Rain Drops Quilt Pattern and Curved Piecing

So in 2008, yes at least 10 years ago, I purchased a Judy Niemeyer pattern called Rain Drops. They have since redesigned it and it now looks similar to the original pattern but it now has more “raindrops” than the pattern I have. I started gathering the fabrics over the next few years then packaged it up and there it sat for another 4 years. In 2017 I actually started working on it and now it looks like this

Ok ignore the messy stuff on the right, obviously, I should have closed the door when taking the picture or cropped the picture. Since I am running out of time today you will please just forgive the mess.

So, it still has a ways to go however it is finally coming along! Yeah. I only have about 12 more quilts that are all kitted up to complete. Maybe I will be finished those in another 12 years. Of course, once I have this as a top then I will actually have to quilt it! That is a whole other story.

Here is the original picture of Rain Drops that is on the cover of my pattern.

Curved Piecing

So, I have had this quilt on the design wall for a few weeks now and I have had a lot of my clients asking me about how I do the curved piecing. Now I should probably do a video on this and perhaps I will but for now, I thought I would try to explain in pictures.

First, for those of you have ever done garment sewing, doing curved piecing in a quilt is very similar to setting in a sleeve on a dress or top. The larger curves (which I had already sewn before deciding to write about this) are a lot easier to sew in than the smaller ones. With the smaller curves, they are just a little bit deeper so you have to be a little more careful but it is really not hard once you get the hang of it.

For this design, I had some blocks that required two small star pieces to be added in. I cut out my template from freezer paper and ironed it on the completed block.

From there I freehand cut around the template using my rotary cutter. I guess you could use a ruler to help you if you felt you needed it. I do it this way, I do usually have my left hand (I’m right-handed) holding the area I’m cutting around down for stability, however, it was hard to show that and take the picture at the same time. You just have to be very careful you keep your fingers well out of the way of the blade.

so once it has been cut it will look like this.

The next thing you do is find the centres of both the block and the star piece you will be piecing into the block. Place a pin at both ends and one in the middle. Now pin around the edge, using as many pins as you need.

It will now look like this.

Always sew on the inside of a curve. In this case, it is with the paper facing towards you. It just makes life a lot easier.

See, curved piecing completed. Now to remove the paper and press the block. Now, I didn’t take pictures of this and maybe that is something for the next post, however, I tend to just press the seams the way they want to lie the flattest. I used to worry about the seams being opposite to one another but I find that as long as you match your adjoining seams up well there really isn’t a lot of bulk at the seams if they are both pressed the same way and in the end, with curved piecing it sometimes actually makes the quilt press flatter if you don’t worry about that. Everyone is different though and I know Judy does have a pressing diagram on the pattern.

So there you have it curved piecing. It is not a quick process but it is not hard either. Maybe give it a try.

Happy Quilting

Favourite Fabrics in My Stash Part 1

Do you have a fabric stash? If so what is the size of it? My fabric stash is quite large, more than I can use in this lifetime that is for sure. Interestingly, when I did garment sewing I never had a stash. I was strictly a project sewer, I only ever bought enough fabric for the project I was working on. The one exception to this rule was when I went to a fabric store down in Newport Beach California, many years ago, now and they had such a wonderful and varied selection of good quality fabric that I would not be able to get at home that I broke down and bought fabric without a project in mind. This was in the days before shopping online wasn’t even a twinkle in someone’s eye so it was either purchase it when you saw it or regret it forever.

Stash Building

When I first started quilting I really thought I would do the same thing, just buy fabric project by project but I soon found that could get quite expensive. Doing it that way was fine for certain projects but you really had to watch the sales. Soon I began ‘collecting’ fabric on sale or if I was in a different city. Before I knew it I had a stash. I do still add to it but not like I did for the first 10 years of my quilting journey.

As mentioned above my stash is now quite large and consists of fabrics that I have collected from the many places I have travelled.  I thought I would share some of my favourite pieces with you. Maybe one day I will actually use them in a quilt.

This butterfly fabric was a very early purchase. In fact, it is probably around 16 years old. It is a Timeless Treasures fabric from a collection called Rain. I still love this fabric. Although I have never used this in a quilt,  I did use it as a colour palette for a quilt.

 This fabric was one of several that I picked up in Thailand about 10 years ago now. You could purchase packages of 1.5 metres of fabric for about $5.00. They were 100% cotton and were intended for making traditional Thai skirts.

This fabric was added to my stash at the same time as the above fabric. It is hand painted batik fabric from Kaula Lauper, Maylsia. The colours are actually much brighter in real life. I have several different pieces I picked up from a shop we visited that did the painting right there.  The next fabric was added about 6 years ago and I still have 5 metres of it. It is a Christmas fabric from Robert Kaufman Holiday flourish II. I thought I would love to do a large stack and whack type quilt with it. Maybe one day I will, meanwhile, I get to take it out and look at it every once in a while.          This sunflower fabric is from Robert Kaufman from a line called Shades of the Season. I don’t remember when I got this but it is one of my favourites. I have used some of this in smaller items but haven’t used it in a quilt as yet.  I just love how cheery and bright the yellow and orange sunflowers are.

I had a few more fabrics that I wanted to share with you, however, I think I will leave them for a different post. At present, I don’t even have any real ideas of what I want to make with these fabrics, just that they are still some of my favourites. So how about you, do you have some favourite fabrics you have sitting in your stash? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Stash Building

 

 

 

 

Getting back to Normal (whatever that is)

Wow the smoke from the BC Mainland fires is really making things look like fall around here although it is still really warm outside these days. It would be downright unbearable if we could actually see the sun. I had a text from a cousin that lives south of Seattle and he sent a picture of the skies above him and the smoke from all of the Mainland BC forest fires has even reached down in his area. I don’t think I have ever seen a fire season as bad as this one in my lifetime. I am hearing of a lot of homes being lost and that is so sad.

I myself have been feeling better although I did overdo things yesterday and am paying the price today. It’s fine though and I am finally back to quilting (OK maybe not today but I have been).

  

This was a fun quilt to do. It was a Dresden plate quilt design made up of all different types of fabrics. In keeping with the more traditional design of the quilt, the client decided on just simple stipple quilting in the background. I know some people don’t like stipple quilting however, for this application and design I think it worked well.

I used three shades of Superior threads So Fine 50. A Royal Blue, Soft Mint Green and a yellow. I can’t recall the numbers at this time though.

I just completed another quilt for the same client, she had made a quilt using old hankies and had hand quilted most of it however decided she didn’t want to hand quilt the sashing and borders so asked me to again just machine stipple quilt it. I don’t have a picture of this quilt but we used a soft yellow to tie the colours in the hankies together and it worked well.

I finally got a picture of Kevin wearing the hat I knitted for him. So here it is.

This was a simple hat to knit and it should keep him nice and warm this winter when he is working outside.

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far now to go and see about maybe having an ice cream cone.

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Life Update

OK it’s been way too long since I last posted. Life got in the way and not in a good way either. A few weeks ago I decided to move the blog to another site so I can start uploading videos. I was right in the middle of trying to figure it all out when I got sick!

Has anyone ever experienced vertigo before? Well, I wouldn’t recommend it. I had a few warning dizzy spells but nothing serious. I had another dizzy spell one morning but after a few minutes it went away so I went on with my day and hoped it wasn’t anything serious.

Next morning I woke up and the world was spinning and completely out of control. I had my Mom take me to the emergency room where I spent the next 8 hours going through numerous tests and scans to ensure I didn’t have a brain tumour, or suffered a stroke. The good news is that all these tests came back negative. The bad news is that I was still sick.

This lasted for over a week with me barely being able to get out of bed. Not fun. It finally started to get better and then the fatigue set in. You know get up and do a couple of things then go back to bed and sleep for two hours, get up and do a couple more things and repeat process.

It’s been over two weeks now since this all started and I am only now getting back on my feet. I am still not 100% either as I am still off balance and now suffering from bad headaches. Today was the first day I woke up actually feeling closer to my normal self so fingers crossed I am finally on the mend.

Luckily I didn’t have a lot of client quilts waiting. I have been busy and it’s summer so I had wanted to take a bit of time for me so I only had one client quilt on the frame and nothing waiting. That said I wasn’t able to work on that quilt for over 10 days as I couldn’t stand at all let alone make it down the stairs to my studio. As soon as I could stand though I was downstairs working on the quilt even if it was only for 30 minutes at a time.

Here are pictures of a client quilt I finished before I got sick.

The other thing I was working on before I got sick was a knitting project. I picked up some wool last August at the annual fiber arts festival here in Victoria called Fibrations to make Kevin a hat for working outdoors in the winter. Well, last winter has come and gone and we were cleaning up and I found the skein of wool I had purchased.

I have now finished the “beanie” it was a free pattern I found somewhere on the internet however I still have to photograph it so that will have to come next post.

The wool was 70% Alpaca and 30% merino hand spun and hand dyed locally. It was wonderful and soft to work with. It would make an awesome sweater but the cost would be insane as one skein was $35.00.

Ha, as I was writing the above, the price of fabric and how much it costs to make a quilt just flashed in my mind so I guess it is all relative as the sweater would be beautiful, soft, warm, fairly waterproof and one of a kind so …..

Well, that’s about it. I will have pictures of the finished client quilt quilted (so much for quilting my own quilts although that may still happen yet) and of the finished hat maybe I can even talk Kevin into modeling it for me.

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Where does Inspiration Come From?

I’ve been thinking a lot about inspiration these days. What types of things inspires that creative spark in all of us. Is it a pattern or book, nature or a photograph that speaks to you. I love thumbing through my collection of quilting books (I have over 200). I do have some pattern books however mostly they are technique books and some I simply have just got for the inspiration, I will never actually make anything in the book. The majority of these books were purchased when I was just starting on my quilting journey and wasn’t too sure which path to take.I don’t buy very many books these days unless it is to do with machine quilting. My most recent purchase was Angela Walters new book Shape by Shape Collection 2 but this is the first book I have purchased in almost a year. The book is filled with wonderful ideas and inspiration for someone who enjoys actually doing the machine quilting.

Shape by Shape, Collection 2 by Angela Walters (Paperback)

Some people think that it’s just making quilts and gasp calling it a “blanket”. However I feel it is more than that. Even when you have a fast baby quilt that you need to make, you still put the time into thinking about colour and pattern and making the quilt with love. I mean really, you could just go and buy a baby gift and it would be a whole lot easier and way less expensive in some (most) cases. When you are a quilter though, it’s just not the same. When you are a quilter, you make that quilt because you want the gift to come from your hands and therefore you add your love and part of your spirit into the gift as well. Some people recognize this and realize that the gift is extra special. Of course you are also going to get the people who simply don’t understand and don’t appreciate what they are holding in their hands.

A little off topic but have you ever had that happen to you? Thankfully I have only had this happen once, suffice it to say I’m a little more discerning in where my ‘art’ and ‘soul’ goes to now.

So where does the inspiration come from? I find it can come from many different sources. Old doors, leaves, trees or even grates. I took the following photo of a grate in a park in downtown Nanaimo BC. I loved the circle design on it.

Inspiration-1

In one case I was asked to make a baby quilt for a friend, she gave me the two thoughts circles and indigo. What do you do with that? Well the indigo was pretty easy, blues but what of circles. I sat down with all of my quilting books that had circle patterns and designs and finally chose a drunkards path variation pulling all of my blues from my stash making sure I included some indigo. Here is the result.

Baby Quilt-1

Since the top reminded me of a night sky and moon, that gave me the inspiration to quilt the moon and stars across the quilt. I found a quilt design that I turned into a pantograph.

Baby Quilt-2

I love the man in the moon theme, I felt it was perfect for this baby quilt.

A quilt is a blanket of love

What inspires you?

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