Friday, January 16, 2015

Find of the day

Many quilters sing the praises of fabrics from Liberty of London.  Along with the high quality comes a high price.  But today I was browsing through the small section of fabric at a local second-hand (thrift) shop and came across a real find!

Four yards of cotton fabric with a very soft feel.  The colors and print were a William Morris floral/art deco type print.  But a glance at the selvage showed.... you guessed it...Liberty of London!  And the price tag for the whole four yards?  $6.00.

My stash report is now set back by four yards, because this was just too good to pass up!  The colors are not ones I generally choose, but I may be able to find a Barbara Brackman pattern that will be perfect for this print.  Or maybe a kaleidoscope pattern?  That could be interesting.  I'm taking suggestions!



Monday, January 12, 2015

Disappearing 4-patch

Kathleen Tracy is a quilt designer from the Chicago area who has been an inspiration to me to start making small quilts.  I'm overloaded with queen size quilts, and about a year ago stumbled upon her blog which got me started making smaller quilts.

This month she challenged her readers to make a disappearing 4-patch.  I've never tried one before, so started out by hunting through my 4-inch scrap bag and found a couple strips already sewn together to try the technique.

For a 4-patch made of 4-inch blocks I cut 1 inch away from the seam line in each direction.  It turned out to be quite easy.
Christmas disappearing 4-patch - 13 " square
I was ready for more!  So out came some blues and white that were already cut into 4 inch strips or squares.  Ta Da!
Blue disappearing 4-patch doll quilt - 18-1/2 x 24 "
I forget how much I love the crispness of blues and whites, especially in the midst of a cold Minnesota winter!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Bonus Starburst

There were lots of bonus HST blocks leftover from making Grand Illusion.  Even though I only made half the number of blocks for a smaller quilt, there were loads of bonus blocks in red/white and black/white.

One afternoon a week I have been volunteering at the Welcome Desk (receptionist) at our church.  Yes, I'm way overqualified for that (LOL), but they needed some help.  Anyway, it's pretty quiet and was a great opportunity for me to trim those little bonus blocks to uniform size.  (1 3/4 inches square)

Pam Buda at Heartspun Quilts recently introduced an adorable collection of thee small quilts called "Tokens of the Past: Gathering in Red."  I used her Starbrust Quilt as inspiration and used up a whole bunch of those bonus HST's.
Bonus Starburst 23x23 inches
I love Pam's collection of red fabrics, and am very fortunate to have a few pre-cut pieces in my stash.

Do you have any plans for bonus blocks?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

It's so Grand!

Linking up with Bonnie to show my progress and to give her a great big "Thank You!" for sharing her wonderful quilt design talents with all of us.  A special welcome to everyone who is visiting Quilt Awhile through her link.  It's so nice to have you stop by!

The only way I've been able to keep up with Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt is that I'm making a half-size version.  My thanks to Beth and Karen for their comments and helping me decide to go with the original pattern.  They saved me a lot of ripping out for the changes I was considering.  I forged ahead and tonight the borders went on!  Here's what it looks like so far:
Half Grand Illusion  60" x 75"
Not a great photo I'm afraid, but it will have to do.   Some of my greens are so dark that they 'read' nearly black.  I think that has made it harder for me to see the true pattern in this quilt.

Another problem I had is a quilter's natural tendency to never put two pieces the same color together.  I found this out when I was piecing the border, and did I ever do a lot of ripping!  Evidently my brain just didn't want those yellows to go together, and I repeatedly would flip one section the wrong way.  Did you have any sections that looked like this?
Border oops!
Finally, I don't know if it was because I was making a half version, or if my seam allowances were so far off, but at any rate the borders were too long.  What to do????  I was starting to envy the quilters of a century ago who would just lop off a border or a block if it didn't fit right.

Hmmm,  what was stopping me?  So I took a deep breath and sliced a generous 1/2 inch off each end.  Crazy?  Maybe.  It made for an interesting look at the corners, but it works for me!
Funky corners, but I think I like them!

I'm considering adding another plain border to finish it off.  Maybe 5 inches of a nice green print.  I'll have to see what I can find in my stash.  I know I have greens leftover from Celtic Solstice!





Monday, January 5, 2015

First finish of 2015

It didn't take long to have a finished quilt in 2015.  Only the binding was left at year-end, so I brought Bonnie Hunter's 'Oklahoma Backroads' up to the lake on New Year's Day to work on in my free time.  It was a leader-ender project and I used 3 inch blocks and strips from my scrap bag.  The backing is polar fleece, so it's light weight and warm.
While hubby was ice fishing I cut and stitched the binding. 

The blue border just pops against the snow!  It was so windy that I had trouble getting the quilt to lay flat for a photo.  I must have tried 10 times, and this was the best shot.

A few minutes later I snapped this sunset - the first sunset of 2015.
Last year I decided to take a sunset photo as often as I could when we were up at the Lake.  It was fun to do, and I think I'll keep it up this year.   Here's a link to see some of them: smithlakesunsets.blogspot.com

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Grand Illusion progress

Original Grand Illusion
Grand Illusion is coming along, but I'm at a crossroads.  I love Bonnie Hunter's designs, her colors, her scrappy, happy quilts.  But my Grand Illusion is looking really busy.  I mean really, Really busy.  Is it the values of the red that I used instead of a lighter pink?   Am I just too close to the quilt?  I do notice that it's a little easier looking at the photo than looking at the quilt top in person.

After the green and white checkerboard sashings went on, I started having a hard time seeing the main blocks, and I just can't see any secondary pattern at all.

I'm wondering if I should make a few design adjustments so that I can appreciate the blocks a bit more.  In the photo below I laid green fabric on top of some of the checkerboard sashing to see what it might look like.  (It would go all along the edges as well.)


Green sashing option
What do you think?  
I might be able to incorporate the checkerboard sections in an additional border.  This will be a half-size version of Grand Illusion, so there will be 12 blocks in all, set 3 x 4, and it could handle extra borders.   It will have to hang on the design wall for a few days while I puzzle it out.  I really want to LOVE this quilt when it's done!

Please leave me a comment.  All input will be appreciated!


Year End Review

Time to tally up and see what was accomplished in the quilt workroom in the year just past.

Most of the quilts can be seen if you click on the '2014 quilts' tab above.  I thought I'd let you do that if you're interested instead of making a very photo-heavy post.  Hope that's ok with you.

4 Queen size quilts:
Rhapsody in Bloom - wedding gift
Chinese Coins and Lanterns - wedding gift
Pond Dakota Album Quilt replica
Wedding Album - wedding gift

4 Baby and Lap quilts:
Sly Patch - gift 48 x 58
Rascal Patch - gift 48 x 58
Decade the Halls quilt along 62 x 71
Bricks and Stepping Stones - gift 58 x 72

13 Small quilts:
Disappearing 9-Patch from "Ribbons and Roses" orphan blocks 28"
Redwork Snowmen 22x27
Little Bear Paw 14"
Four Bear Paws 23"
Triple Square 14 x 20
Little three-inch 20x24
Valentine Spools 12"
Orphan Star 20"
Shamrocks 12"
Market Day 30"
Cypress 28"
State Fair 40"
Cascadia 19x22

3 table runners - gifts

Designed 4 styles of 3-inch Ornaments:
and made several of each as gifts
2 Hearts
Shamrock
Pumpkins
Album Block

9 finished tops not yet quilted:
Red white blue - lap quilt
Oklahoma Backroads -lap quilt (first finish of 2015!)
Sailing - small
Friends and Companions - 60"
Friends and Companions the musical - 60"
Autumn Friends and Companions -60"
Countdown to Christmas - wall hanging
Irish Puzzle - small
Celtic Solstice - Queen

This just counts the quilts I finished in 2014 - not any of the works-in-progress, or UFO's.  That's an entirely different list - and I'm not sharing that!  But all-in-all quite a bit was accomplished this year.

Yards purchased in 2014: 55 1/2
Yards used in 2014:  76
Stash reduction: 20 1/2 yards!!!
I think I'm most excited about using up 20 more yards than I purchased this year.  (at least as far as I kept count)  I really tried to keep my fabric purchases to just what I needed to finish up a project.  With very few exceptions, I really stuck with that this year.

I hope you will stick with me in 2015 and leave a comment when you stop by, so we can share with one another the fun we have when we get the chance to quilt awhile.