Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sewdown Nashville - the day before


I went for a long walk today in Nashville. After strolling through a beautiful university campus, I came to this small little enclave, Hillsboro Village.


After spending an entire day travelling here on Wednesday (I had to make a stop in Toronto), I was glad of the beautiful spring day to just walk for miles.


This sign, together with a vague statement from my husband, about having had the best ice cream ever somewhere in this area, led me inside.


It was lovely, and indeed, Jenis Splendid Ice Cream was splendid - best ever I think. I had one scoop of Goat Cheese with Roasted Red Cherries and one scoop of Yazoo Sue with Rosemary Bar Nuts (Yazoo Sue is a Nashville brewing company and the ice cream was made with wood smoked porter). If you live in the USA, you can get this ice cream delivered by courier, truly.


There are quilt inspirations everywhere - look at the bricks. Oh, and also pancakes - I had sweet potato pancakes which were recommended, and also fantastic.


This store was amazing. A 40 year family business, cluttered and full of wonderful stuff.


Beautiful old buildings, some with decorative ceiling tiles. More quilting inspiration.


You don't see signs like that one in Canada. Made me think.


Seriously, more quilting inspiration.


Old signs.


And yet more quilt ideas, look at those windows.

Wednesday night I enjoyed conversation and wine in person with one of my internet quilting friends - Jen - also knows as BettyCrockerAss. Tomorrow I get to go to Anna Maria Horner's house for a studio tour and social with the whole Sewdown Nashville group. And on the way home, a stop at a new fabric shop.

And then, the weekend includes classes from Anna Maria Horner, Carolyn Freidlander, Victoria Findlay Woofe, and Angela Walters. Lectures from Alexia Abegg, Elizabeth Dackson, and Maddie Kertay. In between times there will be time to meet a lot of quilters, some of whom I have met on the internet. I will do my best to report back after it is done on Sunday - the Modern Quilt Guild has put together a fantastic plan for the Sewdown.

You might have noticed Jess and I deferred Decipher Your Quilt for one more week. Jess is up to her armpits with sick kids and a wedding quilt deadline, and I am in Nashville, so look for deciphering 16 patches next week.



Sunday, April 6, 2014

Q2 FAL and AYOLF lists

Finish Along 2014

It's Q2 already in the 2014 FAL - time to make and link up our lists of works in progress that we hope to finish this quarter. Again, I have a very long list, but it is in part because I just cannot pick which things I want to work on the most. I hope you are making your list too, it is time to link it up over at Katy's blog, the Littlest Thistle.

A number of these are carry forwards from last quarter. Here is my list:

Modern Stitching Bee top

1. Modern Blocks Bee quilt - The top is done, but for a couple of mistakes in the bottom right to fix. She needs a back and some quilting.

Pickle dish progress

2. Pickle Dish - This quilt was a big factor in getting my new long arm machine. So it is time to get it finished.

Asterix and other symbols - in progress

3. Asterix and other symbols quilt - I have all the blocks back from the talented quilters in Always Bee Learning, and have made no more progress. Time to make a quilt.

Improv Sampler - in progress

4. These Free Bee blocks have now been sewn together. I pieced this top but now I am going to take it apart and add a few bits of background. Then to finish it off.

Stonehenge block quilt - in progress

5. This block is called Stonehenge from the 99 Modern Blocks book and was made for me in the now finished Modern Blocks Bee. The top is now pieced, so it just needs quilting and binding.

No - for the No quilt

6. The No quilt is a project near to my heart, and has sat mostly stalled. I am putting it on the list because I really, really want this quilt finished.

Emerald Irish Chain

7. Emerald Irish Chain - Truly should be done already. Enough said.

Placemat in progress

8. Placemats - There should be four finished, not just one.

Mystery Quilt - basted

9. Mystery quilt - This is the most beautiful quilt top I have made - Sheila's pattern and teaching have a lot to do with that. I have been too scared to quilt it, but now I have the long arm. Time to finish this one off.

Ocean Waves - top

10. Ocean Waves - these are the blocks are from my bee mates in Always Bee Learning and I made a few more to finish this top. As I look at this photo I am wondering if I should add another row at the top. Whether I do or not, it is time to get it all finished.

Colour Study pillows in progress

11. Colour Study Pillows: one front is quilted and the other has the quilting half done. They will be 20" pillows when they are done.

Colour Study in progress

12. Not solid, industrial look Colour Study: Her borders will be expresso brown Essex Linen. I hope to have the pattern done soon too. This version of the Colour Study quilt and also finishing the pattern for it are on both my Q2 FAL list and also my April goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes.

Hopefully I can get all of these done, at least more than four like Q1. And I am spiffing up the blog, if you are reading in a reader, click through and let me know if you like the new look - which is coming together so nicely wholly due to the assistance of my friend Kat.



Friday, April 4, 2014

Finish A Long Q1 wrap up

Finish Along 2014

Well, I managed 4 finishes, which makes me very happy, and despite having put 14 items on my Q1 list, I am considering the quarter successful.

Triangle City

My first finish was Triangle City. You can read more about her here. She was selected as one of the Modern Quilt Guild top ten from the Riley Blake challenge too, you can see all the finalists here and the fantastic winners are here.


I finished Reflection, more on her is here. A tutorial showing how to make this simple but lovely quilt block is here. I have started another quilt like this already, I think it will go on my Q2 list.

Nordika Giant Plus

My Nordika Giant Plus quilt makes me smile. I had fun quilting her as a sampler and my Ta Da post is here.


I am very pleased and proud to have finished Snowfall too. Her Ta Da post is here. Snowfall is the fourth quilt in my cycles series and I have to say that the next one is in my head too. I hope to get a start on the new quilt this weekend so she can go on my Q2 list as well.

And for the rest of the Q1 list, most or all of it will be on my FAL Q2 list as I am keen to get them all done. I have been busy this quarter learning to use my new Millenium Long Arm quilting machine and so finishing more quilts is in order.

However, I am also on the road a lot this spring, so time is at a premium. But it is not all work, next week I head off to Nashville for the MQG Sewdown Nashville - are any of you going to be there too?

I am writing this as I sit in an airport for the fourth time this week, so it is a short and sweet post. If you have not yet posted your Q1 FAL finishes, head over to Katy's blog - The Littlest Thistle - to get them posted, the prizes from the fantastic sponsors are wonderful, the Q1 tutorials look lovel and time is running out to get your finishes posted - and there is so much inspiration linked there too.



Saturday, March 29, 2014

Nordika Giant Plus - Ta Da!

Nordika Giant Plus

This is my Nordika Giant Plus. She was made with Kona white and a set of fat quarters from the Nordika fabric line. I finished her a while ago now, at the beginning of March but somehow I kept putting off showing her off here.

Nordika Giant Plus

These first pictures are after a wash and dry. One of my worries getting the long arm machine was that the detailed quilting would disappear into the after washing bumps. I am so pleased to see that it does not do that.

Nordika Giant Plus

This quilt was the first one I quilted with my own new long arm. She is a sampler of quilting patterns I know or wanted to try.

Nordika Giant Plus

I learned that I am better at some designs than others.

Nordika Giant Plus

I am totally sold on wavy lines as a quick and easy filler for backgrounds. You are going to see them on a lot of my quilts.

Nordika Giant Plus - back

I so pleased that the quilting shows so well on the tea dyed text print on the back.

Nordika Giant Plus - back

It also shows up nicely when the quilt is being held up.

Giant Plus - before washing

These next photos are before washing. The quilt is "flatter" and more cardboard like but you can certainly see the quilting better.

Giant Plus - detail before washing

I really like that double loopy loop, and of course the dense matchsticking quilting in the grey plus.

Giant Plus - detail before washing

That is supposed to be flowers in the black background flowers. That design needs work.

Giant Plus - detail before washing

It will  be a while yet before I tire of showing off my beginning quilting. I hope you don't mind.

Giant Plus - detail before washing

The square stipple is another favourite of mine.

Nordika Giant Plus

And one last photo after the wash. These were taken a few weeks ago, we have less snow on the ground today. I am still planning to make a pattern for my version of this simple quilt, I really like the layout where you don't fill in all the pluses.

Finish Along 2014

This quilt is my fourth finish from my Q1 FAL list (which is here). I hope you are getting your last finishes in too - I can't believe that March is just about done, it will be spring soon.



Thursday, March 27, 2014

Decipher Your Quilt - Identifying the 9 Patch Block

This week we are deciphering the 9 patch block, which is a big favourite of mine.

Jess, from Elven Garden Quilts, is going to explain how you do the math behind a nine patch block, so don't forget to read her post too.

What is a 9 Patch Block?

For DYQ, we are looking at ways for quilters to be able to figure out their own blocks, so we will focus on blocks with patches - often called units - of equal size (there can also be blocks with 9 parts that are not equal sizes, that is not what we are calling a 9 patch block, I'm not sure what the quilt police would say but it is good if we are all on the same page here).

How do you find a 9 Patch Block?

You are looking for a block that repeats in a set of squares that are 3 squares by 3 squares. If the repeat is more than 9 squares, you might have a 16 or 25 or more patch block instead, and sometimes that is tricky to see.

Let's look at the Shoo Fly block. This block always looks like dancing Snoopy to me, it is just the happiest block. It is an easy to make 9  patch: 4 HSTs, one coloured square, four background squares. If you put it in a quilt, what do you get?

When I look at that image, I do not readily see the shoo fly, I see square borders with a diamond unit in the middle. Often with a quilt repeat, you need to take your eye back to a corner of the repeat and then you can see the repeating block.

And you can see, even if we colour the block with modern fabrics, it can be no easier to see. If you made all the shoo flies different colours they would reappear in this mosaic but it you did them totally scrappy so every part was different, they would disappear again. You can see the different effect even if the shoo flies are made in an improv manner.

Liberated (emergency) Baby Quilt before washing

The other thing that this exercise shows you is the other patterns, often called secondary patterns, that emerge. When you are doodling, consider drawing a page of a single block and then colour it different ways to see what different quilt designs you can achieve with one block.

Here is one of my all time favourite blocks, the Ohio Star. You can also make it with a third colour in that triangle surrounding the centre square. In a quilt:

Do you see stars, or do you see a wonderful tile floor mosaic - notice that this rendition of the ohio star uses three colours? Again, go to the corner and pick our the repeating 9 patch ohio star.

The look changes again when you put the two colour block into a mosaic. Do you see with this image, how you might look at this quilt and think that you need to make a square and surround the squares with borders. But if you go to the corner you can see the star again.

A trivet

You can see in this trivet that you can achieve yet another look by nestling the stars closer together - they share one set of points with the centre star - and colouring the stars differently.

How about a simple nine patch. You will notice that I have coloured this one differently than the "usual".

In a quilt, especially if the darks are all the same, it looks totally different - again squares with sashing, like a tile floor.

Even more so with a coloured block. You have to really look hard to see the nine patch here.

DQS11 Quilt, finished, and in the mail, hope you like it partner!

If you colour the nine patches more traditionally, you end up with a traditional quilt called an Irish Chain. That quilt was a mini for a swap - the squares are all 1/2" square. Even in this quilt, if you don't go to the corner, you might not readily see the simple nine patch block as the repeating block.

Here are some other of my favourite nine patch blocks:

The Churn Dash.

I see so many different ways to colour that quilt, think of what can be achieved with a simple set of nine patch blocks.

The Friendship Star

One thing I should point out in these photos of the blocks I have been making - I cropped off the seam allowances so I could put them into mosaics and we could see how the quilt would look sewn together. In real life these blocks have 1/4" of background fabric around their edges, to allow me to sew them to the next block without losing their points.

The Maple Leaf

Modern Maples block for Marci

Last month I made Maple Leaf blocks in one of my bees and I know that Jess is making an oversized maple leaf block quilt this week.

This last one is callled a Jack and Six and Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns says this block was by Nancy Page. It is a variation of the Contrary Wife block.

For a project this week, I have two options for you. You could just decipher some blocks on your own and join me in making blocks for a DYQ sampler. I could not talk about these blocks without making some, in all different sizes.

There is my instagram photo from the weekend showing the blocks I have made so far. I am making them to be 6.5", 9.5", and 12.5" unfinished. At the end of the DYQ series I will give you some help putting different sized blocks together, but it is easier to do if you keep them all in multiples of the same number - I am using multiples of 3" finished blocks. 

If you decide to join me, try making the blocks without help, using the DYQ math and ideas but do let us know if you get stuck, Jess and I are happy to help. 

New Leaf Ohio Star

Another project is this Ohio Star in Star, you can find my tutorial by clicking here. One of the tricks in this tutorial is how I avoided some difficult quilt math by sashing that inner star - given that the inner square finishes at 4" for this 12" block, and it is harder to divide 4 into three equal parts than three, I made a 3" Ohio Star and sashed it up to 4".

Please share your projects or blocks with us in the Flickr group or tag them #decipheryourquilt.

We are back the week after next - we are taking the coming week off from DYQ -  to talk about 16 patch blocks.