Awake Quilt in Heather Ross Fabrics

Phew!  Does anyone else feel like the last quarter of the year is intense?  I hope it’s not just me!  October swept me away and now it’s November and…wow!  The year will be over before I’m ready.  In all the crazy that was October I finally sewed the binding on this Awake Quilt in Heather Ross fabrics.  It’s all kinds of cute, with bright, happy colors.  

This is my second version of the Awake Quilt (you can see my original version here).  I did a few things differently in this one, just to play with the pattern a little.  For instance, I used a different color to frame the center star instead of the same around all 5. I also made the center star points brown instead of green, and to simplify decision making I used the same green for the other four.  One goal with this Awake Quilt in Heather Ross fabrics was to make decision making simpler, demonstrating that the quilt still looks amazing with fewer fabrics.

I like the orangey red in this quilt, and the secondary design that color represents.  I used two fabrics NOT designed by Heather Ross:  the bright blue around the four stars, and the purple print on the sides.  The plan was an exclusively Heather Ross quilt, but when I started sewing I couldn’t find a blue with enough presence inside my HR stash.  So the color won out and I found a different fabric.  I’m happy with my choice.

It was really fun, though, to go through my Heather Ross fabrics and choose oranges, greens and purples for the courthouse steps blocks.  Another thing I did in this version was to plan my dresden borders.  I wanted to see how the green would look if I lined it up across the quilt.  I’m hooked, and I need to do it again.

I enjoyed making this second Heather Ross version of Awake just as much as I did the first one.  And of course, because it’s Heather Ross we’re talking about, there was fussy cutting.  I mean, how could I not put those cute moons in the dresden centers? It feels good to have so many treasured prints in a quilt instead of on the shelf.  I tend to save fabric from favorite designers and never make anything with them, but I’m trying to change.  Use the fabric!!!  It’s even prettier all sewn together.

My longarm quilting skills are a different story.  Good ideas, good intentions, and poor execution sums it up.  But if I don’t try it, I’ll never improve.  I learned good lessons about envisioning larger quilting designs on a machine with a small throat.

The lovely orange floral back is fun to look at even while the quilting is VERY wobbly.  But I tried, and it’s done, and I do love the quilt!

Today I’m smiling at these photos, taken the day before a surprise snowstorm hit.  Look at that beautiful green grass, and a very green cherry tree.

Our yard looked very different yesterday!  What a change.  I guess winter really is coming, even if the leaves on my tree aren’t close to changing.  

 

Wherever you are, and whatever the weather, I hope you are well!  Sun or snow, if we really look, there’s a lot to smile about.  Happy sewing!

20 in 20 Quilt Journal

This is a quilt I hope my children hang on to.  I have a few of those, I guess, but I hope this one is an obvious keeper for them someday.  Why?  Because the quilt became a journal of sorts during the 2020 pandemic. I included bits and pieces of all of us in it.  Color and design guarantee a happy, fun quilt.  But it’s my hand stitching of all those words that makes this 20 in 20 Quilt Journal a piece of family history.  

Though the colors and arrangement of blocks appear random, each half rectangle block represents one calendar day in 2020.  You can read all about what each color means in this post.  

But what I love and treasure now, was never part of the plan.  Following the urge to pencil in a small memory here and there became the best element in the quilt.  Reading those little reminders is really great.  Already I see things I’d forgotten.  What a year!  Loved ones gone, jobs lost and found, injuries, surgeries, answered prayers and family time.  We managed a trip to the beach that included a stingray.  That was a first!  It was also a last.  So many memories.  Highs and lows.  All of it worth remembering.  I love the way this quilt invites me to pause and remember.

I chose a simple circular E2E quilting pattern to soften the points of the blocks.  Look at the backing!  I paired two favorite fabrics from different designers and they look great together.  

Drumroll, please.  I made a quilt label!  I rarely manage to do it, so this one deserves celebration.  This one serves two purposes:  the last 2 days of the year are represented here, and it’s also a label.  I added the list of what each color means plus my name, location, and year.  

Looking at this 20 in 20 Quilt Journal reminds me how personal quilting is.  It reminds me that this type of project is most fulfilling to me.  I guess I’d better get moving on another “sew your story” type of quilt, because they really fill me up.

 

City Sampler Quilt

This quilt is a big one!  It’s my City Sampler Quilt, quilted and bound and making me smile.  It’s made of 100 different blocks, all of them different.  And although it sounds like a lot, it never felt like too much, because I did it as part of a sew-along.

I chose to make all my blocks in blue fabrics.  Seriously, give me all the blues!  A rainbow of them.  I love blue so much, and always have.  So it felt right to make an entire quilt of blue blocks.  

I went through all my fabrics, all my scraps, and used as many different pieces as I could.  It was incredibly fun to put pieces together until I found combinations I loved for each block design.  And Tula Pink did an amazing job of making an incredible pattern.  I would definitely make this again.

It didn’t take long for me to include aqua and a few greens in my color scheme.  I particularly enjoyed making the butterfly block below, mimicking the little triangles in the print in the checkered border around it.  In fact, this quilt was an early part of personal storytelling in fabric for me.

I found myself putting together fabrics and colors that reflected my day, my experiences, my feelings.  The tiger block below still makes me laugh.  You see these hungry tigers, not looking particularly happy, with bow ties on the right and a knife and fork on the left.  This block was my representation of my then 16 year old son when he came home from football practice, looking for food to eat.  I love it!  Now he’s a responsible, handsome adult, I’m even happier I have this block to remind me of that stage.

When I first saw the striped sashing fabric, I was in love.  Seriously, it’s the greatest print (made by Andover) so I immediately chose it for sashing.  The trick was to keep the stripe running consistently across the quilt from left to right.  This involved hours and special cutting, but I accomplished my goal.  It feels like the running dialogue of life weaving through the quilt, making it a perfect sashing. 

The wavy/swirly quilting is a great compliment to the quilt blocks.  My final layout was simply a random placement of blocks that I didn’t overthink.  

I found a gorgeous Japanese bird print for the back, and used a Lizzy House blue to bind it.  The City Sampler Quilt is a favorite of mine, large and happy and FULL of colors/fabrics I love.  Really, there are SO many treasures in this one!  

Sometimes I feel like I’ll never catch up on all the things I’m inching forward in my life.  These blocks were made in 2016, and sharing the quilt with you today reminds me that the joy of finishing is a great feeling anytime.  So I’ll go get to work on another!  

I hope your October is off to a great start.  I love the crisp air, blue sky, and feeling like so much is happening!  Happy sewing!

-Jennifer

 

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