Tonight: A2MQG Show & Sale

>> Thursday, November 15, 2012

For anyone in SE Michigan, NW Ohio, or the Windsor, ON area: the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild Show & Sale is tonight at the Corner Brewery. Join us! In addition to quilts, there will be additional handmade items -- great for holiday, birthday, wedding, graduation, just-because gifts...

More on the quilt above soon!


Scattered Color Pop (Mini Tutorial Included)

>> Tuesday, November 13, 2012

There's nothing like a quilt show & sale to make quilt tops jump off the shelf and get themselves backed, quilted, and bound. I might have played a little role in this process, but the importance of deadlines in my life cannot be overstated. I made this quilt top last winter, after which I dallied finishing it. Most of my sewing projects arise with a recipient in mind, whereas this one started with an idea and no recipient, which is where the no deadline issue arose. But finished it is. And love it I do.

A few people asked me about size, fabric requirements, and the like so I'm going to provide a mini-pattern-tutorial. As half-square triangles represent the entirety of the block-making, and the layout is random, I'm really only providing some numbers and measurements. This particular version finishes at about 54" x 58.5" (12 rows, 13 columns), but it's super easy to upsize or downsize: make more (or fewer) blocks. In other words, figure out the dimensions (rows/columns), multiply, and the product = necessary HST blocks.

1 charm pack (42 5" squares)
25" of 3 coordinating solids, cross-cut in 5" WOF strips

Cut 5" strips into 38 5" squares (if you cut all the strips, you'll have 40 squares of each solid. You could use 40 each of 2 solids and 34 of another, thus only requiring 4.5 5" strips on one color (if, say, you have solid scraps and not quite 25" of one). I think I used 42 5" squares of the off-white and khaki, and 30 of the gold, but I can't recall and I'm too lazy to count HSTs in the quilt itself. The point is: this is a versatile, flexible design. Use what you have!

Divvy up each group of squares into thirds. You should have 12 piles. As 38 does not divide evenly into 3, the groups won't be the same size. Then pair up the piles as follows (substituting whatever colors you're using): (1) charms/off-white, (2) charms/khaki, (3) charms/gold, (4) off-white/khaki, (5) off-white/gold, and (6) gold/khaki. Make sure each pile consists of full pairs. The piles with the charms should have 14 charm/solid pairs, while the solid-solid piles will vary depending on how you divided 38.

Sew squares into half-square triangles, using your preferred method. I draw a diagonal line down the center, stitch a scant 1/4" on both sides, cut on the line, and voila, 2 HSTs ready to be pressed. Trim your blocks. With 5" starting squares, I usually trim down to 4 5/8" but you might be able to eek out 4.75" or prefer to play it safe with 4.5".

Lay it out -- I start by grabbing squares randomly and then rearranging to get a reasonable distribution of color. In the end, it is not random in the mathematical sense, but visually it feels random. Sew it up. Take a break, have a drink, eat a treat, and admire your lovely quilt top.

Since this quilt is now finished, it has a back too. I pretty much adore this quilt back. It's got bright colors, birds in cages, ugly ducklings, and a slight little angle that I'll pretend was completely intentional. Totally planned. Because that's how I do it. I pulled stash prints that coordinated with the charm pack (It's a Hoot), at which point I realized it needed a red binding.

So I made one. Bright red Riley Blake circles. Works with the front and the back.

Perhaps you'd like to see this quilt in person and possibly even buy it for yourself or a loved one? If you're in SE Michigan or NW Ohio or South-Central (???) Canada (what's the Windsor, ON region called?), it will be at the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild Show & Sale this Thursday (November 15) at the Corner Brewery in Ypsi, 5-9 pm. You should come. If I don't know you, I'd love to meet you. And if it doesn't sell at the show, it might make its way to a little pop-up quilt, challah cover, and clutch sale here on the blog, in the near-ish future.


Triangulate: Complete

>> Monday, November 5, 2012

I took pictures of this quilt over a month ago, when my backyard had only a sprinkling of leaves on it. There are many silly reasons I didn't post this quilt until now--and one serious one. It turns out that transferring pictures from the camera to the computer is somewhat essential to the blogging process, and not misplacing the cord that connects said technological devices is, well, somewhat imperative. But the cord has been located, the pictures moved, and the blog (is being) updated. This process has also revealed to me that these pictures are not, shall we say, the most amazing. I think I need some new photography angles and venues, and a human helper wouldn't hurt. But for now, they will suffice.

Way back when (in March), I asked the members of do.Good Stitches: Empower to make some triangle-in-triangle blocks. I had a vague notion in my head that they would be cool, and wrote up one way to make the blocks. But I had no real plan beyond that. After fussing with a number of possible layouts on my brother's living room floor, I built the quilt around triangles and lots of Kona charcoal. And then paused while I lived sans sewing machine and pondered the quilting options.

Echoing triangles -- a term I just made up -- won the quilt pondering (who knew it was a contest?). I wanted simple and non-distracting. If I were a fancy quilter, which I am certainly not, or owned a long-arm, which I definitely do not, I could imagine filling the charcoal with awesomely intricate quilting and doing something else I haven't really figured out in the triangles. But absent radical, magical changes in my life, neither of those things were happening. And since I hope this quilt will be well-used by whomever Alternatives for Girls gives it to, I wanted it to remain soft, which minimal quilting helps achieve. To bind it, I used a mixture of Terrain prints in orange and pink.

This is my second-to-last quilt for do.Good Stitches, at least for now. In September, the lovely Empower ladies made fantastic neutral log cabin blocks that I'll be putting together...soonish. I've truly enjoyed getting to know the other crafty women in my group, and love the concept of do.Good Stitches -- working with a group of people to make quilts and donating them. Last year, as I was traveling to archives for dissertation research, this project was one of several things that kept me grounded and provided a certain amount of regularity in a peripatetic (I just love that word!) life. But this year, as I'm sitting down to write, I've found that feeling grounded requires fewer obligations and more flexibility. As a result, after some hard thinking and internal debating, I decided that it was time to let dGS go. I have one more quilt to wrap up, and I look forward to seeing all the incredible quilts the group continues to make, but for now, watching from the sidelines is where I need to be. 


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