When I first began quilting, many of my projects were baby gifts for family and friends. They remain one of my favorite items to make. I think the attraction lies in the fact that they are small and will get lots of use, so there is no pressure to be too fancy or difficult. For me, fun color combinations, simple piecing and quilting make them relaxing and satisfying projects. Here are two that I recently finished.
The first one is for my niece’s son. Dad is in the Navy, so I decided to go with a red, white and blue theme. I used my favorite design, a simple charm square quilt with a wonky star.
The charm squares came from a variety of different fabric lines and I supplemented with a few fabrics from stash.
Since this quilt had quite a few white fabrics in it, I used a Hobbs bleached, 100 per cent cotton batting.
It is quilted with straight lines half an inch from the seam lines using 40 wt Aurifil cotton thread. The star block was the perfect spot to add a bit of hand quilting with some 8 wt Wonderfil perle cotton.
For the label, I just folded a charm square in half diagonally and stitched it in with the binding. It is such a simple way to create a nice, durable label that will stand up to lots of washing.
Before gifting, I like to wash the quilt in a fragrance-free detergent so it is ready to use. This also allows me to make sure that there are no problems such as color bleeding and it removes the sizing since the charm squares are not prewashed before piecing.
The second quilt combines freeform plus blocks and charm squares. The plus blocks were made using the same method that I used in my “At the Junction” quilt, but this time I squared the blocks up to five inches to match the charm blocks.
It is quilted with a wavy grid using an aqua 40 wt Aurifil cotton thread and has Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 blend inside which gives a nice soft loft and drape.
I used visible stitches with perle cotton to do the hand side of the binding. Next time I am definitely going to attach the binding by machine to the back of the quilt so the hand stitches will show on the front. (Unless I forget, of course!)
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.
You know how it is when you neglect something for so long that it is embarrassing to get started again? Since my last post featured snow, this one will be a quick recap on some spring activities and hopefully get me motivated to continue blogging on a more regular schedule!
The end of February brought a trip to Savannah and a wonderful time connecting with friends at QuiltCon East.
If you missed out on the fabulous quilts on display, Kristin Shields has provided a series of posts highlighting many of the amazing quilts. Check out her excellent recaps by category and enjoy her beautiful quilts, as well.
Besides viewing quilts, I was inspired by the many lectures I attended. It was a privilege to hear long time friend, Anna Boenish @quiltingqueerly share her creative journey and personal insights into leading an intentional life.
It was my first trip to Savannah and I enjoyed the architecture and riverside attractions in this historic city.
In April, quilting friend, Stan Green, had a solo exhibit at the Sequim Museum and Arts Center. It was a wonderful opportunity to see a retrospective of his beautiful work.
Spring colors get my creativity flowing and I enjoy watching the plants awake from winter.
If you follow @pennylanequilts over on Instagram, you can find photos of my quilting projects during the spring. Now that I have “broken the ice”over here in blog land, I’ll share details on some of those projects soon. Thanks for being patient with me. It is so hard to sit down at the computer when there are stitches to be sewn!
My goals for 2017 include learning how to free motion quilt, specifically on our Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen machine.
A few years ago, a friend and I decided to purchase a used sit down midarm. Neither of us had much experience with free motion quilting, but we figured we would just jump in and learn on the new machine. For a few months we practiced, watched videos and quilted a few projects and quilts.
However, life “happened”, and our priorities shifted. My friend moved away for a year and I focused my energies on my walking foot, straight line quilting. The poor machine sat neglected and unused for about a year and a half. After awhile, I felt a bit intimidated about getting started again. Would I remember how to use the machine? Could I effectively adjust the tension? Was I willing and interested enough to begin practicing again?
Then we came across a notice from Road to California announcing that David Taylor would be teaching a couple of classes using HQ Sweet Sixteens. One class focused on finding your own tempo and rhythm for free motion quilting, and the other emphasized using a variety of threads , adjusting tension and choosing needle sizes. Just what we were looking for to ease us back into the process.
David’s classes were entertaining and informative. A series of exercises helped us practice techniques, and the Handi Quilter reps were there to assist with the machines. That quick trip to Ontario gave us helpful hints, experience and confidence to come home and get started again.
My goal is to spend at least a few minutes each day practicing and to start building muscle memory. It is one of the daily quilting tasks that I keep track of in The 2017 Quilter’s Planner to hold myself accountable. As an added bonus, each week the planner features a fmq motif to practice and Stephanie Palmer @latenightquilter is creating short videos to introduce the designs. I was super excited to see that she demonstrates using a HQ Sweet Sixteen!
Each day brings a new opportunity for practice, my confidence is growing and I am actually starting to have some fun in the process!
Stay tuned for progress reports. Now it’s time to go practice!
My name is Marla Varner, and I’d like to introduce you to:
penny lane quilts “modern with a hint of vintage”
Last summer, I decided to start a small business to sell hand made, quilted items and Penny Lane Quilts was born. (I live on Penny Lane, hence the name.) At this point, I sell at a few arts and crafts fairs, some local shops and I do some custom work, as well.
My tagline, “modern with a hint of vintage” refers to creating modern quilts and products on vintage machines. I’ve been quilting for over twenty years, so I guess I’m a little vintage, too!
I live in beautiful Sequim, Washington. The Olympic mountains greet me each morning and the nearby waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca are all that separate us from Victoria, B.C.
My quilting adventures began over 20 years ago when a friend suggested taking a class at our local quilt store. That shop has long disappeared, but my love of quilting has only grown. Over the years I learned a variety of skills as I created traditional quilts. During this time, I also collected vintage Singer sewing machines including a few treadle and several hand crank machines.
But a few years ago, I began creating improvisational quilts and dyeing my own fabrics and my quilting took on a more contemporary look. I joined the Modern Quilt Guild in 2013 to connect with other quilters interested in taking a modern approach to their quilting.
At QuiltCon2015, I was so excited to be attending my first big quilt show and convention. I was doubly thrilled to have two of my quilts juried into that show and to see them displayed in the company of so many wonderful quilts. I was shocked, thrilled and a little overwhelmed to discover that my quilt, Coral Reef, had won an award.
I missed last year’s show, but I’m registered and excited to be attending QuiltCon East in Savannah next February!
Baby quilts are always fun to make and I try to keep a few on hand to sell or donate. The size is just right for machine quilting and I enjoy simple patchwork piecing. Here is one of my favorites.
There are lots more photos of my projects in the galleries, including household items and personal accessories. Go to the menu and check them out!
If you are interested in following along here, I’ll share my process, my current projects and maybe even some helpful tips.
Speaking of helpful tips, here are a couple in honor of the blog hop:
Blogging tip: For technical advice, do an internet search. It works ALMOST every time! When that fails, ask family and friends. The advice and feedback that I received from my hive mates and mentors was invaluable! I am so grateful to you all.
Quilting tip: There are MANY ways to achieve your desired result. Do some research and then discover what works best for you. Maybe you will come up with an original way that works best of all!
A few fun facts:
I can play the accordion, although I don’t very often.
Flamingos seem to collect at my house.
Sometimes I live in a horse trailer.
A question for you: I love hand work…quilting, applique, English paper piecing, etc. Do you love to slow stitch, too? If so, what’s your favorite type of hand stitching? If not, I’d love to hear your favorite technique.
PRIZES!!! The blog hop is supported by our wonderful sponsors, with lots of giveaways each week.
Visit our wonderful mentor and host, Yvonne, to enter!