November 25, 2021

Shivaun Place Bonus Scrap Quilt



In 2020, I finally finished the Shivaun Place quilt that I'd been working on for a couple of years. The pattern by Sassafras Lane Designs is really clever in that it includes a second smaller quilt pattern to make using the trimmings. The half square triangles and quarter square triangles come together in the sweet pinwheel pattern seen above. Below is the original Shivaun Place:


A few of my trimmings must have disappeared in the process of making the original quilt, so I had to remake a couple of peach floral pinwheels, but luckily I still had enough fabric left over to fill in those gaps. I also added a border to make it a little larger. The peach was left from a bedsheet that I used as backing on another quilt. 


For the back, I used up some coordinating Rifle Paper Co. fabrics from my stash. Same for the binding - use it up! I did my trusty free-motion quilting design -- an allover meander with occasional loops -- on my domestic Juki.


I think I'll hold onto this one for a little while before deciding whether or not to donate it to Project Linus, the usual recipient of my smaller quilts.

October 31, 2021

Halloween Economy Block Quilt


This quilt started out as a way to use up Halloween fabric scraps left from at least three other projects I made for friends -- specifically, sisters who are my good friends and whose birthdays are just before Halloween, making them big fans of the holiday. 

Microwave bowl holders

http://www.inspiremegrey.com/2017/10/spooky-book-nerd-quilt.html

I wanted a project that would be easy and pretty mindless to sew while using scraps in a variety of different sizes, including some triangles I'd cut for the pillow above and not used. It's been a while since I've done any economy blocks, aka square in a square, so I found a free foundation paper piecing template for 6" finished squares and printed out some copies. I sewed, pressed and trimmed over and over while watching Netflix, and soon I had used up all the scraps that were big enough and fit my general color placement plans.

I had an idea along the way that I would give this quilt to my friend Bethany (one of the sisters) as a birthday present, but her personal style is more edgy and dark than what I would normally reflect in a quilt, so I needed to keep this quilt moody. I pulled out a bolt of Michael Miller Cotton Couture in Ocean that I bought a while back when I could occasionally get good deals on bolts of solids. The hand is so silky, and the color was a perfect complement to the colors in the blocks.


After planning out the sashing, I moved on to borders. To keep things looking more modern, I decided to use wide borders in varying widths so that the panel of blocks would be off-center. I built the design in EQ8 (it took forever!) and played around with the dimensions until I had something I liked. I tweaked this plan a little when it came to cutting the strips, deciding to make the quilt a little bigger with wider borders. Having a whole bolt of solid border fabric on hand was very convenient, as I knew I wouldn't run out of fabric!



For the backing, I bought a black and gray text print (in German) at my local quilt shop, but there was not quite enough to cover the whole pieced back, so I had to add a bit to the bottom corner. I auditioned a few options but ended up using a piece of haunted houses that appeared in a few of the economy blocks.


I tried a new local longarmer and chose an allover design that, to me, looks like swirling smoke. It looks so good in the wide border fabric and adds just the right amount of texture and movement. The quilter used dark gray thread, and I used more of the MM Ocean solid as binding for a clean, seamless finish on the front.


I took photos outside before and after washing and drying the quilt to compare the crinkling. Unfortunately, the post-wash photos are marred by the shadow of a tree in my backyard! Needing to get this gift in the mail to arrive in time for my friend's birthday, I couldn't wait for an overcast day to try again, so the photos that follow are unwashed. The finished size is approximately 60 x 70".






September 29, 2021

Matilda Wall Quilt



Last year (spring or summer? I can't remember exactly when) I signed up for a quiltalong organized by a local store, Mountain Creek Quilt Shop. The pattern was the Matilda quilt by Irene Blanck of Focus on Quilts, and the quiltalong included fabric kits mailed to me periodically. A lot of the specifics of the project have disappeared from my memory (thanks pandemic!), but I can say that I enjoyed the process!


I think the pattern was designed for needle-turn applique, but I went the easier route and used Heat 'n' Bond Lite and raw edge applique on my sewing machine. I have other handwork projects and didn't want this one to end up in the "never finished" pile. Many of the fabrics in the flowers are ones that I never would have chosen on my own, so receiving the fabric packs in the mail was always a fun surprise. And I got pretty good at machine applique thanks to all the practice. Around and around and pivot and around and around ...


It took me a little time to figure out how to finish it, but I decided to keep the quilting simple with straight lines 1 inch apart. The fusible under the appliques makes them a little stiff, so the quilting needed to be minimal. The finished size is 36 inches square, and I plan to hang it on the wall over my sofa.

August 28, 2021

Chit Chat Bonus Baby Quilt

 


A few months ago, I shared the Chit Chat quilt that I made for a family friend's newest granddaughter. The pattern is from Block Modern. Here's a reminder of that quilt:


After I was done making it, I had a few blocks leftover and decided to turn them into a smaller baby quilt. Of course I didn't have the right number of leftover blocks to do that, so I had to make more. The whole process was more work than I was initially planning to put into it, making the most of my fabric scraps and trying to make single blocks when the pattern instructions produce more than one at a time, but I persevered.

I decided to position all the blocks together in the center as a sort of medallion, adding wide pale peach borders on all sides. The peach is also a leftover -- a bedsheet that I used as the backing on a quilt last year. It pays to save the leftovers!

The backing and binding is a pale peach Rifle Paper Co. print with navy horses and peach flowers and hints of bronze -- it couldn't have been more perfect. The quilt turned out pretty small -- less than 42" wide -- but perfect for a baby. I donated it to my local chapter of Project Linus, so I hope it's chosen for a little one who needs it.



July 21, 2021

Hyphenated Quilt

 

Every quilt has a story, and this one is a doozy. After a successful quilt-along in Spring/Summer 2020, my guild (Knoxville Modern Quilt Guild) decided to do another one this year. We chose a free pattern from Art Gallery Fabrics with high hopes. I guess we could have looked more closely at the pattern, but that's a lesson learned.

The pattern image that we all loved

My fabric pull

Unfortunately, the pattern -- which AGF has since revised -- was full of errors. I forged ahead, following the pattern as best as I could and sending regular emails to the guild with helpful tips and corrections. Some members started using the pattern and then abandoned it and went their own ways -- creating the same or similar blocks using different methods, putting blocks in different layouts, and really just finding any way to salvage some enjoyment out of the process and produce a quilt top or finished quilt.


In spite of all the frustration, I really do like how this quilt turned out. My inspiration fabrics - a few Amy Butler prints - led me to a color palette that's rich but still fun. I plan to donate it to Project Linus, and I think an older child or teenager will be happy to see this one in the array of available quilts.


I found the perfect orchid backing fabric on clearance at one of my local quilt shops, and I quilted it on my domestic machine using my go-to allover pattern of loose meander with little loops. The binding is one of the prints used in the blocks -- use that stash!


After finishing the quilt, I contacted Art Gallery Fabrics to let them know that the free pattern on their website was really terrible and needed to be corrected. They responded with a revised version of the pattern (not that I'll ever make this one again!) and sent me a collection of fat quarters for my trouble. Free fabric? Oh sure, why not.

The guild plans to organize another quilt-along for 2022, but we'll be taking a much closer look at the pattern we choose first!

June 13, 2021

Boxcar Tote

I can't remember when I started making this Boxcar Tote, but I do know that it was at a guild retreat and I didn't get very far before I ran out of batting to quilt the main body panels. Instead of using fusible interfacing on the main and interior pieces, I had decided to quilt the outside, giving it some texture and visual interest as well as softening up the structure a bit.

One of my goals this year (I've been referring to those a lot -- I'm really trying to get things done!) was to finally finish this tote. And I did! It took a while, but I worked on it in little bite-sized pieces over the course of a week or so. Also I'm really glad that I didn't use fusible interfacing on the whole thing because I had issues with my interfacing not fusing completely.

The fabrics are pretty bold. I bought them together with the intention of using them in this bag. My favorite print is the white with birds on the side panels. I hadn't planned to use that for the binding too, but when I got to that step, I couldn't decide what looked best. I like how the white continues from the side panels across the edge of the pockets and top of the bag. I used a light-colored fabric as the interior/lining so that I could easily find things and they didn't get lost in the deep, dark recesses.

One alteration I made was to extend the length of the straps a little bit (maybe 2 inches? I can't remember...) On the pattern and in photos I've seen of the bag made as instructed, the handles seem a little short to me -- good for holding but hard to get my hand through if I wanted to hang the bag from my wrist or forearm. I also divided the front pockets at the center seams, making 4 more-usable pockets instead of 2 large ones.

May 27, 2021

Barn Block Mini Quilts: January & February

We're 5 months into the year and I'm still on track with my goal to blog once a month (hopefully I didn't just jinx myself!) This month I'm showing off a couple of mini quilts that I recently made. Minis can come in any size and shape, but they're usually around 24" or less, and I find that they're a great way to experiment with a pattern or technique and achieve the satisfaction of a fast finish. Plus they're easy to hang on the wall for a quick change in decor.


Earlier this year I purchased this set of 2 mini quilt patterns from one of my local quilt shops, Mountain Creek. It's the first in a series of Barn Block Minis from designer This & That. The January block, which reminds me of a snowflake, first caught my eye and motivated my purchase.


Here's my version! I was between big projects and needed something small to focus on, so I tackled these tiny pieces. All the fabrics are from my stash, and it's also the first time I made flange binding (that extra orchid band inside the regular binding)



I wasn't sure which way I would want to hang it (my straight line quilting pulled the front out of shape a little bit), so I gave myself both options with 3 hanging corners. I rest the dowel on a thumbtack stuck into my wall.

Time for the February block, which has a heart inside a star with an interesting frame around it -- blunt edges instead of pointed corners. I started my fabric pull for this one with the turquoise print with little red and pink flowers.



I handquilted this mini using perle cotton in coordinating colors, highlighting the piecing and adding a little texture.



I have the block patterns for March and April -- more cuteness to come!

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