Tag Archives: Block quilts

One More Quilt Top Finished

For my recent quilt retreat, I prepped material to sew three quilt tops. Over the two-and-a-half days I got a lot done, including one quilt top finished, one done except borders applied, and one with a boatload of blocks created. I already showed you the first two of them. Now I’ve finished the third quilt top, too.

This will be another quilt intended for my local VA hospital. They have requested quilts finishing at no bigger than 48″ x 60″. The size works well as a lap quilt for most people, but most importantly, the quilts are tangible symbols of appreciation and respect.

I love block quilts with chains. The puss-in-the-corner blocks are so easy to make and create those chains effectively. What doesn’t work in this quilt is the lack of value contrast. Because of the prints used and the fairly narrow range of value, this is all a bit mushy. As you might be able to tell from the close-up photo, though, it’s actually much prettier in person than it shows in the top photo. And I think it will suit one of our hero-patients just right.

With the end of February rolling up on us, I only have one finished quilt in my count for the year, as well as the three completed tops. Another (the house quilt) is in process. But I’ve been working hard on other projects, so I don’t feel (very) sorry for myself.

How’s your year coming along? Are you making progress on things (however you define that) as you’d hoped? 

Pink and Brown Quilts

I like to think I choose from a large color palette, but there are some distinct color combinations I’ve used multiple times. For example, I’ve made three different quilts from red and white. Another combination that appeals to me is pink and brown. Whether pink and brown reminds you of chocolate-covered cherries, or strawberry ice cream with chocolate syrup, or some other sweet treat, it’s a duo with a long history together. And I do love quilt history. 🙂

Pink and brown quilts were especially popular in the mid-1800s. The pink prints used at the time were often called “double pink.” What is double pink? From the Quilt Index Wiki page:

Double pinks, sometimes called ‘cinnamon’ pinks, feature tiny prints in a dark, cinnamon-like pink, on a light rosy pink ground. Both of these hues have warmer undertone than bubblegum pink, which emerged as a quilt fabric, often as a solid rather than a print, in the twentieth century. Double pinks were most popular in the 1860s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, though double pinks are common in quilts through the 1920s. At the height of their popularity in the mid-nineteenth century, double pinks were often paired with madder or chocolate browns in quilts.

At the same time double pink and brown was most popular, medallion quilts were on their way out of favor. Medallions in the early 1800s included whole cloth such as whitework,  broderie perse, and pieced quilts with both regular and irregular border forms. Delectable Mountains quilts might be an example of “regular” borders, with some uniformity of style, color, and value from the center to the outside edge. As the medallion quilts lost popularity, block quilts became the dominant style.

In the last few years I’ve made three different pink and brown quilts. The colors appeal to me partly because the double pink is very strong — while it is feminine, it is not timid, but boldly shows itself.

The first pink and brown quilt I made was a block quilt for a family friend, for her college graduation in 2011. I love the Ohio Stars with chain blocks, and the border stripe fabric framed them perfectly.

College graduation quilt for a friend — still one of my favorites. It’s about 81″x81″. 2011.

My other two pink and brown quilts were both made last year. One was the Delectable Mountains quilt from early in the year.

Delectable Mountains. 61″ x 61″. Finished spring 2017. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

And the other was Union, which I showed you a few days ago.

Union. Finished December 2017. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

When I finished piecing Union, I was still enjoying working with the pinks and browns. Since I still had them out, I began a new quilt featuring them. The new one, however, will expand its palette by including reds, olive greens, and teals. After it is finished, I’ll probably be done with the double pinks for a while.

Do you have color combinations you use repeatedly? Do you have a reputation for using particular colors? (I’ve seen that happen!) If you were limited to four colors of quilting for the rest of your life, what colors would you choose?

2016 Quilt Finishes with Pix and Links

In my “reflections” on the past year, I published a list of projects I finished in 2016. The list below also includes links to the most useful post about each project, if available.

1. Beth’s Carousel — Ricky Tims kaleidoscope medallion
2. Isaac’s Big Block — big bed quilt with medallion back, too
3. Reconnected — for Padre’s wedding, big couch throw size
4. Moonlight Waltz — big medallion
5. VA hospital quilt  — block quilt from Moonlight Waltz leftovers
6. Untied — hand-quilted wall-hanging
7. Iowa In My Mind — guild challenge art quilt for Son
8. More Precious Than Diamonds — big bed quilt using 60 degree diamonds
9. Stars for Nora — multiple block sizes baby quilt
10. Still Climbing Mountains — big couch throw for Daughter
11. If I Had A Nickel — stacked coins big couch throw
12. small group round robin — of course, this was 5 projects
13. VA hospital quilt — shooflies and HST block quilt
14. VA hospital quilt — hourglasses block quilt
15. placemats — 4 of them of HST for Son
16. Kim’s Christmas stocking

Since mid-2013, most of my quilts have been medallions. Last year, of 14 quilts (not including the placemats and Christmas stocking,) only five were medallions. Click any photo to see them larger. 

One of my concerns as I make medallions is that I don’t let the format overtake design. Each quilt must be unique, not a repeat of those that have come before. As I look at the quilts above, I’m pleased at how different they are, though I believe they all (with the exception of the round robin, a group project) look like mine. If I had to pick favorites for aesthetics only, my votes go to Moonlight Waltz and Untied.

The rest of 2016’s quilts were a variety of other formats, including square block with straight and on-point settings, non-square block, and multi-sized block. Throw in a strip quilt and an art quilt, and I made a broader range of quilts last year than usual. Here they are, not including the donation quilts. Click any photo to see them larger. 

Four of the non-medallion quilts were inspired by other quilters but made my own. Iowa In My Mind was created to meet a guild challenge, as well as my personal challenge to try something very different. None of the six quilts shown above is in a standard square-block format, which also pushed my boundaries a bit. Again, if I had to choose favorites, I pick Still Climbing Mountains and Iowa In My Mind.

2016 will be a hard year to top in some ways. But it’s a whole new year and we get to start over. I’ve started. Have you?

Big D’s Quilt

XX's Quilt. 75" x 75". Begun with a medallion print purchased in Boulder City, NV. Finished in February 2015.

Big D’s Quilt. 75″ x 75″. Begun with a medallion print purchased in Boulder City, NV. Finished in January 2015.

Today I gave Big D his quilt, almost a year after it was finished. Big D is one of my little grandsons, and it was time for the boy to have a big-bed quilt. I wrote about making the quilt here and here.

Big D shares a bedroom with two older brothers, who already had big-bed quilts. They make a handsome trio — of boys and quilts!

P’s Quilt. Bear’s Paw pattern. Finished in 2009. Photo is a little distorted.

C’s Quilt. Strip quilt with “chunky churndash” block set on point. Finished in 2009. Photo is a little distorted.

I think it is interesting that the three use three different formats: medallion, block quilt, and strip quilt. They are as distinct as the boys are.