Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Bahama Dreaming

AKA: Yes, The Water Really Is That Color. This quilt was a long time in the making, but found its forever home quickly.

Back in late 2017, Liz of Savor Every Stitch introduced her pattern called Haphazard. Made entirely of half square triangles, the design is generated by computer code on her website.  Each iteration of the code, and therefore the resulting layout, is unique. I loved this nerdy, techy idea and filed it away in my quilty bucket list. 

Several month later, we were cruising the Bahamas. As usual, we marveled at the variety of brilliant blue waters around us. I thought, "I wonder if I can capture this in a quilt?" Even now, I have to look at my photos to convince myself that those colors really DO exist in nature!

After pulling fabrics that reflected the gorgeous water around us, I remembered Haphazard, and I ran the program until this layout called my name. The top pieced up quickly and easily and I even had some fun "ship in a bottle" fabric for the backing. Top and back sat quietly folded together for a long time.

If you've ever seen any of Liz's quilts, you know she is an expert free motion quilter. I knew that to truly honor her pattern I would need to step up my FMQ game. So the quilt sat for many, many months as a flimsy, until I felt ready to tackle the extensive quilting.

When I heard recently that my dear friend Bear was gravely ill, I knew it was time to pour heart, soul, and embroidery foot into this piece. I started with the cream background areas, adding dense fillers in many designs. Bear is an amazingly multi-talented person. So as I stitched, I concentrated on all the curly, swirly, swoopy, doopy wonderful ways that he is.

Wishbone pathways dance their way across the quilt.

Swirls fill this dance hall square.

And swirl chains in move through this odd shape.

Water meandering and curve echoes kiss at one point.

Pebbles, flowers, paisleys, squiggles...I threw in everything I had. I wanted abundance and exuberance, joy and music in this quilting!

And when the dense background was finished, I pulled out all my blue, green, gray and turquoise threads and started on the beautiful blue water triangles. But this time, I wanted simpler, more open lines. Dot to dot triangles. Big, smooth feathers.

These are the blue healing waters, and I want them to to flow unimpeded, bringing hopes of peace and strength to Bear's life. 

In the smallest triangle, very close to the center, I quilted a bas relief heart by surrounding it with dense matchstick stitching. Because love persists even when we are far apart. I can't be physically with Bear right now, but he has this token of my support and care.

Sean and I wrapped the quilt around ourselves to give it one final infusion of love, then mailed it to California. It has been keeping Bear warm for several weeks now and I know he feels the love inside it! XOXO

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Other people's scrappy blocks

Once again I've been busy sewing and not so busy blogging, and it's time to play catch up! Today I want to share with you two quilts that were made with blocks that other people made. My task was to put them together and finish the quilt.

Aren't these colors pretty? Melinda stitched up the scrappy string blocks from her stash. She has some gorgeous fabrics!

Each block has the same white center strip. I set the blocks into diamond shapes.

The quilting is a simple petal shape in each diamond, using pale green thread, plus ditch stitching around the white sections.

These blocks were all donated to Covered in Love, and Kat sent them to me. She also gets donations of yardage. I thought this zigzag fabric looked good for the back.

The binding is a lime green with tiny white hearts from my own stash.

I also used that green to piece between the zigzag yardage. This allowed me to piece in the CiL label and more importantly, avoid matching all those tiny jaggedy lines!

This quilt was super fun to puzzle together. All the blocks are left over from CiL's annual red, white and blue star block donation drive.

This star is made of appliqued hearts. So pretty and clever!

Some of the blocks were odd sizes, so creative use of sashing, borders, and cornerstones was necessary.

This one reminds me of a buzz saw blade. I really like the bandana-esque fabric, too.

Kat included some larger chunks of red, white and blue that I pieced into the backing with the label. My goal is to use as many of the donated pieces as possible in Covered in Love quilts, with only the tiniest final scraps ending up in my own stash.

I put these three blocks on the back, along with a large chunk of donated yardage. If you zoom in, you can see faint blue and red stars and swirls printed on the white. This is actually the reverse side of the fabric. The front is printed in really pretty, sparkly metallic ink. However, the ink was quite rough feeling, and I decided that the smooth backside would feel better against the skin of the recipient. 

A thin red inner border, a scrappy squares outer border, and a scrappy dark blue binding complete the piece. Most of those fabrics were donated, too, with a few additions of my own.

I had so much fun putting together these quilts and the ones I wrote about last month! I told Kat she could send me her Covered in Love orphan blocks any time. She has since sent me more blocks, over 10 pounds' worth. We think there could be a dozen quilts lurking in there! More on those in another post.