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.
I finished binding my WanderLust wall hanging/table runner a few weeks ago but forgot to post about it, probably because I hadn’t decided on the best way to display it. I wanted to hang it in the master bath but it seemed a bit short for the space using a sleeve and the existing rod.
My solution: adding some grosgrain ribbon ties to the top so I could hang it from the rod, thereby adding a few more inches to the length:
I’m really enjoying the motion of the spinning blocks and the contrast of the deep navy background against the pale grey of the wall.
If you’re thinking those blocks looks a lot like the ones in Stella by Starlight, the quilt I just finished (subject of my previous post), you’re right on the mark. They’re made from the same block: Spinners by Heather Peterson of Anka’s Treasures.
WanderLust finishes at 20″ x 53″ (not counting the grosgrain ribbon ties). Regular readers may remember this is the second quilt named WanderLust I made this year. The other version is a king-size bed runner. You can see both versions here.
I’m working on a post about all of my finished projects in 2016. With only five days remaining in the year, this one needed to be squeezed in.
Here it is Friday afternoon on Christmas Eve and I was able to put the finishing touches on Stella by Starlight, my “kaleido-spinner” quilt, in time to take it outside for a few photos on the back deck before dusk. Stella by Starlight finished at 51½” x 71″.
As much as I enjoy sewing down binding, it has become quite a challenge since Coco the cat came into our lives in May. When I’m sitting in a chair with the quilt I’m binding draped around me, she thinks I have made a fort for her to play hide and seek in. Any little movement causes her to leap into action, pouncing wildly here and there, and I seriously worry she is going to do some damage to my quilt. I have to wait till she is napping so I can sneak in a little handwork:
Stella is bound in the same Cotton + Steel fabric (“Sprinkle”) that I used for the background. I love how the tiny white dots look like a sprinkling of stars in the night sky. That’s just one of several reasons why this quilt came to be named Stella by Starlight.
Here’s Stella from the back:
That strip of floral fabric is all I have left after making the kaleido-spinner and kaleidoscope blocks on the front. I also used it in my friend Miriam’s Junior Billie Bag.
See that little yellow hexagon in the lower right corner? That’s the label. Here’s a closer look:
The label is the same size and shape as the centers of the kaleido-spinner blocks on the front. Same fabric, too. (If you are interested in how I came up with the term “kaleido-spinner” to describe my blocks, you can check this post from October.)
Even though Stella contains only four true kaleidoscope blocks, I am including it in my series of kaleidoscope quilts. I believe this one is #11. The others are pictured in my Gallery under the subheadings Quilts and Table Runners/Wall Hangings.
I hope your next few days are full of fun, family, friends, and — of course! — fabric.
The sewing tool caddy I made last month sits in a special acrylic stand. It’s actually a brochure rack that one of my students, Becky B., gave me a couple years ago to hold the first version of the caddy that I had made.
The stand measures about 7″ x 7¾” x 2½”. The sewing caddy measures about 6½” x 9½” when closed so it fits nicely in the stand. When I travel to class, I take the caddy and the stand with me.
I usually have the flap of the sewing caddy turned back so that all of my tools are visible and easy to access:
Having the caddy vertical rather than flat on a table surface makes it so much easier to see and use the tools tucked inside.
If memory serves, Becky got the acrylic stand at TAP Plastics in Portland. I believe most office supply stores have acrylic brochure racks in stock. If you make this pattern (Travel Case by p3designs.com), I suggest that you add another pocket as I did to hold more tools. I also highly recommend that you get a brochure rack to keep your caddy in. It’s incredibly handy!
Any idea what it is? I won’t keep you in suspense: it’s a scissors case made to hold the 6″ Gingher scissors I take with me to quilt classes.
Here’s what the case looks like closed:
It’s part of a set that includes a rotary cutter coat made in June, a sewing tool caddy made over Thanksgiving, and a fabric box made somewhere in between that serves as a threadcatcher:
With the exception of the fuchsia and white dot, the fabrics in these pieces come from the same line used in the Junior Billie Bag I made at the beginning of this year:
The fabric line is “Paradise,” designed by Alisse Courter for Camelot Fabrics. I am as charmed by these fabrics now as when I first saw them last year. I didn’t really plan it but I wound up with a matched set.
I’ll give you a hint. It measures about 19″ x 25″ and folds into a three dimensional object that is both functional and pretty.
Once I show you the other side, you’ll have a better idea:
That gray fabric is a treated heat resistant fabric commonly used on ironing board covers. Aha. So this is a portable ironing surface, right? Yes, but that’s not all. Look what it becomes when folded just so:
It’s an iron caddy. How cute is that? Not to mention practical. It’s great for transporting a still-warm iron that was used in a quilt class.
The pattern is by Sisters’ Common Thread. I made one for myself three years ago with a few modifications that I wrote about here. My good friend and fellow Quister (Quilt Sister) Vickie admired mine and asked if I might make one for her birthday this year. Why yes, I might!
Since Vickie’s favorite color is purple, I chose fabrics from the purple colorway of Benartex and Kanvas Studio’s Dance of the Dragonfly line.
I also made a little 4″ x 4″ fabric box to go with Vickie’s iron caddy:
Here is the matched set:
Don’t they look good together?
Later this week I’m celebrating Vickie’s birthday with my fellow Quisters. Sure hope she likes her present!
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!