Monday, October 31, 2011

Border Decisions

I am waiting for my newly purchased design wall to be hung in my sewing room before finalizing the arrangement of all those hexagons on the mask quilt (last post).  I do know, however, that I want it to be queen size and by my estimation I had just enough fabric so that the hexagons cover the top of a queen size mattress with no overhang.  I need to add borders to increase the size.  I wanted to find borders with a feathery look to pick up the feather details in the masks but that is easier said that done.  When I raided my stash I came up with these contenders.

I like that the feathery ferns of the turquoise give a sense of movement.  I think the pink is perfect and it picks up the spotted look of the pink plume mask but I only have two fat quarters of it.  The speckled bright green I think plays off the eyes of the peacock feathers.  I bought the orange at the far right from a clearance bin and think the pattern, although not exact,  really picks up on the orange plumes.  Unfortunately I think the orange in the hexagons stands out on its own and does not need additional help from the border so I am leaning toward omitting orange in the border. I want a purple! Here are a couple purple alternatives from my stash with some pattern but I think they are not a blue enough purple- they lean more toward a red violet.

I really think the pink also picks up the diamonds around the eyes of the white mask but I only have two fat quarters of it.  Dang!

Here are some alternatives I bought at the Pacific Internatioanl Quilt Festival but no pink!  There is also a silvery metallic in the leaves and I had thought to keep to a flatter toned look in the quilt and not introduce glitter.  I have two half yard cuts of each of these.

When I made a commando raid to my favorite quilt store to purchase a 9 degree wedge rule for my spiral table runner (a future post),  I, of course, had to peruse the other options there for border fabric.  Here is what I bought even though initially I was convinced that I wanted a fabric with a crisp print and not the mottled, watercolor look of batiks.

The non-crisp look can work  But again I think the purple is a bit too red and the pink is a bit too red.  Here is a closer look at that black and turquoise batik- sort of a wild horse.  I think it is supposed to give the feel of a coral reef but I think it is quite feather-like and am strongly considering it for the outermost border.   Hmm... maybe I will go back and buy more for the backing as well. 

If you are still with me after all my musings then thank you for following my indecisive creative process.  Also, if you have opinions on any of this, your input is welcome.  I think the final decision will depend on the assembled hexagons and not just the source mask fabric.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mask Quilt

My current project uses a kaleidoscope quilt technique with fabric my daughter fell in love with because of all the different colors.  She spotted it in a quilt shop in OK.  I called the store and had them send all they had out here to me in CA. The quilt is made from a gorgeous Kaufman print and I delayed starting for quite a while because I almost felt it was sacrilegious to slice it up.  But it is made of Mardi Gras type masks and I did not want to carry that theme throughout.  I am not a carnival kind of gal.  I do agree with my daughter though... the colors are rich and plentiful and I have been wanting to try this construction method.  (See  to enjoy my daughter's mutual love of color.) 
After aligning the repeats on the fabric (12" for this one) I cut strips. 

I then cut those strips into equilateral triangles.  
Six triangles will go into the makeup of a kaleidoscope-like hexagon.

Although the six identical triangles can go together with any one of the three sides to the outside I was consistent in putting the straight of grain on the outer edge.  It will keep the blocks from stretching out of shape when joined.  The straight of grain is at the bottom edge in the picture, pretty easy to recognize if you look at the wrong side of the fabric.

 Then off to my Pfaff to chain piece all those triangles together...

... first into two pairs that I iron open, 

.. and keep together.

I then added a third triangle to make triplets 

... which I chained pieced together assembly-line style

 ... to make half-hexagons.

But wait, those half-hexagons are not sewn together yet...

... just pinned to keep them together with their mate. (Or shall we say "better half"?)

Then I am off to my design wall (a flannel backed vinyl tablecloth thumb-tacked to one wall behind the door to my sewing room) to spend countless hours arranging and re-arranging.  Here they are just stuck up there pretty much as I completed them. Things progressed a lot faster when I stopped admiring the uniqueness of each one,  moving them around after each new addition, and instead just kept collecting the hexagons in a plastic bin.   My ultimate goal is to group by color so it flows orange, pink, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown across the quilt.  Then I will join the half hexagons in rows.  (Actually from the orientation of the way they are pinned below, they would be joined in columns.) The end product will be the size of a queen bed.  I started with 7 yards of fabric and this will make enough hexagons to just cover the horizontal mattress surface.  I still need inspiration for border and sides that will drop over the edges of the bed. I would like to pull out the cool tones of blue and purple and green as much as possible and minimize the brown. The orange and yellow and white pop on their own and need no additional help.

Two yards of fabric gives six strips sets, each of which makes nineteen hexagons.  I have sewn the hexagons from 17 of the 18 strip sets from six yards of fabric. In other words 646 half-hexagons from 1938 triangles, with 38 half-hexagons from 114 remaining equilateral triangles left to go.  I have a yard of the fabric left.  I will put a portion of it somewhere in the front of or on the back of the quilt. It will be fun to see the source fabric with the completed quilt. I will also photograph it and post it with pictures of the completed quilt.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Purchases at Pacific International Quilt Festival

I know some of you are curious.  My Facebook has pictures of just a fraction of the quilts I liked at the PIQF but there were a LOT of vendors and LOTS of fabric related goodies to purchase and digest and believe me,  I partook heartily.  I am into flannel right now. I just finished sewing a few burp cloths for our dance instructor's new baby girl. They are very simple and rewarding because they finish... and I mean finish completely, no UFOs...  in a short amount of time and there is instant gratification from all the colors and prints you get to play with.  Here are the ones  I have made up to be followed by the flannel fabric I bought for future burp cloths.

Here is a vintage Raggedy Anne print I had in my stash from long ago which I paired with a turquoise diamond print.  You are seeing two burp cloths, one sort of the flip flop of the other in terms of fabric placement.  It is not the reverse side of one burp cloth.  The central section is extra thickness to absorb... well whatever... let's not go there right now.

Here is what the reverse of the burp cloth looks like.  It is solid with no contrasting/coordinating central section.

Here is another pair of burp cloths.  
I paired a kind of psychedelic seventies print with a gingham check.

Here is a close-up of the seventies-ish psychedelic print.

And last we have some ladybugs paired with polka dots... two burp cloths with their reverse side folded back and peeking out.

But now to the flannels I bought but have not yet sewn up.  ( Come on... I just bought it yesterday and I am blogging now instead of sewing!)

I do not yet know what I am going to partner these with but they sure are cute flannels.

I plan to put Curious George with polka dots.

I have a thing for polka dots ... hmm Polish heritage.. polka? ... get it?  
Here are some more dots I just had to buy.

And who could resist these coordinating prints of critters and dinosaurs?

I guess I never did get over my penchant for owls.  This is the last flannel.

 Remember the animal skin prints I blogged on?  Well I lucked out and found a packet of eleven one yard cuts. 

I also found some animal print grosgrain ribbon to make into loops 
from which to hang the finished wall-hanging.

This fabric is quite fascinating.  If you look closely you will see cheetahs and impalas.  I think this may work its way into a border of some sort on the animal print wall hanging.  And I just noticed... there are those dang dots again!

I bought this pillowcase kit just 'cause those lady bugs or beetles or whatever they are are just so darn precious in pink, green, lime, and yellow.  Yup, there are those dots again!

I bought a yard and a half of this print because those patchwork pumpkins called to me.  The kitty and mice critters also twisted my arm to bring them home with me.

Frank loves the Grinch so I bought a panel of several Grich images and poses to mix with my large collection of Christmas fabrics and make a wall hanging.  However... that Grinch is an odd green... maybe I will need to shop for more blending Christmas fabric???  Naah.  I indulged too much yesterday.  My challenge on this one is to use only what I already have.

I bought these jewel tones just because they were gorgeous.. one yard of each in half yard cuts... I only pictured three of the six pieces here.  They have a kind of silver rimming on the leaves that is not really done justice in the photo

 I also bought a printed panel with some coordinating prints to make into an autumn wall hanging.  Three prints are folded on the right and two are folded on the bottom.  I liked the rich colors.  No dots in this but there are checkerboards... another one of my weaknesses.

Lastly I also bought two kits to make some snuggly lap quilts out of Minky.  If you want to see what Minky is go to  But Minky is something you really have to FEEL, not just see.  The kit that tugged on my heartstrings had this feature fabric. Guess I am just a dots, checkerboard, and owls kinda gal.  Finished size will be 48 inches by 60 inches

And the final Minky kit makes up to 58 inches by 62 inches.  It is shown here.  The solid lavendar has a texures of paisley to it. Very elegant!  The green has the texture of dots. I may put something in the center rather that daisies but what it may be is yet to be determined.  (Maybe bubbles or paisley swirls?)  I like the log cabin blocking but the real allure of this snuggle quilt is the texture. 

Well that's it.  Out of time and WAY out of $$$$$!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Two First Baby Quilts

My previous post described quilts for my grand nieces and grand nephew.  I have made two other baby quilts that I remember.  One was for the first child of a work colleague of my son.  I made it from a collection of two-tone fat quarters with geometric shapes that I had bought on impulse because the fabric collection was tied together with a pretty bow in an appealing presentation at a vendor booth at a quilt show. I thought it could be fun to point out the circle, square, and triangle shapes to a toddler so I finally untied the parcel and ... gasp... used it instead of just admiring it!  Here is Olivia's quilt (pre-assembly) on my design wall.

 And here are close-ups of the geometric fabrics and the label

My very first quilt for a baby was for the secretary I was very fond of.  Its inspiration came from a one page idea I tore out of a random magazine.   I think it was a freebie pattern in an advertisement promoting a fabric collection. The quilt is made entirely of rectangle squares that are sewn together at right angles to form a picket fence like piece.  Three "pickets" sewn together make a square and the orientation of the squares alternates between vertical and horizontal pickets.  By strategically placement of the pale colors always on the non-central picket, the quilt appears to have stars all over it.  My colors are strongly contrasting between light and dark but pretty random.  I like to think I have developed better color skills with time. I framed the quilt by adding the diagonally pieced outer borders.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Baby Quilts

Both my son and my daughter were married this year so grandbabies will most likely be not far behind.  Which brings up the topic of baby quilts.  So far I have made them for my sister's four grandchildren.  I will post pix of them (the quilts, not the grandkids, pix of grandkids falls into the department of my proud grandma sister).  My memory is freshest going from most recent to longer ago so here goes from youngest grand niece to oldest grand niece, with a grand nephew in there, too.

Camilla was born in March of 2011 and here is her quilt.  My proudest part of this quilt is that it is the first quilt in a long time (maybe forever in my quilt history) to have been made entirely from fabrics from my stash.  Not even the backing was an additional purchase.  The main feature fabric was purchase in a Hobby Lobby in OK, the quilt was sewn in CA and it is being used in NC.  The pattern is composed of two blocks that alternate to form a secondary diagonal pattern.

I fussy cut the block centers. Here is a close-up of the lion/monkey block...

...and a close-up of the elephant block.

 The border has the animal print sashing and polka dot binding...

 ... and the backing was a peach paisley fabric by the designer April Cornell.

In December 2007 the twins Jhonnen and Erin were born.  There was a simple pattern in one of my quilt books that I had book-marked for quite a while because I just loved the myriad of colors.  I picked it because I thought could easily be made in both a girl's color-way and a boy's color-way.  And after all I did have to make two quilts! Simple, yes, just right angles, no diagonal seams, but lots and lots of small 2" squares.  The backing fabrics were picked first. Jhonen had  a primary colored raining-cats-and-dogs print and Erin's had jewel-toned bunnies in the garden.  The binding was fun to make from the scraps of the blocks.  Here is Jhonen's quilt.  It is quilted with pawprints.

And here is the cats and dogs backing and his label.

Here is Erin's quilt.  It is quilted with dragonflies flitting about the garden.

 And here is the gardening bunnies backing and label.

Caitlin was born In November of 2004, the first grandchild/ grand niece.   Her backing has little fairies on the background because I felt every little girl needs a fairy godmother and her dad is my godson.  The backing had a strong influence on my color choices. Her quilt is a kaleidoscope pattern in pastel and jewel tones of pink/turquoise/purple.   

Her label was a learning experience.  Computer generated and printed it spoke of fairy dust and my magical wishes for her.  And like the magical dust it was, the printing vanished with the first laundering.  I made her an embroidered label like her younger twin siblings to replace it. :•)

Caitlin and Jhonen and Erin's quilts were made in CA but are being used in NJ.  

That wraps up this post on baby quilts.  Yes, there are tons of really cutesy baby print fabrics out there but my aim was to make a quilt that would grow from baby to toddler and be dragged about until thread bare.  Only time will tell if I succeeded.