First things first: Happy New Year, friends! May 2021 exceed your expectations in every way.
Now on to the next good thing: ‘Tis the Season, my quilt made with the Missouri Star Quilt Company’s Quatrefoil pattern, is a wrap! Take a look:
The quilt was officially completed on New Year’s Day but it was dark by the time I’d stitched the label on so I had to wait till today to take photos. Indoor shots only, I’m afraid; it’s January in Portland (need I say more?).
There was never a doubt in my mind what fabric I would use to bind this quilt: it absolutely had to be the green diagonal stripe in Corey Yoder’s “Holliberry” line. I tried a new-to-me way of applying the binding: it’s single-fold rather than the traditional double-fold. I’ve been wanting to try this method since hearing my friend Pam Raby of Loved to Pieces sing its praises when she was on the Quilt Show with Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson last July.
Oh my. Mitering the corners was a breeze! There’s much less bulk, and the corners lie nice and flat. Feel free to inspect mine:
For the label I made an inset circle and then enclosed it in another circle:
Here’s a look at the back of the quilt:
Since I love the crinkly look and feel of a laundered quilt, ‘Tis the Season went into the washer and dryer after these pictures were taken. Now here it is, still warm from the dryer, on the back of the couch, where it will take up residence for the time being:
My Quatrefoil quilt is back from the quilter already! Take a look:
Because of all the straight lines and angles in this quilt, I had already decided on “something with loops and swirls” for a quilting motif. After consulting with longarmer Sherry Wadley, we went with “Retro Heart,” an edge-to-edge pattern by Anne Bright Designs. I just love how it turned out!
Of course Coco decided to make an impromptu inspection, as she is wont to do:
Here’s a look at the whole quilt:
After trimming, it now measures 57″ x 71″ — a good size for a throw.
I made a simple pieced back using some of the leftovers from Corey Yoder’s “Holliberry” layer cake (10″ squares) and a larger piece of the grey floral:
That light fabric at the top is something I pulled from my stash, and it just happens to have loops and swirls on it, too:
I’ve decided to name this quilt ‘Tis the Season. That pretty much covers Christmas, the holidays, and winter, doesn’t it?
If I don’t dilly-dally, I can get it bound and labeled before the end of the year.
On the other hand . . . wouldn’t it be great to start 2021 with a finish?
The borders are on my Christmas Quatrefoil quilt and I couldn’t be more pleased:
The inner border is a 2″ finished strip of background fabric to float the blocks. For the outer border I auditioned this red focus fabric and the same print in the light grey background. The grey print is lovely but it just wasn’t bold enough. I was initially concerned that the red focus fabric would overpower the interior of the quilt but happily the individual blocks hold their own.
I think of this as my Christmas Quatrefoil quilt but this line of “Holliberry” prints by Moda is not overtly Christmas-y. The holly leaves and the pointsettia blossoms give it a Christmas vibe to be sure but the prints speak more to me of winter than holiday. What that means is that when it’s quilted and bound, this quilt can take up rotation on the back of my sofa all winter long. I leave my outdoor icicle lights up until Valentine’s Day, after all! I love the way they light up the porch and are reflected in the glass door and windows:
And you can also see my little tree on the sideboard by the front door. Here’s a close-up:
Princess Cordelia aka Coco is on her best behavior.
Tomorrow I’ll make a pieced backing for my quilt top using some of the yardage I bought along with a set of precut 10″ squares. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could get this quilted and bound before Christmas? I might reach out to a couple of my favorite local longarmers to see if they are working their magic this coming week. . .
I didn’t just decide on a final layout for my 12 Quatrefoil Christmas blocks; I sewed them together with the sashing strips. Oh my, I am loving this quilt top!
Right now it measures 40½” x 52½”; the next step is to add a strip of background fabric all around to float the top and then add a border (or maybe two). I have yardage in the large red and the large light grey floral prints. I’ll audition both fabrics before deciding.
As for binding, I could go with the green diagonal stripe or the small red print used in the corners of each block. It really depends on the outer border. Decisions, decisions!
These join the six blocks, shown below, that I wrote about in my last post:
All the fabrics except the background are from Corey Yoder’s “Holliberry” line for Moda Fabrics. The background is from Lori Holt’s “Seasonal Basics” line for Riley Blake Fabrics.
Now that the second set is done, I’m playing with all 12 blocks on my design wall to get just the right distribution of color and value. Each time I think “This is it,” I take another look and start moving blocks around again. Am I obsessing? Yes, but it’s what I do.
Well, tomorrow is another day. With any luck, I’ll arrive at a final setting and post it right here for all the world to see.
These blocks finish at 12″ square. I’ve decided to make a throw-size quilt with 12 blocks. With sashing strips and borders added, my quilt will finish somewhere around 56″ x 68″ — a good size to display on the back of a couch or over one’s lap.
Here are the first six blocks stuck up on my design wall with some sashing strips:
You can see how the sashing srips and the four-patches in the corner of each block combine to create an Irish chain effect. That’s one of the reasons I like this Quatrefoil quilt pattern so much.
I need to pay careful attention to how I put the fabric combinations together in the final six blocks so that the over-all effect is balanced. Isn’t it funny how hard we quilters work to make a scrappy quilt look effortlessly planned?
Oh, I know I am going to enjoy working on this new project! This is Test Block #1 of a quilt I’ve started with a festive line of holiday fabric called “Holliberry” designed by Corey Yoder for Moda Fabrics. The block is called Quatrefoil, which means “four leaves” in French.
When I first learned about “Holliberry” a few months ago, I knew I wanted to make something with it. Not knowing what to make, I decided to buy a Layer Cake (a package of 10″ squares featuring the entire line) and a few pieces of yardage. I already had my background fabric: a polkadot print from another designer, Lori Holt of A Bee in My Bonnet. I love how the green and red dots are scattered randomly over the white fabric.
The fabrics got packed up last month and hauled to Atlanta so I could work on the quilt while visiting my twin sister Diane over Thanksgiving. I keep a sewing machine there, along with a complete set of accessories, because I always do some sewing while I am at her home.
This year my sewing experience was especially enjoyable because Diane had her handyman make a “Big Board” that sits on top of her ironing board to increase the ironing surface. This Big Board is BIG! Check it out:
My own Big Board is 22″ x 60″, which suits me (and my small-ish sewing room) just fine. Diane’s Big Board measures 26″ x 68″. I had sent her a king-size cotton batt, unbleached muslin, and fabric for the cover beforehand. She and her handyman wrapped three layers of batting and one layer of muslin around the frame and stapled them in place. Then they stretched the top layer of fabric over the surface and held it in place underneath with large 2″ T-pins I had ordered from a wig shop. Because the top layer is pinned rather than stapled in place, it will be easy to take it off for laundering or replace it when the time comes.
My Christmas Quatrefoil quilt will be what I call “controlled scrappy.” I’ll be using different combinations of prints from the “Holliberry” line:
The stacks of squares on either side of the block can either be the four leaves of the quatrefoil or the centers of four blocks.
Despite the wonderful addition of Diane’s Big Board, the block you see at the top of the post was the only one I made on this visit. Diane and I were too busy celebrating a big birthday — our 70th! — and let’s just say that it’s not a good idea to drink champagne and sew at the same time.
After making Test Block #1, I determined I needed to make one change but I didn’t get to it until after returning home earlier this week. Here is Test Block #2:
Can you see the difference?
I’ll give you a hint: look at the four small green blocks with the diagonal print.
Here are the blocks side by side (I wish the colors were the same but the photos were taken at different times of day in different light):
I replaced the four-patch units in each corner so I could change the orientation of the diagonal green lines. The green lines on the right block form a diamond shape that echoes the diamond shape of the red print. The change might not be noticeable to some but I find the revised block much more pleasing to the eye.
Now that I’ve finished the first block, I can hardly wait to make some more!
Hello from Atlanta, where my husband Charlie and I are visiting my twin sister Diane and her husband Ed. It’s our annual Thanksgiving trip. We arrived earlier than usual this year for a special reason: Diane and I turned 70 on November 16th and we wanted to celebrate the big 7-0 together. We weren’t going to let Covid keep us apart.
Charlie and I took extreme precautions on the trip here from Oregon, including wearing safety goggles in transit that made us look like very large insects. Two days after we left Portland the governor of Oregon announced new statewide restrictions because of the alarming increase of Covid cases. We will self-quarantine for two weeks on our return.
In the interim, we are having an absolutely wonderful time doing not very much at all. Lots of Scrabble games, brisk walks outdoors in the fresh air, reading, watching movies, making favorite recipes and trying out new ones. On our actual birthday we got all dressed up — Diane and I in our Little Black Dresses — and went to an early and very properly socially distanced dinner at a lovely French restaurant.
As fraternal twins Diane and I were never dressed alike by our mother but half a lifetime ago, when we turned 35, we bought matching sweaters and posed for this photo:
Fast forward another 35 years. We decided to recreate the photo with new matching sweaters:
Who says you can’t be silly at 70? Of course we can never go out in public wearing these outfits at the same time!
Here’s Diane in her Little Black Dress (which is actually midnight blue) . . .
. . . and here I am in mine:
I whipped up masks for us to wear with our LBDs:
I’ve taken to adding neck straps to my masks after hearing from a fellow quilter, Linda B. No more needing to stuff a mask into a pocket or leave it dangling on one ear. (Thanks so much for the idea, Linda!)
That’s the extent of my sewing on this trip to date but I hauled a bunch of fabric all the way from Portland to start on a new quilt. Here’s hoping I have a couple of test blocks — Quatrefoil blocks, in fact! — to show you real soon.
Presenting . . . Lilacs in September. The little quilt started 12 years ago to use up some leftover blocks is finally finished. I stitched the label on yesterday. But there was one more thing to do before I could call it a wrap: the quilt got tossed into the washer and dryer. I love the look and feel of a freshly laundered quilt, don’t you? Such puckery goodness:
Here’s a look at the whole quilt:
It’s a very simple design: nine patches alternating with snowball blocks. I jazzed it up a little by angling the corners, adding a flange, and finishing it with a narrow and wide border.
Here’s a look at the simple pieced back, jazzed up with a single Quatrefoil block:
Lilacs in September finished at 50″ x 56″ — a good size for a lap quilt. I’ve just moved it to the back of my chair in the TV room. The next time I plop down in my chair to read a book or watch TV, I’ll throw it across my legs to keep myself warm. See what I mean? It’s a wrap!
Off to the longarm quilter’s one day and ready for pick-up the next! I certainly landed in her queue at just the right time. Here’s a great in-process shot of the quilting Karlee of SewInspired2Day did on my 12-year-old UFO, newly named Lilacs in September:
I was surprised and delighted that Karlee was able to do an edge-to-edge design over the flange on this quilt top. I was sure that folded strip of fabric would get flipped back on itself when the needle traveled over it from the center of the quilt. Turns out Karlee’s longarm has a special foot for sewing over flanges. And she also basted the flange down first, removing the basting stitches after quilting.
The quilting motif is called Abundant Feathers. I was going for a traditional look for this very traditional nine-patch and snowball block design. Here’s a look at the finished front:
A couple of close-ups:
The thread is a pale grey, which blends with all the fabrics. The quilted feathers enhance the quilt without overpowering it.
Here’s a look at the back . . .
. . . including a detail of the singleton Quatrefoil block:
After trimming the quilt, I laid it on the floor to measure it (51″ x 57″) and take photos. Guess who appeared out of nowhere? Yep. Princess Cordelia, aka Coco.
If she’s not on the quilt, she’s under it:
Oh, about the name Lilacs in September. I was inspired by a 1995 British film called Daisies in December, starring Jean Simmons and Josh Ackland. Filmed in Cornwall, it tells the story of a grumpy senior citizen dumped at a seaside retirement home for two weeks by his vacationing family. He’s determined to have a rotten time. Of course he meets someone interesting . . . but there’s a complication. I had a copy of this film on VHS back in the day. It’s never been released as a DVD in the U.S. but it can be seen on Amazon Prime via the Hallmark Channel. I actually signed up the other day for a free seven-day subscription to the Hallmark Channel just so I could watch the movie again.
If daisies can bloom in December, I wondered, can lilacs bloom in September? (I pulled this quilt out of my sewing room closet on the last day of September.) The answer is yes: although many varieties bloom in spring, there are some later-blooming varieties. You could say this quilt is a late bloomer, given the number of years it’s been in my closet.
Now on to the binding. My first fabric of choice would be the medium dark blue fabric of the inner border. It would make a nice frame for the quilt. Second choice would be the light cornflower blue print of the outer border. After 12 years I didn’t have much hope that I’d find either fabric still in my stash. Oh, happy day! After looking just now I found a 16″ strip of the outer border fabric, more than enough for the binding strips. How perfectly providential!