2020 Quilt Review, Part I

Every problem being an opportunity, I think we’ll review the projects completed in 2020 because of the opportunity to spend much more time at home 😀  In fact, I got so much done that I’m splitting it into two posts so my head doesn’t spin.  Here’s part I:

Plaidish was made from a free pattern available from Kitchen Table Quilts

I designed the quilt above based on a barn quilt I saw every time I drove to town.  The design was created in EQ8 and Eileen Fowler at McCall’s Quilting transformed it into a design of her own, giving me credit for inspiration.

The above quilt was designed in EQ8 and made with scraps.  Studio Stitch offered the pattern free with purchase.  I loved using all my colorful scrap strips.

I made a bunch of postcard-sized art quilts as samples for a class I plan to teach on making landscape quilts.  COVID happened, so the class hasn’t been offered yet.

I designed and made this little neighborhood after seeing similar projects online. Isn’t the internet a great source of inspiration?

I made a bunch of donation quilts, including the two above constructed from orphan blocks.  Several quilts went to a local at-risk infant project, and there’s another pile waiting to go to Ronald McDonald House.

I took a class with friends at A Stitch in Time and made this fall quilt.  They still have the pattern if you want to make one, too.

I made this orphan block up into a little quilt for the SAQA auction.

Like everyone else, I made a zillion of these. At least my model is cute 🙂

I enjoyed making this quilt and the templates from Elisa’s Backporch made it easy.

That is surely enough for one post!  To be continued…

Catching Up

Catching up on a few things that happened over the holidays:

First, Julie contacted me about an error in a pattern I did for McCall’s Quick Quilts back in 2006.  It was nice to know somebody was still using the pattern!  The magazine probably published a correction in the next issue, but I was out of town so didn’t have access to either my original article or the magazine.  Julie figured it out on her own, however, and I think she did a great job.  She was kind enough to send me pictures of her finished placemats:

Second, I got 3 quilts bound.  Oh yes, I blogged about the first two before the binding was complete, taking care to hide the edges!  Here they are:

Little Jewels, from a pattern by The Quilt Police

Quilt from Pat Sloan’s “Going on a Picnic” quilt along

I finally bound this quilt, which was a practice piece for a pattern I developed last fall

Third, Studio Stitch is now offering the pattern I developed to make this quilt:

The pattern is free with purchase of enough FQs to make the smallest size, but you don’t have to buy the same fabrics I used.  Since I’m always looking for an excuse to buy more FQs, this seems perfect to me 😀

On to 2021!

The Tula Quilt: Better Late Than Never!

A friend and I decided to work together on Tula Pink’s City Sampler quilt. We liked the variety of the blocks and the tiny pieces in some of them. Since I really prefer not to make the same block twice, 100 different blocks were appealing.

And yes, I know everybody else made this quilt years ago. I’ve seen several beautiful examples.

Anyway, here are a few of my blocks so far. If some of them don’t look right, that’s because I made a substitute for any block I didn’t care for 😀And finally, my favorite block so far:
What have you been up to?

Avoiding Half Square Triangles

Half square triangles are an important design element in many quilts. The split value and diagonal line allow a variety of dynamic designs.

This is a Half Square Triangle (HST)

One of my quilt groups has been discussing HSTs because some of us love them and some have limited tolerance for them. It matters because we regularly do block exchanges.

One member recently sent a picture of a beautiful depression block quilt, and that got the discussion going again. A depression block quilt is made entirely of HSTs!

This is a typical block from a Depression Quilt

 

This is a traditional Depression Block Quilt made entirely with HSTs

Not being much of a rule-follower, I got to speculating about how we might make this quilt using strips instead of HSTs. (Yes, I get that the original idea was to use up small scraps, but what if you just wanted the overall effect without all those HSTs?) My friend Mary B encouraged me to develop this idea, so here we go.

I did a number of experiments with Electric Quilt 8 (EQ8), which produced all the illustrations for this post.  I learned that the most important element in the success of this quilt is contrast between the values (rather than the colors) of the fabrics. (All the illustrations use Fossil Fern fabrics from the EQ8 fabric library.)

I first tried drawing a block that used strips of lights and darks in place of the rows of triangles. This would simplify construction significantly.

Here’s the block:

Depression block effect without the HSTs

And here’s the quilt:

Then I tried a traditional Courthouse Steps block set on point to mimic the depression block effect.

Here’s the block:

And here’s the quilt:

Finally, I changed up the color arrangement in the traditional Courthouse Steps block to provide more variation.

Here’s the block:

And the quilt:

So! I’m not sure my variations are a good substitute for the traditional Depression Block quilt, but it was fun and I do like the quilts. What do you think, Mary B? 

Designing to Avoid Intersecting Seams

My friend Chela asked about designing to avoid intersecting seams.  The goal is to make a quilt less “fussy” to construct. Here are 3 ways to do that. Thanks for the idea, Chela!

One of the easiest ways to avoid intersecting seams is to move alternate rows over 1/2 block. This can create interesting designs that you wouldn’t have suspected if you hadn’t tried it!

My most recent example is a quilt I designed for Studio Stitch:

Lightening. Read about it in last week’s post if you like.

Of course, many traditional patterns depend on the blocks lining up exactly to create visual interest.  They might not benefit from shifting half a block!  Just look at this:

Another favorite way to avoid obvious intersections is to partially frame blocks so that they appear offset. The intersections get lost in the background and the design is much more interesting. One of my favorite examples of this is the BQ2 pattern by Maple Island Quilts. 

I taught a class with this pattern and called it “Easier Than It Looks” because it is! The design looks complex but in reality it is just a matter of framing and rotating blocks. Here’s the quilt I made as a sample for the class:

Another example of partially framed blocks is my recent “Little Jewels” quilt:

And good news!  I tracked down the origin of this design and you can find instructions for it free on this website.

Here is an example of one block.

The “trick” is that each block is framed on two sides, making it asymmetrical.  Then alternate blocks are rotated 180 degrees so that any sense of quilt rows is lost!  Make a couple of scrap blocks and try it–it’s magic!  In truth, there are the usual intersections between blocks but the corners are almost impossible to see 😀

Finally, making blocks of different sizes certainly can be used to avoid intersecting seams. I consider this a design-as-you-go process and it does take both time and confidence, but it works well.  Here is one I made ages ago:

art quilt, gwen marston

Refrigerator quilt inspired by Gwen Marston. Bev Manus came up with the idea for refrigerator quilts.  Finished size 12″ x 12″

And here are some recent blocks up on the design wall to test a potential background fabric:

These blocks are all the same size (will finish 6″) but the sashing will be variable.  I’m setting them in vertical rows with variable distances between the rows, and variable distances between the blocks within each row!  No way will there be anything to line up 😀

Have a good week and share any tricks you have to avoid fussy intersections!

A Quilt for A Man (or anyone)

It’s sometimes difficult to think of a quilt design to make for a man, and can be even more difficult to find fabrics that don’t seem too “girly” or cute. Leaving aside the options of fabrics featuring beer labels or half naked women, I thought muted blue and brown would be a good option.

And of course, Studio Stitch had the perfect fabric collection! Here’s the quilt:

And here’s a secret:  I used flannel (the 108″ wide backing flannel) for both the batting and the backing!  As you can see, it drapes beautifully.  An added advantage was that flannel sticks to itself pretty well, so there was no trouble with layers shifting when I quilted it.

Having made it, I wrote up the pattern for Studio Stitch. They will be offering it free with purchase. I don’t know details, so if you’re interested, go to  their website  and sign up for the newsletter and they’ll let you know.  (Newsletter signup is just below the big picture on the front page).

Have a good Thanksgiving and STAY SAFE!

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

Perfect! A Book Review

If you have something but can’t find it, do you really have it?                              –Lilo Bowman

Love Your Creative Space, by Lino Bowman, turned out to be the perfect book at the perfect time for me.. When I read the sentence quoted above, it struck a nerve!

Photo courtesy of C&T

Here’s my stash of backing fabric before:

The fabric was folded and stacked, which made it hard to see.

I’m pretty sure some of that fabric hadn’t been touched in several years because I couldn’t see it and therefore didn’t know it was there.

And here’s the after:Fabrics are rolled so I can see and pull them out easily, and they are tagged with the size!  Woo!

Lilo’s book is about both studio design and organization.  I loved every part of it, but here are some favorites:

There are ideas on organization and storage for many types of creative supplies, not just quilting things.  She has many photos from real studios to give the reader ideas.

Photo courtesy of C&T

Some of the studio photos look to me like they were done by a decorator, which I am not!  And some were very realistic-looking in my opinion!

Photo courtesy of C&T

The book also addresses ergonomic studio design, including sewing machine set-up, which I found especially helpful.

Photo courtesy of C&T

.In addition to studio ideas for “most people”, Lilo discusses adaptations that many of us will need as we age, or simply as a result of our physical limitations.  There is one especially nice chapter on how one woman adapted to being partially paralyzed after a stroke.  

This is not just a book for quilters, though I found it very helpful in my quilting studio.  There is an emphasis on making the creative space attractive “without breaking the bank”, as the subtitle says.  You can learn more about the book here.

Note:  C&T sends me lots of books and I review my favorites so you don’t have to hunt around to find the best books.  Of course, “best” is my personal opinion 😀

It Happened This Way…

A friend and I made Pat Sloan’s weekly blocks for her Going on a Picnic quilt. It gave us something to look forward to when the blocks came out each Wednesday and we enjoyed exchanging pictures of our blocks. Here’s my finished quilt top, though some of the blocks are NOT what Pat designed. If I didn’t like hers, I just made my own.

Meanwhile, my husband and I decided to lease a house for part-time use near where our grandchildren live. It’s a long story and not about quilting, so I’m not elaborating here. However, it came to mind that the house might not have window coverings. So all my quilt backs got packed to move in case we need temporary “curtains”.

And then I finished the quilt top, now known as “The Elvis Quilt”.

Elvis on The Elvis Quilt

There was no quilt back available, and I wanted to get it to the quilter before the moving van arrived. Therefore, I took all the leftover fabric from the quilt top and combined it with leftover pieces from a gray quilt back, and here it is.

It took all day to do this, with time out for packing, laundry, etc. Now I know why I buy the wide quilt backs. Anyway, a good quilt back is a done quilt back!

Hope you have a good week!

A COVID Swap

As for so many people, I have missed scheduled retreats with my usual group due to COVID. The situation appears set to drag on for a while more, so we decided on a monthly block swap to give us something to look forward to.

We take turns deciding what the block will be. All blocks are made from batiks and all finish 9″ square, but there are no other “rules”. Here are the blocks I’ve made or received so far.Obviously this is going to be more than one quilt. The original rule was make one block for each person each month, but mostly we’ve done 2 for each. And, as you might suspect, the most over-scheduled person in the group made 3 for each last month!

What are you doing to make up for missing your quilt group?

Have fun and stay safe.