quilt

Indigo Quilt

I eyed some indigo fabrics at market for three years. Maybe longer. Every time I was at market I wanted to buy them but couldn’t bring myself to do it. I finally made the plunge when I was pregnant with Q-Man, and knew it would be a while before I was at any market.

I’ve had a plan for years and can finally execute it.  To be fair,  it took me another three years to gather the grey/beige/greige background fabrics, plus the move, renovating, blah, blah, blah… I have a groovy combination of oriental prints, taupes, some modern pieces, and scraps friends gave me that were just big enough for my project. The circle templates make cutting out the pieces really easy, too. Definitely worth the investment!

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See you in four years!

Last July, I asked several quilter friends if they would like to be part of a round robin. There are no rules, but we each have six months to complete our border and send it to the next quilter. We’re working alphabetically so we always know who gets the quilt next. Pretty easy.

We have a dynamic group. Each of us has a great style, and look, but the combined efforts will make spectacular quilts. I can’t wait to see them finished. The long lead times mean we’ll have this project going on for four years -maybe less if we don’t take the full six months to complete a section. Everyone seemed okay with that.

We have just sent our centers to the first border maker. Okay, I still have to send mine, but I plan to do that tomorrow. Snow and winter break made it tough. I’m sending it with a small pack of fabric in case any of my friends want to incorporate them in other borders. I’m also sending a label so everyone can sign it.

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Your Safe with Kaffe

I was browsing quilters blogs and websites one recent evening and kept seeing a pattern that I have loved for ages. It’s kind of  haunted me. I showed it to husband and he actually liked it! Surprising for me since husband openly admits he doesn’t care for a lot of my quilts. He likes very streamline, linear, simple, quilts. Occasionally I make one he likes but not often. Luckily I’m quilting for me! Buuuttttt, if I can make a quilt that we both like and may even (gasp) get used then even better!

I went to my favorite shop to pick up a copy. You are probably familiar with it. Kim McLean’s Lollipop trees. It’s really a fabulous pattern.

Of course, if I buy a new pattern then I was going to have to pick up a few more Kaffe Fassett fabrics. Oh, drat! I picked up a few to supplement my collection but think I need more. Actually, I know I need more but am going to try to get them as needed. My sewing room is small and husband has a third of it, well, he’s supposed to have a third of it. I may have, ahem, taken it back over recently. But that’s temporary.

The squares are much larger than I thought. 18″ square when finished. That’s one large block! It took me something like five hours to get the first one traced on templates, cut and partially basted. Yikes!

I did change a few things. Initially I had a brown stem but didn’t really like it so I decided to go with green. I cut out the center three times before settling on the current iteration – one was too dark and the yellow didn’t make the grade – and I had to buy a few more pink/red fabrics so I could make the bubbles/circles/lollipops at the end of the leaves.  I put a few down and they were too light but I think I’m happy with this version.

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Progress

I finally got my tree quilt basted. The top has been finished since February 2010. Yep! Over an entire year ago, though I’ll lovingly blame it on having a new baby.

I was thrilled to dig through my stash to find the backing fabric. It couldn’t be any more perfect!

I also received a package of some Japanese taupe fabric from a cute little shop in New Hampshire. I’ve never been to the shop but they have lots of taupes online. woot!

The fabric has been washed and dried and is eagerly waiting for me to cut into it. I have some applique work calling my name.

Just. Can’t. Wait.

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More Japanese Taupe Applique

Blocks three and four (from this book) are complete except for some embroidery. I don’t have the correct color perle cotton and need to order that from here. If I’m lucky I’ll accomplish that in the next day or two. Fingers crossed (sigh). I was planning to mix pieced and appliqued blocks but I love the applique so much that I think I’ll just stick to that.

All in all the blocks have turned out really well – including the 1/4″ bias tape that I made AND the 5/8″ wide yo-yo’s (and quite frankly, it’s kind of fun to make such itty bitty yo-yo’s!).

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Hooray, Horray for Applique!

I think applique work is beautiful. It’s even prettier when the person that made the block or quilt is experienced with applique. I’ve always loved what applique adds to quilts and been in awe of those who can beautifully create it. I have, however, been scared to tackle this particular element of quilting for some time though.

I’ve appliqued before but I generally stick to flowing, sweeping curves – circles and such. Yes, I admit it – I’ve been a complete and total scardy cat but I absolutely REFUSED to be someone that made an ugly block. You’d think that I’ve been quilting long enough to just get over it (hello, almost twenty years).  It’s a curse and a blessing that I strive to do the absolute best I can.

On. Everything.

I wanted to do something with my taupe fabrics and wanted to include more than pieced blocks. Enter the applique. I found a few blocks I liked from Susan Bricsoe’s book Japanese Taupe Quilt Blocks. The blocks didn’t seem that scary and I got the first one down without any problems.

See? Sweeping curves. Easy. And the yo-yo added fun!

The second block was a bit intimidating. I can never seem to get my points quite right, which is the reason that I’ve stayed away from this particular method of quilting. I found a great tutorial and Oh! My! Gosh! Got it on the first try. I couldn’t be happier! Seriously? I think I’m addicted now.

I’m trying my hand at a more difficult block. The background of the circle is a Japanese fabric I picked up at City Quilter in New York. I was itching to use it on this quilt. This particular block is just perfect for that fabric! Now, the author suggests using fusible bias tape around the edge of the block. I would have been happy to do that because, let’s face it, it’s easier that way, but I didn’t have any. And my favorite shop didn’t have any. And I didn’t want to order it. So what’s a girl to do? Make her own, of course! I’m a glutton for punishment but think the 1/4″ bias tape I made looks quite nice. I didn’t have bias bars to make it so I cut 3/4″ strips of bias fabric and ironed down a quarter inch on each side. Really, it was quite simple and I’d absolutely do it again if necessary.** See? Looks nice, huh? And yes, the orange thread is just where I’ve basted down all my parts. I find this works rather well for me.

* Yes, some people make ugly applique blocks. Sorry, but they do. I’m not in awe of those folks nor do I want to be one of them.

** Really I’d rather just buy fusible bias tape and likely will, though I won’t use it for this quilt since I’ve already deviated from that particular item.