Monday, April 15, 2024

aunt bet’s mother’s day, a finish


aunt bet's is an eclectic, sort of improv-looking pattern that i admired for a while before i took the plunge and made it. i was actually going to use a completely different stack of fabric for this pattern, which i may still do, but then this particular stack jumped out at me as wanting to be an aunt bet's.

i started this quilt on mother's day weekend during some lovely free time gifted to me by my husband, whish is why aunt bet's and mother's day are both in the name.

i think the appeal and genius of this pattern was the simplicity and the make-do look that comes from a composition of two traditional blocks (flying geese and log cabin) plus some improv patch areas that increase the size and would eat up any additional fabric the maker had laying around. i don't know why, but it had a sort of gee's bend look or the look of something put together out of necessity but still attempting to be artistic. i think it's key to have good contrast so the patterned sections don't get lost in the riot and jumble of fabrics. i studied jolene's version to understand why her's was so much more distinct than some others i'd seen.

the backing is two large pieces of fabric from the front and a strip of scraps to join them. the pink anagram print is actually from the front, but the large black gingham is meant to echo the small black gingham on the front, but in a scale more appropriate to a backing and large piece of fabric. i like them together.

for the binding, i wanted to use a white-on-black swiss dot, but i didn't have any on hand and wanted to work from stash only, so i chose this white-on-black little cirlce and dot print instead. it's close enough.

as i've been in to pairing my quilts with books lately, i have also picked one for aunt bet's: the little red hen, a classic from my childhood. a few weeks ago i was delighted to find this in board book form and bought it to read to my grandchildren. when i did read it to them, i immediately thought of the colors in the aunt bet's quilt and knew this would be the book for aunt bet's.

now here's a confession: i veered away from the original pattern and i think i should have left well enough alone. see, the original pattern doesn't have pinwheels in it, or even a second layer of flying geese on the bottom. the second layer of geese i still like and agree with as an addition. the pinwheels, i kept thinking about removing right up until i started the handbinding on the quilt. i was literally thinking, " is it too late to just cut them off? would that be too much work to detach them and use them somewhere else?" 

the pinwheels came about because i was making all those flying geese with the stitch-and-flip method, which i prefer, and i thought all the bonus hsts created by that method would be so cute as pinwheels. and they are in deed some very cute pinwheels. i just think they sort of messed up the calm vibe of the quilt. they add all this energy and movement to the ends that doesn't need to be there. but there they are and there they'll stay. 

this is why i need to make another aunt bet's and just let if be itself next time. maybe with the fabrics i was originally going to use for this quilt.

so there you have it - aunt bet's mother's day quilt. this will be my last finish for a bit as i've left off the binding of the fall strips quilt, the last one in this batch, until probably fall. i'm working on my liberty church quilts at the moment and need to circle back to the next set of quilts that are in the quilting stage so i can get them processed through to finishes. it's been fun and oh so satisfying to get this group of quilts finished in the last few weeks. time to get the rest moving along now. 

i have a few starts in mind, but, for once, my desire to finish some longterm wips is stronger than my desire to start new things. my philosophy is "the more quilts i start, the more quilts i'll finish," and that is true. but i also feel like moving the old starts to a finish, as well, that's the urge i'm having at the moment. could change, we'll see.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

liberty courthouse steps, a start

i have "wiltshire rows" top complete, and i felt like getting the other liberty lap quilt i'm in need of going, too, so i can baste them together. if i'm going to get the batting roll out, i want to take care of that in one fell swoop.

so i started my liberty courthouse steps quilt.
and while i'm at it, i'm making two; one for tamsen, one for me.

i started with capel in a deep red colorway for the center. i guess i was thinking how log cabin blocks traditionally start with a red center to represent the hearth. i suppose a courthouse doesn't need a hearth, but it's not a bad way to start, so it doesn't really matter after all.

for contrast, i'm going to alternate between low-volume liberty prints and more colorful ones as i add steps. the next two liberty prints i added are theo and mirabelle.

i had a home ec moment where i sewed two chambray strips on at once, but i caught myself quickly and made the fix.

i had a little visitor come see what granna was doing in her magic room. hi, baby!

i do intend to make these quilts basically identical, but i had some scraps i wanted to use, so one of the quilts got sea blossoms and wiltshire for the color round, and the other got ros and wiltshire.

this morning i got another round of low-volume added: williams and clarisse, two prints i haven't used before.

this is going pretty quickly. i have all the chambray strips cut. the only thing taking much time is pulling and cutting the liberty. there will be 12 rounds of steps, so i'm already a quarter there.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

low-volume crossroads, a finish

my low-volume version of the treehouse crossroads quilt is finished!

the top is composed of blocks made with colored low-volume pieces for the backgrounds, neutral low-volumes for the "roads", and kona color of the year 2017, flamingo pink, for the centers.

the backing is made of two large pieces: a soft grey riley blake dot and robert kaufman buffalo check in bright pink, which is quite close to the flamingo pink in the centers on the front.

binding is a grey stripe, a riley blake basic.

i was really excited about this idea when it first occurred to me i could make a crossroads quilt in low-volume fabrics. coming up with all the fabric combinations and making all the blocks was quite pleasurable. but when i started putting the top together, i thought perhaps i had been too broad in my definition of low-volume. some of the prints i picked definitely had light backgrounds and plenty of white in them, but the colors were brighter, bolder, or denser than other low-volume blocks i had made. in the end, i was feeling, "meh, it's okay. i tried. better luck next time."

however, as i worked under the quilt over the course of several binding sessions and snuggled under it in between, i began to feel differently. i thoroughly enjoy this light-hearted, light-colored quilt and think the various blocks work together great. there are so many prints i love and i'm happy they're all in there.

 this quilt was once again an exercise in the very difficult task of quilitng straight lines. golly, it's hard! any little deviation or variance feels so noticeable. washing the quilt and the resulting crinkle has helped hide the flaws somewhat, but not entirely. oh, well. i don't focus on them much and forget to look at them at all the more i use the quilt. perhaps using pink thread makes them more obvious, but i do like it.

my book pairing for this quilt - milly molly mandy, the sweetest childhood stories ever told. milly molly mandy's pink striped outfits perfectly echo the pink centers of these blocks.

these books have been around for ages, but i didn't discover them until my youngest child was little. we had many enjoyable afternoons reading these stories together. although i wish i'd had them to read to the older children, i do like that they are a special memory with her.

i'm glad this was a spring finish so i could photograph the quilt with the roses blooming in our yard; our new yard, that is. or rather, the yard at what will be our new house (when it's finally renovated). there's a lot more photo potential here than in our current backyard, which was a great backyard for raising kids in, but just isn't very photogenic.

next up, i want to make a companion log cabin quilt with the flamingo pink for the hearth centers on those, too.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

melonaide brightside, a finish

"melonaide brightside" is a finish, the 4th in recent weeks as i continue on my batch binding spree.

the top consists of 21 solids in citrus and melon colors, which is why i named it "melonaide." i haven't talked about or shown this one much, so i've had some instagram friends surprised at what they consider a departure from my norm. i haven't worked in solids for a while since my stella grande quilts were complete, but i definitely do work in solids, so i think it's still part of my regular repertoire.

i haven't talked about it much because the top came together really quickly and then just sat, waiting. 

i did sneak some prints in on the back, which is composed of two ruby star society prints. the peachy floral is a wide back cotton sateen (leftover from my daughter's "the pleasantest thing"). i love the silky handfeel of the sateen.

i picked kona's color of the year 2020, enchanted, a nice emerald green, for the striped blocks and binding. the modern loops quilting was done in a light teal/mint color. i did the loops densely this time, which has made for some fabulous crinkle now the quilt is washed.

the quilt came out of the dryer right as golden hour was hitting in my backyard, so although i'm tired of my backyard as a quilt photo setting, i couldn't resist taking it out there and getting it done. however, not all shots worked well - like the one on the weird twisty tree that my kids insist we keep even though i'm hankering to yank it out of there.

a little too much shadow in this shot, but you can see the colors popping in the lowering sunshine that is so beautiful across my yard in the later afternoon.

fresh out of the dryer and ready to go now.

the pattern is "bright side" from then came june, which is also available in her blueprint/craftsy class called "weekend patchwork." 

Saturday, April 6, 2024

weekend listening and stitching


i've continued with my batch binding progress - on quilt number three for the week!

this is the perfect weekend for me to get lots more handwork done as our family is snuggled up at home for the semiannual general conference of our church, when we get to listen at home to inspiring talks broadcast from world church leaders in five two-hour sessions spread out over saturday and sunday. (you can watch live this weekend or recorded whenever you like afterwards.) we're in between sessions two and three at the moment, so i'm making a small report on what i've accomplished this week. i'll just go in the order the photos loaded:

last night i got two rows of "wiltshire rows" put together and mostly finalized the layout for the quilt. i've been waffling on exactly how i was going to do it, but seem to have it down now. i just need a few more of the small pieces and i can get it all assembled into a flimsy.

i got tired of binding and wiltshire for a moment, so took a break by working on my "bonnie lass" blocks, pressing pieces i'd previously sewn and put a few blocks together. this is still such a fun quilt, but one that's in no hurry at all to be done.

a few nights ago this one got completed, washed, and dried. it's so good! i need to take some nice finishing photos and then i'll share all about it.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

liberty holly hobbie, a finish


"liberty holly hobbie," my 7th liberty lap quilt, is complete.

this one is made of vertical 2.5" strips, more liberty tana lawn than chambray in each strip. i was aiming to use up leftover chambray strips from previous liberty + chambray quilts, which determined the quantity i used. this is definitely a make-do, pieced together sort of quilt in that aspect. 

the backing is made of a piece of liberty ros and liberty felicite in blue and red colorways. i have a skirt in the same ros colorway, which is why i bought a large piece of it for a backing. 

the binding is the same blue herringbone flannel i've used previously. quilting is a combination of stitch-in-the-ditch machine quilting and handquilting down the center of each strip with aurifil 2021 natural white in 12wt. i tried adding the machine quilting on my first quilt, but didn't like the effect, so i removed it. however, i've decided for stability and durability's sake, i needed to add a little more quilting to these quilts. doubling the handqulting would take a lot longer, so i opted to try the ditch machine quilting again and am fine with it.

there is definitely a vintage, pieced-together-from-scraps vibe to the quilt. and it's a little bit fall, which is originally what i was wanting to make. eventually i'll make a fall version, likely with a brown or tan crossweave background.

i have lots of ideas for more liberty + chambray/crossweave church lap quilts, such as the wiltshire i already have underway. i just need the time to do them. because this is a quilt series, i made a page (tab at the top of the blog) specifically for keeping track of these church lap quilts and their progress. i talk a little about how they came to be and my thoughts on making them. i'll keep it updated as i add more quilts to the grouping.

someday, i'd like to make a pretty book of them for myself (like jolene's) that traces the evolution and making of these little gems. the scrapbooker in me relishes the idea. i'd have to dust off my actual camera for quality photos and learn to format/design book pages. ideally, i would photograph each quilt at a pretty little chapel somewhere. wouldn't that be lovely? someday.

Saturday, March 30, 2024

mildred and ethel, a finish


after nearly 5 years, mostly due to extensive handwork, "mildred and ethel" is done.

looking at these full-quilt photos, i'm remined once again that a full-quilt shot gives such a different impression than the experience of seeing a quilt up close gives. yes, you get the idea of the overall pattern and general colors, but particularly with patterned fabrics, it loses much of the impact of the close-up feel of the quilt. the details are lost and the color play is not the same. quilts are so much nicer firsthand.

there, now we can see a little more what it's like to have this quilt in your lap.

this section happens to catch all 6 liberty prints together. top to bottom, left to right: eve, ed, poppy & daisy, betsy, xanthe sunshine, and tiny (something - i looked for nearly an hour yesterday and couldn't get any more than that).

three of these prints i did not like at all when they arrived in my mailbox, and i positively loathed that grungy green crossweave. but, for once, throwing good fabric in with bad worked a miracle and i now adore this quilt top to bottom, every piece.

really, she deserves much better finish photos than i took, but to be done properly, i'd have to photograph her either in cherry blossom season in utah, because what i remember of grandma gg (mildred) is her backyard cherry trees, or in a flower garden with the logan temple in the background, because that's what i remember of grandma ethel's home. 

the fact is, my house isn't great for quilt photos, and my yard only has one reliably decent spot, which i already used earlier this week for "crossroads." perhaps, someday, if and when we ever build the new house, i will have a light-filled studio for gorgeous process shots, pretty places for vignettes of completed quilts, and lovely yard for outdoor photos. but right now i don't.

one item of note about this quilt - i made quite possibly the most perfect mitered corner ever on this quilt. everything about it came together just right, surprising and pleasing me to no end. i'm no quilting perfectionist, but i sure can appreciate when things do work out exactly as they should. 

this right here is the reason this quilt took so long to complete - all the green handquilting in the diamonds. i started out doing a different design in each diamond, but that quickly changed to doing this design in most of them.

if you look you can see i also outlined the prints in white. because it is less visible than the greens and because i had already sewn across the bottoms of the triangles, i didn't go back and add more white quilting in the center of the print diamonds. also, it would have taken forever. i do love the effect it created, i just wish i was faster at handquilting so i could do it more often.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

wiltshire rows, a start

on sunday, i was reminded that a friend, neighbor, and church family member of 21 years will soon be moving, and i realized i want to give her a sunday liberty lap quilt to take with her. i thought about those i am completing and neither seemed right, so it'll need to be a new one. 

i fell asleep stewing over ideas for what to make and came up with a good plan (large courthouse steps with end borders). 

whilst thinking on this quilt and the need to make it sooner rather than later, probably omitting the handquilting option this time, i also realized there is another sunday liberty lap quilt that needs making. my 3rd daughter/5th child will be leaving for college in the fall and i want to send her off with her own liberty + chambray church quilt.

d3 is very partial to the liberty "wiltshire" print, and has mentioned she wants her own church quilt made of many "wiltshire" colorways like the "betsy" quilts i previously made. consequently, i have been collecting "wiltshire" with such a quilt in mind for the last few years. 

i realized now is the time to make that quilt. we'll be taking d3 on her senior trip to (mostly) wales in a few months and i would really love to have this quilt ready to take along with us. i imagine we can find a little welsh chapel somewhere as the setting for photographing the quilt, which would be perfect. the last quilt i made for her got completed at biltmore on her 12th birthday, which made for fun quilt photos. i'd like to repeat that.

generally, these quilt tops come together quickly, so i think i can pull this off. i'll either add the handquilting on the trip or maybe complete the binding, depending on how far i get by then.

monday afternoon i cut all the 2.5" chambray strips i'll need and began working on the "wiltshire" pieces. i still haven't decided on exact measurements, but i'll be making something very similar to "betsys all in a row," hence i'm call this one "wiltshire rows." 

i'm hopeful for a speedy make so i can also get to work on the courthouse steps project.
wish me luck!