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.  

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Of Megan's Lone Star Quilt, Artful Rule-Breaking, and Coco Chanel

Hello and happy weekend!  I am so excited that I can finally share my client Megan's stunning Lone Star quilt with you today!  Waiting to post photos is the hardest part of my job.

Megan's 60 x 61 Lone Star, Quilted by Yours Truly

I know everyone loves seeing the "Before and After Quilting" photos, so here's what Megan's quilt top looked like when she brought it to me to for quilting:

Lone Star Top Before Quilting

There is so much that I love about this quilt.  I love that, instead of using a rainbow of different colors as seen in traditional Lone Star quilts, Megan used a mix of black and white prints from Tula Pink and Kaffe Fassett, obscuring the seam lines between the diamond patches so the prints flow into one another in a way that feels fresh and interesting, somehow simultaneously subtle and bold.  

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Keepin' It Real: Everything Breaks in February, But the Quilting Must Go On

Um, GOOD MORNING!  How was YOUR February?  I haven't written anything in so long that I don't know where to begin.  Do I just pick one or two things to share with you, or do I just dump a hundred and fifty photos in this post without explaining any of them?

Nothing terrible has happened to me over the past month, just lots of compounded nuisances on top of everyday concerns and I've been focusing on trying to stay on top of customer quilting while putting out fires left and right.  Here's the short version of my adventures over the last few weeks: car battery was completely dead the morning I had a dentist appointment for a routine cleaning, could not be jumped, had to reschedule my appointment and replace the car battery.  Then when I went to the dentist a few days later, instead of just complementing me on my excellent home care and giving me a free toothbrush, they told me I needed FIVE old fillings replaced.  The novocaine from all those new fillings had barely worn off when the garage door opener died and needed to be replaced.  Let's see -- next disaster was a cracked hopping foot on my longarm machine and then I stripped my needle set screw, neither of which was a big deal besides sucking up time.  Then we woke up to find water dripping down through the ceiling in the second floor hallway and discovered that our hot water heater in the attic had blown and flooded its drip pan.  Lovely.  Hot water heater replaced, but now there were water stains on the ceiling and if you've tried to hire anyone to do work in your home over the past year or so, you know that everyone is booked so far out into the future that you don't know which will come first -- availability on the painter's schedule or the Armageddon.  So my husband has been on ladders painting ceilings himself and I've been contemplating paint swatches for walls and cabinets when I'm not upstairs quilting, because (like everyone else) I've been spending way more time in my house over the past two years and I am sick of looking at these walls everyday.  Oh, and my espresso machine has blown a gasket and started spewing water all over the place, just to taunt me.  The way this month has been going, I wouldn't be surprised if the roof caved in before the end of the month!

See?  Nothing catastrophic, just a lot of distractions eating up time that I might have been blogging.  But you didn't come here for any of that, did you?  You came for the quilting!

Ginny's Tree of Life Quilt

Abundance Design Stitched in Glide Thread, Color Sea Mist

My client Ginny made this scrappy Tree of Life quilt as an anniversary gift for her husband, incorporating scores of different fabric prints that she has accumulated over the decades of their marriage.  We chose the Abundance quilting design by Karlee Porter because of the way it suggests vines, brush, and forest undergrowth around her tree.  Knowing that quilting designs generally disappear against busy prints, we chose a thread color (Glide in Sea Mist, affiliate link) that would blend more against the dark greens and browns in the tree and stand out a little more against her lighter valued background fabrics.

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Four More Blocks for My Retro '80s Building Blocks Quilt + Layout Options for FrankenWhiggish Rose Blocks

Happy Week End, everyone, and happy Month End as well!  One of the goals I'd set for myself at the start of January was to make some more blocks for my Retro '80s Building Blocks sampler quilt, and I finally did that yesterday.  Four more happy little 5" blocks are completed, only one of which was in the original Moda Modern Building Blocks design.  The other three blocks were among the many that I swapped out when I was redrafting the quilt in EQ8 Quilt Design Software (affiliate link) to suit my purposes.

Four More 5 Inch Blocks for Retro '80s Building Blocks

Gotta admit, I am still not 100% thrilled with the center of the little Lemoyne Star but it took me a LONG time to piece that one with all of its little Y-Seams, and I decided it's Good Enough.  Or at least, it's the best I could do that day.

Here they are, my completed blocks back up on the design wall, with the new ones added into the mix:

Back on the Design Wall: 38 Blocks Finished, 15 Remaining to be Made

For those of you who haven't seen any of my earlier posts about this quilt, here's a quick recap.  I started out with the idea that I wanted to make the Moda Modern Building Blocks quilt that was a popular BOM (Block of the Month) about eight years ago.  But I wanted mine to finish a different size to fit a particular bed, and I did not have the kit or the pattern anyway, so I set about redrafting the quilt in EQ8 from pictures of...  But instead of sizing my blocks as ruler-friendly multiples of 6", my blocks were multiples of 5" in order to get the finished quilt size I wanted with the borders I added.  The whole idea behind the "building blocks" sampler was for it to be a skill builder, so I eliminated all of the unecessary seams that Moda had added to simplify the piecing, adding back Y-seam construction because that's a skill I wanted to focus on.  I also swapped out 40% of the blocks in the original quilt for different ones in order to get that retro 1980s vibe I wanted and/or to include blocks that were more interesting (to me) or more challenging.  And I added rainbow borders that were inspired by the suspenders Robin Williams' character wore on the television show Mork & Mindy.  

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Wild Animal Kingdom, Quilters' Edition: A Wolf, a Lion, and a Realignment Tip for Tricky Pantos

Good morning, friends!  I'm so excited that I can finally share this incredible Wolf Abstractions quilt with you, pieced by my client Mary who blogs at Quilting Is In My Blood.  Isn't this amazing?!  Mary made this quilt as a surprise 50th birthday gift for a dear friend.

60 x 65 Wolf Abstractions, pattern by Violet Craft available here on Etsy

Mary used the Wolf Abstractions foundation paper piecing pattern designed by Violet Craft to piece this stunning quilt.  You can find the pattern on Etsy here (affiliate links).  I suggested 40 weight Omni matte polyester thread in Cream so the thread would blend into the fabrics in the wolf's face and contrast softly with the dark gray background fabric.  The batting is Quilters Dream 80/20 and the quilting design is Sound Wave by Jessica Schick.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

The Velveteen Rabbit, Quilters' Edition: A Quilt Becomes Real, and Then Becomes Whole Again

Good morning, Quilty Peeps!  Instead of the "snowstorm" promised by the weatherman, I'm looking out my window at a sloppy mix of ice and sleet.  But at least the sky looks like winter even if the ground looks like a mess!  

On Becoming Real, from The Velveteen Rabbit

One of my favorite books when I was a child was The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, first published in 1922.  This year marks its 100th anniversary!  Reading the Skin Horse's description of how toys become Real, I realized that Becoming Real is exactly what happens to a treasured family quilt that has been loved and tattered until it's falling to pieces.  A quilt whose binding is worn through and falling off, with threadbare spots where the batting is coming out and split seams and holes and tears and stains "can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."  Real is what happens to a quilt when someone loves it for a long, long time.  It's the Real quilts, the ones that have been truly loved, that their owners can't bear to part with no matter how shabby they have become.

Although I'm no longer accepting vintage quilts for repair, I still have a couple more waiting in my queue, like this one that I finished last night for a gentleman in Minnesota:  

91 x 87 Vintage Quilt, After Repair/Restoration

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Whig Rose Applique Progress, Christmas Tumbler Top + a Sizzling Star Quilt Finish

Hello, my friends!  How is your January shaking out so far?  Our Christmas decorations are packed away, my sons are out of my house and back at their respective colleges, and I've been sewing up a storm.  I won't get my hands on the first patterns for my Sarah Fielke BOMs until the LAST day of January, so I've been working on the backlog of client quilts in my queue and moving personal projects along so I'll be ready to kick off an Applique-Palooza on January 31st. Today I have two personal projects to share and one client's quilt to showcase.  I'll be linking up with all the usual suspects (favorite linky parties, listed on my blog sidebar).

FrankenWhiggish Rose Applique

Thanks largely to the Medici the Magnificent series on Netflix, I stitched the last of the leaves on my Whig Rose blocks last night.  Woo-hoo!  

FrankenWhiggish Rose Needleturn Applique In Progress

This is the first time I've had all nine blocks in progress on my design wall and I've gotta say, it's looking really encouraging!  The center block is the only one that's 100% finished, but I had forgotten that I had a second block (bottom left) that was nearly finished except for the stuffed berries near the corner tulips.  

Saturday, January 1, 2022

New Year, New Ambitions, and New Applique Projects for Rebecca!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Have you made big plans or resolutions for 2022?  Will you be Eating Less Junk Food, Drinking More Water, Spending Less Money, Achieving Self-Actualization and Becoming One With the Universe?  Or are you mustering your willpower behind resolutions like No New Projects Until the Old Ones are Finished, or Only Using Fabric that you Already Own?  If those are your goals for 2022, I'll be cheering you along from the sidelines but I won't be joining you in your Year of Austerity.  Two years into the Plague, I've had enough of deprivation and restrictions and my New Year's Resolutions are all about MORE instead of less.  More creative challenges, more learning new skills and honing existing ones, and more shopping to support small businesses: local quilt shops, mom-and-pop online sellers, and all of the talented designers whose fabric lines, quilt patterns, and digital quilting designs send so much beauty and inspiration out into a bleak world!

Rebecca's New Applique Projects for 2022:

With that in mind, I've resolved to start THREE of Sarah Fielke's challenging year-long BOM (Block of the Month) projects involving extensive handwork, lots of variety, and excuses to buy more fabric (and cut into plenty of the scraps and yardage already in my stash).  Mwahahaha!


A few weeks ago, I asked y'all to weigh in and help me decide which of these three Sarah Fielke BOM reruns I should join in 2022, and I was hoping your collective feedback would help me to pick one.  Well, that didn't happen!  There was no clear preference for one project, and I am drawn to different aspects of each one.  What I like about all three projects, and what I like about designer Sarah Fielke's style in general, is their playfulness and whimsy -- like beautiful children's book illustrations that captivate a child's imagination.  The techniques are challenging and involve a lot of hand stitching, but the style is just plain cheerful and fun.  I need some FUN in 2022!  If any of you want to join me (and thousands of other quilters around the world) with one of these projects, you still have time to sign up on Sarah's web site here.  The first patterns won't be released until January 31st, so you still have time to pick your project and get your fabrics together!

I'm planning to use lots of scraps and fat quarter yardage from my stash for these three quilts, so the easiest way to ensure that they don't end up looking all alike is to use very different background fabrics for each one.  To that end, I made a quest to one of my favorite Not-Quite-Local Quilt Shops a few days ago, Sew Much Fun in Lowell, NC.

Supporting Local Businesses by Purchasing Way More Fabric Than I Need

Yes, my plan was to just buy yardage for the background fabrics and alternate block fabrics for Happy Days and Simple Folk, and yardage for the center medallion and borders of Down the Rabbit Hole.  As you see in the photo above, I also bought half yard cuts of a bunch of other fabrics that caught my eye, to be cut up for the appliqué and pieced blocks.  It's a good thing I got to the shop 45 minutes before they closed, because I kept finding more and MORE fabrics while they were cutting the ones I'd already picked out...  I was like a toddler in the grocery checkout, grabbing candy bars and tossing them in the cart while mom isn't looking!

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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!