Jewel Box with Transitions

This is why I love quilting . . . for me, it is the challenge. I’ve always wanted to do a jewel box quilt, and I thought I was going to be making a scrap quilt. Somewhere along the way, I got the idea that I wanted it to be a transition jewel box, with purple in one corner, red in another, yellow in another and green in the final corner. The borders will have transitions from corner to corner, and then the center will have cross-transitions.

It’s not so easy when you make rules. 😉 I had to dig through my stash to find just the right shades, it took me longer to find and cut than it takes to sew up the blocks. This is not going to be quick and easy, aarrgh. On the other hand, I am having a lot of fun with the progress.

This is the only row I have completed; I also completed the yellow block for the bottom right corner, but have not yet done the red-yellow transition:

It will be a while before I can get back to this, as I am traveling. It doesn’t keep me from thinking about where I will go next!


I was out of town for a week and lost a little time, but not momentum. 🙂 As soon as I got back, I started working on the Red to Yellow transition:

And the Yellow to Green transition:

Only six blocks left, all transitions! I have a busy week this week, don’t know if I will get it finished before Friday, but that is my goal. It’s not a hard quilt. It’s the color selection and cutting that takes the most time. I have to admit, there is something in me that loves this process; it’s not like just sewing the pieces together, you really have to think about it.

Final Update:

I love this quilt top. For one thing, it isn’t boring. I love watching the colors as they move across the quilt and change as they are influenced by other colors. It reminds me of my own life, all the different places I lived and how each place has had an impact on me, influenced how I perceived reality, grew in my spiritual life . . . It’s My Jewel Box Life.

I think I will quilt it by hand.

Kaleidoscope Transition Blocks

I love Kaleidoscope quilts (as you can see on this blog 🙂 ) and I particularly love ‘colors of the sea’ Kaleidoscopes because I think they capture – in a small way – the shifts and swirls of sea water. Having said that, the best one I made was the first one I made, and since then, I haven’t been so happy.

I have a whole bunch of sea blocks, and I’ve had them up on my project wall forever, trying to figure out why they weren’t working for me. One day, I was almost ready to put them together, and I got the big AHA.

It’s the transition blocks.

In my first quilt, I made a mistake, but I made it on purpose. Instead of making the corner blocks contrast, I made all the corners meeting together the same color. It takes more work, and it is slow and painstaking work, but – to me – what a difference.

A quilt with contrasting corner blocks (meaning the corner of each Kaleidoscope block):

A close up of contrasting corner blocks where they meet:

And now, the newest top, with all the corner blocks meeting up with the same color. To me, it makes a smoother transition, to me, it helps capture the swirling motion I am seeking:

I know this is all very personal, my preference may not be your preference. What do you think; do you think it makes a difference?

Fons and Porter Rag Quilt Scissors

I wanted you to see what the Fons and Porter scissors look like that make rag quilts go so much faster. If you’ve ever tried to cut all those seams with normal scissors, you’ll know why I love these. No more blisters! It takes minutes, not hours. Warning: they are very very sharp.

They are also expensive. Wait until they are on sale, or use a 50% coupon to buy them.

Rag Quilts

At my first meeting with my new group, the leader demonstrated Rag Quilts. I’ve always loved the look, and I’ve heard explanations of how to do them, but none of the explanations made it sound so easy as these ones.

I was excited. I went to the fabric shop and bought fabrics, as it turned out barely enough for a little 40″ x 40″ quilt. These rag quilts are easy, but fabric intensive.

I did not use batting, because this is Florida, and the quilts are flannel, but I think I may do a couple with batting for colder climates – it makes great use of leftover batting.

On these, I cut the squares 8.5 inches, used seams about 1″, and bought the special scissors our group leader recommended, Fons and Porter scissors specially designed for rag quilts. They are short blades, and very, very sharp. They make cutting the seams a breeze.

On the first quilt, the jungle quilt, I attached stars, again, very easy, as it also served as quilting, front, back and star. I echo quilted again once outside the star, and quilting is done, Wooo HOOOO!

Seams are to the front, and when all the pieces are together, you sew twice around the border, 1.25 inches in, so when you cut, you get a nice shaggy border. You clip all the inner seams, and then wash, which makes it go all fuzzy.

You don’t have to use flannel. I have seen this done with hopsack weave cloth, with equally satisfactory results.

On the second quilt, a blue and white flannel, instead of applying stars, I varied block pieces, 1 strip 5″ x 8.5″, two pieces 5″ x 5″. I pieced the two 5×5’x, then attached them to the 5″ x 8.5″, so that the final blocks were 8.5 inches. I rotated blocks so they would all be different, sewed the blocks together and cut the seams and edges. I don’t think it took half a day, start to finish, and I love the results.

These are SO easy! I’ve always loved the soft look the raggy edges give these quilts. I don’t imagine they last as long as quilts from more closely woven fabrics, but they have a great soft look.

Update: These quilts are so much fun I just did one more:

Quilting Bee

“No,” I said as nicely and firmly as I could, “No, but thank you for thinking of me.”

I had been invited to join a quilting group, and you’d think with being retired now I would have hours to fill, but I find just the opposite. I used to have hours and hours, empty hours, to fill, and I spent a lot of them quilting and going to groups. Now . . . I am spending more time with my husband, and going to exercise, and with my grandson, and . . .

I’d heard such wonderful things about this group, but I can’t commit to a time-consuming group, and honestly, I quilt better on my own; I get more done.

“Just let me tell you a little about our group,” she persisted pleasantly. I couldn’t help it, I liked this woman, I liked her polite persistence, I liked the sound of her voice, and that she didn’t let me go with my ‘no.’

The more she told me about the group, the more my heart knew it was an opportunity, not an obligation. The more I learned, the less I felt ‘no’ and the more I felt ‘yes.’ For one thing, they sound like women I would really like. For another, they do a lot of charity quilts, and I really like doing charity quilts. Third, they only meet once a month for two hours. Wooo HOOO! Better and better.

Then I met with them, and oh, I liked them all a lot. These are good women, the kind of quilters I like, their minds all over the map. They laugh a lot. They like each other. They have a great show and tell, and the group is small enough we can all touch and ask questions.

I found myself excited about quilting again, encouraged and inspired. I joined the group happily, and I look forward to their meetings! I’ve completed three quilts since I joined!

I still have to grin when I think of how firmly I said no, and how pleasantly the leader persisted. She didn’t know me. I wonder how she knew I was right for the group? But by the time she was through with me, I believed she was right. I am loving being a part of this group.