Little Jewels

I found a quilt like this somewhere online, and you know I love improvised scrap quilts, so I just had to make it!  (Sadly, I have lost the link, so if you know where this came from originally, please let me know.)

It’s always a great idea to offset the intersecting seams!

My quilter was able to use Minky Dot for the backing and quilt it with no batting. That makes the quilt nice and cuddly without being too heavy.

I have been informed that the grandchildren prefer the quilts backed with polyester fleece for cuddling. The lighter weight of the quilt without batting also makes it ideal for dragging around the house or building forts and tents.

Polyester fleece can be a challenge to quilt because it stretches in at least one direction. The quilter told me that a midarm or long arm quilting machine does not have feed dogs, so stretching was not a problem, though the tension was a problem at times.  I suppose I could do free motion quilting with the feed dogs down on my domestic machine, but walking foot quilting might stretch the back.

Minky backing with no batting allows the quilt to drape nicely

Quilt stats:

Name: Quilted Jewels

Pattern source: anonymous picture on internet

Finished size: 46″ x 62″

Quilted by: Julia Madison

Class With Maria Shell!!!

COVID rolled over my plans to attend the Vermont Quilt Festival (VQF) this past summer and take classes there with Maria Shell.  So imagine my excitement when I got an email from VQF offering one of Maria’s classes online!  (Here’s the link if you want to learn more.)

This is the Announcement from VQF

I signed up immediately and started gathering the materials–there really isn’t much needed in that department since I’ll be in my own studio for the class!  The class will be interactive, and the student information included lots of funny reminders like “Remember, we can see you.  Wear pants if you plan to stand up!”  I have no idea how to mute my microphone or much of anything else, so there’s no telling what they’ll see/hear from me, but I’ll be sure to be fully clothed 😀

As you may know, I love Maria’s book (here’s the link if you want to know more about the book.).

I’ve made some “mat-cut stripes” inspired by her, though I haven’t figured out yet what to do with them next,

as well as a little art quilt for which I used her method for making free-cut flying geese.

This quilt is titled “Blue Ridge–Cardinal”

One thing that is different about Maria’s technique for improvising is that she does NOT just combine fabrics randomly.  She looks to see if they go together visually before she sews.  Her quilts are graphic and striking, and I look forward to learning more from her.  I’ll let you know how it goes!  And here’s the link to Maria’s site if you want to explore her work more.

Just a reminder:  The links in this post are for your convenience; they are not affiliate links that generate money for me!

A 60 Year UFO!

My granny made quilts entirely by hand.  I watched her piecing, sitting by the window where the light was best.  I played under the quilt frame in the “front room” when a top was finished.  I never knew her to have friends over to help with the quilting; she did it all herself.  She tried to teach me to piece; the main thing I recall is the idea of loading multiple tiny stitches on the needle before drawing the thread through.  I remember a lot of her fabrics and was surprised to find these identical-appearing reproduction fabrics some years ago:

The darkest blue is an Aunt Grace print; I don’t know about the others

Based on the way her life went, I suspect Granny started quilting in the 1930s.  She would have stopped around 1960.  When Mother closed her house in the 1990s, I inherited Granny’s unfinished final quilt, which would mean Mother had it in storage for about 30 years, and I’ve had it about 30 years now.  In a closet.  In 5 different houses in which we’ve lived during that time.  Yikes.

vintage quilt

Some of the pieces I inherited

I’ve caught up with a LOT of UFOs during quarantine, and decided it was finally time to do something with Granny’s project. By my calculation this is about a 60 year UFO.

My guess from the sections already assembled is that Granny was working on Boston Commons.  I have a Boston Commons quilt she made, and didn’t want to mix reproduction fabrics with her fabrics to complete this one.  Therefore, I checked the size of her pieces and started picking them apart.  Then came the fun.

Granny used a seam allowance of LESS THAN a quarter inch, and finger pressed her seams open

Her stitches were so tiny that they are quite difficult to see and pick out, AND she backstitched at the beginning and end of each seam!  I pressed one seam closed, and when I blew the picture up to show the stitches I discovered holes from a different needle in the yellow fabric–the fabric was from a feed sack!  (Grandpa was a farmer.)

Her stitches were so tiny that they are very difficult to pick out! And she backstitched at the beginning and end of each seam!!!

Granny’s squares measure about 2-3/4 inches unfinished, and, as you may be able to see below, she trimmed off a little corner from each piece after she stitched the seam.  I guess she was determined to decrease bulk when she quilted it by hand!

Once I got a few pieces taken apart, I treated them with Terial Magic in the hope of avoiding further fraying.  I cut the squares down to 2-1/2″ to square them up and get rid of ragged edges, and I’m ready to put some of them together.  The plan is to make them into Arkansas Crossroads:

I tried out two yellows for background and decided on the lighter one, which is on order.

The first block of my Arkansas Crossroads

This may take a while to complete, but that will give me time to look for a “longest UFO” contest in which to enter it 😀

Barn Quilt to Wall Quilt to Lap Quilt

We live in a rural area and one of the barns I pass on the way to town has a quilt block on the end, where it is easily visible as you come around a big curve.I enjoy seeing the “quilt trail” quilts wherever I encounter them, though sometimes they look like something nobody in her right mind would make out of cloth.
This one is different. Its relatively simple design has a striking visual impact and it is something a person COULD make from cloth!.I thought it would make a good wall hanging or an unusual center for a medallion-style quilt.  Because of that, I drew it out in Electric Quilt. (I’ve been an EQ user since EQ5, and am now on EQ8!)

I submitted the design to a publishing group for a magazine, where it was accepted.  Then there were changes in publishing world and nothing happened for several months.  Eventually Eileen Fowler at McCall’s Quilting made a design of her own, giving me credit for inspiration.  It’s in the July/August 2020 issue of McCall’s Quilting, page 35.  Her quilt is lovely and easy!  Check it out!

And Melanie, please note that McCall’s Quilting was very ethical.  I probably wouldn’t have recognized Eileen’s quilt as based on mine, but they asked permission and gave credit.  It’s always nice when that happens.

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

7 Years and Counting!

As of this month, I’ve been blogging here every Sunday for 7 years!  I’ve debated what to do for my blogiversary, having largely skipped it last year.  My decision is to show my favorite quilt from each year I’ve blogged.  So here we go…

First year blogging:

scrap quilt

My entry for the Quilt Alliance Challenge 2014; I think it won a judge’s choice award

Second year:

I designed this quilt for Modern Quilts Unlimited

Third year:

Improv Table Runner for Modern Quilts Unlimited

Fourth year:

Quilt I designed from a QR code used by Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Northwest, shown here with their staff

Fifth year:

My donation to the Quilt Alliance auction was used in their publicity

Sixth year:

My “Little Green Man” quilt included Kraft-Tex applique

Seventh year:

I’ll have more to say about “Fiddlesticks” next week

Thanks for reading, and please stay tuned for Year 8 🙂

A Couple of Little Quilts

When I was going through my orphan blocks recently, I came across two blocks I wanted to finish as little art quilts.  Both were made for a contest some years ago and has since languished in the orphan bin. I’m not sure how many 12″ square quilts the world needs, but I have always liked these blocks, so I decided to finish them as little art quitls.

Obviously this first one was inspired by Piet Mondrian and mid-century modern.  I’ve since seen other quilts made with the same idea.

This second one I have turned into multiple quilts and blocks.  It was inspired by a college design class I took years ago.  At the time one of the “best” things to do in creating a design was to get a serious close-up showing only part of an object.  I still like that idea and use it a lot, along with other things I learned in that class. (Thanks, Mark!)

Do you have orphan blocks that could become little art quilts on their own?

I’m planning a couple more blogs on things to do with orphan blocks, so please stay tuned 🙂

And when making masks for friends and family, don’t forget the children.  They need to wear masks, too, if they must go in public.

Sewing Circle

My Mother used to have a group of friends called her “sewing circle” who met in each other’s homes to do hand work on a regular basis.  That was in the days when she didn’t work outside the home and neither did the other ladies–times have changed!  However, I still have a group of friends with whom I quilt regularly.  This little art quilt is in honor of that tradition.

I’d been seeing cute little quilts made with a narrow wedge ruler and wanted to do something similar.  I don’t have a narrow wedge ruler and wasn’t sure I wanted to make anything with pieces that small anyway, so I used my narrowest triangle ruler, a 45 degree wedge.

I cut the wedges with the ruler and just estimated the angle for the trapezoidal doors.  I cut the windows and roofs freehand.  The houses are made from some Jen Kingwell fabric left over from another project.  The background fabric says “cut, sew, repeat”.  I decorated the doors with tiny buttons for knobs and put a bird bead on one of the houses.

Quilt stats:  Sewing Circle

Finished size: 25-3/4″ x 25-3/4″

Designed, made, and quilted by me

It Was A Very Good Year

This year’s finishes:

One bed size quilt:

This isn’t as wonky as it looks, thank goodness! It’s just that I had trouble hanging it for the photo because it’s bigger than the design wall!

And a number of other quilts for various family, or for things I was teaching, or just because I wanted to:

A few of this year’s 13 donation quilts:

And finally, some table runners, art quilts, etc:

These projects were started this year but still aren’t finished:

Yes, quitting my day job really improved my productivity 😀

Improvised Table Runners

Several years ago I made this table runner by my own improvisational method.

modern table runner

Then I made this one, same method, using a lovely group of crossweave fabric.It was accepted for publication in a magazine, and I wrote the instructions, but the magazine ceased publication just before the issue in which my runner was to appear!

While developing the article for Crossweave Runner 1, I made Crossweave Runner 2 so I could take some process photos.

So, while cleaning the studio recently, I found two partially finished runners, the one above and the one below.

I finished these last two runners, and that’s about enough of those for now! It’s good to get even a little project finished and out of the way, especially right before the holidays when I’m thinking about gifts for folks!