Fiddlesticks!

I finished this quilt last month, but I’ve been doing a lot of quilting due to quarantine, so I’m behind on showing my work.  This is a scrap quilt, of course.  I’ve been seeing lots of quilts with little strips inserted on Pinterest, and finally got around to developing my own.

First, I got out all my solids, including the Grunge, and cut a 12″ square from each for background.  I planned to trim the blocks to 10.5″ after I finished inserting strips, since I have a 10.5″ square ruler 😀  No point making things difficult; let’s plan for easy!

Then I got out all my scraps and cut them into strips ranging from about 1″ to 2.5″ in width.  I made strip sets and cut them crosswise into strips for the quilt.   The inserted strips were cut in widths varying from 1″ to 2″, which of course means they finished 0.5″ to 1.5″ wide in the blocks.  I made more skinny ones than wide ones.

I just slashed the blocks at random angles.  I did slash and insert only one strip at a time. 

After I’d inserted enough strips to suit me, I trimmed each block to 10.5″ square.

Just look at the fun flower design my quilter used!

And yes, I left 3 blocks unpieced to add interest.

Quilt stats:  Fiddlesticks

Finished size: 49″ x 69″

Designed by me, based on multiple inspirations from Pinterest

Technique: Improvisation

Quilted by Julia Madison

More Fun Books for Learning

C&T recently sent me two books I especially like, so here’s a little overview of each of them.

Photo courtesy of C&T

First, Sew Very Easy Quilt Favorites has a number of unique but easy quilts that could be made by a confident beginner.  Or by the likes of me because sometimes I just want a quick quilt that looks harder than it is 😉  For example:

Photo courtesy of C&T

As with other C&T books I’ve read, Sew Very Easy has clear instructions and illustrations.  I’m thinking C&T must have some good editors, because I see that their books are consistently easy to use.

In this book, I especially like the clear illustrations showing how to join strips end-to-end with a diagonal seam. Does anybody else remember how hard that was to figure out initially?  Similarly, there are clear illustrations wherever seam intersections might “look funny” to a less-experienced quilter.  I’m impressed that someone who obviously has a lot of quilting experience is still aware of how confusing some of these things can be for others.  For example, there’s an excellent explanation of how to do partial seams on this otherwise-simple quilt:

Photo courtesy of C&T

Also, the book has both modern and traditional quilts, which broadens its appeal.  Here’s my favorite traditional-appearing quilt from the book:

Photo courtesy of C&T

I’ll be making some of the quilts from this book, and I expect I’ll learn a thing or several–that always enhances the fun!

The other book that I love is called Paper Piecing. It’s the cutest little book and, despite its size, has complete instructions for paper piecing, including more than one method!  That said, this is not really a “beginner” book, because the blocks are relatively complex.

Photo courtesy of C&T

This book would make a great little gift for a friend, or for one of those “infamous” Dirty Santa swaps at a guild Christmas party 😀

Please note: C&T provides books to me without charge, but I choose to review only those that I really like.  All links are for your convenience; they are not affiliate links that provide income to me.

An Exciting New Book!

I agreed to review new quilt books for C&T this year, and here’s the deal.  They send me books they think might interest me and I tell you about the ones I especially like.  (If a book isn’t to my taste, I just don’t mention it.  That way you know that if I endorse a book, I really do like it.)

That being said, I am excited about several of the books they sent recently.  The first is  New Patchwork and Quilting Basics, by Jo Avery.

Photo Courtesy of C&T

This is a fresh, modern book with a whole range of projects.  It starts with three quilts for the true beginner and progresses to projects involving special skills such as applique, curved piecing, and even paper piecing.  It’s a nearly-complete set of quilting lessons all in one book!

I would LOVE to work with a local shop to develop classes from this book.  I’ve started on one of the earlier quilts that I hope to use as a class sample eventually.  Here’s the picture from the book:Photo Courtesy of C&T

And here’s my quilt so far 😀

I think the projects in this book will appeal to quilters of all ages.  I found the instructions and illustrations clear (and even more important, accurate) for the blocks I have made so far.  Although I wouldn’t recommend someone learning to quilt with only a book, I think it could be done with this one.

Here are a few more of my favorite projects from the book.

As you can see, this one demands some skill with HSTs, but the blocks are fairly large:

Photo courtesy of C&T

This artsy one appeals to me because it is a little whimsical.  It also looks as if it would be pretty easy to get an impressive result:Photo courtesy of C&T

Finally, I think I may try this one just for the challenge.  It’s pretty spectacular:

Photo courtesy of C&T

You can find the book at C&T, here.  (FYI, this is NOT an affiliate link.)

You can go to Jo Avery’s website here.

Let me know if you have used this book or decide to try it.  I’d like to hear someone else’s opinion–and that’s whether you agree with me or not!  

Now, I’m going to wash my hands and go make a quilt 🙂

 

Triangle Variations Finished!

I’ve made multiple triangle quilts this year, and this final one is my favorite. It all started when I saw this book:

Modern Triangle Quilts,, published by Stash Books

The book presents variations on 3 different types of triangles (equilateral, right, isoceles), with multiple options for each type.  You know I don’t like to make the same block twice, so the variety of these triangle blocks seemed perfect!  (The cover states there are 70 different blocks!)

I chose the equilateral triangles and a limited color palette.  And of course I changed some of her patterns and improvised a few new ones.  That said, her instructions were excellent.  (You may take excellent instructions for granted when you’ve paid for a book, but don’t.  Enough said.)

So here’s my finished quilt! There are 11 different layouts for the blocks; this isn’t one of them 😉

The quilting was done by my friend Andrea Walker.  Andrea does beautiful custom quilting, but she is understanding when I want edge-to-edge quilting instead (because I want the quilt to be about my design rather than her quilting).  

And here’s the back:

Quilt stats:

  • Name: Triangle Variations (Hmmm…boring.  If you have a more creative idea please let me know.)
  • Finished size:57″ x 66″
  • Source: Inspired by Rebecca Bryan’s book Modern Triangle Quilts, and most of the blocks are from that book.  (Book available here.)
  • Quilted by: Andrea Walker.  (You can see her website by clicking on her name.)

This quilt went together well (due to the excellent instructions) and it is unique even though most of the blocks came from patterns.  Try it!

Note: The links here are for your convenience; I do not make money if you buy from them.

Scraps Happen, Part II

Many of my scrap quilts are inspired by other quilters.  I still find it useful to start with a collection of fabrics I think “go together”.  In that regard, I do NOT worry about color per se, though I recognize that color is a big “bugaboo” for many quilters.  I do find it useful to decide at the outset whether the quilt is to be bright or muted colors, but beyond that I don’t worry much.  And of course I break that rule sometimes, too.

One of my first inspired-by-others adventures was a series of quilts I made after reading Gwen Marston’s books.  I just love her aesthetic, and wish I had been able to take a class with her while she was alive.  Here is a quilt I made for the Quilt Alliance annual contest a few years ago, based on Gwen’s published quilts:

improvisational quilt

“Gwen Visits the Farm” is a quilt I made for the Quilt Alliance contest; the black fabric has words representing animal sounds such as “quack”

I also used a collection of Cherrywood scraps to make this quilt based on Gwen’s “liberated log cabin” idea:

improvisational quilt

Cherrywood Toss, 59″ x 61″, 2016.  My favorite part of this was making the background out of a mixture of dark colors.

Also, taking a cue from my friend who makes a small art quilt each week, I made these 3 quilts based on lessons in one of Gwen’s books:

I continue to learn from the quilters I consider “the best” by making quilts inspired by their ideas.  A recent one was inspired by Maria Shell’s tutorial on improvised flying geese:

The colors of the quilt blended with the colors of my chimney, where I stuck it up to be photographed

Of course, not all such experiments are particularly successful.  I love Freddy Moran’s aesthetic, but this table runner based on her ideas didn’t turn out very well, in my opinion.  I expect to make more things using her ideas, and they’ll improve 🙂

I designed and made this runner for a guild challenge

Since, at this point in my quilting career, most of my fabric collection is scraps, there will be many more scrap quilts to come!  Next week I’ll discuss how I use scraps in quilts made from patterns.

 

 

Current Series: Blue Ridge

My first Blue Ridge quilt just returned from the Vermont Quilt Festival and will next go to the Asheville Quilt show.

art quilt

Meanwhile, Maria Shell published a tutorial on how she makes flying geese blocks for her quilts, so of course I had to try it.The result is Blue Ridge II.

The colors of the quilt blended with the colors of my chimney, where I stuck it up to be photographed

In case a viewer doesn’t get why there is a red triangle among the earth-sky-water tones, I backed the quilt with cardinal fabric 🙂 The fabric is from Cotton + Steel in 2018, before they left RJR.

The quilt is faced using the technique from Terry Aske’s tutorial, which worked very well.  Here are the quilt stats:

Blue Ridge II

  • 28.5 inches wide, 26.5 inches tall
  • The fabrics are batik scraps left from other projects
  • The backing is from RJR, a Cotton and Steel fabric from 2018
  • The piecing was inspired by Maria Shell’s tutorial on flying geese (link above)
  • The facing was done using Terry Aske’s tutorial (link above)
  • Quilt was pieced and quilted by me.  The batting is Quilter’s Dream Cotton, Request loft.

 

 

Linda Hahn: New York Beauty Expert (from Florida)

Linda Hahn is best know for her simplified method of making the New York Beauty block, one of quilting’s more elaborate and spectacular-looking designs.  She describes her New York Beauty method as, “one pin, no puckers, no cussing, and they come out perfect.”  Gotta love that!

Linda’s First New York Beauty Book

Linda also has a number of lovely individual patterns, including some that have nothing to do with New York Beauty. (Her patterns are available through QuiltWoman.com)  I have enjoyed making and teaching her Bermuda Sunrise pattern, so I looked her up while at the North Carolina Quilt Symposium, and she graciously agreed to an interview.

Bermuda Sunrise, one of Linda’s earlier designs that I enjoyed making and teaching

Linda’s workshops now focus mostly on her New York Beauty techniques, since this is a challenging block that many quilters would like to make.  Currently her most popular workshop is called “Feeling Crabby”.

Linda has written multiple books published by AQS. Her latest, New York Beauty Electrified, is due out this month.

When I interviewed her, Linda took the unusual step of leaving the room for a few minutes so I could ask students in her workshop to give their honest opinions!  They were enthusiastic about her teaching and seemed to be enjoying “Feeling Crabby”.  They described Linda as an even-tempered instructor who “lets you do it your way but comes right away if you need help.”

Image from Linda’s iquilt class

Linda teaches all over the country as well as on cruises, but if you want her workshop and can’t find a convenient location, I noticed her New York Beauty instruction is also available through iquilt, the AQS online class site.

Now that I’ve seen more of her beautiful work and met her, I want to take a New York Beauty class with Linda.  I went to her site, and she really, really, does have classes in a variety of locations!  You can find her schedule on her website.  I have enjoyed her patterns (yes, I’ve made more than just the Bermuda Sunrise!) and look forward to trying those elaborate spiky blocks.

Have you made New York Beauty blocks yet?

Augusta Cole: Variety is the Spice of Life

Augusta Cole’s motto is “Variety is the spice of life” and she travels with a lovely quilted wall hanging bearing that motto.  You can see the wall hanging and a good picture of her on the front page of her website.

Augusta designs and teaches beautiful scrap quilts that I’ve admired for years, and certainly scrap quilts have plenty of variety!.  She was one of the instructors at the North Carolina Quilt Symposium, so I took the opportunity to interview her.  I’ve been following her online ever since I found her Snappy, Scrappy Stars quilt pattern many years ago.  Here is one of the multiple versions I’ve made of that quilt (her version has a much fancier border):

I was unable to lift pictures from her site–which usually is how people want me to get pictures to go with my interviews–due to the format. These pictures of some of her quilts are those I took at the quilt symposium. 

Augusta says she has a lifelong history of crafting and keeping her hands busy.  She took up quilting after her second child was born, and “it came very naturally.”  A class with Karen Pervier was especially influential, and Karen remains a good friend.

After living in New York state and North Carolina, Augusta now lives in the Richmond (Virginia) area.  Since retiring from her career as a physical education teacher, she travels to teach quilting.  Her husband is supportive and even keeps the books for her!

I was unable to fit in a class with Augusta, but a friend who took her class really enjoyed it.  She reports Augusta is a lively and engaging teacher.  Augusta’s patterns are  available on her website.  (Go look at her pretty quilts even if you don’t need a pattern!).  I continue to be inspired by her many variations on scrap quilts.

Addendum: Here is a picture from Augusta’s Cutting Bee class, kindly provided by Chris Crouch:

 

A Month of Thankfulness

One of my fellow bloggers recently titled a post “Thirty Days of Thankfulness“, and that strikes me as a good idea.  Much of her post ended up being about making cards to thank people for various things, which seemed like a good idea, too.

Then another blogging friend, Chela, commented that the day after Halloween is WAY too soon to start Christmas music in the stores.  The combination got me thinking…

Maybe instead of the month of December being about shopping and decorating, it might be a time of reflecting on what we have to be thankful for.  Thanksgiving could be the kickoff, and that would give us exactly a month of thankfulness until Christmas.  Just saying.

It’s not difficult to think of something I’m thankful for every day, but since this is really a quilt blog, here are 10 quilty things for which I am thankful:

  1. My hands and eyes work well enough to make quilting fun.
  2. I learn something from every quilt I make.
  3. I’m thankful for my sewing machine!
  4. Many fabric designers and manufacturers provide wonderful fabrics for me to work with.
  5. I’m thankful for my rotary cutter!  Yes, I started quilting in the days before rotary cutters!
  6. Many people have taught me along the way, and I appreciate their contributions.
  7. Quilting books are an endless source of inspiration!
  8. I appreciate the way my blog puts me in touch with other quilters, and the way we share ideas.
  9. My quilt studio is well equipped, and this time of year I especially enjoy the wood heat.
  10. I’m thankful for the way quilting has helped me make good friends everywhere we’ve lived over the years.

What are you thankful for?  And yes, next week it’s back to our regularly-scheduled program with quilt pictures!  Thanks for stopping by.

 

Travel Inspires

As my friend Melanie recently pointed out, travel can inspire creativity. We just got back from a loooong drive across the country to New Mexico and back, and I took a few pictures of things that inspired me.First, we saw literally thousands of these wind generators across the flat, windy, high plains of West Texas and Oklahoma. The complex shape of the blades is quite an engineering feat by itself, even before the rest of the contraption is considered. It was great to see renewable energy in action, and these are attractive additions to the landscape in my opinion. (No, we never saw any dead birds near them, despite looking.  Research in Europe suggests this is mostly an urban myth.)

In New Mexico, I looked for the details that said “Southwest”.  These design elements are a kind of shorthand for “you are here” and I thought that idea would be useful in designing quilts (or anything else).  Here are a couple.

Stucco walls, turquoise trim, tile roof

Courtyard enclosed by a stucco wall with a wooden gate; tile accent along roof edge; flat roof

Now, I’m off to learn to organize my photos in Photoshop so I can find the rest of the pictures from the Southwest 😀