A Royal (Blue) Finish on a Grey Monsoon Day!

This is a first anniversary present for my son and daughter in law, both great fans of grey and royal blue.

Cambric print in royal blue for the backing and lime green for the binding
Cambric print in royal blue for the backing and lime green for the binding

I made it with the blocks from my Block Party on Bee Desi, my virtual quilting bee from the Desi Quilters group.

Before I show you the full quilt, I must show you the beautiful Mod Mosaic by Elizabeth Hartman  blocks made by the Desi Quilters!

Mod Mosaic by Elizabeth Hartman block
Tina’s block in muted grey, blue and aqua
Mod Mosaic Block by Elizabeth Hartman
Brinda’s Block with an ethnic Indian touch
Elizabeth Hartman Mod Mosaic Quilt block
Vidya’s stunning finish in navy and lime
Mod Mosaic quilt block by Elizabeth Hartman
Elvira’s ‘reindeer’ block
Mod Mosaic quilt block by Elizabeth Hartman
Veena’s stripes and polka dots…
Mod Mosaic quilt block by Elizabeth Hartman
Sandhya’s perfect finish
Mod Mosaic quilt block by Elizabeth Hartman
Nirmala’s lovely blues with a hint of lime
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The champagne block! By Shalini

There is something so fascinating about bee blocks! My son had got engaged at the time these blocks were being sewn. How appropriate that they should go into a quilt for him and his wife on their anniversary! I thought about the difficult time our family was going through with my daughter critically ill, around the same time. Somewhere, the love and care that each quilter poured into each of these blocks reached out to me and my family… As for the blocks themselves, as I quilted them I wondered about the story behind  each print. I thought of a quilter generously cutting up some favourite new fabric to put into her block. Or were they scraps left over from a dress made for a daughter or a grand daughter? A much loved cushion? Or even a quilt? Who was using them now ? The child scraps, travelling miles away from their home to be made into a quilt which will now go all the way across the oceans to America…How very special bee blocks are!

I had a total of 9 blocks, all of different sizes and putting them together to make a whole quilt was impossible. To cut a long story short, I decided to put the blocks together in a horizontal row of 30″ with grey above and royal blue below! Then began the calculations as I wanted a straight line across where blue met grey! I worked on the free quilt design software, QuiltAssistant  and came up with this!

9 Blocks arranged in a 30" row
9 Blocks arranged in a 30″ row

Each giant block was a different width and quilt as you go (qayg) seemed to be the only option for putting it together! I used a great tute at the Quilting Edge, but I hated the qayg! The quilt came together in 3 panels, finally.

I used a cambric print in royal blue for the backing, joining up the qayg blocks and panels with narrow strips of a blue and lime green fabric. The batting was a thin 120gsm polyfibre.

The 46″ wide grey was quilted with a giant spiral covering almost the width of the panel, in a variegated grey thread in the centre and lime green on the outer circles. The rest of the panel was majorly filled up with a boxy version of the “etch and sketch”” filler stitch by Leah Day, petering out into wavy lines ending in tiny spirals on the left edge. To do this, I drew lines 1″ apart on the top and worked on that. Here, the quilting was in lime green thread near the spiral and a dark grey matching the fabric in the rest.

The ‘windows’ in the Mod Mosaic blocks were filled with different designs from Leah Day’s 365 days free motion quilting project and a few motifs from Lori Kennedy’s The Inbox Jaunt!

For the royal blue, I used Leah Day’s ‘cubic ripples’ as an inspiration, but gave them more structure and developed it into a ‘Tetris’ game like pattern. I drew lines at 2″ apart vertically on the 16″ row and  quilted 2″ and 4″ squares and 2″x 4″ rectangles. This was a fun design, as I challenged myself not to stack up similar ’tiles’ in close proximity.

For the binding I chose a lime green to brighten up the drab grey which made up half the quilt. I cut the binding the wrong width – just 1.5″ but there was no way I was going to waste 400″ inches of binding. And I had already sewn half a side before it struck me what I was doing! So I decided to go ahead with it;  I do want to think the 1/4″ binding adds a touch of elegance to the quilt – so “not over the top”!

All the quilting was done on my Husqavarna Viking Topaz 20 with its inbuilt auto sensor system for fabric thickness. I had some problems initially when using the spring action fmq foot, but when I switched to the echo quilting foot, I soon got the hang of the right rhythm and everything went smoothly – like a dream!

So here are the pictures, I’ll shut up and let them do the talking…

Mod Mosaic blocks in a row - the rightmost is the ninth - made by Sandhya S!
Mod Mosaic blocks in a row – the rightmost is the ninth – made by Sandhya S!
A giant spiral 38" in  diameter to offset and soften the rectangular blocks. The lines were added to accentuate the horizontal panels.
A giant spiral 38″ in diameter to offset and soften the rectangular blocks. The lines were added to accentuate the horizontal panels.
Mod Mosaic block assembly
The quilted blocks being assembled through QAYG
Mod mosaic blocks by Elizabeth Hartman
A dash of lime to brighten up the proceedings
Quilting on the mod mosaic quilt
“Tetris” tiles quilted on the blue panel
The quilt is a square, may be used either way?
The quilt is a square, may be used either way?
The quilt is a square - can be used this way too?
The spiral circle spacing gradually increases from 1/2″ on inner circles  to 2″ outside
Now to pack it up!
Now to pack it up!

Ready for packing? Not before one last look at it!

With blessings and love, from Ma!
With blessings and love, from Ma!

Thank you, all you beautiful ladies, who made the blocks for this quilt!

Of Blocks and Bees…and Some Honey!

My facebook quilting group Desi Quilters started a virtual bee in July this year! For the first two months, I requested some fellow quilters to make my blocks while I was visiting my son in the USA.

For September, the ever-gracious Vidya  was the queen bee and she decided to wait for me! She had a long wait, as I did not have white poplin and she wanted a lot of negative space in her block!  And a lot of squares…Her block has finally been sent on Monday , as have the blocks for the next 3 months!

This is Vidya’s block . I played around with the squares till I found an arrangement I liked for her modern block. It was the first time I ironed the seams flat and I found it difficult to match the seams – with so many squares to take care of!

Bee block for Vidya
Modern block with squares

The queen bee for October was the gorgeous, artistic Brinda. Brinda’s block(s) gave me much heart ache and I am not very happy with what I came up with finally 😦 I have only small floral print fabric in my stash and she wanted polaroid picture blocks! Anyways, this is what I made for her…

IMG_1270

November Queen Bee was the gentle Nirmala. She wanted sail boats for her block party. That was a quick make! I only read later that she wanted only solids for it 😦 But since she was okay with it when I showed it to her, I mailed it to her anyways!

Bee Block - Sail Boat
Sail boat for Nirmala’s Bee

The last block was for the Star of our group,Elvira! Elvira has a wonderful eye for colour and sews oh, so neatly! And this was the block that gave me the maximum trouble. First I cut it wrong, then I sewed it wrong.  I ran out of black thread, and the thread that I found was really linty. Nevertheless, I managed to  finish it and post it – for the first time, in time! This is Elvira’s Double Star Block. The colours are slightly darker than what they appear here. I just hope she does not look at it from the back 😉

A double star for Elvira's Bee
Flying geese double star for Elvira’s Bee

So that was about the bees and the blocks! What about the honey? I shall post about that later today…