A Ribbon!

The only time I’ve been in my sewing room since March has been to make blocks for bees and a challenge quilt for our quilt show. The show was in May and I had signed up in advance to participate in the President’s Challenge. The task was to make a quilt up to 20″ per side using fabric in the shades of a single crayon, plus a neutral fabric.


My crayon was Blue-Green. I took a scribble of it to the fabric store and considered myself lucky to find few that matched. The batik actually has a bit of pink/purple in it, but I cut around it.

I really like this colour, yet no quilt pattern or design came to mind. As the deadline got closer I decided to make an improvisational quilt. That way I didn’t need a plan and could just get going.

Component pieces

Stitched segments waiting to be joined

The Blue-Green reminds me of both water and sky, and I chose to use gentle curves to help create the feeling of undulating water. With only 4 coloured fabrics it was difficult to create a nice design using curves alone, so I added some improv squares.

The black box, left, shows the segment of the patchwork that will be the quilt front. The final design, right, has dark fabric added in some places.

The black rectangle, left, shows the segment of the patchwork that became the quilt front. This picture was taken in indoor light. The final design is on the right.

In the picture above, the rectangle on the left shows which part of the patchwork is the basis of the quilt. If you compare it to the final quilt (pictured above right), there are three noticeable differences. First, the finished quilt has a portrait orientation whereas the black rectangle seems to have a landscape orientation. The only explanation I can think of is that the quilting, which is very dense and mostly vertical, ate up a lot of width.

Quilting detail, top right corner

Quilting detail, top right corner

The second difference is that the final version has bits of the darkest fabric added to create more visual interest. Lastly, the in-progress quilt top had a straight edge at its bottom and for the final version I (intentionally) cut a wavy edge.

It's odd how the seam allowances are so visible in the picture on the right. The light source was the same but the quilt on the left was on a light carpet while the picture on the right was on a dark table.

Isn’t it strange how the seam allowances are so visible in the picture on the right? The light source was the same but the quilt on the left was on a light carpet while the picture on the right was on a dark table.

Instead of a binding or facing, this little 10″ x 12″ quilt is finished with a machine satin stitch over embroidery floss.

Finished and hung

“This Quilt is Blue-Green not Cerulean, Teal or Turquoise”

Of course the title of this post gives away the ending. The quilt was selected as president’s choice. Actually, it was the choice of our president’s mother. When the president couldn’t make up her mind she sent photos of her top selections  to her mother, and her mother chose “This Quilt is Blue-Green not Cerulean, Teal or Turquoise”.  I am very honoured.

With ribbon NO name - cropped


My ongoing inventory of unfinished quilts

Although I’ve been working on the ogee quiltalong and a little mixed media play, I have nothing much to show for those. So I thought I’d follow up on my last post and explore some other unfinished quilts.

This is one of the oldest in my collection, and was supposed to go on our bed. I had to lay it on the floor to get a shot of the whole thing (left), while the picture on the right shows as much as I could capture of it upright.

I made this quilt in a Trip Around the World colourwash class taught by Lydia Quigley and Elizabeth Lake at The Quilter’s Choice in Kingston, Ontario, and it was longarm quilted by Gayle Martin. Since it no longer coordinates with the bedroom paint, I haven’t bothered to finish the binding. Too bad this has been sitting for more than 10 years. Kits for this class were available at the store, but I’m not a kit person. (This will be contradicted below!) There are two reasons why I wouldn’t buy a kit. First, I won’t want to invest the time and effort to make a cookie-cutter quilt. Second, if I’m going to spend $100 (that’s how long ago I made this quilt; fabric for a queen-sized top was just over $100 CDN), I want it to be something I expect to love when it’s done. And I do love the purples, mauves and blues, and how they bleed into each other. A detail of this quilt is on the header of my blog.

After the colourwash quilt and those in my long-forgotten-objects post, my next oldest UFO is only 2 years old. This black and white string quilt was inspired by Ashley at Film in the Fridge, who made black and white string quilts with blue accent and with green accent. The finished lap quilt is supposed to be for our sun room, which can get quite cold in the winter.

Why I decided to make 6″ blocks, I can’t explain. Those small blocks contributed to the feeling that I was sewing and sewing and sewing, and making so little progress. After 36 I’d had enough. So I sewed the blocks together and added the borders to enlarge the quilt, but really, I think it’s too small. And there’s too much white for my taste. To make matters worse, it’s a bear to quilt. The first bit of quilting I tried was close together. It didn’t show at all (not surprising) and made for a very stiff quilt, so I ripped it out and will have to start over. Next time I sit down to quilt it, I won’t fight it and will stitch a lot of straight lines.

And here is the first quilt top I’ve ever made from a kit. It took 27 years. I saw a pink quilt made up at a vendor’s booth at the Vermont Quilt Festival in 2010 and I wanted it! Fourteen different Kaffe Fassett and Philip Jacobs fabrics, all in pink/red colourways. Heck, I would have bought it ready made, since there’s nothing about the making of this particular pattern that called to me, but that was not an option. So I made my cookie-cutter quilt. Now that the top is sewn, I don’t love it. What a disappointment. This 64″, almost square quilt, looks far better in the photograph than in person, perhaps because the prints look better together when the whole thing is shrunk to 4″ wide. Natural daylight brightens up the bottom left corner.

Cereal Stars

At least the last quilt in this post isn’t a copy or slight modification of someone else’s fabulous quilt, although it was inspired by Gwen Marston’s Liberated Quiltmaking, which I’ve cited before. The summer 2010 guild challenge was to randomly select a box or wrapper and create a quilt using the same colours in the same proportions as on the wrapper. My box was from Post Selects cereal, cranberry and almond, as pictured above. After guestimating that the quilt was 75% deep red, with the following colours in most-to-least order beige, white (counting the colour of the text), silver, and fire-engine red, I was hard pressed to come up with an idea. At first I wanted to make a pineapple quilt but didn’t feel I could make a nice quilt while respecting the colour guidelines. Instead I went for liberated stars. The quilt was quilted in time for the meeting but the binding was not. I sewed all of the binding by machine and the back is a mess. I’d like to rip out the binding and sew it down properly, which is why I consider this a UFO. Maybe I’ll do that during football season, which has already started here in Canada. Then if I’m ambitious I’ll finish the binding on the colourwash quilt.