Friday, April 21, 2017

Spontaneous Greenery

One of the defining activities in my personal quilting journey, was a fabulous week at the St Clair Institute of the Arts session, led by John Willard, another lifetime ago, in 2008.  The session was titled 'Spontaneous Geometrics' and John shared his methods.  I didn't know John prior to the session and I am so glad I was bold enough to spoil myself with a week of just quilting!  A week!  With John Willard.  

Fast forward to 2017 ... the Pantone colour of 2017 is 'Greenery'.  Bryan House Quilts and No Hats in the House Quilts are hosting a Pantone challenge.  (More info on the challenge ...) 

Here is my challenge result, entirely from my stash.  The slash insert through the boxes is my "Greenery" that comes pretty close to the pantone colour.  It's a nice throw-size, about 60" x 60".  I got a few nice photos in my back yard, although we don't have much greenery there yet!  I'll have to get some of the back too.

Introducing ... "Spontaneous Greenery" ...

The method is totally improv - piece a nice box, add more borders, some of them wonky. Slash and insert.  Add more borders, slash and insert as desired. For visual interest, float the insert across borders to make it appear woven behind some borders and in front of others.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Zany Zebras!

So. Stinking. Adorable!

Todays quilty fun was with the Chatham Kent Quilters Guild in Chatham, with pattern designer Lorna McMahon from

There were fish, birds, monkeys, Chihuahua, and flowers blooming.  

For my herd of zany zebras, I'm using some fun and funky black & white prints.  

So adorable!  That is all. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Modern Quilt Guild Riley Blake Challenge Spring 2017

The Modern Quilt Guild is organizing the Riley Blake Rockstar Challenge this spring.  Sign up was last fall and fabric packs were delivered a bit ago.  Love the orange and blues together!

Just needed to make something quilted ... This wee wall hanging (17" x 19.5") is my result. 

Thinking about the "Rock Star" theme, I latched on to my all time favourite song, Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water".  It's also one I played with a passion when I played piano. I could likely still play that one if I cleared the trinkets off the piano.

One of the fun new learnings at the London Modern Guild this year, was how to do hexies.  I'm not normally a hand-piecer, but I am loving the possibilities and portability of working with hexies.  So the hexies transformed into the notes for this representation.  Dresden plate pieces became the bridge over the free-cut landscape.  

Finished with swirls in the 'troubled water' and the sky (representing the wind making the waters, troubled).

This was so fun to do!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Modern Streak

Funday Sunday Sewing :)

Lots of fun with this quilt top!  

One of the London Modern Quilt Guild's sponsors is Mad About Patchwork, and our Sheilagh curated a FQ collection just for our guild.  Here is a snippet of that collection ...

And a bit ago, Hyggeligt Fabrics had Cheryl Arkison in to do workshops and a trunk show for the LMQG.  She did a workshop on Values, and another on Improv Piecing.  And now, Cheryl has a fabric collection she designed - "Tag", for sale at Connecting Threads.

One of the LMQG lending library books is "Go Big Go Bold" and the inspiration for my quilt top came from this book.  The "Harlequin" design in the book uses triangles but I used the Half Rectangle Triangle (HRT) technique.  My finished rectangles were 7.25" x 16", the top is approx 56" x 77".

I am delighted at how this came together, bring all kinds of modern together.

PS:  next time I will reverse the angle or reverse the light/dark positions when making the HRT ... and then I will be able to put together a 'Harlequin'.  Sheesh.  I will also work at getting the blocks to the design wall earlier in the process.  Ah well, I like the diagonal streak, will be fun to play with the quilting.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Farmer's Wife Sampler Blocks - Ta-Done!

Block 110 Wood Lily
The last block!  This 6 1/2" beauty has 57 pieces.
My, oh my, what a feeling!  The blocks are ta-done!  

Blocks in the final push ...
Block 85 - Square Dance - a nice focus square!

Block 92 - Strawberry Basket.
This one is one of the unintentional duplicates.
I found it hilarious that the first one also had the same yellow and red fabrics :)

Block 94 - Tall Pine

Block 95 - Temperance Tree
Those are 1" finished HST's

Block 100 Weathervane

Block 102 Whirlpool

Block 105 Wild Goose Chase

Block 108 Windmill

The stats:

  • 111 blocks (actually 113 but 2 were unintentional duplicates)
  • 2,693 pieces  
  • Jan 7 2016 (Block 48, Homeward Bound,  14 pieces, Phoenix AZ) through Apr 4 2017 (Block 110, Wood Lily, 57 pieces, London ON)
  • 6 1/2" blocks
  • Block 38 has the most pieces (64 including 28 HST's)
  • Participated in a Yahoo Group throughout, which tracked a block each week and had lots of support
The methods:
  • paper piecing
  • paper piecing with inset y-seams (this is ridiculously difficult)
  • regular piecing
  • Half-square triangles methods 
    • 2 squares, mark on the diagonal, sew 1/4" on either side, slice and trim
    • tube strips - sew both top and bottom seams, cut triangles, press open, trim
    • magic 8
  • flying geese
  • quarter square triangles
  • strip piecing
Next up is the sashing and setting, borders, quilting and binding.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Bias Binding - fold then cut

I *love* bias binding.  

A few of my first quilts have been loved so much that their straight WOF (width of fabric) bindings have worn away - right at the fold.

Bias binding has lots of advantages - eases nicely around curves and corners, and has the added strength of multiple threads on that outer fold.  With WOF binding, you have only one or two threads at that outer fold, but with bias you have many threads to support that fold.  Give it a little test (I'll wait while yor find a piece of fabric, anything will do!) - take a piece of fabric, fold it along the width (or length) - you have one or two threads right at the fold, right?  Now fold it on the bias - see how many more threads you have woven there?

I've done lots and lots of bias bindings using the 'tube' method, which works very well.  It's a bit fiddly and I don't cut with scissors (apparently I have no scissor cutting skills), rather I use my rotary cutter and put a long, thin rotary cutting mat in the centre of the tube and carefully (so I don't go off that mat) cut using my rotary cutter.  But sometimes I just can't get the seams to match up right and sometimes I can't get it started right and end up with a jumbled mess.  Examples of this method can easily be found by Googling 'Continuous Bias Binding' or check these out ... McCalls Quilting Bias Binding Tutorial or Craftsy Bias Binding.

And I now have a new favourite method!  This method folds the fabric into the bias and then you cut bias strips.  You do have to connect the strips, but that's quick and easy.  Here is a link to a good tutorial I found ... Silver Thimble Quilt Bias Binding Tutorial.

For my first test, I needed about 240" of binding.  I cut an 18" strip of fabric (WOF) so it started out 18" x 42".  I didn't cut off the selvedges until the strips were cut (so I wouldn't get mixed up on where the real edges were).

Ended up with 300" of beautiful bias binding, with almost no waste!

Here were my steps ...

18" cut full width of fabric, pull the top left corner down

Fold the lower edge up

Fold up again

Folded up and up then carefully moved to begin cutting 

Use one ruler across the fabric to get a good true edge, abut another ruler to cut a thin slice off the folded edge

Folded edge slice - now I have a nice clean edge to cut slices from

I cut my slices at 2 1/2"

All the slices

Trim off the selvedges

Join the slices

Press the new long continuous binding in half - a couple of small triangles are all that is left over!  This 18" cut yielded 300" of 2 1/2" continuous bias binding!
Here is another link to a chart for how to calculate how much fabric you need for making bias binding ...

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Swatch Quilt - Transparency

February's theme at our London Modern Quilt Guild was on transparency.  This pattern, designed by the Modern Quilt Studio was great fun to put together! 

Spent an afternoon pulling fabrics and another cutting the pieces.  Cutting out a whole quilt at once is something I almost never do!  Usually I cut a segment or block to be sure I like the result and understand the pattern.  

At our meeting, there were great examples of what to look for to get the effect of transparency.  

Many of the fabrics I had selected were batik, and it turns out I had more of a 'transition' effect than transparency.  Some were ok, and I liked the mix of additive or  desaturating effects.  I did swap out a couple of my original choices when I got back home and am pretty happy with the overall look now.

The quilting on this was organic straight lines (horizontal, then turned the quilt to get cross hatching).

Fun and done!  Washed and cuddly :)

Spontaneous Greenery

One of the defining activities in my personal quilting journey, was a fabulous week at the St Clair Institute of the Arts session, led ...