Friday, May 25, 2018

Is This Quilt Finished?

I’ve been holding out on you, dear readers. I’ve been sitting on a finish for six months without blogging about it!

At first I was feeling protective about this project. It was rejected from QuiltCon 2018 (boo!), and although I wasn’t upset about that, I was surprised. I thought it was a strong submission. As the months passed, however, I began to wonder whether it was indeed a finished quilt.

Here, for your consideration, is my Circa 1870 ...


The inspiration for this quilt originated during a walk in the small New England town I call home. I saw some hexagonal siding shingles, bordered by elongated ones, on a house that was built in 1870 and decided to transform them into a quilt design. When set on an angle and rendered in a palette of periwinkle, gold, and salmon, the architectural details on that old house become distinctly modern—I love that!

I pieced this quilt by machine, using the lessons I learned from my Happy Hexie Baby Quilt (see the related tutorial). I accentuated the project’s minimalist feel by quilting simply, along both sides of some seam lines.


BTW: The palette was swiped from the amazing floral print on the back, designed by Rifle Paper Co. for Cotton and Steel. The front is done in mostly Kona Solids, including Butterscotch, Gold, Salmon, Marine, Periwinkle, and Lapis. The color that photographs almost black is Kona Indigo. The deep pink is an orphan from my stash. The pieced back also includes fabrics from Lizzy House, Tula Pink, and Christopher Thompson.




Right now you’re probably thinking that it sure looks like a finished quilt. I’m fixated on the quilting, though. Does the simple machine quilting beg for some hand quilting to accompany it, or should I submit the project to QuiltCon 2019 as is?

I have had the pleasure of taking a handwork class with Anna Maria Horner (more on that some other time!); I’m sure that experience is playing into my doubts. After seeing what she can do with a needle and some Aurifil 12 weight, there is untapped potential here. What do you think?

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday ...

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

On My Sewing Table

I currently have four WIPs going right now. I don’t mean I have three stacked neatly up and one at my sewing table. I mean I have four going simultaneously, strewn about my dining room and cluttering an 8-foot table. I’ve been picking up a different one when I need a change or run out of fabric. (So far I’ve run out of a Kona solid and a shade of Grunge. In other words, I have a legit reason to step foot in a quilt shop in the very near future!)

One of these projects is from Kelly Young’s new book, Stash Statement. I’m pretty excited about this quilt. It’s a departure from other projects of mine because of both its palette and its construction.

The Palette

I’ve had a stack of fabrics from Lizzy House’s Whisper Palette in my stash for a year or two. I love these fabrics and the cool grays in them, but most of my projects call for warmer grays, and I’ve struggled to include these low-volume fabrics in projects at hand. The solution, it turns out, was to let the cool grays dictate the palette of an entire quilt.

You can see some of these prints—specifically, the flags, mice, and constellations—in the pictures below. I paired them with other grays from my stash, some pale periwinkles, and some prints from Kate Spain’s Aria collection. (I sewed with Aria here, too.)

These fabrics in different, (mostly) muted colors compose the background for the blocks in Kelly’s Bloom Chicka Boom pattern.




The Construction

Those background fabrics have been sewn together into panels and then cut into the necessary sizes for the pattern. I’ve heard my guildmates call this “made fabric,” and it’s the technique that Kelly employs throughout her book.

I tried my hand at sewing made fabric before, in this quilt, without success. The advice and framework in Stash Statement, however, gave me the guidance and confidence I needed to sew some made fabric and use it in blocks for Bloom Chicka Boom ...


There is a blog hop with patterns from Stash Statement happening now. (Visit Kelly’s site to see what others are quilting from the book.) My turn isn’t until mid-June, so you will have to wait until then to see this quilt and all 16 of its fabulously oversized blocks. ; )

Also on My Sewing Table

I couldn’t leave you without sharing a few sneak peeks of other projects. After all, the problem with having so much stuff going on at once is that it will be a while before I have a completed project. (But when I do get to that point, the finishes should come in quick succession!)

I took three charm packs of Janet Clare’s Aubade collection and some Kona Snow, and made a few hundred half-square triangles. Eventually, I’ll sew them together to make a simple quilt top!


I’m also sewing up wonky stars, including the ones below. (This design, called Blaze and created by Adrianne Ove, is from Classic Modern Quilts.)


And I’m piecing a medallion top by Lynne Goldsworthy from an old issue of Love Patchwork and Quilting. This pattern has everything—arrows, crosses, plus signs, and more—and I’m sewing it with Karen Lewis’s first Blueberry Park line and a not-quite-white shade of Grunge.


Can you relate to the multi-project chaos I am experiencing now? I have other WIPs to tell you about, but I won’t be sewing them until a few of these are in the bag!

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Monday, April 30, 2018

The Project That Wouldn’t Die

This is the story of a quilt that took almost three years to make. Now, the piecing didn’t take three years. The quilting didn’t take three years. But the laborious process of making decisions and choosing a path for my design did. And let’s face it: If I hadn’t set aside two weeks to focus on this quilt last month, it could have easily taken four years or more.

I designed the project in question back in October 2015 and started to piece it in Essex linen and “made fabric.” I was using fabric that I love, and I thought that meant I would love the final product. But this design is a commitment. It features huge geese (or geese-ish triangles, not all of them reflect the standard 1:2 proportion for geese). In fact, the largest of these geese are 40 inches wide. When I realized I wasn’t getting results I liked early in the process, I cut my losses, unpicked stitches, and set aside the bits of fabric for other projects.

My original design, from 2015.

My first try included blue prints and Essex linen.

A year later, this design was still stuck in my head. I started piecing it a second time, in three Kona colors: white, shadow, and pewter. In attempt to add some color to the lackluster palette, I incorporated some solids and prints in shades of raspberry and cranberry. Again, I didn’t like how the project was coming together, so I folded it up nicely and hid it in the back of my closet.

A second try, with colorful solids and prints.

When establishing my quilt-related goals for 2018, though, I knew I had to finish this quilt. I decided to omit the more colorful fabrics and finish the design in the muted Kona solids. Once I was ready to quilt, I could add color with thread. Cassandra Beaver has used thread in that way; maybe I could achieve similar success with my quilt. (See this post from Cassandra for some examples of how she uses thread to add color and enhance design.)

In the end, however, this quilt wanted to be about size and shape, not color. I used an off-white thread to quilt each section densely in a different direction. So, for example, the top-left arrows that point to the left are quilted with horizontal lines, and the equilateral triangles below them are quilted with vertical lines.

Finally, a finish!

The only deviance from the gray and white palette is the Kona Aloe I used for the binding, which matches the back.

The binding adds the hint of color the quilt needed.

Not every project deserves to come to fruition; there is something to be said for knowing when to give up. I’m glad that I followed this rabbit hole through to the end, though, and I’m ecstatic about the final product.

Do you have a project that won’t die in your quilt queue? Let us hear all about it in the comments. : )

Linking up to Let’s Bee Social, Needle and Thread Thursday, and Finish It Up Friday ...

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