Fans See That   1 comment

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis was a tricky quilt which I was commissioned to do, but not paid much for. A good friends mother wanted an Asian-like quilt with lots of red. She also liked metalic-gold and silver, and some other things, soooooooooooooooo I struggled with some ideas, and tried to gather some materials.

I got online and shopped for something not too expensive, Asian-looking, and red and eventually found a nice red for a background. I also saw a nice looking quilt in a book of fan quilts, which had different varieties of fans that I really liked. The problem is that I had to cut out patterns, trace and cut out materials for the fans, and then attach them to a light background using an applique-type method. I don’t particularly like to applique, but I love to quilt! The fans also required rounded edges to be attached good face to good face which to me is really difficult to do. Quilting and rounded edges don’t gel well. The fans were annoying to make, but turned out pretty nice, but not perfect.

That particular quilt was not a very large one so I had to go around the border with large picture-frame squares about 12″X 12″ with a nice color inside and varied beige frames. I also put in an inner and outer border around these sections using very colorful, nice 2 1/2″ strips of varied lengths around this and the inner fan quilt. So now I had a queen sized quilt which is what the person wanted. It turned out much cooler than I anticipated.

The real problem came in how this quilt was put together. I tried a new technique of doing the quilt face, batting and backing in long sections which made it doable on a regular sewing machine rather than renting the use of a long arm machine down town to quilt the sandwiches together. It seemed like it would be easier this way, but I had to do a lot of hand stitching to connect the backing. Here’s how it went:

Take one 12 1/2″ x 52″section of the red background full length. Add a similar size of batting and backing and quilt the long print strips in long straight rows spaced about 2 inches apart. I made 3 of these sections.  Two more long section strips were done with five 4 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ sections of the red background with one of the four fans in between the red sections, thus giving us 8 fans (each different, and pretty nice looking in tones of reds, blues, purples, and greens). These were all quilted, then you roll back the batting and backing in order to connect the front quilt sections together. That worked okay, but it surely wasn’t as easy as I had wanted. The difficult part was to now attached the strips on the backing side BY HAND, using a slip-stitch seam which I had to look up on the internet to learn how this is done. It wasn’t too hard, but there was plenty of it which took forever it seemed. It was tedious doing this. One section puffed out a little and wouldn’t lay flat, so I guess I did something fishy in my spacing there, but I left it that way.

It was a little trickier attaching a border to this type of quilt which I hadn’t anticipated, but I got it done, along with a complimentary binding of a deep blue w/ Asian print.

Well, a seemingly easy quilt turned into quite a project, but I did add on to a quilt design that was quite a bit smaller. I learned a couple of things here:

1. If you are going to take a commission to do a quilt, it would be better to do something you like if possible. I didn’t enjoy doing this one as much, it was out of my style and taste.

2. Although it seemed like it might be an easier quilt to make it turned out not to be, even the part which was the original design, and it was a bit annoying to pull together. I seem to run into this more difficult business a lot.

3. I did learn some new techniques although I may not use them again.

4. I learned to make fans, and that they are not necessarily simple to do. And I learned a bit about how to use patterns, which I thought was a bit more fuss than I like.

5. I found that I don’t always have to go to a big free-arm quilting machine to do my quilting, although I now think I prefer that.


Posted January 29, 2013 by tgbringhurst in Quilters

Idaho Beauty   3 comments

I’ve been slightly busy lately. Sorry for my negligence. I just returned from a trip to Vancouver BC, Too bad I didn’t have time to pursue some quilting exploration. I was there attending an Austin (as in Texas) reunion for campus teams such as Christians on Campus, and Students for Christ for the whole Northwest. It was an awesome time! Quite a long journey from the Palouse. It took us about 9 hours, but it was worth it. We had some very good fellowship.

I will now begin a journey into one of my funnest quilts called Idaho Beauty which I created for my daughter, son-in-law, and 2 grand kids. My daughters husband has roots in Idaho, and so that is the reason I picked this Nickel Quilt design. Another reason was it was considered a little easier than Rocky Road to Dublin (previously written about).  I also really enjoy doing Nickel Quilts a lot. I like geometry, and patterns, and dimension in quilts.

I used a lot of red, white, and blue in this quilt because K. and H. are very patriotic. Those colors as well as many others made this quilt quite striking!. Of course, as in the Nickel Quilts I’ve seen, lights and darks are used to give the dimensional look.

I began this quilt in the Spring of 2011, in mid April. I was still working on a few other quilts, but its nice to have a few going, for the sake of variety. Sometimes you bog or should I say blog down doing the same thing for a while and need a change of pace. But usually I’ve had to familiarize myself as to the steps and sizes and, what have you, if I’ve been away from the pattern for a while.

This quilt did turn out to be really sharp, and full of color, and I was more successful in getting the points lined up properly. They were not quite as tricky to align this time, though still challenging. Fortunately I’m not so hung up on getting everything perfect, but I’m a more relaxed quilter. I enjoy it more that way. I’m having fun, not trying to win a prize.

This quilt turned out to be about 103×103. The red didn’t come out as much as I would have liked, so I put a nice bright red border, with a cool golden yellow coffee bean material for a thin border, and a dark navy blue binding.. That really set it off nicely! The thicker red border definitely was in order.

I did run into a little trouble if I wasn’t paying attention. Like I would get a point sewed on wrong, or a strip uspside down or backwards, so there were a few times when undoings were in order. That was painful if they were very long. Also some of the lights I tried to use were not quite the right lightness, and a few were too yellowish. I mostly left them in, but stopped using them if they weren’t working.

I did really have fun putting this quilt all together. But I kept running into a problem coming up with enough variety of white/lights. For the red, white and blue theme, they had to be quite white, and I usually used ones with more subtle, undistracting patterns if any. There were times I got tired of working on this pattern, especially the huge amount of double triangles required.

I finished this quilt in late February of 2012, so that makes about 10 months, but of course I was working on 3 quilts during a lot of this time, so it wasn’t my only project. I did have a strong push at the end to get it done, because my daughter was coming to visit in later February. She came with her 2 kids during President’s Day break.

The main draw back in making this quilt was the quilting itself. I guess I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was getting a little bit carried away with the pattern, and wound up putting more quilting in it than I had anticipated. I got very frustrated doing it for some reason. I believe the combination of doing more than I was used to, wanting to get it done soon, and perhaps the speed at which I was quilting made it quite a challenge. I spent a day and a half doing this one, and the thread was breaking a lot, which was very frustrating. I did some squarish spirals within the main design, and a few other varied spiral designs here and there.

The backing I picked up was some fun, but not so colorful, plaid material that I got for a very reasonable price.  It was soft, and beige-ish pinkish, with green and subtle yellow stripes. It kind of had the appearance of the inside of a sleeping bag, but it looked very neat.

Posted June 21, 2012 by tgbringhurst in Nickle Quilts, Quilters

Square Dreams in Technicolor (Squared)   2 comments

Squares before they were totally "squared" away

Sorry it has been so long, but I have been pre- and post-occupied lately.
Square Dreams….is a quilt I made for my oldest son and family. I had an amazing amount of fun making this one. I used a lot of random scraps, and of course, “color” coodinated a bit. I used some ideas picked out by my daughter-in-law, and took off with them in my own way.

Most, if not all of the ideas came from a book called Collaborative Quilting by Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston. That was my first quilting book, and I really have enjoyed their spunk in the book. I guess I collaborated with them, and the ideas went through my head, came out my way, and wound up as a very cool, colorful, and fun quilt. I would call many of my blocks “fractured log cabin” or “pickled picture frames” perhaps.

I did really have fun, but I remember 2 big challenges: 1. somehow coordinating colors which often found me taking a lot of time going through my material to find what worked for me  2. when assembling the quilt I wound up again, with a lot of different sized squares to assemble into blocks, to put the quilt together. this also required not only ingenuity, but also color coordination, and tricky alignments. It actually allowed me to hook together smaller scraps into trains/chains so that I could fill in some gaps. As they say in England “Mind the gap.”

As you can see, I threw in a few lightening bolts for good measure.

The quilt is queen-sized, and random, but I also tied in a wild colorful square/spiral rainbow center piece, and some pinwheels around the center and times four in the corners for some variety, and interest. AS couple of them spun out of control, but I kept them anyway. I didn’t need any sashing because everything was bordered, but found a very pleasant green with sunflowerish simple patterns to use as my straight french-fold binding which I did with mitered corners. In between the main quilt and the binding I put a 4 1/2 ish border of a nice, rich burgundy color which a man in the fabric store helped me decide on. He said to pick out one of the minor colors in the quilt, and use that as your outer border. The burgundy worked great.

When it came to the quilting I did square/spirals on the blocks as best I could, and outlined the pinwheels making them look cloverish. It seemed to work, I found a nice soft pale green material with soft colorfulish patterns in it for cheap to use as a backing.

I found myself going back to the books to remind myself how to make my own binding with seems cut on the bias, and using the correct grain of the fabric, so this binding turned out nice.

It was a busy time at Quilters Cove, because I actually had about 3 quilts going at a time. But that did make for variety. I could switch from one to the other when I got in a rut. But I did have to make sure I remembered how I was making everything: sizes, shapes, sequence etc. Next time I get to the blog I will introduce you to Idaho Beauty, another nickle quilt I was doing at the same time for my daughter and her family.

We also had lots of crazy lovers of Jesus coming over from the student campus club, our church, and visitors. Our grandchildren and other kids are regular visitors as well. My wife has more patience with the kids than I do at present. That could be due to the fact that I taught primary grades for 25+ years, and am a bit worn out from kid land. Speaking of Jesus, I do need to be heading out for a prayer meeting soon. We enjoy coordinating with the Lord for His interest on the earth. He is Lord, and He will have His way. But He needs some cooperation.

Happy trails.

Posted March 28, 2012 by tgbringhurst in Quilters

Little House in the Very Pointy Woods   Leave a comment

As promised in my last blog concerning The Rocky Road to Dublin, I will now try to give you a peek into the next quilt I invented and constructed. It was quite challenging, but much love went into it. The “pointy woods” part came from all the fun and colorful pointy trees I was making all along the way of my regular quilting when I needed a break. It was fun experimenting with triangles in this way although triangles are frustrating to work with. One hope was that I could get rid of a lot of scrap triangles, but in order to make the trees with backgrounds, I always wound up making more triangles for each unit I made. Oh well. Eventually I’ll invent a way to use those up. I did use up a few.
I had also been experimenting with making something called nifty nine-patch which when completed looks like mountains. You use easy nine patch for the beginning, but then do some cutting on the bias and splicing and piecing of different row types to where you come up with the mountains (to me anyway). They turned out great, but my feeling was that it was more trouble than it was worth; a lot of work anyway. I created some nice things with it, but it was quite complicated.
Soooooooooooooooo…….I began to construct a scene using a really cool and colorful sun I had made in another experiment up in one corner, and building from there (top down) I began adding trees, and mountains, and backgroundish areas with either bushes or lakes or the like. It really began to take on a life of its own. In the middle I even added a river, although it was very straight.
I actually had three different sizes of mountains which I tried to group randomly to give the mountain effect, and tried to use the different sizes to give a feeling of dimension. It worked out pretty good.
The challenge was to piece this all together in a way that wasn’t tacky or awkward. I had to be inventive, but I did it and am very happy with the result. It turned out pretty cohesive, colorful (of course), and fun.
My daughter-in-law picked out a cool greenish madris backing that was really neat, and worked well. I was hooked on plain backings, but this changed my concept.
By the way I put a little house in this very pointed woods. This is the little house part of the story. It was small and cute, and added a human dimension to the composition. It fit in nicely.
All during the months of building this quilt our house was very busy with our usual Cove happenings with the campus club Students for Christ. We back up the club, and provide food and homey support for the students who are away from home. We are like a little house in a very pointy forest of campus life where God is not that prevailing. Academic life on most campuses is far removed from God and His divine economy. The students really enjoy having a place to retreat to in the midst of their busy lives.

Little House in the Very Pointy Woods

Posted January 23, 2012 by tgbringhurst in Quilters

Rocky Road to Dublin   Leave a comment

Wellllllllllllllll, after a couple of nine patch quilts, I decided I wanted to try something new so I consulted this book about Nickel Quilts, by Pat Speth. There were some very cool looking quilts with interesting dimensional geometric designs. I love geometry, along with color, so I picked out one to try. The one called Rocky Road to Dublin looked really fun, and I liked its almost 3-D look. The book said is was in the “easy” category, so I got to work trying it. They lied to me. IT WAS NOT EASY. I guess according to them it might of been easy, but I was still a rookie. At present I am doing another Nickel quilt that is considered “beginner” which is even challenging.

I believe this is when I first began listening to Celtic music while I quilted. I figured it would get me in the mood so to speak, and I haven’t stopped since then. I really love Celtic music anyway, and it seems to go right along with quilting for me.

So we began a journey on the rocky road to Dublin, quilting away. When I say we, I mean the Lord and I. This quilt was quite challenging as I mentioned, but it did get easier as I went along. By the way, this quilt was being made for two Christian friends of ours who were actually going to Dublin soon, so that went right along with environmental happenings. These two live with my wife and I. I did have to begin collecting more light/whitish materials, as well as an assortment of darks for this type of quilt. This is what gives the nickel quilts their dimensional look–that is the arrangement of patterns using lights and darks. I also needed a lot of blues and greens because my friends really like these colors. I really like how this quilt turned out! It is awesome! Much better than I had anticipated.

There was a lot of messing around making the shapes for this quilt. There were lots of dark triangles, hooked to larger colorful triangles, and lots light and dark, colorful 4 patches. I also had to make these colorful looking butterflyish pieces that came out in the middle of some of the 4 patches. And though it was frustrating and slightly annoying doing this, I really like how it turned out. I did learn a lot of new techniques, and tricks along the road. Chain stitching came in very handy, where you do a bunch of things in a row without cutting the thread on the machine and starting anew.

One big challenge which I got better at, was the lining up of things just right. Points had to meet other points, and blocks had to line up with other blocks, and seams with seams. There was a lot of this kind of messing around, and I did it as professionally as a rookie could. Trimming things squarer seemed to help. In my quilting thus far, I’m more apt to accept close enough, rather in the name of perfection unstitching things and doing them over. I am also very intent on using all my scraps, even if I have to put a seam where usually it doesn’t go, in order to use up and not waste. Sometimes when you are running out of a certain cloth you almost have to make do.

So, I made another queen-sized quilt. I worked about 6 months on this, and my friends Tina and Rivers had gone and returned from Dublin etc. long since. We put a kind of royal red backing on this with a quality sheet, which I learned was not good for quilting, because of the tight threading. It makes it hard for the sewing machine needle to get through the material. But we did it. I went down to the Quilted Heart where I rent the long movable arm sewing machine they call Gigi. The quilting stitching was a lot of flower-like shapes, spirals in appropriate places, and I criss-crossed in a lot of the 4 patches. Did I tell you that I really like how this one turned out? Well, I did give it to my friends, but for present I still get to see it because it is on Tina’s bed, and she and her daughter live with us.

Well, for some reason I really like the nickel quilt stuff, and am having fun doing another one that is easier. It’s for my daughter, and has about another months-worth of work left to go. All along in my quilting, whenever I got bored, or needed a change of pace, I would make these colorful trees from my annoying triangular scraps I wound up with. The only problem is, you almost have to create more triangles to make these trees with their backgrounds, so…………….. I still have plenty of triangle scraps. So do not miss my next post. Because I made the coolist quilt with all my colorful trees. It was astounding, difficult, artistic, fun, and annoying to make, but it turned out most incredible! Stay tuned. A Rocky Road photo is coming up too. I must go for now.

Posted November 2, 2011 by tgbringhurst in Nickle Quilts, Quilters

Tropical Enterprise — Quilt no. 2   2 comments

Tropical Enterprise


I’ve been a bit busy, but would like to share with you about my second queen-sized quilt I put together. “Tropical Enterprise” was an experiment with nine patch quilting which I was quite comfortable with by now. You won’t believe how this quilt got it’s start.

I was taking a chemistry class for the first time in my life, for fun. Most college students thought I was nuts taking chemistry for fun. Anyway, there was a cool colorful picture at the beginning of one of the chapters in our text which had nice sky blue tiles on top of which was an overflowing bowl of oranges, tangerines, and limes. The combination of colors was striking, so I tried to use those colors and others as a the theme in my new quilt.

Having done a symmetrical nine patch quilt, I decided to do one where the colors came out in a more random order, I also made the squares from 3 inch strips of cloth rather than 2 1/2 inchers. I figured it could save me some cutting and sewing. I really had a lot of fun experimenting with color combos. I began recording my different color combo experiments, and then set sail.

It began to come out really cool and colorful, and it was then that my wife suggested the name Tropical Enterprise, because it had that kind of look in its colors. I could never find material that was a true lime green color, but found a lot of neat blues, and vivid oranges that I liked a lot. With the 3 inch squares, each block came out to about 15 inches. Each block was made up in the traditional 9 patch routine with 4 nine  patchers assembled into a square. Like I mentioned, I made it queen sized.

When it came to the sashing in between each block, I used an almost black with greenish flower patterns imprinted on the material. Some were not sure if I should because it was a little wild. But I liked it and it really did work. My boarder turned out to be about 4 1/2 inches, and with some help from the lady at the fabric store and my wife, we settled on an olive greenish color. My friend at Joann Fabric suggested that I do the binding in a rainbow-like pattern using all the colors I had put into my squares. It turned out really bright, fun, and many say it made them smile. I believe this quilt took me about another 8 months to complete. It truly was a tropical enterprise. I will include a picture soon. I need to find one, or take a new one.

Posted August 12, 2011 by tgbringhurst in Quilters

Rockets Red Glare–Blasting off into Quilting   Leave a comment


I’m a guy, and a retired teacher of little kids, and I love the Lord. As a teacher I was used to being extremely busy on a regular basis. So when I retired I needed some things to do, so I took up quilting as a hobby.

I’ve always been fascinated by quilts. My wife and I would always make a point to check out quilts at the state fairs, but as a teacher there was no time to get into doing my own.

Well I took a class and made a little sampler quilt that my teacher said looked very masculine. It was a fun class, even when I was threatened by another student that she’d squirt me with her water bottle every time I slapped down the pressure foot. I learned to do it gently.

One thing I hadn’t bargained for was that if you are going to quilt you have to do a lot of ironing as well. I’ve gotten used to it. I now have my own water bottle to squirt others with.

We learned how to do Nine-patch, Log Cabin, with some variations, Rail Fence, Shoo-fly, and we also did some applique. I had the most trouble with finishing off the French-fold binding where you connect the two ends together. I still mess that up.

My first real quilt is called Rocket’s Red Glare which I started by using a mistake I made copying something out of a book which had Nine-patch squares on the diagonal, with triangles hooking them together. It looked like a large rocket ship sort of.

From there I had a lot of fun doing nine-patch blocks with very bright color combos. I used my rocket and made others of various types and sizes, as well as celestial bodies. At the bottom of my quilt I made the top of the earth and put my rocket blasting off from Europe. I lived over there in Romania for a few years.

That quilt is on my bed right now. It’s about 90 X 82 inches. I hooked the nine-patch blocks together with cool black sashing which made the colors stand out and be accounted for. I made a colorful boarder of pinwheels made by sewing together 4 one and a half-inch rails, cutting them into four and a

Rockets Red Glare

half-inch squares, and then cutting them diagonally the same direction, and arranging them into pinwheel blocks.

I had a lot of fun doing the quilt, and learned a lot of lessons on assembling a quilt together. I made plenty of mistakes but I usually find a way to incorporate them or make things work. That’s the beauty of quilting.

To put the whole thing together I had to take another class on using a free arm sewing machine for quilting. that was kind of scary, but I did it. The quilt took me about 8 months to complete. More quilting adventures to come. I’ve made 3 more with two on the way. I’m having a riot!

Lastly, the lover of Jesus part of my life. My wife and I are community supporters of a Christian campus group called Christians on Campus. We are endeavoring to put the “C” back in campus. that is Christ. We enjoy having students over for meals, fun and fellowship. They bring their laundry often. We have an open house, open heart, open refrigerator, open Bible and my quilts come in handy here in the winter. The warmth of a home environment is fun for the students who are away from home.

Posted July 7, 2011 by tgbringhurst in Quilters