April was a busy month for me quilting-wise. The first finish was April Flowers – an adorable baby quilt for the Island Batik April challenge. The second was Diamond Showers for the Be a Diamond blog-hop. April flowers was easy and quick. Diamond Showers was not. I’m proud I stuck to it and finished them both.
I used assorted strips of green from my stash. I inherited some of them from my aunt who got them from a consignment store she volunteers at. See story in Storied Dresden. I had cut some of the strips probably 4 years ago to make a scrappy lone star quilt like the one in Burnt Orange. The greens didn’t quite sing together, so that plan was shelved. I brought them out a couple of years later and thought they looked better with whites on both sides rather than bunched together. In addition to greens and whites, I used an orange floral print to give it a more garden/park feel. With the blocks done, piecing the top took just a couple of hours.
Top is done. Quilting to follow. May will be a busy month, so I don’t think I can get to it till early June. Linking to OMG hosted by Patty at Elm Street Quilts. Also linking to UFO busting @ Tish’s
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 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.
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.
First things first: A big thank youto 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 giveawayis 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.