August 19, 2016

"Vintage Made Modern" mini

I was given a 22-piece charm pack of Amy Barickman's Vintage Made Modern fabric, and decided to make a small quilt to feature the designs.


I am sure I am not the first to make this type of design, but I did sketch it out and do the math on my own.  It is almost certainly a derivative design, but of what I don't know.  The size is roughly 24 inches by 30 inches.

Here is a detail of the quilting.  I used a hooked scroll design in all the larger squares, and a curved cross-hatch in all the smaller squares.


I added triangle pockets in the back upper corners to hold a dowel for hanging, and included a couple of twill tape loops near the center to avoid sags.


The piecing was mostly done as leaders and enders, so this was almost a "free" project.  Not sure yet what I will do with it.


August 12, 2016

Denim & Linen Super Tote

I've completed another Super Tote; this one is a gift for my wife.  This bag uses several denim fabrics from Art Gallery Fabrics, plus a Color Daze linen stripe.



The lining fabric is from Asuka by Dear Stella.


I followed the pattern for the most part.  I replaced one of the interior elastic pockets with a zippered pocket, and added a key fob.


I used Soft and Stable to interface the exterior A and B pieces.  This is the same interfacing I used for my daughter's bag, but for that bag I also interfaced and quilted the front pocket.  This bag has only a lined linen exterior pocket, which leaves it a little more floppy than the first bag.


I found the buttons at a local quilt shop.  I don't recall where I first saw buttons added to a Super Tote like this, but they are certainly a derivative idea.


Two of the AGF denims are wonderful lighter-weight fabrics.  For the gusset and handles, I used AGF's Bluebottle Texture Denim, which is much heavier (but equally wonderful).  I used one layer of fusible woven interfacing for the gusset, although it probably was not necessary.


The zippers are from Zipit.


My wife stumbled across these photos on the computer, and from her reaction I think she is going to like this bag.


July 5, 2016

Finally finished - Imperial Star

I am happy to announce I have completed my largest quilt project to date.  I began this quilt over a year ago.  I've taken a few breaks to finish some smaller projects and also to deal with some family issues, but still quite a bit of work went into this quilt.  It is roughly 90 inches square.


The design is based on a traditional Broken Star, with inspiration from multiple designs by Edyta Sitar.  For fabrics, I used a complete fat quarter bundle of Parson Gray's Empire line, plus most of a bundle of Tim Holtz's second Eclectic Elements release, and a number of additional choices.  I even threw in a few batiks, in another nod to Edyta.  I have named the quilt "Imperial Star," since it uses Empire fabrics.



The Empire and Eclectic Elements lines have very different styles, yet the colors seem to work together quite well.



The diamonds were constructed using strip-piecing methods.  I cut 2" x 18" strips from fat quarters and made sets of five strips each.  From each of these strip sets I cut four 2" diamond strips (with 5 diamonds per strip), plus a 1.5" strip to use in the border.  Each larger diamond was then pieced by joining five of the 5-diamond strips.



There are a lot of Y seams in this quilt.  I did not have any difficulty with them, but I didn't really appreciate how many there would be when I started.  The interior corners of the central star are the simplest, but where the points of the star meet with three outer diamonds, it is more complicated.  I made myself a small tool out of template plastic to mark the intersections of the quarter-inch seam lines for the various angles involved, which was a great help.



The applique is raw edge, stitched with a blanket stitch.  The shapes are all from Edyta Sitar patterns, but the arrangements are my own.  I used wool batting and quilted densely around the applique shapes to give a pseudo trapunto effect.


This is one of the smaller side setting triangles:


The quilting shows better from the back.  The backing fabric is Carolyn Friedlander's Widescreen Crosshatch in yarrow.


I quilted feathers in the diamonds of the central star, and a combination of straight lines and continuous curves in the outer diamonds.  In the background squares surrounding the star, I used Kathleen Riggins' "magic shape".


For binding I used Eclectic Elements Worn Croc in black.  I sewed the binding to the back by hand for the first time.  I am happy with the results, although the wool batting made wrapping the binding to the back a little tricky.  It might have helped to zigzag around the edges first.  When I bind by machine with cotton batting, I zigzag the edges with fusible thread in the bobbin, in order to press the binding to the back before stitching it down.  This method requires too much heat to use with wool batting.  Zigzag stitching with plain thread might have made the edges easier to handle for this quilt, though.



 Here is the full quilt:


Previous posts about this quilt:

Starting a Lone Star project
Quilt Surgery
Auditioning borders
Oops!
I'll be linking up with crazy mom quilts for Finish It Up Friday.

May 30, 2016

Tim Holtz Creative Journey Quilt

Many thanks to Barbara Black for capturing a couple of photos for me at the recent Quilt Market in Salt Lake City.  I had entered a block in the Tim Holtz Creative Journey block challenge, and it was selected as one of the blocks to be made into a quilt.


My block is in the third row, third from the left.


I so appreciate Barbara's efforts to find the quilt and get photos -- and I think it is cool that Tim Holtz is in the photo too!  You can read more about Barbara's experience at Quilt Market here.

My prize for the contest was a 40-strip design roll of Eclectic Elements (some of my favorite fabrics).  Now I am trying to decide what to make with it...

May 6, 2016

A Super Tote

I made a bag for my daughter using the Super Tote pattern by Anna Graham (Noodlehead).


The fabrics are from the Drift Away collection by Sue Schlabach, plus Andover Chambray in mustard.


I used Soft and Stable for the medium weight interfacing.  I also used a layer of Soft and Stable in the front pocket piece so that I could quilt it.  I cut the pocket pieces larger than the pattern before quilting, then trimmed to size after quilting.  This was to allow for the slight shrinking caused by the quilting.  I did the same for the back exterior piece.

For the quilting, I outlined her initial on the front pocket, and filled in the background by following the chevrons in the fabric.  For the back, I just quilted along the chevrons.

I probably should have trimmed the Soft and Stable from the top seam allowance of the pocket, although that would have been difficult with the quilting stitches in place.  I had to do a second row of top-stitching to get it to lie somewhat flat, but it still looks a bit odd.


I had read where some folks struggled with the multiple layers of interfacing at the pleat in the gusset, so I trimmed the interfacing away in the areas where the stitching would go.  (Sorry, I forgot to get an in-progress photo.)

I added a layer of stiff interfacing to the handles, sliding it in place after turning right side out.

Inside, I put one fully lined elastic pocket:


For the other side of the interior, I added a zippered pocket using this tutorial, and a key fob using this tutorial:


A little fussy cutting for the zipper tab:


This was my first time making a bag with such heavy interfacing.  It was much easier to work with than I expected, and the pattern was great (augmented by the many tips I found online).  I'm sure using my Janome 8900 helped too; not sure if the old machine could have tackled this. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with how it came out.  Now I need to make one for my wife.


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

April 15, 2016

Honeymoon Quilt

The first time I saw Sarah Watts' Honeymoon collection, I thought I recognized a Costa Rican influence.  Then when I learned it was called "Honeymoon," and was indeed inspired by a trip to Costa Rica, I knew I needed to make a quilt from it, since my wife and I honeymooned in Costa Rica twenty-one years ago.


I used Amy Smart's Modern Buzz Saw pattern (from Fabulously Fast Quilts), and used most of the prints from the Honeymoon collection, with a few additional Cotton+Steel prints.  One of these additional fabrics is Melody Miller's Ant March -- chosen specifically since we saw plenty of leafcutter ants on our trip to Costa Rica.

For the background fabrics I used Dottie's Cousin in natural from Cotton+Steel, and Robert Kaufman's Quilters Linen in ecru.  The contrast between these two is subtle, but it shows up more in person than in these photos.

I chose a simple, quick pattern for a fast finish as a break from a larger project.  But I couldn't resist devoting some time to the quilting.  I quilted a feather wreath in each block:


In the background, at the block intersections, I used a curved ruler to define a small area then filled inside with back-and-forth lines.  The rest of the background I filled with swirls.


For the outer border, I added sawtooth triangles and continued the swirls in the background.  In the inner border, I started by quilting a wishbone design, but ripped it out after stitching a couple of feet.  The design was fine by itself, but it did not seem to complement the rest of the quilting well.  I decided to try a straight-line design, and I am pleased with how this turned out.


I changed my mind on the binding too.  I had prepared a binding from one of the darker prints in the collection, but when I laid it out around the quilt, it seemed too distracting.  I went with a neutral solid instead (Free Spirit Designer Solid in dogwood).


The back uses some yardage, plus scraps from the front. 


 I even incorporated a bit of selvage on the back:


I did not do any fussy cutting, but let the cuts fall where they might.  This worked fine for the most part, with just one or two casualties:


This is my first time to try wool batting (Quilter's Dream).  I like the puffy look, and it is not as difficult to work with as I feared.  Basting spray doesn't seem to hold as well with it, and not being able to use an iron on it meant I had to modify my approach in attaching the binding by machine.  I'm anxious to see how it washes, too.


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

March 21, 2016

Picnic Quilt Tutorial

I thought I'd write a tutorial of how I approached the construction of my Double G Picnic quilt.  Of course this quilt could be made by simply sewing together a bunch of squares, but I used strip piecing techniques which I felt were quite efficient and might be worth sharing.



My initial cutting plan was almost a disaster.  I had not taken into account the proper orientation of the fabric designs.  I reworked my plans to construct the quilt in a way I would consider "sideways"; this resolved the orientation problem, and it even seemed more efficient in regards to cutting.

The yardage requirements for the top are as follows:
White -- 1.5 yards
Blue print (apples) -- 1.5 yards
Red print (apples) -- 1.5 yards
Dark blue -- 0.5 yards
Dark red -- 0.5 yards
Gray -- 0.75 yards
We will be cutting 5.5-inch WOF (width of fabric) strips from each of these fabrics.  From the white, blue print, and red print, cut 9 strips each.  From the dark blue and dark red, cut 2 strips each.  From the gray, cut 4 strips.

Assemble a strip set as shown below, noting the directionality of the fabrics.  Start by sewing a white strip to a blue print strip, and sewing another white strip to a red print strip.  Then join these two pieces together.  When sewing strip sets, it is helpful to alternate the direction of your sewing for each strip.  For this quilt, if you consistently sew with the darker strip on top, you will automatically alternate the direction (or you can sew with the lighter strip on top, as long as you are consistent).  Press seams toward the print fabrics (the apples).


Repeat to make 4 sets of white - blue - white - red strips.  Lets call these "A" strip sets.  On one of these 4 sets, sew an additional white strip to the red strip.  Do not press this seam open yet.


 Your fourth strip set should look like this:


Now sew your "A" strip sets together in pairs, so that you have one set of 8 strips and one set of 9 strips.  Again, do not press these seams open yet.  Your set of 9 strips should look like this:


Take a strip set to your cutting table and align a ruler so that its horizontal lines align with the seams, and trim off the selvages:



Now cross-cut the strip set into seven 5.5" sections:



You should have seven strips of 8 squares, and seven strips of 9 squares.  Sew strips of 9 end-to-end with strips of 8, maintaining the sequence, so that you end up with seven rows of 17 squares each.  Each should begin and end with a white square.  Press the remaining seams toward the prints.

For "B" strip sets, sew together red - gray - red - dark red strips as shown below, taking careful note of the directionality again.  Make two sets.  Press toward the red print (apples).


Sew these two sets together (sewing a dark red strip to a red print), but do not press open yet.  Trim the selvages as we did with the "A" sets, but this time only cut three 5.5" sections for now.  You should have one remaining red print strip; trim this strip to approximately the height of the remainder of the "B" set (at least 17").  Sew this trimmed strip to the dark red piece at the end of what is left of the "B" set; do not press open yet.  Now cut three more 5.5" sections from the combined "B" set.

From the "B" set, you should have three strips of 8 squares, and three strips of 9 squares. Sew strips of 9 end-to-end with strips of 8, maintaining the sequence, so that you have three rows of 17 squares each.  Each should begin and end with a red print square.  Press the remaining seams toward the prints.



For "C" strip sets, sew together blue - dark blue - blue - gray strips as shown, again taking careful note of the directionality.  Also note the difference in the sequence compared to the "B" sets. Make two "C" sets.  Press toward the blue print (apples).


Sew these two sets together (sewing a gray strip to a blue print), but do not press open yet.  Trim the selvages, and again only cut three 5.5" sections for now.  You should have one remaining blue print strip; trim this strip to approximately the height of the remainder of the "C" set (at least 17").  Sew this trimmed strip to the gray piece at the end of what is left of the "C" set; do not press open yet.  Now cut three more 5.5" sections from the "C" set.

From the "C" set, you should have three strips of 8 squares, and three strips of 9 squares. Sew strips of 9 end-to-end with strips of 8, maintaining the sequence, so that you have three rows of 17 squares each.  Each should begin and end with a blue print square.  Press the remaining seams toward the prints.

The rows of 17 squares (from A, B, and C units) will eventually become the columns of the quilt, but I will still refer to them as rows for now.  Start by sewing rows together as shown below.  The seams should "nest" to help with aligning seams.


Continue joining rows (or columns) to assemble the top as shown in the first photo above.  The resulting quilt is approximately 65" x 85".


If you make a quilt using this tutorial, I'd love to see it.