Friday finish: modern flower garden quilt top

I finished a quilt top this week! It’s the perfect quilt for spring, although these are the only flowers you’ll see where I live for several weeks yet.

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I’m very pleased with my decision to vary the backgrounds and leave out the sashing. (I discussed that decision in my funkify post).

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This quilt was the practice appliqué project from the Stitched in Color/ penny sampler class. If you guys have the opportunity, I would highly recommend Rachel’s classes. They are a commitment, so it’s best to plan ahead and devote most of your sewing time to the class while it’s in session. But it’s worth it. I learned a lot and it definitely paved the way for the projects I’m doing now.

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Let’s talk about quilting this heavy son of a gun! Stitching in the ditch won’t be enough because the blocks are 13 inches. And I don’t want to straight stitch between the petals because they probably aren’t uniformly positioned enough and I don’t really want to break them up that way anyway. The only decent option I can come up with is to hand quilt around the petals. I would use a white thread – creating texture rather than contrasting color because the sketch stitching is already decorative enough.

I know you’re going to say that FMQ all the backgrounds would be cool, and you’re right. It would. If I knew how to do that. I’m not willing to take that on right now because I’m too anxious to start my kilim quilt. Do you think having it long-armed is a good idea? I’ve never sent a quilt out for quilting before.

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I’m actually considering selling this quilt, and maybe neon sampler as well. Have any of you had good experiences with that? Do you know anyone who might be interested? I’d really like to get a nice new camera for blog photos, and EQ7 (design software). And someone has to pay for my plane ticket to Quilt Con next year! My intention isn’t to make it into a “business,” but more of a “self-sustaining hobby” if that makes sense.

I’ll be back for WIP Wednesday next week with my finished color chart for the kilim quilt and my fabric choices. It is going to be a very happy mail week.

Linking up with Crazy Mom!

Friday finish: barn door II

I finished my barn door II quilt!

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Sorry for the inside pictures lately. It is seriously -16 today and the snow is above my waist in our backyard.

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I was so happy to finally use the Waterfront Park bridge print! I bought a whole yard of it because it’s so awesome, but every time I pull it out it’s not quite right. Until now! I guess the lesson is to be patient with those favorite prints; the right quilt will come along.

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I’m really happy with how the back turned out too.

I’m curious how you guys think this second version compares to the first?

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I’m not sure which one I like better.

Monday the final barn door quilt along link up opens! If you participated in the quilt along be sure to link up for a chance to win a Noodle-head divided basket handmade by me! I’ll even let you pick colors/fabrics. The link up will be open until Monday, March 10.

If you didn’t participate in the quilt along but would like to make this quilt, here’s the chart that basically gives you everything an experienced quilter would need to make the quilt: Barn door assembly chart. Just be sure to send me pictures!

A little extra blog business to tack on here: I owe you guys a book review winner! Random.org gave me number 55:

This book looks great, especially as I am not a solid lover either. I don’t buy them usually and have very few in my stash. My favourite quilt book is Sunday Morning quilts because I love the scrappy look. Thanks for a fun giveaway too.

Yay Kay! I’ll email you for your address and get that off to you right away.

Linking up for finish it up Friday!

My favorite finish so far

I love this quilt.

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As soon as Rachel started posting sneak peaks of the projects for her penny sampler class (now available as an ebook), I knew I would be first in line.

I learned a lot of new skills and honed some others.

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But what surprised me was how much this project changed the way I think about all of my projects. (I wrote some of my initial thoughts about this here.)

I wanted to understand why I love this quilt so much, and why I didn’t tire of it during the process. Certainly some of it has to do with the sampler nature of the quilt. Each week brought different challenges and experiences. And then there’s the fact that I used just under 100 different fabrics. That kept it interesting – always something new to look at and enjoy.

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But I don’t think it’s just that. I think I enjoy challenging, complex quilts. Quilts that you don’t let anyone touch for a year after you finish it. True present-day heirlooms.

In 2014 I really want to choose my projects carefully. For me, I think a little extra planning and deliberation are worth it. I’d rather make fewer quilts, but really love them.

My color scheme developed quite a bit over the course of the project. It started here:

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Various shades of teal and aqua and pool blue. A touch of purple.

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I thought my accents would be the pink and orange fabrics on the right.

Over time my pinks and oranges softened to peach and I added more purple.

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I didn’t realize it at the time but now I’m certain I was influenced by this post about peach and jade. So pretty together, especially against the white background with just a little black here and there. I didn’t set out to make this my color scheme, but I loved it so much that I started buying a lot of peach fabric… and then just started adding them to the quilt!

About 1/3 of the 100 fabrics I used are Anna Maria Horner. I think that helped to ground and focus the color scheme.

I challenged myself in this quilt to avoid solids almost entirely… unless absolutely necessary or beneficial. The reason being that many of the quilts that have made me gasp aloud with delight this year have been made without solids (off the top of my head: Sarah Fielke, Sarah @ No Hats and Jess @ Elven Garden).

The citron is the only true solid in the quilt. It caught my eye at a quilt shop and somehow ended up in my penny sampler stack. I used it to create a “lights on upstairs” effect in my little village. (By the way, how amazing would a little village tree skirt be?)

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Otherwise the fabrics that appear solid are actually quilter’s linen or Architextures crosshatch. Up close that little bit of visual texture makes a difference.

I kept the back of the quilt simple, but I used one of my favorite Anna Maria Horner prints to make it special.

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I like to think of it as “the dark side;” a little surprise when you lift the corner and peak underneath. It’s hard to see in this photo, but the side panels are a thin black and white stripe.

I chose my quilting design and binding with complete disregard for the backing because I don’t consider this quilt to be necessarily reversible. I outline quilted all of the “picture” blocks and diamonds and put a cross or X in most of the others. It took a while! But I was concerned that anything else would take away from the beautiful block designs and fabrics. (Except maybe hand quilting, as Laura of Little and Lots plans to do with her gorgeous Christmas version. If I didn’t already have a big hand quilting project going I would definitely have done that).

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I really wanted to use this stripe as the binding, but I was worried about how it would look with the backing fabrics. I decided not to let that stop me, but in the end I think it actually isn’t too bad even on the back. Perhaps even mismatched fabrics look like they belong together once they’ve been sewn?

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This quilt will live in my guest room, but it’ll be a while before I let anyone sleep under it.

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(It should go without saying that I’ll be obnoxiously linking up with every link party that remotely applies: Finish it up Friday, Paper Piecing Party, TGIFF, ASWC).

Finish it up Friday: a double finish

First of all, you really must check out how much fun we’re having with this linky party:

It has been just incredible to see what people stash and how and why. You still have 6 days to join in the fun! And there’s a giveaway (something handmade by me since I’m not super famous enough to have sponsors)!

BUT today’s post is really about this really fun set of quilts and pillows I made for my sweet and smart nephews (they’re 6 and 7 and speak German, no big deal)!

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It started with a discussion with my sister-in-law (because let’s be honest she’s going to care more than they do). She wanted solids in a stripe pattern. Easy enough, right?

Not really.

I had such a tough time choosing colors and stripe widths. My local quilt shops haven’t quite caught on to the solids trend yet so I had to order online… And man those little digital swatches can be deceiving! It took no less than 4 tries to get the right shade of army khaki/green. Ultimately I ordered a Kona color card and that helped tremendously.

My first try actually ended up getting sliced and diced and made into the reverse side (I consider it the back side but these quilts are definitely reversible):

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The little airplanes serve as my “label” for this quilt (signed with a fabric pen) and also became the inspiration for the pillows:

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I made 2 of these 24 by 24 pillows. I used a machine paper-pieced pattern from Quilty magazine. I thought the quilts ended up feeling so serious and grown up. The pillows add a much-needed fun element! The fabric is mostly Architextures with some of my stash thrown in.

These quilts were such a great learning experience for me. I learned that I don’t like working with solids. Yikes! It’s hard to admit that because I do so admire some of the modern works of art people are creating with solids. But it’s not for me people. I love fabric and pattern too much to spend so much time staring blankly at solids. On a related note, I learned that working with solids is hard. The mistakes really show when there’s no distraction! And each and every color choice really matters.

A few more fun artsy shots courtesy of my sister-in-law and her great camera:

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Darling nephews, if you’re reading this, each and every stitch is especially for you.

Ich liebe dich Neffen!

Linking up with Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts and the Paper Piecing Party at Quiet Play and Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story.