Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Tree Skirts

I've been busy for the last couple of weeks making Christmas tree skirts.  The Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild challenge for November was Christmas projects, so I made one skirt, then two, and now I'm up to 5.

Big Packages

The first one features fabric that I was too embarrassed to use up to now.  It got a good laugh when I showed it at the VMQG meeting.  The band I'm in had our 20th anniversary concert the end of November, and I put the tree skirt quilt into the silent auction we had during the concert and it went to $150!!  The yellow centre has spelled out in nice printing, "Dear Santa, Please bring me BIG Packages this year."

I got an 6 sided one pieced too.  It just needs to be quilted.

Then I did a star shaped one, but made it so complex that it took a while to get it pieced. 

Next is the start of an argyle one, that may end up as a table topper rather than a tree skirt.  I'll have to figure out who to give it to and what they would probably prefer.

Today, all day, I went from start to finish piecing a Christmas Tree Christmas Tree Skirt.
I put together a tutorial on how to make it.  Just click on the Tutorial link on the top of the right side column.  Let me know if you try it and let me know if I need to make anything clearer.
My inspirations for this skirt are:

Friday, September 17, 2010

Two variations on a Ringle and Kerr design

Western Washington Quilt Shop Hop
I went down to the Western Washington Quilt Shop Hop In June with two friends, Lawanda and Ross.  Lawanda won a prize in one of the 4 stores we got to, and picked a magazine, Spring 2010 Quilts and More from Better Homes and Gardens, because she liked the quilt on the cover.  Later when I was going through the magazine, I realized that the quilt on the cover is designed by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr, the authors of my favourite quilt book, the Modern Quilt Workshop.

Orange Variation
The quilt instructions are for a big queen size quilt, and I can never get ones that big quilted, so I halved all the dimensions and put together a quarter size quilt.  The quilt is designed to use big size prints, so even if each of my blocks was quarter sized, I used big Kaffe Fasset prints anyway.  I only used 4 patterned fabrics, 3 Kaffe Fasset, and the circle/dotted one that was actually designed for the Western Washington Quilt Shop Hop.  I was "auditioning" solids for the narrow separators and started with the orange in the middle rows (analogous).  Then I tried the green (triad), then the blue (complement).  I actually like them all, so I used them all.

Blue Variation
Then I found the quilt sore on Saltspring Island when I was there for a weekend visiting, and bought a stack of blue Kaffe Fasset fat quarters.  There was a bright pink Kona solid in the stack so I used that as the separator colour.  I had 7 different prints so there's one of each in each row.

I really like white as the background, so trying a blue is a stretch for me.

I have another stack of 12 rows with white separators that I thought I'd try on a yellow background.  I really like a blue and yellow combination - sort of French Provincial.  I used a little bit of the yellow for the binding on the orange quilt.

I just can't leave the back of my quilts unpieced, so here's what I did on these two.

The blue back is another Ringle and Kerr design.  The quilt on their site has 14 inch blocks, but I sized mine down to 8 inch blocks.  I cut most of the left over fabric into 2 inch strips then sewed them together into a long strip.  I sewed 4 inch white strips on both sides of the 2 inch strip, then cut it across into 8.5 inch squares. Fast and easy and not much planning, just let the coloured strips randomize themselves!

For the orange back, I used the left over fabric from the front.  I added white to the selvage edges to make the fabric the width of the front.  Then I sewed them  together with a strip of colour between each.  That looked too blah, so I sliced it vertically twice, rotated the centre piece 180 degrees, then sewed it back together with strips of colour between them again.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My stack of UFOs

I'm the type of quilter that loves piecing, but hates quilting.  This means my stack of UFOs just keeps getting bigger and bigger.  Out of the 10 quilt tops that are laying around, I've got a stack of 8 that I'm determined to - I don't want to say finish so how about - crack, attack, make a stab at.  Here are 4 of them.

New Wave
This one is a "New Wave" quilt from Oh, Fransson!  I went literal and made it from Hawaiian prints I got in Hilo several years ago.  It's a poly blend so it sort of feels icky, which means I lost interest once I got it to this stage.  It's near the top of the stack to get done so I can post it in Oh Fransson!s flicker pool.

Crazy Nine Patch Lattice
The next on is also an Oh, Fransson! pattern too, the Crazy Nine Patch Lattice Quilt.  This one's in the greens that my big half square triangle quilt is done in. 

I sort of regret the light green squares in between the lattice.  I may end up replacing them with a darker colour or maybe a crisp white.  That pale green is a "lost opportunity".  I got that phrase from the "Modern Quilt Workshop" book by Ringle and Kerr.  They use that phrase about choosing your binding.  A safe or boring binding is a lost opportunity to make the quilt spectacular.

Sock Monkey Gallery
This one features some sock monkey print that I really like.   I framed the little fussy-cut monkeys in white, then added a wide floral mat then a blue or gray frame to make this quilt a gallery of finely framed monkeys.  Classy and silly.

VMQG Challenge 1
Challenge 1 from the VMQG
The last one for today is a challenge quilt from the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild.   The guild has been meeting for 2 months now and I volunteered to come up with a challenge for the first meeting.  I had bought other colours of the sock monkey fabric, so I fussy cut 40 monkeys and supplied a strip of white to frame it.

The challenge was to improv piece from your own stash around the monkey fabric to come up with a 12.5 inch wonky block.  We got 28 blocks back at the next monthly meeting with a promise of another 10 for the upcoming meeting.  We laid out all the blocks and tried to figure out how to divide them into sets that would go together.  We sent 12 ones that had a polka dot fabric theme with a guild member to put together.  I took the rest home and put this one together.  Since there was really no rhyme or reason to try to match the blocks, I ended up pulling out the 4 lightest coloured blocks and was left with all the darker ones.  I had used a drop shadow effect on a baby quilt and tried it out again.  I think it works well on the blocks that have a solid colour frame around it (bottom 2 rows), but sort of gets lost on the ones that have busy edges (top 2 rows).

photo by Sonja Callaghan
Once the rest of the blocks come in, I may put some on the back of this one if there's extras.

Here's the blocks and their creators from the August meeting of the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild.  I'm at the back left with two blocks.

Monday, August 23, 2010

My Personal Quilt Challenge

Here's my challenge. I'm going to finish one quilt a month until all the tops I've got stacked up are quilted.

This blog is where I'm going to monitor my progress.

I think I have about 15 quilt tops stored in various boxes and in various piles just waiting to be quilted. Some have been there for 12 years now. The oldest is probably a pinwheel one I made from all my dress shirts that I cut up when I quit my job at the Royal Bank. The newest is from yesterday when I tried to figure out how to do Oh, Fransson!'s chopped vegetables block.

I took my friends Ross and Lawanda to the Ladner Quilt and Car Show (you know something for the ladies and something for their husbands). Nothing spectacular there quilt-wise, but I ran into Paula from the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild, and she mentioned that another guild she was in did a UFO (un-finished objects) challenge. It goes something like this. Everyone takes a photo of an unfinished object and "registers" it with the guild for 5 dollars. You register as many UFOs as you want. Then you have a date about 3-6 months down the road to get all your UFOs finished. For each UFO one you finish, you qualify for a prize or are put in a draw for fabulous prizes.

Here's the first big UFO that I have finished since joining the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild.
My inspiration came from buying a great bundle of half yards in green on Etsy. While on vacation, I added more greens and ended up with about 10 different fabrics. I added in three solids - two greens and one orange, since 5 of the fabrics had a bit of orange in them.

I really like the regimented repeating triangles in this layout. I think it makes the quilt look very graphic and modern.

I like making the backs inter-esting, so I do some piecing there too. Usually it's a lot more free form, but this one I drew out and had to keep calculating how many hst I would need for each diamond. I spaced them out and made several sizes of diamonds for the back and am very pleased with how it turned out.

I call the quilt Half Square Triangle Variations 2010.