Life is nothing if you're not obsessed

This is my quilting journal; I'll be posting pictures of my quilts as I complete them (meaning that entries may be few and far between, depending on how much I've been getting done). This is in part to show friends, in part to keep as a record for my own inspiration.

18 January 2006


One of my favorite quilts, also made during my period of fascination with 30s quilts (although this one uses no repros, I went with "that green" and chose scrap fabrics that weren't blatantly modern). Hand pieced (actually, even now I'm not sure I'd try this block on the machine), machine-assembled, hand-quilted. The largest quilt I've ever done cross-hatching on. (I'm leaning more and more toward the idea that when you're doing cross-hatching, it needs to be even smaller than you think is going to be too small...).

The border, unfortunately, is a bit warped. We won't talk about that, though. Anyway, it (mostly) quilted out.

Eight-pointed star

This pattern is also known as "Lemoyne Star," and I've even seen it called "Lemon Star." (Quilt block names are nothing if not inconsistent.) Scrap fabrics. Hand-pieced, assembled by machine. Hand-quilted. When I started quilting, I did a lot f hand-piecing. I still enjoy it sometimes (hand sewing is relaxing, machine sewing is just about the opposite) but as I've become friendlier with my machine, I've started to do more on the machine.

There are a couple of detail pics here. I'm really fond of this border--you rarely find something this detailed for a smaller border.

This is the reading corner quilt, I keep it there to cover up withe sitting and reading (and possibly falling asleep).

Quadruple Irish chain

Another Irish chain, this is a relatively early quilt but has some of my best quilting ever; you can't tell from the detail of the main motif but I was getting 11-12 stitches per inch on this one. I've never been able to maintain that again, and I've never been able to figure out why. I'm actually fine with my usual 7-9 stitches per inch, particularly since my eyesight is rather poor, but I'd still like to know how I did it here. (I use the "stitches on top" method of stitch counting, by the way, not the "stitches on top and back" method. Just thought I'd specify that. :))

Since this is an early quilt, my binding was flawed--too "empty" and loose--so now it's starting to fray. I need to make a new one.


Another early quilt using a traditional block; I'd fallen in love with a blue tone-on-tone we carried at the store I was working at at the time, and used it for the background, with assorted white fabrics for the rest of the blocks. Unfortunately hand-piecing is a time-consuming thing, and by the time I was ready to buy the fabric for the borders and sashings, we had a new bolt in, of a different dye lot, so those parts are just a bit lighter in color than the rest. It isn't obvious enough to upset me, but I do notice it once in a while. Hand-pieced blocks assembled by machine, hand-quilted.

I did learn one important thing on this project--there's no point in doing elaborate quilting on fabric where the pattern will hide it. There's a lovely quilted cable in the border but there was no point in trying to photograph it because it's totally inobvious!

Friendship star

Another exchange quilt--the exchange took place over several years within an online quilting group I used to belong to way back when I first started on the net. Nice, nice folks, helped to keep me sane after elder daughter was born and I spent my first winter alone all day with a tiny baby! (At the time she was born, I'd never even changed a diaper, and as a young woman I had always viewed babies with a certain degree of suspicion. :))

This was a one-on-one exchange, which are often difficult but in the case of this swap was problem-free. (There are two ways you can exchange blocks--either (1) with a central coordinator/organizer who receives all the blocks and sends them back out to participants, or (2) with no central person, people send blocks directly to each other.)

The cool thing about this block is the secondary pattern that appears when the top is assembled--sort of a ribbon-like, almost woven look.

Split nine-patch

This may look like another Log Cabin quilt, but it's actually an even simpler block, a split nine-patch, nothing but squares and half-square triangles, dark tones on one side and light on the other. A few years ago I organized a series of split nine-patch exchanges, and used those blocks in this quilt. It's the perfect size to cover half of our bed, making it ideal for when one of us is colder than the other.

I've also seen split nine-patches where the center block is a solid red (the Log Cabin connection, presumably), but I like this look better.

Brown Log Cabin

Intended as a nap quilt, this one is good for naps in the chair, not so good for naps on the couch (not quite long enough). It's also a little thin because I used the old Mountain Mist cotton batting. Machine-pieced in a barn-raising setting (for some reason I always go with barn raising when I'm doing a log cabin...), 1/2-inch logs, hand-quilted.

Ohio star

This is one I wouldn't mind remaking. That's an exaggeration--I'm just not entirely happy with it. The blocks are fine. The sashing could be a bit narrower but it's all right. But I chose an awful quilting pattern for the borders and sashings--made of separate motifs in a row rather than joined together, and this doesn't work very well. The blocks are hand-pieced, and the top was assembled by machine; quilting is, as always, by hand. A rare case where the finished product really didn't resemble my vision of it. (Okay, so maybe that's not that rare, but generally the real quilt is better than the one I'd imagined!)

It's not generally a downstairs quilt, but that's where it is at the moment, so that's where I took the picture. Usually it's a spare for upstairs.

1930s Repro Sampler

This quilt dates from an obsession with 30s repros I had a few years back. They're a lot of fun to work with, and definitely a change from what I usually go for in the quilt shop.* So I joined an exchange. Great stuff, and lots of fabrics I'd never have found on my own. Machine-quilted by various quilters, hand-quilted minimally, mostly in the ditch (along the seam lines). We use it a lot in winter (no direct heat in our bedroom so we pile on the quilts), and for some reason it's the quilt most likely to slide off onto the floor in the middle of the night, but it's warm and colorful, so I like it anyway.

If I were to make it again, I'd use narrower sashings, but that's true of a couple of my other older quilts, so possibly it's a more recent preference of mine and not an error.

My first effort at a pieced border. (I suspect I'll never get any fancier than this with my pieced borders. And most of the time I still prefer a solid border. But this was fun!)

* I have a bad habit, when on a rare visit to a quilt shop, of going directly for the most lush, beautiful, enormous floral prints. Glorious things, but not all that useful for the type of quilts I tend to make. I've got half a shelf in my fabric cabinet filled with this stuff. One of these days I'll get inspired and tear through them, for now they just sit there, looking pretty and expensive.

Blue sampler

My first sampler quilt; I started making blue and white blocks because I wanted one, and damn, it takes a long time to make that many blocks when you're making just one at a time. Eventually I joined a blue/white block exchange and finished up the project. Machine-pieced by different folks, hand-quilted in a fan pattern.

This is a downstairs quilt, so instead of it being flat on the bed to be photographed, it's draped over the couch. (There are a few more pics like this to come). It's the best quilt I've got for taking a nap on the couch. :))


This quilt I made because I found myself with a fair amount of a candy-pink calico. Not being particularly fond of either candy pink or teeny calico, I decided to get rid of it by using it. I chose a traditional but uncommon pattern, and got to it. Machine-pieced and hand-quilted in a fan pattern (my favorite way of quilting anything that doesn't have lovely large areas to quilt up fancy).

Then my younger daughter discovered it and laid claim to it; it's now her quilt, and she sleeps under it every night. :)


When my older daughter was ready to move to a big bed, I wanted to make her a big-bed quilt--this one. I used nine-patch blocks, of which I had a good-sized stack on hand, having coordinated a number of simple six-inch nine-patch block exchanges while she was a baby--different colors for different rounds of the exchange. (I've still got some, in fact; although there are not enough left to make another quilt of this design, I could probably make another one using a different layout.) Machine-pieced by a number of different folks, hand-quilted in a fan pattern. Well-used :).

I'd forgotten how big this quilt ended up being until I spread it out on our bed to photograph. She'll be able to use it on even a full-sized bed eventually, possibly a queen.

Lavender-yellow Pinwheel

And this is the quilt I made for my younger daughter. This time I finished the binding well ahead of time :). It, too, is still used every day.

17 January 2006

Triple Irish Chain

This is the well-used quilt I made before my older daughter was born. Machine-pieced, hand-quilted. I was finishing up the binding in the hospital while in labor :). She still keeps it in her bed :).

I've made a couple of Irish chain quilts. I like the pattern a lot, it's quick to piece, but it's a bear to quilt because the best look is to quilt diagonally along the "chains", but that's a lot of seam to quilt through. Not my best quilting at those points, but decent elsewhere--I love feather wreaths, and use them a lot when I'm doing detailed quilting on a project.

White-on-white crib quilt

My first and only wholecloth quilt. My first effort at cross-hatching. Smallest quilt I've ever made (a crib quilt, never used, never meant to be used). Hand quilted, of course. :) Lots of fun to make. Two pictures, one more detailed.

Apparently my quilting is better than my photography.

Is there a "previous entries" button on Blogspot, or just that archive thing? Me and my slow dial-up should probably find out.

My first quilt

This is the first quilt I ever made; I started it before we were married, because I thought it would be nice to have "a" quilt. :) It's a king-sized quilt, hand-pieced, hand-assembled, and hand-quilted. (Yes, I had no idea what I was getting into.) Two pics, one of the whole and one of a detail of the quilting.

I had the entirely brilliant idea of quilting it on a frame, which I made from two-by-fours and C-clamps. Yes, it works, but I discovered early on that I can quilt in exactly one direction. The frame experiment was therefore a failure. However, I did fairly well with a cheap hoop. The kind I still use (well, I upgraded from a 14" to an 18"--I need to look into getting a new one, actually, my old one is starting to split at the seam).

The quilting (in the detail) isn't too bad for a first quilt :).

The chicken border

All right, here is the promised chicken border, from the Blazing Star quilt in the last entry--first a bit of the border, and then a slightly more detailed chicken. I love this thing. Too much of a pain in the butt to quilt to ever do another one--but I love this thing. I was amazed at how much the detail was visible when quilted.

Of course this is an extra-"good" quilt that doesn't get used much. All of my quilts are meant to be used, but some get used more than others.

16 January 2006

Blazing star quilt

And while we were at it, I decided to take a picture of this one, not a recent one but one of my favorites. Wool batting, and some of my better quilting--no coincidence there, wool batting is incredible to quilt. I'll have to retake the picture, you can't see the detail; I thought I had a good shot of the chicken border (I found an awesome fancy border, complete with roosters, in a book, cut the borders on this one to fit that pattern) but I don't, so you can't see it yet.

I've got quite a few quilts I'd like to have pictures of--possibly if we keep at it we'll eventually find a way to photograph them that comes closer to showing what they actually look like.

All right, I've got one more picture of this one, not of the border, but at least you can see the block pattern. We'll see how Blogspot likes having two pics in the same entry...

Pinwheel quilt

And this is the other quilt I completed this winter. I started quilting it a couple of years ago, though. Took forever, mainly because I kept stopping work on it. I was out of the quilt zone for a while :). I'm pretty happy with it overall, although the binding is a bit off in color because the muslin I have on hand now is a few shades lighter than the one I had when I was piecing the top.

The quilting is pretty detailed, and I'm particularly pleased with the feather/cable border, but I don't think you can see that here.

We have a slow dial-up; I'm eating Ramen noodles while waiting for the pic to upload. Haven't had them since I was in college (other than in that "oriental cole slaw" thing that people bring to pot-lucks), I'd forgotten how much food is in these things!

My elder daughter can be thanked for the existence of these pictures. Our camera is not my friend today, but hers works just fine, and she is helping me with this.

Yule quilt

This is the quilt I completed most recently, a Yule sampler. A lot of the blocks are from various holiday block exchanges. I say "various" because I had to join a few different ones to get as many blocks as I wanted--most folks aren't making quilts for king-size beds. There's something kind of neat about block exchanges--even when I've made a point of choosing different sorts of fabric for quilt blocks, they all still reflect my personal taste, which gives them an unintentional sameness. I haven't done an exchange in years, actually. They're fun, but I haven't been doing a lot of quilting during the last year or two.

Partly because of how big a 64-block quilt would be if I added sashing, I decided to go with a simple layout. It's kind of a busy look, but I like that sometimes. The quilting was minimal, using a variegated red/green quilting thread, fun to work with but not as cool-looking as you'd think, and definitely brings out all my errors!

(Okay, this was where I discovered that blogger doesn't seem to like my browser of choice, Mozilla, at least insofar as letting me upload pictures. Internet Explorer--boo, hiss!--worked.)