Saturday, January 2, 2016

2015 in quilts

I'm a little late with this, but here are some of the quilts I made in 2015:

The year started out with a trip to Japan. And here is the gift quilt I brought:

You can see the Japanese influence in this "grace quilt" I made for a homeless woman, on the birth of her 3rd child:

I made this quilt for my Reading Buddy, who I meet every Wednesday at the library:

And this for his nana, who is raising him and his brother:

This quilt, with a border of appliques, was for my niece:

This Swoon Quilt for my stepson and daughter-in-law on their 1-year anniversary:

And this Pickle Dish quilt for my nephew and wife on their 1-month anniversary (ha ha, it was late to the wedding):

I made these two quilts for long-time friends (long-time friends are the best. Unfortunately, one lives across the state from me, the other across the continent.)

"Stone Soup" quilt

"Pressure Drop" quilt
This one was for a college freshman who showed my exchange student daughter (a high school senior) extraordinary kindness:
And this hospice quilt for my dear aunt, who passed away gracefully (but much too early) a few days after Christmas:

This is not exhaustive. I left out a couple of full-size quilts that highlight how shamelessly I do not have a particular style or palette but adapt to any new idea or recipient's preferences, as well as a couple of "charity" quilts.

What are your preferences? Which do you like best?

What do you hope to see on my blog in 2016?

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Happy Mail

A couple of weeks ago I received happy mail from Zenia over at A Quilted Passion. (Zenia by the way has started a new Saturday linkup party, check it out!)

vintage Dresden plates
a whole quilt top ready to long-arm!
Plus loads of "Sunbonnet Sues" cut out, and her overalled male counterpart (name?)

I had bought this fabric for a radio nerd (he is our dedicated and kind community radio station engineer, who wears very colorful shirts)... but hadn't made the quilt yet.

Geeky Chic Cassette by Timeless Treasure
I thought this fabric as backing and the multicolored front would hit it off. The top was so big I had to add a border of Irish green (Kona bluegrass) to extend it, The recipient has a good Irish last name:

I know it's Christmas, but that green's got me thinking lucky, lucky, lucky! Lucky to get my happy mail, lucky to have a longarm quilt, lucky to have a photographer who took these pictures in our library (lucky to have a beautiful space anytime I want to photograph quilts).

I folded the quilt up and presented it inside a pillowcase made of the Geeky Chic backing, but the recipient hasn't opened it up yet! He says he needs to clean up his apartment before he takes it home. Sheez. If the quilt inside its pillowcase is still in the studio when I get home from Christmas vacation, I'm going to roll up my sleeves and help with that apartment cleanup.

This is my new favorite meander vibe: angular, rather than rounded.

Anyway, I have to say it out loud. Zenia has been such a good quilting and quilt blog buddy. Go over to her blog A Quilted Passion! She's always got something going on over there. (And Zenia, expect some happy mail of your own, right after Christmas if not before!)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Pickle Dish Finish!

I had been planning and working away at this wedding quilt for months. Orange for the groom, green for the bride. Who knew that Nature would cooperate to make its delivery date so compatible? If I had finished it on time, mid-October, I would have missed this photo op:

The autumn light is truly pickle-y! And here is the quilt on crunchy leaves:

And sitting in a patio chair:

The border, which my exchange student daughter helped me to pick, is Autumn Elegance: Pumpkin, by Jennifer Brinley of Studio E Fabrics. The pattern is from Kaffe Fassett's book, Quilt Romance.

After attending the wedding, I knew I had to have dinosaurs on the back. The bride wore brontosaurus earrings (well, maybe that was just the morning after--but still!) Nothing commercially available would satisfy....

...especially after I saw Virginia O's "Dare the Dinotastic" on Spoonflower.

It was a bit expensive, but worth every penny (Virginia O's other designs are pretty nifty, too).

No feeling quite so great as addressing a special package....

And getting it in the mail. Goodbye, Pickle Dish quilt. Have a great life reminding this couple every day how well their colors work together!

(special thanks to Sue Ellen Tuttle for her photography).

Friday, September 25, 2015

Pressure Drop Finish!

I blogged more than two months ago about starting a quilt I was calling Pressure Drop, based on a variation of the Drunkard's Path layout. After a few delays, I finally "finished it up"!

(I had a lot of fun putting patterns and colors together... and using up a couple of "ugly" or just plain difficult fabrics)

In a couple of places, I switched up the background and foreground:

For the back I used the Palette Builder to identify the Bella Solid that matched the best, "Mauve" (though it might be better called "Thistle"):

I tried some fashion quilt photography (wheelbarrow, asters, quilt):

I like asters, bees, monarchs better:

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sophia's quilt

It's been a long time since I posted. My sewing room is under renovation (yes, I should have posted on my husband's heroic efforts there. But there have been bummer-ish complications, like a shoddy skylight installation by workmen who have no pride, and their ignominious return to our house...3 times! Sigh). Most important, I have been busy welcoming our foreign exchange student from Egypt, Nadia.

This quilt is not for Nadia, but for Sophia, going off to college this week. Sophia (daughter of family friends) threw a party before school started to introduce Nadia to all the "cool kids" in the class below her (now seniors) at the high school: i.e., the smart ones, the ones that wouldn't make stupid remarks like "why aren't you wearing a towel on your head?" About 20 people showed up! As a result, Nadia's transition into her new school was a breeze. Yay, Sophia!

As the party was winding up, I casually asked Sophia's mom, "Just in case I have time to make a quilt in the next 10 days [before she goes to college], what are Sophia's colors? Her mom answered, "It's always been robin's egg blue, mostly, but now with a little gray, lavender, and gold thrown in." Sophia has a very well defined set of colors. And, marvel of marvels, scraps in these colors had recently been brought together in a laundry basket, and were queued up, waiting for an excuse to be made into a quilt! It was meant to be.

I had a lot of fun with this design: 9 x 9" crazy blocks, plus 5.5 x 9" rectangular blocks. I love crazy, and it worked quite well in the "low-volume" colors of Sophia's palette.

I already had a couple-three yards of the robin's egg blue (called "spray green" at Joann's); in fact, this was the color for the back of a recent quilt (posted here). I just needed to buy 2 more yards to finish the quilt. All the rest was from my scrap bins.

I love a scrappy quilt. Thanks to my friend Sue Ellen for photographing this in the lovely, well-lit space of our local public library. Next up: Nadia's quilt!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Softness and Light

I mentioned in an earlier post that my aunt had entered respite care. We have known she was ill for a year or two, but now there are no more ways to improve her condition. She lives halfway across the country, and we've never visited much, just kept up on facebook, at the holidays, and through notecards. So a lap quilt, I felt, was in order.

She has always loved pastels. I started by fishing out the pastels from my hundreds of pre-cut lozenges, which I made in a "productive" moment. From these I made a six-pointed star and then pieced together the pink background. You can see the ghost of tumbling blocks, as always with six-pointed stars, but I chose not to accentuate that.

Instead, I imported some of the goodness from my kitchen, where my husband has been nurturing monarch caterpillars into chrysalis and then butterfly form. He bought his first set of 65 tiny caterpillars from Monarch Watch about 1 month ago, and another batch is in the mail...

For a while there, all I could think about was the wonder of caterpillars gorging themselves on milkweed, forming a gold-crowned chrysalis, then emerging, as winged creatures...

I hoped to share that sense of wonder, poignancy, and even promise with my aunt.

 You may notice that the quilting is rather dense. It was a tight angular meander that produced the softest quilt I have ever produced! Is it true that tightly quilting results in a very soft and gentle hand?

The back of the quilt: pure Kaffe eye candy nectar!
UPDATE: My mom was visiting my aunt when the quilt arrived in the mail; in fact it was Mom's birthday! I received a sweet phone call from my aunt, who (my mom reports) took a nap taken under it that afternoon!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Rail Fence Quilt

The rail fence quilt described in my last post is done, all but the binding! It's 66" x 84", about right for a twin size bed.

I honestly don't know where this came from. All of a sudden, it was Saturday night last weekend, and I was making 2" wide strips in threes, and cutting 5" squares (in hindsight, I think 2.5" wide strips and 6.5" squares might make for a quicker "scrap" quilt).

I do know that earlier in the week, I had looked at this photo on my Pinterest patchwork board, and mentally worked out some dimensions for blocks.

But, as for choosing colors, it was all a blur. I used up 3 old shirts of my husband's. This must have been a big impetus. Get those shirts out (they don't sit well on the shelves)! Can you see them? Blue-gray with Hawaiian flowers, light gray with charcoal and blue flowers, and blue plaid:

What made it exciting was the use of this upholstery fabric I got for like $2 a yard on ebay. From a distance, it is intimidating:

But as I've heard it said, "no fabric is ugly; it just isn't cut into small-enough pieces." And those purply blues, sea greens, reds and greens (I avoided the yellow) made it a pleasure to arrange the blocks. On a closeup level, there's always something going on:

My only regret is that I didn't stand back enough. For some reason almost all of my "lights" aligned vertically (I was focusing on making sure the reds were okay).

But it's okay. How often do we look at a quilt from a distance, anyway? I'm giving this to a young man who is institutionalized for schizophrenia. I think it is soothing, manly, and interesting to spend time looking at. He is a kind, gentle person. 

I also think I'm going to crank out a few more rail fence quilts in the future!