I have been quilting a lot but I can’t post anything!! I’ve been working on my SpriteStitch.com swap gifts. I am doing both the mini and mega swap, so I have two different buddies. The deadline to get everything in the mail is October 31. I am finished making my gifts for the mini and just need to buy some [redacted]. For the mega, I have finished a few of the things and am working on other thing and waiting on other other thing. I can’t wait to get these finished and sent so I can properly talk about them!
There is also a Block of the Month announcement coming down the pike, but I have to wait on that too. That will be coming in a few weeks, right around quilt market.
In the meantime, here is a picture of a quilt that I finished awhile ago. Every summer at the quilt shop we would do a Block of the Week to encourage people to come into the shop (summers are usually dead in AZ; no one wants to go outside when it’s 105+ degrees). I liked this one because you had a row for week 1, then a few blocks, then another row. For the shop sample, each block was a single fabric. They were all desert colors of various browns and tans. I decided to diagonal-rainbow (it’s a verb) the colors. I used mostly-solids that I had in my stash. Each fabric has a different thing to it – the orange looks like crushed velvet, the blue is a Moda Marble, the purple has dots, etc. The background is one of the Moda Grunge fabrics, which are still one of my favorite fabric lines. I just bought 42 fat quarters from that line, so expect to see more of the Grunge.
Hopefully the next update will include the secret projects.
This first quilt was made using Tonga Treat strips. I try to avoid buying precut fabric since I usually end up hanging onto it longer than regular yardage (and it costs more), but these were so bright and yummy, I couldn’t resist.
Quilter’s Market in Tucson hosts a summer quilt camp at the Tanque Verde Guest Ranch. You bring your sewing stuff and spend a weekend sewing and they interrupt us for food and games, but beyond that, it’s a weekend to sew/do whatever you want. I brought these fabrics there since I had been wanting to work on this quilt for awhile. This is also one of their patterns from Stripper’s Club (every other month they give you a free pattern for a quilt using 2.5″ strips). What I love about this pattern is that the squares in the center aren’t actually squares – they’re rectangles. Something about that has always made me like this pattern and quilt. When I posted the finished top on Facebook, one of my students said she really liked it, so it became her high school graduation gift.
This second quilt was a pattern in a magazine. It was also during summer at Bella Quiltworks where I worked. During the summer in Tucson, business always slows down (snowbirds are gone, it’s 110 degrees out), so I had a lot of time to stare at these beautiful fabrics. When I saw the pattern, I finally caved and bought the fabric. Though it has nothing to do with Portal, the cubes always make me think of the Companion Cube, so this became the Companion Cube quilt. When I quilted it (which I wish I had pictures of!), I quilted hearts in the center little square. This was a graduation gift for another student.
When I was in Tucson last month, I brought 10 Shades of Grey home! Swan used her professional setup to take some photographs of it. This is the best one.
Nancy did such an amazing job on the quilting. I was shocked with how intricate it was. She used white and grey threads. The negative space has so many individual shapes quilted into it. It really brings the quilt to life. And, just, wow. That’s really the only way I’ve been able to describe the quilt.
We (Swan and I) will be doing this as a Block of the Month/Quilt Along through my site starting in January. So if you want to make your own, make sure to follow me here or on Facebook for more information.
The quilt is home and on my bed. Here is Blitz (my Seahawks pillow pet) enjoying it.
After I created my first Twister pattern, Jack, I created a Christmas Tree called Merry Twistmas. This quilt was much larger than Jack, at 55″ x 61″. Joelee had it hanging right inside the store when you walked in, which was really cool. This one also was very popular in the shop. You can’t tell on the white, but there are 12 or 13 different white fabrics used, and multiple greens and reds.
For Valentine’s Day, Love at First Twist was released (and I owe major credit to my friend Sam for naming all of these. I tell him the holiday and pattern, and he gives me its name). For the background, there were 4 colors used (they blend together).
This was the waste from cutting out the twisted pieces. I think it looks pretty cool. I cut out the squares and … did something with them.
Lastly, is Patriot’s Pinwheel. For something different, I did this as a table runner. Usually, I avoid the Civil War Reproduction fabrics. I prefer the brighter and less tiny pattern fabrics. The reds and blues were from a Jo Morton line and they were too pretty to pass up.
A close up:
These 3 plus Jack are all available on my Etsy. My ultimate goal is to design one for every month. I have about half of the designs finished and the other half are ideas already. One of my 2015 goal is to release at least 4 more Twister designs so that will be a Q3 project.
Also, I’m toying with the idea of the double twister. I saw this in a book… you make a regular Twister quilt then cut it up again and resew it again. I made a (small) top once and it looks pretty awesome, but I don’t know if that’s ever going to happen again…
I’ve been sharing quilts and projects in process and all sorts of things… I should actually spend some time on what first sparked my desire to start a pattern design business.
When I was working at the quilt shop, we got in the Lil’ Twister ruler by Country Schoolhouse. For this tool, you start with 5″ squares and the blocks finish about 3.5″. I had just received a charm pack so it seemed like a good way to test out the tool and I made this little quilt. It’s about 21″ x 24″ and was really fun to make.
Then, I found out there’s a Twister tool that uses 10″ squares. Which I, of course, needed, and so I made up using some Asian fabrics from the shop. The quilt finished around 50″ x 60″.
I also found the Primitive Pinwheels and Itty Bitty Pinwheel tools by Keepsake Quilting. And since then the Midi Twister has come out… I have them all and love them.
The way that the tool works is that you sew squares together, lay the tool on top of the seams, and then cut out the blocks. You rotate the blocks, resew them, and the pinwheels appear. (So it’s: cut, sew, cut, sew).
I approached the owner of Bellas and asked to run a class using the Twister ruler with the two quilts above as my class samples. Joelee said (nicely) “why would they want to take this class? There needs to be something extra that they can’t get from the books/tool packaging.” I went home and thought and thought about it and finally started sketching in Excel. I created Twisted Jack. He uses the (regular) Twister tool which uses 5″ squares. Both sessions of the class filled up and when we started selling the pattern, it sold out a few times. Some of my students left off the face and turned him into a regular pumpkin, and used more fall colors than my bolder Halloween colors. I even had one person (*cough* Erin) who refused to cut up the squared version of Jack.
I was even able to use the scraps to create mini-Jack. This quilt uses the Itty Bitty Pinwheel tool and is a pain to make and I always swear it will be the last, but it’s always so darn cute. The pumpkin was part of my office Halloween pumpkin decorating contest.
I currently have Twisted Jack and 3 other patterns (to be described in my next post) for sale on my Etsy.
Here are 2 more of my first quilts. This first one is, I’m pretty sure, the first quilt that I ever finished. It was also with my really awful camera so please forgive the quality of the picture. The pattern was given out at Stripper’s Club at Quilter’s Market, Tucson. Every other month they put together a pattern made with 2.5″ strips. You show up for the meeting times, they put on a show (no, not that kind 😉 ), there are giveaways, and you get the pattern for free. I got some really bright blues, pinks, and purples, and made this. The border is a dark purple batik which is gorgeous in real life. I was most proud of how well I was able to get the borders to line up since those were the smallest pieces I think I had ever worked with. For the binding, I rolled the top over to the edges and stitched it down. I had no idea what to do and I giggle when I look at it, but it worked.
This was also during my “I will use the brightest fabric that I can possibly find for the back” phase, so here we go.
This is the second quilt that I finished, for my friend in the Army. The borders are all 6.5″ because that’s as wide as my ruler went and I didn’t know how to measure anything larger than my ruler. This was also my first time doing binding as a separate fabric. It didn’t occur to me that binding would be a single continuous piece that you just turn when you finish a side, so I did 4 separate pieces, like if they were a border. I saw this quilt a few years ago and I giggled at a lot of my “early quilt” mistakes (though I do love it and the owner got a little offended when he thought I was making fun of it).
A few years ago, he got deployed and had to leave the quilt in the States, so I made him pillowcases to take with him.
Back a million years ago (or, 6), I taught high school Geometry. Since quilting is largely Geometric, I did a quilting unit. In December, I spent a week teaching the kids how to hand sew and provided them needles, pins, patterns, and some of my fabric scraps (and sent them out to buy their own). Day 1 was the “how to” and then there were a few days where they got to sew and talk (or, it was finals week, study). They then had until mid-March to make a quilt block. The official instructions were to make a 10″ block but as long as it was a block that stayed together, they got credit. They didn’t have to use my provided patterns and could design their own. They also could take it home and do it by machine.
The pink-backgrounded block in the top left, down 1, over 1 – she designed that herself. I remember her showing me the design and saying, despondently, “My block is 12 inches and I don’t know how to make this 10 inches” and I told her “if you can make that, I will make it fit in the quilt”. It worked out since some of the other corner blocks were larger than 10″.
In the center, there was a running class joke that pandas were purple… not sure how we got there, but that’s why there was a purple panda (and 3 or 4 of them worked on it). I added the dark green to square that up since it was a wonky panda. There’s also the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle on the right, which she designed herself (and executed beautifully).
Looking at this quilt, I can match up about 1/2 of the blocks with which person did it off of the top of my head. The coolest part was when they brought their blocks in, how proud of them they were. It was a great experience. And a few years later, I received a Facebook message from one of the Panda guys saying “I had a button fall off my shirt and I sewed it back on!” and it made me giggle. At least they learned something in Geometry!