Thursday, May 6, 2010

Foundation Paper Piecing & Crazy Quilting

My cousin, Patricia, and I are making quilts together for our siblings. So far we have made a queen size crazy quilt for her brother, Johnnie. This quilt was so much fun to do - we shared fabrics from our stash and used one fabric as the common denominator for all the blocks, the sashings, the border and binding. The freedom of making a crazy quilt is fabulous - no rules, just sit down and sew, square up your blocks, then enjoy the wonderful quiet time of embroidering the seams in the blocks. I love the stained glass effect of this design.

We are now making a bed size quilt for my sister, Shelley. This is a foundation paper pieced pattern from Carol Doak's book of the 50 stars for the 50 states - this particular pattern is the California star. Each block is comprised of 96 (count 'em - 96) pieces! But look at how beautifully the points all come together. And then when the blocks are put together can you see the secondary design that pops out. Patricia and I are each making 18 blocks - 35 will make up the quilt top and 1 will be the label. My sister likes the sherbert colors, so I'm hoping she will like the colors we've chosen for her quilt. I've made a number of other foundation paper pieced quilts and absolutely love this technique. In fact, whenever possible, I try to figure out a way to convert traditional block designs into foundation paper pieced patterns just because of the preciseness (and the fact that you don't have to spend a ton of time cutting fabrics! ;-) ). Obviously, if I have 18 blocks to make and only have 3 three completed, I have a very long way to go. This quilt is my focus for the next few weeks! My plan is to have my 18 blocks together before we go to Georgia in June.

We have two other quilts we'll be making together. The next one will be for Patricia's brother, Ernie. We are toying with the idea of doing a simple pinwheel design (using stash fabrics, of course) and a wide border, and in the border appliquing handprints of all of Ernie's children and grandchildren. That will certainly personalize the quilt! I know the traditional way to make the pinwheel design but you can bet I'll be making a foundation paper pieced pattern for it instead!

The final quilt we'll make together will be for my sister, Jeanette. An idea we're considering is a large applique quilt - a seascape design. We'll see - that's a long way off right now.

I'm working on Shelley's quilt now. After I finish it my next project will be a baby quilt for my neighbor - I think the Irish Chain will make a lovely baby quilt ... Oh, my next project will also be a wall hanging - Sister Chicks II - for Jeanette. And the origami quilt. And a victorian crazy quilt. And the cathedral window quilt for my son. And ... And ... And ...


  1. Your quilts are beautiful! I have not quilted in a couple years - but I do enjoy it. I have several quilt tops stacked up in the closet that I cant seem to finish. All they need is to be quilted and the edge binding done. Any suggestions on how to get those finished? I have looked into "having" it done by someone else but most place charge $150+ to do it which is really more than I want to spend. I only have a regular sewing machine - not a quilting machine, and have not done anything but straight stitch quilting to finish off a quilt. I would love to get these finished and actually use them. Any suggestions?

  2. Oh! Lucky You! You have several quilt tops that are sooooo close to being finished.

    Well, I usually bite the bullet and pay someone to machine quilt my pieces because I want the quilts to be used - well used - I want them to withstand washing machines. Maybe just do one or two a year??? I know it's a lot of money but it is so worth it.

    I love to do the binding part - have you done binding before? There are a ton of books out there that have excellent instructions for binding - it is straight stitching, and then wonderful quiet time whip stitching the back down.

    And make sure you add a label - on just a simple piece of muslin write down the pertinent information about the quilt in permanent marker then by hand blanket stitch the label to the quilt. Then take a photo and start a scrapbook to document it.