Saturday, October 31, 2015

Ola Pola

 The Snaps quilt has a new name. Ola Pola. It's not really a long story. You can Google it. It's the name of a candy from Europe. I chose that name because I wanted the name to be something sweet. As for the rest... it has to do with the person who will be receiving this quilt. I can't say more. When time comes, I'll fill you in.

 Here's the backing for Ola Pola.  Yes, this was in my stash too. I bought four yards of it on sale when I visited Washington DC a few years back.

This is going to be one very pretty quilt.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Comfort Quilt, 3

I spent all day Sunday sewing up the blocks for the comfort quilt.

They were some kind of crazy, that's for sure.

Some of them really twisted my head, getting me confused on which color was the "figure" and which was the "ground".

But eventually I found an arrangement that worked.  We thought it would be a nice thing to put the girl's name on the quilt.

 Not that we were worried this quilt would ever go astray...

 I think this is the perfect backing for this quilt, and I know Diane is going to love it. Let's all hope she beats cancer and gets to enjoy it for a very long time.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Comfort Quilt, 2

I'm on a roll. The house has been neglected, and my desk is a waterfall of paperwork. It's more fun to be in the sewing studio.  I'll have to get down to reality soon, but for now this is too much fun.

I paired all  my strips, cut and sewed the curves and cut the curved pairs into blocks. Then I designed all the blocks and set them aside to pin while I watched TV. I saved all the little extra bits from each strip. Hold that thought...

This is the end of an evening's work.

Then I took the little leftover bits and sewed them together, alternating the black and white at each end. I just grabbed the strips semi-randomly. The resulting strip was about five feet long, and totally awesome. I didn't know exactly what I'd do with it, but felt it would appear on the back of the quilt somehow.

 I love this block.

And this one. This quilt goes WAY WAY WAY over the top, but it's perfect for the young lady it's going to, and she so well deserves it. I'm happy to be making it and have been having such fun doing it.

PS, All the fabrics for this quilt came from my stash. I'm not sure if I should hide from embarrassment about that fact.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Binding the Petals

Regular readers know I hand sew my binding on the front of my quilts. My mother taught me how to blindstitch when I was in the fifth grade.

Because I have arthritis in my right thumb, I can only hand sew about 30" a day, so I am working my way around the quilt 30" at a time.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Comfort Quilt

A friend wrote to me recently and asked if I could help her out. She wanted to gift a small quilt to a friend of hers who has been battling leukemia for a long time.   She told me where to find her friend's Instagram feed, so I checked it out.

One look told me this young lady LOVED bright, bold unexpected combinations. I wrote back to my pal suggesting a Rail Fence block the same size as the Blue Boy quilt. It would go together quick. How about eye popping brights (acid green, hot pink, purple, orange) with black and white fabrics for the lights, I asked her.

"I just heard from her and you were dead on with the colors, she says her favorites are green, purple, and orange!" she texted back about a half an hour later.

(An aside. This would have been incomprehensible to me when I was that age. I am in the Northeastern US. My pal is across the USA in California, and the friend is in Baltimore MD. Our messages, and these plans, were going back and forth across the country in mere minutes... Oh, the internet is a wonderful place.)

So I've been slicing my fabrics in an occasionally gentle curve and sewing them up. I really think this is going to be fun. I have an idea of how to really break the rules on this one, and we'll see how it works out.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Snaps is a Flimsy!

 The Snaps quilt is a flimsy, and needs a better name. Here it is on my front steps.

 This came out so pretty!

Here are some of the fabric pairings.

Here's the green block I added to the quilt to give it that little "kick in the pants" element of surprise. This green was used in some of the block centers, so this isn't the only place this fabric exists in the quilt. (That would be bad!)

Here's the other, smaller, element of surprise. The centers of the cream blocks were the ones that had contrasting centers, all the pink and orange blocks had all cream centers. I wanted to change that up too. I was important to do it in a block where the green would "read" as a light value.

It's these unexpected elements that make such a difference.

Now that it's sewn together, I like it a whole lot more than I thought I would. In fact, I really, really like it!

I don't think this quilt needs a border. And I am inclined to think this quilt needs appropriately "modern" quilting.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Snaps 5

I really don't know why I'm pressing all these seams open. I usually press everything to one side. I guess it's a holdover from the Diamonds quilt where I pressed everything open.

This is going mighty quick. I've already got four row of blocks sewn together.

I guess I'm going to have to come up with another quilt to use up my creams. Hmmm...

Maybe this in creams with brights as the crossbars? Kind like a "regular" version of the Red Sticks quilt... Hmm. Will have to think about that...

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Snaps 4

I finished sewing the cream blocks, and now they are all done. Here they are, in no particular arrangement. When I was sewing the cream blocks together, I knew I had to have some with centers of blue or teal or green to make it a bit more interesting. I like having them there.

Can you spot the green block? I knew the quilt needed a little "kick in the pants."

After looking at the top version for a long time, I had an idea and started rearranging the blocks. I love this layout and it will be the one I sew together. I also made another unusual block. Can you figure out which one it is?

This is about as simple as my quilts get, and although this isn't a stunner, it's pleasing and I think it will look very nice draped over the back of my charcoal gray couch.

It's funny that it hardly made a dent in my stash!  Hmm. Will have to do something else.

Oh gee darn!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Snaps 3

Here are my pieces for the Snaps quilt. You can see the bright accent colors across the top of my worktable.

I am glad I broke up the cream blocks and I like the contrasting squares of blue, teal and green.

Now I have to sew up the rest of the cream blocks. Can you see the little "kick in the pants" I added to this?

OK, it isn't very little.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Snaps, 2

When I woke up the next morning, I tried putting some of the pink and orange squares on top of the cream rectangles, and I liked it a lot better. So I had to cut up the cream blocks and then cut more little squares so I could make the blocks this way.

This is the kind of quilt that is easy to sew while you "watch" television.  Look Ma! No pins!

As long as I was cutting out more cream fabric, I pulled a couple of busier creams from the stash and added them to the mix. And I also decided to include some blue, teal and green little squares as the centers of the cream blocks, to make the quilt more interesting.

Why teal, blue and green? The complement of orange is blue, the complement of pink is green and the compliment of red-orange is blue-green. I knew this quilt needed a kick in the pants, and there's nothing like adding complimentary colors to do that. As I've said before, if you want to make something look more intense, put the color's complement (or opposite) next to it.

Here's another way of looking at it. There are three primary colors, Red, Yellow and Blue. All other colors can be made from these three. Orange is made from Red and Yellow. Green is made from Blue and Yellow. Violet is made from Red and Blue. A color's compliment lies across the color wheel and has everything the original color doesn't. Orange does NOT have any Blue in it. Red does NOT have any Green (Blue and Yellow.)

(If you want to make a color LESS intense, add its complimentary color to it. It will reduce its intensity. Most browns are mixtures of complimentary colors. But that's another story.)

This one is going together quick.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


After the Petals quilt and the Diamond Jubilee, I wanted to make another stashbusting quilt. Looking at my stash, I could see WAY TOO MANY creams. So I knew the next quilt would have creams. Creams with what? I decided to use pinks and oranges.

During one of our marathon telephone conversations, my best pal Julie decided she'd like to play along with pinks, oranges and creams too. You can read about her journey here.

I pulled some fabrics and then set out looking through my books for an easy quilt to make.

I found "Snaps" from this book.

I rejiggered the block sizes so they'd be a lot easier for me to cut, and we all know I wouldn't be working in solids.

After figuring out my sizes and the number of blocks I'd need, I started cutting. It's amazing to think this fabric will make a quilt 54" x 72". It didn't make much of a dent in the stash.

The blocks are very easy. One block has five pieces, the other is just one.

So I made a few blocks and threw them up on the design wall*** and promptly decided they were boring as all get out.

Time to go to bed. I'd worry about what to do later.

*** PS, Nancy J, I haven't forgotten you. My design wall is 65" x 83" (165cm x 210cm), and it isn't bigger because that's the only place in my studio where I had a flat wall. My design wall is covered in a couple of big pieces of Homosote, or pressboard. It's often used as a bulletin board. It's 1/2" thick (1.25cm) and it's painted white. Mine is screwed into the wall. I own the house, what the hell. On top of that is white flannel, stapled tightly over the pressboard. The nice thing about this is that not only do things stick to the flannel, but I can hold something up with push pins if I need to, and once quilts get big, you need help getting big pieces to "stay". You can read more about it here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Binding Selection for Diamond Jubilee

It's funny how things work out. When I was straightening out the stash for the big stash post last weekend, I pulled out this batik (on the upper right) and threw it on the chair behind me because I thought the colors might work well with the backing for the binding of Diamond Jubilee.  When I turned around and looked I couldn't believe how perfect a match it really was.

What's REALLY funny is that I bought it earlier this year for no particular reason. Which is the kind of thing I don't usually do.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Giants - Part 4

I love the color red, and I enjoyed making this red quilt. This quilt lives on the back of my charcoal gray sofa in the living room.

I think I bought this fabric for the backing of the quilt before I had even started cutting pieces for the quilt itself. Yes, it's big. Yes, it's bold. Yes, it's RED. That was the whole point.

This quilt, Font Factory, makes no sense if you just see it hanging somewhere. I made it as a sample for when I teach my free pieced letters class. The letters are grouped on how I think they are best constructed.

So I thought it would be fun to use fabrics with two different kinds of typewriters, one on the backing and the other on the hanging sleeve. This is another fabric that I matched the pattern when I joined two pieces together to make the backing big enough.

This is "Life is 'Tweet," a sample quilt I made for the class I teach on making free pieced asterisk flowers, butterflies, birds and hearts. It seems I am totally incapable of making a traditional "row quilt. These asterisks, hearts, birds and butterflies just seemed to want to be airborne.

I bought this fabric for the backing of another quilt, but that quilt never happened, so I used it for Life is Tweet. Again, I matched the fabric pattern when I made the backing big enough for the quilt. My quilter, Chris asks that backings be six inches bigger all the way around.

This is the "Blue Deco" quilt I made earlier this year as a table covering.

I don't always use the same fabric for the backing. Sometimes, as in this quilt, I will use a large print down the middle and add a contrasting piece on either side. Still though, this is a pretty big flower print. I wanted something blue-ish and spring flower-y.

This is the Triangle Dance flimsy, another "stash-busting" quilt. I wanted to use fabrics from my stash for the quilt,

and I also used fabrics from the stash for the backing. All of these are pretty good-sized prints, and they "echo" the black fabrics on the quilt itself, since those are all fabrics with a black background also.

The "Fall House Top" quilt I made as a table covering (aka tablecloth) for Thanksgiving has three fabrics in the back.

They are all food-related, so I thought they were perfect. One is Martini and other cocktail glasses, the middle one is all about coffee and the last is a novelty fabric that has eating utensils.

And, um, yeah. All three of those came from the stash too.

This is it for the backings of my quilts. I have other quilts, but you get the point. I think if a quilt has two sides, you should make the "B" side interesting too, and that it should relate somehow to what's on the front. Strangely enough, though, I do not consider it a compliment when somebody (who obviously knows nothing about quilts) says, "It's reversible."

Um, no.

I like to make the backings a surprise. I like to make them interesting. I strive to make them relate to what's on the front. I don't ever want anybody to turn one of my quilts over, look at that back and think, "where did THAT come from?"

Why not? Well, think of it this way. If everything you do has "you" written all over it (even if it doesn't have your formal signature), why would you want anybody to think you didn't care enough to do a good job when you got to the back?

At my job, (and I will have been there 27 years this week), I have a very nice reputation. I heard it from another coworker, who put it this way.

"If you want it done right, give it to Lynne."

Now THAT'S a reputation worth having.