Catching up

It’s been a busy, difficult few weeks. My uncle, who was diagnosed with throat in August (see this post about the week from hell), passed away. He declined rapidly in the last few weeks, and I’m both sad that he’s gone and glad that he didn’t suffer for long. Over a ten-day period Mom and her sister, Mickey, made a couple of matching hug quilts for my uncle and his wife. I don’t have a picture of Mike’s (we were in a hurry to get it to him), but this is the one we made for his wife. Mike’s quilt has a light gray background and is in shades of blue, green and brown. His daughter has claimed it, which makes us happy.

Judy's Hug Quilt

It’s based on this quilt from Needle in a Quiltstack, though I didn’t follow a pattern, just made it up in EQ7 and started cutting.

Before that, I committed to an art project that nearly did me in. I play with other artistic things – I enjoy drawing, and have slapped paint decoratively on furniture several times. I’m just good enough not to embarrass myself. You can see some of it in this dresser:

After 2

Makeover Step 1 Nearly Done

(See the Botanicals BOM Rosebud block on the table?)

A local botanical garden (Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville, WI) is celebrating their 25th anniversary, and they are doing an art fundraiser. Their volunteer made Adirondack chairs, which the Gardens sold to local artists, school classes, dilettantes like me – basically anyone who wanted to participate. We painted the chairs then returned them to the Gardens. They had them clear coated by a local auto shop and the chairs are on display throughout the Gardens until September, at which time they’ll be auctioned off. Here’s my chair:

Painted Chair 1

And since it isn’t quilting if a cat isn’t involved:

Painted Chair 2

If you look closely at the girl’s arm, the edge of the quilt, and the arm of the chair you can see a row of ants marching. They continue under the arm and down the leg. I do face painting at the Gardens when they have children’s events, and the ants are my favorite thing to do for very small, fidgety children because they’re super fast. They’ve sort of become my trademark, so of course I had to include them here.

Finally, Mom has been working away at the Fractalish quilt for my cousin’s wedding. I can’t lie – I really haven’t done much on this, though it will be up to me to quilt it. The thing is so large, the only place we had room to lay it out was the garage. The yard was just too wet. We put a tarp down on the garage floor, but even that wasn’t quite big enough. This photo is before all of the sections were sewn together – it’s a top now, measuring something like 108″ or 110″. Really, really big.

Fractalish on garage floor


On wedding quilts

I seem to be feast or famine when it comes to quilting, and we’re definitely in a feast period. In addition to the Botanicals project and the baby quilt, Mom and I have two wedding quilts on the docket. Fortunately one wedding is in June and the other wedding is next year, so neither will be rushed. The first wedding quilt is for my cousin, a math professor in the University of Wisconsin system. Oh, it’s for her fiance as well, but I’m using her mathematical background as inspiration for the design. I looked around for ideas, starting with a riff on the Shakespeare in the Park pattern by Judy Martin. Have you seen this? It’s a combination of the Snail’s Trail block and a star block. I played with different stars and came up with this in EQ7:

Shakespeare in the Park Broken Star

While I love this quilt, I think the math connection is weak. However, I strongly encourage you to pop over to Judy Martin’s Pinterest board of quilts made by other people from her patterns. I hadn’t realized how many of my favorite quilts were designed by Judy Martin!

Next I moved on to the Rolling Waves pattern by Jane Koelker, first seen in the August/September 2008 issue of McCalls Quilting. Here’s my EQ illustration:

Rolling Waves

The math aspect is a little stronger and I think my cousin would get a kick out of the optical illusion of movement, plus it’s a pretty simple quilt to make. However, I wanted to see what else was out there, preferably something more strongly math related. I came across fractals and was intrigued. Now, the word was coined in 1975 so it didn’t make its way into schools until well after I graduated, but it’s taught in grade school now. I dug a little further and found some incredible images of fractal at the Fractal Science Kit website in the gallery pages. Specifically, I found this. It inspired me to draw it up in EQ and, with some modifications, got this:


I’m calling it “Fractalish” because it isn’t quite mathematically correct, but both my mom and my aunt like it, so that’s what we’re going with. It’s going to be big – 110″ square, but it isn’t actually all that difficult. The way I wrote it uses both half square triangles and flying geese, but it would be more fractal-like if it was constructed entirely of half square triangles. I can see a pattern in the future, and that’s another reason why I chose it – there’s just something about not following someone else’s design that makes it more fun for me.