Stitching Times serves up stories, examples and tutorials about needlework related crafts, especially quilting and crochet. Almost all of the projects shown have been designed by Kay Stephenson

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Call it Serendipity

or kismet (have always loved that word), or just happenstance.
For Christmas 2011 I made a quilted throw to hang in front of the fireplace - because honestly in Atlanta even in winter - you almost never use the thing. 
As evidenced by the houseplants still sitting on the porch when I took these photos the following fall.

Despite my over-the-top affection for Christmas, you've got to love The Grinch that Stole Christmas!
and all those sweet folks living down in Whoville. Thank you Theodor Seuss Geisel aka Dr. Seuss. And thank you Robert Kaufman Fabrics for licensing the designs and making the fabric available. By the way, I notice it's still available at (and elsewhere), and now I see they have it in flannel!

So here comes the wonderful coincidence. My guild held a pillow swap recently, and when I pulled a number out of the hat, which pillow did I get?
Why this fabulous bit of Grinchmas of course.

My fellow guild member, Linda Petersen-Smith made four of these panels with scraps from another project, and then sewed them up with coordinating fabric to make the pillow. I couldn't be happier with the pillow or the little bit of serendipity. Funny how things work out sometimes.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Colorful, Crazy, Craftsy BOM 2013 Finished?

I know. This quilt top is crazy busy already, but believe it or not, I don't think it's done. First of all, it's basically square now, and that's sort of bugging me. It feels like it needs to be more of a rectangle. Also, I still have piles of fabric left, and those flying geese and half square triangles seem lonely. I think we need a bunch more of those. I'm thinking about adding more of both at the top and bottom. And maybe some more spools too. Love those spools.
If you remember, it was supposed to look like this. I did eliminate the flower basket and add the New York Beauty Circle of Flying Geese, more or less in the center. And I banished all of the pink and blue.

Somehow none of that made my version look any less busy, and I know I'm nuts to think about adding more detail and making it bigger. In my defense, when I showed it to my husband, he thought it was "cool" and especially liked the "tumbling blocks" (though he did mention that they didn't look like they were tumbling). His appreciation makes me want to press on, but I will set it aside for a few weeks and see if I find enlightenment in my sleep. Maybe if I finish it and use it as the couch quilt, we can snuggle under it and manage not to fall asleep while watching TV. I really can't imagine falling asleep under this one. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tetris Hex

I really seem incapable of designing a quilt with fabric I don't love. When a guild comes up with a challenge related to a particular fabric line, I'm always happy when they say I don't have to use all of the fabric I'm given because invariably out of ten prints, there are two that leave me feeling somewhere between meh and ick.

That wasn't really a problem with the latest quilt I'm working on. Yes there are a couple of colors and one print design in the "Glimma" line by Lotta Jansdotter for Windham Fabrics that don't send me.

But there are plenty to choose from that I love. These are the ones I ordered with no idea how they would come together. Some designers are adamant about not using multiple prints from one fabric line, but I'm so much more interested in the shapes and putting the quilt design together. If the fabric designer has done some of the work and assembled a collection of prints and colors that works together, I'm fine with that.

Some of these prints are big, so I needed to to design something that worked with the scale. Also, I've been sort of obsessed - as have most of the people I like best in the quilting community - with the hex shape for over a year.

Voila. The majority of the Hexagrams in this quilt are six inchers, with a few half size thrown in for interest. I wanted a design with lots of negative space to allow for dense texture in the quilting, so when I started laying out the hexies on a solid background with big gaps in between, I quickly started thinking of the old computer game called Tetris. Do you remember it? All those differently shaped blocks (called tetriminos I've just learned) were falling from the top of the screen, and you had to twist and turn them so that they fit into the stack already at the bottom. I was somewhat addicted to the game back in the early 90s. But I digress.
I have a plan for lots of point to point quilting in that negative space to really emphasize the geometric shapes. Unfortunately I went ahead and spray basted this and then rolled it up to get it out of the way. I can see I'm going to have to do more pressing before I can begin on the quilting.

Like the last few quilts I've designed, the back of this quilt is also pieced, so it can be reversible. I just hope the dense point-to-point quilting planned for the front doesn't mess up the look of the  back. Ah well. Nothing ventured and all that rot.
By the way, those hexagrams aren't appliqued. I actually pieced this puppy, and developed a new love for Y seams in the process. I used this specially designed hexagon ruler to cut out the shapes and it was easy peasy to sew them together.
This will also be a Christmas gift for a special woman. I wonder if she will read this post and guess that it is for her? Well that is, it will be a gift for Christmas if I get busy and finish the quilting and binding. I did make the label for the back today, so I'm making progress.  And no, I'm not giving everything away with that label. Christmas always calls for a few surprises.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Modern Neutrals Block of the Month

October - Lucky Star
I'm really starting to love the quilt I'm making with Amy Gibson's Sugar Block Club. The designs are all modern twists on traditional blocks, and making them up in solids instead of prints gives such a different look to the project.
I fell behind on this one and had to scramble during October to make July, August and September blocks as well. 
July - Lime Sherbet

August - Camp Out

September - Come Fly with Me
Now I'm starting to think about how I will lay out the entire quilt. As I mentioned here, I've also been making smaller versions of each block, but haven't begun to figure out how (or even if) they will be included in the final quilt top. Stay tuned with just two more months to go!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Blend Hip Holiday Table Topper Update

I've just published the pattern for this holiday table topper here. It will make a great gift for family and friends, so check it out.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Blend Hip Holiday Challenge

This year our guild is participating in the Blend Fabrics challenge to create new quilty things from their Hip Holiday line designed by Josephine Kimberling. Each participating guild member has been provided with a ten by ten square of each print in the line. We are allowed to add additional fabric from the line, or any coordinating solid, and completed pieces are due this month.
Wonder of wonders, I completed my piece last week, a full two weeks before it was due at our guild meeting.
The best part of this challenge is that all we submit are pictures, which Blend Fabrics can use as they see fit. The finished pieces are ours to keep.
Those who have been following me for awhile know that I go all out to decorate for Christmas. Every room gets the full treatment, and I have quite an assortment of items I've made for this purpose. For this project I decided to make a table topper that I can use in the den on our coffee table. This is what I came up with for a design. The central focus print shows old woody station wagons headed hither and yon with Christmas trees strapped on top. That sure said "road trip" to me, so I used flying geese to suggest the round-about journey in search of the perfect tree.
Not satisfied to use a simple backing, I also decided to piece the back and echo the geese and blocks from the front. I'm glad I did that as I now have a reversible table topper that can work with different decorations depending on my mood. Also, the red side probably won't show so much of the dog hair that seems to embed itself into every textile around the house. Sigh.
When I got around to quilting it up, I had just finished a section of Leah Days' Free Motion Quilting a Sampler class on In the video class she demonstrated how to make the wandering clover design, so I had to work some of that into the project. Don't know if you can see it too well in this picture of the actual quilt, but it's a really easy and forgiving filler that is just a bit more interesting than a standard stipple. I've added a line drawing to show it a bit better. Every inch or so you pause in the stippling to add a three petaled clover. Note that even my line drawing isn't perfect. I have a few lines too close to each other and (gasp) I actually crossed my own line once or twice. It's OK. I've given myself permission not to be perfect. How about you? Give it a try

So that's it for today. The holiday sewing is officially underway!

Update: I've just published the pattern on Check it out here.