Category Archives: Quilts

Piecing with Improvisation

Here are three quilt block tutorials that I put together for the Boston Modern Quilt Guild BOM.

These tutorials all have improvisational techniques, but they also let you be a little precise if you want to be.

This tutorial lets you practice curved piecing: Curves Ahead

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With this one you can try paper piecing without worrying about things being too perfect: Playing with Paper

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And this tutorial lets you improvise with strips of fabric: Fenced In

October

This is a Reproduction Quilt

A few years ago I kept seeing this bright orange and red quilt top on eBay.  I am always drawn to orange quilts!  Finally I took a closer look at it.  It looked like it might be a turn of the century quilt top, but the description just said it was an old quilt top.  The starting bid was low so I went for it and won the auction.

I was pleasantly surprised when I received the top.  It’s in great shape, and some of the fabrics look more like mid 19th century, civil war, or even earlier, to me.  I love the fact that it looks contemporary or possibly even a bit modern.  But, if you are familair with antique quilts you know that the cheddars, reds, and greens were very popular with the Mennonites of Pennsylvania and Ohio in the late 19th century, so it is not surprising to see these colors together in an antique quilt.  The block is a traditional block called Chimney Sweep and each is about 13″ square. There was no information in the eBay listing regarding the provenance of this quilt.

I was originally going to quilt and use the top, but I want to preserve it in its antique state, so I decided to make a reproduction of it.  I collected some 1/4 yards of red reproduction fabrics and found a nice cheddar and cream solid fabrics.  Now I have a version of this quilt that will hold up better to day to day use!

They do look very similar.  Here is the original quilt top:

And my reproduction quilt:

Modern vs. Reproduction

I am in the middle of a Block of the Month at Quilters Common in Wakefield, MA.  Antoinette is offering 3 colorways: Blues, Brights, and Traditional.  I love reproduction fabrics, so I went with the traditional colorway, but I am also digging into my stash and making a set of blocks with my modern/contemporary fabrics.

This is what I have so far.  I have set up both colorways side by side on my design wall with the setting squares for a comparison.  For those folks who think traditional/reproduction is all browns and boring … guess what … it is not!!  Old quilts are often brown because the dye in the fabrics has faded.  The reproduction fabrics have brought back all the glorious colors that were in your great great (great?) grandmother’s quilts when they were new and they compare quite well with the modern fabrics.  Both quilts will be full of color.

My plan for both quilts is to use half blocks for an inner border and also a 9″ outer border.  The finished quilts will be 90″ x 90″.

Quilt Plan

Here is a 48″ x 48″ portion of what the tops will look like.  Notice two of the star blocks are the same pattern? I did not like the first one, so I made a second one. The top one will go in the quilt.  The other may end up on the back of the quilt.

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These will be WIPs for quite a few more months, but I’m glad I got a head start on the setting blocks!

Me and Jane, Jane and I

Jane and I are getting re-acquainted.  The group I am working with at Quilters Common receives the patterns and tips for 5 blocks each month.  Between one thing and another I found myself way behind … a year and a half behind!  So, this past month I was determined to get back to work on my Jane blocks.  I have established a new goal of 8 blocks a month, which I must meet if I want to have a quilt finished for the groups planned quilt show.

I was quite busy and so far I have 9 new blocks and I also redid 2 blocks. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge these photos. When finished viewing them click on the “x” in the upper left corner of the page to return back to this post!

This is my redo of F-5.  The original was a combo of machine piecing and hand piecing for the curved “melons”.  I was so annoyed with the result that in protest I designed a curve free version of the block which I discussed in a previous Jane post.  But, then I came across the “That Quilt” blog and redid the block using reverse applique for the melons.  I am now a fan of reverse applique!  The difference is very obvious (at least to me).  No more wonky squares in the corners!

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I redid H-10 because the color was wrong.  My scheme calls for this to be a purple block, but I did it in red!

I also came up with my own way of finishing I-10.  The sections are paper pieced and then I sewed them together by hand.  My method of sewing the pieces together was to treat the block like a very modified nine patch with three rows.  I am happy with the result.

That’s it for now … still planning to finish one more new block by the end of this week!

Improvising with Scraps

It certainly has been quite a while, but I finally have time to post again!  Back in March I brought my improvised scrappy blocks to the Boston Modern Quilt Guild Retreat and put a quilt top together.

I finished this quilt a couple of months ago on my long arm.

Improvised scrappy

The back of the quilt has a few of the blocks, too.

 

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I am still saving my scraps and sorting them by color, but maybe I should throw them all in together and try a different approach next time! No matter what, it is a great way to be thrifty and also environmentally green.  Reuse, recycle, and don’t waste any of your precious fabric!

 

 

 

 

Scrappy Monochromatic Blocks

The Boston Modern Quilt Guild is making charity quilts this year and members have been asked to donate blocks made with fabrics that are from the same color family.  The quilts will then be made with a rainbow of the different color grouped blocks.

I came up with a strategy for my blocks which involved sorting all of my fabric scraps by color and then selecting strips from each pile and sewing them together.

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After sorting the strips I trimmed them so they were all about the same length and so that each strip was a uniform width, but the strips are various widths!

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Then I sewed them together.

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For the blocks that I decided to make I made sure that the pieced strips panel was 38″ long and about 15″ wide. This is enough to make several blocks. You do need a 38″ long strip for the log cabin block featured in this article.

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Trim the uneven edge and don’t forget to save your scraps that are too small to sew with.  These will be the stuffing for a pillow!

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I cut my pieced strips 3 1/2″ wide and some are 2″ wide.

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One of the block designs is a log cabin block.  This block uses one of the 3 1/2″ wide strips with other fabric scraps.  The center is a 3 1/2″ square bordered with 2″ strips.

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Sew the strips and then trim them to the correct size.  Use a square ruler to make sure your cuts are correct.  The center block will be 6 1/2″ square.

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Then continue adding the 3 1/2″ wide pieced strips.  Sew then trim to the correct size as you go.  Once the block was larger than 6 1/2″ I got out my 12 1/2″ ruler to trim the block.

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The block will be 12 1/2″ square when completed.  These are two of the blocks:

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Here are some made with purple and green strips.

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Of course I got carried away and will be making a lot of these blocks, so I will make my own quilt with these blocks.   Usually I would use all different colors, but I really love the idea of using strips that are in the same color group. The finished blocks are sublimely wonderful.

Boston Modern Quilt Guild Show

The Boston Modern Quilt Guild is displaying their quilts at the Fabric Place Basement in Natick, MA. The quilts will be on display each weekend starting January 31st through February 15th. Here is what they are saying about their quilt show:

“The Boston Modern Quilt Guild is a group of people who are passionate about modern quilting, patchwork, and sewing. The guild is holding its annual quilt show this year at Fabric Place Basement in Natick MA. The show will run for several weekends and is open to all quilters and to everyone interested in modern quilts and quilting.

Over 50 quilts will be on display at Fabric Place Basement each weekend from January 31 through February 15. Guild members will be there to answer questions, serve as ‘white glove’ ladies (although we do allow touching; we’re modern, after all!), and conduct demos.”

LOCATION: Fabric Place Basement, 321 Speen Street (Cloverleaf Mall), Natick MA
DATES: Each weekend from January 31through February 15.

TIMES: 10:00 am – 7 pm on Saturdays; noon – 6:00 pm on Sundays.

For more information, contact BMQG at http://bostonmqg.blogspot.com/

I will have 4 quilts on display at the show:
Garden Continuum
A Very Bight Quilt
Flowers! and Cocoa Kaleidoscope

gardencontinuumquiltsunshine_quilt Flower Power Quilt  Kaleidoscope Quilt

 

 

Aunt Virginia’s Plan

This is a follow up to the blog posts about the Butterfly Treasure Quilt.

As I mentioned in my Butterfly Applique Post I gave the Finished Bow Tie Quilt to Pat.  If you recall, from the Quilting Treasures Post, she gave me that quilt top and the Butterfly Blocks ,which she found when she was cleaning out her mother’s house because her mother had moved to an Assisted Living apartment.

Pat had said she would give the finished quilt to her mother, Lydia, for Christmas and when she did her mother remembered the quilt top and told her the story behind it.  When Lydia was 13 years old in 1930 her Aunt Virgina gave her the quilt top and butterfly blocks with the thought that Lydia could improve her sewing skills to impress a young man that Aunt Virginia had in mind for Lydia to marry eventually.

I guess Lydia was not very interested in the young man because she never did finish the quilts!  So Aunt Virginia’s scheme did not go as planned.  But Lydia did keep those quilting treasures all these years for Pat to find and give to me.

I am glad that Lydia had the opportunity to share this bit of quilt history with her daughter Pat, because the day after Christmas Lydia fell and broke her hip.  The fall was because her heart was so weak, and she passed away on January 4th.  Lydia was 97 years old.

My heart goes out to Pat during her time of grief and I will always remember Lydia and her Aunt Virginia’s plan when I snuggle under my Butterfly Treasure quilt.

 

 

 

Vintage Butterfly Applique Quilt

I have finished my vintage butterfly quilt.  I love the colors in this quilt! This is the quilt I made with my vintage 30’s butterfly applique blocks that were a gift from my Mother-in-Law’s friend.  As I mentioned in my last post her friend Pat gave me some “quilted fabric” that turned out to be wonderful quilt tops and blocks that her mother made in the 30s.

I saw Pat yesterday and she was very pleased with both quilts, but I could tell the Bow Tie quilt was calling to her, so I gave the finished quilt to her.  She is going to give it to her mother for Christmas.  He mother is in assisted living with short term memory loss.  But, her long term memory is fine so I imagine it will be quite exciting for her to see her old quilt top again.  At least I hope so!  Maybe she will be wondering when and how it turned from a quilt top to a finished quilt!

The Butterfly Treasure Quilt took all of my quilting attention for the last few weeks.  Both it and the wall hanging version are finished.  The wall hanging is made with some wonderful Kaffe Fassett prints, so it gives the 30s pattern a new look!  The pattern for both is also finished now and for sale at Craftsy.

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Quilting Treasures

A few weeks ago I was having lunch with my Mother-in-Law at our local town lunch place.  One of her friends joined us and was telling me about some “quilted fabric” she found while cleaning her mother’s place out.  She asked if I would like to have it.  I have to be honest; I was not too enthused, but, I said I might be able to use it for something.

A few days later Bob arrived home from dropping off groceries for Isabel with a shopping bag full of some real quilting treasures.  I found fabric pieced together in the 30s waiting to be quilted!

Inside I found a 70″ x 70″ quilt top. It is a very scrappy Bow Tie block quilt.  I added borders and quilted it, but still need to add the binding.P1050624

The next thing I found in the bag was a set of 24 butterfly applique blocks that had been pieced together. I was going to just add some borders and quit it up, but Colette at Quilters Common insisted that I needed to take the top apart and use the blocks to create a full size quilt.  She was certain whoever made the blocks intended to make a much larger quilt.

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With this thought in mind I decided to take the top apart and trim the blocks so they were all 7 1/2″ squares and use them with nine patch blocks in an Irish Chain setting.  I am glad I listened to Colette, because I am falling in love with this quilt top.  I still need to add the borders and quilt it, but, I have a plan for the quilting.
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Since I was designing a top with the butterfly blocks I decided write a pattern for the quilt. I needed to include instructions for the Butterfly Applique Blocks, so I thought it only fair that I make a few of them myself.

 

I ended up with a nice little wall hanging sized quilt made with Kaffe Fassett fabrics.  I have to thank Alice for coming to my rescue and picking out the the perfect shade of dot fabric for me.  I was having a difficult time finding just the right fabrics for my nine patch blocks.

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Once I get these quilts finished I will finalize the pattern and you will find it for sale on Craftsy.  The pattern will include instructions for both sizes of the quilt.

But, there is one more treasure to show you.  Two Sunbonnet Sue blocks were also in the bag of treasures.

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I have added borders to them and will be making pillows with them …. AND I am using scraps from my projects to stuff the pillows.  Save yours up and do the same thing with them!

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When looking at all of these quilting treasures I see fabrics in the Butterflies and Sun Bonnet Blocks that are also in the Bow Tie Quilt top.  Isn’t it interesting to have a set of projects that have more than likely been worked on by one person!