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!