Tag Archives: Link a Finish Friday

Return to the MasterClass

1/12/16  Reawakening this post for Val’s Tuesday Archives (Button in sidebar)

After a break in completing assignments, I’m back this June with a finish for the Masterclass.

First the sketch that both my commenting classmates and I preferred:

sketchI never was happy with the upper three curves.  Design often results this way for me.  I get an idea, but it doesn’t fill the whole quilt. What to do with the space left over?

I solved this one with a batik.

Finished quilt

I had nothing in mind except shapes, colors and values when I made it; however, looking at it makes me think of riding a roller coaster. Do you see it? Or something else? I could make “Roller Coaster” the title, but it would shut off other observations. I really hate coming up with titles!

Now to wait a day or two for July’s assignment. It’s good t be back in production mode.

Linking up to NinaMarie’s Off the Wall



Filed under design, quilting

Enlarging Quilting Designs

After practicing on 12-inch blocks, I felt ready to expand to 40 x 60 tops. Easier said than done on a domestic sewing machine. That stitch length that I’d begun to get under control is again all over the place. Those curves that are easy to do in one smooth motion when working small need stops and starts and are no longer smooth.  Even though I stopped and put the needle down (by hand; mine is not a new sewing machine) and tried to keep the same angle, I ended up with more zigs and zags than intended. I did learn a couple of things, though.

Improv pieced with 'paper clip' quilting

Paperclips had been recognizable as such when done smaller; not so much larger. This overlapping design tended to get the quilting closer than I wanted it. Whether that is the nature of all overlapping designs or just my lack of control, time will tell. I learned it was harder to plan space coverage with a design that starts large and echoes internally. The opposite of what I would have expected. This top, which has been patiently waiting since August (here), is finally a  finished quilt.

I worked a little more successfully on this top that  has been finished (here), since February. For quilting it I chose a pattern Leah Day calls Hobbit Holes

Purple sampler

It was easier to enlarge to fit because it is sewn from inside out.  I could start a motif and evaluate how much larger it needed to be to fit. After each “loop” I could pause and evaluate again. It also kept a nicer distance between rows of stitching. It shows better on the back (and I love the backing print–it is a print, not a batik).

Quilt backI found the tension changing with speed changes. Interesting. I’ll have to learn to control that. Also it seemed on some fabrics–the Kona solids–I got a nicer stitch than on others.

So far I have not been worrying about that equidistant space between lines. I think that will come with more practice.  I did consciously focus on travel stitching and echoing. Thank goodness kids are not fussy.

The destination has changed. These two quilts will go to a foster care mom who likes to give each fostered child a quilt.

It’s a finish, so I’ll be linking up with TGIFF and Link a Finish Friday. Don’t get to do that  often. And with Leah Day’s FMQ linkup.

One more view



Filed under quilting

Architecture Quilt Finished and Given a New Name

Waking this post up to share on Val’s Tuesday Archives (button in sidebar) 1/12/16

I can’t believe how long this quilt has been waiting to be quilted. Victoria of 15-Minutes of Play issued the challenge May of last year!  There were three criteria: size 24 x 30; use photo of architecture as a starting point; include some “made fabric.” (My starting photos are here; progress here.) I was waiting for more confidence in my machine quilting to deal with the solid fabric where the quilting would be more visible. The guild quilt show coming up was the push I needed to pretend to feel confident.

finished quilt

24 x 30

You can see the spiral and pencil quilting above–below is a detail view for the harder to see quilting. Two quilting designs are from Leah Day’s FMQ site: on the bright orange, Cube Storm, which I still am not getting right, and on the darker orange, Modern Weave, which comes easier.

detail quilting

Saturday is the deadline for turning quilts in for the show.  All five of my entries are bound/faced and labeled, ready to deliver tomorrow, a day early!

The name has been changed to Lines and Circles #1.  That the origin of the quilt was architecture no longer seems relevant to the finished product. As a viewer, I don’t like such redundant names, barely a notch above Untitled. But such names do foreground the abstraction.

I’m linking up with Off the Wall Friday and Link a Finish Friday and TGIFF , guest posted and Leah Day’s FMQ site. Off the Wall friends may be amused that I am showing something not from the masterclass. Finishing up the class project was second to getting the quilts ready for the show.  Every year I say I’m not going to enter anything not completely finished. And every year I make another exception.

quilt "portrait"


Filed under quilting

Dresden Lady Returns to Being Lady in Waiting

Plans change. I got some really good suggestions for relating the Dresden Lady (link here) to the lotto blocks, but as I was looking at the design wall, a simpler solution occurred to me.

Finished topI did the math to see what the diagonal of the middle blocks would be (side x 1.41) and it turned out to be almost 18 inches, so if I floated them a bit, they would equal the three  12-inch blocks above and below. So I cut squares of 11.5 (using the length of the block as the desired diagonal, dividing it by 1.41 for sides. Add 1 inch for seam allowances plus one inch for floating) and cut them into half square triangles. That way the straight of grain is on the outer edges and the original 12.5-inch blocks float about half an inch.

Ironically, to make it seem like not  too much yellow, I added more yellow in the partial borders around the other blocks where lavender and yellow alternate. The side borders not only give needed width, but link the top and bottom rows to the middle.

With all that solid space that will show quilting, this top will wait for me to do a little more practice before it gets quilted.

And the Dresden Lady will wait to become a wheel chair lap quilt as originally planned. I have found the right yellow for her, finally–amazing the subtle changes in color over time. And I have scavenged some old fabrics with very small prints. I will gather some more before committing to design for her.

TGIFF is hosted by Mila + Cuatro this week where there is an adorable little girl’s quilt and other finishes to browse. For Link a Finish Friday, see the button on the sidebar.


Filed under quilting

Riley Blake Challenge Finished

Finished quilt

45 x 45

The quilt is finished three days early. That may be a new record for me. Quilting decisions are discussed here. It took a while to decide on the binding; I am happy with the bright red I chose. It could be a baby quilt for a baby with modern taste or a wheel chair lap quilt.

And yes, the pillows are finished too.

pillowsThe cording is covered by a subdued orange–seemed more appropriate for home decor than the bright red.

I learned two things. Quilting took up 1/2 inch.  That was more than I expected on 14 inches. And 1/4 inch seam is a real pain when using the zipper foot for the cording.  Next pillow I make gets 1/2 inch final seam.

Six Riley Blake fat quartersThe Modern Quilt Guild sponsored the challenge. Portland Modern Quilt Guild, a local branch, distributed the six fabrics to members back in September. The rules were generous: use as many of the fabrics as desired; add any solid or any Riley Blake print.

PMQG plans to make charity quilts out of left overs–I don’t have many, but I will contribute the few I have.

I’m linking up with TGIFF, guest hosted this week, and Link a Finish Friday. I wonder how many other finishes are for this challenge–let’s check.


Filed under quilting, Uncategorized

Free Motion Quilting Finished

whole quiltThe top is finally quilted, though this photo wouldn’t prove it! The plan was to add “pebbles” quilting to the aqua and the large gray areas; it seemed that would link those spaces with the orange-circles patterned fabric and the yellow polka dot. The straight-line quilting lines crossed over and linked to the blue checked fabric. The zig zag on the large gray areas ties to the aqua fabric pattern. Here are two close ups.

detail of grayaqua detailI have yet to decide if the pebbles worked to create the unity I wanted on the aqua or if it is just busy. Either way, the quilting is finished. I’ll bind it in aqua or orange or gray…to be determined later.

Also finished is the free motion quilting on the pillows I made with the left over fabrics (challenge fabrics shown here). I’ll put on the walking foot and use light gray  on the striped halves.

pillow 2

Pillow 1

All those small spaces were less intimidating for trying out other fillers than the pebbles pattern. I’ve been a frequent visitor to the Free Motion Quilting Project and watched many of the videos. It is fun to finally be using some. Perfect it’s not; rather the category it fits is “85% is usually good enough.” Especially if you stand 4 feet back. Finished is good.

The pillows will fit a 14-inch form. I’ll use aqua or orange fabric over cording for the edge treatment. I still have ten days, plenty of time.

Browse other finishes and free-motion quilting at Link A Finish Friday, TGIFF, and Free Motion Quilting Project.

12/8/15 Linking with Tuesday archives for the zig zag print and quilting. (Button in sidebar). The finish is linked on my Finished Quilts page under “Squares, Circles, and Zig Zags, Oh My!”


Filed under quilting

Lines and Circles

January's project

January’s project, 9 x 14

First I read Elizabeth Barton’s Inspired to Design, which led me to follow her blog. And her blog announced a year-long, online Master Class on art quilt design. The time was right: I needed to add doing and receiving commentary to reading about design.

January’s project focused on value but started with a photograph. I started with this photograph of the land boat in the Lan Su Chinese Garden.

Land boat

See the heron?

The quilt viewer does not need to know that the quilt started with this photo; therefore the quilt is not named “Land Boat” but “Lines and Circles” (unless I think of something more creative–any suggestions?). Meanwhile, readers interested in process might want to know. We sketched major value blocks and drew shapes, then abandoned the photo and adjusted values and shapes into a design we could quilt. We could be representative or not.

Between cropping the photo, adjusting the slant, and moving the pomegranates, I thought I had gotten free of the photo. But when Elizabeth suggested bright colors, I realized I was stuck in the browns and greens of the photograph–my only planned color change had been to brighten the pomegranates to a more burnt orange than the brown of the photo.

I began to think differently and after considering a couple bright combinations, decided on primary colors–red, blue and yellow. It was a challenge to work with various values of yellow and red; blue came easily. I made the background and quilted it, and then I added the circles. That consruction allowed me to fix a problem Elizabeth noted in my submitted final. Three of the circles ended up in a horizontal line. By making two into pairs, one addition up and one down, I hope I’ve fixed that a little. I can still see the straight row, but it no longer glares.

Elizabeth’s most recent blog entry  on color and value was a fitting conclusion to the January segment of the workshop. I am eager to hear what our starter will be for February.

You can see another from the Masterclass at Off the Wall Friday plus peek at other art quilts. Then there is NewFO to browse and more buttons to the right.


Filed under design, quilting

What says “modern”?

This year I am quilting along for two projects, and one finished block serves both.

Blue BOM

25 x 16

Rainbow scrap challenge (link here) involves using scraps from an assigned color for a block–either a quilt-along block or one’s own choice; January’s color is blue. I doubt I’ll ever keep up with three a week, but we’ll see. And Classic Meets Modern (link here) involves a modern take on a traditional block, this month (polar) bear paw. The latter BOM involves thinking about what makes a quilt or quilt block modern. Consider the blocks already shown at the above link–most of which follow the traditional arrangement for the Bear Paw block.

Here are the features I think of when I think modern quilt: enlarged pieces, modern fabric, color choices tending toward bright and clear, solid colors or modern prints–often large, but not always, lots of negative space, and asymmetry.  The first heading for this post was “The essence of modern”; however, a little reflection  showed me that no single one of the features was essential to calling a quilt “modern.” So I changed it. I suppose one might say at least one of the listed features was essential.  If you think of other features, please add them in a comment. Also I invite discussion if you think a listed feature does not belong.

As much as I love modern prints and solids, I can’t use that as a feature for my modern quilts.  I have too much old stash.  Back when I was working I purchased fabric (while I had money) as a retirement “fund” for when I had less income.  It never occurred to me that styles of prints would change so drastically. I can buy some new, but I also want to use the old. And enlarging pieces is something for a whole quilt rather than for a block. That left me with asymmetry and negative space. So I kept the bear paw portion of the block, omitted the center square, and rearranged the placement.

Sometimes I use a square to make a triangle piece, as at the bottom of the “paw.” (The “toes,” I made the regular way.) From the cut-away, I get bonus triangles, already paired up. This one is about the smallest I save and use (triangle legs are 1 1/2 inch unfinished–trimmed to 1 inch after sewn).

mini pinwheel

1 x 1 finished pinwheel size–4 1/2-inch bear’s paw for comparison

Some day I’ll find a use for the itty bitty blocks. Meanwhile, I’m linking up with other Friday finishers (Link a Finish Friday and TGIFF–links to right).


Filed under quilting

Red-Blue-Yellow Doll Quilt and Others

The red-blue-yellow piece that I started here is now a completed top, and it is stitched to its Cuddle fabric back. The quilting will wait till the last two have been attached to their backs and I can change to red thread. No point in rethreading the needle more than I have to. Here is the top.

RYB top

20 x 20

I’m pleased with it. I’d miscalculated before, thinking it under 20 inches; since it measures 20, I’m not adding borders.

After I cut the remaining pieces needed and got them on the design wall, I moved a couple to get a better balance of color than I could “see” in my imagination. (“Visual designs need to be evaluated visually,” Elizabeth Barton (at least that is where I read it; it may be an axion.) )

Next I studied the sketch.

Graph paper sketch

Since I don’t like Y-seams, I added markings noting the units that could be combined in straight line stitching. I used it to guide transporting pieces to the sewing machine and the sewing itself. A time or two I’d have been confused without it.

As I started to contrast the quick sewing to the slower sewing for improv, I revised my thnking.  Both take planning, but at different points in the process. That this went together faster was an illusion, true only if I ignored the planning. Improv piecing shifts the design from one sitting to step-by-step cutting, measuring and evaluating. Sometime I’ll have to check my theory with a timer.

My plan was to make five doll quilts, ten if possible for the upcoming Toy N Joy event that the Firefighters sponsor as well as gifts for children rescued without their own toys.

truck star quilt

I have 13 tops (counting the red-blue-yellow one). This star uses the last square of the truck fabric left from a bunk quilt I’d made earlier. The flying geese made to form the star left me with “bonus” triangles that I made into pinwheels to go with the bear fabric that someone tossed my way at the quilt retreat.bear fabric tops

I had two other sources of pinwheels.  “Bonus” triangles from previous pink and green lotto blocks, and a little packet of already trimmed half-square-triangle blocks that I bought cheap at the Aurora Colony museum.

pink stars and pinwheels

All “bonus” triangles don’t end up in pinwheels; notice the pink triangle half border on the yellow star. And the yellow ones made a partial border for the red and white stars made from the Aurora packet.

red pinwheel tops

Of the thirteen tops, eight are finished and all but two are sewn to their backings. Quilting, as I said before, is being delayed. Quilting is stitch0-in-the-ditch. There is no batting to hold in place, so unquilted areas are rather large. I did not retake photos to show the quilting since it is so simple. The “fanciest” I got was wavy lines on the mostly aqua pinwheel quilt, but a tendency to pucker caused me to abandon that idea. Here is one photo of a quilted doll quilt.

yellow and green quilted doll quilt

It even has a pieced back: The piece of green wasn’t wide enough, but I had some color sample pieces. I wish the soft feel of the Cuddle fabric could be uploaded.

Doll quilts are fun because they work up so fast; however, they do not make much of a dent in the scrap pile!

ETA I’m joining up with Scraphappy Saturday. And NewFO link. Check out what others started.


Filed under quilting

Finishing the Monkey Fabric

Infant quilt using monkey fabric

36 x 36

Stretching the monkey fabric as far as I could, I made this center row of 4-inch squares and built from there. Of course, I used all the coordinating fabrics I had used in the larger quilt. The 2 1/2-inch squares had already been cut, but not used in the larger quilt. Can’t say as I used any of the principles from the recently read design book, to create it, but I can use them to analyze it: the quilt has an underlying diagonal structure, and the monkey focal area is highlighted by contrast of value and texture variation from all the rest of the fabrics. I wonder if the two strips of three bright greens create  competing focal areas. For the moment I’ve convinced myself they don’t, but you are invited to comment if you think otherwise. (I am using the design book ideas while creating another barely formulated plan. Stay tuned.)

When I had bought the striped fabric it had seemed bright. I was surprised at how dull it looked in the other quilt after I made the middle row using a medium green.  (That’s why I added the bright green and red.)  This time the dark green livens the bright colors, and the striped fabric especially looks more like it had looked to me in the store.

I’m going to experiment with stitching front to back and then quilting it. No quilting plan yet.


Filed under design, quilting