Diamond Showers

Today is my turn in the Be a Diamond Blog hop hosted by Carol at Just Let Me Quilt. My quilt is called diamond showers. It is my original pattern. It started out as a elaborately planned paper-pieced pattern but turned into imrpov paper-pieced as it progressed.

I am really proud of the pattern and the way I designed it. I will post a design tutorial on how to design your own large-scale paper-pieced patterns.

Dresden plate before chopping off a section on the right. Checkout the huge carpenters’ compass. It lets me draw a circle up to 20″ radius.

The pattern is designed as blades/wedges of a Dresden plate. The diamonds are part of the blades. The blades are 18 degrees – needs 20 to complete a circle. Each blade has 4 or 5 diamonds and no two blades are the same. I randomly picked some diamonds to be the same color as the background. This gives the appearance of diamonds floating or showering down from above. Once the plate was assembled, I did not want the full circle – I chopped off about 5 inches on one side before appliqueing it to the background fabric.

My quilting machine is a 15″ BlockRockIt – which is the same as a Grace Q’nique. 15″ is not much to work with but I find it better than quilting on a domestic.

As you can see, I went completely crazy with the free-motion quilting. I used a ruler to just outline the diamonds – no quilting at all inside the diamonds. The background is heavily quilted using whatever motif came to mind. I quilted this on Sunday in a single session of about 4 hours. I still need to add a hanging sleeve and a binding, but I had to get pictures before the sun went down.

Chain of swirls runs along the length of the quilt.
Some seedpods and feathers. The blue in this picture is heavily distorted.
More feathers and some McTavishing and a funky wheel.
More feathers, a peacock, some pebbles and rocks. An attempt at matchstick quilting.
This photo shows off the texture of the quilting.

The details:
Diamond Showers
Size: 42″ X 56″
Background: Kona cotton Regal
(It is a deep, dark blue-purple. The colors are fairly accurate in the long shots. The color in the close-ups are heavily distorted.)
Diamonds: Alison Glass Sunprints 2018 and 2019
Quilting: freemotion
Thread: Aurifil 50 wt Mako Cotton #2745 (midnight)

Please visit all the other quilters on this awesome blog-hop:

April 22
Needled Mom
Keepsake Moments
Kathy’s Quilts
Kathy’s Kwilts and More
Color, Creating, and Quilting
April 23
Ms P Designs USA
Vroomans Quilts
Marjorie’s Busy Corner
Melva Loves Scraps
Storied Quilts
Words & Stitches
Clever Chameleon Quilting
Songbird Designs
April 24
MooseStashQuilting
Beaquilter
Vicki’s Crafts and Quilting
Creative Blonde 
Selina Quilts
Bumbleberry Stitches
Two Maker Chicks
Quilts By Joanne
April 25
Patchouli Moon Studio
Elizabeth Coughlin Designs
Hill Valley QuilterMageez Room
Websterquilt
High Road Quilter
Seams To Be Sew
April 26
Creatin’ in the Sticks
Cynthia’s Creating Ark
Days Filled With Joy
For The Love Of Geese
Quilt Fabrication
Stitchin At Home
Just Let Me Quilt

Linkups:
Colour Tuesday
Bee Social
Midweek Makers
Wednesday Weight loss
Needle and Thread Thursday
TGIFF
Whoop Whoop Friday
Friday Foto fun
Finished or not Friday

April Flowers

“April Flowers” with a Peggy Martin rose bush.

April flowers is my baby quilt project for April Island Batik Ambassador challenge. The challenge was to make a square baby quilt using the AccuQuilt Go. The fabric for this quilt was provided by Island Batik and the batting by Hobbs Batting. As part of the Island Batik Ambassador program, we also received an AccuQuilt Ready Set Go cutter and dies.

A cutting system for fabric was not something I was considering at this time. As soon as I got this though, I pulled out a pile of medium-sized blue scraps and cut them into 2.5″ strips. It was like magic – my odd sized scraps were instantly transformed into a jelly roll worth of strips. These strips are part of a project-in-progress but that is for another blog post.

For this project, I decided to make a block from the book that accompanied the Accuquilt system. It is by Eleanor Burns and has patterns for several classic 8″ blocks along with instructions on which die to use and how big to cut the strips, etc. I picked the flower basket block – a classic block that I’ve never made before because is has numerous and small half-square triangles. With AccuQuilt, the HSTs were a breeze. I cut a zillion 2.5″ HSTs, 2.5″ squares and 4.5″ HSTs in 20 minutes. It took me longer to gather and clip the pieces for a block. Using AccuQuilt for projects with several identical pieces is a great time-saver. Next time, I will place the pieces that make a HST – the pinks and the background in this project – right sides together before on the die. They go through the cutter together and I can just pick them up and sew. No extra time for matching the pieces.

I used several bright pinks for the flowers, greens for the basket and the Island Batik solid white for the background. The solid white is the same high-thread count batik fabric but it is just white. I used a bleached Hobb’s 80/20 cotton batting that came in my box. The bleached batting retained the bright white of the background.

I quilted an all-over daisy meander in the white space.
Some baskets got straight lines
Some baskets got wavy lines.

I know a lot of you in the northern parts of the Northern hemisphere have had severe weather this past week and even snow storms in April. Here in Houston, TX, we’ve had several weeks of spring already. It was an unusually mild winter with just a few hours of below freezing temperatures. This is very unusual even for Houston. My eggplants and peppers from last year did not die out and have already started blooming and bearing fruit. My Peggy Martin roses, amaryllis and impatiens are blooming. Peaches are done blooming and have tiny fruits. Orange blossoms and baby lemons aplenty on the citrus trees. Enjoying the lovely spring weather and the flowers and their fragrance but dreading the summer heat just around the corner.

Linkups:
Color Inspiration
Let’s Bee Social
Midweek Makers
Wednesday Weight loss
Needle & Thread Thursday
Finished or not Friday
TGIFF
Whoop Whoop Friday
Friday Foto Fun
Freemotion Mavericks

Q2 2019 Finish-a-long

I’m finally throwing my hat into the finish-a-along wagon. Finish-a-long (FAL) is a link up hosted by a community of quilt bloggers where a quilter makes a list of projects that she/he plans to finish that quarter and links up the list on one of the FAL hosts’ linky party.

1. Baby quilt for the April Island Batik challenge. Top is almost done. Needs to be quilted and bound.
2. Be a Diamond blog hop quilt. Construction is in progress. I hope to be done by April 21st! If I can’t get it quilted, I will blog with just the top. I will follow this up with a design process tutorial/post in May. I designed using a combination of EQ8, hand drawn templates and a programming language called Processing. Alison Glass SunPrints 2018 and 2019 on Kona Regal.
3. Complete the Summer in the Park quilt top. May be able to quilt in June? This is a 2+ year UFO.
4. Island Batik May challenge should be a modern quilt. I am planning to do a light, medium, dark 3D illusion quilt and try some heavy quilting.
5. This is currently hanging over the stairs near the kitchen. The pattern is 54-40 or fight. I made this maybe 3 or 4 years ago – before FMQ. I want to take it down and give it some more FMQ to enhance the curve illusion.
6. The Island Batik challenge for June is try a new technique. I’m planning to make two Cathedral window cushion covers using this YouTube tutorial from Missouri Star Quilts:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akKU0zg-qaw . I’ve never made the faux curve before. It will be a new pattern and a new technique for me. The cushions will go on our living room sofa.
7. Quilt the Bali sunrise. Not sure if I will even get this far in the list…
8. Finish the top for the Modern Plus Sign QAL. I worked on this quite a bit last month and I think I can wrap it up in just a couple of days but ……

Finish-A-Long hosts:

The Manhattan Quilt

First things first: A big thank you to everyone who celebrated my 2-year anniversary with me last week – you visited my blog, left a lovely comment and started following my blog. The winner of my blog-anniversary giveaway is Barbara W. Congratulations, Barbara. I will mail you the parcel this week.

For Throwback Thursday hosted by Andree at Quilting & Learning – What a Combo! , I want to show the Manhattan quilt. I made this quilt for my friend, Indu, who lives in New York and thinks that the Big Apple is the only city worth living in :-). Every time I visit NYC (my favorite city, btw), she takes us around to the most interesting places, hole-in-the-wall joints as well as Michelin star restaurants with unbelievably awesome food, interesting places of Hollywood fame or notoriety, and everything in between.

This quilt was also a turning point in my quilting career. This was probably the second quilt that I did free motion quilting on my domestic machine. I went all out with a Manhattan skyline, a bridge, and countless feathers and swirls. Just loved the creative process of FMQ and decided to splurge on a long-arm at the International Quilt festival in Houston. My next major quilt after this, the Magic Triangles for my dad, was quilted on a long arm. Similar designs but different machine. Since then FMQ has been a big part of all my work.

I used the cool colors from a FQ bundle of Blueberry Park by Karen Lewis for Robert Kaufmann, Kona White background and a blue and white striped binding. Since I quilted this on a domestic, I quilted them in sections – the center diagonal and the two corner triangles – and put them together with a white sashing in the front and the striped fabric in the back. It makes the back interesting as well. The two fabrics in the back are both from Joann’s. One is a blue world map fabric and the other has the constellations. The pictures were taken in Bar Harbor, Maine, where our families met for a week-long vacation that summer.

April One Monthly Goal (OMG): For the record, my March OMG was to finish the Modern Plus sampler quilt top. I could not finish it. I made good progress but my Bali Sunrise took up so much time, I could not finish my OMG. For April, I want to finish piecing this quilt top. I found the blocks stashed in a shoe box when I was “cleaning” my sewing room. This is probably from 2 or 3 years ago. The pattern is Summer in the Park from a Missouri Star Quilt video. I used a number of green strips and a gold/orange floral print on a white background. This is a really cool pattern that goes together quite fast. I can’t remember why it remains a UFO. My goal for April is to at least piece the top.

Like magic! 15 flower basket blocks, 20 pieces per block, one AccuQuilt Go! and three different dies – ready in 30 minutes! This is for my April Island Batik Ambassador challenge.
I will be part of the Be A Diamond blog hop hosted by Carol of Just Let Me Quilt. I have designed a new pattern and the fabric. Hoping to start construction this weekend.

Link-ups:
One monthly Goal
Throwback Thursdays
Let’s Bee Social
Midweek Makers
Wednesday Weight loss
Needle and Thread Thursday
TGIFF at Slice of Pi
Whoop Whoop Friday
Friday Foto fun
Finished or not Friday
Freemotion Mavericks

Petunia House, Bar Harbor, Maine.