Wallhangings

Am I There Yet?

Try a TechniqueThe March challenge for the 2018 Island Batik Ambassadors was to try a new Technique. Most of us are longtime quilters, instructors and/or designers, so for many of us, the hardest part of the challenge was to come up with a tool or technique we haven’t already tried! Fortunately, I had a couple of tools designed by Phillips Fiber Art that I had not had time to play with yet – The Gems 5 & 10 and Gem Star tools.

I started thinking about what sort of project I could make with the pieced and appliqued 5-pointed stars these tools make. I was surfing the internet in search of inspiration when I came across Diane Harris’s posts about a class she was taking on improvisational quilting. My muse tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me that the President’s Challenge theme I had chosen for my quilt guild this year is Wing It. “We can answer two challenges with one project,” says he.

“Improvisation. Make it up as you go,” I replied.  “How hard can it be?”  That was in early March. It’s now mid-June and I have just put the binding on. So there’s your answer. Here’s the rest of the story:

IMG_2120We began with the fabric pull. I started with the collection of basics supplied by Island Batik. I chose a dark green for my big pieced star. I also decided that I had to use this yellow and magenta blend because…well, to be honest, since I had little confidence this project was going to turn out, I wouldn’t be too upset if, in the end, I felt like I had wasted it. Then I pulled out my bag of Island Batik IMG_2123scraps and came up with more greens and pinks, and decided to add a copper-brown print from the basics.

In the end, I didn’t use the three lightest greens or the light pink, but at this point I still didn’t know what I was making. Better to have too many colors than not enough.

IMG_2126First came the pieced base. I made one large dark green star with the Gem 10 tool. The instructions that come with the tool are well-illustrated. In a nutshell, you sew stripsets, then use the tool as a template to cut wedges. There are five wedges with the darker green, and five mirror-image wedges with the slightly lighter green. Two wedges make one star point wedge.

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So, we start with a pieced 5-point star.

I have to say, the tool is terrific  and easy to use. It makes a very large star, but there is also a Gem 10 Junior tool available if you want a smaller project. But I digress.

As it happens, the piece is a decagon shape. It works great for the several patterns Phillips Fiber Art has designed for the Gem 5 & 10 tools. However, my Muse and I had decided we wanted a square wallhanging.

IMG_2134At this point, Muse left the studio. I hate it when he does that.

After several  hours of thinking, slicing, patching, piecing and trimming up, I had a square-ish base piece. I couldn’t say I was happy with it, and frankly, I was feeling more than a little stressed out because I didn’t even know which side was top, bottom, left or right. I had no clue where I was going with this project. Finally, I convinced myself that if I didn’t love it, at least I didn’t hate it, and it was time to move on.

IMG_2150Making the applique stars with the Gem Star tool was the most enjoyable part of this project. There’s a clever little trick for getting those points so pointy, and the only difficult part of the whole process is getting the center to match up. Most were oh-so-close, but this gold one is dead-on perfect.

When these stars are finished, the edges of the points are turned under already, so it’s a simply matter to applique them down, whether you you want to hand-sew or machine-sew them.

I didn’t have any idea how many stars I needed or where they were going to be placed, so I just started making them in several sizes. In the end, I made more than I needed. The extras may become Christmas ornaments.

IMG_2191Quilting is very simple on this piece. I stitched 1/4″ inside and outside the perimeter of the large pieced star, then echo-quilted straight lines in the gold background, and straight lines across the magenta corners.

Using my quilting guide bar, and my seams as a pivot point, it was easy to make straight, evenly-spaced quilting lines. I sewed a 1″ spaced line, then two 1/4″ lines, then 1″, two 1/4″, repeating until the space was filled.

 

Next decision: Where to put the applique stars. If I hadn’t been so far beyond deadline at this point, I would have enjoyed playing with the possibilities. Here are a few of the options I liked:

 

The more I played with the stars, the more I felt something just wasn’t right with the base piece yet. It was the gold areas. After stewing over it for a few days, Muse resurfaced and suggested I add a few lines of quilting that might actually be visible in the gold areas.

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It’s amazing how just a little detail can make such a big difference.

Those two lines of magenta quilting were just what this piece needed to pull it all together.

Note to Muse: It would have been easier if you had suggested it before I appliqued the stars down. Just sayin’.

So, is it finished now? I don’t know. Hence, the title – Am I There Yet?

After all, if you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know when you’ve arrived?

Am I There Yet - Title


The fabrics used in this piece were supplied by Island Batik. The threads are from Aurifil, and the batting from Hobbs.

 

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Categories: Aurifil Threads, Hobbs Batting, Island Batik Ambassador, Island Batik Fabric, Uncategorized, Wallhangings | 4 Comments

What’s in a Name?

Looking Back Vintage QuiltIn the case of this 45″x 54″ quilt/wallhanging I designed for Island Batik’s “Looking Back” challenge, the title is sadly ironic.

You see, I began designing this fun little quilt a few months ago. The challenge was to take a vintage quilt pattern and use it as inspiration for a modern style quilt. I chose the traditional “Hourglass” block, also commonly called a quarter-square triangle. This pattern features 3″, 6″ and 9″ Hourglass blocks, and I titled the pattern “Plenty of Time.”

In mid March, my life was turned upside down, when my mother was diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer. My weekends, usually my quilting time, were suddenly spent sitting by Mom’s hospital bed, and the top for this quilt was sewn during the few evenings I had to myself in a hotel room. The doctors had told us we might have up to six months. As it turned out, we had just six weeks. We said our goodbyes on May 15th.

Portrait_1For the last week of her earthly life, I slept in a recliner next to Mom’s bed at Peace Hospice in Great Falls. One night I dreamt of her passing from this world into the next, and into the welcoming arms of my grandparents and a host of friends and family members who have gone before.

I have tried several times to change the title for this quilt, but it won’t let me. “Plenty of Time” just seems right.


Thanks to Island Batiks for providing the fabrics. I used a package of 5″ squares, and the “Stash Builder” bundle of 5″ x 21″ strips, cut into 5″ squares, plus a few larger scraps and yardage.

The quilt was sewn with thread provided by Aurifil, and quilted by Kathy Brown at the Creative Needle in Shelby MT.

Batting provided by Hobbs.

Want to see more great quilts inspired by vintage quilts? Check out the blogs of my fellow Island Batik Ambassadors:

Den Syende Himmel

Busy Hands Quilts

PamelaQuilts

Ark Angel Creations

Desert Bloom Quilting

Freemotion by the River

Yellow Cat Quilt Designs

Quilting Affection Designs

Inquiring Quilter

Bejeweled Quilts by Barb

Clever Chameleon

Sarah Goer Quilts

Mania for Quilts

Steph Jacobson

Inchworm Fabrics

Kauffman Designs

Moosestash Quilting 

BeaQuilter

Gateway Quilts & Stuff

Carole Lyles Shaw

Sally Manke

Mary Mack Made Mine

Kathleen McMusing

heARTs Creations

Sew Karen-ly Created

If These Threads Could Talk

The Quilt Rambler

Devoted Quilter

Slice of Pi Quilts

Creative Blonde

Vicki’s Crafts and Quilting

Masterpiece Quilting

Patterns by Jen

Powered by Quilting

Quilt in a not-Shell

Dizzy Quilter

Curlicue Creations

Lizard Creek Quilts

Little Bunny Quilts

MMM Quilts

Sew Increadibly Crazy

Adventerous Applique and Quilting

Sweetgrass Designs

Living Water Quilter

Whispers of Yo

 

Categories: Aurifil Threads, Hobbs Batting, Island Batik Ambassador, Island Batik Fabric, Quilts, Scrap Quilts, Uncategorized, Wallhangings | 8 Comments

A Wee Little Quilt

Mini Love“Mini Love” is the theme for my second project as an ambassador for Island Batiks Fabric. For this project, I wanted to make a mini quilt, which is usually defined for competition purposes, as a scale model version of a full-size quilt pattern, usually a scale of 1/4″ = 1″. That means a miniature version of a 12″ traditional quilt block would be just 3″ square.

Believe it or not, a miniature quilt block is harder to make than a full-size block, because while accuracy is important with a full-size block, it is crucial in a mini block. By their very size, mini quilts invite close inspection.

IMG_2076For my mini quilt, I chose a version of the Ohio Star, and chose to celebrate the Irish portion of my DNA by using greens and oranges from the “Stash Builder” collection of 5″ strips that was included in the lovely box of fabrics that Island Batiks sent me. I’m using Aurifil 50-wt thread, courtesy of the company, and Heirloom batting provided by Hobbs.

 

IMG_2091I have a friend who likes to count the number of pieces in a block, and she would be quick to point out that there are 29 pieces in each of these mini Ohio Star blocks. I prefer to think in terms of units. Each block has four quarter-square triangles, and four half-square triangle units with a little accent corner. Plus, of course, the center square. It seems not quite so intimidating. Still- that’s a lot of pieces.

 

IMG_2081There are nine blocks in this quilt. When I have blocks with those accent corners, I will usually carry that out into the border. To do this for this mini quilt, I cut sixteen 3.5″ squares. I added orange on two corners of twelve of the squares, and one orange corner on the remaining four.

 

 

 

IMG_2092It took me a while to decide how to quilt this little gem. I decided to trace around the octagons in each block, and crosshatch the border, using the star tips as my starting points. To keep my lines straight, I used a square ruler, with the diagonal line placed along the border seam, drew a very (very) light line with a #4 drafting pencil.

When machine quilting, I adjust my stitch length from 2.5mm to 3.0, and loosen my top thread tension just a tad.

After quilting, I added a binding that was similar to the fabric in my center squares, and here is “Indiana Irish,” celebrating my family roots in the Emerald Isle and the Hoosier State. This little treasure will be hanging in the kitchen while the corned beef and potatoes are cooking on St. Patrick’s Day.

Indiana Irish

“Indiana Irish”  2018 by Anne Wiens

Check out the blogs of my fellow Island Batik Ambassadors:

Den Syende Himmel

Busy Hands Quilts

PamelaQuilts

Ark Angel Creations

Desert Bloom Quilting

Freemotion by the River

Yellow Cat Quilt Designs

Quilting Affection Designs

Inquiring Quilter

Bejeweled Quilts by Barb

Clever Chameleon

Sarah Goer Quilts

Mania for Quilts

Steph Jacobson

Inchworm Fabrics

Kauffman Designs

Moosestash Quilting 

BeaQuilter

Gateway Quilts & Stuff

Carole Lyles Shaw

Sally Manke

Mary Mack Made Mine

Kathleen McMusing

heARTs Creations

Sew Karen-ly Created

If These Threads Could Talk

The Quilt Rambler

Devoted Quilter

Slice of Pi Quilts

Creative Blonde

Vicki’s Crafts and Quilting

Masterpiece Quilting

Patterns by Jen

Powered by Quilting

Quilt in a not-Shell

Dizzy Quilter

Curlicue Creations

Lizard Creek Quilts

Little Bunny Quilts

MMM Quilts

Sew Increadibly Crazy

Adventerous Applique and Quilting

Sweetgrass Designs

Living Water Quilter

Whispers of Yo

Our next challenge: “Try a Technique”. I’m looking forward to that!

 

 

Categories: Aurifil Threads, Hobbs Batting, Island Batik Ambassador, Island Batik Fabric, Miniatures, Tools, Tucket Trimmer (Studio 180 Designs), Uncategorized, Wallhangings | 5 Comments

Spring is Busting Out All Over

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“Star Route” by Anne Wiens – 2016

The Spring 2017 issue of Quiltmaker’s Quilts from 100 Blocks should be on your newsstand today, and one of the fourteen patterns is mine! You can read about the new issue by clicking on the link.

Remember my “Star Route” block from last fall’s Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, Vol. 14?

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“Budding Blossoms” by Anne Wiens 60″x60″ (Photo: Quiltmaker)

Well, it’s grown into “Budding Blossoms”, a 60″ x 60″ wallhanging/lap quilt!

This project was a bit of a Scrap Squad ’13 reunion. I designed it and sewed the top, it was quilted by Nicole Brouillette, and we used a flange binding technique we learned from Marti Dyer-Allison. The magazine includes a quick photo tutorial on how to make the binding. Marti did a video tutorial, which you can watch HERE.

I loved working with Kathy Deggendorfer’s “Wild by Nature” collection from Maywood Studio. I even had enough fabric leftover to make a second lap quilt, which I’d like to share with you. The design for this quilt was driven by the fabrics I had on hand, with the addition of a black tone-on-tone for the block background.

The first thing I did was to deconstruct the Star Route block. I took the “Hole in the Barn Door” block from the center, and the “Sawtooth Star” that surrounded it. I had enough pink, green, orange and yellow fabrics to make 12 “Hole in the Barn Door” and a dozen “Sawtooth Star” blocks. These blocks are 9″ finished.

I also had just over 1/2 yard each of three of the floral prints. Not enough to make alternating 9″ squares, so I had to get a little clever. I sewed the pieced blocks into pairs, and eked out four 9.5″ x 18.5″ rectangles of each of the three florals.  Each pair of blocks was sewn to the long side of a floral rectangle. Knowing that it would not be fun to unsew 18″ seams on a black fabric, I decided to draw and label the layout. (I still wound up unsewing one seam.)

And here she is….”Country Girl” is 54″ x 72″ as is, which would be a nice lap-size quilt.

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“Country Girl” 2017 by Anne Wiens

It’s finished, according to the pattern. But I just may add a 3″ black border to it, which would make it 60″ x 78″. I haven’t decided yet. The binding will be that green from the center of the “Hole in the Barn Door” blocks.We’ll see.

Meanwhile, I’m on to my next project…a “guy quilt” for Quiltmaker Magazine.

qf100-cover-500If you don’t find a copy of the new Quilts from 100 Blocks issue, click HERE to order it directly from Quiltmaker in print or digital format.

Categories: 100 Blocks, Quiltmaker Magazine, Quilts from 100 Blocks, Uncategorized, Wallhangings | Leave a comment

The Sun Rises on Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, Vol. 12

And guess who’s block is right there on the cover. 🙂

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That’s “Rising Sun”, front and slightly left of center!

"Rising Sun" block by Anne Wiens

“Rising Sun” block by Anne Wiens

This block was named for one of my favorite spots in Glacier National Park. It’s just a few miles up Going-to-the-Sun Road from the St. Mary’s entrance to the park.

The “Sun” isn’t in the center of this block. It “rises” when you put four blocks together, as I did in this 32″ x 32″ wallhanging:

Rising Sun Wallhanging © 2015 by Anne Wiens

Rising Sun Wallhanging © 2015 by Anne Wiens

In making this piece, I made one change to the block as shown in 100 Blocks.

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In each of the four blocks, I substituted a 2.5″ white square for one of the 2.5″ medium green squares.

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This made a twelve-point white star surrounding my “sun” in the center of the piece. Sew the four blocks together.

The border is made in sections.

Border unit pieces

Border unit pieces

There are eight 4.5″ x 12.5″ border sections- two per block.

For each border section you need two 2.5″ dark blue squares and two 2.5″ light blue squares, plus two 4.4″ x 6.5″ white rectangles.

You will also need four 4.5″ white squares for the corners.

 

3

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Use the Stitch-and-Flip method to put blue corners on the white rectangles. Eight units should have light blue on the left and dark blue on the right (upper unit shown above), and eight should have dark blue on the left and light blue on the right (lower unit shown above.)

4

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Sew the units into four pairs, matching the dark blue corners. You should have eight pairs. Sew two pairs together to make a border strip…you will have four.

Sew a border strip to two opposite sides of the blocks.

Sew 4.5″ white squares to the each end of the two remaining border strips and sew to the other two sides of the blocks.

Layer your batting, backing and top and quilt as desired. I quilted around my center “sun” and then concentric diamonds following the lines of my piecing.

I used my gold fabric for the binding.

Rising Sun Wallhanging  © 2015 by Anne Wiens

Rising Sun Wallhanging © 2015 by Anne Wiens

Since I was a member of the 2013 Quiltmaker Scrap Squad, I have been hooked on “scrapping” patterns, including my own. I will be giving this block a good scrapping soon, so bookmark this blog and check back often!

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Time to give away a copy of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, Vol 12.

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Leave a comment below and tell me…what colors will you use for your Rising Sun block? The winner will be chosen at random on Sunday morning, Nov 22, 2015.

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PS: Did you see the Bitty Block I designed for the Quiltmaker blog today?

Check it out HERE!

Click HERE to continue the 100 Blocks Vol 12 Blog Tour.

Categories: 100 Blocks, 12" TQ Blocks, Quiltmaker Magazine, Wallhangings | 111 Comments

Soup’s On!

Chicken Soup - Anne Wiens 2013

Chicken Soup – Anne Wiens 2013

Last month, Quiltmaker Magazine’s online editor, Diane Harris, asked me to write a couple of blog posts for the magazine’s “Quilty Pleasures“. She asked for a tutorial on Studio 180 Designs‘ “V Blocks” and “Split Rects” rotary cutting tools. She said they would send me a bundle of fat quarters for my trouble. The secret is out. I can be bought with fabric.

When the fabric arrived, there were two bundles, one from the Rooster Royale collection and one from Canvas, both by Quilting Treasures. I will admit that black, white and red is not my favorite color combination, and I decided if I didn’t use that fabric in a project for this series, I would probably never use it at all. Imagine my surprise, then, when the top was finished and I actually found myself thinking maybe I should redo my kitchen in black, white and red!

“Chicken Soup” was quilted by Nicole Brouillette, another member of Quiltmaker’s 2013 Scrap Squad, and a professional longarm quilter. Nicole did a wonderful job, and wrote a blog entry about how she chooses quilting designs for her clients.

Here are the links to the  blog posts we did for Quiltmaker:

Part 1- “V-Blocks” Tutorial

Part 2- “Split Rects” Tutorial

Part 3- Chicken Soup “Recipe”

Part 4- Quilting “Chicken Soup”

Categories: Quiltmaker Magazine, Split Rects (Studio 180 Designs), Tutorials, V-Blocks (Studio 180 Designs), Wallhangings | Leave a comment

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