Let's Go Outside

I made this quilt as part of a swap between the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild (of which I am a proud member) and the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild. We were assigned partners and asked to make a mini quilt we thought they would like. We could try to assess our partners aesthetic through all the modern stalking methods: Pinterest, Instagram, etc. 

Mini quilt for Giedra, measuring about 24" square.

Mini quilt for Giedra, measuring about 24" square.

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My partner Giedra of Thread n Honey seems to have pretty eclectic taste.  She likes color and lots of prints, especially Lizzy House.  I took these observations and felt free to get creative with her quilt!  I used some little drunkard path blocks that I had leftover from another project, and mixed them with some textured lilac solid I had.  I wanted to make some letters, as I often want to do these days, so I needed a phrase.  I chose "Let's Go Outside", inspired by a picture in Giedra's instagram feed that she captioned, "Summer still-life.  #outsideallday".  I can tell she values time with her kids and that they love to spend time outdoors.

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Hand-written label on the back.

Hand-written label on the back.

Quilting details.

Quilting details.

The letters I pieced for this quilt were pretty minimal.  The e's, for instance, were just squares.  I wanted to experiment with making the letters in their most basic form, and letting the quilting express the shape of the letter.  I didn't feel confident in executing this myself so I hired Nikki Maroon to execute my vision.  She also quilted some outdoorsy images like grass, sun, flowers, and wind.  I love the quilting on this little quilt so much.  Thank you, Nikki.  xoxo

Back of quilt.

Back of quilt.

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Leftovers Ala Gwen

Last year I made a baby quilt for a friend consisting of half-square triangles in shades of grey, blue, and green.  I made a lot of HST's and then just used a portion of them to make the baby quilt.  I had quilt a few left over and decided to make a twin-size quilt with them. 

Front of quilt, measures 81"x65"

Front of quilt, measures 81"x65"

My favorite design element of this quilt is one that was inspired by a quilt Gwen Marston showed us when she visited our guild in February 2014.  Her quilt had an inner border that used the same type of blocks as the rest of the quilt, just in soft neutral shades instead of the brights in the rest of the quilt.  I decided to do the same with white and off-white HST's. I love how it turned out. 

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I named this quilt Leftovers Ala Gwen because most of the blocks were leftovers from another quilt, and the layout was inspired by a favorite Gwen Marston quilt.  I hesitated to use the word leftovers next to my quilt heroine's name, but I decided leftovers don't have to be just lukewarm meatloaf or some other blob.  Sometimes leftovers can be surprisingly delicious if they are well prepared and maybe paired with something fresh.  So that's how I'm choosing to think of leftovers in this instance.  The quilt measures about 81"x65", a generous twin.

Back of quilt.

Back of quilt.

On the back of this quilt I did some piecing of letters.  Once again I wanted to show what could be done with the Simple Shapes Alphabet (pattern coming soon).  Can't Stop Won't Stop came to mind as a fun phrase, a rap reference that has made its way into the lexicon.  I don't know why it needed to be on a quilt, except that I can't stop putting words on quilts.  Or quilting in general.  Can't stop, won't stop until I'm too old to physically cut and sew fabric.  Quilting is my life-long obsession, I feel certain.  If it turns out that I stop quilting for some reason other than just physical incapability (ie I lose interest) I will be truly shocked.  As things stand now, I always have ideas, I always want to make more.  I can't imagine life being any different.

Shot Cotton baby quilt

Susan got a wedding quilt and I decided to also make her a baby quilt! Why does Susan get two quilts when many people in my life have yet to receive one from me?  I don't know. Maybe I miss her, or feel guilty about not visiting her more?  Most likely her big life events just happened to fall at a time when I had an open quilting schedule.

Front of quilt.  Measures 49"x35"

Front of quilt.  Measures 49"x35"

Back of quilt

Back of quilt

Again, I wanted to make something simple for her, in line with her taste for all things clean and minimal.  I started with big stripes in soft tones.  Then a friend at Chicago Modern Quilt Guild told me about making a quilt using shot cottons and wool batting, and how the quilt was so soft and had such a nice hand.  Typically I don't give a lot of thought to the hand of softness of the quilts I make, but in this instance it seemed like making a baby quilt extra soft would be a great idea.  I had a gorgeous stack of shot cottons that I had purchased at a great price on Craftsy.  I loved this stack so much that I decided to use it as it was, not changing the order of the colors at all.  I paired the colors up as they came off the stack, cut them into pies and crusts, and sewed them into drunkards path blocks.  I decided to add borders, and the phrase "Hello, world" to the bottom of the quilt.  I wanted to make examples of the letters I had sketched out for a pattern (Simple Shapes Alphabet, hopefully coming out soon), and I thought it was a cute expression to welcome a new person into the world.  I did not know at the time that this is a famous reference to computer programming.   Even though I did watch Halt and Catch Fire.  But I digress.  By now I had come to think of the original front as the back, and this more colorful patchwork as the front.  Of course Susan can use it in whatever way she prefers.  

On the design wall...

On the design wall...

In progress...

In progress...

piecing the letters

piecing the letters

such a pretty spot to nap.

such a pretty spot to nap.

My helper got tired arms. 

My helper got tired arms. 

quilting detail.

quilting detail.

I sent this to Nikki Maroon for some very simple, open quilting.  After it was bound I added a label made from a piece of vintage embroidered linen.  I hope it's getting plenty of use by sweet baby Nico.   

The cutest! 

The cutest! 

UPDATE: Nico is the most adorable butterball and he looks perfect in his stripes on his quilt. This picture made my heart leap.  

Wedding Quilt for Susan and Alex

My friend Susan has been extremely dear and important to me since high school.  She left the midwest for beautiful Portland, Oregon several years ago so I don't see her nearly often enough.  She has always had impeccable taste, so when she got married, I wanted to give myself the challenge of making a quilt she could love and that would look great in her gorgeous Portland bungalow. 

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Susan had expressed admiration for the work of the Hopewell Studios.  I took direct inspiration from their quilts, but tried to put myself in there too.  I had a few goals for the making of this quilt.  I wanted to shop strictly from my stash.  I started out strong in this regard, but ended up buying some additional neutral solids.  I also wanted to work ruler-free for this quilt. I almost accomplished that, but did need to do a bit of measuring to successfully piece the mitered corners.  And I threw in a few orphan blocks that were originally constructed using rulers.  Everything else was improv with no rulers! 

Improv in progress.

Improv in progress.

Working out the composition on the design wall.  

Working out the composition on the design wall.  

I began quilting this on my domestic Juki, with a mix of straight lines and curved lines.  I wasn't thrilled with how the quilting looked, and I didn't enjoy shoving this big quilt through my machine.  I decided to add some big hand quilting.  I always love the look of big-stitch hand quilting, and sometimes use it to (hopefully) compensate for the shortcomings of my machine quilting skills.

Quilting and binding detail.  

Quilting and binding detail.  

Quilting detail.  

Quilting detail.  

As always, I would change a few things if I could, but overall I'm happy with how this quilt turned out.  I know it's already getting a lot of good use in Portland.  Susan said it was the perfect weight for summer, which makes me happy. 

Back of quilt  

Back of quilt