Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lots of new quilt tops

Over the last month I've made lots of quilt tops, but haven't really got backs ready for them.  Here's a mostly picture post of what I've been working on.


This egg quilt was inspired by a quilt on flicker that was inspired by a rug in a home decor catalogue.  I made rectangular blocks using one fat quarter of the Malka Dubrawsky print and some matching Kona yellow  and grey linen look print.

Low Volume

Then I tried a low volume version with a pastel lilac feature print and some linen and textured woven cotton and a coordinating Kona blue.  I'm not as pleased with it as the egg one, but once I sew the blocks together, I might like it more.   The egg blocks are 8 x 13 and the low volume are 12.5 x 9.5.  I think the long narrow ones are more dynamic than the more square ones.

Gees Bend Jeans

I finished off* my Gees Bend inspired jeans quilt.  I found my old black jeans and used them to make the last two blocks.  Over all, the complexity looks nice, but somehow it seems like a lot of unwashed jeans.  I used a rough cream coloured linen as the light fabric and that seems to add to the dingy dirty look.  I think I'll call this one "dirty hippies".
* by finished of, I mean I got the top done and have now lost interest.


I selected a group of Japanese water prints for this Ringle and Kerr pattern called Stacks.  The prints are very watery with Koy fish, reeds, clouds and ginko leaves.  However when I cut them up, the prints lost their oomph.  I added the large squares of fabric along one side and set them off with wide background strips and I really love the asymmetry of the layout.  Now what to do for the back?

Sunny Side

 With my Gem 5 and Gem 10 rulers I made a huge sun for the back of the wonky star quilt

The rulers make it easy for everything to fit together easily.  The only tricky part was getting the sky blue cut so that it fit in easily.  The only Y seam was putting together the pentagon shape of the 5 identical triangles.  You can see them between each of the outside points.  Everything else, even the background blue was all straight seams.
 Here's the wonky star top that will be on the other side of the big sun.

Mustard and Blue

And here's a simple 7x7 grid of 2 inch squares with a few missing.  I'll make the back identical but will make the background colour Kona curry.  It's a lovely mustard colour that goes with everything.  I'll use the same civil war reproduction fabrics for the squares.  Maybe I'll set the little squares closer together and off set them on the quilt - like in a corner.  I hope the blue fabric doesn't look so two toned once I get it quilted.  I guess the direction of the weave is affecting the picture.


We did a "baggie of scraps" exchange/challenge at the last guild meeting.  I ended up with two baggies, so I started with the "extra" bag and had enough to make a big gear.  The gear is 17 inches across, so I think I'll make it into a cushion cover and piece together a striped binding for it.  Now that the piecing is done, I'm ready to move on.  ... must...finish...projects....
 My second bag of scraps is all muted oranges browns yellows and some greens.  No big ideas yet.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Big Wheel

I'm still coming up with a name for this one.

I bought a big 10degree wedge that I really wanted to try out.  At the VMQG meeting at Trout Lake, I won a 1/2 meter of Cynthia's newly designed fabric. The wedge is about 20 inches long, so I cut the fabric in half at the centre fold, then cut out all the wedges I could.  I then cut out white wedges and sewed them all together, alternating the fabric and the white.

I needed 2 more coloured wedges, so I went through my solids looking for scraps and I pieced together two more wedges - can you figure out which?
 It took a while to decide on the colour for the background.  I went with Kona Curry, the colour that sets off anything and everything.  It's such a fantastic colour!  I chose a dark blue as the binding as it matches the blue in the featured fabric.  Since I had to go to Spool of Thread to get the blue, I bought a strip of the featured fabric so I could do something on the back. 
The big circle and the rectangles on the back are purposely off centered.  It's artistic, really!

This is the "grown-up" quilt for a 14 year old boy, William.  His mom threw away his baby quilt after the dogs ruined it.  William was upset when he found out, so my dad asked me to make him a replacement quilt that William could keep through his adult life.

I just need to show this off at the guild meeting and get some photos off to Cynthia, the fabric designer.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Trunk Show Part 5 - Small Quilts

Here's some odds and ends - small quilts that were tests of techniques or trial runs.

Face Quilts

I made a couple face quilts.  I had seen some like this on the internet and loved the simplicity and the big bold slabs of colour.
 I pieced in the lettering and love the "pokerface" expression.

This blue guy was without a back for a long time.  I made the back when we had a challenge to make a quilt that represents you - so I did my current hairstyle.

30's reproduction boxes

I love Kona solids.   Here I paired them up with 30's reproductions to make really simple blocks.  I like how the drop shadows give a great dimension to these ordinary blocks.  I made about 50 of these blocks, some with the solid on the outside, some with the solid on the inside.
Here's one for Katherine and a pillow for her sister Mollie.  They were next door neighbours.
Baby Quilt 1
And here one for Marissa, my Cousin's little girl
Notice I was still using tone on tone backgrounds here.  I hadn't fully embraced solids yet.

These are mini versions of a design by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr

I tried it in orange on white, all blues and this one, blue on yellow.  When the next niece or nephew comes along, I'll put a back on it and give it away.  The blues are all Kaffe Fassett prints and so are all but one of the orange fabrics.

I was working with my colour wheel trying out complementary, analogous and triads for the bars between the orange fabrics.  It turns out there are no rules - everything works.   I had fun with the backs, using up the rest of the Kaffe Fassett prints.

 Japanese Quilt

This is a little test I made with some Japanese prints.  My friend Hisayo told me I shouldn't have mixed the seasons - there are plum and cherry blossoms, which are fine, but I shouldn't have included the chrysanthemums.  They are from a different season.  I'm finding out that the mustard-gold colour goes great with everything.  The colour is Curry from the Kona solids line.  Terry Ashe from the VMQG has used it in several quilts she has shown at the guild meetings, I have to thank her for introducing me to it.

Beach Ball Quilt

 I decided I was going to master insetting circles, so I made some circles and tried several tutorials and found out you just have to cut accurately and sew an accurate 1/4 inch seem and it works fine.  Most wrinkles can get ironed out and quilted out.
I put together wedges, then cut them into an off centered circle.  Then cut a hole in the background fabric exactly 1in. in diameter less than the circle.  When you sew it together with a 1/4 in. seam it will fit.  Since the circles looked like beach balls, I made the back like a towel we had that we used at the beach.  The "wrinkles" are on purpose.  If there's ever a niece or nephew needing a quilt, I'll finish this one.

Music of the Planets quilt

This little quilt is inspired by one of Dan of the Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild. A friend of mine found recordings made by the Voyager Space Craft as it passed by the planets.  It's not just static, there's chords, sustained tones, pops, booms, cool rhythms and unexpected changes.  I quilted vibrating lines between the planet's paths on this quilt.  One day I'll figure out what colour to bind it in and will get it finished.  One day...
The blue planets are made of squares from my box of left-overs from other quilts.  The big circle was too big for the front, so I put half on front and half on the back.  I inset the blue circles into the orange circles, then inset those into the background.  I still haven't decided how to quilt the blue areas. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Trunk Show Part 4 - First Steps into Modern

Wonky Squares Quilts

I'm in a community band.  When I mentioned that I quilt, three of my band mates said they always wanted to make a quilt, so, we started a little quilt group and met at my place when ever we could and each made two quilts.  We started with a Wonky Square quilt and each made blocks in our own colour palate, and level of wonkiness.

Here's mine

I was thinking about avocado and harvest gold appliances when I chose the fabrics.  Each block started with a slightly skew rectangle and was then built out in rings with different widths of the same colour.  At the end I squared up the blocks with white and used my 12.5 inch square ruler to cut it to size.  When I laid it out, the blocks were too close together, so I added in a 2 inch sashing of the background colour and got a nice overall wonky feel.  I quilted it in small overlapping rectangles on my oldest sewing machine - the one mom and dad got just after they were married.

Kenzie's quilt was all yellow-orange and purple-blue.

Her blocks ended up more square and she "engaged the edge" by cutting some blocks in half and putting them around the quilt as if her quilt is just a small part of a larger pattern.  She used batics as well as prints.  She didn't use any sashing, and with these blocks, you really didn't need to get the intersections to match up, since it's all white around each block.  This is a really good beginner quilt since there's really no corners and seems to match up.

Lawanda's quilt is jagged blue, green and brown.

These blocks were trickier to square up since there's big areas of white triangles around most of the blocks.

Hisayo's quilt is pink and light green
Half of her centres are black and half are maroon and two are green.  It took her forever to figure out how to lay it out such that she was happy with it.  Some people just can't embrace wonkiness! 

Here's all of the quilts together
Wonky Squares Quilts from our quiltcircle

Before we quilted them, we made a kids sized disappearing 9 patch quilt and practiced our quilting skills on them, then went back to the big ones.
IMG_0572_med disappearing 9 patch baby quilt
disappearing 9 patch baby quilt

Lawanda and I gave our quilts away to friends with babies.  Kenzie kept hers for her own baby boy who was born soon after the quilt was made.  We all used the same red sailors and yellow puppies and light blue boats fabrics.  I did 3 stacked coins strips across the back of mine and appliqued a P for Preston.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Trunk Show Part 3 - Still Pre-Modern

Here's some more traditional quilts that I made in the late 80s early 90s.

Irish Chains

Several quilts

The big green one on the back is a triple Irish chain that my mother and aunt hand quilted on a big frame in Chilliwack.  My aunt and oma have made thick satin quilts for all the girls for their weddings which were filled with a thick batting of carded wool.  The quilting in that kind of quilt is quite wide spread and contains hearts and diamonds in the borders.  Mom and Dad have one that got them through the Saskatchewan winters when they first married.  I had mom and aunty Martha just follow the dark green squares and do diagonal lines across the quilt.  This one got stolen from a house I was renting.  The police figured they wrapped all the stuff they took in it so it looked like they were just heading down the street to the laundry-mat or something.

The blue single Irish chain was for a good friend Michael who shared the house I was living in.  I think his mother has it now.  Single Irish chain quilts are easy to do.  Just make a bunch of 9 patches that look like the 5 face of a dice, then alternate them with solid squares the same size as the whole 9 patch. 

Stack and Whack

A stack n wack

I always wanted to do a stack and whack, but I really hated this one once I got this far.  So I gave it to a friend, Vince, who said he loved it and would finish it.  I think the feature fabric wasn't the best for this technique.  I think I got it because the repeat was very close so I wouldn't have to buy a lot to get 8 repeats for the pinwheels.  And I don't like the yellows or the green.  Makes me wonder why I even started it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Now that I've facilitated some workshops, I guess I should somehow let people know.  So, here's a page of workshops I have given and some I'm ready to give.  All are a day long and there's enough time to produce at least 4 blocks using the techniques taught. 

Oh Frasson's Mod Mosaic Technique


This block is more of a technique than a pattern.  Using scraps, or strips of coordinating fabric you put together blocks of various sizes. 

Gees Bend Style Quilt


This block is also more of a technique than a pattern.  Big blocks are made then cut in quarters and re-assembled.  If you use pieced sashing, you get an all-over pattern.

Stack and Cut Technique for a Ripples Quilt


Libbie's Quilt Finished! by Quilt Circle
Libbie's Quilt Finished!, a photo by Quilt Circle on Flickr.

This technique involves stacking several fabrics, then cutting it with gentle curves.  Next you put the pieces back together alternating the fabrics.  With straight angled cuts you get a "Hop Skip and Jump" style quilt.  With curved cuts you get a ripple effect.

Paul's Pennants and Sailboats

This one uses a paper template to cut the triangles, then a nifty technique for insetting them into the background fabric with very little waste.  If you want pennants, you connect them with a thin strip, if you want boats, you make the triangles into sails and add a hull.  I used strips of 30's reproduction fabrics for this one.

ART_1434 ART_1427 
Here's photos from Sanja's flicker stream of my next and bigger version of the quilt
I used strips of 40's reproduction fabrics for this one.  You could also use a single fabric for each triangle, or sew together charm packs for blockier triangles.  Solids would make them look more like the signal flags that are used on big boats.

Paul's Christmas Tree Christmas Tree Skirt


With 8 big triangles and some thin strips for garland, you end up with a forest of Christmas trees around your Christmas tree.

Pickup Sticks


This technique is all about inserting one inch strips into a block.