Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Myrtle Creek Memories

I have long been a fan of Susan Branch: http://www.susanbranch.com/. Her whimsical water colors and quotes always make me smile. So, when I saw Martha's Vineyard, her new line of fabric for RJR at Spring Market, I knew right away that I needed some!

Myrtle Creek Memories was the first quilt that I made using Susan's fabric. Inspired by an idyllic summer spent at a peaceful little spot in the Pacific Northwest, this quilt will always bring me memories of abundant gardens, meandering creeks, rolling hills, and delightful afternoons spent reading under the towering trees. I hope it will remind you of a special time and place in your life, too.

I wanted to make this a queen-sized quilt, but also wanted to make easy blocks that were small enough to showcase Susan's cute quotes in the center. (Most are perfect for a 2" finished square.)

Knowing that I would be bored with making the very same block over and over for that large of a quilt, I designed two different blocks: an easy leaf block and an even-easier nine patch. I fussy-cut the quotes for the centers of the blocks, and used strip piecing, easy half square triangles, and other time-saving techniques to speed the process.

By combining these easy blocks with fairly large borders, I was able to piece this large quilt fairly quickly. A beautiful big swag finished the outer border beautifully and was quick and easy to do with my favorite machine appliqué technique.

The big open spaces on the quilt provided the perfect spot for some fun machine quilting. My friend, Cindy Needham (http://www.cindyneedham.com/), helped me pick the perfect stencils for big, easy feathered borders, feathered wreaths, and more. I quilted the entire queen-sized quilt on my trusty Bernina 1080.

The best trick that I learned for machine quilting on a home sewing machine is to properly pin baste the quilt and then to grid baste it using water soluble thread. My favorite is Vanish Extra from Superior Threads (http://www.superiorthreads.com/). You can read more about it and order it at my website: http://www.byannie.com/water_soluble_threads.html

The pattern for Myrtle Creek Memories includes excellent cutting layouts, master pattern for bunches of quick half square triangles, and complete instructions for making the 89" x 105" queen quilt. Read more and order the pattern at my website: www.byannie.com/myrtle_creek_memories_patterns.html

At least three of my local quilt shops (Quilted Works: http://www.quiltedworks.com/, Hurst's, and Mormon Handicraft) carry the Martha's Vineyard fabrics. If your local quilt shop does not carry it, visit my website for these local stores' contact info: www.byannie.com/shops.html

You may also find the fabric at Susan's website: http://www.susanbranch.com/shopping/fabric.cfm

Coming soon: Another quilt that I made using Susan's fun fabrics!