Thursday, September 8, 2016

First Block

I have one finished block for my scrappy Fig Tree Harvest far.

This quilt design is made up of two different blocks.  The overall design becomes visible when the two blocks alternate.  I have lots of blocks in a state of partial completeness and wanted to finish one to see how it would look.

The pressing directions in Red Pepper Quilts' tutorial make assembly much easier because all my seam junctions nest and that makes sewing the pieces for the block together easy.  As I assemble the blocks, I'm trying hard not to obsess over what color is next to what color or whether two similar prints wind up next to each other.  This is my tendency but I keep telling myself to let the scraps fall as they may!

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Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Summer 2016 has been the summer of not-quilting-very-much for me.  I started a new job mid-summer.  The job is great but it has taken a few weeks to get used to commuting to the office (I used to work from home two or three days a week) and learning the ropes of the new position.  Here we are at the end of the summer and it's time to take Miss Main Street back to college for her senior year.

I have made some progress on my current piecing project, using Fig Tree Quilts fabric leftovers and scraps.  I cut lots of strips from the remainders of fat quarters and fat eighths....

...and sewed them into strip sets.  After further cutting, they look like this.  

I cut the pieces that were too small for strips into squares.  I'm even using the leftover 2" squares from Globe Trotting, a quilt I made in 2013.

This latest project was inspired by two quilts I saw in blogs, Red Pepper Quilts Irish Chain Scrap Buster, and Seven Letters Quilt as made up by Holly Hill Quilt Shoppe.  My version will be a mashup of the two, with a bit of my own twist.  I'm following Red Pepper Quilts' directions except I downsized my squares to 2".  I really appreciate the pressing instructions in her tutorial because it will help a lot as I put the blocks together.  I have my fingers crossed that as it comes together, it matches my vision!

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

More Thoughts On Starch

For my next project, I'm reaching into the magic basket of Fig Tree Quilts fabric.  Yes, another Fig Tree Harvest quilt!

I've made six major quilts, a baby quilt, and a wall hanging in this series to date.  As a result, though I'm not exactly down to scraps, it would be hard to put a quilt together out of five to eight coordinating fabrics.  But I got an idea for something that is scrappy, where I can use the leftovers from my other projects.  I have lots of partial fat quarters from which I am cutting 2" strips.  These will go into strip sets, which I will augment with 2" squares cut from the real scraps.

Being a convert to starch, I starched the fabric before cutting.  I started with aerosol cans of Niagara but the two cans I had on hand did not go very far.  I had quite a bit of Best Press on hand so I used that but when I ran out, I still had fabric left to starch.  So next I tried concentrated starch (comes in a big bottle), mixed in a 1:4 ratio with water in a trigger spray bottle (I used the empty Best Press bottle).  Here are my thoughts on these different starches.

Niagara Non-Aerosol Trigger Spray - This is my favorite but it is not readily available to me. None of the stores around me carry it and it is ridiculously pricey on  It is easy to spray and get the right amount of saturation in your fabric so it dries stiff without being too stiff.

Niagara Original Aerosol Spray Starch - The price is right, less than $2 a can at stores around me, but one can does not cover much fabric (around 2 yards) so I've been going through a lot of it and feel guilty about the environmental impact of all those aerosol cans.  But it gives the right amount of stiffness and the finish is great.

Best Press - This is billed as a starch alternative and while it gives fabric a crisp finish, it does not get it as stiff as I'd like.  And a bottle does not go far so it is too pricey to use for this purpose.  On the positive side, it comes in some great scents that add that your ironing pleasure.  I'm saving it to use more as a finishing spray.

Starch Concentrate - One bottle goes far when mixed with water in a 1:4 for 1:3 ratio, making it both economical and perfect for getting the exact degree of starchiness you want.  I'm going to stick with it for now, unless I find Niagara in a trigger spray bottle again.

More on my new project next week.

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Quilt Top From Stash

I finished the quilt top I started with fabric from my stash.  The double nine patch blocks are set on point with alternating blocks.

Not having to piece those alternate blocks sure saves time!

I used a double border, just like the pattern directions.  First, a narrow border in green tone-on-tone.

The outer border is fabric from an old Blackbird Designs collection for Moda, red and tan flowers on a green background.  This is the fabric that inspired the fabric choices for the rest of the quilt.  

My quilt top used 20 double nine patch blocks and is 70" by 83" which is smaller than the Plantation Road quilt in the book.  Still, it will be a generous size for a couch quilt.  

I'm happy with this quilt top now that it is made because it will go very nicely in our family room.  However, during the construction process, I came to realize that this look is no longer really me, that my aesthetic has moved in the modern direction.  

Next, I will try to piece the back from stash.

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Double Nine Patch Blocks

About three weeks ago, I began work on a project totally from my fabric stash.  Work was interrupted first when Mr. Main Street and I went on a short get-away to the Lake Champlain area (New York and Vermont), then again when I caught a nasty summer cold.  The cold is nearly gone now and I am back at the sewing machine.  Here's what I have to show for it:

Twenty double nine-patch blocks finished and ready to go in the setting.  The pattern is Plantation Road, from the book Tributes and Treasures by Paula Barnes and Mary Ellen Robison.  I have a green and cream toile print to alternate with the pieced blocks.    

Time to get it all sewn together.  

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Christmas in July - Part 2

I'm back with more Christmas quilts!

This is Christmas Stars, probably the most famous quilt on my blog.  I didn't use a pattern, it's just an Ohio Star variation block I'd seen somewhere and then figured out a way to construct it.  For my tutorial on how to make this block, click here.

This quilt became "famous" because it was beautifully quilted by Linda Hrcka of The Quilted Pineapple and people seeing the photos on her blog asked questions about the pattern, etc, and got directed here. The wide borders are perfect for fancy quilting!  Below is a close-up of one of the blocks.

I made Sparkle using the pattern Jelly Stars from Fig Tree Quilts and a jelly roll of a Moda collection called Blitzen from Basic Grey.  Their 2016 collection called Juniper Berry would work well for this quilt.  This quilt is much, much easier to make than it looks, all because of the clever techniques in the pattern.  It makes a great throw size quilt or large wall hanging, while one star could be made into a small wall hanging.

Here's one of the blocks.  The diagonal seams through the corners result from the easy construction.  No set in or Y seams!

Evergreen was my first two-color quilt (though I actually used three fabrics, the two greens being close to each other in color).  The original pattern is called Twilight Hopscotch and is in the book Simple Comforts by Kim Diehl.  The pattern results from alternating two different blocks. 

And here is Merry and Bright, from the pattern called Trellis Crossroads in the book Modern Bee.  It is a good quilt to make from stash and scraps but I will warn you that I found the directions lacked completeness and were hard to follow.  I tried to give some tips in my post here.

I'll leave you with this photo of the stockings hung by the chimney with care.  The red one belongs to Miss Main Street and is the first one I made.  The green ones are for our corgis, Reggie and Dillie (I'm not sure they are aware they are dogs).  I incorporated pieces from my stash of "cutter" vintage lace and linens when I made them.  They are just simple shapes, both front and back sandwiched with thin batting and backing (the backing ends up as the lining), with minimal quilting, then the two pieces are joined with bias binding just like a quilt.

I hope you've enjoyed this little bit of Christmas in July.  Maybe it has given you and idea for making your own 2016 Christmas quilt.

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Christmas in July - Part 1

The new Christmas fabric collections are in the quilt shops now and that makes me think about making another Christmas quilt.  I've made quite a few over the course of my quilting career.  I'll show you some of them today and more tomorrow.

This sawtooth star was my first Christmas quilt.  I made a wall hanging size first, and enjoyed that so much, I followed it with a queen bed size version.  I used a lot of beautiful Hoffman prints in both and hand quilted both too.  Below is a close-up of the block and quilting.  The pattern was in an issue of American Patchwork & Quilting from long ago but I think they sell the individual pattern on their website.  

 A lot of the scraps and leftovers from the star quilt went into a traditional log cabin quilt.  This one was machine quilted in a holly leaf vine pattern.

Christmas Ribbons (below) as made from a pattern called Ruby's Ribbon Box; it featured the Ruby fabric collection by Bonnie and Camille.  I made my version in Christmas red and green prints from my stash.  It is throw size and usually resides on our window seat in the living room at Christmas time.

My only wool adventure so far was the making of this wreath in appliqued red and green circles.  I used black wool for the background and framed the finished result.  This goes on a wall in the living room, replacing a framed print just for the season.

I made Boughs of Holly from a Red Crinoline pattern called Crossroads.  The border is a from an April Cornell Christmas collection for Moda. I'd had it in my stash for a few years and this pattern was the perfect way to put it to use.

 Here are a few more Christmas quilts hanging on our second floor landing.  The quilts that hang here most of the year get swapped out for the Christmas season.  The quilts other than the log cabin are both from Miss Rosie patterns.  I made the quilt on the upper rod from a pattern called Brand New Day but I call my version Christmas Day.  The lower quilt is a good project for using lots of scraps and leftovers.  It alternates a sawtooth star block with a large nine-patch that contains smaller four-patch blocks.  I'm not sure what the original pattern was called and haven't been able to locate it.

 Come back tomorrow for Part 2.  Yes, I have even more Christmas quilts!

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