Friday, April 29, 2011

Bermuda Breeze - Finished At Last

Finished at last, and named Bermuda Breeze, for one of my favorite vacation spots.  I find the color combination in this quilt so uplifting, it makes me feel happy just to look at it. I need to work more often with a bright color palette.  

I left the top with long-arm quilter Karen Thompson before I went to Paris and picked it up when I returned, but didn't finish the binding until yesterday.  The finished size is 62" by 86" which is about right for a twin bed.  If Miss Main Street plays her cards right, I might let her take this one to college for her dorm room.  In the photo above, she is standing on a stool and trying to stretch out both arms but she is petite and her wingspan is not quite wide enough. 

I collected turquoise and aqua fabrics for several years, with only a vague plan in mind.  When I saw the Picnic Roll-up pattern from Thimbleblossoms, I thought it was just what I had in mind - modern, clean, fresh, just what these "watery" fabrics called for.  However, on closer examination I realized the pattern was designed to make efficient use of jelly roll strips and strip piecing, while I would be using fat quarters augmented with some scraps.  So I changed the construction technique while maintaining the overall look of the block.  It worked out well for me and I would make this again with a different combination of fabric. 

I've been focusing this week on finishing up some odds and ends so I can start a new project that really excites me.  More about that when I really start.  Have a fun-filled and relaxing weekend. 

Monday, April 25, 2011


Everyone who commented on my last post agreed:  use the black for the borders.  Thank you so much for taking the time to give me your opinion.  I was thinking I should go with the black but it is so reassuring to have my thoughts confirmed. 

But I'll be getting to that later this week.  No quilting for me this past weekend.  First, I went to see Jane Eyre, the new version.  It is very good, with quite a gothic look to it.

Second, I've been giving my sewing room a good spring clean.  I did a little weeding and culling as I straightened and now have a few items listed on eBay, mostly quilting books.  I've also listed my collection of Where Women Create and Studios magazines and will be listing some Fig Tree Fresh Vintage issues later.  if you are interested, you can find my listings here.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

I finished all the spiderweb blocks and sewed them together - slowly, a little bit every night this week.

Originally, I was not planning on borders, just a black binding (after quilting, of course, but it's not quilted yet).  But I started wondering what a border would do.

The border can't be very wide because I'm making this to hang in my kitchen quilt spot where the maximum width is 40 inches.  The top is already 34.5" without any borders, giving me a maxium border width of just under 3 inches per side.

But what about this black-on-orange cobweb print?

Or, this white-on-black cobweb print?  Decisions, decisions.

I'm kind of leaning towards the black, but what do you think?  And what about the binding?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Seven Ways To Name Your Quilt

When you label your completed quilts, do you give them names?  I do.  Here are seven ways I come up with an original name for each quilt.

1.  Does the quilt remind you of a favorite food?  I have several quilts that I've named for different foods, and someday I must make a chocolate quilt.  I named this quilt Watermelon because that's what the color combination reminded me of.


2.  Does the quilt remind you of a place?  I designed Aquarium to evoke the look of the giant tanks at the Baltimore Aquarium, one of my daughter's favorite places to visit when she was little.  Cider Mill got its name because the color combination reminded me of a cider mill my family used to visit in the fall when I was a child. 


Cider Mill

3.  Name the quilt after the pattern designer.  I named Blooms in the Snow after the designer, Bloom and Blossom.  Well, her real name is Roslyn, but I know her by her blog name.  She called the design Sweet Menagerie when it appeared on Moda Bakeshop but I gave it the name Blooms in the Snow in tribute to the designer (Bloom) and the winter-themed fabric jelly roll (Glace by 3 Sisters for Moda) I used for my version.

Blooms in the Snow

4.  Give the quilt the same name as the pattern you are using.  I made this quilt using a pattern called Shasta Daisy and could not come up with a better name myself.  So, Shasta Daisy it is. 

Shasta Daisy

5.  Make an indirect reference to the pattern or fabric collection you are using.  I used a pattern called Ginger Belle and a French countryside inspired fabric collection called Rural Jardin... make this quilt (still just a flimsy).  I think it would be appropriate to use a French phrase for this one and  Thelma suggested I use the word Belle in the name.  I like that idea so have been trying to come up with a French phrase that includes Belle.  L'Etoile Belle is a possibility but I'm still brainstorming this one.

The quilt to be named at a later date

6.  Sometimes the fabric used suggests a name.    My mother brought back some fabric from a trip to Amsterdam so the quilt I made from it is called Dutch Treat.  The quilt below used a panel of small floral bouquets for the squares in the center of each block, hence the name, Tussie Mussie.

Tussie Mussie

7.  Don't rule out random inspiration.  Occasionally, a name just comes to me.  Someday, I'm going to make a quilt totally from stash and call it Inventory Control

Monday, April 18, 2011

I Score On eBay!

What did we do to waste time before the internet?  I can't remember! 

Every once in a while I go searching for "stuff" on eBay.  This time, it was Moda charm packs.  And look what I found!

Three charm packs from a "vintage" 3 Sisters collection called Maison de Noel.  I have some hoarded yardage from Maison de Noel.  I am thinking of using it for my Christmas in July project.  But with the addition of these charm packs, I may be able to eek out a second project, like a Schnibble or something. 

These charm packs are smaller, only about 30 pieces each, because "back in the day" not every Moda collection contained 40 different prints.  So it's a good thing I have three of them!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Planning Ahead

I'm still working on the spiderweb quilt but that doesn't stop me from thinking about - and mentally planning - my next project.  I have a few things in mind.

First, as previously mentioned, I plan to make several Christmasy quilts to hang here, in place of the pastels, as part of my Christmas decorating.  That's on my planned agenda for July/August.  I have a few ideas and tons of archived Christmas fabric.

Then, I want to make this wool applique picture, from the Sew Scrappy edition of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine.  I have most of the materials but need the background fabric (black wool), perle cotton or embroidery floss, and a frame.

I also want to make a quilt with a house block, either something from the Home Sweet Home book or...

or this pattern from Sew'n Wild Oaks, House on Edgewood Lane

But I just bought Simple Graces, by Kim Diehl, because I was attracted to two items on the cover.  This pillowcase...

I think it is perfect for the leftovers from my Rural Jardin quilt!  And I'm just wild about this yo-yo quilt.

Though somewhat less enthusiastic about the idea of making all those yo-yos!  Have you made them?  What's your opinion - ridiculously tedious or fun portable project?

And then there is this applique beauty.  Of course, I need to learn to applique first.

Fortunately, I have a little time before I have to commit to one or another.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Coming Together

I finished 22 triangles, or 4.5 spiderweb blocks.  This is what they look like:

Now that I have several blocks completed, it it easier to see how the spiderwebs form.  Again, just laid out on my dining room floor, not sewn together yet.  When I do start sewing the blocks together, I'm thinking of pressing the seams open.  I usually press to one side.  For one thing, it makes matching seams so much easier when the pieces nest against each other.  But in this case, I think pressing the seams open will lessen the bulk in the center, where eight pieces come together.  Any advice?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sneak Peek

I finished a few more spiderweb triangles, enough to put four together in a block to see how they come together. 

The block is not sewn together, just laid out to give me a better idea of how it will look.  Once I have all the triangles finished (I'm planning on 48, for 12 blocks, laid out 3 by 4), I'll work on the layout.  I want to be sure the various colors are nicely randomized across the surface, not clumping up in one area.  Then I'll sew them together.  A design wall is an excellent tool for this process but I make do with my design bed - a piece of white flannel on our queen-szie bed. 

I add strings to each foundation using a method I refer to as controlled scrappy.  I consistenly use one of the black or dark gray prints for the first strip, to heighten the contrast with the background (the black on white spiderweb fabric).  Then I add the other strips, trying for a good mix of colors on each triangle foundation.  I cut my strips in a variety of widths, from 1" to 2".  This meant I had to trim the jelly roll strips, which is not very efficient use of a jelly roll.  Were I to do this again, I'd buy a variety of fat quarters or perhaps a fat eighth bundle.  But I'm happy with the way this quilt top is coming together.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

It's Time For One Of The PIGS

For my next quilting project, I'm turning to one of my PIGS (project in grocery sack).  Last December, I organized a number of backlogged projects into individual project bags, to ensure all the component parts would stay together and not accidently be put to an alternate use.  This bag contains fabric intended for a Halloween-theme spiderweb quilt.

I'm using Marit's tutorial as my guide.  After making Summer Romance, I knew I wanted to make another string quilt, but something a little different.  The spiderweb design struck me as a nice alternative to the squares I made last time and a fitting use of my Halloween fabrics. 

I cut my strips and have them in a big pile next to my sewing machine.  The theory is to be random and scrappy.  However, I am not comfortable with chaos and keep finding myself applying some sort of design principle to the order of the strips.  Oh, well!

I'm using newspaper as the foundation but only the center kite-shaped piece and the first strip on either side of the kite are sewn down to the paper.  As subsequent strips are added, they are sewn to the preceding fabric, with the newspaper folded back, out of the way.  The paper is used as a guide for size of the strips and later, to trim the blocks to size.  The photos and directions in the tutorial make it all clear.  This method makes it easier to remove the paper, and seems to be working well so far.

I purchased the fabric for this project last fall at a quilt show.  The kite shaped pieces in the center of the triangle are a print from the Boo Bears line.  The other prints are from Eerie Alley and Haunted Mansion, with a few odds and ends from my stash.

Here's a finshed triangle before trimming:

And after trimming:

To trim, I just line up my ruler along the edge of the newspaper foundation and cut off the excess with my rotary cutter.  Easy peasy and a lot of fun!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cleaning Up

One of my quilting resolutions for this year was to get in the habit of cleaning up my sewing space after each project, to start the next one out in a neat and tidy space and not let chaos take over.

I've been doing well, so far.  Between projects, I've tidied up my work table, put any leftover fabric away, cleaned the lint from the sewing machine, and inserted a new needle. 

This time I went a little further.  I had dragged all my cream neutral fabrics out of closet storage to cut the backgrounds for the quilt in yesterday's post, so I decided to tidy up that shelf when I put them away.  I refolded all the fabrics, with a stack of 1 yard plus pieces on the right, less than a yard but more than a fat quarter in the middle, then a bin of FQs and smaller pieces.  Much neater than the shelves above and below.

I would like the whole closet to look this neat but the idea of taking all the fabric out and refolding it in one go is too daunting.  I might try a shelf a week though. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I got the borders on - three sets of borders, to be exact.  All done now except for the quilting, binding, and labeling.  I'll outsource the quilting to a longarm quilter. 

Directions for this quilt are in the April 2011 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting.  It was designed by Lanie Tffenbach.  I wanted to make it as soon as I saw the cover on the newstand.

The magazine's version:

My version:

APQ rates this project as "Intermdiate" and I agree.  While the basic blocks (uneven nine patch and flying geese) are suitable for a beginner, putting them together is a bit tricky.  I had a little difficulty getting the pieced border to fit nicely.  I had to adjust the width of the brown inner border so the center of quilt would be a size divisible by 2" (the size of the flying geese) plus 2 quarter inch seam allowances.  Took a bit of math.

Here's a close-up of the border.  In this photo, you can see how the cream backgrounds are scrappy too.

And here's the quilt draped over our bed. 


Mine came out about 80" by 92" which is a bit of an odd size, but I'm sure I'll find a place for it. It could be a cuddle quilt for two on our couch in the family room.

Monday, April 4, 2011


The centerpiece of my version of Follow The Leader, from the April issue of American Patchwork & Quilting, is done. 

I like the way the dark brown sashing sets off the colors in the blocks.  You can't tell in the photo but I used eight different neutrals for the setting triangles, so it is truly scrappy.  And remember, "free" - all fabric from my stash! 

I'm still mulling over names.  Vicky suggested Frequent Flyer, and that's my leading contender so far. 

Next up:  the pieced border.