My next quilt was one that came together with very little forethought or planning. Something moved me to start playing with my 2 1/2" Christmas fabric squares as I was finishing up my latest Mega-block Patchwork Wreath quilt this year. (The wreath is a free pattern I designed that is available here.) You can see the start of my latest scrappy quilt on the wall behind me in the above picture.
This idea originally started with the above sketch that I did in 2016. As I started to lay squares out on my design wall, I didn't like all the negative space - I was going for something a little denser with this design. So I took the center out-lined cross block and started to work with that (the 9 center squares). I love what I came up with! Using low-volume fabrics as the outer ring on alternating blocks was a design decision based on the fact that I didn't have enough low-volume fabric for the entire background.
This quilt is also distantly related to my red and white quilt - both of these quilts have the "on point" granny square blocks (confusing because normally it's the granny square blocks that are on point). However, this one is made entirely of squares (no rectangles), so you can totally web-piece it. I'm calling this one "Granny's Christmas Quilt and it is available as a free pattern if you subscribe to my newsletter.
This quilt is again backed with pistachio Minky and quilted with the "Midnight Sparkle" pantograph from Urban Elementz (like the last 3 or 4 quilts that I've had quilted). I'll add - YES - those sparkles or stars are part of the quilting design. I did not add those myself. (I've gotten that question a few times already!)
The fabric that I used to bind the quilt is a pink and white bias candy stripe from Bonnie & Camille. Try finding it here.
Quick Quilt Stats:
This design is a free scrappy pattern for those who subscribe to my newsletter. My version is made mostly of scraps, though I did have to cut some white-on-white squares from stash to make the background. This guy finishes 62" by 74" and makes a nice throw size. I do still use Warm & White batting when I back a quilt with Minky. That combination makes for a nice thick fuzzy warm winter quilt.
Thanks for stopping by and let me know if you have any questions.
Happy Holidays to Everyone!
In August 2018, I ordered this fun (above), colorful bundle of Kona fabrics from Stash Fabrics in preparation for a class with Tara Faughnan at Sewtopia Milwaukee. We were going to be learning her "Diamonds Quilt" pattern and I wanted mine to be bright and fun - and super colorful!
(See the end of this post for the list of Kona colors that I ordered from Stash Fabrics).
I pulled a few more yellows, pinks, purples, reds and oranges from my stash and ended up with this bundle for the quilt. I was working with the idea of warm, summery, tangy sherbet tones for my inspiration.
Making a triangle (or diamond) quilt had been on my mental "to try" list for a bit, but I was a little nervous to try piecing an entire quilt full of triangles with bias edges. Tara's pattern uses freezer-paper piecing to ensure that those bias edges don't stretch, and points line up and aren't cut off. It was my first time working with freezer paper for piecing and it was a slick way to piece.
To make my "blocks" (partial rows really) for this quilt I didn't pre-plan color combos. I pulled from my pile of fabrics and made color decisions as I worked along. When I ran out of a certain color I went back to my stash and pulled a similar colored fabric, or sometimes introduced new ones. In the picture of my "final" fabric pull above, there are over 30 colors of fabrics. However I'm betting that there might be closer to 40 different colors of fabrics in this quilt. I'm calling it my "Colorful Diamonds Quilt."
I decided to hand-quilt this quilt and had my long-arm quilter "baste" it for me with straight lines.
For some of my hand-quilting lines, I ripped out the basting stitches and hand-quilted following the stitch holes. For the rest of my quilting, I measured from the basting lines and laid down strips of masking tape to follow along as a guide. Having the quilt basted on a long-arm made it a lot easier than than pin- basting and marking the whole quilt with straight lines!
I used Hobbs Tuscany wool batting for this quilt and backed it in a sour Michael Miller green solid fabric. You guys - it was like butter to quilt. The needle glided through each stitch so easily! Now it is so light, soft and cushy.
When I got to choosing binding fabric for this quilt, I ended up going with a solid red. I love the end result, but I've decided that this is more of a bright Christmas quilt (not a summery sherbet quilt).
I made my quilt a little bigger than the quilt in Tara's pattern, so it finishes at 70" x 72".
To see more of my work-in-progress pictures, check out #colorfuldiamondsquilt.
Thanks for reading along, and here is the list of the 12 original Kona solids that I bought from Stash Fabrics. Do you know that they carry every Kona color??
Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton Color Names:
Every fall 4 girlfriends and I get together and rent a house and sew ALL WEEKEND LONG. It's awesome. When I talk about it with other friends they always ask: you just sew? You don't do anything else? Do you drink wine? The answer to all of those questions is a big ol' NO! It's a weekend devoted 100% to sewing (with very minimal sleeping).
During the weekend you get a lot of projects done, so you have to make sure that you bring enough to work on. This year Nicole, of Modern Handcraft, came out with her Snowflake quilt pattern a few weeks before our retreat and I knew it would be a perfect project for that weekend. My friend Kayla, of Stitch Kayla Stitch, had the same idea!
I used stashed navy blue and super dark teal prints for the background of my snowflake, and used assorted white-on-white prints for the snowflake; Kayla bought a kit from Sewtopia for her quilt. We both pieced the quilt tops on the last day of our trip and it was really fun to have someone making the same quilt that I was making - at the same time I was making it. It was like our own private sew-along! (Note: there's a real, large Snowflake sew along happening right now too.) To get these pictures were were racing sunset on Lake Erie, but we finished and got it in - just in the nick of time!
This is another quilt that I had long-arm quilted using the "Midnight Sparkle" panto pattern from Urban Elementz - and again, it is backed with minky. My 3 boys fight over the minky-backed quilts, so I'm working on making more of them for winter. I chose a dark navy minky to back this quilt, and there's more about that later.
I bound this quilt with the cut-off Lizzy House butterfly fabric that I used to back my latest Free-wheelin' Single Girl quilt (because darn! there is always so much leftover backing fabric when I'm trimming a quilt after quilting).
This quilt finishes at 60" x 72," and normally that's how I would end a quilt-finish blog post. But read on...
I always photograph a quilt and THEN wash it, because *reality* you never quite know what will happen to a quilt in the wash - especially one with high contrast fabrics like this one. I should note that I always pre-wash my quilting cotton fabrics before I use them; however, I've never tried pre-washing minky. When I put this in the wash, I added 4 Tide color-catchers as I normally would (new color-catcher shown for comparison).
There was definitely still pigment coming out of the quilt in the wash, but not too bad. Most of the white fabrics maintained their brightness. All except 1 white fabric.
I've had this happen before: where only 1 fabric in a quilt soaks up bleeding pigment. But I haven't been able to figure out what manufacturer's fabric is the culprit (by process of elimination I know it's not Robert Kaufman or Andover). Maybe in the new year I'll do a test - and then I'll never buy that manufacturer's fabric again!
So yes, my white snowflake is now more mottled than pure white - or as my kids tell me: "Mom now the snowflake sparkles!" I don't mind much since this quilt is for personal use.
In 2020 I plan to do an experiment washing several manufacturer's fabrics with a darker fabric. I also plan to experiment pre-washing minky with color-catchers and see if I can get it to the point where it stops bleeding.
If you've made it this far reading my blog - Thanks! If you're curious to see what all my friends and I accomplished on our sewing retreat this year, check out #quiltnsisters2019
Now on to the the next quilting adventure!
This past fall, someone in my local quilting guild suggested that we do a mystery quilt project. I thought that the idea sounded fun, so I volunteered to help organize it. Another lady and I did a quick search of #mysteryquilt on Instagram, and found Cheryl Brickey of Meadow Mist Design.
The pattern that we settled on was hers, and she called it the Magnolia Mystery quilt from 2017/18. I liked how the quilt had a lot of negative space (which would be new for all the traditional quilters in the group), but was still block based (which I thought they would appreciate it). Plus it went together quickly with only 6 clues or "steps" in the whole quilt top.
I wanted to have a finished quilt to show my group when I handed out the last clue at the end of this month, so I worked ahead, finished the quilt top on a sewing retreat, and just got it back from the long-arm quilter this past week.
I went with a new-to-me edge-to-edge quilting pantograph from Urban Elementz, called "Midnight Sparkle." I absolutely love it and (spoiler alert), I've already used it for 2 more holiday quilts this week. To me, it's the perfect wintery blend of swirl and sparkle.
I backed the quilt with a holiday penguin print from the original Cotton + Steel ladies. Those penguins and that sparkle part of the quilting make me smile.
I bound the quilt with two different gray polka dot and snowflake prints that I had in my stash.
I made the lap-size version of this quilt (there are also directions to make a queen-size quilt), and it finishes at 60" x 67". This quilt will live in our living room in January once we have put the Christmas decorations away.
Thanks for stopping by!
Did you see my last post on the red memory quilt that I made from my Father-in-law's shirts? If not, click here before you read on. The memory quilts that I've made using the slice & insert method take a lot of time, and after staring at the pile of my FiL's shirts for nearly a year, I wanted something that would go together a little quicker and more easily. I stuck with the large scale blocks, eliminated the strips, and went with large half-square triangles, and I love how they turned out.
For these quilts I cut 9" squares of fabric from the shirt pieces, paired them up and sewed half-square triangles (and then trimmed the blocks to 8 1/2" square). Quilts like this require you to lay blocks out "randomly" so that no two matching fabrics are next to each other (or close to each other). That honestly takes the longest time for me. So for this quilt when I made my HST blocks and cut them apart, I put the two pieces in two separate piles. That way each pile contained a set of the same blocks. Next, I laid out one quilt, took a picture of the layout, and sewed the top together...and when I laid out the second quilt I referred to that photo and laid the second quilt out exactly the same! Such a time saver.
I backed both of these quilts with a fun multi-tone blue dot fabric, and bound them with a diagonal two-tone blue stripe fabric. I quilted both of these quilts myself which means I quilted them with straight lines about 1" apart. Lots of the fabrics in this quilt were thin slippery synthetic or blended fabrics. After struggling with slipping and shifting when quilting the first quilt, I learned that these quilt tops needed to be starched before basting. The quilting went so much better with the starched tops.
This quilt finishes at 64" square.
The blocks finish at 8" square, and are laid out 8 blocks across, and 8 blocks down (64 blocks total). For more pictures of these quilts, check out #johnsshirtquilts
A little over a year ago my father-in-law passed away, and I offered to make a couple of memory quilts from his numerous button-down shirts. This was to be the second time I endeavored to make memory quilts from shirts from a family member. (See #quiltsfrombeau & this link to see my first two memory quilts ever made). The picture above shows the shirts after I had deconstructed them down in to workable (flat) pieces of fabric. There were actually several more shirts that I rejected for being too stiff and thick (read: canvas and thick thick flannels). I had a lot to work with!
My FiL was from Nebraska and therefore had a lot LOT of red/maroon shirts. I started with those and used the same method that I used for Beau's memory quilts: I cut 12" squares and strips of varying widths and then used the "slice & insert" method. My first step was to layout the background squares. Once I had them how I wanted, I added the strips, and then trimmed the block down to 10" square.
Fast forward months and months, and I recently motivated to straight-line quilt this guy.
This quilt has 36 blocks that finish at 10" square, making the quilt 60" x 60". I backed it with peachy tan pine tree print from Art Gallery Fabrics (very hard to photograph). Check out #johnsshirtquilts to see more pics made from my FiL's shirts.
The other week I got a new Juki sewing machine (see him here). The store where I bought him has a 7-day money back guarantee, so in the first week of owning him, I wanted to put him through all the paces: piecing, quilting, binding...all the fun things I want to make sure he does awesomely.
That meant that after finishing my latest freewheeling single girl quilt (see my post on that one here), I went straight back to basting this one.
But let's back up a minute.
I started my version of the Tangelo Quilt (pattern by Carolyn Friedlander) at Sewtopia New Orleans in 2017. You can see my original fabric pull here. I went with a couple of different Kona solids in blues and grays from my stash, and then used a bunch of Lizzy House's "Whisper Palette" low-volume gray and white fabrics for contrast (also from my stash).
For the first year or so, I only ever worked on this project at retreats - and it was a great retreat project. The quilt is all paper-pieced which means I could sit all day at my sewing machine with my seam roller and sew away without every having to get up and iron my blocks.
Now fast forward to January of this year when I pulled my strips out of my closet and put them on the design wall. (Note - the pattern actually has you make smaller sections of triangle blocks and then sew them together, but I just made strips the length of the quilt and then sewed the strips together).
I backed the quilt in a new colorway of a recently re-released print from Lizzy House (love the print, love the color), and quilted this with straight lines 5mm apart (because my new Japanese sewing machine is only metric), and my machine did really well. Binding was no problem at all either (but note to self: use 2.25" binding, not 2.5").
Now just more pictures!
If you scroll through you'll see a sneak peak of my next quilt project (or two).
If you follow me on Instagram, then you've seen lots of this quilt lately. You've also heard about my troubles quilting it on my sewing machine. However I have persevered and trouble-shot my issues and have both a new sewing machine and a finished quilt!
A little quilt back-story: I made my first Free-wheeling Single Girl quilt in 2016. (Click here to see it.) I started that quilt at Sewtopia Atlanta in 2016 when Denyse Schmidt was one of the teachers (it's her pattern). I really enjoyed making the pattern (you've gotta love large-scale blocks) and have been wanting to make another. I have also been wanting to sew with Robert Kaufman's Essex Linen AND...have been in love with mixing tones of one color. I seem to either do scrap quilts, or do mono-choromatic or two-color quilts.
So at Sewtopia 2019 (Salt Lake City 3) I started another blue single girl quilt and this time I used Natural Essex Linen (something I had been meaning to try) and several blue solid fabrics from my stash.
Fast forward 4 months and I have a finished quilt!
I made the "twin" size, quilted it with straight lines that are about 1 1/2" apart, and backed it with a favorite old Lizzy House butterfly print that I was able to find on Etsy (again you can see more about that on Instagram).
The past week I finished up another scrap quilt! This quilt was started by all of the half-square triangle (HST) trimmings from my Scrappy Goose Quilt. A little over a year ago I pieced together the original scrap HST blocks from that quilt, but when it was done it made a pretty small quilt. So I set it aside with the idea that sometime (in the near future) I would make more HST blocks and make the quilt bigger. Fast forward 14 months and the larger HST Chaos quilt is done!
Lora from Quilts by Grace quilted this for me using a modern wave pattern, with the lines spaced around 1 1/2" apart. I've used this quilt pattern on several quilts lately and really like the texture that it creates, and it's unobtrusiveness. I bound the quilt with two multi-color small scale prints, and backed it in "Mallard" blue minky.
This quilt contains 1,024 squares and finished at 64" square. You can see more pictures at #hstchaos. A few people have asked, so I've written up a short tutorial on how I made this quilt. You can find it here, and also on my tutorials page.
Two years ago I saw the quilt below by Christa Watson and loved it!
My Scrappy Goose Quilt was started in the summer of 2017 when I was still in a hard cast and on crutches after surgery on my ankle. I was unable to stand on my bad ankle, so I cut all the background rectangles sitting on the floor of my living room, and then hopped back and forth on my one good foot to lay the blocks out on my design wall.
I got the top pieced shortly after I started it, pieced a backing for it a few months later, and then it hung in a corner for about 18 months before I decided to take it to my local long-arm quilter: Quilts by Grace. For the backing, I pulled 10 half-yard cuts of "medium-volume" fabric from my stash and pieced them together. Over the year I've acquired several cuts of red & white prints that have too much going on in them to call them "low-volume," but they're too choppy to call them "blenders," and I just wasn't using them. So this backing was the perfect place to put them.
Wow is it ever a treat to have someone else quilt a quilt for me! I think that basting is my least favorite part of making a quilt - therefore a lot of quilt projects stall out once I get the top completed. Once I had the quilt quilted, it was only a week or so before I put this cute binding on.
This quilt finished at 72" square and, as I mentioned on Instagram, I am keeping this guy for myself. For more pictures of this quilt, please check out #scrappygoosequilt.