It’s been a while

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It’s been a while – things have been a bit busy. You can see what I’ve been up to in this picture: decorating. A year ago (almost to the day) we started work on this room and now it’s finished, along with a quilt for Baby W II. You can find details about the quilt top here.

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I used twelve nine patch blocks to make up the quilt in Honeycomb (Teal) and Kona solids (Aqua, Azure, Caribbean, Cyan, Glacier, Jade Green, Teal Blue and Robin Egg). Most of these fabrics were left over from my Aspect Ratio Quilt – I love this collection of colours together.

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I bound the quilt with spare material from the backing (Kona Caribbean) and quilted using free motion quilting.

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Last minute finish

I was aiming to get my most recent quilt project finished in time for Christmas. Rather to my surprise, a number of late nights and early mornings meant that I finished sewing the binding on at 11pm on Christmas Eve, just in time to wrap it.

Finished quilt on Christmas Day

This quilt has had a few twists and turns along the way. The original idea was to use log cabin blocks in a grid pattern, but in then I got distracted and saw some rather lovely quilts by r0ssie and oh, fransson. Influenced by r0ssie’s kelp quilt pattern and tutorial and oh, fransson’s icy pods quilt (first seen here), I went for a group of nine irregular log cabin blocks connected together with stalks.

Close-up

I sketched out a rough design and promptly lost it, so I carried on regardless. I wasn’t happy with the way things were turning out and thankfully, at about the same time, I found the original sketch. I used the sketch to scale some block sizes and worked backwards to create blocks I was happy with – I’m really not an improv quilter, it turns out!

Design sketch

At the beginning of December, I had my blocks and background fabric and was able to start putting the blocks together. Most of my previous quilts use sashing and a regular grid pattern, so this was a bit different to previous quilt-top assemblies I’ve done. I broke it down into small sections, working out simple rectangular shapes I could combine together to build the mega-blocks up and then combine them.

Pieced top and batting

I hadn’t ordered quite enough of the Kona Glacier I was using for the background and the backing, so I put together a pieced strip to make up for the missing fabric. I only just had enough so I had to make my quilt sandwich with extremely small allowances. I managed to quilt the whole thing in one evening.

Quilting

With the binding on, the finished quilt measures 64×64″. I’m going to refer to it as my ‘Aspect Ratio’ Quilt, as all the blocks have different aspect ratios.

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Rearrangement

I’ve made some more progress on my parents’ quilt. I’ve made some more blocks and checked the arrangement. I’m in two minds about it – earlier today I was ready to give up on the whole project but after laying out the blocks as planned on the right colour fabric, I’m feeling a lot happier about it.

I’ve got three blocks left to make, realistically. I have got others I made previously but I’m not massively keen on them. Now that I have more of a feel for how it’s going to end up I think I’ll be able to make the last three much more successfully. I hope so, anyway!

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Oh, I do like to be beside the sea-side

I’ve been thinking about a quilt for my parents for over a year now. I’ve gone back and forth between ideas, have started things and then discarded them, and generally not made any forward progress. The one thing I have decided is colours: a range of sea-greens and blues, largely taken from the Kona Poseidon colourstory. Having bought fabric, I was itching to get started on something, so I’ve made a small nine-patch quilt top using eight of the colours and one print for variety. This quilt was hugely influenced by Hi.C’s Sea Glass Quilt.

I’m not planning on quilting this one just yet, but it’s been a really useful exercise. I am completely won over by the colours and I love the contrast against the Kona Bone I used as sashing and the whole thing reminds me of a sunny day at the beach. However, I think white sashing will be too stark for a double-bed sized quilt (i.e. the one for my parents). I’ve been having a look around for ideas again and some of the ones that are sticking are Elizabeth Hartmann’s combination of improv piecing with r0ssie’s Kelp Quilt. I’m currently veering towards a design of ‘concentric’ pods – so no improv-piecing – surrounded by a white band on a dark background. Here’s the first block:

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Here comes the sun

The sun came out today, for what feels like the first time in ages, so I took the Moda Odyssea quilt I finished recently to the park for some photos. I used a charm pack of Moda Odyssea fabric with some extra fabric from the same line for the backing and binding, and the sashing is Kona Sage.

I started this particular quilt in April 2010, and it’s taken a while to finish. My excuse is that I temporarily lost the blocks in a house move in 2011 and when I found them again I was able to finish it up pretty quickly. I used straight lines to pick out the longer diagonals in the pattern. I plan to write this one up as a tutorial, so watch this space! Now that I’ve photographed it, I’ll be putting it in the post for a friend expecting a baby in the not-too-distant future.

It was a good opportunity to take some shots of my brother’s birthday quilt, too.

It’s got a pieced back of all the solids used in the quilt top and extra yellow.

I’m really pleased with this one, and I hope my brother will be too!

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A(nother) change of plan

I’ve been working on a quilt for my parents off and on for a while now (more off than on, if truth be told). Sometimes it’s been because I’ve been busy with other things but also because I wasn’t completely sold on what I was doing, for various reasons. I think I know what they are now. I’ll go right back to the start and explain how things started out and what I was originally planning to do. I’ve wanted to make a quilt for my parents for quite a while now. My mother taught me to sew when I was very small – I still have the first thing I remember sewing when I was about four years old. Later on, my mother let me use her Elna sewing machine before buying me my own Elna when I graduated. Both parents have always appreciated the quilts that I’ve made, so when I realised they had a significant wedding anniversary coming up last year, I thought I’d make them a quilt. I missed the deadline, but the idea had taken root.

Quilting my first quilt with my Elna

One of the few things I haven’t changed is the layout, which grew out of a doodle during a train journey. The first quilt I ever started was Oh, Fransson’s Mod Sampler Quilt, which uses six block layouts. My favourites were the two log cabin blocks, which I really like the look of and also enjoy making. Most of my quilts seem to have involved sashing separating all the blocks. This time the plan is for something different – the blocks touch at their corners but are all separated by negative space.

My favourite block from my Mod Sampler Quilt

I’d seen the Kona Poseidon colourstory on Rachel Griffith’s flickr in the Kona Cottons flickr group and was entranced. I initially thought I’d make all the blocks out of solids but then I changed my mind and decided to go for solid and monochrome print pairs.

By this time, I was straying a little from my original Poseidon colour story. As I was flicking through the Fresh Modern Quilts group I saw this beauty by Hi.C. Hi.C’s Sea Glass quilt is gorgeous and captures the mood I was after, which has inspired me to return to the original colourscheme and ditch the yellow (but I’m not ruling out it reappearing). I’m almost ready to ditch the log cabins in favour of a more choppy, improv and solid scheme (again!), but I have a cunning plan – I’m going to make a quilt with two tops. One side will be the original log cabin layout (using prints) and the other is going to be improv-pieced (using only solids). As the log cabins I’ve been making recently are ‘floating’ on the print fabric and therefore take a while to line up I think this project is going to be a long one – but I think it’ll be worth it.

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Finished Puzzle

I’ve just finished the Puzzle Block Quilt I’ve been making for my brother’s birthday. It’s not until August, so I’m very pleased to have completed it this far in advance! The weather here has been pretty rubbish lately, so I haven’t taken many photos.

The finished quilt is 42″x50″ and is pieced out of Kona Coal, Snow, Copen, Navy, Wine and Daffodil. The back is a pieced strip and more Kona Daffodil and the binding is 2.5″ strips of each of the six colours. The free-motion quilting is in yellow thread to match the Daffodil fabric.

These are the two most recent blocks for the quilt I’m making for my parents. For these two, I’ve tried to line up the patterns so it’s like the concentric square rings are hovering over the patterned fabric. This may make life difficult in the future. The match between the solid green fabric (Kona Spring) and the stripey fabric is much better in real life.

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