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Satisfying Projects

One of the best parts about my quilting hobby is the number of fun patterns that are available to stitch. While I have designed a few of my own patterns I much prefer adding my own touches to someone else’s design as piecing and quilting are what I enjoy doing. Early in my quilting journey I found patterns in magazines and books. While I still use those resources I have now found inspiration from Google, podcasts, and even my customers. Recently I have constructed a couple of quilts that were equally challenging and yet very satisfying to work on.

A few months ago one of my customers asked me to make a quilt for her daughter. She sent me yardage of seven gorgeous large print fabrics in different values of mauves, blues, and browns. I immediately knew that I needed to find a pattern with fairly large squares so that the large prints could be the focus. A few days later, while searching through my stash of patterns that my group uses to make Quilts of Valor, I stumbled upon the perfect pattern for those fabrics. It was called Lattice and was from the Missouri Star Quilt Company. Six of the fabrics would be cut into 5” squares and then cut on the diagonal to make triangles. The lightest of the fabrics was perfect for the lattice part of the quilt as well as the narrow inner border. The fabric with the largest print was just right for the larger outer border.

With the decisions regarding the pattern and fabrics made I was ready to begin the process of constructing the quilt. I added five rows of 12 blocks - 60 blocks - to the original pattern so that this quilt would fit an XLong twin bed making a total of 216 blocks needed. After stitching the sashing between two triangles it was necessary to square up each block. After I had completed that step I discovered a video made by Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Quilt Company that showed a better way to square up the blocks than what I had done. Ugh!!! My way was OK but next time I’ll do it her way.

Once the quilt top was constructed I loaded it onto the long arm and began stitching an all-over design that features a lot of curved lines - the perfect compliment to all of the straight edges in the piecing. In the middle of the quilt I noticed a seam that had come apart. Since I had already quilted over it I knew that I would not be able to fix it without taking out a lot of the quilting. Even though I wasn’t sure how well I could fix it I knew I wouldn’t be happy just leaving it as it was. So I Googled some other options, talked to some quilting friends, and finally settled on the best way to handle this spot. Since one of the fabrics had some large flowers I decided to cut out three of them and place them strategically on the quilt using a fusible web. Before adhering these pieces to the quilt I removed a small portion of the quilting underneath those spots and then re-quilted that area after the appliqués were applied. Voila! The flowers added a lot to the quilt top and made it very unique. Crisis averted!

The Harry Potter bookcase quilt that I made for my new grandson, Henry, was another fun project that I recently completed. This pattern was designed by Jennifer Ofenstein at Melissa decided that she wanted a light blue background and border with navy blue sashing instead of the browns shown on the original pattern as that would coordinate better with the gray walls in Henry’s nursery. I then chose 80 different fabrics from my stash that I felt would make good books. I found 8-10 fabrics from nine colors so that there was a good variety. I decided as well to pick stash fabrics for the objects in each block as I went along. I also kept all of those fabrics in a bin until the entire quilt was finished so that I didn’t repeat any of them. I think that means I have a lot of fabric in my stash!

I have paper-pieced a lot of quilts but this one was especially fun. The thirty different blocks were like their own little picture and I discovered a more efficient way to construct them. Instead of preparing and stitching each part separately I added fabric to all of the parts first, then stitched them at the same time, and then pressed them all at once. This made for a more efficient process as I wasn’t spending as much time going from the cutting table to the sewing machine to the ironing board. I plan to use this procedure on my next paper-piecing project.

I have a couple more interesting patterns on the horizon so stayed tuned for an update on those projects. I can’t wait to get started on them! What fun projects have you completed lately? Where did you discover those patterns?

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