Friday, April 26, 2024

Sea Turtles for Damien

My great nephew Damien didn't get a baby quilt. I knew when his mom was expecting his older sister, so I made one for her, but since I'm not on FB, I didn't know about my niece's second pregnancy. They live near Miami, so I don't see them often. Recent family events brought us together, and - surprise - my niece has a little boy Damien who's about 18 months old now. 

Obviously he needs a quilt. After all, his big sister has one, so he deserves one too. Making the quilt is not a surprise for his mom, so I asked her what theme Damien might like. After some discussion about tropical animals (we ruled out anything with alligators!!!) we decided on sea turtles. 

I found a sea turtle panel and built the quilt around the motifs. It was one of the projects I worked on at retreat earlier this month. Now it's been quilted and bound, and just needs the label. 

The upper panel: 

The lower panel: 

Pieced fish: I embroidered the eyes with French knots. I would have liked googly eyes but I think Damien is still too young. 

The backing is all turtles:

The quilt measures 41" x 58", long for its width, but I think it'll be fine for him to drag around. I very seldom work with panels. The two motifs were side-by-side on the panel and I knew I didn't want that layout, and I wanted it to be narrow enough for one WOF backing. So it was a challenge to figure out what to do with it and this is the best layout I came up with. 

I'll see my niece later in may for another family event, and I'll give her the quilt then. I hope she - and Damien - like it. 

Linking up with Alycia Quilts and TGIFF

Monday, April 22, 2024

On the Design Wall: Hot Hot Hot Plus Cool and Breezy

The girls in the hive finished making the blocks for the warm colorway of Scrappy Batiks and laid them out on the design wall last week at social sewing. I think this is the final layout we ended up with. Edna reminded us to turn some of the blocks to feature the diagonal chains. She's now working on sewing the blocks together.

In other quilty news, PCQ's Community Service committee has been holding a regular sew day each month as usual. We no longer have a separate designated prep day so we have to do our kit prep on sew days or on our own. Since my role on the committee is Design Lead, I've been more involved in prepping kits than in sewing lately, and I see that continuing for awhile. 

The March/April sew day project was Stacked Slabs* and I had a particular kit that I wanted to sew, but I missed the March sew day and worked on kitting for May at the April sew day, so I'll sew my Stacked Slabs kit on my own. It'll be a good project to take to social sewing on Wednesdays. Here it is laid out on my design wall: 

Most of the fabrics are from the bins in the fiber arts room, all donated. I pulled everything tropical and watery I could find from the Novelty bins, and supplemented with turquoise and blue shades. Lots of mermaids, palm trees, waves, surfboards, and dolphins here. I even added some leftovers from my sea turtle quilt, too. Looking at the photo, I don't like the two green slabs, so I'll raid my own Aqua/Turquoise/Teal basket for a turquoise to sub in. 

Linking up with Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

*Stacked Slabs is one of the patterns I created to be easy to kit up and easy to sew for PCQ's sew days.  The version shown is twin bed size 70" x 88"  but the pattern also offers a 60" x 80" large throw and 50" x 64" small throw. If you would like a PDF of the pattern for any charitable purpose, leave a comment and be sure to type your email address in the text of the comment.

Friday, April 19, 2024

Scrappy Batiks, Cool - Almost a Finish

 After the girls in our hive made our original Scrappy Celebration in a palette like the pattern, and a second one in brighter colors, and a third one in patriotic colors, we still weren't tired of making blocks. So we switched it up and went with black instead of white, and black-alternatives instead of low volumes. We combined these with batiks in bright and light shades for contrast. 

We were making blocks individually but using shared fabrics, and we ended up with too many blocks for a twin sized quilt. So I asked the girls to humor me and look at the blocks on the wall in a cool colorway and a warm colorway, and we liked it. Just a few more cool blocks were needed and we needed a lot more warm ones, so we decided to finish the cool version first. 

Linda assembled the top and did the quilting. The binding isn't sewn down, but we all wanted to see it anyway. She brought it to social sewing in PCQ's fiber arts room to show it off. 


We learned when laying out the previous versions that it's more pleasing to have the darkest blocks at the edges and corners, and the lightest blocks in the center. With the black contrast, this version has a luminous quality.

I love the quilting motif Linda used in these blocks. The custom rounded-square spirals complement the blocks perfectly. 

This is a donation quilt that will go to one of the charities that PCQ supports that need twin bed size quilts. 

It's been about a year since we started making the blocks for the first version. The the warm batik colorway is coming along, and after it's finished I think we'll be done with Scrappy Celebration blocks for awhile. We'll move on to something else; Edna already has a new project in mind for us. 

Linking up with Alycia Quilts 4/19 and My Quilt Infatuation 4/25

Friday, April 12, 2024

Amazing Productivity at Retreat

It's incredible how much can be accomplished in two and a half days of sewing at retreat - especially when some of the prep or components are done ahead of time. 

Paula participated in PCQ's two BOMs last year, one with beginner-friendly blocks and one for advanced quilters. She was able to set them into tops at retreat. The easy blocks got an on-point setting with sashing, and the challenging blocks were set with hourglass alternate blocks.

Nancy worked on seasonal table runners with a lot of precision piecing. 

Deb C finished her rainbow top made with selvage blocks. She raided her extensive stash for many of those selvages, and her rainbor ombre fabric for the alternate blocks is perfect. 

Edna finished her very - very! - complicated cross pattern. It took focus and concentration to get it laid out right, but the results are amazing. 

Janet W likes to make smaller items at retreats. This time she made an ASU themed apron and some project bags. She also made some library bags and a Frieda Kahlo-themed pillow, but I didn't get photos of them all. 

Jeri finished a gorgeous low volume top; she had most of the blocks made and ready to assemble, but the on-point setting with border blocks was complex. Thank goodness for large design walls! She nailed it, and now she's considering how to quilt all that negative space.

Linda put together a plaid flannel throw; the flannel is the softest ever, from the retreat hostess's shop. Being plaid, Linda had to cut very carefully so the stripes didn't go wonky. Looks good!

I was able to finish tops for two small quilts. One is my Ruby Jubilee challenge and the other is a sea turtle themed toddler quilt for a great nephew. Stories to come in a future post. All the planning and cutting was done ahead of time, but both of these projects have deadlines, so I'm glad I got these tops finished.

Retreat was productive, but by no means was it all work and no play. We definitely enjoyed happy hour every afternoon, and lots of socializing. And as always, lots of helping and sharing. I'll be going again in July and I'm already looking forward to it. 

Link ups: Alycia Quilts, TGIFF


Monday, April 8, 2024

Design Walls at Retreat

 April retreat at Ritter was so fun! We had a new-to-PebbleCreek quilter with us and some regular retreaters, and we all had a good and productive time. I didn't take many photos, but here are a few in-progress pics from the design walls. 

Edna's very complex project

Deb C's rainbow selvage layout

Linda's paper piecing

Paula's blocks from last year's Advanced BOM series

Jeri's winter quilt (yes, we caught the upside-down unit; it's fixed) 

Debbie K's Bonnie Hunter blocks

Deb C's original take on 70 and Sunny blocks

My ruby jubilee blocks, story to come later

Much progress was made by everyone and there were quite a few finishes. More photos to come Friday.

Linking up with Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Monday, April 1, 2024

Test Blocks

The "hive" (bee) I'm in is almost finished making blocks for the Warm Batik colorway of Scrappy Celebration, and Edna has a plan for our next project. I've been thinking about what we could do for a future project. 

Scrappy Celebration has no triangles in it. What if we add triangles to alternate blocks in such a way that they make stars? Here's an EQ plan, colored in the same palette we used for the first Scrappy Celebration. 

Hmm, the blocks are big in proportion to the corner triangles so the triangles don't really make stars. But combined with the dark pink churn dash blocks they kind of make a chain effect. Here it is in greyscale:

Interesting, but when a group of people are separately making blocks, can we control the value placement well enough to achieve this effect? 

I've always wanted to make a black and tan quilt. Many years ago I started collecting fabrics for it. Could this concept work in that palette? If I make it myself I rather than as a hive project, I can control the fabric choices and therefore the value placement to achieve the chain effect. 


I pulled fabrics from my stash. I was surprised at how little of the collected black and tan prints I had left after using them for other projects for so many years. The black and camel leaf print batik is the palette inspiration, and I've had that fabric for about 20 years. 

I made some test blocks but I'm still not sure where this is going, so I'll make a few more.

I definitely don't love that orange. In real life it's a brick red background print with gold, the same brick red as in the print above, but the colors combine to look orange and I don't care for it. My neutral is very beige here, I want more of a camel tan to be featured, so I'll have to make some more test blocks. I'll use camel and tan where I want the darker chain and beige where I need lighter values. 

This may or may not become something more than a pile of test blocks, we'll see. I really don't need a project like this, I need to salvage Road Trip, but I can see myself using this as a procrastination project in order to avoid dealing with Road trip. I will not take this to retreat, I'll take Road Trip blocks that need to be deconstructed and spend time unsewing them there. 

Link up: Small Quilts and Doll Quilts