A two sided quilt – sounds easy, right?

You have probably seen adult coloring books in stores over the past few years.  Meant as a way to unwind from daily stress, these books can take an adult back to their childhood days of coloring.

Since my crafts are my way to relax at the end of a day, I have not purchased any of these coloring books.  I have however, looked at the books in stores.  The pictures are complex and do provide great inspiration for quilting patterns and applique designs.

Last summer, I paged through one of these coloring books with trees.  Each design featured a tree with unique patterns.  Some of the designs had animals in the trees – owls, birds and even cats. One day I may make one of these, perhaps a tree with many different owls appliqued on the branches.

Directly next to the display of coloring books, was a different display featuring paper craft ideas. One idea showed strips of wrapping paper cut and glued horizontally in the background, and featured cutouts of black or white paper animals, flowers or trees as the main object.  Sorry, but I did not think to take a picture of the display. But, it was a really nice idea.

This idea stuck with me, and besides thinking about making some greeting cards with the idea, I realized that a quilt could be made with a similar design.  At the time I first saw the display, my paper craft supplies were buried in the back of my craft storage closet, so the cards would need to wait.  But, I did have lots of fabric that I could utilize for a quilt.

So, I set out to work on my new design.  Many of my batik scraps were blue and green, which would work well for the background of a tree.

Sorting through the fabrics, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted a the colors to depict a tree during the daytime, the nighttime, or an unsorted scrappy look.  After playing around with a graphic program, I ruled out the scrappy look because it was too chaotic for my liking.  But, I simply just couldn’t decide which of the other two I preferred.  So, I thought I would try something new and make a two sided quilt – one side with bright daytime colors, the other side with darker nighttime colors.  After cutting 2 1/2″ strips, the fabrics were sewn together with some shorter pieces inserted periodically to add some variation to the background.

Since I had decided to try to make the applique exactly reversible, the quilting the front and back together would need to be done next.  When loading the pieced backgrounds onto my long arm machine, I realized that making a completely reversible quilt was going to be rather difficult.

This year, in particular, my ideas for quilts have been easy in the planning stages, but more challenging when actually sewing.  This quilt was no exception.  On paper, it looked straightforward – sew the strips, load it on my quilting frame and quilt away.  Right!  Actually, wrong.  Lining up so many seams on the front and the back of the quilt prior to machine quilting was definitely not easy.  I discovered that even though my piecing was exact, the number and location of the seams impacted the stretch and movement of the two pieces of fabric.  I ended up having to pin along each seam of the layers to try to get my quilting to look right on both the front and the back of the quilt. IMG_1042

Backgrounds

Once the backgrounds was quilted, I decided to get my least favorite part of any quilt (the binding) done before I  would start work on the appliqued tree.  More on that in my next posting.

Since moving into my newer sewing room, my paper craft supplies are now accessible, so cards can once again be made.  That project will be included in a future post as well.

Color Burst completed piecing.

After several more hours of sewing, the piecing if finally done.IMG_2608

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Close-up of corner
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Close up of Small Burst
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Close up of Large Burst

But the result is awesome!

Some statistics:
Number of blocks sewn:
Red/Orange Blocks = 8 small, 4 large
Yellow/Green Blocks = 16 small, 8 large
Blue/Purple Blocks = 24 small, 12 large
Cream Blocks = 24 small, 12 large
Total = 72 small, 36 large

Number of Piece in Large Starburst:
Red = 36
Orange = 32
Yellow = 56
Green = 80
Blue = 144
Purple = 156
Cream = 156

Number of Piece in Small Starburst:
Red = 40
Orange = 32
Yellow = 48
Green = 96
Blue = 192
Purple = 168
Cream = 212

Total Pieces (not including background) = 1453!

I also pieced together a Doll Quilt – this one has 680 pieces in a 18″ x 24″ miniature quilt.

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The background quilting design for each of these will have a different for each cream section in the design.  The quilting will take me many hours to complete. With everything else I am doing, it may be a few month before I post the finish pictures.

Color Burst, continued

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After piecing together the individual blocks, the fun part began.  Combined to make the starburst rays, the true vibrancy of the fabrics started to show.

The rays were then combined to complete the Burst. Being a scrap quilt, there were many different fabrics used, but very little of each fabric. Tally of different fabrics:

Red: 9 fabrics
Orange: 8 fabrics
Yellow: 7 fabrics
Green: 10 fabrics
Blue: 11 fabrics
Purple: 12 fabrics
Cream: 13 fabricsimg_1249

Color Burst

It has been several months since I posted about quilting.  That doesn’t mean that I haven’t been sewing, just that I have been working on some time-consuming projects.

One of the projects I am working on is another scrap quilt, this one made with various types of long cabin blocks set into diamond shapes.  The quilt idea was rather easy to design in EQ8, but has proven very tricky to actually sew.

The idea behind the quilt was to make an asymmetrical starburst with half of the star on one side of the quilt and overlapping bands of off white making up the other half of the quilt.  The color scheme incorporated the transitioning through the colors of the rainbow for the starburst.

The log cabin blocks are completed.  There are four red/orange blocks, eight yellow/green blocks, twelve blue purple blocks and twelve cream blocks.

Three of these were not too difficult.  But, the blue and purple blocks were rather challenging with the corner inserts on each side.  This block is also called a Pineapple block, which I have done before in a square form in a Christmas Bed runner.  In the square form, this block just takes a bit more time than a traditional log cabin block.  However, in the diamond form I found this to be very tricky.  Each block had 45 pieces, and I needed to make twelve of them.

I like how the color transitions turned out. Now on to piecing the quilt blocks together.

Millefiori Garden Bed Runner

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Having been busy recently with several intricate and time consuming projects, I have not posted anything for a few weeks.  I will be posting progress on these newer projects soon.  But, in the meantime, I thought I would post something I completed earlier this summer.

While going through photos of my quilts with a friend, I ran across a project that I had not posted pictures of.  This bed runner was inspired by a pack of fat quarters that I saw at a local fabric store.

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Kaffe Fassett “Paperweight” fabric

The fabric made me think about some fused glass supplies that I have in my glass room – millefiori beads.  The term millefiori is a combination of the Italian words “mille” (thousand) and “fiori” (flowers). These beads are created by first making pattern rods.  On the outside, these rods are a single color. But, when cut across, the pattern becomes visible.  This multi-step process requires skill and special glass furnaces.  The results of this labor-intensive process are gorgeous “beads” that can be incorporated into earrings, pendants, bowls – any variety of fused glass projects.  While I do not have the skill and equipment to make my own millefiori, I have purchased some and love the look of them.

So, when I saw this fabric, I thought I would use it in a bed runner to add a real pop of color to my bedroom.  The design for the runner was based off of a photo of a quilt posted on the Blogger’s Quilt Festival. While her project was made with patterned wool felt, I wanted to use my sewing machine’s decorative stitches to create the the pattern in the flowers.  Going through my scraps of fabrics, I appliqued my “flower garden” and then used the lovely “Paperweight” fabrics for the border.

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This was a really fun project to do.  And, as an added bonus, I used up a lot of small scraps that were piling up in my scrap basket and too small to use in most piecing projects.

Hawaiian Quilts – four more quilts for Lincoln Place

IMG_2454Being a pediatric dentist, summer is a busy time at my office.  But, when summer ends and kids go back to school, I like to take a week off to relax at home.  This year, I decided to spend my week quilting.

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A few years ago, while on spring break in Maui, I purchased some printed Hawaiian fabric panels.  When I returned home from that trip, I started wondering why I actually purchased these panels.  If I was going to make another Hawaiian quilt, I was going to make an applique quilt (not use printed panels).  Sometimes impulse shopping is not a good idea!.  So, I just put the fabric in a drawer and left them there.  This summer, when sorting through my fabrics, I ran across these panels and I realized that they would make nice quilts to donate. Being printed, I could do a simple quilt block/sashing construction and make several quilts very quickly.

IMG_2465Taking out the panels – there were seventy two 11″ x 11″ panels in various colors  – I split them into groupings that seemed to go together.  Then I sorted through my other batik fabrics to find colors that coordinated with these panels.  Piecing the tops and quilting with simple block designs (definitely not state fair quality, but still very nice), I completed four Hawaiian quilts on my week off. I sure hope the new owners will enjoy these.

IMG_2472Now I’m going to start working on an idea for a quilt for the 2018 state fair.  Should be a fun one to do, but will take some time to finish it.

Lincoln Place

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Several months ago, I learned about a transitional housing facility right here in Eagan called Lincoln Place. This facility has 24 efficiency apartments and is a place for young adults who are at risk for homelessness.  Along with providing housing, the residents are provided with support services as they transition into adulthood, as well as life skills such as cooking, financial planning and job skills.

Many of the residents are there because they have aged out of foster care.  They arrive with few personal belongings.  After learning this , I decided to contact them to see if I could donate some quilts to the residents.  Previously, I have contacted other organizations about donating quilts.  Minnesota Habitat for Humanity would only take quilts if I would guarantee that I made a quilt for each new home owner that they worked with.  Well, I simply wouldn’t be able to make several dozen quilts each year.  So, that idea was a dead end. I have also donated quilts to charity auctions.  These were “state fair” quality quilts that were were not displayed well and thus did not raise much money for the organizations.  In fact, in each case, the money that I spent on the fabric and supplies was more than the quilts actually sold for.

When I contacted Lincoln Place about donating quilts, they were very supportive of this idea and I have gladly donated several so far.  The two split block quilts that I made back in April and May were among the quilts that I have donated.

I recently finished several more quilts for Lincoln Place.  One of these quilts incorporated several hand embroidered flower squares that my mother gave me.  She found these at an auction in Arizona where she lived. I took these squares, pieced them with some matching fabric and then quilted them. Hopefully someone will enjoy this very cheerful quilt.

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