Category Archives: update

Something in Common

Grandma's Surprise, both by Joyce Gieszler

Aren’t these two quilts striking? They were both made by local designer and teacher Joyce Gieszler, whose book Then and Now Quilts was published last year by Kansas City Star Quilts. These quilts have something else in common: they are made from the very same block!

Now look at this third version, also made by Joyce:

Grandma's Surprise, Joyce Gieszler, 3 of 3
Made with Cotton and Steel fabrics, this quilt is as contemporary as the the upper left quilt, made of Civil War reproduction fabrics, is traditional. I first saw this third version in January at the Pine Needle Quilt Shop’s Open House. Joyce was there introducing herself, her new book (which includes this design), and an upcoming class. I signed up for her class on the spot.

The block in these quilts is called Grandma’s Surprise.  Deconstructed, it’s a kaleidoscope block. Well, you know how I love kaleido quilts. Is it any wonder I wanted to make one of my own?

When Joyce showed me a photo of the three-color quilt (upper right), I knew immediately that I wanted to make this version. I’m intrigued by the way color, value, and fabric placement completely change the look of a quilt. Joyce’s three versions illustrate this beautifully.

A basic kaleidoscope block is made of eight 45° triangles, forming an octagon, and finishes with four corner triangles to make a square:

basic kaleidoscope block

That’s a total of 12 pieces. The Grandma’s Surprise block contains 36 pieces (32 + four corners) because each of the triangles is made up of four smaller triangles:

grandma's puzzle block

Do you see how four triangles fill the same space as one triangle in the basic version?  Joyce calls the triangle made up of four smaller ones a pyramid; her clever method of constructing a pyramid is to cut the triangles oversize and trim them after they have been sewn together and pressed. Distortion (from pressing, especially) is minimized so matching the seams and sewing the pyramids together is much easier.

The quilt is made of nine blocks in a 3 x 3 grid. In the two quilts at the top of the page, Joyce made 12″ blocks so the quilts finish at 36″ square. The Cotton and Steel version is made of 16″ blocks with a 3″ border, finishing at 54″ square.

For my three-color version of Grandma’s Surprise, I chose red, black, and a very pale grey. Here is my center block:

center block, grandma's puzzle

It measures 16½” unfinished. The black print is from the Black, White & Currant 5 line by Color Principle for Henry Glass & Co. At a recent Portland Modern Quilt Guild meeting, guildmate AnnMarie Cowley surprised me with several large pieces from this line left over from a quilt project of her own. (Thanks so much, AnnMarie!) I’m delighted to find a project that puts her gift to good use.

 

 

 

Posted in kaleidoscope quilts, Portland Modern Quilt Guild, update | 2 Comments

Binding Billie’s Star

Today I’m linking up with Kelly at My Quilt Infatuation, who hosts a Needle and Thread Thursday (NTT) link party each week. I discovered Kelly’s blog a few weeks ago and have been enjoying it immensely.

My project du jour? Hand sewing the binding to the back of Billie’s Star:

binding Billie's Star
I use just three straight pins when I sew my binding to the back, taking them out as I stitch and then moving them ahead to the next section. Billie Mahorney (after whom this quilt is named) taught me that years ago. I’ve tried other methods from time to time but always return to this way. Do you have a favorite method of stitching your bindings down?

 

 

 

Posted in update | 5 Comments

Putting a Spring in My Step

Late to the party. Auntie Em at Quilt Crossing wrote a post on Monday about a rainbow color challenge on Instagram last week that I missed completely. The challenge, issued by Paul and Lianne of Swirly Designs, was to post a photo a day showing the tools and supplies used in crafting, with each day’s post featuring a specific color of the rainbow. Auntie Em did the red-orange-yellow-green-blue-violet of the challenge. She went on to play with pink, turquoise, and black, and wound up with a nine-photo collage worthy of framing.

Not only did I miss the Instagram challenge, I also missed posting Tuesday on St. Patrick’s Day. Late to the party again.

Since today is the first day of spring — my favorite season — I’m celebrating with a photo that references 1) the Instagram challenge, 2) St. Patrick’s Day, 3) the advent of spring, and 4) my favorite color:

green
Have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

 

Posted in update | 3 Comments

UFO Watch: New York Beauty

All the buzz about Bill Volckening’s soon-to-be-released book New York Beauty, Quilts from the Volckening Collection, published by Quiltmania in France, has inspired me to revisit the New York Beauty blocks I started making seven or eight years ago.

Here is one of my blocks . . .

NYB block 1
. . . and another:

NYC block 2
The designs for these blocks and 28 more are from the book New York Beauty: Traditional Blocks with Contemporary Variations, self-published by Karen K. Stone in 1995 (out of print now, I believe.) It contains paper foundations and freezer paper templates meant to be removed from the book.  If the quiltmaker makes all 30 blocks shown in the book, there won’t be much left of the book!

I made 18 different blocks before putting the project aside. Just now I randomly stuck them up on my design wall:

NYB blocks to date 3-2015
Judging from some of the fabrics I see, this is one of my oldest UFOs. My collection of black, white, grey, and red fabrics has grown substantially since I last worked on this project!

I think it’s time to get back on track with my New York Beauty, don’t you?

Linking up on NTT (Needle and Thread Thursday) with Kelly at My Quilt Infatuation.

 

 

 

Posted in New York Beauty, update | 8 Comments

Billie’s Star

I’m back from a fun-filled week in Arizona.

My first errand of the day was a happy one: a trip to longarm quilter Nancy Stovall’s studio, Just Quilting, to pick up this quilt:

Billie's Star, trimmed
I asked Nancy to quilt gentle wavy lines horizontally across the quilt. I love the effect. Her quilting adds texture and visual interest yet lets the star blocks be the center of attention.

Here’s a close-up of the only block that features a butterfly:

quilting detail, Billie's Star
The secondary star in the center of the quilt has a faux-kaleidoscope block in the center:

Billlie's Star, quilted center
The quilt top started out a perfect 56½” square. After quilting and trimming, it measures 53¾” x 54½”. This is the reason I don’t often make square quilts: they are rarely square after quilting. (But it looks square, doesn’t it?)

The back of the quilt includes leftover pieces of the focus fabric set on point:

Billie's Star, back

At my request Nancy used the same pale blue thread on the back. It’s almost like having a reversible quilt. The batting is 80% cotton/20% wool, a low-loft blend I will surely ask for in the future.

I’ve named this quilt Billie’s Star because it was inspired by my quilt teacher and mentor, Billie Mahorney. Billie is very fond of stars and featured them in several of the classes I took from her between 2005 and 2009. She taught for over 20 years at the Pine Needle Quilt Shop in Lake Oswego, Oregon. It was a sad day for her legions of fans when she and her husband moved to Idaho to be close to grandchildren. Happily, she comes back to Oregon to visit now and then but her students sure do miss her.

To finish Billie’s Star, I’m going to bind it in the pale blue background fabric so the stars continue to float.

 

 

 

Posted in faux-kaleido quilts, update | 7 Comments

Ball Games 6, Quilt Shops 0

More than a week without a post. Are you wondering what happened to me? This is what I’ve  been up to:

tix

I’ve been in sunny Arizona following the Cactus League. For the uninitiated, the Cactus League is comprised of half of Major League Baseball’s teams, here for a month of spring training before the season officially opens next month. (The other half of the MLB teams are in Florida playing in the Grapefruit League.)

The DH — that’s Dear Husband, not Designated Hitter — and I came to Arizona for a five-day Road Scholar program on Spring Training that included tickets to four San Francisco Giants games. By tacking on games with other teams before and after the Road Scholar program, we’ve turned our eight-day trip into an eight-game marathon. Six down, two to go.

At the Giants-White Sox game Thursday evening at Camelback Ranch, comedian Will Ferrell dropped in — literally — to play for both sides. At the top of the ninth inning a helicopter descended into center field and deposited Ferrell, already decked out in a Chicago uniform. He went right into the lineup for the White Sox and hit a foul ball before striking out.

will ferrell
Before the bottom of the ninth began, Ferrell had been “traded” to the Giants. He emerged from the San Francisco dugout in catcher’s gear and took a short-lived turn behind the plate. Ferrell made appearances at four other parks on Thursday, wearing the uniforms of 10 MLB teams and playing all nine positions — quite a feat! His appearances, all part of a program to raise funds for cancer research, will be featured in an HBO special later this year.

I had hoped to visit a few quilt shops during the week but our Road Scholar program was packed with lectures and other activities along with the games. The program is over now, so my plan is to hit a couple of shops today and tomorrow before we fly home to Portland.

You know it’s a good weekend when it combines baseball and quilt shop hopping!

 

 

 

Posted in family, update | 2 Comments

Quilting in Progress: Sun Flowers

Finally — a quilting plan is in place for Sun Flowers, the wall hanging I set aside in January:

2014-12, Sun Flowers
You may remember that Sun Flowers is the third of four kaleidoscope quilts I am making that represent the seasons of the year. The first two quilts, representing spring and fall, are Under Paris Skies and Autumn Reflections, each of which measures about 18″ x 55″:

Season to Taste high res pattern cover (2)
The quilting on Sun Flowers is a combination of straight line quilting with a walking foot and free-motion quilting (FMQ) in the eight triangles that form each octagon:

Sun Flowers, one block quilted

The straight lines don’t cross the kaleido blocks as they did in Under Paris Skies. My intent here is to make the lines look as if they are going behind the blocks. The swirly free-motion quilting motif is the same one I used on Autumn Reflections and wrote about here. I used 50-weight Aurifil thread in pale grey so the quilting would add texture but not stand out too much.

I couldn’t resist adding those buttons (not yet sewn on) for the photo. Layering the buttons creates a secondary sunflower, reinforcing the theme of the quilt.

You can see the FMQ design in the kaleido wedges more easily on the pieced back:

Sun Flowers, back of one block quilted-001

It feels good to be this far with the quilting. I have two more blocks to go but seem to have overcome my procrastination, always an issue where FMQ is concerned.

Linking up on NTT (Needle and Thread Thursday) with Kelly at My Quilt Infatuation.

 

 

 

Posted in free motion quilting, kaleidoscope quilts, update | 3 Comments

Snapshots Quilt-Along: Block 2

snapshots-banner
Like so many in the quilting community, I am enchanted by the Snapshots quilt you see above, designed by the mother-daughter team of Bonnie Olaveson and Camille Roskelley. Each woman is a talented quilt designer in her own right; as Bonnie and Camille, they design fabric for Moda. They collaborated to design this sampler quilt celebrating moments of happiness in our lives. The quilt is the centerpiece of a year-long Quilt-Along organized by the Fat Quarter Shop and Moda Fabrics for the benefit of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

I willingly donated to this worthy cause and am downloading instructions as they are released on the 15th of each month, even though at this point I don’t plan to make the entire quilt. I do plan to make at least two blocks.

Many happy moments in my life have been spent in front of my sewing machine, so I knew as soon as I saw Snapshots that I would make February’s block, named “Sew On and Sew On” by the designers. Here is my version:

Snapshots block 2-15

How do you like the “knobs” on my sewing machine? My color scheme was dictated by the piece of fabric in my stash that strip came from.

Bonnie and Camille’s block measures 12½” x 16½”. Since I’m not incorporating my block into a quilt, I added strips to the top and bottom and widened the side strips. My block measures 15″ x 17½”. I’m thinking about framing it and hanging it in my sewing room.

As the end of this month is mere hours away (how quickly it flew by!), I’m claiming this as my final February finish.

 

 

 

Posted in Quilt-Along, update | 7 Comments

Reach for the Stars: Side by Side

My quilt Catch a Falling Star, based on Minnesota quiltmaker Terri Krysan’s Reach for the Stars quilt, is currently hanging in the Pine Needle Quilt Shop where it is receiving very nice comments from customers.

Several people have asked how my quilt differs from Terri Krysan’s (other than the obvious difference of fabric choices) so I thought I would give you a look at both quilts side by side:

Reach for the Stars3
Left, Terri Krysan’s original quilt “Reach for the Stars” (86¾” x 106½”), 2012. Right, Dawn’s version, “Catch a Falling Star” (84″ x 105″), 2015.

(Photo on left copyright Quilter’s Newsletter. Used with permission. Photo by Melissa Karlin Mahoney. Photo on right by Bill Volckening.)

The center medallion and three of the blocks were made following Terri’s design. From there I departed in ways both large and small. I’ll use the quilt outline below to explain those differences:medallion quilt layout

Blocks 1 and 2: no changes.

Block 3: incorporated fussy-cut images in outer part of block.

Block 4: changed center of block to a fussy-cut image enclosed in an inset circle. Moved to Block 11 position.

Block 5: no change.

Block 6: replaced pinwheel in center of block with a 4-Patch Wonder block. Moved to Block 7 position.

Block 7: eliminated appliquéd circles, incorporated fussy-cut image in center of block. Moved to Block 14 position.

Block 8: incorporated fussy-cut image in center of block and changed design of outer part to incorporate fussy-cut border stripe. Moved to Block 6 position.

Block 9: added four triangles to create a star. Moved to Block 13 position.

Block 10: replaced block completely with design spotted on a coffee mug.

Block 11: replaced block completely with a block I dreamed up (although it may well exist elsewhere). Moved to Block 4 position.

Block 12: made the center a square within a square and changed the color value in the corner four-patches to avoid having dark fabric in the points where they would bleed into the black sashing. Moved to Block 9 position.

Block 13: incorporated fussy-cut image into circle in center. My circle is inset rather than appliquéd. Moved to Block 8 position.

Block 14: replaced center of block with a double pinwheel block incorporating fussy-cut images. Moved to Block 12 position.

That’s it for the blocks, though I should note that Terri used fussy-cut images in seven of her 14 blocks. I challenged myself to incorporate fussy-cut images in all 14.

The setting triangles were made following Terri’s design but I altered the design of the checked border to make all four corners symmetrical. I’m very proud of that achievement.

Now you probably think all 14 blocks are different, don’t you? Not so! Two of the blocks are exactly the same design. They just look different because of the fabrics used. Can you spot which two are the same? Here’s a bigger photo of my quilt to help you look:

CAFS front BV photo 800Happy hunting!

 

 

 

Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, Reach for the Stars sampler quilt, update | 5 Comments

Another February Finish: Olivia Twist

My first (but not my last) bedrunner quilt is back from the longarmer. It’s also bound, labeled, and ready to display. So satisfying to report another February finish! Here it is:

Olivia Twist front (2)

Olivia Twist, so named because of the floral focus fabric (A Garden for Olivia by In the Beginning Fabrics) and the twist block, measures 31″ x 76″ — a good size for the bottom of a double or queen-size bed. The design is adapted from my pattern 4-Patch Wonder with a Twist.

I’m delighted with the free-motion quilting done by Jolene Knight of Good Knight Quilts. I’ll bet you’d like to see some details, wouldn’t you? Happy to oblige.

In the 4-Patch Wonder blocks Jolene quilted a radiating blossom, repeating the same motif in the small black squares between blocks:

Olivia Twist quilting detail front 2
You can also see the whimsical leaf-and-loop motif she quilted in the lattice strips. Here’s another block:

Olivia Twist, quilting detail on front
In the background Jolene quilted a free-form spiral motif with pebbles here and there. Check this out:

Olivia Twist, quilting detail background

(The background fabric looks almost purple in the photo above. In actuality it is a very dark navy and black batik print.)

On the back of the quilt is a full length piece of the focus fabric as well as three leftover 4-Patch Wonder blocks set on point:

Olivia Twist back

In this close-up of the back, you can see more of Jolene’s playful free-motion quilting:

Olivia Twist, quilting detail on back
I’m already thinking about my next bedrunner quilt. My choice of pattern may surprise you. I hope you’ll check back in a few days to see what I have in mind.

 

 

 

Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, bed runners, faux-kaleido quilts, free motion quilting, update | 4 Comments