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 Challenge #6 – Almost Done

This week’s assignment is Log Cabin block. I’m a fan of this block and find it useful in improvisational quilts and as a background for art quilts. When I woke up this morning, I had a good idea for incorporating this block into my design. So I got right to work on the challenge.

Because I have not yet sewn the wonky stars border on, I can still incorporate the log cabin blocks into it. My plan is to use the pale blue fabric and the flowered batik fabric to make four log cabins and attach them in the corners of the wonky star border. For the final challenge (whatever it may be) I will use the flowered batik as my primary fabric. This will tie what has come before to what comes next. Follow along and you will see.

Here are my four log cabins.

I used a one and one half inch center and cut the light and dark strips to finish at 3/4 inch. These are three rows of each color, giving me a finished block of 6 inches – the same as my light blue star border.

Next I got out my fabric paint and added a metallic motif to each center square.

I think they look like eyes in the heavens.

Laying each block with the pale blue to the inside and the batik fabric to the outside, I get this effect:

Lower right corner
Lower left corner

With the log cabin blocks done, I return to building the quilt sandwiches for the four sides. They will be about 12 inches wide each. This includes enough allowance for the quilting. At this point, I am expecting my quilt to finish out at around 60 inches square – a good size to use as a lap blanket.

Don’t forget to check in with the others who are building round robin quilts. They are showing a tremendous variety of styles and some ingenious solutions to the challenges.

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 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

Under the Sea Progress Update

Today I finished assembling all of the log cabin blocks for Under the Sea quilt. While arranging the blocks in groups, I quickly realized that my original plan did not serve the overall design. So I switched to a layout in which each group of four blocks is rotated with the center squares touching. Now I have ten groups surrounding a central panel with the large sea turtle in the middle. Here is an overhead view.

This image excludes the top three groups. I couldn’t fit it all into the photo.

I’ve had so much fun coming up with images of underwater creatures. Ultimately, I decided to make my focus life found on a coral reef. Here is the center panel with some tropical fish, big and baby sea turtles, and an assemblage of sea horses…..

Next to and surrounding the panel can be found some jelly fish

The stinging tentacles will be added after the block is assembled.

… a living sand dollar (did you know that this animal is a type of sea urchin?)…..

….. a group of starfish, more tropical fish, and four additional baby turtles swimming across four different sections of the quilt.

Working with the batik pre-cut strips was such a pleasure. First of all, hey, I didn’t have to cut them. Secondly, the front and back of the fabric is the same, so you never end up with the wrong side on front. And finally, the fabric was so tightly woven that no twist or stretch happened while under the needle. This made the boring parts of piecing go quickly. I could spend time designing and painting my little sea creatures.

Next up will be sewing the blocks together, choosing a backing fabric and the actual quilting. There is a long way to go before this project can be put to bed. (Ha!)

Posted in quilting

Under the Sea WIP

I spent a good handful of hours this past weekend sewing up blocks for the Under the Sea quilt. So I thought I would show my progress.

My plan calls for 12 quilt sections made up of 4 blocks each. The blocks are constructed in Log Cabin chevron style. Each section will feature a different underwater animal. Here are the three I just completed.

The first two have coral reef fish swimming in formation. These will be placed across the top of the quilt. The third has starfish, which will end up somewhere in the middle.

I placed an order at Connecting Threads for more batik fabric that contains some harmonizing greens. Until the fabric is delivered, I can design and construct the sea creatures for the remaining blocks. So far I have baby turtles. I want to try making jellyfish, which sea turtles love to gobble up. and maybe some more coral reef fish.

Other ideas? Any suggestions will be dutifully pondered.

Link to Connection Threads website:

Posted in quilting

Fishing for a Sea-Worthy Design

Since my last post, I have been casting about for a quilt layout that will suit the material I have acquired so far. As a reminder, I have a 20 x 20 panel, a bundle of pre-cut 2 1/2 inch strips and a charm pack in the same fabrics. These are supplemented by a few fat quarters and some quilt blocks with improvised fish shapes.

While the internet is a wonderful source for ideas, there is no substitute for printed works that you can hold in your hands. So I went to the library. I checked out this book:

This very useful book by Celia Eddy contains a survey of 100 quilt block patterns, groups them by structure, and provides easy instructions on making each one. Because I have a bunch of strips, I focused quickly on the log cabin-type blocks. Here is what I chose:

The author also shows variations created by re-orienting each block. I decided to go with the design that rotates the corner square.

Fiddling with this design on graph paper, I came up with the overall concept: Four 10 inch chevrons arranged in a 20 inch block. Each block will have one ocean image and a consistent color grouping. Including the turtle center, there will be 12 – 20 inch blocks to make up my quilt.

I spent yesterday afternoon sewing the first six squares.

So it seems I have set sail on my fibery journey. Making Under the Sea will be great adventure. I expect a few rough seas and difficult weather along the way, but trust that my intuition, skills and experience will get me to my destination.

To learn my about Celia Eddy’s book, access this link.

Posted in quilting

Gorgeous and Productive Day

Today’s weather was quite remarkable, for August. Upon rising, the air was 66 degrees and winds were calm. It stayed so cool all day long that the A/C didn’t even turn on until early evening. I enjoyed the backyard for an hour or so and did a modest amount of gardening. It was almost 11 before I resumed work on my current project.

Appliqueing the turtle was really fun. After some fiddling about with the shapes and color choices, my center medallion looks like this:

Combination of batiks and hand-painted fabrics.

More dimension and texture will be added when I stitch it. I painted the turtle’s head Very Slowly, using Jacquard Textile paint mixed with floating medium. I rather like the primitive-like quality resulting from the bright colors and blocky shapes. This piece is roughly 20″ by 14 and 1/2″. To make it into a square, I made a strip with my baby turtle stenciled blocks and added it at the top.

I like what I see so far. But now, the hard part. I will need to build a quilt around it. I’m thinking about log cabin blocks, mostly because I purchased a package of pre-cut 2 and 1/2 inch strips. Here they are:

These are all so pretty. And a nice range of tones.

You can see also see a few fishy blocks that I made months ago using the stitch n flip technique. These could become log cabin centers……..or I could group them into a block of their own. That would make a school of fish.

Okay, quilting bloggers, this is an invitation to weigh in on this design. Any thoughts?

Posted in knitting, painting, quilting

Catch-Up Friday

Since I didn’t finish any of my fiber objects this week, I have decided to write a progress report. You see above about ten inches of the Weaver’s Square pattern, which will become a colorful vest for my daughter. This is the back of the garment. The front I have planned will be much more subdued. While working with seven strands of yarn each row has been a challenge, the satisfaction of the work and the excitement of seeing the color emerge has more than compensated for any difficulty. I have chosen to switch out the vertical colors at a rate of two or three for every band of horizontal color. As a result, the pattern has a more vertical effect.

Log Cabin Mini Quilt

Another work in progress is picture above. The quilt sandwich is constructed and some stitch in the ditch took place. At that point, I decided to work some embroidery in the flower squares and add hand quilting to the strips.

Blue block nearly finished.

I also felt that a border was essential to provide balance between the light and the dark sections of the piece. Going further, I plan to hand-paint this border in multiple hues. It will be exciting to see how well that goes, and it will take me more time.

Last week-end I started a tutorial on painting with water color on paper. This class was offered on Despite a little trepidation, I am sharing my work today. Keep in mind I am a rank beginner and be kind.

Seascape at daybreak with birds.
Color Block using primary colors, salt, colored pencil and micron pens.
Realistic style chickadee

Such a fun week. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to remind me that this life is real.