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.
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.
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″.
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.
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.
September 4, 2014 43 Comments
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.
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).
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!)
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.
You can buy this kit at a few of my sponsors:
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)
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!).
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.
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.
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!
August 27, 2014 30 Comments
Last week I finally finished my Arkansas Traveler quilt top! I went outside at the end of the week to take a picture of it…and it blew RIGHT into a puddle of melted snow. So I let it dry over the weekend and tried again today. Lots of wind though, so I wasn’t able to get it completely flat but I think you get the picture. I have some special piecing planned for the back and I need to order a bit more of the blue fabric, but I really can’t wait to finish this one up.
Something else fun beginning this week, Lee, Katie and I are going to start sharing the projects from Vintage Quilt Revival. Lee will be posting a project every Monday, Katie every Wednesday and I will post every Friday. I hope you enjoy seeing everything from the book! Be sure to check out Lee’s blog today for the very first project unveiling. (Which uses the blocks shown above in a truly beautiful way.)
November 18, 2013 15 Comments
A quick update today – just so you don’t think I’ve been sitting around watching tv all week. I’ve been working hard paper piecing the quadrants to my latest Arkansas Traveler blocks. A bit mind numbing at times, but I only have 1 piece left on each template and then will start trimming them up!
I’ve also started work on a fun quilt using new fabric by Alison Glass – I can’t wait to share the finished project with you next week as part of her blog hop!
Oh, and this sweet little lady turned 7. I’m so proud of the person she is becoming!
October 4, 2013 9 Comments