Flowers! (and Rules)

Sunflower1

My nephew’s wife, Grace, wrote to me and asked for help.  She is a young quilter, who makes awesome gooseberry jam (she shared a jar with me), so I wanted to help. The quilt was for someone close to her who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer, and she thought a quilt was needed.  I agree.

She sent me the screen shot you see above, and since it was on Pinterest…and you know how much I LOVE their search engines (NOT), I thought it was easier to draft it on my computer using QuiltPro than try to find the original design (I tried…and failed…but kudos to whoever dreamed it up).  Besides, that was one of those “barn” quilts, painted on wood, not a cloth quilt.

This is what I came up with.  But I knew Grace wanted to move quickly, and yeah–all those pieces?

I thought about my Home Sweet Home mini quilt, and how she could make fewer blocks, but bigger blocks, and I modified it as on the left.  Nope.  Those middle petals look like cookies or fingers or something.  I left the pattern in the same, but just colored it differently, and came up with the one on the right.  I sent it over.

Grace wrote back.  She loved what I’d done, but now they were thinking poppies. She sent me a sample of a quilt she’d seen.  I drafted it up in my QuiltPro program, drew up a quilt.  But I thought I should test out my own pattern, so I made a Poppy Block:

Poppy block constructon1

trimming snowball corners

Poppy for Grace

I think it will be cute quilt.  This is a 10-inch block and I thought you’d like to have the pattern, too.  Each is a PDF file which you can download.

Here’s the Poppy Block:  Poppies for Grace

And here’s the quilt instructions: Poppies for Grace Quilt

It can be made in reds and greens and be thought of as poinsettias for Christmas.  Or made to commemorate Anzac Day in April, for the Australians.  Or red and white for a bouquet of posies for Valentine’s Day.  Have fun, but please don’t print off dozens for a class or for your friends–send them here to get their own free pattern.  Thanks.

About QuiltPro: they do not pay me or give me free stuff.  I started using that quilt program eons ago, and they are still going strong.  If you are struggling with the current software (I know, I have it and love/hate it too), consider trying this software, as it’s based on making shapes, not connecting lines.  I find it pretty intuitive, but as with anything, there is a learning curve–it’s just that theirs is not quite as steep.

redwhite triangles1

Making that block added to my collection of red and white triangles (ignore the interlopers in the upper right corner).  I trim them to whatever measurement’s closest, without it being a weird number, and save them.redwhite triangles2

Every once in a while, I sew them into four-patches.

I haven’t decided yet what to do with them, but a couple of questions arise: do I include the Christmas prints?  Or do they get their own collection? (I think so.)

Do you ever quilt with “rules”?  It’s about all I remember from my beginning art classes, ages ago in college.  The assignments laid out rules to create by — an edge to the sandbox — if you will, and went something like this:

  • Take an old piece of clothing, adhere it to a canvas and paint it like something else.
  • Use three shapes only.
  • Create a composition by taking a square of black paper, cutting out some shape and using the negative and positive pieces.
  • This assignment will use only two colors, but you may use any range of those colors.

And so on.  There are many books out there in the marketplace for guided creativity, but they all start with a rule.

Sometimes I find little bags of treasures in my sewing room, with pieces inside that have been collected according to some rule.  Like the red and white triangle rule.  Or the 3-inch square rule, but I kind of think that last one’s a bit of a cheat.

About seven years ago, I saw this on Jan Burgwinkle’s blog, Be*mused, and fell in love with it.  Maybe that’s why I started making little HSTs.  (While she doesn’t seem to update her blog much these days, it’s still amazing to read through the archives.)

So that’s my rule and I’m sticking with it: red and white triangles, although seeing this quilt again does make me wonder if I should break it.

PS.  I did adhere that old piece of clothing to a canvas and paint it.  It was a maternity shirt, which I stuffed and painted it like a landscape: three mountains and a river.  Somewhere I have a photo of it, but the original was mercifully carted off to a dump somewhere.

 

Shine: The Circles Quilt, finished

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Shine: The Circles Quilt
Quilt #170
2shinecirclesquilt

This quilt finally finished, I took it out for a photography session with the help of my husband.3shinecirclesquilt

I started sewing the first block in June of 2014, and finished the top a year later.  The quilting was finished at the end of September, but it wasn’t until now that I could get time to take it up to our university’s Botanic Gardens to get some photographs.
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My husband’s favorite block.  As some of you know, many of these blocks were inspired by art in a church in Slovenia, as well as designs from our travels.  Most of the patterns and accompanying tutorials are free on this blog, found *here* as well in a tab labeled Shine: The Circles Quilt.  4shinecirclesquiltl 5ashinecirclesquilt

This shows the quilting.  I was trying out double batting (polyester with wool), and found it was a challenge to move the heavy quilt around on the machine.  It took me nearly 4 months to quilt this thing, as I was hobbled with a shoulder injury.  But I was able to finish it!7shinecirclesquilt_label

As I quilted, I thought a lot about my brother-in-law Tom, who passed away a little over a month ago.  He maintained a beautiful small garden in his backyard, and so in one of the corners I quilted in a flower in his memory (shown below).  Many offered advice and help while I was quilting: thank you, everyone.6shinecirclesquilt shinecirclesquilt_detailback

detail of quilting from the back

shinecirclesquilt_frontl

This closes a chapter in my life.  Lovely to see you here, Shine!

tiny nine patches

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My blogging software puts ads here so I can use their site for free. 
I do not know about, nor choose, the content, nor do I receive any money from these ads.
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Shine: The Circles Quilt

Shine-waving

Shine: The Circles Quilt
66″ square
First block started June 2014 • Top finished June 2015

I’ve finished my quilt top and am happy to release it into the wilds world today.  I started sewing these English Paper Piecing patterns after I’d finished Kaleidoscope and needed a new hand project.  I was also sick of straight lines, and though I’d do some circles.  Those of you who have followed along know that I took a lot of inspiration for the circles from a church my husband and I had visited while traveling in Slovenia, the art which found its way into fabric.

Shine_Quilt Top Final800

I named it Shine because of all those circles, those suns, those compass points, radiating out from the quilt.  I could see this all done up in solids, too.  I’ve seen a few of your starting your project.  Please tag me on IG (occasionalpiecequilt) or drop me an email with a photo so I can see what you’ve begun.

I’ve now completed the instructions for this quilt, and have priced it at six dollars for a PDF download.  For those in non-EU countries, the pattern is in my Craftsy Store, listed as Shine: Circles Quilt Finishing Instructions and is available for purchase, so you too can finish off your quilt.  For those in EU countries with VAT tax, the pattern is in the PayHip shop.

I know I haven’t released the last circles — numbers 13 to 16 — yet (well, you have one of them), but I’ve made up a pattern for the final four, which is also on my Craftsy store if you can’t wait through the end of summer to get them all.  The Final Four Blocks from Shine (I made the pattern earlier) is also priced at six dollars, for a PDF download.  For EU readers, please use PayHip.

I’ve loved creating these and sharing them for free, so I hope you’ve enjoyed grabbing them and making them.  At some point in the future, I’ll start moving the downloads to Craftsy, as I’m trying to gather all my patterns there for ease in locating them.  Sometimes it gets hard to navigate blogs, even with the excellent search engine that my blog software provides.

Shine Sashing inspiration

Where did I get the inspiration for the finishing?  One day when I was walking around San Diego, I looked up and saw the facade of the building and thought, aha! — those crosses with circles would be perfect in between my circles.  I ended up leaving off the circles as my quilt had a lot going on and they were just too much.  Your quilt may be different, so you decide (the option is in the pattern).

Zagreb doorway design churchAnd the border?  I started here, in this archway from the church in Slovenia, with those triangles.  But again, I wanted my circles — and all that handwork — to stand out, so I simplified it with trapezoidal pieces in between the triangles.

Now to quilt this, a good summer project since we’ll be local most of the time.  I’ll find the next Inspector Gamache book (I heard a new one is coming out in August) and sew my brains out.  Can’t think of a better thing to be doing when it’s scorching outside.   The tutorials for the final patterns will post regularly throughout the summer, but feel free to grab those final block patterns early, if you want to get going on them.

Thanks for all your support and EPP love while I’ve been working on this project. Happy Piecing!

Sentimental Journey: Bee Blocks for the Mid-Century Modern Bee, part 1

Cindy, of LiveAColorfulLife, called me up one day and said she had a great idea and a great name for a bee: Mid-Century Modern Bee, and that everyone had to be at least mid-century in age.  Maybe it was the exasperation I felt that all the newbies were claiming invention of tried and true blocks and methods, or that I was ready for another bee, or that Cindy’s charm could not be turned down, but I jumped at the chance to be a part of this new group. We’ve been going strong for three years, so I’m dividing this post into parts, and am grouping them by the participant, rather than going through the calendar years.  We now have a blog, courtesy of Susan and PatchnPlay, so I guess you could say we are all grown up. I wanted a place where all our blocks, quilts, and tutorials could be listed; you’ll find links to many tutorials of these blocks, so have fun browsing. MCM_Timberlake1The first project we did was Carla’s Church Dash quilt, with the tutorial found *here.*  The next year, Carla (Lollyquiltz) had us make another block churn dash block for her, and the beautiful quilt above is the result. MCM_Timberlake2 Carla is still working on this year’s batch of blocks, a birthday cake block using *this* tutorial.  This bee also does signature blocks, which I love, and you can see the array at the top of her pin wall.  My birthday cake block is the blueberry with mint filling, as one of the fun things she had us do was list what “kind” of cake we would make for her.  If you use the tutorial, remember to set your print scaling settings at 100% so your block will be 12″ square. MCM_Wiens Bird in Air Cindy thought for her first turn, she would do the Winged Square Block with the tutorial found *here.*  When I sent around the letter asking for photos of blocks/quilt tops/quilts, she sent me a photo of all the blocks together. MCM Wiens Block Spiderweb For her second round, she fell in love with Rene’s spiderweb block (another member in our bee) and decided she wanted one too.  This became common–we are so well matched that we borrow ideas for each other regularly, tweaking them slightly.  We used *this tutorial* for these blocks. MCM_Wiens2 2015 MCM March w0 label Using *this* tutorial, and again borrowing from Rene’, Cindy went with a rainbow Dresden plate, with a black and white center.  Unlike the Always Bee Learning Bee, we make from our stash, not sending out fabrics to each other.  It is fun to see how many of us have the same fabrics. MCM-Wiens Dresdens Her last request was matched by another bee she is participating in, so her design wall was flooded with circles. MCM_Jeske1Debbie, of A Quilter’s Table, asked for a variation of the Hugs and Kisses Block, but done in soft hues and colors (aka “Low Volume”).  Her stunning completed quilt, above, titled Common Affection, has gone on to be published and to win ribbons.  I love that blue wall, as it really shows off the low volume fabric choices. MCM April 2014_2 Debbie’s next block (in 2014) was a pair of rolling diamond blocks, from *this tutorial.* MCM April 2014_1 Vivid Here’s her completed quilt, Vivid, adding a few more to round out the original collection.MCM_Martinez Spider WebRene’ of Rene Creates, and who inspires many of us with choosing blocks, asked us for a spiderweb block (tutorial link found above), but in scrappy fabrics. She made this cool quilt with the colors moving all around–a real scrappy treat.  She took it with her when the family did Christmas photographs together; I love the setting. dresden plate_OpquiltHer 2014 block was this cool-in-blues-and-greens Dresden block (tutorial listed above). Rene's dresdens She laid them all out on her bed to show us how they look together.  Because of different printing sizes, they range from smaller to larger.  She plans to place them scattered across a solid background for her quilt. MCM_Russell House blocks Deborah, Simply Miss Luella, asked for house blocks, and here are a few.  Mine is in the upper left; link to the blog post about it, with the pattern is *here.*  You can find her on Instagram. MCM January14 Block I made this house for Linda, drawing from my collection of free house patterns that I had worked up for my in-town sewing group. The reason she asked for houses, is that her house burnt to the ground, and she lost everything shortly before Thanksgiving of the year she was with our group.  We all made houses, our hearts going out to her as she worked hard to rebuild her life. (to be continued)

Snapshot: Putting the Quilt Top Together

Here’s my Snapshot Quilt, in the requisite rustic pose drooping over a gate with rusty wheelbarrow.  Go yard work for great props.

This is the third and final post in my tutorial of how to make the Snapshot Quilt, constructed from lots of Polaroid blocks.  And at the end, my little giveaway.  I have three sets of 10 blocks each to giveaway, but hey! you must be a serious Polaroid-er to get them.  Leave me a comment telling me what you’ll do with them–have you started your collection?  Do you have a few and want more?  Do you have plans for them?  And for fun, tell me about your favorite vacation photo, since this quilt is, after all, a tribute to vacation photos everywhere.

Here’s a close-up of some of the Polaroids.  I received the truck Polaroid in the swap.  Love it!

And that German-looking couple on the right was cut from my Barbie-doll dress.

Now back to work.  I have made a PDF to help guide you with cutting, and it includes the basic bones of the quilt.  Download it: PolaroidQuilt

Start throwing up blocks onto your pin wall.  This was my first attempt. I knew I wanted a stacked coins effect, but was playing around with inserting blocks into the middle of the stacks.  Meh.

Second try.  I like this one better, but not keen about the four blue blocks across the top, so I switched them around.  Check the previous post for the doctors-office-view of the quilt, which shows how I ended up arranging all my blocks.  I also checked to make sure that there wasn’t a glob of orangey-red blocks, or too many of one type or color.

After getting the blocks the way you like them, sew them together.  My row tags, made from embroidery holders, indicate which row it is, and which is the top. I pinned them all together in a row, then stitched them.

Cutting the white internal strips and borders:
Internal rows are 4 x 52″ (w/o s.a.) so cut three strips that are 4-1/2″ by 52-1/2″.  I’d STRONGLY advise cutting them on grain, that is, cut them parallel to the selvages of your white fabric.  All these double-Polaroid blocks are slightly on the bias, so they need the strong stable edges of an on-grain piece of fabric.

Borders (seam allowance included):
Border #1, top/bottom: cut two pieces 2-1/2″ x 40-1/2″; for the sides, cut two pieces 2-1/2″ x 56-1/2″” long
Border #2 (print), top/bottom: cut  two pieces 2-1/2″ x 44-1/2″; for the sides: cut two pieces 2-1/2″ x 60-1/2″” long
Border #3, top/bottom: cut two pieces 2-1/2″ x 48-1/2″; for the sides, cut two pieces 2-1/2″ x 64-1/2″” long
NOTE: I’d cut the border pieces slightly longer, to give allowance here and there for ease needed when sewing on borders.

Matching centers and edges, ease the stacked quilt blocks onto the white on-grain strip of white fabric.  Repeat until four rows of stacked quilt blocks and three strips of white fabric are sewn together.  I sewed the seam with the quilt blocks to the throat plate of my sewing machine, allowing the motion of the feed dogs to help ease in any extra fabric.

Sew on the first top border, then the bottom.  Then, matching centers and edges, sew on the side borders as you did above, keeping the white strip UP and the quilt block stack to the feed dogs.  Press seams toward quilt blocks.

Attach the print borders next in this order: top, bottom, side, side.  I was exacting on the lengths and matching edges and centers, but I should have given a little more ease to the side borders.  It’s a challenge sometimes, as you don’t want to get the borders too small so that the quilt “bows” with a curved edge, but you also don’t want it so loosey-goosey that it ripples.  Pin and check, is my advice.  Then press the seams toward the print fabric.

Lastly, attach the last white borders in the same order: top, bottom, side, side.  Press toward the second (print) border.

You’re done!

How do I plan to quilt this?  I’m thinking I’d first stabilize those long stacks with either stitching in the ditch white white thread, or a quarter-inch away into the white.  I’d like to outline along the Polaroids to make them pop.  The white sections call out for some sort of overall pattern, like this pattern from Leah Day of Free-Motion Quilting, Bow-tie Parade:

Go and visit Leah’s site for lots of ideas and a stimulating blog.  I love reading her posts.  I do plan to bind this with more of that print shown in my border.

Now! Leave a message if you are interested in scooping up some of my Polaroid blocks, and mention what you’ll do with them–have you started your collection?  Do you have a few and want more?  Do you have plans for them?  And for fun, tell me about your favorite vacation photo, since this quilt is, after all, a tribute to vacation photos everywhere.

Mine favorite vacation photo is from when Dave and I were newly married (under a year) and we took all the kids to Zion National Park.  We are standing there in the middle of red rock country in our slightly dirty T-shirts, a group of 2 adults and 4 children who were on their way to becoming a family. Now let me hear about yours.

 

UPDATE:  Congrats to the winners of the Polaroid Blocks: Mary, Cindy and Marilyn.  I’ll look forward to seeing what they do with their blocks, so send those photos over to my email when that future finish day arrives.