About jeanswenson

My granny taught me to sew when I was 4-years old, and after 50+ years of sewing, and many sewing projects - including my eldest daughter's wedding dress - my favorite thing to sew are quilt tops!

Ziggy


Ziggy
November 2019

Random is defined as “made or occurring without definite aim, reason, or pattern”. As much as I attempt randomization in some of my quilts, I struggle with letting them be completely random.

I had three objectives in making Ziggy: I had been wanting to do a string quilt to clear-up space in my reds and browns scraps bins; I wanted to experiment with foundation piecing; and I wanted to try (once again) to make a randomly pieced quilt. While the colorway was not completely random (strike 1), the pieces were different widths, ranging anywhere from 1″ to 3″. I began by tossing all the scraps next to the sewing machine, figuring I would just pick-up a scrap from the pile without any forethought, sew it to the block, and continue in this manner. I had gotten about eight blocks completed and on the design wall when I decided that ‘random’ wasn’t working for me. There was way too much color chaos!

I liked how the diagonal seams were working for a chevron pattern, but the randomness in the fabric placement was not supporting the chevron look. I then separated the fabrics I had tossed next to the sewing machine into their color values (strike 2), and was more attentive to the placement on each block (strike 3 and out). This was no longer going to be a random design. While I only accomplished two of my three objectives, in the end, I am happy with the final design. And ultimately, shouldn’t that be the biggest objective of anything we create?

What I learned along the way

  1. Foundation piecing – this was my first attempt at foundation piecing. I used dryer sheets, which worked really well (make sure to use either previously used dryer sheets, or wash new ones before using to remove the chemicals).
  2. Taking a black and white photo helps to visualize color saturation distribution. I got this tip from someone in Jacquelynne Steves Facebook group and it worked great! Once I had moved past this being a ‘random’ design, I really wanted to ensure the zig zags of the chevrons translated into the final design, and using the black and white photo technique helped in showing me where I needed to make adjustments to fabric placement.
  3. I learned a new word – stochastic. In my trying to understand why I have such a difficult time doing ‘random’ quilts, I came across Kristin Brenneman’s work on Chance in Art, where she defines stochastic as “a sequence which combines random components with a selective process so that only certain outcomes of the random are allowed to endure”. So while it is not a completely random quilt, I believe I can say with a fair amount of certainty that this is a stochastic quilt πŸ™‚

This will be donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services for a child in foster care.

Palahdee


Palahdee
September 2019

I’ve been making quilts for years, but mostly toppers that I bind and then tie to fleece backing. I haven’t done much in the way of machine or hand quilting, and in the last year have begun experimenting with machine quilting. I began cautiously, first on two table runners for last year’s Christmas and then in my Hoplon quilt project from earlier this year. I also have a QAYG project in the works. Overall, I’m enjoying the learning process.

My Palahdee quilt is a Labyrinth Quilt Block which I thought would work well as a baby quilt. Mypatchworld offers a nice tutorial on this block pattern. I don’t often make baby quilts, but felt it would be a good size to further practice my machine quilting. I tried out three different quilting designs: around the center star and the flower border I stitched in the ditch and then did a 1/4″ stitch away from the ditch; I did straight lines on the blue, using 1″ blue painters tape as my ruler; and on the elephants, I made my own freehand template that sort of looks like an elephant’s trunk.

The elephant fabric was the main star for this quilt, which was also the inspiration for the name. The blue fabric was from a duvet cover someone had given me many years ago and the small flower fabric was something I bought several years ago from the Latimer Quilt and Textile Center in Tillamook, a great place to visit if you’re in that area.

This will be donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services for a child in foster care.

Super Nova


Super Nova
August 2019

Do you have a fabric in your stash that sits there day-in and day-out, month-after-month, year-after-year, taunting you to make something of it? Challenging you to do something to let it be the shining star it is? But, in your eyes, it lacks. It won’t play well with others. It doesn’t have a pretty motif, it isn’t modern, and its colors are juxtaposed in an odd way.

The plaid binding fabric in my Super Nova quanket was this fabric. It is one I probably would not have picked out in the store. I’m not sure if you can zoom in enough to see it clearly, so I’ll try my best to describe it. It is a very small plaid print that seems to want to be a Christmas fabric, but the red is closer to magenta and the green is so dark that from afar, it is difficult to discern as green at all. I had acquired it from a donation several years ago, and it has sat in my stash patiently waiting its turn to be used. Well, its day has come! It, along with several other homespun plaids, and magenta and dark green scraps have been used in this Bursting Star quilt. If you are interested in this pattern, you can download it for free from Bluprint here. *I revised the pattern slightly, around the central star.

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services for a child in foster care in August 2019.

Be Dazzled


Be Dazzled
May 2019

The star of this quanket is the zebra fabric blocks which are alternated with a medley of grey blocks. The zebra fabric represents zebras not only as black and white – or white and black πŸ˜‰ – but also as rainbow striped.

When my kids were little, they enjoyed the poems of Shel Silverstein, and this particular poem is representative of many of the thoughts I had while creating this quilt, and thinking about those rainbow zebras. The message that I took from the poem and the rainbow zebras is that we are all different, and that’s okay! We should respect each person’s choices and individuality, and not question what makes them tick. We shouldn’t worry about what others choose to do with their lives. The only thing that matters, is what we do with ours, and to make it as dazzling as we possibly can!

Zebra Question
~ by Shel Silverstein
I asked the zebra
Are you black with white stripes?
Or white with black stripes?
And the zebra asked me,
Are you good with bad habits?
Or are you bad with good habits?
Are you noisy with quiet times?
Or are you quiet with noisy times?
Are you happy with some sad days?
Or are you sad with some happy days?
Are you neat with some sloppy ways?
Or are you sloppy with some neat ways?
And on and on and on and on
And on and on he went.
I’ll never ask a zebra
About stripes
Again.

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services for a child in foster care in August, 2019.

Land’s Edge


Land’s Edge
March 2019

Back in January I tackled my blue scraps bin and created the Bargello twist and turn quilt I named 3273 K. Of the 500 scrappy blue rectangles I cut for that project, I still had about 100 left. So instead of trying to cram them back into my scraps bin, I pulled out all my skinny blue and brown string scraps and made this! No pattern, just winging it πŸ˜‰

There are so many different fabrics in this quanket, I wouldn’t know where to start to list which ones are “pieces of the past” – heck, I guess they’re all technically “pieces of the past” since they’re all from past projects! I plan to link this to the weekly linky party over at Quilting is more fun than Housework. Pop over to see all the other great scappy projects others have been working on.

Quilting is more fun than Housework

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family ServicesΒ in March 2019, for a foster child.

Hoplon


Hoplon
February 2019

Early this year, we got devastating news: our youngest daughter was diagnosed with HER2+ breast cancer. At 31 years old, life has dealt her some harsh knocks. Yet while the justice scales seem quite out-of-whack where she is concerned, she has faced the challenges that life has thrown at her head-on, with such resolve and a fighting spirit. She is truly a modern day Spartan warrior! That is where the name I chose comes from: a hoplon was the warriors shield.

Before she began chemo treatments in mid-February, I made this quilt for her. I intended it to be symbolic of the hoplon, shielding her in the tremendous amount of love her family and friends have for her. The center LOVE is quilted while the outer blocks (Clay’s Choice) are tied. The sashing between each of the outer blocks have written messages of hope, love, strength and healing from family and friends.

#cancersucks