September 26, 2023

Kiwi Peel

 Introducing Kiwi Peel.

This quilt uses the same template shapes used in my Corona Wedding Dish quilt.  While that quilt used paper piecing for the melons, this time I had new laser-cut acrylic templates made for the melons, to go with the original templates for the centers. (Apologies for the poor photo.)

These shapes were originally inspired by an upholstery fabric.

For fabrics, I used a selection of cool(ish) colors from Alison Glass's Kaleidoscope yarn dyes. These colors were chosen in part to make use of leftovers from my Cosmic Curves quilt.

The backing is a print by e bond.

The quilting is all straight lines, 1/2 inch apart.  The green-centered circles are quilted with near-horizontal lines, randomly tilted between blocks, while blue-centered circles have near-vertical quilting.  This results in crosshatching in the melons.  I matched thread colors to the centers, without regard to the colors of the melons, so there are two thread colors in each crosshatched melon.

As I was assembling blocks together, I became concerned about being able to bind the deep inside corners. I decided to add small fillets to simplify the binding.

This idea for fillets was somewhat inspired by an old DWR quilt that was among my Dad's possessions. (I'm not sure of the origin of this quilt.)

More photos:

Now that I have a full template set, you're likely to see more quilts from me using these shapes.

July 6, 2023

Dogs in Pajamas

My wife's mother passed away in 2021. Tina asked me to make her a memory quilt using her mother's pajamas. Since I've heard numerous tales of the dachshunds Tina's family had as she was growing up, I thought of Elizabeth Hartman's Dogs in Sweaters quilt pattern.

 The sweaters are all made from pajamas.

The dogs' bodies, ears, and tails, and the background, are Essex linen.

The trim on the sweaters are mostly solid quilting fabrics, but in a few cases I used plaid pajama pieces for the trim.

I quilted different designs in each of the sweaters.

The back is entirely pieced from pajamas. The pajamas were all stretchy, so I applied interfacing to the pieces -- making for a heavy quilt.

I tried a chunky binding for the first time, using tutorials from Latifah Saafir and Audrey Esarey. I was aiming for a one-inch binding, but I didn't cut my strips quite wide enough. I had to trim a quarter inch from the quilt sandwich after I had sewn down the binding to the front, giving me a 0.75" binding.

I finished this quilt back in February, except the label I had ordered had a typo (my mistake). Here's the freshly added and corrected label:

 My mother-in-law was a very sweet woman, and I'm glad we have this memento to cherish.

July 3, 2023

Two gift quilts

I've recently completed two quilts which I've made for others.

My friend Joy Moore asked me to make her a memory quilt using her husband's shirts. I was pleasantly surprised to see a beautiful collection of bright plaids. Her husband Michael had great taste in shirts!

Joy wanted a large quilt with a traditional design. We settled on Arkansas Crossroads, which is a design I've used before.

The background fabric is Essex linen in flax. I alternated three different simple quilting designs in the 16-square blocks, and did a more intricate beaded design in the background. The background quilting is the same I used in my Xbox quilt, which I felt added much to that quilt.
For the backing, I used a Tim Holtz music-themed print, as Michael was a musician. The label was printed at Spoonflower.

I'm pretty sure Joy is quite thrilled and touched by her quilt.

My second recent completion was requested by our church as a tribute to Mr. Jerry Miller, a volunteer who retired last year after 60 years of service with the church's student ministries.

The quilt is made from Jerry's t-shirts associated with various youth activities or the group's yearly theme. I had the quilting done on a longarm machine at Sweet Home Quilting; my style of dense free-motion quilting doesn't seem well suited for t-shirt quilts.

Since Jerry had worked for NASA, we chose a fabric designed by astronaut Karen Nyberg for the backing, from her Earth Views line.


This was my first collage style t-shirt quilt. I used the layout steps from this tutorial as a guide; I borrowed their idea for a border as well. I cut my blocks at 5-inch increments (finished size) though. As a layout guide, I printed a grid on card stock and sketched in each t-shirt block to scale -- a 15"x15" block would be 3x3 squares on the grid, for example. 

I cut out the individual pieces and arranged them on another grid to determine my placement.


There was a big event last year to honor Jerry's retirement, but he was told at the time he'd have to wait for his gift -- since it required his involvement (in providing shirts and preferences). We presented the quilt to him at the student meeting last Sunday.

I just happened to finish both these quilts at about the same time. I pieced Joy's quilt first, and dropped it off at Sweet Home Quilting for basting on a longarm. While waiting for the basting, I was able to piece the t-shirt quilt. Then I left the t-shirt quilt to be quilted at Sweet Home while I did the quilting on Joy's quilt. By the time Joy's was complete, all that was left on Jerry's quilt was to add the binding and label.

February 21, 2023

"Let Every Instrument Be Tuned For Praise"

The music minister at our church retired last year. Billy Orton served for 23 years as Minister of Music and Worship at First Baptist Church of Huntsville, Alabama; I was privileged to serve under his direction in both choir and orchestra for that entire time. To honor his service and retirement, I made a quilt for Billy and his wife Jane.

The quilt uses the church's logo appliqued on a linen background.

In the lower right of the quilt, I quilted a silhouette based on a photo I took during choir rehearsal a few years ago.

This is the photo I used for the silhouette; this image also appears on the quilt label.

The backing and binding are from a Tim Holtz print which has colors similar to both colors of the church logo. There are music notes incorporated in this print as well. I used fussy cuts from this fabric for some of the applique pieces too, in both colors.

I generally avoid photographing quilts in bright sun, especially at noon, but for this quilt midday sun worked best to highlight the quilting.

This photo, taken in morning shade, has more even lighting but the quilting does not show as well. 

I've pieced smaller versions of this logo into mini quilts before (see here and at the end of this post), but applique seemed easier at this scale. I had the logo printed on 36"x48" paper at a local office supply store and cut the pattern from that. I used raw edge applique and added a minimum of quilting inside the shapes.

For the background quilting, I divided the space to mimic stained glass, as in the logo.

I titled the quilt "Let Every Instrument Be Tuned For Praise," using a phrase from the hymn "When In Our Music God Is Glorified."

A glamour shot with a glimpse of the back combined with the front:

My wife and I met up with Billy and Jane recently to deliver the quilt and catch up with each other. I believe they were genuinely thrilled with the quilt.

February 1, 2023

Kaleidoscope Star

I had been tossing around an idea of using stripes in a Lone Star quilt when Alison Glass's Kaleidoscope Stripes were released. They seemed a great fit for what I had in mind.

I designed this quilt to take advantage of the Kaleidoscope fabrics. Because of the scale of the stripes, I chose relatively large diamonds (3.5" finished width), producing a star 68 inches across. With the borders, the quilt is about 85 inches square.

I used strip piecing methods to piece the star, alternating between strips cut across the width of the fabric with strips cut lengthwise, so that the stripes go in alternate directions within a strip set.

The background fabric is Essex Speckle Yarn Dyed in Black.  (That's not dust in the photos, that's the speckles which are woven into the fabric.)

I knew quilting with black thread would not show up well on the black fabric. I used iridescent thread (Superior Glitter 109) for selected features, and did additional quilting with black thread anyways.

The quilting is hard to capture in photos, but this view gives an idea of where I used the iridescent thread:

Here's a detail showing the quilting in the border:

The backing fabric is a Ruby Star Society sateen. The dark background and bright accent colors work well with the front of the quilt. The binding is a Kaleidoscope solid.

I didn't get quite the effect I was hoping for with the stripes -- I think a more uniform stripe, or fussy cutting of these, might work better. But I'm still happy with the bright and cheery look of the quilt.