Tag Archives: modern quilt design

Urban Chickens #2, Design Decisions

It turns out that I’d not have had enough fabric for the 3 1/2-inch square version I mentioned before (here) either. It was a math error from the beginning of planning. I would have enough with the new solids and using the backing fabric for the front. But I’d lose the blended look that I’d had in mind originally. Not the end of the world, but . . .

I also liked Louise’s suggestion to make bird blocks different from the pattern rather than making all squares larger. However, the repeat was too close for 6 1.2-inch squares. Ah, but 5 1/2 worked fine. And 10-inch finished blocks would also work well. And I could get 42 3-inch squares from each fat quarter instead of 30 1 1/2-inch squares. And that made a big difference.

The big ah-ha came when I realized I could make all the “chickens” the same color instead of following the pattern’s color plan. (Michele Freedman’s instructions are here, in case making the block interests you.)

So I made 3 x 4 piece blocks and a bunch of “chickens” to test layouts.

1 plan A

Plan A

I didn’t make the total number, just enough to test, so use your imagination to fill in the upper left. I was a little afraid that Plan A would be too dark, so also tried another layout.

1 Plan B

Plan B

It didn’t take me long to decide I liked Plan A; Plan B was just too pink.

So I made 20 more teal “chickens” and started assembling.

1 urban chix 2 top

41 x 41

It amazes me how regular the triangle blocks tended to be even though I  was going for “wonky.”  I had to consciously think “left,” “right,” “skinny,” “tall,” “squat,” as I made the blocks. I found it easier to cut white rectangles instead of working from a strip as in the directions. Some were 2 inches wide, some 3. Some 4 inches long, some 4 1/2, some 5, the latter for the sharply angled “chickens.” (I will get quite a few 1 1/2-inch squares from the trimmings.)

And the back.

1 urban chix 2 back

I’d asked for only a yard of backing fabric because I  wanted to use as much of the left over fabric as possible in piecing the back. And I did well. This is all that was left of the Marble Tan “Picnic” prints.

1 left overs

I used 5 fat quarters of the prints, 1 3/4 yards of white, and about 1/3 yard each of Paintbrush Solids teal and verbena. I will use an additional half-yard of either of the solids for binding.

On to pin basting and quilting. (One way to keep tops out of the to-bee-quilted black hole is to have a deadline. )

Linking with Let’s Make Baby Quilts.

 

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Squishie in the Mail

I got my fabric for Let’s Be Sew-cial. Thank you Paintbox Studio Fabrics!

picnic fabric

It is from the “Picnic” line by Mable Tan for Paintbrush Studio Fabrics. Plan A that I submitted was to make a child’s quilt, 40 x 40 or 60. And to use the Urban Chickens pattern that I used a couple years ago. Remember it?

Urban Chickens--finished top copy

And if it interests you, here is the pattern link.

The pattern calls for 3 1/2-inch squares. However, I want to leave the bird whole, and that will require cutting 4 1/2-inch squares. (Size of motif is not something easy to judge from online photos.) Now you would think that enlarging a piece and thus making fewer blocks would end up balancing out. But it doesn’t seem to be doing so.

So Plan B.  I’ll order a couple Paintbrush Solids to mingle among the prints.

Stay tuned.

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PBS Project Finished

The sewing on the Paintbrush Studio Fabric project was finished a couple days ago. I did the photography yesterday and today. Of course the overcast days were while I was still sewing–quite sunny today. Anyway, finished and sent a day early. I rather like working at a slow and steady pace instead of a last minute rush. I’ll have to do that more often.

The finished quilt front

front sm

~46 x ~46 inches

and back

back sm

I make a lot of quilts just a bit over the width-of-fabric measurement, and I prefer piecing a strip to buying and extra length of the backing for a couple inches. It is also a good way to use left over fabric, though I have a few scraps.

detail sm

I had just read Jacquie Gering’s Walk and decided to try diagonal wavy lines with the walking foot. For the most part it went well. However, twice I ended up with a line of eyelashes on the wrong side (more than I have ever had when doing free motion). It seemed to happen when I tried too hard to make too big of a curve, but the odd thing is that it continued after I went back to ordinary motions.  The fix was to take the bobbin out and put it back. Go figure.

And in addition to diagonals, the gull print suggested loop d’ loop, but not too much. So I put in the free motion foot and did a couple spaced out rows of loops.

And now for a couple glam shots

 

I had to do some serious cropping of the left photo because I’d managed to include garbage dumpsters at the curb! That photo is from the park across the street where the trees are off to the side and the middle is wide open space; the bench is in the patio behind my apartment building.

Quilt history:

Fabric and project information here

First steps here

 

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From Sketch to Top

Progress is happening on the PaintBrush Studio project (sketch and fabric here).  First I got permission to change the background. Glad to know the option remains to select from the whole of Paintbrush Palette–though they supply only from their selection.

And the beginning looked just like the picture in my head.

pbs start

I’m really glad I could use that grayer blue, called Haze.

Then I finished the top.

pbs top

The fourth row doesn’t please me quite so much.  Looking at the whole piece of fabric, I ddn’t see it so white as it became once cut up.  Do any of you have tricks to help see that difference? I am not disappointed enough to do any ripping, as usual. Nor do I think I’ll make another top with one change.  But if I were, I’d make the fourth row of 4-inch squares of the backing fabric (shown in the above linked previous post). It will be better with the red binding.

On to making the back.

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Paint Brush Studio Fabrics

I’m trying a new thing. I applied to a  Paintbrush Studio Fabrics  request for people interested in making things with PBS fabric. ( I don’t remember if it was an email request or a link on their website.ETA: it’s a link on their website.) (ETA: Program discontinued and there is a new variation. April 20/0). They send an email with their fabric selection and some prompts.  Receivers submit descriptions of what they want to make with it and how much fabric is needed. Then PBS sends fabric to the people whose projects were chosen.

I was too busy to consider responding the first two prompts they sent. There were second requests showing  quilt pattern possibilities for the fabrics. I figured when I was ready to submit I may be in demand. And this month my idea was created and accepted.

Here is the sketch (each square is 2 inches)

quilt sketch

And the fabric arrived today.

 

I’ve combined pieces from two lines: Gulls Just Wanna Have Fun (designer’s name, other than Paintbrush Studio not given) and Maja Ronnback’s Garden Glory. And Painters’ Palette Solids, of course. I’m rethinking the background shade of blue, but don’t know if I can make a change after a project has been accepted. I’ve asked.

I think the design is a good way to showcase fabrics. I had done something similar with fewer fabrics in the past (here). This seems an easy arrangement to vary. Maybe a series? Time will tell (unless 2 makes a series. )

It is destined for my local guild’s charity program. The size (46 x 46) can be either a child’s quilt or a lap quilt for a nursing home resident.

 

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Orphan Becomes a Top

Back when I was planning what to do with abandoned blocks that I picked up as a charity quilt starter kit (here), there was one that didn’t play well with the arrangement.

My first idea was to add a couple borders and make a doll quilt. Meanwhile, my design group had been looking at minimalist art and decided to do a project (sketched or sewn) inspired by Sol Lewitt. There were many directions go to, but I was intrigued by the colorful stripes. And the link with this block was obvious. So I pondered possibilities. I thought of a circle of vertical stripes inside horizontal stripes. Realizing that would take making two blocks and leave a circle and its square with cut out extra, I thought some more. I ended up with this:

I’ve inserted circles before using instructions from a Ricky Tims workshop. He recommends working from the right sides when pressing freezing paper onto the pieces to be the circle and to be the receiver of the circle and marking. I thought the stay stitching around each would be easier to manage if it were up instead of down because of the seams. I reasoned that what mattered was that one be consistent. Also, I noted that either way one marked side is down.  Well, I was wrong. It is much easier to peek at the underside of the top piece than the underside of the bottom piece when sewing!

The middle block where the circle is plain was more difficult. One sews with the concave piece on top, in this case the pieced stripes. Apparently the seams distorted the shape even though it was stay stitched. (I’ll have to try it again sometime to see if it was that or merely user error.) At any rate, the striped piece ended up about 1/4 inch larger than the circle in spite of appearing to meet at the first three marks. I eased in the excess with moderate success. The upper left block was a breeze–either because it was the second or because it was a solid piece of fabric.

Minimum size for guild charity quilts is 40 x 40; this is 34 x 34. So I plan a dark blue border as wide as the fabric on hand allows. There is enough for a 3-inch border for sure, but a little more would be nicer, I think.

And the back and binding will be the warm brown (both because I like it and because I have enough).

You may wonder why I worked on this piece instead of forging ahead on the Irish Star quilt. I had thoughts of using some of these dark fabrics in stars and needed to be sure there was enough for both uses. As yet, I have no plan for quilting design.

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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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“Water Is Life” top finished

Whew! I got the top finished in time to enter it. It retains some of the ideas in the sketch (here) Given the shortened time frame, I needed to simplify some more, so the “foam” went. I made a mistake,so the deep purple went (I was sad to lose it). And the “foreground greenery” went because no fabric that I had looked right. I didn’t overlap any of the circles because I wimped out.

Water is Life top

You may remember I wanted to draw some attention to the letter bubbles, but not too much.  I thought a little light and shadow might do it. I had already made the circle templates and didn’t want to make a new set (not the best of criteria for design decisions). I thought of free handing some curve to the colors to be added, but wimped out.  I decided a straight line wouldn’t hurt.  But it kinda made the circles look like eyeballs or space ships. And without the “foam” they don’t seem to be splashes from the waterfall, as originally intended. Oh well, maybe they are something else relevant. I do like the aqua against the lavender that I’d not have had if I’d gone with the foam.

This is the first time I’ve inserted circles onto a whole (almost finished) top instead of into blocks. Others have done it, so I knew it was a possibility.  I won’t rush to do it again (until the next design that requires it). Managing the bulk of the top while sewing the circle is so much more awkward than handling a block (in addition to the stress factor of cutting holes in the almost finished top).

I will admit to holding my breath each time I got to the end of the circle seam. The first four fit perfectly. And of course the stress level rises with each finished one–can’t ruin it now please, as I sew the next one. The fifth wanted to make a tuck at the end. I checked and saw that my seam had dipped in on the circle piece about 1/16-1/8 inch for about 6 inches.  I ripped that and tried again. When the two seam lines met exactly, the circle fit the hole. Breathing a sigh of relief there, I was!

The finished product isn’t due till May 31.  I think I’ll continue on with making the back and quilting it so I don’t have any more last minute panic.

Linking with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday and Finished or Not Friday (Links in sidebar).

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