Sunday, March 31, 2019

Fish Pillow

Two of my really close friends from college had a baby girl last fall.  That baby has an older sister, Samantha, age 6.  I wanted to have a big sister gift for Samantha when I gifted the baby quilt.  I asked her parents what she was particularly into.  I got a few suggestions and the one that jumped out at me was "aquarium fish."  So I made this fish pillow!

The fish are Kona Lipstick, Valentine, Grellow, Cerise, and Carrot.  The background is Kona Candy Blue.  I used my wavy line stitch for the quilting so it would look like the fish were swimming in the ocean.

I love the envelope pillow method from Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts and that's how I make all my pillows.  She does not use a backing on the quilted part but I do.  I typically use muslin since it's inexpensive and won't show in the finished project.  I had *just* enough Candy Blue to make the back of the pillow.  It looks all nice and neat before I stuffed a 20" IKEA pillow form in there!

ready for a pillow form
For labeling, I used a trick I learned from Paige of Quilted Blooms.  She saw a pillow I made my son for his birthday and suggested that I write a birthday message on the inside of the pillow.  I do that with all my pillows now!  Here is my dedication, lousy handwriting and all.

This fish pillow joins Rainbow Elephant Parade on their way to baby and big sister.  I know, I finished Rainbow Elephant almost 6 months ago and hadn't sent it yet! 

I think these two compliment each other well. I even did wavy quilting for both, and that was not on purpose!  Happy accident, I guess.

This pillow is on my list of projects needed for my PhD (Projects Half Done) with Quilting Gail and was #2 on my list of Q1 finish along goals.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Vintage Reimagined: Oklahoma Dogwood

When I saw that the March theme for the Island Batik Ambassadors was Vintage Reimagined, I knew exactly what pattern inspiration I wanted to use.  My paternal grandmother, Mildred, was a quilter.  Unfortunately, our quilting years never overlapped.  About two years ago my dad brought me a box of quilting related stuff that his sister had put together for me.  In that box were three patterns that Mildred saved from Mountain Mist batting when they included a pattern on the backside of the wrapper.  One of those patterns was Oklahoma Dogwood with a copyright date of 1949.

Oklahoma Dogwood
Well, if that isn't the perfect pattern name for me, I don't know what is.  Obviously, with a blog named The Darling Dogwood, I have a love for dogwoods.  They have always been among my favorite signs of spring and have the distinction of being the state flower of both the state where I was born (Virginia) and the state where I live (North Carolina).  And though I've never lived in Oklahoma, I have roots there.  Grandma Mildred was born in Oklahoma Territory in 1905.  My grandfather Oakley was born in Oklahoma Territory in 1902; both are buried in Oklahoma.  My dad and his sister were both born in Oklahoma. 

Here's what is included about the origin of this pattern:  The "Oklahoma Dogwood" quilt is an original and conventional design by Harriet Smith.  A Blue Ribbon Winner at the Long Island Fair, this quilt has had recognition at the Women's International Exposition of Arts and Industries at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

My Grandmother's Handwriting
 Being a pattern from 1949, the pieces were intended to be cut from a template and weren't what would today be considered a standard size. One part of my re-imagining was to use more modern construction methods like strip-piecing.  I photo-copied the pattern and made myself templates from the basic shapes.
templates made from poster board
Then I used strip piecing to create checkerboard blocks.  For the smaller blossoms, I made five 4-patch units and sewed them together in a cross.  Then I centered the template on top, traced with a frixion pen, and cut out the blossom shape.

I knew I didn't want the weight of a fusible web on the entire shape, so I used a new-to-me product, Wonder Tape by Dritz.  It's a wash-away double-sided fusible tape that is 1/4" wide.  I cut a few strips and places them around the perimeter of the blossom.  I just needed it to stay adhered to the background for long enough to stitch around the edges. 

Yes, I label my paper scissors "paper ok"
Here it is with the paper back peeled off the Wonder Tape.  The background fabric is Swirl in Opal. I love the subtle color changes in the swirl patterns.  Each of the small blossoms in the corner of the finished quilt is a 12" finished square.

For the large center dogwood blossom, I made a 16-patch block for each petal.  Since dogwoods have four petals on each blossom, I made four 16-patch blocks.  Then I used my petal template to trace and cut the shape.  When appliqueing to the background, I fused and stitched two petals opposite each other first, then I added the other two petals.  It appears I forgot to take pictures of this step.  The center block with the large dogwood blossom is 24" square.

The fabrics were provided to me by Island Batik.  Hobbs also provided materials that I used in this project. I went through everything sent to me by Island Batik and picked out all the pink.  Most dogwood tress in my area have white blossoms but I do occasionally see a pink dogwood.  I had surprisingly little pink.  Remember the pink Island Batik fabrics I bought on Local Quilt Shop Day?  I bought those to supplement my pinks for this project.

I did not use the bottom fabric, it was too purple when combined with the other fabrics
fabrics from my stash builder bundles
I used a pink variegated thread from King Tut that I've had forever to blanket stitch around all of the dogwood blossoms.

I used a silk blend batting from Hobbs Tuscany Collection.  This was my first time using silk batting and I loved how it stitched. 

I quilted Oklahoma Dogwood with a large continuous spiral.  I set my stitch guide at just under an inch. That's much more dense than I normally quilt but I absolutely love the texture it has now. I used another King Tut variegated thread, Mummy's Dearest.  It has a subtle change of pastel colors.  I love how the soft color changes mimic the color variations in the Island Batik background fabric.
spiral quilting
It's worth noting that my version uses far fewer dogwood blossoms than the original.  I found an image from the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska of an Oklahoma Dogwood quilt circa 1949. You can see it here.  Be sure to hover over the photo to see close-ups of the hand quilting.

My Oklahoma Dogwood finishes at 48" square.  I love this quilt so much!  I'm so glad that I found the quilt pattern that my Grandmother set aside all those years ago.  Thanks, Island Batik, for giving me the opportunity to recreate a vintage quilt!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Disney Princesses

My love of novelty fabrics is widely known and my friends at the local Project Linus chapter save some of the fun donations for me.  Recently, a piece of  Disney Princess fabric was donated to the  chapter.  I decided to embrace the girly and make a quilt as pink as possible.  The fabric turned out to be a fat quarter. I didn't want to lose any of the princess so instead of cutting it up,  I decided to treat it like a quarter log cabin and sew strips on two sides.

I used Kona solids in peony, bubblegum, lupine, plum, and bordeaux.  The binding is Kona honeysuckle. 

For the quilting, I did a cross-hatch in the area with the princesses.  Then I used a decorative flower stitch with a variegated King Tut thread in shades of pink and purple on the log cabin strips.  I'm really pleased with the look of the decorative stitching.

I used a pink gingham-look fleece on the back. I love backing my kids' quilts with fleece and I don't use batting in them.  It's a lovely weight and nice and soft and cuddly. 

I took it to the park for some pictures and had to wait for a rare moment when there was no one on the equipment to snap a picture.

This will be donated to Project Linus and hopefully will make some Disney princess fan very happy. 

This quilt was on my list of projects needed for my PhD (Projects Half Done) with Quilting Gail and was #20 on my list of Q1 finish along goals. 

Monday, March 18, 2019

February and March Bee Blocks

This is my fourth year in Stash Bee and I still love the excitement of finding out what block I'll be making on the first of each month. Queen Anna (February) asked for a bookshelf block to make her son, age 4, a quilt for his big-boy bed.  She asked that each block have a theme and an object.  I picked trains/transportation/vehicles.  I used my Accuquilt train die to cut out the engine.

Queen Marie (March) asked for "X and +" blocks in white, gray, and spring greens.  I hadn't made this block before and was surprised at how quickly they came together.

Bee Inspired, the online group that formed from some of us in the New Bloggers Blog Hop group (2016), is not doing a traditional bee this year.  Instead, there are a few different projects and each of us can choose which ones to do.  Some of them are charity quilts where the hostess picks a block and anyone who wants (including those not originally in Bee Inspired!) can send a block or more to be made into a charity quilt.

Irene designed a block for a quilt that will be donated to the Carolina Hurricane Quilts project.  Irene loves paper piecing so of course, her block is paper pieced.  But I don’t love paper piecing, so she said the strips could be pieced traditionally.  So I made some strip sets and then just paper pieced the last step.  Here are the blocks I sent her:

I was the hostess for the first charity quilt of the year and I asked for boat blocks.  I made a few extra to get to a nice round number and it was only after I finished this one that I realized I had used checks, stripes, and polka dots in the same block.  It's like the scrappy block trifecta!