Friday, September 22, 2017

Intricately finished

Hi all, and happy first day of fall! Where we live, it feels more like summer has made a return with a vengeance, at least in terms of the temperature.  It's supposed to be 90 degrees this weekend!  I don't know what's happening any more.  I went out walking last night and nearly sweated through my shirt.  It could be worse--it could be about 80 degrees colder.  That's coming down the road, I'm sure.

The happiest thing I did this week is finally, finally finish off the It's Complicated quilt, and I'm doing a happy dance because I'm so thrilled with how it turned out:

Wouldn't you do a happy dance, too?  I am so, so happy to finally have this done. Didn't it turn out great?

This quilt is the final finish from my 2016 Intricate Stitches quilt along, which followed the colors of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge to make one block per month, finished off with the center star.  All of the block patterns--including the pattern for the center star--are still available on the tab at the top of this page.  They have a lot of pieces, and they take a little time, but they are all make-able and each one of them would make a great quilt on it's own.

I made my quilt with all hand-dyed fabrics that I purchased from Vicki Welsh's shop in the RSC colors. The fabrics were fantastic and easy to work with.  And not a single one of them ran when I washed the quilt!  The white sashing and the blue frames and binding are Kona cottons, which coordinated perfectly with the hand dyes.

It's Complicated was quilted by Alycia of Alyciaquilts.  She did an amazing job.  The quilting is a mix of modern and traditional, kind of like the quilt.  Each of the blocks has a great feather wreath that extends all the way into the corners of the block:

and the quilting on the center star is also feathers, which completely look like they're spinning into the star points:

I'm in awe.  There are also some pebbles and other swirls as well as some echo quilting in the border.  The quilting really, really enhanced this quilt and I just love it.  Thanks Alycia!

I feel like this is the best quilt I've ever made.  Okay, I usually feel that way when I finish a quilt, but I really, really love this one.  And I'm pretty proud of it, too.

So that's my quilt, with way too many pictures!  Hope everyone has a good weekend!  This weekend is my birthday, so I have a lot of fun plans, including some fabric shopping with a friend.  Hope yours turns out great, too!

Sharing at Finished or Not Friday, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, crazymomquilts, and soscrappy for the RSC.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Quilt festival

Hi everyone!  Today I am showcasing one of my favorite quilts ever as my entry for Blogger's Quilt Festival over at Amy's Creative Side.  Some of you may remember it, but for those of you who are new here--welcome, and I hope you enjoy the quilt!

Here is my entry:

This is the quilt that I made for my daughter and her husband to celebrate their wedding.  I know I should call this the Wedding Quilt, but I think of it as the Happiness Quilt.

This quilt was made from the Eureka pattern by Jackie Robinson at Animas Quilts.  The pattern is terrific and the construction is easy, but this quilt took me forever.  Literally hundreds of hours in this, but it was worth every minute.

The Happiness Quilt was quilted by Alycia, who did a fantastic job.  The batting is a cotton and wool blend that is very light because the top itself was so heavy because of all the seams.  I made the full/queen size, which turns out to be very generously sized.  I think it would probably even fit a king nicely.  The fabrics are all Hoffman batiks from the 1895 lines, which are essentially batik solids.  I think they give a nice texture to the quilt without overpowering the lovely pattern.

My daughter and her husband loved the quilt, and put it on their bed immediately.  I've seen it there and it looks terrific, if I do say so myself.  The room is pretty much decorated around the colors in the quilt, which they chose. I hope they love it for many years to come and that it reflects just a bit of their happiness.

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you've enjoyed seeing this quilt again as much as I have.  It truly is one of my favorites ever.  Settle in with a nice beverage and hop on over to the festival to see even more beauties from all over the web.

Sharing at Blogger's Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Beginning to build

Hi everyone! How is your week going?  So far, it's yet another busy week around here.  To top everything, the hubs had some serious dental work this morning, but the wifi in the waiting room was not good for writing a blog post, which is what I had planned to do while waiting.  In fact, it was not good for much, so I had a totally unproductive time and learned waaay too much about various celebrities from the magazines they had.  (Who dresses them? Seriously.)  He came out fine, but a little loopy.

After all that, I have a new project to share today.  For some time I've been planning to build a free-pieced barn, as detailed in Julie Sefton's great book Build a Barn, No Pattern Construction.  Those quilts are awesome!  My problem is that I don't like barns.  But I do like churches, and I'm especially fond of this little chapel:

This is the Joan of Arc Chapel on the campus of Marquette University.  It has a great backstory--originally built in France in the 15th century,  it was eventually deconstructed and shipped to the US, and later made its way to the Marquette campus in the 1960s.  It's still used daily for Mass and is one of the oldest buildings in continuous use in the US.  It's also really charming inside.  You can read more about it HERE, plus see pictures of the reconstruction process.

This little chapel (and it is pretty small) really means a lot to me in a lot of ways. I have this picture framed and in my office so that I can see it every day. Besides the sentimental attachment, it also looks like a good candidate for a first foray into free-pieced construction--it's simple, with clean lines and few details, but is interesting enough to make a fun quilt. There are also literally hundreds of pictures of it from every angle on the Internet. Maybe I'll try flying buttresses another time, but for now this looks like a good bet.

Here are the fabrics that I pulled for this project:

Most of these did not work at all once I started, though the flowers will be very helpful.  Julie says to start with a detail, and don't start too small, so I started with the doors.  First I put a little tiny black strip in between two brown ones to make two doors:

The doors on the chapel are pretty tall, so I made this longer than necessary.  The next step was to add the batik for the stonework around the doorway.  If you look closely, you'll see that the tops of the doors are slightly rounded, so I added small triangles to the top edges to round them off:

The triangle should go under the strip, not over it.

Yeah, that was a bonehead move.  I ripped it and fixed it, then added the strips to the top and sides, then trimmed the bottom to the correct size for the piece. So far, this measures about 9 by 10.  I left the sides and top wide to give myself room to get the proportions right when I add the top and sides of the chapel.

And this is where my project stalled for a bit.  I realized that the fabric that I chose for the body of the chapel doesn't contrast enough with the stonework fabric.  It looked fine when I bought it and when I put them together, but now that the doors are stitched I just don't like it. The next step is to add the trianglular pieces above the doors, but I can't do that until I figure out the main fabric.

I'll either have to find a lighter color for the main part of the chapel or something weightier for the stonework.  Actually, I'm thinking of using the current stonework fabric for the body and getting something else for the stonework.  I'll take the door piece with me when I go shopping and see if I can work it out.  I happen to have a plan to shop with a friend this weekend, so by next week I should be back to building.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with this, fabric choices aside.  It was not as hard as I thought it would be, though there are some things to still work out.  I have high hopes!  At least until I get to the steeple. . .

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Sharing at Linky Tuesday and Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Free as a bird

Hi all! I hope your week is going well, and I hope anyone who was in the hurricane zone made it through okay.  My son's mother-in-law lives in Ft. Myers, but luckily she was able to get out and spend the week playing with our grandson.  I understand her house and car are both intact, but there is no power yet, so she's staying away a few more days.  Given the choice, I think I'd take hot showers and a tiny boy to play with, too.

I've been doing something really exciting-- I made some birds!  Okay, I made two birds:

Aren't they darling?  I used Lynne's Liberated Birds Tutorial as a guide for these.  If you haven't checked out her blog lately, Lynne is in the process of making another quilt with a lot of birds.  It's very fun.  And Preeti made a really great bird quilt not too long ago, too.  Who wouldn't want to join in the fun?

The birds are very easy to make, but first you have to relax and just be determined to try a few new things.  This was the hardest part for me.  In her tutorial, Lynne says several times some variation of "decide what you want to do here."  Yikes!  This was hard for someone like me who spends so much time trying to be precise.  But I think I conquered it well enough, and I have some ideas for some other things to try on some other birds.

I wanted to make one bird facing each direction, and I didn't really think about basing the birds on any particular inspiration other than fabric that looks bird-like, but once I finished them I realized that these are pretty much me and the hubs!  At the very least, one is definitely female and the other male.  I'll have to ask my kids for an opinion on this one.

I'm sure there are more birds in my future (with some shorter legs), but I another reason I wanted to make the birds was as a sort of "warm up" for some more free piecing.  I am finally going to build a "barn," based on Julie Sefton's book about free-pieced barns.  I'm not that into barns, but there is at least one other building that I'm very fond of and plan to make a quilt from.  Here are the fabrics I've pulled:

Can't wait to get started on this, which I have put off way too many times.  I think I've been afraid of it, but I'm finally jumping into it.  And something is clearly wrong with me, because I've also got a plan for a free-pieced letters quilt, which I've already started working on.  What is happening?  Perhaps I'm rebelling against too much structure in my life?  Maybe, but if it comes with these cute birds, it can't be all bad, right?

That's the update from here!  I hope you're having a good, productive week.  If not, try making a few birds. They'll cheer you right up!

One last thing--does anyone have any of this fabric that they'd be willing to part with?

It's pretty old, from maybe 2010?, but I only need a fat quarter to finish off a project for my daughter. I would definitely pay you for it, and you would have my undying gratitude!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social.