Posts Tagged ‘quilting’

Today I discovered a common thread.  I’ve been loving quilts with a certain look… lots of color, contrast and an emerging design.  Turns out I love value quilts.

A value quilt is a design that plays on value – the lightness or darkness of a fabric, regardless of color.  Here’s one of my favorite examples.  It’s by Naptime Quilter:

values quilt top

Her quilt reminds me of my Colorbrick Quilt.  So much color and happiness!  But unlike Colorbrick, where I agonized about color placement for ages, a multi-colored value quilt usually goes together with little regard for color.  Basically, you separate your pieces into light and dark values and them piece them spontaneously, trusting the values to make the quilt shine.  Here are some more of my favorite value quilts in a smorgesboard of color.

1. Value quilt in progress, 2. Values quilt is finished

I’ve also seen some beautiful value quilts that use color and value.  This one is stunning.  See how each block is one color in many shades (or two complimentary colors) with values from light to dark?  Amazing, right?!?

Streifenblöcke - Blocks of stripes

And here’s a simple squares quilt, using half square triangles.  Jeni of In Color Order created her squares with mostly dark value warm colors set against mostly light value cool colors to create a lovely effect.  I think I’d like to see this done with all dark value warm colors vs. all light value cool colors.  Would it be more fabulous or less so because of the predictability?  Hmm….

DQS9 Top Finished!

Here are a few more value quilts where color is central to the design.

1. scrappy sunrise, finished, 2. the summer bling quilt

If you’re feeling the value quilt love, you should check out the Sew Katie Did tutorial.  It looks like she inspired a whole run of value quilts!  Now, I just need an excuse to make one?  Or do I?

Yes, I do.  Well, Liam’s birthday is in February….

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Has it really only been 4 days since I started hand quilting?  

Hand quilting - Princess Strips

My daughter’s Fairytale Patchwork quilt has turned out to be an ideal First in hand quilting.  I’m using Anna Maria Horner’s tutorial, “The Stitch” and her Q & A post “Anna Answers“.   Turns out that one of the hardest things about hand-quilting is getting your stitches to look as nice on the back as they do on the front.  Since Aria’s quilt is designed for her bed, the back of it will only be seen when hung on the line to dry!    I’m not giving myself much pressure to make the back look good.  I am paying attention to those stitches, but mostly as a way of working on my technique, you know?

Hand quilting - Diamond Mine

I’ve really enjoyed trying out different quilting patterns on different blocks.  Such freedom!  My first and possibly favorite block was this Diamond Mine block (Little Folks Voile by Anna Maria Horner).  I stitched a simple white running line in a diamond shape.

Hand quilting - Princess & the Frog

For this Princess & the Pea/Frog Prince block (Far Far Away by Heather Ross), I had dreamed up this criss-cross pattern along the seam lines. I didn’t realize that hand quilting this design would be so difficult and time-consuming. It looks rather wonky from the back, with the x’s bigger than they are on the front. Do you think it was worth it? I’m trying to decide if I should do another Princess block in this design. Would love to hear your ideas for alternative quilting designs on this style block!

Hand quilting - around the flowers

This block is Small Gathering from Anna Maria Horner’s Good Folks collection (LOVE!).  I stitched some white lines around some of the yellow flowers, but it didn’t “pop” as much as I had hoped for. I’m thinking of adding some pink stitching around a few more flowers. What do you think? One disadvantage of this pattern for hand quilting is all the starting and stopping of threads. It’s stronger and faster to quilt a continuous line.

Hand quilting - along the stem

So, that’s what I tried here, on a different Small Gathering block. I stitched along the stem line, which was quite fun. Do you think this is prettier than the flowers, or should I do it in addition to the flower outlines? Hmm….

Hand quilting - Dobby Dots

Here’s my latest block. Oooh, I like how this one turned out. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best, right? I adore Anna Maria Horner’s dobby dot line! The texture, the colors… swoon! This is the only shade I’ve had the pleasure of owning. And, sadly, they’re getting scarce.

So, hand quilting = fun!  I’m glad to be serenely stitching on the couch while watching Alias with Hubby, rather than wrestling with this quilt at the sewing machine (and picking out countless stitches, no doubt). 

Looking forward to your ideas on these quilting patterns…

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Two weeks ago I bombarded you with pictures of my daughter’s Fairytale Patchwork finished quilt top.  If you think that the quilt finished by now, think again.

First off, I decided to try a bias-free finish for this laaaarge quilt (finished measurements are 76 x 89.5″).  In I Heart Patchwork, Rashida Coleman-Hane finished a quilt by sewing right sides together with a 1/4″ seam, turning and stitching closed.  Because binding is not my friend and because I decided that the linen sashing was a fitting edge,  I was game to try something new.

Fairytale Basting

I taped down my batting, laid out my quilt bottom and top and basted the edges.

All in a row

Don’t the basting pins look sweet?  They’re like happy little soldiers fighting for a straight edge.  I slip them all in at once and then close them with a size 3 knitting needle.  Saves the fingers.

I am happy to report that this was a snap.  Not only was it fast and easy – it looks great!  I don’t think a binding would have looked better in this case.  Woohoo!

Now for the not as good.  After consulting with my mom and co-designer, we settled on a quilting pattern that has turned out to be rather difficult, at least for me.  I always admire the large diagonal grid quilting design used often by Ashley of Film in the Fridge.  My mom suggested a double row (two lines 2″ apart) diagonal grid spaced just right so that it frames each large 12″ block.  Essentially the design would mimic the piecing layout, but on point and with continuous lines.  I especially loved that this design would create little diamonds at the intersection points in the sashing, one on each side of each block.

But how to achieve it?  I’ve had bad luck with disappearing fabric ink markers, so I thought I could mark this quilt with the much-touted Clover Chaco marker.  After a week I finally got to the fabric store to purchase the gadget.  Yes, it’s cool.  I’m glad to have it!  But, it so won’t work for marking this quilt.  Some trial proved that the white chalk too easily brushes away, leaving me without a clear guide.

Next my husband suggested using masking tape to mark my grid lines.  Brilliant!  I laboriously taped the pattern in one direction and set off to sew tonight.

Masking Tape for Marking

Ugh!  The tape won’t stay on!  I just bought it and it wasn’t cheap stuff.  It particularly won’t stick to the Little Folks voile.  So, I went back and moved pins that were causing problems, and even pined the tape on over each voile block.  Back on the machine I had mild success with a few short lines at the edges.  So…. I went for one of the longest lines in the middle to see what would happen.  Ladies, it wasn’t pretty.  It seems I can’t sew a straight line when juggling a large quilt, shifting tape and bias pin bombs.

I refuse to allow the quilting to ruin this quilt.  At the moment I plan to rip out the quilting I’ve done so far and either A.  settle on a MUCH easier quilting pattern or B. don’t quilt at all.  Because I used a cotton blanket for batting and because the edges are already lovely, stopping at this point is tempting.  Or maybe I should tie it instead?

(Sigh)  I just don’t know.

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How do you photograph a ginormous quilt top all by yourself… when the only good light left is outside?  Hmm…

Spread it out on a grassy slope?

Fairytale Quilt Top from the grass

Climb a tree?

Fairytale Quilt Top from a Tree

Ok, there it is.

Fairytale Quilt Top

Well, now you can see it all.  I didn’t finish the corners, because after 3 hours of stitching, I was ready to be done.  I plan to miter them like so.  But I’m not sure how I’m going to bind this quilt, so that’s my excuse for not finishing.  I think I want a low-key linen edge finish.  I’m thinking about how I could use the edges I already have.  They’re straight!

Woa, don’t fall!

Fairytale Quilt Top

Let’s get down out of the tree and try something a little more interesting.  Over a branch perhaps?

Fairytale Quilt Over a branch

Aaaah, pretty!

Pretty closeup

Wait!  Folded?

Fairytale Quilt Folded on a Branch

Does she look bored?

Fairytale Quilt

I think it’s time to call it a night.  You tell me, how do you photograph a ginormous quilt all by yourself?


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At last I’ve begun piecing my daughter’s  Fairytale Patchwork twin-sized quilt.  I can’t tell you how heavenly it’s been to work with this giant bouquet of gardenias on the table, fresh cut from my yard (and a new discovery!) this weekend.

Since the linen sashing has finally arrived, it’s been coming along nicely.  Cutting all that 3″ sashing was a good bit of work, but now that everything’s cut, you’d think it’d be smooth sailing from here.

Fairytale Piecing

Yep, things are lining up all right. And, I’ve only had to rip out one seam. But….

Fairytale Piecing up close

Liam cut the cord – the IRON cord! This is not typical behavoir for my 3-year-old. And, of course, this was like the ONE time I left the thread scizzors in full view. I was shocked.

SNIP! - He cut my cord

Thankfully, Liam was not. Everyone is ok… except for the iron. And, now pieced fabric is backing up with no pressed seams in sight.

No more iron...

I was going to finish piecing the quilt top tonight, but I guess I’ll have to settle for making some progress. The good news is that this iron was about to hit the bucket. It had started turning itself off every 10 or so seconds. You can imagine the fun of using it that way. My new iron just shipped today. Coincidence?

Fairytale Piecing in progress

P.S.  Sorry for the wrinkles!

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Sun Squares

Just look at these beautiful square in square blocks made by Anna Maria Horner for the Rainbow Around the Block charity bee:

I made my own square in square block the other night, combining some of my favorite fabric collections.  It’s so bright and happy – I love it!  I hope Sun Squares makes you smile:

Sun Squares Block

I could not find an online tutorial for this style of block, so I had to wing it.  After a tiny bit of trial and error (I used photoshop to measure Anna’s inner blocks), it came together pretty well.  Anna Maria is going to post a tutorial for the square in square block on her blog soon.  I’ll update this post with a link when her tutorial is up.  You can download Anna’s PDF tutorial here.

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Guess, what?  I made my first block for charity!  Anna Maria Horner hasn’t announced it on her blog yet, but she’s started her charity bee for Tennessee victims of a recent, very nasty flood.  Her bee, Rainbow Around the Block, is just getting started and anyone can participate by making a 12.5″ square block that’s mostly monochromatic.  Anna’s posted all about the rules at her Flickr group.

Blush Log Cabin Block

I made this block last night using a variety of blush/coral scraps from Meadowsweet, Good Folks, Little Folks and Lecien basics.  I thought from Anna’s Flickr page that she wanted VERY monochromatic blocks.  I wasn’t very happy with my own block… maybe because it’s a little too one-color.  Today Anna posted some of her own blocks into the Rainbow Around the Block Flickr pool and hers are beautiful, of course.  I’m glad to see that she used more variation in color than I, because I may make another block tonight and I’m going to have more fun this time!

P.S.  Thanks for those of you who’ve contacted me to say you’re up for a charity bee.  I’m putting plans in motion and will let everyone know when Stitched in Love is ready for members!

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