Thursday, April 23

Strange Magic H2H Quilt and a Brief Book Update

The very first quilting book I ever purchased was Paula Nadelstern's Kaleidoscopes and Quilts.  I wasn't even a quilter back then, but her work and her techniques are fascinating!  Fifteen years later, in 2011, I made my first quilt.  It was a One Block Wonder, which is like a simplified kaleidoscope quilt now that I think about it.  Someday I hope to make a complex kaleidoscope quilt, but in the meantime I am happy making designs with easy construction and fun effects.  Like this one, which I made for the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge.  I take no credit for the design.  This quilt is outright inspired by and a derivative of Paula Nadelstern's "Lines" quilt. 

For those of you who would like to do a quilt for the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge, there is still time to join in!  I especially want to thank Sarah for all the work she does to make this event a lot of fun for all the participants!  

Here is "Strange Magic" (The quilt isn't really skewed like my photo is):

"Strange Magic" is created when using 
Paula Nadelstern's Palindrome fabrics.

Have you ever bought fabric online and then been a bit dismayed when you saw it in person?  That's what happened to me, when I first opened the package with these Palindrome fabrics. They have a LOT of energy and are practically an electric light orchestra.  But, I put my faith in Paula's great design sense and made the quilt anyway.  I learned that these fabrics play together in ways that are almost magical.  (If you are a child of the seventies, then you can guess where I got the name for this quilt.)  This is the simplest of quilts, with strips of fabric sewn together, but I love how it turned out.  It's the fabric that made it look like something much more complex.  The whole key is to work in symmetry.  

That first photo was taken indoors on the design wall.  Here is another photo, taken outdoors.  The colors, in real life, are somewhere between the two photos. 

Jim, hiding behind Strange Magic
For the backing, I had to cobble together leftovers.  The main fabric (shown on the left, in the picture below) wasn't my cup of tea, so I turned it over and used the underside (shown at the bottom).  

Flipping over the backing fabric to tone it down
Behind the scenes

One of the classes that I am taking on Craftsy is called Creative Quilting with Your Walking Foot - taught by Jacquie Gering.  It is a fun class and Jacquie is a great teacher!  I've learned some clever and easy ways to quilt with my walking foot, so I tested out one technique with this quilt: concentric diamonds.

I folded the quilt top in quarters and marked off a diamond on each quarter, using blue painter's tape:

Marking the first lines with tape.

You only need to mark off the first sewing lines.  They are shown in the mock up below.  After that, just use your walking foot as a guide to fill in smaller and smaller concentric diamonds.  You spiral around, so there are no cut thread ends to bury until you hit the center of each diamond.  My lines were roughly 3/4" apart.  I started by gradually filling in the diamond in the middle, then moved on to the four outer diamonds and then filled in the half and quarter diamonds.   I sew slowly, but the whole thing took me about 3 hours for this 40" x 60" quilt. 

The first quilting lines to set up the diamond grid.

You can see some of the quilting in this photo of the back.  My lines were a little wobbly sometimes, but the overall effect is still pretty cool:


Now for a complete Change of Subject: Publishing News

Many of you have kindly been inquiring about the progress on The Book that I wrote for the American Quilter's Society.  So I thought it was time to put an update here on BuzzinBumble.  My deadline was last November 15th.   

Here is what has been going on since then:

Other author friends tell me that this is normal in publishing.  That there are long periods of silence and waiting (and anxiety!), followed by periods with frenzied activity. Back in February, I did get two wonderful letters from Elaine Brelsford, my original editor.  She was still very enthusiastic about my projects, but also let me know that the AQS had restructured its publications division.  (Elaine will now be heading up the online class initiative.)   There is a new Executive Editor and Director of Publications now, named Kim Tetrev.  I am very much looking forward to working with her when it is finally my book's turn with the AQS editorial team.  

But meanwhile, back at the ranch... 

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If you are also a blogger, she is highly likely to follow you home!

Linking up to Sarah's Whoop Whoop party at Confessions of a Fabric Addict


  1. It's the first time I see such a quilt with such interesting fabrics and I must say that I am very impressed! This quilt is a real beauty and must be wonderful warm and cheerful at home! I imagine it next to the fire place... The backing and quilting are as well great! As I only buy online (we have no quilting shops in Greece) it happened to me often to be disappointed by fabrics "in person" but they often turned later into an unexpected use!

  2. Yes Stunning!! This fabric is quite interesting, I never seen it before, the result is quite amazing!

    What a perfect name for your quilt ... Can't get that song out of my head now. :-)

  3. That quilt is gorgeous! I can see where the fabric would be a little daunting when you first saw it, but you did work magic on it. Thanks for the ear worm, I passed it along to my husband so we can both be humming ELO today. :)

  4. Wow Lara, this is absolutely beautiful!! Hopefully you will get some news soon on your book. Your tumbleweed photo made me laugh :)

  5. Lara, what a beautiful quilt and an amazing design! I am so glad you showed the photo with the quilting diagram so I could see all the different pieces in the quilt. Looking at the quilt everything really flows together. I really like the way you quilted it also. Good luck with your book and I can't wait to see it!

  6. Thanks for the tip on the concentric diamonds... I'll be filing that one away for future reference! This quilt is definitely eye-catching and I love what you did with the pieced back!

  7. I love your quilt! So simple but makes a huge impact. Great job!

  8. Wow your quilt is stunnng - and the quilting so effective - well done, a great finish! It seems that patience is required with your book - good luck with it all!

  9. What a fun quilt. It is an amazing simple quilt which packs some punch. Love it, especially how you quilted it.

  10. Thank you for showing us your quilt. It is very dramatic. I keep thinking about taking that Craftsy class. Guess I just need to dive in. Looks like you've learned some cool things. As to your book - oh, poo, I'm very curious about it's subject. I hope you hear something soon!

  11. Like you, Lara, I bought a magazine way before I started quilting. I must say that your first choice was a gorgeous, but somewhat intricate, one. You were showing some ambition! lol
    I understand what you mean by being surprised when the fabric arrives home. Even when I go to a fabric store, sometimes what I saw under their artificial light is different when I get home...
    I like this quilting in a diamond shape. It offers some variety while being as simple as quilting straight lines with the walking foot. I'll keep it in mind. :-)
    I was wondering about your book the other day. I'm glad to hear that it's normal I heard nothing about it. Patience, patience...

  12. Isn't it amazing to look back on your journey as a quilter? Your Strange Magic is certainly a beauty. And the quilting is incredible. Lovely work, Lara! Looking forward to the "High Noon" event that will be your book release!

  13. Love that fabric! It is my kind of print! It looks lovely Lara.

  14. I LOVE this quilt!! Strange Magic is just gorgeous.... and the back is as cool as the front! I love this quilting method, and will be referring to this blog post when I try it out! I am laughing at your tumbleweed video!! I was expecting a bit more info... so it truly took me by surprise. Ahhh, you will be busy when it all gets close to the big day!!
    ANyway, those fabrics are amazing with your quilting and backing!!

  15. I do all of my quilting with my walking foot! I am going to have to take that Craftsy class one of these days. I haven't quite got the hang of burying my thread ends, so I often end up with a few that unravel. Must master that skill one of these days, too! Thanks for your inspiration!

  16. I've never seen these fabrics before - they are extraordinary! Every time I look at this quilt I think of different things it reminds me of; really interesting and stimulating. I love your quilting too - concentric diamonds were a great idea. I hope your book process gets moving again soon, though I guess this is just the way the whole thing works. Can't wait for it to get as far as the shops!

  17. I LOVE YOUR QUILT!!!! Yes, I yelled that. Not AT you but in absolute love for the quilt. I have a TON of Paula's fabrics, took a class with Deb Tilley, one of her protégés who is allowed to teach her method. I keep wanting to make another (I've made 3 of the intricate ones, one of which hangs in our front entryway). I love the effect you've created with the fabric; you truly let it do the work, and it shines. Big sigh on the publishing front; don't think I could be as patient!

  18. I can't remember my first quilting book I bought! I did a similar reaction to Amy Butler prints I bought a whole box of and I think it was bacause they were so different to what I was used to. I have learned to appreciate them. I love Jacquie's class on craftsy but haven't striaght lined anything in a while!n Looks great on this quilt!

  19. Such a great quilt. I have made one kaleidoscope quilt (nothing too complicated) and recently gave it away as a gift. Yours is really fascinating. I may have to get the book to see how it is made.

  20. Oh your book update made me crack up!!! Bahhhhh!!! Perfect H2H quilt! THanks for the tape trick...

  21. Very cool quilt, Lara, and yes, as a child of the 70's, I caught your reference! I love the fabric - just my cup of tea!

  22. wow that quilt is just stunning!! I love everything about it.

  23. Amazing quilt from the perfect fabrics!. I appreciate the diamond quilting info too.

    I might just have to listen to some ELO today ... maybe you could sing to the tumbleweeds ... "Don't bring me down ..."

  24. That quilt is absolutely gorgeous!! And thanks for the quilting tip. Nice idea.. I could even do that!