Tag Archives: bed quilt

Le Challenge: Directions

If I start something early, it will be finished early, right?  Wrong. That was, however, the plan. Oh well, on time is good enough.

When Le Challenge announced this month’s theme of “Directions,” my first thought was “Mariner’s Compass.” Nope, not ready for those points yet. Then I thought of the “London Roads” block. What could be more evocative of “directions” than all those arrows with the implied dead ends and wrong ways? (Earlier, I’d mentioned that this one-way dilemma is common to many cities, not just London.) This is the first time I’ve started a project from the monthly challenge instead of fitting an in-progress project to the theme. So I sketched. And made blocks.

And finally finished the top. In addition to using three versions of “London Roads,” I made mirror images up and down, left and right. That started because I made the QSTs my usual way and ended up with arrows going in two directions. Then I thought, Why not with the others too?

London Roads Top

53 x 75 before quilting

I always do a post-mortem,asking, What could I have done differently?  After doing the light green on the corner blocks so that the arrows would show, I thought a similar treatment in the center blocks would have highlighted those arrows more as well. I had tried green centers and that just looked funny. Next time I might try three colors on the earlier versions, center and “other” quarter of the QST.

But then I saw something different in the “Nancy Page” blocks in the corners. They hadn’t needed the green at all.  The brown made the arrows in her version.  I just was so stuck on the other two earlier patterns that I’d not seen that design detail until I thought harder along the What-was-she-thinking line.

Well, now I have even more direction confusion showing as the round-about can go both ways. I did that on purpose, of course I did. 🙂

And because the fabric doesn’t show up well in the picture of the top, here is a photo of the fabric itself.

Fabric detail

I thought city buildings went well with city streets. Earlier on I’d wondered if the print was too small for 15 x 15 blocks, but in addition the the thematic link, I think it is fins as a contrast to the large block design.

I will, of course, be linking with Le Challenge. Check in with them tomorrow to see what next month’s theme will be.

Friday Night Sew In (FNSI) is coming up; I’ll have to find a new project.  Maybe blocks for F2F.



Filed under design, quilting

Urban Chickens Quilt Finished!

The only thing I can think of that is more fun than finishing a quilt is starting a new one; however, today’s post is about finishing.

Two views.

Featuring yellow

Featuring the light corner

Featuring the dark side

And featuring the darker side.

I am surprised at how stiff it is; I wonder if that is a feature of finishing the binding by machine. I hope it softens with washing.

This quilt got a little random for my taste.  I combined squares as the colors appealed to me while I worked, thinking I’d be able to arrange them into a coherent design. I did stop and check whether I needed more light or dark, but that is about all. If/when I make a solids version again (I definitely have a print version planned) I think I’ll borrow a page from the Blooming 9-Patch and make sure each block has one color of an adjacent block.

Here are links to the tutorial and  history of the quilt for newcomers to my blog (and the last links show better views of the quilting for those interested):

Michelle’s tutorial is here

My quilt started here in September 2013 with the pattern.

It progressed in December 2013 when I was Queen Bee of Simply Solids Bee and I received 10 Bee blocks here.

I organized, cut squares, and shopped for fabric in August 2014.

I got a kick start at a retreat in the fall followed by another retreat and then got the Top finished November 2014 at home.

After that flurry, a rest–for that quilt top. And finally, quilting started here and progressed here

Linking with LAFF, TGIFF, and Finish it Up Friday . Also putting the pastel side forward for Creative Goodness.

I just found Binding Blitz link up, and how fun that I have a bound quilt to share there!


Filed under design, quilting

Waiting for Thread

I have quilted all I can with the thread I have.  The thread I ordered, that should have arrived already, has not arrived. At the very latest it should have been scanned at the local post office this morning. It wasn’t. Here’s hoping they simply forgot to scan it and it still arrives today.

Meanwhile, I decided to model the quilt on the bed.

on bed view 1

And a side view

Side view

I try to imagine quilts on beds, and when I design I draw in the mattress dimensions so that I know what will be on top and what will be sides, but I am always a bit surprised when I model it.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday and Let’s Bee Social. If you are new to my blog, the backward trail starts here.


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Urban Chickens Half Quilted

After finishing the stitching on the white around the “chickens,” I came up with three basic designs for the squares part of the block.  First, spirals.

The red is the first one where I totally misjudged distances and had to fudge and add a round. The second one turned out better. Curves could be smoother and spaces more even. This quilt is for me, and I can live with imperfection. And it is more fun than practicing on squares that won’t have a function. More realistic too, as designs that are easy in small pieces are not always in the middle of a larger piece.

Second, what better than chicken tracks. My first try (blue and orange) looked more like jewelry, but gradually I got there.

The checkerboard arrangement on the first attempt made it easy to use just two colors and quilt continuously. However, when making the blocks, I’d tried to avoid the checkerboard. Since continuous quilting no longer worked, sometimes , as in the lime and teal block, I used spirals in the small squares since they were easier to do individually. So the second design has two variations.  All that starting and stopping was a pain. By the time I got to the three shades of blue, I had decided that thread changes were not necessary. Two boring steps–threading the machine, ending and beginning again–eliminated.

And the third one is based on a design for squares by Angela Walters in her book, Shape by Shape--if she gave it a name, I forgot it. I know she showed it with triangles too, don’t think she showed it with rectangles.  I tried to proportion the indent to the lengths of the sides, but it still was a bit awkward. I’ll have to look at the book again to see if she gave any hints.

This design was harder on the machine than with the pencil practice sketch–not enough room to maneuver the longer lines .(My Featherweight has a 5 1/2-inch harp.) It helped to split the block into two rectangles. It also took a while to keep four sided shapes–I tended to end up with triangles when it was hard to see where I’d been or where I was going. And this was with edge blocks. I decided this design–whole or half–was not for the center.

When I planned out which design to put where I needed a fourth–couldn’t have two of the same designs side by side. So a simple variation on the spiral, making 12 instead of 6.

12  spirals

This one also went into the center where the angular one wouldn’t work.

So I thought four designs would solve the boredom issue of the design I’d started but decided not to pursue. And it did to an extent, but why do you suppose I am blogging instead of quilting?

Here is a link to Michelle’s tutorial for the block in case you’d like to make one.


Filed under design, quilting

Reviving a Dormant 9-Patch

Blue and brown 9-patch

80 x 96

The top has been finished for a long time.

I have nowhere in my apartment to spread out a double-bed sized quilt, so you will have to use your imagination; the top row of brighter blue blocks is the center row.

In the 70s when I learned to quilt, my husband was an avid auction attender. At one estate sale he bought me two piles of blocks and a quilt top. Alas, I don’t even remember the name associated with the estate sale, but it was in Cambridge, Ohio. It was before my introduction to quilt history and the need to record provenance.

I liked the old-fashioned shirting look (which of course is no longer old-fashioned), but thought the blocks a bit dull and planned the sashing and cornerstones to brighten them up. In those days we used sheets for backing, and I bought a dark blue one. I set it aside for a time when it would be easy to baste.

Enter a long gap in my quilting career.

In the late 90s when I returned to quilting and joined a guild, I took the top, batting, and backing to a guild retreat where I planned to baste it on the large tables only to learn that the sheet wasn’t big enough. So the top got set aside again while I looked for coordinating backing fabric. And there it stayed because there was nothing urgent about finishing it.

Fast forward to the present when I learned of longarmers who would baste quilts on their longarm machines. The quilt is revived, the back is made, and they are ready to be sent on for basting.

The blocks are hand pieced. I machine stitched the sashing and borders. I plan hand quilting in honor of the blocks. And because it is a nice change of pace.

I’ll link belatedly with Needle and Thread Thursday. And I’ll be linking with LAFF because it is a finished top. I’ll be linking up with Oh Scrap! because I’m sure the 9-patch blocks were made from either left overs or usable parts of old shirts. Several of the squares are themselves pieced. And because 9-patch is the theme for Feb 3, I’ll link with Tuesday Archives.


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Finished, Photographed, and Entered

Although this has been on Val’s Archives for quilting (that I didn’t do), I can’t resist showing it again for crumbs. Each 6 inch square is a crumb block made from left overs from a previous kaleidoscopic quilt. (button in sidebar)

Much as I love my dangling UFOs, I also love a finish. Cracked Ice is the first of my quilts to get a professional photograph.

Cracked Ice

85 x 100

I had read that bad photography disqualifies quilts, and I know my photos are usually too dark. Plus I didn’t have anywhere to get the required flat shot. Luckily, Bill Volckening advertised quilt photography in the newsletters for both of the guilds I attend. I was even luckier that he had time to get this photo at such a late date for entry into QuiltCon. (My entry is #973; I’ve heard of #1309–wonder how many more they had.) Every time I have this deadline crunch, I swear I’ll start earlier next time.

One design challenge was to create a placements of the blocks that would work either as a wall hanging or on a queen sized bed. Here is a bed view.

A queen sized bed playing dress up

Jolene of Good Knight Quilts did the quilting. My contribution was asking for an echo of the blue 9-patch arrangement somehow and free motion work. Jolene showed me some computer options, and we chose the square pattern for the blocks and their echos. She agreed to design curvy FMQ for the rest.  I love the results!

When it was getting close to the deadline and I thought I might miss it, I started thinking of other shows. I checked AQS, and the Paducah deadline wasn’t till Dec. 4 or 5. So I entered it there too. Here’s hoping, but not holding my breath. I remember a talk at a Quilt National show; the curator was giving a history of Quilt National and encouraging entries. She said, “Every quilt in the show was entered.”

If you are visiting from Off the Wall Friday, TGIFF, LAFF, or Finish it up Friday and want to see the beginning of this quilt, click here.

Linking up with Val’s Tuesday Archives. I didn’t do the longarm quilting, but I think Jolene’s work deserves to be looked at. The paisley/swirl/pebble part is FMQ; the squares computer assisted.

ETA a note about naming now that I have a photo to go with it.

Floor mosaicAt the Chinese Garden, each room has a different mosaic. This one is called Plum Blossom on Cracked Ice. After I had the blocks made, they made me think of this pattern, hence the quilt name. If you want to see more of plum blossoms in the garden, click here.


Filed under design, quilting

Urban Chickens–Top Finished

finished top

60 x 48

The top is together. I managed to maintain the layout chosen at the second retreat.

Realizing that the bottom row and the left most row will not be seen, given the angle of my bed in the room, I’d not wanted any favorite blocks there. However, a friend pointed out that I could alternate the way the quilt lay on the bed.

If I make another, I may limit the palette more; however, my bedroom needs all this brightness. The pattern works very well with prints as well as solids. And I’m wondering if it could go totally scrappy? I’m starting to save scraps in bunches of 4 blocks (3 1/2 square) so I can try it. Maybe a degree scrappier yet with totally miscellaneous scraps, not trying for groups of four. And I’ll probably select fabrics in closer values. The ones with very light and very dark confused the light-to-dark arrangement–which to count them? They always seemed the opposite of where they had been put. Or with a more limited palette, maybe I’d not be trying for value gradation arrangement.

I love having the “chickens” pointing every which way with an occasional block surrounded; however, now I notice that the surrounding creates a lot of emphasis. Next time I’ll select more carefully which blocks get that treatment.

I have no idea how to quilt it. Suggestions? Or whether to quilt it myself. I had enough trouble with bulk when I sewed the last seam connecting the two halves to reconsider.

ETA link to pattern so you can have it without viewing the whole history of the quilt.

Linking with Link a Finish Friday and Needle and Thread Thursday.


Filed under design, quilting

More Urban Chickens

After making only 11 blocks at one quilt retreat, I gave up on a finish at the second. However, I must have improved my assembly procedure as I rolled them out faster this weekend. Most fun was playing with arrangements.

Urban Chickens --early arrangement

Anything with color progression (no photos saved) was turning into rainbow more than I wanted, so we tried an irregular grouping. At this point I still needed 7 blocks.

Trying quarter log cabin arrangementAfter making two more blocks, we experimented with value gradations instead of color gradations in a  quarter Log Cabin arrangement. I had to fudge because of the rectangle shape of the whole, so still on the light-dark-light approach, I wanted a quarter to start upper left and another in the lower right, with  one overlapping the other.  To make that work I’d have had to set aside some blocks and make more than five more. Not in the plans. So the light-dark-light approach was abandoned as I made more dark and medium. Here are all the blocks in their final order:

Final arrangementI went for an “almost quarter Log Cabin,” meaning to have two rows of dark then medium and then the mixed that were left in the last two rows. I didn’t have enough darks to do exactly that, but decided this was good enough.

The top might have been finished if I hadn’t sewn two rows in the wrong order and had to rip or if I hadn’t sewn a row and a half with an empty bobbin.

Instead of finishing it when I got home, I had to shift to preparing Cracked Ice for Good Knight Quilts to work her magic. Now that it is in her hands, I can return to the chickens.

Oh, BTW, one retreat tradition is “awards.”  I got the “Portland Put a Bird on it” award of Portlandia fame.

Linking with Lee at WIP Wednesday.

I had hoped to have the top all together by now, but since it isn’t, I’ll link progress to Sew Solid Sunday.

The top is now finished!




Filed under design, quilting

Back to Those Scraps from the Kaleidoscope Quilt

I feel like I am alternating projects. The Retreat project and the Home project. I finally made a queen sized arrangement for the 54 blocks  that I ended up with (didn’t use five of them).

The Quilt Top

The head of the bed is to the right. There was only one place where I could set the step stool in this small apartment. I’ll work on getting a better photo after it is quilted. No way I could quilt this size! I have some ideas, though, and I’ll listen to my quilter’s advice.

I spent more time thinking than sewing.  I had graphed the setting while at the guild retreat last weekend, but when I laid it out on the sofa bed, there were too many blocks. I counted and recounted, checked and double checked. It finally dawned on me to measure the sofa bed. Not quite a perfect model. It is 72 inches long instead of 80. From floor to top is 18 instead of 25. Next time I use it for a model, I’ll be prepared.

Once I had the size figured out, I had to plan the order of assembly so I wouldn’t have any Y seams. I kept missing one and having to re-calculate. I guess extra time thinking is the price for choosing not to use a pattern.

I even have some ideas for a title: The Blue Hole and Cracked Ice, so far. Accepting suggestions!

There is a lot of white in it. If I were decorating, I’d make a blue dust ruffle (though any color in thw quilt would work) and several throw pillows for the upper right white corner. I’d make the pillows plain colors instead of patchwork, but use colors from the quilt.

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday.




Filed under design, quilting

Action on Urban Chickens Quilt

At last one of the guild retreats that I’ve been saving the squares for Urban Chickens to work on.

Urban Chickens progress

Please forgive the flowered bed spread under the blocks and imagine it away. This is a tentative layout so I can see what colored blocks are needed. I’ll have as many blue and purple blocks as I can: they have been the hardest colors to get good variety of this year.

If you are interested in making theUrban Chicken block, here is a tutorial by the designer, Michelle Friedman. I made them the 3 1/2 inch squares way instead of her tube way. Both work.

I took the 11 blocks that I received as Queen Bee almost a year ago. I’d cut squares over a month ago. May be the earliest I’ve ever prepared my projects for a retreat! I made 11 more blocks at the retreat, and I have another retreat where I’ll be working on them next weekend. I need 40; if those don’t cover the mattress, I’ll need 48. Usually I enlarge by adding borders, but I like this design better without borders.

I plan arranging them light to dark and back to light as much as possible.  I started the project wanting each block to be four different values.  As I worked, I realized I liked four near values better. But there will be a place for the mixed-value blocks between the  light and dark sections.

I want to group the blocks by color, but not quite rainbow, though there are rainbow colors there. I’ll not use rainbow order. And no rainbow has brown and gray that I know of.

I’ll be linking with Design Wall Monday (even though this project is larger than my design wall, so is on the “design bed” and Anything Goes Monday. And since I don’t have anything newer to share, also linking with WIP Wednesday.


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