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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Midnight in the Garden of Good & Purple

 
     I am blessed with wonderful friends.  I met my friend, Clare, when we were dates of two pals at a formal dance at a local boys' high school.  I can barely recall that boy, but Clare and I have now been friends for more than 40 years!  
      I wanted to make her a quilt, and started the Kitty Cat Love quilt for her.  During my work on that quilt, I realized that it was perhaps a bit too kitschy and catty and not quite her style.  So, without telling her I was working on a quilt, I asked her two questions:  What was her favorite color and if she had a choice between something featuring that color and something featuring cats, which would she choose?  Dark purple was the answer, and she chose that over the cats. That was great for two reasons - I decided that I loved the cat quilt and wanted to keep it for myself and I had seen some beautiful Kaffe Fassett purple fabrics, and had a reason to get them and use them! 
 
Some of the beautiful Kaffe Fassett prints
 
Another view of the prints.  I ordered these from Hancocks of Paducah.
     The floral prints were big and bold and beautiful.  I focused on purples being featured in the prints, and tried to stick with the green accents.   I cut the fabric into 8 1/2 inch squares.  
 
I ended up adding a violet fabric from Anne Marie Horner's True Colors collection.  I had ordered a half yard bundle of that collection from Marmalade Fabrics, and thought it added something nice to the floral mix.
     I started putting the various pieces together on the design wall, and also had picked out a light violet to use as the sashing.   It is really difficult in the winter to get good light to see these prints, or to photograph them.   
 
A close up of the violet sashing
     It turned out that when the big florals were cut up, some of them seemed more green than purple, and since the point of the quilt was to feature dark purple, the lighter sashing wasn't working for me.   I also thought the little circle prints were too busy and distracting from the florals. I had several purple solids in my stash, and started experimenting for a better sashing color.  
 
     I ended up chosing a dark purple Kona solid as the sashing.  Removing the little circle fabrics (which I like because it reminds me of glass paperweights) meant ordering more purple floral fabric!  Luckily, I found some other purply Kaffe Fassett prints on sale!  
Creating a long sashing strip!
    Once I was happy with the fabric mix, I added the sashing to one side, and then planned the layout of the blocks.   

 
 
     I think the sashing that I used on the individual blocks is a slight bit lighter than the sashing I used to sew the rows together, but in the end, it all blended together well. 
 
Chester gives his seal of approval to the quilt top.
     I decided to use a varigated purple thread for the quilting, and began by quilting stitch in the ditch on the sashing.   The stitching shows up a bit more than I would have liked when it wasn't quite in the ditch.  The cross-over points also showed up more than I had anticipated, creating a little square. 
      I had decided to do a  medium size meander quilting pattern in each block, but also wanted to sew across the sashing to avoid having to start and stop (and tuck in threads) in each block.  Because the threads would show, I ended up quilting a little flower in each of the sashing squares.

     I used the IKEA numbers fabric for most of the backing.  The quilting pattern shows up pretty well on the back.
 
     I had used full squares instead of fiddling around with setting triangles.  I had cut off most of the excess before quilting, and then made my final cut after the quilting was complete.   I ended up binding the quilt in the same dark purple as the sashing.
After washing and drying, the quilt was all nice and crinkly.
    The finished quilt is quite a nice size.   I forgot to measure it before giving it to Clare.  She tells me it is 60 x 71 inches.
     I finished the quilt in time for Clare's birthday, and was glad that she loved it.  I will soon be looking for a project to use the little circles squares that went unused in this quilt! I already have some ideas.  I am also hopeful that soon my quilt pictures won't feature ice and snow!  I am sure my trusty quilt holder feels the same!
 
Take care,
Gretchen
 


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sweet Violet Baby Quilt


Overlooking a very frozen Lake Erie

 
In the March snow!
     This has been a weekend of finishes.  A big quilt (for a friend's birthday), a baby quilt, a new fabric basket project, and two table runners.  Whew!   Today's post features the baby quilt, made of sweet little violet and lavender fabrics.
    A friend is expecting a baby girl - a perfect opportunity for a little disappearing nine-patch block, using some 2002 fabrics from a line called Home Sweet Home by Sharon Yenter for In the Beginning Fabrics and adding in some other fabrics from my stash which seemed to complement those fabrics.  The little folk dancing girls on white and periwinkle were the inspiration for this quilt.  

 
     The middle 4 fabrics are all from the Home Sweet Home line. Like many of my older fabrics, I purchased yards of each, in many different colorways! The top floral and bottom dot were added, along with some of the fabrics below. I ended up using a different version of the white dancing girls that had more pink and purple in it.  I am slowly but surely working my way through my fabrics!
 
    I first tried the disappearing nine-patch block with my Kitty Cat Love Quilt.   I used a different arrangement of the same block with  the Confetti Quilt.  My third, and final for now, arrangement is with this quilt, which I have called Sweet Violet.   I find it interesting to see how the identical blocks look so different depending on fabric choices and block placement!


     These fabrics did not have much contrast, which I think makes a calm quilt, but I decided to use the violet dots in the middle to give the design some structure.  After checking out many variations on the design wall, I decided to put the small violet square in the same corner for each block.

       I started with 12 nine patch blocks, with 5" blocks, intending for 8 rows with 6 small blocks each, which was the size of the "confetti quilt".  Somehow, that seemed too large on the wall, and so I made the quilt a bit smaller, using only 7 rows.   The final quilt measures 38 by 45 inches, which seems to be a nice size for a little baby.


      I used some more of my IKEA numbers fabric for the back, and did my curvy lines quilting (alternating straight and curvy lines at 1/2 inch intervals) with my walking foot, using a light pink cotton thread.   

     I used the violet dot for the binding, and the little quilt turned out to be very cute.
My trusty quilt holder!
 
     I am hopeful that the baby will like this - I know I do!   I used Warm and Natural batting, and it turned out soft and crinkly after washing and drying.
 
     I will share my other finishes soon.  It is hard for me to believe that I started this blog almost a year ago.  What a fun experience this has been!  
 
Take care, and let's hope for Spring to arrive soon -
Gretchen