Category: Creative Process

Wedding Quilt

I’m working on a quilt to celebrate our marriage this spring.  Usually when I work on quilts, I pretty much document them when they’re finished, but this time, I decided to write along the way about the process and progress.  Just like a relationship, there’s lots of learning done along the way, and it comes together slowly piece by piece until you see the big picture.

I found the pattern in a magazine awhile ago and picked out fabric in blues/greens/purples.  I was thinking it would be a quilt for us, but now that we’re engaged (and the colors of the wedding will be white/cobalt blue/silver-gray) then it fits perfectly.  I like how the block is seven strips together, like counting the days of a week.

(end of Jan 2015) One night was spent cutting apart all the colorful strips.  The next night I worked on it, the white squares and the first block came together.

blue pieces

(1/26/15) Tonight I put together a second blue themed block and created one using the green and purple fabrics.  To keep track of things, I decided to take a picture and refer to it when piecing everything together.  Can you tell that it didn’t get sewn together quite like the picture?  At least it still follows the pattern of long/short pieces and looks just great.  I guess it adds to the randomness of the design process.

I’m sure that at some point in this project, I’m going to sew something off from the pattern and also stitch in a white block upside down.  Both are relatively minor in the big scheme, but it’ll be noticeable to me.  Part of what makes quilts personal are the mistakes though, the human touch.

(April 2015)

The wedding took place with the finished quilt top on the unity table, and it was beautiful!  Aaron was surprised that was what I had in mind, and it added again to the personal touch of our wedding.  Here’s some more in process pictures and how it looked on the remembrance table at the wedding.

Jami and Mary from my quilt guild serged the edges of pieces of white/gray/silver fabric that I used for centerpieces and will end up being the back of the quilt.


UFO’s: unfinished projects

In the quilting community, UFO’s are “unfinished objects” or projects that are in varying degrees of needing to be completed.  The guild issues a challenge each fall to members to complete their UFO’s.  At the November 2014 meeting, we can pay $3 into the challenge to submit our list of projects, and at the August 2015 meeting, we’ll reveal the results.

Here’s my list with pictures:

Mystery Quilt

I’ve never done a mystery quilt before, so I’m excited to try this one designed by Joyce Geiszler from our quilt guild  I found these fabrics at Joann’s that are different colors than the pattern but match the light/medium/dark requirements:

mystery fabricThe first “clue” is to make about 40 triangles using a new ruler (thanks to coupons and teacher discount).  The birds are a directional fabric, but since I don’t know what the final project will look like, I’m not too concerned…in fact I think it will look great, like they’re flying all over the place!


Speaking of birds flying around, the second “clue” is to make flying geese blocks.  A whole flock of geese actually.  Thanks to Marta, I borrowed her BlocLoc ruler to square up the final blocks, which made it much easier.

At the November Sewing Saturday, Joyce gave us the next two clues (four square patches and square in a square blocks).  She helped me with some color choice ideas and techniques for making accurate blocks with cutting/ironing techniques.

Here’s what Marta’s looks like as she finishes sewing the pieces together!

Marta's version

Quilt Shows

I realized tonight (8/22/14) that I haven’t yet written a post for quilt shows.  It’s fun to attend quilt shows to get inspiration and see products/fabrics/displays from a wider variety of shops.  quilt knit stitch

This fall, mom and I attended the Quilt Knit Stitch Expo here in Portland, OR. Thanks to Deb at Quilter’s Corner Store for the free tickets!

At this particular fair, many vendors had signs about not taking pictures of their displays.  They must have had difficulty of people stealing their designs.  So instead, I tried to pick up flyers and information so I can go back later and look at or purchase patterns.  Here’s some of the interesting sites to check out:

Kay Mackenzie = a friendly lady who helped me with ideas about how to applique.  I told her about my recent attempt (Initially Yours Quilt) and she gave some good advice about going slow and stitching at 90′ around the appliqued design.

Thanks to the reps of Moda for the free mini pack of fabrics and a reminder to visit their bakeshop site for free patterns.

Some great little ideas and colorful projects covered the booth for Pieceful Designs. I especially want to make something like this:

The pattern designers, like Nancy Lorene, are so creative and shops like The Stitchin’ Post are full of ideas.

Initially Yours

One of the guild activities each year is a Challenge Quilt.  This year, it was the theme “Initially Yours”.  We were to use either fabrics or styles or images reminiscent of our initials.  For me, this was a chance to make a quilt I’ve been thinking about for awhile, a landscape beach scene.

I used the “A”pplique technique of using “F”usible “F”abric and decorative “S”titches.  Included are fabrics that imitate “A”qua water, trees in a “F”orest, and “S”andy beaches.  There’s even a tidepool and kites flying since those are two of my favorite parts of visiting the ocean.

It was fun to see what other people came up with, and many of us used this opportunity to try a new technique.  Here are a few that I liked, which turned out to be the three most popular as voted on by the guild members.

(2015) This year’s challenge quilt was to use “neutral + 1 color family + zinger”.  It was again interesting to see how people interpreted those “directions”.  This was one of my favorites.

art quilt umbrella

Guild Visits

(January 2015)  This month, Portland quilt maker and artist Sam Hunter brought a trunk show and words of wisdom to inspire our guild members.  I bought one of her patterns and enjoyed the variety of her quilts (colors, types of quilting, “crap backs”)

(Fall 2014) This month, Karla Alexander visited the Westside Quilt Guild.  Her studio is in Salem, so I’ve seen her work over the years.  She is known to be a good teacher, so I’m really excited to sign up for her class in September.  At the meeting, she showed many quilts from her new book Stack, Shuffle, and Slide as well as some other quilts from previous patterns/books.  I choose two that I like most to buy a pattern for the upcoming class (and borrow the rulers needed).  I hope to choose some charity fabrics and donate the quilt when it’s completed.

I really liked a few other of her quilts, and appreciated hearing how she decided colors/rulers to use plus pointing out the shape of the “block”.

She included a bunch of wise quilting advice in her presentation:

“I am the boss of my quilts.” meaning that you get to decide the colors, shapes, techniques to include. If you don’t like something, it’s okay to change from the pattern to make it yours.

WRAP “wonder, reflect, appreciate what you’ve done, pause/plan/ponder your next project”

Modern quilts include techniques like “upsetting the grid” meaning that things could be set on their side or at angles that are unexpected.  Floating blocks and using the background as a design element also create a more modern look.

Also at this guild meeting during show and tell, I showed my ladybug quilt!  There was also a presentation to the previous board president of a collaborative quilt (my block is one of the yellow ones).  Also, I made two of the star blocks for the free BOM this time in hopes of winning the stack (someone else won this time though).

I also visited the Portland Modern Quilt Guild. A woman I met at a garage sale encouraged me to attend and a friend who quilts came with me.  Turned out there are quite a few women from the Westside guild who go there too, so many of the show and tell quilts were familiar.  Here’s a few others that I liked (sorry for poor photo quality):

I was impressed by the projects by this group, but the organization of the meeting wasn’t comfortable for me.  I didn’t feel welcomed as a guest and the updates about things focused on website updates and/or key things that only members would know.  There were some quilts donated to an organization but no description given so I had to google them to figure it out (Camp Erin serves kids/teens who are grieving).  I was surprised that some of the donated quilts were dreary colors and/or patterns that didn’t look like teenagers to me.  Again, maybe working in middle school I’m more tapped into their style.  Overall, I think I’ll look online at the PMQG blog for pictures of projects but not make the long drive over to their meetings.

Row by Row Experience – Summer 2014

This shop hop, the Row by Row Experience, is nationwide and quite simple.  Just visit the participating shops and ask for their free “row by row” pattern.  The theme is “seasons” so it might be holiday themed or use the four seasons tree fabric provided by the sponsors.  Some shops offer a kit for purchase with the fabrics needed to make it in their color palette.  Many shops are also selling license plates with funny fabric/sewing related sayings.  I’d like to collect one from each state I visit this summer.

Here’s a few of the blocks I collected in Ohio (pictures courtesy of the shop’s website or from my visit):

When I returned to Oregon, I collected another few row patterns and started work on a wall hanging using 8 of the blocks. Since I only bought the fabric pack from two shops, for the rest I used stash fabrics or picked up fat quarters to fill in sections.  It was fun to practice some new techniques, like the fusible applique.

Also, I used a new technique for basting (not pinning) the quilt that mom taught me using two boards to mimic a quilt frame.  It worked really well!  I also figured out that it would look nice to quilt with two different threads and using diagonal lines since the rows didn’t line up front to back very well.  Here are a few more pics of the process:

After a few nights up until midnight sewing, I turned in my finished quilt for the prize at Quilter’s Corner Store.  25 fat quarters in a rainbow of colors ready for inclusion into new projects and 2 yards of anything in the shop (I bought some beautiful batiks for an upcoming quilt project!  Tea Time Calico also generously gave me a free yard of fabric for including their row in my final project.  It’ll be fun to show the final project at the September WSQ guild meeting.

Charity Quilt Project

The Westside Quilter’s Guild includes a group of members who get together to work on Charity Quilt projects.  They donate to three or so agencies that provide the quilts to kids in crisis, cancer patients, or foster kids.  I’ve been wanting to participate but hadn’t been able to make the day time meeting during the school year.  July was the perfect month and it was great to spend a few hours with this kind group of women.  They encouraged me to pick out 5″ squares and a bag of binding/sashing strips to put together a quilt using the reconstructed 9 patch pattern used for the spring Charity Quilt Olympics.  All the fabrics were donated, and they’re not the usual colors I like to work with, but a good practice experience for me and rewarding to think about giving it away to someone who needs a warm cozy quilt.

I made some progress on creating the 9 patch blocks.  I’ll use 12 different fabrics combined in pairs to create some organization, but still a scrappy look.  It’s hard to tell from this picture, but most of the blocks are brown/pink/green colors and the sashing will be green.

Charity Quilt in process

Travels to Ohio

This summer, I had the great fortune to visit Ohio to celebrate my Grandpa’s 95th birthday with all my aunts, uncles, and cousins.  We enjoyed a picnic in his backyard and hosted an open house for his friends from the community.

Since my Grandma was a quilter (she did the piecing) and my Aunt Jean does hand quilting, being in Ohio reminds me of the origin of this hobby for me.  We visited Aunt Jean and at 92, she has two projects going at once.  A baby quilt being hand quilted and a cross stitch project:

We also visited Amish country.  Since it was Sunday, a day of rest, no shops were open, but if they were, we’d have likely seen horse and buggies parked outside here:

amish country


I picked out this ladybug fabric since I’ve always liked ladybugs and thought it would make a cute picnic blanket.  I’m using an easy 3 yard quilt pattern (one yard each of three fabrics) and have the red fabric for the back.  The plan is to take it to have someone long arm quilt it for me with a winding bug-trail type pattern.

The first time we took this quilt out to use for a picnic, a real ladybug landed on it…no kidding!  🙂