The first meaning: I am bound for a quilt retreat. Yes, tomorrow morning I head north to Hood Canal in Washington State to teach at a retreat center outside the tiny town of Union. I’ll be gone a week.
The second meaning: Terrazzo Tiles, my retreat quilt, is bound and (almost) ready to go with me. The (almost)? It’s still lacking a label, which may have to wait till I get home. I finished binding the quilt last night at midnight and took this photo at the Pine Needle this afternoon:
I’m calling it my retreat quilt because that’s the design I’m teaching there. The pattern is Mini Mod Tiles by Sew Kind of Wonderful. The original MMT quilt finishes at 35″ square; you can see my unquilted version here. The quilt you see above finishes at 63″ square after quilting because I “supersized” the block. My retreat students get to pick from two sizes, one made with the original Quick Curve Ruler and the other made with the QCR Mini.
The beautiful quilting you see was done by Karlee Sandell of sewinspired2day.com, and I couldn’t be happier with it. It may look like a digitized quilting motif but Karlee did every bit of it with a ruler. Isn’t that amazing? Every stitch was hand-guided on her longarm machine.
I took several pictures in natural light earlier this week but found the light too bright to put the quilting in strong relief. Still, these close-ups do show some detail:
I encourage you to visit Karlee’s blog to see her post on this quilt. In addition to more photos, she describes how she settled on the quilting design. Karlee has quilted several quilts for me and I trust her to take my general guidelines and come up with a great design.
Look for a post after I return from retreat but while there I’ll be posting on my Instagram account, dawn_at_first_light_designs. You can find me here.
Presenting . . . Mini Mod Tiles from Sew Kind of Wonderful:
The curves were cut with a specialty ruler called the QCR Mini — the smaller version of the Quick Curve Ruler from Sew Kind of Wonderful — and sewn with a pins-free technique. SKW has great patterns for sale on its website — and several free patterns, including Mod Mini Tiles. You can find all the free patterns here. The link to Mini Mod Tiles is here.
Using the original Quick Curve Ruler I made a “supersized” version of Mini Mod Tiles that I showed you in my last post. The quilt, named Terrazzo Tiles, is at the longarmer being quilted as I write this. Look for a reveal post in just a few days!
I’m teaching both sizes of this design at a quilt retreat coming up in a few days. A couple of my students are interested in making a wall hanging or table runner so I decided to play around with possible border treatments. Since a finished block of the original Mini Mod Tiles is 10½” wide, a border is clearly called for.
A plain border would certainly work but I thought it would be fun to incorporate the sashing design. This is a mock-up made by cutting up a photo of Terrazzo Tiles:
I used a gluestick to add cornerstones in each corner.
Then I wondered how it would look without the periwinkle squares along the outer edges so I covered them up:
Hmmm. That’s a little stark for my taste but the effect might be completely different if a lighter fabric were used where the black is used here.
Next I wondered how the edges would look if they were trimmed to match the curves in the focus fabric:
I am loving this! I think I’m on to something here. . .
Since I covered up the periwinkle squares in the second test, I restored them (sort of) with colored pencils to get a fourth test version:
Which do you like better, 3 or 4? Whether those border squares stay or go, the curved edges are definitely staying. A three-block runner like my mocked up version would finish at 13½” x 38″. A four-block version would finish at 13½” x 50 and a five-block at 13½” x 62″.
I’m eager to try this out with some holiday fabric that’s been in my stash for a few years. My Mini Mod Tiles mania continues!
Ah, how satisfying it is to see about 300 pieces of neatly cut fabric transformed into a quilt top in just a few days. Here we are at the outset . . .
. . . and here we are with a finished quilt top:
This is my “supersized” version of Sew Kind of Wonderful‘s free quilt pattern Mini Mod Tiles. The original MMT block finishes at 10½” square whereas my supersized block finishes at 17½” square. Once my curves were sewn and trimmed, I was surprised at how quickly this quilt top went together.
After the blocks were joined I took the top outside to photograph it:
The cornflower blue in the focus fabric is so much more vivid in natural light, isn’t it?
Looking at the quilt from above (I was standing on a chair), I decided I wanted to add a border to make those blocks float. I was back a few minutes later for another shot:
Yes, that’s much better. And there’s Coco, the feline photobomber, doing her thing:
Coco hung out in my sewing room while this quilt top was under construction . . .
. . . so it’s only fitting that she be around at the end.
I am going to call this quilt Terrazzo Tiles for its resemblance to Italian floor tile. Terrazzo is a composite material made by exposing marble chips on the surface of concrete and then polishing until smooth. I like to think that my focus fabric, from the Eclectic Garden line designed by Jason Yenter for In the Beginning Fabrics, gives that same impression. Besides, doesn’t everything sound better in Italian?
Except for the fabrics, it looks identical to my first test block (shown below), doesn’t it?
Ah, but there’s a difference. Here are the two blocks side by side:
That second block isn’t a mini at all. I supersized it!
The original mini block finishes at 10½” square and is made with the QCR Mini ruler. My supersized version finishes at 17½” square and is made with the original Quick Curve Ruler.
Since I’m teaching this design at a retreat on Hood Canal in Washington State next month, I decided to give my students the option of choosing which ruler they want to use and which size block they want to make.
Three weeks without a post! That’s the longest gap in the five years since I started this blog. What could possibly account for such a lapse? Two back-to-back trips followed by a fun-filled week of family visiting from out of town.
The first trip was to Paducah, Kentucky with my quilt group, the Quisters. Yes, Paducah — home of the National Quilt Museum and site of the American Quilter’s Society’s Quilt Week the last week of April. What a thrill! More on that in a future post.
Home for one day, then off to Central Oregon for a family reunion that my twin sister Diane and I were responsible for planning. It was a great success, with 83 family members coming from as far away as Texas, Virginia, and Florida. Most of the relatives are in Oregon, remaining in the state where our common ancestor settled after emigrating from Switzerland in the 1880s. This reunion has rekindled my interest in family geneaology, which I hope to pursue in between quilting projects. I could use a few more hours each day to accomplish that.
While my relatives were here last week, I squeezed in a bit of sewing time to make a sample block of the quilt design I have chosen for the Pine Needle Quilt Shop’s retreat on Hood Canal in June. I’m teaching two sessions back-to-back at a beautiful retreat center in Washington State.
As my regular readers know, I am a huge fan of the Quick Curve Ruler and the designs created by those talented sisters (Jenny, Helen, and Sherilyn) at Sew Kind of Wonderful. For the retreat I chose one of their free patterns that call for the QCR Mini Ruler. The pattern is called Mini Mod Tiles and looks like this:
Isn’t that fabulous? This wonderfully scrappy quilt was made and quilted by Jenny Pedigo of Sew Kind of Wonderful, finishing at about 34″ square. (Photo used with permission.)
My sample block, finishing at 10½” square, is made from one focus fabric, a Dena Fishbein print from the Painted Garden line for Free Spirit:
That fabric was in my stash just waiting to be picked for this project. I chose a vibrant yellow tone-on-tone print for the connector pieces and couldn’t resist the temptation to add a square of color in the center of the block. My background fabric is a white-on-white dot.
It’s good to be back in the saddle with blogging and sewing.
Did you know that March is National Craft Month? Not only that, March 18 is National Quilting Day.
But wait — there’s more!
March 18 is also Worldwide Quilting Day — a day to celebrate the art and craft of quilting with like-minded friends around the globe:
I follow quite a few quilters in other countries through Instagram (are you on Instagram too? You can find me here) so I am delighted to know quilters around the world are celebrating the same day we are.
National Quilting Day is always celebrated on the third Saturday of March, coinciding this year with two quilt shows in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area.
The 23rd annual “Airing of the Quilts” is this Friday and Saturday, March 17-18, at the Milwaukie Center, 5440 SE Kellogg Creek Drive in Milwaukie, Oregon. It’s a non-juried community quilt show exhibiting old and new quilts, traditional and non-traditional. Show hours are 9:00 am to 4:00 pm both days. For more information, visit www.MilwaukieCenterQuiltShow.org.
“Every Quilt Tells a Story” is the theme of the Metropolitan Patchwork Society’s one-day show Saturday, March 18, at the Beaverton Public Library, 12375 SW Fifth St., Beaverton, Oregon. Hours of the show are 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. This show is also non-juried and features quilts made primarily by MPS members.
I’m a member and have submitted two quilts I completed last year: Stella by Starlight . . .
. . . and Ring Toss:
If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll visit one or both of these quilt shows.
Quiltmakers are always being exhorted to support their local quilt shops. In the spirit of National Quilting Day and Worldwide Quilting Day, consider this a call to support your local quilt guilds as well.
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 friends wondered why I chose green for the binding over black. Black would have provided a strong dramatic frame for the quilt, it’s true. So why green?
First, I wanted to draw attention to the playful nature of the focus fabric used in the rings. That fabric (from the Doodle line by Alice Kennedy for Timeless Treasures) is mostly black and white with touches of lime green and light blue. The overlapping circles in the fabric remind me of ferris wheels and fireworks. A bright color seemed more appropriate than black for the happy mood I wanted to emphasize.
Second, instead of piecing a backing for the quilt with different fabrics, as I usually do, I used one piece, the same print used on the front. From a distance, the fabric reads primarily as black and white. If I had pieced the back I would have added quite a bit of lime green to liven it up. Since I wanted the quilt to be bright and cheerful from both sides, green binding was the obvious choice.
Oh, and then there is that third reason, which I think I’ve mentioned a few times before: green is my favorite color.
In keeping with the block design, fabric design, and quilt name, the label features — what else? — a double ring:
Ring Toss, my little quilt made from Sew Kind of Wonderful’sMini Rings pattern, is back from the quilter already. Take a look:
I asked Karlee Sandell of SewInspired2Day.com to quilt this for me, and I couldn’t be more pleased. I had been thinking of Karlee as an up-and-coming longarm quilter because she is quite new to the field, but it’s quite clear she has already arrived.
Here are some close-ups of her lovely quilting, first on an X block . . .
. . . and then on an O block:
The acanthus motif fills the center of the O block beautifully. And don’t you love the quilted “pearls” in the elongated oval between the rings?
For the green and black triangles that form an on-point square where the rings meet, Karlee designed her own quilting motif, intertwining rings that reinforce the theme of the quilt:
I have been trying all morning to photograph this quilt. Every time I place the quilt on a flat surface, my new cat Coco photobombs it:
Doesn’t she look innocent?
Ring Toss measures 33¼” square after quilting. Now it’s on to the binding and the label. I’m going to use the same lime green fabric for the binding that’s in the quilt; I think it will frame it nicely.
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?