Final Blocks and a Big Delivery

Modern Solids progress : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I hope you aren’t tired of seeing these blocks, but I have good news for you if you are. These are the final few! I am done with the paper piecing and will be completing the quilt top and quilting this week. I’m really excited to share with you the finished quilt soon ~ and the story about how I came up with the blocks and design.

Quilt Patterns : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Last week I had a big delivery on my front porch – many, many, many copies of my paper patterns. I am happy to announce I’ve been picked up by a few wholesale distributors (Brewer, Checker, and E.E. Schenck Co.). If you are a shop owner and buy through one of these companies, I hope you will consider carrying my pattern line. They are already listed at Brewer, Checker (search Fresh Lemons Quilts as the Vendor) and hopefully will be up soon at E.E. Schenck Co. And for you non shop owners, you can still buy patterns (paper and PDF) in my online shop here on the blog.

Bird Wings : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I spent a bit of time yesterday working with my daughter on her Halloween costume. She really likes these bird wings (found here and here). I usually don’t really make costumes – I know, I know. But this one seemed pretty straight forward and we are able to make it together. She of course picked out 2 of my most hoarded out of print fabrics (the orange Henna Garden by Sandi Henderson and the Pink Coriander by Amy Butler). Looks good in the wings though! If we don’t mess the project up too much, I’ll share the finished costume here next month. :)

Ok, back to work finishing the Modern Solids quilt!

Blocks, Thread and Patterns

Modern Solids by Denyse Schmidt Quilt Progress : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I had one of those weekends where you barely have time to catch your breath – 3 soccer games, 1 wedding and 2 birthday parties. Sunday night I fell asleep at 8:45! It felt good Monday to get back into the routine. I spent quite a bit of time in my sewing space. On the wall, more blocks done for my Modern Solids Challenge.

Favorite Things by Jeni Baker for Aurifil Threads : Fresh Lemons Quilts

In the mail, I treated myself to one of Jeni Baker’s Aurifil set of threads. I love the collection of colors in this box, such a great variety to have on hand.

Favorite Things by Jeni Baker for Aurifil Threads : Fresh Lemons Quilts

And at the computer (as promised), I have been working on the pattern for the Modern Solids quilt I’m making.

Quilt Pattern Writing : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Today I’m planning to spend some time trying my hand at a bit of appliqué using Corey Yoder’s new book Playful Petals. More on what I create later this week. Wish me luck!

Travel Home

Travel Home Quilt : Fresh Lemons Quilts

My first back-to-school finish! It only took almost 2 years. I’m so happy today to share with you my finished Arkansas Traveler quilt. I decided to rename it though, since really the blocks have been changed from the original Arkansas Traveler quilt block. I chose “Travel Home” because this quilt is destined to live at home with me, on my couch.

Travel Home Quilt : Fresh Lemons Quilts

This quilt is the product of a lot of different inspiration sources combined. First, I’ve always been in love with historic two color quilts ~ red and white quilts, blue and white quilts, black and white quilts. There’s just something so striking about them.

Second, around two years ago I discovered Folk Fibers. I am really in awe of their quilts, the process that goes into making them, and then of course the natural colors.

And finally, last year I made an Arkansas Traveler quilt as a wedding gift and it was hard to give up! I knew I wanted to make some version of it again, this time for keeps.

Travel Home Quilt : Fresh Lemons Quilts

When I started designing the Travel Home Quilt ever so long ago, I knew I wanted it to have the same overall look as my first Arkansas Traveler quilt. I liked the chain effect…but I didn’t really want to make a quilt that large again. Honestly, for lounging under the couch I just don’t need something bed sized. If I kept the blocks at 12″ finished squares, I would need to make another large quilt to create a nice looking design. I ended up shrinking the blocks to 8″ finished squares. That allowed me to have the chained look, but a smaller quilt. This one finished at 56″ x 72″.

Travel Home Quilt : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Another change I made to the Arkansas Traveler block was to eliminate the 4 diamonds that made up each quadrant of the block. Instead, I used just one fabric for that space. I did this for a couple of reasons. I did really love the effect of the 4 diamonds in my original quilt (gave a sort of shimmering effect). But since I was doing cream/black prints on this quilt, I thought it would be overly busy and/or not very noticeable. Second, as I shrunk the blocks, the diamonds also shrunk so I though one fabric was plenty for these spots.

Travel Home Quilt : Fresh Lemons Quilts
Nevermind my son running around like crazy!

The backing is a print from Melody Miller’s Mustang collection for Cotton + Steel. It’s quite different from the front, but I think complimentary. I quilted free motion meandering with a dark blue thread over the blue portions of the quilt, leaving the cream diamonds unquilted. I really wanted this quilt to have a nice, cozy drape after washing and it does! Now let’s see what I can finished next. :)

Kits + Quilting

Moda Fabrics Modern Building Blocks : Fresh Lemons Quilts

With the kids in school, it’s been a remarkably productive couple of days over here. The house is clean, dinner has been planned ahead each night, I’ve actually gone to the gym (shocking!!) and I’ve even spent busy chunks of time in my sewing room.

Moda Fabrics Modern Building Blocks : Fresh Lemons Quilts

This week I also received a great package in the mail. Last week I ordered Moda Fabric’s Modern Building Blocks pattern and kit. I remember seeing this quilt at market and it was one of those stop-you-in-your-tracks moments for me. I love Moda’s Bella Solids and the colors in this quilt, along with the layout of the blocks, really spoke to me. I cannot wait to make this (even if it will have to wait in line a bit until I’m done with other commitments).

Moda Fabrics Modern Building Blocks : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Also, I love the packaging of this kit. I was joking on Instagram that whoever came up with it deserves a promotion! Wouldn’t this make a beautiful birthday or Christmas gift for a quilter? (Husbands…hint hint!)

Moda Fabrics Modern Building Blocks : Fresh Lemons Quilts

The inside has all the fabrics, layout and assembly directions, as well as this handy set of double sided cards with all the block patterns.

Moda Fabrics Modern Building Blocks : Fresh Lemons Quilts

You can buy this kit at a few of my sponsors:

Pink Chalk Fabrics (pattern only, no fabric)
The Loopy Ewe (fabric kit with pattern)
Fat Quarter Shop (fabric kit with pattern)
Fat Quarter Shop (fabric kit with pattern – PREORDER if link above sold out)
Fat Quarter Shop (pattern only, no fabric)
Lark Cottons

So, besides drooling over this kit for the last few days, I’ve also been working on my sadly neglected Arkansas Traveler quilt! I basted it yesterday while watching Call the Midwife on Netflix. Wow, what a great show (even if it does make me cry at every episode!).

Arkansas Traveler : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I started quilting in the blue fabric areas using a coordinating blue thread I had on hand – Aurifil’s Color Me Happy by V & Co’s set. It’s #2775 in a 50wt (orange spool). I’m still debating whether or not to quilt the cream fabrics (with an off white thread) or leave them unquilted, giving it a slightly poofy look.

Arkansas Traveler : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I’m using my Bernina Stitch Regulator (BSR) which I just realized I’ve been using for 5 years! Obviously I’ve had a lot of time to practice with it. I’ve had some people ask for tips on using it.

• I don’t go too slow or too fast. I try to find a nice, middle of the road speed and stick to it. It might help to get some music (not too crazy now!) with a consistent rhythm and play that while you sew, to get in a nice groove.

• I use Bernina’s single hole stitch plate when stitching straight lines.

• For a while I found that when I was stopping stitching (like to remove a pin), I was taking my foot off the pedal while still moving the fabric slightly. Not good, this leads to messed up stitches. Stop completely before taking your foot off the pedal. When you stop moving the fabric, the stitching will stop as well. (At least does when I use BSR 2).

• If you are feeling like your fabric is getting stuck and you have to pull it (leading to messed up stitches), lessen your pressure foot setting. I’ve had to do this with some fabrics that just didn’t seem to slide well under my foot. Other’s swear by using something called the Supreme Slider on their machine. I don’t have one though.

• And then just practice, practice, practice. When I first sat down to use the BSR I thought I would turn my machine on and suddenly my quilting would be perfect. Um, it wasn’t. lol I needed to still practice. If you still aren’t getting the results you think you should be getting, ask if you can bring your machine into your dealer and have them watch you quilt on your machine. I’m sure they will have tips as well.

Arkansas Traveler : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I’m halfway finished with the blue and about to go upstairs and get cracking again. I can’t wait to (finally!) share this completed quilt with you soon!