January 25, 2009

My eyes! My eyes!

Orange I made a lot of progress on the first stage of my Batik Challenge quilt.  Half my flock of flying geese is finished.  Now, I truly love the color orange, and I think the pinks and raspberry colors I chose to go along with my oranges really shine, and it made me very happy to pair the fabrics together to make my flying geese.  However, I think perhaps this color scheme may have been a mistake.  These colors are so bright, there is really nowhere for your eyes to rest!

This morning I added some of the block centers to my design wall, thinking more of the background would tone down the bright geese, but I think it made things worse.  Oh boy, I hope this isn't going to end up wadded in the back of the closet!  I do think the dark raspberry striped border fabric will wrap this up and tone it down, giving your eyes a place to rest.  I sure hope I don't burn too many of your corneas before I get to that point!

Come back again next week to see if this gets any better, or if it's a lost cause....

On a happier note, I was the winner of the monthly drawing for finishing my Simply Sophisticated blocks for January.  Thanks so much to Kimberly at the Fat Quarter Shop for spurring us on to finish the blocks by offering a wonderful incentive.  There are so many gorgeous new things in her web store, I don't know how I will ever chose!

January 23, 2009

Signed, sealed, delivered

Web1 My Web Sampler quilt returned from the quilter.  For a project I really struggled with, I'm very happy with the end result.  My quilter used the Baptist Fan pattern, which I think suits the feel of the design very well.

I used Dream Wool batting and must say I have a new favorite.  I also used it in my Allspice Tapestry quilt, and use that one on my bed.  The wool is nice and warm and has more loft than Warm & Natural.  What I did with this quilt is actually wash the quilt.  Yep - in the washing machine AND the dryer - and it came out looking perfect.  I think it washes up even better than cotton batting.  It maintains the loft and doesn't pucker and shrink.  LOVING IT!


January 19, 2009

The next challenge

Batiks Working in a quilt store that carries an incredible selection of batiks, I have come to really appreciate their beauty, although I have never used more than a piece here or there in one of my scrappy quilts.

Last April when I visited Sister's Choice Nicole and she took me on my own private California Shop Hop, one of our destinations was Back Porch Fabrics in Pacific Grove, well known for their batiks.  We'd studied Laurie Shifrin's two batik books - Batik Beauties and Batiks and Beyond (sadly, both out of print) - for inspiration before leaving, and embarked on a breathtaking scenic drive to the quilt store.

Nicole had the beginnings of a collection she won from our retreat fat quarter game of Left-Center-Right.  I decided to let the quilt store inspire me as far as color selection, and I found a gorgeous collection of oranges and pinks, shown in my first photo.

Bali My pattern choice is this one - Mystique of Bali - from Batik Beauties.  The book, as I mentioned, is out of print, but I discovered you can purchase a downloadable copy from Martingale & Company's website (just follow this link).  See the raspberry stripe at the top of my first photo?  Perfect for the border!  And the orange with pink 'watermelon seeds' fabric just below that will serve as the background.

Nicole threw down the challenge glove and we're both going to be making a batik quilt using the fabrics we bought in April.  Check her blog to see what pattern and fabrics she is going to use.  I can't wait to get started on this quilt!

For additional batik inspiration, Laurie Shifrin has a new book coming out later this month called Batik Gems.  She lives in the Seattle area and teaches at a shop in Ballard (and she has come in to our shop to buy batiks as well - she is so nice!)  Samples of some quilts from her new book are on display at The Quilting Loft and I must say, that her new book will definitely be added to my book collection!

Moda U times two

Modau I finished the blocks this weekend for the Simply Sophisticated BOM (Moda U Selveges).  I'm also doing the same BOM quilt through the quilt shop where I work, using American Jane fabric.  Here are my 4 finished blocks.

January 15, 2009

And the Quilt Gods smiled down on me

Rb1 Yesterday I received a quilt back from my longarm quilter who does amazing custom work.  This quilt did not disappoint.  The pattern is Anniversary Stars from Evelyn Sloppy's book 40 Fabulous Quick-Cut Quilts.  I made it using a Rhubarb and Ginger fat quarter bundle - a Moda fabric by Blackbird Designs from a few years back.  I made the quilt slightly larger than the pattern in the book by adding an extra wide border.  For my borders, I used fabric in my stash from another Moda Blackbird Designs group - Sweet Romance.  My original intention for the Sweet Romance fabric was a quilt with a scalloped border, but this purple was so perfect with the Rhubarb & Ginger, and I had enough of it, so I used it for my border.  When I was planning to make the scalloped border quilt, I bought some Moda premade bias binding that matched the purple floral.

Rb2 Now my Anniversary Stars ended up much larger than my planned Sweet Romance quilt - my finished quilt is 80 x 98.  I looked at my binding last night and crossed my fingers that it was going to be enough.  As I applied my binding by machine, I looked at the shrinking pile of it on the floor and hoped I would have enough.  What on earth was I going to do if I ran out?  These fabrics are long gone from stores and I don't think I could find them anymore.

Left The last corner was mitered and turned.  I held my breath as I laid the remaining binding down to see if the 2 ends would meet.  Obviously I am living right - this is how much fabric was left after I seamed the 2 ends.  Seriously - less than a quarter inch of fabric.  How's that for just about perfect???

January 12, 2009

Starring Repros

IMG_0523 I finished this quilt that I began at my retreat in November.  I love the way it turned out with the 1940s reproduction fabrics, which are not really my taste at all, but what do you know?  I love it!

Edited to add:  Sorry for not posting more information about my quilt.  I mentioned it last summer when I first found the pattern, and was worried about repeating myself ad naseum.  The quilt is Starring Repros, made with Come Quilt With Me fabrics designed by Pat Yamin for Marcus Brothers.  The quilt was featured in the Fall 2008 issue of McCall's America Makes Fast Quilts magazine.  There are at least 3 more quilts I want to make from this magazine, so if you can still find it, it's very worth purchasing!

January 8, 2009

First 2009 Finish

Dover Now that the holiday hub-bub is over, I can get back into my sewing room!  I finished this quilt sample for the shop.  It's Dover Gardens from the book Simple Things, Small Joys by Brenda Riddle.   It's made from Lakehouse Fabrics.  I didn't add the final 'scalloped' border because I didn't feel the same green that I used in the star points would stand out enough in the final border against the busy floral print.  If we had a different green print in the shop, it might work.

My other reason is because I was having a difficult time fitting the sashing to the blocks.  I'm not sure if I cut the block centers wrong, but I was struggling to get things to fit and I'm more than happy to call it done!

I have only 2 borders to sew onto my Starring Repros quilt, so I should have another finish under my belt in the next day or two - woo hoo!

Then Nicole and I are going to start our first challenge of the year - a batik quilt!