Archive for the ‘patchwork’ Category

Back to quilts!

A while back, I started a red-white-and-blue quilt. In fact, I began working on two of them: one with a scrappy background, and one with blocks that all had the same pale blue on white background. All the blocks are big bow ties (simplified pattern, without Y seams) that lend a fun double arrow look.

Well, the baby who is the intended recipient has been born, and he’s a cutie! Little Augustine (“Augie”) will be able to cuddle up with these 1930s reproduction prints:

Sept 2014 Nikon 081

I put a cute “quilting words” fabric on the back because Augie’s mom also likes to sew:

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Augie is just three weeks old, so I think this will be his view of the quilt for a while:

Sept 2014 Nikon 071

After piecing the quilt and layering with a 80/20 cotton/poly blend batting, I free-motioned large meandering patterns in pastel variegated thread. Free-wheeling quilting lines are good for a baby’s small hands to trace, and the primary colored arrows are stimulating for little eyes. I hope he likes it!

Here’s a photo showing my scrappier blocks, as yet to be turned into anything. I do like this block arrangement, too:





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I’ve been busy making progress on a handful of quilts but just haven’t had time to write about it! The first one is a small Hawaiian-themed quilt for my younger daughter’s bedroom wall. She helped piece the strips we used for these “Illinois road” blocks and she just loved the print, which features rainbows and Hawaiian flowers and “honu” (sea turtles). The sky blue is a batik, the only one here. I think that difference causes it to stand out, making it look like the sky on a sunny day with whispy clouds. I began to hand quilt this piece and haven’t quite finished, but every time I look at it, the bright and sweet colors cheer me up.

And I’ve carried on my “quilting in paradise” theme by layering a small quilt for my older daughter on our redwood deck. The joys of Northern California! This quilt has Valentines theme (the print fabric shows “sweet hearts” candies all over it).

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That piece is now bound and finished and sitting happily at the foot of her bed as decoration and an occasional lap quilt.

I’ve put my batik stars on hold temporarily while I work with some red, white, and blue fabric that I purchased almost 2 years ago. Really adorable small prints showcase the retro look of these reproduction 1930s and 1940s fabrics. I got most of these at my local quilt shop, The Granary. Fun! I’m still playing around with more fabrics. More soon…


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Project planning is in full swing for my next quilt. I have begun to piece spinning stars made of light blue (and blue-grey and blue-green) and dark blue batiks. I love picking colors but it isn’t easy–I quickly become a perfectionist about color choice and placement with a scrappy project like this!

I don’t have a design wall yet, but I do have a new bulletin board. Nestled in among the lovely fabrics is an old abstract watercolor by my older daughter (she is now 8, did this piece at 5 or 6) and a fun recent drawing by my younger (6-year-old) daughter. Speaking of whom, I will share the Hawaiian-themed quilt I’m working on with my 6-year-old in my next post. (The kid can sew pretty convincing quarter-inch seams!) Until then, here are a few more photos of my delicious oceanic batiks:





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My friend Anne T. has been at it again. I’d like to share a couple of her creations today. Soon I’ll be posting about a few projects I’m in the midst of, too. But I just couldn’t pass up the chance to show you an amazing hexagon quilt that Anne hand-pieced. I am amazed that she had the patience and the ability to pull this off!

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She had the finished top professionally quilted by Julie, a local quilter who did a custom design. It looks like waves, perfect for the ocean-themed fabric.

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Love the “eyelash” inner border here. It’s very slim but it accentuates the watery feel. If you haven’t seen one before, an “eyelash” refers to the process of folding over a piece of fabric and sewing it down right next to the border, so that you get a 3-dimensional inner border:

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And just when I thought I could not be more impressed, Anne also showed us her progress on her rice bowls quilt. This is a Kaffe Fassett pattern, so lovely in Japanese fabrics! The applique work is really nicely done. She’s making a wall hanging out of this:

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Hope you enjoyed this interlude. Next it will be back to my projects. I forecast gray and blue rain clouds ahead, with a chance of pink candy hearts… (Hint: I’m talking about fabric!)

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In a patriotic mood? Sorry to say I missed posting in July, due to my house move, but to make up for it I captured a photo of a lovely red, white and blue quilt by my friend Anne T. She completed a shop hop in June and quickly produced this beauty as a gift for a friend. It’s so lively to see all these contrasty pinwheel blocks. She did free motion stars all around the borders.

My own quilting projects got packed for my move and my poor sewing machines will need a tuneup after being tossed around by the brawny guys who moved our stuff. I will be setting up a new sewing/art corner in my office soon!


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Hello again! Hope you’ve all been keeping busy gearing up for spring projects. There’s a new energy in the air around my house–we’ve started our spring cleaning early, and that’s taken most of my free time. But I still try to find a moment or two for something bright and cheerful on the side. Right now, it’s orange “slabs” for my improvisational modern quilt. Here’s a preview:

"Slabs" of orange fabric made into 10.5 inch square blocks

“Slabs” of orange fabric made into 10.5 inch square blocks

I like the look overall but have a few second thoughts. I enjoy the very funky repro-style print featuring huge white flowers and berries on an orange background. But I’m not quite sure about that apricot and white fabric (a 1930s reproduction) I mixed in, or that polka dot. With this style of work, you have to get comfortable with things not exactly “matching” and that can be a bit of a leap. Here’s how they look together–apologies for the dim lighting:

Feb 2013 009 (800x533)

Send me a comment if you have any thoughts on how to improve these! I am seriously considering removing the strips of apricot and white, but then, I could go even farther and totally redo the blocks to make them more consistently orange. My previous post showcased the red and yellow versions of these, which I think worked better together.

More soon as I meditate this, if I find a few minutes to sew in this busy life. Happy almost-spring!

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I have been busy! Very, very busy, and although most of my busy-ness hasn’t been focused on crafting, I have had a few inspirations and I’d like to share those with you. My theme? Vintage modern patchwork.

I’ve become obsessed with the book Sunday Morning Quilts, which is such a fun, joyful approach to patchwork and quilt-making for those of us who’d like to use modern techniques to make arty, pretty quilts. The authors focus on improvising with scraps, first by dividing them into colors, and then by turning them into “slabs” – blocks of make-your-own patchwork fabric that sort of resemble log cabin block. Really, they could be any sort of rectangle/square creation you could dream up. If you have strips or scraps on hand, and love putting color on top of color, it can be addictive.

Sunday Morning Quilts

I’m now making “slabs” in red and yellow. I am still drawn to 1930s/40s reproduction fabrics and modern fabrics that have a similar feel: tiny prints, polka dots, little florals that are mostly one color, all in very vibrant hues. My local quilt store provides me with both, luckily. For me, it’s a kick to combine old-school fabrics that are just so bright and cheery with modern-style patchwork. This is an example of what I did with strips of bright red.

Jan 2013 Canon Rebel 022 (800x767).

And then I made more:

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Next: I will trim these and stay-stitch them around the edges. Then: Orange slabs, and then slabs that are off-white with tiny little prints. I have a plan, believe me, for what to do with these… More on that soon. And stay tuned: in an upcoming post, I’ll show you my progress on the little holiday quilt featuring the tiny “mini” prints from my previous post.

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