June 20, 2019

Jackass Blues

Last year our local guild held a challenge called "Stitchin' the Blues."  I made a quilt for that challenge, and as I was brainstorming names for that quilt, I recalled an old blues song titled "Jackass Blues."  I didn't want to use that name for my challenge quilt, but it did bring to mind a photo I had taken a few years ago -- and the idea for another quilt was born.

I drafted a pattern from my photo using Photoshop, and used raw-edged appliqué for the donkey and barn.  The background is pieced using improv curves.

I scanned the music for the song to create custom-printed fabrics for the background.

It took a couple of iterations to get the color right.  I used the rejects on the back, along with a full fat quarter as a label.

The fabrics used in the appliqué, and the binding, are mostly from Regency Ballycastle by Christopher Wilson-Tate.

The song "Jackass Blues" was written by Art Kassel and Mel Stitzel in 1926.  Here's a link to a recent version by Tuba Skinny, and here is a link to Joe "King" Oliver's version with vocals.

(My original challenge quilt can be seen near the end of this post -- along with a hint about this quilt.)

March 13, 2019

"Against such things there is no law"

In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, 
generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NABRE)

A few years ago, I heard a sermon based on the Fruit of the Spirit, as listed in Galations 5.  I was familiar with Tonya Ricucci's Word Play Quilts from another project, and it occurred to me during the sermon that these words could be made into a quilt.  It took a long period of musing to settle on an approach, but I am happy with the end result.

The layout is an improv variation on a medallion quilt, with a pineapple in the center.  (The pineapple is based on a design by Sassafras Lane.)

For colors, I started with a Kona fat quarter bundle that struck me as fruity (even though it is called "Sunrise").  Some of the colors even have fruity names, such as Tangerine, Pomegranate, Peach, Sour Apple, and Lemon.  I added Ice Frappe for backgrounds, plus other coordinating solids.

(It turns out a fat quarter does not provide enough fabric to make one of these word panels.)

I toyed with the idea of using only solid fabrics, but I couldn't resist using fruit-themed prints.  The word panels all use a fruit print for the letters, with a solid background.

A couple of the borders are fussy cut from fruit prints.

Most of the words were made using Tonya Ricucci's methods, while a few were paper pieced.  I wanted to give an impression of varying fonts.  "Patience" and "Gentleness" use patterns by Kristy Lea (except the upper-case "P" is my own design).

"Love" is another paper piecing design of my own.  "Kindness" is semi-improv but based on a design by Amanda Jean Nyberg.

Peach fabric seemed suitable for "Peace"; this and a couple other fabrics are even scented.

I made the word panels plus a few of the fruit blocks without a definite layout in mind, then worked to piece it all together.  Spaces were filled with either traditional blocks or more fruit blocks.  Of course I had to include some orange peel blocks, and there are hourglass blocks near "Patience."

These are fussy cut from a fabric used on the back:

The strawberry block uses a pattern by Kerry Green.  The watermelon is another pattern by Kristy Lea, and the citrus pattern is by Amy Friend.

I designed the pear myself, based loosely on one of the prints in the quilt.

The outer border is composed of traditional pineapple blocks.  These were made using paper piecing too.  I scaled the patterns to fit the space available; the blocks on the side are not quite the same size as those along the top and bottom, and the corner blocks are not exactly square -- but they are close enough to not be noticeable.  I fussy cut the centers from various fruit prints.  I almost wish I had stuck with just the strawberries -- they seem just right for these blocks.

I quilted different free-motion designs in the background of each word.  A Christmas gift came in handy for marking some of the designs -- Judi Madsen's Quickmark Assist ruler.

More orange peels, naturally, quilted using a grid marked with the above ruler:

The binding and one of the borders are made from a watermelon rind print.  I quilted some words into the green border -- "The Fruit of the Spirit," "Galations 5:22-23," "Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit," "By their fruit you will know them," and my initials and the date.

The back uses lots of fruit prints; all were also used on the front, although I only used a couple of fussy cuts from the busier prints.

I started stitching on this quilt in late 2017, and focused on it beginning last September.  I missed a couple of deadlines I had hoped to meet for show submissions; then I learned that our church would be having a 9-week sermon series on the fruit of the Spirit.  I wasn't able to complete the quilt in time for the start of the sermon series, but it was ready for the last two weeks of the series.  I was happy to have it on display for those services.

September 6, 2018

Another Memory Quilt

After my Dad passed away a couple of years ago, I made a quilt for my sister from a number of his shirts; I wrote about that quilt here.  I've now completed a quilt for myself using four of his pajamas, three shirts, and two commercial fabrics.

The pajamas and shirts were all woven plaids.  I cut 4.5" strips then fussy cut 60-degree triangles to form into hexagons.  Most of the plaids are not symmetrical, but since they are yarn dyes I was able to flip the triangles over to get mirror images of each other.

For each set of six triangles, I chose different reference points for the center of the fussy cut; this makes each hexagon somewhat unique.

The one print is by Tim Holtz; I used this because it reminds me of my Dad's folding wooden rulers.  This print makes up the binding as well.  (I think the background chambray fabric might have been a better choice for binding -- the darker fabric seems to constrain the negative space too much.)

I used leftover clothing for the back, but did not have enough for a complete backing.  A print featuring house plans seemed appropriate for my Dad, since he was a home builder.

If I'd thought of it early enough, I might have over-dyed this fabric, perhaps with indigo.  Here's the full back:

The label is from Spoonflower; I had this printed before I started the quilt, and had to correct the finishing date.

There is one hexagon that is a little different.  For this one, I used alternating triangles from a strip, so it is not quite as symmetrical.  This fabric is from a shirt that I also used in my sister's quilt, and I wanted to make the most of what little was left.

I constructed the hexagons with a different layout in mind, but once they were on the "design floor," I was not happy with my original plan.  I had also considered deconstructing some of the hexagons; you can see some of this on the back.

The final layout was inspired by Millefiori quilts,.

This quilt holds some special memories of my Dad.  Some tough ones too, as the pajamas in the quilt were worn in his final weeks in the hospital.

I'm linking up with crazy mom quilts for Finish It Up Friday.

Edited to add:  I didn't realize it at the time, but I posted this on what would have been my Dad's 96th birthday.

August 10, 2018

Two small quilts

I recently finished another baby quilt using the Lullaby Lane pattern by Sassafras Lane Designs.  This is the fourth quilt I've made from this pattern; I like the way it features a large-scale print, and it lends itself well to making two quilts from mostly half-yard cuts.

This quilt is similar to the one I made for my grand-niece a few years ago; I only used different solids.  For this quilt I used Michael Miller Cotton Couture in Limeade and Malibu.  I had actually chosen these fabrics several years ago, and ended up using the same two solids in my Masquerade quilt.  I think the Limeade in particular is a great lightning-bug green to pair with the Wee Wander fabric.

The lightning bugs also inspired me to try quilting with glow-in-the-dark thread.  I had a lot of trouble with the thread shredding; I don't know how much to blame the thread or my machine.  I was disappointed in the glow results at first, until I charged it up by leaving the quilt in the sun for an hour or so.

(In the above photo you can see where a new spool of thread begins, but it is not so noticeable in person.)

Here's a view of the back:

The unfinished top has been a work in progress for several years, waiting for a recipient to be identified.  I'm glad the quilt has finally found a good home.

I finished another small quilt earlier this year, but I could not share it before now.  This quilt was made for a challenge put on by our local guild, Heritage Quilters of Huntsville.  The theme of the challenge was "Stitchin' the Blues," and the primary rule was that the quilt should use only blue and white fabrics.

I named my quilt "Blues in the Night," and the design was inspired by a photo I saw of a painted wall in a designer's home.  My first impulse was to keep the repeated pattern across the quilt, then applique something orange on it -- but that would not have qualified for the challenge.  So I played around with jumbling just one corner.

Here's the quilt on display for the challenge.  The awards were based on popular vote, and mine did not win anything.  But that's ok; I did get some excellent compliments from some quilters I admire.

This was a fun challenge, and I had a couple more ideas that I didn't pursue.  I might have to complete one of them later.

February 1, 2018

Place mats for... winter?

My wife requested place mats to go with our Christmas dishes; I had hoped to have them ready by this past Christmas, but I did not quite make it.

I was really attracted to Minick and Simpson's Snowfall fabric, and their Lake Effect quilt pattern, with its holly and mistletoe, reminded me of our dishes.  I decided to come up with my own design for place mats and a table runner, using their applique and the dishes as inspiration.

I used a couple of charm packs of the Snowfall wovens for the place mats.  I trimmed the charm squares to 4.5" since the original cuts were not quite square.

I used a charm pack of the Snowfall prints for the applique shapes, and yardage for the table runner.

For the applique, I tried Lara Buccella's Crafted Applique technique for the first time.  This allowed me to cut small pieces, such as the berries, without concern for fraying.

I used Soft and Stable for the batting, hoping the place mats would hold their shape through washing better than cotton.  We've not washed them yet, but I like the feel of the place mats.  On the other hand, the table runner doesn't want to lie flat.  I believe that is because I used an inconsistent quilting density.  Here's a photo before the quilting was complete; you can see how the quilting density affects the shape:

After quilting the white background and trimming the edges, it is better, but still not entirely flat.  Would blocking work with Soft and Stable?  It seems unlikely to me.  Any other suggestions?

I also used some of the wovens to make a set of napkins, using this tutorial.

One of my favorite prints from this line is the pale blue and white stripe with scattered berries, but I couldn't find a place for this print in these designs.  So I used it for backing, as you can see in the top of this photo:

The wavy quilting played some funny tricks with the smaller plaids.  Here's a straight-on view of one of the squares:

And here's the same square as viewed from an angle:

Here's another view of the applique on the table runner.  The leaf shapes were all cut free-hand, while the berries were marked with a circle template.

And here is the complete set of place mats:

I'm linking up with crazy mom quilts for Finish It Up Friday.