Category Archives: quilting

Festival of Quilts

It’s quilt show time, and I was amazingly restrained in photo taking. There are two ways of looking: snapping photos or enjoying the moment. I like both ways. This time,  I’d actually intended not to take any (didn’t even take my camera), but succumbed and pulled out my phone a couple times.

First a modern looking quilt (though it is an adaptation of a traditional pattern):

1 Lone Star with Rays Irena

Lone Star with Rays by Irena Swanson

I love this variation of the Lone Star. Irena is a math professor and she enjoys calculating how to sew tubes of strips and cut them to get intricate, traditional patterns. Often she tells how many seams it took when she shows her quilts at show-and-tell, but she didn’t write it in her description.

And a traditional looking quilt:

1 Grannie's Crazy Spinners

Grannie’s Crazy Spinner by Diane Woodruff

This quilt was huge.  And I didn’t take a close up to show the ’30s fabrics.  I have a stash of 30s and may borrow this idea for some of them.

And a miniature:

1 monkey whole

Monkeys and Monkey Wrenches (top) by Carrie Perkins

She fussy cut the monkeys for the center of the Monkey Wrench blocks. I can’t take photos with one hand with my phone, so I couldn’t put my finger in the picture to show size, but the Monkey Wrench blocks looked to be 2 inches square at the most.

Here’s a detail:

1 monkey detail

Don’t you love the little escaped monkey hand appliqued on the side? And as you can see this one was hand quilted. Every year the show has a featured quilter and this was Carrie’s year.  She had a wide variety of styles and techniques.


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Orphan Blocks on National Quilting Day

You knew today was National Quilting Day, didn’t you?  Of course you did. As usual I didn’t get as much finished as I had planned, but oh well, the back will wait.

A couple months ago I picked up a charity kit at guild. I usually avoid that table because I have enough stash to make charity quilts from, but that day the colors appealed to me. I think the kits are made up from blocks left on the freebie table that are not grabbed up. Then someone assembles some that go together into kits. Minimum size is 40 x 40. So I took a kit and laid them out. (I remember when these were blocks of the month, and even made a couple several years ago.)

PMQG orphans layout

Oh good, it looks like they fit. There are a couple more.  One I snatched to go with another kit I’d taken a LONG time ago as it was the same block. One would be a loner and end up in a doll quilt, most likely. One would go on the back; however, it needed corners.  I bought some orange for the corners and purple for the back.

1 block for orphan back

In the first layout, it looked like the top and right rows might be a tiny bit big, but I assumed that would be taken up in the 1/4 inch seams. If anything, I expected to be trimming the checkerboard part (Trip Around the World blocks?) I was quite surprised when the border blocks were about 2 inches bigger than the squares set.

I gave about 2 seconds of thought to making a new row of squares for two sides.  Not being much of a perfectionist, I decided this was the moment for liberated quilting. I think it was Gwen Marsten who said, “If it is too long, cut it off; if it is too short, sew something on.”  Knowing I couldn’t match the colors already there, it seemed better to do a strip than a row of squares that clashed. (Sounds better than saying that I was too lazy to sew up two rows of squares, doesn’t it?) It would have looked more planned if the side strip had been on the right, but not enough better to be worth getting out the seam ripper. The purple is what I’d bought for the back and binding, so it will appear again.

Of course I didn’t go with the original layout. Half the fun is playing with possibilities. I ended up with this.

1 orphan top

It measures 47 x 47 so I won’t need to add a border.



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Irish Star — Finished

Imagine, a scrap quilt post on Scrap Happy day!  I’ll admit to having been scrap delinquent lately. This top was completed a couple years ago at the guild’s fall retreat. Then it went to the black hole called “to be quilted.”  Thanks to the guild quilt show needing more quilts this year, it is now quilted and bound.

1 Irish chain finished

45 x 45 inches

Deanna of Weddingddressblue started the quilt-along back then. Designed as a relaxed pace, leader/ender project, it is still ongoing, in case you are interested.  She gave directions for 1 1/2-, 2-, 2 1/2-inch squares. I had 3 1/2-inch strips left over from Urban Chickens. (I had cut a 3 1/2-inch strip from each solid I owned and selected from the strips four squares for each Urban Chicken block. That left a lot over for a rainy day.) So I calculated the star pieces to go with the alternating 25-square block. Luckily I had 5 strips long enough to make the stars–seaming two to get the 6 1/2-inch star center. While I know where the solids came from, I have no idea what the original project was for the background pieces, bona fida scraps, they.

Even the back is made mostly from left-overs.  When making the back for Weather Watching, I needed more than one width of fabric of each color. I just sewed two full strips instead of dealing with exact measurement. I’d thought it would make the complete back for this one, but not quite. So I added the beige.

1 Irish chain back

The back has more of the look of using up the left overs than I like. It isn’t as logical a mate for this top as it was for Weather Watching. I realized too late that I could have cut the strips in half and reversed one and gotten more of a designed look.  But I wasn’t distressed enough to rip and resew.

Even the binding is a left over from the group quilt, What If? This is as close to wholly scrap quilt as I have ever gotten.

If you enjoy scrap projects, visit Kate’s Tall Tales from Chiconia blog around the 15th of each month.  I’ll also be linking with Oh Scrap! when the time comes. Till then, button in the side bar.

ETA I have another Irish Star quilt in the works as a leader/ender project. I don’t remembr what size I am aiming for, but I do remember I need 17 star blocks. I entered this one into the “modern” category for the local quilt show. Even though it is a modification of a traditional pattern, the large sized squares and the bright colored solid fabric spoke “modern” to me. And the show committee did not change it.


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Weather Watching–Finished

It is always a relief to sew the last stitch!

1 Weather finished

52 x 72 inches

I’ve read others writing about quilting with gold to blend a variety of colors, and I had some Aurifil caramel on hand, so tried it. Even though the lighter creams and grays didn’t glare on dark fabrics from a distance, they did  up close. The Caramel doesn’t. Nor is it excessively dark on the light. So I’ll be using it again.

I mostly did a large meander over the whole and a medium meander in the outer border.  I did a hatch between numbers and letters to puff out the figures more. And since the theme was weather, I added a sun, umbrella and snowflake–though the snowflake looks a bit more like a spider web.

It is destined for a camp for people living with AIDS, Strength for the Journey. I hope one of the campers has some interest in weather. If not, they might like the almost rainbow back. I used up the leftovers of the temperature colors, and what I had left determined the width of the stripes on all but the gold–I didn’t want as big of a gold strip as what I had left.

1 weather back

I didn’t start out to do a rainbow quilt, though that was a guild project this year. It just seems difficult to do weather without using hot and cold colors and that ends up the full spectrum.  However, it is possible to be more creative, as you’ll see if you check out the Facebook group, Weather or Not (It is a public group, so you should be able to browse.) You will also see the more traditional approach to making a quilt based on temperature.

I missed finishing by Friday for TGIFF (button in sidbar); if I remember I’ll link next week.

Quilt history:

Finished top

Repairing Error and Starting Numbers

Assembling blocks

Reawakening an old project

Individual blocks (here–way at bottom–and here)

I don’t see another weather quilt in my future, though it might have been fun to do a series and compare several years.  However, I really do not like monthly projects that start and stop each month. Took quite a few projects for me to figure that out. LOL.



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Finished Small Quilt

I need to come up with a better name than Inspired by Viewing Works by Hilma af Klint. (The one with blue background four down) And of course I wonder to what extent the information is necessary to a viewer. (Details of how the two link here.) At any rate, here it is, finished.

1 Finished af Klimt inspired

10 x 17 inches

Straight edges are quite an improvement over the previous version shared!

Quilting thread doesn’t show well in the photo: I used red, yellow, purple, and brown. Most lines follow the piecing lines and were done with a walking foot, but the yellow zigzag was meant to echo the yellow ruching and was done free motion.

1 quilting ruching detail.

I could get hooked on making small pieces. Though spread over three days, this one took about one day’s worth of work. Instant gratification is nice sometimes.  Of course one thing that speeded the process up was that the fabrics were all together in a bag for another  project that got repurposed into this one.

Any suggestions for title would be appreciated as would thoughts on whether to keep or drop reference to af Klint.

Linking with Finished or NotTGIFF and Off the Wall (button in sidebar)



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UFO Resurrected and Repurposed

A bit of wisdom I’ve gleaned over the years of listening to people talking about UFOs is that they don’t have to be finished according to the original intent. Still, it has taken a while to act on that knowledge.

The original was a design class with Jean Wells, a workshop that I thoroughly enjoyed. She brought a heap of 2 1/2 inch strips, had us pick three, discussed some color theory, then had us pick one more. Then gave varying instructions for different assemblies.

I ended up with this

1 nine

My main objection was that we used each of the four colors in equal amounts, and in my selecting, red had been an accent color. My second objection was that the final directions created a recognizable result. It was too formulaic for me.  In fact in the following years at quilt shows I could spot work of others who must have taken the same class–almost always confirmed by the quilters’ statements.

Because of the colors I had thought “Volcano” and set them aside while my subconscious could work on it. Then the insight about it being okay to change goals for the pieces.

I’m in a design group that had an assignment. I’m in a guild that has a small quilt raffle as part of its annual quilt show. Maybe  one project from these pieces could serve both functions.

I set aside the four pieces with smaller pieced centers and worked with the others.

The design group had studied Hilma af Klint and the assignment was to do something relating to what we had seen and discussed. I was intrigued by painting No. 16 in Group 1, Primordial Chaos. It is the one with the blue background, four groups down in the article at the above link. The group talked a lot about her spiritual symbolism, and I remember that the ovals at the overlapping circles of the elongated spiral had a significance (alas I have forgotten what they signified). The shape intrigued me. I took a large piece of paper and drew an enlarged spiral then cropped it in various ways, chose one and selected the lines to use. I can’t show that stage because I didn’t take a photo before I cut the paper up to make templates.

I thought I wanted all the lines to be made from strips of gathered fabric and looked at the squares I had planned to use. Diagonal cuts produced five like this

1 three

The other two had tails attached and gathering stitches applied. I could immediately see that five lines of gathers would be too much, so shifted plan to two with three narrow strips. I ended with this top

1 finished top

Knowing that the edges would be irregular after I stitched the curves, I’d started with an oversized piece of fabric. My starting goal was 8 x 11, but I liked longer as I worked with it. Width will be about 8 inches when trimmed.

Because the overlaps had been significant in af Klimt’s symbolism  I showed it in three ways: The ruched pieces form a segment of one, the brown and peach narrow strips show a whole, and the quilting inside that space forms many more.

1 quilting

Plan A for the quilting was red in one direction and yellow in the other; however, I didn’t like it after I had stitched it, so added the partner row of yellow.

Tomorrow I’ll finish it.

Linking up with the last Free Motion By the River Linky Party--Head on over to see the last performance. And with the Clever Chameleon Colour and Inspiration Tuesday.

ETA: Linking also with Needle and Thread Thursday. I thought I’d have a finish and blog and link that, but not quite . . .



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I Can Stop Holding My Breath

The top is finished.

1 top flat

After I made the red numbers, 4 X 6 seemed overwhelmingly large, so the bottom letters are 2 X 3, enough bigger than the scale numbers (discussed here) to still be an easier accomplishment. Plus using all one color allowed for more chain piecing.

I think I would have liked a bit more background between the year and the top months; however, I was being frugal with the dwindling background fabric. With good reason.

1 left over background

That is all that was left when I finished it as it is.

Today’s project is making the back. I think I have enough of each color to make a striped pieced backing. If not I’ll add another friendly color.

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday. Lots to see there–go have a peek.


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