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….

Starry Night… the big reveal

Okay I finally managed to wrangle the Starry Night quilt top enough to get some photos. I must admit there are a few strangling pieces of paper still attached to the back…

stain glass

but I promised a reveal today so here goes…

Starry night quilt topAs you know, if you have followed this quilts progress, I did not have a plan of how to put this together.  I just went with the flow, putting pieces up on the design wall and jigsawing the blocks into a top (a technical maneuver I do not want to attempt again!).

starry night detail 4

My design wall was too small for it, so I had pieces hanging off the wall and laying on the floor….

starry night detail 2

My first step was to arrange the star blocks in a rough layout that made sure that they were as evenly distributed and as balanced as I could get them.

starry night detail 6

I carefully placed the bigger stars around the quilt making sure that the fractured stars were separated as well as the ringed stars. I wanted the eye to move around the top exploring and I felt this was the best way to do it.

Starry night detail 7

I then I placed the smaller stars in the gaps!

starry night detail 3

Finally I just filled all the spaces with scrappy blue blocks… and voila… you have a finished quilt top.  A scrappy, random, crazy quilt top.

A fabulous finish for Friday…

This week I am pleased to share another Portland Modern Quilt Guild charity quilt… actually one of my favorite so far I must admit…

Finished PMQG charity quilt copy

The blocks for this top were made at one of our Charity Sew days (check out my original post for more details) and then shipped off to be quilted by one of our wonderful members. This time it was the amazing Nancy Stovall who did the long-arming.

pmqg charity quilt detail 2I love the pattern that Nancy chose for the quilting and extra love that she did it with yellow thread….

pmqg charity quilt detail

…it just pops against the grey and makes the whole quilt come alive.  I am constantly amazed at how the quilting and binding can bring a quilt together… you think I would have that figured by now, but no, every time total amazement.

binding detail

The quilt is backed with a mixture of Michael Miller challenge left over fabric and some very cool donated pieces.

quilt back detail

This quilt will be heading to Raphael House, a local women’s shelter here in Portland, hopefully to provide some warmth and comfort.

Quilt Details:

Block:  9 inch wonky pin wheel block
Quilt size:  45 x 54 inches
Fabric:  Riley Blake charcoal solid and lots of red/orange.yellow scraps

Excuses, excuses and some paper piecing…

Okay I had another slack posting week last week, but I have some good excuses really.  Excuse One….camping.

Yep I spent four days camping last week….Four whole days without a sewing machine, a computer, cell phone connection or a shower!  Despite the limitations I did manage to get some quilting done….

photo 1

I hexied up a storm… four days of hand work produced this lovely collection finished and ready to go….

hexie flower close up

I love the flexibility and ease of English paper piecing.  Whenever I am heading out the door to an appointment or event where I think I may have some spare time I just grab my hexie kit, just in case.

photo 2

So here is a much overdue shot of my quilt top so far… it is growing slowly.

Hexie quilt top wip

I am adding flowers willy nilly, I am sure there is an easier way to put the top together but I kind of like the “stick and flower here, stick a flower there” approach.

Hexies close up

My husband declared a month or so ago that this quilt was going to be his, because (1) this would ensure that he got a quilt eventually and (2) it would also ensure that I did not give this quilt away, as I am prone to do!

HexiesThe fact that the quilt will be pretty and loud and contains flowers does not seem to bother him at all!

Hexies cu

It does not seem to bother the cat either…

Kitty approved

Excuse number two for my slack posting will be part of Wednesday’s post….

Paper Piecing Monday the crazy edition…

Summer has well and truly arrived in Portland and I have been making the most of the sunshine… and not posting as much as I usually do.  Sorry about that.

This of course does not mean I have not been quilting… I have still been sewing away, just a little more sporadically than usual.  For the last week or so the only thing that has been up on my design wall has been my Starry Night quilt.

design wall

As you can see the jigsaw is slowly coming together.  I have finished with the star blocks and I am now just making sky.  Random weird bits of sky.

starry night wip

 

This week I went through my EQ7 quilting program and found a pile of paper pieced patterns and printed them out (my sky pieces are currently all 6 inch square or 3 x 6 inches).  With EQ I have been able to find a pattern I think is interesting and print it out at both sizes.

tree block sky

Now as stand alone blocks they look a little weird but once you add them to the quilt they just blend into the background in weird and wonderful ways….

star wip 2No matter how hard I tried to hide it you have probably realised by now that I did not have a grand plan when I started making these blocks, and that I am really making it up as I go along.  The blocks are not being placed in any sort of grid and I am just going with the flow, piecing bits and pieces together and seeing what works.

star wipIt is a crazy way to work…but really fun.  If you are interested in exploring the individual star blocks I have used,  you can find links to them under the “Paper Piecing Monday” tab and/or under the “Free Paper Piecing Patterns” tab.

6 inch star sky