Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Christmas Medallion Finished!

Before we get too many months into the New Year I want to catch you up on my most recent Christmas quilt named "Christmas Medallion". It measures 69" x 76".

Beginning with a desire to use up my red and green scraps, I started with a rough idea of strip piecing my red scraps in a large rectangular ring around a central block and then adding my green scraps in a way to be determined. I began piecing this quilt early in December 2019 but then holidays, a December graduation, and family visits took priority and my red strips languished on the wall.

Enter January 2020! Champing at the bit, I got back to it. Okay, too late for Christmas 2019 but early for Christmas 2020, right?

After some red strips were put into place I began looking at the Greens.  I found a wonky tree idea by Karla Alexander called "Crazy Christmas Trees" that I liked and made a large freezer paper pattern. I pieced one to see if it would fit the bill. It was rather a painstaking process and I decided the fabrics I used were not enticing.....at that point I was just too impatient to move on rather than try another tree version although I am keeping that tree pattern in mind because I love the wonkiness.....it may show up in another quilt someday.

Wonky tree pattern minus the trunk

Trying to figure out the next ring.....

So, what next? The scrappy quilt was looking folksy and homey so I defaulted to old-fashioned, simple, free-wheeling log cabins (one was already in the center) and started piecing them randomly. From a distance they kind of reminded me of Christmas wreaths with red berries! They formed the third ring and then it was time for a final border.

A couple red fabrics from clothes I've sewn for myself many years ago are in this top! 

When I showed my 'quilt in progress' to my sisters (who are not quilt makers), one of them said “just the reds would be nice” and another commented that the Greens “seem not to have been invited to the party”. What? It’s a Christmas quilt....so red and green naturally, no? I was committed to my original vision but gave the second opinion a bit of thought and altered the central red rings a bit to extend an 'invite' to the Greens.....can you tell what I did? Not sure if it makes any difference!

I machine-quilted it on my domestic Viking with straight lines....lots of fun because I got to travel across all those lovely colors again and twice enjoy them! I had that wonderful red backing already in my stash. (It's also in the quilt front.) My daughter helped me choose the correct shade of green for the binding....and that was the only fabric that I had to purchase at the quilt shop because I didn't have a big enough piece of just the right color. And now it's signed and ready for Christmas 2020 festivities!

@piecingpassion on Instagram

Monday, December 9, 2019

Overlapping Octagons is finished.

Following Sujata's challenge in January to replicate one of the quilts in the book "Unconventional and Unexpected, American quilts under the radar", by Roderick Kiracofe, I made the Overlapping Octagons.

Instead of continuing with hourglass blocks at the intersections of the octagons as I did for the first few blocks, I took the fabric of the "sashing" further to form the point. The hour glass blocks gave very bulky seams at the corners of the red pieces but now there is less bulk but more Y-seams!

The original quilt was pieced by hand and I think that if I had done that I may have been finished sooner. Slow going as it was I'm glad I persevered; I'm quite comfortable with Y-seams now!

I quilted the red squares with various FMQ designs, and varying degrees of success! In the "sashing" I followed the seam lines to avoid losing the shape of the octagons. In my view that has worked well and they stand out nicely.
fabrics: scraps from stash
measurements: 38" x 44"
pieced with Aurifil 50 wt light grey
quilted with Aurifil 40 wt dark blue, dark red and bright red.
Now I'm going to look into the book again and see which quilt I would like to make next! 

Happy sewing


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

September Maple Leaves....on the wall!

September seemed to call for a Maple Leaf quilt....especially since I had been eyeing the quilts in the "Unconventional & Unexpected" book  by Kiracofe and found one which intrigued me made in PA by an 'unknown quilter'.....more's the pity for there being no signature. I love the new improv quilts but I also like using well-loved traditional quilt patterns and making my own version of those familiar blocks that have been around forever. It feels fitting and proper to add to the quilt story with one's own humble version of the tried and true....a joining up with the sisterhood!

I chose smaller calico-like prints from my stash and dug deeper into my older fabrics. It's always such a pleasure to place an 'older' fabric in a quilt and give it a reason for being! I took my cues from the inspiration quilt (below) but didn't use any stripes or plaids like this quilt maker did. I also did not add that unexpected strip of  bright red on one side. My blocks seemed to call for a softer green border. My quilt is approximately 51 1/2" x 51 1/2". The inspiration quilt is 65" x 68" and notice how there is binding on three sides but not on the fourth! There is definitely a story with that added strip of red but we'll never know! Ah...the mysteries....

I machine quilted it in horizontal wavy lines and pieced a large maple leaf for the backing.

And I didn't forget the signature!

And now the completion of  this Maple Leaf has me eyeing yet another Maple Leaf quilt in another exciting book full of inspiration:  "Signs and Symbols: African Images in African-American Quilts" by Maude Southwell Wahlman.

And I find myself thinking hmmm......

Friday, November 1, 2019

Thirty blocks pinned on the wall for UANDUQAL

Target reached with the blocks and now on to sewing and the
borders on.
A rough photo here I'm afraid, blocks just roughly pinned on the design wall.

I should be back during the week with a finished top - fingers crossed!
Excuse the very, very short post but I have a visitor just arrived.


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Conundrum - The Quilt

Conundrum is finished!

Measures 30" wide x 42" long

Created using the cut off corners 
from the blocks for Optic Strings.

Layout inspired by the "String Grid" quilt on page 22
of Roderick Kiracofe's Unconventional and Unexpected.

This is my first finish for Sujata's U and U QAL.

Backing is by Keiko Goke ("stripe plaid")

I used the one leftover triangle to create a label.

Quilted with Affinity variegated Rainbow thread
(with Glide Bark in the bobbin)
using my unmarked liberated free motion all-over fans.

And here is where Conundrum will live
for the foreseeable future -
what you see when you first step through
the door to my design studio.

And this is the view as you leave the design studio.

* * *

There are three more UandU quilt tops to be quilted.

Sooner rather than later, I hope.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Optic Strings and Conundrum - Two Flimsies

Optic Strings - the flimsy 

48" x 64"

Inspired by "Aunt Etta's" string quilt on page 135
of Unconventional and Unexpected.

Pieced using Moda solids and reproduction prints.

You can read the complete reveal post on my blog HERE.

Conundrum - the flimsy

30.5" x 42"

Pieced using the corners cut from Optic String's strip sets.

Layout inspired by "String With Grid" on page 22
of Unconventional and Unexpected.

You can read the full reveal post on my blog
by clicking HERE and scrolling down a post or two.

* * *

The U and U QAL has been so interesting.
Thanks, Sujata for posing this challenge!

With four quilt tops waiting to be quilted,
I think I'm "done" with the challenge for now . . . 

Thursday, September 26, 2019

And still the blocks keep on coming for UANDUQAL

I'm slowly moving towards the finish line with my blocks 
"Cross"/Four Patch
with another five shown below.

I'm looking forward to having all 30 blocks on the design wall
and spending time arranging.

It may be next week before I'm at that stage due to a
 bout of tendonitis in my forearm!

I'm having such a lot of fun playing with the colour in these blocks and
intend to spend a little time soon looking for another
inspirational quilt from the U and U book.

More next week - have a happy weekend.