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?

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Finishing touches

Hello, friends! Welcome back to my quilt odyssey. We've been chugging slowly north, moving away from the hurricane zone and toward pleasant summer weather. And I've been putting together quilts for Covered in Love, using donated orphan blocks and fabric.

Today I'm sharing five quilts that all came to me as large-ish groups of blocks, making for quick assembly and easy finishes. First up is this piece with a Christmas flair. The 25 blocks in the shape of gift boxes all have holiday themes like reindeer, wreaths and ornaments. They were donated by Christine. So cute! But not quite enough for an entire quilt. 

The colors are the standard red, green and gold, with quite a bit of black mixed in. I noticed the same colors in a bag of strip blocks donated by Priscilla. I think they make a vibrant border, and the black binding helped tie it all together.

On the back, I used a big chunk of this "cheater" fabric, printed to look like antique applique blocks. It even looks like the madder reds have "bled" a bit of dye, but nope. That's printed right on the fabric. The last of Priscilla's blocks stretched the backing just enough, and this quilt was in the bag. Or the box, since that's how I ship quilts to Kat.

The next quilt was even easier to put together, since there were plenty of blocks for the entire piece. I don't even think there was one left over! I'm not sure who made these fun 16 patches, but I love the mix of bright colors against black.

And such a great variety of fabrics, too! There must be over a dozen different black background designs. It inspired me to pull out similar pieces from my stash, and use them to create the backing and binding.

They look a bit of a jumble in this view, but in person it has a kind of I-spy feeling. I hope it starts some interesting conversations and offers snuggly comfort to a family.

And moving from black to brown, this quilt came to me as a small flimsy, not just individual blocks. All I had to do was add a few borders to bring it up to size. The darker brown inner border and binding are made from donated fabric. Kat receives not only orphan blocks, but yardage, precuts and premade binding, too.

I love the mix of fabrics in this! Very rich and interesting. It looks like it might be a disappearing nine patch pattern.

For the outer border, I used this caramel map fabric that's been marinating in my stash for a while. You can see the loopy quilting that I started with. I usually quilt the borders first and then work my way to the center. That's backwards from what is often recommended, but it works for me because it keeps the edges from flapping loose and getting caught under the needle. The loopy motif gave me fits on this, so I switched to a plain old stipple once I got out of the outer border. No one will ever notice!

For the back, I pieced together some fun horses in browns, browns, and more browns. This fabric was made into curtains, probably for a child's room, and I bought it on eBay. Yards and yards for just pennies. Score!

The fourth quilt is another one made from two different sets of blocks. The central section is 12 blocks that I think are called Crown of Thorns. Set together, they make some interesting secondary patterns. Do you see 12 blocks, or 6?

Here's the 13th block on the back to help you see the underlying design. Hard to see on the front, isn't it?

And here's a closeup of some of the fun fabrics Priscilla used to make these blocks. I chose a deep red for the border to help accentuate the red HSTs.

The back is a nice panel that features wildlife scenes and picks up that same deep red from the front. I think it adds a masculine touch to the whole piece.

And finally, here is a photo from Kat's blog of an all-cream quilt made by Meg and finished by me. I couldn't take even one decent picture myself, so pop over to this post on KatAndCat quilts for a better look. I added the outer border, thin gold flange and matching binding, plus some fancy-schmancy quilting. 

Which quilt do you like best? Is it the pattern or the colors that catch your eye? Let me know in the comments!