It's been a very busy few months for me. I needed to travel to California several times for family medical issues, so I'm really behind on my blogging. But there's good news. First and most importantly, my relative is doing so much better. Hooray!
Secondly, I've actually been able to get to quite a bit of quilting in the times between trips. In fact, I've finished several quilts. How did that happen? In this post I reveal my sneaky techniques for fast finishes.
UFOs for Donating
Nothing speeds a quilt finish along like having 90% of the flimsy already finished and sitting in the closet. These first two quilts have been at that almost done stage for months.
This one is Wonky Diamonds, made with alternating multicolor novelties and neutral strings. I pieced them on paper foundations, just to see if I liked that technique. Turns out, I don't. So I stopped with just these few blocks and bordered them up with a fun yellow zebra print given to me by a guild friend.
The back used up the rest of the zebras and this zippy apple and pear fabric. This is a donation to Wrap A Smile, so it's only about 40"x50". Using my go-to stipple, I can quilt that size piece in about 2 hours. Binding by machine takes 45 minutes or so.
Lurid Cats were one of my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks last year. I stitched two cats per month, and ended up with two 9 block tops. Simple black sashing was all these crazy cats needed to shine.
The backing is from my seemingly endless supply of soft yellow plaid, a gift from Sean's aunt. Sean chose the red binding. I often ask him for color advice when I'm stumped.
For the quilting on this one, I did a "hook/swirl" motif using rainbow variegated thread. This design is fast becoming a favorite with its combination of curves and points.
And here's a gratituous boaty glamour shot. Just because.
I don't think I've ever shared them before, but these kimono blocks were well aged in the orphan block stash. I made them from Asian-inspired fabrics, sewing great guns until I had an even dozen. And then I ran out of steam. They were a bit fiddly and the thought of making a dozen more just wasn't appealing.
So I combined them with a nicely designed geisha panel and added some coin-style columns to get a pleasing quilt width. The backing is bright white with tiny purple flowers. More hook/swirl in pale lavender thread. Don't you just love it when you can use pretty threads?
I'm not certain where this one will end up. Lavender Geisha is too busy sipping her tea to whisper in my ear about where she wants to go. Perhaps she'll go to Happy Chemo, a Hands2Help charity. We'll see.
UFOs for Gifting
These two quilts were made for my "nieces," who are the daughters of one of my oldest and dearest friends. Both young ladies are finishing up college degrees this spring, one receiving her Bachelors and the other a Masters.
The quilt on the right, for J, has been a work in progress for several years. The circles were one of my first forays into improv piecing. I purchased math and science themed fabrics from a lady on eBay who makes men's ties, so the scraps were all oddly shaped triangles.
After fermenting in my stash for a looooong time, I pieced the circles into a gray linen/cotton blend. Burgundy and cream striped sashing and nine patch cornerstones hold the circles together. I quilted free form offset circles in the patchwork, and simple stippling in the background.
The backing fabric is a nice big chunk of this cream with apples. J is getting her Masters in education, so this quilt is Apples for the Math Teacher!
J's sister L received a bright, happy quilt made from the free pattern called Noteworthy Labyrinth on Moda Bakeshop. I finished the flimsy back in June of 2018. With so much movement and color in the top, I kept the quilting super simple. A big stipple using rainbow variegated thread was quick and easy. Or maybe it was hook/swirl? Now I've forgotten, and I somehow managed to give L's Labyrinth away without taking any finished photos, alas.
Small and scrappy
Tiny quilts for tiny babies sure do work up fast, don't they? This quilt is a baby gift for friends who are expecting in late April. Their nursery colors are grey and white, with touches of light green. I knew I wanted to do something with my grey string scraps, and found this free pattern called Birds, Bees and Butterfly Strands.
The piecing was very fast, and the 40" square quilt came together quickly. I used this modern Blueberry Park grey fabric as the back and binding. It was a gift from Rose and I'm happy to find the perfect use for it.
Butterfly Strands is quilted in floppy feathers in pale green thread for soft, snuggly texture.
Just the Flimsies, Ma'am
You know what makes a quilt finish up really, really, REALLY fast? Not quilting it! These next two pieces, which are both unquilted tops, are some of my Hands2Help Charity Challenge finishes. This one features little panels that look like old fashioned flower seed packets. The panels were given to me by Kathleen, one of my online guild friends. A little bordering of the panels, a few hour glass blocks, a bit of checkerboarding, and Dreaming of Spring was finished.
Sweet and Sour is made with some of my stash of fun fruit fabric with citrus-y green and orange accents. I modified a free pattern called Framed Rectangles so the blocks would be 10"x14". Both flimsies will be donated to Victoria's Quilts, which asks for 50"x70" quilt tops only. This size block makes for an easy 5x5 layout and allows the large scale fruit designs to really take center stage!
Lotto Blocks and Panels
Finally, these last two little quilts were so fun and fast to make. Apologies for strange shadows in the photos! Figuring out where to take pictures so that the sun and wind direction are kinda sorta correct has been a real challenge lately.
I sewed a grand total of about 12 seams in this quilt. The tropical birds in the lower left corner are a panel about 24"x36". The six blocks were all made by members of the Sunshine Online quilt guild, as part of their monthly block lotto. I've won the lotto three times now, so I have a nice mix of blocks to choose from.
This sweet little applique butterfly is my favorite!
All I had to do was choose some blocks that played nicely with the panel, and pick a sashing color and coordinating backing. A little stippling, a little binding, and boom! Lotto Birds is ready for Wrap A Smile.
I had so much fun, I couldn't stop at just one. Check out this darling kitty panel! Happy cats in turquoise, yellow, hot pink, black and grey.
Plunging into the lotto block stack, I pulled out eight fun squares to surround the cats. Turquoise sashing and hot pink binding added some extra zing. Lotto Cats made me smile every time I worked on it.
For the back, I used this nautical fabric with all kinds of different sail and power boats. There's even submarines with little yellow propellers. So. Stinking. Cute. Our resident boat cat, Angel, confirms that the shippy fabric works just fine with the felines on the front.
Whew! Did you make it all the way to the end of this looooooong post? Do you have a favorite of this bunch? Leave me a comment and let me know and thanks for sticking with me while I finally got all these quilts documented.