December 4, 2014

A Mini "Ode to Joy"

After making my Ode to Joy quilt, I wanted to make a smaller version as a gift for our music minister.  He not only does great things with our church choir, he also prepared the combined choirs for the Beethoven concert which inspired the quilt.  (I also needed to make up for not returning my music in a timely manner -- I used it to create some of the Spoonflower fabrics in the quilt.)

The flying geese and scrappy borders were left-over piecing from the original quilt.  I had intended to cut strips from the Chicopee fabrics for the FREUDE text, until I realized I had some batik strips already cut, left over from this project, that would work.

I added some miniature liberated stars; I was pleasantly surprised with how the variations in the fabrics make them sparkle.  I used improv piecing to fill in the background with some scraps.

I quilted various patterns in each section of the quilt, with a couple of music notes thrown in.  I also quilted some text in the borders above and below "FREUDE."

For the back, I used a couple of BasicGrey fabrics I had intended to use for border and binding on the original quilt, but didn't seem to suit it.  The corner pockets are used for hanging with a wooden dowel.

As I was preparing to assemble the quilt sandwich, I pressed the seams open using steam, and unfortunately my iron leaked a bit around the batiks, causing some bleeding to occur.  It was worst around the bottom edge of both "E"s.  Needless to say, I was not happy, but after some research I soaked and washed the quilt in Synthrapol following Vicki Welsh's instructions here.  Happily, I could find no trace of the bleeding afterwards.  (There is some pale blue in the design of the background fabric; don't mistake that for bleeding.)

This mini has already gone off to its new home!

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

October 28, 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival

I enjoy the Blogger's Quilt Festival hosted twice yearly by Amy Ellis at Amy's Creative Side.  For my second entry in this fall's festival, I am offering my Ode To Joy quilt:

I originally blogged about this quilt here.  The quilt is inspired by Beethoven's 9th Symphony, which in turn incorporates Friedrich Schiller's "An die Freude," or "Ode to Joy."  I incorporated text from the poem in multiple ways, and the paper-pieced musical notes spell out the first part of Beethoven's theme.  The fabrics are primarily Denyse Schmidt's Chicopee and Tim Holtz's Eclectic Elements, plus some custom fabric from Spoonflower featuring scans from the choral score.  

See my original blog post for more information about the design of this quilt, and more photos.

Thanks to Amy for hosting the festival!

October 24, 2014

New Star Rising

I recently finished a repeat version of a quilt I made a couple of years ago.  The first version was shown at the inaugural Quiltcon, and did well there, which was quite a surprise.  It also sold, which was another surprise.  Since it did so well and was no longer in my possession, I decided to make one to keep.


I quickly settled on a couple of Parson Gray fabrics for the rust and white stars.  For the background, I decided to try a chambray.  The golden yellow fabric for the transparency, though, took quite a while to find.  I tried out several fabrics in mock-ups (sorry, maquettes) like these:

Some were the wrong hue; some worked to create the transparency effect but the fabric design was not to my taste.  I finally found an In The Beginning fabric that seemed just right (the one on the left above).

The background fabric is Robert Kaufman's Nep Chambray in Indigo.  It is a navy/cream cross weave, with flecks of red and gold here and there.

It has a bit of a loose weave, so I got concerned when I read abour Rachel's experience with Essex linen.  I had already cut the pieces, though, so I forged ahead.  I didn't experience much unraveling until I started sewing rows together, then I got nervous.  I ended up placing dots of Fray Check every few inches along the straight seam allowances.  And as you can see, I quilted it quite heavily too.

I quilted the background in the same design I used in the original quilt, but I did the stars differently this time.  For the white stars, I did a point-to-point design:

For the large star, I marked two consecutive stars inside, similar to a Rising Star quilt block, then used different fills in each area.

I filled the outer section of the star with feathers.

For the backing fabric, I wanted something bright and multicolored, to contrast with the front.  I chose a Laura Gunn fabric, and added some Parson Gray stripes with a little bit of BasicGrey trim.

The colors in the stripes don't really match the rest of the quilt -- what I thought was navy in online images is actually charcoal -- but I think it still works.  The label is pieced in.  I'm quite pleased with how well the stripes matched up.  The binding is a Laura Gunn Painters Canvas.

I finished the quilt shortly before we took a family trip for our school's fall break.  I packed along the quilt and got a few of these photos at a North Carolina campground.

That was a couple of weeks ago.  It has taken a while to get the additional photos for this post, because on the last day of our trip, we went whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River, and I came home with a broken ankle.  That has slowed down both my photography and my quilting.  I am thankful it is a simple fracture with no surgery required.

I was motivated to get this posted in time for Blogger's Quilt Festival; I'm also linking up with crazy mom quilts for Finish It Up Friday.

Update 1/30/2018: A pattern for this quilt is now available as a PDF download in my Craftsy shop.

October 1, 2014

More background musings

In my previous post, I asked about background fabrics for my pickle dish quilt.  Thanks to everyone who responded!  I got quite a variety of opinions, with no clear consensus -- which leads me to think they are all decent choices.  JanineMarie suggested I mock up a larger number of blocks, so I did a (very rough!) copy and paste in Photoshop, and filled in some of my background ideas.

The Aqua Patina from Carrie Bloomston's Paint was one of my early favorites, but looking at it this way, I think it may be too dark for me.  (Of course it is difficult to judge accurately from on-screen images.)
Carrie Bloomston - Paint

I still like Amy Butler's Soul Blossoms print too, although it may be too bright if this image is accurate:
Amy Butler - Soul Blossoms
I haven't given up on this BasicGrey fabric either, although it will be months before it will be available (it will be months before I get all those arcs assembled too!):
BasicGrey - Fresh Cut

But I am starting to think about other options.  My daugher and I happened to go on a small road trip last weekend.  We were able to drop into a couple of quilt shops, but I didn't find any of the fabrics on my short list.  We did find one that looked really good in the shop next to my arcs, but the mock-up tells me this is not the look I am hoping for.

Beth Studley - Henna Medallion
One of the shops had some Cotton + Steel fabrics.  I liked the mint color in a few of the fabrics, but none of the prints in their stock seemed suitable.  After I got home I found the Moonlit Arrows and thought that might work.  I do like this one, but I'd prefer a print with a less regular pattern.  I like that the cream breaks up the mint and helps it read lighter.

 Rashida Coleman Hale - Moonlit
I stopped in one of our local shops too, and found a couple of fabrics in just the colors I was hoping to find, but one print was too busy and the other too plain.  Both were from Moda's Spring House collection by Stephanie Ryan.  At home I did an online search for this line, and found another print from the collection that I'm liking a lot.  I think I can trust the colors since I've seen the companion fabrics in the store, and I like the randomness of the design and that the cream helps lighten it.  I just don't know how well I've represented the scale in my mock-up.  This one is getting hard to find, but there are a few online shops that have it in stock -- and a couple even have it on sale.

Stephanie Ryan - Spring House Blossom
I've also found a number of mottled near-solids that might work as a lighter alternative to the Carrie Bloomston above.  There's Moda Grunge Basics in Aqua, Spring House Wave, Marcia Derse's Pallette, and others.  These are all pretty similar, so I'm only showing one below.  To make the best choice between them would probably require seeing the fabrics in person.

Marcia Derse - Pallette

As you can see, I'm leaning towards mint green.  But here are a couple of other options that stay with the pink and blue:

Sarah Jane - Wee Wander, Meandering in Seafoam

Sarah Jane - Wee Wander, Meandering in Petal

I've got plenty of time before I will need the background fabric, but I know fabrics don't stay in stock forever.  I believe there are four or five among the above selections that I would be happy with, though.

In the meantime, I'm putting the finishing touches on another quilt.  I hope to have photos of that quilt to share soon.

I'm linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WiP Wednesday.

September 23, 2014

Background selection

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am in the beginning stages of a pickle dish quilt.  I've selected quite a few fabrics, but I still need to settle on a background fabric.

Here are my fabrics so far:

My plan is to use the first two rows for the arcs, the bottom row for the four-patches, and the navies for the footballs.  (I plan to add to this, and maybe remove a few as well.)

While I'm not ready to jump headlong into this yet, I did stitch up a few arcs to use in auditioning background fabrics.  I photographed these against a white background, then used photo editing tools to fill the background with images from some potential background fabrics.  Here's the original photo:

I tried quite a few possibilities.  To keep this post from being photo overload, I created a few collages of the various choices.  (The combined images look like a different quilt idea, but that is not my intent.)  Also, my method of importing the background images might not result in the correct scale for the prints.

Here is my first group of four choices:

I think either of the first two would work, but neither seems particularly daring to me.  I had high hopes for these Amy Butler fabrics (3 and 4), until I imported them next to the arcs.  I don't think I care for either of these in this quilt.

Number 5 is an upcoming Alison Glass print.  I like the variations in the color, and I sort of like the tan, but I'm not sure about the spots.  (I may use the navy version of this for some footballs.)  Number 6 is Quilters Linen; I like the color, but I don't know what to expect as far as texture.  I'm afraid it might be too plain.

I really like the look of number 7, except it doesn't have enough contrast with the pink arc sections.  I might consider a lighter Grunge if I could see it in person.  Number 8 would work too, and I like the fabric itself, but it's not really the look I want for this quilt.  (I've used a lot of texty and similar fabrics as backgrounds, and I'd like to branch out a bit.)

Number 9 is not at all what I had in mind for this quilt, but it's near the top of my list.  Number 10 seems even more off the wall; maybe too much so?  I sort of like it at this scale, but if the scale is much larger in reality I wouldn't want to use this.

Number 11 is a creamy version of number 9.  I love the tonal variations of this one, but I'm afraid it might still be too plain.  Number 12 is a text print (I know, I said I'm trying to stay away from those).  I think this one might just be too green, although it is hard to tell with computer images.

I tried quite a few other images, but those above were my favorites.  I also noticed Kate Spain has announced a new line (Paradiso) with colors that might fit well with this quilt, but I have not seen any digital swatches.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about any of the choices above.

I'm linking up with Lee for WIP Wednesday.

September 3, 2014

Football Season

I thought I'd share how I made some templates for an upcoming quilt project...

I'm starting a pickle dish quilt based on the design in Kaffe Fassett's Quilt Romance. My first step was to carefully cut the pattern pages from the book so I could lay them flat on a scanner bed.

I scanned the pages and printed the shapes I wanted to use for templates (pieces B and C), being careful to keep the sizes unchanged.  I cut the shapes out roughly, leaving a margin around the edge, then I used basting spray to temporarily affix them to the underside of a piece of template plastic.

I traced the markings I wanted to keep onto the template plastic using a fine-tipped permanent marker.  I didn't really need the seam lines except for the straight edges of the background piece -- I plan to cut those on a fold.  For the alignment marks, I used a drill press to make holes in the plastic at the given locations.  I found that a 5/64" hole works well to allow a Frixion marker to draw an alignment dot on the fabric.

I used a utility knife and an old cutting board to trim the template shapes along the cutting lines.  This template plastic is too thin to use as a cutting guide with a rotary cutter, so I traced around the shapes on the back side of my fabric then cut them out "freehand."  I stacked several fabrics to cut at once, which was a little frustrating with a rotary cutter and no ruler.  I found it easier to pin the fabrics together (after a rough straight cut to separate each piece) and cut with scissors.

For the underlying fabrics, I aligned the template on the cut pieces to transfer the alignment marks.

I also scanned the fan shape to print on foundation paper.  I was able to just fit two shapes on legal size paper:

I expect this to be a long-term project.  I'm still collecting fabrics for this, and have yet to decide on background fabric.  That might be a subject for a future post.

I'm linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

And by the way... War Eagle!

August 21, 2014

Twin Rocket Age Quilts

When I first saw Riley Blake's "Rocket Age" fabrics in the coming-soon section of some online shops, I knew I wanted to make use of it.  I decided to use the Lullaby Lane quilt pattern by Sassafras Lane Designs to make a quilt for a baby boy, without a particular recipient in  mind.  I was undecided as to exactly which prints and solids I wanted to use, so I ordered some alternatives too.  I pieced a top together up to the point of needing the applique, and set it aside.

Then twin boys came along, and I realized I had enough fabric to make two quilts.

The first quilt uses Kona Windsor as the solid sashing, with a blue stripe from Henley Studio as the applique background, and a solid red binding:

The other quilt uses Kona Orange for the sashing, a Rocket Age stripe for the applique background, and the Henley Studio blue stripe for binding:

I really like that stripe as binding; here's a detail shot showing some of the backing fabric too:

For the applique, instead of the blanket stitch I typically use, I opted for a sketch stitch.  I felt it was in keeping with the comic book style of the prints.  I made a pattern for the rocket by scanning the fabric and modifying one of the rocket shapes in Photoshop.

I did trapunto under the rockets, but I waited until after completing the background quilting to fuse the letters to the top, to have less starts and stops in the quilting.  I did spiral quilting for the first quilt, marking the first rounds and quilting with free motion, then using a walking foot to complete the larger rounds.  (See the top photo above.)

The other quilt is quilted in straight lines in a chevron shape; the inner section has lines 1/2 inch apart, while the outer lines are 1 inch apart.

I really like the comic book ads print used on the back.  I think I remember some of those ads from my comic books years ago.


I hope these baby boys enjoy their quilts!
(I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts.)

August 19, 2014

A Birthday Gift

I made a visor CD organizer for my teenage musician daughter, at her request, and gave it to her for her birthday.

I used the tutorial here, and added straps.  The fabrics are from "Jazz Jam" by Andover, plus a Basic Grey print.  My daughter plays piano and clarinet, so I was glad to feature them via easy fussy cuts.

Here's the back:

It's on the visor of her car now.

I made one for myself a couple of years ago:

Visor CD Holder