Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Summer Sampler 2018 :: Petra

To be honest, I had no idea where or what Petra was, so it was good to learn a little something with this week's Summer Sampler block. Designed by Katie/Swim Bike Quilt, the block clearly represents the Treasury in this ancient Jordanian city.

The block would have been perfectly simple if I had only followed the directions. I totally thought I knew what I was doing starting out, and that plus the unfounded assumption that the block's components were symmetrical, led me astray. My seam ripper being my friend, though, helped everything come together in the end.

Monday, August 27, 2018

For Baby A

Our new granddaughter was born last Friday and we are all thoroughly smitten. And it's the honest truth that I took the last stitch in her baby quilt on Wednesday, threw it in the wash and then pinned it to my design wall on Thursday to dry. What timing.

Baby's mama, my daughter Rachel/@snippetsofsweetness, had shown me an inspiration photo, a darling patchwork quilt by @tincatsew, along with colors she'd chosen for some of baby's nursery linens: Kona Petal, Creamsicle, Pond, Cornflower, Thistle, and White.

I started by making the focal points - the flying geese, half-square triangles, and stripes, and arranged them on the design wall as I went. Then I filled in with blocks of color. There were two prints I included with all the solids, Wink in Pond and Sprinkle in Anna Blue.

I kept building until it was a nice baby-size, 35 1/2" x 39", and started in on the quilting, which all along I planned to be an uneven grid. I realize now that the matched binding details aren't obvious in my photos, but everywhere blue reached the edge of the quilt, the binding is the blue Sprinkle print; everywhere else it's solid blue... a simple little accent, but just an added touch. 

So this timely finish got delivered straightaway, and is home with baby as she settles in with her family.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Summer Sampler 2018 :: Pantheon

Another stop on the Summer Sampler Road Trip brings us to my favorite site in all of Rome, the Pantheon. A former Roman temple, the Pantheon is the best-preserved building from ancient Rome, and now serves as a Catholic church. 

One of the most unique features of the Pantheon is its oculus, and it was from the surrounding inset stones that Lee/Freshly Pieced took her inspiration for the Pantheon block.

The thing that intrigues me the most in Lee's design is her clever placement of color. And it really surprised me when I received the pattern to find how the corner angles were constructed with half-square triangles. I really thought I'd be facing y-seams.

Anyway, I really enjoyed making this block and remembering back to our visit to the Pantheon. Here, I'll let my friend Rick tell you more...

Tuesday, August 21, 2018


When I first saw it announced, I wasn't going to make time for Curated Quilts' House Mini Quilt Challenge. But I guess I needed a little play time in the studio, pulled some fabrics and went for it.

I had perused the prompt 'house' online for a while for a little inspiration, and kept coming back to a photo of House on Krokholmen in Värmdö, Sweden. It was the roof that so captivated me, and for better or worse, my version using all the colors called for in the prompt, apparently looks like a circus roof. Not my intent.

In fact, nothing about this piece quite 'fits' for me. I think one reason I'm not 100% happy with it is that it isn't easily recognizable as fitting its theme, "house". Not that that was even necessary, but I guess I thought it would reflect that in some way.

That said, I had alot of fun messing around with improv stripes, the palette intrigued me to no end (SO not being anything I would have chosen on my own), and unexpectedly, the piece became sort of a sampler of walking foot quilting designs done in coordinating threads all around. And that was very fun.

So even though I don't love it, I'm happy enough to have explored the theme, I enjoyed the bit of improv, and I'm ready to move on. So there you go.

House measures 12" square.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Summer Sampler 2018 :: Pisa

The Summer Sampler Road Trip is two-thirds over, and I for one will be sad when it's over. This has been the perfect QAL for this summer and each new block has been a welcome diversion in an otherwise hectic week.

This week's block is Pisa, designed by Faith/Fresh Lemons Quilts, and you'll notice it doesn't lean one bit, but was inspired by detailing in the stonework of the tower.

Lee/Freshly Pieced shared a good tip that really helped those seams nest. Once all the quarters were pieced, I remove the paper, and then repressed the seams on two quarters so they went the opposite way. Worked like a charm. That and sewing the seams first with a 4.0 stitch length to check placement gave me pretty decent results. And a block that I'm gushing over.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Milan Views

Hands down, one of the best things about putting a pattern out into blogland is seeing what others do with it. So when Milan blocks started showing up, you can bet I was paying attention!

I asked some of the Summer Sampler participants if I could share their version of the Milan block. 

Just look at their color choices.... how they tweaked the placement or added a bit of the unexpected.

Seeing them make Milan their own is just so gratifying.

So we're on to a new block this week, but I couldn't resist sharing some of the fun we're having on the Summer Sampler Road Trip!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Very Slow Sewing

Keeping true to my word, today I'm sharing progress on my Teeny Tiny Trip Around the World. After June's road trip sewing, things have slowed down a bit. I was gung-ho for a couple of weeks (thank goodness!) but then plain let it sit due to other demands.

Pressing it last night actually made me really happy, and I'm hoping to make time for it again. I bought I few more Karen Lewis prints since I'd run out of what I started with, so let's take that as a sign that the end is not yet in sight. Once this round is done, it'll measure 28" square.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Window on Improv

Some much-needed improvisational piecing last week led right to this little quilt. I was playing around with curvy lines, having pulled a haphazardly chosen palette of solids from the ole stash, and somewhere along the line I reached back in to see what could add some interest and came out with what is now one of my favorite Carolyn Friedlander prints. I really like how it seems to pull everything together, and adds a bit of playfulness.

Since that went so well, I chose another Gleaned print to frame all the curves. Love how the design in the fabric changes near the edges. Love that alot!

All along, though I didn't know how I was getting there at first, I knew the end result would be a type of window. The dark solid that I used for the background in addition to the improv piecing is Kona Raisin and I am quite the fan. I find it to be very rich-looking and I think I've decided it's good to always have a couple of yards on hand.

When it came time for quilting, I opted for some organic straight-line to echo the movement of the piecing. I actually went to the fabric store for thread and the best match was Cotton+Steel #753-1078, a medium orange. I used it to densely quilt the frame as well.

And then. I tried a bit of an experiment and did some ghost-quilting in the space below the frame. With any luck, it somewhat mirrors the quilting above, making a four-paned window. Do you see it?

I used Aurifil 50 wt #4030 [plum] for those bottom panes, and went on to quilt straight lines in the background to give the look of siding on a house. The quilt finished at 36 1/2" x 42", and though decidedly quirky, the notion of looking into a window onto some serendipitous improv really appeals to me. It's kinda what I feel every time I walk to my cutting table with my rotary cutter and no real plan in mind. This piece, for me, recounts a time and place and frame of mind that I keep coming back to. And I hope to go there again soon.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Summer Sampler 2018 :: Milan

When hubby and I went to Italy for our 35th anniversary, we really only went to Milan to get home. It was the closest hub at the end of our trip, and it was just a couple of nights, but it turned out to be an enjoyable last stop.

One of the sights we saw was the Milan Cathedral [aka Duomo di Milano], which apparently is the fourth largest church in the world. Now we've been in alot of cathedrals, but never have we been on the roof! Yes, at Milan's cathedral, you can go up on the roof to walk among the spires.

And it was from that vantage point that I got my inspiration for Milan, this week's Summer Sampler block.

Milan offers a break from paper-piecing, and while not a tricky block, the intertwined border surrounding the center 'plus'  requires some careful pinning. So be attentive to matching seams, and you'll be good to go.

It's fun to see where all we've traveled with the Summer Sampler, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how everyone's Milan block fits in with their others!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Summer Sampler 2018 :: Under the Eiffel Tower

Oh yes! Wouldn't it be great to be under the Eiffel Tower right now, looking up to see the view Rebecca/Bryan House Quilts saw? Indeed. Besides the fact that Paris is a place I'd really like to travel to some day, Rebecca's block is one of my favorites so far. It had some simple curves and the easiest sort of paper-piecing, and I just find it so striking.

It's hard to believe next week we'll be two-thirds of the way through the Summer Sampler! I've been enjoying it SO much!