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.
Here it is, my first test block using a new grouping of fabrics I wrote about in my last post:
The pattern is Refresh, designed by Deb Mulder for Anka’s Treasures. The instructions were written for an 18″ block but I resized it to 16″. Wonder why? Well, I like to make my block components — in this case half square triangles, flying geese, and hourglass blocks — slightly oversize and then trim them to just the right size. The directions for Refresh didn’t call for that, and I found it easier to figure the math for a slightly smaller block.
The other pattern I am considering for this fabric grouping is Swoon, surely one of the most popular patterns in the quilt universe. The original Swoon pattern, designed by Camille Roskelley of Thimble Blossoms, creates 24″ blocks. She has since added three other versions in different block sizes: Swoon Sixteen (16″ blocks, of course), Mini Swoon (8″ blocks), and Patchwork Swoon, one huge block that finishes at 72″ square.
I bought Camille’s Mini Swoon pattern last year but wanted this block to finish at 16″, the same size as my Refresh block, so I resized it as well. Here is my Swoon test block:
What do you think? Do you like one better than the other?
I’m making two baby quilts, both for little girls. I can either make both quilts from one pattern or do one of each. Because the blocks are so large, each quilt takes only four blocks (plus sashing and borders). I could be a fourth of the way done if I opt for both patterns.
A few weeks ago a line of fabrics from Maywood Studio called “Neutral Ground” came into the Pine Needle, the quilt shop where I teach. The line features a contemporary rendering of leaves and florals in shades of grey and aqua on a greyish-white background, with sprinklings of silver metallic. I was sorely tempted but withstood the siren call.
Then an unrelated line of fabric by Riley Blake Designs, “Knock on Wood,” came into the shop. The colors blended beautifully with the other line, although the overall themes of the lines couldn’t be more different. That uneven stripe on the left and the uneven block print on the right in the photo above are the Riley Blakes.
Combined with a couple of fabrics from other lines, I suddenly had a grouping of fabrics I could get excited about. Excited enough to buy them? Well . . . yes!
I was preparing to tuck them away, vowing not to start something new until I had finished at least two other quilt tops, when I realized these fabrics would be perfect for the two girl-baby quilts I still need to make this year. I went through the patterns I’ve purchased over the last few years and pulled out several candidates. Those have been narrowed down to two. As soon as I have the first test block made, I’ll share it with you.
That uneven block print is the wild card in the mix. I’m not positive it will work with the other fabrics but I’m going to give it a go.
I’m making a square quilt of nine blocks; the blocks finish at 11″ so the quilt will finish at 33″. My plan was to make a block a day but alas, I have fallen behind. Too many other things going on at the Portland White House. Plus, I’m still waiting on that shipment of my background fabric (Garden Pindot by Michael Miller).
Still, my top will be finished soon. I’m going to keep it borderless and bind it in that acid green.
Speaking of binding, I’m halfway done sewing the binding on a baby quilt you’ve seen come together recently:
I am really liking the narrow border, using a pale lime Fairy Frost from Michael Miller for both border and binding.
It’s an absolutely beautiful day here in Portland, Oregon. The delicious aroma of something cooking on a neighbor’s barbecue is wafting in the open windows, the DH is happily working outside in the garden, and our new cat Coco is stretched out on a chair in the TV room. It’s been a lovely three-day weekend.
The baby quilt I sent off to be quilted recently is back, and I’m tickled pink. Make that blue, as this quilt is for a little boy. Longarm quilter Sherry Wadley and I picked a modern swirly edge-to-edge design that echoes the waves in the sea-themed fabric.
Here’s a close-up of the quilting that also shows off some of the prints in the quilt, including a stylish seahorse sporting a bowtie:
On the back, the quilting motif shows up well on the batik stream that flows alongside the jellyfish fabric, part of the Into the Deep collection:
Here’s a close-up of the stream that shows off that organic-looking quilting:
I’m going to bind and label this quilt as quickly as I can so I can deliver it to Baby Stefan. Here’s hoping it will keep him warm and wrapped in love well beyond his toddler years.
In other happy news, there’s a new resident feline in the Portland White House. My husband and I had planned to visit the Oregon Humane Society yesterday but last Friday night I got a call from my friend Colleen, who lives out in the country. A calico cat, obviously hungry, had been hanging around her house all day, and was I interested in taking a look at her? Yes, please!
I picked the kitty up Saturday afternoon, and it was love at first sight. She was thoroughly checked out by our vet on Monday, who thinks she is about one year old. She’s gotten all her shots, been treated for ear mites and fleas, and been microchipped and licensed. She is ours.
And she’s a beauty, don’t you agree?
What a mellow cat she has turned out to be, especially for a stray! Now that she knows there will be a next meal, she is totally relaxed. She absolutely adores my husband. This photo was taken on Sunday, the first full day we had her:
We have named her Cordelia, after the daughter of King Lear. (We name all our cats after royalty and I figure literary royalty counts, too.) We call her Coco for short.
In this case, the river is running through the backing for a baby quilt:
My starting point was a length of fabric from Patty Sloniger’s Into the Deep line for Michael Miller Fabrics. I needed to piece the backing to make it wider, and somehow a straight strip of fabric just wasn’t going to cut it. I blame it on those undulating jellyfish. The backing clearly needed something that emulated the motion of their tentacles. I needed to go with the flow, so to speak.
My batik stash yielded a watery print that picked up the blues and greens in the jellyfish fabric. I cut some gentle free motion curves through both layers and then sewed them together. It was easier than I thought, although I did have to pin the concave and convex curves.
Here’s a close-up of those two fabrics:
Don’t they look good together? I suppose that batik is a bit more fern-y than watery, but it still gives the effect I was looking for.
I used several other pieces from “Into the Deep” on the front of the quilt, which you may remember seeing in this post a few weeks ago:
This is the third of five baby quilts on my to-do list this year. Baby Stefan won’t have to wait too much longer for his quilt, and I’ve already started Number 4. Now that’s progress!