Friday, June 23, 2023

Nann's Scrappy Largesse, Halo Quilt Progress + A Mini Curved Piecing Tutorial

I don't know about you, but when I've been slogging along forever on a project, trying to combine the same old scraps from my scrap bins in new ways to create blocks that don't look exactly like all the others on my design wall, there's nothing like a fresh injection of someone else's scraps to make the work feel fresh and exciting again.  

A month or so ago, Nann who blogs at With Strings Attached mentioned to me that she'd just finished reading a 1932 novel called The Sheltered Life by Ellen Glasgow.  When I expressed interest in reading the book, she offered to mail me her copy -- and she stuffed the flat rate postage box full of fabric scraps!!  I felt like I'd hit the scrappy jackpot!  I've been working in as many of Nann's scraps as possible and having a grand time with it.  Don't you love this sweet Wizard of Oz fabric?  The orange and blue arcs, pink quarter circle, blue and white dot, larger blue floral quarter circle, and the pink mini floral print are all Nann's fabrics in the block below.

This Block Contains 5 Scraps from Nann

In the block below, the yellow floral HSTs surrounding the blue center square are definitely Nann's, and I think that curved tumbler patch at the bottom that has sprigs of yellow flowers on a white background might also be from Nann.

Yellow Floral Print HSTs are Also Scraps from Nann

Although I've been busy long arm quilting this month, I've also had more social sewing opportunities on my calendar lately and that has really helped me keep the momentum going with this project.  Below you can see I have my Jen Kingwell Block Wrap all packed up with six different blocks planned out, ready to piece at a recent guild Sit & Sew event (this post contains affiliate links).  

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Anna's Modern Memory Quilt with Lace 2 E2E

Hello, Quilt Lovers!  Today's post shares a memory quilt that my client Anna made from a collection of her father's shirts.  Isn't it beautiful?  I think this is my favorite memory quilt that I have ever seen.  It makes me wish we still had some of MY dad's old shirts and crazy plaid golf pants to cut up for a quilt, but I'm pretty sure my mom donated all of his clothing after he passed away.  My dad had some wild 1970s golf "slacks" that would make Kaffe Fassett fabrics look tame!  😎. But back to the quilt at hand...

Anna's 45 x 58 Memory Quilt with Lace 2 E2E

Anna's quilt feels more modern to me than most memory quilts I've seen.  I think that comes from the balance she achieved between the busy shirt fabrics and the generous use of plain unbleached muslin for "negative space."  The resulting composition is restful instead of chaotic, you can really see and appreciate each of the shirt prints (I'm sure each one conjures up a whole series of memories for Anna).  An added benefit of using clothing scraps in this restrained way for a memory quilt is that you can stretch the scraps farther and create memory quilts for multiple family members if you use more background fabric and less clothing scraps in each quilt.   

HSTs Cut From Anna's Father's Shirts

We chose the Lace 2 quilting design from Mike Fountain for this quilt because, like Anna's quilt top, Lace 2 has a "contemporary vintage" vibe.  Or Retro Chic, or whatever you want to call it.  (Word of warning to you long arm quilters out there, though -- Lace 2 is lovely but it's a PITA to stitch out.  There's significant backtracking in this design and the overstitching doesn't happen right away, so you have to watch this like a hawk to make sure double-stitched lines aren't off.  It is also No Fun Whatsoever trying to restart Lace 2 after a thread break!)

NEW Quilting Book Review: Perfectly Pieced Quilt Backs by Kelly Young

In today's post, we're taking a brand-new quilt book for a test drive: Perfectly Pieced Quilt Backs by Kelly Young, available here on Amazon.  (Full disclosure: this post contains affiliate links, and I was provided with a free advance copy of this book so I could review it for you).  Overachiever that I am, I made not one but TWO of the pieced backing projects in this book, and I will be using this book for a lot more than just quilt backings...  I'll get to that later!

Initially I was interested in this book as a resource to keep in my office for the times when clients come to drop off a quilt for long arm quilting and their backing doesn't quite meet my minimum size requirements.  I run into this issue a lot, especially with the charity quilting I do for the Outreach program of the Charlotte Quilters' Guild.  When the volunteers on the Outreach team put fabric kits together for our members to take and sew, they often size the backing fabric just a few inches larger than the quit top should finish.  That works great for guild members who are quilting on a domestic machine, but it doesn't give me the allowances I need for loading the backing onto the canvas leaders of my long arm frame.  The first project I'm sharing from Kelly's book is the simplest one in there, and it was the perfect solution for enlarging a too-small backing for one of these guild outreach quilts.

First Pieced Backing: Walking Path

I Just Love How the Quilting Shows Up on the Plain Old Muslin Strip!

I didn't have any leftovers from this patriotic themed quilt top to work with, so I just cut a wide strip of plain old boring muslin and inserted it into the original backing fabric following Kelly's instructions for the Walking Path backing.  Once quilted, the muslin looks terrific.  I just love how the quilting design that is completely lost against that busy navy print fabric springs to life on the muslin strip!  That quilting design I used is Feathered Spirals E2E, designed by Jess Ziegler, stitched in So Fine 50 wt thread, color Snow, and I used the Pellon 80/20 With Scrim batting provided by my guild.

Here's the front of that quilt:

CQG Donation Quilt with Feathered Spiral E2E

Isn't it pretty?  I forgot to write down the dimensions of that quilt before I turned it in at our guild meeting for another member to bind.  With the Americana themed fabric prints, this quilt will likely be given to a child who is hospitalized over the Independence Day holiday.  Most of our donation kit quilts have very simple piecing, and the "walking path" pieced backing with a single contrast strip is a great choice for enlarging the backing without making it compete for attention with the quilt top.  But, flipping through the book there were so many other fun ideas...