Monday, October 31, 2011

Beach Umbrellas Quilt


Here is my latest quilt and entry for Blogger's Quilt Festival. And surprise, surprise, there are some circles involved. Yes, I'm obsessed with circles. I was trying to deny it for a while, but let's just embrace the obsession, shall we? ;) I started making this quilt with the intention of using it as decor for my family room (which I finally decided to decorate even though we are putting our house on the market in less than 6 months). I had made the decision to decorate in tangerine and aqua, and one day while in the midst of a Google image search, I saw a block from this antique quilt. I thought it looked so cool with a background that was the same color as some of the wedges in the wheel...I wanted to try it with white as the background. So since that block and the colors orange and aqua were in my head at the same time, they all became this quilt. 


I designed this in EQ6. The inspiration block and most of the wheel blocks in the EQ block library had a circle appliqued on in the center, but I wanted to make mine without...I thought it looked cooler...like little asterisks. I decided to go with all solids on this one...I thought about just using one color for the asterisks...or maybe two...but it just seemed a little boring, so in the end I used four different colors...the dark orange and light aqua are Kona school bus and azure and the dark aqua and light orange are Connecting Threads aqua and apricot. I love that darker aqua. So pretty! Of course these colors don't exactly match the colors I used for my family room decor...but oh well. Close enough.


These blocks were surprisingly easy to make. I had a little template I printed out of EQ that I used to cut the wedges, and fortunately I was smart in planning my cutting. The thing that made these easy and fast was that I cut strips of each fabric the length of the wedge, and then stacked them (i.e. white, light aqua, white, dark aqua) and then cut the wedges. Then, when I took it all to the sewing machine, I didn't have to waste time matching up the sides before sewing, I just had to pull the top two pieces from the stack of four and sew. Easy. I was a little worried that the centers of the circle would be super bulky, but they didn't turn out too bad. I kinda rotated the seam with my thumb on the back before I ironed it and that helped the seams to lay on each other and flatten out a bit. There were a few that were a little sassy, but don't worry...I took a hammer to them (while they were laying on a piece of wood) and then they behaved quite nicely. I contemplated (for about 30 seconds) actually piecing the curved seam to finish the block, but then reason won over, and I decided to just applique the dang things on to the background fabric using my favorite applique method for circles (roughly explained in this post). But since I didn't have a giant piece of white fabric...I just cut some white fabric into squares and sewed them back together into a grid that I used to help place the circles...then I stitched them down using a blanket stitch and white thread. 


Here's a closeup of the quilting, but don't look too close. The design was amazing in theory, not so amazing in execution. So a couple of weeks ago, right before I finished the top, I discovered Green Fairy Quilts (no, I have not been living in a cave, I have no idea why I hadn't heard of her before). Anyway, Judi is an amazing long arm quilter and she free-hands everything. Amazing. I looked at her blog for like 2 hours and swore I would never use another pantograph again (but really, who am I kidding, pantographs are crazy fast and great for some quilts). I really loved the little loops she used on this quilt, so I wanted to try to incorporate some loops somehow. I drew a bunch of little sketches and finally came up with this design. I think it is really cute...kind of reminds me of a carnival a little bit. However, let's just say my freehand quilting skills have diminished somewhat since I discovered the almighty pantograph. Ok, diminished a LOT. But in my defense I was on a little bit of a time crunch...like the kind where I had to finish quick because I was leaving my quilting machine while I moved with my family to Arizona for 2 months for my husbands work. I finished it the day before we left. So I may not have been as careful as I could have been (i.e. I didn't take time to mark things at all). Oh well, it's done, and not completely unfortunate looking...as long as you don't look close! ;)


For the back, I just used all the leftover fabric I had and sewed it into these cute stripes! I actually really love this back...it's only the second one I have ever pieced, but I think it turned out great. And BONUS, I used up all the fabric I bought for this quilt! (If I had a theme song, it would be playing right now because I think I am pretty awesome when I use up large amounts of leftover fabric).


For the binding, I used this Aqua lifesaver print from connecting threads that I happened to have. 


Arizona is way too hot today, but it does have some benefits...like this beautiful weather and scenery for fun quilt pictures!! See more quilts at the bloggers quilt festival!


60 comments:

  1. Yay! The pool! I love the quilt! Very summer-like.

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  2. I adore circles too and I saw a photo of a quilt fabric that had this very design the other day and imagined it would make a great quilt. Voila, you did it and it's fabulous. Thw quilting really is the icing on the top, fabulous.

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  3. The quilt is amazing, love the color combination. You tell a good story too!

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  4. The quilt is amazing! And I love the story behind it and its making. I have a feeling the only one who will be noticing any issues in the quilting is you. Everything I see here is absolutely GORGEOUS! (Definitely lovin' the pieced back too!) :)

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  5. Love it and I love the story that goes with it. I am so happy that you gave in to your circles obsession - we are all the better for it!

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  6. beautiful, I love your quilts.

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  7. Wow! It's gorgeous. I love it, it's so cheery and summery.

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  8. This is absolutely the funnest quilt!! LOVE IT!!

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  9. Your quilt looks perfectly lovely to me. Nicely done. I think I may have to try doing something in orange and aqua now.

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  10. That is beautiful. So vibrant and fun! Makes me feel warm all over!

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  11. Love this quilt, the colours are so bright and summery. The backing and quilting are fabulous too.

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  12. Possibly one of my favourite quilts in the BQF. It is simple yet not so simple and the quilting is stunning.

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  13. Another amazing design and beautiful quilt. I got a kick out of you hammering those sassy seams in place.

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  14. what a stunning quilt, I love it. looks simple, but it must have been a lot of work.
    Kristina
    www.priscillacraft.blogspot.com

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  15. I LOVE THIS QUILT!! :D oops, sorry. hehe Really, the effect is very cool and the quilting is wonderful. The back is even fabulous!

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  16. I can't think of enough adjectives to describe the beauty of this quilt!!! So incredible..... I'm happy to have found your blog. I'll definitely be back!

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  17. I love this quilt. I have had a similar idea rolling in my head. I don't have EQ so it has been slow at the designing. Yours turned out so stunning it inspires me to get my pencil to paper. Thanks for sharing!

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  18. oh my goodness! another stunning quilt! You really should sell this pattern, I know i would totally buy it. You do such fantastic work, this is gorgeous.

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  19. Very beautiful! I love the color combination and the pattern! And the quilting is awesome, too.

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  20. beautiful quilt. love the colors!

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  21. Holy cow! You are my new favorite. Your quilts are seriously crazy cute! Excuse me while I explore some more...

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  22. Well, to me it looks perfectly fabulous in every way! I love it!

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  23. Stunning! What fantastic work, the quilting looks amazing.

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  24. Ooooh! I really, really love this! It's gorgeous!

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  25. Such a fun fun quilt! Congratulations your colors are perfect!

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  26. Wow! That is amazing! I love the colors, and the quilting is divine! You did a fantastic job!!! :)

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  27. I really like the front(circles aren't the easiest for me) and congrats on finishing up a large chunk of fabric!

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  28. This is one of my favorite quilts I've seen in the festival so far- great job =) I really love the colors and I love the pattern. I am such a fan of the beach -- I grew up on the beach and this quilt makes me smile. You should write a pattern for it! =)

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  29. I could look at this quilt all day! lucky you!

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  30. Oh my!! I really like this quilt, I love the colors, they are so vibrant and colorful!! It makes me feel happy inside :) A really great job on it!! It looks excellent!! I also like the pictures at the top by the name of your blog, all those quilts look wonderful too!! I really liked looking at your blog!!

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  31. I'm dying. This quilt is AWESOME! You have a much better AZ background than I do... ;)

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  32. I have found a ton if inspiration here on your blog. I totally love the beach umbrella quilt, front and back, the quilting is perfect!! I am following you so I can come back and look some more....out of time.....been here an hour. *smile*

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  33. I think your fmq looks amazing! The quilt is gorgeous, of course, too!

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  34. OMG!! your quilting is so amazing....I can't stop staring at it!! Then I go back and look at my beginner efforts :(

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  35. This is very very cool! And thanks for sharing so much detail!

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  36. I love this quilt - and you quilting! That's the type of quilting I aspire to. I would have a really hard time deciding which side of the quilt to have up - I'm a big fan of pieced backs and reversible quilts.

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  37. OMG, I love this quilt! Thanks for sharing!

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  38. I Love it! I just had a vision of something similar last night. Now I'm so super inspired!

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  39. Everything is amazing! The color, the design, the back, the quilting. Way to go!

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  40. Oh my goodness. This quilt is so cute. You should create a pattern for this. I am sure it would be a hit! Thanks for sharing such a beautiful quilt!

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  41. Cute! And I love reading all the details about how you made it :D

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  42. Woah! That is an awesome quilt. You should think about making it a tutorial. Bookmarking this page because LOVE the pattern.

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  43. fabulous! thanks for sharing this quilt and the process.

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  44. What an amazing quilt! I love that you designed it yourself using EQ 6..... I have it, but I do need to use it more often......yours is inspirational! I also love that you possibly took a hammer to the quilt. LOL!! My DH says that if I can't get something to work I try to fix it with a hammer....this is slightly true.....so I can't wait to tell him I can use it on a quilt! LOL!! Love your blog!

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  45. incredible. I'm so happy I found your blog!

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  46. Impressive! Thanks for sharing!

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  47. I had to come over here and tell you that this quilt is absolutely gorgeous.

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  48. I just found you (and this fabulous quilt!) via the bloggers quilt festival
    I love it and I'm now a new follower!

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  49. It turned out awesome, Cynthia! I love it.

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  50. I am DYING to make this quilt for my baby due in June. Can I purchase the pattern for the block from you?

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  51. my jaw just hit the floor! so pretty!

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  52. I love this quilt and I've pinned it to my "Quilty Goodness" board on Pinterest (with proper credit, of course!). Feel free to follow me if you'd like: http://pinterest.com/lipglass/quilty-goodness/

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  53. where can i purchase the pattern to this quilt?

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    Replies
    1. This pattern is now available on craftsy.com
      here's the link: http://www.craftsy.com/pattern/quilting/home-decor/beach-umbrellas-quilt-pattern/147007

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