Monday, May 30, 2016

Bow tie swap quilt bordered up!

     The bowties I received from last fall, along with a bunch more I made are finally all in the quilt. It sat unfinished on my design wall for too long because I did not know how to border it. A friend of mine said piano keys. Alright. I made the strips and found I did not like a square in the corner- interfered with the bowtie look. I tried mitered corners- too busy with all the bowties. So, I make a 1" border of gray and added the strips of bowties. I tried to line up the piano key with the block under it and pinned every one. Alas, it is not perfect and my skill set is not what I would like it be. 
     Now, I need to make a backing and come up with a fun idea.
Stuck on the wall for too long along with some other blocks
Borders on, sun wipes out some of the color

Test run of Crafted Applique

      I was very excited to get my copy of Crafted Applique by Lara Buccella because I don't like working with raw edge applique and fusibles. When my granddaughter was over, I let her coat the batiks with the gloss modge podge and then we cut out the letters for our last name. I let her iron (hand over hand) the letters on some denim banner flags someone gave me. Then we strung all the letter flags together with knots between so they wouldn't tangle. She was proud to take it home. 
     Now I have to try the technique with fabric modge podge on a simple quilt design.

Finished banner with Tugger the inspector

Diagonal variations quilt

     This quilt is a free pattern from It uses 2 1/2" WOF strips and half (the long way) of a WOF 2 1/2" strip. The strips are sewn WOF fat, skinny, fat, skinny and then the strip sets are sewn as a tube. The blocks are cut at 45 degree angles to the strip sets. I used my Cozy Quilt tube cutting ruler triangle. Then you just arrange the blocks. Use a lot of spray starch as there are bias edges. 
     I quilted in a variation of designs. It needs binding yet.

Detail of back
Detail of front

Monday, May 23, 2016

Tiny pieces and freezer paper

     On Friday, May 20th,  I took a workshop with Ann Shaw who teaches the Ruth McDowell method of piecing small things, not appliqueing them. I was interested in this because I want to make large landscape quilts without raw edges and fusible. I have Ruth's books, but needed some direct instruction, so I corralled 2 of my quilting buddies and we drove to Rochester, NY as Ruth was there because of the Genesee Valley Quilt Guild. The workshop was on piecing a chicken using freezer paper. It is really not paper piecing, but paper templates. It took all day to construct the chicken. When I got home, I did the background. I have 3 sections sewn together so I could figure out how to do it. We did not get to sew there or see it demonstrated. 
     Maybe I can use this to piece large landscapes. It is frustrating for having this idea in my head for over three years, yet unable how to figure out how to achieve large landscapes with no fusibles.
All the chicken pinned 
Chicken background
Head and top of tail sewn

Hands2Help Linkup

   This is the third year I have participated in the Hands2Help Challenge. Although I make comfort quilts all the time to give away, this time I send some across country. Sarah picks three charities and I have picked Happy Chemo, as I have before. I could only send 2 quilts, as lately I have had a lot of requests for comfort quilts and haven't been able to longarm fast enough. I have a lot of tops, just not quilted. I show these, not as a notch in the belt, but to encourage the reader to consider giving a quilt away as a comfort to someone if you have never done it before. Also, Sarah asks us to link up what we have done.
    The two quilts have been seen before on my blog, but are now in the mail to Emily. I also included a copy of my children's book (still waiting for a grant to publish).

Quilts ready for folding, boxing, and mailing

Friday, May 13, 2016

Digging in the scrap piles, oh joy!

     I have no idea why I love scraps so much. I love sorting them, ironing them, cutting them and making them into beautiful quilt creations that give comfort. Fortunately, people give me scraps. My friends, the twins, that dynamic duo of quilters, just gave me a big bag of them. 
     My approach is to dump it on the floor (need to use a table from now on, getting too old for the floor) and sort. I pull out all strips, put in a pile, all squarish, all longer and folded fabrics and try to sort by shapes (the first photo).
     Later, I pull all the batiks and sort by shapes and bigger amounts as I keep my batik fabric separate from the regular cottons. I also keep solids separate. Then all the kids fabric goes in a pile. Leftover binding in a pile, and weird shape scraps in another, whites and similar in another. Then I take one pile at a time and iron and fine sort. Then I start to cut. I made a big mistake not buying an Accuquilt Studio cutter when it was on sale recently. Wanda told me about it and I balked because we were trading in a car for a new one. Now, the cutter costs $200 more and I can't get it. I think the cutter would have allowed me to plow through these quicker and have more time to sew.
    I cut my scraps- strips, 2 1/2", 2", 1 1/2" . Squares- 2", 2 1/2", 3 1/2", 5", 6", 9" and 10". Anything smaller than a fat quarter gets cut up. I store the cut pieces in plastic storage boxes, hopefully by color and value. Filing in boxes sometimes lags. When I make a scrap quilt, I pull the pieces out of my cut stash. Bonnie Hunter's system helped me. Need to find a better way to store the plethora of plastic boxes. 
    The more the variety of scraps, the better the quilts look. 
Table of presorted scraps by shape 
Piles unsorted- top left- childrens, bottom- batiks,
middle- larger pieces, top right- white and oddball shapes

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Yikes, more Disney than a body can stand

     Disney characters are not my favorite. Licensed characters rub me the wrong way. However, my former dental hygienist is adopting a 4 year old from a family member in another state and I offered to make her a quilt. When I asked what she liked, it was Disney princesses. Wince. Ok. 
     I used a free star pattern from Craftsy, Star Bright, and it sewed together quickly. The hardest part was the center panel was not the size I needed without cutting off a princess head. So I thought to sew a pink strip around it oversize and then cut it to fit the other blocks. I did it wrong the first time and had to rip out the entire big block, retrim and then it fit. I bought light pink with white stars for the back and need to get the back sewn and quilt done. Fabrics from who always offers lots of novelty fabrics at reasonable prices.
Pinned on wall 
All sewn up, Star Bright Quilt

Mini pictures

     I love to make cards. I don't love how long it takes. I made a bunch for mother's day and birthdays. The heart one was made totally by my 4 yr old granddaughter, except I cut out the heart for her per her exacting instructions. We glued the fabric onto heavy interfacing with a glue stick, then I sewed the pieces with my trusty 301. I did not double stick tape them to the cardstock yet in the photo. Jolene took hers home after having me remove it from the cardstock and mount it to pink matboard.

Trying to keep up

     I don't know how Sarah, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, keeps up. I have a lot of tops pieced, but my quilting is slow. Lately, I have had 4 requests for comfort quilts. I have to quilt, sew pockets on bags, make a card, wash everything and put it all in a tote bag and then in an oversize zip loc for the recipient. I used my last book and, fortunately, some one gave me an Amazon gift card so I could order another 6 books.  I feverishly labored to get this one out the door for my neighbor, the author, who requested the package for the mother of a coworker.
     I think I would like to make this double hourglass again. I liked the onpoint arrangement better than straight rows. The setting side triangles were tricky to figure, but I guess there is an app for that. 
Double Hourglass on point
Detail of quilting and the stripey binding

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Trying it out

     Sometimes I just like to try new blocks to get what is in my head so that I can see it. Like, will this block work? Do I have the ability to make lots of them? Hmm. Make and ponder.
     I like the Lattice blocks and I have loads of 5" squares because it is one of the sizes I cut scraps into. I have to dig through the boxes to find enough floral. It also uses 1 1/2" strips which I gave away because I did not think I would use them. So, I pulled out the 2" strip box and am cutting off a half inch. Like!

    A friend gave me a large half hexie template and said to try a braid with large floral fabric. So I did. Don't like. I think I have to add a black or dark strip to separate them in order to not lose the braid.

    I also tried out a block from Bonnie Hunter that I found in an old Quiltmaker Addicted to scraps column. I think the size is a little too small for me- the quarter square triangles, so I will make one block a bit larger and try not to be so pitiful on my quarter square triangles. I had to look up tutorials and ruin some fabric to just get these teeny ones.

  And, because my granddaughter badgered me, I took her shopping to buy fabric for a maxi skirt (her new fave) and made her one (butterflies with glitter) with her assisting. I can sew seams and put in elastic, that is my extent of sewing clothing. 

Out of the Bag

     Finally, I emptied all the bowtie blocks from a block swap hosted by Barb  that I received last fall. I had made about 25 extra and all the blocks were in a big zip lock. I got the urge to get them all up and see what I had after all these months.
     The first round up I realized I wanted more columns, so I had to make about 20 more. It was hard to scrape up more grays.

      I added all the blocks except duplicates I had made. I only pulled out one block from the swap that no contrast in the color to gray combo- it looked like one piece of fabric.

      For a couple days, I messed around trying to get the lighter ones evenly distributed so they were not all lumped together. I did try lights going to darks, but the busyness of the pattern fought with it. 

I had to just end it and get it down from the wall because I needed it for another quilt. So, I numbered the columns with painters tape and clipped them by columns, Wanda style, and will sew the columns together, then the rows.