Quilters Lead Pieceful Lives.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

All Different, Yet All The Same

This quilt took longer (6 months from design to completion) and more time (almost 200 hours) than any other one I have made in a long, long time.  About half of that time was spent in the designing, cutting, and laying out phase (with several major revisions along the way).

The inspiration for this wall-hanging started with a photo I saw on Pinterest.  The idea was to use many same-sized pieces, but to give the effect of the 3D cube by arranging them in a particular way. Each of the colored rectangles is 1" x 1.5". So this is not a true "postage stamp" quilt, where all the pieces are squares. But at 1,086 pieces, it does have a similar look.

The background "strips" are made of a variety of blue, gray, green, brown, and red pieces (about 50 different fabrics), alternating with white. The same fabric does not repeat in any given row! Those five colors repeat in groups going across. They are then offset by one in each following row. So looking down the piece you'll see the same blue, gray, green, brown, and red pattern repeated. 

The "cube" is made by arranging the purple fabrics (about 20 different ones) in such a way that there appears to be 3 sides. It is all done by having more or fewer purples (and whites) on a given "side". Though these are randomly arranged, again the same fabric does not repeat within a row. And it is off-center to add a little extra interest.

As to the title: It has two meanings. 
First, the literal one. As noted above, there are many different fabrics in this quilt. Each row is unique. Yet all the pieces are the same size and shape.

Second, a more figurative meaning. This quilt will be donated for auction to Hands of Peace at their Spring Benefit. This is an organization that brings together Israeli, Palestinian, and U.S. teens each summer for two weeks of intensive dialog with the goal of raising the political, social and self-awareness of the participants, and ultimately to their involvement and leadership in achieving positive peace. So the title refers to the fact that all people are different, yet, at heart, we all are the same, and that we have more in common than we may realize.  
As usual, I chose to do minimal quilting. It is all ditch quilting using clear monofilament thread.
The unusual thing I did this time was to finish it with a facing technique, rather than a traditional binding (A big shout out to my quilting buddy Donna for suggesting this approach).

In most quilts, there is a border. Then, you sew on a strip of fabric to finish the raw edges; that fabric may be the same as the border (so it blends in), a contrasting color, or a fabric used in the quilt top itself.

But this quilt has no border, and adding a thin contrasting binding fabric would unnecessarily draw the eyes away from the main focus of the piece: the cube. So Donna suggested the facing technique. I don't believe I have ever done this before! You basically start the same was as with a traditional binding: sew a small strip of fabric on each of the 4 sides (in this case I chose to use the same fabric as I used on the back). Then, instead of simply flipping rest of the strip over to the back, you actually flip it and roll the full 1/4" sewed part of the top piece with it! Doing this gives you the finished edge you need, but leaves no trace of the facing fabric on the front of the quilt! So the top pattern truly goes edge-to-edge!

Here is a view of the flipped and tacked facing piece on the back. You can also see the ditched quilting lines.  

It is said that "quilters lead pieceful lives".  Here's hoping that someone will bid on this quilt so that people in the Middle East can also lead peaceful lives.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Forest Friends

If this quilt looks familiar, it is because this is the third incarnation of it that I have made. But each one has its own set of animals (well...mostly), and completely different background fabrics to give it a unique look.

The animals are done using the paper piecing method. Some of them have over 30 separate pieces!

The back of the quilt is filled with flowers and buzzing bees.

The second one was actually for the same parents, when they were stationed in Australia. Now they are back in the Chicago area and have a new daughter, Mira.  This one was designed to show many of the animals of the North Woods (you know...just over the border).

Here are the previous ones:

Animals Down Under:

and North American Animals (created January, 2001, in the pre-blog days):

I wonder where they'll go next and what kinds of animals they will find there!?!?!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Monkeying Around With Numbers

Got a request from Nancy, one of our travel friends, for a new baby quilt.  Her specifications were:
"It’s a boy. The “theme” should be MATH NERDS! The Mom is a high school math teacher and the Dad is a stock broker."!!!

What to do?  I looked around for fabrics with numbers and equations, but couldn't find anything that would work.

It is, after all, a BABY quilt!  So I wanted to satisfy Nancy's parameters but still have something that baby Eli would enjoy.

Finally found a very cute fabric with a pattern of numbers AND monkeys!  What could be better?

But then, what pattern could I use?

I played around and eventually decided to make one up based on a Fibonacci pattern. This is a sequence of numbers that is found in many places in nature!

                                                Image result for fibonacci sequence

You get it by adding the current number to the previous number. So: 0 + 1 = 1   1 + 1 = 2   2 + 1 = 3  3 + 2 = 5   5 + 3 = 8.....and so on.

Here is how it looks graphically.

If you connect the diagonal corners in each square (using a gentle curve), you get the "nautilus" or "fern" shape.

So...I designed the quilt using the 1," 1", 2", 3", 5", and 8" squares. This gives an 8" x 13" rectangle (as above). When you rotate each group 90 degrees and line up the outer edges, it creates a square in the middle. I used similar looking dotted fabrics in the usual red-orange-yellow-green-blue-purple (rainbow) colors, and put the monkey fabric in the middle square. To clearly separate the Fibonacci sections, I outlined each with a 1/4" mini-sashing in solid blue. I then used the monkey fabric as a wide border (and for the binding).

Quilting was done with rainbow variegated thread. I created cardboard templates with the appropriately sized and shaped curves for each square. Doing so allowed me to pretty accurately sew the Fibonacci curve. And notice the monkey tails and the random Fibonacci-looking swirls by each monkey!

The quilting on the border is a sine wave pattern .

Here is the finished quilt (front and back):

I hope Eli AND mom and dad like it. They can use it to teach him about the beauty and magic of numbers. Nerds rule!

Baby Eli and friend!!!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Quilts for Sale!!!!

In the last 25 years I have made over 160 quilts! (Not to mention hundreds of reusable bags, many aprons, iPad covers, etc.).

The majority were made for a specific person. But a number were made just because I liked the pattern or wanted to try something new. These have beautifully graced our house (and also my mother-in-law's).

But, sad to say, the time has come to part with some of these. It will be hard to let them go, but I know that whoever buys them will love them as much as we do.

I have created a new blog label ("Needs A Loving Home") to help you find these quickly (click in right-hand sidebar), and have marked each (at the end of the regular post) with the size and asking price (which includes shipping in the US).

Check them out and let me know which ones you are interested in!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Rainbow Blocks

Seven years ago I made Sweetie Pie II for Skyler; this one is for her new brother Crew!

Crew's mom Jereme wanted something "colorful, but just with squares. No theme, no animal shapes."

So I came up with this pattern:

A rainbow of colors all based on a 6" block.

It starts on the outside with 6" RED squares.

Next is 6" blocks of ORANGE and YELLOW, but these squares are each 3" on a side.

Then a 6" block of GREEN made up of 2" squares.

In the center of which is a 2" block of BLUE made up of 1" squares.

All in all, there are 60 different fabrics!!! (and it's just 30" x 30".)

And one more wild rainbow fabric on the back!

The quilting was done with rainbow variegated thread and is all in the ditch except for the square in the middle of the outer red blocks.

And "Crew" was also monogrammed in a similar variegated thread.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Awww! Giraffes!

Our travel friend Michelle requested a quilt for her about-to-be-born grandson Dashiell.

I previously made this one for grandson Decker in March, 2016. For that one, she requested elephants.

This time it was "giraffes...with some teal". I found a really cute pattern (hence the name we chose) from Sew Fresh Quilts. It had giraffes and a beautiful range of blues (I used the fabrics recommended in the pattern).

It is a bit hard to see (you may need to zoom in on the photo), but I used a decorative stitch to create a central "rib" in each of the leaves. The leaves themselves are in 3 shades of green, so the ribs are also done in similar-shaded greens.

I found a backing fabric that also is teal with a riot of giraffes!

For the quilting I used clear monofilament thread. I ditch quilted each of the horizontal rows, and then also ditched around each of the giraffes. Basically...it's invisible!

For the binding, I used leftover pieces of each of the 6 shades of blue. Each was then matched and cut to the same length as it's row counterpart (above and below the middle darkest one). By doing this, you can barely even see the binding! (It's actually more visible on the back.)

And now Dashiell has successfully arrived!  Hope he likes his new playmates.  

and a later picture:

Monday, April 2, 2018

NOLA Houses

Our daughter Emily lives in New Orleans (i.e., NOLA; you can see the quilt I previously made for Em's house here), and works for Habitat for Humanity (click for main web site or NOLA site). Last fall she was promoted to a new position which included her own office! So she asked me to make her a quilt of NOLA houses to put on the wall.

For those of you who have never been to New Orleans, you may not realize that it features an amazing variety of architectural styles. These range from one of the standard and ubiquitous styles, the "shotgun" house (a narrow house where the rooms are arranged one behind another), to the grandest of mansions in the Garden District. In between are many shapes and sizes, and often featuring the bright colors one usually associates with the Caribbean islands. Click here for a visual sampling!

So I had a ton of options to choose from . My original thought was to do a traditional block quilt with maybe 16 squares, and each square being some pieced version of one of these houses. 

But around this time my quilt friend Kathleen Warren and I got together for a working (well....really playing) session using her abstract quilt-as-you-go freeform technique.

She is a true artist with a definite eye for color and design. She helped me "cut loose" and just randomly build up a design on a pre-cut piece of backing fabric. The idea is to fill the space and then mount it on a 10"x10" pre-stretched canvas.

As I was doing this, the proverbial light bulb went on in my head. Why not do individual houses like this and mount them on these same 10x10 frames!?!?!  I love to mount my artwork on stretcher bars, but these have almost always been larger pieces; I had never considered doing an individual mounted block.

Then, these could be hung on her wall in lots of different arrangements and switched from time to time. Em liked the idea, and then we set out to decide which ones to do.

We definitely wanted to do her cute house (narrow, but not a true shotgun), and also wanted to do one of the popular versions that Habitat builds down there. I had decided that I would make 8 in total, so we began to look for others to use. We found a few, and I set to work.

As I do a lot, I "translated" these images into a grid pattern in Excel. I then made them using a combination of sew-and-flip, paper piecing, and fusing. So these are not "quilts" in the traditional sense; more fabric art. 

For the most part, I tried to match colors of the fabric house to those of the actual house  The hard part was portraying the dimensionality of each in the (basically) two-dimensions of the fabric. In some cases I think I succeeded; in others, the final versions have a flat look.

Each house has from 80 - 100 pieces! I then fused the completed houses onto the background (of grass and sky). Then, the completed piece was staple-mounted to the canvas frame.

After much work, we decided that 4 was plenty!

Here is each one; first the photo used as the model, then the actual fabric version.

First, the Habitat house (under construction):

Next: a double-wide (usually two shotguns joined with a common wall):

Then, a colorful and ornate beauty:

And finally: Emily's house!

Here they are just hanging around:

...and on site at the Habitat For Humanity office in NOLA with Em:

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Sweet Hearts

This is the third quilt I have made for a great-grand-child of my mother-in-law's friend Peggy.
The other two were "Confetti" (11 years ago; pre-blog!!!) and "Sesame Street" (2015).

The theme for this one was "pink hearts". I found a patchy heart pattern and then designed the quilt top. It was all made with scrap fabrics, except for the border and back, which I bought specifically for this project.

The idea was for the centers of the hearts to be made up of pink fabrics, and the outer edges (and multi-squares sashing to consist of non-pink fabs. Though that's what I did, it might not be clearly apparent; there's not enough contrast between the pinks and non-pinks.

I ditch quilted around the edges of each heart and the white squares with white thread. Then I shadow quilted a heart (pink thread) inside each of the six hearts. 

Cute and colorful!!

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Ties Between a Daddy and His Daughter

A friend of my parents, Norm Eisner, passed away a little over a year ago.  A few months back, his daughter Cheri asked if I would make a quilt out of some ties she had that belonged to him.

They were special to her because they were his, but had additional meaning because he was the manager of a clothing store called Langley's, and Cheri's first job was working in the store with him.

I agreed, and she sent me the ties. There were 24 of them, and all but a couple were made of silk. This meant that I would have to use a stabilizer to make those easier to work with.

Cheri and I went back and forth on possible designs. But we were constrained by several factors:
a) She wanted the finished quilt to be about 5.5 feet on each side (a fairly large wall hanging!)
b) The relatively small number of ties (and the amount of usable fabric from each), meant that some patterns would not work (although she was OK with using additional fabric if necessary)
c) Norm apparently had a fondness for darks (mostly blues and reds) in his tie palette. So there was not a lot of variety in the fabric values. We wanted the ties to be the focus, so again, this limited the design options.

I finally settled on a basic square-and-sash pattern. But I wanted to do something to reinforce the whole notion of ties and men's clothing.  So I was actually able to find the perfect fabric for the sashing and borders: it is a charcoal with dark gray pinstripes....exactly like a man's suit material! In fact, the pattern is actually called "Man About Town"! Careful planning and cutting ensured that in all the sashing and borders, the stripes were consistently vertical.

Since the overall impression of the top is "dark", I wanted to add a highlight in the inner border. So I chose a white print fabric that one might find in a man's dress shirt.

Shirt, suit, and ties. All ready to step out!

As I mentioned above, Cheri's dad used to work at a store called Langley's. And they actually had their own line of clothes, including, of course, ties. So she requested that I include one of the back-of-the-tie-loops of fabric on the front as another homage. There it is at the bottom center.

Since the quilt is on the large size, and because I have recently taught a class on "quilting in sections", this was a good project to do using that technique. Notice that it is 9 blocks wide by 10 tall. So I made it in two sections of 9 x 5 each.

The quilting is good old ditch, using black thread.

And the name: chosen by Cheri of course! How perfect is that!!!

Monday, June 5, 2017


Always a popular quilt pattern idea: floating squares making shadows.

What could I do to make it unique?

Play with the light intensity and angle!

So I designed this making the light the strongest / brightest at the center and getting weaker as you go out.

Thus, both the squares and their shadows reflect this: lightest in the center and darkest at the outer edges.

But if the light source was directly overhead (of the center), then wouldn't the shadows be on the opposite sides of where I placed them?

Probably, or maybe this exists in an alternate universe.....but it looked better in my design spreadsheet this way.

The background fabric had to be light, and lighter than the center square. Plain white was too boring, so I managed to find an off-white fabric with teeny-tiny white squares on it! These reinforce the whole square - shadow idea!

While cutting, I had to make sure that these teeny-tiny squares were straight across, and up and down.

This fabric was, of course, also used as the small corner pieces of each 'block". And since there are several sizes of blocks, the background pieces are not uniform, as say, regular sashing would be. The whole thing is a big jigsaw puzzle (in 4 quadrants) that had to be assembled from the center out.

The quilting is pretty bare bones: I used clear monofilament to ditch around all of the shadows, and also across some of the longer background seams.

For sale: 38" x 36"  Wall hanging  $125

Saturday, March 25, 2017


My mother has been an artist her entire life.  For many years, she painted, primarily using oils. She painted this picture in the early 1960s:

I have always loved it. The colors, the starkness, the isolation....yet the path goes somewhere and you know the tree will bloom again in the spring. The painting itself is only 11.5" x 9", yet it displays unlimited depth.

As a boy, this picture hung in my bedroom; now, it hangs in my quilt studio.  I have looked at it often, and then last fall it hit me: why don't I make a quilt of it and give it to my mom!

This is way out of my comfort zone, so the idea and the process had to percolate in my mind for several months. I did some research on "raw-edge" quilting. This is where you build up a picture piece by piece, with fabric shapes (for a very literal picture) or scraps (for something more abstract). You can applique the pieces (hence the "raw-edge" tag), either by hand or by machine. You can also use fusible web to "glue" the pieces on to the background (again, with or without applique).

In my search I found a wonderful web site from fabric artist Leni Wiener (http://leniwiener.com/) which included a video on "How to create a fabric collage from a photo". This video explains clearly explains the process of turning an image into a piece of fabric art. Much of it deals with determining the color values of the various parts of the photo; something I did not have to deal with here, as my objective was to replicate the painting as closely as I could. But I emailed Leni and explained what I wanted to do and she eagerly gave my other tips and encouragement (both were much appreciated!).

Some of you may remember my "Sunflower Mosaic" quilt, in which I "copied" a van Gogh painting in fabric. That was also raw-edge, and fused, but the image (and each part within) was much bigger. So I was able to make that with small overlapping squares. I did not feel that that technique would work for this piece. But I still wanted to fuse the tree and fence fabrics to the background.

So here is the process I developed:
  • I took a photo of the painting, and printed it full size (so it was 11 x 8.5; not exactly the size of the original, but close enough).
  • Leni showed me how to turn the photo into a gray-scale image.
  • I printed the gray-scale image on a transparent sheet of plastic (for you oldsters: what the teacher used to use on the overhead projector!). This allowed me to use this both right-side up and reversed (more later).
  • I then created a reverse image of the gray-scale one, and printed several copies. This is what I actually used to cut out the pieces (as templates) for the quilt.

You can see that most of the pieces are very thin. I was afraid that even with having the fabric backed with fusible webbing, some of them would just shred into tatters and be unusable. So to eliminate this potential problem, and to make things much easier, I did two things:

First, I made the tree and fence pieces out of two pieces of fabric fused together. Though they look almost identical (in the finished piece), the tree fabric is actually a shade lighter than the fence fabric. So for each, I took one piece of fabric, ironed a piece of fusible webbing to the right side (usually a huge no-no), and then fused a second piece of the same fabric at a 45 degree angle to the first one. This is so the warp and woof threads would be at an angle and reinforce each other. This layering also had the effect of giving some dimensionality to the finished pieces. I then fused another piece of webbing to the back of the bottom piece (and left the backing paper on at this point).

Second, instead of trying to cut out the entire tree or each side of the fence in one continuous piece, I broke the reversed image up into logical pieces. That way, if any individual piece did fray or if I cut it poorly, the whole element would not be ruined. So the large part of the trunk was one piece; a big branch another, a smaller branch a third, etc. I did the same for the fence rails and posts. This allowed me to actually place the background posts on the outside of the background rails (i.e., posts first), and the foreground posts on the outside of their rails (i.e., rails first). Though not that easy to see in the finished piece, doing this better reflects what the reality would be.

Non-quilters may be asking: "Why use a reversed image?" 
Well....here's what happens next:
  • I cut out the pieces from the reversed paper image.
  • Then I taped them to the paper backing on the back of the fused fabric sandwich. Remember your math: two negatives make a positive!  So I have a reversed image piece on the back of the fabric. So when I next cut out that reversed paper piece again (to include the fabric), and flip the whole thing over, the final piece is now un-reversed!
  • Next I peeled off the backing paper (to expose the fusible web) and hand pressed the piece in its correct place. How did I know where to put it? I laid the transparent plastic sheet (right-side up!) over the background and lined it up; initially with the edges of basting threads I sewed on first, but as the image took shape piece by piece, I lined it up with the previous pieces.
  • Once it was in the proper place, I iron-fused it on.
  • Finally, I did some free-motion stitching with matching brown thread over each shape (the branches of the tree, the rails, and the posts). This added more texture and shading, as well as helping to ensure that the pieces would not come off.
Here are photos of the piece partially done:

Note that I added a little extra to the pieces that were on the edges. That was to insure that there would be no orange gaps showing through when I added the borders.

Now it's time to talk about the background fabric.
My original thought was to take varying shades of orange fabric and ragged-cut and place them horizontally. This would represent the horizontally-oriented brush strokes on the original. I figured I would reinforce this imagery with some horizontal stitching lines. So, the first place to always look is your fabric stash. I found some orange pieces, but nothing really excited me. At the same time I was exchanging emails with Leni; she thought the background had a silk-like appearance. BINGO! I had made this quilt with silk fabrics that I bought on our India trip. Was there any left? Yes!  Enough? Yes! And it is perfect. It has a ribbed texture and subtle shading that catches the light. Using this fabric, I didn't need to do any quilting in the background at all.

I remembered that working with this fabric was nasty; the edges of the silk were really prone to fraying. So, to avoid this in this piece, I fused a piece of lightweight interfacing to the back. This also added some firmness / stability to the silk.

So I fused all of the tree and fence pieces on. Next up was the border. Once again, I went to my stash to see if I could find fabrics to replicate both the brown-wood and the thin inner-gold highlight of the frame. Success again! I added the borders using mitered edges, again, just like in the original.

Finally, I mounted the finished piece by wrapping it around an 11 x 14 stretcher. That is the actual full size of the original.

And here it is:

I think it is pretty darn close to my mom's painting; no?

So....is this a quilt?  Well, technically, no. It is not made up of a fabric-batting-fabric sandwich. I guess you would call it fabric art.  Either way, thanks Mom for all the memories! xxx

Saturday, March 18, 2017

For the Love of Africa

We met Nancy and her daughter Elissa (who was 14 at the time) on our trip to India in 2010. They are an amazing duo... always going to other countries to provide hands-on help to those most in need, including the animals (click here for an example).

Last fall, Nancy requested that I make a quilt for Elissa, who is going to spend a  Semester at Sea starting in September.

But her specifications were somewhat unusual. First, the size. She wanted something "bigger than a twin, but less than a queen". This is because Elissa has a queen-size bed at home, but the beds on the ship are twin size.

Next, she wanted to provide all the fabrics! As she explained: "All the fabrics are from Tanzania. We support a school there (Mwereni School in Moshi), for hot lunch program, water borehole, and farm projects.  We go every other year to see progress and friends, and are gifted each time with a traditional fabric.  The two red fabrics are traditional Masai fabrics that were given to us on safari to keep warm!!".

So between the size requirement and the pre-defined fabrics (and their patterns!), we had quite a challenge on our hands.

But Nancy had some clear ideas for the design. Some of the fabrics had images of various African animals in a range of sizes; she wanted these to be prominently featured. There were several others that she wanted to use as borders. Then there was a beautiful fabric with a large (30" x 41") stylized baobab tree. We went back and forth with layouts and dimensions.  (By the way:  did I mention she lives in L.A.?  So everything was done via email and photos and Excel designs.) We pretty quickly decided that this would need to be a two-sided quilt, as the baobab was too big and beautiful to either cut up or not use at all.

So by some careful measuring of the animals, and after rejecting a number of design possibilities, we came up with this for the front:

....and this for the back:

Totally says "Africa"! The finished quilt is 52 x 74, but amazingly, there are only 43 pieces in total!

When the fabrics arrived at my house and I opened them, I was bewildered. Nancy had said that she was given "red fabrics by the Masai...", but she sent me some plaids!  There had to be a mistake. So I went to Google and typed in "Masai plaid" and found many references (here is one). Yes....the Masai make fabrics featuring plaid patterns!!! Who knew????

Notice that the plaids on the front and back are two slightly different patterns and colors. And these were made of almost yarn-like threads; much heavier than the other fabrics, which are traditional cotton.

As I mentioned above, due to their different sizes, the animal prints had to be fussy cut. Since we wanted the plaids to be the sashing, I also had to fussy cut each horizontal and vertical strip (again, different sizes!), so that the plaid-lines would flow seamlessly around each animal (and around the tree on the flip side). Not easy, and there were a few mistakes that had to be redone. Luckily, there was enough fabric to accommodate.

Which was not true of most of the others. There was only ONE of each of the animals....extra careful measuring and cutting there! The blue zebra fabric (front, top and bottom inner borders), had 3 vertical repeats, but to get the size we wanted, these two had to cut into the third. So again, no margin for error.

The outer border on the front: this was another strip of fabric (sort of like a medallion), with these borders and a centered orange decoration. So there were 4 "corner" pieces (i.e., they contained the border plus the 90 degree bends) . These were carefully cut. The rest of the borders were cut and pieced to make the correct lengths, and to fit in with the corners.

The border on the back was a similar fabric: borders, plus an inner pattern of flowers, except a) it did not contain those "corner" pieces, and b) it had some strange words written along the edges. Again, I had to fussy cut and piece to get enough fabric to fill the desired lengths and width.

Quilting: between the size of the quilt, the bulkiness due to the plaid fabric, and the design layout (e.g., large baobab), I was unable to quilt this myself. So I had Maureen do it at Quilter's Heaven. We choose to use green-red-gold variegated thread, and to do straight line quilting in a 4" grid. These combined to highlight and replicate the plaids on both sides.

And about those words:

It is Swahili and means "All these are inspired"! 

This is truly a great way to describe Nancy and Elissa: Inspired and inspiring!

Safari ya salama, Elissa!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Take the "B" Train

This is the third quilt for this growing family, joining ones made for Sebastian and Henry.  My friend Mari requested a train theme this time.

I found this pattern. It comes from Counted Quilts, and, like all of their patterns, it is made from strips which are then sub-cut into various squares and rectangles, and sewed together row by row.

I went with all solids, except for the grass, trees, smoke, and my favorite go-to: the wood-trunk fabric (hope I never run out!).

For the back I found a cute, colorful pattern featuring trains going hither and yon.

On many of my "baby" quilts, I just do basic ditch quilting, but this time I decided to use the quilting to emphasize the solidity of the locomotive and the shapes of the other objects.

So straight line quilting on the engine, rails, and ties, and random stiples everywhere else.

With the exception of the gray thread on the wheels, all of the other thread colors match the fabric color they are sewn on.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Sailing Away

It was exactly a year ago that I made a quilt for one of Mari's many nephews called "Cars, Trucks, etc.". For new nephew Rory, the theme this time is boats.  She asked for "something nautical" and colorful, with a red border.

I hunted around and found this pattern. At 60" x 60" it was too big for a baby quilt, so I reduced the number of boats and changed the size of each block from 6 x 8 to 5 x 7.

The colorful sails allowed me to dig into my stash to find just the right colors and patterns. I decided to alternate each boat's sail with a semi-solid looking batik and a bright multi-colored /patterned fabric. The hulls and masts were chosen for harmony and aesthetics. Coincidentally, the pattern also had a red border, so that made it easy to visualize the finished quilt. So I bought an identical looking polka-dot fabric on-line.  I purchased the sky and water fabrics locally.

Note the monogram on the middle boat on the bottom row.

Quilting was basic and minimal. Free-form light, puffy clouds frame the sails. Wavy blue lines fill the waters below.
I found a great all-over mini-sailboats fabric for the back. Looks like clear skies and calm seas ahead!


Monday, November 14, 2016

Dream Girls

The original request from my friend Mari for this quilt was for pink ballerinas. I figured that there would be tons of ballet or dancer fabrics, and there were many, but they were either not in pink or were just not cute enough. So I broadened the search to include princess fabrics, and was able to find a nice complementary pair. Thus the name: Dream Girls.

I added in some other fabrics from the same pattern set and came up with this design for the front:

Note that all of the fabrics include built-in sparkley threads!  A first for me.

The quilting is stiple around the ballerina and princess figures, and ditch stitch around the borders.

The back is made of another fabric from the princess series, and includes frogs (princes in disguise?) and unicorns, because.....why not?

Now it's up to Kalia to decide if she wants to be a ballerina or a princess...............or both! Dream on!