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!

April 11, 2021

Chit Chat Quilt


Every once in a while I'm reminded that I can, in fact, make quilts pretty quickly. Of course "quickly" is relative, and it depends on the size and complexity of the pattern, but under the right circumstances and given a deadline, I can pull off what usually seems impossible for me. I was contacted by my mom's friend Mary in early January, and she asked if I could make a baby quilt for her niece who was expecting mid-February. 

She sent a couple Instagram pictures of a Chit Chat Quilt (pattern by @blockmodern) and suggested a color scheme including peach, blush, gold, navy and cream. I had seen the pattern on Instagram and loved it, and the color palette is one of my favorites, so I was happy to accept the commission. I went through my fabric stash but only came up with peach and navy -- nothing to bridge the two and prevent a checkerboard color placement. I ordered a handful of prints by Loes Van Oosten for Cotton + Steel -- fabrics 5, 7-11 from the left above.


The blocks came together very quickly (although I think I flubbed the layout on some of the blocks with little stripes). By request, I made a size not included in the pattern, but I didn't have any trouble creating more blocks to make it work.


For the quilting, I kept it simple with a straight line grid on a diagonal. The backing was pieced with some leftovers plus a larger cut of navy that I've been saving for a backing. The binding is scrappy, again using up a lot of what I had leftover.



I finished the quilt by February 21st, so it took just over a month from fabric receipt to completion. I've seen photos of it with its new owner, a sweet little baby girl named Molly, and I'm glad I could create something beautiful, comforting and meaningful for her and her family.



March 13, 2021

Shivaun Place Quilt


I started this quilt in the fall of 2016 thinking it would eventually go on my baby niece's "big girl bed." After a bit of confusion, my sister and I decided to wait on that and choose a quilt design when she was older (see Judy's Flower Quilt finished last year). I really loved this pattern and the fabrics I'd been working with, so I decided to enlarge it from 6 blocks to 9 and make it for my own bed (a full size). Luckily the pattern, Shivaun Place by Sassafras Lane Designs, included the larger option.



I started with Les Fleurs by Rifle Paper Co., adding a few blenders from other designers to create the 2-fabric contrast in each block. I used some other Rifle prints as well, as the project continued and they released more fabric collections. I started out with the navy and gold Les Fleurs print for the corner elements, but after making a couple of blocks, I decided that was too dark and heavy, and I switched to a more delicate peach floral.



There are only 9 blocks in this bed-size quilt because each one is 23 inches finished. They might be the largest blocks I've ever made for a project, and I really enjoyed the process of assembling them. The only challenge -- and one of the reasons this quilt took me so long to finish -- is that, for me, each block required the use of my design wall to keep track of all the pieces and a good amount of time to assemble the block without interruption. It's not the sort of project that I could work on a little bit here and there or take on a retreat. I needed to be at home in my sewing room with all my stuff gathered and attention focused.



I had 6 blocks made in 2017 but it wasn't until 2020 that I had 9 plus all the sashing ready to assemble the top.




Then it was time to choose the backing, and I struggled. At first I wanted to use all the Rifle Paper Co. fabric I'd gathered (which is a lot) to piece a backing. But I'm never very happy with my pieced quilt backs, and since this quilt was destined for my bed, I didn't want to be disappointed in the reverse side. So I finally gave up on the pieced idea and ordered a Carolyn Friedlander print that I thought complimented the prints on the front - light blue, a little gold and more graphic so as not to compete with all the florals.




The quilting is an edge-to-edge design done by Sterling Quilt Co. I used one of my stashed pale peach Rifle prints -- with scattered flowers and horses -- for the binding. My photos of this project range from October 2016 to November 2020, so it was a long one in the making! I'm happy to have it finished and finally on my bed.


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