18 Jul

30 Lines Quilt

A while back I participated in the 30 Lines in 30 Days exercise hosted by Melly Testa. When we reached 30 days, I decided that I needed to do something with one of the small compositions to give the project some context. I’m primarily a quilter, so it made sense to translate one of the squares into a quilt.

Upon request, I’ve added more details as to the process.

Lines 14 -- string!
The line painting

30 Lines in 30 Days WIP 1
The fabric version

(I cut one inch strips of black fabric with the grain. I considered bias strips, but decided that the curves weren’t too curvy and I didn’t want that much play. I pinned the strips to my background fabric following the layout of my 30 Lines drawing.)

30 Lines in 30 Days WIP 2
A little further along

(I used a water soluble fabric marker to trace the the center of the black lines onto the other fabrics. I cut away the excess fabric on the lines. Removing fabric required unpinning and re-pinning lines. I’m OK with that, but those who like maximum accuracy would be better off drawing a full sized cartoon on paper and using the paper as a pattern for the shapes — to include seam allowances and marks to match as on dress-making patterns.)

30 Lines in 30 Days WIP 3
More bits

(I randomly sewed together bits of the fabrics in the fashion of improvisational piecing. I sewed some onto my larger solid areas to add interest and a bit of a transition. Other sections are completely little pieced bits. I used the lines and/or the edges of the other pieces as guides for trimming the pieced sections. If the black lines were removed, all the sections would fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.)

30 Lines in 30 Days WIP 4
Just about there

(Knowing that vertical lines would look best unbroken, I pieced the horizontal sections first. There’s a section where I decided I would stop a line early and where one vertical line connects with another — that required a partial seam and then the addition of a few more parts and then finishing off the partial bit. Again, it’s a puzzle.)

30 Lines in 30 Days Finished Top
All sewn together.

(Do other improvisational piecers who use gentle curves clip those curves? I clipped mine before pressing, and though 1/4″ seam allowance doesn’t leave much to clip, I do think it was worth the effort, especially with my non-bias strips.)

30 Lines in 30 Days WIP detail
A detail.

It needs a bit of unpicking and re-sewing to make it all flat and smooth, and then I need to decide what kind of quilting it wants — different motifs in each section, or sectioned straight line quilting a la Lisa Call’s work, or perhaps something I haven’t yet thought of…

10 Jul

Star Baby

I enjoy making baby quilts. They can be anything I want, and they’re not too big — so they go relatively quickly. I enjoy using fun, cheery fabrics I don’t usually use in my artwork, or in decor for our house.

Star Baby

When I found out that a high school friend’s daughter was having a baby, I knew I wanted to make a quilt. Something “fresh and modern.” Here was my excuse to go buy hip fabric! Then I remembered the mushroom fabric I had bought because it was too cute to pass up, and the polka dots I envisioned for an ongoing paper piecing project but that didn’t work as well as I had hoped. Perfect!

Star Baby

I decided that liberated stars would work well with my two fabrics, show off the mushroom print well, sew together easily, and look appropriately happy and youthful. I used the last of the wool batting (that I have a love/hate relationship with) and paid special attention to smoothing, but not pulling, using lots of pins, and keeping my fingers crossed. I removed a lot of quilting, but still ended up with some tucks on the back. Puff and I are just not meant to be. But…. who doesn’t love a light, squishy, baby quilt?! I quilted it in a simple grid to begin with, but then decided it needed some sparkle with silver holographic thread on some diagonals. Then the stars needed outlining. Then more outlining! Now I had too much white grid, so I picked some out.

Star Baby

In Goldilock’s words, it’s just right. Definitely worth the extra time and effort. I think I make nice mitered corners too.

Star Baby

30 Mar

Another Quilt Along!

First off, thank you all so much for the lovely comments on my book giveaway post! I love reading each and every one. And, there’s still time to comment on that post, if you haven’t done so already, and get a chance to win “my” book and a lovely bundle of Hawaiian fabrics.

On to other fun stuff. I’ve been having my own little quilt along here with the Aloha Pineapple quilt, but I also found another quilt along I couldn’t resist. Cherry House Quilts was making a simple, striking, small, quilt that just plain appealed to me. The small size meant that if I could find appropriate fabrics in my stash, I could join the quilt along without disrupting all my other projects (too much).

Cherry House Quilt Along

All the little squares are from my scrap bins — I just kept grabbing pieces until I had enough, not paying tooooooo much attention which, or how many, colors I had. Only one square from each fabric though, so it’s kinda like a charm quilt. Then I laid all the squares out and rearranged them until I liked the columns. There’s some stuff in there you wouldn’t intentionally put together.

Cherry House Quilt Along

Cherrie’s example had straight line quilting, which looks great, but I knew I could do that. So, I decided i’d try something still geometric, but with a little contrast. I drew the center circles (sort of evenly distributed all over the quilt) with a water soluble marking pen and then carefully followed the line with the walking foot. For each successive circle, I lined up the edge of the foot with the previous line. As the circles got bigger, and the curve less extreme, the quilting went easier. Of course, pulling the quilt, even gently, around those curves resulted in some distortion. I basted with safety pins, so maybe this would be the kind of situation where spray-baste would be more appropriate. I switched thread colors every 3 to 5 rounds. I also worked on all the circles at once, adding rings all over until I liked the sizes and overlaps. I did not plan at the outset how large each one would be. So, there’s some puffs and a few unsightly tucks, but it’s all part of the learning process.

Cherry House Quilt Along

Overall, I like this quilt very much. When I was mostly done with it, Cherrie put out a call to quilters for baby quilts for the Early Head Start program in Boston where one of her daughters is a nurse in training. I was happy to send this perfectly baby-sized quilt in response. I hope that it gets spit-up on a and dragged around and loved and no one will care that the quilting is not perfect because it’s just a nice warm place to be swaddled in. I didn’t put a label or name on it because I just wanted it to go out into the world and be. But here, I think I’ll call it “Charming Puddle.”

21 Nov

Inspiration Sunday

I almost forgot!! To continue from last Sunday’s inspiration:

From photo…

to sketch…

to quilt…

It’s even got a rainbow, just like the real place (click to see this, and all the photos, bigger):

I like the little sawtoothy triangles too:

I’ve titled the quilt “Kunia Road” because every time I drive this road this is what I see. It’s working title was “the red dirt quilt” because that’s what I wanted to capture most. I even went on a special quest for red dirt fabric. In my stash I had found a small piece of shot red/orange cotton which was looking pretty great, but it wasn’t nearly enough. So, I sent a bit of it to Kathy at Pink Chalk Fabrics and she found a similar cross weave in her shop. Three cheers to Kathy for indulging her customers!

customer fabric matching

And yes, if this quilt looks familiar, it’s because I’ve shown it in progress here, here, here, and here.

02 Oct

A Little More Progress

Today I made great progress on a fairy costume for my daughter. Skirt and wings are done; bodice and gauntlets need to be fitted, but she’s off at a party with a friend, so it will have to wait. Chain mail for my son is blocking.

Yellow Strings

But instead of costume progress, I’ll share last week’s quilt progress. The green and the blue scraps have been joined by yellow scraps. And all the scraps are joined with sprout green and Hawaiian red dirt solids.


I had started sewing the scraps together just to use them up, knowing that sooner or later I’d think of some place to use them. When the idea came to me, it required a more judicious use of scraps, so while I used up a lot of greens, I was left at least half the blue scraps, and I hardly made a dent in the yellow/brown bin.

I’m very pleased with how this quilt is turning out, even if it’s not the scrap-stash buster I has original thought it would be.

06 Sep

Is it That Time of Year Already?

We’re less than a week away from my son’s birthday (12 — yikes!) which is my signal that not only do I need to think about a few gifts and a party for him, but I need to think about the birthdays and holidays that will now follow in quick succession.

Sewing Calendar

And just to drive home the point that it’s time to think about those handmade gifts, this calendar showed up in the mail. It’s the 2011 Sewing Calendar and it’s chock full of sewing projects from all over blogland. There are wonderful, and very accessible projects in here — and I’m not just saying that because November 10 — 13 are dedicated to my Mod Log Table Runners!

Fliegenpilz Table Runner

What you might also notice is that the calendar shows a table runner I have not yet shared here. I was thinking Christmas red and green reinterpreted, so now seems as good a time as any to share it and maybe spark someone else to create a light, mushroomy, holiday.

Fliegenpilz Table Runner

Of course, if one is more inspired by say, the Three Kings, then there’s another version conjured up to use those bits and pieces of cloth painted, foiled, rubbed, etc. in the excitement of the newest issue of one’s favorite art quilt magazine(s).

Gold Frankincense and Myrrh Table Runner

I call this one “Gold Frankincense and Myrrh.”

Gold Frankincense and Myrrh Table Runner

I have two copies of the Sewing Calendar, and while I’m keeping one for myself, I’d love to share the other with someone ready for some pre-holiday project planning (who am I kidding, we’re not ready to actually start the projects yet, are we?). So, leave a comment and maybe even tell me if you’re planning on making some handmade gifts this year or if you’ve got a plan or list already and I’ll randomly choose a winner to receive the 2011 Sewing Calendar. Make your comment by midnight Hawaii time September 10th (Friday) and I’ll announce the winner as soon as I recover from the birthday party on the 12th.


10 Mar

The Girl Quilt

…is done!

I made this as a gift for a pair of tween sisters who’s mom just redid their shared bedroom in turquoise and white with a healthy girl dose of pink and chocolate brown. Well, maybe not JUST did their room — it has taken me over six months to finish this quilt and the room was nearly done when I started. Not being a priority quilt, it kept getting pushed aside, even though I thoroughly loved working on it when I did get a chance. I ran out of thread a few times too, and that slowed me down as well.

I also like the back — though white would get too dirty too fast in my house. But I figure if it’s OK on a back because no one needs to see the back. I tried to stick to fabrics in my stash (like the duvet covers that make up the white backing), but it was way too much fun finding pink fabrics with brown kitties, and the brown and white circles, and the pink and brown…. I confess I bought a few new fabrics for this just because I couldn’t resist. I used them all up though.

The Girl Quilt was inspired by this quilt by Lucy T. Pettway of Gee’s Bend (center). There’s quite a bit of Denyse Schmidt (far right card) influence as well in the center medallion and the back. I keep a pin board and sketchbook of things that catch my eye, and lots of scribbled notes. I never know exactly when or how they will show up in my work, but they are very important. I occasionally look back on older sketchbooks and still find informative things waiting in them.

Now I need to find the time to deliver the quilt. The girls live on Kauai and their mom is a long time family friend so I’m pretty sure we need to take this in person — because who wouldn’t want to spend a long weekend on a Hawaiian isle with friends?

24 Jul

Happy Birthday Dad

The zig zag quilt started out on a whim, but as I worked on it, the taupe and scraps told me that it would be a nice gift for my dad. The timing couldn’t have been better — I finished it in time to get it to him for his birthday.

In my mind, the quilting was to be a lush forest of free form critters and odd forms.

What came out of my hands was a sampler of sorts of the overall patterns I am comfortable with. The scale compliments the echo quilting on the zigzags themselves and it all looks good, so I’m not complaining.

I used various colored threads in the zigzag section. From afar you wouldn’t notice, but up close it’s a nice detail. The free form in the solid areas is taupe to match the fabric.

The repurposed duvet cover I used for the backing had a hole in it. I “darned” a patch over it and it’s one of my favorite parts of the quilt — besides the zigzags, of course!