Thursday, May 29, 2014

Playful Petals - Book Review

Periodically (like, at least twice a week), sends me an email with some books they think I'd like.  When Playful Petals by Corey Yoder appeared in one of the emails, I was intrigued by the cover enough to check it out further.  Fortunately, it is one of Amazon's "Look Inside" books where you can see a sample of inside pages.  I saw a project that I wanted to put on my "make soon" list so I ordered it and am glad I did.

Corey Yoder has taken the petal shape, often called "orange peel," and freshened it up in creative ways.  There are nine quilt projects but each includes a companion pillow project, a good way to try out a new technique.  Fusible applique is the author's construction technique for the petals and the book includes extensive instructions, including several alternative ways to stitch down the applique pieces.  I am thinking of modifying my selected project for hand applique or machine applique with the raw fabric edge turned under.

Most of the designs also involve piecing.  For example, Tossed Petals puts the petal appliques on top of a pieced foundation.

And Flower Garden uses the petal appliques in the sashing.  I like this quilt a lot though not sure I'd  use black.  The pieced blocks use 8.5" squares so this quilt could be made using a layer cake.

Scattered Blossoms is the reason I bought the book.  I've been wanting to make an orange peel quilt, procrastinating only because of the amount of hand work involved.  But as soon as I saw this design, I knew it was the one. My planned fabric choices will give it slightly different look though.

It was worth going off my book-buying diet to get Playful Petals!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

DWR Quilt Update - The Clamshells

It's been a while; I've been busy with work and our dining room re-decorating project.  We're nearing the end on the decorating.  If only the electrician would get here and hang the chandelier that is currently in a giant box in the center of our living room.  Oh, and I've been using the dining room table to stage my eBay sales as I "right size" my china collection to better fit the available storage as well as our needs. 

But I'm still at work on the Double Wedding Ring quilt.  Having mastered the component parts, I tried making a few blocks, or as Marti Michell calls them, "clamshells."  A clamshell block is composed of the center fabric with two pieced melon arcs attached on adjacent sides.  Eventually, the clamshells are sewn together into rows, then the rows are joined to make the quilt top. 

In theory, it is the same as if the blocks were square.  In practice it is much trickier.  I found a combination of Marti Michell's directions that came with the acrylic templates and an online tutorial from Jo's Country Junction very helpful.  While the pieces are going together beautifully (see above), without any puckers or tucks, progress is slow.  This is not a chain piecing quilt project.
Further, the instructions warn against pressing at this stage ("our foremothers did not jump up and iron after each seam") so my clamshells look a bit messy.  The next stage of construction is supposed to be easier if you have not pressed everything into place.  I am following the directions! 
Six blocks done, 30 to go!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Christmas in May - Blogger's Quilt Festival

The most frequent question I get from readers of my blog is where they can buy the pattern I used for my Christmas Stars quilt.  The problem is, there isn't a pattern.  I designed the quilt and though I have a tutorial for the block (variation of Ohio Star, finishes at 10" square), I've never calculated how much fabric you need or any of the other elements that go into writing a pattern.  Maybe when I retire from my other job...

I made the blocks from fabric in my Christmas fabric bin, using one white tone-on-tone print for the background of all the blocks.  I carried that fabric into the border, which makes the blocks the center of attention.  I used narrow red binding to finish the quilt. 

Linda Hrcka of The Quilted Pineapple did the quilting, which is absolutely fantastic.  I especially like the feathers in the borders.

Here's a close-up of one of the blocks.  It is easer to make than it looks; check out my tutorial. 

I'm linking to the Blogger's Quilt Festival, hosted by Amy's Creative Side, entering my quilt in the Original Design Quilts category.  Go visit this online quilt show; it is wonderful inspiration!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Quilt Sampler Spring 2014

The spring edition of Quilt Sampler is out.  That means it is time for my semi-annual virtual shop hop. 

I especially like this edition and spent some enjoyable time with it over several evenings last week.  Mini quilts are currently in vogue, with several designers "downsizing" their regular patterns into smaller sizes.  Look at these cool minis at this shop in Canada (the store, Quilt Junction, is housed in a former train station).

I want to make some minis now; must add a few to my list.
Each store featured in Quilt Sample provides a quilt project and there are several that I like in this issue.  The first is Defining Lines, from Valli & Kim in Texas. 

The construction is similar to the Spider Web block, except made with large pieces of fabric rather than strings. 
I also like this project called Sunrise, which I think might have been made from a Kona Sunrise jelly roll.  If only I did not have so many projects in the queue already!

And there is Ebb & Flow from All In Stitches in Minnesota.   I like the colors and the use of different blocks in one design.

Quilt Sampler had some reading competition from The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.  I thought it was fantastic, like Charles Dickens came back to life in the 21st century and wrote a new book.  If you are looking for a book to read, and don't mind a long one (774 pages), I highly recommend it.  

Monday, May 12, 2014

DWR Quilt Update

In my last post, I was trying to decide which of two fabrics to use for the background in my Double Wedding Ring quilt.  Your comments ran in favor of the pink on white mini-print, which I had been leaning towards.  But before cutting into it, I thought to measure and be sure I had enough.  OOPS!  Only 4 yards and I need 6 for this project. 

The problem was that by this time, I was no longer thinking the solid white was a good choice and did not want to default to it so I took myself off to my local quilt shop.  I found a print I liked from a newer 3 Sisters line called Printemps, but they did not have enough left.  What a dilemma!  Internet to the rescue; I found the same thing online and placed my order. 

The fabric arrived and I am happy with my choice.  This gives you an idea of what it looks like (wrinkles and all).  The little flowers in the print are yellow and the background is the softer white common to 3 Sisters fabric designs.

And here is a completed "melon" unit.  Sewing this unit together is not difficult, just slow going with the two curves.  But as Marti Michell says, "This quilt is not made in an evening."  I could be at this a long while!

By the way, if you are ever trying to find a specific fabric, I've found the website very useful.  The site is a search engine for a group of independent quilt shops across the country (my LQS is a member).  You put in a search query; for example, 3 Sisters Printemps, and it opens up a page with thumbnails for all the listings across the member stores that match your query.  The thumbnail shows the name of the store and links to their website so you can check the price and quantity available.  When you find what you want, you order directly from the website of the member store.  I've used it a number of times to find a fabric I need from an older line. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Double Wedding Ring Quilt Project Update

In my last post on my Double Wedding Ring (DWR) project, I was piecing the arcs that form the rings. 

I'm still working on the arcs, but am much futher along.  I have about half of them made and am ready to try piecing the blocks.  In the photo below, the arcs are placed on my white flannel design bed; they have not been sewn to background fabric yet. 

I am in a quandry over what to use for the background fabric.  I had been thinking solid white, with custom quilting for pizazz in the large, open centers.  But I found this small pink-on-white print in my stash closet.  I am considering it as it would make the design slightly less dependent on elaborate quilting.  Here's close-up...

...and how the arcs look against the print fabric.  The print is quite subtle. 

What's your opinion?