Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Not quite according to plan

Sometimes I think about half my quilts don't turn out according to the original plan.  How about you?
Interlocking Stars 45 x 53 top

This top is called Interlocking Stars and is from the book:  Quick and Easy Projects for the Weekend Quilter, edited by Rosemary Wilkinson 2002.

The original plan was to make it larger than the book pattern to fit a twin bed.  Somehow, I made way too many navy squares into HST's and then didn't have enough squares to even finish the original pattern.  You would think as a Math major in college I'd know how to count. Tsk.  Had to take apart a couple HST's and piece them back into squares for the centers of  the last 4 stars!

That left me with a whole bunch of HST's leftover.  How about a pieced border?  Exactly enough! 

These fabrics had been in the stash too long with no particular purpose and now they're used up. Hooray! There is still plenty of the solid tan for backing.  I think that came from my mother's stash.  (wow that's old!)

I think it will make a great picnic blanket.  The colors seem rather dull, but they all go together perfectly.  Well, it won't show the dirt!  LOL

Friday, June 29, 2018

Remember Cheri blocks 1 and 2

With the recent loss to the quilting world of Cheri Payne to cancer, many are remembering her by making projects using her designs.  Cheri was a wonderful designer of primitive works of embroidery, wool applique and cotton piecing.

Her dear friends are sharing primitive designs on Facebook in distinctive Cheri style, and encouraging a sew-along in her memory.
May: block #1  Remembering Cheri
I've chosen cotton applique' by machine, rather than hand applique' wool, and am using fabrics from my late Dad's shirts as much as I can.  Applique' never holds my interest for long, but Cheri's designs have taught me that matching everything is overrated, and wonky can be wonderful.  There are times to free your spirit and just 'make do'.  The result is charming.
June: block #2  Remembering Cheri

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A little basket of summer

Kathleen Tracy has a Facebook group and she encourages us to make a little quilt each month.  This month's challenge was using small basket blocks.  I had a couple of 3-inch basket-like blocks in my orphan block box, along with another pair of blocks that had the same background. 

Slapped those babies together in a heartbeat!  And it turned out so cute!  Just a little 12-inch quilt top.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

What to do with selvages

Have you ever come across projects using the selvage edges of your quilting fabrics?  I've seen a few, and started saving the edges.  And saving, and saving.  Until I had two gallon size Ziploc bags full and still no idea what to do with them.  Time to dive in!

First I sorted the strips by length.  That made it easier to overlap them and top stitch them together into strips about 6.5 inches wide.  Next, I cut those into squares using my 6.5 inch ruler.  It was all pretty arbitrary, but that's the size ruler I had on hand, and things just seemed to work out.

My layout inspiration came from Bonnie Hunter's pattern "Basket Weave Strings", one of her free patterns.  The alternating whites and colors of selvages worked like a dream!

Some things I learned:  
1)  When cutting selvages make sure you keep about 1-inch of the print above the white strip.  You will lose 1/4 inch in the overlap seam and less than 1/2-inch of color showing looks too skinny.
2)  Lights and whites don't work very well unless they have a definite print.  It just all blends together as one big white strip.
3)  Start each strip set with a selvage that is all color and at least 1.25 inches wide. (see the green edge strip in the photo above)  A white strip just gets lost in the seam allowance and you get such a tiny white sliver showing that it looks funny.
4)  When sub-cutting strips into squares, re-adjust and square up every couple of cuts.
5)  It is not necessary to use any stabilizer under the strips.  I just overlapped the white finished edge over the colored edge of the next strip and top stitched them together.  A little spray starch might have helped keep things square, but with only 6.5 inches width, it was easily manageable.

Basket Weave Selvages  60x60 inches before borders. 
Sorry the photo is so dark.  We've had a lot of rainy days here recently.
Here's the top.  The setting triangles are a very dark green and it still needs a couple of borders - yet to be determined.  

This was a LOT more fun than I expected!  You've got to try it!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Using up some Fives

Scrap Squares 41.5 x 55.5 inches
Have I shared this one with you yet?  In a recent attempt to try and use up some 5-inch scraps I came across this great pattern.  It's from Fons & Porter's Easy Quilts -Scrap Quilts, Fall 201.  The designer is Kaye England, and the pattern is called Kaye's Scrap Squares. 

It was super easy to make!  I down-sized it a bit to use 5-inch instead of the original 5-1/2 inch squares.  The piano key border that I added used up even more scraps. 

The only difficulty I had with this quilt is the batting.  I pieced together some batting scraps that were lying around and have no idea how old, or what brand they were.  In quilting this up I used a Crayola ultra-clean washable marker to mark the loopy hearts in the gray border.  The marking washed out perfectly, but the batting bearded something awful in the wash.  Totally unexpected!  Guess I'll be keeping this one.

The 5-inch scrap bag is still full, but at least it's not bursting out all over.  I usually don't make the same quilt pattern twice, but this one would be tempting.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

A couple small quilts

Spring is coming slowly this year, and it has given me time to finish binding a couple of small quilts.

The first, as yet unnamed, sprang from a desperate need to reduce the scraps in my 5-inch scrap bag.  It hardly made a dent!  The starting point: five remaining tan squares from a border print dress I made way back in the 1980's!   They were all that was leftover after making this table runner a few years ago.
33 x 37-1/2 inches

The second is a small quilt that used up all the pink/white squares remaining from a whole-cloth baby quilt that I made two years ago.  Little tan bunnies, frogs, turtle and dragonflies make these fussy-cut blocks shine.  Perfect for Easter!
30 x 32 inches
And finally, a little 13-inch square blue and white quilt from Kathleen Tracy's book Small and Scrappy.  The light fabric was cut from a blouse that my late mother had sewn for herself.  It's not 100% cotton and was hard to work with.  It just wouldn't stay square.  All kinds of wonky!  And, of course, I was too lazy to get out the spray starch to keep it in line.  But it turned out pretty well, and it will always remind me of Mom.  Here it is with my Aunt Mary Ellen's old Singer.

13-inch square blue and white quilt 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Not Exactly Pfeffernusse

A chance find at the thrift store provided me with yards and yards of a lovely rich brown quilt shop fabric with hazelnuts, red berries and a hint of gold.  They had a former life as curtains and matching valances.  But I had new plans for them! 

Close-up of the brown Curtain and white Shirting fabrics.
With all good intentions this quilt top started out to be Bonnie Hunter's "Pfeffernusse" from String Fling.  The wonderful browns and reds seemed a great fit.  But, I wanted to really feature the brown fabric and not cut it up in small pieces. 

 First alteration... use the brown fabric in place of the string pieced scrappy browns.

Second alteration... if I wasn't string piecing the brown could I get away with a neutral stripe instead of piecing?  Out came a white stripe shirting from my mother's stash.  That's deep stash!  Let's just say I remember this fabric from around 1970 when she tried sewing dress shirts for Dad.

Queen size top
Time went by and things were going along really well.  All the blocks were pieced and it came time to put them together.  Hmm...The large brown pinwheels of Pfeffernusse just weren't speaking to me.  It looked a little blotchy.  Probably because I used large pieces of fabric instead of string piecing.

Third alteration... re-arrange the blocks.  How about a barn-raising pattern?  Yep, looking better.

Don't you think those curtains should be pleased at how nice they look now?  And, I have two curtain panels and a valance left over just in case this ends up in a room with a window that could use matching cafe' curtains.

Sometimes quilts just name themselves, but this one is eluding me for the time being.  It doesn't look anything like the original pattern.  Take a look HERE.