Quilters Lead Pieceful Lives.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Baby Blooms

This quilt is for baby Isabella, sister to William (whose quilt I made exactly 2 years ago). 

The parents asked for a flower theme, with pastel colors.

We looked around and found this pattern on the internet at Sew Fresh Quilts. However, as written, the finished quilt would be 63" x 83"!  That's a tad too big for a baby quilt.  The odd size is also a result of each block finishing at 8" x 15". Definitely not your normal square block!!!

Initially, I thought I could just scale down the blocks, to maybe 4" x 7.5". But with all the pieces in each flower, that would have been very difficult to make and the effect of the different colors / patterns in each flower would have been practically lost. 

Instead, I just reduced the pattern from a layout of 5 across and 4 down to one of 3 across and 3 down. This gave me a finished size of 38" x 60". Five feet is still pretty long for a tiny girl to drag around, so maybe they will just hang it on the wall.

The petals of each flower are made of 4 different fabrics. So we decided to make two sets: 5 of the flowers have one grouping of the same four fabs, and the other 4 flowers have a different set of fabs. The leaves and stems are the same for all nine flowers.

I free-motion quilted each of the blossoms using a pastel variegated thread. For the leaves, I used a modified zig-zag stitch and sort of randomly eased my way across each (twice) to simulate the ribs.

The sashing is white-on-white with tiny stars (we were not able to find white-on-white with flowers!). But the outer border does have tiny white flowers on a light teal (mint?).

And on the bottom, I added an "Isabella" monogram, also in variegated pastel threads.

A very happy quilt! Hope you love it, Isabella!  

Monday, March 6, 2023

Moby Quilt

Paper piecing!  Curves!   3D - Op Art!

What could be better!

This excellent pattern from Audrey Esary was actually pretty easy to do. 

Each black and white strip is cut oversized, sewn into place, and then trimmed.  You basically do two mirror-image sets of the same half-spiral. Then they are joined around the central "eye", with just a little bit of partial-seam finagling. 

The only really "tricky" part was then getting the center circle "embedded" into the outer border. YES! That is one solid piece of fabric with a center hole cut out. I had to flip the pieced center and work backwards and around the border, easing into the curves. It actually worked!!!

For the quilting, I did not want to detract from the visual impact of the mobius itself, so I did parallel vertical lines using clear mono-filament thread. But to reinforce / echo the expanding bands in the mobius design, I gradually increased the distance between the stitched lines, going from .5" at the central section to 1.25" at the edges.

The finished piece (26" x 26") was then mounted on stretcher bars. 

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Rainbow and Dove

Olive is daughter number 4 for Emily's friends Ken and Melanie, joining AveryElizaand Ivy!

As with the other three girls, I was delighted to make a quilt for Olive. And Melanie had a definite idea of what she wanted.  

If you looked at those links above, you might have noticed that Ivy was born at the end of 2013; Olive in November, 2021, so there was quite a time span between the two.  I knew the reason why, but asked Melanie to tell the story in her own words:

For sweet Olive, she’s our rainbow baby. When you have a baby after loss, they’re called your rainbow after the storm. We lost two babies early on in my pregnancies and didn’t think we would have any more kids. We trusted God’s plan was greater than ours. When Olive showed up, it took a while to believe she was going to join us earth side because of the fear of another miscarriage. But day by day, she grew and when she was born, she indeed was (and is) a rainbow. 

To add to this imagery of beauty after pain, or through pain, Olive stands for peace. When God sent a dove to Noah after the flood with an olive branch to symbolize peace, and that the earth would not flood again, Olive is peace to our family. That fear and pain don’t identify me, that change and hope can endure. That good and beautiful things can happen again. I was very anxious during her pregnancy, and when she was born, a calm came over me of contentment, completion, and peace. Her soul brought God’s promise to us. 

The back fabric, black with hand drawn magnolias is designed by a local female artist, @walkingmanstudios and printed by @elliegaytor, another female owned local business. During the pandemic, I sewed many masks with this fabric as well. Magnolias are special to me because on one branch of a magnolia tree, there are blooms and buds, and blossoming at different times. It makes me thinks of my daughters and how they too grow and blossom in their own time, but tethered together on one branch, or one family. 

Here is the result of our collaboration:

Close up of the dove, including the very special "olive" branch!

The process:
I first looked for a pattern for a dove. There are a number out there, but many are done via applique (not my preferred method).  I eventually found one by Amy Friend, and it was a paper-piecing pattern. Also, it was 10" x 10", so a nice size to build around without having to scale it up! There are 47 pieces in this pattern (including the blue background).  I chose an off-white fabric that had sweet little hearts.  Of course, I added on the Olive branch! 

The whole quilt background is sky blue, with fuzzy clouds, and itty-bitty stars. Perfect, because rainbows and doves are found in the sky! 

For the rainbow, I modified a pattern from Counted Quilts.  The original had this rainbow (sort of) with a big yellow half sun in the upper part of the pattern. I redesigned it to swap in the dove for the sun, and tweaked the rainbow pattern itself.  

I did random sorta-clouds freeform quilting in blue thread on the background. Then I just did a ditch around each rainbow strata, and the heart, in a matching color. 

As noted above, Melanie picked the back fabric. Often I will use the back fab as a border on the front; this time that just was not going to work.  I considered using the clouds fab, but eventually nixed that as well.

For the same reasons, it did not make sense to do a regular binding. So I decided to use the facing binding technique.  This is where the binding is actually folded onto the back, so that none of it shows on the front of the quilt.  However, in all the times I've used this technique, I've never done it with a hanging sleeve. So, back to the internet for some guidance. I actually found one hit on how to do this, from Lyric Kinard. It took a few tries using a scrap fabric model to figure out exactly how to make this work (and I made a few mods to her pattern while doing so). But it actually did the trick! And careful cutting of the magnolia binding strips ensured that all of the blossoms were facing the correct way when the bindings were flipped over. Whew! The bottom and two sides were hand-stitched using black thread. Because the sleeve has to hold the weight of the quilt, I wanted to do something stronger there. I had cut it big enough so that it just overlapped one of the horizontal piecing seams on the front. Thus, I was able to machine sew it in place using clear monofilament thread right in that ditch. So you don't actually see it on the front, but it is there and doing the job.

So there you go, Olive. Hope you like it.  And may you bring many years of love to your family.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

En Pointe!

Got a commission from a former colleague for her niece's daughter. 

The basic specs were:

Colors: very neutral: ivory, white, and a hint of blush

Theme: ballerina

Monogram: initial only

I was working on one quilt and had another in the queue, so I just let the idea simmer for a while.

And one day I started doodling  and it just magically appeared!

ON POINT squares!  In quilting "on point" means that the blocks are turned so that they are diamonds instead of squares. 
In ballet, "en pointe" means that the dancer supports all of their weight on the tips of the toes (with special shoes of course). 

So the idea would be to find suitable ballet fabrics and cut and arrange them to be both on point and en pointe.

We found some perfect fabs....with ballerinas and sparkles! These are alternated in the "solid" squares.  The squares are 8" finished (which turns into approx 11" when on point). The ballerinas were small enough that it was not really necessary to fussy cut them to fit. 

The other large squares feature a pattern of pastel colored flowers. The back is made up of ballerinas on music boxes. You can almost see them spinning and hear the music!

For the small square centers, we found a pink (with little dots) fabric. I appliqued these on (with some batting underneath) in the same way that I did the circles in the "Circular Spectrum #72" quilt. But this time I fastened them using a decorative zig-zag stitch.

When I laid out all the squares, I realized that the pinks and whites faded into each other too much; there was no clear definition of the diamond shapes. We had picked out a light blue fabric for the border, so we decided that we could also use it for sashing strips between each block. At 3/4" finished, this meant the blocks were now about 13.5" finished!  Uh oh!!!  Will it be too wide for the backing fabric????  I really couldn't tell until I had it all sewed together, including the side triangles and corner pieces and borders. I barely had enough of the blue to do the sashing and the border. Whew!

When I laid it out, there was about an inch overhang (of the back) all around.  Quilters know that you should always leave several inches, as the size of the quilt can change as you quilt it (depending on how and how densely you do so). I came up with a plan to add borders to the back if it turned out that there was an issue. Luckily, when it was all done, there was still enough of the back fab overhang to be workable. Whew 2!

For the quilting, I chose to do free motion. In the ballerina squares, I used pink thread (in the pink fab) and white thread (in the white one) and carefully quilted around each of the figures. In the flower squares, I just did random quilting with white (but nothing in the dotted-pink squares).      

Here is the result:

Finally, note that the center square has a large monogrammed "B". I don't think I have ever put a monogram in such a prominent place before. It is actually part of the design. 

Is it for ballerina? Maybe, but also for the baby's name: Betty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is just tooooo cute.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Kits and Cubs

This is the THIRD time I have been tasked with making quilts for twins!

The request was both specific ("We like foxes and bears") and vague ("in neutral colors like beige and gray").

So off we went in search of patterns for a fox and a bear. The thought was to make the "same" quilt for each, one with foxes and one with bears.  So blocks was the logical option (as opposed to each quilt having ONE large animal on it). Surprisingly, there are not that many fox and bear blocks out there!

We finally found some really cute ones on Etsy from Burlap and Blossom Patterns. They have some  adorable animal head patterns!

So these make either 6" or 12" blocks. We decided to do 6" blocks (because 12" would have just been too big), and alternate them with some geometric pieced blocks.  I came up with an interesting design and we laid it out with appropriate sashing. 

Each Fox and Bear head block contains more than 40 pieces, and took an average of 90 minutes to assemble. 

We used the same perky gray for the pieced blocks on both quilts (but changed colors on the inner diamond), as well as the same fabrics for the animal heads background, the sashing, and the inner and outer borders (along with the pink in the ears). So while each quilt is unique, they do make sort of a matched set. Kind of like twins!!



...and Cubs

Those fabs were a combination of ones we had in the stash plus others we bought at Quilter's Heaven

We really lucked out on the fabric for the back. We wanted to use the same fabric for both, but also wanted it to tie into the front. We first looked for forests / trees, but eventually stumbled onto one which had trees plus BOTH cute foxes and bears!! OK...it also has deer, which is fine....

...but can someone explain why it has lions as well???  The Etsy site said that the seller was in CHINA (maybe there are lions in Chinese forests?), and that delivery would take 4 - 6 weeks. I was a bit leery about ordering, but it was sooo perfect, so we did. Guess what? It actually arrived in about 10 days. Supply chain? Hah!!!

For the quilting, I did free-motion in the yellow head backgrounds using a subtly variegated yellow-white thread. I used a gray thread in the ditch around the inner and outer squares of the pieced blocks. And I ditch quilted around the inner border using the same variegated thread. 

Added the monogram bars to the corners and they're ready for delivery to Eloise and Wesley!

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Reach For The Stars


Just a sweet quilt!

And here she is!!!

Now the quilt is even sweeter!!!!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Succulent Variation

Friends of ours were travelling in northern Michigan last fall when they happened to stop in at a local quilt shop (though they are not quilters).  Inside they were drawn to a large quilt hanging on the wall. It was made with Kaffe Fassett fabrics, and they loved it! His fabrics are generally bold and bright, and feature a lot of floral motifs. So they snapped a pic, and when they returned home, asked me if I could do one like this I previously made a bedspread-sized quilt for them back in 2011 (Wondrous Waves). 

They told me the name of this pattern was "Succulent", hence the name of this quilt.  However, the published pattern includes all of the required fabrics using a blue colorway (23 different fabrics in all!).  The one in the store was made with more reds and yellows. My friends wanted something more like that. 

Since we had to find new fabs anyway, and because she wanted the quilt to be slightly bigger (at 92 x 84) than the one in the pattern, we decided to make some design modifications. It is still made up of smaller (4") squares and larger (8") squares. But, in order to get the size she wanted, the borders needed to be 6". So the new design featured 16 smaller squares (per row) and two larger squares (per row spanning two rows each). In total, there are 18 rows. Because of the large size, I knew that I would make this in four sections using my Quilt in Sections technique. 

Then we had to find the right fabrics. She looked on-line and we went back and forth, and eventually agreed on 11 fabrics for the small squares and 5 for the large squares (one of which was also used in the borders, the binding, and the back of the quilt).  Most are red, some are dark blue or dark green, and one is bright green. She wanted this last one for some "pop" in the design. We ordered some from that same quilt store, but had to get the rest from several other sources.

Next came the challenge of actually laying out what went where.

Can't have a large "border" fabric sqaure right next to the border!

Can't have the same smaller square fabric adjacent (or even touching diagonally) to itself in two rows.

Can't have too many green pops!

The large squares had to be randomly placed.

There must be two large squares for each full row pair

Keeping in mind that I would do it in quarters, each "quarter" row pair actually called for 16 small fabrics and one large one. Sharp eyed readers will immediately notice that 11 (different fabs) is not a multiple of 16! So each quarter row pair had to have all 11 fabs plus 5 repeats! Not adjacent, not diagonal. In the next row pair down, I then tried to use a different "plus 5" than in the row above (or to the right) while still being frugal with the green pops.

Here are each of the 4 sections after piecing (including borders!) and quilting:

Upper Left

Lower Left

Lower Right

Upper Right

For the quilting, I used a variegated thread with reds and oranges. Even by the blue and green squares, the quilting line is pretty hidden. I quilted in the ditch both horizontally and vertically for every row and column. However, I did not quilt into the 8" squares.    

When all the quilting was done, I joined the two upper quarters together, then the two lower quarters, and finally the two halves together. A regular flip binding and it was all finished!


Sunday, October 31, 2021

rainboW Weave

In our den we have a U-shaped sofa. The sides are chaise length, and induce instant torpor when anyone stretches out on them.

Last year, during the height of the COVID quarantine, we decided to make a lap quilt to make daytime napping even comfier. The result was Circular Spectrum #72

Of course, once we had one made, it was only a matter of time until there had to be a second one (for the other, cold, lonely chaise). 

We wanted a pattern that would allow us to use the many, if not all, of the colored fabrics, and the same two background colors. It had to be a complimentary quilt (same size and feel), but unique as well.

Somehow, we did a web search and found the answer within 30 seconds! That never happens!!  We chose a weave (or lattice) pattern.

Knowing that Circular had a rainbow of colors that went from upper left light to lower right dark (through the spectrum), we decided to arrange these colors the same way.

Pawing through the stash we managed to find all of the fabrics / colors that we had used before! But in this pattern, the strips were smaller (less impactful) than the circles were, so we started to swap some out and swap in some others. We also decided to keep the same color family from top to bottom in each column, as opposed to the diagonal nature of Circular. And with 9 columns, we had to determine how best to divide ROY G. BIV.

Laying out all the possibilities (and a few more we bought from Quilter's Heaven) resulted in an arrangement of Pinkish-Red-Orange-Yellow-Green-Green-Blue-Blue-Purple (Indigo...Violet).

For the background colors, we also had some scraps, but knew we would need more. Luckily, QH had just enough on hand!

Cutting and piecing were very easy (nothing like the process in Circular). Lots of pieces to sew, but chain stitching helped that go faster. I knew that I would do the same ditch quilting as on the other one (though this time just the vertical seams), so the size (42 x 54) was manageable enough to do all in one.

The result:

And, just like with Circular, I once again went with the "facing binding" technique. So no binding is visible on the front (and it blends in on the back).

We have already tested this new addition to our family and can confirm that it is just as cuddly as its sibling!

PS: no....those are not typos in the name. It's that way for a reason. We're sure you can figure it out! 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

A Puuurrrfectly Friendly Lion

 My sister-in-law Lisa asked me to make a quilt for her husband's cousin's new grandson.

Originally, the new parents wanted a panda quilt.  And they wanted it to be "stroller size".  ??? Never heard of that. Sounds like the size of a large placemat. 

And they were very specific on the colors: subtle earth tones: white, ivory, wood, sage & eucalyptus green, grey, beige, oat, taupe; nothing bright.  

I came up with a couple of options for patterns and Lisa and I went back and forth, trying to find the right pattern and the right colors. Those colors don't really work with a panda (although they do love eucalyptus!). 

We had these pretty well nailed down and then the parents-to-be switched from a panda to a lion! I've done quilts that have had a lion included with other animals, but never one with just a single, large lion. So it had to look like a lion, but not be the scary kind.  Oh yeah....they then asked for "crib size". Whew!!!!

More research on the pattern and fabrics and we eventually found just the right combination:

I free-motion quilted the mane, tail, and feet with brown-variegated thread.  The rest was ditch quilted using blue, yellow, and beige as appropriate.

Subtle colors?  Check.

Crib size? Check.

Friendly and cuddly lion?  Absolutely!

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

William's Neighborhood

 Another quilt for my friend Mari's ever-expanding family of nieces and nephews!

The requirement for this one was: "a theme of Space with colorful planets, moon, stars ,etc. For the background - navy or grey, but not black."

Hmmmm.....two outer space quilts in a row!?!?!?!? (To Infinity and Beyond was my prior quilt). Suddenly they are very popular! I turned to my buddy Mr. Google to see what was out there. 

Found that "space" quilts generally fall into two groups: rockets / aliens, and planets. The first group did not really meet the specs, and were primarily applique (nope). The second mostly featured really large (like queen or bigger) quilts! Well....yeah...trying to represent the solar system in a meaningful way on a small quilt would be tough.

But then I found one that pretty much fit the bill. It was a pattern on Amazon that was actually a Kindle download! It was pretty hard to read, and had templates, so I figured I would just print it. That was when I discovered that Kindle has no printing capability. This is on the device itself, your phone, or a PC! I guess it makes sense; that's the whole point of the Kindle - to save paper - but still!

So, I used the download as a guide and developed my own pattern. The idea was to have 8 planets (sorry Pluto!!) in somewhat relative sizes and in representational colors. Now before anyone gets to astro-precise: yes.....I know the sizes are nowhere near correct relatively (nor the space between them), or this quilt would be several city blocks long. But I did the best I could.

For the most part, I took the same approach as I used for Circular Spectrum #72. I cut out the appropriate sized circle (with seam allowance), added a layer of interfacing, sewed around the edge and flipped it inside out. For each, I then put one or two pieces of batting behind it and edge-stitched it in the appropriate place on the background fabric (a perfect blend of blurry star clusters on a gray field).  

First, little Mercury:

There he is.....cratered and baked from the Sun.

Next Venus, Earth and the Moon:

Venus is a mystery, shrouded in carbon dioxide. It is nearly the same size as Earth.

Earth is that lovely blue and green gem, with a nice polar ice cap at the top. Aaaahhhh....looks so peaceful and inhabitable. 

The Moon looks on, with its many craters. 

Then Mars, the Red Planet, the Bringer of War.

 Mars is roughly half the size of Earth and twice the size of the Moon.

Next we get into the big guys in our Solar System!

Jupiter......the largest planet, the Bringer of Jollity.

A gas giant with a multi-colored surface, most notably known for the Great Red Spot. This storm has existed for (at least) hundreds of years, and is bigger than the diameter of the Earth (although in recent years it has shrunk in size).  Mine was attached with fusible webbing. 


Then, Saturn!!!!!  With its amazing rings:

This one was extra fun to do! First, Saturn has all kinds of colors in its atmosphere. So another swirly, mixed color fab seemed appropriate.  I edge-stitched that, except I left two openings on the sides so that I could slip the back edge of the ring underneath.

Then, the rings: Saturn has 7 major sets of rings, and 100s of other ringlets! Clearly, I could not even try to do those (well...not with my skill set). So I decided on one silver-sparkly ring. For this, I cut out the shape (the back of the ring actually goes behind / under the planet), and used iron-on interfacing, then another layer of interfacing on the back of that. This gave it some body and allowed me to raw-edge edge-stitch it in place. I then finished the stitching of the planet to lock in the back ring edges. 

Finally: Uranus and Neptune.

Uranus's atmosphere contains methane, which is what gives it its distinctive blue color.

Neptune's atmosphere also contains methane, and sometimes appears blue-green, but I wanted to distinguish it from Uranus, so I chose a mottled fabric. 

The quilting is a swirling free-form stitch, representing all the comets, meteors, dust, and pieces of ice that whiz through our corner of the Universe.

Here is the whole neighborhood together. The gang, in order, roughly makes an "s" shape:


You may notice that I did not yet mention the Sun. That is because I took a unique approach with it. Since it is only a quarter circle (you know....it is really BIG!), I decided to wait until the quilt was all quilted and the binding was on before I sewed it on.  This way I was able to align it exactly next to the binding on the two corner edges. I did the same fabric-interface-sew-flip-and-fold technique, but I also added 4 layers of batting! Each was cut in the same quarter-circle shape, but stepped down in size. 

The back of the quilt has all of these planets, plus comets, stars, and a smattering of spaceships (some of which may not be from Earth!):

I hope you have fun exploring your neighborhood William!

Thursday, June 3, 2021

To Infinity and Beyond

One of my friends asked me to join in a group project to make quilts for Project Linus. That is a non-profit organization which provides new handmade blankets to children in need. The interesting thing about this project was that the pattern of the quilt was a mystery!

Each of us was given a set of instructions over the course of several weeks. The first was the fabric requirements, including high-level color / pattern suggestions (Fabric A should be dark, B should be medium, etc.).

The next week we got the cutting instructions. So many pieces of Fabric A at 2.5" x 2.5", etc.

The next few weeks, we got the piecing instructions. This is a strip-pieced quilt, so we made 24 columns. But, to keep the mystery, the columns were NOT in the correct order! So as they were sewn, it was fun to move them around to try to make the correct design take shape.

The title of the project, To Infinity and Beyond, should have been a big clue.

The last week's instructions provided the correct placement of the strips. That verified that I had correctly figured out the puzzle. Here it is:

At 48" x 56", this is a pretty large kids quilt!!!!

For the quilting, I first ditched every other column in a matching blue thread. I then outlined the stars and the rocket using the same color. I then ditched around the two dark squares with dark blue thread.

Time for some lucky kid to explore the universe!

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Llama Llove


Almost 6 1/2 years ago I made Best Friends for the daughter of a colleague.  A few months ago she sent an email saying she was expecting a little boy, and asked if I would be willing to make another quilt for them. Of course!

For the first one, the design and colors were wide open. This time the requirement was pretty specific:    "a llama theme with some teal color in it, only because 1) llamas are likely to be a big part of this little guy's life, as we regularly go to feed the llamas at a nearby farm, and 2) a bit of teal in the quilt would match the comforter on the bed in baby's room".

So the hunt was on!

After an initial search turned up nothing, I went to my favorite site (again!), Counted Quilts. And....there was a pattern for an alpaca quilt!  Alpacas and llamas are the same, right? Um...no.  But they look the same, right? Um....similar.  But if I say it's a llama, no one will know the difference, right?  Hmmmm...

More searching, but nothing that felt right. So I contacted Lisa at Counted Quilts and asked if she would modify the alpaca pattern to be a llama!  She was happy to do so and had it done in one day.  

Then, we found coordinating fabs for the sky (teal-ish?), the hazy mountains in the distance, the grass, and the llama body. All of the others came from the stash. The eyelashes were our extra touch.

Quilting was a mix of free-motion and straight line, in matching colors (variegated on the blanket). 

So now the room is ready as big sister Dalia awaits her new brother.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Bear in the Air

Another in a long line of nephew and niece quilts for my friend Mari. 

This time the requests were: theme > airplane; color > green.

Hmmmmm.....what to do? 

I have made airplane-themed quilts before, so I know that most of the patterns feature paper-pieced jets or biplanes.  Been there; done that. 

So, as I often do, I started my search at Counted Quilts.....and there it was! The cutest bear flying a nice sized airplane! It was easy enough to swap out the purple and yellow in the pattern for two shades of green. We found the same fabric pattern offered in light and dark versions. Perfect! (The light green is also the back and binding.) Then we found a complementary blue for the sky. The rest of the fabs came from the stash. 

The other request was for a monogram. Since airplanes often have names painted on them, it made sense to incorporate the monogram right into the design. 

Four years ago, I made "Sailing Away" for baby Rory (now the big brother!).  I didn't realize, until I started to write this post, that the monogram on that quilt was also integrated into the design! Must be a family trait!!

The quilting is a combination of free-motion, ditch, and design-oriented.

I free-motioned the sky and the clouds in matching threads. Because of course! I also did some free-motion to highlight the bear's ears, around the helmet, and the scarf. 

I did straight-line decorative stitches in the propeller, cowling, and windscreen. 

On the fuselage and wing, I did straight-line stitching, but one goes horizontally and the other vertically. Why? Just to add some interest. 

All of these too were done with matching thread colors.

Finally, I ditched around the windscreen, the body, the wing sections, and the star.  

You can get a better view of all this from the back of the quilt. 

Happy journeys, Hadrian!!!!      

PS. Hadrian and his parents are on assignment in Thailand, so this quilt is being sent to his mom's sister in Washington for forwarding to them. So it may be a while until he actually receives it!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

All You Need Is Love

Last fall, a long-time follower asked me to make a quilt for her soon-to-be first grandchild. She and her daughter had nicknamed it their "rainbow baby", so she wanted a quilt to reflect this very special child. 

It had to have hearts in a rainbow of colors. I had previously made a rainbow heart quilt for my sister, in June of 1999 (pre blog and digital photo days, so you'll just have to use your imagination on that one). 

She really wanted BIG hearts, so to get in a rainbow's worth, meant it would be a big quilt. We decided on 4 across and 6 down. At 9" x 9", plus sashing, this ends up being 41" x 61". Quite large for a baby quilt! To add even more color, each heart was made in two halves. It was quite a challenge to go through my stash to find just the right 48 colors, in each shade, to coordinate in each heart and across the row. As it ended up, there is a fabric from my very first quilt (1979!), a fabric from Africa, and a whole host of other favorites.

The background is a light cream color, to make the heart colors stand out even further. 

I decided to reinforce the heart images via the quilting. Often I will use many different colors to blend my quilting in with the color of the fabric on which it is sewn. But this time I decided to just use the same color thread across each row. So in some of the fabrics it does blend in, and in others it is a complement. I ditch quilted around each heart, but considering their size, and the design itself, that just wasn't enough. So I wanted to replicate the heart shape with quilting inside each heart. (You can see this in the photo above.) To do so, I made a cardboard template in the exact shape of the hearts. Then I drew lines on it 1.5" in from each edge, then cut out the center part. I then put double-stick tape on the back, adhered it to each heart one at a time, and carefully stitched using the inner edge as a guide.  Here is how each one looked prior to sewing:


To reinforce the heart theme one more time, we found the cutest tiny pink hearts on cream fabric for the backing. Here is a close up of that, which also shows how the rainbow of hearts is clearly visible there too!

You can also see here that the horizontal sashing was quilted using cream-colored thread.

Since the quilt was so large, and the quilting required a lot of turning and manipulation, I decided early on to do so using my "quilt in sections" technique. The large size was also why we decided not to put a border on it. And the binding is done using the facing technique so it is invisible on the front and has the tiny hearts fab on the back.

When it came time to pick a name, it was a pretty obvious choice. Between the miracle baby and the hearts pattern, "All You Need Is Love" was so appropriate. And, as I always do when posting for repeat customers, I wanted to show the reference to the quilt I had made for her in 2011. I looked it up and....whoa:  that one is called "Take Me Out To The Ball Game"!!! Two great quilts for two great songs!

My client also wanted something very special monogrammed onto the quilt. This is out of my league, but luckily she has a cousin who does this sort of thing. So the quilt was sent to Texas, the stitching was added, and then it was forwarded to its home in Eugene, OR.

Here it is with the added words......

...up close......

....and with Baby Sophia!!!!


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

"Sea Critters" and "Bronto and Rex"

This is the second time I have been asked to make quilts for twins.  This time it is for Leo and Luke. And these are the FOURTH and FIFTH quilts I have made for the same family!!!  The previous ones were Sebastian's ArkGo, Chicago!, and Take the "B" Train.  

Mom Jackie was pretty specific in her request. She wanted one to have sea animals, and the other to have dinosaurs.  So we began looking for possible patterns. While doing so I happened to go to my local quilt store and....there on the wall was a sample quilt that had a colorful variety of animals swimming in the sea!!! I snapped a pic, sent it to Jackie and she loved it! It is Elizabeth Hartman's Awesome Ocean pattern.  Actually, the sample I saw in the store was a modified version of the pattern, and then I tweaked it even further to meet Jackie's specifications.  Here is my version:

It is made with the same squares-rectangles sew-and-flip technique that I have used many times. The quilting was ditch around the borders and sashing, and free motion blue waves on the background. There is no quilting on the critters themselves, so they pop out.

The selection of the pattern for the dino quilt was a lot more difficult. Eventually we found this pattern from one of my favorite go-to places, Counted Quilts (because it used the same technique). But even then we had to go around and around. The pattern is actually for 5 dinosaur pillow cases. So the shape of each finished "block" (21" x 28") was an odd one for a standard quilt top. And of course 5 just does not work. 

We looked at different options including: scaling down each dino (but this became problematic as some pieces would be way too tiny to work with), picking 4 of them and having two on the front and two on the back, etc.

We finally decided to just do two of the dinos, so I added in a sashing and borders and it actually came out to be almost the same size as the sea animals quilt!

The quilting in this one is a combination of random straight lines (like in Bronto's volcano and Rex's "scales") and free motion for the skies, the trees, etc.  The thread colors all match the fabric they are on.  You can see this better on the back:

 OK Leo and Luke.....they're all yours!  Have fun.