A special finish….

This week I managed to finish up the second quilt I am taking home to Australia…this one is for my mum.
Red star quiltSo my Mum knows that this quilt is heading her way as a birthday present (yes she knows it is coming to her, because I am hopeless with surprises!)… her favorite colours are red and aqua so it is perfect for her…plus this quilt, with its beautiful stars and hours of work needed to go to someone special.

Red star quilt detail

20 paper pieced stars, a couple of yards of Robert Kaufman Quilters Linen, spools and spools of thread and countless yards of red and aqua fabric and we are done.

red star quilting detail

I was smart enough to send this quilt out to be quilted and the fabulous Nancy Stovall did an amazing job.  I actually left the quilting pattern decision up to Nancy and she choose a wonderful swirl that gives great movement to the stars.  I love it.

Red star quilt detail 2

For the back of the quilt I used a bunch of yard and half yard red and aqua prints from my stash. I also embraced the scrappy with the binding, using a variety of red prints to tie the quilt together.

red star binding

As I was binding the quilt I got a chance to look at every star more closely, and reflect on what I have learnt.

quilt detail 1

My first couple of stars were a little rough….I did not use small enough stitch setting on some of them which means that some stitches at the seams are visible.  I also was not as careful with the bulky joins in the some of the stars – I did not iron the seams open properly leaving a bulbous lump in the center of one or two stars.  But 20+ stars in I was a pro – I had embraced scrappy, had finessed my process and was making kick butt stars.

This quilt really does represent a wonderful journey for me… and I am thrilled that my mum will get to keep it.

Quilt Details:

Technique:   Paper piecing
Pattern:  various stars by Carol Doak and Quilting on the Square
Quilting:   Nancy Stovall of Just Quilting
Finish size:  65 x 80 inches

Straight Star…paper piecing Monday

This week’s paper piecing star is a easy, fun one…

Straight star block

The straight star is another relatively simple 8 inch star block…using just 28 pieces none of which are weirdly shaped or angled.  A PDF copy of the pattern I used can be found here….straight star pattern.

Straight star pieces

I used a random selection of green stripes from my scrap bag… but I think you could get some interesting effects with this star by carefully placing the dark and light pieces.  The effect of a whole quilt with this block would be fabulous I think, so it has been added to my “To Do” list.

Tune in next week for another fun 8 inch star….

The PMQG Medallion Quilt

This past week has been a full on Portland Modern Quilt Guild week….starting with a fabulous Quilt retreat and ending with a full day of Charity Sewing.

The weekend Retreat was my first quilting retreat… actually it was my first retreat since High School and my first retreat that did not involve religion in some way.  Needless to say it was fabulously, wonderfully unlike any retreat I had done before.  3 days, 30 creative ladies, 1 well stocked candy bar and 4 Mexican Coca Cola’s worth of fun.

work station

During the retreat a number of people were working on finishing up their Medallion Quilts.  It was great fun to see how everyone had interpreted the border patterns.  Every single medallion quilt that PMQG members have made have been so different, it has been a blast watching them all come together.

Each month the new border was announced by showing the Guild Medallion…

PMQG Medallion quilt top

This version of the Medallion was made by this years Guild Officers – Kelly, Mary Ann, Suzanne, Lisa and myself.  We used the full range of Botanics by Carolyn Friedlander which was generously donated to us by Robert Kaufman.

PMQG Medallion detailEach month we choose a border, worked out the maths (the hardest part for me!) and then one of us wrote up the pattern and made the border (most months I did a paper piecing version of the pattern as well)… You can find all the patterns and instruction here if you are interested.

PMQG Medallion detail 2

So when the last border was added it was my turn to take all the left over scraps and yardage and make a back for this beauty.  There were a few extra blocks and bits in the mix and in the end I made this…

quilt backKeeping with the Medallion vibe, and embracing all the leftovers I made a stripped panel for the center of the quilt back.

PMQG quilt back detail 2

The orange flying geese, circles and navy stripes were all left over blocks from my fellow Officers.  The rests of the blocks I made… including some more cross blocks and some square blocks.

PMQG quilt back detail

Left over yardage was then used to get the back to the needed size of 75 x 75 inches.  Now the top and back are off to one of the Guilds many talented long armers for finishing…  after I have removed some paper from the back of it and given it one last press!

8 inch stars… a new paper piecing adventure

Welcomes to the launch of another Paper Piecing Monday adventure.  After a little break I found myself back making paper pieced stars… surprise!  This time I am focusing on simpler 8 inch stars. First up is…

Twisting Star block

….a fun, simple fun 8 inch twisting star.  I love the four piece structure for this block… it is easy to make and align the pieces and the pattern only uses 28 pieces of fabric!…

twisting star block pieces

I will be revisiting this type of star again I am sure… but to start you can find the free pattern here (with numbered pieces I promise) …Twisting Star block.

Just for fun I also made one of my previous 8 inch stars…

free paper pieced pattern

I did this pattern as part of my Starry Night quilt and I thought it was good one to play with in this colour scheme too.  The pattern can be found here…WQ Starry Night Block 1.

I am currently playing with a couple of new star designs and having a blast.  More next week…

It was a Do Good kind of week…

This week I managed to finish up one of the Do Good Stitches quilt tops I have in progress.  This quilt started with this wonderful block….

scrappy quilt block

I found the paper piecing pattern at Freshly Pieced and fell in love.  I set it as my block for August and then watched with delight as my fellow Hope Circle members sent in their blocks.    A little bit of sewing and voila a quilt top was created…

scrap quilt top

I loved the subtle variations in colour that were added by other members.  The deep orange adds such a pop and the soft quiet yellow gives the eye a resting place.

Resizing blocks

You may also have noticed some fun little sashing on the top.  I love this touch, but it was not planned.  When I set this block, I forgot that several of our Circle’s member had not done paper piecing before… and I had forgotten to give instructions on downloading the paper piecing pattern.

You see if you print a PDF straight from the website it prints out slightly smaller than standard.  You need to download the PDF to your desktop/computer and then print from the download to get accurate sizing. Arkansa quilt detail 2

Also if you select the print dialogue box “print to fit” when you send the document to print it will also print out slightly smaller than needed.  In the end the best thing to do is measure your pattern before you start sewing it, to make sure it is the correct size.

Arkansa Quilt detail

The four blocks that were slightly under size got a special border which added a wonderful pop of colour to the top.

So many times in my creative life I find little mistakes or hiccups make me think more creatively…make me rethink my original vision…force me to think outside the box.   The end results have always be so much better than my original plan.  This has been true with my painting, my film making and my quilting.

I am also linking up with Finish It up Friday over at  Crazy Mom Quilts.

Paper Piecing Monday and a winner….

Okay first things first… using a random number generator on my phone comment (much easier than printing out all the comments and putting them in a hat like I did last time!), the winner of my copy of Sam’s Quilt Talk is

Right now my favorite color is yellow. All shades, from light to dark.

Thanks to everyone who played along, and thanks to Sam for (a) writing this cool book and (b) giving me a copy to give away.

Now onto today’s Paper Piecing Monday… in the continuing saga of the simple square I give you… the Rolling Square block…

Catnap by lizzy house

This fabulous star is uses similar components as last week but has a very different feel. The components needed are…

Rolling square componentsand this week I was smart enough to put both patterns on one sheet.  So all you need to do is print out four copies of the pattern….Rolling Square pattern.

As with all the other patterns there is a wonderful variety of ways this block can look…

Rolling Square block 2…so to help you work out what you want to do with it I have included a Rolling Squares colouring sheet.  Grab some pencils and have some fun.