Last month when I finished piecing Where It’s @, my wonky Greek key quilt made using Karla Alexander‘s pattern Rewind, I was pretty pumped. Now that Where It’s @ is quilted, I’m even more excited. I think you’ll understand why when you see it:
Karlee Sandell, the same talented longarm quilter who did the custom quilting on Stella by Starlight (subject of my last post), quilted an edge-to-edge design on this one. The undulating curves are the perfect counterpoint to the sharp angles of the wonky Greek key blocks. Here’s a close-up of four blocks:
When selecting fabrics I started with a basic color scheme of green, orange, and purple, with values ranging from light to medium-dark to dark. My definition of purple stretched to include cornflower blue and a bright orange-red. I needed a thread for quilting that would look good on all of these colors. My first thought was a variegated thread but then I decided to go with one color that would work well across the surface of the quilt. Karlee and I auditioned khaki, straw, and light olive threads. Khaki was the clear winner.
I almost always piece a backing with elements borrowed from the front. Not this time. Out of my stash came a large-scale batik print I bought a few years ago while on a visit to Georgia. I had no idea at the time how I might use the fabric. It seemed to be perfect for the back of Where It’s @:
This close-up of the back shows how well the khaki thread works on the leafy print:
Since the back doesn’t include any design elements carried over from the front, I’m going to incorporate one for the label. That should be a fun addition.
I am so grateful to Karlee for getting Where It’s @ quilted in record time. She was able to squeeze it in ahead of a couple of custom quilts so that I can get it bound and labeled in short order. Why the hurry? So it can be displayed in the Pine Needle, the quilt shop where I teach. I’m going to teach this design in February 2017!
Last night I finished piecing my wonky Greek key quilt, which already has a name: Where It’s @. The name comes from the resemblance of the @ sign on a keyboard to the classic Greek key motif, which gets a decidedly funky treatment here.
The pattern is Rewind by Karla Alexander of Saginaw Street Quilts. I had the pleasure of taking Karla’s class last summer in Sisters, Oregon during the week of classes known as Quilter’s Affair. Karla provided a template for the block, which is made up of strips sewn in rounds like a log cabin block, and she also demonstrated how to make a block by cutting the strips free form. I can’t tell you how much fun it was cutting those strips free form — the wonkier, the better, as you can see from comparing a few blocks.
By the time I got to the last few blocks, I had finally developed a system for keeping my strips in order — imperative, since I was cutting through four layers of fabric at a time. Before getting to that point, I made a few mistakes, requiring some of the strips to be pieced, but I was hard pressed to find them by the time the finished top was up on the design wall.
One of the things I love about Karla’s design is how the background fabrics in the outer blocks extend to create a pieced border. My blocks finished at 8″ square. With the borders added, the quilt top measures 57½” x 73½”.
Where It’s @ is quite a departure from the quilts I am normally drawn to. It was good for me to step outside my comfort zone and make something a bit on the zany side.
Thank you all so much for your comments on my Refresh and Swoon blocks! To be honest, I was dubious about my Swoon block. I wasn’t sure I had used the leaf print to its best advantage but several of you liked what you saw here and on my Instagram feed, so I’m pressing forward with two separate baby quilts.
At the same time, I don’t want to lose the momentum I have going on my Where It’s @ quilt, begun in July in a Rewind class with Karla Alexander, so I’ve made two more pairs. Here is the first pair . . .
. . . and the second:
These two sets were made by stacking four layers of fabric and cutting the wonky Greek key blocks freehand. It’s one of the fun techniques I learned in Karla’s class. The squares start out at 12″ square and the unfinished blocks measure 8½” square.
I used the bright green fabric above as the darker of two values, whereas in an earlier pair of blocks it served as the lighter of two values, the darker being purple. Here are the two sets of blocks together:
So far I have 30 of the 48 blocks I need for the quilt. I can’t predict how these blocks will look when I am ready to put them all together but I sure am enjoying the process.
Are you planning to get some sewing in over the long Labor Day weekend? It seems strange to be writing those words: Labor Day weekend. A lot of folks think of Labor Day as the end of summer but don’t forget — we have almost three weeks before the Autumnal Equinox. I’m hoping for a few more al fresco dinners on the back deck.
Isn’t that a pretty jumble of batiks? I’m almost half done with the wonky Greek key blocks for my Rewind quilt, the one designed by Karla Alexander that I started in a class with her last month in Sisters, Oregon as part of Quilter’s Affair 2016.
I need 48 blocks to make the design pictured here:
I’m working in sets of four, stacking my squares and drawing my cutting lines freehand the way Karla showed us in class. Here are my two most recent sets:
In the pair of green/gold blocks directly above, take a look at the gold print, which reminds me of spots on a giraffe. Do you see how the giraffe fabric is the dark in those blocks and the green is the light? I used that same giraffe print in one of my early pairs, and in those blocks it was the lighter of the two:
Here are the two sets of blocks together, with the giraffe print reading dark/light in the top row and light/dark in the second row:
My quilt is going to be called Where It’s @. I’ll bet you can figure out why.
While I ponder how to move forward on my Chipmunk Love quilt, based on the “Star-Crossed Lovers” class with Colleen Blackwood that I took last week in Sisters, Oregon, sewing continues on two other WIPs (works in progress).
I’ve made a few more wonky Greek key blocks using the pattern from the other class I took in Sisters last week, Karla Alexander’s “Rewind” using her new pattern of the same name. Here are the blocks I made before we came home . . .
. . . and the ones I have made since then:
These last blocks along with two from the first group were made by cutting the strips free-form rather than following Karla’s template.
Despite the wonkiness, all of the blocks look a little like the @ sign on a keyboard. Because of that I’ve decided to name my quilt Where It’s @.
I’m also working on a quilt based on Chic Diamonds, a new pattern from those talented sisters at Sew Kind of Wonderful. This design calls for the original Quick Curve Ruler, and it’s been enjoyable working with these easy no-pin curves. Here’s one of my blocks:
Aren’t those fabrics gorgeous? The prints on the dark side of each blade are from a brand new line of fabric called Dance of the Dragonfly. Designed by Maria Kalinowski for Kanvas Studio in association with Benartex, the fabrics are due in stores next month. The Pine Needle, where I teach, will be carrying several fabrics from the line. I paired the prints with batiks for my blocks.
I’m doing something a little different with the Chic Diamonds design. Here’s a hint: I’m naming my quilt Dragonfly Kisses. I’ll post a photo when I have the top together, which should be very soon.
On Sunday I’m heading over to Central Oregon with my quilt group, the Quisters, for a week of sewing, including taking classes at Quilter’s Affair.
Do you know about Quilter’s Affair? It’s the week of classes put on by the Stitchin’ Post quilt shop in Sisters, Oregon, leading up to the biggest outdoor quilt show in the world. The show is always held on the second Saturday in July; this year it falls on July 9.
For Quilter’s Affair, the Stitchin’ Post brings in teachers from the U.S. and abroad to join a group of talented local and regional experts. I’m taking a class taught by fellow Oregonian Karla Alexander of Saginaw Quilts. I’ve met Karla, heard her lecture, and admired her designs, so it’s high time I took a class from her.
She’s teaching five classes at Quilter’s Affair. I’m taking the one based on her pattern Rewind:
Many of Karla’s designs are made by cleverly stacking, cutting, and sewing fabrics. Rewind is no exception. I was attracted to this pattern because of its resemblance to the classic Greek key design. Whereas the traditional Greek key is dignified, with straight lines and symmetry, Karla’s key (if I can call it that) is quirky and lighthearted, thanks to free form cutting, a freewheeling color palette, and funky fabrics.
I decided to raid my batik stash for this quilt. Instructions were to start with a family of colors and pick an equal number of lights and darks. I started with green — no surprise there — and randomly pulled other colors that go well with it. After cutting my 12″ squares, I layered them so that each fabric looks good with its neighbor on either side.
Here is my fabric pull:
Most of these squares are doubles, with a few singletons. For the class project 48 squares are needed. I wound up with 60, which gives me some leeway. In some cases a fabric works as a light with one neighbor but as a dark with the other. It will be interesting to see if this affects the construction process.
Taking this class will be extra fun because my fellow Quister Deborah is taking it, too. I wonder what fabrics she chose. Quilter’s Affair, here we come!
In the week leading up to the second Saturday in July, when the town of Sisters, Oregon hosts the world’s largest outdoor quilt show, the Stitchin’ Post quilt shop in Sisters puts on classes taught by local, national, and international quiltmakers and artists. This week of classes is called Quilter’s Affair. For several years my quilt group, the Quisters, has rented a house in Sisters and attended classes. One of our members, Vivienne, taught four classes this year.
I thought you might enjoy a look at what we started creating in some of our classes. Vickie took Vivienne’s class Rhumba, making some spirited blocks in a variety of batiks:
The blocks are constructed using an improvisational piecing method, then trimmed to size. Vickie is going to set her blocks as above, with the stripes alternating direction in each block. Here’s a look at Viv’s original quilt top, employing a different setting:
(That photo was taken last summer at my house, at a gathering of the Quisters.)
. . . while Peggy’s version is made of lots of different batiks:
I stepped way outside my comfort zone to take a class from Laura Wasilowski, known for her whimsical art quilts made using hand-dyed fused fabrics and embellished with embroidery. In her “Stitch After Fusing” class, we made a small flower quilt using her hand-dyed fabric. My flowers and leaves are a bit strange but I really like my little flower pot:
(I tried a few different stitches, which is why you see those strands of perle cotton — hand-dyed by Laura — hanging down the front.) I’ve never been a fan of raw-edge appliqué but I may be undergoing a conversion.
Our Quilter’s Affair week whipped by at lightning speed. Saturday, July 12, was a different story. It was the day of the 39th Annual Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. We spent a leisurely day walking around town seeing as many of the 1300 or so quilts as we could manage between 8:30 am and 4:00 pm. What a fabulous show!
I took lots of photos but haven’t had a chance to organize them yet. My twin sister Diane is visiting from Atlanta, Georgia, and now we are heading off to a family reunion in eastern Oregon. I’m planning at least a couple of posts showing off the quilts from the Sisters quilt show so I hope you’ll check back soon.