Thursday, September 22, 2022

Happy First Day of Fall 2022! Nancy's Trail to Kansas Quilt + Elaine's Yellow Brick Road Quilt

 At exactly 9:03 PM EDT today, the Sun will traipse across the Celestial Equator.  Do you know what that means?  It means that today is the first day of FALL, despite temps still in the nineties and the threat of boob sweat stopping us Southerners from decking ourselves out in sweaters as we long to do.  We will rip out our impatiens and plant mums, and pile pumpkins, gourds, and random bales of hay on our suburban porches.  We may still be wearing sandals for a few months longer, but we will be choosing fall colors for our pedicures from here on out.  It's all about "mind over matter" as we celebrate the arrival of Fake Fall in the Carolinas.  

To help us all get in the mood for the new season, I've been holding back a couple of Fall client quilts to share with you today.  Grab your pumpkin spiced latte, your pumpkin muffins, slather on some pumpkin spice hand cream and if it STILL doesn't feel like it's fall, try lighting a pumpkin spice candle or two.  Here we go!

Nancy's Piecing the Trail to Kansas Quilt

There is a story behind this quilt, and another story behind THAT story...  When Nancy contacted me about this project, it had been languishing as a UFO (UnFinished Object) for quite some time.  The pattern is called Piecing the Trail to Kansas by Lynne Hagmeier of Kansas Troubles Quilters, and it comes with a historical fiction "journal" that has a chapter for each month about the joys and sorrows experienced by a family of pioneers on the wagon train to Kansas Territory in the 1850s.  The quilt block for each month related to what was happening in the book for that month's chapter.

Nancy tells me that she really got into the story about the pioneer experience and had enjoyed piecing the quilt top as a BOM (Block of the Month) program at a local quilt shop, but once the BOM program ended, her enthusiasm for finishing it petered out.

Nancy's 79 x 90 Trail to Kansas Quilt, Finished at Last with Primitive Fall E2E

I'm so glad she brought this to me because it's a gorgeous quilt that deserved to be finished!  There is also a story behind the Primitive Fall edge-to-edge quilting design we selected for this quilt, featuring pumpkins, moons, stars, birds (crows?), and botanicals.

Detail of Primitive Fall E2E on Nancy's Quilt

In the pattern cover photo below, you can see the additional appliqué elements that were supposed to be added to the background of this quilt.  Nancy had had enough of this project and just didn't feel motivated to do all of that appliqué work, even though the appliqué elements were symbolic representations of the storyline about the pioneer woman's family.  

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Carrie's Gorgeous Rainbow Quilt + My NEW Favorite Batting

Good morning, my lovelies!  Keeping secrets is so hard...  I have been in agony for weeks, waiting until I could share this spectacular rainbow quilt made by my client Carrie (and quilted by Yours Truly).  

Carrie's 75 x 75 Rainbow Quilt with Raindrops on Water E2e

Carrie, who describes herself as a "relatively new quilter," is a new client who found me on Instagram and took that leap of faith to ship her quilt top off to a stranger in another state.  This is her first time making a quilt with solid color fabrics and her first time hiring a longarm quilter.  She made this quilt as a wedding gift and I hear it was a big hit.  💕

Loving the Dimension and Weight of the Deluxe Loft Cotton Batting!

I am always excited when I see solid and tonal printed fabrics in a client's quilt top because I know that whichever quilting design we choose, it is going to show up dramatically on solid fabrics whereas the quilting often gets "swallowed up" by busy prints.  The quilting design on this one, by the way, is Raindrops on Water.  Because there is some backtracking in this design and because we wanted to see quilting texture more than quilting stitches, I chose 50 wt So Fine in color Blizzard for the thread (this post contains affiliate links).  But what I'm REALLY excited about is the batting we used -- do you see that magnificent, delicious, and decadent dimensional texture?  Are you guessing wool?  Because if you are, you are wrong!  This is Quilter's Dream Cotton batting, DELUXE loft.  

Friday, September 9, 2022

Olivia's Church Windows, Gail's Autumn Bear Paws, and My '80s Sampler Gets Borders and Backing Fabric

Good happy morning, everyone!  I am so far behind in posting photos of the quilts I've been doing for clients that I am having a hard time deciding which quilts to share with you today.  Seriously!  The second-best part about being a longarm quilter is that I get to see and collaborate on so many gorgeous quilts in every color and style imaginable.  (The very best part about my job is that I get to meet, talk with, and be inspired by the wonderful people who make these quilts).  

So, considering that my phone is busting at the seams with photos I haven't shared yet, I ought to quit writing the blah blah and just show you some quilts already!

Church Windows Baby Quilt for Olivia

The maker of this fresh and modern baby quilt is a high school math teacher, so she's automatically my hero.  Olivia has brought me several baby quilts over the past year, shower gifts that she's made for friends and relatives.  This one is extra-special, though, because it's for Olivia's own first child who is due to arrive any day now.  I'm so excited for her!

Olivia's 39 x 40 Church Windows Baby Quilt

Olivia chose the Church Window quilt pattern from Lo and Behold Stitchery, available on Etsy here (this post contains affiliate links).  After looking at lots of designs together, Olivia chose this Annabelle edge to edge design from Christy Dillon for its ability to soften the geometry of the piecing lines with soft curves, feminine florals, and a modern vibe that will "grow with the baby" versus anything overtly "baby."  Don't you love the way the flowers appear to be vines supported by a patchwork trellis on this quilt?

Annabelle E2E Design Stitched in Barely Pink So Fine Thread

We used Quilter's Dream Bamboo blend batting, one of my favorites for baby quilts due to its lighter weight, softness and breathability.  Previously known as Quilter's Dream Orient, this blend includes not only bamboo but also silk, cotton, and Tencel fibers.  The thread I used is 50 weight So Fine in color Barely Pink.  So Fine is a great choice for quilting designs like this one that involve backtracking/overstitching on previously stitched quilting lines because it doesn't build up and look "thready" in those areas.  

Monday, September 5, 2022

Note To Self: There Are No Magical Border Elves Who Finish Quilts While You Are Sleeping

Oh my gosh, y'all -- I would so much rather be making blocks for a new quilt rather than putting seven borders on this WIP (Work In Progress) project that I've been puttering around with for the past six(!) years!  When I came up with this bright idea of Mork's rainbow suspenders for a quilt border, I was only thinking about how cool it would look and not thinking at all about actually having to go to all of this bother at the tail end of the project when I just want to be DONE with it already!  I procrastinated cutting the border strips after I cut the black inner border a couple months ago -- swiftly remembering how much I hate cutting long lengthwise strips for a big bed quilt.  Well, I finally cut them all and have been piecing them together and attaching them to my Retro '80s Building Blocks sampler.  This is where I left off last night, with only the final purple border strips waiting to be attached:

Only One More Border to Go!

First, I'd joined the Kona Lipstick and Kona Black borders together, pressing the seam allowance towards the black on the top and bottom strips and towards the red on the left and right side strips.  That way, the seams nested and locked together nicely when I mitered the red+black border corners.

Trying to Keep Organized...

Then the next four colors were strip pieced together to apply as a single border: Kona Tangerine, Kona Grellow, Kona Peridot, and Kona Ocean.  

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Betty's Woven Radiance Quilt in Tula Pink True Colors + A Shout Out to Samwise for National Dog Day

Hey there, Quiltfolk!  Today I'm sharing a quilt made by my client Betty for her young granddaughter, who was personally involved in selecting the Tula Pink True Colors fabrics for her quilt.  (This post contains affiliate links).

Quilting Whirligig on Betty's Woven Radiance Quilt

With a quilt like this one, it's all about those dazzling print fabrics -- the quilting design needs to be secondary and subtle.  We chose Karlee Porter's Whirligig quilting design because I felt like Karlee's mod flowers channeled a similar vibe as the Tula Pink fabrics, and I liked the movement of the wavy horizontal lines connecting the quilted flowers and bubbles.  Thread is Glide in a pale blue-green called Mint Julep and the batting is Quilters Dream Cotton

Betty's 77 x 94 Woven Radiance Quilt with Whirligig E2E

By the way, Woven Radiance was designed by Stacey Day for Free Spirit Fabrics to promote the Tula Pink True Colors fabric collection.  The pattern for Woven Radiance is available as a FREE download from the pattern designer here.  I love the color placement in this quilt -- it just shimmers!

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Eat My Cake: Public Art at the Historic Asbury Park Waterfront in New Jersey

Good morning, lovelies!  When I was visiting my sister's family in New Jersey last month, I stumbled upon a fabulous series of public art installations right on the waterfront of historic Asbury Park.  As much as I love the accessibility of fine art in museums open to the public (instead of all art being owned by private collectors before museums became a thing), the art in museums can only impact people who have free time, money for admission, and transportation. Sometimes the art in traditional museums can be confusing and alienating to viewers who haven't had access to the kind of education that enables us to appreciate things like historical context, symbolism, etc.  But contemporary street art?  That's the most democratic art of all, art that meets people in their own communities, speaking in a visual language that is current rather than arcane, encouraging residents and visitors to engage with the artwork on a personal level.

Detail of Eat My Cake by Holly Suzanne Rader

My favorite mural was Eat My Cake by "graffiti glam" artist Holly Suzanne Rader of Hollywould Studios.  Check out this short video by the artist where she talks about her inspiration for depicting Marie Antoinette wearing a candy ring pop on her finger and mirror gem-encrusted Dolce & Gabbana headphones, as well as her hope that her work might inspire more little girls to become artists.

Welcome to Asbury Park

But I know most of you have never been to Asbury Park, so I need to set the scene for you.  This is a town on the northern Atlantic coast of New Jersey that was first developed in the late 1800s as a summer resort destination, with a beautiful carousel and a Beaux Arts Convention Hall and Paramount Theatre complex (built in 1925 to replace a previous structure that was destroyed by fire) that spans the boardwalk and stretches right onto the sandy beach with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.  

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Lucky Stars and Oriana for Ramona: Behind the Scenes with Backing, Design Choice, and Thread Selection

Good morning, my lovelies!  I have missed you!  These past few weeks have been busy for me with travel, family celebrations, and moving Son-the-Elder into his off-campus apartment at Appalachian State, and as a result I have quite a backlog of quilts to share with you.  Today we're looking at two gloriously colorful quilts, both made by my client Ramona who blogs at Doodlebugs and Rosebuds Quilts.  

Ramona's Lucky Stars Quilt

Detail of Lucky Stars with Grecian E2E

First up is Lucky Stars, a pattern by Atkinson design that you can find here on Etsy (this post contains affiliate links).  Lucky Stars is a fat-quarter-friendly pattern that is perfect for showing off Ramona's collection of Kaffe Fassett prints and batiks.  I love how the sawtooth star blocks are designed so the stars float just within the background fabric -- no risk of losing your star points if your piecing is less than perfect, which makes this a great pattern for beginners, too.  I am adding this to my own ever-lengthening list of wanna-make-its!  Wouldn't this be great as a baby quilt? 

Ramona's 76 x 91 Lucky Stars Quilt with Grecian E2E

This quilt was unusual for me in that, after some initial back-and-forth with design options, Ramona ultimately left the choice of the quilting design completely up to me and she had no idea how I was quilting her Lucky Stars until it was finished.  Ordinarily I consult with clients and make design recommendations, but get their approval on the final selection.  

Monday, July 25, 2022

Barbara's Gee's Bend Inspired Housetop Quilt

Do I have a treat to share with you today!!  This striking contemporary quilt was made by my client Barbara, who was inspired by the iconic "Housetop" style of abstract quiltmaking that was pioneered by the African-American quilting tradition that originated in Gee's Bend, Alabama.  If you're not familiar with the Gee's Bend quilting tradition, definitely check out both of those links. And then check out this article detailing the history of the Gee's Bend quilters in the Smithsonian Magazine, too.   Do it now -- I'll wait!  Seriously!  I would argue that the entire modern quilting movement as we know it today traces its roots back to "The Quilts of Gee's Bend" exhibit that took the art world by storm when it opened at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in 2002:

Gee's Bend's "eye-poppingly gorgeous quilts turn out to be some of the most miraculous works of modern art America has produced. Imagine Matisse and Klee (if you think I'm wildly exaggerating, see the show), arising not from rarefied Europe, but from the caramel soil of the rural South."             -- Michael Kimmelman, Art Critic for the New York Times


Barbara's 57 x 65 Housetops Quilt with Bobbing For Apples E2E

So hopefully now you've given yourself a crash-course on the Gee's Bend quiltmaking tradition and you can fully appreciate what Barbara was working towards with this piece.  Don't you just love the mix of colors and fabrics in her quilt?  The vivid coral orange, salmon pink, brick red and mustard with just that little bit of deep raspberry convey so much energy!  And I love how this quilt reads as though it's all solids from a distance, yet she does have that khaki and white stripe in there and wide swaths of the yellow tonal print fabric.  Those details make the finished piece so much more interesting than it might have been with a more restricted assortment of fabrics.

This Quilt Is Even More Gorgeous In Real Life

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Feather Quilting Dresses Up Jingle's Setting Triangles

Hey there, Quilty Folk!  I finally have some quilting progress to share on my Jingle sampler that is not invisible!

Sashing Triangles Done, Just Starting This Star Block

By the time I was done with the Drudgery That Is Ditch-Stitching, a little devil was whispering wicked things in my ear like "How much credibility would I lose as a professional longarm quilter if I paid someone else to do this for me?" and "maybe I should try some other hobby, like golf?"  Y'all, I have tried golf and it did not go well -- so it looks like I'm stuck with quilting!

It took me three days to quilt these feather designs in my setting triangles, four if you count the day I spent considering all of the bazillion possible ways I could quilt them until I narrowed it down to this one.  It's a digital block design from Anne Bright that I chose because it has formal, symmetrical feathers that complement the style of metallic Hoffman fabrics that I used in my borders and fussy cut for some of the blocks.  But it's not too traditional, either, with the staggered feather plumes curling around on themselves.  There's a touch of whimsy to these feathers that connects well with the simple appliqué shapes.  At least, that's the hope!

These Inside Corners Were Challenging!

These weird inside corner shapes (above in green and below in red) were challenging both in deciding what to quilt there, how I wanted to turn the corner with the design, and then fitting the designs into the weirdly-shaped spaces.  I was very glad when I had the fourth one stitched without messing any of them up!  

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

More Christmas In July: Sharon's Flannel Snowflake Quilt + Jingle Progress

Since my last post was all about boring invisible ditch quilting, I feel like I invited you all to a parade to see the Emperor's (imaginary) New Clothes!  So today I am sharing another Christmas quilt, but with this quilt you can actually see the quilting.  I quilted this one a few months ago and I've been waiting for July to share it with you.

My mom pieced this quilt using the Snowflake pattern from Modern Handcraft and a kit of flannel fabrics from Keepsake Quilting.  She chose Minky dot fabric for the backing, and the finished quilt is soft, snuggly, and weighty -- perfect for curling up with a good book or a Hallmark Christmas movie in the month of December.

Sharon's 60 x 72 Flannel Snowflake Quilt

This is only my mom's second quilt ever -- didn't she do a great job?  We went with Quilters Dream 80/20 batting and Glide thread in White.  The edge-to-edge quilting design is called Snowflake E2E 2 and it took forever to stitch out.  

Saturday, July 2, 2022

It's Christmas In July! 9 Years In the Making, My Jingle Quilt is Finally On the Frame

You guys -- NINE years after starting my very first appliqué project, and THREE years after completing the quilt top, Jingle is FINALLY on my frame for custom quilting!  WOO-HOO!!!

Jingle Is On the Frame!  This Is Happening!!!

I had admired appliqué quilts in the pages of Quilters Newsletter Magazine and at quilt shows for years before attempting one, thinking that appliqué was a really advanced skill that would be way out of my reach as a novice quilter.  And then one day I stumbled across Erin Russek's quilting blog, One Piece At a Time, and saw that she was doing a free pattern called Jingle as a Block of the Month combining pieced blocks with prepared edge, hand stitched applique.  Her applique tutorials were outstanding and her voice was so encouraging that I decided to give it a try.  Erin's pattern for this quilt is no longer offered for free because it was published in book form in 2021.  You can purchase the Jingle pattern here on Amazon, or directly from the publisher here (This post contains affiliate links).  

Loaded Up and Ready to Go

I've scheduled a couple of weeks at the beginning of July for custom quilting Jingle, but if I'm not finished by the time I need to start on my next client's quilt I can just zip it off my frame and set it aside.  I am hoping to either completely finish the quilting or at least get it to where I'd just need to come back and finish background fills.  Fingers crossed -- this is my One Monthly Goal for July.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Delicious Distractions: Slicing Through Scrap Bins, Sidetracked by Improv Piecing!

Hopefully, none of you have read my recent posts about my previous Weekly To-Do Lists or my June One Monthly Goal, because I haven't been working on any of those projects recently.  Instead, I went off on a wild scrap-slicing, improv piecing tangent and I'm blaming it all on Kelly Young for seducing me with her book Scrappy Improv Piecing: 22 Mini Quilts to Make With Easy Piecing!  (By the way, this post contains affiliate links.  This helps me to pay for Band-Aids, the importance of which you will appreciate in a moment).

5" Scrappy Improv Blocks For No Reason Or Purpose

What with the crazy news cycle last week, I was suffering from a bit of Fuzzy Brain syndrome and couldn't muster the concentration to follow any of the project instructions in Kelly's book, so instead I was just loosely following her method of sewing random bits and pieces together and then cutting them down into regular shapes.  This resulted in an assortment of 5" scrappy improv blocks for which I have only the vaguest of plans.  I had some of those red/pink sections left over from the Valentine's Day mini quilt I made for the blog hop to promote Kelly's book last year and I cut them down to 5" squares, like charm squares from a precut package.  And then I pulled out my blue and green scrap bin and started randomly slicing, sewing, pressing, slicing, sewing, pressing...  Making a glorious mess along the way, listening to the news and to podcasts and only barely paying attention to what I was doing...  

Making a Mess: The Scene of the Injury

The whole while I was off on this little tangent, I was singing "Slicing Through Scraps" in my head to the tune of "Dancing Through Life" from the musical Wicked.  Yes, it's all fun and games until you slice your rotary cutter right into your finger.  As this type of injury goes, mine was pretty minor -- no stitches, just an annoyance for several days while the Band-Aid wrapped fingertip got in my way and impeded my typing accuracy.  All better now, though.  

Monday, June 20, 2022

Fancy Peacock Tail Feathers on The Road Home BOM for Mildred: Making a Subtle Impact With a "Busy" Quilting Design

Peacock Tail E2E Stitched in 40 wt Glide Thread, Color Warm Grey 4

"I love that design, but will it look too busy on my quilt?"  That's a question I often hear from my longarm quilting clients, especially when we're considering a newer design and I don't yet have photos of what it looks like stitched out.  Just looking at line drawings of quilting designs, they ALL look really busy because of the high contrast of the solid black stitching line against a white background.  However, in real life it's almost always the relationship between the fabrics in your quilt top and the thread color we choose that will determine how subtle or dramatic the quilting appears on your finished quilt.  This beautiful batik quilt (It's The Road Home BOM from Wilmington Prints) that I finished recently for my client Mildred, pictured above, is a really good example of this. 

Peacock Tail E2E for Subtle Texture

On Mildred's Road Home, I've quilted out Peacock Tail E2E, one of those designs that looks like it might be "too much going on" when you look at the line drawing:

Line Drawing for Peacock Tail E2E Quilting Design by Nancy Haacke

A couple things to note about this design.  First, it's a very large scale design, and the image above is showing six repeats nested together.  You're not looking at the design anywhere near the size I'd actually stitch it out, either -- the purpose of this drawing is to give an overall view of how the design will repeat and "flow" across the surface of the quilt.  I love the sense of movement this design creates and I love how the rows nest together so well -- you don't look at the finished quilt and see "rows" of quilting at all.

For Mildred's quilt, we wanted the dramatic movement and fabulous texture, but didn't want the quilting lines themselves to jump out and compete with the elaborate medallion patchwork design.  With that objective in mind, I chose Warm Grey 4 Glide thread (this post contains affiliate links) because it blends into her blue and gray tonal batik fabrics so well.  You just see fabulous swirling movement that leads your eye through the patchwork design and brings it to life.  

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Nanu Nanu! Borders Are In Progress for My Retro '80s Building Blocks Sampler

Y'all, PROGRESS IS HAPPENING on my Retro '80s Building Blocks quilt!  I foundation paper pieced my 6" border corner blocks yesterday:

6 inch Border Corner Blocks Completed

The fabrics in my corner blocks are Kona Cotton 1019 BLACK Kona Cotton 146 GLACIERKona Cotton 25 OCEANKona Cotton 317 PERIDOTKona Cotton 476 GRELLOW, and Kona Cotton 1370 TANGERINE (By the way, this post contains affiliate links.  If you scroll all the way to the bottom, I've got links to where you can find every single fabric that I used in this quilt).  

Meanwhile, I've finally sewn the interior blocks of this quilt together.  (At which point a little devil on my shoulder whispers "You could be done with this now, if you skipped the borders..."). Begone, Devil!  Without the borders, the quilt would be too small to fit the bed!  😤

Here it is, draped (sideways) over my longarm frame for measuring:

Quilt Top Sewn Together, Sans Borders

I always take border measurements through the vertical and horizontal centers of the quilt top rather than at the edges, and that bar on my 13' long arm frame comes in handy for measuring.  It's a lot longer than my cutting table.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Quilt Finishes for Ramona and Steffanie: PacMan and Pussy Cats!

Good morning, quilter friends!  I have TWO fabulous clients' quilts to share with you today, both of them stitched in yummy variegated cotton quilting threads.  Since I babbled on and on for way too long about my Kaffe Fassett Skirt Squirrel in my last post, I'll try to be more concise today.  (Famous last words...)

Ramona's PacMan Quilt

Ramona's PacMan Quilt

I finished quilting this for Ramona of Doodlebugs and Rosebuds several weeks ago and I have been dying to share it with you.  Ramona's quilt is a strikingly modern reimagining of the classic Drunkard's Path quilt pattern, and although "PacMan" wasn't the kit name, that's what she and her husband nicknamed the quilt while she was working on it.  

PacMan Detail, Diagonal Plaid Bias Cut Quilting Design

Ramona used Moda Grunge fabrics for her quilt (this post contains affiliate links), and she used this AccuQuilt Drunkard's Path die to quickly and accurately cut out all of those curved pieces.  

Monday, May 30, 2022

A Sauntering Squirrel Swooshed By -- In a Kaffe Fassett Tiered Maxi Skirt

Hello and Happy Memorial Day Weekend, Everyone!  My birthday was May 27th, so I took advantage of Memorial Day sales on top of a birthday coupon from my not-quite-local quilt shop, Sew Much Fun, to buy yards and yards of Kaffe Fassett Collective cotton fabric prints that I plan to transform into long, swooshy skirts with my serger:

Birthday Flowers From My Sister, Kaffe Fassett Fabrics for my Skirts

I'm planning to make one skirt with the purple Japanese Crysanthemum-Antique (yes, this post contains affiliate links) alternated with Spot Plum (the two fabrics on the left), and another skirt from the Japanese Crysanthemum-Scarlet alternated with Zig Zag-Cool.   I'm linking to independent Etsy shops who carry these fabrics for your convenience, but I recommend pairing fabric prints in person at your local quilt shop if at all possible.  I spent a LONG time dragging fabric bolts around the shop (and made a big mess -- sorry!) before I was satisfied with my selections. 

Inspiration:  La DoubleJ Tiered Maxi Skirt, $590 from Nieman Marcus

The Tutorials

This new "squirrel project" first invaded my consciousness when I saw Sharon Madsen's How to Sew a Multi-Tiered Maxi Skirt tutorial on Bernina's We All Sew blog last week.

Sharon Madsen's Skirt for Bernina's We All Sew Tutorial

I love wearing easy, comfortable styles like this for summer, and I am seeing tiered maxi skirts cropping up in all of the high end retail shops this year.  This is definitely an on-trend look for Summer 2022, and it would be a great beginner sewing project if any of you have daughters, granddaughters or other girls in your life who are interested in learning to sew.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Progress On the Retro '80s Building Blocks Quilt is Happening! Nanu Nanu!

Hello and Happy Tuesday!  It's been awhile since I've set any goals for my personal sewing projects, but I'm right on schedule with quilting commitments for clients and I'm SO close with my Retro '80s Building Blocks sampler...  See, I managed to assemble the "A" section of the quilt top last week, the part that I've outlined with a red rectangle: 

First Section Assembled, No Casualties Suffered By My Points

Woo hoo!  And then I assembled section "B" this morning.  This one was a lot faster since it was only three big blocks and no fiddling around with the little ones, but still very satisfying to have another chunk of the quilt top put together:

Second Section Assembled, Still No Catastrophes

This is slow going because I'm working out which way to press the seam allowances between the blocks as I go along and, total honesty -- I was procrastinating putting the blocks together once I'd finished them in case there was going to be a lot of seam ripping and swearing involved like there was when I was joining all the blocks together for my Sermon Scribbles quilt awhile ago.  I am a Side Presser and not an Open Seam presser.  When my seams are pressed in opposite directions and they nest and lock together at the seam intersections, that's when it's the easiest to get those seams to line up perfectly.  But without sashing between blocks and with so many different block styles in the quilt -- and without any pattern instructions telling me which way to press the seams to match up like that -- sometimes it works out and it's easy, and other times I have to match two seams that are pressed in the same direction and use that little hump-jumping tool to keep my presser foot level as it passes over the giant mountain of seam allowances!

Saturday, May 7, 2022

And Now, Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming: Linda's Exquisite Traditional Quilts

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all of the mothers, grandmothers, sons of mothers, and daughters of mothers out there!  The last few quilts I've shared on the blog have been modern or contemporary in their fabrics and patchwork design, and I love those styles.  But I also adore really precise, well-executed traditional patchwork in timeless reproduction fabrics.  Fellow Charlotte Quilters' Guild member Linda Dassenko excels at traditional patchwork and I was delighted when she brought me two of her masterpieces for quilting.

Linda's Everyday Patchwork Sampler

Linda's 52 x 60 Everyday Patchwork Sampler

After seeing the Baptist Fan design I quilted on Cathy's quilt last year, Linda thought it might look good on her Everyday Patchwork Sampler and I wholeheartedly agreed.  While we often think of edge-to-edge quilting designs as only suitable for modern quilts, the Baptist Fan edge-to-edge design has been a staple of hand quilters for hundreds of years.  Originally, quilters would mark the Baptist Fan design on a quilt as they went along, using a string knotted at regular intervals and a pencil or piece of chalk, like a swing arm compass.  Each knot on the string corresponded with one fan arc.  This resulted in an allover quilting design that was fancier than just quilting along the patchwork seam lines, but still quick and easy enough to execute for utilitarian quilts.  Since the Baptist Fan design has been so popular throughout so much of the United States for hundreds of years, it's an excellent option for machine quilting traditional and reproduction quilt projects.

Ready For Her Close-Up: Look at Linda's Perfect Little Flying Geese Points!

Of course, I did not use knotted string or pencils to quilt the Baptist Fan design on Linda's sampler -- I resized the digital design to complement the scale of Linda's piecing and stitched it out with my computerized Bernina longarm machine.  I used So Fine 50 weight matte thread in color Mushroom (this post contains affiliate links) for the sampler quilt to minimize overstitched areas in the design and to ensure that the texture of the quilting design is what you notice, not the machine stitching.  The batting for this one is Quilters Dream 80/20 Cotton/Poly blend.

Friday, May 6, 2022

The "Vacation" Update: Why Rebecca and Bernie Have Sore Muscles and Bare Windows Instead of Suntans

Hello and Happy Shiny New Month of May to all of you!  I have so much to share after taking three weeks off; I don't even know where to begin.  (If you only follow me for the quilting eye candy, you may want to skip this one.  It's okay if you do -- I will still love you!)

I didn't actually go anywhere exciting; my husband and I just needed that chunk of time to kick off some long overdue interior updates before the boys came home from college.

Casualties of My Changing Taste: These Custom Draperies Had to Go

When I decorated this house fifteen years ago, that "Tuscan Villa" look was all the rage and I have been living in a sea of mustard gold, brown, terra cotta, and Merlot ever since.  And, full disclosure here, it was not just the walls -- I had the ceilings painted a 50% tint of the wall color in most rooms as well.  I have been ready for a change for a long time, but it's so overwhelming to start over when everything is connected to everything else like Dominoes and one small change can quickly lead to changing everything...  

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Janet's Kintsugi Quilt: Not Your Grandma's E2E Quilting

Good morning and Happy Passover/Happy Easter to all who are celebrating this weekend!  The quilt I'm sharing today was made by my client Janet in a Kintsugi workshop taught by Pepper Cory.  (You can read more about kintsugi, the ancient Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold, and how Pepper translates this idea into quilting, on Pepper Cory's blog here).  

Detail of Janet's Kintsugi Quilt with Geoglyph E2E

If you don't have time for the in-depth read, here are the basics: When you take this class with Pepper, you bring in an assortments of similar orphan blocks, incomplete and no longer loved projects you don't feel like finishing, and other odd bits and pieces ("shards") you might have lying around your studio.  Pepper guides students to create a layout with an abstract, modern art feel and teaches how to "glue" those pieces together with yardage of a complementary background fabric that acts as the golden lacquer to hold everything together and create a finished work that is more beautiful than all of its bits and pieces were on their own.  Janet chose a Moda Grunge fabric (this post contains affiliate links) for her background that sets off her bright, scrappy blocks and string strips.

Detail of Janet's Kintsugi Quilt with Geoglyph E2E

Janet's Kintsugi quilt is quite large, 88" x 88", with ample negative background space.  We chose a modern digital panto design by Jess Zeigler called Geoglyph that mimics extensive ruler work quilting, and when I set the design up in my computer I flipped, mirror-imaged, and staggered the rows of the design so that there is no traditional design repeat on the entire quilt.  

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Two Sweet Baby Boy Quilts for Julie

Good morning, my lovelies!  I am taking some vacation time away from my studio, but I've scheduled a few blog posts to publish while I'm gone since I have quite a few fabulous clients' quilts to share with you.  Today I want to show you two adorable baby quilts, both made by my client Julie and quilted by Yours Truly.  

Julie's 47 x 49 Blue Diamonds Quilt

Julie is one of my favorite clients to quilt for and she blesses the new moms in her life with the sweetest baby quilts that are beautiful, practical, and so very on-trend.  I'll bet the recipients of these baby quilts get asked all the time, "Where did you get that awesome quilt?"  

Her 47" x 49" diamond quilt is made up of simple strip pieced triangles alternated with plain white triangles, so the top came together fairly quickly (while the baby was still a baby!).  This is one of those "why-didn't-I-think-of-that" shower gift projects.  All you really need is a jelly roll (an assortment of 2 1/2" wide x width of fabric strips in coordinating prints) and some solid white.  And it's fabulous!  I love these bold Kaffe Fassett fabrics she used, and the high contrast, graphic prints are perfect for captivating the attention of a newborn whose vision is still developing.  If you want to make your own version of this quilt, there are plenty of Etsy sellers offering jelly roll precut strips in Kaffe Fassett prints like the ones Julie used here (this post contains affiliate links).  However, I personally have a TON of leftover strips from my pineapple log cabin project that would work well for this.  It would make a nice RSC (Rainbow Scrap Challenge) project too, don't you think?  I believe Julie used a 60 degree triangle ruler like these.

Modern Mix Quilting Detail, Stitched in Omni Thread, Color Natural White

We chose Anita Shackelford's Modern Mix quilting design because it repeats many of the shapes in those Kaffe Fassett prints, and because the soft curves and spirals are such a nice counterpoint to the straight lines of the diamonds.  

Monday, March 28, 2022

Y-Seams Make Me Feel Like a Boss: My Retro '80s Sampler Blocks Are Finished!

Good Monday morning, everyone!  I am delighted to share that, FIVE and a half years after starting my version of the 2014 Moda Modern Building Blocks sampler quilt, I have finally finished making all 48 blocks!  

Woo Hoo!  All 48 Sampler Blocks Are Finished (Finally)!

No, the blocks aren't sewn together yet.  Expect that to take me some time, because after all of the time I've invested into making these blocks there is no way I'm willing to sacrifice any pointy points along the seam lines where the blocks join together.  This quilt top will be assembled slowly, with lots and lots of pins and probably also with lots of help from my BFF, the seam ripper.  Which is fine, because I can use that time to think about how the heck I'm going to quilt this when the top is finally done.

5 Inch Finished Block, Not In Original Moda Pattern

The black, orange and yellow block shown above was not in the original Moda pattern.  It's a traditional block design that I swapped in from my EQ8 quilt design software (Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links), either from the main EQ8 block library or from the BlockBase Plus add-on containing all of the blocks from Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.  I don't remember the name of this block, but it supports the early 1980s graphic design vibe I am aiming for with this quilt, especially with the opportunity to use two shades of orange and yellow for a three dimensional effect.  There are two Y-seams in that block, on either side of center where the black QST (quarter square triangles) on the outside edges of the block are sewn to pairs of 45 degree diamonds.  The Kona Solid colors used in the block above are Tangerine, Goldfish, Grellow, Sunflower, and Black (links take you to where those Kona colors can be found from Etsy sellers).

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Holly's (Not So) Little Ruby Layer Cake Quilt + Retro 80s Sampler Progress

Good morning and happy Tuesday, my lovelies! It's a rainy spring day here in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the grass looks so vividly green against the overcast skies.  My favorite kind of weather -- cool but not cold, new life springing up all around me, yet it's not such a beautiful day that you have to feel guilty for squirreling away in the studio instead of being outdoors.  It's drizzling out there, but it's dry in the sewing room where all the good fabric is waiting for me!

Holly's (Not So) Little Ruby Layer Cake Quilt

Speaking of all the good fabric...  Today I'm sharing my client Holly's enormous 100" x 100" quilt made from layer cakes (packages of precut 10" squares of coordinating print fabrics) of the Little Ruby fabric collection by Bonnie and Camille for Moda Fabrics.  Doesn't this fabric collection channel the spirit of Spring?  I did find several Etsy sellers who have Little Ruby precuts available here (affiliate link) in case you can't find them at your local quilt shop.  

Little Ruby Layer Cakes + Winter Flower E2E Quilting Design

I don't know the name of the pattern Holly used to make her quilt, but every time I see a quilt like this I think "Why don't I ever make quilts like this?!"  When you have great fabric prints, a simple patchwork pattern shows them off so beautifully.  I love how the large print squares are separated by frames of white.  My cerebral wheels are spinning, y'all -- I have a couple of fabulous large scale print fabrics stashed away, waiting for me to figure out how to show them off in a quilt.

This King quilt is for Holly's guest bedroom.  Won't this be a wonderful treat for her overnight visitors?  We used Hobbs Tuscany 80/20 Cotton/Wool batting for this quilt (affiliate link), a batting that I've only recently started stocking.  I like it -- it's an 80/20 blend so it's similar to the Hobbs and Quilters Dream 80/20 Cotton/Poly battings I carry, but the wool seems to give it just a bit more loft resilience than the cotton/poly blend.  Like the other wool battings I carry, the Hobbs cotton/wool blend batting is resin bonded to prevent the wool fibers from bearding through the finished quilt the way that cheaper wool battings do.  The cotton/wool blend has a lower loft -- and a lower price point -- than 100% wool batting, so it's not going to replace 100% wool in my inventory, but it's not going to replace my go-to 80/20 cotton poly batting, either.  Some people have wool allergies, and wool battings are less forgiving than cotton or polyester if someone throws a quilt in a hot dryer after laundering.  But I love having so many different choices so we can get exactly the look, feel, and laundering options we want for every quilt!

100 x 100 Little Ruby Layer Cake Quilt with Winter Flower E2E Quilting Design

Sunday, March 13, 2022

A Sampler Block, a Custom Ironing Table, and a Custom QOV for Harold

Lest you think I've not been making any progress at all on my own projects, I have this block to show for myself:

Another 5 inch Block Completed for my Retro '80s Sampler

I've actually finished several more 5" blocks for my Retro '80s Building Blocks sampler quilt besides this one -- I only have six left, plus borders and corner blocks.  The photo below was taken a few weeks ago and doesn't show any of the new blocks.  What it does show is my new, fancy-schmancy custom ironing table, built by my "Handy Husband":

Rebecca's Fancy-Schmancy Custom Ironing Table

24 x 48 Custom Ironing Table

I have been searching in vain for an ideal quilter's ironing board, and I finally talked my husband into building one to my specifications.  

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!