Monday, April 24, 2023

Halo Blocks, Quilty Hearts for Olivia, and Quilty Friends Who Lead Us Into (NewFO) Temptation

Hey there, quilty peeps!  In the ten days since I last posted about this project, I have completed exactly FOUR more Halo quilt blocks.  Don't let my slow progress discourage you from attempting this pattern, though -- I've also quilted three pretty intense quilts for clients, prepared music and sang at a funeral, and drove up to the mountains to visit my son in the past 10 days.  I am fitting these blocks in here and there when I have time, not at all chained to the sewing machine for hours at a time.  You can read more about this project and find links to the Jen Kingwell pattern, templates, and other must-haves for making this quilt in my previous post here.

My Latest Favorite Halo Block

Since this quilt will be a gift for my mother-in-law, I'm thinking about her favorite colors (light pink, medium pink, and hot pink!) as I'm picking out the fabrics for each block.  Looking at the ten blocks I've finished so far on my design wall, I don't know if there's ENOUGH pink?  😂

10 Halo Blocks Down, 26 Blocks (Plus Border Blocks) to Go

One thing that really helped me make some progress was packing up my machine and prepped block pieces and taking the project "on the road" to the Charlotte Quilters Guild's monthly Sit & Sew.  

Working out of my home like I do, it makes a huge difference for me to be able to carve out a chunk of several hours of uninterrupted time for personal sewing in a place where there are no dogs dropping balls in my lap, teenage sons asking for "help" deciphering the magical mystery of laundry machines, or husbands accusing me of "hiding" their keys/glasses/wallets/etc.  The only distraction at Sit & Sew is wanting to go look at what everyone else is making and socialize instead of sew!

Clearly No One Has Fun at Charlotte Quilt Guild Sit and Sew...

All kidding aside, we had a great turnout and I was able to reconnect with old quilting friends as well as make some new ones!  

The Aggregate Creative Energy in This Room Was Amazing!

Speaking of quilting friends...  My friend Megan wasn't able to attend Sit & Sew this time due to a scheduling conflict, but I'm just gonna shine a spotlight on her anyway because this Halo quilt project that I'm up to my armpits in is all her fault.  Jen Kingwell's Halo quilt pattern wasn't even on my radar until Megan told me she was starting one and asked me to reserve time on my schedule to quilt it for her.  As soon as I saw the pattern photo I was smitten!  That's a downside to quilting for hire -- it's hard to stay focused on one quilt at a time when people keep bringing me all of these other great quilts for quilting!  I want to make this one, and this one, and this one...  I'm SURE I'll finish all of these quilts in my lifetime.  As long as I live to be 950 like Noah.  😄

Meet Megan, My Halo Quilt Instigator!  😉

In the photo above, Megan is standing in front of a Halo quilt top made by another fellow guild member, Teresa Raleigh.  Teresa has taught this quilt at Quilt Patch Fabrics in Matthews twice and the class sold out both times.  She teaches a different method for sewing the curved than what I do and from what I've seen, her students have been really successful with it.  If you're local and you're interested in this making this quilt, reach out to Quilt Patch and beg them to repeat this class!  They also sell the pattern and template sets in their shop.

The Three Rebeccas of the Charlotte Quilters Guild: Me, Becka Tait & Becky Foster

Since we're on a roll here with the theme of Quilty Friends...  At our last guild meeting, the stars and planets fell into alignment and All Three Rebeccas in the Charlotte Quilters Guild were standing next to each other!  I'm pretty sure this is newsworthy, like when three planets align in the heavens and they call it a Planetary Parade.  Definitely worth a photo!  I am the stodgy one who only answers to my full given name; the other two go by Becka and Becky.

Olivia's Quilty Hearts Baby Quilt

As you might imagine, I have a ridiculous backlog of photos of beautiful clients' quilts waiting patiently to be featured in my blog posts.  I always have so much to say about each quilt that I feel like I'm writing a Russian novel!   I'll try to be brief (but the path to Hell is paved with good intentions)!

Olivia's 38 x 50 Quilty Hearts Baby Quilt with Butterfly Charm E2E Quilting

Olivia is one of my quilting clients who is newer to quilt making.  She's in that stage of life where her calendar is full of baby shower invitations, and she has built up a reputation for herself as The One Who Gives Those Awesome Homemade Quilts!  💕. This particular baby quilt was made as a surprise gift for Olivia's sister-in-law.  Olivia had already chosen her fabrics and started making this quilt when she found out that butterflies were the nursery theme -- how lucky was that coincidence?!  The pattern for this quilt is Quilty Hearts by Emily Dennis, and you can purchase a PDF of this pattern directly from the pattern designer's Etsy shop here (this post contains affiliate links).  

The Yumminess of Aurifil Forty/3 Variegated Cotton Thread in Bubblegum!

Olivia likes to use Quilters Dream Bamboo/Silk/Cotton batting for her baby quilts.  I stock that in both the 93" rolls and the 60" bolts for my quilting clients, but if you want to try this batting for something you're quilting yourself you can find it at The Fat Quarter Shop here if your local quilt shop doesn't carry it.  Quilters Dream Bamboo is a lighter weight, breathable natural fiber batting that makes for the unbelievably soft and smooshy, drapable baby quilts that feel like something from a high-end boutique.  

But the thing that most excited me about this quilt was THE THREAD!!  😍

Butterfly Quilting on Butterfly Print Fabrics

I used Aurifil's Forty/3 variegated cotton Long Arm Quilting thread in color Bubblegum for Olivia's quilt and I just love how it turned out.  The different shades of pink make parts of the butterflies visually recede and other parts appear to come forward, almost like the quilting is three-dimensional.  The color saturation is gorgeous with a high quality 100% cotton like Aurifil, and the thicker weight of this thread is perfect for when you want the quilting design to command a bit more attention.  Note that this Forty/3 long arm thread is not the same as the 40 wt cotton Aurifil thread that comes on green spools.  The green spools of Aurifil are two 40 wt strands spun together, but the Forty/3 long arm thread comes on a giant yellow cone and it's three forty wt strands spun together so it's 50% thicker than what comes on the green cones.  I've used this thread on several projects so far and I love everything about it except the price point!  When it's a project where we want to draw attention to the quilting stitches themselves, I think the higher cost of a high quality cotton thread is worth it.  

Other Projects I Claim to be Working On...

I have not forgotten about Star Upon Stars; that's still happening!  It was in the interim between when I placed my online order for the fabric and templates, but before my goodies had shipped that Megan tempted me with that photo of the Halo quilt...  

Waiting In the Wings: Pattern, Templates and Fabrics for My Star Upon Stars

After seeing pattern designer Edyta Sitar's free video tutorials for Star Upon Stars, I'm no longer feeling so intimidated by the complexity of the pattern and I am just DYING to get started on it.  But Halo first, and THEN I get to make a Star Upon Stars block!  I have a feeling this is going to be like my pineapple log cabin quilt, where I make a few blocks and then I have to take a break and do something else before coming back to it.  I have the pattern, templates, all of my fabrics, and my notes from the video tutorials all in this one box so I'll be ready to go...  when I'm ready to go!

MEANWHILE...  I think I'm going to rejoin the Charlotte chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild, because they are having a Sit & Sew this Sunday afternoon at the South County Regional Library that's about 10 minutes from my home, and my friend and fellow long arm quilter Sara Korinek of Stitch Lab Quilting invited me to go!  How many Halo blocks do you guys think I can sew while I'm running my mouth and getting distracted by other quilters' projects?  What we REALLY should take bets on is whether I can make it through the Sit & Sew without falling head over heels in love with someone else's project and starting ANOTHER quilt before finishing what I've already started...

If you're local to the Charlotte area, I hope to bump into you in person at one of these events.  Happy quilting, everyone!

I'm linking up today's post with my favorite linky parties:


Peacock Party at Wendy’s Quilts and More

Finished or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts

Off the Wall Friday at Nina Marie Sayre

 TGIFF Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday, rotates, schedule found here: TGIF Friday


Frédérique at Quilting Patchwork Appliqué

Oh Scrap! at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework


Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts  


Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication

Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter


Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation  


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

many pretty projects for sure when you go to meetings! The Jen Kingwell quilt is interesting and really a version of a Drunkard's Path - I have some templates someplace where there were some skinny "rings" in it. I wonder if I still have it - you could do the same pattern with it really

The Joyful Quilter said...

Congrats on the Halo progress, Rebecca! Thanks for sharing that photo of Megan, her block, and Teresa's Halo quilt because now I think I might really like to make my rings in black and white. I love the look of them!

Denise said...

We listed our house and it sold just days after. We are now in escrow and trying to pack up a home we lived in and raised our family in. 35 years of memories and STUFF. We are putting everything (selling all the furniture) in storage and getting in the RV. We are headed your way. Looking for property in NC or SC. I would prefer lakefront but lake-close would be OK. Also looking in VA and TN. Basically we have some idea but no idea. I will definitely need to hook up with you if we settle around Charlotte. My daughter was originally looking in Matthews but started looking in Raleigh this last week. She is all over the place as well but wants us within 20 min of each other. I can't complain.

I look forward to all your posts because they are such inspiration to me. Keep them coming. d

Kathleen said...

Every block is one block more, so you keep it up. I love seeing your guild's sit and sew and why not do does give you a chunk of time you won't see. No Aurifil 40/3 at the show or YLI on of these days. I did do a class on thread tension and feel much better about that....I usually don't have problems but it is nice to get some more understanding of it all. Love the butterflies on the baby quilt...I can see why you love the 40/3. Your last comment did crack me up, but I still think I get more sewing done in a group than I do at home when other things quickly distract.

Sandy said...

Beautiful butterflies, Rebecca! They're perfect on that quilt. :) As for your Halo blocks, I'm glad to see that they're coming along -- love the block that you featured with the scissors and tape measure!

Lodi said...

Rebecca. My Halo quilt instigator! This quilt is really tugging at my heartstrings. B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L.! You mention two different methods for curves, and I'm wondering if you have explained yours? (I'm fairly new to your blog.) I'm hoping that curves might be like sleeve heads in garment sewing. (I never knew it was supposed to be difficult, so it wasn't, haha! Of course I was a tween, so everything was new, and "difficult" wasn't in my lexicon.) said...

The halo project is coming along which is terrific. The best part of Sit and Sews is yakking. . . .I hope you do a lot of it!

Pam said...

What a nice blog post! The pretty baby quilt is special both the quilting and the color selection. Like all your guild photos.

Linda @ kokaquilts said...

Your halo quilt is delightful, lots of scrappy goodness & colour! I know so much of my sewing time is me & myself, so it's nice to see everyone enjoying the 'sit & sew', catching up & seeing what others are making, lovely photos.

Melva said...

What a beautiful scrappy quilt that halo quilt is! And sweet little butterflies with the hearts. I'd love for you to join my Sew & Tell party over at :)

Preeti said...

It is not a quilt block, Rebecca. At least not for you. You make every block like it was a precision piece for the next rocket launch mission. And it is worth it!

Susan said...

I love the scrappiness of your Halo blocks - keep it up! And the butterflies, along with the quilting, are adorable.

Jennifer Fulton Inquiring Quilter said...

Lovely butterfly quilt! Your Halo blocks are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing on my weekly show and tell, Wednesday Wait Loss.

Rebecca Grace said...

Lodi, I wanted to respond to your questions directly but your Blogger settings are set to “No Reply,” hiding your email address from me. I hope you’ll check back here to find my response! I’m sewing my curved seams pretty much exactly the way you would set in a sleeve in garment sewing. It might actually feel easier to you than setting in a sleeve, though, since the 5/8” seam allowances in garment sewing result in a greater disparity between the length of the two opposite curved fabric pieces you’re trying to sew together than with 1/4” patchwork seam allowances, if that makes sense. All I do is just match and pin the centers, match and pin the ends, and then distribute pins evenly through the rest of the curve. I sew slowly with the machine and pivot frequently to get a smooth curved seam. You should give Halo a try!

dq said...

IT is so great for you to get out and go to a guild. Sewing with others is just so fulfilling. It is true, however, that we sign ourselves up for more projects when we sew with others. Reading blogs like yours does the same thing for me. The quilt with the circles is really really talking to me after seeing yours progress and grow! Your fabric choices talk to me too. I would join in if only I wasn't keeping my UFOs to a minimum.

Chopin - A Passionate Quilter said...

So happy you had time away from work! I love that little baby quilt! How neat to set the 9 patches the way she did!
Halo and I would have to be a 2 color quilt and don't think that would work, but loving yours and Meghans. I will check out Editar's latest......

dq said...

Yes, I have to do this one. I have been reading over your other posts about it. I went ahead and ordered the templates to make it.
It looks like you had a nice time at your class!

dq said...

I am back again, admiring and re-reading this same post. I really like it. Three lovely Rabecca's together is a fun thing too.