It’s always a happy day when I have a quilt finish to report. My quilt finish du jour is Checkerboard Curves, which you have seen each step along the way. It’s based on the pattern Dancing Churndash designed by Jenny Pedigo and Helen Robinson of Sew Kind of Wonderful.
Presenting Checkerboard Curves, bound and labeled:
Measuring 44″ square, the quilt was finished with ½”-wide binding in a lime green solid to match the sashing strips in the center of each block. I rarely use solids in my quilts but this one really seemed to call for it.
Here’s a look at the back featuring a delightful print of young women walking their dogs in Central Park:
I also used the solid lime on the label:
Can you see that I stitched in the ditch by machine on the inside edge of the green circle? The stitching is virtually unnoticeable on the front because it totally blends in with the curves and circles of the quilting motif.
These photos were taken earlier this week on a beautiful late afternoon in early fall:
I’m loving the effect of the dappled sunlight on my quilt.
One last shot against a backdrop of pale yellow roses:
Checkerboard Curves, my quilt made from the pattern Dancing Churndash, is back from the quilter and I’m doing a happy dance:
I’ve been watching the Instagram feed of longarmer Karlee Sandell (SewInspired2Day), who has quilted several quilts for me. “Swan Song,” a quilting design she used recently, was on my short list for this quilt. After consulting with Karlee, it moved to the top of the list.
Can you see how the curves and circles in the quilting design mimic the curves and circles in the prints? The effect is so lighthearted and whimsical. Let me show you a couple of close-ups. Here’s a positive block (black print on white background) . . .
. . . and a negative block (white print on black background):
You may not realize it but the thread I picked isn’t white, it’s a very pale grey. I knew it would give definition to the quilting on the white background without being too strong. Likewise, I knew the grey thread would slightly soften the impact of the quilting on the black background. Perhaps you can see that if you go back and look at the two blocks above.
I’m pretty tickled with how the quilting looks on the back of the quilt as well:
Just enough quilting to provide texture without interfering with the playful print:
Originally I was thinking about custom quilting for Checkerboard Curves. I would have gone with black thread in the five negative blocks and white in the four positive ones. Know why I didn’t? The back of the quilt! I liked the print so much I didn’t want to cover it up with dense patches of black thread.
When trimming the quilt I left a quarter-inch margin all around. That’s because I’m going to frame the quilt with half-inch binding in solid lime to match the half-inch wide strips in the center of each block. With the binding added Checkerboard Curves will measure about 44″ square.
I may go with a lime green label, too, just for the fun of it.
Back in July I was playing around with the pattern Dancing Churndash, using positive and negative prints in black and white:
I liked the checkerboard effect immensely but only had enough of the prints to make these four blocks, having used most of the fabric years before in a couple of other projects.
Not to worry. I just (ahem) happen to have several other sets of positive/negative black and white prints in my stash. I pulled out one of those sets to make a quilt I’ve already named Checkerboard Curves. It’s easy to see why:
Dancing Churndash was designed for Cut Loose Press by Jenny Pedigo and Helen Robinson of Sew Kind of Wonderful. The traditional Churn Dash block is one of my favorites, and I love Jenny and Helen’s contemporary curvy take on it. (In fact, this is my second version of Dancing Churndash. You can see the first one here.)
The top above measures 44″ square. I generally make quilts that are at least lap size and thought about adding borders to this one to make it larger. In the end I decided to keep it simple and will finish it with lime green binding after it’s been quilted.
For the backing I did a little more stash diving and came up with this Timeless Treasures print from a few years ago featuring stylish young women walking their dogs in New York City and picnicking in Central Park:
I had just enough length for the backing but needed to add to the width to make it work:
Isn’t that cute?
The photo above was taken yesterday just as the light was beginning to wane. Coco the Cat was keeping my husband company while he was weeding in the backyard but she came over immediately to investigate:
Before more time flies by I want to show you some of the projects my friends and I were working on in Sisters, Oregon during the week leading up to the July 14 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. Normally the group consists of the Quisters (Quilt Sisters), a small group I’ve been a part of for many years. This year Quisters Peggy and Vickie couldn’t make it. Happily, two other good friends, Nancy and Vivienne, were able to take their places.
All four of us took classes during the week organized by Quilter’s Affair. When we weren’t in class, we were back at our rented house sewing in the bonus room over the garage. Here’s Deborah, who just finished layering a darling baby quilt made from the pattern Just Can’t Cut It:
See the blocks with dinosaurs? She’s planning to quilt dinosaur tracks onto the quilt. Won’t that be cute?
Deborah was also working on hand appliqué blocks for her Vintage Moments quilt designed by Marsha McCloskey. The quilt finishes at 90″ square so it’s a large and very ambitious undertaking. She brought along the center medallion as inspiration:
Here’s Nancy with a newly completed quilt top:
The pattern, called High Fashion, is from the book More Layer Cake, Jelly Roll & Charm Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott (F & W Media International, 2011). Nancy’s handbag quilt was made from a Layer Cake, a set of 10-inch squares from a line of fabrics made by Moda.
Nancy was also working on a second design in the book called Twisted Braid:
This one is made from a Jelly Roll, pre-cut strips of fabric 2½” wide, also from a line of fabric by Moda.
I don’t normally work with pre-cuts because I like to wash my fabrics before using them. However, exceptions can be made! During one of the Quilter’s Affair events, I won a door prize: the Charm Pack you see below. It’s a set of 5-inch squares from the fabric line “Blue Carolina” by Riley Blake:
It’s pictured with the book mentioned above because I’m thinking of making a smaller version of the cover quilt from this Charm Pack. If I do, I’ll shorten the handbags so they look more like baskets.
Vivienne was working on a very scrappy Trip Around the World quilt made with squares that will finish at one inch. I wish I had a photo to show you but I’m sorry to say I didn’t get any pictures of Viv with her project. She does such beautiful work! I have never seen such perfectly stitched and pressed blocks. In the evenings Viv was knitting a beautiful and intricate scarf and again I missed out on getting photos. I hope she will forgive me.
As for moi, I finished piecing a top based on Corey Yoder’s Idyllic block:
Those blocks range in size from 14″ to 21″ square.
I also experimented with Dancing Churndash, the delightful pattern Jenny Pedigo and Helen Robinson of Sew Kind of Wonderful designed for Cut Loose Press in 2014:
I used up all of the focus fabric I had from a previous project but I like this checkerboard effect well enough to make an entire quilt out of another set of black-on-white and white-on-black companion prints.
Speaking of Jenny Pedigo and Helen Robinson, they were part of Quilter’s Affair, giving a lecture and trunk show during the week and demonstrating the Quick Curve Ruler on the day of the quilt show. I had the pleasure of meeting Helen last year and was delighted to meet Jenny this year. Here I am flanked by Jenny on the left and Helen on the right:
I’ve been a fan of Jenny’s since since she introduced the Quick Curve Ruler several years ago. To date I’ve made 10 quilts using Sew Kind of Wonderful patterns and there are more on the horizon because the SKW sisters keep coming out with tempting new designs.
Coming up in my next post: pictures of quilts from the 2018 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show that caught my eye.
Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs is hosting a Best of 2017 Linky Party, inviting bloggers to highlight their top five posts of the year. It’s a fun way to look back over the last 12 months and identify some of the high points.
My top five are below, in reverse order. Clicking on the links will take you to the original posts.
5. Dutch Treat. Although I didn’t finish this quilt till June, I started it in January during an epic snowstorm that kept me and many Portlanders indoors for several days.
4. NYC and VFW. A trip to New York City with my twin sister in March combined many of the things I love in life: family, travel, theater, museums, and quilting. The quilting part? A visit to the Manhattan shop of Victoria Findlay Wolfe:
Victoria didn’t happen to be there that day but I had the pleasure of meeting her the following month in Paducah, Kentucky during AQS Quilt Week:
Designed over 20 years ago by Billie Mahorney, it’s a fabulous quilter’s tote personalized by each maker, starting with the design on the front and back panels and ending with the pockets inside and out. Two years ago Billie turned the teaching of her design over to me, and I make a bag every time I teach a class. This may be my favorite of the eight I have made so far.
Without consciously planning to, I wound up making a suite of accessories to go with my Junior Billie Bag:
(See the rotary cutter coat in the lower left corner? I wrote directions for it in 2014 and it remains my most popular tutorial. Every now and then when I see a huge spike in the number of views on my website/blog, I know it’s because someone provided a link to the tutorial.)
1 . Where It’s @. Much to my surprise and delight, this quilt won a second place ribbon at the Northwest Quilting Expo in Portland, Oregon in September:
The design is Rewind by Karla Alexander of Saginaw Street Quilts. I started the quilt in a class with Karla in Sisters, Oregon in July 2016. Getting a ribbon was honor enough but the award came with a check for $500. My first reaction? “Think how many yards of fabric I can buy with that!”
Well, this has been a nice little trip down memory lane. Do you want to join Cheryl’s party, too? The link is open until January 2. Be sure to check out the top five posts of the other quilting/blogging partygoers. And thank you for checking out mine!
I finished a UFO at Quilt Camp last week. It was the table runner I started as an experiment when I was teaching at the Pine Needle‘s quilt retreat in June. Remember this?
It’s a bit difficult to see from the photo but the outer edges of the runner were cut to match the curves inside. I wanted the binding on the quilt to echo the design, which you may recognize as Mini Mod Tiles, that marvelous free pattern from Sew Kind of Wonderful that has been the subject of several posts over the last few months.
I had just enough of the dark green batik fabric for the binding:
Didn’t that turn out nicely? I machine quilted it very simply with my walking foot, stitching in the ditch and adding a simple starburst in the center of the curved shapes featuring the focus fabric:
There wasn’t enough of the wintry blue print to cover the entire back so I inserted a strip of the blue polka dot:
I used light blue thread on the back to blend in so the runner is essentially reversible. The label can go in the very center, to be covered by a candle or bowl.
Binding the curved edges presented quite a challenge, as the angle is greater than 90 degrees plus you have the curve to deal with. Fortunately, Heather Peterson of Anka’s Treasures has a wonderful tutorial on her website that shows how to bind an outside edge greater than 90 degrees. Following her excellent instructions, I was able to bind those corners. Here’s a look at the pinning technique:
I don’t think I would ever have figured that out on my own. Thanks, Heather!
The runner measures 13″ x 38½”, a nice size for the center of a table or dresser. I’m giving it to my twin sister in Atlanta this weekend as a birthday/hostess gift; my husband and I are headed there later this week for our annual extended visit over Thanksgiving.
I’m very pleased with this variation on the Mini Mod Tiles design. And, having made two quilts (a mini and a supersized version) from the pattern, I am finally ready to put MMT behind me. Just in time, too! The Sew Kind of Wonderful team has come out with some marvelous new patterns. I have no doubt there is another Quick Curve Ruler quilt in my future.
I was instantly enchanted. I downloaded the directions from Sew Kind of Wonderful’s website and made my own version using just three fabrics:
I knew this was the design I wanted to teach at a quilt retreat in June. But I wanted to give my students the option of making a larger quilt. Sure, they could have added more blocks to increase the size of their quilt — but I was thinking of a bigger block. Thus was the “supersized” version of Mini Mod Tiles born:
The supersized version was made with the original Quick Curve Ruler whereas the original Mini Mod Tiles was made with the QCR Mini. Here are both quilts to give you an idea of the relative sizes:
The SKW sisters graciously gave me permission to show how I supersized their pattern, hence this tutorial. My directions will be easier to follow if you have already made a quilt using the original Mini Mod Tiles pattern.
This tutorial has two parts. Part 1 is a two-page handout showing fabric requirements and advance cutting for both a scrappy version using multiple prints like the original SKW version and the more controlled version I made with just four fabrics. Download Part 1: Fabric Requirements and Advance Cutting.
Part 2: Sewing Directions for Mini Mod Tiles “Supersized”
Required: free pattern Mini Mod Tiles, downloaded from the SKW website.
Download the three-page pattern by going to the Free Patterns link on SKW’s website and double clicking on the photo of Mini Mod Tiles — the same photo you see at the top of this tutorial. Click on the print icon on the upper right side. Print in color:
Study the directions carefully. The cutting, sewing, and squaring up instructions are almost the same as for the mini. The main differences are the cut sizes of fabric and the fact that you are using the original Quick Curve Ruler.
Here are my cut pieces, neatly stacked and ready for sewing:
Cutting with the Quick Curve Ruler (QCR) (Page 1) Refer to the illustrations on the pattern marked Sample 1, Sample 2, etc.
“A” shapes, cut from 8″ focus fabric squares: Referring to Sample 1, measure and make registration marks at the midpoints of the outside edges (4″ from the corners) of all four sides of a square (Sample 1).
Refer to Sample 2 illustration showing the position of the QCR on the fabric square. The red dashed line indicates the curve cut-out you follow with your rotary cutter. You can see that the cut-out curve is right over the registration marks on the left and bottom sides of the square.
First Light Designs tip: Note that the curve cut-out in the QCR is about ⅛” wide. Rather than centering that ⅛”-wide channel over your registration marks, position the ruler so that the inside edge of the channel is right over your registration marks. When you make your cut, follow the inside edge of the channel with your rotary cutter just as you would when making a cut with a straight-edged ruler. Your cut curves will be more uniform in size.
After making the first cut, rotate square 180º and repeat on other side. Repeat with remaining squares. Total: 36 A shapes.
First Light Designs tip: Instead of marking every square four times, arrange the square on a rotary cutting mat with all four sides aligned with the inch lines printed on the mat. (It doesn’t matter where on the mat as long as it’s several inches from outer edges.) Count over 4″ from the corners of the square and position the inside channel of the cutout curve over those points at the edge of the fabric:
By the way, don’t discard the leftover curved pieces! They are a great size for appliqué or paper piecing projects or can be cut into 2¼” or smaller squares for another quilt.
“B” shapes, cut from 5″ x 8″ rectangles: Measure and make registration marks 3″ in from the top left edge and 3″ in from the bottom right edge. Refer to Sample 3 illustration. Note that the ruler is positioned so that the dotted red line showing the cutting channel goes from the upper left corner of the fabric to the registration mark on the bottom right side. After making the cut, rotate the block 180° and repeat. Discard the slivers of leftover fabric.
First Light Designs tip: Instead of marking the fabric rectangle, arrange it on a rotary cutting mat with all four sides aligned with the inch lines printed on the mat. Position the QCR so that inside channel of the cutout curve is over the upper left corner of the rectangle and the 3″ mark from the bottom right edge:
Did you know? You can stack your squares and rectangles and cut multiple units at one time if your rotary blade is very sharp. Try cutting two layers first. If that works, try up to four.
Piecing the Curves (Page 1) Referring to Sample 4 and Sample 5 illustrations on page 1 of the pattern: See the arrow pointing toward the 1/4″ that Piece B extends beyond Shape A? Change that measurement to 3/8″. When you position Shape B on top of Shape A, right sides together, be sure the tip of B extends 3/8″ beyond the tip of A. Press seam toward A. Note in Sample 4 how the edges of Shape B extend beyond Shape A at the curved seam. This is what you want, as the excess fabric is trimmed when the block is squared up.
Squaring up AB Units (Page 2)
With two B shapes sewn to a shape A, the unit is now called AB.
Referring to Sample 6 on page 2 of the pattern: Square up AB unit to 8″ square. Using an 8½” or larger square ruler, position the ruler so that the straight edges of AB (upper left and lower right corners of the block) measure 8″ square. Trim right side and top. Rotate block 180º, reposition ruler so that bottom and left side of block are on the 8″ lines of the ruler, and trim right side and top. Repeat with remaining squares.
First Light Designs tip: On your squaring up ruler, use an Ultra Fine-Point Sharpie marker to make two small dots — the first one 4¼” to the left of the upper right corner and the second one 4¼” down from the upper right corner, right at the edge of the ruler. When you square up your block, the curved seam that joins Shapes A and B should be right under those dots:
If you find your curved seam falls a bit on either side of the 4¼” measurement, that’s okay. The important thing is that your blocks are hitting the same mark consistently. (The Sharpie marks come off the ruler easily with a drop of nail polish remover, by the way.)
Sashing Assembly (Page 2)
Follow the directions, keeping in mind that your (60) C units are made with connector pieces measuring 2½” x 3″ and sashing strips measuring 3″ x 6″. Likewise the D units are made with two C units and a 3″ square of background fabric in the middle. Note: it would be more efficient to make these C and D units in strip sets but I decided to match my tutorial as much as possible to the original directions.
Block Assembly and Quilt Layout (Pages 2 and 3) Follow pattern directions, keeping in mind that the center of the block is a 3″ square of accent fabric, not a 2″ x 2″ background piece. Make (9) blocks which measure 18″ square.
Pressing I did deviate from the pressing directions. Instead of pressing seams open where directed, I always pressed toward the focus fabric, even when sewing rows together. Why? I was planning ahead, in case I wanted to stitch in the ditch around my focus fabric. It’s very difficult to do that when a seam has been pressed open. As it happened, I decided to have both quilts custom quilted; the longarmer stitched in the ditch on both quilts at my request and I really like how much extra definition the stitching gave to the focus fabric shapes.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. And if you make a supersized version of Mini Mod Tiles, I would love to see a photo. I know the Sew Kind of Wonderful sisters would, too!
Recognize the pattern? It’s Mini Mod Tiles from Sew Kind of Wonderful. The aqua and yellow quilt was made with the QCR Mini — the smaller of the two Quick Curve Rulers designed by Sew Kind of Wonderful — and finishes at 34½” square. SKW offers this pattern as a free download on its website.
The bigger quilt? I “supersized” SKW’s design to make a larger block using the original Quick Curve Ruler, resulting in a lap quilt measuring 63″ square. Why two sizes? I had chosen Mini Mod Tiles as the pattern to teach at the Pine Needle’s summer 2017 quilt retreat and wanted to offer my students two options.
Both quilts have been back from the longarm quilter for several weeks but it took me a while to get them bound and then labeled. Now I get to show the finished quilts together.
Let’s start with the larger of the two, named Terrazzo Tiles:
Here it is from the back:
I used every bit of the leftover focus fabric on the back, even piecing scraps to make the ring around the label:
Since the bigger quilt is called Terrazzo Tiles, it made perfect sense to name the mini quilt Piccolo Terrazzo Tiles:
My first inclination was to bind this one with the yellow tone-on-tone fabric you see above, but I had used a different yellow on the back and they just didn’t look good together. The solution was to bind the quilt with the aqua and yellow focus fabric so it provided a frame for the quilt as seen from the back:
The hand-guided quilting (by Karlee Sandell of SewInspired2Day) is so lovely I hesitated to add a label, loving the look of a whole-cloth quilt. But it needed a label — to identify the designer, the maker, and the quilter. Sometimes all three are the same person but more often than not the result is a combination of efforts, and it’s important in my book to give credit where credit is due:
Next week the Pine Needle is planning a reunion for the retreat participants. It will be fun to see the students’ finished projects — both mini and supersized!
One more thing: the talented women of Sew Kind of Wonderful have kindly given me permission to show you how I supersized the mini version. Coming very soon: a new tutorial on my Tutorials page.
Isn’t that a lovely sight? You’re looking at a detail of the beautiful custom quilting by Karlee Sandell of SewInspired2Day.com. The quilt is Mini Mod Tiles, made using Sew Kind of Wonderful‘s free pattern and the smaller of the two Quick Curve Rulers.
The mini quilt measured 36″ square when I handed it over to Karlee. After quilting it measures 34½” square. Here’s a look at the entire quilt:
I don’t like my quilts too densely quilted. This is exactly the look I was going for. I especially like the contrast between the quilted grid in the background and the curves in the aqua and yellow floral print.
Here’s a look at the back:
Regular readers know that I almost always make pieced backs on my quilts using multiple fabrics. This quilt was so small that I opted to use one solid piece — a bright yellow with white dots. I love the wholecloth quilt effect.
Did you happen to notice the color of the carpet in the last two photos? It’s the same carpet. The photos were taken seconds apart from the same angle. I’m at a loss to describe the difference in color. Could the colors in the quilt cause the light to be reflected so differently?
Aren’t these lovely? They are the first group of Mini Mod Tile blocks coming from the second group of quilters attending the Pine Needle Quilt Shop’s retreat in western Washington last month. (You can read all about the first group’s output in my preceding post.) The blocks you see above were made by Sandra and Dena (top row) and Linda and Barbara B. (second row).
Here are the second group of blocks:
These were made by Lorri and Barbara S. (first row) and Liz and Roxanne (second row).
The venue for the retreat was St Andrews House on Hood Canal near Union, Washington. In my previous post I showed you the view of the Olympic Mountains from the long porch at St Andrews House. Here are some photos of the house itself starting with the porch, which runs along the back of the house:
The view from the parking lot:
The herb garden:
A pleasant shaded seating area:
Such a lovely retreat and conference center!
Now for more blocks. These blue and white blocks were made by Joyce . . .
. . . and these were made by Sue and Lisa:
So far all the blocks you’ve seen measure 11″ unfinished and were made with the QCR Mini, the small version of the original Quick Curve Ruler by Sew Kind of Wonderful. Kay was one of those making my “supersized” version of Mini Mod Tiles in which the blocks measure 18″ unfinished:
What about those three blocks on top? Kay was also working on a second project, making Ribbon Star blocks from the Missouri Star Quilt C0. It’s pretty clear Kay likes color!
Another quilter making colorful supersized blocks was Kristine:
Missy was making the mini version using a palette quite similar to Kristine’s:
Three of my students were using the original Quick Curve Ruler to make different designs by Sew Kind of Wonderful. Janna started with the free pattern Spring Fling from SKW but departed from the design to do her own thing. Here’s her first block:
Katie fell in love with the pattern Dancing Churndash designed by SKW for Cut Loose Press. Here are her first two blocks:
Delia chose SKW’s Chic Diamonds design:
With the second group of students I was much better at getting pictures of them with their projects toward the end of our time together. Here is Rosalie with her five beautiful blocks:
Barbara B. completed a runner . . .
. . . and had enough fabric left to make a mini Fun Poinsettia block:
Here’s Missy with her four blocks sewn together:
Do you see how there’s a fifth block in the center that is made up of partial blocks from the four? This is an example of a secondary block design being the same as the primary.
In addition to their blocks (shown behind them), Dena and Kristine made self-binding baby blankets in soft flannels:
Dena showed several quilters how she mitered the corners on her baby quilt. Joyce practiced the technique, making a square with mitered corners in addition to her lovely runner:
Another vision in blue and white is Roxanne’s quilt top:
Linda decided to change the 3 x 3 setting to 4 x 5 to make a bigger quilt. Here is half of her Mini Mod Tiles quilt sewn together:
Mini Mod Tiles looks wonderful in both traditional and modern fabrics. Here is Sandra with her four-block runner in soothing muted colors. . .
. . . and Lorri with her five-block runner using bright Tula Pink prints:
Lisa’s runner makes me think of pink lemonade:
Or maybe raspberry sorbet?
Liz completed her purple pansy runner and made a second one with a charming pinecone print:
Sue departed from the original design by incorporating sashing strips inside some of her blocks:
Remember Janna’s bright batik block? Here is her quilt top complete with narrow and wide borders:
Here is Katie with her four Dancing Churndash blocks:
Can you believe Katie is working on her very first quilt? Amazing! She has a bright future as a quiltmaker.
Katie’s sister Barbara S. was originally planning to make a runner but she liked her blocks so well she kept making them and wound up with a quilt top!
In this photo Kay has laid out her supersized blocks and is auditioning the scrappy connector strips between blocks:
Kay also made a few more fabulous Ribbon Star blocks:
During her time at the retreat Delia finished quilting a quilt begun in an improv class with Jean Wells:
The back is as interesting as the front:
It was all quilted on Delia’s domestic machine. She was on deadline: her quilt needed to be in the mail the following week to Sisters, Oregon where it will hang in the world’s largest outdoor quilt show on Saturday, July 7.
That’s the perfect segue to let you know I am in Sisters right now with my quilt group, the Quisters. We’ve taken classes this week put on by A Quilter’s Affair and we will all be at the quilt show tomorrow where a record 1,497 quilts will be hung for one day. Of course I will be keeping an eye out for Delia’s quilt.
I hope you have enjoyed seeing the beautiful blocks, runners, quilt tops, and other projects created by my students at the two Pine Needle retreats!