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.