Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Vintage Corn and Beans Quilt Repairs, Part 3

I made some more progress on the vintage Corn and Beans quilt repair project.  The second of the two blocks that needed to be completely remade and patched over has now been made, attached to the quilt, and requilted.  In case anyone is curious, it took me two and a half hours to piece each of these corn and beans blocks from start to finish, including cutting and pressing the blocks.

Two Blocks Replaced and Requilted

The turquoise and pale blue block was the one that my client's dog had chewed through.  The block next to it needed replacement because both of the fabrics in the original block were disintegrating:

Original Block with Disintegrating Fabrics

I could not find exact matches for these fabrics, but I did the best I could to replicate the look and feel of this block with new fabrics.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Olivia's Night Stars Baby Quilt AND MaryBeth's UFO Quilt That's Nearly as Old as I Am

I have two very different client quilts to share with you today, one that I was forbidden from posting until after the baby shower that happened this past weekend, and the other is one that I posted on Instagram a few weeks ago but forgot to share here on the blog.  

#1: Olivia's Night Stars Baby Quilt

The baby shower is over, so I finally get to share!  Y'all, I am just in love with this baby quilt that my client Olivia pieced for her sister in-law's baby shower.  The pattern is called "Night Stars," designed by Emily Dennis of Quilty Love (available on Etsy here).  

My Client Olivia's Night Stars Baby Quilt with Circle Melodrama E2E

My client shared that this quilt has much more extensive piecing than the projects she usually makes and it took her a lot longer to complete the quilt top than she anticipated, but she did such an amazing job.  

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Vintage Corn and Beans Repair, Part Deux: How to Patch a Giant, Gaping Hole in the Middle of a Quilt

You guys, I was so proud of myself at the end of the day's work on this vintage quilt repair yesterday.  I managed to patch the gaping hole in the quilt backing, fill in the missing cotton batting from the right side, and then patch the giant hole in the front of the quilt with my recreated block -- and I did it all by machine so the repair is strong enough to stand the test of time.  Moreover, the quilt lays perfectly flat through the repaired section and there are no unwanted tucks or pleats around the repair on either the front or the backing side.  WHEW!  Fools like me rush in where angels fear to tread...

More Obvious Than I'd Like, but Better Than the Gaping Hole

There was some damage to parts of the sashing beyond the edges of the missing block and there was also a good bit of distortion of the quilt around the chewed area, such that a perfectly square block would not work as a patch by itself.  The adjacent blocks in the quilt measure about 12 1/4" finished -- who knows what size they were originally, as they have probably shrunk over the years.  

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Rebecca vs the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: A Corn and Beans Vintage Quilt Repair In Progress

Just as I was about to type "Good Morning, Lovelies," my grandfather clock struck noon...  Ah, well -- good afternoon, then!  Today I'm sharing the first chapter of a vintage Corn and Beans quilt repair that I'm working on for a client.  

Client's Vintage Corn and Beans Quilt, With "Window" Added By Her Dog

Why, yes -- OF COURSE I can fix that!  πŸ˜‚. I am such a glutton for punishment, aren't I?!

This vintage Corn & Beans quilt is actually in pretty good shape overall, except for worn binding, a few small holes/open seams here and there...  and a giant window chewed right through the middle of it by my client's Cavalier King Charles Spaniel!  It's machine pieced and quilted by machine (minimally, by today's standards) and I've been mulling over how to fix it for awhile now, knowing it was coming up in my queue.

My Replacement Block, Next to the Original

When working on a vintage repair for a client, I'm charging by the hour and trying to stick as closely as possible to the agreed-upon estimate, so I start with the absolute worst damage first and try to work as efficiently as possible.  This area of the quilt needs to be completely reconstructed through all three layers, so that's where I chose to begin.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Giverny Kaleidoscope Quilt Finish + Big Birthday Surprises: A Bernina Q24 is Coming Next Week (APQS Millennium + IntelliQuilter For Sale)!

Today's post is a long one; I have three things to share with you.  

1. Graduation Quilt Finished Early!

First things first, my lovelies -- I put the final stitches in the binding of Anders' high school graduation quilt last night.  I finished it EARLY, y'all -- graduation isn't until Tuesday, and Quillow Sunday at church is on June 6th.  Woo hoo!!  This was my One Monthly Goal for May, and it feels good to hit the finish line with several days to spare!

70 x 90 Giverny Teleidoscope Graduation Quilt for Anders

I really love how the ombre backing fabric came out, too:

Giverny Teleidoscope Ombre Backing

I ended up doing a 1/2" finished width binding on this quilt because it seemed more proportional to the oversized kaleidoscope blocks than my usual 1/4" binding.  As for the size, it came out right at 70" x 90" before washing it, and I used 100% cotton batting so I'm bracing myself for some shrinkage to happen in that first wash.  I had intended for the quilt to be a little larger, but it will be fine.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Preeti's Spring Broken Improv Quilt with Raindrops On Water E2E

You guys, I have been DYING to show you this client's quilt ever since it was on my frame a month ago, but I was sworn to secrecy.  This quilt top was created by my client Preeti of SewPreetiQuilts using improv piecing techniques (no pattern available).  Her inspiration for the quilt, entitled "Spring Broken," was the lost opportunity to enjoy this year's Spring Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. due to pandemic restrictions.  The fabrics are all from Ruby Star Society.  Isn't this gorgeous?

Raindrops On Water E2E on Preeti's Spring Broken Improv Quilt

I love it when clients send me quilt tops that are so different from the projects I'm working on myself.  I've never tried my hand at improv piecing before, but now I've made up my mind to sign up for an improv piecing workshop the very next time I have an opportunity to do so.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Date Night With Jack the Ripper: A Directional Tension Thriller With a Happy Ending

Friday Night with Jack the Ripper

You should have seen the look on my husband's face when I told him I was ripping stitches out of Anders' graduation quilt.  You'd think I just told him that I fed one of our neighbors to the dog or something.  It was all there in his eyes -- shock, horror, revulsion, "how could you do this to me, to us, and to our family?!" blah blah blah.  But a quilter's gotta do what a quilter's gotta do, and sometimes you just have to put on your Big Girl panties and reach for the seam ripper.

So I finished quilting Anders' graduation quilt late on Tuesday night, but when I took it off the frame and flipped it over, I saw a couple of spots where I wasn't happy with the stitching on the back of the quilt.  I know better than to make rash decisions when I'm tired, so I walked away from the quilt and decided to come back and triage in the daylight, after a good night's sleep.  Sometimes I can pick out and restitch small sections of quilting invisibly, knotting and burying the thread tails so you'd never know any "quilt surgery" had happened there.  This was not one of those times.

Tuesday Night, When I Thought I Was Finished

Inspection on Wednesday morning revealed directional tension problems in the first two rows of quilting, about 15" across the entire top of the quilt.  

What the Heck are Directional Tension Problems?

Oh, I'm so glad you asked!  

Friday, May 14, 2021

Spring Forth: One More Cuddle Quilt Ready for Outreach Drop-off This Weekend

Happy FRIDAY!!!  The Charlotte Quilters' Guild Outreach committee is doing a drop-off this weekend for charity quilts, and I managed to squeeze one more in for quilting so that I'll have three to turn in this month.  I took advantage of the opportunity to try out a new quilting design called Spring Forth.  It shows up really nicely on the pieced backing side of the quilt: 

Spring Forth E2E in Tabriz Orchid Glide Thread, Backing Side

I knew the quilting design wouldn't show well on the front of this heavily pieced quilt, and I didn't really want the quilting to stand out on the front of this one, so I tried to pick a design and thread color that would blend in and let the piecing shine.  Not every quilt is all about the quilting!

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Tuesday's To Do List: Champagne in Giverny for Son-the-Younger

Well, I hope everyone likes the champagne bubbles because we're committed to them now!  After agonizing over trying to choose the perfect design for Anders' graduation quilt for weeks now, I finally decided to show a few options to the soon-to-be-graduate himself and see what HE likes.  Anders chose this design for his quilt, Kristin's Champagne Bubbles E2E, and I started stitching it out this afternoon.

Kristin's Champagne Bubbles E2E on Kaleidoscope Quilt

I just LOVE how my IntelliQuilter can quilt out such smooth, perfect circles onto a quilt, don't you?  This is one of those quilting designs that can only be stitched out with a computerized machine.  I chose 100% Quilter's Dream Cotton batting for this quilt since Anders complains about being too hot at night -- and since he'll be attending college in South Carolina.  The thread is Glide in color Split Pea, selected because it blends into most of the lighter colored fabrics in the quilt top and is a near-perfect match to the backing fabric.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Featherlicious Quilting on a Hunter Star Quilt + Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Wool Batting

This beautiful Hunter Star quilt is fresh off my frame, ready to be shipped back to my client Jo, and I am so pleased with how it turned out.  Jo pieced this quilt as a gift for her sister, using fabrics from Moda's Daybreak collection by Three Sisters.  

Abundant Feathers E2E on Jo's Hunter Star Quilt with Wool Batting

When Jo first reached out to me about this project, she had seen the Graffiti #7 E2E on my Color Outside the Lines quilt and thought she might like something similar.  I suggested Abundant Feathers instead because it has a similar sweeping movement, curved lines, and dramatic impact of the Graffiti design, but with a more traditional style that better complements the soft colors and traditional fabric prints in Jo's quilt.  

I know everyone loves seeing "Before & After" photos.  

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Spring Daffodils, Sunshine, and Abundant Feathers "for the Babies"

In addition to my personal quilting projects and the quilting I do for clients, I also quilt tops for our Charlotte Quilters' Guild's charity outreach program.  Our guild donates to the NICU and Pediatric wards at both the Atrium and Novant hospitals in Charlotte, in addition to the women's cancer units and veterans' hospice.  Many of our guild's members make donation quilts from start to finish, but others will bring in piles of pieced quilt tops for other members like me to quilt.  

The quilt I'm sharing today is one of nearly SIXTY quilt tops that were made and donated recently by a single person, a guild member's mother who is ninety years young.  Every morning she sits down at her vintage Singer sewing machine and sets to work on making "quilts for the babies and children in the hospital."  Just imagine how much love and compassion this one woman has sent out into the world over the decades of her lifetime, working one day and one stitch at a time!

39 x 39 Cuddle Quilt with Abundant Feathers E2E

The sunny color palette and daffodil print fabric are so cheerful, perfect for the Spring season.  

Saturday, May 1, 2021

It's All Fun and Games in the Studio Until Rebecca Unleashes the Flying Monkeys...

Hello, There!  It's Me, Rebecca Grace!

This blog post is a quick public service announcement for the extra-special readers who have subscribed to receive my posts automatically via email.  First of all, THANK YOU!  Full disclosure: When I put that little Follow by Email widget into the sidebar of my blog so many years ago, I thought the only person who'd ever sign up would be my mom.  I never dreamed that there were thousands of quilters out there who would care enough about what I had to say or was making to invite me into their personal in-boxes.  Your comments, questions, suggestions and encouragement mean so much to me.  πŸ’•

Friday, April 30, 2021

April OMG Success: Anders' Grad Quilt is a Flimsy!

It's the last day of April, and I'm crossing my big One Monthly Goal off my list in the nick of time.  I feel like that player in Sports Ball who slides into Home Plate right before whatever happens that makes him Struck Out instead of Safe.  That other dude who is dressed like a cross between a skunk and a raccoon yells SAFE -- and the crowd goes wild!!  πŸ™Œ  See?  I do sort of somewhat pay attention to the Sports Ball games.  But mostly, I'm just shopping for fabric on my iPad...  

Giverny Teleidoscope is a Completed Flimsy

77 x 99 Giverny Teleidoscope is a Completed Flimsy

My Major Goal for April was to get my younger son's high school graduation quilt top, Giverny Teleidoscope, completely assembled, and I just finished that up about an hour ago.  (Those are my husband's naked toes sticking out on the right side of the photo, and my soon-to-be-graduate son Anders' gray sock clad toes sticking out on the other side).   I pressed it flat as a pancake with Mary Ellen's Best Press, and even remembered to stay stitch 1/8" from the raw edges all the way around the quilt top so it's ready to load and quilt.  

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Design Wall Monday + Tuesday's To-Do List: Giverney Teleidoscope is Nearly a Flimsy

As of Sunday night, here's what Anders' high school graduation quilt looks like on my design wall:

All Nine Rows Completed!

All of my 11" kaleidoscope blocks now have their corners attached, and they are all sewn together into nine horizontal rows with their points matching up neatly at the seam lines.  Now all I need to do is to sew those rows together into a finished quilt top (or "flimsy") before I can load it onto my long arm frame for quilting.  My One (Two!) Monthly Goal(s) for April was(were) to finish piecing this kaleidoscope quilt top and to completely finish the bear paw quilt I shared a few days ago, so I think I'm going to end the month at two for two.  

Even though I had a pretty good idea what this quilt would look like with all of the pieces laid out and stuck to my design wall throughout construction, I love seeing the fuzzy design come into sharp focus as the piecing seams tidy everything up.  I am enjoying staring at this one, seeing the different shapes emerge in some areas and recede in others: triangles, Maltese crosses, curved diamonds, octagons and squares, as well as the curved orange peel design illusion that happens where the blocks come together at the corners.  I'm pleased with how this one is coming along.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Friday Quilt Finish: Color Outside the Lines is Ta-Done at Last!


63 x 63 Color Outside the Lines, Bear Paw + Sawtooth Star Blocks

Happy Friday, y'all!  I have a quilt finish to share with you today!  I finally put the last hand stitches into the binding of my Color Outside the Lines quilt last night, wrapping up a languishing WIP (Work In Progress) that I started way back in 2014.  Woo-hoo!

I Hope You Appreciate the Azaleas...

I goaded my grouchy and reluctant husband into driving around with me to find a photo location with azaleas in the exact shade of pink as the hand dyed fabric patches in the center of my bear paw blocks.  I was like the Knights Who Say Nih from Monty Python -- "YOU MUST BRING ME A SHRUBBERY!!!!!"  Also, I told him that none of the OTHER quilters' husbands complain that their arms are sore from holding the quilt up for so long.  πŸ˜. 

Remember what this quilt top looked like before I quilted it?  Here's that Before picture again:

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Giverny Teleidoscope Quilt Progress + Custom Sewing Cabinet Modifications

I'm still chugging along with my son's high school graduation quilt, in fits and snatches!  The real challenge is coming up with new pictures for each post about it, because it looks pretty much the same up on the design wall regardless of whether seams have been sewn together yet!  

Giverny Teleidoscope In Progress

You can't see the whole thing in the photo above, but the top six rows have corners attached and blocks sewn together into rows.  I have three more rows to go with attaching corners and joining blocks into rows.  There are no borders planned for this quilt, so once the top has been sewn together, it will be ready for quilting.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Sesame Street Quilting With a Playful Floral Swirl E2E Design

Hello, hello, and happy Thursday!  Is it a "sunny day, sweeping the clouds away" where you live today?  If not, don't despair -- "I can tell you how to get, how to get to Sesame Street..."  

Seriously; by the time I finished quilting this one, I could NOT get the Sesame Street songs out of my head.  "C is for cookie, it's good enough for me. Cookie cookie cookie starts with C!"

4 inch Tumbler Quilt with Floral Swirl E2E Quilting Design

This is the second of two donation quilt tops that my mom pieced for me to quilt and donate to a local hospital pediatric patient, using the leftover Hibiscus Kona Solid background fabric from Lars's Mission Impossible graduation quilt (finished in 2019 and juried into QuiltCon Together 2021).  There was a ton of that Hibiscus purple fabric left over, and my mom kept me company in the studio while I was custom quilting Mission Impossible and she was using my AccuQuilt GO! cutter with the 4" tumbler die to cut up all of the leftover purple fabric into tumblers.  The print fabrics were pulled from my scrap bin and my stash, except for those fabulous Sesame Street prints -- I spotted those at a local quilt shop and they were a complete impulse buy.  I knew it would be great for The Charlotte Quilters Guild's Pediatric Outreach efforts.  

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Of Piecing, Binding, Eastering, and College Visiting

It's been a busy week, but I still (barely) managed to squeeze in enough personal sewing time to stay on top of my goals -- in addition to my "extra duties" as Family Event Planner, Easter Chef, and Travel Agent/Tour Guide to Out-of-State College Towns.  My label is appliquΓ©d to my bear paw quilt and I sewed the binding to the front of my quilt today.

Bear Paw Binding Began Today

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Another Month, Another Goal... Or Two: Of Bear Paws and Kaleidoscopes

 I was long-winded on the topic of that vintage Economy quilt yesterday, so today's post is going to be Short and Sweet!

I have a Major Goal for April as well as a Minor Goal.  The Minor Goal is to get my Color Outside the Lines bear paw quilt off my WIP list.  That entails labeling, binding, and hand finishing the binding on this one.  After clearing off the heaps of fabric debris on the cutting table from my kaleidoscope, I finally had room to trim the bear paw quilt and machine embroider its label yesterday.

Machine Embroidered Label, Ready to Applique

And no, that is not a typo or your eyes playing April Fools jokes on you.  I really did start working on this quilt SEVEN years ago, in May of 2014.  It will feel good to have this one done at the end of the month!

But my Major and Supreme Goal for April is to get my son's kaleidoscope graduation quilt, Giverny Teleidoscope, to the Finished Flimsy stage by the end of the month.  While I had the embroidery module and stabilizers out anyway, I went ahead and embroidered the label for Anders' quilt as well.  It's stitching out right now, while I'm typing this blog post.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Everything Old is New Again: EQ8 Design Inspiration From a Vintage Quilt

 Good morning!  Happy Passover to my Jewish friends, Happy Holy Week to my Christian friends, and Happy Spring to one and all!  In my house, my younger son has a half day of remote learning today and then he is off for a week of Spring break.  My older son is coming home from college tomorrow afternoon, and we are all going to attend a real, live, in-person worship service together for Easter Sunday, followed by Easter dinner with my mom.  I'm so excited; it's like seeing the light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel!  We had to sign up in advance to attend church services due to reduced capacity for social distancing, and we'll get our temperatures checked at the door and wear masks the whole time, but STILL.  πŸ˜Š

My main focus project, Anders' high school graduation kaleidoscope quilt, is still on track, but I'm sure everyone's tired of looking at it right now and it isn't looking much different than the last time I showed it anyway.  I'm just working my way through row by row, sewing corner triangles onto blocks that you've already seen.  So I thought I'd show you something else today -- a client's vintage Economy quilt that is in my queue, awaiting repair.

62 x 80 Vintage Economy Quilt, Awaiting Repair

Don't you love how fresh and MODERN this antique/vintage quilt appears?  Other than its exceptional condition overall for a quilt that's probably 80-90 years old, what strikes me about this particular quilt is how it's a two color, pink and white quilt, but there's a subtle ombre effect from the use of at least three different shades of pink fabric, and the way the quilt maker distributed those three shades of pink in the block layout.  Secondly, what a cool quilting design!  It's similar to Baptist Fan, except that the design reverses direction in the center of the quilt to create a very modern-looking wave effect across the quilt top.  Also. the curved lines of quilting meet up with the rows above and below rather than touching the "fan" to the left as in a traditional Baptist Fan quilting design.  

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Oh-Ma-Goodness; My March OMG Goal Was Attained... EARLY!

 Guess what?  If a quilter spends less time writing about quilting on her blog, she can get more actual quilting progress completed in her studio!  πŸ˜².  This has been a major epiphany for me!  Stop smirking!

Giverny Teleidoscope Layout, All 63 Block Centers Complete

Okay, so my One (and only) Monthly Goal for March was to complete the remaining 53 octagonal kaleidoscope block centers for my younger son's high school graduation quilt.  I only had nine of them finished at the beginning of the month and I got the remaining 54 pieced with a week to spare.  Whew!  Note that none of the corner triangles are sewn to the blocks yet.  I spent a few hours this afternoon cutting those HSTs (half square triangles) out and arranging the blocks on my design wall until nothing was jumping out at me in an unpleasant way.  I think I like what I've got right now, but I'm planning to look at it again with fresh eyes in the morning before I start actually sewing corners onto octagons.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Giverny Taleidoscope Quilt Progress

Hello, my lovelies!  Did you miss me all week?  Since my last post, I finished quilting my bear paw quilt (and I LOVE how the graffiti quilting came out), but it's still waiting to be labeled and bound because I had to play catch-up with my son's graduation quilt.

 4 Kaleidoscope Rows Completed, 3 Rows Remaining

I was thinking that I was right on schedule to have all of the kaleidoscope centers pieced by the end of March, and then I looked at my calendar again and realized that March does not have six weeks in it, after all.  36 block centers finished, but still 27 remaining to be made on the 23rd of March...

Saturday, March 13, 2021

The Supreme Yumminess of the Hand Marbled Fabrics and the Graffiti Quilting

Earlier this week, since I was all caught up with customer quilts and right on-track with the kaleidoscope blocks I'm making for Anders' high school graduation quilt, I finally -- FINALLY -- got my UFO Bear Paw quilt out of the Purgatory closet and loaded it on my frame for quilting.  I am so excited to finally be finishing this quilt for myself!  I stewed over how to quilt this one for three years, but when I discovered this digital edge-to-edge quilting design, Graffiti E2E #7, by Karlee Porter,  I knew it would be perfect for this top.  

I'm Loving Graffiti E2E #7 on my Bear Paw Quilt!

I started making my 10 1/2" bear paw blocks in May of 2014 as an experiment, chopping up Anna Maria Horner's large scale LouLou Thi print and enjoying the "blobs of paint" effect that created in my blocks, with sections of butterflies or flowers recognizable in the larger patches but not in the small triangles.  Soon afterwards, I got my hands on my first hand marbled fabric assortment from Marjorie Lee Bevis (I think she was selling them through Luana Rubin's equilter.com online shop at that time, but today she sells her fabric directly through her Etsy shop here) and started making 4" sawtooth stars out of them.  

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Weekly Progress: Kaleidoscope On Track With More Fabric en Route

Anders' graduation quilt is starting to take shape on my design wall!  My goal for the past week was to get 23 of the necessary 63 block centers cut and pieced, and I pushed myself to get 8 block centers finished yesterday to stay on track with that goal.

11 inch Kaleidoscope Block Centers on my Design Wall

It's exciting to see the illusion of curved lines begin to emerge now that I have more blocks on the design wall.  However, it was SAD to take down my sampler blocks (again!) and put that project in Time Out.

One Last Look at the Retro Building Blocks Sampler Before Exile

I'm really hoping to come back to the Retro 'Eighties Building Blocks sampler as soon as the kaleidoscope project is finished.  I decided to store the blocks laid flat on my older son's bed, since he's away at college.  Two reasons: First, storing the blocks flat on Lars's bed means no creases from folding the larger blocks to fit in a storage bin or drawer.  Second, this will force me to return my attention to the sampler blocks immediately after finishing the kaleidoscope quilt top, since Lars will be coming home from school by then to SLEEP in this bed.  Buh-bye, sampler blocks!

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Party At My House, Y'All! C'Mon and Link Up your TGIFF Finishes!

Hello and HAPPY FRIDAY, everyone!  If you've come looking for the Thank Goodness It's FINISHED Friday Linky Party, welcome -- you're in the right place.  I'm delighted to be hosting this week's finish party.  

I'm so excited to share my finish this week.  I know I say this a lot, but I found another new favorite edge-to-edge quilting design that I am crushing on this week: 

37 x 37 HST Baby Quilt with Echo Bubble Meander E2E

This 37" x 37" quilt top was pieced by a fellow member of the Charlotte Quilters' Guild for our Outreach Committee, and it will be donated to one of the NICUs at our local hospitals.  When I was first given this top for quilting, I considered custom quilting it with individual motifs in each of the white triangle units.  However, once I had the quilt top in my studio and was thinking about where this quilt was headed and it's job of comforting and encouraging a tiny, fragile baby and his worried parents, custom quilting just seemed too formal and too stiff -- literally too stiff, potentially, if it was heavily custom quilting, but too rigid psychologically as well.  I wanted this quilt to be soft and cuddly, playful and fun.   And then I found this Echo Bubble Meander E2E (Edge-to-Edge) quilting design by Joyce Lundrigan of Methodist Hill Quilt Studio, and knew it would be perfect to bring positive energy and love to the family who receives it.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

In Which the Ghost of Claude Monet Wrests Artistic Control of My Kaleidoscope Quilt and Turns It Into Giverny

Oh-Ma-Goodness; It's MARCH Already!  I'll save you the suspense and tell you right up front: Finishing all 63 blocks for my son's high school graduation quilt is my one-and-only monthly goal for March.  By which I mean, finishing the octagonal centers of all 63 blocks is my goal -- I'll be deciding on the corner triangles once all of the octagons are completed and arranged to my liking on my design wall.  

Nine 11 Inch Kaleidoscope Blocks Completed

Behold, 9 of the 63 block centers are completed and up on my design wall.  That's one row down, and six more rows to go.  I'm planning to make three blocks from each fabric, so there will be much greater variety in the finished quilt than what you see on my wall right now.

The First Four Blocks

Keeping my time constraints in mind, I'm trying not to be TOO neurotic about the center points matching absolutely perfectly.  Meaning that I'm taking care to match them as perfectly as I can the first time, but have resisted the urge to grab my seam ripper over minuscule misalignment that you can only see from 2" away with your high-power reading glasses.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Preeti's Picket Star Quilt: Courage Like a Flower

“Deep in their roots all flowers keep the light.”              

– Theodore Roethke

Serendipity E2E Quilting Design on Preeti's Picket Star Quilt
One of the hardest things about quilting for clients is when you're working on a quilt that you are totally in LOVE with, but you can't share any pictures until after your client has a chance to share her own finished quilt on social media.  It is like having a giant box of Godiva truffles sitting on your desk, with a fan set up behind them to blow delicious chocolate aromas in your face all day, but if you eat them you will explode.  It's been AGONY, having these photos on my phone for a whole month without sharing any of them!  And now, without further ado, check out this gorgeous quilt made by my friend Preeti of Sew Preeti Quilts!

Ample Negative Space is a Perfect Backdrop for Large Scale Floral Design

“There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”                 – Anais Nin

And yet, waiting to share the pictures was only one factor contributing to the exquisite agony of quilting for Preeti.  She sent me this photo of the finished flimsy before mailing it to me, but then was adamant about NOT wanting to know how I was going to quilt it until it was finished.  I know, right?!!  Oh my gosh!  

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Kick-Starting the Kaleidoscope Quilt

Son-the-Younger's high school graduation quilt has begun!  And it's SOOO exciting!

In the photo above, the isosceles triangles have not yet been sewn together into an octagon, but I just loved the way the strippy pieced triangles came out and had to snap a picture.  This idea was born of necessity, because I didn't pay attention to the size of the hand dyed fabric pieces in the assortments I ordered from Marjorie Lee Bevis on Etsy and I do not have enough of any one of them to cut four identical 5" x 6" triangles out of any one fabric.  Bummer -- but also opportunity for inventive solutions!  I cut two different marbled fabric pieces into four strips each, then pieced them with strings of Kaffe Fassett, a green batik, and a strip of Tula Pink spots that was trimmed away from leftover quilt backing, all from my overflowing scrap bins, and then I layered for of these me-made string fabrics over my AccuQuilt 5" x 6" Isosceles triangle die to get two different sets of pieced triangles for my kaleidoscope blocks.

My GO! cutter did not appreciate me cramming four layers of pieced fabric with stacked seam allowances through at once, and it was really hard to turn the crank handle -- but it cut them cleanly and without breaking anything...  So I'll be doing that again!

Saturday, February 20, 2021

I Have a New Favorite Thread Color! Meet My New BFF, Glide Khaki

I recently had the opportunity to quilt an edge-to-edge design on a client's gloriously scrappy double four patch quilt.  My client's quilting hobby had been "dormant" for the past sixteen years, until her adult son asked her to make this quilt for him.  The most exciting thing about all of this for ME is that her fabrics are ones that I had never seen before, different from what's been available in quilt shops throughout my own quilting journey, but also different from the much older fabrics I encounter when repairing vintage and antique quilts.  However, the wide range of colors and the busy nature of the quilt top necessitated a careful thread selection.  It was Glide thread in Khaki for the win!

Don't You Love That Green/Purple/Turquoise Batik?  And the Orange/Red with Turquoise Spots?!

The thread I chose, Glide in color Khaki, is a warm beige neutral with just the barest hint of green-gold.  Glide has a bit of a sheen to it, so Khaki mimics a metallic thread against the deep navy blues and blacks, but is much less flashy (and less finicky!) than a true metallic thread.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

First Personal Quilt Finish of 2021: Christmas Sweets Disappearing 9-Patch Snuggle Throw

Yes, I see you all posting your timely Valentine's Day and Spring-themed quilts all over the Internet.  I know what month it is!   But I'm like that straggler way at the back of the race, finally stumbling across the finish line a month after the marathon ended...  Or something like that!  

I actually finished quilting my Christmas Sweets Disappearing 9-Patch throw on New Year's Day, when I wrote my goofy fairy tale spoof about it (you can read that here if you missed it).  But then, as the Christmas trees were piling up at the curb and the decorations were being packed away, I just wasn't feeling very motivated to get it labeled and bound.  I also had a few customer quilt commitments that I needed to attend to first.  

Thursday, February 4, 2021

The Fabulousness That Is February: One (or More) Monthly Goals

Hello, my lovelies!  Happy Thursday, and happy FEBRUARY!  Now that I have replenished my supply of Kona Solid in Ocean, I came close to finishing two more sampler blocks for my Retro '80s Building Blocks quilt last night.  The 10" block below wasn't quite done yet when I took this photo:

Progress on Another 10 Inch Sampler Block

All of my block sections had been foundation paper pieced and trimmed, but they still needed to be pieced together and, in order to nest the seams the way I wanted them for crisp, perfectly matched seam intersections, I designed my foundation paper piecing pattern so that the sections go together with partial seam construction.  I weighted the finished sections down with my acrylic square ruler just to keep it crisp and flat overnight.

Here it is, finished:

10 Inch Block Finished

As my dad used to say, "I think that's close enough for government work!"  (I have no idea WHY he used to say that, but he did).

Friday, January 29, 2021

January OMG, Smashed to Smithereens

Well, folks, my January OMG (One Monthly Goal) was to make four more sampler blocks for my Retro Building Blocks quilt.  I made six!

Four Retro Building Blocks Added to the Design Wall...

Plus This One...

...And Also This One

I know that making six blocks in a whole month might seem like a pretty weak goal, but I also completed a vintage quilt repair for a client, quilted several charity tops for our guild's outreach to local pediatric hospitals, and I just finished quilting a huge, gorgeous Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt for a client that I am DYING TO SHOW YOU -- but I can't because she reads my blog and she deserves to see her finished quilt in person before I show it to everyone on the Internet...  (You know who you are!  πŸ˜‰)

I also ordered and received all of the Kona Solids yardage that I was short on for the Retro Building Blocks sampler, and I've prewashed all of it so that it's ready to go.  Now that I'm caught up with customer commitments, my next order of business will be to cut and piece the Rainbow Mork Suspenders borders and set them aside.  I just want to make 100% certain that I get those long, skinny strips I need out of the yardage before I start cutting into what's left for my remaining blocks.

I'm linking up with the One Monthly Goal finish party at Elm Street Quilts!

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Channeling Aristotle: Using Ancient Design Principles for Better E2E Quilting

Good morning, Lovelies, and Happy Tuesday!  

I often see quilters -- even seasoned professional longarm quilters with years of experience -- crowd-sourcing ideas for quilting designs on social media and in online forums.  You know, "how should I quilt this," "which thread would you choose," and "which panto design would look good on this quilt?"  If the quilter has a computerized machine, there are additional questions about what size to scale a particular design for quilting as well.  My interior design background kicks in whenever I'm faced with these kinds of choices, so I thought I'd take a moment today to explain how the principles of color, pattern, line, and scale influenced the way I quilted this Disappearing 9-Patch baby quilt.  

39 x 53 Disappearing 9-Patch Baby Quilt

Choosing a Quilting Design: Always Start with Function

When meeting with a new interior design client, the first questions I'd ask were always about their functional needs for the space.  How many people live here?  What are their ages?  Do you have young children or pets?  Do you entertain frequently, and how often do you think you'll redecorate?  The answers to these questions influence every recommendation I will be making to ensure that the finished project not only looks amazing, but is also going to work for their lifestyle and hide pet fur if they have pets, with stain resistance/washability if someone sits on a juicebox that the toddler left in the couch cushions, etc.  I look at a client's quilt top the exact same way, so my first consideration is always the quilt's intended function.  

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Odds and Ends: All the Amazing Things I Forgot to Tell You This Week

 Hello, my lovelies, and Happy Friday!  We made it to the end of another week!  Yay!

So, you know that drawer in your house, probably in your kitchen, that is full of random things that don't belong anywhere else?  That is your frame of reference for today's blog post.  I have a "junk drawer" full of loose ideas in my head that I meant to share with you in earlier posts.  For instance:

A Ball of Feed Sack String, Next to a Golf Ball

Feed Sack String!!!

In a recent post about a vintage quilt repair that I was working on for a client, I shared this photo of the hand piecing seams that the original quilt maker stitched in a very thick, heavy thread:

This Quilt was Hand Pieced with Feed Sack String!

I shared the same photo in a Vintage Quilting group that I belong to on Facebook, and several members identified the mystery thread as feed sack string that they remember being carefully removed from the seams of feed sacks, flour sacks etc., rolled into balls (one of the group members sent me the above photo of her own ball of feed sack string), and reused for everything from tying quilts to wrapping packages.  As someone who will get in her car and drive 30 minutes away to get exactly the right fiber, weight, and color thread for a project, that level of thrift and resourcefulness is just awe-inspiring.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Two More Retro Sampler Blocks Completed, and Fabric Crises Averted

 Hello and happy Tuesday!  This post needs to be a "quickie" because I have a dentist appointment to get ready for.  I like making these Tuesday To-Do lists, even if I don't always cross everything off before the next Tuesday rolls around.

Last week, I managed to eke out two more 5" sampler blocks for my '80s Retro Building Blocks sampler quilt:

5 Inch Puss In the Corner Block

Neither of these blocks is in the original Moda Modern Building Blocks quilt, by the way.  I always try to mention that in case anyone out there is working on that quilt, so as not to confuse anyone. Like most of the blocks in my quilt, these were both foundation paper pieced due to the non-ruler-friendly patch sizes that happen when you take a 6" block and force it down to 5".

5 Inch Card Trick Block

Meanwhile, my order of Kona Solids from Missouri Star Quilt Company DID arrive this past week, including the Ocean blue that I was needing so desperately, and I washed, dried and folded all of it.  I HATE prewashing fabric, but the only thing I hate more than prewashing fabric yardage is frantically trying to remove dye bleed from a finished quilt.  

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Textile Archaeology: Exploring a Vintage Quilt Through Dissection and Repair

 Yesterday morning, while drinking my latte, I read through a string of National Geographic articles about recently discovered hominid remains in the Rising Star cave system of South Africa.  On my giant desktop monitor, I clicked through slide shows of exploration scientists cramming themselves and their equipment into narrow channels of rock as they gingerly worked to free fragile, ancient fossils that would shed new light on our understanding of early human history.

Client's Vintage Summer Quilt, Prior to Repair

And then, I headed up to my studio, and began a delicate excavation of my own, the beginning of a vintage quilt repair that I'm undertaking on behalf of a client.  Although I've never thought about it this way before, I'm sure that a big part of what attracts me to these fraught and often tedious vintage quilt projects is the opportunity they afford for a bit of textile archaeology.  And yes -- that's actually a thing!  

"As fiber folk, we all know the feeling. You look at a handmade textile and you see not just a pretty object, but the hours at the loom or knitting needles, the fiber drafting at the wheel, the alchemy at the dye pot, even the shepherds with their flocks. You can see all the steps and decisions that went into creating that object, all the places where one path or another was chosen. Archaeologists are constantly trying to trace back those paths, to see those moments when a decision had to be made and why. The whys are how we learn about culture in the distant past."


         -- Christina Pappas, Textile Archaeologist 

Affiliate Links Disclosure

Rebecca Grace Quilting participates in Amazon, Etsy, and AccuQuilt affiliate advertising programs. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission in the event that you make a purchase after clicking one of the links in my post. Thanks for your support!