Evening in the Garden Quilts

Adventures in Fabric Art


Grungy Christmas Stars

A while back I made a variety of wonky stars using Christmas fabric scraps.

I put them together with lots of negative space made of various white and creamy Moda Grunge and borders of Windham’s Glisten.  Then I took them apart and inserted a peppermint strip for definition. 

Oftentimes, after a quilt is washed I regret not having quilted it more.  This was not the case.  I quilted shadow stars in the plain blocks, and filled around all the stars in various ways.

I quilted holly and ribbons in the first, wide border.  I quilted roping in the narrow gray border.  

I quilted ribbons in the outer border. (For this I used my Leaves Galore ruler from Sue Pelland.  I just didn’t move it over as much as for leaves.  I guess long, skinny leaves look like ribbons.)

After the fancy quilting, I went back with my walking foot and quilted straight lines wherever they fit to try to make the border quilting a little closer in density to the center.  I didn’t succeed,  but it’seems also pretty flat, so I think it helped.

The back is a creamy batik with faint green snowflakes.

This time I really think I accomplished the vision I had for this quilt.  It’s here in my Etsy shop.

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Blue Christmas Finish

IMG_2183Yesterday I finished and washed up Blue Christmas, another in my series of procrastination scrap quilts as I ponder the quilting for the Slow Quilt.  In going through my Christmas and pine cone fabrics, I discovered an untidy pile of blue holiday and winter fabrics.

IMG_2186Two of them were coordinating fabrics with vignettes that I have previously fussy cut, hence the messiness.  I wanted to fussy-cut them again, but wanted something different from my framed squares quilts (see Christmas Birds and Christmas Plaid).  I was intrigued by the Economy Block (square-in-a-square) craziness from earlier in the year, and I thought it would display this fabric really well.  I stumbled across a great tutorial at Catbird Quilts.  Melanie gives a lot of info about the math and construction, and then does the math for us, creating a table for various sized blocks.  She also has a link to seventeen different sets she designed for this block, and I stole the very best one, Jewel Box.  Go there and look at this great stuff.  I had already made mine up on EQ7 and used their rotary cutting directions, which make the block to size, without trimming, so I didn’t try out her measurements.

IMG_2185This is quilt was straight forward and easy to sew, although it does require a tad of pinning, unlike my previous two.  I ran into a couple of snags, but that was just me.  First, just as I was congratulating myself for using up nearly every bit of the fabric, I discovered that I hadn’t made enough blocks.  It’s not that I can’t multiply; it’s that I can’t remember the total I planned to make for a particular quilt.  I’m going to have to start posting a sticky note above my cutting table instead of trusting my brain.  So out of almost no fabric I had to come up with six more blocks, three of each.  I dove back into the Christmas Scrap Locker and came up with some soft green and bits of navy and green reindeer to add into the previously all blue quilt.  Fortunately, I had more of the darker solids I was using.  And I like the way it turned out.

IMG_2190The other problem was with the quilting thread.  I honestly think I got a bad cone of Bottom Line.  I hadn’t changed my machine settings at all, but when I opened this new cone of light blue and started in, it did nothing but shred and twist and break.  New needle, rethreading, changing tension, etc., nothing really helped.  I slowed down and tried not to cuss too much, and it turned out okay, but with a lot more stops and starts than I like.  I see some tails and thread boogers I still need to clean up.

IMG_2189I’m not sure the photos show it, but this quilt has lots glitter and metallic accents on it, besides all the Christmas motifs.  And the back is a glittery, almost snow-flaky fabric for which I was glad to find a home.  Blue is not a color I use that often, but I like this quilt.

IMG_2192So, this may be the last Christmas scrap quilt this year… Who knows?  But I am making inroads into that old Christmas fabric!  Hope you are finding some time to sew and meeting some of your goals!


Sunday Stash Report: 10/26/14


As I stopped and started repeatedly on another project, I filled in the time by creating this Blue Christmas quilt.  More photos and a post soon when the light is better.  It used seven and a half yards, and I didn’t buy a thing.

This week: +0 yards, -7.5 yards
YTD: +113.25 yards, -179.75 yards
Net stash used 2014: -66.5 yards

Can I make one hundred?  We’ll see!

Carry on with your destashing!  I’m linking up with Sunday Stash Report at Patchwork Times.


Christmas Plaid Finish


Yesterday I finished the Christmas Plaid quilt.  I think maybe it looks better in person, with all its bling, than in the photos.  It’s a lot darker cozier than Christmas Birds, kind of Dickensian.

IMG_2170This quilt is 50″ x 70″, quilted with Superior “Glitter” , “New Brites” , and “Bottom Line” threads.

IMG_2168The plaid fabric continued to be uncooperative (see my whining here).  I probably should have interfaced it.  It washed up fine, though, and is all neat and square, in spite of how squishy some of these blocks look.

IMG_2172The backing looks kind of brown, doesn’t it?  I used a rose beige thread on the bottom, and had a lot of trouble even seeing it, it blended so well.

IMG_2173Actually, it is a pair of unrelated but very coordinating red, green, gold, and white Christmas prints.  I think they were my mother’s, and they hadn’t made it into the front of any projects because of the “brown” problem.  They are beautiful and interesting up close.

2014-10-11 09.00.10This may be the last Christmas quilt for this year.  On the other hand, I discovered more fabric under my pine cone fabric.  And I’ve been looking at my blue Christmas fabric, which is another category entirely.  Hmmm…

Thanks for looking, and I hope you’re finding sewing time!

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Design Wall Monday: More Christmas


Here’s what’s going on with more of the Christmas scraps.  Its a little dark and busy for my taste, but I’m choosing to regard it as rich and cosy for the winter time.  What do you think?


The plaid centers completely used up a fabric remnant I’ve had for ages.  It’s truely beautiful, but I really don’t know what it was sold for, or why I bought it.  I was seduced by the gold threads, I guess.  It’s very thin (voile?), and when washed became a wrinkled mess, which ironed into a very crooked plaid.  Ater years of looking at it, I finally found the patience to cut into it.  I thought about using scissors, but I needed every inch of it.  After pinning it together every six inches, I was able to rotary cut it into mostly straigh six inch squares.  Stabilized by the fabric frames, I think it will work okay in this quilt.

So what’s on your design wall?  I’m linking up with Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.


Christmas Finish

IMG_2159Early this week I finished the Christmas Bird Quilt.  (Krissi is assisting here.)  A Christmas scrap quilt was on my September goals list, but I had no idea it would turn out like this.  I was thinking of something random and scrappy, maybe with white, or cut into strings.

IMG_2160When I opened my Christmas scrap locker (yes, I have one…), this bird fabric caught my eye.  I had a yard each of two of them (I think I bought them when my mom and I used to wrap Christmas gifts in quilt fabric.), but not much of the prettiest one.  It looked like Swiss cheese, as I had fussy cut it for a quilt years ago.  So I fussy cut it again, into four-inch squares and framed them in a similar, unrelated fabric to bring them up to the six-inch squares of the other prints.  Then I used a red batik and various holiday green scraps to frame each bird square, making them ten inches.

IMG_2162The whole quilt is 50″ x 70″.  I used every bit of the red fabric, doing some very creative piecing (this is patchwork we do, after all), but after quilting and washing, it hardly shows.

IMG_2161Some of the borders were bits of beautiful red, green, and gold swag prints that I had carefully cut and matched on another project a couple years ago.  In this case, all I could do was whack it up, throw it on, and see what happened.  And I like it.  In spite of the randomness, it really adds an old fashioned Christmas feeling.

IMG_2163IMG_2164I love the backing fabric.  It’s more green and gold than this shows, so it goes well, and it shows the quilting.  I used all Superior Bottom Line (50 wt.) thread, light green on the back, red and green and the front.

IMG_2166I think this will be a donation to my YMCA.  They have an auction every November.  Not only do I do my fitness there, but they sponsor my virtual farmer’s market, where I order on line and pick up produce there weekly.

And there will be a scrappier Christmas quilt this year or next.  Maybe.

I’m linking up with Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.


Tale of a Rescued Christmas UFO

Those of you who chat about quilting with me on Twitter (don’t we have fun?) know about my recent heart palpitations over a Christmas quilt I sold on Etsy that took its own sweet time reaching the new owner, along with unconcerned Postal workers and broken tracking.  It all came out fine.  The new owner (very pleasant to work with) proclaims it, “one of the most gorgeous Christmas quilts I have seen.”  Nice, hmm?  Alas, it was not always so, and I want to share its journey from UFO to beauty.

This really begins several (five?) years ago, when I became intrigued with using blue and white squares to reproduce a gingham pattern.

Blue gingham 011The result was successful, if a little boring.

Blue gingham 1000I jazzed it up with some peacock feather borders and a flat white piping, then quilted it with lovely feathers.  The batting stayed flat and unshrunken (I really think it was Hobbs Heirloom Cotton- could that be?), so the feathers never plumped.

Blue foldedI still think it would have been effective in the right nursery, but it’s never sold.  It will be heading for Project Linus soon.

Next, I thought, Christmas plaid!  Yes, this could be made with 2 1/2 squares in red, green, and white.  Here is what I got.

plaidYeah.  Plaid.  And it just kind of sits there, doesn’t it?  So it kind of sat in my sewing studio for a couple of years.  This doesn’t seem odd to some of you (you know who you are!)  who have oodles of UFOs, but I have hardly any.  At that time, this was the only one.  Now I have two, I think.  So, yeah, I really had no idea what to do with this bit of Christmas ickiness.

Eventually, I took it back out and dove into it.  I pulled out all my stash Christmas fabric.

V C detail4I made borders from gold braid prints and tassel prints.  Better, but still small and square.

V C detail2I created diamond (on point) blocks with varying shades of gold on dark backgrounds, and put rows of these on the top and bottom of the quilt.  Better.  A rectangle now.

IMG_0569Now I cut large borders of printed swags and tassels.  I didn’t have quite enough so I added corner stones.  These brought it to its final size (47″ x 65″) and Victorian glory.  I added lots of quilting in gold metalic thread.

finished ChristmasI knew it was either a masterpiece or a gawd-awful hodgepodge of Christmas fabric, but at least it was a finished quilt.  It was festive and warm.

Victorian Christmas 500Apparently, it is attractive, because it was picked up in several Etsy treasuries after I listed it last month, and favorited by many, and then purchased by this nice appreciative lady who was giving it as a gift before the holiday.  I am so glad it will have a loving home for Christmas, happy it turned out okay, and so happy to have it out of my sewing space!

Yes, Jaye, it is the process.  Some just take longer than others.