October 28, 2015

Quilt 45: Soccer - DONE!

Friend Anna's grandkids are visiting from Germany. She wanted each of them to have a quilt, and I was delighted to make them.  The "All the Pretty Horses" quilt I made last month was for her granddaughter. Now it's time to do one for her grandson.

He's mad for soccer, so we opted for a bold design using a soccer print. Here's the design:
My design software didn't have a print with soccer balls on it, so I've substituted.
And here are the blocks being joined by the red lattice:

I'm loving this quilt already, and am just amazed at how quickly it's coming together.

And here's the assembled top with the borders on it.  When I reached this stage, I realized I had a big problem.  As must as I tried not to pull or stretch out the borders - they did get stretched a bit, which you can see here because the quilt top isn't hanging straight up and down, but is waving at the bottom. That's because the final border (the red) did stretch out ever so slightly as I was putting it on.


Going to be some serious "easing in" to do on this one as I tack down the edges on the longarm.
It was a bit of a job, but I managed to get the ease worked in on the side - and here's the finished project:
I used the "Baptist Fan" groovy board and quilted with red thread. It worked out perfectly, as the red thread is only slightly visible on the soccer print and the black-and-white borders, You really don't notice it much, which is exactly what I wanted.

I just love this quilt - and I adore the soccer fabric Anna picked out. I love it so much that I went back to the shop and bought some more of the soccer print, and will make one of these for "Inspirational Quilts". I'm sure they'll be able to find a good home for it.

October 21, 2015

Quilt 44: Splish Splash - DONE!

Oh, I do love charm squares!

A while back one of my favorite shops had their annual sale - a pretty big event. To my absolute delight, they had a HUGE table of charm squares - all marked down - right at the front of the shop. You couldn't miss it if you tried and, well, I didn't try. I went nuts and bought a HUGE supply.

Here's one of the collections: Moda's "Splish Splash".

They are just adorable little prints - fantasy animals, bubbles and squigglies, all in bright primary colours.  Here's the design I came up with for them: 
The toughest task with quilts like this is just figuring out how to arrange the squares so that you don't have all the blues in one place, all the reds clumped together and so on. I also took care not to have the same pattern exactly side-by-side.

I'm very pleased with how the prints marry up with the yellow lattice:

And here's the top, ready for the borders. I really have to laugh a bit, because when I get a charm square quilt to this stage (below), I generally have a moment when I look at and think, "No!  I don't like it!"  This one was no different. I don't know why I have that reaction, but I do.

It seems like it took just NO TIME to get this put together. Once I got the borders on, I decided I liked it again.

And here it is - all finished!

A closeup showing the stitching. Again, as you can see, I've used "Baptist Fan" as the quilt pattern. It's just about my favorite of the 3 groovy board sets I have. It quilts up ultra fast and just seems to look dandy on almost everything.

Now that I've finished this, I'm looking at the leftover squares, and I've got nearly enough to make another one!  I only need 3 or 4 more squares to do that.  I'll have to comb through my scraps and see if I can find something that will fit in well with the Moda prints.

And here's the backing (solid orange).
This one goes to "Inspirational Quilts" - and as I worked on it, I put lots of love and prayers for healing.

October 14, 2015

Quilt 43: The Deep Blue Sea - DONE!

In September of 2014, hubby Stephen and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. We decided to do something really special, and so went to Hawaii (where we had our honeymoon). We spent some time on the big island, and while we were out taking in the sights, we passed a quilt shop.

Well, you know what happened next, don't you?!?

I picked up a gorgeous blue print (seen below with 3 coordinating solids laying on top).
(click the photos on this page to see larger images)
The fabric was a pre-cut single yard. I fell in love with it and grabbed it, never thinking how hard it might be to find fabrics to go with it, or about the fact that a single yard of fabric gets eaten up pretty quickly in a quilt. Foolishly, I thought I could get some more of it from my favorite quilt shop. I went to the shop and found what I THOUGHT was the same print - so I picked up a couple of meters - but when I got home, realized it wasn't the same.

Have a look:
The fabric I bought in Hawaii is the piece on the right.
It's not just a matter of dye lot. The new fabric just isn't in the same family of blues as the yard from Hawaii.

I hunted and hunted for this print in shops here in Australia. No joy. With only one yard to work with, well, it was pretty tough to come up with a design which would showcase the print but give a quilt large enough to actually be useful - but here it is:
I love the 3-d effect. Kind-of makes your eyes dance!
My quilting software (which I used to develop the design) gives rotary cutting instructions as part of it's features.  Each of the "window blocks" is made up of a square, 2 rectangles and 2 triangles. The cutting instructions dimensions given were:

square: 4.5 "
rectangles: 4.5" x 2.5"
triangles: cut from a square 2 7/8", cut diagonally in half to get the triangle shape.

Well, I wasn't about to fiddle with 2 7/8".  Instead, you can see (below) how I went about it.  I started with 3" squares, placing the dark and light blue fabrics together, drawing a diagonal cutting line on the light square (which you can see in the photo below if you click it to get the larger image), then stitched 1/4" on either side of that line. Then I cut the square along the line and folded the triangles out, as shown below.
The resulting square, made up of 2 triangles, was just a hair larger than the 2 1/2" I needed, so after whipping them up, I pressed them and then trimmed away the excess.  It worked beautifully and was a lot easier than trying to sew triangles together without pulling them out of shape on the bias.

And here's a closeup of the blocks - don't you just love that leafy print with the silver highlights?
I was surprised at how quickly the whole thing came together, really.  I thought it would take longer than it actually did. The top was pieced together in about 4 hours!  And here it is: ready for quilting.
I'd originally planned to quilt it with blue thread, but when I went to buy the thread, I spotted this at the shop:
Variegated blue thread - and it perfectly matches the colours in this quilt!

Here's the finished quilt (below). The variegated thread is visible on the solid fabric, but completely disappears inside the silvery-leaf printed blocks - just perfect!
And here's the back of the quilt:
And a closeup of the back, showing the variegated thread on the dove-grey backing fabric:
The finished dimensions are 46"x58" - and the batting used is 100% cotton.

I would have liked to make it a bit larger - oh if I'd only used my head when I bought the fabric in 2014 and gotten another yard of it. I thought about increasing the size by putting on wider borders, but decided against it, as the borders would overwhelm the blocks if they were any bigger.

October 11, 2015

A Side Note to "All The Pretty Horses"

When I was out walking y'day, I bumped into my friend and neighbor Anna (whose granddaughter is getting the "All The Pretty Horses" quilt). She was very excited to share that another friend found a full Native American headpiece - hawk feathers, leather straps and all - right here in Melbourne! She showed it to me and oh, it's divine.

So she and I plan to get a photo of this little girl with the headpiece on, sitting crosslegged and wrapped in her quilt. If her mother gives permission, I'll post it here.

October 10, 2015

Quilt 42: All the Pretty Horses - DONE!

I'm picking up speed now with my quilting, finding I'm getting through at least one "throw" size quilt a week, maybe just a tad more. Neighbor Anna's grandkids are visiting from Germany - and I'm doing a quilt for each of them. The little boy is a soccer fan, so we've got a sports-themed one designed for him. Her granddaughter is mad for horses and Native Americans - so that's what we designed for her. First, here's the general design we agreed on:

Simple square blocks with a "frame" around them. We had no trouble finding prints that Anna liked.  Here's what we bought:

The Native American print (upper left above) will be the backing. The rest is for the top.

The blocks are simple, so putting them together took very little time, maybe a couple of hours:

I didn't "fussy cut" the blocks, knowing that just cutting randomly would work out fine with the size blocks in this quilt (7" squares). I laid them out carefully, making sure that blocks with similar images weren't too close together.

And here's a closeup of what they look like (click any of the photos on this page to see a larger image):

And here's the center all assembled and ready for the borders

And now the finished quilt!

It's stunning. I'm really pleased with how that top turned out.  The back, however? Not so pleased.  Honestly, I don't know why, but I was thinking that the seam wouldn't really show up - but it does.

I've just randomly joined backs before when using printed fabric. The problem here is that we're looking at a one-way design. It's just not random enough for doing what I did.

You can see what I mean in the photo below. The seam is just about 1/3 from the left. BLAST!
The bottom line: Anna's pleased with it anyway.  And I've learned a painful lesson: pay more attention!  (or avoid one-way designs on backing fabric)

October 7, 2015

Quilt 41: Japanese Butterflies - DONE!

Here's another panel kit purchased back in 2012 when I visited my cousin in Florida. Like the other one, this has a center panel and 2 coordinating fabrics to go with it.

Here's just the panel. Isn't it gorgeous?

I added the coordinating fabrics as the kit instructions indicated, although I did make the flower border about an inch wider than instructed (there was plenty of fabric). I bought a coordinating pink solid for the backing, and added a strip of that as a final outer border.  Here it is on the longarm, ready for quilting:

And the finished quilt!
The binding is made from leftover fabric from that wide floral border. The batting is 100% cotton, and the quilt stitching is done in a gold cotton using the "Baptist Fan" groovy boards. 

The finished dimensions are 45"x63".
I sent a photo of it to Nancy, the contact person for "Inspirational Quilts" and asked if she'd like to have this one for her charity group. She responded saying she's sure she'll be able to find a good home for it. I couldn't be happier.  :-)