Sunday, February 21, 2021

A "Just Because" Finish

Look what I finished this weekend!

Rosie has given it her seal of approval, but you can't see the quilt vey well.  Let's try again.

I started and finished this top last spring but it kept being pushed to the end of the quilting queue, behind projects with deadlines and new pattern samples.  This month I finally acknowledged that there will always be new deadline projects in my business, and that I needed to let myself enjoy some "just because" sewing.  

So I did.  I gave myself permission to not work on the weekends and I just played. I really enjoyed this one. I seem to be in the mood for simplicity these days, so I started with very simple straight line walking foot quilting in the background to emphasize the scrappy squares. Here's the first pass in both directions.

Another pass on the other side of each seam dressed it all up just a little.

That was the simple patchwork look I was looking for.  The plan, when I was working on the top last spring, was to do fancier quilting in the sunflowers with my quilting rulers.  I did try a little fancy work in the grey centers, but it just didn't fit with the simplicity of the background.  I picked it out and decided to just outline quilt inside the center and petals and hope inspiration would strike while I did that.

Once I had done that, I was satisfied with just adding simple crosshatching in the flower center.  That tied into the grid in the background.  Leaving the inside of the petals blank made them just a little puffy, like the rest of the quilt.

Next up was the border. I stitched in the ditch just before the last border, mostly to tack down the prairie point accents. Next I thought about straight lines either perpendicular to the edge or just running around the quit like a frame, but there are a lot of straight lines in this quit already.  I took out paper, pencil and quilting rulers to draw different ideas to add curves to the border.

These small arches fit neatly into the squares in the border and seemed to tie in with the petal shapes.

Yesterday I added a little scrappy yellow binding to frame it all. I am so happy with the finished quilt!

In case you were wondering:
  • Sunflower block is from the book Mini Wonderful Curves by Sew Kind of Wonderful
  • Setting is mine
  • Fabric (including backing and binding) is all from my scraps, except for three 1/4 yard cuts I bought to add a few lighter squares for variety.
On to the next project!  Small Change, the red and white quilt, is basted and ready to quilt.  I'm still pondering the possibilities, but once again I am leaning towards simplicity.  I'll see what happens when I actually start stitching. Hopefully I'll have a reveal for you soon.

Happy Quiting,

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Quick quilt top

After blogging last weekend I admired the pretty Island Batik 10" stack a little longer, then untied the bundle and set to work.

Here's what I started with.

I love that it matched my African violet.  It stayed on the coffee table a whole day longer than planned, just because the grouping looked pretty.

After pressing and cutting and mixing up the prints in stacks, I moved on to laying out blocks. 

I was still enjoying the fabrics up close, but I must say the project didn't look too inspiring as a whole at this point.

Things improved as I started sewing. Sewing larger squares together was so much faster than the all the corners and small pieces on last week's red and white project.  It was a nice change of pace.  You can see I pinned labels to the blocks.  This one was the first block in the second row.  I put all the labels in the the top left quadrant of each block to help me keep track of the orientation. It wouldn't have been a huge deal if I had inadvertently turned a block, or flipped positions, but since I went to the trouble of laying all the pieces out in the first place, I figured I might as well take a few minutes to add labels.

I love the way any design seems to smarten up once the background is added and everything is neatly pressed.  This was getting better, but was still a little bit bland.  It needed a little something to dress it up.

Well, this photo doesn't do it justice.  The border background is a rich purple that really sets off the jewel tones in the small squares, which in turn make the blocks pop a little bit more. Measuring, pinning and sewing on borders is far from my favourite part of piecing a quilt, but it can sure make a difference to the design.  I think this pieced border is much more interesting than a plain one, and ends up making the blocks more interesting that they would be on their own.

This pattern is now being tested, and the top will go in the growing "to be quilted" stack.  My local quilt shop is open by appointment only at the moment to help them mitigate covid risk, so I can't run in on a whim to get what I need to finish.  I have made a long list of backings, backings and threads I need to finish several quilts from the stack so I can make good use of my appointment time on Tuesday.  If I do this right, February might be good finishing month!

What's your quilting plan this month?

Happy quilting,


PS:  If you're wondering, everything in this quilt top is batik from Island Batik. The 10" squares are from the Jewel Quest collection, the background is a basic,  Egg White, and the border is also a basic (marble BE24-A1).  The background actually has pretty swirls of dots in subtle colors, and I can't figure out why it's called Egg White.