I have had very little time this week to sew on my quilts, but I am up to date on the two projects that I’ve chosen to work on this winter.

IMG_2730The third clue in Frolic came last Friday.  It allowed us to choose how we made half square triangles.  At first, I thought that I would make mine with the accordion method.  That would make each block with different fabrics.  They have to be trimmed a little after sewing.  Then, I thought that I would make mine oversize and trim them with the Tucker Trimmer.  There would be two blocks with the same colors.  I decided to use the Tucker Trimmer method.  Two similar blocks would not be noticed in this quilt.  The fourth clue will come tomorrow.  This will be a beautiful quilt.

I have sewn three of the Ten Commandments Pattern Series.  This free pattern can be found at info@quiltnbee.biz.  It also can be bought at http://www.stitchintree.com.  This pattern consists of ten 10″ blocks and one center 22″ block.  The fabric requirements for a bed runner (43″ x 96″) and a twin bed size (67″ x 85″), along with the pictures, are given in the first e mail.

IMG_2734

I chose different color fabrics so pasted small swatches on the first page.  This can be made with scraps.

 

IMG_2731

The first Commandment is the center 22″ block.  Each sections gives the fabric needed for the blocks and sashing and cutting instructions.  It also gives the pressing instructions.  Making this bed runner has made me slow down, read and follow all the instructions.  With accurate cutting and sewing with an accurate 1/4″ seam, the blocks go together very nicely.

IMG_2732The second and third commandments are on the right side of the bed runner.  I have saved the teal fabric that I used in those blocks  to use in the two blocks on the left side.  I will find another teal fabric to use in the blocks that are closer to the center.

IMG_2733

I’m taking a break from hand quilting  my oldest UFO in the evening while I watch TV.  The quilting is going well, but my under hand needs a little repair.  It should be healed in a few days and I can go back to quilting.  In the meantime, I’ll check out several years of machine embroidery magazines that were stored in the attic.  I’m trying to downsize and clear out the attic.  That should take most of the winter.  Hopefully, I’ll find someone who will want the magazines.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

 

It’s a Mystery

I’ve decided to make a mystery quilt.  I’ve admired Bonnie Hunter’s quilts for a long time, but have never made one from her patterns.  This year, she has a mystery quilt called Frolic.  The quilt finishes at 82″ x 82″. I really like the colors that she chose for this quilt.  When she designed the quilt, she used paint chips to decide on the colors.  The colors are light and dark blue, teal, pale green , raspberry and a neutral.  Of course, if you make this quilt, you can use other colors.

IMG_2725

There is still time to join in the fun.  The clues are at Quiltville.blogspot.com under the Frolic Mystery tab.  The clues are free at this time. After it is over, there will be a charge.

Along with the clues are tips, tricks, helps and hints for each unit.  It is worth looking at the  program for all the great tips even if you don’t make the quilt.  Bonnie uses small pieces of fabric so this is great for a stash buster.

I pulled all the scraps that I had in those colors.  They are in a bin waiting to be called when Bonnie gives a clue that uses them.  I don’t know if I have enough of all the colors, but will use what I have until they are gone.  Then I can buy fat quarters to fill in the rest.

IMG_2723The first week used the two blues and raspberry.  They made lovely blocks.  Bonnie’s tips on perfect piecing made the blocks come out the perfect size.  I followed her tip on how to sew and found every four patch came out perfect.  I had made extra in case the centers weren’t perfect.  I now have the beginnings of another quilt.

 

 

IMG_2724

The second week used raspberry and neutral fabrics.  I had a lot of 5″ neutral squares and used some of them in this step.  This will make a very scrappy quilt.

The third clue will show up in my e-mail tomorrow.  This is exciting.  I love a mystery. A member of the Guild is also making this mystery quilt.  When they are finished, we’ll have to take them to Show and Tell together.

 

There was no sewing today.  I decided to finish putting my Grace Q frame together.  I am almost finished.  The instructions are not clear at all. The pictures are so small that they don’t help.  It seems so easy on the You Tube videos.  I have two more parts to put on the frame. I’ll try to finish it tomorrow.  It may seem hard to put it together, but it will probably be harder learning to use it.  I will have to practice, practice and practice.  It’s a good thing that I have a lot of small UFOs to practice on.

IMG_2718

The block for the Maine Guild block drawing is finished.  It is on the way to Maine now.

 

 

I’ve gathered fabric for a bed runner.  The pattern has ten blocks.  I receive one block pattern each week. I should be able to find time to make one block a week for this bed runner.  Years ago, I bought a bolt of lavender/blue fabric and intended to use it in the bedroom. It’s been hanging on a hanger waiting for the right inspiration.  Now, when the bed runner is finished, I can use some of the leftover fabric for pillows, valances, etc. and have a coordinated bedroom.  I was fortunate to have enough of the right colored fabric to add to the bolt of fabric.  They’re not the same colors that the designer used, but they work for me.  I’m looking forward to making the bed runner.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

It’s December

 

IMG_2714

It’s December and I have changed the wall hangings.  The little Christmas wall hanging is the 12th one to go in that spot on the wall this year.  I will start all over again in January.

 

 

 

IMG_2715

The wall hanging on the wall behind the sofa is in it’s second year.  When I take it down in January,  I will either put up one that I’ve already made or make a new one.  I’ve been checking my fabric drawers and have found several panels that will be very nice for the winter months.

I need to make two baby quilts before March and have found several pieces of fabric in my stash to choose from.  Now,  I have to find a pattern and decide which fabrics will be the ones to use.  Baby quilts are meant to be used, washed and abused.  I want a pattern that is simple and yet elegant.  I have a block in mind.  It would be great for the center of a medallion quilt.  The baby quilts could be “what if” quilts.  After I made the center block, I could decide what to do with the borders one at a time.  I should start sewing soon in order to be finished on time.

IMG_2712

Annie Louise hasn’t had a new dress for quite a while, but she has three new quilts.  I finished quilting one that was on the blog a few weeks ago.

 

 

 

IMG_2717The best part of making small quilts is that they can be finished.  One of her quilts is very small.  The other uses leftover strips. IMG_2713

Maybe I can make another dress for Annie Louise after Christmas.  Or, I could make some night gowns.  She doesn’t have any.

 

 

I’ve put Dear Jane away for a while.  I’ve been doing hand work during the evenings on the blocks. Every once in a while, I bring out my oldest UFO, The Amish Thistle.  I started this quilt over 30 years ago.  It may be closer to 35 years.  It’s queen size and I’m heavily hand quilting it.  It has had a lot of shelf life. It’s hard to quilt with black thread on black fabric.  Maybe, this time I will keep it out of the closet until it’s finished.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

Dear Jane

IMG_2706

The Christmas cactus has outdone itself.  It is full of blossoms.  Maybe it is a Thanksgiving cactus.  qui

 

 

Making Dear Jane blocks is addictive.  Some are very easy to piece.  Some are very hard.  I’ve found that the hard ones are best if pieced by hand or paper pieced.  The easy blocks can be paper pieced also.  Sometimes it’s easier to paper piece than to figure out the measurements.

The blocks are 4 1/2″ square.  It would seem as if they wouldn’t take as much time as a larger block, but sometimes they  take just as long to make.  The applique pieces even though they are very small, take time to position and sew down.   The hand quilting time is much shorter and the binding doesn’t take too long to sew down.

I’ve been making the blocks in the potholder method.  Every block is hand quilted and bound.  Then they are sewed together.  The binding makes a nice sashing.

The Dear Jane blocks are the perfect size to take to a sit and sew.  I try to keep a few ready to take when I go out.  I have several blocks in different stages of construction in a basket.  Some are pieced and ready to quilt.  Some are quilted and have the binding sewn on and are ready for it to be tacked down.   Some have the applique ready to sew.  I like to applique at home and do not take these until they are ready to quilt and bind.  Every block is in it’s own baggie with a picture of the block and it’s position on the quilt.

I’ve been making them this way and found that I have more finished than I thought.  Row A is finished. IMG_2703 IMG_2702

The instructions for row B are in baggies with the fabric that I will use for those blocks.  I’ve started piecing the Row B blocks. When they are finished, I’ll do the same with Row C.  Row D is completed and is sewn onto the body of the quilt. Row D is the top row.  There are four more blocks sewn on that are outside the picture.

IMG_2700

I originally planned to start in the center of the quilt and work  the rows around the center.  The center block is the green circle that is four down and seven over from the left.  Somehow, that plan fell away and I was making a lot of blocks out of order.  Eventually, they will all be sewn into the quilt. IMG_2701

Jane will take a rest for a while.  I have several other projects that need finishing. I’ll bring her out again when I run out of blocks to take to a sit and sew.

 

 

Have a great day and happy quilting.

 

 

 

Quilts

Miss Molly had a visitor the other day.  Her friend, Rufus came to visit.  Even though Miss Molly is a Wire Fox Terrier and Rufus is a Bagle ( Beagle/Basset Hound), they are both working dogs.  Their job is Quality Control Inspector.  They work very hard to inspect quilts. IMG_9864

 

 

IMG_2230

IMG_2685After a hard day at work, they are taking a much needed rest.  I can imagine that they are discussing their work and how much they enjoy it.  Miss Molly was generous enough to let Rufus sleep on her quilt.

 

Last Friday, I taught another Mile A Minute block class.  It is so much fun to teach.  The class seemed to enjoy it. The block is so easy to make.  There are no rules, no seams to match and they always come out perfectly square.  I was able to give away some of the strips and scraps that are used for the block.  I still have a lot left.  I’ll put them away as I don’t need to make any more for a while.

I had made several small examples this summer.

IMG_2692

The Mile A Minute block can be placed into any other block that has a six inch space. IMG_2694

 

 

 

IMG_2693Did you know that if you insert one inch strips into a block, the block will be the same size when it is finished.  I cut the Mile A Minute block in quarters and inserted strips.  When placed in the Attic Window setting, it looks like windows.

 

IMG_2695I was looking for some fabric when I found some cute kitten fabric.  I was inspired to fussy cut the kittens and place them in the middle of the block.  In three hours, I had enough blocks to make this cute baby quilt. The sashing and borders didn’t take long.  It just needs quilting and some baby will have a pretty quilt.

IMG_2697   IMG_2696

I’ve finally started to put away the things that I brought back from Maine last month. The leftover fabric is put away into the proper drawers.  As is most of the fabric that I found all around the sewing room.  I have over 200 Mile A Minute blocks that need to go into quilts.  Also the Splendid Sampler blocks that will go into a quilt some day.  The UFO bin is getting larger, not smaller.  I’ve been thinking about working on the Cynthia England wall hanging again.  It is about two thirds finished.  It will be beautiful when it is finished, but it takes a lot of concentration to put the pieces in the right places.  It’s a good thing that I like to paper piece.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

More Little Things

I have been squeezing quilting in between appointments, grocery shopping,  and meetings.  There doesn’t seem to be much time to sew or quilt.  I have discovered one thing about having limited time to sew.  If I try to finish a UFO that has been around for a long time, I feel bogged down.  There must be a reason why it is a UFO in the first place.  For the past week, I’ve been trying to machine quilt a wall hanging. I know that it’s an older quilt because the main color is brown.  There was a period of time when I made a lot of brown quilts.  I think that this is the last one.

It is not fun working on this quilt.  It’s not a bad quilt.  As a matter of fact, it’s very pretty.  I’m machine quilting it with a walking foot which was a bad decision.  It would have been better to free motion quilt it.  I do have to finish it the way I started it.  The quilt is going to go in the give away bin anyway.  I think that I will put it aside in a bin that is labeled ” UFO’s to finish when I am desperate for something to do. ”  I may put other UFO’s  in the bin with it and hide everything in the attic.

After I came to this decision, I decided to do something that I really enjoy.  I haven’t worked on the Flower wall hanging that I intend to put above the sofa in the living room. Applique is very relaxing and fun.  The center applique is finished.  I cut the fabric for the outside border. It is not sewed onto the center yet.  I marked the top border and started to applique the flowers from the center to the edge. Some of the flower centers were already appliqued.  I like to applique the whole flower in it’s place.  I am almost to the outside edge where the flowers turn and go down the edge.  On my next free day, I’ll sew the border fabric on the  center so that I can turn the corner when I get there.  It will take a long time to finish this wall hanging, but it is fun to do hand sewing.

IMG_2672 IMG_2673 IMG_2674 IMG_2675

I’ve finished sewing three more Dear Jane blocks.   I quilt them when I go to a sit and sew.  It’s nice to have a little project to work on.  I haven’t started Row B yet.  When I sorted the finished blocks, I discovered that I have finished 1 to 9 in Row J.  I’m sewing them together when I have a few minutes to sew.  It’s another hand sew project.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

 

 

 

 

 

Little Things

I have been working on several little things this week.  Some sewing and other little housekeeping things that took longer to think about than to do.

organized some scraps that a friend gave me.  Some were too large for the mile a minute block, so I put the large scraps aside to make mini quilts.  The fabric will not be placed in my stash. I should be able to make five or six minis with the scraps.   One mini quilt top is finished.  The second one is planned.  The first mini center was paper pieced.   It is called Carol #1. IMG_2660

It shouldn’t take to long to quilt.  I’ll practice ruler quilting on this small piece.

 

IMG_2664A bed quilt came back from the long arm quilter.  The binding is on and half sewed down.  The quilt was made with block patterns from Kimberley Einmo’s block book.  I used solid fabrics for this quilt.  The solid fabric drawer is still full.  This is the second quilt that I’ve made from Kimberley’s book.  I plan to make quilts with all 250 blocks eventually. The blocks in her book seem large after working on Dear Jane’s 4 1/2″ blocks.

IMG_2666   IMG_2665

I’ve been working on Dear Jane blocks.  Row A is finished.  It is quilted, bound and sewn together in the potholder method.  I can no longer use the Dear Jane EQ CD.  My old computer died and the new one will not accept the CD.  Before I lost the computer, I had printed out the patterns for rows B and C so I can make those two rows.  Row D is already made as well as some of the blocks in other rows.  I can figure out how to make the remaining blocks from the diagrams in the book.  I enjoy making the Dear Jane blocks between other projects.   It is good to have a small project to either quilt or bind when I go to a sit and sew.

IMG_2663I’ve printed the chart for the block placement and inked the finished blocks so that I would know which blocks were left to sew.  The first three blocks from Row I are missing.  I sewed them today and they are ready to quilt and bind.  The little blocks don’t need much quilting so they are finished quickly. I will be working on this quilt for a long time.

Row J blocks, #1 to #8 are quilted and bound.  The are ready to sew together.

IMG_2662

 

 

 

My appointments are done for the week  so I can spend the next two days in the sewing room.  It will be fun.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

Quilt Backs

When I started to quilt, most quilts used muslin for the backs.  We hand quilted with off white thread.  There was no such thing as machine quilting.  After a while, coordinating fabric was used for the backs.  Machine quilting became the way to finish a quilt.

When I first started to quilt, I bought enough fabric to cover all the back of the quilts.  There were many times that I was just a few inches short of fabric for the backing.  I would either add a strip of coordinating fabric in the center of the fabric or add a border all around the backing.

IMG_2648     IMG_2647

There are times when two strips can be added.

IMG_2650   IMG_2649

The modern quilt movement has given me many ideas for backings.  The backings can be made with scraps left over from the front.

IMG_2627   IMG_2645

IMG_2652   IMG_2651

IMG_2653I had purchased the remains of fabric bolts from a closed quilt shop.  There were several bolts of pillow panels.  I didn’t want to make pillows and used the yardage for backs. This one worked for a masculine quilt.

 

 

IMG_2644

The traditional Hunter Star quilt has a back that was made with some mile a minute red blocks for a modern quilt look.

IMG_2643

IMG_2642Last year, I made the Blockbuster quilt with Japanese fabric.  I had a lot of that fabric left over and pieced the back.

IMG_2656  

I cut some of my scraps in 2 1/2″ strips and made a jellyroll quilt.  It has been on a hanger in the closet for a while.   I think that it would make a perfect back for a scrap quilt.

 

On occasion, I will buy 108″ wide fabric for backing. It works fine for large quilts that I send to the long arm quilter.  With all my scraps, I can make my own yardage for the quilts that I quilt myself.

I have a large pile of quilt tops that need quilting.  If I find two that are the same size, I can use one for the top and the other for the backing.   A two sided quilt will be nice and the pile would be smaller much faster. Then, I can make more tops

Have a great day and happy quilting.

Scraps

One of the best things about being a blogger is to read the blogs of others who have the same interests.  Recently, I read Laura Kates’s blog which she named “Crazy out of control scrap heap”.  At the end she said “Who of you has solved the Scrap dilemma, and will you share your solution with me, a frustrated fiber artist. ”

I really haven’t solved the dilemma, but I’m working on it.  In the past, when I took a class, the other students started placing their scraps on my table.  I even robbed the waste basket after class.  It was during the time that I was making my Garbage to Gaa-Barge art quilts.  I used every little scrap for those pieces.  I even made pieces with leftover threads.  I had organized  the tiny scraps in baggies. Each baggie was color coordinated.   I used the colored fabric like paint.  I threw nothing away.  Now, several years later, I’m no longer working on that project and  finally cleaned out that bin and threw most of it away.  I felt guilty for about one half of a second.

IMG_2638I still have lots of scraps.  In a perfect world, I have a good system for taming them. Of course, I don’t always put them where they belong.  I do have a bin for fabric that I might “file” in the right drawer some day.   I bought four Ikea wire drawer units.  They are stacked two tall and are in closets. The drawers can be removed and the fabric dumped out to check for what I need. These scraps are the larger ones.  The scraps are folded and each color has it’s own drawer.  There are drawers with Asian fabric, Ginny Beyer fabrics, solid fabrics, etc.  IMG_2637

IMG_2639There is a drawer with purchased pre cuts and panels. It would be nice if the fabric would stay folded, but after looking through a drawer to find what I need, I don’t always refold.

 

IMG_2635Once in a while, when I finish a project, I will make my own precuts.   I cut 10″, 8″ 5″, 3 1/2″ and 2 1/2″ squares.  They are stored in a plastic drawer unit, waiting for the right project to come along.

 

 

IMG_2640   IMG_2641Then, there are the Mile A Minute scraps.   They seem to grow overnight when I’m not looking.  I thought that I had used them up  but I found two big bins in the attic.  Fortunately, I’m teaching a class at the Guild and will give them away to the students.  The scraps are in all colors.  I’ve separated them into strips and scraps.  The fabric has been pressed and is ready to use.

IMG_2636I kept the blue fabric that was left over from the Canadian 150 quilt in a separate bin that I bought at the Dollar Store.  I’m making a few samples for the Mile A Minute class with this fabric.  When the samples are finished, the left over fabric will go in the bags with the other fabric.   Hopefully, all this fabric will be gone by the end of the class.  Of course, I can always make a few more Mile A Minute blocks.

The best place to store scraps is in a quilt, so bring them out and sew them together.  The quilt doesn’t have to be big.  Table runners, place mats, mug rugs, tote bags, charity and baby quilts, etc. are all small projects that can be made quickly using scraps.

I hope that I helped you with your dilemma, Laura Kate.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

 

Finished

IMG_2633It is so good to finish a few quilts and blocks.   My plan is to take each UFO, one at a time,  from the pile and finish it.  I’ve finished two more Dear Jane blocks.  There is one more pieced and quilted  block to bind.  After that, I plan to piece the block that is numbered A3.  I had already pieced it, but I didn’t like the way it looked, so I will make it again.  Row A will then be complete and then I will start piecing Row B.  Dear Jane isn’t really a UFO.  It is a long term project that I work on between quilting other things.  Eventually, I will finish the quilt.IMG_2632

IMG_2629I found a partially quilted quilt hanging on a hanger in the closet.  It has been an UFO for a very long time.  I originally started to hand quilt it.  The last time that I pulled it out, I machine quilted a portion.  Yesterday, I finished machine quilting it and started to bind the quilt.  It’s a planned scrappy quilt.  The red and green fabrics make it look almost like a Christmas quilt.

 

 

 

IMG_2631The back is a surprise.  It is pillow panel of wild animals. The panel was one that I bought years ago when I purchased yardage from a discontinued quilt shop.   I’ve used most of that yardage but I’m still finding ways to use the little bit of fabric that is left.

I have several more large quilts to quilt, but I think that I will finish the pile of smaller ones first.  The next piece that I’ll quilt was pieced at least 20 years ago.  It was made during a period when I used a lot of brown fabric in my quilts.  Throughout the years, it has come to the surface of the unfinished pile and I always have put it back on the bottom.  Now, I am going to finish it and not save it for later.  The batting is basted on the top, but somehow, it has lost the backing.   I’ll find something else to back it.  Today, I sewed the binding on a small piece.  I had quilted it with the hand quilting look on the sewing machine.  I like that look and I think I will quilt this wall hanging using that stitch.  I don’t know why I don’t use it more often.

Ideas for new quilts are in my head, but I have to concentrate on finishing what I’ve already started.

Have a great day and happy quilting.