Quilters Lead Pieceful Lives.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Soshanguve BlocKKs

When Emily was living in Soshanguve, South Africa, she became friends with a couple who lived nearby, Doug and Colletta Rhoads (similar name, but no relation).  Earlier this year, Em informed me that they were expecting their first child. So of course another Shwe Shwe quilt was added to the queue!  And here it is:

Once again, as with Shwe Shwe Diamonds, these are (primarily) Shwe Shwe fabrics, made in South Africa, that we bought from The African Fabric Shop in West Yorkshire, England.  We also got the pattern from there, although I modified it somewhat. It features off-kilter blocks and a striped semi-border. The border stripes and small block centers have a selection of 20 different fabrics. The large block centers contain fussy cuts of stylized African animals (that same fabric is used on the back).

And, as usual, we wracked our brains for a fitting name for the quilt.

In Sosh, Em lived in "Block HH". The blocks are really what we would call neighborhoods, but they do have official, recognized boundaries (more like our townships).  Doug and Colletta (still) live in Block KK (in fact, their blog includes their address there!). 

After many back and forth suggestions, we finally came up with "Soshanguve BlocKKs"!  This, of course, refers both to the quilt blocks themselves, and to their "Block KK" home.    Perfect!

We sure hope new baby Eletsa approves!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ivy's Fleur de Lis

What could be more symbolic of New Orleans than the Fleur De Lis?!  So this quilt makes the perfect "Welcome to NOLA" gift for Ken and Melanie's newest daughter Ivy (who joins Avery and Eliza).
And, she came into the world on 11/12/13, which makes her even more special (if that's possible!).

I found a downloadable pattern for a paper-pieced fleur de lis at eQuiltPatterns.com. The original pattern calls for one 18" paper pieced fleur (108 pieces!), bordered by small squares, plus a solid-piece inner border and an outer border also made of small squares. So I modified it into a kid-sized quilt (38"x38") by using 4 fleurs and adding an additional striped border (with mitered corners) outside of the small squares. This striped fabric was also used as the backing of the quilt. Notice that there are four different colored small squares and that these same 4 colors are used in the fleurs.

Since Emily is back in New Orleans, I called on my local color expert, my wife Wendy, to help pick out just the right colors for a precious little girl.  We were able to find a complete colorway at Hawthorne Threads, so all of the colors work seamlessly (ha! a little quilter humor) together. This group included just the right scale of small-flower fabric to use in the solid-piece border.

For the quilting, I considered doing echo quilting around the fleurs, but there were so many lines / seams from the paper piecing that I thought it might lessen the effect and make it look too busy. So my old standby, stipling, seemed like the best bet (this approach actually helps to soften and hide the paper pieced seams). Of course, this makes the unquilted fleurs puff up which gives them added dimensionality. Then I ditched around both sides of the inner and outer small squares borders. The final touch was using the small-flower fab as the binding.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Optical Illusions Article

The November, 2013 issue of Australia's Homespun magazine contains an article titles "See Change: Optical Illusion Quilts". Among other beautiful works, it features my "3D Color Study" quilt, and also includes the model of the Bulging Checkerboard quilt that I used for my "Stand Back" quilt. 

You can read the entire article by clicking here.