Category Archives: update

Where It’s @: Quilted!

Last month when I finished piecing Where It’s @, my wonky Greek key quilt made using Karla Alexander‘s pattern Rewind, I was pretty pumped. Now that Where It’s @ is quilted, I’m even more excited. I think you’ll understand why when you see it:

12-16-wheres-its-quilted-1
Karlee Sandell
, the same talented longarm quilter who did the custom quilting on Stella by Starlight (subject of my last post), quilted an edge-to-edge design on this one. The undulating curves are the perfect counterpoint to the sharp angles of the wonky Greek key blocks. Here’s a close-up of four blocks:

12-16-where-its-quilted-detail

When selecting fabrics I started with a basic color scheme of green, orange, and purple, with values ranging from light to medium-dark to dark. My definition of purple stretched to include cornflower blue and a bright orange-red. I needed a thread for quilting that would look good on all of these colors. My first thought was a variegated thread but then I decided to go with one color that would work well across the surface of the quilt. Karlee and I auditioned khaki, straw, and light olive threads. Khaki was the clear winner.

I almost always piece a backing with elements borrowed from the front. Not this time. Out of my stash came a large-scale batik print I bought a few years ago while on a visit to Georgia. I had no idea at the time how I might use the fabric. It seemed to be perfect for the back of Where It’s @:

12-16-where-its-back-quilted
This close-up of the back shows how well the khaki thread works on the leafy print:

2016-12-07-12-45-55
Since the back doesn’t include any design elements carried over from the front, I’m going to incorporate one for the label. That should be a fun addition.

I am so grateful to Karlee for getting Where It’s @ quilted in record time. She was able to squeeze it in ahead of a couple of custom quilts so that I can get it bound and labeled in short order. Why the hurry? So it can be displayed in the Pine Needle, the quilt shop where I teach. I’m going to teach this design in February 2017!

 

 

 

Posted in Quilter's Affair, update, wonky Greek key | 8 Comments

Stella by Starlight . . .

. . . is back from being custom quilted, and she is sparkling:

stella-1
I wanted this one to be quilted entirely with free motion quilting. Karlee Sandell of sewinspired2day was up to the challenge, and I am so delighted with the result.

Karlee quilted free-form feathers in the bright yellow center hexagons and in the triangles that spin around the yellow centers:

stella-2

Contrasting with the loops and curves in the feathers are the angled lines in the white trapezoids. And if you look very carefully, you can make out the swirls and pebbles that Karlee quilted in the background. Here’s a better look at those designs:

stella-5

I love how the random swirls and pebbles play against the random white dots sprinkled on the black background.

Did you happen to notice the four small kaleidoscope blocks in Rows 2 and 4? Each one is quilted with a different design, a Karlee touch that pleased me immensely:

stella-hexie-4

stella-hexie-1stella-hexie-3stella-hexie-2
The fabric in the kaleido blocks is pretty busy so the quilting is easier to see from the back. Here’s the first block in Row 4 as seen from the back:

stella-hexie-back
Yes, I used a starry fabric on the back of the quilt, too. A couple of them, in fact. Stars play such an important role in this quilt that I actually toyed with the idea of naming it Star Crazy.

Go back to the first photo for a moment. Focus on the middle block (Row 3). See how the white trapezoids form a hexagon and the black triangles around the hexagon form a six-pointed star? Stars everywhere you look!

Measuring 53½” x 73½” before quilting, Stella by Starlight now measures 52″ x 72″. I’m going to bind it in the same fabric used in the background so that all of the blocks continue to float in the night sky. I’ll post more photos when the quilt is bound and labeled. I have something fun planned for the label so I hope you will come back soon to check it out.

 

 

 

Posted in free motion quilting, hexagons, kaleido-spinner, kaleidoscope quilts, update | 4 Comments

In the Christmas Spirit

My husband and I are still in Georgia, enjoying a few more days with my sister Diane and her husband Ed. With memories of a fabulous Thanksgiving feast behind us, our thoughts are now turning toward the next big holiday.

Diane has been decorating their home for  Christmas, with a few items chosen to delight their seven-year-old grandson. In the dining room, for example, Santa reigns:

stoffel-dec-2016-santa
The garland on the built-in buffet is adorned with sparkly fruit and berries:

stoffel-dec-2016-din-rm

Suspended from the light fixture in the hallway is a pair of kissing balls the size of bowling balls:

stoffel-dec-2016-kissing-balls
In the living room, the mantel is decorated with an elegant lighted garland:

stoffel-dec-2016-mantel-wreath

stoffel-dec-2016-liv-rm-mantel-detail
Also in the living room are a couple of simple but elegant additions. . .

stoffel-dec-2016-liv-rm-dec
. . . and a tiny tree next to the piano:

stoffel-dec-2016-tiny-tree
In the kitchen you’ll find this charming vignette above the range:

stoffel-dec-2016-kitchen-detail
The front and back doors have large wreaths:

stoffel-dec-2016-back-door-wreath

stoffel-dec-2016-front-door-wreath
Even the powder room gets the holiday treatment:

stoffel-dec-2016-powder-rm
Every day I notice something new: kitchen towels decorated with snowmen, jingle bells and tiny needlepoint pillows hanging from doorknobs, Christmas-themed bowls and spreaders for hors d’oeuvres displayed on the counter, a nutcracker standing guard on the fireplace surround.

I really do think Diane has a knack for decorating. Her home is graciously appointed all year around but right now, decked out for the holidays, it is especially beautiful.

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, update | 5 Comments

Voilá!

How do you like my new sewing tool caddy? I’m indulging in a little sewing for myself while visiting my sister over Thanksgiving. This one was made from the pattern Travel Case by p3designs.com.

img_5067
I need to find a fabulous button to go on the front. The loop was made from an elastic band made for a ponytail.

I stitched inside the pink lines of the medallions to give the cover flap a bit of texture:

img_5068

The caddy has four pockets inside to hold a multitude of tools:

img_5066
These tools stay at my sister’s home because I do plenty of sewing while I am here on extended visits. I’ll take the caddy home empty and fill it up with tools from my sewing room.

The DH and I are here for a few more days, during which time I hope to get a bit more sewing in. Not now, though. Now it’s time for the best part of Thanksgiving: leftovers!

 

 

 

 

Posted in family, update | 3 Comments

Back at the Wheel

It’s Thanksgiving Day and I am thankful to be here in Georgia at the home of my twin sister, Diane, celebrating with her family and my own DH. After six days away from my sewing machine, however, I am eager to get back behind the wheel. (A sewing machine has a flywheel, after all.)

Many years ago I brought my old Elna sewing machine (purchased in 1975) to Diane’s home, and I have worked on many a quilt and home dec project since then. This year I brought a few small projects from home to work on, including a new sewing tool caddy using some favorite fabrics I have used on other quilting accessories:

img_5059

The pattern (Travel Case by Pearl P. Pereira of 3designs.com) calls for three pockets on the inside to hold tools but I am adding a fourth pocket:

img_5060
My fabrics are cut and ready to sew but I am putting everything away for now to help Diane with Thanksgiving Dinner. The air is already redolent with the smell of pumpkin pie, which just came out of the oven. The turkey goes in next!

For those of you who celebrate American Thanksgiving, I hope the same good smells are permeating your home and that you too are spending the day with loved ones.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, family, home dec, Junior Billie Bag, rotary cutter case, tote bags, update | 2 Comments

Junior Billie Bag #3

I’ve made three Junior Billie Bags this year. The first one was made as a class sample, which I kept. The second was made as a birthday gift. Number 3 was also made as a class sample. Since I don’t need another JBB, I decided to make one for a good friend. Regular readers have seen this bag while it was still in flat pieces. Now it’s three dimensional!

A Junior Billie Bag is challenging to make — but oh, so worth it. I call it the quintessential quilter’s tote. Measuring 14″ wide, 17″ high, and 7½” wide, it’s large enough to hold a lot of supplies but small enough to be carried easily, especially because of the two sets of handles. Pockets on the outside and inside can be customized to hold a quilter’s favorite set of sewing and quilting tools.

Here’s one side of #3, finished last week:

mirs-jbb-1-800
I like that block so much I used it on #1 and #2. On the other side of the bag I made what I call a kaleido-spinner block:

mirs-jbb-2-800
Here are a couple of side views, to show you the pockets on the outside:

mirs-jbb-3-800

mirs-jbb-800-4
And finally, a peek inside the bag, which is loaded with pockets:

mirs-jbb-5

My friend was as delighted to receive it as I was to give it to her. We work on quilt projects together at the Pine Needle, the local quilt shop where I teach. It’s the same quilt shop where Billie Mahorney, the designer of the bag, taught for almost 20 years before moving to Idaho in 2009. Billie taught her bag class many times during those years, and I am very honored that she has passed the torch on to me.

The next time I see my friend, I expect she will be toting her brand new Junior Billie Bag, loaded with her favorite things.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, Junior Billie Bag, tote bags, update | 7 Comments

Where It’s @: All Wound Up

where-its-nov-2016Last night I finished piecing my wonky Greek key quilt, which already has a name: Where It’s @.  The name comes from the resemblance of the @ sign on a keyboard to the classic Greek key motif, which gets a decidedly funky treatment here.

The pattern is Rewind by Karla Alexander of Saginaw Street Quilts. I had the pleasure of taking Karla’s class last summer in Sisters, Oregon during the week of classes known as Quilter’s Affair. Karla provided a template for the block, which is made up of strips sewn in rounds like a log cabin block, and she also demonstrated how to make a block by cutting the strips free form. I can’t tell you how much fun it was cutting those strips free form — the wonkier, the better, as you can see from comparing a few blocks.

By the time I got to the last few blocks, I had finally developed a system for keeping my strips in order — imperative, since I was cutting through four layers of fabric at a time. Before getting to that point, I made a few mistakes, requiring some of the strips to be pieced, but I was hard pressed to find them by the time the finished top was up on the design wall.

One of the things I love about Karla’s design is how the background fabrics in the outer blocks extend to create a pieced border. My blocks finished at 8″ square. With the borders added, the quilt top measures 57½” x 73½”.

Where It’s @ is quite a departure from the quilts I am normally drawn to. It was good for me to step outside my comfort zone and make something a bit on the zany side.

 

 

 

Posted in Quilter's Affair, update, wonky Greek key | 7 Comments

Tempted

I’m not going to start a new quilt until I’ve finished at least two other tops. But if I were, it might be this one:

midwinters-night-quilt-at-bjs-quilt-basket-in-bend
Isn’t it a beauty? I saw this quilt on display last week at BJ’s Quilt Basket in Bend, Oregon, where I spent a few days visiting my dad.

At first glance, the basic block in this quilt looks like the classic Winding Ways, with the addition of a pinwheel in the center. As I understand it, the Winding Ways block is made with curved seams, yet all the seams in this quilt are straight. What you see is the illusion of curves. I love that!

I bought the pattern on the spot:

a-mid-winters-night-quilt-pattern

I’m drawn to this design because it can look traditional or contemporary, depending on the fabrics used. The quilt on the pattern cover looks very traditional while the one in the quilt shop has a contemporary vibe thanks to the Australian aboriginal fabrics used.

I could see making two versions of A Mid-Winters Night. But not just yet. I’m not starting a new quilt. I’m not, I’m not, I’m not!

 

 

 

Posted in update | 15 Comments

More Stars for Stella

After settling on the name Stella by Starlight for my just completed kaleido-spinner quilt (subject of my last post), I made a simple pieced back for it using fabrics from my stash. I decided to stick to black fabrics for the back since the quilt will be quilted primarily with black thread.

A review of my stash yielded two prints that are perfectly in keeping with the theme of the quilt. How serendipitous! One features tiny white stars on a black background, while the other is a geometric print that from a distance looks like star clusters. Here is the completed back, which measures 60″ x 80″:

 

back-of-stella-by-starlightThe strip of floral fabric near the middle is the focus fabric that created the one-of-a-kind kaleido-spinners in the quilt top:

kaleido-spinner-quilt-top-update-oct-2016

I’m going to have Stella custom quilted by a local longarmer whose work is, well, stellar.

 

 

 

Posted in hexagons, kaleido-spinner, kaleidoscope quilts, update | 3 Comments

Fixer Upper

In my last post I showed you my latest kaleido-spinner project, noting that I planned to reverse the two large blocks in the fourth row. That’s been done, and this is what the quilt top looks like now:

kaleido-spinner-quilt-top-update-oct-2016
The change was made to better balance the distribution of yellow in the quilt. That small hexagon kaleidoscope on the left side of the fourth row has very little yellow in it, so it needed some help from its neighboring blocks.

It’s a subtle but significant change. Here’s a look at the quilt top before and after:
before-and-afterI was concerned about the lack of color in that hexie kaleido block even before I added it to the quilt so I employed a Sharpie Ultra Fine Tip permanent marker to give it a boost:

hexagon-kaleido-1
This is a trick I learned from a quilt teacher, who referred to permanent markers used in this fashion as “quilter’s caulk.”

Here’s the block with the color added all around:

hexagon-kaleido-2
Sadly, much of the yellow on the outside edges disappeared because I had to trim the block before I added the side triangles and then I lost more of the color to the ¼” seam allowance:

kaleido-spinner-block-in-situ
I actually toyed with the idea of adding more yellow in the white flowers, practicing on a couple of scraps  . . .

playing-with-yellow-sharpie
. . . before concluding I was taking my obsession with balance too far. And here’s the thing about using permanent markers on fabric: if you make a mistake, it won’t wash out.

So my kaleido-spinner quilt top is done. I have a small piece left of the original floral fabric to put on the back — people always want to see what the fabric looked like before it was cut into little pieces.

Oh, and my quilt now has a name. It’s Stella by Starlight.

 

 

 

Posted in hexagons, kaleido-spinner, kaleidoscope quilts, quilter's caulk, update | 5 Comments