In Praise of Silk

Don’t miss the Silk Exhibit at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell. My Cube Life Quilt is on display with some really extraordinary quilts by award winning quilters.

 

 

I am honored to have been given the opportunity to exhibit my Cube Life Quilt along with these fantastic quilts.

This is the second time I have made this quilt.  Here is the first one made with cotton quilting fabrics.

Pam Weeks saw my cotton version and loved it.  She said if I made the quilt in silk then she could include it in the exhibit.  This was last year some time.  I went about collecting silk for the quilt and finished it in time for the show.

This quilt went together more easily than you might think.  It is pieced in rows, or in this case columns, of paper pieced triangles and diamonds. The colored cubes are shimmering silk; the gray cubes are a more subdued linen. The background fabric is silk noil.

I became intrigued with three dimensional blocks after seeing quilts featured in Jeffrey Gutcheon’s Diamond Patchwork book. The tumbling blocks become more of a cubic space when you add sashing to each diamond and when you consider the color value and placement of the fabrics that you use.

We all spend a lot of time in cubic spaces. Many of us have spent our careers working in an office cube. Why not add a splash of color to your cube? And, silk makes it so much more luxurious!

In Praise of Silk, May 1 through August 4.

Playing with Convergence Quilts

Ricky Tims published his Convergence Quilts book in 2003.  I was brainstorming with Jolene at Quilters Common trying to come up with a good idea for a workshop.  She mentioned that she had seen some Harmonic Convergence quilts on the internet, perhaps Pinterest?   So of course I did some researching as soon as I got home and discovered his book.  I checked a copy of the book out from the incredible New England Quilt Museum research and lending library.  (I volunteer there on Thursdays).  The book has a lot of interesting projects to try, but the trick is finding the right fabric combinations.  I found his original Harmonic Convergence project the easiest to work with.  In fact I found it so easy that I could hardly stop picking out fabrics and making them.  It is fun and easy to put these stunning little quilts together.  Here are the ones I have put together (so far!)

Here is a pictorial overview of the process:

Start with four 16″ squares.  Sew them together is pairs, layer the four squares and then cut strips increasing in size by half an inch from 1″ to 3 1/2″.  For the quilt in the photos there was enough fabric left over, so I cut an extra 1″ strip and used it as a border.

Open up the strips and then rearrange them as shown here (click to zoom in on any of these photos).

Looking at the photos of my finished quilt tops above, I am going to point out that on my turquoise and red quilt the strips are not arranged correctly!  Can you see what I did wrong?  Does it matter???

Once the strips are arranged CORRECTLY, sew them all together.  When I was pressing the seams, I spun the seams so that half of the seam was pressed to one side and the other to the opposite side.  Trust me, do this and it will be much easier to sew the second go round of strips together, because everything will nest together nicely and increase your accuracy.  If you want these to end up pressed to the dark side then remember to press to the light side when you are first sewing your squares together in pairs …. I did not do this in the example … live and learn!

Once the strips are pressed, rotate the fabric panel, and cut strips again increasing in size from 1″ to 3 1/2″, plus the extra 1″ strip if you are including the border,

 

Rearrange them and sew them together again to complete your Harmonic Convergence square.

I finished one of mine on point, two of the others with borders, and the bright solid colored one is finished with some modern asymmetrical negative space.

I am I the process of quilting these, and finding they are a great way to practice my free motion quilting.

I designed my modern convergence in Electric Quilt 8 and printed an outline of the quilt to draw out my quilt plan.

 

 

 

 

Squares within Squares

I recently joined the Hope Circle of Do Good Stitches which is a group of 10 people working together to make quilts to be given for charity and comfort.  I joined just in time to be asked to design a quilt for the month of October.  I came up with the idea to have everyone make Squares within Squares blocks.  These blocks all have a center square which is perfect for fussy cutting novelty and floral fabrics.  Here are instructions for making the block.

These blocks are 8″ finished squares.  I used white background fabric(s), a different dark colored fabric for each block and a different coordinating novelty and/or
floral fabric for the center of each block.

For each block cut an exactly 4 1/2” by at least 5” piece of
white fabric and one from one of the colored fabrics. Sew
together on the long edge. Press towards the colored fabric.
Cut 2 pieces from this that are 8 1/2” x 2 1/2”.

Then cut an exactly 2 1/2” by at least 5” piece of the same
white fabric and one from the same colored fabric as above.
Sew together on the long edge. Press towards the colored
fabric. Cut 2 pieces from this that are 4 1/2” x 2 1/2”
Fussy cut 1 square that is 4 1/2” x 4 1/2” from your novelty/floral
fabric.

Sew together as indicated in the photos. Don’t worry about the direction
of your fussy cut square if directional!  Press seams towards the
center block.

Here are six of the finished blocks:

I had a few of design ideas in mind.  These two are 7 x 7 blocks:

This design would require 8 x 8 blocks:

This is what I went with. The sashing is 1 1/2″ and the borders are 4″.  The quilt finishes to 73″ x 73″.  I will update this post to include a photo of the finished quilt.

AND … here is the update.  This quilt was donated to the MassGeneral Hospital for Children.

  

Dear Jane I finally finished my quilt

I just wanted to share my finished Dear Jane quilt with the world.  It took me four years to make 115 Dear Jane blocks.  The group I was meeting with every month was talking about doing a show with our finished quilts.  I really wanted to have a quilt ready for that but there was just no way that I was going to get another 110 blocks done in time!!  Then I saw one of Tula Pink’s layout for her City Sampler quilt and I was completely inspired.

Once I got the top put together I was happy, but, quickly became nervous with the though of quilting it.  I had some ideas, but was not quite confident enough to dive in.  I made a small Jane with my left over blocks and quilted it.  I was pretty happy with the results, but waited until I had  done some free motion quilting on a few other quilts before I was brave enough to quilt my Jane.

Finally, almost one year later, I put the top on my longarm machine and just did it!  I actually enjoyed the whole process.  I was listening to some music while I quilted which put me in a great mood.  Vertical Horizon and Mood Taxi were a couple of the artists that came up on a playlist that my husband had put together for me.

So here is the almost final result taken before I put the binding on.

Christmas Kaleidoscope Quilt Stack and Wack Method

This is a tutorial for Jason Yenter’s Winter Twist One-Fabric Kaleidoscope Quilt Pattern.  The pattern is available from and uses fabric from In the Beginning.

Cutting Kaleidoscope Fabric:

Cut 6 Repeats of the Fabric.  Each repeat is about 24″ long.

Cut each repeat of the fabric into 4 border strip pieces.  Cut 2″ from the edge of each brown cable.  You will have 24 border pieces that are approximately 24″ x 9 1/2″.

Group these into 3 sets, each with 8 layers of fabric.  Line up the layers in each set by putting a straight pin straight through the same place in the fabric design on each layer.  Run a second pin through all layers next to the first pin to hold the layers in place.  Repeat this process 3 or four more times along the length of the strip.

Trim the strip sets to 8 1/2″ wide.  This is easiest to do with an 8 1/2″ wide ruler.  From each strip set cut at least 3 sets of triangles using a 45 degree triangle ruler with a 8 1/2″ cutting line on the ruler.  Make sure the ruler has flat top at the triangle point.

Make sure to cut 4 sets that have the cable at the base of the triangles and 5 that have the cable at the point.  Cut selectively to get different areas of and colors from the fabric design.  You should be able to get at least 4 sets of triangles from each set so you will have enough fabric for at least 12 blocks.  This will let you pick and choose which ones you want to use and allows for errors in cutting, as well.

Piecing:

Take 4 of the sets of the triangles with the cable at the point of the triangle and separate them into sets of 5 for the side blocks and sets of 3 for the corners.

Refer to the pattern diagrams for piecing the blocks.

For each of the 5 center blocks sew four pairs of triangle pieces together.  Then sew two sets together, and then the two halves together.  I prefer to press all my seams open for these blocks.

You will have four blocks with the cable on the bottom, and one with the cable at the point. This one is the center block.

For the Side Blocks sew two pairs together.  Then sew the two halves together.  To finish sew a fifth triangle to one side of the block.  I press seams open except for the last triangle.  That seam is pressed towards that 5th triangle.

For each of the corner blocks sew a pair of triangles together and then sew the third triangle to one side of the block.  Press the seams open.

Cutting and Piecing the Block Corners:

To make it easier to piece the corners I cut oversized pieces and then trim the block afterwards.

Cut three 6″ strips.  Then cut 20 6″ squares from these strips.  Cut each square in half on the diagonal.  You will have 40 triangles for the block corners.

Refer to the pattern diagrams for piecing these corner triangle pieces.

After sewing these corner triangles you will need to trim the blocks.  Leave a 1/4″ seam when trimming.  A 16 1/2″ square ruler makes this much easier to do.

You can trim the side and corner blocks before you sew them into the quilt top.  Be careful!  Make sure to leave a 1/4″ seam.  I used a 24″ long ruler to make this cut.  For the side pieces: Place the block with outside triangles to your right. Line the bottom edge of the  block up on the 45 degree line on your cutting board or on your ruler and cut 1/4″ past the center and through the triangles on the ouside.  Pictures work best ….

Corner Blocks:  line the longest straight edge up on the 45 degree line on your cutting mat.  Line your 16 1/2″ Square ruler up so that it is 1/4″ away from the center of the outside triangles and cut.

Once all the blocks are prepared arrange them and sew them in diagonal rows as explained in the pattern.

When matching the seams as you sew the blocks together you can fold back the seam to see if you are lining things up correctly.  Pin in place when you have the seams matched up.

If you cut the corner blocks before piecing the rows please be careful to piece the ends so that you leave a seam allowance for the border.

Borders:  cut the remaining yardage into four 8 1/2″ wide border pieces that are each the length of the remaining fabric.  Start by cutting 1/4″ away from the cable design for each of the four pieces.  Then trim each to 8 1/2″ wide.  The best way to manage the fabric is to roll it up and unroll as you cut along the length of the fabric.  Be careful!

Follow the pattern instructions for sewing on the borders.

I pressed the border seams away from the border, but you will have to press the corners towards the border when cutting the mitered corners, then press them back towards the blocks after sewing the corners together.  Here is a photo showing how to trim the ends of the borders.

Please note that becuase of the larger size of these blocks they are not going to be very flat.  The triangles are on the bias and stretched no matter how much best press I used!  My sewing machine cooperated and I was able to ease the fullness into the seams when piecing, but you can see puckering at the seams.

Let’s see how this looks after the top is quilted!

Finished Quilts!!

I have some finished quilts!  There are posts about these quilts so I need to share with everyone.

This is a Block of the Month quilt designed by Antoinette at Quilters Common 

I was working on this in my Modern vs. Reproduction post, but it is decidedly  a Contemporay Quilt.  I am still working on the reproduction version, which is probably still too brown for some people! 😉

Next up is my Kaleidoscope Magic Quilt.  This one has Kaleidoscope blocks where every other piece is the back of the fabric.  Can you see what I mean?

 

And did I ever show you my finished Slice and Dice Piecing quilt?

Ofcourse I have still not quilted my Dear Jane quilt.  I am thinking about it, though!

What Happened to Dear Jane

After almost four years of playing with my Dear Jane blocks I accumulated 81 squares, 18 triangles and 1 corner square for my quilt,  That does not include a few extras that were the wrong color, or that I just did not think were good enough for one reason or another.

The goal was to have everything done in four years and I just knew that I could never catch up. Of course, I was considering continuing on at my own pace.  Then I saw a Tula Pink City Sampler quilt on Pinterest with the Trellis sashing and I knew it was the perfect thing to do with my blocks.  I came up with a design to use the exact number of blocks that I had completed.  But, once I started playing with a color scheme it became obvious that I had too many green and red blocks.  So I did end up making a few more blocks,

So, now I have my own version of a Dear Jane Quilt.  There is a lot of Kaffe Fassett fabric in this quilt, but I also started using whatever fabric I thought would work with my modernized version of a Dear Jane Quilt.

And then I put all those other left over blocks together to make a little quilt that I can practice my quilting on.

So stay tuned for my finished quilt which will occur once I am brave enough to dive into quilting it!