Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 Projects in Review

I had lots of big ideas for 2016.  Looking back on my post on my quilting goals, written in early January, I even then had an inkling I was being too ambitious for myself.  While it doesn't seem like I accomplished all that much, I'm happy with what I did make.

I finished Rondeau (aka La Passacaglia), which I consider one of my more significant projects to date.

And I finished Ocean View, a simpler but still satisfying project.

I have two major WIPs.  First, my version of Plantation Road by Red Crinoline Quilts.  I made this quilt from stash, always very satisfying.  I have the backing pieced (also from stash!) and just need to get it to my quilter.

And I tackled another project in my Fig Tree Harvest collection.  I'm thinking of calling this one Pieceful.  I made all the blocks and just need to sew them together.  So there's a good possibility I'll have two early 2017 finishes.

I have several projects in mind for 2017, but first I need to clean up and re-organize my sewing room. I want to start the year with a fresh outlook.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Last Finish Of 2016

It's Ocean View, quilted, bound, and labeled.  This will be my last finish for this year.

I finished the top six months ago, sent it to my longarm quilter, who got it back to me very promptly. But I hand stitch my binding down and I didn't want to sit with a big quilt over my lap in the summer. I kept putting it off and putting it off, then sewed the binding on in early December and took the last hand stitches in it on Christmas day when we were all lounging around the house between brunch and dinner.

I made Ocean View using a Moda Bakeshop pattern called Simply Woven.  The directions call for two jelly rolls plus some background, to make a twin bed size quilt, 72" by 96".  This is what a single block looks like:

It's a real "slice 'n dice" pattern and I enjoyed making it, only botching one block in the process.  My photo tutorial is here.  

Karen Thompson of Greenbrier Designs did the quilting, using a swirly motif.  

You can see the quilt design a bit better on the back.   I used a light green and aqua batik for the backing and a turquoise and green batik fabric for the binding.

I have several WIPs from this year that won't get finished until next year, but more about them in my next post.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Ultimate Power Tool

It was my birthday on Sunday.  Among my gifts was a t-shirt sent by my sister.

It even got a laugh out of Mr. Main Street.  My sister suggests I wear it to the gym.

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Monday, December 5, 2016

My La Passacaglia - Quilted, Bound, and Labeled

Isn't she gorgeous!?  It is my finished La Passacaglia quilt, finished and hanging in place.  

I made my version to hang in a particular spot in my kitchen.  I had to reduce the size a little to fit in this space.  The finished quilt is 38" by 55" which I managed by making fewer "blocks."  And I knew when I started that I would not use a border.  I used one of the green fabrics to make a narrow binding.  

I named my version Rondeau.  The quilting was a custom job done by Karen Thompson.  The quilting enhances the design; I like the loops in each pentagon.  Karen is making her own version of La Passacaglia and gave this one some extra attention to figure out what would work best from a quilting standpoint.  

More quilting...

Rondeau looks great in my kitchen space.  I like it so much that I'm already thinking about another English Paper Piecing project!  So many quilts in my head!

Did I inspire you to think about making your own La Passacaglia?  Well, here's a little help.  I happen to have an extra copy of the book that started it all, Millefiori Quilts by Willyne Hammerstein.  Time for a giveaway; just leave a comment here if you would like to win a copy.  But US addresses only.  I'll do a random draw of the winner on Sunday evening, Dec. 11.  Added Sunday night:  The winner is Karen!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Finished Blocks

I finished piecing all the blocks for my scrappy Fig Tree quilt.  That's 49 blocks, each composed of 49 squares.  I used the Irish Chain tutorial from Red Pepper Quilts.

I've been on a mission to finish all the blocks before the beginning of the Thanksgiving holiday.  I have quilts to bind over the holiday but will get back to the scrappy project in December.  I also want to pull together a hand sewing project to take with me on vacation in January.  But that means deciding on which hand sewing project to pursue.  So many options, so difficult to decide!

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Monday, November 7, 2016

Shopping Fall Quilt Market

No no, I didn't go to Houston.  Hopefully, someday... but not this year.  But I did see lots of pictures in blogs and on Instagram, and as a result, I've done my "shopping."  I love seeing the new patterns, the new fabric collections, the new gadgets.  It helps me plan ahead (I am a super-planner) and decide what I want to do next.

First on my list is Ferris Wheel, a new jelly roll pattern from Fig Tree. I think I have fabric on hand to use in this quilt but I will need background and border fabrics.

Next, another new Fig Tree pattern called All Wrapped Up.  I like the Christmas version, which I can probably do with just a little augmentation of my Christmas-y fabric stash.

As to fabric, I like Guernsey by Brenda Riddle a lot and may have to invest in some to round out my stash of girly florals with that injection of charcoal.  It would help if I had a good idea of what to make with my vast stash of Paris Flea Market and assorted similar collections.

That's about it.  I know 2017 will be the year of fewer or smaller projects, what with the new job and assorted other life events happening here on Main Street.  So I don't want to tease myself or lay out an overly ambitious schedule.  And of course, there is always Spring Quilt Market, for more inspiration!

By the way, thanks for all your comments with advice in my last post.  It was about making Colorway by Thimbleblossoms.  I am going to follow your advice and use the matching batik layer cake and jelly roll.  I'll save the text prints for another project or possibly the back.  I think you guys saved me from a horrible mistake!

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Colorway Pattern

I have my next project picked out.  Like I need one; I have at least five projects in various stages of completion (or un-completion) already.  But anyway...

It is Colorway, a new pattern by Camille Roskelly of Thimbleblossoms.  I saw it online and liked it in the Bonnie and Camille fabrics, but for my version, I will use these batiks in shades of blue and green.  The close-up of the jelly roll, below, gives you a better idea of the range of colors. 

The pattern calls for a layer cake and a jelly roll, plus background fabric.  When I bought the fabric and the pattern, I thought I would use a text fabric as the background.  I had the idea that the centers of the circles would be one piece of fabric.  However, after reading through the pattern, I see they are made up of seven pieces (which actually makes more sense when your think about constructing it) and I think that won't look so good in a directional print like a text print.  So I am considering either 1) using the text prints in place of the jelly roll with a white background, or 2) forgetting the text print altogether and using the batiks with solid white (or another color) background.

What's your advice?

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Monday, October 24, 2016

American Patchwork & Quilting December 2016

I broke one of my rules, don't buy magazines encased on plastic bags, to get the new edition of American Patchwork & Quilting.

First, did you notice the updated design of the cover?  I like it, clean and modern without being unrecognizable.  There are several projects I like inside, most notably, this moss wreath (yes, not even a quilt!).  I could see using this in my home.  The shade of green is one I favor because it goes with the green in our home's interior decor.  

And this quilt, called Catch a Chickadee, is a great design to showcase a little motif like the bird used here.

Here's a close-up, as well as a closer look at the appliqued and embroidered pillow companion to the quilt.

If you were wavering on this issue because you couldn't see what's inside (those dang plastic bags!), I hope this glimpse has convinced you to go for it.  I am glad I did.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A New Book In My Library: Mini Marvels

Over the past few years, I've been more selective about adding books to my quilting library because I have a large collection already plus get so much inspiration on the internet.  No more buying books on a whim!  But I had a few glimpses of Mini Marvels on social media and started thinking it was worth a look.  So when I saw it in stock at my local quilt shop I browsed through it and ended up buying it.

Mini Marvels is a compilation of small quilts (small wall hangings, table mats, and the like) designed by 15 Moda fabric designers.  If you ever thought it would be cool to have a wall of mini quilts in your sewing space, this book will get you started.  First up for me will be this foundation paper pieced star quilt designed by Laurie Simpson.  

I'm also smitten with the Mini Medallion design by Betsy Chutchian.  A medallion quilt is on my l-o-n-g bucket list of quilts to make and mini may be the best way to get it made.

Then A Pink Christmas, an applique design by Anne Sutton, is just darling (though I might replace the sheep in the foreground with a dog).

So many quilts to make, so little time!  But minis are a good way to try something new:  a new technique, a new color combination, a new size.  2017 might be my year of making it mini.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Pieceful Update

Thank you for your kind notes about Reggie.  We miss him but are adjusting.  Working on my current quilting project has been a great comfort.  Quilts in general are comforting of course, and having this hobby to occupy me has been a help.

So I made more progress on my super scrappy Fig Tree project, code named Pieceful.  When I last posted about this project, I had finished a few blocks like this, Block 1.

For the design to come together, Block 1 gets combined with Block 2 (below).  I'm nearly done with all the Block 2s.  I need 25 of each block.  (Actually, I need 49 blocks in total, 25 of one and 24 of the other.  But I'm not sure which block I want to go in the corners so I'm making 25 of each one so I can test out both layouts and go with the one I prefer.)

Block 2 has allowed me to use all the cream colored prints, the backgrounds and "neutrals" that I did not use in my other Fig Tree Harvest quilts.  In my prior projects, I used just one background or neutral, usually a solid white or tone-on-tone.  But Pieceful is super-scrappy, with even the background block being pieced from lots of different fabrics.  

I laid out a few blocks to see how they look and I like the way they come together for the Irish Chain effect.  I think this might be a quintuple Irish Chain.  

By the way, in case you are wondering, I cut each piece 2 inches square (1.5 inches finished) so each block is 11 inches square (10.5 inches finished).  The finished quilt will be about 72 inches square.

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Monday, October 3, 2016

A Hard Week

It has been a tough week for us.  The older of our two Corgis, our beloved dog Reggie, passed away last Thursday.

Reggie, 2004-2016

Reggie was always willing to be the canine prop in a quilt shot... 

...and happy to test out the finished product for the cuddle factor.

An affectionate and well-behaved dog, all he asked for was the occasional "cookie" and cuddle.

We will miss you Reggie!

I'll be back with regular content as soon as I have my sewing mojo back.

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Thursday, September 8, 2016

First Block

I have one finished block for my scrappy Fig Tree Harvest far.

This quilt design is made up of two different blocks.  The overall design becomes visible when the two blocks alternate.  I have lots of blocks in a state of partial completeness and wanted to finish one to see how it would look.

The pressing directions in Red Pepper Quilts' tutorial make assembly much easier because all my seam junctions nest and that makes sewing the pieces for the block together easy.  As I assemble the blocks, I'm trying hard not to obsess over what color is next to what color or whether two similar prints wind up next to each other.  This is my tendency but I keep telling myself to let the scraps fall as they may!

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Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Summer 2016 has been the summer of not-quilting-very-much for me.  I started a new job mid-summer.  The job is great but it has taken a few weeks to get used to commuting to the office (I used to work from home two or three days a week) and learning the ropes of the new position.  Here we are at the end of the summer and it's time to take Miss Main Street back to college for her senior year.

I have made some progress on my current piecing project, using Fig Tree Quilts fabric leftovers and scraps.  I cut lots of strips from the remainders of fat quarters and fat eighths....

...and sewed them into strip sets.  After further cutting, they look like this.  

I cut the pieces that were too small for strips into squares.  I'm even using the leftover 2" squares from Globe Trotting, a quilt I made in 2013.

This latest project was inspired by two quilts I saw in blogs, Red Pepper Quilts Irish Chain Scrap Buster, and Seven Letters Quilt as made up by Holly Hill Quilt Shoppe.  My version will be a mashup of the two, with a bit of my own twist.  I'm following Red Pepper Quilts' directions except I downsized my squares to 2".  I really appreciate the pressing instructions in her tutorial because it will help a lot as I put the blocks together.  I have my fingers crossed that as it comes together, it matches my vision!

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