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Sunday, August 16, 2009

"I don't think so Tim"

It's been a very long time since I've updated this. Shortly after my last post I ended up moving from Boston to western Connecticut and sort of got out of the habit. However, I just completed a quilt project that has been almost 4 years in the making, so I think it's time to blog about that one.

The house I purchased when I moved has an interesting history. The original house structure was a small cottage with a screened-in porch out the back. By small, I mean about 300 square feet. My property is on a hill overlooking the upper end of Lake Zoar, essentially in a bit of a gorge. Because of the slope, the screened-in porch is up a story (on stilts) and the basement was a walk-out in the back.

In 60s, an addition was added that tripled the size and made it into a real house. When the owner died at age 99, the house was purchased by a younger couple who put a lot of effort into renovations. One of the renovations was a complete redo of the living room/kitchen area by knocking out the porch wall and adding that square footage to the kitchen. The resulting kitchen was gorgeous, and one of my primary reasons for picking this house when I moved.

One consequence of this remodeling was windows. Because the kitchen sticks out the back of the house (in stilts, no less), it has windows on 3 sides, with an eating area in the most well-lit portion at the end. There are a total of 10 windows in the kitchen area. Here's a picture of the kitchen from the real estate listing.

When I first moved in, I had no idea as to what I should do for kitchenb window treatments. kitchen. This was going to require a little thought.

During this process, I realized that making my own window treatments could be an option since I do know my way around a sewing machine. I started checking out books on how to make shades, blinds, etc, and stumbled upon the following book:

Quilted Roman Blinds

Bingo, we had a winner! And as a bonus, the author has a wonderful website and sells all of the necessary hardware necessary. I had every thing I needed, including the inspiration, so it was time to get to work.

Of course, doing one quilt design and repeating it nine more times wouldn't work for me. Making more than one version of a quilt gets boring in a hurry. I was going to need to make blinds with ten different designs...and my normal color wheel batik fabric selection was pretty much a given.

The first steps were to design the layout of the quilts, since I wanted the interior portions to be the same size so that the borders would look similar even though all of the quilts would be dramatically different. I played around with layouts in Electric Quilt, and decided that the borders would have a wide border, with a narrow black border that framed the inner pieced area. By tweaking the border dimensions, I ended up with an inner pieced panel that would be 28" by 42". This meant it could be created using a 4x6 grid of 7" inch blocks or a 2x3 grid of 14" blocks. A block size of 7" or 14" wasn't the most ideal of situations, but I could work with that. I also realized some of the designs would likely not use a grid layout at all, since from day one, I knew that one of the blinds would be a french braid layout. But for the most part, I was going to let things get created as I was inspired.

I'm not going to go into many details of the individual blinds in this blog post. I'll likely do some additional posts where I talk about each one in turn. Many of the blinds were created during quilt weekends at the Henry Farm Inn in Vermont. These resulted from projects prepared by our instructors Anne Gallo and Susan Rabin of Yankee Quilts. They'd present a project idea, and my first thought would generally be "can I make this in a 28" by 42" size". If the answer was yes, well, more more blind closer to completion. Five of the ten blinds were created this way. Two more of the blinds were based on quilts we'd done in prior classes with Anne and Susan and the french braid design was a idea I'd come up with during the class I've already blogged about where I'd played with different braid variations. So Anne and Susan contributed to all but two of the blind designs.

Steve Martin had an old routine about how he could teach you how to make a million dollars and not pay any taxes. Step 1: make a million dollars. This blog entry is going to be like make ten different quilted blinds, step one is "make ten different quilts". This took several years, and will be a topic of its own (I promise). For now, I want to focus on the journey involved in completing the project, which really happened over the course of the last year.

Ok, I've got ten different quilt designs (ok, I actually made 12, but 2 of the 12 I decided weren't going to work as part of the blind sets). The next step was going to be getting the borders on all of the panels so that they would be out to full size. A year ago, I had the opportunity to drive from CT to Nebraska with my Godchild to take her back to college. We drove because she was going to be taking a car back with her on this trip, and I flew back. While in Nebraska, I would be visiting with my friend Marcia (who introduced me to quilting originally). I was going to be there for a week, but Marcia and her husband would be working most of the week, her kids started school that week, so they wouldn't be around. So I packed my blinds, the border material, and took over Marcia's sewing room for a week.

Early on in this process, I had planned on using two different colors for the blind borders. I had picked a spotted batik that was available in 2 different color ways. I had figured that 3 yards of each was enough to do all ten blinds, and had purchased this fabric before I even had a single blind pieced.

Fast forward a couple of years. I'm now figuring out how to cut the border fabric and discover that I have enough border fabric for just four of the blinds! The instructions for creating the blinds has seams and excess fabric to allow the blinds to be squared up, so my original calcuations based on the finished size of the blinds did not work out. Shazbot!

Oh well, this meant it was time to do some fabric shopping. Marcia and I hit a couple of Nebraska quilt shops looking for border alternatives. I had pretty good luck at the Quilted Moose and the Cosmic Cow. My original plan for using two different border fabrics got expanded to five different fabrics, two in each color. In retrospect, this was an excellent improvement, as I was able to select a border that best enhanced each of the individual designs.

Ok, crisis one on to crisis two. In order for these blinds to look like part of a set, it was critical that the borders be precisely the same size on each blind. Since they would be hanging next to each other, the borders, particularly the top and bottom borders, needed to match up or this whole thing would just look strange. Unfortunately, with a lot of the variations in design and the number of pieces, several of the panels ended up smaller than the critical 28" x 42" dimension. Six were fine, but 4 were definitely undersized. After a little bit of playing, I decided to add an additional border inside the black border to bring this up to full size. This worked really well, and in fact, significantly improved the overall appearance. In a wonderful bit of serendipity, 3 of the undersized panels used black elements in the design. These black pieces would have connected with the black border in ways that would have created some undesirable effects. By creating a little separation between the design and the black borders, the black elements really pop out instead of being absorbed by the border.

Ok, after a busy week in Omaha, I had a complete set of panels and borders done and ready for the Thermosuede backing to be added. Last fall, my good friends Ken and Cindy decided to have some "sew in" days over at their place. We just disappeared into their basement and sewed for the entire day. They have some large tables in their sewing room that are great work areas for working with large pieces of fabric, so working at their place was ideal for finishing up the borders.

On the first weekend, I steam ironed the thermosuede to preshrink it, and cut all of the pieces for the backs to size. This took most of the day, but now I was ready to start sewing them on the next time we did one of these weekends. Several weeks later, I unfolded the thermosuede and discovered mold spots all over the fabric. Because I had folded up the pieces immediately after I had cut them, the left over moisture from the steaming process had allowed mold to grow :-( However disappointing this was, it was immediately topped by nasty surprise number two...the pieces were also cut to the wrong size! They were useless and I was going to have to do this over. I immediately hopped in the car and ran to JoAnns Fabrics to buy more thermosuede and started over. This time, I checked the cut size against one of the blinds BEFORE I had the complete set cut.

In December, my friends used some timeshare points to rent a condo on Cape Cod and invited me along. We took all of our quilting gear along and spent the weekend sewing. Over the course of the 4-day weekend, I got the backs sewed on and the velcro along the tops of the blinds. These were now in a state where I could hang them up in the kitchen, although without the lifter mechanisms.

My friend Ken and I spent a day adding mounting boards for the blinds. We used PVC exterior brickmolding for the boards and ran a single board across the tops of the windows. We ran into one of the quirks resulting from the remodeling job that converted the screened-in porch into a kitchen extension. The original porch was built with a slope to drain water away from the house. This slope is still in the floor, and and is also in the ceiling. Mounting a level board for the blinds highlighted just how much of a slope there was. Even the window frames were parallel to the floor!

Ok, with the mounting boards in place, I could at least hang up the blinds, even if I couldn't raise them. Since this was the dead of winter, that was not much of a problem.

Here is a picture of the some of the blinds just hanging loose.

From here, it was a "simple matter" of adding the plastic battens, sewing lift rings on back, adding the weight rods, mounting pulleys and adding the lift hard could that be :-)

Adding the plastic battens was a step I thought would be very hard, but turned out to be no real issue. The biggest difficulty was needing to wait about 3 hours for the fabric glue to set before the blind can be moved off of the work surface. This is no big deal if you're dealing with one blind, but with ten, it sort of stretches out the process.

The rings also were no real big deal other than the sheer volume of them. Each blind required nine rings. I was able to position the outside rings so they fell inside the black borders, so I only need to match thread color with the middle column of rings, which definitely sped things up.

Once the rings were done, I was really out of excuses for not pushing forward and completing the project. The next step was weight rods for the bottom of the blinds. You've got to love a quilt project that uses a reciprocating saw and a bench grinder (cue the Tim Allen caveman grunt)! The reciprocating saw cut through the steel rods like butter and the bench grinder did a beautiful job of deburring the rods. Much better than using a hacksaw and a metal file as indicated in the book.

Ok, the home stretch. Now all I had to do was mount the pulleys and add the cords. The first one was a serious pain, since I decided to do the window by the sink first. Since this was above a counter top, it was more difficult to access than the other windows. This was also the first one that used cords, and I had not yet established how long each cord needed to be....or the logistics of getting the cords threaded and tied off. This first blind really involved some creative use of profanity, in multiple languages :-)

After the first one, I did a run around the kitchen mounting the pulleys for the remaining blinds. This part of the process was not unlike doing calisthenics. "Raise your arms over your head, bend down to pick a dropped screw off the floor". I think I averaged at least one dropped screw per pulley. Nine blinds, four pulleys each, you do the math.

Holding the cordless drill over my head was no treat either. My neck and shoulders are so stiff this morning! Of course, being able to use more power tools was a bonus :-)

Ok, all I had left now is stringing cords, but the blinds were not going to go down easy. I strung the cords for the second blind, but when I raised it up, it didn't seem to be folding correctly. On inspection, I discovered I'd sewn the rings in the wrong batten positions...sigh. I clipped these off and set to resewing a new set. When I got to the last ring, I found I couldn't get the needle to thread because thread I was using was slightly heavier than the rest of the rings. I eventually gave up and found a needle with a larger eye. Got everything strung up and the blind still did not fold correctly! Cue the profanity in multiple languages again.

Turns out because I'd gotten interrupted on that last ring by needing to find a different needle, I'd managed to sew that last one back on in the original incorrect position. So I had to untie all of the cords one more time and resew that one ring. Fortunately, this was the only problem child of the bunch and shortly, the project was FINISHED! So, after almost 4 years and having the answer the question "Are the blinds up" countless time, it was done. It's amazing how nice the room looks with the blinds in the mostly up position and light coming through the windows. While they were just hanging there, the kitchen was mostly a dark cave. Fine in the winter, not so nice in the middle of summer. Here's a picture of the back wall with the blinds up:

And all of the blinds in full down, starting with the one by the sink:

The side outside wall of the kitchen:

The back wall with everything down:

And the other side wall that looks out on my deck:

Whew, a lot of work, and this has sort of kept me from working on other projects. I sort of have a plan for doing some blinds for my living room as well. It turns out that a quilt I've already made is almost the perfect size to cover the picture window in my living room.

This is done using my own hand dyes, but I need to think of something similar for the other window, which is a bit smaller.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

A Snail's Trail

"Do not follow where the path may lead...Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."  — Robert Frost

Ok, back to the round Robins.  The next one I received was Ken’s.  I was really please to receive this one.  I’d sort of been on Ken a little to try something more challenging.  So far, most of his quilts had been different color variations of the first quilt he ever made (from a class).  I think he’d made at least 10 of these.  They looked great, but he needed to step outside of his comfort zone a little more.  I was really please to see he’d done a snail’s trail block for his round robin. 

One interesting thing about Ken.  He’s color blind, but rather than be a handicap as a quilter, it seems to work out to his advantage.  His color blindness works out to be a built-in value finder.  As a result, Ken has a very good value sense when it comes to picking fabrics…and he doesn’t get obsess over color choices.  As long at the values provide good contrast the colors all just go together.

The first border, done by my God-child Azureen.  Az loves working with very bright fabrics.  She’d have been right at home in the 60s, since she prefers very bright primary colors in her quilts.  She also loves orange…yet another quilter not afraid of the dreaded orange.

The border itself is a variation of the braid pattern Az learned from Anne Gallo the previous fall. This colorful border pulled out the color from the paint-splatter dots in the inner block.  It worked very nicely.

When I received this quilt, I’d just finished taking the Chinese Lattice class from Carol Miller, the Dean of Quilt University.   Here is my finished Chinese Lattice quilt.  This is still on the UFO list, but I really liked the way the border wrapped around the inner block, and decided to reuse the design here.  And, as chance would have it, I’d just finished a fresh batch of hand dyed fabric…why dye if you’re not going to use it.  This border worked out very nicely, providing a nice calming effect for the bold colors Az used.

Next up was Marcia…and this was an amazing border, with both applique and reverse applique.  The purple background really enhanced the colors of the hand dyes inside of it. 

Outside of that was a simple star design by Emerald.  Once again, because the previous border was complicated, a simple border was used, which set the stage for Cindy to go wild with a scrappy outer border that echoed the colors used by Azureen.

Monday, May 09, 2005

An Eternal Golden Braid

 "All the good ideas I ever had came to me while I was milking a cow."  (Grant Wood)

It was back to the Henry Farm Inn again this weekend, for another wonderful weekend of sewing with Anne Gallo and Susan Raban.  We spent an extra day this time, arriving on Thursday evening, departing on Sunday.  Normally these workshops run Friday-Sunday, but we’d decided we wanted more time to work on things.

This was a small group this time, only 6 sewers.  In addition to our core group of me, Ken, Cindy, and my God-children Emerald and Azureen, we were joined by Pat from Lowell, Mass.  We all sort of worked on different projects this time.  Ken and Cindy wanted to learn how to do braid quilts (one of Anne’s specialties), Pat was working on a pinwheel quilt, Azureen did a bunch of little projects, including making some quilted purses, and Emerald went off and did a project of her own invention, with amazing results.

As for me, I had already taken Anne’s braid class at Quilter’s Way, so Anne decided I should just play around with braid variations.  She did not arrive until Friday afternoon, but she had Susan deliver a piece of graph paper with a diagram of a braid variation and the notation “For Rick to make”.  Here’s Anne’s original version:

Annes First

The variation here was the additional two square blocks around the braid points, one in color, one in black.  This was interesting, but it created a bit of separation between the braid units that sort of lost the braid effect.  I suspect it would show up a little better if paired with additional braid units.

Next I decided to try something a little more complicated.  The colored squares were nice, but a block made with half-square triangles would look right at home there.  Here is variation #2.

Half Square

This one worked out great!  The half squares in the middle created a nice point of interest in the middle, but also enhanced the appearance of the braids rather that creating a big space between them.  A bit more complicated to make.  I was glad I had brought my Easy Angle ruler with me, since I had only brought 2 1/2 inch strips with me.

I was not ready to give up on the first variation yet.  I felt it was still possible to create some unifying structure in the middle using just squares, but a little more interesting color structure was needed.  By this time it was lunch, so we combined a lunch run with a trip to Quilt-A-Way fabrics.  At Quilt-A-Way, I picked up some gray and white fabrics.  When I got back to the machine, I used these fabrics with the black to create a gradient in the middle.  This time I made two braid strings and combined them.

Black and White

This was “way cool”!  The center stripe became the focal point, and the braid strips created a nice frame around the stripes.

Now I was starting to roll.  One of the variations I’d used before used a black strip along side the braid to create a stained glass effect in the braid.  I decided it was time to try some variations on the black leading.  My first attempt was pretty much a flop…amazingly, the only real failure I had this weekend.


The attempt to use the short strips just didn’t work.  And it didn’t take too many rows to figure this out either.  I was pretty sure how it could be fixed, however. 

Leaded Squares

This was much better, and one of my favorite designs from the weekend.  Ok, one more variation on the leading.

Simple Leading

This one used the strips to separate entire chevrons.  The traditional use of the leading oriented the strips so each braid piece was completely framed.  I think this variation would work best if the same color strip was being used for both sides of the chevron.  Note the little goof I made here on the bottom.  I forgot which way I’d been sewing, so I switched sewing directions after the first chevron….oops!

This lead to experiments with varying the size of the braid strips, which produced a number of interesting effects.  Attempt #1 was essentially the same as the one above, but used colored strips cut to 1 1/4” rather than black 1” strips.

Two Sizes

This was a very nice effect.  I tried mixing narrow and wide strips on the same chevron, and also switching the wide/narrow sides back and forth. 


This was sort of interesting…not entirely sure how I’d use it, but it’s interesting none the less. 

Another standard braid variation uses a black square at the point.  Anne suggested trying this with the different sized strips. 

Dual Squares

Another one in the “way cool” category.  The switch between the small black squares and the large black square was a very interesting effect.  This one lead me to try the version with the leading around the squares with the different sizes. 

Dual Leading

Wow!  I think this was my favorite variation from the weekend. 

By this point, I was starting to run out of ideas.  I thought it might be interesting to add a black square on the end of each chevron piece, rather than just a single piece used to create the blocks effect.  This created a zig-zag pattern down the middle of the braid.  This version again needed to be combined with a second braid to be affective:

Zig Zag

By this point, I was tapped out.  Pat suggested I try playing with the color placement instead of the structure.  I had picked up a bunch of sea color fabrics at Quilt-A-Way, so decided to try a gradient effect.


This was pretty neat.  I think I’m going to end up using this piece as the background for some sea life applique.  I’ll see what I can come up with here.

Ok, at this point, I was tapped out.  Fortunately, it was dinner time, so I was able to take a break.  Anne and I were batting around some ideas at dinner, and suddenly the light bulb went off….flying geese on the braids!

After dinner, I immediately jumped back into it.  Here’s my first flying goose attempt, using quick folded flying goose blocks on the chevrons.

Yellow Geese

I loved the movement this created, and I particularly like the way the braiding in the center section really stood out.  At this point, all sorts of possibilities around this motif were flying through my head.  I only had time to do a couple more, unfortunately.  The one above used long side strips on either side of the goose.  For my second version, I decided to use a black point block, and butt the goose strips up against the center block.

Delta Wing

This created an interesting delta-wing formation in the middle, as well as making the braid section part of the wings.  And my final variation of the weekend, which was essentially the same as the first flying goose block, but using black for the goose part.

Black Geese

Even though this is the same design as the previous one, it has a completely different look because of the change of fabric.  In this one, the geese are de-emphasized, and the braids stand out more strongly.

Well, that was the end of the weekend.  Since I’d just spent three weeks working rather intensely on Emerald’s graduation present, it was a very nice break to just sit and play with these designs.  At some point, I’m going to see if I can’t assemble all of these strips into a single sampler quilt.  This will certainly be an interesting challenge.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Do Androids Dream of Electric Quilts

Ok, I had the first round robin block in hand, and was trying to decide what to do.  This block was from my God-child Azureen.  Az already had in had a block she had made at our last Henry Farm Inn quilt weekend (the Christmas Star block).  She added two simple border around the block to bring it up to the suggested 18” and passed it along to me. 

The block used light and dark purples, some rainbow colors, and a light pink background.  The purples and rainbow colors were ok with me, but I didn’t really do light colors.  For a border idea, I “reused” an idea from a class I’d been taking at Quilt University (more on this topic later).  I was taking a class on Electric Quilt Borders and Layouts, taught by Fran Gonzolez.  I thought one of the borders Fran had used in the class was sort of neat, and decided to use it.  Electric Quilt made this fairly easy.  I drew up a block that roughly matched Az’s block, and sized to the same finished dimensions.  After that, it was a simple matter to draw the border around the block and print out paper templates for cutting.  This border design involved piecing together a number of long and skinny triangles, which was an interesting exercise.  I’d done something similar with some of the block bender quilts I’d made, so I managed to get by. 

I decided to use a rainbow color batik to mirror some of the rainbow colors that Az had used, but had a bit of a problem finding a light-valued batik that gave good enough contrast with the focus fabric.  This has been a general problem with my fabric stash, but slowly I’ve managed to fill in this hole.  The border came out really nice, but I think if I were to do this again, I’d have added a narrow dark colored border between Az’s outer most fabric and my border to give a little separation.  The rainbow colored outer edge of her block sort of fades into the border I added. Anyway, here’s the result.  I just discovered that I don’t have a picture of her quilt in completed form.  I’ll update this once I get picture of the final result.

An amusing aside on this one.  Several months later I was taking another Quilt University class on borders, and was describing the round robin project and how I’d been using border ideas I’d gotten for QU classes.  When I mentioned I’d used the triangle border from the Electric Quilt class, the instructor (Carol Miller) expressed real surprise that I’d made that one for real. Carol said that border was just an example intended to illustrate the EQ principles, and had never been intended to be used.  As far as she had known, nobody else had ever made that border.  Ah, the luxury of ignorance .




Friday, April 29, 2005

Testing BlogJet

I have installed an interesting application - BlogJet. It's a cool Windows client for my blog tool (as well as for other tools). Get your copy here:

"Computers are useless. They can only give you answers." -- Pablo Picasso

Trying out some new software for writing/editting my blog entries….this is my first real attempt, so here goes.

I’m off to Vermont this weekend for another weekend of quilting at the Henry Farm Inn.  The last couple of trips, I managed to get a ride up with my friend Candy, who was also taking the class.  Candy unfortunately has a conflict this weekend, and Anne Gallo is not going up until Friday, so I’m back to my old standard of taking the bus (sigh).  Paul, the proprietor of the Henry Farm Inn is graciously picking me up at the bus station when I get there.  Anne is giving me a ride back, which is usually a fun time.

We’re doing something a little bigger this weekend, spending all day Friday quilting in addition to the weekend.  This will give us plenty of time to spend at Quilt A Way, which is always a great shopping experience.  My Godchild Emerald is going to be picking out the backing fabric for her high school graduation present.  Note to self:  NEVER agree to make a quilt for somebody before reading the pattern instructions!

This is an interesting quilt to work on.  Emerald has completely redesigned it, elimating the flowery applique and replacing it with sea life.  This is also done in bright colors on dark backgrounds, with the borders and the connecting pinwheels done in sea-colors (purple-blue-green gradients). 

For a queen size quilt, 40 of the triangles are required.  Each triangle has 6 main units, plus 3 of the curved “fan” parts.  These are all paper pieced units.  Do the math…this is 360 paper pieced units, and sewing them all together requires sewing 120 curved seams…I’m so excited!  This will be beautiful when it’s done, but I’ve already accepted I’m not going to have it done by Emerald’s graduation day.




Thursday, April 28, 2005

Round and round the cobbler's bench

Round and round the cobbler's bench
The monkey chased the weasel,
The monkey thought 'twas all in fun
Pop! Goes the weasel.

A penny for a spool of thread
A penny for a needle,
That's the way the money goes,
Pop! Goes the weasel.

A half a pound of tupenny rice,
A half a pound of treacle.
Mix it up and make it nice,
Pop! Goes the weasel.

Up and down the London road,
In and out of the Eagle,
That's the way the money goes,
Pop! Goes the weasel.

I've no time to plead and pine,
I've no time to wheedle,
Kiss me quick and then I'm gone
Pop! Goes the weasel.

So what does this have to do with quilting? Absolutely nothing! However, I wanted to have a title with the word "Round" in it, because I'm going to write about Round Robin quilts. I was also going to title this "Round and round the MULBERRY BUSH", because that's how I always heard the song sung when I was a kid. I was surprised to learn it was the cobbler's bench instead, and there were more than just one verse. So, I present this for your edification.

Anyway, back to round robin quilts. This is the first in a series of articles about a round robin quilt project I was involved with my friends Marcia, Ken, and Cindy, plus my two Godchildren Emerald and Azureen. Each person was going to do a block, and then pass it to the next person to add a border, with the orignal block creator ending up with the quilt for finishing. Here were the rules:

  1. The orignal block was to be no more than 18" finished. 18" was picked because Marcia just happened to have an 18" Hawaiian applique block she wanted to use...what the heck, we're easy!
  2. After the initial block, each person would add a border with a maximum width of 6". If the inner borders did not use the entire 6", you could use up that shortfall up to a maximum size of 8".
  3. The round robin order was me->Marcia->Emerald->Cindy->Ken->Azureen.
  4. Each person had 6 weeks to work on each step before passing it along....where were a tad flexible on the 6 week deadline :-)
  5. The original block creator got the finished quilt and responsible for finishing it however he/she saw fit. Adding a final border was fair game too.

I had a paper piecing pattern I'd been wanting to try, as well as a nice new rainbow gradient hand dye fabric assortment just looking for a project. The pattern was Spiraling Rays by Carol Bryer Fallert. And here was my resulting block.

This is definitely one of those "it's a lot harder than it looks project". The paper piecing made it pretty easy. The only tough parts were sewing the inner circle (which I picked because it made me thing of an eye) and the outer circle. This particular pattern handled the curves by turning the edges of the convex part under, then sewing along the edge with transparent thread and a zig-zag stitch. This took me an afternoon to finish.

After send it along to Marcia, I got a request from her for any extra of the outer blue fabric I'd sent her.

Here is the finished quilt I got back. My friends definitely understand my liking of bright colors on a dark background! This is definitely a quilt that needs to be seen in person rather than a photo. In real life, the fabrics positively glow!

One neat feature I'd like to point out is the outer-most border. This was sewn by my Godchild Azureen, and uses a technique she learned from Anne Gallo during a quilt weekend at the Henry Farm Inn. The squares are made from a pair of 3D flying geese. The outer triangles are folded rather than pieced along that edge, giving each one a little pocket and dimensional effect. I have not quilted this yet, but it is definitely at the top of the UFO list. This will get finished once I complete Emerald's high school graduation (!) quilt.

Next up, border #1 for Azureen's block.