Round Robin Reveal

 Beautiful quilt blocks by Elsa, Wendy, Cher, Ellen, Andrea & Brittany.

This is a week that I have been looking forward to for a long time! Last March the Portland Modern Quilt Guild mini-group that I belong to started a round robin. Each of us came up with our own theme and created a starting block. Along with our blocks we included a notebook to discuss our themes, and as each person added to the quilt they wrote notes about what they created and how they were inspired. Beyond the suggestion to look at the quilt and see what it needed next, there were no rules for how to add to the quilt. Quilts were randomly switched every other month, which meant that we got to add to six different quilts, and six different friends added to ours! Speaking of six, despite moving over 600 miles away halfway through the year, I got to keep up with my group and we mailed the quilt tops back and forth.

The Big Reveal!

 This month's timing turned out so that I got to be in town for the big reveal! What an exciting night it was! The image above is my finished quilt. Am I lucky or what? It brought tears to my eyes! I'm just so thoroughly tickled by the whole process and what my friends made that I was moved to write about it. Below, you'll find details about everyone's contributions. 

The starting block

I saw this pattern, "Turkey in the Straw" a couple years ago and was immediately drawn to it. I had been wanting to make it for something, so the start of a round robin seemed like the perfect project! I found references to the pattern from 1933 and 1937. It was either named by or created by a woman named Nancy Cabot. Another name for it is "Swing in the Center". One of the things I love about the block is that it was inspired by square dancing, specifically to the song, "Turkey in the Straw" which is sung to the tune of another old song, "Do your ears hang low". Four dancing couples are represented by the white and blue bars, and arrows point the gents to swing their ladies to the center.

I shared in my notebook how this block inspired me, specifically in regard to dance, music and rhythm. I love how a pattern in fabric can make my mind travel so many places! I also included some extra fabric that I encouraged my friends to use (or not) to their heart's content. 

Andrea's addition

Andrea chose "Boy's Nonsense", a variation on my original block. I love the fabric she used for it. The flowers are a Liberty of London print that I have had for a number of years, and the blue and white fabric I found more recently. It was one of those in the store that I just loved, but didn't have a plan for. I love her placement of them, and how perfectly they parallel the left and right edges of the "Turkey in the Straw" block.

Elsa's addition

Elsa made these cheery "Scrappy Star" blocks picking up with Andrea's fabric choices and adding this lovely yellow wood grain. I love how she matched the grain with the direction of the stars, so their points really stand out!

Ellen's addition

Ellen decided on the placement for Elsa's blocks which was a nice balance for the placement of Andrea's blocks. She noticed that there were a lot of diagonals throughout the blocks, so she had the great idea of finding a block to "ground" the diagonal lines. Her block is called "Checkered Folds" by Yvonne Malone. In her stash, she had this lovely dandelion fabric that matches so beautifully with the original blue in my block. She included extra fabric for me, which I will definitely be able to use!

Wendy's addition part one

Wendy added a whole song to the quilt! It's a round of the song"Shoo Fly", which she explained is a personal favorite. When one of her daughters was in preschool she learned the tune and sang it for about nine months! 

Wendy sang it for me;

Shoo, fly, don't bother me.

Shoo, fly, don't bother me.

Shoo, fly, don't bother me.

For I belong to somebody.

I feel, I feel, I feel like a morning star.

I feel, I feel, I feel like a morning star.

She told a hilarious story of working on her addition to the quilt. She had just had surgery and was on pain medication in bed and had the brilliant idea to make all of these intricate notes. When her medication would start to wear off, she would wonder what she got herself into with all of those tiny hand appliquéd pieces! Then, she'd take another pill and be happy as a clam to work on it! I'm happy as a clam that she did it, I think it's just wonderful!

Wendy's addition part two

And of course, what better way to finish of the "Shoo Fly" song than with a "Shoo Fly" block! I love how these fun polka dots mimic the notes in the song, and I also love Wendy's use of different colors of linen to create the staff.

Brittany's addition part one

Brittany made approximately one million darling Crossed Canoe blocks. She was inspired by Wendy's music notes and thought of songs that she sang during her camp days. She also sang it for me at the reveal, and it is so sweet! I hadn't heard it before.

Here are the lyrics;

My paddles keen and bright,

Flashing with silver

Follow the wild goose flight.

Dip, dip and swing.

Dip, dip and swing.

And if you'd like to hear it, I found

a group singing it on vimeo

that is really nice rendition.

Brittany's addition part two

Brittany also made this darling "Singing in the Rain" block! Isn't it just cheery and delightful? I love the flowers and bumblebees in the umbrella.

Cher's addition

Cher was inspired by Brittany's "Singing in the Rain" block, and did these incredible wonky/liberated letters. I love their staggered placement and how it echoes the sound of the song. She also created the gold and blue border around the edges that really ties it all together. Cher has a collection of butterfly fabric, and I didn't realize until I got it home, but the background yellow has sweet little butterflies in it so I will definitely think of her whenever I see it!

The final quilt top

All of the colors in the quilt just make me feel so happy, calm and content. The gorgeous blocks made by my friends, and the ideas behind them, make it even more precious. I can't wait to finish it and wrap myself up in song, dance, and friendship! Thank you so much, ladies!

A Quilt for Baby Andrew

This quilt belongs to a little guy named Andrew who was born on the 15th of July! He gets to start his life in the sweetest nautical themed nursery. I had been wanting to make a quilt for him, and when I saw the nautical theme, an idea came to mind for this herringbone style quilt. I had navy and white fabric on hand from another project, and was able to jump right in and make big half-square triangles to piece together a crib sized quilt. I had some fabric in mind for the back, but when I went to Jo-Ann's to pick out polka dots for the binding, I saw this darling whale fabric and it was kismet. You can click on the photo to see it up close, it's so cute!

In these colors, the boldness of the pattern reminds me a little bit of boating flags, and the interlocking nature of it reminds me of the knots associated with nautical things. Can you tell I don't know much about being on the water!? Most of my nautical reference comes from my one time on a sailboat, going on a cruise, and whatever my husband tells me about Deadliest Catch or Shark Week. 

I really like the look of the thick binding on the back. This is the first time I've done that. I thought it would be nice to be able to machine stitch the binding down on the long sides, and have that line of stitching double as the last line of quilting on the front of the quilt. I hand sewed the top, bottom, and miters of the binding since I didn't want a line of quilting running perpendicular to all of that parallel quilting.

My friend sent me this photo last week, aren't these kiddos darling!! Andrew is already so good at sharing!

A Quilt for Emmalyn & Hope

This quilt had quite an adventure before it was delivered to the little girls who call it their own. Before darling baby Emmalyn was born (2010), her mom, another dear friend and I picked out the Pickle Dish pattern from Kaffe Fassett's book called Quilt Romance. We were certainly romanced by the pattern on the cover and spent hours together at Joann's picking out just the right fabric.

I ended up working on it during a span of four years, in three different states! It started out in Florida, made its way to Missouri, and finally was finished Oregon before returning to its home in Florida. By that time Emmalyn's sweet baby sister, Hope, had been born (2012), so it became a quilt for two!

Ollie had a lot of fun with this one, and is probably still looking for it around the house!

It was so satisfying to see this through! I remembered to post these pictures because the little ladies have a baby brother who just recently made his debut into the world. He has a quilt headed his way in the mail, and I will share pics of that next week!

A Quilt for Baby Sam

My friend Wendy had her second baby, a son named Sam, a little over a month ago! When Sam's big sister was born, Wendy and I worked on a quilt idea together. This time around, I saw some fabric that just felt right and went for it without spilling the beans. Part of the reason for the secrecy was to go easy on myself just in case I didn't finish it in time! Keeping my lips sealed must be the trick, because I finished it about a week before Sam was born!

My favorite helper, Ollie, is modeling the lovely fabric by Skinny la Minx. It's called Up Up & Away and was designed for Cloud9 Fabrics. I have some triangles left, and while I don't have a baby to swaddle, I think our new printer might be in need of special attention by way of a quilted cover of sorts!

The back of the quilt features Passing Clouds in gold by Eloise Renouf from her Bark & Branch line for Cloud 9 Fabrics. I bought all of the fabric for this quilt from Lima Sews, a Portland Etsy seller.

Happy Birthday, Sam!

Pickle Dish Progress

I'm working on a pickle dish quilt for Sarah's baby Emmalyn. It's my first time trying paper piecing and I love it!

I'm following the pattern from Kaffe Fassett's Quilt Romance book, but we picked out a different color scheme that will match Emma's nursery. Almost all of these pieces are finished now, so I'll have Sarah and baby come over soon to help me arrange all of the pieces!

Autumn Quilt for Baby Mira

My friends Wendy and Matt had a beautiful baby girl in June. Her name is Mira and the photos and videos I've seen of her are just precious! I can't wait to meet her in person some day.

These are photos of Mira's quilt that I finished in time for Fall! I followed a pattern for the front and thought I'd try to improvise and add some strips of color on the back to break up all of that white.

Wendy shared her color palette with me and I picked out the fabric. Of course, Ollie always has to approve my materials before I get to work.

Cheers to the happy family! May there be plenty of snuggling, cuddling, and cozying up as the weather gets colder!

Bonjour Paris!

This long-stitch book is what I've brought along with me as my journal-sketchbook. I've just been carrying it around in my jacket pocket today! For a look at what is inside, feel free to visit Josh and my new blog: adventuringholtsclaws.blogspot.com.

The cover is quilted, using my go-to sturdy pink fabric (remainders from extremely long Ikea curtains that I hemmed), leftover batting, and binding with a print that I couldn't resist when I was last at the quilt shop.

I've already started using it and I'm crossing my fingers that I keep it up! I love the color combo, so I'm betting I'll keep it nice and close!

Secret Quilting Part Three

Now here we have fitting scenery for a quilt! I took photos of this quilt the day after Christmas at my in-laws' house. I finished the binding during our car ride up there, so that's why this one didn't get the volleyball court and pool glamor shots!

This quilt had a pretty different look from the other two since I used a darker background fabric. The alternating border strips stood out quite a bit more than the others, since the flowers were such contrasting fabrics.

I was so pleased with the binding fabric I found at Quilter's Cove. My favorite part about this blue was how it was a bit more bold and framed the quilt so nicely.

Above is a close up of my stitching in the ditch. This is something I first learned a couple years ago from my Aunt Joyce. When I started the quilts I put my aunt in the position of secret keeper! She's an amazing quilter and I thought it would be helpful to have such a guru in the know, in case I needed help! It was especially fun, because I got a sneak peek of the lovely quilted table toppers she made for her sisters (my mom included) for the holiday!

 How great is that porch? It wraps around almost three sides of the house!

Secret Quilting Part Two

Here is the quilt that I made for my brother and soon to be sister-in-law! I wanted it to have color in it, but be neutral enough that it could find a place in any room of their new house.

The example quilt used bold colors in floral prints, which is part of what attracted me to it. Even though I love that type of color combination, I settled on a fairly monochromatic scheme for each of mine.

Each of the quilts has a paisley theme. On the quilt I posted yesterday, every other rosy square was a paisley print and the tan backing fabric was also a faint paisley. On this quilt the centers and cornerstones of each square are a bold and more modern paisley, while the backing fabric has a faint traditional print in green. Paisley, paisley, paisley! That gets a little bit tricky when you say it three times fast!

While I was taking these photos, one of our apartment complex maintenance workers let me know that I'm not allowed to dry blankets on the volleyball court. Good to know!

Secret Quilting

On this too gray and rainy day in Florida, I thought it would be good to look back at these photos I took in December, yes sunny December!

Back in September, as I was thinking about what I might like to make for our families for Christmas, I thought of the sewing machine that my husband gave me for our first Christmas. I had been using it here and there throughout the year for small projects, but I thought it deserved a good work out!

My mom has shown me the ropes on her sewing machine, and I also took a sewing class in middle school home economics. (A project I remember was making a pair of long elastic waisted shorts out of a blue plaid flannel material) As far as quilting? When I was in 5th grade or so, I took a quilting course, where I learned some basic quilting skills. I am a saver, so I still have some of the worksheets from the classes. Armed with all of that and thoughts of snuggling in a winter wonderland I went on a Jo-Anns date with Lisa! We found a quilting book full of lovely photos (Material Obsession: Modern Quilts with Traditional Roots), I chose a pattern from it, and we got busy picking materials for the fronts of three quilts! I wanted to make one for both of our parents and for my brother and his soon to be wife. We magically chose a day when the quilting department was boasting a 40% off sale!

The quilt in these pictures is the one I made for my parents. The pattern is called "Smuggling Letters" and it's by Kathy Doughty. It's a pretty big one! The book calls it a large twin and it completely covered our full bed. When it came time for the batting, backing, and binding fabrics I went to Quilter's Cove here in Orlando, again with Lisa! The ladies who work there are so sweet and helpful. I'm looking forward to my next trip to the Cove.

The binding fabric ended up being one of my favorites. Possibly because I saw the least of it! I shouldn't say that, because I never got tired of any of it! I loved my nights of quilting during those last months of the year. Although it was hard to talk to my mom on the phone without letting the cat out of the bag!  I'll share the other two quilts with you soon, and then I can share the quilt I'm working on right now. I've been using scraps from my Christmas projects with a few bits and pieces that I've saved throughout the years.