Friday, May 30, 2014

May blocks

Bees and Bee blocks for May

It was my turn in May to be on the receiving end of at least one set of blocks. For my month in the
Jane Austen Bee and Book Club, I chose the  "Knee Socks Block" by Elizabeth Hartman. It's a great scrap buster block and I've asked everyone not to sew all the sub units together so that I may mix them all up again and have greater variety within each large block (they finish at 24.5"). I've done this before in a block I chose for Always Bee Learning Bee and I loved the end results. That quilt is almost finished so stay tuned for the reveal.

Speaking of  Always Bee Learning Bee, 1/2 rectangles for Debbie at A Quilters Table.  The weather refused to cooperate for the photo session…... spring time in Colorado.

Haven@ do.good stitches. is making a sampler quilt. Everyone it seems has stars on their mind, so stars it is. These 2 are from Fresh Lemon's Solstice Stars Series free patterns.

It was an honor in May to test a pattern for Leanne at She Can Quilt. This pattern, called Canvas, which Leanne has graciously given to us to give a copy away, will be available to one lucky follower early in June so check back often!! There are so very many ways to combine the 8 fabrics- and the pattern comes in sizes from a mug rug to all kinds of bed sized quilts. (Pictured is a pillow size test block finishing at 20 x 20"). For really spectacular finished projects go to Leanne's blog and check out her work. Or even better, go get the patterns and give it a try

And lastly, although not a Bee quilt block, a Birthday Bee, but a sewn thing none the less…. so I'll include it here. For Amanda WTB. Last month I made doggie collars and a small zip pouch for Joey. For this month, a little selvedge, some paper piecing, some spools and some of Amanda's favorite colors. You can see more pictures in her instagram feed @whatthebobbin

Amanda said she loved Lizzy House and orange,  I guess I'm one of her peeps this month.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Colorado 4x4

Colorful Colorado Quilt Guild challenge.
State wide, 100% Colorado.
We all used these 4- fabrics from Free Spirit:
Each guild had their own guidelines: Here were mine from the Front Range Modern Quilt Guild:
  1. 1. Each participant will receive a fat quarter of each color.
  2. 2. You may add ANY other fabrics you would like, we only ask that you use at least a visible amount of each of these solids.
  3. 3. You must make a finshed and bound quilt (top, batting, back) that is at least 40" x 40".
  4. 4. The quilts must be submitted at the May 2014 FRMQG meeting (Note: this date is subject to an extension depending on the venue for displaying the quilts. It will not be sooner than May, though).
  5. 5. You will be the owner of your quilt. There is no expectation of anyone donating or selling these quilts -- this is for fun. :)
  6. 6. The following Colorado MQG guilds are also participating: Ft Collins, Boulder, Pueblo.
  7. 7. The goal is to display all of the completed quilts in a non-juried, non-judged, non-threatening venue to simply raise awareness of modern quilting and, more importantly, collaborate with the other modern quilt guilds in Colorado.

Each person was left to their own devices as to the pattern they chose and how to put these 4 fat quarters to good use.
Front, seeing the quilt at a distance makes me realize, that choosing to mix fabrics while piecing really gives the impression that these colored "turbines" are moving. Something I wasn't planning but am thrilled about none-the-less. Adding the shadow "turbine" in the lower left corner, pieced from low volume text prints and the darker gray one in the lower right corner anchors the quilt without taking away from the "colorful" components.

 Title: "Colorado 4x4"
Size: 84 x 81"
Design: original, built from half rectangles, front and back. Back pieced with "left-over" pieces from from piecing the front. (see discussion here).

Materials (front and back): Free spirit challenge fabrics in Salmon, Lime, Hyacinth and Saffron. Kona white, snow, ash, coal, charcoal and tan. Various other 100% cotton fabrics in grays, off white and text prints.
Batting: 100% cotton warm and natural
Thread:  piecing and quilting- Aurifil 100% cotton, Mako 50 wt off white, #2021
Quilting: Modified swiggle stitch (Bernina)
This quilt needed to have a Colorado "story".  Mine isn't deep or profound. I just found as I starting cutting and piecing and then laying out the half-rectangles that I had lots of 4's going on. Like Colorado's 4-corners region, Coloradans love of all things outdoors, like their 4 seasons or taking your 4-wheel drive to the trial  heads for Colorado's famous "Four-teeners". The 4, colored half rectangles make good modern 4-blade wind turbines. I think you get the picture. Lot's of 4's hence the title, "Colorado 4x4".
pieced back

pieced back

The quilts will be displayed for the first time together as a group on Saturday, June 21st, at the Berthoud Quilt Show from 10am till 4 pm at Finkel Park, 700 Mountain Avenue-  incase any of you are in the area and want to see all the quilts hanging in their Colorado glory!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Just Ladders
May is the month of quilts.  I have "promised" 4 and of those 3 will be complete enough to gift in time for the occasion they are celebrating. I'm covering the gambit;  big birthday, graduation, a baby and a wedding. They all occur in three consecutive weeks in May.I am entering this quilt over at Amy's Creative side Blogger's Quilt festival. You can see it and all the other lovely quilts here.
The birthday and graduation have already been given. The baby is next and I went with a theme based  on the announcement. Boy/firetruck/reds/lighter blues and a wonderful dark blue-gray and crazily enough a last name that rhymes with chutes, from a classic board game "Chutes & Ladders.  Some of you have had sneak peeks  of the photos below on Instagram. (@SpontaneousThreads).
Just the top

I LOVE how flat and perfect the top looks as it's being basted

Red for the binding seemed to be the crowd favorite, thank you everyone who answered when I asked!

Still missing it's binding

Now complete!

"Hsu's and Ladders"
For Eli and Gwang-Yi Hsu (pronounced Shoo)

54 x 43"
designed, pieced and quilted by me

Material: (front) Kona solids in chinese red, sea foam, snow, slate, lake and evening (all 100% cotton)
               (back) Kona solids and flannel (pre washed)
Batting: 100% cotton warm and natural
Threads: Aurifil 100% cotton, Mako 50 weight in #2021 (off white),   (medium gray) and #2250 (red);
               Gutterman 224 and Star cotton V301.

Quilting- combination of mostly straight line, swiggle (modified Bernina stitch) and free-motion quilting.

Quilt firsts:
Flannel on the back (pre washed)…..
I kept the pieced back philosophy again, mainly because I can't help myself.
I also have a thing for very linear backs. Stripes, blocks and straight forward piecing. 
…..and a start to finish design that I actually sketched and colored prior to cutting even my first piece of fabric.
The baby announcement had this firetruck. (The ladder caught my eye). and I also incorporated the "hose" design in
the FMQ I used inside the space between each ladder rung).

pulling the fabrics based on the announcement colors
 I  did some "math" working with the proportions and ladder placement. (Don't check the math too closely though). I know what the scratches and scribbles mean even if no one else does!
Yes, it's graph paper, but I'm not utilizing its full potential.

And because, and just because, I altered the design at the end to make it a bit more interesting (Notice there isn't a partial white pieced border in this sketch). I tried to keep track of fabric amounts, but I always end up digging into my stash and stopped keeping track after a little bit. (OK almost right away, but I did think about it).

In lieu of a label I stitched my makers mark and the year into the quilt top. And I must give full credit  to my lovely daughter, who noted the perfectness of the rhyme before anyone else and came up with a fabulous name for this lovely quilt.
                                                                 Chutes and Ladders
                                                                 Hsu's and Ladders !

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother, Mom, Mommy, Ma…..

Happy Mother's Day to All Mothers, whatever your name may be!
For 2 special Mothers, one who also is having a birthday!
 This coordinates with a quilt I made about a year ago. Thought this would be a nice addition to the couch so the quilt wouldn't be so lonely.
This is for the Mother's Day/Birthday girl. Something both neutral and not. One of my favorite Japanese +/x blocks.

Gray pillow: Original design, improv pieced and quilted. Various quilting cottons, Kona, Ash, coal and charcoal.  Aurifil # 2024 thread for piecing, grays #2605,1158 for quilting. 12 x 24" pillow form. Hidden zipper back.
White pillow: Japanese x+ block. Various quilting cottons. Kona white. Aurifil #2024 for piecing and quilting. Exposed zipper back.  20" pillow form.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

"Gypsy Sunshine"

The Sassy Quilter
I thought I might like to link this just finished quilt up with the Triangle Quilt along happening over on Flickr and The Sassy Quilter.


It's a quilt I'm making for my Mom, for her birthday and Mother's Day (they are close to each other so I though I could go for a 2-fer.


I cut out all my nice equilateral triangles from the fabric my mom chose using my Jaybird quilts Hex-n-more ruler. Then I started fussing with the layout.

I tried dozens of layouts before I came up with one that I liked.


My daughter helped with the name and all was going swimmingly. Lined up all my triangles, pieced the top, and back, did the free motion quilting on my machine, making each sun a different pattern and keeping the white areas simple with a loop/double loop pattern, took pictures every now and then.


Bound the quilt with a fun Amy Butler print from my stash that just happened to have all the riotous colors from the top and back.

Then I went back to the Triangle Quilt along and read the directions more carefully.
HUH! So, did I mention……… I don't read directions, thoroughly or very well.

So, laughing at myself (just a bit) and shaking my head (more than just a bit).

Here is MY Triangle Quilt……….
Title: "Gypsy Sunshine"

98.5" x 70"
Completed April 2014
Design/pieced/quilted- me
         Fabrics: all 100% cotton
                       (Prints) Art Gallery "Indie Collection" by Pat Bravo, purple
                                   Meadow by MonaLuna, coral
                                   Hand drawn Garden by Anna Maria Horner for Free Spirit
                                   Dowry by Anna Maria Horner for Free Spirit , blue
                                   Charlie Harper by Birch Fabrics, yellow
                                   Amy Butler Soul Blossoms, Peacock Feathers- binding
                       (Solids) Kona Azalea Pink and Stella Cotton Solid white
        Threads:  100% Mako Cotton, 50 wt.
                       Aurifil 2021 (off white: for piecing and quilting- top)
                                  2530 (pink: quilting- back)
                       Assorted other variegated cotton thread/ gypsy suns
        Batting: 100% cotton warm and natural
        Other: Jaybird Quilt, Hex-n-more ruler
Back, still using my back-of-quilt-philosophy
Quilt back showcasing the FMQ on each "sun"

Happy Birthday, Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

My mom received her quilt a day early and opened it! It's a hit
with Reggie and Hogan. Couldn't ask for a better endorsement.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Socks, Blocks and a Good Book, May in the Jane Austen Bee and Book Club

May, my month in the Jane Austen Bee and Book Club. The Book, "Northanger Abbey" and the Block,  "Knee Socks Block" by Elizabeth Hartman.
you're wondering why this block is not completely assembled, please see below.

The block finishes at 24.5 x 24.5" so I'm asking for just one block per person. I certainly won't complain if your sewing along, while watching the movie,  and discover in your unbridled enthusiasm that you have completed additional partial blocks, just send them my way and I'll happily make them work.
The background should be white or white on white and it's OK to mix white solid with white on white  if that's what you have to work with. (please use your scraps)!
The stripes should be grays, preferable an assortment of gray solids in different hues, but any print that "reads" gray can also be used and solids and prints may be mixed in a block as well.
Here's the "twist"…... for one or two (your choice) of the 1" or 1.5" gray stripes please substitute  a red stripe. It can be a solid red or a print that "reads" red. Use no more than 1 or 2 reds per 24.5" block. Please try to stay away from pinky reds as this quilt is intended for my brother. Any other red is fare game.
Another plot "twist" DO NOT assemble the sub pieces into the 4 quadrants needed to make a finished 24.5" bock. In order to make the quilt extra interesting, I will use all your sub pieces and mix them even more. I did this in another Bee and I loved what happened.
So, send me 4 each of the large, medium and small blocks, and I'll toss them together and make the A,B,C,D quadrants and then, mixing again, assemble the final large 24.5" squares. Using what scraps you have eventually won't make a difference if all you have is one or 2 grays, or one red. (As you can see from the hurried picture above, I used mostly Kona coal solid, a few others thrown in for good measure, but none of these blocks will be near any of these others in the final block,  so no worries).
And, chain piecing helps move things along once you have cut all your fabric pieces if you are pressed for time.
Have fun with the book, and the block. With the straight piecing it's the perfect block to sewing while watching a little of the movie, if that is your cup of tea.