Here’s the completed quilt top of my winter version of Season to Taste:
It measures 18½” x 55½”.
Season to Taste is a kaleidoscope quilt pattern I created in 2014 with the idea of making one wall hanging or table runner representing each of the four seasons. You’ve seen my spring, summer, and fall versions before on the pages of this blog. I’ll post a photo of all four when I get this last one quilted.
My winter version will be called Winterwood in a nod to one of my favorite songs, written by Don McLean. You may be more familiar with his blockbuster hit “American Pie” from the album of the same name. “Winterwood” is from the same album which was released in 1971. Oh my! That means it’s 50 years old this year.
In my next post I’ll explain my method of getting the narrow accent strips (they finish at ⅜”) on my triangles to line up just so:
What?? Here we are midway into a glorious spring in Portland, Oregon and my thoughts are on winter. Why, you ask? Because I have finally started work on the fourth and final quilt based on my Season to Taste pattern. This is the first of three blocks:
When I designed the pattern in 2014 I envisioned making a wall hanging (or table runner) for each season of the year. I started with the fall version, naming my quilt Autumn Reflections, and the spring version, Under Paris Skies. Those are the ones you see on the pattern cover above.
In 2015 I made a summer version named Sun Flowers. All three were on display last month at Montavilla Sewing Center in Lake Oswego:
Every so often I would think about making a winter version but I could never settle on fabrics. Did I want something in red and green to evoke the holidays or something in wintry hues of grey and dark blue? Did I want to make kaleidoscope blocks using eight repeats of the same print or a scrappy version using eight different prints?
Months passed. Years passed. (Hmm, my last post was about a quilt I started in 2015 and finished just this year. Do you see a pattern here?)
Then a few weeks ago I saw a photo of a quilt my friend Linda D. had made using a lovely collection of green and red prints. When I inquired about the fabric line (which turned out to be “Northern Light” by Annie Brady for Moda Fabrics), Linda generously offered to give me her leftover fabric. She actually made two bed-size quilts from these fabrics. When she dropped off the “scraps” I could see there was enough fabric in the sack to make a third bed-size quilt!
Today I stopped by Montavilla LO to pick up some background fabric. (Hard to believe but nothing in my stash seemed “just right” for this particular project.) At the shop I found a piece of “Grunge” by BasicGrey for Moda Fabrics that seemed like it might work — a creamy white with just a touch of green in the subtle texture and shading:
Alas, the green looked too minty when placed next to my kaleido block. I was about to give up the search when it occurred to me to flip the fabric over. You may not be able to tell from the next photo but trust me: the wrong side of the Grunge fabric is perfect:
Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs is hosting a Best of 2020 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. (And wouldn’t we all much rather dwell on the high points of 2020 than the low points?!)
My top five are below, in reverse order. Clicking on the links will take you to the original posts.
5. Uptown Funk. My version of Dresden Neighborhood by Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams. It was so much fun to make!
4. Something in Red: New Oven Mitts. Every oven mitt I’ve tried on in a store has been oversized, and every tutorial I’ve found online has included a pattern that’s too big. What’s a quilter to do? Why, make her own, of course! I just started making oven mitts in December and am still tweaking my process but I plan to offer my own tutorial and free pattern in early 2021.
2. Love Rocks. All You Need Is Love, made using the Love Rocks pattern and alphabet (both contained in Sew Kind of Wonderful’s latest book, Text Me) and the Wonder Curve ruler.
1. Scattered Stars, an original design using a block first seen in Jenifer Gaston’s quilt Churning Stars.
Thank you so much for checking out my “top five” blog posts. If you’re a blogger, you can 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 prepare to be inspired!
And now you know, if you’ve been following along as I pondered four binding options, that Option #1 — the lime green faux flange with the zebra fabric — was the winner.
But guess what? It wasn’t my first choice. Nope. I was going with Option #4, the green flange with the white background fabric as the binding. Here’s the mockup I showed you in my last post, with paper strips made from photocopied fabric:
Why this choice? I liked the idea of the white background fabric extending to the edges, almost as if the quilt were faced rather than bound, with that thin flange as a bright but understated accent. Plus it was an unexpected choice. (I have to thank my friend Deborah for suggesting white fabric. It never would have occurred to me, as I was gravitating to the black prints used in my quilt.)
I made my binding accordingly and started to apply it. Normally binding is stitched to the right side of the quilt and turned to the back. With this faux flange method, however, you sew the binding to the wrong side of the quilt and turn it to the right side to expose the flange. When I got ready to miter the first corner, I turned the binding to the right side. And this is what I saw:
Oh no! You can clearly see the green fabric through the white fabric in the binding. With this particular treatment the seam allowance must be pressed toward the binding fabric for the flange to lie flat. I tried pressing it the other way but it was a “no go.” There was no way I could see to remedy this problem.
Back to the drawing board — er, cutting table. My second choice for the binding was the zebra fabric. That was my husband’s first choice and also my twin sister’s. Some of my readers liked it too so I figured it was a keeper. (Thank you, Vickie R., for suggesting the zebra fabric. Like the white background fabric, it wasn’t even on my radar initially.)
I started cutting more binding strips . . . until a certain feline came to investigate:
Princess Cordelia (Coco for short) was gently ejected from my sewing room so I could proceed. The binding went on very nicely.
The conventional way to finish a faux flange binding is to machine stitch in the ditch where the flange meets the binding fabric. Instead of doing that I fused the binding down with Steam-a-Seam-2, a double-sided fusible web.
Here’s the back of Uptown Funk:
I love the way the binding looks with the backing fabric.
Hold on. Before I reveal my choice for the binding of my wonky Dresden Neighborhood quilt, take a look at my four options:
Did I make four different bindings? Oh no! I photocopied the fabrics, cut strips to look like binding, and pinned them to the quilt. Three of the four treatments involve a faux flange, in which the binding is made of two strips of fabric. I’ve never tried that method before.
Here’s a closeup of the fabric contenders:
There’s a white-on-black swirly print, a black-on-white zebra print, a green pindot on white (the same fabric as the background of the quilt), and the solid lime green flange fabric, the last of which I auditioned separately as a no-flange binding.
Let’s take a closer look, clockwise starting with the upper right corner:
and binding 4:
Any one of them would work, don’t you think? But one emerged as the clear winner for me — and it wasn’t the one I was expecting.
Which one was it? Please come back tomorrow to find out!
Uptown Funk, my version of Kim Lapacek’s pattern Dresden Neighborhood, needed more quilting. I knew it right away when I looked at it this morning. So what did it need? More quilting lines radiating out to the edges. Not all the way to the outside, mind you. As you can see, the new stitching lines, placed between the first set I showed you in yesterday’s post, are of staggered lengths and all end shy of the edges, some by quite a bit.
I’m very pleased with the effect but creating that effect was quite a chore, let me tell you. Each stitching line began and ended with four tiny stitches (1.0 on my computerized machine) to lock the threads in place in lieu of knotting. The main part of the line was sewn with a stitch length of 2.7. That’s a lot of stopping and starting while the stitch length was being adjusted. And I buried all the threads. Let’s see: 40 stitching lines — yes, 40! — means there were 80 sets of threads to be buried.
I’ve found that the key to burying threads easily, once you’ve drawn them to the same side of the fabric, is to trim both threads to the same length — three to four inches works best for me — and use a needle with a large eye so the thread ends go in easily:
Because I pulled the bobbin threads through to the front when I started the stitching lines in the interior of the quilt, I buried a lot of the threads in the roofs:
The roofs have a layer of fusible web underneath them so those threads aren’t going anywhere. It was very easy to pull the threads taut and clip them right where they came out of the fabric:
The top thread at the end of each stitching line got pulled to the back of the quilt and buried in the backing fabric.
Just before getting started this morning, I left my sewing room for a few minutes. Look who I found lounging on my ironing board when I came back:
Good thing Coco’s paws were clean!
Now I’m ready for the binding. For those of you who commented on my last post and offered suggestions on color and fabric choices: thank you so much! I’m going to audition everyone’s ideas before making a final decision.
It’s a bit of a stretch. The reference is to the walking foot on my Janome sewing machine, used to quilt Uptown Funk, my version of the Dresden Neighborhood quilt.
I seriously considered doing some free motion quilting in the background. Little spirals would have looked good or perhaps some pebbling. Alas, free motion quilting is not my strong suit. After considerable waffling I opted to keep it simple and go for straight lines. The doors on my wonky Dresden houses appear to radiate from the center circle so I extended the concept with my quilting lines radiating to the outer edges of the quilt.
Here’s a peek at the backing fabric:
The fabric, an older print from Timeless Treasures, features another kind of uptown neighborhood: Central Park in New York City. I’ve used this fun retro print in other projects and am happy to report I have plenty left. (There’s a funny story about this fabric you can read about here.)
My wonky Dresden neighborhood quilt measures 24″ x 26″ after trimming. Now I’m trying to decide what fabric to use for binding. Solid black seems too severe. Solid green? No, that would be too much green. I’m leaning toward using one of the black prints from the quilt and maybe inserting a very thin green flange.
. . . my Uptown Funk neighborhood, that is, which now has doors and a few windows:
I wanted the long skinny doors to really stand out, like rays radiating from a sun, so I cut them all from black and green solids. I thought the effect might be diluted if I used prints.
I was planning to use the same solid fabrics for windows. If you look at the Dresden Neighborhood pattern by Kim Lapacek that my neighborhood is based on, you’ll see that all the buildings have doors and windows:
My plan changed when I happened upon a piece of fabric in my stash of a cityscape with a variety of windows — in the perfect color combo of black, white, and green. Of course I had to audition them! I fussycut just a few sets of windows and placed them randomly around the circle of houses.
The windows weren’t printed on the straight of grain so they’re all a little bit wonky. Perfect for my wonky little neighborhood. Here’s a close-up:
Oh, and see the little chimney? It’s the only one in the neighborhood. It’s covering up the smudge of dirt I pointed out in my previous post about this project. I stitched around the base of the chimney with black thread so it would stand out a bit more, and I also added a row of black stitching around the roof. I stitched around the other four roofs that had a lot of white in them after noticing that they blended into the background fabric too much.
I’m thinking windows on only five of my houses may be enough. What do you think?
. . . in honor of St Patrick’s Day. It’s rather nice to be thinking about St. Paddy’s Day and not about the self-confinement the Dear Husband I have entered as part of our responsibility to help flatten the curve of the coronavirus pandemic. I’ve read a lot of posts today about how people are coping and I deeply appreciate the perspective that Sharon Santoni of My French Country Home brings to the situation. She lives in France some 5,000 miles way from my home in Portland, Oregon but we are definitely on the same page.
So back to the wearin’ of the green, or rather the sewin’ of the green:
That’s the last of the 20 roofs on my Dresden Neighborhood quilt (based on the pattern of the same name by Persimon Dreams).
I stitched all the roofs using the blanket stitch on my new Janome 9450QCP sewing machine. I confess: it was harder than I expected. Not because my machine is new. No, it’s because I’ve never machine appliquéd with a blanket stitch before! How did I get to this advanced age without learning that skill?
I had to practice — a lot — on scraps before attempting it on my funky little neighborhood. The most difficult part was stitching around the sharp corners. I couldn’t find a decent tutorial on how to do that so I fiddled with the points, trying different approaches until I was satisfied. And I matched my thread with the roof to minimize the imperfections.
See that zebra print roof above at about the 8:00 position? It’s the only roof that’s rounded and it was very easy going around it with the blanket stitch. Had I known that when I was cutting out the roofs, I would have made more of them rounded!
Uh-oh. There’s a dark smudge just to the left of the roof in the 11:00 position, made of the same zebra fabric. Here’s a close-up:
I have no idea how it got there. It definitely wasn’t there when I stitched around the roof. I tried dabbing it with a wet Q-tip but it looks like ink. The next time you see this there will probably be a chimney covering that sooty-looking spot. How appropriate.
What’s left? Doors and windows; a circle appliquéd in the center; and then it’s time to sandwich and quilt my little neighborhood.
As I was sewing the last roof on, the name for my quilt-in-progress popped into my head: Uptown Funk.
Now that Christmas is over, I can show you the pillowcases I made for my twin sister Diane and her husband Ed:
The cases are made for a king size bed so they measure a generous 20″ x 33″. I am so in love with that floral fabric; it’s from a 2010 line for Henry Glass Fabrics called “At Home for Christmas” designed by Heather Mulder Peterson of Anka’s Treasures. It’s been in my stash for years. Knowing I would be using most of it, I scoured the Internet looking for more and even contacted Heather to see if she still had some in her shop; alas, it is gone.
I confess it was really hard to cut into that fabric but I knew that pillowcases made from it would look wonderful in Diane and Ed’s master bedroom:
The colors are Christmas-y but the prints are not, making the pillowcases appropriate for use all year round.
I had one other thing in mind when I chose the fabric. In the picture below you can just get a glimpse of a quilt on the wall:
It’s Midnight in the Garden, one of my very favorite quilts, made from my pattern 4-Patch Wonder:
I gave the quilt to Diane for her 60th birthday a few years ago and I get to see it whenever I travel to Georgia to visit her. I figured the pillowcases would complement her quilt very nicely. And they do, don’t they?!