Thursday, December 19, 2013

Quiltus Interruptus

I'm excited to be making Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice Mystery Quilt with all the thousands of other quilters around the world, but I did have some other projects in the works that have now been put on hold because of it. Please allow me to introduce you to a few of them...

The Maple Leaf Quilt
I'm using the pattern "Meadow Brook" from Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting magazine (May/June 2010). This quilt is very exciting because it's the first quilt that I started to make on my brand new sewing machine, a Husqvarna-Viking 875Q. I would not have been able to get this machine without a HUGE amount of help from my mom. I love you, Mom!!! I've been trying to keep this quilt going as a leader/ender during Celtic Solstice, but I'm falling behind on CE and will have to use bits from earlier steps in CE as the leaders/enders now instead. I need more time to sew!!

Don't Be Koi
My first one-block wonder quilt. My mom sent me "One-Block Wonders Encore!" by Maxine Rosenthal and Joy Pelzmann after I started quilting in 2009. I was so excited to try the one-block technique! I found some great koi fish fabric at my LQS (Sew 'n Sew in Waupaca, Wisconsin -- Hi, Bonnie and Debbie!). The fabric sat on my shelf for another year while I did other things. Then I was finally able to cut my pieces during a Norske Needlers guild retreat in October, 2012. And then the pieces sat on my shelf for another 6 months! I haven't sewn anything together yet, but it's been fun taking out pieces and spinning them around to figure out how I want each block to go together. They've gone back in their box until after Celtic Solstice is done. This quilt will be for my son, Gizmo.

Shimmering Birches by Edyta Sitar
My Baby Birch

I've had a jelly roll, Moda Together by Brannock and Patek, sitting on my shelf for a while, waiting for me to find just the right pattern to use it with. I finally found Shimmering Birches in the book "Friendship Strips & Scraps" by Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts. I love Edyta's quilts!! I own a couple of her books, and I've had her quilt calendars on my walls for the last couple of years too.

Anyway, I'm using my Moda Together jelly roll to make Shimmering Birches, but with my own twist: I'm slicing the strips down the center before cutting my squares, so my squares are 1-1/4" cut, and will finish at only 3/4". That means all those cute, little 9-patches will finish at only 2-1/4"! There's not enough cream in the jelly roll for the whole quilt, so I'll be using the roll creams only to make the 9-patches. I bought some extra yardage for the cream pieces between the 9-patches, and the sashing. It may only be big enough for a wall hanging by the time I'm done, but I'm going to love it! (Now you know why I'm not afraid of those little waste corners that I saved from the chevrons in Celtic Solstice!)

 PikaGirl's Afghan
If you asked my daughter how long I've been working on her afghan, she'd say, "FOREVER!!" I can't remember if she was 3 or 4 years old when I asked her to choose a pattern. When she chose this one, I was torn. On the one hand, it was a pattern that I'd admired for a long time and really loved. On the other hand, I'd made my last "Granny squares" type afghan about 10 years before, and I swore after that one, no more Granny squares! I don't mind making the squares. It's just sewing in all those ends and then sewing all the squares together that kills me. But, it seems that 10 years is enough time to dull those bad memories, especially when when the light of your heart is staring up at you with her big, expectant, loving, blue eyes. I was her world. In her mind, I could do anything. I caved. I bought yarn. I started it...

Flip forward 6 or 7 years. PikaGirl is now 10 years old and awaiting her quilt with increasing impatience. Fortunately, I've made faster work of it over the last year, and only have 3 more 8" squares to crochet and then the border to finish. At least I've been sewing in ends and sewing the squares together as I've been going along, so she can sort of use it even in its unfinished state. It's super soft and fuzzy and warm, and I know we'll both love it... when it's finally done!

(FYI, I'm using Caron's Simply Soft 100% acrylic yarn, and the pattern is from Leisure Arts Leaflet #2131, "A Year of Afghans, Book Two")

The Road Trip Quilt
This is a Fons & Porter Half Yard Challenge quilt that I'm hand piecing. I found this pattern in June 2011 while I was watching the Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting 700 Series DVD. It's also in the January/February 2006 issue of LOQ. I just loved the idea of making one of these quilts (a familiar refrain, huh?), but I was leaving on a looong road trip soon. Fortunately, I had also just found Jinny Beyer's book "Quiltmaking by Hand," a wonderful resource for anyone interested in cutting templates, hand piecing, &/or hand quilting. Well, Half Yard Challenge + Jinny Beyer obviously = Road Trip Quilt!

So PikaGirl was dragged to the quilt store to help me choose fabrics. She went straight to the super bright batiks! I can't say that orange would have been my first choice in any quilt, but I have to admit she did a pretty good job picking out a nice combination with the orange, pink/orange swirl, and magenta fabrics. I added the blue and green to tone things down a bit. I washed, ironed, and cut my new fabrics likketty-split, played with the pieces on the design wall a bit, and then colored my pattern onto graph paper before hopping in the car. Four thousand, five hundred miles later we were back home, and I had the first few rounds of my quilt done. These days I take it out in between other projects, and I still bring it along on trips. I've only got one and a half more rounds until it's finished.

Once it's done, I might quilt it using some bold, metallic threads with a big, tropical flower in the center and sun beams extending out to the edges. Or something. At the rate I'm sewing, I think I'll still have plenty of time to think about it!

So, these are just a few of the projects that I've been working on (and, yes, there are many more!). What's been keeping you busy lately?

Happy sewing!


  1. Beautiful quilt coming along! I love to hand piece, too, and just ordered Jinny's book (to add to my collection of her books!). How are the batiks working for you? I used batiks in an appliqued quilt and found the thread count to be so high that it was difficult to needle by hand.

    1. Jinny's books are absolutely wonderful, but, at the same time, I think if they were the first quilting books I'd seen I might have been too intimidated to start! lol!! Hand piecing the batiks has been working fine for me, but it's also my first time hand piecing, so I don't have much to compare it to. I'm using a #10 between for the piecing, I think. I've also done a tiny bit of hand quilting with batiks too. It was a pillow with the batik on top, Hobbs 80/20 batting, and muslin on the back. That quilted very well, but having only muslin on the back might be what made things so much easier. The next hand quilting project I tried had a lot of Kona solids, and that's been very difficult to quilt. Those Konas are a heavier weight fabric, and I think that's been the problem. I'm now thinking of using more of a utility stitch in that quilt. Once I have time to get back to it, that is!

  2. I didn't realize the Kona fabrics are a heavier weight. I have a piece of black fabric I ordered online that must be a Kona. The next time I use batiks for a project I'm going to see if staying within a particular fabric line will help. The applique project I was talking about required a lot of different colors and textures (patterns on the fabric) so I bought many fat quarters. I love to hand piece and hand quilt and it's always wonderful to find others that share the same love for these techniques. Jinny Beyer is the ultimate quilter in my mind. I took a color class from her in the 1990's and she's also a very lovely and gracious person. I've never used her method of hand piecing without the drawn lines around the templates, but I think I'm going to try. I can't wait until her book arrives--should be the 24th. I bought a couple of her books when I was a newer quilter and I think I appreciate them more now since I have more experience. The book I learned from was "You Can Be A Super Quilter" by Carla Hassel--I think it's out of print now, but it was simple enough for a beginner. I was also fortunate to have older friends that had been quilting for years and I learned a lot from them.