Evening in the Garden Quilts

Adventures in Fabric Art


Design Wall Monday: 6/23/14

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This weekend I put frames around some of the Beach scraps.  There are a few shell fabrics, but by now they are mainly just tan or aqua pieces, and a few whole squares of stripes and ribbons.  I was going to use aqua and khaki in the framing, but the “Azure”, I think it was, didn’t go well with the centers.  This Cream solid and tan print are definitely lower volume than the other quilts, but I like the way the centers stand out.


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I also put the top and bottom together for the plaid Rail Fence for the Scrap Basket Quilt Along.


What are you working on this week?  I’m linking up to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.




Design Wall Monday: 6/16/14

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These are not exactly “on the wall”; more like works in progress.  I assembled all the blocks from the cowboy fabric into a Rail Fence top for the Scrap Basket Quilt Along, and made a back.  I included extra rail blocks and a few orphan blocks.


Christmas gift bags from a couple of years ago.

Christmas gift bags from a couple of years ago.

I also started making shopping bags from the pile of bird seed sacks in the corner of my studio.  I made some of these a couple of years ago as gifts, and have been saving bags ever since.  My reusable shopping bags are getting a little tattered, so I can use some new ones, but mostly I just want to get rid of some of these bags.  I looked on Etsy to see what others are doing, and found quite a few using these bags.  My favorite is Julia, of One Woman Studio.  Her design sense and color and bag choices really resonate with me.  I also stole a few of her construction techniques.  I’m not going to sell mine (probably).  These are just for my own use, and to keep the pretty bags out of the landfill.

This week's bag

This week’s bag

Nylon web is really the right material for handles, but I’m trying not to buy anything, so my handles are denim cut from old jeans.  Very comfortable for carrying groceries.  I measured my favorite cloth grocery bag to get an idea of size, and cut the front and back 20″ square (from two bags that are too small to use on their own for grocery sacks).  I used a strong poly quilting thread that I have a lot of in a lavender color that I don’t use often.  I tried out some of the stitches on my machine that I usually neglect.  I tried to take advantage of the unique properties of the bags, their body and resistance to fraying, instead of the garment sewing techniques I had used previously.  Lots of flat construction and zigzag-like stitching.  The next will be better, and faster.

I’m also interested in other ideas for using these bags.  Do you have any?


What are you trying this week?

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


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.


String Blocks

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Yesterday I finished the forty little (7″) paper-pieced string blocks for the second commission top.  I pulled the paper off during the Men’s Downhill and team Figure Skating last night.


A question was raised about me pulling the paper off before they were sewn together, and without stay-stitching them around the edges.  I usually do string and log cabin blocks this way, unless I have a lot of bias or some other reason to think there will be a problem.  Stitching around all the edges is probably a good step for newer quilters, but it really adds a lot of time to the process, and I am far too impatient.  Again, sewing the blocks together with the paper still on is another option for fool-proof results, but I have real sensory issues with all that crinkliness, and then there’s paper in the seams to pick out.  I find that I can get good, accurate results by handling the blocks gently and using the occasional pin (radical, I know!  Not really a pinner, either).  I use thin paper (this was phone book pages) or sometimes no paper at all, if I’m doing vertical strips.  I press them well all along the way, trim carefully, and remove the paper gently, and I don’t have any trouble.  How do you deal with these kind of blocks?


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Here they are with the coordinating quilt top.  There will be Snow sashing between all these string blocks, so the result will be much lighter and will match the first quilt better.


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


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Design Wall Monday: Brights and Blacks



Here’s a quick peek at my design wall on this cold, cold day.  Yesterday I made the forty flying geese blocks for the border, and today I am going to add all the sashing and cornerstones to the center.  The layout uses twenty-four of the bright string blocks, so I’ll have six left for the back.

Stay warm and keep quilting!


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



Design Wall Monday: Vacation Image


On my wall today is the beginning of a small quilt based on a photo of a North Dakota scene from out summer vacation.  Nothing is sewn down yet.  I’m living with it and studying the value.  I wasted time explored using the photo tracing tools on EQ7 for this, but couldn’t quite get to printing it quilt-sized.  This was such a simple scene that I just free-handed the cartoon on freezer paper.  Then I cut the sections apart and ironed them to the front of the fabrics for cutting.  They’re sticking to the piece of muslin with spray adhesive.  This is different work for me, but I’m enjoying it.


In the meantime, I’m finishing the first sewing step in the Scrapitude Mystery Quilt on Quilting for the Rest of Us.  There’s plenty of time to start if you’d like to join us.

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


Design Wall Monday


These heavy twelve-inch cabins don’t want to stay on my wall, and I can barely reach to pin them, even with my stool.  Still, I love the Streak of Lightning set.  I varied the size of the red centers to use up some scraps I had, and I think it adds some interest.  The logs are all in blues and grays, and each has one red or rust log.

Today, back from traveling, I made some final adjustments to the layout and then numbered the blocks with a Crayola washable marker.  Then I climbed up and took them all down and put them away for another time, because it’s not on my July list.  It’s just a scrappy donation top I was working on when I wanted some mindless piecing. I’ll only be home about a week between trips, and I want to try to piece the top for my SIL’s quilt before we head west.


Last week, when we were east, I bought fabric very reasonably at Zook Fabrics in Intercourse, PA.  They have a really large selection, but I stuck with pieces I needed for backs or sashing.  I think they’re beautiful, even if they are a bit muddy.

Are you playing with fabric today?  Hope so!

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


Design Wall Monday: Editing


My design wall has gotten a workout these last few days.  I took a collection of leftover fabrics from a successful beach themed quilt from a couple years ago and set out to make a different one.  I considered them all to be neutral fabrics, and I made some contrasting rail fence blocks to go with them.  I felt I was on the right track when my DH observed, “That’s not very colorful.”


Unfortunately, there wasn’t much contrast between the rails and the background.  Time to go more neutral.


Hmmm.   More neutral.


Hmmm.  Well.


Here is my finished top.  Obviously, I have quite a pile of rejected patches.  They will need to become something.  This is why we’re never finished making quilts.

I hope you’re playing with fabric today.

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


Design Wall Monday: A Nautical Feel


Here is the baby quilt top I worked on over the weekend.  I had previously made a nautical baby quilt and really enjoyed it.  I purposely did not look back at pictures of the last one.  I took the tiny bit of leftover stripe fabric I had, put it with some red and blue canvas print, yellow, clouds, and really old (1996!) water print.  I just started cutting 4 1/2″ squares and 4 7/8″ squares to make into HSTs, and used the tiny scraps to make some four patches.  I like all the strong diagonal lines.  This measures 36″ x 44″ and uses 99 blocks.


Sail 1500

And here is the one I made last year.  Turns out I used 180 3 1/2″ blocks for it.  Also, I included lots of white, so it has a lighter look.  I like them both.

Have you been playing with fabric?

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


Design Wall Monday: D4P



Today’s fabrics aren’t even on the design wall yet.  I spent time today repairing the damage to my fabric closet after The Great Stash Cave In.  The problem was the extremely close quarters inside the closet.  There is not enough space to pull the baskets straight out to remove them from the frames.  And I have some backings hanging in there.  And packing boxes.  And I was in there.  So that was an ordeal.




But while I was at it I pulled several older, floral fabrics that I do not wish to see anymore.  They are lovely, and perfectly good quality.  I once was obsessed with tulip fabric.  I collected quite a bit, and made one of my nieces a twin sized quilt using a lot of it.  But I still have a lot left.  And I’m just not as into it.  So I want this to become my next donation quilt.  Perhaps someone else can indulge a tulip obsession.  Or at least keep warm.

My concept at the moment is to do a Disappearing Four Patch that transitions gradually from one fabric to the next as it goes across the quilt.  I’m still working out how to do that, but I think I’ve settled on the fabrics.  The florals and the pink are definite.  I’m reluctant to include my wonderful green Grunge because I like it so much, but that’s silly, isn’t it?  I bought it to cut up and sew into quilts.  I just want to use it and keep it, too, like cake.  But it wants to be in this quilt, so I will probably use it.  I think.


Are you playing with fabric today?


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