Quilt rescue

Have you ever come across a quilt top flimsy in a thrift shop and walked by thinking some poor quilter passed away and her family gave all of her unfinished projects away to the thrift shop?! The nightmare of all quilters with UFO’s – including me! I will admit, I have more than once.  Now I find the shoe on the other foot – not as the quilter, but as the designer. One of my own projects was recently found – and thankfully rescued!

So, quilter Beth emailed me after she came across this in her local thrift shop…

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A lovely Dresden plate project that reminded her of something very familiar to her…maybe this?

Kaffe’s Garden at Night, Stash Lab

 

The one on the black background is my project “Kaffe’s Garden at Night” from Stash Lab. And here’s what I’m thinking of as the daytime version that quilter Beth found…

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Quilter Beth’s quilt top rescue

 

There is some beautiful work done there. Now, my heart cannot let my head believe that the quilter who started this lovely project gave it away in frustration – not at this point! Surely it was snatched from her work shelf when she was no longer there to protect it. Quilter Beth rescued the project, took it home, and made her own additions and now the project is complete.

Quilter Beth’s beautiful finished project

 

I think it turned out amazing and I’m sure wherever the original quilter is now, she would be proud! I love that folks take my projects and change them to make them unique and make them their own. I love it when a project turns out so beautifully and you can glimpse the spirit of the quilter. I love that this project found its new home with Beth! And we can all sleep better tonight knowing that there is one less orphan project languishing in the thrift shop shelf! Nicely done!

Happy stash quilting,

Tonya

Happy New Year!

The new year brings new beginnings, resolutions, clearing out the old and in with the new, or in my sewing room, that means a new scrap project! If you’re looking for a scrap buster to feature your favorite color (or the color with the biggest pile of scraps!), you’ll want to check out my current project for American Patchwork & Quilting in the February 2018 issue. This is “Plaid to Meet You”!

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Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2018 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

 

I can’t take credit for the project name at all. The beautiful photo styling and editorial was done by the great folks at APQ. I was simply referring to this project as my version of Buffalo Plaid. I’m sure you know what buffalo plaid is even if you didn’t realize that’s what it was called – think red and black plaid on hunting shirts. That’s a buffalo plaid!

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traditional buffalo plaid print
My version takes a bit of a twist in the color category. Sorting through my scrap strings (which I keep sorted by width and color family, my smallest being 1 1/2″ wide), I came up with a big pile of grays left over from another project. (Can you guess which one?) What to do with them? Here were some of my auditioning fabric pulls I was considering before I landed on the final purple/gray combo.

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meh…
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too something…
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closer…
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now we’re talking!

Now, even thought the Kaffe Fassett purple/teal Spiral Shells fabric on the left didn’t make it in the final version, it definitely helped me pull together thoughts about the quilt. Sometimes it’s like that, you think something will be there and then further down the line, it gets edited out. In this case when it came time to pick the main purple and gray off-set square fabrics and border, the shell fabric came out.

My stash of scrap strings was pretty light on purples so I spent time scavenging the scrap table at my guild meetings and in friends’ sewing rooms to come up with enough to reach my scrappy vision. Long after the decisions were made, the sewing was complete, and the quilt shipped off to APQ, Pantone came out with their color of the year predictions – yep, you guessed it – ultra violet! Purely coincidence, I guarantee it.

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Here’s a shot of the big spiral quilting in progress using the walking foot on my domestic machine…and yes, the backing is a beautiful modern toile by Jennifer Sampou called Black & White Scenic Onyx for Kaufman Fabrics. I’ve been hording it for just the right project! You can also see the two main purple and gray fabrics I used for the squares alternating between the grid blocks, Kaffe’s Guinea Flower (purple) and Kaffe’s Ferns (gray) from Free Spirit.

This project would be so easy to adapt to your own favorite color-way. Basically gray + pick your color. Or change up the gray to a different neutral. How about taupe? black? white?

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APQ, February 2018 issue

So whether you are wanting to clear out some scraps for the new year or love your scraps all year long, I hope you’ll enjoy making your own version of “Plaid to Meet You”!

Happy Stash Quilting,

Tonya

Calliope, a scrappy plus quilt

Can you hear the calliope music playing in the background when you look at this quilt? I can! That’s what inspired the name, that and the bright cheery colors that make up my scrappy string version of a plus quilt.

I dove into the scrap bin and sorted a bunch of scrap strips of various lengths, all cut 1 1/2″ wide into color groups – pink, blue, green, yellow, orange, and white (low volume).  These I joined into strip sets to cut my blocks. Instead of the pluses being constructed of a single fabric each as they would be in a traditional setting, I used my strip set blocks. Scrap burner for sure!

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Now, for the plus design to come through you have to pay attention to block placement to let the colors work together to make the secondary design. I like to use good old fashioned graph paper for this step. Then it’s time to lay out the blocks. A design wall works great.

 

 

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these are the “bones” of the quilt, the flimsy top before it was layered and quilted, hung up in the window. Kind of like stained glass, don’t you think?

The beauty of a project like this to me is that the overall design is so much more than any of the individual scraps on their own – they are so much more effective together.

Insert an over-sized plus into the grid for variety and visual focus.


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And one more closeup of the beautiful quilting by Tracey while I was attaching the binding. She matched the thread color to each plus, adding great texture while helping define the identity of each plus. Perfect.

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You can find Calliope and other fun patterns in the current Sept/Oct 2017 issue of Modern Patchwork.

Happy stash string quilting,

Tonya

Look Both Ways (take 2)

***this is a re-post from last month, I just had it in the wrong place on WP, so putting up again to get it in the blog queue! ~ta

Wohoo! Time for a trip down the magazine aisle to hunt up some more copies of the new issue of Quilts and More magazine, Fall 2017. It was just released and it features my project “Look Both Ways”.  I’m super excited to share more about it with you. Do you have some low volume scrap strips laying around your sewing room? Perfect! Pull them out, this may be just the project.

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Look Both Ways by Tonya Alexander – Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

When you first look at this quilt do you see the white arrows or the gray arrows? Did you notice there were both at first? Our eyes play funny tricks on us. At first, I naturally see the white I think because they follow the direction of the orange arrows but once I focus on the gray ones going the opposite direction, that’s all I can see!

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Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

This project features 1 1/2″ wide scrap strips sewn into strip sets. To achieve the contrast between the white and gray arrows, it’s important to be selective when sorting your scraps. I tried to be pretty strict about white backgrounds on all the fabrics in the white arrows. With the gray scraps I was more willing to include a wider variety of tones, as long as they were gray (but don’t be afraid of little pops of color!) You can choose to mix your scraps up a bit more but your arrows may not be as prominent.

The orange row was my favorite scrap dive into the bins. I had fun picking them all out and many friends contributed their scraps as well so I had a great selection. I highly recommend scrap sharing with friends! Once I had enough orange strips, I arranged them all lightest to darkest and made multiple strip sets to achieve the light to dark affect across the quilt. Not a fan of orange or making it for a special baby with a differently themed nursery? (It’s a great size for that, by the way…) Pick your favorite. Any color will work well with the white and gray.

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I had fun with the quilting on this one, borrowing a friend’s long-arm machine and getting some great tips from my two favorite long-arm professionals, Nikki and Tracey. Squiggles in the gray arrows and a squared off meandering loop in the white and orange with matching thread.

and one more quilt-in-the-wild shot just for fun!

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So that’s all for now. I have some more projects coming out soon so I’ll be sure to share. That and a new website!!! It’s my big summer project…stay tuned (and wish me luck!), it’s quite a stretch for me 🙂 Until then…

Happy string quilting!

Tonya

A new take on classic strings…

Oh, how I love string quilts. Well, what I really love are all of the fabulous scraps strips that go into them. Little bits of odds and ends that come together to create something better than they would have ever been on their own. Here’s one of my latest, Rock Star!

Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

 
I’m so happy to share that it is currently gracing the pages of the October 2017 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting. It’s a great scrap issue and I absolutely love the feature shot of my quilt. I wish that it was in my own house…

 

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Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

Once again, I find myself trying to find my own quilt-voice in the convergence zone of modern and traditional design that I often find myself drawn into. I think the modern elements of this project are the alternate grid work, exaggerated scale of a traditional block design, and use of negative space. Mix that with a traditional concept of scrap string quilts and this is where I landed!

Here’s a close up of the beautiful quilting done once again by Tracey. I really enjoy seeing how her creativity and talent adds to my projects to make them complete.

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So if you don’t already have a copy of the October 2017 issue, get it while you can! Save up those scraps and make something you love.

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Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

Happy Stash quilting,

Tonya

New things…under construction!

Welcome to Stash Lab Quilts! My new online creative space is a work in progress but this will be the new home of my blog along with the other site areas for my patterns, my teaching and trunk shows, and more.

I formerly blogged at Eye Candy Quilts@Blogspot and was a great way to share my projects initially but my needs have outgrown the format and it was time for me to graduate to the world of WordPress. I may migrate some of my content over from the old blog but you can still find all of my previous posts here. I just won’t be posting new content there – you’ll find it all here at StashLabQuilts.com!

Happy stash quilting,

Tonya