Cathedral Windows

A few years ago, well, more than a few, my sister asked me to make her a cathedral windows quilt. I was a young, naive quilter, and I thought, how hard can it be? Turns out that it’s not really hard, just really boring and monotonous. But, I got it done! It took like 200 hours of sewing, which is a crazy insane amount. A typical queen size quilt will take me 40-50 hours.

Cathedral Windows

I started by making individual panels. I did lots of math and figured how many squares I’d need across and how many down, and then made the panels in sizes that would fit together to make the completed size that I wanted.

Cathedral Windows

Thing 3 wanted to get in on all the action, and she helped me lay out the coloured windows after I had sewn the background together.

Cathedral Windows

This quilt does not go together like a traditional quilt. There is no batting or backing and once the top is assembled, it’s totally (finally!) done. You press and fold the white background like origami. This means that there is a lot of background used. This quilt, which finished about 60″x80″ used 17 yards of white.

Cathedral Windows

I stitched it on my Juki. Toward the end, I could only work for about an hour at a time. My wrist got extremely sore from the repetitive motion my fingers used to flip the window edges over to stitch them down. And the weight of the quilt, easily as heavy as 3 finished quilts, added to the considerable strain on my shoulders.

Cathedral Windows

But I perservered! I admit, toward the end, I kept going because I didn’t want a 3/4 finished cathedral windows on my conscience. I wanted to work on something else, guilt-free. I love, looooovvvee the quilt now that it’s done, but I am never, ever, ever, ever making another one. Never!

Cathedral Windows The back is gorgeous too, with these orange peel shapes that occur when you stitch the windows down. So pretty. Cathedral Windows

My sister chose the fabrics used in the windows. They are an assortment of various 30s reproductions. They really fit the style of the quilt, I think. She made a very good choice. I would have not chosen the brown myself, but it really makes the finished quilt have more movement.

Cathedral Windows

Again, I’m glad it’s done. Never again. My sister loves it too, which makes me happy, of course. I can cross this off my someday list, and add it to the list of things that I conquered.

Tea Room Table Topper

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I wrote a tutorial for Sew Sisters and today is the day it is up on their site! They contacted me several months ago about writing one, and they sent me a group of 5 FQs to make a project. I made a table topper which can be made completely with 5 FQ (binding and backing included)! The colours (Creamsicle, Watermelon, Grellow, and Limelight) are from their Kona Club Challenge bundles, and the neutral, Kona Bone, was added.

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There is a giveaway being hosted by Sew Sisters on their blog. You could win the 4 colours I used, Creamsicle, Watermelon, Grellow, and Limelight! Go to their site to read my tutorial and enter the giveaway! Tea Room Table Topper by Shena Boes.

Urban Nine Patch

This quilt, Urban Nine Patch, was finished in April.  I had a deadline for this quilt, because it was my choice of quilt to hang in the Invitational Show at Quilt Canada 2015, which was hosted by my local traditional guild in Lethbridge at the beginning of June.  It was very, very busy heading up to the show, and I intended to blog about it after it had hung there, but then life stayed busy, with school wrapping up for the year, followed by a 2 week trip to BC to visit family, after which my church had their VBS, which I am heavily involved with, and now I am in the midst of summer swimming lessons.  Since life doesn’t seem to get less busy, I figured I just need to prioritize my blog more and make time for it even when it seems like I can’t.

Urban Nine PatchI began this quilt a long time ago, way back when the Quick Curve Ruler first came out.  In fact, I started this when the pattern was still free and listed on Jenny Pedigo’s site, Sew Kind of Wonderful.  It’s not free anymore, but it’s a really good pattern and definitely worth  buying.  I worked on it a few blocks at a time, pulling it out every few months and then packing it up again.  Deciding that this was my quilt for the Invitational Show motivated me to finally finish it. Urban Nine Patch

I had this quilt professionally long-armed by Andrea Harris, who blogs at Urban Quiltworks.  She lives in Calgary so I dropped it off there when I visited my brother once, and then she mailed it back to me when it was done.  She did an amazing job!  I was so thrilled when I opened up the package.  It was exactly what I hoped it would be.

Urban Nine PatchMy friend Chelsie took this photo for me at Quilt Canada, where it was hanging. My volunteer shift was white gloving and I was stationed right in the area where it hung, so I got to hear lots of comments on it from the visitors to the show. They were all positive, thankfully.:) One thing specifically that I noticed was how many of the male guests particularly liked it. Whether they were husbands of quilters, or quilters themselves, or just men who appreciated fine art, they would pause there longer than their female counterpoints and stand and look at it. One husband actually called his wife back from a hew quilts ahead to ask her to come back and take a picture of it.  I never thought before about how my work appeals to different genders, but it was definitely interesting to see.

Urban Nine Patch at Quilt Canada 2015

The colours are the truest in the first picture I posted, the one taken in full sun, so I put that one here again. I love how the different greens that I chose affected the other colours in the blocks.  The blues and reds are the two that I see the most variation in, even though I used the same reds and the same blues.  Colour is so fascinating, don’t you think?

Urban Nine Patch

Triangles

I love the humble half-square triangle.  It is deceptively simple but offers amazing complexity in the nearly limitless number of different blocks you can make with it.  I love the rigidity of the angles, but at the same time, the amazing beauty of the angles.  I think secretly, or maybe not so secretly, there is a girl who loves math behind the girl who loves quilting.

Triangles

In this quilt, I embraced the humble triangle. The smaller HSTs in this quilt finish at 2″ and the larger ones finish at 6″. There are many, many triangles in this quilt. 768 small ones and 48 big ones. That was a lot of seams to line up!

Triangles

I have no official name for this quilt yet. Sometimes it makes me thing of the mountains that I miss now that I no longer live in BC. Sometimes it reminds me of all the geese I see flying south in the fall. Sometimes it just makes me thing of how much I love triangles.

Triangles

Maybe I should just call it ‘I Love Triangles’. There is something beautiful and freeing in the simplicity of that statement.

Triangles

Whatever it’s called, it’s together and it’s beautiful. It’s simple and it’s complex. It’s busy and it’s peaceful. My beautiful, paradoxical quilt.

Celtic Solstice

I know I mentioned in the last post that I had taken pictures and had lots of blog fodder.  But I guess I forgot how I actually need to sit down and write a post that will use said pictures, or they kind of just linger in my Flickr account and don’t do anyone any good.  So, without further ado, here is Celtic Solstice!

Celtic Solstice

I started this quilt in November 2013. It was Bonnie Hunter’s mystery for that year. When she said it was going to use the Tri-Recs tool, I made the decision to make it. I knew it would more than likely involve many tiny tiny pieces, as Bonnie’s quilts generally tend to. I changed up the colour scheme a little, and used grey where she used yellow, and made the blue into more of a teal/turquoise.

Celtic Solstice - first 2 blocks done!

I had to search way back in my Flickr feed to find these next two pictures. I made all the units as the mystery went along, but then I got stalled in the process of actually assembling the blocks. The two blocks above I made when the mystery was revealed. They were lonely for a very long time.:)

Celtic Solstice - almost halfway!

There are two blocks that make up this quilt, and they have 62 and 35 pieces in them, and I made 28 and 27 of those blocks, respectively. So there are 2, 708 pieces in the top, before I added the borders. I have to admit, that’s more than I expected.

Celtic Solstice

My family helped me take pictures. Most of the time, it was much appreciated.

Celtic Solstice

Some of the time, not so much. Thing 2 took a break from riding his bike around the block to help out. So sweet of him.

Celtic Solstice

This is the best picture that I have of the top. It is quite large and was hard to get the whole thing in the frame. The colours really pop in this shot, which I really like. The border is not Bonnie’s original border, but one that I adapted from a Celtic Solstice that someone else had finished. I don’t remember who it was, but if you have seen it before, please let me know so I can give them credit.

I’m glad I made this quilt. I’m also glad I don’t have to make another one.:)

Lucky

Life in Southern Alberta is often windy.  I don’t usually mind the wind, granted I’ve remembered to put my hair in a ponytail that day, but it does make it difficult to take nice quilt photos.  Today however, there is virtually no wind and the sun is out.  And my husband is home to hold up quilts for me.  A perfect combination!  So we went outside and took pictures of three tops and two completed quilts.  So I have some blog fodder now!  I’ll start with the oldest completed quilt that I haven’t blogged about yet.  Presenting Lucky!

Lucky

Last year in May, I went to a sew day where everyone used the same fabric to make the same quilt. Now ordinarily that might be boring, but when the fabric is Scrumptious by Bonnie and Camille, it’s just so pretty that you don’t care that you’re actually following a pattern for the first time in 6 years.

Lucky

This is a new corner of my yard that I’m trying out for pictures. It was a fenced off dog area for a long time, but now it’s been converted to grass. It’s full sun, which really makes the colours shine. All the quilts I shot looked amazing in the full sun in this corner.

Lucky

I pieced the back using fat quarters from other Bonnie and Camille collections, and I also used up some test blocks that I had made awhile back. The blue triangle on the bottom corner is the label.

Lucky

This is how photo shoots go around here. Working around children who are intentionally photobombing everything.

Lucky

This is the first large quilt that I quilted on my new Juki machine. It’s fairly large. roughly 60×80 I think, and the size was not as issue for the machine at all. The stitches are lovely and the tension was not a problem. And with a better machine, I’ve realized that I’m better at free motion quilting than I thought I was, which is a nice thing to discover.

Lucky
Lucky

Lucky has been residing on the couch in my living room since it was done. It is so wonderfully snuggly.  And I can tell from my green grass and the tiny buds on the tree that Spring is nearly here.  The quilt isn’t the only lucky thing around.

Tutorial – Framed Wonky Crosses

March is my month to be queen in one of my bees.  I wasn’t sure what I wanted until about 2 days ago, when I remembered how much I liked a block that I had made for one of the travelling quilts that I worked on last year.  It’s a little improv, which is not normally my thing, as I usually tend to go for traditional blocks in modern colours.  But it’s good to break out of the mold every now and then, right?

Travelling Quilts

This is Gina’s quilt, and you can see along the top the blocks I’m talking about. They are the wonky crosses framed with solids/shot cottons. I’ll give a brief tutorial of how I made them, but because they are improv, feel free to put your own spin on them.

Framed Wonky Crosses

I started with a larger piece of fabric. This one is rectangular, but it could be square, whatever you like. This piece I think is 6.5″x7.5″, but you could go smaller or bigger, whatever you want. You will also need a strip. I used anywhere from 1″ to 1.5″ wide. Much narrower than 1″ the seam allowances get bulkier and that was why I didn’t go smaller. I personally like the look of narrower crosses which is why my largest strip was 1.5″.

Framed Wonky Crosses

Slice the larger fabric in half. The angle doesn’t matter. The only things I paid attention to were making sure that the cut didn’t go to close to a corner, because inserting the strip too close to the corner makes more bulkier seams later on, and also that I cut across two edges that were parallel to each other. I pressed my seams toward the strip because they seemed to want to go that way. If you prefer to press open, that is totally fine.

Framed Wonky Crosses

After the first strip is in, cut the block apart across the other parallel edges and insert a second strip. You can see in this cut that I am closer to the bottom right corner, but it’s not too close that it will affect the seams later when I add the border strips.

Framed Wonky Crosses

Square up your block. It doesn’t have to be a nice round number. I think this one may have been something odd like 6 3/8″x 7 1/4″ or something. As long as the edges are square, the size doesn’t really matter.

Framed Wonky Crosses

Frame the block in solids. Or shot cottons, or fabrics that read as solid if you have no solids. I tended to choose a mix of solids and shot cottons. The width of the strips does not have to be the same on all the sides. You can see that here I used the same width for the blue solid, but the purple shot cotton has 2 different widths. I used strips between 2″ and 4.5″.

Framed Wonky Crosses

Here are some other examples I made. The order that you sew the border strips on does not matter. You can see that in each of these examples, I sewed the strips on in different orders. I chose to use two colours for each border, but you can use 1 if you’d rather.  You can also see that the blocks are all different sizes and shapes and that is also fine.

I hope you have fun making these blocks!  If you have any questions, please ask.:)