Posted in quilting

Finished Object Friday – Quilting

After three months, I have finished the pet-friendly quilt that started with this fabric.

Inspired by Rayna Gillman’s improvisational piecing technique and using a combination of log cabin and strip pieced squares, I designed a pair of blocks I call Dog House, Cat Barn.

The blocks finish at 12 inches square. But how can they turn into a bed quilt? After mulling it over for awhile and making several sketches on graph paper, I found that I could fit four blocks across five rows to come up with a twin-size quilt. To create balance, I staggered the rows by four inches with a spacing strip, alternating between left side and right side every row.

I also felt that the balance would improve if the center row was different. Thus was conceived the Pet Condo construction project in “mid-town,” (if you will permit my flight of fancy.)

Four inches of sashing in a grey polka-dot fabric between the rows made a “street,” giving the animal neighbors a nice boulevard for walking over to visit. With my concept complete, I re-named the quilt Animal Friends.

Oh, another group of animal friends were introduced via the background fabric: Our hardworking and very dear bees.

The Animal Friends quilt measures 57 by 84 inches. It was quilted with a combination of walking foot “stitch in the ditch” and free motion stitching on my Bernina.

Posted in quilting

SAHRR #5 – The Stars Above Us

After putting in a few hours of sewing yesterday and today, I find that I have something to show for this round after all. First of all, here is my assortment of wonky stars.

There are two sets of four – the smallest will finish out at 3 inches, the larger at about 4 1/2. While it took some patience to stitch on the tiny scraps of star points, I found myself enjoying the process. And in the end, they are so darned cute! I also made them fiery stars, in hot shades of yellow, orange and red. They jump right out from the pale blue background.

As I stitched along, though, I found my stars getting less and less wonky!

First Star
Last star

The blue border will be six inches wide. This will give the eye a good break from the dark and busy center of the quilt while allowing the stars to shimmer. Here are the assembled borders laid in place.

This project is so big, it is almost impossible to take a decent picture.

As you can see, the border is not attached yet. I am in the process of quilting the center body. My plan is to make separate quilt sandwiches for each border, attach them and then finish up the quilting by working around the edges. Or perhaps I will quilt them before sewing them on. Anyone have a recommendation for me on how best to manage this step?

If you would like to see the work of other quilters doing this challenge, follow these links:

Posted in quilting

Stay at Home Round Robin Challenge 5

Thinking about what I have done so far on the round robin quilt, I have concluded that the work needs some breathing room. A little space and lightness from the intense colors and diverse border designs will give the eye a place to rest. So for this challenge I had already decided to add a wider border of the light blue fabric.

Here you see the effect next to the checkerboard border.

I like that the light blue speaks to the blues in the checkerboard border while still providing much needed contrast in value. So I was pretty happy with the next prompt – Wonky Stars – suggested by pieceful quilter Wendy. Stay at Home Round Robin Border 5 – (

First of all, I like everything improv. Wendy gave us a link to a wonky star tutorial, and I recognized the same technique I already knew and had used in my tropical fish blocks for Under the Sea.

The pile of fabrics you see in my featured photo will form the substance of the stars. I will embed the stars at various places into the light blue border, which I expect to be at least 5 inches wide.

Today I got started.

Four blue patches with star points added
Central patch is one of my painted fabrics. The patches are sewn together in the photo
Wonky Star all sewn and pressed.

The first star is finished. Tomorrow I will start early and work in earnest to complete the round.

Posted in quilting

SAHRR 21 Round 4 – Checkerboard

My week has been a bit full – which is quite a change of pace for me. Among other things, I received my first COVID-19 vaccine jab yesterday. (sore arm today.)

None the less, I have been working steadily on this week’s challenge – checkerboard. I quickly decided it was important to make a definitive break in the design. It is desirable to separate out the triangular rounds from the checkerboard border, which will be strongly square. To make this, I added a wide coping border in the dark grey fabric.

I like the way the geese triangles now look like stained glass pieces.

To me, the checkerboard border can be a mosaic tile border. To achieve this effect I chose to use all medium toned fabrics, including the flowered batik. Here is a small mock-up for my design, using 1 1/2 inch square pieces.

The first step is to cut and sew together several strips, then cut the strips cross-wise into paired squares. Here you see the three piles.

Next I joined these strips into four square blocks, then joined the blocks into long strips. It took me a while to make the first side. For one thing, I again failed to true up the blocks before attempting to sew on the border. Soon, however, I was fully in the swing of it. The first side…………

……. and finally, all sides completed. There are a total of 48 four-square blocks used.

I like it pretty well. Despite my best efforts, there are some ripples. (Thankfully there are no pleats.) I can try to smooth them out by removing, adjusting, and re-attaching the checkerboards.

I’m ready for the next challenge, although I will probably have to buy more fabric.

Posted in quilting

Animal Friends Project Update

Block assembly on this quilt is done! Animal friends, otherwise known as Dog-house Cat-barn, is an improvisational quilt using string-pieced strips around log-cabin style center patches of dogs and cats. The whole thing was inspired by a delightful black and white print, which you can see clearly, above. I decided to make a twin-size quilt which required 12 inch blocks, each assembled from four 6 inch patches.

The rows will be spaced apart with 4 inch strips in a gray print.

I have started the quilting with the third row, which features pet condos. 🙂

Pet Friendly Housing, quilted with just the walking foot.

Later today – I finished quilting this row before dinner was ready. It went very well. With a bit of effort, I could have this quilt done in a few weeks.

Posted in knitting, painting, quilting

Carrying On

While it was a struggle to pull my eyes away from yesterday’s news feed, I got a surprising amount of work done. We even managed to take down and store the Christmas tree.

My new approach to watercolor painting adopted on Jan 1st has me excited about the potential. This time I chose to apply a quinacridone red wash. After it dried, I added a miniature landscape of snow-covered mountains at dawn.

This took me very little time to complete and I enjoyed every brush stroke.

Moving on to sewing, I got another block design worked up on the Animal Friends project. Here is a little pet condo in bright colors and fun geometric shapes.

That brings my completed block count on the project to twelve. I’m half-way there!

And finally, I found a use for some old yarn from a knitted item that I frogged almost ten years ago. It is a KnitPicks yarn called Gloss – a very soft blend of wool and silk in a dark green color. I bought three balls of a complimentary color to make this charming capelet.

The combination of slip stitch and lace kept me alert and engaged as the fabric appeared.

I will post this as a finished object tomorrow.

And in conclusion, my dear crafty friends, let’s all follow EZ advice.

Now, let us all take a deep breath, and forge on into the future; knitting at the ready.

“The Opinionated Knitter” by Elizabeth

Posted in quilting

Yesterday’s Work

In this post, I am continuing work on the Animal Friends quilt project. Yesterday afternoon was occupied with sewing together many strips that I have cut. They were sewn into two groups:

Three Across
Four Across

I also made another block. This one features a cat sitting in the hayloft of a barn.

For the weekend, I will continue making blocks by grabbing an animal square and a strip set randomly, then doing my best to make blocks that amuse me.

I think this will be a good activity for what may be a cold and (possibly) snowy weekend.

Posted in quilting

Whimsical Wednesday

Lately, I have been a little too serious about my fiber and art pursuits. This realization came to me after reading the following book by Rayna Gillman.

She has been quilting and writing about quilting in the improv style for more than twenty years. I am enamored with the quilt on the cover of this book. And it reminded me about an idea I had some time ago for a playful, dare I say it, Whimsical quilt using the fabric pictured at the top of this post.

First, a little story about how I came to acquire the dog and cat print. Two years ago I was teaching fiber arts to a group of homeschooled kids. For our lesson using fabric paint, I purchased this and a few other black on white prints that were suitable for over-painting. When the students were asked to choose a fabric, no one selected this one. I was mystified. Don’t all little children love cats and dogs?

Fast forward to this year. During a fabric rummaging session, I came across the print and thought about using dogs and cats as the center patch of a log-cabin block.

How cute would this be looking out of a child’s quilt?

I decided to pair it with this print, giving me the project’s color scheme.

So last week I got busy cutting strips of many colors, stripes, prints, dots, etcetera. The more I cut, the happier I felt.

I followed Rayna Gillman’s general suggestions for sewing the strips into sets.

…….and then cutting them up and sewing them to background fabric. After a few hours of stitching, cutting and stitching some more, I had my prototype block.

A little dog in his house under a peaked roof.

The working title for this project is “Dog House, Cat Barn, Animal Friends.” In addition to dog house blocks, I intend to make a block with a cat in a barn. Some of my blocks may have both animals in the centers. Who knows how far I can push this idea?

This may be the start of a jolly, fun, playful and whimsically fibery love affair.

Posted in quilting

Jackie’s Pandemic Quilt

While visiting my mom last week, she showed me this quilt, just come back from the long arm shop. She called it her Pandemic Quilt. Apparently, in order to earn that name, a quilt must be made entirely with materials you already have in your stash.

Close up of nine blocks, including Spring and Summer.

She told me that the inspiration for this improv, scrappy quilt came when she was experimenting with embroidery patterns available on her new, very fancy, baby lock machine. Take a look at the flower in the upper left corner block, above. After working this center she cut it into the shape of a pentagon. This allows for the crazy log-cabin piecing to take place. After a little experimenting, she embroidered the block centers first, made her cuts and then did the piecing. The centers include the words “Spring” and “Summer.”

The white sashing and black cornerstones give the quilt a fresh modern feel.

Good work, Mom. I love to see you get creative.

Addendum: Jackie says,

” I think this quilt is a good example of combining techniques.  The embroidery is strictly modern and surrounded by an old technique of crazy patch piecing.  A purist would hand quilt this but my old arthritic hands no longer hand quilt so it was finished on a long arm machine which is also a modern invention.  “

Posted in painting, quilting

A little of this, a little of that

It’s been almost two weeks since I posted last. My days have been full, if not busy, but nothing to write home about. At least I can catch you up on projects in progress.

Improvisational Quilt.

As you see in the photo, the quilt is under the needle. I have been whacking away at the quilting for days and days. This is the biggest piece of cloth that I have attempted to quilt with my lil’ old Bernina.

I’m doing a parallel- straight line pattern, mostly because this type of quilting doesn’t require much manipulation of the quilt. I start at a long section and keep sewing parallel lines until I get tired or run out of bobbin thread. My goal is simply to finish. Pretty lines and straight lines are both out of the question at this point. Optimistically, I’m going for quirky charm. My daughter loves that aesthetic.

Watercolor Painting

My water color painting results have been less than satisfying. When I crashed and burned at applying the background wash to the bird of paradise painting, it got tossed. I then resolved to start back at the beginning. To this end, I checked out a “teach yourself” watercolor instruction book from the library and began working through the techniques one each day. Today’s lesson was line and wash. I chose to paint from a photograph I took of a pond on our local walking trail.

Willow trees hanging over the water

Here is my painting.

I enjoyed working on this one and am happy with it. The only thing I want to add is darker paint on the the group of leaves at the right edge, giving the painting more contrast of values.

The garden has been getting much of my attention. But starting today, heat is intensifying. So I will likely shift my attention back to indoor activities.