Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Say Yes To The Dress is Finished!


Finally done and it only took about 18 months.  To be fair to myself, I worked on it off and on, not continuously.  And there are many hours in all the hand applique and hand quilting.

Here's a closer look at the quilting.  I quilted a grid behind each dress form, which helps the dress pop off the background.

And I quilted a swirl design in the border, using a stencil I had on hand.  Even though I washed the quilt to get the markings out, a few faint pencil lines remain, fortunately hardly noticeable.  I used a Sewline pencil to mark the quilting lines in the border.  I used painters tape for the grid. 

I'm very happy with it and think it will look terrific hanging in my sewing room.  But when I showed it to Mr. Main Street, he said, "What are those?  Trees?"  Thank God, I have you, Dear Readers, for a little appreciation!  (It is highly likely that Mr. Main Street had never heard of nor seen a dress form until now.)

The pattern I used for Say Yes To The Dress is called Pretty Dresses and is in the book Quilting With My Sister, by Barbara Brandeburg and Teri Christopherson.   The book is out of print but available on Amazon.com.  And they have released the design as an individual quilt pattern

The original design is 16 dress blocks, set four by four and finishes at 50" by 58".  I made my version smaller by reducing the number of blocks and it is 38" by 44".  Also, the original design calls for fusible applique but I added seam allowances and used needleturn applique.

The pattern calls for small pieces of lots of different prints so it is a great user-upper of scraps and stash.  I enjoyed unleashing my inner fashionista to pick out the various dress prints!  And the only thing I had to buy for this quilt was thread to match the fabrics for the applique.  I even had a piece of batting on hand.

What's next?


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Scrap Basket Sunday - Week 3

And then there were ten!

Ten lemoyne star blocks finished.  I'm using the Rapid Fire LeMoyne Star ruler, which makes the construction fairly easy but requires a lot of trimming.  The last step is to trim the star blocks to size.  I did trim my test block but haven't trimmed the rest yet.  I'm waiting until I have all the blocks finished and know what setting I will use. 

You can find more Scrap Basket Sunday participants here, along with a discussion of what, exactly, constitutes a "scrap" when it comes to quilting.


Friday, April 26, 2013

More Scrappiness - Elaine's Happy Quilt

After reading my last post on scrap quilts, Elaine Peltier sent me some photos of her curent scrap quilt project.  She says she seems to have an ever abundant accumulation of scraps and was racking her brain to figure out how to make use of them when she saw the cover of the June 2013 cover of Quilt magazine. 

Elaine said that as soon as she saw this quilt on the cover, she knew it was the answer for her pile of scraps.  The quilt designer is Brioni Greenberg, who is one of the Fat Quarterly crew.  The quilt is 90" square.  (You could down-size the blocks to make a smaller quilt.)

Brioni showed this quilt on her blog, flossybossy, a little over a year ago.  She said it used about 18 yards of scraps from her stash.  I call that a real stash buster!

Elaine has already started work on her version; this is her work in progress on her design wall. She is calling it "My Happy Quilt" and I can see why.  Not only is is made with happy colors but is a happy solution to the over-flowing scrap basket dilemma.

Are you inspred?  You should be able to find Quilt magazine at your local quilt shop, Barnes & Noble, or you can order if from The Fat Quarter Shop.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Scrap Quilt Ideas

My primary project right now is the LeMoyne star Scrap Basket Sunday project. I'm making my stars out of partial fat quarters from my vast Fig Tree Quilts fabric collection.  I still have a lot of fat quarters and other large-ish pieces of fabric to work with in my Fig Tree Harvest project, but it is only a matter of time before I am down to true scraps.  So I started "collecting" scrap quilt ideas.  I saw Camp Randall from Primitive Gatherings on Linda's blog (she quilted the original) and went absolutely nuts for it!  I immediately ordered the pattern.

The photos Linda took look even better than the pattern cover photo.  I'm saving my small Fig Tree pieces in order to make this one; I'll have to find a unifying fabric to use in place of the navy used for the original. 

And I've been saving scrap quilt ideas on a Pinterest board. 

Here are some more scrappy quilt ideas:

Frequent Flyer was my last true scrap quilt.  It uses uneven 9-patch blocks and a flying geese border.  The pattern was in an issue of American Patchwork & Quilting. 


The Dresden plate block lends itself well to the use of scraps.  Summertime is scrappy but I used fat quarters. 

Tilted Spools, from the book Pretty Patchwork Quilts by Cyndi Walker.

Six-pointed stars in a block called seven sisters.

With so many scrappy designs vying for my attention, I may need more scraps!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Scrap Basket Sunday - Week 2

Six blocks made in my long term project.  I'm making a few scrappy lemoyne star blocks each week.  Eventually, I'll have enough for a quilt. 

My blocks are 7" square.  I wrote about the construction technique using the Rapid Fire LeMoyne Star ruler in last week's post
Head over to Kim's blog to see more Scrap Basket Sunday projects. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Say YES To The Dress

I moved my Pretty Dresses quilt off the back burner and am focused on finishing the quilting.  I'm doing this one by hand, so naturally it takes some time.  However, I think it's time I finished up.  I started work on this quilt in January, 2012, and began tackling the quilting last summer while watching the Olympics on TV. 

I quilted some definition into the dresses and cross-hatched the background, which makes the dress pop off the background. 

I'm working on the border now and am about one-third of the way around.  I had a stencil for this spiral design that both fit the border width and fit with the design (sort of thread unwinding from a spool - well, if you imagine it really hard!). 

I still need to decide what to quilt in the sashing.  I'm looking forward to having this one finished and up on the wall in my sewing room.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Scrap Basket Sunday - Week 1

I have some progress to share on Scrap Basket Sunday.

Last Sunday, I told you about my decision to join Kim's Scrap Basket Sunday sew-along.  I'm making LeMoyne star blocks out of fabrics left from my Fig Tree Quilts projects.

Here is my test block.  It came out pretty well if I do say so myself; look at how those points match in the center!

My blocks will be 7 inches square, finished.  I chose this size pretty much at random, not having a final vision for the layout of the quilt in mind yet.  It just seemed a good size for the scale of the prints I will be using. 
I am using a tool called the Rapid Fire LeMoyne Star ruler, designed by Deb Tucker.  The special construction technique using this ruler allows you to strip piece units and assemble the block without any Y seams.  So far, so good; my blocks have come together easily and accurately.  The block above has been trimmed to size.    Deb's video tutorial for the block is here; she does a better job of explaining it than I can.  The ruler comes with illustrated directions for use which I found very easy to follow.
I bought my ruler a couple of years ago at a quilt show.  Deb Tucker was vending at the show.  What a dynamo!  She has a lot of very original ideas for easier construction of traditional blocks.
In the directions, she gives the option of pressing the final seams in one direction or pressing them open.  I decided to give both a try.  I pressed the seams in my first block (above) to the side and that worked well, then I tried pressing the seams open on the next block.  That worked even better so that's how I am proceeding.

My three finished blocks, hanging on my design wall. 

Go over to Kim's place to check out the other scrap basket projects.

Friday, April 12, 2013


The winner of the Amy Butler fabrics is Sally K! 

I've emailed Sally and will send her winnings to her as soon as I've heard back wth her address.  I've heard from Kathy Reed, winner of the previous giveaway, so that makes two boxes to take to the post office.

Come back on Sunday to see what is happening on my scrappy lemoyne stars!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Using Your Stash

All People Quilt.com (the website of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine) has a very educational piece on using fabrics from your stash together.  It is called Stash Rx and you can find it here.

The article has advice and guidance from Weeks Ringle, a quilter who very effectively mixes fabrics from different collections and different styles in her quilts.  And she includes some color advice I've been told before in the context of interior decorating, that is, to have one color that is more dominant, along with a secondary color and one or more accents that are used to a lesser extent than the secondary color.  “Equal proportions of colors makes for a less interesting mix overall,” Weeks says.

I have a hard time remembering this guideline but now that I've seen it in action, it might stay with me.  The story takes Jennifer Keltner through the process of selecting some additonal fabrics to round out the five from her stash, then shows the finished quilt that she made from her selections. 

If you sometimes have a hard time deciding on the best mix of fabrics to use in a quilt, click over to All People Quilt.com and read the story and look at the photos that go with it.  I think you will be glad you did.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Winner...And Another Giveaway

The winner of the Halloween fabrics is...

...the 10th reader to leave a comment, Kathy Reed.  Kathy, please email me your mailing address.  You are a "no-reply commenter" so I can't email you back in response to your comment.

And time for another giveaway, this time, a grouping of Amy Butler fabrics from a few years ago, a line called Charm from Free Spirit Fabrics.

From the left, there is a half yard of each of the first three fabrics and slighly less of the two on the right in the photo above.  And there is a small, oddly shaped piece from another print, not shown in the photo.

If you would like this bundle, leave a comment here and I'll pick a winner at random on Friday.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Out Of The Scrap Basket And Into A Quilt

I resisted at first, trying to stick to one project at a time, then I realized I have the perfect project for...

Scrap Basket Sunday
I'm joining Kim (and lots of other quilters) in whittling down my supply of scraps.  My Quilts to make in 2013 Pinterest board holds images of scrappy LeMoyne star quilts.  And I have the scraps, sitting there in my very own magic basket. 
The idea of Scrap Basket Sunday is to work on my scrappy lemoyne star blocks once a week (or thereabouts).  If I was to work singlemindedly on these blocks, I'd probably get bored after making 10 or 20, and I need about 100 for the quilt.  But interspersing them with other projects will keep the novelty going longer, at least that's my theory.  Of course, it does postpone the finish, but since I don't know yet how I will set the finished blocks into a quilt, that's ok with me.
This will be my fabric palette for the lemoyne stars.  I have lots of partial fat quarters and other bits and pieces in my Fig Tree Collection basket, pieces left from peviously made quilts. 

It's time for a test block.
If you would like to join us for Scrap Basket Sundays, go see Kim. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Falcons in Flight - 2013 Auction Quilt

Each year my daughter has been in high school, I've made a quilt in the school colors for the auction fundraiser put on by the parents' association.

This year's quilt is finished!  I'm calling it Falcons In Flight.

The falcon is the school mascot and the kids sometimes refer to themselves as falcons.  The quilt is pieced from large (3" by 6") flying geese blocks - large enough to become flying falcons - set around a solid dark blue panel, with borders of the same solid blue.  The finished quilt is 54" by 68"  - a nice throw size.   
Karen Thompson did the quilting on her longarm.  She suggested the triangular pantograph quilting design. 

I'm sure glad Karen suggested this design; I would never have thought of it and it complements the pieced triangles beautifully.  We chose yellow/gold thread for the quilting, which shows up very well on the blue background without interfering when it crosses the "falcons."

For the back, I found this retro looking blue and gold print, on sale!

Another project off the back burner.  I'm whittling down the list of UFOs!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spring Cleaning Giveaway

We're finally seeing some signs of spring here. That, and the planned arrival of my sister and niece for a stay in the sewing room/guest room, and I'm motivated to do some de-cluttering. 

When in a quilt shop, I've been known to get carried away with impulsive fabric purchases!  I've identified a few things that I know I won't use in the near future.  They need a new home and that means a give-away blog post.

First up - this bundle of Halloween prints.  There is about a yard-and-a-half of the black cobweb on orange along with about 10 half-yard cuts and about 10 fat quarters.  The colors are brighter than they appear in this photo.

Is there a Halloween quilt in your future?  If you would like this bundle, absolutely free, leave a comment on this post.  I'll pick a winner at random next Monday (April 8).