Just back from the longarm quilter: this baby quilt using Karin Hellaby’s method of making pineapple blocks:
Longarmer Sherry Wadley and I decided a fluffy cloud motif would be the perfect match for the focus fabric, a delightful print featuring parasol-toting birdies. Here’s a better look at the quilting and one of those fussycut birdies in the sashing strips:
For the back I used leftover strips of fabric sewn together randomly, with angled seams for added interest:
After trimming the quilt measures 45½” square.
The next big decision: what color to use for the binding. I’m leaning toward a medium blue, the same color as the birdies, but I’m open to suggestions.
The DH and I got home today from a week-long road trip that took us north into Washington State and British Columbia. Our goal was to watch a minor league baseball game every night. (Yes, I do love baseball that much.)
Mission accomplished: seven games, six stadiums, and about 1250 miles of total driving. The trip was fun and relaxing and totally enjoyable. We took our time each day, taking secondary roads when we could and really enjoying the scenery. I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest my entire life and never cease to marvel at its natural beauty.
Coming home to triple-digit temperatures was not part of the plan. The temperature is expected to hit 105 degrees in Portland today and 106 degrees tomorrow. My sewing room is on the second floor of our 1913 Craftsman house. Air-conditioned? Nope. Guess I won’t be spending much time up there the next couple of days.
The night before we left on our trip I finished the baby quilt top I’ve been working on:
This is a variation of the Pineapple Plus design by Karin Hellaby. Adding white sashing strips to lessen the intensity of the stronger colors was a good call. I added an outer border of the birdie fabric (Garden Birds by Pam Kitty Morning for Lakehouse Dry Goods) and love how it turned out. The top now measures 46″ square.
The only problem is I used up almost all of that birdie fabric. On a whim I decided to check the Internet to see if it was still available. You know, just in case. Not only did I find another yard of the fabric, I discovered it also came in a green background color called “lettuce.” Well, you know how much I love green . . .
Look what was waiting for me when I got home:
Do you ever like a fabric so much you search for more more when you’ve used it up? Surely I’m not the only one.
Our road trip involved stops at quilt shops in some of the smaller cities where minor league games are played. My sweet husband even made a list of shops for me to visit. Be it known: I did not come home empty-handed.
While I wait for temperatures in Portland to drop — the forecast is for another week of temperatures in the low to mid-90s — I’m going to hunker down in the basement where it’s nice and cool. Instead of sewing I’ll continue editing the photos I took at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show last month. The plan is to have a couple of posts about that in the near future. I hope you’ll check back.
A funny thing happened when I got a few more blocks made for the baby quilt I’m making from Karin Hellaby’s Pineapple Plus book. When I put the blocks up on my design wall, I wasn’t loving what I was seeing:
No matter how I turned them, the deepest of the blue and pink fabrics seemed too intense. I was going for a softer look. When the blocks were spaced out on my design wall I liked the effect a lot better:
“Ah, yes,” thought I. “What this quilt needs is some white sashing strips.”
Then I thought of those darling little birdies in the centers of the blocks:
The birdies are scattered over the fabric every which way, which is why I didn’t fussycut them to begin with. I like the fact that no matter which way you turn the quilt, you see some birdies right side up.
I realized they were just the right size for the intersections of my sashing strips:
I wound up fussycutting a few after all. They’ll look really good against the crisp white background fabric. I like where this is going now, don’t you?
I so enjoyed making a baby quilt using the technique Karin Hellaby describes in her book Pineapple Plus that I’m making a second one:
Isn’t that a sweet block? The print in the center of the block features parasol-toting birds scattered on a field of flowers. The fabric, from my stash, is called Garden Birds by Pam Kitty Morning for Lakehouse Dry Goods. The birds are tossed every which way . . .
. . . so I didn’t bother fussycutting the blocks.
This quilt will be quite scrappy compared with the first one. I’m using mostly medium light values of blue, green, pink, and aqua for the triangles, neatly organized on a cookie sheet:
Here are my first four blocks:
This is just a temporary arrangement. I won’t decide on the final setting till all the blocks are made. The largest triangles that form an on-point square in the center can be one color, four colors, or two colors forming an hourglass as shown above.
I like the design and the process of Pineapple Plus so much I am thinking of making a grown-up version. But first I need to finish this one!
Aren’t these lovely? They are the first group of Mini Mod Tile blocks coming from the second group of quilters attending the Pine Needle Quilt Shop’s retreat in western Washington last month. (You can read all about the first group’s output in my preceding post.) The blocks you see above were made by Sandra and Dena (top row) and Linda and Barbara B. (second row).
Here are the second group of blocks:
These were made by Lorri and Barbara S. (first row) and Liz and Roxanne (second row).
The venue for the retreat was St Andrews House on Hood Canal near Union, Washington. In my previous post I showed you the view of the Olympic Mountains from the long porch at St Andrews House. Here are some photos of the house itself starting with the porch, which runs along the back of the house:
The view from the parking lot:
The herb garden:
A pleasant shaded seating area:
Such a lovely retreat and conference center!
Now for more blocks. These blue and white blocks were made by Joyce . . .
. . . and these were made by Sue and Lisa:
So far all the blocks you’ve seen measure 11″ unfinished and were made with the QCR Mini, the small version of the original Quick Curve Ruler by Sew Kind of Wonderful. Kay was one of those making my “supersized” version of Mini Mod Tiles in which the blocks measure 18″ unfinished:
What about those three blocks on top? Kay was also working on a second project, making Ribbon Star blocks from the Missouri Star Quilt C0. It’s pretty clear Kay likes color!
Another quilter making colorful supersized blocks was Kristine:
Missy was making the mini version using a palette quite similar to Kristine’s:
Three of my students were using the original Quick Curve Ruler to make different designs by Sew Kind of Wonderful. Janna started with the free pattern Spring Fling from SKW but departed from the design to do her own thing. Here’s her first block:
Katie fell in love with the pattern Dancing Churndash designed by SKW for Cut Loose Press. Here are her first two blocks:
Delia chose SKW’s Chic Diamonds design:
With the second group of students I was much better at getting pictures of them with their projects toward the end of our time together. Here is Rosalie with her five beautiful blocks:
Barbara B. completed a runner . . .
. . . and had enough fabric left to make a mini Fun Poinsettia block:
Here’s Missy with her four blocks sewn together:
Do you see how there’s a fifth block in the center that is made up of partial blocks from the four? This is an example of a secondary block design being the same as the primary.
In addition to their blocks (shown behind them), Dena and Kristine made self-binding baby blankets in soft flannels:
Dena showed several quilters how she mitered the corners on her baby quilt. Joyce practiced the technique, making a square with mitered corners in addition to her lovely runner:
Another vision in blue and white is Roxanne’s quilt top:
Linda decided to change the 3 x 3 setting to 4 x 5 to make a bigger quilt. Here is half of her Mini Mod Tiles quilt sewn together:
Mini Mod Tiles looks wonderful in both traditional and modern fabrics. Here is Sandra with her four-block runner in soothing muted colors. . .
. . . and Lorri with her five-block runner using bright Tula Pink prints:
Lisa’s runner makes me think of pink lemonade:
Or maybe raspberry sorbet?
Liz completed her purple pansy runner and made a second one with a charming pinecone print:
Sue departed from the original design by incorporating sashing strips inside some of her blocks:
Remember Janna’s bright batik block? Here is her quilt top complete with narrow and wide borders:
Here is Katie with her four Dancing Churndash blocks:
Can you believe Katie is working on her very first quilt? Amazing! She has a bright future as a quiltmaker.
Katie’s sister Barbara S. was originally planning to make a runner but she liked her blocks so well she kept making them and wound up with a quilt top!
In this photo Kay has laid out her supersized blocks and is auditioning the scrappy connector strips between blocks:
Kay also made a few more fabulous Ribbon Star blocks:
During her time at the retreat Delia finished quilting a quilt begun in an improv class with Jean Wells:
The back is as interesting as the front:
It was all quilted on Delia’s domestic machine. She was on deadline: her quilt needed to be in the mail the following week to Sisters, Oregon where it will hang in the world’s largest outdoor quilt show on Saturday, July 7.
That’s the perfect segue to let you know I am in Sisters right now with my quilt group, the Quisters. We’ve taken classes this week put on by A Quilter’s Affair and we will all be at the quilt show tomorrow where a record 1,497 quilts will be hung for one day. Of course I will be keeping an eye out for Delia’s quilt.
I hope you have enjoyed seeing the beautiful blocks, runners, quilt tops, and other projects created by my students at the two Pine Needle retreats!
The year 2017 has gotten off to a slow start in terms of finished projects. I have several projects in the hopper and a few are close to being done; does that count?
At least today I can claim a bona fide finish. Here is Baby Selene’s Pineapple Plus quilt, started in a class taught by Karin Hellaby:
Notice the binding? I made it to finish at ½” wide (rather than my usual ¼”) so it would provide a strong frame for the quilt and pick up the tiny bits of red found in three of the four prints used in the quilt:
The binding strips were cut on the bias so the cross-hatching would be oriented on the diagonal just like the centers of the blocks, which were cut on the bias because I liked the effect.
I had fun playing with leftover blocks for the back of the quilt, using two regular blocks and one larger one, all set on point to make them even bigger:
I love how the red binding pulls it all together.
The label is a simple square-in-a-square block that echoes the larger on-point blocks:
After the label was stitched in place by hand, I realized I had forgotten to put my last name on it. I’m sure Baby Selene won’t mind.
As usual, Coco insisted on claiming the quilt (temporarily, of course):
After these photos were taken, the quilt went into the washer and dryer. Here it is now in all its puckery charm:
Selene will receive her quilt in person at a family reunion in Central Oregon coming up in a couple weeks. In the meantime, I get to enjoy it in its temporary location on my quilt wall:
Baby Selene’s quilt is back from longarmer Sherry Wadley, who did a wonderful job, and I can’t wait to show you how it turned out. Here it is, trimmed and ready to be bound:
Take a closer look:
First notice the loops and swirls in the quilting motif. Then focus on the aqua and green print in the center of the photo. Those are tiny snails. (The print is from the Far Far Away collection designed by Heather Ross for Windham Fabrics.)
When I was auditioning quilting motifs with Sherry, I was waffling between three designs. My friend Colleen was with me at the time and pointed out that one of the designs was reminiscent of snails. She was absolutely right, and my decision was made at that instant. The quilting motif is called Sashay.
The loops and swirls in the quilting really show up on the back:
As mentioned in an earlier post, I’m going to bind this in the red cross-hatch fabric. I normally finish my quilts with a narrow ¼” binding but this quilt seems to call for a slightly wider binding — I’m thinking ½” — to highlight the red in the center of the pineapple blocks and the tiny red ladybugs in one of the other prints.
Selene’s quilt, based on Karin Hellaby’s Pineapple Plus design, will finish at about 49″ square. That’s a good size for a baby who is now officially a toddler.
My favorite quilt teacher Billie Mahorney always encouraged her students to make the backs of their quilts interesting, incorporating leftover blocks or fabrics from the front. I took Billie’s lesson to heart.
This is the back of Baby Selene’s quilt:
In case you missed my earlier post, this is what the front looks like:
I had four blocks left over that couldn’t be used because the prints were in different positions. Apparently they were destined for the back. I supersized one of the leftover blocks by adding two more rounds, then set that block and two more on point. I floated the three blocks on a soft green background printed with drifting leaves.
The result looks rather modern, doesn’t it? It would look even more so with different fabrics. I may have to test that theory by making another quilt incorporating a plus-sized pineapple block or two.
After this one is quilted, I’ll add a label in the lower right-hand corner that echoes the larger blocks. It may be as simple as a square in a square or I might add another round or two to make a mini-pineapple block. I think Billie would approve.
Here’s to 2017! Specifically, here’s to lots of sewing and quilting in 2017. I’m already looking forward to several projects — and not just new ones. There’s a stack of UFOs beckoning that I am actually enthusiastic about tackling. But not today.
On this fresh new day of the year, I’m looking back on what I created in 2016. Rather than going in chronological order, I’m grouping my finishes by categories.
This was the year of the Junior Billie Bag, the quintessential quilter’s tote designed by Billie Mahorney. I made a bag for myself . . .
. . . and one for my friend Deborah . . .
. . . and one for my friend Miriam:
Next category: baby quilts. This is the first of two incorporating a charming giraffe-themed fabric panel:
Here’s the second one, using the same fabrics in a slightly different setting:
I didn’t use a pattern for these quilts, preferring to play with simple shapes (squares and rectangles) so that the giraffes on the fabric panels would be the focal point.
My third baby quilt of the year was this one using the pattern Just Can’t Cut It from All Washed Up Quilts:
All three were quilted by longarmer Sherry Wadley.
All by itself in the mini quilt category is Ring Toss, based on the pattern Mini Rings by Sew Kind of Wonderful:
Mini Rings was quilted by Karlee Sandell of SewInspired2Day. Oh, and that’s our new rescue kitty Princess Cordelia (Coco for short).
Lap quilts is the next category. Once again I used a Sew Kind of Wonderful design, adapting the pattern Chic Diamonds into this quilt I named Dragonfly Kisses:
It was quilted by Sherry Wadley.
The next quilt, Where It’s @, was started in July in a class with Karla Alexander of Saginaw Street Quilts. It’s based on her pattern Rewind. I really stepped outside my comfort zone with this quilt, and I absolutely love the result:
The last quilt in this category is Stella by Starlight, a “kaleido-spinner” using the Spinners block by Heather Peterson of Anka’s Treasures:
I call it a “kaleido-spinner” because the six equilateral triangles in each block were cut from identical repeats of the focus fabric, creating a kaleidoscope effect of sorts. The four small hexagon blocks are true kaleidoscope blocks.
Both Where It’s @ and Stella by Starlight were quilted by Karlee Sandell.
The next category is runners, both bed and table. I made one of each, using the same focus fabric in each (Wander by Joel Dewberry) and the same block design (Spinners by Anka’s Treasures) with completely different outcomes. Here is WanderLust I, the king size bed runner made with five blocks:
I liked the focus fabric so much I made the bed runner reversible:
The final category is a bit of a hodgepodge. I made a quilted cover for my stepmother’s new iPad Pro . . .
. . . and a cardholder for her bridge hands:
For my friend and fellow Quister (Quilt Sister) Vickie I made an iron caddy that doubles as a pressing mat . . .
. . . plus a matching 4″ x 4″ fabric box that she can use as a threadcatcher:
For myself I made some accessories to match my Junior Billie Bag: a rotary cutter coat made from my tutorial . . .
. . . and a scissors case . . .
. . . and a sewing caddy that sits upright in a Lucite stand:
A 4″ x 4″ fabric box (yes, it’s a threadcatcher) completes the ensemble:
As you have surmised, I’m crazy in love with that fabric line (Paradise by Alisse Coulter for Camelot Cottons). I expect you’ll see more of it in 2017, as I bought a lot when it was released a couple years ago.
I’m sending a shout out to the talented longarm quilters who transformed my 2016 quilt tops into beautiful quilts — Coleen Barnhardt, Karlee Sandell, Debbie Scroggy, and Sherry Wadley — and to you, my loyal blog readers, for your continuing interest and support of First Light Designs.
One of my goals this year was to make four baby quilts. I finished three by the middle of the year and then got sidetracked by other projects. With one week left in the year, I realized I needed to get back on track. Quickly.
I remembered a fun pineapple block quilt I had started in a class with Karin Hellaby at Quilter’s Affair 2015 in Sisters, Oregon. The prints are perfect for a little girl’s quilt. Here’s one of my blocks:
Isn’t that a delightful combination of fabrics? They are all from completely different lines but they go so well together.
I had already made 12 blocks but for some reason only eight of them were identical. I had changed the position of the fabrics in the others. Why? I couldn’t tell you but I did know right away that they wouldn’t work in the layout I had in mind.
It didn’t take long to make the remaining eight blocks I needed for a 4 x 4 layout of 16 blocks. Here they are in my newly finished quilt top, destined for a special great-niece:
The blocks finish at 10″ square. With two sashing strips added, this top measures 50″ square, a good size for a toddler quilt.
The design is from Karin’s book Pineapple Plus: Sew Simple Techniques for the 21st Century (Quilters Haven Publications, 2010). This is the “four triangle method” she describes in her book, which results in the center squares (the red ones in this quilt) positioned on point. (Karin’s books are published in Great Britain but are available in the U.S., sold online and available at many quilt shops.)
The red fabric has a cross-hatch design that looks great on the diagonal. Take another look at the single block at the top of the post and also notice the tiny red squares in the green fabric and the tiny red ladybugs in the blue leaf fabric. I knew immediately that I wanted to bind this baby quilt in the red cross-hatch fabric.
Alas, I only had one little piece left measuring about 8″ x 14″ — and nothing in my stash that exact shade of red. A quick search of the Internet revealed that the fabric — Mixology Woven 2143 by Camelot Fabrics — was still available. What’s more, I found it on sale. Result: I ordered two yards instead of one.
What about those leftover blocks? They’ll go on the back, of course, along with the leftover pieces of the other fabrics from the top. I’m going to start working on that right now.