June 28, 2011

Almost Planetarium

I'm a big fan of Elizabeth Hartman - I love her blog and her book, The Practical Guide to Patchwork.  I've poured over the book many times and each time I see something different.   When I first looked really closely at her Planetarium quilt, I really liked how the quarter square triangle/hourglass blocks had a very blendy quality to them.  I couldn't quite make out the block design, although it was a quilt block basic.

I've had a stash of Kaffe Fasset and Martha Negley fabrics for some time and this pattern made me pull out my stash to finally use it.  I needed to do some serious fussy cutting to get the right part of the florals into my blocks, but I am really happy with the result.   I used white Essex linen for the sashing and pulled some fun colors for the frames around my blocks.   Definitely a bright, summer quilt, even though it was impossible to get a photo of the true colors of this quilt.

I only made 9 blocks instead of the 16 shown in the book.   I also realized too late that I'd only used 2 fabrics in each block, where the designer used 4 fabrics.   So that's why I'm calling mine "Almost Planetarium."

A tool that was indispensible to me while making this quilt was Monique Dillard's new Fit to Be Quarter ruler.  I loved using it and it will be a staple in my ruler collection.  Please stop by next week for the 4th of July Fireworks Blog Hop.  Monique invited me and a few other quilters to demonstrate the ruler, share our 4th of July memories or quilts or recipes and I know you would all love an opportunity to win a Fit to be Quarter ruler.   The fun starts on Monday, July 4.


June 16, 2011

A quilt for Ruth Jon

IMG Ruth is my mom's cousin, so I'm told that makes us first cousins, once removed (thanks, Debi - I always get that confused!)  I always thought of her as my aunt.   She came to live with us after she graduated from high school and was with us for about a year.   She helped my mom out with 3 kids and did many fun things with us.   One memory I'll never forget is her taking me to have my very blonde hair dyed pink (a pink rinse).   I think I was 3 or 4, about the age I was in this picture.  Isn't it just like a favorite aunt to let you do something your mom would never let you do?

My family spent a lot of time with her and her husband Ron when I was growing up.   She hosted my bridal shower, which seems like a million years ago.

And by the time I had my last baby, she and Ron were ready to retire.   They moved to Arizona and love the lifestyle (and the weather) there.   My mom goes to see her once a year or so.   This January when mom went, Ruth asked my mom if she thought I might be willing to make a quilted wallhanging for her kitchen.   She sent mom home with a swatch of her valance fabric, and mom handed it off to me when she visited us in February.

Of course, I am happy to make a quilt for someone as special as Ruth.  I drew a blank at first - her soft pastel southwest palette was not something I'd worked with before.   But my sis-in-law suggested using batiks and *bam* a pattern came to mind immediately.

I have wanted to make this Mexican Stars quilt by Southwind Designs for ages after one year at retreat when several gals were making it.

The next time I worked at the quilt shop, I picked up some fabulous batiks in just the right colors.  Julie has some great ones.

It seemed like a straightforward pattern - the centers of the stars are all 9 patches, right?   So I just make nine 9-patch blocks and go from there?  I looked at the cutting instructions and the center square was cut 1-1/2" - now wait just a darn minute - you mean I have to cut the squares and sew them together?   No strip piecing?   Well, no - can't have that and I spent an entire Sunday afternoon making 9 perfect, strip-pieced 9-patch blocks.

After taking a look at how the quilt is assembled with overlapping stars, I realized I made a dumb "I thought I knew better" mistake and I had cut everything out all wrong.   I went back to following the pattern and within a week I had the top done.  The right way.

This photo shows the "before" picture (and the colors are more true in this version).  The technique uses folded fabric in the corners and after completing the top, you fold the corner back and top stitch it down, giving a nice rounded curve to the piecing, which you can see in the second photo.

Now, off to the machine quilter and hopefully I can present it in person this summer when Ruthie comes back to the Pacific Northwest for a visit.   Love you, Cousin!

June 3, 2011

The Challenge

Our shop owner Julie asked each of us to make a quilt from this book using of one of our older charm packs.  During the Western Washington Shop Hop this year, the quilts will be displayed together in a group.

I made the design Greta, using a charm pack of Odyssea.  It was quick and easy to piece, and what a great use of just one charm pack and a little bit of yardage!  I quilted this myself with straight lines.   It's super cute (if I do say so myself!).

If you're in Western Washington for the Shop Hop June 22 through 26, stop by Keepsake Cottage and see all the cute charm quilts and lots of other good stuff on display at the shop.