Friday, May 7, 2021

Trip Around the World - A Finished Quilt


Pieced, quilted, and bound... I finished the Trip Around the World quilt that I pieced last summer.  The weather has been so good lately so I took this photo outside in our back yard.




It is a generous throw size, 64" by 72" and I bound it using the same fabric that is in the outer most "ring" of squares, the teal green tone-on-tone fabric.  You can read more about how I pieced this quilt in my earlier post on it, here.

This is the last quilt that Karen Thompson quilted for me, before she retired from longarm quilting for clients.  She quilted it with a curvy swirl panto design.  



I like swirling designs like this one for their softening effect on the angular patches.




I made the quilt top last summer when I was in use-the-stash mode so almost all of the fabric came from my stash, even the backing.  I did a fabric pull to coordinate with the colors in our family room, using the floral throw pillow as the key inspiration (the curtains in the room are made of the same floral fabric).  I wanted this particular quilt to be used in our family room and to complement the decor there but even when I'm not trying to coordinate with a room's decorating scheme, I find this method of selecting fabrics for a quilt to be quite effective.  




If you have a fabric you like, select your quilting fabrics based on the colors/shades in the inspiration fabric, in the ratios they are used in the print, and you pretty much can't go wrong.  You don't even have to use the inspiration fabric in the quilt itself, but just as a guide to selecting the fabrics you will use.  




Mr. Main Street is trying to hold the quilt up to get a picture.  The corgis saw the camera and thought they were supposed to be the models; you can see the paws of one of them (along with the mister's sock feet) under the bottom edge.  



Well, I have even more binding to do.


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Tuesday, May 4, 2021

APQ Quilt Along Update


I have all 30 blocks for Square Dance, this year's American Patchwork & Quilting quilt along Project, finished and sewn together with the sashing, posts, and inner border.


I tried several different arrangements for the blocks and liked this rainbow-ish layout best.  But it did cause me to rethink my choice of border fabric.  I made the blocks from 30 pieces taken from the bundle of fat eighth cuts shown on the right in the photo below (all from assorted Laundry Basket Quilts lines for Andover Fabrics).  The large floral print on the left was supposed to be the border.



I love that print but I don't love it with the assortment of blocks; the blocks need a border fabric that is less busy, that will provide a frame but not overpower the blocks, while the border fabric would be ideal with a simpler assortment of blocks that will not fight for attention with the big floral print.  So... on to Plan B.  I ordered a simple tone-on-tone print in dark navy for the border to audition with the blocks.  While I wait for it to arrive, I will work on some other things.  I have several quilts to bind, plus my handwork "portable" projects.


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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Quilt Along Progress Update


I have not blogged in while but I have been sewing and made some progress on the two quiltalongs I'm participating in.  Here is a progress shot of my #LittleBlocks365 project.  I'm now working on it in "color order" to ensure I have a good distribution of color in my finished blocks.


I've finished about half of the 56 blocks I need for the setting I plan to use.  Because I won't be using all 365 blocks, I've become picky about which ones I make.  I've discovered that foundation paper piecing is not my favorite technique.  I like it for blocks that require just one foundation, like log cabin, pineapple, and square in a square/economy block.   But when the block uses several foundations that then have to be joined together, and the block is only 3" square, well, that can be an exercise in frustration.  There has been much use of the seam ripper and re-sewing to get the pieces joined correctly and seams lined up properly.  

I've found some of the blocks easier to make if I piece them traditionally.  I stumbled across another quiltalong, called Sewcialites.  The directions include multiple sizes for each block, including 3" finished, and I've incorporated a few of them into this project.  The blocks are a free download at Fat Quarter Shop; if you are interested, you can find them here.

I've moved this project to the back burner while I await the release of more blocks.  Once I have more, I'll resume with yellow blocks.

In the meantime, I'm working on #APQQuiltAlong2021.



This is my first block, a test block, and it came our perfectly.  I'm now working on them in batches of four or five at a time.  The quilt is called Square Dance and the directions are in the April issue of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine, plus you can buy the individual pattern as a download from the All People Quilt website.



The pattern calls for two honeybuns and a charm pack (plus background, border, and binding) but I did the math and figured out I could get a block from a fat eighth.  Good thing as the fabric I wanted to use did not come in honeybuns or charm packs!  I'm using this specialty bundle I bought from Laundry Basket Quilts, making one block from each of 30 fabrics.  


Based on my experience, you can get one block from a fat eighth, with a little fabric left over (helpful if you flub the sub-cutting, ask me how I know!).  You can get three blocks from a fat quarter, possibly even four blocks with careful cutting.  

My next step is to figure out what to use for the corner stones with the sashing.  I want a fabric that stands out from the background but is unobtrusive compared to the blocks.  Time to ransack my fabric stash!

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Thursday, March 11, 2021

Little Blocks 365 Update


My additional fabric arrived so I've been working on some Little Blocks.  



It is pretty easy to make two or three blocks in the late afternoon before dinner and I feel really satisfied as I finish each one so there is a lot of positive reinforcement in this project.  It is not without its frustrations though!



I have occasionally lost track of which piece goes where on a block or reversed colors.  And most of the blocks are foundation pieced on several foundations that are joined together at the end.  Getting the seams to match up without nipping of points, etc. has been tricky, even impossible for me, on a few blocks.

My plan is to make a wall hanging size quilt to put up in my sewing room so I'm not using the setting from Sentimental Stitches.  I've picked out another setting, tentatively, and I have a Pinterest board of sampler block quilt settings; you can find it here if you are interested.


In my planned setting, the blocks will be arranged "in rainbow color order."  I had been making the blocks randomly, just whatever color took my fancy at the moment, but decided I better be more methodical about it so I have the color distribution I need when I am finished.  So my last set of blocks focused on purple and I am currently working on red and orange.  



I put all the purple through orange blocks I've made so far up on a design board so see how the color flow is working so far.  This is not the final arrangement but I can see that I will need to re-make a few as I get closer to finishing.  That orange block with the pink cross does not have enough contrast to work for me, I think I'll replace it.  

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Monday, March 1, 2021

#APQQuiltAlong


I've never done a quilt-along before and now I'm in two of them, simultaneously!  Must blame it on Covid-19.

I'm joining American Patchwork & Quilting magazine's latest quilt-along, making a quilt designed by Sherri McConnell called Square Dance.  I first saw it on Sherri's blog, A Quilting Life, and knew I would like to make the quilt.  Then my magazine arrived (I subscribe) so I could figure out what fabric to used based on the fabric requirements.  It looks like fairly easy construction.  Though a lot of pieces for a 9" block, it uses some strip piecing techniques.  In fact, the recommendation is to use two honey buns and a charm pack, which will eliminate a lot of the tedious cutting.


This is the issue of the magazine with the directions.  You can also order the pattern directly from APQ.  More info here.



I had been eyeing some fabric at Laundry Basket Quilts and decided to go that route for my quilt.  Since this fabric line does not come in honey buns, I did the math and figured I could cut the blocks from fat eighths.  The floral on the left is the "inspiration" and will probably be the borders.  I'm using Kona in Cream for the background.  Kona Snow is my default background but I wanted something a bit darker/richer to better complement the fat eighth bundle fabrics.  Cream is significantly darker, with a slight golden tint to it, compared to Snow.


Time to starch!


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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Little Blocks 365 and Portable Design Wall


I joined the Little Blocks 365 quilt along hosted by Sentimental Stitches.  Every week, the host emails participants directions for making seven blocks using foundation paper piecing.  I saw the blocks Nicole had made and decided I had to join.  

So far, so good.  I'm using this little rope basket from Target to hold my finished blocks.


The fabric I'm using is all solids, in a rainbow of colors.  I had this charm pack of Century Solids in my stash (that makes this another stash quilt, right?).  It's an extra large charm pack, about 85 squares, each a different color.  I'm planning on making a wall hanging size quilt using a different setting than that suggested by Sentimental Stitches and for what I plan, I need 56 blocks instead of 365.  I had the idea I could make all the blocks out of this one charm pack plus some background fabrics but quickly learned otherwise!  So much fabric is consumed in the seams when you are working this tiny.  So I have a fat quarter pack ordered and on its way to augment the charm pack.  Actually, it is the other way around, the charm pack will augment the fat quarters.  



This project is christening my new design boards.  I made two of them to use in my sewing room; each is 24 by 36 inches.



I visited our local Hobby Lobby when they were having a going-out-of-business sale (just that store, the chain is still around) and got the idea when I saw these big artist canvases.  My original plan was to "upholster" them with flannel to make portable design walls.  However, our staple gun, about 30 years old and last used about 15 years ago, was not working.  Rather than get another staple gun just for this project, I moved on to Plan B, "slipcovers."


Basically, I made a pillow case that slides over each canvas.  The flannel side is a product from Kaffe Fassett, gray flannel marked in a 2" grid.  I used an unidentified white solid from my stash for the reverse side.  The canvases are 24" by 36" and less than an inch deep so I cut the fabric 26.5" by 38" and sewed around three sides then made a narrow hem at the bottom edge.  They fit tightly but with enough room to slide them on and off easily.  This slipcover method has the added benefit of being washable if necessary.

I got the flannel from my local quilt shop, Pennington Quilt Works.  They are doing a big online business now and can send it to you if you can't find it locally.  



I have my first seven blocks up on the board and they stick pretty well, better with the paper removed from the back of the blocks.

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Thursday, February 11, 2021

Modern Handcraft Snowflake Quilt - Snow Day


We've had an unusual amount of snow in NJ over the past two weeks, keeping me indoors and working on this snowflake quilt.  


It is from a pattern by Modern Handcraft; she recently held a sew along but I wasn't ready at that time.  It is a very well written pattern with lots of illustrations and a few photographs, in an 18-page booklet.  Very thorough and easy to follow, I 10/10 recommend!

For the background, I used various blue fabrics leftover from the quilts I made in blue and gold when my daughter was in high school.  I wanted a wall hanging that would fit in my kitchen so I reduced the size of the quilt from 60" by 72" to 40" by 48" by reducing the size of squares of fabric that make up each block.



The first step is to cut out the fabric then make the HST's that give the snowflake image it's shape.



Instead of using solid white fabric for the snowflake, I used Michael Miller Fairy Frost in the snow white color.  It is hard to see but it is printed with a little bit of gold that gives the fabric a pearly shine.  



The top went together fast and I'm happy with the way it came out.  I think it will look even better after it is quilted.  



Funny story:  I asked Mr. Main Street to help me by holding the quilt while I took photos.  After we were done, he asked me, "What is this design supposed to be?  A Viking rune?"  In his defense, he likes designs that are centered and have symmetry but it is a good thing I have you blog readers for positive feedback!

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Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Bachelor Button Mini Quilt

For the past few weeks, I've been focusing on some Christmas projects I had intended to work on in the last months of 2020.  First up is this Bachelor Button mini quilt.



This was a kit from Sweet Treasures Quilt Shop using fabric from the Holliberry line by Corey Yoder for Moda.  It is a 20" square block and the kit includes fabric for the pillow back and binding/piping.  She has kits with a Valentine's Day look now.  The block went together quickly and easily.  I'm debating how to quilt it before I sew it into a pillow.  I also need to get out and buy a zipper because I want to try a zip closure for the pillow instead of my usual envelope back.

The pattern is from White Barn Quilts and is an inexpensive PDF download.  

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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Like Sunshine On A Cloudy Day - A Finished Quilt


I have a quilt finish to share; I'm calling this one Like Sunshine On A Cloudy Day.


This quilt was inspired by a string quilt I made several years ago.  It is my most used quilt and I thought something similar to use in rotation could be a good idea.  Inspiration also came from my stash, as it holds a lot of floral prints in light colors, mainly from the 3 Sisters collections for Moda.  I was really wanting to make a quilt from my stash, something I would really like and not just for the sake of using the stash (I put too much time into my quilts to spend it making something I'm not enthusiastic about).


I sent the top and backing to Karen Thompson, my longtime quilt collaborator.  Karen used an edge-to-edge design that is similar to Baptist fan, a quilting pattern I'd wanted to use for a long time.  


I bound the quilt with a darker pink tone-on-tone print.  It makes a nice finish and complements the darker pinks in some of the floral prints. The blocks are just 6" square and each strip of fabric in the block finishes at 1" wide so this is a good block for those leftover bits and pieces of fabric we all have.




I even used fabric from my stash for the back.  This is big quilt, 96" square for a queen size bed, and I didn't have enough of any one print but I had two coordinating prints.  I must have bought these with some use in mind but I can't remember what.


I'm happy with the way this quilt turned out and have it on my bed now.  It's like a ray of sunshine on these dreary January days.


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Monday, January 4, 2021

2021 Quilting Intentions

Happy 2021!  I'm hopeful it will be an improvement over 2020.

A year ago, when thinking about my quilting plans for 2020, my main intention was to devote more time to quilting.  Well, the corona virus pandemic sure helped with that!  My other plan was to tackle some UFOs and use more of my fabric stash.  I consider myself quite successful on these fronts as I made five quilt tops using primarily stash fabric:


Love in the Time of Covid-19:  background, backing, and binding from stash, heart from a new charm pack. 


Mabel Mae:  totally made from stash.



Sunshine on a Cloudy Day:  totally from stash.  This top has been quilted but I still need to bind it.



Trip Around the World quilt:  made mostly from stash, has been quilted but needs binding (and a name).



Stardust:  made from stash except for backing.  Still a flimsy, needs to be quilted, etc.

But the truth is that these quilts made barely a dent in my stash!  My intent is to continue to focus on using my stash and completing UFOs/PIGs/kits in 2021 but that doesn't have to be my sole quilting "thing" and I do have my eye on a few new fabric collections coming out in the first half of 2021.  I also want to make some progress on my hexagon flowers and Dot Dot Dot.  Both of these quilts involve a lot of handwork and I started them as portable/travel projects.  However, with little reason to leave the house lately, I've been doing machine work rather than handwork.  I doubt the travel situation will change for the next few months but I think I will devote a few hours a month to these handwork projects anyway.  

I'm actually going to start 2021 with a few smaller, Christmas projects.  These are things I originally intended to make in 2020 but I lost my quilting mojo for a couple of months in the fall and they fell by the wayside.  I'm re-excited about them now so will tackle them while I have the urge.  Then I'll be ahead when Christmas 2021 comes around.

Do you have any specific quilting plans for the year?


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