Holiday Placemats: Finished! (and a bonus!)

As mentioned in my Finish Along 2014 Post from October, I had quite a few things on my list of unfinished projects. Here’s one that I’m really glad to have completed!

I finished the Holiday Placemats! There are a set of 8, which can be broken into two sets of four. I especially love the candy cane binding that they each have.

Holiday Placemats, finished!

I also had a bolt of inspiration one afternoon and designed this 25-sided polygon. I’ve also designed an extension for it so that if the center is left out it can be made into a 44″-in-diameter Christmas tree skirt. An acquaintance is pattern-testing that for me and I will have the pattern ready to go hopefully by the end of January.

25-sided polygon (icosakaipentagon!) Holiday Table Topper Holiday Icosakaipentagonal Table Topper Holiday Icosakaipentagonal Table Topper, back

Finished: Holiday Scrappy Trip

I did finally finish the Figgy Pudding Scrappy Trip that I started in January 2013. Yay! All it lacked at the beginning of October was a binding, so I got that finished and took it to the Greene Street Market at Nativity for them to sell in the shop. It didn’t sell, so I guess I can stash it until next year when people are shopping for Christmasy stuff again. I don’t think I put it in the shop early enough this time… Alas!

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In any case, I’m just really glad it’s finished.

I quilted it with Aurifil #2600 (Dove), which is absolutely gorgeous when quilted on white backgrounds. It shows up without being high contrast, so that the quilting can be seen but it doesn’t detract from the piece.

 

2014 Q4 Finish Along Goals

So I finished a bunch in Q3 and moved forward in others… But there are still some significant hangers-on that I need to try to get finished this year. Linking up with The Littlest Thistle for the Final Quarter of the 2014 Finish Along! Woohoo!

1. Smoke Damage.

Smoke Damage Cathedral Windows, 2012
Smoke Damage Cathedral Windows, 2012

 

2. Figgy Pudding Scrappy Trip. All it needs now is a binding. It’s almost finished. The binding is even CUT. I just haven’t managed to attach it yet.

Scrappy Trip Around the World #3, using Basic Grey's "Figgy Pudding" fabric line by Moda
Scrappy Trip Around the World #3, using Basic Grey’s “Figgy Pudding” fabric line by Moda

 

3. Fibonacci Fractal, ready to layer.

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4. Flagship Star Quilt that doesn’t have name yet because everything I come up with is stupid and cliche… But it’ll get named soon. It’s layered and partially quilted. And the pattern is written and about to go into full testing. WOOHOO!

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5. His. I started quilting it and hated it so I ripped it back out. Still unquilted.

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6. Peacock. Layered and terrifying just because of its size. I should do it soon, though — it’s flannel-backed and will be yummy to sleep under this winter.

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7. Tessellation Quilt, just to get it off of my list.

Tessellation quilt, unknown start date
Tessellation quilt, unknown start date

 

8. Underwater scene. Still scared of this but working up the guts to pounce on it.

Storm At Sea Experiment
Storm At Sea Experiment

 

9. Zebratown. It’s at Mom’s house. I’d have to go get it. And my skill level has improved so much since last time I quilted on it I’m almost scared to look at it.

ZebraTown, 2008
ZebraTown, 2008

 

10. Hers. I took this down off the wall and put it back in a box so I could use the wall for something else.

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11. Placemats using up my leftover fabrics from two quilts… There are 12 placemats and 2 table runners

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12. Christmas Placemats for my church’s silent auction. There were supposed to be 8 placemats, but I irreparably messed up one of the placemats so  I need to remake that one and then finish the rest.

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13. Black Wholecloth quilt. Very excited about this one and I have no idea where it’s leading me at this point.

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14. First Fibonacci Fractal is ready to layer

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15. Mystery Quilt from a a few years ago… It’s ready to layer but I don’t have a backing for it yet.

HQH Mystery 2011
HQH Mystery 2011

 

16. An overdue super-secret supportive quilt for a friend… Gotta get on that. Ready to layer but I don’t have a backing made for it yet.

 

That should keep me plenty busy through the end of the year. Yep.

Not Quite White

Quite a few years ago, a friend said to me, “Lainey, if you ever make me a quilt, I want it to be an all-white quilt.” Because I lack any sort of internal filter, I immediately replied, “Well, it’s pretty safe to say I’m never going to make you a quilt, then.” Jerry was — and is — horrified that I said that so instantly. My friend just laughed, because she accepts me for what I am and that’s why we are friends.

Mary is slightly color-blind and doesn’t have the love for color that I do. She dresses in neutrals and black, primarily, and very excitedly reports to me whenever she buys something colorful. Her home is beautifully decorated with neutrals and black, vintage and new, and she goes to estate sales often to find beautiful things. She *loves* antiques.

The night of the fire, I was out of town. After I talked to the house sitter and Jerry and my parents, I called my friend and her husband from Nashville and got their answering machine. I left a message, telling them that I had learned that our house had been on fire and that the house sitter got all of the animals out and could Mary and her husband please go over and check on the dogs since Linus and Logic would be calmed by seeing them. Apparently, I got the answering machine because she and her husband had already heard from another neighbor that our house had burned and we were out of town — and they were already on their way over to check on the dogs. They ended up taking the dogs home with them that night, and kept them for over a week while we figured things out. And not because we asked — but because they insisted. It still makes me weep when I think of it. Our dogs are BIG and hairy and exuberant and taking Collies home to a house full of Standard Poodles couldn’t have been an easy enterprise.

So right. They are THOSE kinds of friends. The kinds of friends you hope that you could be in a disaster, and the kinds of friends you’re desperately glad to have when you’re neck-deep in a crisis that you never thought would happen to you.

So Jerry has kind of been urging me to rethink the whole White Quilt idea.

I still couldn’t do it. While I love the idea of a wholecloth quilt, I don’t want to make a white one. I do want to do one sometime, though. And cutting up white fabric just to sew it back together…. not really something I want to do.

BUT. Fabrics that are not quite white? Maybe I could do something interesting there — and appeal to Mary’s need for calm when it comes to her bedlinens. “Low Volume” (i.e. low contrast) fabrics are very on-trend in the modern quilt world right now, so I’ve been picking up LV fabrics here and there for a while now. I signed up for the Inside Voices club at Westwood Acres and have been getting 12 fat quarters of low volume fabrics per month for about 6 months now. With my stash of LV fabrics from Pink Castle, I had enough to make a quilt, maybe. So I asked Mary what size quilt she’d like to have, and she cheerfully texted back, “Queen!” Oh. A BIG one, not just a throw. Allrightythen.

And then, Allison Harris of Cluck Cluck Sew posted her Summer Slice Tutorial on June 23. I pulled out all of my low volume fabrics that very day and started cutting them into the sizes I would need to create the quilt I wanted to make, which were slightly larger than Allison’s tutorial. But the design is very definitely hers.

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I had close to 80 different LV fabrics represented. This was going to be amazing if it worked, and a spectacular waste of fabric if it didn’t.

Jerry left for Kwajalein, so I had evenings while he was gone where I’d feed the girls, and then camp in front of the TV with my cutting mat and ironing board and prep the blocks for the next step. I did use my favorite method for sewing half-square triangle units, rather than cutting the squares into triangles — this way I didn’t have to sew bias edges at all through the whole process. I figured with 120 HST units in the quilt, a few repeated combinations of fabrics wouldn’t be detrimental.

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I love the pile of trimmings that accumulate when you clean up HST units. This is only about 1/3 of the trimmings, because I had to keep clearing my work surfaces to make space.

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Helen and her friends Hannah and Lizzy helped lay out the blocks in a pleasing manner, and then I sewed them all together. It turned out even better than I expected, and the progress shots I sent to Mary were received with great enthusiasm. I kept calling it “Not Quite White,” which made her laugh.

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In our indoor lighting, the quilt looked very yellowish, but Mary and her husband have a wall of windows on the east side of their bed so I know the quilt will get lots of natural light, especially in the mornings. The fence photos of the quilt top gave a better representation of the true colors of this quilt.

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Friday helped me layer it, as always.

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Then I quilted it with a simple flower filler, because it’s speedy and soft.

 

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Once I finished the quilting, Logic (the shaved one) and Logan performed quality control. Logic is one of the dogs that Mary and her husband took home that night. Logan is new, but loves Mary too.

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Not to be outdone, Friday started tunneling around on the edges of the quilt.

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Jerry helped me select a nice pale gray fabric for the binding, and I got the whole quilt put together in about 4 weeks from start to finish, which is a personal record for me for a quilt of this size. It finished at about 90″x105″ which is large for a queen but Mary says it’s perfect. She and her husband came over for Champagne Friday on July 18 and we gave it to them, fresh from the dryer. I had to wash and dry it and hermetically seal it to get the cat dander off of it, since Mary is very allergic to cats.

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Because it rained torrents all day on the 18th, I wasn’t able to get fence photos of the finished quilt, so I asked Mary to send one of it on the bed when she had a chance. This is the better of the two photos she sent, and she says it’s wonderful and feels so good to sleep under a quilt made with that much affection sewn into it.

 

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And she loves that it’s “Not Quite White,” because that means that I put my stamp on it so she’ll always remember where it came from.

 

We have amazing friends. Truly.