Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Patterns take patience

Flower Power Quilt 

For years, I've heard from people who like my quilts and know they are original designs:   "Do you sell the patterns for your quilts?"  The answer has always been a reluctant: well, no but maybe someday.  I truly never thought I could write a quilt pattern and didn't know if I even wanted to.  It's way too much fun to just design and make the quilts themselves.  Now, I have always kept pretty good notes as I make a quilt, so I'm not starting from scratch.

In my last blog I mentioned I had started working on a pattern for Flower Power.  A detail shot is shown.  There are 13 original appliqued block designs and a lot of applique in the borders.  

So far, I have created the full size templates for each of the blocks.  My graphically artistic sister will edit and clean those up with her Corel Draw program and she will ultimately help me with all the layouts and pattern design.  Here I am with my pencils and graph paper!   I barely know how to scan documents, let alone do computer graphics.  

Three members of our Applique Arts group have jumped in and volunteered to be my pattern testers.  In exchange for a free pattern, they will give me feedback and double check my measurements.  They have a lot of gumption and I'm really grateful to them.

I never realized how much work goes into making a pattern.  But, so far I have really enjoyed the process - it's almost like making the quilt again.  (That's what I keep telling myself.)

If I think about the entire project and all the what ifs and how do I do that, I get hung up and want to forget the whole thing.  As my sister said "Baby steps" - that's really what the pattern includes;  lots and lots of baby steps.  But look what you'll have when you've completed all those steps!!   

Flower Power
90" x 90"

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Roman Shade Diversion

For the past week, I've been tied up sewing new Roman shades for my 4 bathroom windows.  Yes, this is my bathroom - we have his and hers.  It's the only way to go.  

I had been looking for new fabric to do these shades for a long time and last week I finally found it at Joann Fabrics, on sale and the bolt had exactly the amount I needed - no room for error!  But wouldn't you say it was meant to be?

A few new accents and towels and it's a makeover!  One wall has been bare since sharing my quilts for our library display and now I want to make a new wall hanging for that space.  Nothing definite in mind yet.  

I've also delved into writing the pattern for Flower Power.  I've had requests over the years for patterns of my quilts, but never thought I could (or would want to) do it.   I can thank Barb and Lisa at the Quilt Cottage in Hazelhurst for giving me the oomph to get going.  Fortunately, I keep notes and applique drawings for all my quilts;  however, putting it together into user friendly format and terms is a huge job.  

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ready for quilting

It's always an exciting day when I can say:  "My quilt top is finished and ready for quilting."  And here I am.  This is a rough photo of the quilt top.  It turned out to be about 88" x 88" and it's just too large for me to machine quilt on my Bernina, so it's off to my long arm machine quilter tomorrow.  When it's finished, it will be transformed and be, well, finished!  The quilting adds so much.  

I initially didn't think this quilt needed any borders, but once I put the mandala blocks together, it was obvious it needed to be "framed."  You can look back a few blog posts to see how I completed the outer pieced log border. This tree stump I cam upon snowshoeing  in the woods was my inspiration for the woodsy look of the border:

Once I finished the borders, I pinned the quilt top up to hang from the ceiling and looked at it for days.  It still needed something and then it just hit me one night;  I would add a 1/4" dark brown strip to offset the borders.  I did something unorthodox by machine appliqueing this strip to the quilt.  Well, I was NOT going to rip apart all those seams to insert the conventional piping or folded strip.  I have never seen this done, but I like the way it turned out and I would do it again.  Handling the entire quilt top to applique this border strip was not difficult.

So, now as I often do, I have changed the name of this quilt to:  "Woods and Wildflowers", of course.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Winter grosbeaks

Even though winter officially began 2 weeks ago, I feel like winter is really here now.  It's much colder and something is just different in the air.  The winter bird feeders are quickly emptied and the grosbeaks have come back.  These are large, very pretty birds who come in groups and often eat seeds fallen on the ground.  Watching them inspired this quilt a few winters ago;  it's title: "Grosbeaks in a Winter Garden."   

I love the colors and the way the traditional block titled "Floral Wreath" works itself in and among the appliqued birds like treetops and branches.  I designed this quilt using my Electric Quilt program to lay out the blocks.  Right now it hangs behind our bed - not ON the bed, but it still keeps the room warm just being there to look at.