Friday, June 25, 2010

I love Kaufman Imperial Collection ..

While I was in my LQS the other week I spied some fair sized scrap bags for $5.00 each. You can bet I was on those like white on rice! It surprised me that a posh shop like that would have scrap baggies, but hey -- they must have known I was coming. Some of them were strips of odd calicoes ... ick .. but then I saw the holy grail of scrap bags: A big stack of strips from Robert Kaufman's Imperial Collection*!

When I got them home and tenderly laid them out I figured there was about a yard of fabric there, all  2-3 inches wide. And I thought "my goodness these fabrics are so lovely, so pretty, pretty pretty ..." & then "What should I make with them?!"

 This is the pattern I decided on: Modern Chain Quilt from the ever talented Allison @ Cluck Cluck Sew. I give her credit for the pattern because that is where I remember first seeing it, but I know there are many other versions out there. Like this stunning and gorgeous example from my idol, Carla Barrett of Feathered Fibers. Have I ever mentioned I want to be Carla when I grow up .... ?

So I had my pattern, my scraps, and an aching mouth I wanted to pretend I didn't have. Thank you dentist ...Thankfully setting to work kept my mind off the pain. Here is the preliminary top:

All that white space calls to me. I am going to have a blast quilting this, I just know it! (And not bad for $5.00 of scraps and some Northcott broadcloth!)

*As much as I wish I could find a proper picture of Imperial collection #5 which has the fabrics I used all I found was the 6th collection. Same idea but more colourways and cultural stuff in that collection. Oh, and the blues are all from the RKaufman fabric fusions lines.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dresden Plate Garden

My latest quilt is washed and photographed and folded, ready to go to a new home! I haven't decided where it is going yet --- either to my parents, or to a good friend as a housewarming gift. But there is no rush in making a decision.

I have been leisurely making my way through some of the classic blocks (Irish Chain, Bear Paw, etc) and Dresden plates were on my list. But I didn't want to do them as I have always seen --- with riotous eye searing prints and dots and checks and whatnot. Bright yes, calico cacophony no! What I came up with was a selection of batiks & some pretty prints, which I alternated with cream spokes. I used a nifty orange/yellow/pink batik for the circle in the centers, and I think they turned out looking like flowers as planned:

And then I wanted to do some applique ... Which I hadn't done until this quilt. I used the freezer paper technique to learn how to do it (never again). Now that I know I think I will stick with fusible web unless I REALLY need turned edges. Raw edge + free motion stitching around the shapes works just fine for me! So the flowers, vines, butterflies, and ladybugs look alright in the picture .. but somewhat raggedy in reality.

I saw a lot of opportunity in the blank spaces between Dresden plates, so I sketched a square on point and subdivided it into 4 triangles and an inner square. The triangles all got the same vine & leaf motif (122 repeats in the quilt total) and the centers each got their own critter --- either a butterfly, hummingbird, or a dragonfly. I also stitched about a 1/4in outside each Dresden plate, and quilted whorls in each flower center in yellow thread.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Busy Busy Bees!

For most of June I have been working away on my "Dresden Garden" quilt --- which is sooooo nearly finished! With my nose either stuck in a flowery quilt or behind my camera chasing butterflies or sticking my lens in a flower I feel very much like a BEE. In fact I feel like a bee who wishes there was more honey in her kitchen .. I could have used some honey in my tea today since it was miserable, wet, and rainy.

My sweet man was very impressed with the Spring Roses quilt I finished recently for our friends. So impressed, mind you, he has been lavish with his fabric shopping trips. And I certainly won't be complaining! I have picked up 4 yards of wide backing online, a partial bolt of cream broadcloth, several assorted yards of cotton prints, some batik FQs, and a great bag of scraps from Hoffman "imperial" fabrics. I walked out of a very chic quilt store EXTREMELY happy, and of course gave my shopping partner the rundown on how this store scored on the quality/price/style list. He gave it a thumbs up because .. "It is next to the ice cream store." Works for me! Now I can shop for fabric while he has an ice cream cone and relaxes.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

Homemade Forts Are Great Fun

Last night I finished the last stretch of quilting on the border pieces of my Amish roses --- all 20 feet of feather and cable twist quilting done! Which left many many more feet of hand stitching the backing pieces together. Ick.

But with the end in sight I have been diligently stitching away, and I have gradually come to nickname the quilt "Frankenstein" -- partially because that is what my stitches remind me of, and partially because this quilt is for a friend named Shelley (the story of Frankenstein of course was written by Mary Shelley). My stitches have improved since I draped the quilt up on my quilting frame. But they got a little wobbly when my inspectors showed up and set me to giggling ...

Yep, that is my daughter using my draped quilt as a fort. While wearing a folded FQ on her head as a hat. Playing with some "My Little Ponies" and my other Quilt Inspector.

It didn't help my progress at all but it sure was funny!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Adventures with Quilt-as-you-go.

I have been diligently sewing away at home, in between enjoying some gorgeous weather and of course all the blog posts from the Spring Quilt Market. I would love to go there one year --- I bet it is great fun when quilters take over a city!

My Amish Spring Roses quilt is zipping right along. Here is a picture of one of the side panels --- and about 15 inches of progress on the cable/feather twist motif. Oh boy, only 81 inches left --- on THIS one :D And then of course the other side and also the bottom will need matching feather twisties. Good thing I am having fun doing them!

I do also have the entire center panel done, and the pillow panel with its applique. I definitely need to use larger backing blocks next time I do gigantic applique blocks, because I underestimated the amount they would gather in and it was tricky to stitch the blocks together. I'm a little disappointed with the looseness of the backing between blocks, but maybe if I don't mention it people will think I planned it that way ... as part of the charm of a comfy country quilt ..

And maybe I will have to hand stitch a tuck along the top seams so that the blocks lay flatter and please my sense of quilt propriety.