Mar 312014

Down to the wire, but it’s FINISHED! I sewed the binding on this morning. Here is “Cardinal Sin” in all it’s glory. (Sort of, darn camera distorted it a bit.)

You can read about the construction of this quilt here, here and here. When it came time to quilt it, I chose a leafy branches motif to fill the smaller areas, and added a few along the edges of the bird patches. Then I took inspiration from the berries and used a “pebbles” fill around the birds – except I called it “berries.”

The leafy branches are sewn with green thread, which worked beautifully. It shows enough to see the design, but not enough for my many little “oopsies” to jump out. White thread would have disappeared on the white fabric and stood out too much on the red, and vice verse for red thread. Green was just right. For the “berries” I used an off-white thread that doesn’t show, but you can see the design anyway from the texture of it.

This quilt is finish #3 for the Finish-Along (original post here), and my March finish for the Lovely Year of Finishes, and is my finished quilt for the Tea-Towel Challenge. Hah – three birds with one quilt!

 March 31, 2014  Posted by at 7:47 pm Finish-Along, Quilt Alongs 3 Responses »
Mar 302014

(I finished this quilt back in late January but held off on a post because I planned to become a Craftsy affiliate. Of course, I haven’t actually applied for one yet, and time is running out on posting for the Finish-along, so here we go. This is also finish #2 for the Finish-Along, original post here.)

This quilt had it’s beginnings in Joe Cunningham’s Craftsy class Pattern-free Quiltmaking. In this class he teaches several processes for making fast, easy, arty quilts. First lesson is for a Three Sisters (or Rail Fence) variation he calls Three Crazy Sisters. As I worked on this first version, I started referring to it as a Twisted Sister, so that’s what I called this quilt.

First thing I did, after pulling fabric from my stash, was to misread the directions. It says to cut two 7 inch strips and I cut two from each fabric. Turns out it is two total – one from each fabric. By the time I was done making pieced 2 1/2 by 6 1/2 inch strips, I had twice as many as I needed. And I had half as many unpieced strips as I needed, because I ran out of fabric.

Well, what the heck, this is supposed to be pattern-less fun, so I made the blocks with the pieces I had, even though the result was a bit different from Joe’s version. Nothing wrong with exploring the “what-ifs” and nothing wrong with exploiting your mistakes.

Here’s my first layout with my blocks, where I put them up on the wall as they came off the pile.

Not bad but not very interesting either. I played around with pulling the greens to green and the pinks to pink for larger chunks of color.


Then I remembered I meant to use a rectangular layout so I could add a border and make a crib-size quilt for charity. As I moved the blocks around again, I thought, I wonder if I can connect all the greens? This was the best I could do. There are three blocks that couldn’t be fit in. Or, I couldn’t fit them in with the time I allowed myself to play with it.

Now you see why I call it Twisted Sister!

And here it is finished. I used a thick batting, which I don’t like but I have a whole roll of it to use up. I was worried it would be difficult to free-motion quilt but it wasn’t.

 March 30, 2014  Posted by at 5:01 pm Finish-Along No Responses »
Mar 092014

The Challenge for this week was to be inspired by something at the grocery store (any grocery store). Well, the challenge is issued on Sunday and I do my weekly grocery shopping on Thursday, so I needed a Plan B right off. I decided to do a Post Office run on Monday and swing by the local small-town grocery and see if I could find inspiration.

Meanwhile, I visualized grocery store shelves and thought about a produce-shelf inspired quilt, but wasn’t sure where my stash of veggie-print fabrics was (I’m in the middle of a massive reorganization of my sewing space). Then I thought about Oreos. I’m not sure why, maybe something I read mentioned Oreos? I drafted an idea for an Oreo quilt based on the rows of Oreos in the package. My perfectionist streak decided I needed to buy a package so I could measure the cookies and get the proportions right.

Monday I made it to the store, and looked at the Oreos, and at a competing brand with a price-tag about half that of the Oreos, and decided I didn’t want to buy either one. I came hope with a bag from a nearby shelf that inspired the piece shown here.

Can you tell what I bought? I neglected to take a photo of the item, so I apologize to anyone in a country that doesn’t sell these. First thing I did was to trace around several sample pieces on a piece of paper. Pretty soon I had my design – improv pieced sharp-angled triangles with most of the points cut off.

I used Wash-away applique sheets from C&T, which I’ve had for awhile but not tried. They are fusible on one side which makes them great for foundation piecing (and you don’t have to pull it off after!). I cut 2” strips the length of two sheets, for a total of 8 rows. Then I dug out a yellow that matched the junk-food item, and went rummaging through my not-so-organized scrap stash and pulled out blues, greens, a few browns and purples. I cut 1 1/2 inch strips from everything.

Here’s a shot of the second piece of fabric placed across the strip on an angle.

I used a cut-out shape to check my angle until I had a feel for it, then winged it from there. I alternated the direction of my starting angles so the strips would not all line up the same. Then I had to pay attention to make sure all my junk-food pieces pointed the same direction. (Not that they had to, but I wanted the look.)

Here’s a finished but untrimmed row:

I trimmed them 1/4 inch from the “paper” and sewed the rows together with a normal 1/4 seam. Then used a LOT of steam to iron the seams over and get them somewhat flat. I used the yellow fabric on the back, and a scrap of cotton batting. I tried the spray-starch basting method someone linked to (sorry I didn’t keep track of the link), which meant more ironing. It held okay, and definitely helped flatten those lumpy seams. I did stitch around the edge of the piece to make sure it would hold before quilting.

Then my inner demon woke up and compelled me to quilt it in straight lines, 1/8 apart. Why on earth would I do that???? Well, the junk-food item has little ridges about that far apart, and I figured it would be easier to run the quilting straight across instead of do just the little yellow triangles, and give it an art-quilt look. Took me days to get that part done.

I took the quick and easy route for the binding, and wrapped the backing around to the front and stitched it down. Done!

“Ode to Junk Food” aka “Bugles”
11 1/4 by 16 3/8, created in the Idaho panhandle.

Now I’m not sure if I have an art quilt, or a placemat.

 March 9, 2014  Posted by at 9:11 am Quilt Alongs 3 Responses »