After viewing many of Katie’s wonderful quilts using this block, we each came up with a plan and began creating strip sets.
After the strips were pieced, we cut blocks from each set.
Back home, I created a few more blocks and decided on a layout for my quilt.
After deciding to hand quilt, I gathered my perle cotton threads and began the lovely, SLOW process of adding texture to the quilt.
I tend to hand quilt in spurts, here and there when I have time. It is the perfect portable project. This quilt has traveled on long road trips and made an appearance at several events. Every stitch helps move the project along.
When the quilting was eventually finished, I decided to use yarn dyed linen for the binding. I tried something new (for me) and did some visible stitching to attach the binding on the back. It was fun to change thread colors as I went around the quilt using 8 wt perle cotton.
All it needed was a name and a label and just like that (lol), a finished quilt almost two years in the making.
Love this view with the sun shining through the layers. I think it looks downright psychedelic!
Now that this one is finished, I am free to start playing with those leftover triangles…
Our quilting community is so generous and supportive. I came home from QuiltCon 2019 in Nashville inspired and energized (well, after I recovered)! Two long-standing projects had been inching towards a finish, and both were completed this week. Hooray! I’ll share one quilt in this post and the other in a separate post soon.
The first quilt’s humble beginnings began more than four years ago as a way to get my multicolored print scraps under control. Amanda Jean who blogged at Crazy Mom Quilts wrote a post about her Scrap Vortex quilt in 2013 that inspired me. She also hosted a quilt along in 2015, so if you are interested there are lots of photos and instructions available. Occasionally, I would piece a slab or two, but the piecing was never high on my UFO priority list.
In January, I won an edge to edge quilting during an Instagram giveaway from Lilo Whitener-Fey with Trace Creek Quilting. Her company specializes in t-shirt and memory quilts, as well as longarm services. We decided to have her quilt a top and we would donate it to a charity.
I looked around for a top to finish and my scrap vortex came to mind. Lots of little scraps were used and I love to remember how each piece has been used in past projects. Of course, the quilt somehow didn’t diminish the scraps in the tub, but that seems to be the way with scrap quilts. The good news is I can make another one (or two or six)!
Lilo provided the batting and quilted the top with a pattern called Geometric Path. Her turnaround time was very quick, she communicated efficiently and I appreciate her generous donation of time, batting and even return shipping. Check out Trace Creek Quilting for pricing and details and follow her on Instagram and Facebook to learn more about their quilts and services. All I had to do was trim it up and attach a binding and label.
Since this quilt is so cheerful and has lots of prints, we decided to donate our joint project to Quilts for Cure. Their mission is to provide “quilts full of hope, love and smiles to kids fighting cancer”. I met organizer, HollyAnne Knight at a previous QuiltCon and have participated in her annual “Operation Smiley” project which is happening now. Maybe you would like to contribute, too? There are lots of ways you can help this organization. Donate a quilt, donate quilting or donate money to help pay for materials and shipping. My hope is to donate at least one quilt each year to their cause.
The quilt has been washed in a fragrance and dye-free detergent per instructions and will be mailed tomorrow. I sincerely hope it brings a bit of cheer to a child facing the challenges of cancer.
It’s February which means it’s almost time for QuiltCon, the Modern Quilt Guild’s annual show and convention. I thought I’d share the backstory of, “At the Junction”, which will be on display in Nashville.
Back in May, I took a Free-Form Blocks workshop from Sujata Shah at Quilted Strait. We explored Sujata’s method of cutting several layers of fabric to construct a variety of unique blocks. I was looking for some faster improv techniques, as well as to spending time with Sujata and her gorgeous, colorful quilts. Her book, Cultural Fusion Quilts: a Melting Pot of Piecing Traditions, is a wonderful resource if you want to learn more.
The first day I used a wide variety of solids to make some of the sample blocks. The second day I decided to limit the palette, thinking I would make a baby quilt out of the blocks I had created in class. (Apologies for the poor indoor lighting, but this is how my design wall looked at the end of the second day.)
However, the block that captured my attention was this one, so when I came home, I separated these out and they became the starting point of a new quilt.
(Not to worry…all those other blocks found their way into pillow covers, placemats and table runners and they gave me lots of free motion quilting practice, too!)
I decided to go with the primary colors and kept making blocks (they were rather addictive and I needed some improv therapy time). Before I knew it, the design wall was full. This was the end of September and I began to think it might be possible to make the QuiltCon entry deadline of November 30.
At this junction (see what I did there?) I needed to make a decision whether to square these blocks up before assembling or to do my usual freehand cutting and puzzling the units together. It had grown larger than any of my other improv pieces and I knew it would be a challenge, but my cheerleaders over on IG encouraged me to not take the easy road!
I pieced it in sections, adding a “safe zone” around the edges so that I wouldn’t lose any of the blocks when I trimmed up the finished top.
Of course, that became harder as the sections got bigger. The final few seams required crawling on the floor, all my cutting mats and some painter’s tape to hold the pieces in place. (In the bottom left corner is a laser square that was a valuable addition to my tool chest!)
By the middle of November, I had the top pieced, basted and ready to quilt. This was the largest quilt I have machine quilted and I had doubts about tackling it on my domestic machine. Originally I planned to quilt it about half an inch apart, but before I knew it, I started quilting much closer than that!
It was a lot of wrestling and wrangling, and some long hours at the machine. It took almost seventy hours to quilt and I used ten different colors of Aurifil 50 wt. The thread colors graduate and overlap from lighter to darker shades.
The dense quilting made blocking essential and the laser square was a big help during this step, too. Soon the binding was attached and all I needed was a sunny day for photos! Well, that didn’t happen, but I did get my entry submitted.
That looming deadline sure helped this quilt get finished! It was challenging and I spent way more time on the floor than was good for this old body, but it helped my skills evolve. I love this quilt and it really felt good to finish a large quilt…it’s been awhile.
I’m looking forward to attending QuiltCon, meeting up with friends and being inspired by all the modern quilts on display. Maybe I’ll see you there?
Mini quilts are such a wonderful way to try something new! I have made several over the past few years, participating in guild challenges, swaps and magazine submissions.
When I discovered Curated Quilts, I was immediately drawn to one of their features . Each issue has a challenge to make a mini quilt with a specific palette that fits a certain theme. Their second issue’s theme was “Log Cabin” and this was the palette.
You can go here to see all of the wonderful minis that were submitted. I love the log cabin block, so that wasn’t too much of a stretch for me, but the colors were definitely a different combo. I decided to explore some of the improv ideas that began in workshops with Maria Shell @talesofastitcher last summer. Here is the mini that I submitted and I was very excited to have it included in the magazine. If you haven’t seen a copy of Curated Quilts, yet, check it out! It is definitely a quality, no advertisement publication.
The past two years I have participated in the MQG swap and I love the #makeaminimakeafriend concept. Check out the hashtag on Instagram to see many of the quilts that were created and swapped.
A fun feature of this opportunity is that you have the option of swapping in person at QuiltCon. Last year in Savannah, I received a wonderful mini from Sandra Kaye @sandieloves2quilt . That mini started her on a whole new “Happy Dance” adventure and she made a larger version which won a big prize at QuiltCon 2018 in Pasadena!
This year I made “Confetti” for my new friend, Jules @julesquilts, who said she liked pink! You can see the design is a continuation of the ideas I used in Summer Cabin.
It was so fun to meet her in person. She made a beautiful mini for me using her hand dyed fabrics and it is quilted with her elegant stitches.
How grateful I am for these two new quilting friends! I love all the little quilts that I have received from friends over the years. They decorate our home and are daily reminders of our friendships.
Today I am working on a mini for the Bainbridge Island MQG’s annual challenge. The theme this year is “Log Cabin” and it is a good opportunity to finish up an idea that has been languishing on the design wall since last summer. (And it’s another project where I can practice my free motion quilting skills.)
Thanks for reading. I hope you have a mini (or two) in your future. They are small, but they might lead to something big!
Our winters are mild, so snow days are a novelty. This week I took advantage of a sunny morning and a lovely, snowy backdrop to take a few quilt photos.
One of my goals for 2017 is to improve my photography skills. Of course, this means learning how to use editing software. I’m trying to check out some of those helpful tutorials in the process.
The photo pictured above was edited for Instagram using a mobile app.
This quilt was the last one I completed in 2016. It is my most complex quilt to date that uses improvisational piecing, and I hand dyed all of the fabrics. I don’t think I ever properly documented it, but a few photos appeared on Instagram during the months that it was in process.
On another note, QuiltCon is right around the corner! Our newspaper, the Sequim Gazette, was kind enough to write an article about the local quilters who will have quilts in Savannah. They even sent a photographer out to capture me in my own environment. Those of you who are curious and have bugged encouraged me to include photos of myself on this site, can check it out.
It is snowing again today, so I’m off to curl up with a cup of tea and some hand quilting. I’m on the home stretch quilting the mini for my partner in the MQG swap.
A confession…I love leftovers, both food and fabric! They give me an opportunity to be creative, I feel virtuous for not being wasteful and sometimes they even save me a little time.
Here are a few recent finishes that began as orphan blocks, trimmings or bits and pieces floating around the scrap bin and design wall.
Some leftover strips became a table runner.
A few orphan blocks became a pillow and a table mat.
And sometimes everything “clicks” and a few units that have been marinating for a long while are the impetus for something that keeps me exploring, and revising, and reworking until it makes me very happy!
So, the moral of the story is… save all those leftover bits because you never know when they will be just what you need to get your next project started!
(The table runner and place mats in the featured image began as some odds and ends from the recent Riley Blake challenge.)
Welcome to the second day of the 2016 Cloud9 New Block Blog Hop!
It is so exciting to be part of the block hop, sponsored by Cloud9, and hosted by Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl, Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs and Stephanie of Late Night Quilter! There are almost 70 bloggers designing blocks using the fat quarter bundle of lovely organic Cirrus Solids generously provided by Cloud9 fabrics. The hosts chose this palette for the hop, called “Berry Harvest”. I decided to use four of the colors, leaving “Lilac” out this time around.
My block, Woven Berry Basket, is an improvisational block based on the traditional basket weave design. It uses a free form cutting technique (a.k.a cutting without a ruler).
The goal of this tutorial is to introduce you to this technique. There are two main principles that I use in improv piecing:
if it is too short, add on
if it is too long, cut it off
Your block will not be exactly like mine, but I will describe a process that you can use to make one that is similar in design.
Tips for improv piecing:
A rotary cutter with a 60mm blade is my preference for free form cutting
Set the stitch length on your machine a little shorter than usual
Cut 4 strips 5 in x 18 in (approx) Here’s your first chance to cut without the ruler!
2. Free hand cross cut strips that vary from about 1 in – 2 .25 in width from each strip
3. Stitch 9 pairs of strips together, varying the colors and widths.
4. Press seams to the darker fabric
5. Add a third strip to each set, again varying the color placement and width of strips.
6. Lay out the 9 units in an alternating vertical, horizontal pattern.
*At this point, you will need to start making decisions based on how your units are sized. I will attempt to describe how I solved the puzzle.
For the first row, I decided to cut the bottom off the middle unit, and add a strip to the third unit.
I followed the same procedure for the second row:
But when the units were assembled, the second row was shorter than the first, and I was aiming to have each row approx 13 in wide so that I would be able to trim it down to 12.5 in. What to do? Add on!
To assemble the rows, I trimmed the top edge of the second row, then overlapped it onto the bottom of the first row (right sides facing up). Using that cut edge as my guide, I trimmed the bottom of the top row to match.
Follow the above procedures to assemble the third row and attach.
If your block is big enough, just trim to 12.5 in square and your block is complete. If it is too small, improvise! You might add some strips to form a frame, and then trim.
Here is my finished block:The thing I like best about improvisational work is that you are engaged making design decisions throughout the process. *Warning: this may be addictive! As I work, I find myself asking lots of “What if?” questions:
What if I cut the strips wider (or thinner)?
What if I used 5 colors?
What if I only used 2 colors?
What if it was scrappy?
What if the units were smaller and I made a 4 x 4 grid?
I hope you will give this a try, and that you will enjoy the process as much as I do. If you make a block, I’d love to see it! For those on Instagram, tag your photo @pennylanequilts and use the hashtag #wovenberrybasket.
Thanks for stopping by! I’d love to hear your thoughts and answer any questions you may have.
And don’t forget to enter the Giveaways! Visit each of our wonderful hosts for the chance to win 3 separate fat quarter bundles of beautiful Cloud9 Cirrus Solids.
Be sure to check out the rest of the stops on the hop. You’ll be glad you did!
Pillows are one of my favorite projects to make. Each one is its own little composition, and it’s a great way to create something decorative and functional for your home. I think they make great gifts, too.
If you want to try a new piecing technique, a bit of free motion quilting or even some hand quilting, a pillow is a much smaller commitment than a quilt. Last month I experimented with some worn out jeans and some thrifted shirts.
Orphan blocks can find a new home in a pillow. A bit of special, long hoarded fabric can be featured in a place of honor. Experiment with a new color scheme and see where it takes you.
A customer recently inquired about purchasing the small “Made in America” quilt that I created for American Made Brand’s “Tiny Quilt Challenge”. This little quilt has been touring and will be busy until sometime in 2017. You can view a virtual tour of this exhibit here.
So, I offered to make another, similar quilt for her. This time I took a few photos of the process to show you how I created “Made in America.2″
I began with a wonky star block, using 2.5” charm squares. Various blues and whites give a little variety to the colors.
Next, I began creating the stripes using several reds and whites for variety. Basically, I just cut a line with my rotary cutter. I laid this on another strip (right sides up) and used the first cutting line as my guide to cut the next piece.
I continued this process creating the short stripes section and the long stripes section. Then I just cut the three sections in a way that would allow them to fit together.
The last thing I did was to add a border of white around the flag, leaving extra room for trimming after quilting.
The white stripes were quilted with dense machine quilting, allowing the red stripes to stand out.
The white star was hand quilted using a variegated white perle cotton #12.
I used a single, straight fold binding to reduce the thickness since this quilt will be framed.
As I put the final stitches in this little flag, my thoughts turned to Memorial Day, a day of honor and remembrance.