Evening in the Garden Quilts

Adventures in Fabric Art


Chevrons is Finished!

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The snow made a nice backdrop for this quilt.  I seemed to plod along on it, but it was worth it.

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50″ x 66″

Cotton prints, solids, and batiks.

Warm and white batting

Superior Bottom Line, Art Studio, and New Brites threads.


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I try to do something more or different every time with my feathers.  These have a double spine and echoing.  That really gives them some definition.

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Today we’re remembering Nelson Mandela, and the difference one person can make in the world.


Snow is falling rapidly here.  The schools are closed, so that makes this a Sew Day, doesn’t it?  Time to work on Christmas gifts.  What have you finished?

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



Pink and Green Cabins


I finished this quilt and finally found a pleasant day for photographing it.


It’s a big throw, 60″ x 82″.  I blogged more about making it here. 


I know fabric is fabric, and the last inch costs the same as the first, but somehow a quilt made entirely out of strings seems like a dividend.


I quilted it with diagonal lines using the walking foot.  I used pink and green Superior “Living Colors” and “Nature’s Colors” threads.


I’d love to see what you’ve finished.


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


Oh My Stars: Two Finishes!

Here is the first of my two finishes from this project.  I love the fabrics and the minty green background (Kona “Mint”!).  This one has lots of crinkly texture from all the stippling.   I don’t have too many UFOs, but this one has been nagging me, and I’m glad it’s finished, and in time for Christmas.


This project came from “Oh My Stars! ( a Quilt-Along)” by Sheila of Thought and Found.  She organized this almost exactly two years ago, and she did a great job offering twelve different versions of Sawtooth Star.  I never intended to make all the very detailed versions with my large-scale Christmas fabric.  I stuck with four of the simplest, and I’m happy with the result.  Some quilters did amazing things with this pattern, though.  Check out the Flickr group to see some.


This first quilt measures 52″ x 72″.  I quilted all the blocks in the ditch, and stitched the diamond design into the plain blocks.  In the border, I quilted 8″ and 4″ Sawtooth Stars, and stippled everything else in the green background.  That was a lot of stippling, and I was glad it was finished.  The texture is great, but it’s not very original.


The backing for both quilts is a busy green print from my mom’s stash.  I had in mind all this time that it had stylized Christmas trees on it, but they’re just triangles.  Looks good, anyway.


The second version had a few problems.  I needed more Kona solid for the borders and to fill in the empty spaces.  I like the effect of the extra space in the design.  Unfortunately, when the Kona came, it was not the same color as the original.  As a sometime knitter, I know all about buying enough of a dye lot for a project,  but I hoped that Kaufmann had it down to a science.  Also, it seemed a little thinner than the original.  The difference doesn’t show much in these outdoor pictures, but under artificial light it’s pretty noticeable.  Not awful.  I did arrange it carefully, and hope it looks like a design decision.


Then I made the decision to quilt the feather border using a red, green, gold metallic thread.  I can’t blame Sulky for the problems I had with this.  This thread is really old (and I still have a spool and a half!), and seems to have sort of formed to the spool.  My machine does very well with all kinds of threads, and I did a test first and had no issues.  The thread didn’t behave too badly for the spine and first side of the feather border.  It seemed like the farther I got into the spool, the worse it got.  It stuck to itself and seemed rough in the machine.  I found that if I manually pulled off a few lengths of thread first, I could sew a few feathers, but there was still breakage.


That, and Yuri’s interest in this process, didn’t make for very smooth feathers.  I thought this might be a job for Sewer’s Aid lubricant, but my JoAnn had never heard of it.  In desperation, I took the spool to the garage and gave it a good spray with a can of silicone showing pictures of cars and boats.  Wha la!  Magic!  Sewed like a dream.  Wish I had done it when it first started acting up.


Anyway, this one is quilted all over (in Bottom Line – no problems there!) in a four-sided feather design on every twelve inch block or group of blocks.


It shows better in the empty spaces.  I really think this is a much more interesting effect, and the border turned out okay after all the drama.  This is my favorite of the two (also voted on Twitter!), and it’s staying home to be my sofa quilt this Christmas.  It’s 48″ x 72″.  Krissi really liked the first one, but I don’t think she’ll notice.


These two jokers were lots of help.  Kind of takes the “free motion” out of free motion quilting!

I’m sighing with satisfaction and linking up to Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts and Can I get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

cooltext whoop whoop


Two Finishes











Here are two little baby quilts I finished yesterday.  Both are aqua and gray, very popular colors.











I finally got these log cabin blocks oriented correctly.  You might have said something after Wednesday’s post, or did you think it was something artsy I was doing?  I found two to fix after that post, but I didn’t see the last block till I had it sandwiched.  Fortunately, it was in a corner, so it wasn’t too bad to un-sew and re-sew.  If you spot a problem now, please don’t tell me.




















This one with the chevrons was more of a minty aqua, and hard to photograph.  I like it, though, and I had fun doing the feathers.  I even remembered to add extra batting to the gray areas when I sandwiched it, so the feathers pop more.  The odd triangles are seersucker, and the texture is  great.


I like the flying geese backing.

These are smaller than I usually make, 30″ x 36″, which I still think is a useful size.  Usually, mine are around 36″ x 42″.  What do you think is the ideal size for a baby quilt?

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




North Dakota Landscape Finished

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My landscape quilt based on a vacation photo is finished, and, I think, successful.  This particular scene was in North Dakota, but we saw many similar landscapes as we crossed the U.S. To the west, and then came back east through Canada. Here was our route. Making this really didn’t take that long (it’s only about 18″ x 24″), but I kept puttering around on other things because I wasn’t that comfortable working with images and applique.  My friend, Carol, of LandscapeLady fame, guided and encouraged me on Twitter.  Ironically, while I was working on landscape, she was dipping back into patchwork.  Always good to stretch a bit.


Interestingly, I didn’t use any fusibles on this project.  It has very simple pieces, so I cut freezer paper templates, ironed them to the right side of the fabrics, and cut around the templates.  I used spray adhesive to hold everything in place on a muslin background.  In addition to the muslin, I used two layers of water soluble stabilizer on the back as I machine appliqued everything down and did some decoration with thread.

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This spool of Perfect Quilter variegated thread is what I used to stitch millions of blades of grass in all three layers of the grassy field.  I thought it added texture and helped to unite the three different fabrics a bit.  The top green is less saturated than the earlier photos because I turned it over and used the reverse of the fabric.  That left it a little splotchy, so the stitching helped to even that out.  Then I clipped the top edges of the grass fabrics, frayed them with a brush, and put the top only through the washer and dryer.

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I quilted everything using invisible thread.  It gave it lots of definition.


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Design-wise, it was tempting to add some object to the foreground for interest, even though there was nothing in the original scene.  I decided that I really wanted to keep it all about the grass and sky.  I am fortunate to live surrounded by farmland, but it’s cluttered (in a nice way), hemmed in farmland.   The Great Plains are so much about space and distance.  I hope I captured that in this piece.


I’m linking up to Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, and Applique Tuesday on A Quilting Reader’s Garden.

I’m also linking up to Holiday Memories Mini Quilt Contest at Celtic Thistle Stitches. Come look at the great entries!


Coffee Quilt is Finished!

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I used the Labor Day Sew-In on Twitter ( #LDSI ) to make myself focus and get this quilt completed!  On and off all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday we sewed and tweeted away.  Everyone else shared multiple finishes ( it seemed to me), but they encouraged me through the various steps and cheered me along.  Monday morning I finished quilting the border and put on the binding.  Yay!

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Others agreed that we don’t enjoy piecing a large quilt back, but I really think the results were worth the work.  Love this!


I quilted free-form feathers in all the card trick blocks using orange Highlights from Superior, and did a small stipple in dark brown Bottom Line on the espresso backgrounds.


In the borders,  I outlined all the cats and books using smoke invisible thread.  I swear by Superior’s Monopoly.  I zoomed through the borders at a fast speed and never had the least bit of trouble with thread breakage.  That’s very important because I can’t see well enough to rethread the needle with that darn transparent stuff!  Honestly, I did not sew around every book;  I “laddered” back and forth, alternating books, which I think still give the appearance of them all being quilted.


That border gave me fits.  I had found three yards of the out-print-fabric on Etsy, and expected to have enough to use on the back, too.  Au contrare.  First I discovered that the rows of cats did not contain enough space for cutting and seams, so I had to sacrifice a row of cats every time I cut.  Then I discovered that the rows were not all the same width.  Sheesh.  Who’s the nimrod who designed this?  So, in two corners the border miters nicely, and in the other two there is no way.  I feel that it looks as if I were careless, but it was the best I could do.  I trimmed the outer edges in such a way that I think is looks matched, if you don’t look too closely.  Oh, well.  It is a great border print.

This turned out dark and rich and cozy.  I think it will be just right for curling up with a good book, your favorite cat, and a glass of wine or cup of coffee.  And one of my Christmas gifts is finished!


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


The Beach Quilt is a Success


Yuri and I are pretty satisfied with this quilt, finally.  I set out to throw some fabrics together for a carefree day at the shore (metaphorically), and it turned into two days of editing, and left me with another pile of fabrics to make into yet another quilt… it never ends.  Fortunately, I ran out and took pictures during the few minutes of dry weather we’ve had lately.


My two favorite things  about this are the embroidered shell batik with gold accents, and the wavy blue quilting.  The shells do have a tendency to come unraveled, so, happily, the blue waves cover them pretty thoroughly and will control that, I think.  The straight lines are in light brown Living Colors thread (40 wt.) from Superior, and the turquoise waves are their New Brites (30 wt.).  I did everything with my walking foot.


My next favorite thing is the back, where I used up some more strings in seven blocks to make a ten inch strip through the tan flower and stem print.  To me this print looked like waving beach grasses, even though there are flowers.


My last favorite is that I had a blue and brown awning stripe that made the perfect binding.


Yuri’s favorite thing is that it makes a great tent when you drape it over an Adirondack chair.

This will be my last finish for a while, as we are heading out Sunday, traveling to New Jersey and Lancaster, PA for the next week.  I look forward to seeing yours instead.

We’re linking up to Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.


Commission Items are Finished


These turned out so well that I wanted to share them.  I made them from a box of baby and toddler clothes that the customer sent me.  It was an interesting and fun project that went very quickly.  The hardest part was waiting for the clothes, and then the backing fabric to arrive.  I backed all of the (knit) fabrics with sheer fusible interfacing, and it worked very well.  Pellon brand worked much better than the store brand.


I guess I was expecting frilly, pastel clothes, but these were in strong colors with a number of batiked dresses, so that set the tone for the quilt.


I found a great batik fabric for the backings and bindings.  It took almost all of the three yards I ordered.  The quilt is 45″ x 63″, and the pillow cover is 18″ square.


The pillow cover is my favorite.  I did finish it with a couple more tiny gold glitter hearts after this picture was taken, right where the quilting is.  I finished it with a zipper, inserted per a Sew Mama Sew tutorial.


I quilted around all of the motifs, and added stars, hearts, and flowers in all the plain areas.  I cut stars and hearts from Sulky Sticky stabilizer, and moved them around the quilt and pillow as I worked.  I didn’t worry about making anything too perfect.  I just tried to keep it free and fun, and it was fun to quilt.


Can’t wait to see what you finished this week!  I’m linking up with Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.


A Finish on the Nautical Baby Quilt


Here is the finished Nautical baby quilt.  I just love using my shed for photos, I think it looks so artsy.  The light is good there, too, as long as I don’t let the morning get away from me.


I wish I had water around here for photographing.  I considered taking it over to our little reservoir and draping it over someone’s sailboat, but I refrained.

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Thank you to my friends who commented as I was working on this!  Sometimes I just don’t get back to you, but those are the times when I especially appreciate the encouragement.  This community is so great for that.  Yes, this was freeing and fun to work on, and I’m so glad to know it evokes sailing when you see it.  Here is another little quilt on the same theme that I really love.  It’s a wall hanging by Kat of Kat and Cat Quilts.  Wouldn’t both of these look great in the same nursery?


The backing is an ABC print with the letters made from rope!


I quilted it with Bottom Line (60 wt.) between all the blocks, then went back and did a grid of lines in bright yellow Sew Fine (30 wt.).  I liked the yellow thread.  It doesn’t have any sheen, which seemed appropriate for this quilt.

I wanted something “ropey” for the binding, but didn’t come up with anything, so I used more of the blue canvas print, and I’m happy with it.


As always, I had plenty of help with both the quilting and the photography.


See more finishes at Finish It Up Friday on Crazy Mom Quilts.


The Tulips are Finished!


All done!  And successful.  I have to say that this is one of those quilts that I saw in my mind’s eye and was able to create the vision from fabric.  Yes, I got tired of looking at the pink, but it was the right choice.  I did use my design wall a lot, really changing around the position of the blocks, and enlisting input from the Twilters, but in the end I think it became a rich and inviting quilt.


I think the two tulip prints worked together because they are the same scale and use different values of the same colors.


The extra blocks and the rest of the lighter tulip fabric went on the back.  I did a really good job using up all of these two fabrics but for a few scraps.  My stash feels lighter.


This is quilted in all the ditches with Bottom Line thread.  I did do the accent quilting with pale green King Tut, but I decided to mark it with wavy lines through every row of squares and quilt those lines with the walking foot.  I have two of these June Tailor rulers for various sizes of curves and scallops, and I use them a lot.


Are you aware of how many shades of green fabric do not match this quilt?  I have two drawers of green fabric, and almost none of it was suitable for the binding.  I finally combined two pieces that look very similar, one darker than the other.  It doesn’t really look scrappy,  just shaded.


I used a label cut with a little extra space at the bottom to write a message when I donate this quilt.  (Note to Universe:  no new disasters are needed just because I have a new quilt ready to donate.)

What did you finish this week?

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