The Mini Rings quilt top I started last month is done and — as of today — off to be quilted. The top, measuring 34″ square, was made with a focus fabric from a Timeless Treasures line called Doodle, designed by Alice Kennedy.
The quilt is small enough that I could have quilted it myself on my domestic machine but I chose not to do that. You probably know that quilting is my least favorite part of the quiltmaking process. I decided I wanted the quilt to reflect the deft touch of a talented free motion longarm quilter. We seem to have a growing number of them in the Portland area.
I used a single piece of the focus fabric on the back, a portion of which is shown here:
Primarily black and white with touches of lime green and cool blue, the print features overlapping circles ranging from 1¼” to 2¾” in diameter. What do you see when you look at them? I see fireworks and ferris wheels, which makes me think of carnivals.
And that led me to the name for my quilt: Ring Toss. Isn’t that perfect? Or should I call it Mini Ring Toss?
That shipment of Garden Pindot fabric by Michael Miller that I’m using as the background for my Mini Rings quilt finally arrived today. It shipped out 10 days ago, and I’d been wondering if it would ever arrive.
I think the wait was worth it:
That sticker was on the plastic bag my fabric was packed in. I ordered five yards — and received 11½ yards instead.
But that’s only part of the story. All I needed was a small amount of this white-on-white dot to finish my Mini Rings quilt:
I couldn’t find it locally so I decided to shop online. When I discovered that fabric.com had 11½ yards of this fabric available, I impulsively ordered it all, reasoning that it would serve as background for a great many quilts and I would never be in a situation where I would be using noticeably different dye lots in the same project.
Then fabric.com notified me that the yardage was not one continuous piece of fabric but rather several pieces in 1 yard, 1.5 yard, and 2 yard cuts. Did I still want the fabric? I decided to rein in my impulse purchase and modified my order to three pieces totaling five yards. The fabric shop altered my order and refigured the price.
When the box arrived today, I lifted it and thought, “Gee, this is awfully heavy for five yards of fabric.” Inside were eight cuts of fabric totaling 11½ yards. Talk about hitting the jackpot! Thank you, fabric.com!
Interestingly, two of the eight cuts are noticeably creamier than the others, so I will set them aside and make sure I don’t unwittingly combine them with the snowier ones.
Guess I won’t be running out of Garden Pindot anytime soon.
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.
Four of nine blocks for my Mini Rings quilt, made using the QCR Mini (mini Quick Curve Ruler), are done.
I’ve run out of background fabric, a white-on-white Michael Miller pindot. I could make more blocks using one of several other white-on-white prints in my stash but I am holding out for having all my blocks the same. A little obsessive-compulsive, perhaps? Now I have to hope that the fabric I ordered on line is from a similar enough dye lot that no one can see the difference between the old and the new. You would be surprised, even with white and black fabrics, how much dye lots can differ.
Working on these blocks has helped take my mind off the loss of my little cat Theodora, subject of my previous post. Thank you so much to those of you who wrote consoling comments on my blog. I cried the entire time I was writing that post, and I cried while reading the comments.
In the 35 years my husband Charlie and I have lived in this house, we’ve never been without a cat. If one of our cats died, there was at least one still at home to help ease the grief. Not so now, since Theo’s last feline companion, Elfie, died three years ago.
Charlie and I are going to the Oregon Humane Society next week, hoping to bring home a cat (maybe two) in need of a “forever home.” Although it seems a little disloyal to Theo’s memory, I’ve already been on the OHS website looking at pictures and descriptions of available cats. There are some very sweet looking ones! We’ll choose an adult cat, since the older ones are not considered as adoptable as kittens.
By the time of my next post, there may be a new resident of the Portland White House.
It’s the test block I made back in January using the mini Quick Curve Ruler — known as the QCR Mini — and Mini Rings pattern designed by those Sew Kind of Wonderful sisters. I’ve been wanting to make a Mini Rings quilt since the ruler and pattern were introduced last fall. I’m using the fabrics you see above in another quilt so that one block was as far as I got.
Time to try another one. For my second test block, I did something different. Instead of making the rings from four fabrics in a strip set, as the pattern instructs, I used one large print, a wonderful black and white and yellow floral I found last summer at a quilt shop in Central Oregon. Having bought the fabric for its possibilities in a kaleidoscope quilt, I was reluctant to cut a chunk out of it just to test my theory that it might look good in something else.
So I didn’t cut into it. Not at first. I placed the fabric on my printer screen and took a color photo of it:
Then I cut the paper into rings, just as if it were fabric, using the QCR Mini:
I liked what I saw so I went ahead and cut enough fabric to make one block. Here it is:
I liked the block . . . but not quite enough to make an entire quilt out of it.
In preparation for teaching a recent class called “Secrets of the Quick Curve Ruler,” I made several test blocks, including the ones you see above. One block was made with the original Quick Curve Ruler from Sew Kind of Wonderful and two were made with the new QCR Mini.
The idea of successfully sewing concave and convex curves together without pins was what compelled me to try out the Quick Curve Ruler a few years ago, and I quickly became a fan. The original ruler produces curves based on a 15″ circle while the Mini makes curves based on a 9″ circle. Can you tell from the photo above which blocks were made with which ruler?
The talented women behind Sew Kind of Wonderful (founder Jenny Pedigo and her sisters Helen Robinson and Sherilyn Mortensen) launched the QCR Mini a few months ago along with new designs for the original ruler and a new book as well. Too many choices! But isn’t that what makes the quilting world go ’round?
The directions that come with the QCR Mini include a pattern for a table runner. The block for that design also makes a mini version of the free Fun Poinsettia pattern offered on the Sew Kind of Wonderful website. The first test block I made with the QCR Mini was the mini Fun Poinsettia:
I knew right away this block would find its way into a quilt. I’ve since made four more blocks, including the one at the top of this post, and have an idea for a unique setting.
The second QCR Mini test block, cropped in this photo to look like its 11″ finished size, is from the new Mini Rings pattern:
I will definitely make this pattern, although not in the fabrics you see above. I have plenty of strips left over from the black and white fabrics I used for the full size pattern, Metro Rings, in this quilt (Honeymoon in Paris) made in 2013:
I’ll cut the strips down for the size needed for the Mini. My Honeymoon in Paris quilt went to a good friend who actually did honeymoon in Paris (a charming story — I’ll tell you about it sometime) so I am motivated to make another one to keep.
Of the test blocks, the last one was from the new pattern Chic Country, based on the traditional Winding Ways block:
The Chic Country block finishes at 9″ square, making it the smallest of the Sew Kind of Wonderful blocks I’ve experimented with.
While I love the look of this quilt and have seen a few smashing versions on social media, I didn’t find the process of making the block enjoyable. Since quiltmaking, for me, is all about fun — and fabric, too, of course — I’ll stick to the blocks I do enjoy making.
Here’s a collage of the quilts I’ve made so far using the Quick Curve Ruler:
QCR Mini? That’s the new mini version of the Quick Curve Ruler that Jenny Pedigo introduced in 2011. I’m a huge fan of Jenny’s and have made several of the patterns she designed to go with her ruler. You’ve seen the results in my blog posts over the last four years.
Now joined by her sisters Helen Robinson and Sherilyn Mortensen, Jenny introduced the QCR Mini and several new patterns late last year, along with a new book, One Wonderful Curve: 12 Contemporary Quilts (Landauer Publishing, 2015), featuring designs by all three sisters.
I ordered the book, the QCR Mini, and two new patterns from the Sew Kind of Wonderful website the first day they became available. I was so excited when my package arrived that I took a picture of the goodies:
The first block I made using the QCR Mini is the one you see at the top of this post. It’s the mini version of the Fun Poinsettia block introduced on Sew Kind of Wonderful’s blog in 2013 with a free tutorial. The original Fun Poinsettia block measures 20″ square finished whereas the block made with the QCR Mini finishes at 14″ square. That’s still a good-sized block. I’m planning to make an entire quilt with this design.
See the Mini Rings pattern in the photo above? That’s the next test block I made:
This block measures 11½” square, which means it will finish at 11″ square in a quilt.
These blocks will be on display Friday and Saturday (Jan. 15 and 16) at the Pine Needle, the quilt shop in Lake Oswego, Oregon where I teach, in conjunction with Winter Festival, the shop’s annual January Open House. I’ll be demonstrating the original Quick Curve Ruler and the new QCR Mini. If you’re in the neighborhood, please stop by.
More accurately, it’s ready for Thelma’s Labor Day Parade. You see, at the beginning of summer Thelma of Cupcakes’n’Daisies started a Sew-Along, inviting quilters to make any quilt they wished using the Quick Curve Ruler (QCR) designed by Jenny Pedigo of Sew Kind of Wonderful. The only requirement was that the quilt be ready by Labor Day for a parade on Thelma’s blog.
I chose Dancing Churndash, one of three new patterns Jenny and her sister Helen Robinson designed for Cut Loose Press. I got a late start, as the pattern wasn’t available till late July, but the quilt went together quickly, and then I was lucky to find a long-arm quilter who could start working on it right away.
Good Day Sunshine, which gets its name from the Beatles song, was quilted by Jolene Knight of Good Knight Quilts. I met Jolene through the Portland Modern Quilt Guild and have seen examples of her fine work. I asked Jolene to quilt straight lines in the churn dash blocks and a not-too-dense free-motion fill in the white background. She chose one of my favorite quilting motifs, the spiral. Here’s a close-up:
I love the way the spirals play against the curves on the churn dash blocks and the straight lines in the center of the blocks. The quilting is playful, like the design itself.
The medium-dark grey binding, a close match to the fabric in the center of each churn dash block, frames the quilt:
The back is pieced from leftover fabrics used on the front:
Last but not least: the label.
My little quilt is finished ahead of schedule. I’m ready for the parade!
The pattern is Dancing Churndash by Cut Loose Press. My plan was to make 20 blocks in a 4 x 5 setting but I’ve decided to stop with these 12 blocks. The reason? I’ll be teaching a class on this pattern at the Pine Needle in the fall, and I need to get my sample quilted and bound as soon as possible.
I considered adding borders but changed my mind after auditioning several different fabrics. Because the medium dark grey strips in the center of each block are so strong, I’m going to bind my quilt in the same shade and value of grey for balance.
Although there’s a lot of grey fabric in this quilt top, it’s offset by the bright and cheerful yellow prints. Each block makes me feel like I’m looking out a window on a sunny day. That’s what led me to name this little quilt Good Day Sunshine, after the 1966 Beatles song.
Dancing Churndash is the name of a new pattern from Cut Loose Press designed by Jenny Pedigo and Helen Robinson of Sew Kind of Wonderful. The pattern requires the Quick Curve Ruler, which I’ve used on several projects. The ruler is in play right now because I’m participating in a summertime Quick Curve Ruler Sew-Along organized by Miss Cupcake.
I am loving how easily these blocks come together. The blocks finish at 15″ so four of these with a border around them would make a nice-sized baby quilt. Wouldn’t a scalloped border be a nice touch?
I’m going bigger with this quilt, though. I have a stack of rectangles already cut, waiting their turn with the Quick Curve Ruler. Back to work!