Saturday, January 30, 2016

Cheese Platter Quilt

I am taking a Craftsy online class from Cyndi Souder called, "Hitting the Mark: Perfect Quilting Every Time".  Learned some important techniques for more accurate work--transferring designs, and was fascinated by all of her quilt examples.  Love, love her color combos.  

I fell in love with one of her wall hanging quilts--with a black background, yellow and orange stars.  

I was hooked.  Using her color inspiration,  I made a different star block--eight point star block with a 9 patch center.  I call it Cheese Platter.

When I build a quilt, I don't use a pattern.  I design on the fly--I don't know exactly what it will look like until I start sewing blocks together.  I changed the block layout twice.  I was happier with more negative space.  A bit more modern style.

I worked on the Cheese Platter blocks, while I was building my friend Sue's Folk Art Quilt (previous post).  That makes for a messy studio and a piles of cut pieces, half assembled blocks.  I use shallow, clear, rectangle plastic storage containers (like ones you store stuff under the bed), one for each quilt project to keep some kind of order.

The big checkerboard backing features two art panels.  Being able to take something of interest from the quilt top and re-introduce it again on the back is appealing.  And, there are other reasons I do this as I will explain later.

I always make extra blocks and sub assemblies so I can have my pick--keeping the variety alive.  

For me there is never any despair making an extra 8-10 blocks and oodles of sub assemblies.  I tell you the left over blocks made some pretty fancy over-sized potholders.  

Rolling the finished quilt off the frame

details of long arm quilting in progress.

Lots of sunlight streaming into the studio today.  Made it difficult to see where I was quilting.  Black thread on black fabric . . .

I turned off the overhead studio lights so I could see better.

I reintroduced same cheese flavor fabrics into a coin border. 

The long arm quilting design I'm free-styling I call Feather Bouquet.  

I chuckle saying that, cause it reminds me of  the BBC TV program "Keeping Up Appearances" with Hyacinth Bucket (which she pronounces Bouquet).  My husband calls me Hyacinth to tease me.

Like Hyacinth who is always telling her husband Richard to mind the road . . . I'm always scolding Jon about the way he drives the car--especially my car.  

We live in rural Wisconsin, and yes it is lovely driving in the country, but he drifts off the road, because he's taking in the scenery.  One winter he drove off the road, into the snowy ditch that we rode like a roller coaster, and then jerked the car back on the road again, all in about 7 seconds flat.  He laughed, and I told him a thing or two!

Ok, ok.  Back to the Cheese Platter Quilt . . . 

 Had a wonderful time driving the quilting machine today, (and I didn't run off the road!)

Feather Bouquet is an 8" x 12" serpentine stem sequence; then back tracked with feathers.  

I design 12" wide stitch sequences, edge to edge work: Squirrel Feathers, Fish Feathers, Cherry Tomatoes/Green Beans, Solar Flares, and others.  Zentangle elements really have my attention these days, and I adore Patsy Thompson and Karlee Porter's free style work.

Completing first row of free style stitch sequence.

When the light is just right (depends on the time of day) I can see black on black perfectly.
I was so happy with the top and bottom thread tension.  No thread breaks.  It was truly relaxing work.

After I finish a row,  I advance the quilt to the next row, reset the tension clamps (left and right) and begin again.  I quilt from right to left.  I don't know why.  I guess I do this because I practice drawing new designs on an erasable whiteboard from right to left.  And come to think of it, my stitch sequences are always 8" x 12" (just about the size of my whiteboard).  

After removing the quilt from the frame, I turned it over and draped it on the frame so you can see the backing.

Backing Construction:
The art panels help stretch the checkerboard fabric to 100" width I needed.  Without the art panels I would only have 88" width.   My quilt top is 91" wide, and I needed extra 3-4 inches of backing fabric at both the left and right margins, (some extra fabric to attach the tension clamps on the frame).  

There is also the very real problem of matching seams when sewing together two panels of checkerboard fabric.  The solution: the checkerboard fabric is interrupted by adding the art panels to eliminate matching checkerboard seams.  

Well that's the cheese today.  

Did you notice I put some blue here and there among the yellow and orange fabrics?  Got to have a little bleu cheese.  Also in the border I put some mottled brown fabric (head cheese).  My husband actually likes head cheese.  I won't touch it.  Looks nasty.

About 80 hours to cut fabric, sew blocks, assemble, quilt, prepare binding, hand stitch binding. 

My next quilt will be Cherry Pie, or Blue Lake.  Got some new block designs in mind.

Today, I put the those bolts of fabric out on the layout table just to coax me to get crack'in.

Thank you for visiting my blog.  Hope you'll leave me messages and follow my blog.


  1. Dear Mrs. D.,

    Your Cheese Platter Quilt and the last posting's Folk Art Quilt are both gorgeous. I hope that your name is attached somewhere to these beauties because I have no doubt that they and their kin will one day end up in museums!

  2. What an absolutely beautiful quilt - each and every part of it~! My, my, my, I see so many ideas here, and that is the way I usually sew, too, only I call it muddling! LOL

  3. I didn't realize you worked so improvisationally. I'm glad I followed the bread crumbs to your blog so that I could read more about the thought and design process behind this beauty. I like your work and will be following your blog. Thanks for sharing your work.

  4. Hello Mark,

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I am having a great time this winter working on quilts. No lawn to mow, no shows to do, just watch it snow, make hearty soup, and watch Jon plow snow. He has a nifty snow plow rigged to his bobcat and he can pop it off and clip onto a contraption that splits wood. We heat our house, woodworking shop, and my studio with an outside wood burning furnace. Rural life is might fine.

  5. Hello Elaine. I love your blog and how you decorate your home it so beautifully. Thank you for stopping by my blog.

  6. Hello Cyndi,

    I left you another message today on your Craftsy class. I am watching your class a second time--enjoying it so much. I appreciate all the work you put into this class. All of us learned so many new things and I for one am so inspired. I'll be sure to post more class photos in the coming weeks. Thank you for visiting my blog.