Thursday, December 30, 2021

Guest blogger alert

Hello, friends! Just a quick note here to let you know that I'm guest blogging over on Kat & Cat Quilts today. If you'd like to see some of my recent quilt finishes, check them out here. I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season. Stay safe and well!

Friday, September 10, 2021

Smaller quilts and au revoir

As promised in my previous post, here are the last small quilts I finished. This first one was made from various black, white, gray and pickle green blocks. Many came from Jan either as completed blocks or smaller components that I combined into 12" blocks. I quilted this with a nice swirl and used a black and white stripe for the binding.

Some penguins make the back fun, too. I like to use novelty fabrics like this to make the back a surprise for the little person who receives the quilt.

And speaking of fun, aren't these cats a kick? They have the funniest sly looks on their faces as they contemplate the birds on their heads! I don't remember when I made the rail fence blocks, but they seemed to play well with the kitties and that blue tree fabric, so I stitched them together to make this little quilt.

The back continues the pink/turquoise/red and cat themes. I love that tree fabric so much!

This next piece is made from a bunch of 3.5" squares of nautical and Hawaiian themed fabrics. They were part of a bundle I bought on eBay. I added a pink polka dot border and binding to make a sweet 40"x40" baby quilt.

The back used up a couple more chunks of pink, a color I don't use often. Both this piece and the first two in this post were donated to Little Lambs.

This bright little quilt is a bit random. I had the rectangles in a ziplock baggie and started sewing them into columns as leader/enders. After the columns sat around for a while, I decided to set them in green, but didn't have quite enough. So they got strips of coordinating fabrics in between. It kinda sorta works? I think I mostly wanted an excuse to use the stripe as a binding. I love the black, green and orange together!

The back used up greens in various shades from light to dark. This quilt was sent to Quilts Beyond Borders as part of their Navajo Initiative.

And finally, this quilt is sized to be used on the lap of a wheelchair user. It's about 36"x50". I've had the panel full of tools for a while, waiting for inspiration to strike. I dare you to read the words without breaking out into song.

Jan sent me these super cool Dresden fans and that was just the inspo I needed! The colors are perfect, and the shape of the fans mimics the saw blade in the panel. Only two fan blocks were finished, so I stitched the rest together and set them on various creamy backgrounds. I think a retired woodworker will really like this quilt.

The back has chickens and roses because, why not? I do love a good chicken fabric, don't you?

And on that note, this will be my last post. I started this blog to document my quilts, back when I made one every few months. Now I finish about one a week and have found that I absolutely dread taking the photos. Quilting brings me tremendous joy, and I love every part of the quilting process. But honestly? The blog photography was starting to steal that joy. Today the SD card on my phone died, destroying a bunch of photos, and that was the final straw. Admitting that I was done blogging feels like a huge relief. 

I appreciate all the kind words and support I've received through your comments and emails. Rest assured that I will still be quilting! If you follow Kat's blog, she usually takes photos of the pieces I donate to Covered in Love, so you can still see some of my work there. 

Thank you for joining me on this journey, and I'll see you around in the comment sections of other quilt blogs.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Covered in Love times six

Time for a quick catch-up post on what I've been working on. These six quilts were finished in June and July and I just shipped them off to Kat. This first one was made almost completely with scraps from Jan of The Colorful Fabriholic. They were leftovers from the very cool piece she made for her guild's Color Spoke Challenge. I grouped them by size and added a few more touches of the magenta. Then I set two quadrants of the quilt in black background and two in white.

The back used up some chunks of black, white and gray fabrics that have been in my stash for a while. I also had some strips with sweet and encouraging sayings on them; that fabric was donated to CiL and I hope it brings some encouragement to a family. 

Fabric designs that are half black/half white like these on the back seem to be very hard to use in piecing for me. I like them, I buy them, but then never use them. If you have any advice on ways to incorporate high contrast fabrics like this, let me know! 

This Star-Fish quilt was made from two different CiL donations that happened to be sitting next to each other on my work surface one day. The 13 free-form stars are made from soft, pretty batiks and came to me as rectangles. I don't know who stitched them, but I love them! The three fish panels with white backgrounds came from someone else, but the colors are an exact match to the stars. That made 16 blocks, hm, a 4x4 layout could wo4k. Then I remembered I had another fish panel with similar colors and could make four more block from that. 4x5 was a much better size and a quilt was born.

The back is just fat quarters in the same sherbet shades as the front. I also pulled those colors from my bin of 2.25" strips for a scrappy binding. 

This fun quilt is made with a combination of blocks from me and Cathy of Crazy by Design. I think her blocks might be from the book Farmhouse Vintage? They include the bee, flower and hand mixer. Aren't those super cute? They ended up as orphan blocks in her stash because they weren't exactly 12.5", and we all know how that goes, don't we? I have my own selection of 12.0", 11.75" and 11.4785726" blocks that are hoping for friends of the same size to come out and play.

I grouped blocks of the same width together and sewed them into columns. Then I offset the columns to hide the fact that each column is a little different height. Your eye sees the stairstep design but can't perceive the slight differences. Of course, MY eye sees my blocks with crappy contrast, so I'm glad Cathy's fun blocks dominate the scene! The background gray is printed with the names of all fifty US states.

The back is a large chunk of stylish ladies on Vespas that I've been hoarding for years. Some of you may know that we have motorscooters that we carry with us on the top of the boat so I love all things scooter-related. Time to get that cute fabric out into the world to comfort a family.

This autumnal piece was donated by Christy and sewn by a friend of hers. It came with a big extra chunk of the red and brown leaf fabric. I'm guessing that it was made in the early 2000s? It is a very complicated design, with most of the blocks being cut on the bias. Blocks that had NO BUSINESS being bias. Maybe it was a mystery quilt along and each piece was so unusual there would be no way to guess the final design? I don't know, but I feel for the gal who tried to make this beast lie flat. The combination of so many bias edges and the super soft plaid flannel made the top wavy gravy. Roly poly. A sea of rumples, kind of like the Maine waters we're cruising right this minute.

I removed the entire outer border to get back to some semblance of flatness, and used the leftover pieces to make the quilt rectangular. Then I "quilted the life into it," as the saying goes! I find that when I'm fighting with a quilt top, or feeling bad that I chopped off some points, or I'm not loving the colors, it really helps to do more extensive and/or custom quilting. 

This classic looking quilt started as a batch of Priscilla's orphan blocks. Priscilla's piecing is always precise and perfect. They are also delightfully scrappy, with no one color dominating at all. A little sashing, a few cornerstones, and this top came together lickety split. I think Nicki made the pretty green floral binding, all nicely pre-pressed and ready to go. 

The back is an eBay find that I think was supposed to be a lightweight bed cover. It came to me as a single piece of cotton, 120"x120". 

And finally, some rainbow fun! This quilt was made by me with a batik jelly roll donated to CiL. It's just a simple rail fence, and a few borders, but there's something about rainbow order that always makes me smile. The last batch of donations that Kat sent me contained four jelly rolls, so I'm on the lookout for more good patterns to use them up. Let me know in the comments if you have a pattern you like!

This big chunk of solid orange was also donated and makes a great back for such a bright front. I hope it ends up in the hand of an orange lover.

I got confirmation from Kat yesterday that she received the big box containing these quilts, so soon they can go to work doing the serious business of comforting grieving families. I have a batch of baby/toddler quilts to share with you next, so stay tuned! And thanks for your understanding while I was on blog hiatus.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Gift for K

I made this quilt for my friend K. She had a stroke and needed brain surgery; that's pretty serious! We visited K and her husband T at their home in Florida after she was released from the hospital and were so pleased to see how well she was recovering.

She was still spending a lot of time resting in her big recliner, so I asked her if she'd like a lap quilt. She immediately replied, "Yes, please! In red, white and blue." Seems appropriate to share this quilt on Independence Day, even though I sent it off to her in early spring.

I pulled out some true blues in dark and light shades, added some slightly off whites and just a bit of red. As friends, K&T are like those few red blocks: they are rare and really stand out! We laugh and snort our way through each visit with them.

For the back, I used this big piece of red, white and blue sailboats that has been patiently waiting for just the right quilt. It wasn't quite big enough, so I fattened it up with some tonal red.

As you can see from her expression, K loves her quilt! I'm glad I could make her smile and keep her cozy. Keep healing, dear friend!

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Gift for B&D

This quilt is a gift for my cousins in Oregon, who are grieving the loss of their son. My heart breaks for them and I wish I could be there to give them big hugs. A rectangular quilty hug will have to do for now.

The pattern is from Sarah's blog, Confessions of a Fabric Addict. I used blue, gray and cream scraps to keep it feeling masculine in honor of R. 

The setting triangles and most of the backing are lightweight denim/chambray.

My cousins kindly sent me a photo of the quilt in the room where R slept when he visited. I think that is so special and I hope it reminds them of the love that surrounds them from family and friends. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Gift for S&D

This quilt was given as a gift to boating friends S and D. S was really thrilled with it, and posted it on her Facebook page. I'm not on FB, but Sean shared all the sweet comments from that post with me. 

Well, most of the comments were sweet. One person said, "Those aren't the colors I would have chosen" which I thought was quite snotty. I mean, really? S said that she loved it and someone disses the colors? That's so rude to S, and rude to me. And even if they chose different colors, I wouldn't make them a quilt anyway. So neener neener neener.

I really like this combination of black and white and brown and gray. It feels sophisticated and modern to me, as sophisticated as quilt with a tiny fox on it can be. I did different FMQ motifs in each section: wishbones, swirls, and stipples.

The back includes a big chunk of this odd map fabric featuring the East Siberian Sea and the Soviet Union. I told them not to use it for navigation when they take their boat out this season.

And here it is in their home in Maine. It looks great in this cozy under-the-eaves room!

Monday, June 28, 2021

Baby gifts

I gave two quilts recently as baby gifts. The penguin blocks were stitched by another blogger who gave them away as orphan blocks. I added the scrappy background, quilted it up, and sent it to the lovely young woman who manages some property for us.

I blogged about this several months ago when I finished it, and wanted to have a record of who I gave it to.

This beach-themed quilt was made from a panel that I cut up and put back together, adding a nice stripe for some extra width. 

It's a counting game: one sun, two sand castles, three fish. So bright and fun!

I gave this to my friends B and K, for their second baby, A. Their first child is a toddler now and I thought she would enjoy pointing out the numbers and colors to her baby brother.

And here's A, enjoying his new quilt. Isn't he a cutie? I just love getting photos of my quilts in action!

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Mod hodge podge

This quilt was a bit of a failed experiment that turned out fine in the end. I had a rather random assortment of orphan blocks that each had at least a little bit of turquoise. The puzzle was how to deal with each of them being a different size. The largest is 12" finished and the smallest is 4" with some oddballs in between like 9 7/8". I decided that making each one the bottom left corner of a block with scrappy cream backgrounds could work, with the quilt getting lighter and more open toward the top.

I think the top half works pretty well because the differences between the blocks are large enough for your eye to see a gradation. At the bottom, though, 12" and 11.5" look pretty much identical! But those larger blocks do give weight to the bottom, allowing the small blocks to float above. So I'm calling it good enough to podium in the Orphan Block Olympics, if there were only four contestants.

The back also didn't quite live up to my vision. I like the column of extra blocks against the cream, but filling out the rest with turquoise scraps is...clunky. It's fine, it's the back, but...meh. I also put the Covered in Love label on smack in the middle of the cream section. Hello? Why? I don't remember!

I very much enjoyed working with all the cool blocks, however. Isn't this pickle dish block neat? And the crumb block is particularly complex and fun. I often wonder what project the blocks were originally part of and hope it turned out well! Meanwhile, I'm calling my results "mod" because of the negative space and "alternative gridwork." That's fancy talk for, "It didn't really line up the way I expected it to." But it's soft and snuggly and perhaps someone's favorite color and that's what counts.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Jacob from Dublin

As you probably know by now*, I help finish quilts for Kat's charity, Covered in Love. Sometimes instead of orphan blocks, she sends me donated fabric. About a year ago, she received a couple of charm packs of green, white and black fabrics with a St. Patrick's Day theme, and she passed them along to me.

*Spelling it out for new readers!

I immediately thought, "Irish fabric! How cute! I simply MUST make an Irish Chain quilt." So I started pairing dark and light squares together and stitching up half square triangles. In a pile next to my Juki, they served as leader/enders for months. I think I made over 100 HSTs before I realized that the Irish Chain pattern doesn't use any triangles. 

At all. Not one, much less one hundred sewn over weeks and weeks.

Here's a nice green Irish Chain from Yup. All squares. Uh-oh.

Clearly I had a different pattern in my brain. I could visualize it clearly, but had no idea what it was called. And do you know how hard it is to find a quilt pattern by just searching on "half square triangles, might be kinda Irish-feeling"?

Then one night I dreamed I drank beer with a guy from Dublin named Jacob, and when I woke up realized that the name of the pattern was Jacob's Ladder.

Whew! Glad I didn't make all those triangles for nothing. After strip piecing the required four patches, I was able to bring my mental image of this quilt to life. I'm so grateful to dream Jacob!

This quilt was fun to finally finish, and I hummed "An Irish Blessing" as I quilted it. It's now on its way to Kat for Covered in Love. Have you ever had to search for a pattern without knowing the name? Or have a quilt epiphany in a dream?