Happy As a Clam?

This is a little art quilt I started years ago just for fun.  It took quite a while to figure out how to make the clam and finish the quilt.

The “clamshells” were made by cutting out circles from fusible fabric and arranging them ever-so-carefully in rows.  I then fused the whole thing, and there it sat for a couple of years.  I considered adding a layer of netting, but ultimately just quilted it in waves.

I drew the clam early on but couldn’t decide how to put it on the quilt.  I considered thread sketching, drawing and coloring with pigma pens, etc.  I wanted a method that wouldn’t risk ruining the quilt if I didn’t get the clam right the first time!

Finally I read Karen Fricke’s article about thread sketching on stabilizer in my copy of The Best of Quilting Arts. (This book is an excellent resource, but it’s “old” so you probably can get it used.)  That method worked perfectly for me.  I was able to create the clam and then attach him to the quilt.  I printed the question mark on fabric and then cut it out and attached it.  For the dots going to his dialogue bubble I did, finally, have to draw directly on the quilt.

The edge is finished with satin rat-tail, a technique I learned in another class.

Quilt stats:

Name: Really? Clamshells?

Original design

Techniques: Fusible applique, machine quilting, thread sketching, drawing and coloring with permanent markers

Finished size:16″ x 16″

Quilted by me

Elizabeth’s Village

My blogging friend Elizabeth (OP Quilt) has designed a number of nice patterns and I recently found myself “forced” to make one because it is so cute.  Here is one of her samples.

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Eastman

She has given instructions for multiple variations in the pattern.  (I love all of them.)

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Eastman

Naturally, I didn’t quite follow the pattern.  I had some cute fabric left from another project so used it for the town square in the center.

When I was finished, I wanted to make the quilt large enough to be used as a donation quilt (crib size), so I ordered some wilderness fabric to surround the town.

And here’s the finished quilt:

Quilt Stats

Name:  Elizabeth’s Village

Pattern:  Merrion Square, by Elizabeth Eastmond

Finished size: 39″ x 39″

Quilted by:  Julia Madison

And yes, I used the same fabric for binding as for the border.  You may want to check out Elizabeth’s beautiful projects on her blog and website: OPQuilt.com.

If you’re interested in her patterns, they are available through Payhip.

Serendipity Quilt

Due to a series of fortunate events, I made this quilt:

Here’s how it happened.  You may recall that C&T sends me quilt books and products to review, and if I really like them I write about them here.  So a while back I received this book:

Photo Courtesy of C&T

Then a couple of weeks later, I entered a contest sponsored by Pineapple Fabrics and my project was a runner up.  They sent a wonderful box of pre-cuts, including a jelly roll.  So the only question was which quilt to make!  The book had many attractive options, including these:

Photo courtesy of C&%

Photo courtesy of C&T

I eventually chose the lattice quilt because it looked so do-able.  And it was!  The instructions even suggested designing your own spacing for the border, and you know how I like doing my own thing, so that was great.

Here’s a picture of the pretty flowers quilted on it by Julia Madison:

If you are thinking of making this quilt, know that it was fast, easy, and fun.  I did flip some of the seams when joining the pieces so the seams would match up well at the intersections.

Quilt Stats

Name:  Serendipity

Pattern source:  Love Jelly Roll Quilts, pictured above

Finished size:  51″ x 61″

Quilted by:  Julia Madison

The Latest Baby Quilt

Here’s a quilt made from some blocks for a class I taught,  plus a few 5″ squares that were in the stash.

Look at the very fancy design quilted by Julia Madison!

And here’s a picture of the back.

I liked this quilt so well that I sent it to the newest member of our extended family, since we attended his parents’ wedding and even saw his Mother fairly recently.

Quilt stats:

Name: None; recipient is welcome to name it

Size: 40″ x 40″

Pattern: This is a variation of a block I learned from Barbara Lenox years ago

Fabric: Scraps from many years, as you probably can see!

Quilted by: Julia Madison

Candy Cubes

Remember this? I started on the quilt on page 34 soon after I got the book

I didn’t like the first background fabric I chose:

So I took the quilt all apart and put it together again, this time with the background fabric matching the centers so that the blocks look like square lifesavers.  I’m calling it “Candy Cubes”.

To be honest, I’m not sure I like the new background fabric any better–the value is too close to the value of the cubes, even though the color is different. But a done quilt is a good quilt, so I’m on to the next project. 

I still like the pattern and enjoyed making the quilt.  And I still think it would be a great “make your second quilt” class.

Quilt Stats:

Name: Candy Cubes

Pattern SourceNew Patchwork & Quilting Basics by Jo Avery

Finished size: 53″ x 77″

Fabric:  Cubes are Moda Grunge.  I don’t know what the background fabric is.

Quilted by: Julia Madison

What I might do different next time: Change the cube fabric rather than the background fabric.

I love the fabric on the quilt back, too!

Those Pesky Orphan Blocks

What do you do with orphan blocks (individual or just a few blocks left over once a quilt is finished)?

Here is a recent view of my stash of orphan blocks:

Yes, that bin is full of smaller orphan blocks, with the big orphans stacked on top!

Obviously something needs to be done!

I got the orphan blocks out recently and selected all those that finished 12″ square.  I combined them into two donation quilts, which finished 42″ square.

You may (or may NOT) notice that there are both white and cream backgrounds in the quilt.  I say, “so what?”  It would be even less noticeable if there were more of each.  Even with just a few blocks it looks OK to me.  Sure, if I were planning from scratch I might make the backgrounds all the same.  But for a scrap quilt I think the white-vs-cream distinction is much ado about nothing. (Are you with me, Laura?)

Let me know what you think.  Does it look “off” to you?  Or do you not even notice?  Would you do this on purpose, perhaps using white and cream randomly in different blocks?

More posts on orphan blocks to come, for obvious reasons 😀

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

An Easy Donation Project

Pineapple Fabrics recently sent an email requesting blocks to be made into quilts for Brenner Children’s Hospital.  Some days I feel completely overwhelmed with making donation quilts, but this looked easy and fun.  They asked for applique pineapple blocks, using a template they provided.

Here are mine:

A couple of my quilting buddies made even more, and Chela even used Dr. Seuss fabric for hers!

Here is the link to the Pineapple Pieces Project if you are interested.  Full disclosure: these blocks were as fun and easy as they looked, I also appreciated not having to make a whole top and quilt it!

And I have donated this little art quilt of to the Studio Art Quilt Association’s annual auction.

Quarantine has provided a lot of good quilting time, though I miss getting together with my quilting buddies!  I hope you are finding benefits to enforced time at home, too.