July 2011

A Christmas Bouquet for Nancy

In the Bee Unique Bee Knotty bee, Nancy sent a pretty red and white snowflake print and asked us to use some of it, along with our own fabrics, to make a block for a Christmas quilt she has started. This is the block I made for her:

Every year around Thanksgiving, I plant amaryllis bulbs so they will be blooming by Christmas. I love the huge red flowers. Since the bulbs are only available around the holidays, they always remind me of Christmas. I made the block with red Christmas prints to represent a cheerful bouquet of my favorite holiday flowers for Nancy.

A Star for Debbie

In our Bee Unique Bee Knotty bee, Debbie sent some lovely dark grey Kona cotton and asked us to make her a star block. I love to make kaleidoscope blocks, so I made this kaleidoscope star for Debbie.

Sewing this block has really put me in the mood to make another kaleidoscope quilt. I just need more hours in my day. There are two blocks in this bee for July. Nancy has asked for a Christmas-themed block, so I am off to find a block pattern for her.

A Little More Farming….

Between the bees I am participating in and the Farmer’s Wife Quilt-Along project, my poor little Bernina got a real workout this weekend and had to be taken to the sewing machine shop for some serious bobbin tension issues. This is week eight in the FWQAL and I should have 16 blocks completed. I am still a little behind but hope to catch up this week.

Here are some more Farmer’s Wife blocks. I am making them in the order they appear in the book.

This is “Silver Lane,” and this is block #79. I love this little block and think it would make a darling baby quilt.

This is “Hovering Birds,” and it is Block #51.

This is “Mother’s Dream,” and it is Block #58.

This is “Seasons,” and it is Block #77.

This is “End of Day,” and it is Block #30. Initially, I didn’t think I was going to like this block but it turned out very cheery and colorful.

This is “Jackknife,” and it is Block #53.

This is the group so far. I have removed “Hill and Valley,” and will resew it because it was too muddy looking.

I have learned that medium to small prints work best in these blocks, and that some of them need to have a solid or a fabric that reads as a solid so your eye has a place to rest. Too many little prints are hard to look at, so I am now making an effort to use a solid in at least every other block. 98 blocks to go……

Pattern Playground!

Today I discovered a fun, free, design tool on-line called Pattern Playground. The URL for the site is http://www.freequiltpatterns.info

The site claims to offer one million different quilt designs. You can choose either a single block quilt, or a two block quilt and you are offered three different fabric choices from Moda, P&B Textiles or Windham. Unfortunately, there is not a wide variety of fabrics offered, and the choices from Moda are particularly disappointing, but there are enough basic colors available that you are able to get a good idea of what the finished quilt will look like before you pick up your rotary cutter.

You are able to rotate particular sections of the blocks to change the design. You can choose the size of the finished quilt by adding or deleting number of rows and columns. Then just start clicking. Each click brings up a new layout possibility. If you like it, you can click on “Get the Free Pattern,” and you are taken to a page that lists the amount of fabric you will need, rotary cutting instructions, piecing instructions and layout instructions.

I was unable to upload any images to show you, but please do check out this site. You can create dozen of quilts and never have to turn on your machine!

My Block for Debbie

In the Journal Round Robin Bee that I have been participating in, Debbie (OrangeQueen1) asked for a block representing our favorite season.  This is the block I made for her:

I love late spring, early summer when my roses are blooming in a riot of color, the days start lengthening, and the weather begins to warm. This block represents that warmth and color. This was not an easy block to sew because of all the set-in seams, and after all the little 6 inch blocks I have been sewing lately, this 12 inch block felt absolutely gigantic!

8 Done – 103 to Go…..

I have completed three more Farmer’s Wife Blocks. This block is called “Country Path” and is block #24. I love this little block.

This one is “Hill and Valley,” and is Block #46. What I learned with this block is these floating triangles really need to be in a dark print so they pop in the block. Because both of these fabrics are in the medium range, the triangles don’t show up the way they should. I do love the color combo though.
I have decided to make all the blocks in the book, even the homely ones. This next block is an example why. This is the diagram and photo of a block in the book:
When I first saw this block I thought, “Wow, I don’t get this one.” I know it will make a secondary star design when set together in multiples, but it makes no sense standing on its own in a sampler like this. So I simply rearranged the colors.  This is “Century of Progress” and it is Block #18. Same templates, in the same positions, just different colors.
So, even the homely ones can benefit from a little quilty makeover!

A Trip to the Conservatory

I have the absolute pleasure of working as a docent at the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. I thought I’d take a break from writing about quilting today and post some photos I took last Saturday before the Conservatory opened to guests. I hope you enjoy them.


July Journey

This is my July block for Electric Quilt’s Block of the Month challenge. It is called “July Journey.” My focus fabric, “Newspaper” by Alice Kennedy, has a little car in it and I have been wondering how I would use it in this quilt. Problem solved. The block is perfect for it.

Here is the group so far:
Yes, I know this looks really wild. The colors are a lot softer than they appear in these photos. My camera seems to hate the bright reds and black dots. I am using the same fabrics in all the blocks, but they look different from block to block in these photos which is disappointing. They are much nicer in person. You can see the block patterns for these blocks on the blog at Electric Quilt’s website. 

More Farmer’s Wife….

This weekend I spent more time experimenting with some of the blocks from The Farmer’s Wife, while I await the arrival of the book. My Bernina experienced some severe bobbin trouble, so I sewed these on my little 1920’s Singer Featherweight. Since the blocks and the machine are from the same era, it seemed fitting.

This is “Kitchen Woodbox.” It is block #54. Each letter in the book is accompanied by two blocks that the author felt best reflected the sentiment of the letter. This block and “Cut Glass Dish” (from my last post), accompany the first letter in the book.

This is “Flock” and it is block #34. The half square triangles should all be going in the same direction, but I liked them facing each other, so sewed it that way. But now it doesn’t look like a flock, so I might have to do this one again.

This is Attic Windows and it is block #1.
This is “Autumn Tints” and it is block #2.  
I learned two things while making these little blocks.  One: large scale prints just don’t work because the pieces are so small. Two: I have a lot of large scale prints in my stash and not too many tiny prints. I am determined to use the fabric I have to make this project, so we will see where this takes us.