Monday, July 18, 2016

Chinese Coins Strip Quilt

My friend Kim does wonderful things with colour.  When she brought this little top to show-and-tell I fell in love with it.  I just might have put it into my bag at the end of the session and brought it home with me because Kim has a reputation as a serial "topper" and I couldn't bear the thought of this piece languishing in a trunk.   And it just might have been languishing in my sewing room for quite a while (I looked it up -- we were working on strippy quilts four years ago.)



I rediscovered it the other day and put it on the quilting machine. I have been quilting edge-to-edge designs on "quick quilts" recently so I changed the pace a bit and indulged in some more complex designs on this one.  I love the way the feather quilting curls through the pieced strips.



This quilt needs to find its way home to Kim soon, but I'm going to leave it on the living room floor where it catches the light just right for just a few more days.


Monday, July 11, 2016

Back to the never-ending scraps

This is what is on my wall today:
Auditioning units to make Woodland Clover blocks.
The pattern is based on the cover quilt from Pat Speth's More Nickel Quilts book.

I say "based on" because would I follow the author's instructions and start with a nice pile of neat 5" squares?  Of course not! Instead I dived into scrap bins and pulled out strips and odd bits of various sizes.  Surely this will be the quilt that finally uses up all those pieces!

When all the cutting was done I had enough pieces to make 20 blocks -- enough for a small quilt that will be donated to a Good Cause.  (The cutting took a long time because there was all that finding and measuring and trimming that wouldn't have been necessary if I'd started with squares.)

This is what a stack of pieces for 20 blocks looks like.
 This may not make a discernible impact on the scrap pile!

As I was pressing my units I noticed this:
Some of these patches have been around the block a few times already -- can you see the tell-tale creases that show seams have been unpicked?
Makes me wonder how many times I will re-use a piece before it is finally gone!

One of these days I might actually go the Main Stash and start with larger pieces of fabric, but at the moment I'm having too much fun in the scrap heap.




Monday, June 20, 2016

Butterflies

I've had in my stash for many years a length of fabric with big bright butterflies all over it.  Pretty and bright, but hard to use -- I like piecing, and this isn't the kind of fabric that cuts up very well.  I cut out and appliqued a butterfly onto a bag once, and I did manage to use a good chunk of it to back a baby blanket recently, but another piece was left.  It had been put into the give away pile a few times but always got pulled back -- it was just too pretty!

The other day I came across it again and decided that NOW was the time to get this used up!  I cut out as many 6 1/2" squares as I could -- there were 20 -- perfect!  I found a striped fabric that used the same colours for the sashing and some scrappy yellow squares for cornerstones.  Great!  This is the beginning of a child-sized quilt.
Butterfly blocks on my design wall ready to become a quilt top.

And I picked up the rest of the fabric and dropped it into the trash!  

Gone!  That's the end of that fabric!

However, if you went into the sewing room later you might have seen this:
Maybe someone needed to "rescue" a couple of butterflies and a few two-inch squares
and some 2 1/2" triangles
...



Monday, May 30, 2016

Another one finished

Decided it was time to finish this one up.  It had been in the stack of class samples for many years.  If I decide to teach that particular class again I will enjoy having reason to make a fresh sample.

 I can identify two Y2K fabrics in there, so it was made after 2000, but the top has probably been around for at least a dozen years.  It was fun to notice the different fabrics as I handled the quilt -- bits and pieces from past projects, discoveries from long ago shopping expeditions, treasured gifts from friends.

The top was probably made in two sessions.  The 25-patch blocks reveal a "use anything and everything" approach.  By the time I did the borders I was trying to coordinate colours a little more.  I seem to remember the border was going to "use up all the blues and greens" -- hah!  you can imagine how successful that was!

I quilted this with a fluffy poly batt of a kind that I don't use much any more having moved to the flatter cottons that are easier to handle and that I can purchase by the roll.  But this was a good quality batt and worked up to make a nice fluffy quilt that I'm sure someone will use and enjoy.

25-patch blocks with red corners make a secondary design of 9-patches where they meet the squares in the sashing.  

Having a tall son home for a visit gave me the opportunity to get a photograph.  (Those boys are good for something!)   This quilt will be donated to a Good Cause and will be on its way to a new home sometime this week.   Meantime, that's one UFO off the list and a bit more space on the batting shelf!


Monday, May 23, 2016

Playing with value

I've been having fun experimenting with value placement.  The block I've been playing with here is my Wildflower block.  It appears in the current Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks (Volume 13).

I began by dividing  the block into five areas.  There are several ways of doing this but I chose the block corners as area 1, the background (area inside the corners and outside the petals) as area 2, the petals as area 3, the "lines" as area 4, the 4 small squares around the centre as area 5.  The small centre square usually ended up matching the petals.

Here we have a light background around strong petals and centre squares.  The light lines really stand out on this one (I decided to emphasize the lines by paying attention to the direction of the print on the fabric.)

The stronger background area encloses the bright petals.

Here the petals and lines seem to float above the lighter fabrics.

Light petals anchored by  the surrounding fabrics.  The small squares around the centre are just a bit darker than the petals and seem to add dimension.  
I realize it might be a bit of a challenge combining all these blocks into one project, but I have a plan.  I'll let you know how it works out!

Here are some more Wildflower blocks made by my friends.
My friend Louise framed the red petals with the strong print -- this reminds me of a flower against the leaves.

Marie made three blocks in bright spring greens for a table runner.

Carol used a large scale print for the petals, and the centre square provides a bright focus point.

Kim made cherry blossoms by constructing blocks in two sizes and placing them on an angle.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Package at my door!

Look what has arrived on my doorstep!


This magazine will be on news stands first week of May, but I have an advanced copy!  And how did I get an advanced copy, you ask?  (Thought you'd never ask!!)  That's because one of my blocks is in there!

I've been drooling over the lovely designs -- and taking frequent peeks at my own, as well!  There are several blocks I'd love to make, but I must get another project (top secret for the moment) completed first.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Happy Hearts

A pile of bright fabrics came together to make a baby quilt. Hearts, bright fabrics, soft edges -- it all added up to some cuddly love for a tiny baby.


When the members of my sewing group learned that one of our friends had suddenly found herself fighting breast cancer we decided to use this same simple block to make another quilt.

Quilters donated hearts in bright colours stitched onto black and white backgrounds.  We cut each heart in half, combined halves to make blocks, and added bright borders.
We paired up the heart halves and carefully chose
bright fabric strips to go around each block.

Each block was trimmed to produce a twisted frame.  Then we sewed blocks into rows and enjoyed the way the hearts and colours dance across the surface.




The back of the quilt incorporates leftover fabrics from the front
 along with muslin squares on which the recipient's friends
 have written notes of encouragement .
When the quilt is washed the edges of the hearts will roll and fray a bit to add a softer look to the design.