Monday, August 24, 2015

Cut from the same cloth

Recently I attended a family get-together.  Eight sisters/cousins/daughters/nieces gathered for a week. We live in far-flung places around the globe so this opportunity to be together was a special treat.  We spent time sharing family stories, especially about the set of grand-parents we have in common.  We took walks, gathered pebbles on the shore, ate wonderful meals, laughed a lot, and spent time sharing textile-related activities –  exploring with wool and with cotton, stitching, weaving, experimenting with colours. 
778 small

We found a surprising range of colour and value in  “ordinary” beach pebbles.

For the occasion I made a series of quilt blocks, one for each participant.  I used a common set of fabrics for all of them.  I wanted to finish the blocks separately, but rather than handle them individually – borders, batting, backing, quilting – I saved a few steps by joining the blocks with wide sashings, then I quilted the resulting larger pieces.  After quilting I cut them apart and the sashing strips became borders. 
blocks in group

Block 1
Completed block.  Bound with the feature fabric. 
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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Rail Fence quilt

Recently I pulled out my collection of fabrics from Africa.  I had some yardage pieces, plus the scraps that I blogged about here.  (Was that really three years ago?!)
A few of the bits have found their way into small projects such as the International Birds in this post.  But there was still a good selection and it felt like the time had come to actually USE some of these precious pieces.
African Rails block diagram
After some experimenting with Electric Quilt software and a few trial blocks I decided that this 8” block would make best use of my fabrics.  Larger pieces of fabric would be featured in the rail pieces, and smaller pieces could be used in the triangles.  Solid black was used for the alternating triangles and for the small accent strip.  I found a gorgeous piece of Moda fabric for the constant fabric and borders. 

With that plan in mind I got to work and made half a dozen blocks.  I put them up on the wall – and thought, Oh no!  The word “cacophony” came to mind -- all those exuberant prints seemed to fight with one another.  I left them on the wall and went away for a while.  When I came back they seemed much happier together.  I made more, then enough for an entire quilt top.  Each time I put blocks up on the wall I wondered just what I was thinking when I planned this.  Each time I took another look and realized it DID work! 
I added borders of the constant fabric, then a narrow inset border using more of the African prints.  I used some of the smallest pieces in this 1” border, not wanting to waste anything.  African border detail

African quilt back
The quilt is backed with another African fabric that I had set aside thinking it might some day become a garment.  I think the quilt is much happier wearing those flowers than I would ever be!

Quilting was done with more-or-less straight, pretty close to parallel lines, about 1” (give or take a little) apart.  
Every time I try to take a picture of this quilt the wind is blowing.  Those fabrics just want to dance!
African Rails
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Monday, July 20, 2015

Summer Citrus





I must have had oranges and lemons and limes on my mind when I pulled fabrics for this baby quilt.



Citrus colours baby quilt

A quilt had been requested that was “gender neutral” and I think I achieved that by keeping to the orange side of the reds and by emphasizing the greens in the border and binding. 

The blocks worked up quickly using two-inch strips cut from the citrus fabrics and from the crisp white used for the background.

Now I need a glass of lemonade!

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Random Rails -- finished!

Nearly two years ago I made a quilt top that has been just sitting there, patiently waiting, ever since.  I blogged about it here.

Recently I needed a baby quilt.  I pulled out that Random Rails top and decided the colours were perfect, but the top wasn't quite big enough.  I added a couple of borders -- more random strips for the inner border and blue for the outer one.

A Bubbles pattern was perfect for the quilting and orange binding finished it off.

The result makes me very happy.  I liked the top, but I love the finished product!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Little quilts

The stack of blocks made as "leaders and enders" never seems to go down!  It is always fun to try to use some of them up, though.

I took some  9-patch blocks and some spool blocks and made them into two doll-sized quilts.

Three-inch 9-patch blocks with half-square triangles and plain blocks

Three-inch spool blocks with borders

These went together quickly  -- it is easy when the blocks are already made!  I quilted them simply and they are ready for wrapping around some beloved dolls or stuffed animal friends.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Pot holders

I just spent an afternoon making a pair of potholders.  They are good potholders.  Well-made, sturdy, functional.    I took my time with them. I carefully chose favourite fabrics from my scraps and put a double layer of cotton batting inside them.  I used a stitch-and-flip method that let me construct both sides at the same time.  I bound them neatly.

They will be given as a gift to a young couple who are getting married this summer. 
Scrappy potholders

I am sure these potholders will not match anything in the bride’s kitchen.   I did not ask what colours she might like or what style of decorating she is using. The two potholders are not the same colours -- they are not even the same colours on both sides! 

Since they don’t match the bride’s kitchen – or worse – look like they were SUPPOSED to match but failed! – she isn’t going to be too concerned about them.  She won’t hang them on the wall to keep them looking nice.  When she moves from this home to her next one she won’t find that they are no longer right and can no longer be hung on the wall so they have to be stuffed into a drawer somewhere.  Until yet another move comes along and she wants to get rid of them in a yard sale but is afraid to because the person who made them (she will have long since forgotten who it is) might come along and see them in the sale and be offended.

No, these potholders are so obviously not made to coordinate with her d├ęcor.  So I hope she will hang them on a hook near the stove and use them.   They will help her take trays of cookies and pans of roasted vegetables out of her oven.  They will get splattered with bacon fat and the edges will be stained with pasta sauce and she will throw them in the laundry.  One day she will look at these potholders and realize that there are holes burnt in them, and stains that will no longer come out and she will decide that they are totally gross and she will drop them into the trash.  That is good -- they will have served their purpose and she won’t have to move them from place to place.

Today as I sat happily stitching the squares and strips together to make these potholders I worked in my love and prayers for Kirsten and John.  The potholders will wear out, but even when the potholders are long gone, the prayers will remain, and that is far more important. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Spring Cleaning Challenge

So what’s a quilter to do?  The UFO list runneth over, several group challenge deadlines are approaching quickly, a stack of tops for donation quilts cry out for batting/backing/quilting/binding. 

And then Electric Quilt posts their Spring Cleaning Challenge.

I was strong and resisted for a couple of weeks.  Then decided that it certainly couldn’t hurt to simply download the files and LOOK at the projects. 

Doomed!  Of course, looking at the projects led to playing with the projects (just to see what would happen if….)

And that of course led to my most recent finish.

Here is my Peekaboo Pinwheels top using the “Scrappier” layout.
Peekaboo Pinwheels

I do have a complaint, however.  The instructions clearly said this would help “use up” scraps.  It definitely did USE some scraps – I stopped counting at 50 different fabrics, and some of them were very old  – but USE UP?  Not that anyone could tell by looking at what remains!

Update on June 1
I received a very nice email from the folks at Electric Quilt to tell me that my entry was one of the winning ones!