Category Archives: faux-kaleido quilts

May Day Finish: A Kaleido-Spinner Top

Happy May Day! Can you believe four months have passed since we rang in the New Year? Time sure flies when you’re having fun.

I’ve been playing with Heather Peterson’s Spinners pattern, from her book On the Run Again (Anka’s Treasures, 2014). I’ve chosen this pattern to teach next month at the Pine Needle Quilt Shop‘s retreat on Hood Canal in Washington State. I want to show my students a few different ways Spinners can be interpreted based on fabric and color choices as well as size of finished project.

My latest experiment is a three-block table runner or wall hanging in which I cut the six 60° triangles in each block from six repeats of fabric. In my last post I showed you the first block I made using that technique.

Here is the three-block runner, with the first block I made in the center:

kaleido spinner horizontal
Runner Measures 20″ x 54″

How fun is that? The blocks are all made from the same focus fabric: Moon Garden, from the line Wander by Joel Dewberry for Free Spirit Fabrics.

It’s difficult to envision what a block will look like when you first cut the triangles; that’s part of the appeal for me of making kaleidoscope quilts. This isn’t a true kaleidoscope quilt because the triangles don’t meet in the center to form a  hexagon. They spin around the center hexagon instead (which is why I’m calling this top a kaleido-spinner). Even so, the outcome of each block is a surprise.

Since some of my students may be minimalists or modern quilters, I’m going to make a sample block in solids or mostly solids. I’m already thinking about how a modern quiltmaker might treat the negative space when it comes to quilting.

I’m also still thinking about making placemats using this pattern. We don’t use placemats at the Portland White House because there is always a tablecloth on our dining room table (yes, made by me). But I have the perfect fabric in mind, one of those fabrics I bought a lot of a few years ago because I liked it so well. And the perfect fabric to make coordinating napkins is also in my stash. All in good time . . .

In the meantime, I am going to enjoy this spectacular May Day in Portland, Oregon. I hope you are enjoying sunshine and warm temperatures wherever you are!

 

 

 

Posted in faux-kaleido quilts, kaleidoscope quilts, table topper, update, wall hanging | 3 Comments

A Different Spin

wander horizontal
Moon Garden in the Midnight Palette

Recognize this fabric? It’s called Moon Garden, from Joel Dewberry’s line Wander. I’ve used it in small amounts in the bed runner I showed you yesterday, the one I made using the pattern Spinners by Heather Peterson of Anka’s Treasures:

spinners bed runner 20.5 x 90
Bed Runner Measures 20″ x 90″

“Ho hum,” you must be thinking. “That’s old news.” Yes indeed, but since bringing that beautiful floral fabric home earlier this month I have been fixated on using it in Heather’s pattern in a different way. I hinted as much in an earlier post about this fabric.

You already know that I am, to put it mildly, fond of kaleidoscope quilts. I’ve finished at least 10 quilts containing kaleidoscope blocks. All of them were made of eight 45° triangles forming an octagon. Until today I had never made a kaleidoscope block composed of six 60° triangles forming a hexagon.

In case you hadn’t noticed, the Spinners block contains six 60° triangles. Instead of meeting in the middle to form a kaleidoscopic image, however, the triangles “spin” around a center hexagon. That didn’t stop me from testing my idea that six identical triangles placed in a Spinners block would produce an interesting effect.

Before I show you my Spinners block, take a look at the kaleidoscope blocks I could have made. Because the triangles are equilateral, any of the three points can go in the center, providing three different outcomes.

Here’s the first one:

Kaleido Spinner block a

The second one:

Kaleido Spinner block b

And the third one:

Kaleido Spinner block c

I like them all but am partial to the first one. A quilt made of these blocks and more would be very striking, to be sure. The floral print lends itself beautifully to kaleidoscope blocks. But we’re headed in a different direction this time. Take a look:

Kaleido Spinner block
Block Measures 15½” x 13½” Unfinished

A new spin, both literally and figuratively. I placed the block on a piece of dark blue fabric so the block would stand out and I like the effect so well I’m going to use that fabric. I’ll make a couple more blocks before deciding whether to make a wall hanging or keep going to make a quilt.

What do you think? I’m pretty excited about it!

 

 

 

Posted in faux-kaleido quilts, hexagons, kaleidoscope quilts, table topper, update, wall hanging | 6 Comments

A New Day, A New Year

The first day of 2016 is here! It’s a time for looking ahead but also a time for looking back. Specifically, looking back at what I accomplished in my sewing room in 2015. I never accomplish as much as I think I will, especially when it comes to finished quilts, but I have to remember that I made a variety of small pieces and craft items last year in addition to quilts. It will be fun to revisit them as well.

First up, the quilts.

My first finish of 2015 was Catch a Falling Star, based on Terri Krysan’s star sampler, Reach for the Stars:

Catch a Falling Star (2015)

Catch a Falling Star (84″ x 105″) was quilted by Loretta Orsborn of Orsborn Specialty Quilting.

Then came Toile Story (73″ x 89″), started in 2009 but not finished till 2015. Designed by Alex Anderson and featuring fabrics she designed as well, Toile Story was quilted by Debbie Scroggy of All Quilted LLC:

Toile Story bv photo 800
Next: Olivia Twist, a 31″ x 76″ bed runner made using my own 4-Patch Wonder with a Twist pattern. It was quilted by Jolene Knight of Good Knight Quilts:

Olivia Twist bv 2

Using leftover fabric from Olivia Twist, I made Billie’s Star (56″ x 55″), an original design inspired by my favorite quilt teacher Billie Mahorney, who taught me a lot about drafting and sewing star blocks:

2015-4, Billie's Star, 55x54 (2)
Billie’s Star was quilted by Nancy Stovall of Just Quilting.

Next came Simply Dashing (58″ x 74″), a simple design that combines 4-Patch Wonder blocks (my name for four-patch kaleidoscope blocks) and Churn Dash blocks set on point. Simply Dashing was featured on the cover of the Pine Needle Quilt Shop’s fall 2015 catalog. Quilted by Debbie Scroggy of All Quilted LLC.

Simply Dashing 58 x 74
Pieced in 2014, I finished Sun Flowers, a wall hanging based on my Season to Taste pattern. It’s #9 in my series of kaleidoscope quilts and the third of four quilts I’m making to reflect the seasons of the year. It measures 18½” x 55½”:

Sun Flowers (2)


My final quilt finish of 2015 was Loose Leaf, begun in a workshop with fiber artist Pat Pauly. Made from her New Big Leaf design, it finishes at 24½” square:

big leaf, nov 2015
I quilted the last two pieces myself but was happy to have the larger quilts go out to some extremely talented longarm quilters.

In my next post I’ll show you the array of Pretty Little Things I made in 2015.

 

 

 

Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, bed runners, faux-kaleido quilts, free motion quilting, kaleidoscope quilts, New Big Leaf, Reach for the Stars sampler quilt, update | 3 Comments

“Y’all Come!”

The Pine Needle Quilt Shop in Lake Oswego, Oregon is having its annual Fall Festival this Friday and Saturday, Sept. 11 and 12. The Pine Needle is my home away from home. I teach there, meet friends there, buy fabric there. When I get into my car to head to the Pine Needle, I don’t even need to steer; my car seems to know the way. Just kidding, of course, but it gives you an idea of the amount of time I spend there.

Those of us who teach at the Pine Needle will be on hand Friday and Saturday to tell you about our new classes and demonstrate popular quilting products. My new quilt, Simply Dashing, is one of the first quilts you see when you come into the shop:

Simply Dashing at the PN
Simply Dashing at the Pine Needle

 

Not only that, it made the cover of the Pine Needle’s fall catalog:

800 pixels
I’m a Cover Girl!

 

The Pine Needle does a brisk mail order business, sending out thousands of catalogs to  quilters who don’t live close enough to visit the shop in person. It tickles me to think my quilt is the first thing these people will see when they pull the catalog out of their mailbox.

I usually try to come up with a little quilt or craft project to share with the people who come to the Pine Needle’s open houses. Since the shop is well known for its extensive inventory of flannels, my Fall Festival project is a flannel coaster in the shape of an overstuffed armchair, inspired by a felt coaster I bought some 30 years ago at a holiday craft sale.

Here’s a peek at some coasters I made with the wonderful Woolies flannels by Bonnie Sullivan for Maywood Studios:

flannel coasters for TPN
Cozy Flannel Armchair Coasters

Aren’t these cute? And very practical, too, because they’re reversible. The pattern and instructions are free with any flannel purchase. A quarter yard each of two flannels is enough to make four coasters.

During Open House the Pine Needle is doing lots of drawings for prizes — including a $50 gift basket each day. A few sets of my Cozy Flannel Armchair Coasters will be raffled off as well. Do come if you are in the neighborhood. I’d love to see you — and you just might be a winner!

 

 

 

Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, faux-kaleido quilts, update | 7 Comments

Simply Dashing: A Few More Photos

Following up on my last post, I have a few more photos to show you of my new quilt, Simply Dashing (60″ x 76″ before quilting, 58″ x 74″ after quilting). I took photos late this afternoon on the back deck. It was difficult to get any good still shots, as a light wind kept the quilt in motion, billowing in and out as it hung from the arbor. This was the straightest shot I was able to get:

Simply Dashing Aug 2015 (2)
It does give you a good look at the lovely edge-to-edge quilting done by longarmer Debbie Scroggy of All Quilted LLC. The batting is Tuscany Wool by Hobbs, a blend of 80% cotton/20% wool that’s lightweight, drapes beautifully, and provides a bit of extra loft to give the quilting definition.

As usual, I put my favorite block in the upper left hand corner:

Simply Dashing Aug 2015 block 1

Isn’t it interesting how turning a block on point gives it a completely different look? You have to tilt your head at an angle to see that it’s a Churn Dash block.

Here’s a look at the back of Simply Dashing:

Simply Dashing Aug 2015 back of quilt
That block you see on the back was a test block that I ultimately rejected:

Simply Dashing Aug 2015 block on back
Don’t get me wrong: I love this block. It’s from the pattern Cosmic Delight by Freckled Whimsy. I will make a quilt from this pattern someday. The issue here is that the center square finished at 3″, not large enough to do justice to the focus fabric. The square in this block turned out well but I could tell I wouldn’t be getting enough contrast with additional 3″ square faux kaleido blocks.

A leftover strip of focus fabric on the back shows where all those faux kaleido 4-Patch Wonder blocks on the front came from:

Simply Dashing Aug 2015 focus fabric Balinesia by Benartex
Last but not least, the label:

Simply Dashing Aug 2015 label and quilting detail

Initially I was planning to float the blocks completely by binding the quilt in the pale yellow background fabric. In the end I went with a high contrast ½”-inch wide binding. The blocks still float but now they’re within a frame. A good decision, I think.

I mentioned in my last post that after hanging for a while in the Pine Needle Quilt Shop, Simply Dashing will go on the back of the sofa in my living room. Here’s a preview:

Simply Dashing on sofa at White House
I love living with quilts, don’t you?

 

 

 

Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, faux-kaleido quilts, update | 6 Comments

Simply Dashing

Simply Dashing — that’s the name of my latest quilt, shown here:

Simply Dashing 58 x 74
Simply Dashing, 58″ x 74″ (2015)

Recognize the classic Churn Dash block? It got a makeover in this quilt. I combined the Churn Dash block with a 4-Patch Wonder block (my name for a block made of four repeats cut into squares and rotated to create a faux kaleidoscope image), added an alternate block, and set all the blocks on point. I think the result is — well, simply dashing.

This quilt came together very quickly. It all started when I stopped at the Pine Needle Quilt Shop about a month ago to see a new line of fabric that Geri, the owner, was ordering for the shop. She wondered if one of the prints was suitable for a quilt made with 4-Patch Wonder blocks. Oh, yes.

Take a look at the fabric, in two colorways, from the Balinesia line by Benartex:

balinesia fabric by benartex-002

I wasn’t planning to start a new quilt but . . . it didn’t take long to convince me I should. In just a few minutes I had zeroed in on the rich purple colorway, selected some batiks and background fabric to set it off, and was walking out of the shop with an armful of fabric and a pledge to Geri to do something with it within a couple of weeks.

Making the 4-Patch Wonder Blocks was fun. It always is. Like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. This is what I got:

4-PW blocks Balinesia-001
Each block has four possible looks, depending on how you rotate the four squares.

Here’s a look at the quilt top on my design wall:

Simply Dashing top 59 x 76
I considered an elaborate border but decided I really liked the look of the blocks floating in space.

On to the next decision:  how to have it quilted? I wanted something moderately dense because of the large amount of plain background. Debbie Scroggy of All Quilted, LLC worked her longarm magic with a curvy edge-to-edge design that echoes the flowers and leaves in the focus fabric and softens the straight lines and edges of the Churn Dash blocks. I’ll show you some close-ups in my next post.

The finished quilt measures 58″ x 74″ — a good sized throw. I think it will look wonderful draped over the sofa in my living room but for the time being it will hang in the Pine Needle.

Linking up with Kelly on Needle and Thread Thursday (NTT).

 

 

 

Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, faux-kaleido quilts, update | 5 Comments

What a Deal!

At the meeting of the Metropolitan Patchwork Society last night, I bought $5 worth of raffle tickets. The MPS raises money for speaker fees by raffling off donated fabrics, bundling them in pleasing combinations according to color or theme, sometimes adding a book or pattern to sweeten the deal. It’s a terrific way to raise money, destash, or take home a prize, depending on whether you’re the guild, the fabric donor, or the lucky recipient. I’d say that’s a win-win-win.

Last night about a dozen bundles of fabric were being raffled. I was particularly taken with this one:

2015-6, fabric bundle
A Beautiful Bundle

 

Reader, you know what’s coming:  I won it!

The largest piece was this lush hydrangea and berries print designed by Holly Holderman for Lakehouse Fabrics:

2015-6, fabric bundle 2
Bountiful Blossoms and Berries

 

When I got home and measured this piece, I discovered it was 4¼ yards long. What a bonanza! The other three pieces were considerably smaller, but I still wound up with over seven yards of beautiful fabric. For five dollars. Wow.

When this fabric line came out a few years ago, I bought a piece of it in the pink colorway and eventually made this quilt from my 4-Patch Wonder pattern:

framboise august 2012
Framboise, 69″ x 84″ (2012)

 

This quilt, named Framboise, is one of my favorites. (You can read about the making of it in this post.) Here’s a shot of Framboise with the beautiful McKenzie River in central Oregon as a backdrop:

Framboise, 66" x 80", August 2012
Framboise au Naturel

 

Framboise is currently on the bed in the guest room so I get a glimpse of it every time I walk by the room.

What will I make with my new blue hydrangea fabric? I haven’t a clue. I’m just happy that it’s now in my stash along with the other three pieces in the bundle.

 

 

 

Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, faux-kaleido quilts, update | 4 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 55¾” x 54¾” . 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

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

Star Steps

Step 1. Make an 18½” star block. Why? Oh, just for fun. And to use up focus fabric left over from another project.

2015-1 Long Pointed Star 800


Step 2
. Put a ring around it. Now it measures 24½”.

Seeing Stars block


Step 3
. Make three more blocks and put all four up on the design wall:

Billie's Star


Step 4
. Decide that it needs “something in the middle” to draw attention to the secondary star formed when the blocks are put together.

That’s where I was when last I posted about this project. Here’s where I am now:

Billie's Star 1
Isn’t that a fun addition? Using triangles instead of squares, I made a 4-Patch Wonder block (my term for four fabric repeats layered, cut, and rotated to form a symmetrical design) and then added ¼”and ⅜”-wide sashing strips.

Here’s a close-up of that little faux-kaleidoscope block. With the sashing strips it measures 4″ square:

Billie's Star center
So what’s Step 5? Borders! I want to float those blocks so I’ll add border strips in the same blue background fabric. When I’m done my quilt top will measure 56½” square. Then it’s on to Step 6: piecing a backing.

And I vow not to start something else “just for fun” until I’ve finished the three quilts that got moved to the back burner when I started Seeing Stars.

 

 

 

Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, faux-kaleido quilts, update | 6 Comments