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!
. . . is back from being custom quilted, and she is sparkling:
I wanted this one to be quilted entirely with free motion quilting. Karlee Sandell of sewinspired2day was up to the challenge, and I am so delighted with the result.
Karlee quilted free-form feathers in the bright yellow center hexagons and in the triangles that spin around the yellow centers:
Contrasting with the loops and curves in the feathers are the angled lines in the white trapezoids. And if you look very carefully, you can make out the swirls and pebbles that Karlee quilted in the background. Here’s a better look at those designs:
I love how the random swirls and pebbles play against the random white dots sprinkled on the black background.
Did you happen to notice the four small kaleidoscope blocks in Rows 2 and 4? Each one is quilted with a different design, a Karlee touch that pleased me immensely:
The fabric in the kaleido blocks is pretty busy so the quilting is easier to see from the back. Here’s the first block in Row 4 as seen from the back:
Yes, I used a starry fabric on the back of the quilt, too. A couple of them, in fact. Stars play such an important role in this quilt that I actually toyed with the idea of naming it Star Crazy.
Go back to the first photo for a moment. Focus on the middle block (Row 3). See how the white trapezoids form a hexagon and the black triangles around the hexagon form a six-pointed star? Stars everywhere you look!
Measuring 53½” x 73½” before quilting, Stella by Starlight now measures 52″ x 72″. I’m going to bind it in the same fabric used in the background so that all of the blocks continue to float in the night sky. I’ll post more photos when the quilt is bound and labeled. I have something fun planned for the label so I hope you will come back soon to check it out.
My husband and I are still in Georgia, enjoying a few more days with my sister Diane and her husband Ed. With memories of a fabulous Thanksgiving feast behind us, our thoughts are now turning toward the next big holiday.
Diane has been decorating their home for Christmas, with a few items chosen to delight their seven-year-old grandson. In the dining room, for example, Santa reigns:
The garland on the built-in buffet is adorned with sparkly fruit and berries:
Suspended from the light fixture in the hallway is a pair of kissing balls the size of bowling balls:
In the living room, the mantel is decorated with an elegant lighted garland:
Also in the living room are a couple of simple but elegant additions. . .
. . . and a tiny tree next to the piano:
In the kitchen you’ll find this charming vignette above the range:
The front and back doors have large wreaths:
Even the powder room gets the holiday treatment:
Every day I notice something new: kitchen towels decorated with snowmen, jingle bells and tiny needlepoint pillows hanging from doorknobs, Christmas-themed bowls and spreaders for hors d’oeuvres displayed on the counter, a nutcracker standing guard on the fireplace surround.
I really do think Diane has a knack for decorating. Her home is graciously appointed all year around but right now, decked out for the holidays, it is especially beautiful.
It’s Thanksgiving Day and I am thankful to be here in Georgia at the home of my twin sister, Diane, celebrating with her family and my own DH. After six days away from my sewing machine, however, I am eager to get back behind the wheel. (A sewing machine has a flywheel, after all.)
Many years ago I brought my old Elna sewing machine (purchased in 1975) to Diane’s home, and I have worked on many a quilt and home dec project since then. This year I brought a few small projects from home to work on, including a new sewing tool caddy using some favorite fabrics I have used on other quilting accessories:
The pattern (Travel Case by Pearl P. Pereira of 3designs.com) calls for three pockets on the inside to hold tools but I am adding a fourth pocket:
My fabrics are cut and ready to sew but I am putting everything away for now to help Diane with Thanksgiving Dinner. The air is already redolent with the smell of pumpkin pie, which just came out of the oven. The turkey goes in next!
For those of you who celebrate American Thanksgiving, I hope the same good smells are permeating your home and that you too are spending the day with loved ones.
I’ve made three Junior Billie Bags this year. The first one was made as a class sample, which I kept. The second was made as a birthday gift. Number 3 was also made as a class sample. Since I don’t need another JBB, I decided to make one for a good friend. Regular readers have seen this bag while it was still in flat pieces. Now it’s three dimensional!
A Junior Billie Bag is challenging to make — but oh, so worth it. I call it the quintessential quilter’s tote. Measuring 14″ wide, 17″ high, and 7½” wide, it’s large enough to hold a lot of supplies but small enough to be carried easily, especially because of the two sets of handles. Pockets on the outside and inside can be customized to hold a quilter’s favorite set of sewing and quilting tools.
Here’s one side of #3, finished last week:
I like that block so much I used it on #1 and #2. On the other side of the bag I made what I call a kaleido-spinner block:
Here are a couple of side views, to show you the pockets on the outside:
And finally, a peek inside the bag, which is loaded with pockets:
My friend Miriam was as delighted to receive it as I was to give it to her. We work on quilt projects together at the Pine Needle, the local quilt shop where I teach. It’s the same quilt shop where Billie Mahorney, the designer of the bag, taught for almost 20 years before moving to Idaho in 2009. Billie taught her bag class many times during those years, and I am very honored that she has passed the torch on to me.
The next time I see Miriam, I expect she will be toting her brand new Junior Billie Bag, loaded with her favorite things.
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.
I’m not going to start a new quilt until I’ve finished at least two other tops. But if I were, it might be this one:
Isn’t it a beauty? I saw this quilt on display last week at BJ’s Quilt Basket in Bend, Oregon, where I spent a few days visiting my dad.
At first glance, the basic block in this quilt looks like the classic Winding Ways, with the addition of a pinwheel in the center. As I understand it, the Winding Ways block is made with curved seams, yet all the seams in this quilt are straight. What you see is the illusion of curves. I love that!
I bought the pattern on the spot:
I’m drawn to this design because it can look traditional or contemporary, depending on the fabrics used. The quilt on the pattern cover looks very traditional while the one in the quilt shop has a contemporary vibe thanks to the Australian aboriginal fabrics used.
I could see making two versions of A Mid-Winters Night. But not just yet. I’m not starting a new quilt. I’m not, I’m not, I’m not!