Evening in the Garden Quilts

Adventures in Fabric Art


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Rail Fence Finishes

 

 

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Something clicked when Amanda Jean suggested this Scrap Basket Quilt Along.  I have been whittling away at my stash, and this seemed like a fun way to use a lot of fabric.  Boy’s quilts are especially needed, which caused me to think of the lonely pile of cowboy fabric scraps from Guthrie, OK, that has been waiting a long while to be used.  When I dug it out, I found a pile of plaid scraps left from a graduation quilt (circa 2000).  Okay, so a fun way to make two quilts.

 

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The cowboy fabric was red, light, and blue, so it ended up like this.

 

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I used up every smidge, including on the back, where I also added some orphan blocks, a solid, and a starry fabric.  Perfect for a little cowboy to sleep under.

 

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To quilt it, I first stitched in the ditch between all the blocks (per this post).  I liked Amanda’s approach to the quilting (she stitched a trio of wavy lines down every column and across every row), but I wanted to change it up, so mine are twirling ropes and strands of barbed wire.  Ouch!  I alternated rows to leave blank areas.

 

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I put hats on some. (Here’s the brown chalk stripe binding.)

 

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And boots on others.  I’m pretty happy with the results.  Bottom Line on the bottom, Masterpiece on top.

 

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I quickly decided to add khaki Kona to the plaids.  I did that to provide a place for the eye to rest, but it turned out to be a good idea structure-wise.  These woven plaids are very stretchy, and the solid really stabilized the whole top.  By the way, fabrics from long ago were a few inches wider than today’s.  I cut six sets of 6 1/2″ blocks from every set of sewn fabric strips, often with a bit left over to make into a block for the back.

 

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I also used up included an unusual … mosquito? print fabric, also left from a graduation quilt of the same era.

 

 

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This time I thought I would use the wavy lines, but just down and across the centers of the blocks, and really large.  And, after I found my rhythm, I was really pleased with the way I free-motioned these with no marking.

 

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The problem came when I turned the quilt and went across the original waves.  It formed these nesting, 3/4 circle things.  Actually, it makes giant puzzle pieces between/across the blocks.  I’m not sure I like it.  I looks vaguely like the quilting on a motel bedspread.

 

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But, it’s very even, and, with the quilting between blocks, holds the quilt together very well.  I used Superior’s Living Colors poly on top.  I bound it with the last (reasonably stable) bit of plaid.

 

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So, all and all, a fun couple of weeks and some learning, in the name of a good cause.  See the rest of these Rail Fences at Amanda’s Scrap Basket Quilt Along over at Crazy Mom Quilts.


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Beach Quilt VI

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This week I finished Beach Quilt VI.  See the other Beach Quilts or links here, if you care.  This wasn’t on my list for this month, but the last one sold quickly, and I was dying to use up these scraps.  And I have just about done that.  I’ll have to go in a different direction with the next one.

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I expected to frame the scrap blocks with aqua and khaki solids, but that didn’t work, and I like the low-volume results from these fabrics.  I might like this better than the last one, but I’m not sure.

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The quilting is all free-motion “waves” in Superior’s Living Colors (507) with very little marking.  I think this kind of linear quilting is much harder than working on one area of the quilt at a time.  I studied the quilt for a while, wondering if I would like some kind of motif in each block, but I really like the wave effect, so I bit the bullet.  Every time I reposition my hands, there is the risk of a weird stitch that spoils the smooth lines.  The harder I tried to hold the quilt still as I started up, the worse it was.  I found if I kept my hands lightly on the quilt, or lifted them completely, it worked better.  Good practice, and it turned out well.

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We talked some on Twitter about whether it is necessary to stitch in the ditch to stabilize the quilt before doing more elaborate quilting.  I almost always do.  I started years ago with Harriet Hargrave’s Heirloom Machine Quilting (1995!),  and she told me to stitch between all the blocks first, so I do.  I really think that first, “behind the scenes” quilting gives the quilt structure and allows me to focus on the quilting design without worrying about shifting or wrinkles.  Had I not done this first,  I’m pretty sure this diagonal quilting would have stretched and wonked this quilt into a mess.  I use fine thread that really disappears into the ditch, usually Superior’s Bottom Line (50 wt.).  I guess this is similar to Aurifil’s 50 wt.?  I use my walking foot.  On this one, I went back and free-motioned in the ditch in the corners inside the frames where the wave stitching didn’t catch them.  All this “structural quilting” enabled me to make it look like the only quilting was the widely space groups of waves in the showy thread, yet it’s still all tidy and tight.

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I’ve also used water-soluble thread when I didn’t want to spoil a secondary design with stitches between the blocks.  I did that on Disappearing Pinwheels.  It controlled the puffiness while I quilted, and then didn’t break up those diamonds after it washed out.

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Krissi assisted with this photo shoot.  We’re linking up to Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

 


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Git Along, Little Scraps

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It’s been a dreary, rainy week here.  I know we need it, but it does not energize me to do household tasks.  Sewing seems the best option.

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Amanda Jean’s post about her Scrap Basket Quilt Along for charity prompted me to get out my plaid and cowboy left overs (some “scraps”, but mostly yardage that goes with nothing else).

Interestingly, her post today about choosing colors is much more like what I usually do when starting a scrap quilt.  Color really inspires me, and I usually look to see which fabrics have serendipitously landed next to each other in the scrap basket, and then pull other unexpected but wonderful choices.  For some reason, I went directly to these themed fabrics, feeling a boy would love them far more than I do in my stash.  So my quilts won’t have all those gorgeous colors in them.  Unless I make another…

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So, I made enough  Rail Fence blocks for a plaid quilt.  (The centers are khaki, if you can’t tell.)

 

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And yesterday I made all the cowboy blocks.  I mean, there’s so little else to do with barbed wire print…  I enjoyed remembering the quilt shop, (I believe) Extra Special Fabrics in Guthrie, OK.  (I misidentified it on Twitter as Los Vegas, NM, where I have also purchased fabric, same trip, wrong shop.)  Their specialty is western prints and they have a ton.  I already used up the Roy Rodgers/Dale Evans print I bought there.  We can’t keep it all.

I sewed up every little scrap, except for some yardage for backings.  I figure the extra blocks can go into the back.  And I really don’t want to put any of this back in the drawers.

So, are you going to join us in making fun quilts for a good cause?

 

I’m linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

 


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Design Wall Monday: 6/9/14

Apologies in advance for these photos, done in low light with a phone.  Oh, well.

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Last night I finished the top to the Slow Quilt, and I’m happy with it.  It’s big:  70″ square.  It’s going away for a while, until I can get the right batting and find some inspiration for the quilting.

All that careful piecing wore me out.  While catching up on blog reading, I spotted this post from Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts.  It’s a quilt along for charity (Margaret’s Hope Chest) using the Rail Fence design (talk about Zen piecing!).  She also mentions that they really need boys” quilts.  This started working in my brain and I couldn’t wait to get to it.  Of course I have overflowing scrap bins, but the “boy” thing made me remember that I had a whole stack of plaid yardage left from a long ago quilt (he’s 31, it was his HS graduation…).  In the same drawer I found all my cowboy yardage/scraps.  (What, you don’t have a plaid/cowboy drawer in your fabric closet?  Well, maybe I won’t, either, when these are finished!).

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I am jumping the gun on this.  Amanda doesn’t look like she’s even going to start cutting for a few weeks, so there’s plenty of time.  But I had the house to myself on a rainy Sunday, so I started to play.

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I started to realize that all those plaids were going to be chaotic and horrible a little busy jammed together in a Rail Fence, so I added khaki Kona.  (Now that I look at it, I think maybe the reason these plaids are left over is that they do have khaki stripes and threads through them, and I used the more white ones in the other project…)  So, I think this is working, don’t you?  I did actually cut the strips pretty straight, I just have them crooked on the wall.

So that’s what I’m doin today, blissfully piecing strips and whacking them into blocks.  Check out Amanda’s post and join me.

I’m linking up to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.


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Beach Quilt V

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This week I made the latest in the Beach Quilt series.  This might be my favorite one yet.  The fabrics are like sand and sea glass, and the top went together effortlessly, as the warm early summer breezes blew in.

 

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I always change up the stitching a little.  This time I tried using free motion to quilt the wavy lines.  They are not as even as the ones I do with the walking foot, but it was much easier on my shoulders not moving the quilt around as much.  I did all the stitching in Superior’s Living Colors poly thread, with aqua Bottom Line on the back.  It looks like metalic gold, but it is just a golden color, 506.  The backing is a beautiful awning stripe.

 

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What did you finish this week?

 

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

 


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Floral!

 

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Yuri is delighted with this latest finish, and so am I.  You can have your tiny calico prints.  These are my florals!

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This quilt is 54″ x 72″, 48 nine-inch blocks, so of course it pieced up in no time.  It’s related to this quilt from last year.  That has solid gray for relief, this does not.  Some people find it to be too much pattern.  I wouldn’t dress like this or anything, but it’s making my happy.  It was not windy for these photos; Yuri is behind the quilt, pushing out the bottom.

 

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Technically it holds together.  Mostly florals, good variety of scale.  Similar colors, but not completely matchy.  I love how the orange trucks and barns pop on the Madrona Road fabric.  Good value change.

 

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Without the cat, the quilting shows up well in this late evening light.  I added a second layer of batting under the light, feather quilted areas (Warm and White).  The feathers are done in a peach Living Colors, and the straight lines are old rose Bottom Line, both Superior.  The quilting took much longer than the piecing.

 

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I like this photo because it shows how much greener everything is than my last finish.  Finally!

 

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Lastly, I did take this photo of one of my Oriole friends.  They are a lot of fun to watch, but hard to catch with the camera.

Hope you are enjoying spring and having some finishes.  I’m linking up to Finish It Up Friday and Whoop Whoop Friday.

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Beach Quilt Finished

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I finished another in the continuing series of beach-themed quilts.  It began in 2010 when I made this quilt for a sick friend, all from stash, I think.  It turned out nicely and was appreciated.  I think the busyness is contained by the dark inner border.  Then, in 2012, I used some of the leftover fabrics plus lots of khaki Kona to make this one.  Obviously, it didn’t use much of the beachy fabric, so I continued.  Last July I made this quilt.  It turned out well, but was a process.  Follow the link in that post to see how I cut lots of squares and then ended up editing about half of them.  So today’s quilt uses many of those edited pieces.

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The quilting is with a brown variegated thread from Coats and Clarks and a blue/green variegated Lava from Superior.

 

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The back is so subtle it doesn’t show in the photos, but it is antique postcards in lovely cream and pale blue tones.

And, never fear, if you don’t like this one, I have scraps left for at least one more!

 

 

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