Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Dot Dot Dot...A Finished Quilt Top

Finally, all my appliqued circles are finished and assembled into a finished quilt top!  I used the pattern Dot Dot Dot by Laundry Basket Quilts (Edyta Sitar) and lots of small pieces from my stash to make this quilt.  Every "dot" is a different printed fabric and the background squares are a scrappy selection of off-white to ecru neutrals from my stash.  The original pattern is for a full size quilt but I "downsized" it with fewer dots to make a quilt that will fit my wall hanging space.  

This project has been in the works a long time.  I turned the edges under on my circles, though raw edge applique and fusible web is a very reasonable alternative, then machine appliqued the circles to the background squares.

When I finished the applique, I began assembling the quilt on my design panels, which I had to do in two parts because the panels are not big enough to hold the whole quilt (40" by 58" finished, with border).  There was a lot of moving pieces around and obsessing during this process to get the rainbow effect with the best balance of colors.  I wanted the greens on the outer edges because I planned to use a green border.  This will hang in my kitchen wall hanging spot and the kitchen is green and white.

Eventually I was pleased with the placement and the actual sewing together went fast.  

Now to get this quilted.  Fabric starching is underway for my next project!

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Tuesday, September 12, 2023

How I Spent My Summer

I continued to work on UFOs this summer.  I made this block a couple of years ago then sidelined it after realizing I did not want to make a whole quilt with these blocks.  It is English paper pieced and called the Mandolin block, by Tales of Cloth.  I got this brain wave to turn the single block into a throw pillow and it was a very easy finish.  I appliqued the block to a square of fabric (it is a pale yellow and white polka dot), made a zipper closed back out of the same fabric, then used the bright pink to bind the edges, giving a piped look.  

It looks good on the slipper chair in a corner of the bedroom.  The pillow is 18" square but I used a 20" pillow form to give it a more stuffed look.

A few years ago, I began working on these circles for a quilt called Dot Dot Dot by Laundry Basket Quilts.  It can be made using any applique method you prefer.  I decided on machine applique but am kind of regretting not going with fusible web because it is a lot of work.  I cut out fabric circles as I was cutting for other projects, then every once in a while, I tackled some of my stash.  Last winter, I started basting the cut fabric circles around circles I cut from cardstock.

This summer, I began appliqueing the circles to the background fabric squares.  I use the #7 stitch on my Bernina 440Q machine, with the stitch set very short and narrow.  I'm using an off-white thread to match the background fabric and it is near invisible.  With this step nearly finished, I am almost ready to sew the blocks together.  

In July, I went on a wonderful vacation to Paris and Provence, France.  It was a group trip of eight women.  I added a couple of extra days up front in Paris by myself because I wanted to see Giverny, Claude Monet's home and gardens in Normandy where he painted the famous lily pad paintings.  It is about an hour train ride from Paris and really worth seeing.  It was quite crowded but still a great experience.  

The first "official" day of the trip, we went on a food tasting walking tour of the Left Bank area of Paris.  It was wonderful, with the best eclairs I've ever eaten!  

The next day was Bastille Day which the French celebrate with a military parade.  We watched the flyover from a bridge by Notre Dame (closed to the public while undergoing restoration from the fire) which was pretty impressive.  

Saturday, we took the train to Avignon and moved into our "villa" for the week, a six-bedroom, six bath house with a huge kitchen, living and dining rooms, outside patio dining, and a swimming pool.  A caterer brought our dinner every evening and we ate outside.  During the day, we visited little towns and villages.  The outdoor markets are a lot of fun.  It was an excellent time, very relaxing, with great company.  

I was home for 10 days then drove to Michigan to visit my mother.  My sister flew in from Boston and the three of us went "up north" to Traverse City for a few days of lakeside beach, wineries, restaurant meals, and cherries.  This area is the cherry growing capital of the US and you can get cherry everything.  It was a very good time too.  

Now, back to regular life.  I am still working on Dot Dot Dot and have a new project in mind, but more about that later.

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Friday, July 7, 2023

Just Finish It Challenge - A Finished Quilt

I've turned another UFO into a finished quilt.  This one also counts as a "Fig Tree Harvest," that is, a project using my vast collection of fabric from Fig Tree & Company for Moda Fabrics.  My plan is to store this quilt until I need a baby quilt as a gift for someone.  

Teresa Silva of Quilting Is My Bliss did the longarm quilting.  

All of the fabric, including the border, binding, and backing, came from my Fig Tree stash.  This is the stash that never seems to diminish in size; I still have tons!

The pattern is called Coastal and is by Sherri of A Quilting Life.  I made this pattern before, sticking to the pattern directions.  That quilt is called Jingle All The Way.  It is one of my favorites.  

Making the pattern a second time, I decided to "customize" it with a little variation.  Instead of sawtooth stars, I made modified Ohio stars.  

To modify the Ohio star, you start with the components of a traditional Ohio star block.  

Then you trim the hourglass block components.  I trimmed a 1/4 inch off of each hourglass as shown, 

so that when sewn together, the blocks would be 4 inches square.  I did pause and reconsider after making the first block, concerned it looked like I accidently nipped off the points with careless sewing.  But I thought it would be fine when I had all the blocks done.  

The quilt does look good from a distance, but up close, it looks more like mistakes happened.  

This modified Ohio star technique works much better in a larger block.  It is how I made this Christmas quilt, the quilt that elicits the most enquiries on my blog.  I even have a tutorial for how to make the block; see the sidebar to the right on my blog for the full step-by-step process with photos.  

If I make this pattern again, I will go back to the sawtooth star blocks.  But I don't regret what I did.  I've made a lot of quilts; I don't love them all equally, plus it is important to try new things and take the occasional design risk to grow as a quilter.  

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Monday, June 5, 2023

Sew Brimfield - A Finished Quilt

I know, I know, long time, no blog!  I had been working on my projects very regularly then all of a sudden, not so much.  Sometimes it is like that, I lose the quilting mojo, but it always comes back.  It is back and I am back.

I'm naming this quilt Sew Brimfield, after the retreat where I made most of the blocks.  I highly recommend the retreat, they are holding it again, and you can find the information for it here.  My blog post about my experience at the retreat is here.

The finished quilt is 61" by 72".  It was inspired by a quilt I saw on Instagram made by The Pattern Basket.  I had previously made a similar design, Great Granny Squared by Lori Holt, so I used that pattern but reduced the size of the squares and added another round to each block.  I made the quilt entirely from stash, including the border, binding, and backing.  Yea!

I sent the top to Teresa Silva of Quilting Is My Bliss; you can see more of her great work on her Instagram account.

I understand this "swirl pose" is the thing to do for quilt photos now, lol.

In the meantime, I've been working on another UFO (2023 is my year to tackle UFOs) and have a couple more unfinished projects queued up to go.  However, quilting was interrupted for a vacation trip to Naples and the Amalfi Coast of Italy.  Totally fabulous!  I went with Girls Guide to the World and highly recommend them for women who want to travel but not alone.  I've enjoyed my trips with them even more than solo travel.  They are offering the same Amalfi trip again in May 2024.  Here are some highlights:

Sailing around Capri

Inside the Blue Grotto at Capri

Lemons growing in Sorrento

View of Positano (the one day it rained)

The view from my hotel room balcony in Sorrento


Pastries in Naples

Until next time!

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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Quilt Goals 2023 - A Bit Outside My Comfort Zone

I read a post on the Jolly Jabber, the blog of the Fat Quarter Shop, about setting a goal for yourself in 2023 to tackle a new quilting technique or type of quilt you've never made before.  #QuiltGoals2023  I'd like to do it.  

I've been working steadily on my unfinished projects; I should have a second flimsy completed in a few more days.  It is satisfying to get these projects done because I don't like the idea of unfinished projects hanging over me, but after I've completed a few of them I'm sure to be ready for something new.  I really like the idea of challenging myself to do something I haven't done before or am not so confident about tackling.  I have a few quilts on my bucket list that fit this description.

I've been wanting to make a Jack's Chain design quilt.  It is all straight piecing, squares and triangles, but the placement and color contrast gives the appearance of interlocking circles.

This particular version is by American Jane Patterns and is called Squaring the Circle.  I really like it but am not sure how useful a 53" circular quilt will be.  Maybe as a table topper?  There are other versions that use partial blocks to make a square or rectangular quilt.

Another quilt on my bucket list is this one, Mahalo by A Quilting Life Designs.  I've had this pattern for a long time but never made it.

But I also really like Glam Clam, a clamshell design with large blocks that can showcase larger prints.  

And for something completely different...For years, I've been saving my old jeans with the idea of making something out of the denim.  How about this dress from Anthropologie?  The truth is I wouldn't get enough wear out of a dress like this (and anyway, it turns out that it is not real patchwork, it is printed polyester fabric - cheating!) but maybe a tote bag or something.  

So I'll mull this over while I work on the next few UFOs but I'm sure one of these will be a future 2023 project for me.  Is #QuiltGoals2023 in your future?

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Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Just Finish It Challenge - First Finish

While giving my sewing room a much needed clean up, I found so many unfinished projects.  I'm determined to finish at least five of them before undertaking anything new.  Here is the first (sort of) finish.  

It's the quilt I started at the Sew Brimfield retreat in early November.  I made most of the granny square blocks at the retreat, finished the last few when I got home, then the project sat.

Last week, I got the top finished, with the borders on.  And I have the backing ready.  So while not quite a finished quilt, it is ready to go to the long arm quilter.  

This is another made-from-stash quilt.  I need to use up more of my stash before I buy fabric because I simply don't have room for more, short of storing it in the attic.  

On to just-finish-it number 2.

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