Thursday, August 8, 2013

Coffee anyone?

It amuses me that I fell in love with a line of coffee related fabrics since I don't drink coffee myself. I grew up in a family that loves coffee, but it just never took with me. My dad made what my brother Wayne refers to as mud. And he'd reheat it until it really was mud and still drank it! Dad lived to be nearly 96, so I guess it didn't hurt him. Wayne drinks his coffee much weaker--it looks more like tea coming out of his thermos. On one visit home Dad offered to make him some coffee to refill his thermos for the 3-hour drive home. Wayne accepted and off he and his family went with full mugs of coffee to keep them awake on their trek home. The next visit when Dad offered again to fill Wayne's thermos, he declined telling Dad, "The last time you made me coffee, I was awake for three days!" My oldest brother Ken drinks his almost as strong as Dad, but he buys nice custom grinds instead of Dad's Folgers. To each their own... I'll take instead those lovely little coffettes, little foil & cellophane wrapped sweet coffee-flavored hard candies. That's as close as you'll get me to a cup of coffee!

Back to my project... To get to know the local quilters where I'm now living, having recently moved closer to my kids in northeast Kansas, I joined a Marti & Me Club at Quilter's Paradise in Baldwin City, which features patterns by Marti Michell that use her Perfect Patchwork Template sets. Joining in month 2, the first pattern I received was Lazy Afternoon with template Set B. Knowing my sewing room is FULL of fabrics that I could use, I listened to the teachers, watched the video, and studied the pattern. Then I went home and started hunting and pulled out a half-yard cut collection of coffee themed fabrics.

Several years ago while still living in California, I saw the "Let's Do Coffee" line of fabrics by E.E. Schenck Company on sale online. I loved the colors and thought it would make a great quilt for someone. So, I purchased half-yard cuts of each which arrived and got put on a shelf for at least two years, moved from CA to KS in early 2012, and sat for another year. The original line had two background shades of the coffee label fabric, the mugs & cups on cream fabric, four solids to mix, and two border prints--one with a cream background and one with a black background (you'll see them in the quilt pix below). Once I started picking fabrics for this project, I realized I needed a small print or two to use as mixers and a little more color to brighten it up. So, I went hunting at area quilt shops and found the two coffee bean fabrics, and then matched the pink and blue from the prints to throw in some pizazz.

I couldn't decide on what layout to use since, true to my nature, I almost never do exactly as a pattern says. I like to make patterns mine! Don't you? I not only messed with what fabrics went in which blocks, mixing & matching them to my taste, but I also experimented with layouts, turning the corner blocks to different angles, and even switching them to the center outside position to see what I liked.
Original Lazy Afternoon layout with corners blocks across the corners

My alternate 1 with corner blocks rotated and pointing out

My alternate 2 with outside blocks in switched positions--more of a pinwheel
I decided on my alternate 1 with the corner blocks pointing out as my favorite layout. As I was cutting out the fabrics, I decided to fussy cut different cups from the black background border print to use in the center of each of the five star blocks.  It seemed like the right thing to do and I like the results!
And so the layout progressed and I started assembling blocks, playing with the new mixers I'd selected. Another thing I know about myself is that I really don't like making square quilts. So, that meant I either had to add more rows, not my first inclination, or add some borders to help stretch its length. That's when I started cutting up the border prints to add rows of the cups and the border stripes to the top and bottom. And this is what I got. A fun quilt with coffee beans adding some character, a splash of pink in the center block, and the blue as the background for the pieced blocks to float over.

For the back I decided to use as much of the fabric up as I could in this project, so I took the larger chunks and a few remaining strips of the border fabrics, added blue to each end to get the width I wanted, sashed them with a 1" strip of pink, and bordered the whole thing with the coffee label fabric. I think it turned out fun!  All I have to do now is sandwich & pin and then decide how I want to quilt it.
I have no idea who this little quilt will go to, but it was fun to make the top with Marti Michell's templates! The blocks went together so easily and there was very little trimming or squaring up to do as I paid close attention to matching the corners and keeping accurate 1/4" seams.

I'm looking forward to this month's Marti & Me class when we will get a new set of templates to make her Seven Sisters quilt which I have long admired. Just think! Beautiful stars with no set-in seams! That's my kind of quilt!

More snippets from the sewing room soon,


  1. I enjoyed reading about your beautiful coffee-themed quilt and your family! I am right there with your dad - love my coffee! :) I had to smile as I am so similar, rarely can follow a pattern exactly as it is! Love your final choice of block placement, looking forward to see the next one!

  2. I'm with you on coffee - love the smell, hate the taste. I don't even like the coffee flavored candy! But I do love your quilt. I'm working on a Halloween quilt right now trying to figure out how to add some borders to increase the size. It's a bit like your coffee quilt since I have several fabrics, one with words. I'm going to try your solution! blessings, marlene