WIP – Medallion Quilt

A couple weeks ago, I came home from vacation to find a book I’d put on hold at the library was waiting for me:  A Quilter’s Mixology by Angela Pingel.  It’s gotten great reviews and I was excited that my small local library had a copy.

I’ve been wanting to try curved piecing and as a “modern traditionalist”, I was eager to see what Angela could do with just one block:  Drunkard’s Path.  I was not disappointed.  There are 16 projects in this book and I counted at least 4 that I wanted to do right away.  I will definitely be buying my own copy of this book.

I’m starting with the Medallion Baby Quilt.  The thing that caught my eye right away was the fabric Angela choose:  Katie Jump Rope, one of my all time favorite lines.  I have only scraps of it left and I’m hoarding it, ha!  But I also love the simplicity and symmetry of the quilt and decided to make it first.

I photo copied the templates (included full size!) and glued them to cardboard ripped off the back of last year’s school notebooks.  I pulled out some bird fabrics that had been languishing in my stash and found coordinating prints.

It took about an hour to cut out the fabric.  One thing I noticed is that the book is very generous when it states how much fabric is needed.  For example, on this Medallion quilt, it says you need a yard of the fabric for the middle rings.  I only needed about 22″, or a little less than 2/3 of a yard.  Not a big deal, but it’s helpful to know if you are trying to use what you have and you don’t have a full yard.

I spent about 3? hours piecing.  I tried to keep track, but was interrupted several times by my darling squabbling children.  This was one of the first times I’ve done curved piecing for a quilt.  I’ve done some while sewing clothes, so it wasn’t totally new to me.  I’ve heard there are many ways to sew curves like these, and the way I found works best for me is a 2-pin method.

I fold each piece to find the center of the curve and pin.  Then I match up and pin the tail end of the curve.  I pinch together the two pieces at the top of the curve, with the L shaped piece on top and slide them under my scant  1/4″ foot.  I sew a few stitches, the ease the two curves together, using my fingers to hold them in place and sew to the center pin in one smooth motion.  The I do the same for the bottom half, using an awl to guide the last bit of the fabric under the foot it doesn’t slide away.

Then I put all the blocks into rows and the rows together into a quilt top.

I’m not planning to quilt this right away.  I’m going to be taking a class on free-motion quilting next month and want to practice before I tackle this project.  So I’ve pulled fabric for another quilt from the book, the Nine Patch Curves.

I can’t wait to see how this one turns out!








Whirligigs — The Michael Miller Challenge

I finished it!  It was a challenge…a real challenge, but I did it!

This is my entry for the Michael Miller Fabric Challenge with the Modern Quilt Guild.  I’m calling it ‘Whirligigs’ and it is the first modern quilt I’ve designed and finished!

The line of fabric from Michael Miller is called Pinwheels, and that name reminded me of the yard decorations that twirl around when the when blows.  Some are shaped like windmills and some are of people and the legs spin in the breeze.  So I wanted to do something that showed that sense of motion and also using traditional blocks in a modern setting.  From making my twin car seat quilts, I knew I could use the same block to mimic spinning blades.

Cutting into the fabric was a little nerve racking, but I measured carefully and went to work.

First there were three…

then five…

and then finally eleven…five pairs of two and one that was not exactly like the others…


I auditioned about a dozen layouts, most of which I did not take a picture of and even the ones I did, I won’t bore you with the unchosen options.  In the end, I picked a layout and started adding the gray background.  The background fabric is Kona Steel.

Finally, the top was done!

The next big challenge was the quilting.  I wanted to do something really amazing, something full of swirls and swooshes…but I was running out of time and even more critically, I simply don’t have good free motion quilting skills yet.  I’m working on it, and I’m going to be taking a class next month, but for this, I needed to stick to what I could do well.

I cut a strip of swedish tracing pattern and scribed a wavy line using a quilting ruler that I had in the back of the rack.  I pinned the template to the quilt and carefully stitched along it across the middle of the quilt.  Then I used the arm thingie that attaches to the presser foot to quilt lines in dark gray thread about 2 1/2 inches apart from the middle to the bottom of the quilt.  I flipped the template around to make a mirror image and did the the middle to the top.

But the gray wasn’t dramatic enough.  I grabbed some brighter colors from my thread bins and did lines in between the gray lines and that made all the difference.  The quilt looked happy.

The lines aren’t as nice as I wanted them to be.  But I was coming up on the deadline and I was determined to finish before the last day!!

It took a few hours on the last afternoon to sew down the binding by hand and them the final hurdle:  taking a good picture.

The weather here had been sunny for days…perfect picture taking weather…until the day I finished.  Then it rained.  So we set up some lights in the living room and my daughter helped take some lovely pictures.  I do still want to take a couple more outside sometime…

It was done at last!  I posted it on the Modern Quilt Guild forum and went to bed!

Finishing this quilt has given me a real sense of accomplishment.  I know I did a good job, even though I won’t be a finalist or winner.  I’m very much looking forward to the next MQG challenge!












A Wall Quilt in Turquoise & Brown

I didn’t realize how much turquoise fabric I had in my stash until I started this project.  A young couple in our church were getting married and I wanted to make them something, but not a full size quilt.  I didn’t have time for that!  But I’d had my eye on a wall hanging from the book “Skinny Quilts” by Kim Schaefer, and I thought it would be perfect for this young couple.  The quilt is called Fiesta.

After looking up their online registry to find out the colors they were planning to use in their new home, I started pulling fabric.  The fabric pull came together very quickly…I had more turquoise that I’d known.  I was surprised, because I don’t really like turquoise or teal when it comes to what I wear…but apparently fabric is a different thing!

This was the initial fabric pull, but I ended up adding several more prints along the way.

The blocks are simple rectangles with frames, some have just one frame, others have two.  I used a different layout than the book, I made my version a little smaller and even did a couple blocks with scrappy, pieced centers.

For the quilting, I did wavy lines up and down the length of the wall hanging…I was trying to give the impression of rain drops running down a window.  I don’t know if that’s what someone would think, but I do like how the quilting turned out.

Overall, this was a fun and quick project that I would love to do again in a different set of colors.  I’ve got a blank wall in our entry way that needs a wall hanging like this.  Maybe in greens and cream/tan…or dark red and browns…or maybe bright colors to enliven the space…