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

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:

February Island Batik challenge – Magnificent Minis

This is my first challenge as an Island Batik Ambassador. The February challenge is Magnificent minis. Our challenge was to make a mini quilt smaller than 24″ X 24″. Fabric used in this project was provided by Island Batik and the batting was provided by Hobbs Batting as part of the Island Batik Ambassador program.

I made not one but two minis for this challenge. My first is a design I had stashed in my sketch book for a while. I am always intrigued by equilateral triangles and hexagons and how well they play together. This is a design that starts with several small half-hexagons. Three half-hexagons make an equilateral triangle. Three triangles make a half hexagon, three of which make a triangle again and so on.

The red and oranges for this mini comes from a “Soul Song” strip set I received from Island Batik and a few others from the stash builder rolls.

The problem with joining half-hexagons to make a triangle is the dreaded Y-seams. A short photo tutorial on Y-seams is at the end of this post.

I quilted using read, orange and yellow threads, though the different colors don’t really show after quilting. A dark red binding would have been better but I wanted to save the rest of the reds from Soul Song for my March project. I used a nice purple for the binding instead. The quilt finishes at about 22″ square.

As I was putting the finishing touches on this mini, the other ambassadors started posting their projects for February and they were all just stunning. I go the feeling that this may be inadequate and started another mini.

For my next mini, I used my tutorial for Spiral Nova, scaling everything down so that the finished size is about 20″. The strips are 1.5″ wide, finishing at 1″. When I wrote the tutorial, I didn’t expect to make anything smaller than 40″. After this project, I went back and added a row for this size in the tutorial.

I started with 8 strip sets. Some are repeated. I wanted to try using strips with relatively low contrast. Most of the blues for this came from the stash builder bundles from Island batik.

After making the spiral nova, I added a 2″ border all around to make sure I din’t cut off the points when I trim and bind. I quilted a tight spiral all around – looks almost like concentric circles. Once done, I used a large compass (the kind used by carpenters) to draw a perfect circle about an inch away from the star points. I had to use a bias binding around the circle.

I used the Hobbs Thermore batting for this mini. Thermore is designed for quilted clothing, table runners, placements, etc. that need to lay flat. It is very thin. After quilting, the piece was unbelievably flat – no warping or curving at the edges. I normally like a bit of loft in my quilts but I am definitely going to use Thermore for my wall quilts, bags and table runners in the future. It is very light and sits perfectly flat, but still shows off the quilting as well as any higher loft batting. .


Layout three half-hexagons correctly.

Here’s the Y-seam tutorial as promised:


Join two of them and press the seams open.
Start sewing with the third piece on top. Stop your needle exactly 1/4″ from the edge (mark with a sharpie if needed) and the intersection of the two pieces in the bottom. Turn the piece on top to align the edge of the bottom piece and complete the seam.
Press seam away from the third piece. Pressing this seam open does not work very well. I am no longer afraid of Y-seams but I need to love a block very much to willing sew Y-seams 🙂
The March challenge is Vintage Re-imagined. This is my fabric pull.  Most of it is from the Soul Song strip set. Any guesses on which vintage quilt pattern I may be re-imagining for my March challenge? Leave a comment.

Do not forget to go to this Island Batik blog post and checkout all the Island Batik ambassadors this year. Visit their blogs and see their awesome projects for the February Magnificent mini challenge!

Linking to all my favorite linky parties:
Linky Tuesday @ Freemotion by the river
Midweek Makers @ QuiltFabrication
Needle & Thread Thursday
Finished or not Friday @ Busy Hands Quilts
Can I get a whoop whoop
TGIFF hosted by Whatahootquilts

Mini quilts – new and old

First things first – I was accepted as an Island Batik Ambassador for 2019! I received a whole bunch of goodies from Island Batik that I will blog about next month. There are many projects and activities planned using Island Batik fabric and products from their affiliates. Over the moon and the stars!

Burrowing Out

Recently, Curated Quilts put out a call for mini quilts for their next issue. The theme was curves and the color palette included some greens, teal, burgundy and fuchsia. This was my entry. It was not picked for publication but I’m glad I made this and submitted it. Click on the link above and see the incredibly awesome submissions. I’m not surprised at all that mine was not chosen. The picture above was taken indoors near a large window on a bright morning. The subtle shadows makes it look 3D.

This was my first ever curve piecing project and I decided to go improv! I dug through my stash and found a number of prints by Amy Butler, Alison Glass and Tula Pink that more or less fit the color scheme. Next, I layered two fabrics right sides up and cut a gentle curve free hand with a rotary cutter. With out pinning or glueing, I pieced them with a quarter inch seam – just go slow, stop every inch or so to re-position the fabric and use a short stitch length.

Then I repeated the gentle curves again layering with a white fabric. Picked white and print for alternate columns. I had to re-cut some curves to make it work and to fit within the size limit of 16″ square.

I initially wanted to make a rather complicated curved maze, but given the size limit and the size of my columns, I realized it would have to be very simple. At various points in the print columns, I removed a print fabric and replaced it with a piece of white of the same size and shape. It’s a good thing this is all improv and I didn’t have to match any points. I then pieced the curves and trimmed to 16″ X 16″.

Burrowing Out – Picture taken on a cloudy day outdoors.

I used two layers of wool batting to give it a lot of body. I first quilted along the boundary of the printed area to clearly define the hills (print) and valleys (white). Then, I quilted the white areas heavily to create the difference in texture. After a good bit of quilting, I trimmed again and sewed the binding.

The fuchsia “path” through the maze is a bias binding. I used a quarter inch wide fusible strip (Steam-a-seam) to attach first and them sewed it in using a applique stitch. I call it Burrowing out. When it was all done, it looked like an earthworm burrowing its way in the dirt. I was imagining a great labyrinth that could contain Minotaur but the earthworm won out in the end!

Triangle Reflection

While I am on the topic of mini quilts, I wanted to show a few I made from my pre-blogging days. I made this triangle mini several years – probably 2010 or maybe earlier. The triangles are just appliqued. My son, Vedul, loves this and has it on the wall in his room.

Lightning was made more recently. The yellow bias binding is appliqued to a black fat quarter. I made this to practice FMQ before I started quilting my dad’s quilt – Magic Triangles.

Match the Following

Match was a DREAMi (Drop Eveything And Make It!) from last year. I need to improve upon this pattern and write a tutorial someday …….

Also, this month I will be part of the Black & White Blog Hop organized by Carla of Creatin’ in the Sticks. The Blog hop runs Jan 21st-24th. Please come back to visit. This is a sneak peek of my finished quilt I will be sharing for the blog hop.The Blog hop runs Jan 21st-24th. Please come back to visit. This is a sneak peek of my finished quilt I will be sharing for the blog hop.


Linking to all my favorite Linky parties this week:
Main Crush Monday @ CookingUpQuilts
Linky Tuesday @ Freemotion By The River
Let’s Bee Social @ Sew Fresh Quilts
Midweek Makers @ Quilt Fabrication
Needle & Thread Thursday
Finished or not Friday @ BusyHands Quilts
Whoop Whoop @Confessions of a fabric addict
TGIFF hosted by Kathy’s Kwilts