Monday, April 28, 2014

Color Palette

My internet shopping was a success.  Here is the full color palette for my own "Pattern Play" project, the braid-like blocks in the project from American Patchwork & Quilting magazine. 

I am happy with the color selections, at least as they look uncut and fanned out like this.  But after all the agonizing over colors to select, what did I do but forget the white for the blocks.  I buy Kona White and Kona Snow by the bolt and forgot that an earlier project used up all but a little bit of my Kona White.  I think these colors need the brighter white to complement them and balance the gray. 

In the meantime, I'm continuing to work on my double wedding ring project and am having a good time with it.  I'm still piecing the arcs but the pieces are going together perfectly.  I'll have an update pretty soon. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Quilts Are Home

There's a lot of binding in my future!  Christmas Lattice and Evergreen are home from being quilted and ready to be bound and labeled.

This will be a good opportunity to watch some TV shows that have been recommended:  Call the Midwife, Lilyhammer, The White Queen.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Trip To The Quilt Shop

Last week, I showed you this quilt, "Pattern Play" by Pat Bravo, from the latest issue of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine.

My enthusiasm for this design is still with me so on Saturday, I drove to my LQS (Pennington Quilt Works) to see what they had in the way of solids.  A nice little supply came home with me but this is just a start on what I need for the project.  The grays are Kona Medium Gray on the left and Kona Coal on the right. 

So after I got home I made a little trip to the internet and ordered up 12 more colors!  I hope they all go together; color is such a dicey thing with internet images.  But I used the colors from the Kona Sunset collection as a guide so I am hopeful.  When I am to a good place to pause on the Double Wedding Ring project, I'm going to start of my own "Pattern Play."

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Inspiration From American Patchwork & Quilting Magazine

Just as I started the-quilt-project-that-will-take-forever, or DWR for short, I found new inspiration in the latest issue of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine (on newstands now and through June 3).

This issue has an interesting follow-up article to last year's Stash Rx, with Weeks Ringle giving more advice about working with the fabric you have in your stash.  Her advice comes with real, hands-on examples.  I found it quite interesting.  But what really caught my eye were two projects that are going on my "must make" list.
First, "Count Your Lucky Stars" by Pam Buda of Heartspun Quilts.  Lots of half-square triangles in this one!  My only question is, French General or Fig Tree scraps?

Second, I am nuts about the graphic modern-ness of "Pattern Play" by Pat Bravo. 

Last December, I reviewed Color Essentials by Amanda Murphy.  The books shows the Kona Sunset palette of solid fabrics.  I'm thinking of using it, minus the very pale shades, with white and gray, to make my own version of "Pattern Play."

So many quilts, so little time!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Making A Double Wedding Ring Quilt

A Double Wedding Ring quilt has been on my to-make list for a long time.  For an equally long time, I've been intimidated by the curved seam contruction needed.  I thought I had found a way around this when I discovered the Quick Curve Ruler and Jenny Pedigo's Metro Rings pattern.  I bought the ruler and experimented; it really does make curves easier.  I bought the Metro Rings pattern but was disappointed because I want my quilt to have rounded edges.  And the contruction method used in the pattern has a lot of seams, including two seams thar run through the blank space in the center of each ring.  This is fine when you quilt densely, which is Jenny Pedigo's aesthetic, but it bothered me. 

I started looking around for other patterns and construction methods.  And by "looking," I mean a major effort on the internet that consumed about 10 hours over three evenings late nights.  I seriously considered the Nouveau Wedding Ring pattern from Eleanor Burns.  This is a completely different construction method that involves using fusible interfacing to back the arcs and applique them to large squares of fabric.  There are no curved seams involved.  The arcs must be stitched down to the backing using a blind stitch or a decorative stitch.  (Quiltsmart sells printed interfacing for this method which is shown in pictures here.)  It seems relatively easy and the examples shown in the hour+ long instuctional video on the Quilt In A Day website look very good.  If the traditional method proves too difficult for me, I will probably switch to this method, but I decided not to go with it initially because I am a masochist craved the challenge of the traditional pieced method.

There are lots of resources online for the traditional pieced method of making DWR.  I decided to buy Marti Michell's set of acrylic templates.  They came with an instructional booklet that is very detailed (27 pages!).  But before I made this final decision, I found two tutorials for traditional piecing.  Free Spirit Fabrics offers a free DWR pattern.  The pattern has you use paper foundations to piece the arcs that form the rings.  The Plaid Scottie hosted a DWR quilt-along using this pattern in 2011 and posted tutorials for each step along the way.  It was reading the tutorials here that convinced me I could do this.  Then I found another tutorial at Jo's Country JunctionHer quilt is spectacular and she is very reassuring about the construction process.  What is even more reassuring is knowing that as soon as she finished her first DWR, Jo started a second one!

I am a mixture of trepidation and confidence as I start this project. Here's where I am so far - I have about 10 arcs partially pieced. Like Marti said in her instructions, this quilt is not made in an evening!

Friday, April 11, 2014

On To The Next Challenge

When I say "challenge," I really mean it.  I am starting a Double Wedding Ring quilt.  I'm making it the old-fashioned way, with little pieces and curved piecing.  I'm using a set of templates from Marti Michell. 

Though pricey, quality acryilic templates will make the cutting easier and more accurate (accuracy is vital in this quilt).  I chose this particular set because it includes some additional template pieces for other designs, including Orange Peel and Robbing Peter to Pay Paul, both on my "list."  I bought my template set on Amazon because I'm a Prime member so the shipping was covered.


To make this quilt, I'm breaking into my precious stash of Paris Flea Market, purchased the first time it came out. These are my fabrics for the arcs, using the yellows, greens, and pinks (most, but not all are from Paris Flea Market by 3 Sisters for Moda).  The 4-patches that form the juncture of the rings will be the sage green on the far left and the solid yellow on the far right.  I'm thinking of Kona Snow for the background but will make the arcs first.

I usually like to focus on one project at a time but with this one, I might break that guideline.  There are times when I need something easy and fast, which double wedding ring definitely is not.  I had a chuckle when I read in Marti Michell's instructions, "Since this quilt is not made in an evening..."  What an understatement!  So I may need some interruptions, with a fast and/or easy project as a DWR vacation. 
Wish me luck as I embark on this challenge!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Vintage Quilt Revival - Book Review

A few weeks ago, Thelma of Cupcakes 'n Daisies showed her Spiced Chai quilt, made from the book Vintage Quilt Revival by Katie Clark Blakesley, Lee Heinrich, and Faith Jones.  I was intrigued so when I came across the book at our public library, I checked it out.  (I've been trying to cut back on buying books becaues our shelves are crammed full.)

The authors had a great idea here.  They've taken traditional blocks and updated them in ways that give a fresh, modern look.  A lot of the modernity comes from their fabric choices - bright, modern prints and solids.  But one of their ideas is to incorporate a lot of open space into the quilt.

Seaside Quilt by Katie Clark Blakesley uses the Cross and Crown block.  Ten blocks were combined with large expanses of solid fabric above and below to make a full size quilt.  This would be a great way to use some UFO blocks if you don't want to finish the original project. 

Geometric Slide Quilt by Faith Jones uses a similar approach except the Double Z blocks are staggered. 

My favorite project in the book is the Spin It Again Quilt by Lee Heinrich.  I like the bright colors combined with gray and white. 

There are a lot of full projects in the book, plus you can make one of each block and combine them into a sampler quilt as shown on the cover.  If you want to inject a more contemporary look into your quilting, Vintage Quilt Revival is good place to start.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Before and After

Do you wash your quilts as soon as they are finished?  I don't; I usually wait until the quilt really needs a wash because I don't want to subject them to unnecessary wear-and-tear in the washing machine.  But I decided to give Jubilee an early wash.

Jubilee before washing

Jubilee after washing

Close-up after washing
I don't think it is real clear in these photos but washing gave the quilt that crinkly, more textured look.  And it shrunk it by about 4" which is actually a good thing because it better fits our queen size bed now.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Jubilee Finished

Jubilee is finished and on the bed!  The springy colors are so welcome.  We've had a dismal winter in NJ and are just starting to get some warmer weather.

Almost 400 inches of binding; that's a lot of hand sewing to finish.  Karen Thompson did the long arm quilting for me, using a large, meandering feather pattern.  It is perfect for the soft colors in this quilt.

This is another of my Fig Tree Harvest projects, using my extensive stash of fabric from Fig Tree & Co.  The fabric I used in Jubilee is from several collections, including Mill House Inn, Buttercup, and Butterscotch & Rose.  The white background is Kona Snow. 
The pattern is called Jubilee and is from The Pattern Basket.  I don't usually give my quilts the same name as the pattern but I like the name Jubilee for this quilt.  The pattern came out in 2012, the year of Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee (60 years on the throne).  Part of the block looks like a little crown.

I think I've decided on my next project, but more about that later.