Dream On, Dream Big Quilt Top

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When I made my “first real quilt” I had no idea I’d ever make another, let alone become a quilter.  All I knew was that I was crossing something off my list of Things to do Before I Die, one of which was (of course) to make a “real quilt.”  I didn’t have a friend or family member who introduced me to the craft, or anyone who taught me how things work in the great wide world of quilting.  I was busy having my last three babies, figuring out how on  earth to take care of all my young children, and generally trying to remember which way was up, so I was a little slow to figure things out.  In fact, it wasn’t until I introduced my youngest sister to quilting that I learned about designers releasing new collections twice a year, and how quickly they sometimes sell out.  I learned it, at last, because she told me.

This explains why, in 2010, I didn’t buy a single piece of Dream On by Urban Chiks.  For that matter, I also missed their Sweet and Swell lines.  I vaguely knew about them but had no clue they’d be gone so quickly!  It was, therefore, a happy day when on Instagram I watched the beginning of #thegreatfabricdestash and was able to purchase three charm packs of Dream On.

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Meet my Dream Big quilt top!  I finally found the courage to use those charm packs, and paired them with a Kona mango solid.  This quilt is simply lots of 5 inch squares in a completely random design (inspired by this quilt).  Mine measures approximately 76 by 90 inches, but in spite of it’s size it took only a few hours to complete.

I took a few photos for record keeping, because every basic patchwork quilt I make from here on will be sewn this way.

First, I laid out all my squares in a random fashion on the floor.  I opted for 20 rows of 17 squares each (so a total of 340 squares) and stacked them up, labeling the far left square of each row with the row number.

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The key to this project was the number 4.  I pieced this quilt top in sets of 4 rows at a time, which was what made it so fast and simple.  I chain pieced the rows, four at a time, until they looked like this:

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Leaving my label pinned to each row, I carefully cut them apart and then ironed them.  The first row was ironed with all seams pressed to the right, the second row to the left, third to the right again, and the fourth to the left once more.  This prepared all seams to nest neatly together while I sewed the rows together, which I did, four at a time.  I didn’t even bother pinning.  I simply made sure each seam was properly nesting together as I fed them through.

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I did this four more times, and suddenly the quilt top was in five large sections!

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Four last seams remained to join them together, and because I’d sewn in sets of four rows and ironed them all the same way, the seams perfectly nested on these final seams as well.  It made sewing so many squares together a relaxing and fun experience, one I could do in 20 minute chunks of time over a few days.

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Life is fascinating – particularly the way things come together to teach and change us.  Because I’d chosen the mango solid, this quilt became a subtle reminder of my friend Wes (who LOVED the color orange) and my trip to Gig Harbor.  These thoughts merged with insights gleaned from books I’m currently reading, as well as the fabric collection’s name and vintage origin, to inspire me to ponder my dreams.  So much is going on in my mind and heart these last few months!

I scored the perfect vintage sheet for the backing and am excited to quilt this one.  It just feels good to sew.  And ponder.  Simple sewing is good for the mind and heart when there’s lots to process.

Jennifer

 

Wishing Well Quilt {It’s home!}

I posted here about the totally unexpected and wonderful surprise of having my quilt featured on the cover of Quilty Magazine in March.

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That wonderful quilt made its way back home several weeks ago, and I finally took a few pictures of my own.

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The circumstances surrounding it’s finish, rushing it off to the publisher within minutes of completion, and having it gone for several months all made me wonder if I’d still like it when I saw it again.  And then, one day, there was a big box on my doorstep and when I opened it up and spread the quilt out I loved it just as much – perhaps more than I remembered.

I love it when that happens.

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I love this big block (it measures 23″ square).  It just makes me happy.  I also really love the way the blocks interact when set together, and the secondary designs that are created with the background fabric.

Melissa did a great job of quilting it for me.  I’d always wanted a quilt with baptist fan quilting and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.  The prints used are from Moonlit, Rashida Coleman-Hale’s first collection for Cotton + Steel plus several prints from their basics as well.

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The backing is simple but I love the fabrics I used.  This quilt also has my first ever hanging sleeve on it – a requirement for submitting it to Quilty.  This alphabet print by Maude Asbury complimented the Cotton + Steel prints really well and I was happy to use it on the back.  The yellow matchsticks are one of my favorite prints from the Moonlit collection.  And the binding… the binding makes me happy.  I wish I had yards and yards of that print.

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I treasure this quilt.  The inspiration for its design, the thoughts it inspired while making it, the story of its journey, will always be dear to me.  What a wonderful {likely} once in a lifetime experience!  I’m grateful for the experience on many levels.

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My quilt is back home.  Happy day!  I made a couple of other variations of this pattern while I was waiting for it to be published.  I’ll share them soon!

Jennifer

Flight II {a quilt top}

The Flight Quilt I made last year for Bonnie Christine’s blog tour was among my favorite completed projects of 2014.  When I finished it, I didn’t feel done with the pattern OR Bonnie’s beautiful Winged fabric collection, so a second version was begun.

I’d been working on another single block quilt (photos coming soon) and kind of had that style on my brain, so I enlarged my original pattern again and made this quilt top, titled Flight II.

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Once again, it’s my foundation paper pieced version of the traditional circling swallows quilt block. Please don’t ask me why it’s taken more than six months to take, and share, a few photos.  I’ll just start rambling.

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At least I still love it, right?  For this version I decided not to have the star points go all the way to the edges, so I added a border in the background fabric.  I haven’t made many quilts with a dark background and this was a fun departure for me.  I’d say it’s also the most purple I’ve ever used in any project, ever.  And while I don’t love purple, I love these fabrics and the way they work together.

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My sweet kids did a great job of trying to hold this quilt top for me as the wind wrestled to literally have it “take flight.”  This might be my favorite photo:

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We were laughing so hard!  The rain started falling shortly after and we drove home in a downpour.  Such was our spring.  The quilt back and binding are ready and waiting for me to simply make time for basting and quilting.  Oh, how I hope to finish this soon!  The school year was such a crazy one; that girl I thought I was, the one who sews, is beginning to feel like a distant memory and I don’t like it. Balance has become a very real need in my life and I’m hopeful I can begin to correct things over the summer.

Summer!  Wow, that happened fast.  Can you believe it’s June?

Jennifer

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