Saturday, March 28, 2015

Windmill in the Mail

Windmill is quilted, bound, washed and in the mail. What a fun and easy process from Sujata Shah's book. She's started a blog for Cultural Fusion Quilts where you'll find many more made by herself and others.

This quilt began with leftover fabric I used to make some centers on Propellers and Planes. I'd set them to the side while deciding whether or not to keep them. But as I was sorting my stash, more fabrics appeared that just went with these wild things.
Strongly patterned fabrics are cut free-form into windmill blade shapes to make the block.
Windmill quilt

I don't know what came over me: the fabric seemed to magically fall into place and the top was done in a day.

I wrote about the quilting at the bottom of this post. Several quilters posted photos with something similar. They were so lovely but didn't include instructions so I made up my own method. Here's a close up of the tightest section of the curve quilting.

Top left corner of Windmill shows the curve quilting with the smallest radius.
In the opposite corner, the radii are the largest.

Bottom right corner of Windmill where the curve has the largest radius.
Another idea that struck me from other quilters is using leftovers for binding. Here's mine. I really like the black/white/red diamond print both as binding and in the blocks (see the second photo.)

The double fold binding is made from any fabric in the quilt that was leftover again. Cut 2.25" wide by whatever length was available.
Enjoy the day, Ann

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Final Tour: Propellers and Planes with a List of Previous Posts

Propellers and Planes, my Steam Punk, hung in our guild show this week along with many fabulous quilts by members of SCVQA and BAM. It's the first, and probably only, photo of the entire quilt. The colors aren't quite right; they are much truer in the previous posts, but at least you can see the entire layout of the quilt.

Steam Punk quilt blocks grouped in fours with sawtooth sashing of dark blue and white is bordered with chartreuse
Propellers and Planes quilt

Here it is again in lighting that shows the colors better. But it's not hung high enough. This really is a softly colored quilt with small bits of bright fabrics on occasion.

This scrap quilt features many conversational prints, scale change of block, sawtooth sashing
Propellers and Planes quilt
There is a huge variety of fabrics in this quilt. The oldest was purchased in Boston about twenty-five years ago. The newest were purchased last year. Sue Benner gave me one of her hand-dyed pieces. After being saved (and petted) for more than a decade I used it here. There are scraps from quilts I made for my children, my new daughter-in-law, my parents and my dear friends. Some, like the 50's mannequins, simply make me laugh. All bring back memories of people and places I know and love. Now we sleep under it. What great good fortune. I wish everyone could wrap themselves in cherished memories every night.

A collage of some of the fabrics incorporated in Propellers and Planes
Not wanting to piece batts, I looked for a really large cotton one. There were not many choices but Pellon (yes, the interfacing company) makes one. It's 100% cotton with a very flat, almost felt-like appearance that reminded me of Warm and Natural. It is also warm, heavy and has a beautiful drape - think brocade. It would be a great choice for a wall quilt. Unfortunately, it was only 120" in one direction and I had to piece about four inches of batt in the other direction. Grr.

I used YLI invisible thread (nylon monofilament) for ditch stitching along the sashing then switched to Aurifil Mako 50/2 in grey and light green for the rest of the quilting.

Here are links to previous posts.

Steam Punk Blocks, February 2014
Second Set, March 2014
Third Set, June 2014
Fourth Set, July 2014
Fifth Set with Construction Notes, July 2014
Final Set, July 2014
Putting Steam Punk Together with Sashing Notes, August 2014
Where Do You Get Your Ideas, August 2014
Steam Punk Back, August 2014
Enlarging Circular Blocks (How I Made the Large Propellers), December 2014
Quilting Steam Punk, January 2015
More Quilting, January 2015
Binding, February 2015
Quilt Show Ready, February 2015

Wow. A year of work and fifteen posts. I like to read about your processes and hope you like this much information, too.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Improv Curve Quilt Finished

Here's the final photo of my Curved Improv quilt. It was in the guild quilt show last weekend.

Improvisational quilt of large curves of pink, coral, cream strips with smaller touches of green, blue and red circle and loop across the surface.
Improv Curve quilt

Because the sides are definitely not straight of grain, I wanted a straight edge binding. But the circle at the bottom needed bias binding. So I used bias on that curve only and switched to straight of the rest of the quilt. So far so good. I think it helps stabilize the quilt and minimize waviness.

Although the curve sections look may look like they are uniform width, that's not quite true. For each curve I started on one side or the other stitching parallel with a walking foot. Then I echoed that curve until I ran off the section. That side has quilting lines that run into it. This is probably the first quilt that I did NOT stitch-in-the-ditch. It was pretty scary to start quilting without the stabilization ditch quilting provides but it turned out well. Sometimes we need to try something different.

Because of the improvisational nature of this quilt, a few tucks developed. Each time I re-stitched some of the blades (by machine or hand) to re-flatten the quilt top. One of them appeared while I was quilting. That was a new experience but wasn't too difficult to fix.

The thread is Aurifil 50/2 cotton in beige, pink, green, blue, red and grey. The batting is Mountain Mist Blue Ribbon Cotton. The back is the same two fabrics as the binding. The quilt finished 50" by 58".

When I had trouble deciding how much to trim the sides of this quilt, Lara B. suggested cropping photos to test different amounts. That was a great idea. Here are some of those examples.

This first one has a bit more taken off the sides than the finished piece. Although this is my favorite view, I simply couldn't bring myself to cut off so much of the top.

First possible crop of Improv Curve

 I wondered if cropping part of the large circle would make the quilt more active.

Second possible crop of Improv Curve

Or if the blue circle would be missed.

Third possible crop of Improv Curve

Here are links to previous posts about this quilt (in reverse order.)

1. How I Finally Sewed the Curves
2. Curves Continued
3. Curve Quilt Progress
4. Curve Quilt

What Sherri Lynn Wood wrote about her Mod Mood quilts here inspired me to try this process. I'm so glad I did!

Enjoy the day, Ann

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Pi Day 3.14.15 @ 9.26.53

It's Pi(e) Day. Another crazy reason to celebrate.

Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It's an irrational number (which just means it can't be written as a fraction because the digits don't end or repeat) whose first few digits are 3.141592653... March 14 is extra special this year because we can correlate those digits to a specific time down to seconds. Nerds are thrilled.

It seems like a good day to celebrate circles in quilting. My favorite circles are my quilt guilds: currently SCVQA and QGGH. I've joined a guild everywhere I lived. They are always a source of friendship, inspiration and education. I hope you have a group of friends as inclusive and supportive.

On to circular quilts.

Although New York Beauty isn't finished, there is some progress. Only sixteen more. Even though these blocks are a decade old, I still like the colors and the pattern. {Why, oh why, didn't I finish it with the millenium?}

Red, pink, green and blue quilt blocks with quarter circles and five teeth.
New York Beauty in progress
All my quilts in the show this weekend have circles or curves. There have been many photos, but here's a new one. I used this fabric (a decade ago) to applique on t-shirt quilts for my daughter and her friends who all had dogs. This is the last of it. Does that make Propellers and Planes a scrap quilt?

Four brown and cream dog faces form the blades of this propeller shape. The outer band is a green plaid.
Steam Punk quilt block from Propellers and Planes with dog face conversation prints
Windmills is my current project. The block has slight curves. I'm echo quilting a quarter circle over the top.

Multicolored fabrics are improvisationally cut to form windmill blocks.
Quarter circle curves echo quilted across Windmills
The quilting shows up better from the back.

Windmills back with leftover blocks. 

I drew one line on the quilt using my cutting ruler. I placed it in one corner, rotated the ruler and marked with chalk at intervals. Then I connected those dots. That was my first quilting line. Subsequent lines are a walking foot away. This seemed like a better idea than starting in the corner.

Mark the first arc 24" away from the corner. Use the walking foot to echo that curve.
Example of marking the first line of quilting on Windmills
And we're having lemon meringue pie for dinner. Yum.

Enjoy the (pi) day, Ann

Friday, March 6, 2015


Oops. What happened to the New York Beauties? They're still on the design wall because...

While reorganizing my sewing room some fabrics kept insisting they would look well together. So I pulled Sujata Shah's wonderful book, Cultural Fusion Quilts, and read the instructions for Windmills again.

Although she suggests WOF cuts, several of my fabrics only made one or two squares. It just adds to the diversity.

Brightly colored fabrics in red, orange, blue, chartreuse, black and white spin across the quilt in windmill pattern.
 Improvisational Windmills 60"x60".
Here are a few blocks in progress. Don't they remind you of dad's old ties?

Improvisational Windmill quilt blocks before trimming
I plan to make the back from leftover fabrics and blocks.

Linking up with Scraptastic Tuesday which always has wonderful ideas linked.

Enjoy the day,