Honeybees Irish Chain Quilt

I bought a beautiful collection of honeybee themed fabric last fall when I was in Alberta, at Addie’s Creative Fabrics in Cochrane. I thought for many months about the fabric and how I would like to use it, and finally decided on an Irish Chain. I believe this pattern is a triple Irish Chain. As it got closer to cutting time I added a few more fabrics to brighten the overall effect (the bright greens and yellows).

I took every possible measure to ensure accuracy because of the many small pieces: cutting with the rotary cutter, strip piecing in manageable lengths, using the quarter inch piecing foot, and pressing the seams so that they would nest. Thanks goodness I did all that, because it was still very difficult to get my corners to match, and my quilt top to lie flat. I think the large plain sections have a different amount of stretch to them as compared to the blocks with many seams, and that was the cause of my frustration.

I quilted the quilt in an all over pattern of chevrons (note to self – very time consuming for a queen size quilt), with straight lines around the border. As you can see from the picture Pippi the cat is already enjoying the quilt.

I still have some unfinished objects to complete, but I have been sidetracked by some adorable Beatrix Potter fabric that I want to work on next.

Windmills

While I was playing with 6 x 3 inch rectangles, I got out a fat quarter collection I had bought a couple of years ago from the Fat Quarter Shop online. My thinking was that 6 x 3 inch rectangles would be very fat quarter friendly, and they are; I got 21 rectangles from each fat quarter. This collection had twelve prints, and I set out to design a block that would use each print once.

I call the resulting block “Windmills”. The rectangles are organized in groups of 3 around a central 3 inch square, in this case a light yellow. I laid out the rectangles randomly, with the only rule being each block should contain all twelve fabrics. Once the block is pieced and trimmed, it is 13 inches square, which makes a nice size to create a baby quilt, like this one, with 9 blocks.

I quilted it with my walking foot using an echoing random zigzag pattern.

I have another fat quarter collection that I am eyeing, but I may be ready to move on from 6 x 3 inch rectangles. Only time will tell.

Hit and Miss

I know I was planning to do something with triangles, but as I paged through my quilt books for inspiration I decided to work with rectangles instead. This design is a random placement of blue rectangles 6 x 3 inches, with an occasional yellow for contrast and interest.

Once again I used Melissa Marginet’s book to choose a walking foot quilting design (Hallways). I have the feeling that if I work my way through that book I will be a better quilter by the end of it.

I thought a scrappy binding would be suitable, and I lazily chose to sew the whole thing on by machine.

The quilt is destined for my newest nephew, but I liked it so much I couldn’t bear to part with it, so I made a second, identical quilt for later use.

Sometimes I like to think about what it is about quilting that I actually enjoy, and as I worked on this quilt I tried to track it. I noticed that I enjoyed each step: collecting, planning, cutting, laying out, piecing, quilting, making the binding and attaching it. But the overarching enjoyment is working with the beautiful fabric, because that’s what each step involves – touching and looking at the fabric. Secondly, I like the sense of order that piecing a pattern gives me. And thirdly, I like bringing into reality something beautiful from my imagination.

Blueberry Girl

Remember my disappointment with the Red Riding Hood fabric? Well, to ease the pain, I began putting together 6 1/2 inch squares of some of the other fabrics I’d collected for the Red Riding Hood quilt and ended up with this pleasant little baby quilt I call “Blueberry Girl”. It reminds me of long summer days when I was a child.

Once again, I used a pattern from Melissa Marginet’s book to quilt the quilt using my walking foot. Wow! I love the effect of this one – “Vortex”, and it was shockingly easy to do on this small quilt. It took me under 2 hours to complete.

For a change I decided to do a pieced backing, using strips of the leftover fabrics from the front of the quilt.

I’m pleased that this quilt rose from the ashes of my original Red Riding Hood plan, and I still have enough fabric from the collection to do another small quilt. However, I’m in the mood for a baby boy quilt, since I’ve just become the proud Gramma of a new baby boy. I’ve got a nice selection of blue and cream fabric, and am thinking of triangles – potentially a flying geese or bow ties design.

The Big Pineapple

The Big Pineapple pattern is from the book Material Obsession by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke. I am always on the lookout for patterns that will show off my large prints, and that is what attracted me to this one. I used a very similar colour scheme to the one pictured in the book, in order to get the idea. Because the blocks are so big (26 1/2″), it was relatively easy to piece, though there were some tricky corners. I’d like to do this again, on a smaller scale for a baby quilt, in a lower contrast fabric grouping. As the pattern produces a perfect square, I think it would lend itself to a baby or picnic quilt.

This quilt was long-arm quilted with an overall flower and leaf design by Anne Freidrich. I am particularly happy with the sashing and border of Basic Grey Moda Grunge in aqua.

The Big Pineapple was sitting unfinished for a year or so, just because of the binding. I am almost through my UFO pile, but having new quilt ideas every day.

French Braid Quilt

This French braid quilt was done in browns and golds using various small prints and solids in a graded colour sequence. I’d like to try this pattern again in brightly coloured batiks to see the difference. This UFO has been sitting waiting for binding for a couple of years. It feels good to finally finish it off and make it useable. Plus I am getting closer to starting some new quilting projects – only a few UFOs are left.

If you would like to duplicate this quilt, it was done using 2 1/2 inch by 9 inch strips in descending/ascending colour sequence, and 2 1/2 inch accent squares. The offset centre squares are 8 inches, and the gold sashing strips are 3 inches wide. The assembly was quite simple; the accent squares line up perfectly without special effort. As always, I measured the strip lengths before cutting and sewing the sashing strips and border strips to fit. (Otherwise you’ll end up with a less than flat quilt top.)

This quilt was long-arm quilted by Robin Petty using an all-over pattern of oak leaves, which seemed fitting for the fall palette.

Quiet Haven

This quilt was started in 2014 at a workshop at the Oakville Sewing Centre led by quilt and fabric designer Brigitte Heitland.

Using Brigitte’s Quiet Haven pattern , the group first chose colours and fabric for the design with Brigitte’s guidance, and based on a pre-chosen photograph. My photograph was from a travel-themed wall calendar; a picture of boats in a Norwegian harbour. During the day-long workshop, we then cut and pieced the 9 blocks using raw edge applique.

This quilt design was outside of my comfort zone for a couple of reasons:

  1. The bold and cold colour palette
  2. Applique – something I never do

Anyway, when I got my blocks home I didn’t like them because of the saturated blue batik background so I stacked them in a closet. A few weeks ago, as a follow up to the fabric inventory in January of this year, Mom and I got together for a session called “Can this Quilt be Saved?” My mother has an amazing colour sense, and together we decided the blocks would look great with either a sky blue border, or a border of just the right green – picking up the green in the blocks. I couldn’t believe my good luck at the Oakville Sewing Centre where Linda and I found the stunning green fabric I ended up using. It even has circles on it, which echo the circles in the blocks.

The blocks were quilted using echo quilting with the walking foot and thread that best matched the different areas of the quilt. The border was quilted using the free motion foot and a waves pattern ( to honour the Norwegian boats).

Because of the invisible thread used on the applique, this quilt will need to go to a bold and modern baby whose family is willing to air dry it.

 

Naughty Bunnies

Well this turned out nicely!

It’s a very simple design: there are two complementary Beatrix Potter fabrics for the large squares (6 1/2″), and the nine patches are made up of four matching fabrics (2 1/2″ squares). Each nine patch block is identical, and they are lined up to create blue diagonals, adding some interest to the quilt, but keeping the overall effect serene.

I chose two free-motion quilting motifs, wavy lines for the plain blocks and echoing swirls for the nine patches.

It took some thought to decide on the binding, but I went with this sweet off-white.

Baby quilts are one of my life missions, and I look forward to welcoming someone into the world with this one.

Links

I had seen some beautiful bargello quilts on display and really wanted to make one. Of course I wanted a stunningly beautiful one, but didn’t understand the concepts well enough to design one myself. So I signed up for a class at Sew Etc. and worked from this pattern, “Links”, by Derek Lockwood.

Overall, even using the strip piecing technique recommended in the pattern, this was a challenging quilt to assemble. I did learn a couple of useful tips about strip piecing during the construction of the original strip sets:

  1. Don’t use strips that are too long. I used half the width of the yardage – about 22 inches. The longer the strips are, the harder it is to keep the seam absolutely straight. And if the seams aren’t straight, the squares won’t line up properly when you try to piece the rows on the quilt.
  2. It’s a good idea to press each strip as you attach it to the next, otherwise results are less accurate when you try to press the whole set, and you lose width from the strips.

It was very interesting to learn how the juxtaposition of the colours combined with varying widths of columns creates the curving movement.

Why was this one a UFO? Once again it was time. The quilt top was about half completed during the class, and took me a further 20 or so hours to finish. On top of that add 18 hours for basting, quilting, and binding. I did notice again that spending so much time with the quilt was very pleasant, I really had a chance to appreciate the interplay of the colours.

Could I design one myself? Definitely not one as complex as this, more practice is required. Not sure how soon I’ll attempt another bargello quilt, but it sure feels good to complete another unfinished object.

 

Octo

Octo was my most daunting UFO, because I knew how many hours of work were still required (it took me about 55 hours in total). I began Octo at a quilting workshop in 2015 at the Oakville Sewing Centre. Quilt and fabric designer Brigitte Heitland led the workshop. Each participant received a copy of Brigitte’s Octo pattern and a kit with enough Zen Chic fabric to complete the quilt. We worked on the paper piecing technique which gives the complex quilt such a precise result. I love the contrast of the bright patterns against the octagons and four pointed stars in mixed plain whites, creams and greys.

Because I am not working, I was determined to quilt the quilt myself on my own machine ( a Bernina 550). After the many hours spent creating the beautiful quilt top, I wanted the quilting to be perfect. I ended up using a temporary adhesive spray to baste the quilt, and it was much better than  pinning. Except for the borders I quilted with the walking foot in a way that emphasized the geometry. The borders are simple loops using the stitch regulator and free motion foot.

I cheated and folded and wrapped the backing fabric around the front to create the binding.

I wonder where this very special quilt will end up – I haven’t yet decided!

If you’re interested, take a look at Brigitte’s patterns at her website – www.brigitteheitland.de