First Finish: Rainy Day Garden

Achieving my goal for January was easy, considering that all that remained for this finish was the binding.

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You can tell from all the creases that it had been folded up for awhile.

This is “Rainy Day Garden,” and it is the reason I began my blog. As my entry for the 2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Radiant Orchid, I finished the top in March of that year. Then, because I wanted custom quilting but didn’t feel it was in the budget to pay someone else, I planned to quilt it myself. Which meant it sat in the closet for a long time while I thought about how I wanted to tackle it. I was getting closer to finalizing my ideas in early 2015, when I assembled the back, but then it got put away because we moved and had a baby. Then last year, my little sister’s boyfriend bought her a long-arm machine, and I decided to give it to her to play with.

While there are a few technical issues with the quilting, I am thrilled with her creativity! She did a leaf/scroll pattern on the grey print fabric below the flowers, and a rain-like line above, with individual designs on each flower that remind me of playing with a spirograph.

Regarding the technical errors–I knew full well that this would be a learning experience for her, and am totally okay with them. She and I are probably the only people who will ever know they are there, AND done is better than perfect! 🙂

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The technique I used to create the flowers is from “Quilters Playtime: Games With Fabric,” by Dianne S. Hire.

This was the first time I’d ever attempted a “modern” design, but as a print-lover I didn’t want to make something that was all solids. I wanted, as much as possible, to use materials and resources that I already owned. The one thing I allowed myself in terms of purchases was a small range of solids that fit in with the Radiant Orchid color of the year. I believe I owned one solid fat quarter that was suitable, and I purchased three others in half-yard cuts. Everything else came from my stash.

Anyone who knows me would agree that the word “rebel” would never come to mind when describing me, but I thought I was being rather subversive in using a Jinny Beyer print (the grey-on-grey) in a modern quilt. The juxtaposition still makes me smile. In addition, a couple of those prints were purchased nearly 15 years before modern quilting became a thing.

While there are certainly exceptions, I like to think that “modern” is the way you use a fabric more than the fabric itself. I know there’s a lot of debate over the definition of modern quilting, (and that there’s a lot more to the discussion than what fabrics you use) but for my own quilting happy-place, that’s where I am. Admittedly, this is in part a financial thing: I cannot afford to discard the bulk of my stash just because it is older than “modern quilting,” no matter how much I love much of what is being labeled modern. That said, I also did not abandon my love of many “contemporary” or “traditional” quilts once I began to explore and enjoy modern quilting. I guess I’m just an equal opportunity quilter.

I’ll step down from my tiny soap box now and show you the back of the quilt:

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Speaking of equal-opportunity, the WIP I am currently focusing on is nowhere near modern! 😀 It’s for one of my grandmothers, and is at least 90% from fabrics that were part of her stash before she downsized. As you can see, she has a distinct love of patriotic-themed fabrics.

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Hope your quilty year is off to a great start. Linking up with TGIFF, hosted this week by Jen at Faith and Fabric. Go check out some of this week’s other finishes!

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2016 wrap-up, 2017 goals

Since my last post I completed two quilts for new humans! Both are from Angela Pingel’s book, “A Quilter’s Mixology.” Not only am I really pleased with the way these quilts turned out, I highly recommend this book. The patterns are really great AND the instructions are clear.

The first is the Nine Patch Curves pattern, for a friend who really likes gender-neutral baby gear. After some thought I landed on red, yellow, orange, and aqua as a color scheme, amongst a low-to-mid-volume grey background. This was based in part on the sock monkey fabric you see below, and in part on the mushroom fabric in the upper right corner of the photo. The same sock monkeys back the quilt of baby’s older brother, so when I stumbled across a re-print, I had to have it. And my friend has a big love for tiny things, so I knew she’d enjoy the wee mushroom houses.

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Considering the “help” I was getting from my “design assistant,” aka toddler, I managed to complete the quilt BEFORE the baby arrived. This might be a first for me.

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I quilted it very simply, outlining the petal shapes twice–once inside and once out. Even though gender-neutral was the goal, I feel it turned out rather pretty. The baby is a girl, but I’m told big brother appropriated the quilt immediately, “until she grows up.” 😀

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There’s that design assistant of mine, helping to get the photo just right!

Quilt number two is also for a girl baby, but her parents are more traditional in their aesthetic, so I went very girly with it. I chose the Medallion Baby Quilt pattern and selected colors to emphasize the flower shape created by the layout.

Regardless of how you may feel about curved piecing, this quilt comes together pretty quickly, as you have only ONE seam to complete for each block.

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I’ve been thinking that it would be cool to make four of these in bolder, grown-up colors, and combine them to create a larger quilt. For, now, I’m super happy with this little beauty even though crappy winter weather here has kept me from delivering it.

To quilt it, I outlined each ring of the medallion, then created three floral templates with copy paper and an old needle, then used my Quilt Pounce to mark them on the fabric surface. I chose hot pink thread. I love the way it looks but it also makes my wobbles stand out. Only one was so bad I had to pick it out and start the motif over, though. 😉

This probably took significantly more time than the piecing, but I’m thrilled with the way it turned out an am confident the family will be, too.

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I wanted to get at least one photo of the colors in natural light. This is post-laundry to get the Quilt Pounce chalk out. You can also see why I’ve yet to deliver the quilt–it’s sitting on about eight inches of snow. That may not be much for some of you, but we are not properly equipped to deal with it here.

Finally, my 2017 quilting goals should probably get a post of their own, but c’est la vie. I need to get them in writing sooner rather than later so that I have that extra bit of motivation to follow through!

  1. My biggest goal is to finish one thing every month. It doesn’t have to be big. It can be an old WIP or a new project or something in between. It doesn’t even have to be a quilt. I just want to bring more of my ideas–old and new–to fruition this year.
  2. Have a quilt included in my guild’s exhibit at the Sister’s Outdoor Quilt Show. I have wanted to attend this show since before I started quilting, and have never made it happen. Now I have an opportunity to have one of my own quilts in the show, which is ridiculously exciting! I just need to meet the deadline!
  3. Try some improv piecing. I took a class from Sherri Lynn Wood a few years ago, and recently some of her advice/guidance has really been resonating with me, so I felt I should re-visit improv. It should be a good break/challenge for me, as over the last few years I have been focusing mostly on precision and accuracy in my piecing.

That’s it for today! I’ve really been enjoying reading all of your quilty goals. Imagine me raising a glass of something carbonated to say: May we all meet all the goals we choose to! (Because life happens.) 😉

Linking up with TGIFF at the Devoted Quilter, where Leanne is showing off her mad quilting skills. I’ve got a long, loooong way to go before I attempt flowers like that! 😀

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