Monday, June 27, 2022

Some Finishes

Nearly everything came to a halt at the beginning of May as my work for quilt show ramped up. At the end of the month, it became important to my mental health to get into the sewing room; so I took a couple of days to quilt and bind my little Christmas Cards mini, which finished to about 16" x 18". I do like this little quilt a lot. 

After finishing up most of my work for the month of June, I dedicated myself to finishing Granddaughter's birthday quilt. Unicorn Abstraction was a kit from VioletCraft, and it has all the elements my DGD loves--a unicorn, rainbow colors, stars, and metallic fabrics. And she loved it when she got it for her birthday. 

The quilt finishes at 60" x 60", and the entire quilt is paper pieced. The pattern was well done, and I had no trouble assembling the pattern. 

One really good tip the designer had was to use those little plastic binding clips to align the pieces when sewing the large sections together. I was surprised how well they worked. 

Another really good tip was to use glue to hold the fabric pieces down at the edges of the sections. Except for the head and tail, most of the pattern pieces were really big, and they flopped around at the edges. I have never been a big fan of using glue in any of my sewing; but in this case it was nearly a necessity to keep everything flat and aligned. 

I used the Sewline glue pen on the regular fabrics, but that didn't hold the metallics down well at all. So I resorted to Roxanne's Glue Baste It, which worked a little too well. I found it a bit difficult to remove the paper in those spots, but I'm sure it all washed out in the end. 

Loved the detail in the head and the tail.

I quilted it with a stars and loops design from Sue Schmeiden. Before I washed it, it looked like the horse had curly hair, lol; but after laundering it became soft and crinkly, and the quilting was less clear. 

This afternoon I finished binding the Bon Bon quilt, which was the first quilt made from Barbara's Scrap Bag. See the post here describing my Scrap Bag Challenge.

My quilt chapter found a new organization to donate to this year, called C.R.O.W.N.S. They are an organization local to Maine that provides assistance for women and girls who are being trafficked in the state. I found it shocking to discover that this goes on in Maine. C.R.O.W.N.S. was asking for quilts about 50" x 60", and that is just about the size of this one, so it will go to them. 

The original quilt pattern called for more blocks to make a square quilt, and the blocks were to be set in a Trip Around the World pattern. I wanted a smaller rectangular quilt, so I settled on this zig zag sort of design. I like it just fine. 

I quilted it with the Popcorn pantograph by Jodi Beamish. 

With the exception of the solid whites that went into the Bon Bon quilt, this is the entire stack of fabric from Barbara's Scrap Bag, which is taller than my big embroidery machine. I started cutting up some of the low volume neutrals for Bonnie Hunter's Cherry Crunch quilt, and didn't even put a dent in them. There's a LOT of fabric in this stack. 

I have a couple different quilts I'm going to cut for as I go along, but the next one I intend to work on in earnest is Carolina Chain, from Bonnie's book 'Addicted to Scraps'. That should use a bunch.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

April Finish

I've spent several days drowning in paperwork, but I managed to finish my little potholder quilt a couple of days ago. 36 blocks that finish to about 5-3/4" for a quilt that is about 35" square. Very time consuming to hand sew all the blocks together, but well worth the effort. I've made a sleeve for it and stitched out a label, but it's finished! Yay! 

I'd love to make another one of these embroidered potholder quilts, specifically a Rose of Sharon quilt. I have the embroidery designs and the fabric, but I dare not start anything else just now! Some day. 


Thursday, April 14, 2022

Bon Bon

First, thank you to Grace, Judy, and Julie for your lovely comments on my pineapple quilt. I've had trouble getting Blogger to forward comments to my regular email. After I complained about it one day on the blog, Wanda from Exuberant Color said that Blogger doesn't seem to forward her comments if they source from aol or yahoo. 

Yesterday, I discovered that Blogger actually did forward all the comments from the Pineapple quilt post. One of them landed in my mailbox. The other 4 went right into the Spam mailbox, which never gets anything, so I rarely check it. There they all were. It's always something with Blogger.

Back to Barbara's scrap bag, one of the piles I sorted was neutrals. I further sorted those into tans, creams, white tone on tones, low volume prints, and solids. I had just barely started the Bon Bon quilt when Barbara gave me her scrap bag, and I was using a solid white background so I could use that fabric up. All of the white solids from the scrap bag promptly went into the quilt and have already been used up.

Bon Bon is a free pattern from Fat Quarter Shop. It is a very simple, very quick quilt to make; and it uses a precut called a Jolly Bar, which is exclusive to them. A jolly bar is a stack of rectangles cut 5 x 10"; so depending on the pattern, you could substitute two charm packs or part of a layer cake. I happened to have on hand 4 identical charm packs I found at a good sale at Marden's, so I'm using them in the Bon Bon quilt. 

I had the block components assembled for 16 blocks for a 30-block quilt, and I put the 16 blocks together today. The other 14 block components are cut, and I just have to sit down and sew them. The quilt used most of two charm packs, so I'll have enough to make another quilt to use up the rest. The first quilt is meant to be a charitable donation, the second will go to a girl in the family.

Barbara's Scrap Bag

My good friend Barbara has been a quilter for many years. Actually she considers herself more of a crafter than a quilter, and she loves to make purses and bags, outfits for her grandkids, things like that. 

Like any good quilter, Barbara dutifully saved all her scraps for years, thinking that one day she might make a scrap quilt like so many of us do. Even though scrappy quilts have never really been her thing, she finally did try some different projects but was unhappy with her efforts. 

Recently, with destashing in mind, she finally decided to throw in the towel on scraps, and I became the very happy recipient of a kitchen-sized bag of her scraps. Lovely scraps, larger pieces, newer lines, not calicos and such. Her taste in fabrics is not as eclectic as mine, but there is still plenty of variety and appeal. 

I sorted her bag into color groupings as I considered what I might do with them. I finally decided to take a recent note from Bonnie Hunter's blog; and rather than cut them up into squares, rectangles and strips for the scrap bins, I decided to challenge myself to actually use them up in a series of quilts. 

My only rule for the challenge is to make as few quilts as possible out of the scraps. That might be a 3 or 4, or it might be 20, if that's what it takes. I have no timeline in mind, and I may work on them here and there in between other projects, or I may sit down and plug away at one in particular. I'm also allowing myself the latitude of adding my own scraps to the mix to make a quilt the size I want, but I plan to use up Barbara's first if possible. No rules, save the one.

There is a tab at the top of my blog now to list the quilts I'm working on, have finished, or thinking about.The first one is already in the works.

Monday, March 28, 2022

The 21-Year Pineapple Project

That is the official name of the pineapple quilt because that's just about how long it took me to finish it. What started as a block swap amongst internet friends stretched out for years. Nonetheless, it is finally quilted, labeled, bound, and ready for quilt show in July. It was worth the wait because I love it. 

I quilted it in a variegated yellow thread, using the Pina Colada pantograph, a pineapple motif, from Urban Elementz.

The quilting shows up splendidly in the border. 


I thought maybe I wanted the quilt to be larger, but I couldn't work out the math for the additional borders, so I wound up with extra pineapple blocks. Didn't think I'd use them in another project, so I put them on the back of the quilt, along with a couple of orphan blocks. Good way to get rid of those too!Yay!

Sunday, March 13, 2022

What I'm Working On

It has been about 6 months since the last time I posted. It was not a great year last year in many regards, and the new year didn't begin much better. I've had some different health issues to deal with, plus a surgery in January; and I'm hoping all of that is behind me now. 

Last year was also a dry year for quilting. I finished exactly three quilts, and all of them went to other homes. None of them were UFOs, and I have so many. However, that is not to say no quilting got done. I've amassed a small pile of finished tops, so it's time to work on finishing them up. 

Part of the problem was the pineapple quilt. I loaded it on the frame in June and quilted two rows. In a thread color I didn't like, in a pattern I didn't like. Took me months to rip it out, and I was so dejected that it sat on the frame for more months, then I finally just took it off the frame altogether. It wasn't until December that I finally got back in the saddle and quilted this Christmas tree skirt for my son. That was my third and final finish for 2021. 

In January I thought again about trying to get the pineapple quilt quilted. I got as far as locating a new pantograph that I liked a lot. 

In February I made one of Mary Johnson's strippy quilts to try out the pantograph. I liked it even more.

Yes, it's a pineapple.

In March I finally reloaded the pineapple quilt and quilted it with the pineapple pantograph in a bright yellow variegated thread, and I absolutely love it. Sigh of relief. 

The pantograph is called Pina Colada from Urban   Elementz.These photos are a preview of the quilting. The quilt is now off the frame, and I'm getting ready to sew the binding on. Soon as it's finished I'll put a photo on the blog.


Another project I've been working on for quite a while is these small embroideries from a couple of years ago. They are from an embroidery collection called Baltimore Revisited by Anita Goodesign. My blocks finish at 5-1/4", and there are 36 of them in my quilt. Each block is part of a set of two, one with colored thread and one redwork block, so 18 different designs. 

Each block is a complete little quilt, quilted and bound; and I am sewing all of them together using the potholder method, which is a different style of quilt-as-you-go quilting. My blocks will be set together in a 6 x 6 format, and I have the top two rows completely sewn together as of this morning. It's all hand sewing, so it takes time. 

If you are curious about the potholder method, visit Wendy Caton Reed's blog, The Constant Quilter, and search within the blog for "potholder quilts". Wendy is an award winning quilter, and she's made quite a few quilts in the potholder style. She is located here in Maine, and she came to my quilt chapter a couple of different times to teach the method. You can see beautiful quilts that she's made in the potholder style on her blog. 

There is also an interesting article about potholder quilts here:

Friday, August 6, 2021

Coastal Cool

I got a couple of months behind with the "My Favorite Color is Moda" quilt along on the Moda blog. I finished these two blocks, a 36" block, and a few others before the end of May but neglected to make the ones for June and July. 

Yesterday I put the pedal to the metal and cranked out 13 blocks. Not all of them are on the wall because I am trying to sew smaller sections together as I get the blocks made. This morning I finished 2 more, so now I am all caught up through the month of August. 

I am well past halfway through the blocks now, and 3 or 4 of the ones that are left are a lot more complicated. There are also 4 blocks composed of these units, which are simple enough to make but which I generally have trouble with. 

These are often times made by placing a smaller square in the corner of the larger square or other shape, drawing a line on the diagonal from corner to corner, and then sewing on that line. And I rarely get them right. I've tried sewing on the line or to the right of the line, and they always seem to be just a little off.

I CAN sew an accurate quarter-inch seam allowance, however; so it occurred to me to just cut away the excess and then sew. It doesn't eliminate the waste triangles, but now I have...

.... perfection!

I have tried the Studio 180 Corner Pop ruler and  Doug Leko's Simple Folded Corner ruler, and those both work well too; but they only eliminate the waste triangle from the larger shape. It's faster for me to use the method above. 

Life is full of trade offs. Time or fabric?