What To Do x 2?

Here are two projects I need to “fix”, and I’m open to suggestions.

improvised quilt

“Swim” is about 50′ x 50″

This first one, shown above, is an improvisation I did about 2 years ago.  I haven’t finished it because the lines between the layers are more distinct than I intended.  I joined the layers with curved seams cut freehand, and I changed the fabrics I used in each layer gradually, but the layers still aren’t blended as well as I’d like.

My “UFO finish” for June is to do SOMETHING with this top. (Mother used to say, “Do something, even if it’s wrong!” when we got stuck on a task.)

My current thought is to cut some freehand diamonds and applique them intermittently along the seams I want to blend.  Any other ideas?

And here’s the second one that needs “fixing”:

improvised quilt

This is to be the June donation quilt, 40″ x 40″

This is my second attempt to follow a Sherri Lynn Wood “score”.  I followed her instructions more closely than last time, and I like it a lot less!

I chose a focus fabric from my novelties because this is a quilt for a child. I followed Sherri Lynn’s directions to make some “rules” and cut up 3 fabrics for the quilt, etc, etc. When I finished, I thought it needed something to “pull it together”, so I added a border of the focus fabric.

BUT, my friend who coordinates our donation quilts looked worried when she saw it. (PLEASE don’t tell me you think that’s a donation quilt?)

So help me out here! What should I do with this?

1. Leave it as it is and quilt it, already!

2. Cut it into blocks to be joined by solid color sashing to calm things down.

Option 1

Option 2

3. Dye it black and use it to back something else (kidding!)

4. Another idea?

Option 2

Option X

Hope you have a good week :-)

My Modern Sampler: Humbug Star

I recently read one of Gwen Marston’s books, and she had directions for a sew-and-flip star.  Like most of modern quilting, this star has been published by multiple people in multiple places, so it’s not new.  However, if you’ve never done sew-and-flip, you can find my tutorial below.  It’s a very fun technique.

flip and sew star

There’s a major flaw here!

So, HUMBUG!  Can you see what I did wrong?  I didn’t see it until I took the picture!  I rarely rip out seams in my improvised blocks, but this was too much for the perfectionist who whispers in my ear much of the time.  So here’s the corrected block:

Sew and flip tutorial

Humbug Star

This block finishes 12″ X 15″.

Here are the links to my other modern sampler blocks so far.

My Own Modern Sampler–It May Take A Year!

The Modern Sampler Continues

Improv Block I

 

And here is the tutorial on the sew-and-flip star.

This project was originally developed for Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine.  You can read about it here.

Unfinished block size 15″ x 15″

modern star block

This block finishes 14-1/2 x 14 1/2 inches

Fabric Requirements

modern quilt fabric

Fabrics supplied by Michael Miller Fabrics

Background fabric 16 1/2″ x 16 1/2″

Star center fabric 5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″

Eight solid fabrics for star rays, each 6 1/2″ x 4 1/2″

Piecing Instructions

Note: all seam allowances are 1/4″.

  1. Cut the background fabric into a 9-patch of 5-1/2 inch squares as shownCutting Diagram
  2. Remove the center square and replace it with a 5-1/2 inch square of your center fabric

    Center square surrounded by background squares

    Center square surrounded by background squares

  3. For star rays, build 2 rays on each of 4 background squares as follows:
  • Lay the one 6 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ piece of solid fabric on a 5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ square of the background as shown.   Place pins approximately where the 1/4″ seam will be along the long edge of the ray and turn along the pins to check placement.  Diagram-3-web Adjust if needed to make a star ray that suits you and to completely cover the foundation piece where the star ray will be.  Note that you will need to have your ray end at least 1/4″ from the edge if you want to see the point.  However, if you want blunt points there’s nothing wrong with that!  Here’s an example:Blunt point example
  • Reposition the pins and stitch 1/4″ from the edge of the ray as shown below:Diagram-5-web
  • Remove pins, turn the ray back into place, and press. Trim the side and bottom edges of the ray even with the foundation fabric.  Do not remove the foundation fabric under the ray, as it helps keep everything square and stable.Diagram-4-web
  • Place the fabric for the second ray, pin and test position, then stitch, press, and trim as for the first ray.Diagram-6-web Note that the rays need to overlap at least 1/4″ away from the raw edge where this section will join the star center. It’s fine to overlap more than that.

    Diagram-7-web

    Press the second ray and trim to match the background block.

  1. After building 4 sets of 2 star rays, re-assemble the 9-patch with the plain corners, printed center, and colored rays.

    modern star block

    This block finishes 14-1/2 x 14 1/2 inches

From Orphans to Donation

One of my UFO (UnFinished Object) goals for the year is to do something with some of my orphan blocks. (Those are miscellaneous blocks left from various projects; you can read about them here).  I’ve already turned a bunch of them into quilts, but I hauled them out again last month to give it another shot.

orphan blocks

These star blocks are orphans left over from several projects, so they are different sizes

These are left from various projects, but I just love star blocks so they probably won’t be the last of the breed :)  And you can probably see that one of them even has a piece turned wrong, which I did NOT see until just now :D

After fooling around with various options for them, I selected 5 and made this quilt:

orphan blocks

Donation quilt made from orphan star blocks

It actually worked out just fine to simply add a partial border to the smallest one.  And the purple fabric is left from yet another project, so win-win!

What do you do with your orphan blocks?

Anniversary!

Zippy Quilts is now two years old! I’m still having fun, so I’m signing up for another two years.
Here are a few pictures of projects from the past two years and links to popular posts:

Rising star art quilt

Rising Star, made for the Quilt Alliance TWENTY contest in 2013

This is “Rising Star”, a quilt I made for the Quilt Alliance “Twenty” contest back in 2013.  It’s still one of my favorite quilts, which is why it’s still featured on the blog’s header.

Here is a quilt I made for Modern Quilts Unlimited, where they did especially beautiful photos of it.

quilt photo

Zippy Star Quilt and Pillow as shown in Modern Quilts Unlimited, Summer 2014

Readers seem especially to have enjoyed posts with pictures from various quilt shows, and I know I appreciate those posts when others do them for shows I can’t attend.  Here are links to a few of those:

Here’s a picture from the post on QuiltCon Fashionistas, which was popular:

QuiltCon Fashionista

Julia of the Houston MQG

And here’s one from the post on AQS Charlotte, where I found the talented Jean Larson and her tessellation quilts:

modern quilt AQS

This quilt by Jean Larson won the Original Design award at AQS-Charlotte

Finally, here’s one from the post on the Vermont Quilt Festival, one of my all-time favorite shows:

pieced quilt

Fill the Void by Cinzia Allocca–my FAVORITE!

In the coming year, I’m planning to update the blog, of course.  I’ll first revise my “About” page, then get to work on adding a gallery.  Please stay tuned!  I appreciate your comments.

8 Projects for April and May!

In keeping with the plan to finish a UFO a month during 2015, here is the April finish.  Since this fabric has been waiting for about 5 years, I’m calling this a significant finish!

donation quilt

Flower Fairies, A Donation Quilt

The second April finish is not only finished but delivered to the Quilt Alliance for their 2015 challenge. This one is called Cat Circus. The Laurel Burch fabrics reminded me of how just one cat can be a complete circus (polite word for disaster) in just a matter of minutes in any room in the house. I love cats, so that’s OK by me.

Quilt Alliance

Cat Circus, my 2015 Quilt Alliance challenge quilt

And here is the May finish, along with two other donation quilts I made in April and May. This means 6 so far this year–I’m caught up through June!  I’ll have more information on some of these in a later post.  They are an improvisational quilt, an orphan block quilt, and a quilt using Cuddle charms and cat fabric.

I made two more blocks for My Modern Sampler this month.  You can read about the improvisational one here, and I will blog about the Humbug Star at a later date.  For now, here’s a preview:

Finally, I bound the Charley Harper quilt that came back from the quilter a while ago.  These organic cottons from Birch are stiffer and less silky than my usual quilting cottons, so I washed the quilt when it was finished.  That helped some with the stiffness and also made the quilting stand out more.

Charley Harper

Turning Twenty Again pattern in Charley Harper fabrics

On to the June projects–I’ll have much more news coming up!

My Modern Sampler: Improv Block I

Sherri Lynn Wood’s book finally arrived,Improv Handbook, Sherri Lynn Wood and I’ve been enjoying it.  I have NO intention of making a full-size quilt for every exercise in the book!  However, an improv block for my sampler quilt seemed just right.

The first exercise in the book involves cutting fabric into squares, then using background fabric as needed to join them improvisationally.  I’ll mostly let the pictures speak for themselves here.

Improv quilt block

I chose  2 fabrics and a background to start–my notes are lying on the background fabric

Improv block

Then I cut a bunch of squares

About half way through, the design looked too static to me, so I cut a triangle of background fabric to set in the middle and throw the whole thing onto diagonal lines.

Improv block

I joined some of the pieces, but then…I decided to add a triangle!

The finished block:

improv quilt block

The finished block, which will be 12-1/2 inches square

This ended up resembling my previous work much more than it resembles Sherri Lynn’s quilts.  I think that may be sort of the point :)  Here are some of my previous improv blocks:

I’ll probably go on to Improv Block II, etc, as I go through the book.  Stay tuned!

The other posts in my modern sampler series can be found here:

My Own Modern Sampler–It May Take A Year!

The Modern Sampler Continues

 

FMQ on a DSM*

*Free Motion Quilting on a Domestic Sewing Machine, that is!

free motion quilting

I started out quilting placemats, because they are a manageable size and not much was lost if I goofed!

I’ve been working on this for years. Here are some things that have helped me, and some that haven’t:

Very Helpful: Taking an in-person class on quilting with a domestic machine. The first class introduced me to the walking foot for relatively straight lines, and to the darning foot for free motion quilting all sorts of shapes. It was helpful to have in-person instruction and feedback.

My most helpful hint: Take some cheater cloth to practice on! That placemat above is one of my original practice pieces.

Very Helpful: After practicing the basics for several years, I took Michele Scott’s advanced machine quilting class at an AQS show.(She teaches elsewhere, too). This covered different types of thread, couching, and bobbin work. She also has a good book and DVD from which one could learn this, but she’s lots of fun in person. And again, the personal feedback was helpful while I was learning. Free motion quilting
Helpful: I got a couple of books on machine quilting and worked through the exercises on my own. After learning the basic skills, it’s mostly practice, practice, practice.

Helpful: Just do it! I found a few free-motion patterns I was comfortable with and quilted whole quilts with them. It went just fine! They turned out waaay better than I expected, so I was encouraged.

Free Motion Quilting domestic sewing machine

Stars and Loops is one of my favorite free motion designs

Helpful: Jacquie Gering’s machine quilting class on Craftsy. It boosted my confidence that what I was doing was just fine.

walking foot quilting

Multi-stitch zigzag stitch is a great way to make interesting quilting lines with the walking foot

Less Helpful: A friend and I spent a lot of money to take a machine quilting class at a well-known craft school. We did not get our money’s worth, but we had a good time because we got to be together.  We should have checked more carefully on the level of the class before we plunked down our money.free motion quilting

Less Helpful: Another class on Craftsy that went through many different free-motion patterns. I got bored with that many slight variations. However, the class itself was just fine and probably would work well for some people.free motion quilting

And finally, I am undecided about the real value of my BSR, the very expensive Bernina Stitch Regulator. I do feel more confident using it because it decreases the problem of toe-catchers, those extra-BIG stitches that are all-too-easy to make when doing FMQ. However, it IS still possible to make uneven stitches if you don’t use the BSR just right.

The BSR’s main value to me is more confidence doing FMQ on things that are really important, when I don’t want to make a mistake.  I continue to use it in preference to going back to quilting without it, so obviously I find it useful.  The leaf designs in this post were quilted with it, and I like the stitching.  The BSR is just not a miracle worker, which I sort of think it should be for the price.

What do you think helps with FMQ on the DSM?

9 Quilts from AQS Paducah

Many quilters consider the AQS (American Quilters Society) annual show in Paducah, Kentucky the top of the heap among quilt shows.  So, I just had to go see for myself this year.

AQS Paducah

For Tanya, by Emily and Miriam Coffey, won first place in the Modern Wall Quilt category

Here are some of my favorite quilts from the show.  If some of them look a little wonky, it’s because they hang the quilts in 3-sided booths and then don’t let you into the booth!  The result is that, unless the quilt you want to photograph is directly at the back of the booth, you can’t get a straight shot of it.  Enjoy the pictures anyway!

modern quilts AQS Paducah

Flowers and Gears, by Robbi Joy Eklow, won a ribbon in the Longarm Quilted Small Wall Quilt category

I had a great time in Paducah, because I had a friend with me and we found COOKIES!  Luckily my friend knew where to find good food and a good place to stay :-)

AQS Paducah modern quilts

It Takes the Case, by Karlyn Bue Lohrenz, won a ribbon in the category of Large Wall Quilts–Pictorial

I have pictures of a few of my favorite quilts here, but on the whole this show had fewer quilts that I really loved than any show I’ve attended in the past year.  Probably because of the emphasis on “show quilts”.

AQS Paducah

In the Marsh #2, by Carol Bryer Fallert-Gentry

However, there were some outstanding quilts like the ones above and below.  I suppose they are “show quilts” too, but they are not so heavily quilted that they appear 3-dimensional, and they don’t have rhinestones!

AQS Paducah

Canola Fields, by Leah Gravells, was made of 199 strips 3/4 inch wide–and she got them all straight!

One of the reasons I go to shows is to be inspired, and these quilts certainly were inspiring!

AQS Paducah improvisational quilt

Boardwalks of Asilomar, byt Jody H. Rusconi, was one of the few improvisational quilts in the show

improv quilt AQS Paducah

Playing It, by Pam Beal, was another nice improvisational quilt

quilt photo AQS Paducah

Windows #1-Antigua, by Brenda S. Wall

AQS Paducah

Rainbow Play by Brenda S. Roach

AQS Paducah

Rhythmic, by Karen Neary

2 Quilts, 1 Set of Instructions

It’s here! The latest issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited, containing a quilt designed and made by me!Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine
The editors did a great job of providing clear diagrams for my instructions, and of photographing the quilt.  It is made from Michael Miller batiks, supplied by the company for this project.  I love MM fabrics, and was happy to use batiks for a little change from the “oh-so-solid” solids that are currently popularModern Quilts Unlimited.And here’s a second quilt made with the same feature blocks, arranged differently. (The solids are Michael Miller Cotton Couture left over from another project.)  You can get the templates from the magazine and make your own blocks, arranging them to suit yourself.

Quilt Pattern

Alternate colorway and block arrangement from the same pattern

modern quilt

Look at this fun quilting done by Joyce Miller!

So go make it your own way!

 

One Quilt, Two Lessons

Check out these fabrics!

Fat quarter bundle

Alison Glass Handprint fabric and neutral linen

A friend gave me the FQ (fat quarter) bundle of lovely Alison Glass handprint fabric and I combined it with a neutral linen fabric I’d been saving for something special. I started with Karla Alexander’s instructions for a quilt, but (as my friends all know) I never really follow instructions so it diverged…improvised modern quilt blocks

The blocks were lots of fun to make.  I followed the instructions for a while, then started cutting the blocks up and inserting strips.  Then decided NOT to trim all the blocks to one size.  I adjusted the sizes of the linen sashing so that all the rows came out the same length, and made the rows of different heights to allow for the different block sizes.

And I slashed the sashing and inserted some strips in that, too.

When I had the top all made, I basted it with spray basting as usual.  BUT I didn’t have enough of the first can.  Then the SECOND can was a different brand and almost empty as well!

Determined to get the doggone thing basted, I resorted to some spray-on stuff that was supposed to bond the fabric to the batting when I ironed it.  This last stuff left SPOTS on the handprint fabric, which is light weight (almost like voile).  YIKES!

Lesson 1:  Be patient until you can get to the store for a can of basting spray.

Finally (after buying basting spray) it was basted and I started quilting.  Enter Lesson 2: this linen is a loose weave of large fibers and doesn’t play well with a tight weave of small fibers. YIKES AGAIN!  No matter how I changed the pressure on the quilting foot or otherwise fiddled with it, the quilting distorted the top and the backing.

improvised modern quilt

The finished quilt

Now it’s finished and I like it.  I appreciate the texture of the linen, but I’m not sure I’ll use it again.  I took this to my last modern guild meeting and people were positive about it, but one of the more experience sewists told me linen is usually stretchy, so at least it’s not just me!

improvisational quilting

Here’s the quilt back–that column was straight when I started!

Well, I try to learn something new every day, so I’m calling this a SUCCESS! ;-)