Category Archives: Quilting the Quilt

Spicy Coasters for Project Quilting

I made some coasters for the seasons challenge in Project Quilting. “Seasons” made me think of seasonings. So I started with colors of spices we have in the kitchen: white salt, green parsley, red pepper, and so on. Keeping with the cooking theme, I wanted to make an oven mitt. Plans changed when I didn’t like how the blocks I’d made fit together. These coasters are pieced from 1.5″ solid fabrics. autumncoasters

How’d I get that cool wavy thing to happen when starting out with a square grid? With the quilting. I went back and forth in straight lines which shifted the fabrics just enough that they came out a little wonky. Cool, huh? This happened by accident the first time but I liked it so much that I kept going.

autumncoastersquilting

Creating in Southern California as I wish my east coast friends a happy blizzard. Keep warm out there! Quilts help. Just sayin’. 🙂

Kitchen, Kitties, and Some Quilting

My husband and I are working hard to renovate this house. The newest finish is a big scratching post tree for our cats. It’s made out of pantry shelves covered in leftover carpet with 24’s, rope, and staples. Sweet, huh?! I love it when projects reuse things that were headed to the trash. Our kitties seem to like it even though most of them won’t cooperate for photographs.

newscratchingpostapproved

Here’s the kitchen those pantry shelves came from. Some of the top cabinets we removed will be mounted in the garage for storage. The refrigerator’s been moved to the other side of the room and we’re leaving the stove, sink, and dishwasher hooked up as long as we can. New cabinets arrive on Tuesday! We’ll install the top ones, demo the rest of the kitchen, put flooring tiles in, install the bottom cabinets, then start tiling the countertop. We might be washing dishes in the bathtub for a while. Throw back to our motel-living days! So grateful to be here. kitchendemojuly16When I’m not in DIY home renovations mode I’m working on this sweet baby quilt. The done so I’m quilting it all together from the back. This is an eye-spy quilt where each novelty print fabric (ladders, owls, pumpkins, etc) is used in two different blocks. So it’s great for a baby quilt and as the child grows becomes a look-and-find game to match the fabrics up. This one is big enough to snuggle under on the couch too.

cityblocksquilttop  quiltingfromtheback

With my new computer I’m now on Instagram. Are you? Let’s follow each other! I’m quiltartbymegan on there.

Two Babies, Two Unique Quilts

Quilting-land at my house has been taken over by babies at my house. Just the way I like it. 🙂 The first baby quilt is for a little boy, newly arrived. I decided to do large disappearing nine-patch blocks. The first photo is what it looked like before the nine-patches were cut apart and rearranged.

big block 9 patches

Here it is, all together. It’s a little wrinkly, fresh from the dryer. I wash all of the baby quilts I make before mailing them out. Why? Because I spray baste, which leaves a bit of the glue residue inside the quilt until the first wash. I wouldn’t want a baby sucking on that.

Celeste front

Lastly, the fold-over shot. Isn’t this backing super cute? It’s a flannel, so it’s super-soft.

Celeste foldoverThe second quilt is for a baby who isn’t here yet. We don’t know if this baby is a he or a she, so my customer asked for a gender-neutral animal quilt. She pictured mom and baby looking at the quilt and talking about animal sounds.

I piled up the animal fabrics and started designing. I ended up going with my third or fourth idea for this quilt. See, I could piece all these animal fabrics together and come up with a big zoo for the kiddo to explore. But I kept coming back to the customer’s vision that included animal sounds. I had 34 animals which included rabbits, hedgehogs, penguins, and crocodiles. Pared down to the ones that make recognizable, kid-friendly noises, I was left with 17 blocks.

I decided to make this quilt have a lot of negative space between the blocks. A subtle fabric, lots of space to breathe, not too busy. Rather than piecing the top, I sandwiched and quilted it whole cloth. I marked the quilting lines with a Frixion pen, which comes right out in the wash along with the spray baste.

AnimalQuilt Marking

Then I added the animals to the quilt. First I framed each in black fabric, then I sewed each down to the quilt. So instead of being appliqued to the background fabric, they are actually quilted on top of everything.
AnimalQuilt AppliqueHere’s what the blocks look like all laid out and pinned in place. It’s a little bit like a photograph wall. 
AnimalQuiltPinnedI bound this one in the background fabric and sent it on its way… before getting the all-important fold-over shot. Luckily, my customer sent me this picture when the quilt arrived safely at her house. Red fabric with chicks on it for the backing!

Animals Foldover

Now for a bit of hand-applique. This will be the final border on a round-robin piece for my quilt guild next week. I’m excited to show you guys what my quilt looks like! I haven’t seen it for a few months as other quilters have been passing it around and working on it.
RR Applique

 

Mini Trunk Show for Mother’s Day

MomandMeNursery

My mom (pictured above with baby Megan) was an artist. She loved doing arts and crafts projects with my sister and I. She got into candle-making, wreaths, cross-stitch, chocolate molds, and more. But her real passion became quilting. In the few years that she was a quilter, she made dozens of quilts. Most were given away to friends and family. I have a few. So in honor of mother’s day, here are some of her works of art.

MomManger

Along with being an artist, Mom was a lifelong learner. This was great for quilting because there are so many techniques available! The Christmas wall-hanging above was made with fusible webbing and tied. Years later, I hand-sewed the shapes down that were starting to peel away from the backing fabric.

MomManger Poem

I love the message of this poem. Sometimes what seems like a bad thing is really for the best. I also love that it’s in Mom’s handwriting. She kept her lines straight using a light-box. Lit from behind, a lined sheet of paper was placed underneath the white fabric she wrote on. Smart!

MomHearthHere’s another one that’s mostly fused. Mom machine quilted between the blocks and in the borders on the machine that I now use. It’s the one I learned on and inherited. This quilt hung above the fireplace in our last house. It’s a Christmas one so I intended to take it down in January the first year we were there. My husband and our housemate liked it so much they asked me to leave it up a bit longer, and that was its home spot for all the years we were there.

Another thing to point out about this piece is the skin tones. Can you see it? Mom put in different colored skin tones not only to be realistic, but also to honor her love of people from lots of different backgrounds. Even though we lived in a mostly-white Connecticut town, she her book-club, church, and quilting friends had all different skin tones. And stories. I felt so grown up when I was allowed to join their conversations.

MomSunbonnetSueI took a Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Andy quilt class with Mom. She ended up with this beautiful quilt. I ended up quitting halfway through because my applique skills were frustrating. This was machine appliqued using a zig-zag stitch and invisible thread. I wanted mine to look like the sample, which had perfect tiny black zig-zags. Yeah, black thread isn’t such a good idea for a thirteen-year-old.

I remember helping Mom decide what each character would be doing, and helping her find the embellishments. Sue’s running from bumblebee buttons. Andy’s pulling a wagon with yo-yo wheels.

Mom quilted this one by machine too. The kids are outlined and the rest is stitched-in-the-ditch. I remember the quilt shop where this class was held had limited parking. It had a sign out front that read, “Quilter’s Parking Only. Violators Will Be Stitched In The Ditch.”

MomTulipsBy the time Mom started churning out more quilt tops than she could finish, I my interest in quilting had dimmed. I’d rather be talking on the phone with my best friend for hours, waiting for the radio to play my favorite song ever, deciding which shirt would be best to wear tomorrow, and other teenage girly things.

I do remember picking up a few pieces from the long-armer and being amazed at her huge machine. It took up the whole room! I wish I knew that woman’s name now, so I could add her to the label. This tulip quilt was one of the first to be sent her way.
Mom9POkay now we’re into the baby quilts. My parents decided not to learn the gender of the baby, so there are a few quilts with both blue and pink as my Mom wondered. They picked out two names, one for a boy and one for a girl. James Patrick won out as my brother Jimmy was born. He’s shortened it to Jim and made his way to prom last weekend. Ho boy has he grown up!

MomCatsThere’s at least one more baby sized quilt I’m holding onto until my brother’s ready to have them at his own place. You know, when he’s old enough to have his own place. It’s a grandmother’s flower garden, paper-pieced and beautiful. 
MomAutumn

The last quilt I’m showing you today was made after Mom found out that her colors are Autumn inspired. (Remember this post? I’m an autumn, too!) She didn’t have a lot of fall colors in her stash or quilt collection so she challenged herself to make this one.

When she passed, it was only a top. So her friends in the local quilting group finished it… by hand. Look at this beautiful hand quilting in-between the stars. It’s dedicated to the baby. Such a work of love it takes my breath away just to look at.

MomAutumnQuilting

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, and all the mothers out there. All of this information is recalled from memory. Just know that even when your teenage daughter is rolling her eyes at you and answering every question with “fine” that they’re probably still paying attention. I was.

Tropical Starburst – A Teal Crumb Quilt for Project Quilting

Well, I’ve done it! I worked on this quilt all week long and still wasn’t sure I’d make the deadline. Entries need to be submitted to Project Quilting by 9am here in California. This week it’s a triangle challenge. So here she is, “Tropical Starburst.”

Tropical StarburstThis quilt measures 42 x 42 inches square and took me 22 hours to make. Yes, I tracked it. Why? This beauty is for sale in my etsy shop. See that listing here. The next photo is a close up of the center.

Center of Tropical Starburst

I had originally planned for the eight pointed star to look like it’s all one piece. Then I cut the center crumb square 9″ instead of 10.5″. Oops. Well, I could add more crumb pieces to that block to make it big enough. But that would make obvious addition lines and I like things more random than that. Or I could spend forever making another crumb block that’s large enough. Plan C? It’s pictured above. I bordered the block I already had in the solid teal.

I think this change actually makes the piece more interesting and modern. Plus it solved a problem that I would have had if the crumbs were all together…. quilting. Since the crumb blocks are pieced from tiny scraps of fabric there are a LOT of seams. It’s nearly impossible to quilt through them, so much so that I try to avoid it. Having the box of teal made it so I didn’t have to. The quilting lines were spaced close enough together for my batting to make it work.
Back of Tropical Starburst

Here’s the back, binding, and you can see a bit of the straight-line quilting I did. I used a single piece of fabric for the backing and a single piece of batting to stuff the quilt… this time. That’s pretty rare for me. In my next post I’ll show you how I usually piece the batting.

If your interested in this quilt, check out its’ listing on etsy. Also, expect more crumb quilts in my shop in the next few weeks.

Sneaky Peeks

Here are a few of the treasures I’ve been working on. The first is a wedding quilt for a dear friend. Spoiler alert! It’s green.

Green Bag

I wasn’t able to go out and get this tracing for a portrait quilt of a dog enlarged today. So I pulled some fabrics for it instead! Here’s my method of keeping everything straight once I’ve made the decisions. FYI: I’ve put 90 minutes into this quilt already and haven’t yet started putting it together. That’s why I charge $25 per subject as a design fee!

prep for dog quilt I finished this quilt. Woo! It feel so good to have a project done done done. This is a signature quilt and is for sale in my etsy shop. You can sign this quilt in the beige fabric spots… which, as you can see, make up most of the quilt. It’s great for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, and other celebrations. Super-durable, it’ll hold up to washings. Just make sure to follow the directions on whatever fabric marker you buy. Some of them need to be set with a hot iron.

signature quilt 1I’ve also been working on this week’s Project Quilting Challenge, which is up-cycling.

I pulled some fabric for my new guild’s round robin. I’ll be adding a border and some embroidery. Unfortunately, this is all supposed to be secret until the big reveal in a few months so I cannot share photos of it until then.

What are you working on?

Retreats and Vacations

My mini group is on a weekend retreat right now. I get to go play with them all day tomorrow. So fun! I couldn’t swing the hotel room and all weekend costs, but am extremely excited to spend a day sewing and chatting with some of my favoritest peoples ever. Soul food, for sure. Plus chocolate.

gone quilting

Also, I just wanted to give you guys a heads-up that I’m going on vacation for two weeks starting at the end of next week. My plan is to continue with my two-ish blog posts a week but it may be more or less than that, depending on the number of photographs taken and the time to actually write.

Hubby’s not coming with me this time but I’m excited to spend some quality time with family I haven’t seen in a long time… including one I haven’t met yet, baby Mary! Expect an update on her quilt with full photographs of it and her sweet cheeked drooly-ness either during my stay or once I get back. I’m also super psyched to spend some time with my baby brother who’s growing into a man and my little sister who’s now a mommy. And my Dad. Sorry dude that you’re last on the list of shout-outs but we’ve had some really great phone conversations recently that make me feel like you’re not halfway across the country.

planes vacation

So, big plans for me. I’m sewing like crazy to finish up some projects before I go.

quilt all the things

Custom orders for Christmas are still available. It’s getting a little late in the season for Chanukkah, but you could always give a card saying what you’ve ordered and save the actual gift for when it arrives. Plus there are birthday and anniversary celebrations to be had.

I’ll have a few more posts up next week before I land in fly-over country.