Friday, January 27, 2012

Western Windmills

Windmills Wall or baby quilt

This week I've been playing with traditional pinwheel blocks.  They are reminiscent of the towers and vanes of the iconic windmills that still fill stock tanks and cisterns across the West.  

The pinwheel/windmill blocks are made from half-square triangle blocks.  My favorite method of making the half-square triangle blocks is Triangles on a Roll.  These nifty paper strips take all the marking out of making the 72 blocks this design requires, which  shortens the time between the "windmills in my mind" and windmills in the cloth.

This design is destined for the Send-It-Home shop in West Yellowstone, Montana.    My prototype quilt is made from the 2006 RJR fabric line Cowboys and Cowgirls along with some from my stash.  The top is pieced, so after I get the seams pressed we'll take a picture and post it. 

Notes on piecing from the stash:  first, there are fabrics that don't stand the test of time.  Some fabrics that were the best we could get twenty five years ago really aren't acceptable now.  They are too harsh to the touch, too loosely woven, and occasionally just plain unattractive.    Second, some of my carefully folded and stored fabrics have creases that don't "press out" easily.  Argh.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Christmas Candy Dishes

Christmas Candy Dishes
This is the quilt that started with the Layer Cake of Riley Blake Christmas Candy fabric I won at the Blogger's Meet-Up at Quilt Market in May in Salt Lake City.  I searched my local quilt shops for the coordinating fabrics.  (Local here means anything I can get to without needing to pack a lunch) This was a great group of fabrics, especially the pink and lime green for Christmas.

This was my first Dresden Plate block, and I still love the method, even after finishing this group of 16 blocks and two sets of five for Christmas Dishes quilts AND the center plate for the Scandinavian Christmas quilt.  Here you can see the candy details clearly.

The piecing and applique was finished in August, but I didn't blog about the finished quilt because it was destined to be a Christmas gift for my sister.

The quilting was done by Coleen Beutler, whose long-arm machine lives at Village Dry Goods www.villagedrygoods.comquilt shop in Brigham City, Utah.  Coleen did a great job.  There are holly wreaths around each of the plates, and a whole forest of larger trees quilted over the little trees in the borders.

My next project is finishing the design for a wedding quilt for my son, then plunging into the quilts for our spring and summer classes in West Yellowstone.  Here's the (ambitious) list:

Buffalo Gals Baby quilt/wall quilt--needs a new buffalo center so we can publish the pattern
Block of the month Christmas Critters applique quilt designs
Cowboy Pinwheel kids quilt
Prairie Paisley star (?)
Baby Bear Paw in the Send-It-Home shop batiks  (Pati just sent thumbnails of the fabrics.  Gorgeous)
Cabin in the Woods sampler (maybe a block-of-the-month)

I figure if I sew or quilt every day most of this can happen.   I think I'll have to set up a chart with goals for each week.

Pinwheels and Posies Quilt

Full view

One of my young friends started chemo therapy on Thursday.  This is the follow-up to two surgeries just before Christmas.    It is hard to imagine being a young mom and fighting breast cancer.   When we  (Renae Allen and I) learned about the cancer, well, when you don't have a magic wand,  you make a quilt.  The picture isn't great  here, but the detail photos  are okay.  The center applique is from  Blackbird Designs "How Does Your Garden Grow?"  I did the applique and piecing, and Renae quilted it. There are better pictures on Renae's blog.

Detail of the applique and quilting

Back view of the quilting

Renae's quilting does a wonderful job of enhancing the design and concealing the vagaries of my piecing. Check Renae's blog for more pictures of this quilt and her other work, and her website for her RGA Designs home machine quilting tools, techniques, and tutorials. and