February 22, 2015: 1. Everything is white! 2. Joyful Noise and more

Greetings!  Everything around here is white!  We’ve been in our house for almost 31 years and it has been a long time since we’ve had this much snow on the ground.  Luckily we have 1 1/4 acres of land and have places to which we can move the snow, unlike our poor neighbors who live in towns and cities.  Our driveway and path to the mailbox are tunnels!

22215 white snow#1

22215 white snow #2

All this “white-ness” has caused me to think about white wholecloth quilts – an enduring quilt tradition – and also to think about how little I use “white” in my quilts.  Many quilt shows over the years have featured these white wholecloth quilts and they are still popular.  Initially they were considered a way to show off one’s excellent, fancy hand quilting.  Now one sees many more machine quilted ones than hand quilted ones, however, they are still a way to show off gorgeous quilting.   Here’s an example of an astounding machine made one by Sandra Leichner, featured in the latest issue of “Machine Quilting” magazine (click on pictures for enlargements to see the details!):

22215 white wholecloth


And closer:

22215 white wholecloth#2

Amazing work!  Even though many of these entirely white quilts are beautiful, I don’t believe I will ever make one because I love color too much.  If I ever do a wholecloth quilt just for the sheer pleasure of the hand quilting  – and not having to quilt through any seams!! – I would choose a color – maybe a shade of yellow or gold or maybe pink.  But it’s not currently at the top of the list of my quilts to make!  They are fun to look at, though.

I have used very little white in my quilts; I gravitate to darker colors and I prefer black (or red or a shade of darker yellow or gold) as a neutral background rather than white.  More like Amish style quilts – lots of black and literally no white.  As I think back over all the quilts I’ve made only 3 have a substantial amount of white.  The second quilt I made, “Flight of Fancy” has a white background:

22215 whiteq#1

This is a really big quilt (only half shown above) and was on our bed for 10 years! The next pictures show some of the hand quilting:

22215 whiteq #2


22215 whiteq #3

22215 whiteq #4

The other 2 quilts with white backgrounds are the “Bowl of Fruit” quilt hanging in my kitchen (my first applique quilt):

22215 bowloffruit

And my full size Baltimore Album (which I hope to add in full view and closeups to my web site soon):

22215 Baltalbum

Speaking of color, I have been sewing the blocks of Joyful Noise together.  This is a challenge because the middle of the block has 12 seams coming together!   It is almost impossible to get this many pieces to come together perfectly because there is too much bulk.   Each full block has 4 of the palm leaf blocks; one sews two of the smaller blocks together first, then sews those 2 pieces together.  Here are the 2 pieces set side by side and you can see each piece has 6 seams in the center:

22215 jn#1

Here’s an example of these sewn together:

22215 jn#3


This is probably the best I’ve been able to do:

22215 jn#5 best effort


Here it is a little further away – if you’re not going for perfection, it’s not too bad!

22215 jn#6 further away look

When these are sewn together, the bunch in the center in the back is bad:

22215 jn#4

I experimented a little with different ways to try to flatten this and the best was to just iron the seam open:

22215 jn#7 open seam


Because of the bulk in the center of the blocks, I wonder if I should applique a circle or square over it and cut out the bulk; it might look something like this:

22215 jn #8 coverthecenter?

Not sure!  I will ask my quilting friends for their opinions.  Let me know if you have one!!!

The quilt center consists of 13 of these blocks with 8 set-in triangle blocks – I have 9 of the blocks and 4 of the set-in triangles done so next time I post I hope to have center fully pieced and together.  And the 2 meters of the border fabric I showed in the last post which I ordered from Quiltsmith Australia arrived 10 days after I ordered it – great service!!

The quilting on Spirit of Japan is not easy because of the thickness of the fabrics.  Initially I was wondering if I should stop and send it out for machine quilting, but I finally settled into something of a rhythm with it and accepted the fact the the hand quilting stitches will be 5-6 per inch instead of 9-10, the quilting will be simple and not dense, and all of this will just be part of the nature of this quilt.  I am committed now to hand quilting it all and have one of the 16 circles quilted.

22215 soj full circle

22215 soj closeup


My quilting group tries to get together on a Saturday every 1-2 months for a “sew-in” where we gather and sew together for several hours.  It’s wonderful to be with kindred spirits and the conversation is always great.  Yesterday we gathered and the result of my hours there is this progress on block #5 of Sweet Journeys:

22215 sw block5

That’s what I’ve been up to and those are some of my quilting thoughts. Thank you for visiting!   Gladi


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