and was big enough to prevent the need for piecing.

My great-grandmother taught me how to make this block about fifty years ago.  I have no idea why the technique stayed with me, but it's cool.  You can learn this technique in a number of places online, but HERE's a link that has nice pictures.

To all of you the binding choice probably seems obvious, but first I tried the orange blender and then the green and gold leaves before figuring out that something more sedate was called for against the very colorful border.

Sure, it's dead of winter now, but dragging this quilt around in the back yard this morning to photograph it brightened up my day. 

23 January 2017

Quilting in The Twilight Zone

I think there are about 1200 hexies in that box now.  When I started cutting a few days ago there were only 700.  So, progress.

Sorting by color though?  Eep.  Definitely Twilight Zone.  Sort all day, still have serious tonnage left to sort.  Sort all the next day, find another bag of scraps.  Sort three more days (as time permits of course), start to see light at the end of the tunnel.

Thirty-three bags of color sorted scraps are pictured above.  I think that's everything.  A scrap sewing station will be set up soon somewhere - I may have to throw away the refrigerator to make room for it, but it isn't going in my studio.  No.  Absolutely not.

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!