Friday, January 30, 2009

Oiyi's (Melody's) block

Oiyi asked us to make a heart block for her daughter, Melody. I started to sketch out some ideas right away, but had a hard time with this one. Because this block was really for Melody, I took more time wanting it to be something that really made me happy. Oiyi, I hope it makes you happy too.

After many failed attempts at pieced hearts and "a piece of my heart" designs (the latter kept looking like broken hearts), a friend from my quilting group suggested a heart with a swoop. That lead to an applique design. With that idea in place, I made a patchwork background that had a 70's feel to it. Those fabrics made me think of my childhood just like some others in our group. I had visions of Little House on the Prairie episodes and Holly Hobbie in my mind as I worked on it.

Applique also let me use the embroidery I had envisioned from the beginning - a red running stitch on the larger heart making reference to a Chinese saying that there's an invisible red thread that connects those who are destined to meet. That saying is very popular with families who have children born in China as I do. The smaller heart was meant to be the daughter heart to the larger mother's heart done in applique. I love how the tails of the hearts nestle into one another.

Proof that I worked back and forth on this one. And I've not even shown you the sad "broken heart" sketches that wound up in the trash.
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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Amber and Nadia's blocks

I've managed to get these blocks out to their owners on time, but forgot to post here. Oops.
This one was for Amber. Looking at those happy cheerful fabrics with so many more winter months ahead seems almost cruel.
This one was my first attempt at needle turn applique. I hid the far less than perfect edges with some blanket stitching. "Bird of Paradise" came to mind when I opened the package of fabrics, which led to this design.

Nadia's block is a take on the "What a Bunch of Squares" quilt from Denyse Schmidt. I liked the vertical feel that black fabric had, so I elongated the center piece to showcase it.

The split stitch embroidery was taken straight from a flower in the taupe print.

Looking forward to seeing your quilts, ladies!
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Monday, January 26, 2009

For Jenny

Here's my block for Jenny. I played around with a half-log cabin block and this is what emerged. Hope it works for you Jenny. I loved your fabric simple and chic. I can't wait to see it all come together. I think it's going to be amazing!

I'm still working on what fabrics to send for February....not much time left to make up my mind. I'd like to do a quilt for my youngest son's high school graduation gift, something he can take to college with him. He's got a modern sensibility like mine and he's a stylish kid. I hope together we can come up with a quilt he'll love. More later!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mini Quilt Block

It was fun and challenging working with these fabrics. The lovely color selection was great. Working with mainly solids was more challenging for me, but I really enjoyed it. It really forced me to do something different with it. I also worked mainly with scissors and that was a great change. I will doing that again! I was inspired by the mini quilt like blocks Katiejeanbags in Busy Little Quilt Bee has been making lately.

Jenny's Block

Jenny's Block

Monday, January 19, 2009

another block for jenny

i finished jenny's block today. i loved working with these fabrics. i think i've decided that (at least for me) the secret to sucessful "wonky blocks" is to cut the pieces freehand with scissors instead of trying to use a rotary cutter and straightedge ruler. are there really two ways to do log cabin blocks, or is this something different? aren't log cabins more like a spiral? instead of this which is more like concentric squares? i was actually inspired to go back and really look at some older DS quilt designs (especially her "drunk love in a log cabin" design) and study how she built blocks--what made them uniquely her style--and i'm pretty happy with how this one turned out. especially the mix of skinny and fat lines. thanks for these simple fabrics that allow the piecing to stand out!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Jenny's stripey block

I love the fabric that Jenny sent out for this month. The bi-colored striped fabrics were my favorite, so I tried to make a log cabin block that was stripey with patchwork.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Monster Catch Up!

Ok I am finally caught up! I have blocks for Carissa, Amber, Nadia, Oiyi and Jenny! Sorry for the delay. They'll be in the mail tomorrow, I promise!

For Carissa's car quilt I made a road (with crosswalks) and an intersection:
Common Threads: Carissa 2

Common Threads: Carissa 1

For Amber, two log cabins (LOVE the fabric, by the way).
Common Threads: Amber 1

Common Threads: Amber 2

For Nadia, I couldn't quite make it to the 15x15 inch size. It's about 13 inches square, but I felt like if I added anything it would take away from the block. The embroidery was fun too:
Common Threads: Nadia

Common Threads: Nadia close up

For Oiyi (and little Melody) I made a patchwork heart block complete with a couple log cabins. I took apart and sewed back together this block SO many times, but I like how it finally turned out:
Common Threads: Oiyi

And last but not least, Jenny's block. I was planning on using the block from Denyse Schimdt's apron in her book, but I couldn't find my book! This one was free pieced. Fun, and I really like how it turned out. The colors are not sad at all. In fact, for my month I think I'm going to do another gray and orange quilt...
Common Threads: Jenny

Thank you all for being so patient with me!

after-christmas catch-up

holiday craziness sort of knocked me off schedule with the common threads quilting bee (i think i'm not the only one), so here are two blocks i recently finished:

i was thrilled with nadia's request for embroidery and loved the fabrics she sent, so i used the flowers in the upper left fabric as inspiration.

i'm still a beginner at embroidery, and i tried a few different stitches. this one is outlined in split stitch, with satin stitch sections and some french knots (my first successful ones ever!)

and this one... i don't know what the stitch is called. i saw my mother-in-law using it this christmas when we visited and i liked the way it looked, so i thought i'd try it. i also tried two different kinds of thread and i'm not sure which one i like better. i hope they're okay with nadia!

here's oiyi's valentine block for melody:

some of the prints she sent were a bit "old school" and reminded me of my childhood, so i decided to use a more old school simple square pattern. i was so inspired by the sashiko work projects in the zakka sewing book that i decided to try it out on this block. i really enjoyed this type of embroidery and i think i'll do it again soon!

i will try to get these in the mail soon, but today it is -13 degrees (-35 with windchill) and i'm not leaving the house! maybe i'll finish jenny's block today and mail them all at the same time!

Two Hearts

When Oiyi posted her idea for Melody's quilt, I was so excited. Loved the idea, but I had so much trouble thinking of what to make. I went for a traditional heart block. I played with the idea of lots of one inch strips because of the small scale of the fabrics she sent. This is the final product. A big heart for mom.

Since I did so much experimenting before I made the block I had lots of sections of strips left over. This was one of the practice hearts, so instead of letting it go to waste I made it into a smaller heart for Melody. Most of these are fabrics I had in my stash. I didn't dare cut into hers until I knew I could make this idea work. I had some of the same ones that Oiyi sent, and I tried to stay small scale, so I hope this works too. Oiyi, maybe this could go on the back?

It'll be in the mail tomorrow. Sorry it took me so long.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I just have to say I love the fabrics Jenny sent for January.

I don't think they are "sad" at all - calming and soothing is more like it.

I loved the color pallette and so I got right into sewing.

I made two since she sent so much fabric - hope that's ok!

Block for Oiyi

Happy Birthday Melody!

Here's the block that I made for Oiyi's daughter's quilt. It's a simple applique heart (fusible web and a zig zag stitch) on top of some patchwork.

My heart

My heart block is sort of making me feel a little shabby. I just started piecing things and seeing where it went. I machine stitched free form hearts. I hope she likes it- the other blocks people have made are amazing.

Heart Block

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"sad" fabrics for January

Hi, all! Oiyi let me know that she's already gotten her fabric, so I figured I better get my act together and let everyone know what kind of quilt I hope to make for my month!

fabric for quilt bee

I've decided to play around with color more in quilting, and I find myself drawn to a lot of gray fabric lately. So the fabrics I have chosen are all shades of gray and putty, with a red coral color as an accent (inspired also by this random picture I saved to my computer a year ago.) I keep mentally thinking of them as "sad" fabrics, since most quilts and fabrics I see are more vibrant and colorful. The red keeps the lot from being entirely drab, but I am really charmed by this atypical combination of grays and neutrals.

fabric for quilt bee

anyway, I am envisioning using the quilt as a throw on my couch to replace this one. my loveseat is gray and I'm thinking about getting a new putty or gray sofa to go with the quilt... :)

I'd love it if you made a log cabin sort of block. I'm a fan of Denyse Schmidt's style, so feel free to make it a bit wonky, or asymmetrical, or off-center. In terms of size, 12 inches would be fine - but an inch or two bigger or smaller would also work. I would rather that you do not add any additional fabrics, so if I haven't sent enough fabric, please just make it a smaller block. Also, while I do like embroidery and applique, I don't really see it for this quilt - so no embellishments please.

thanks, everyone! I am jazzed to see what you all make!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A heart for sweet Melody

Here is my heart block for Melody's quilt. One of the inspiration quilts was a perfect pattern for making this heart. I have never worked with such small pieces, since each one is only 1 1/2 inches square, and it was so much fun. I loved working with triangles and the geometry of the pattern.

I hope you like it!

A block for Nadia

Here you go Nadia, my window inspired block for you. Since I am not a hand embroiderer yet, I did a little machine work instead. It is hard to tell with my overzealous flash, but I embroidered around the cream boarder and added a stem to my applique flowers.

I will put it in the mail to you tomorrow ; )

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A heart for Melody

I had some big plans for this block - like a center patchwork heart but in the end I just couldn't figure out how to do it.

So instead I machine appliqued a red wool heart and went with a patchwork border.

Hope you like it Oiyi! Thanks for the fun theme!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

heart block for Oiyi (and Melody)

here's my heart block for Oiyi's month:

heart quilt block

Friday, January 2, 2009

For Nadia

I hate being late for things so I'm feeling so bad that I am late on getting this block to Nadia.

I think I had the same sort of idea as Rebekah on this one. I loved the little flowers and used them as my embroidery inspiration.

I went with a simple nine patch and added the pink as a little border.

Hope you like it Nadia!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

embroidered block for Nadia

Here's the block that I made for Nadia. I really loved working with this color/fabric combination and it was so much fun to put this block together. For the embroidery, I just traced a flower pattern from the black fabric. I went a little overboard on the size, so I think it turned out to be 17" x 17", but hopefully a little trimming can remedy that!