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. :)

Birds in the Air

I thought that I had already blogged about this top, but I was looking through my photos on Flickr, and realized that I had sadly forgotten to.  So here goes!

Birds in the Air

Last year, I asked my bee mates in the Canadian Quilters group to make me this block. The tutorial for Birds of the Air is here. I ended up with 13 blocks, but I needed 24 blocks for the layout that I decided on, so rather than make 11 more blocks, I put it in a box for months and kind of forgot about it.

Birds in the Air

Around Christmas time, I was going through my multiple WIP boxes, and I found them. I made a decision to try and finish off some of my WIPs before I started any more major new projects. This was the first project I decided to tackle. It took me longer than expected to make 11 blocks, (which is probably why it got put in a box in the first place), but it was all definitely worth it when I got the top assembled.

Birds in the Air

For now, it’s moved to the next stage of WIP, which means it is sitting in my pile of unquilted tops. I think there’s only like 8 in that stack. That’s manageable, right? Now that I have my Juki (which needs a post in itself) I can actually start to tackle that stack.

Birds in the Air

In the meantime, I’ll rejoice in the small victories. These blocks are now a completed top. One stage further to actual completion!

Merry Christmas to me! My traveling quilt came home

Back in March, I was invited to join a group of quilters who were starting a Canadian Traveling Quilt group.  I admit that I thought about it for a bit before I said yes, but I am so, so glad that I joined up with them.  Just before Christmas, my traveling quilt came home to me, and it is amazing!

It is awesome!

This quilt started in Lethbridge, and then went off to Ontario and Quebec before going to northern Alberta and then back to Lethbridge. Eight different people, including me, worked on it. And even though I didn’t give any fabrics along or any directions as to what I wanted, it’s still a wonderfully cohesive piece. And now it’s home, where it’s going to stay.

Close up of some amazing embroidery and awesome blocks

Julie did this amazing embroidery down on the bottom. After I had surgery this summer, she emailed me and asked what I wanted (in general terms) and I think, though I can’t remember now cause I was on a lot of painkillers, that I wanted something uplifting. I love the quote she picked. “Smooth seas never made a skillful sailor.”

More blocks, love that little envelope.  And the chevron quilting.

Erica made this adorable little envelope block, very fitting for a quilt that traveled all over Canada. This picture also shows some of Deanna’s quilting, the chevron motif, which looks great on the solid navy.

Cute little hexies along the side.

Laura did the hexagons, which are completely adorable. There’s even a little Heather Ross goldfish in there! And I’m actually not sure who did the wonky herringbone block, but it’s wonderful. Everyone made amazing fabric choices.

The whole thing, looking great in the snow

It was really cold when I went outside to take these pictures, but I did anyway, cause this amazing quilt deserved much better lighting than my indoor fluorescent mess. Those blocks on point on the corners are perfect! And I love how it ended up being a square medallion quilt. I think most of the others ended up rectangular.

In my ash tree, where all my quilts eventually end up.

In the ash tree.

And now it’s officially my quilt. My ash tree said so.

Thank you so much to the other quilters who took part in this journey with me. I’ve only seen a few of the other finished quilts, and I’d love to see more of them. And also, now that I’ve got my new Juki (!) I will be finishing Erica’s quilt asap. It’s all basted and ready to go!

Last Bee Blocks for the year

2014 is coming to a close, and all my bee blocks for the year are done now.  I’m going to mail the last one off today.  I last posted October’s blocks (I think) so these are November and December.

For Canadians Quilt, Dominique requested a sewing machine block, with various colour options.  I picked aqua and red.  M-R (December) went with a seasonal theme and asked for Christmas trees in aqua, grey, and red.

Canadians Quilt Bee blockDecember bee block

For Stash Bee, Sue asked for wonky stars. I know she really likes Heather Ross, and of course I don’t blame her and totally understand why.  So I pulled out some Heather Ross and Munki Munki and got to work.  The block was so much fun that I made her two!

Stash Bee November
Stash Bee November

And finally, for the 4×5 Bee, I made four versions of the same block in the colour scheme of the recipient’s choosing.  I think my favourite one of these is the top right, but I really like how all of them came out.  They have all been received already, and all of my blocks have come in the mail too, but I don’t have a picture of them.  They are gorgeous, so I should take one and post it here.

4x5 Bee Hive 1And, though I considered giving up bees entirely for 2015, I’ve decided to continue in Canadians Quilt for another year, and have also joined a second all Canadian bee.  So here’s to another great year of making blocks for other people, and challenging my design comfort and skill level!