October 24, 2020

Corona Wedding Dish

When Tula Pink announced the availability of her solids collection on Instagram, she asked folks to share how they might use them.  My response was that I would love to do an updated take on a double wedding ring quilt.

Two and a half years later, I have a finished quilt.  I drew inspiration from an upholstery fabric design seen at our church which consists of overlapping distorted circles.

I used Inkscape to design the pattern, starting with a group of four overlapping circles on a repeating 20-inch grid.  I used the drawing tools to distort the circles, which required trial and error to get the overlapping repeats to intersect as I wanted.

Translating the overlapping circles to individual pattern shapes with seam allowances was tedious, but I soon got the hang of it.  I printed the melon shape outlines and improvisationally penciled in zig-zag lines for paper piecing on each individual melon, so that each piece is unique.

For the center shapes, I had acrylic templates laser cut locally by Aly Shearer.  I'm very happy with how they turned out, and with how helpful they were in the fabric cutting.

A half-yard fabric bundle was almost enough to complete this quilt.  From most colors I cut two centers and made two blocks worth of melons; for the few colors I repeated three times, I had to purchase additional fabric.

I divided the bundle into warm and cool colors (roughly), and alternated blocks between the two sets.  This type of design does not lend itself to making blocks and then arranging them on a design wall; I had to plan out my color placement in advance.  I assigned a number to each color, cut small squares from the selvedges, and glued them onto paper grids as a placement guide, one for the centers and one for the melons.

Each center is quilted in a grid-based design, inspired by a class with Christina Cameli at Quiltcon 2019 in Nashville.

My original name for this quilt was "Where is my compass?"  I was not anticipating that the spiky secondary design would be so prominent; as a result, a coronavirus-inspired name seemed obligatory.  With the close relationship to double wedding ring and pickle dish quilt designs, I settled on "Corona Wedding Dish," which seemed to resonate with folks on Instagram.

I hid one Easter egg in the quilting.

"It will go away like magic."

The back of the quilt uses Anna Maria Horner's Hindsight 108" backing.

I'll close with a few more quilting photos:

July 8, 2020

Dayhike quilt

I finally finished a UFO that's been in progress for quite a while.  This quilt was made using the Dayhike pattern by Amy Ellis.

Two fabrics provided the initial color inspiration -- Rifle Paper Company's Rosa in Peach, and Rashida Coleman-Hale's Cicada Song in Forest.

The pattern is targeted towards 10-inch layer cake squares, but I used yardage and scraps.

There is one intentionally rogue block; I'm not sure how noticeable it is, though.

The two inspiration fabrics appear in the backing as well as in blocks on the front.

For quilting, I tried to draw inspiration from the fabrics and quilted each rectangle individually.

The binding is a Cotton Couture solid in Juniper.

This would have been a quick finish had I not set it aside for a while.  It has been over three years since I started this quilt!  With so many quilt shows being cancelled, I don't have any current deadlines, which gives me an opportunity to finish up some smaller projects like this.  It's good to have this one complete.

April 26, 2020

Two National Parks quilts

Our family enjoys visiting national parks, so I was excited when Riley Blake Designs released their National Parks fabric line with large poster panels.  I like the retro graphic look of the designs too.  The large panels are about 36 inches by 42 inches; adding some simple borders is a quick and easy way to create a lap-size quilt.  I was able to complete two tops from start to finish between Christmas and New Years.  (The quilting still took weeks, of course.)

I chose panels from two parks that we enjoy and that would also make suitable gifts for friends -- Rocky Mountain National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  For the Rocky Mountain quilt I added several borders of varying widths, including a woven Anna Maria Horner stripe and a few solids.  Simple stars sit in the corners of the stripe border.

For the Smoky Mountains quilt, I created a plaid-like border using solid fabrics.  The cream inner border expands the dimensions of the panel out to multiples of four inches -- fortunately it is an odd multiple in each direction.

I was well out of my comfort zone when it came to quilting the animals in these prints.  I chose to quilt them sparsely, mostly outlining the color zones. 

To keep the quilting somewhat even, I tried not to quilt the backgrounds or borders too densely either.  This was a challenge for me, as I usually tend to quilt heavily. 

I did want the lettering to stand out, so the background in those areas are the most dense.

The back of each quilt uses Mammoth flannel from Robert Kaufman Fabrics. 

I was nervous about using flannel as a backing, but it quilted really well.  Even matching the seams worked out well. 

Combined with Dream Wool batting, I'm hoping these quilts will be warm and cozy.

I had hoped to share these quilts with our local guild during Show and Tell at the March or April meetings, but quarantine upended those plans.  These quilts have found their way to their recipients already -- and may eventually find their way to vacation homes near their respective parks.

January 8, 2020


My wife and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary just a few months ago.  I made her a quilt in celebration, using a Double Wedding Ring design and lots of silver metallic fabrics.


 I scanned some of our wedding photos and other memorabilia, and had them printed on fabric at Spoonflower.  I reduced the saturation in the photos before printing so that the colors are subtle and blend well with the neutral fabrics.

 I used a Creative Grids template set for the Double Wedding Ring design.  I scanned the center template and used it as a guideline in Photoshop for sizing the photos.  Most of the photos did not fill the full template; for those, I pieced additional fabric on the sides before cutting to the template shape.

 I also scanned the templates for the arcs and corners, and used these scans to generate paper-piecing patterns.  I added stars in the corners, and I split the arcs into 9 segments (instead of the 8 in the template) in order to start and end with dark pieces while alternating values.

I incorporated a few Japanese fabrics, which is meaningful as my wife lived in Japan for a couple of years before we were married.  There's even an electrical engineering related fabric to represent my career.

I used a metallic stripe in all of the melon centers, randomly varying the direction of the stripes.  (This has less impact on the overall quilt than I thought it might.)

Most of the quilting uses Aurifil 50-weight cotton, but for the photos I used a 100-weight polyester thread.  I like the way it looks on the photos, but my machine was not happy with this thread; I experienced quite a few breaks.

Here's the view of the back of a photo block, showing how I outlined the figures.  I was afraid some of the images might end up too puffy, but I don't think they are that bad.

For all the centers that do not have a photo, I quilted different grid-based designs.  I learned a number of these designs in a class with Christina Cameli at Quiltcon.

 Here's a view of the label:

The back is a near-solid teal that I think works well with the silver.  It's not quite the same teal as we had in our wedding, but it is a nod to our colors.

It's hard to tell from the photos, but the light fabrics in one of the rings are all a rose metallic, and in the ring below that, the light fabrics are all a gold metallic (they are on the left side).  There is a total of 25 rings, naturally.

I did not have the quilt finished in time for our anniversary, but the last stitches went in on Christmas Eve -- so the quilt was under our tree on Christmas morning.