Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Denim and flannel quilt

Front side
Happy Birthday to my DS!  This year he had a special request for his birthday... a heavy denim quilt.  It's taken some time, but it was a great scrap buster!  Four yards of flannel out of the stash, and my box of old jeans is practically empty.  Whoo-hoo!

I like to make denim quilts double sided.  Each piece has denim on one side and flannel on the other.  I stitch them together in four-patches with the seams on one side. Then sew those blocks together with the seams on the opposite side.  That way the seams aren't all on one side.

Cloudy day for photos.  The flannels are mostly forest greens, dark green plaids and white with bears or pine trees.
back side

I haven't made too many rag edge quilts.  They are SO MESSY.  But I tried something new this time and I think it made a big difference controlling the mess when I washed & dried it to get the edges to frizz up.  Here's the steps:

1. After snipping the seams every 1/4 inch or so, tumble the dry quilt in the dryer on Cool Tumble for 20 minutes. Clean the lint trap out every 10 minutes.
2.  Take outdoors and hang over the clothesline.  Brush off as much of the fuzz and threads as you can.
3.  Place in washer on setting that gives the most water in the washer. (large load for me)  Set a timer, and stop the washer just before it discharges the water.
4.  Take a wire strainer from the kitchen and swish it through the water in the washer to take out as many of the thread particles as possible.  This was a brilliant idea!  I scooped out a huge amount of fibers and kept them from going through all the washing machine plumbing lines.
5.  Put a lint collecting net or nylon sock over the washer discharge tube.  Start discharging the water from the washer.  Stop the washer if necessary several times to clear out the lint sock/net.
6.  Take the quilt back out to the clothes line.  Shake and beat to get as much of the lint off as possible.
7.  Tumble in the dryer at medium temperature.  Set a timer and clean out the lint trap every 10 minutes.
8.  Out to the clothesline again and brush off the remaining lint.  A whisk broom might help here.

All done!  And what a difference it made to my washer & dryer and the household plumbing as well.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Sew Tweet

The birds were singing away outdoors as I snapped a couple of photos to share with you today.
Sew Tweet!  baby quilt

Over the weekend the borders went on this baby quilt.  It was inspired by an advertisement for a quilt show a couple of years ago.  The background fabric looked familiar....IKEA!  And I had a smidge left from backing another quilt.  So, this is what I came up with.  Sew Tweet! 

I was going to put a piano key border on using the fabrics in the applique birds.  Then I found this stripe in my stash.  Perfect!  And there's enough for the back too.

Today I finished up quilting Violin Concerto, and now just have the binding to do on that one before it can be gifted.

Circa 2016 is still on track.  
bow ties

rail fence

But as I opened up my bag of 1-inch wide scraps for this week's blocks I got side-tracked again.  What else can I do with these?  How about tiny log cabins? Only 3 inches square!  

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Churning out blocks

The most recent Circa 2016 block from Temecula Quilt Co.'s sew-along is a little Churn Dash block.  Adorable! I had so much fun making these, and they were perfect for clearing out some of my 2-inch scrap bag pieces.

By taking a dark piece approximately 7-1/2 inches and matching it with a light piece approximately 9 inches, the blocks can be made with very little waste!  I really like being able to go to just one size scrap bag instead of trying to find the same fabric in a couple of different sizes.  Not to mention 1-inch size pieces are pretty small for my hands to work with.  This method avoids having to cut pieces that narrow.

Press and match the 2-inch strips right sides together.  Square up one end.

From that end sub-cut one 3-1/2 inch piece and two 2-inch pieces.  Then, from the light only, cut one piece at 1-1/2 inches for the center of your Churn Dash block.

Mark the 2-inch pieces on the diagonal and stitch 1/4-inch on either side of that line.  Cut on the line and press open your four half-square triangle pieces. Trim to 1-1/2 inch squares which will be used in the 4 corners.
Stitch the 3-1/2 inch piece down both long sides.  Mark a center line 1-inch from each long edge.  Because of the width of your pen line, mark from both sides.  You will end up with a double line down the center of the piece.  Cut between the lines to get the exact center.  Press open. Sub-cut to get two 1-1/2 inch squares from each piece (total of 4 side pieces).

Assemble 9-patch style to make a traditional Churn Dash block.  Look how many dark 2-inch strips I found in my bag that were already exactly the right length!
Churn Dash blocks: looking a little wonky because
they are not lying perfectly flat on the design wall.
Other than that, I'm working on fringing all the seams for a denim & flannel rag-style quilt for my son's birthday this month.  Snip...snip...snip...

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A little Winston Ways

Late April already!  How the spring days fly past!
Winston Ways: 25 inches square

This week I used some leftover blocks to make a single-block version of Bonnie Hunter's "Winston Ways."  I had planned to add a couple of borders, but it's the perfect size right now for my kitchen quilt holder and looks great there! Finished the binding today and up it went.

I reversed the red and blue from Bonnie's pattern because that's what I had.  Her designs are so flexible - they look great no matter what.  And ALL the fabric came from my scrap bag or orphan block pile.  Whoop!

In the rest of my free time I've been adding more quilting to a quilt I made ten years ago.  My quilting style then was minimalist.  Is that a nice way to put it?

All this time it's been in my trunk of quilts and never used - except for an occasional quilt display at Heritage Days.  I decided to pull it out and have about doubled the amount of quilting.  The time is coming to give it a new home and I have someone special in mind.  I'll share a photo after it's been gifted.

Stash Report:
A yard and a half went into Winston Ways.  So far this year I've used up almost 9 yards more than I've purchased.  So, the stash is down slightly.  With our nearby Hancock Fabrics now closed I really will be forced to shop from my stash!

Linking up with Sarah at

Monday, April 18, 2016

Welcome Spring!

Side tracked again... and inspired by this Temecula Quilt Co. quilt.
Welcome Spring 14x18 inches

But I'm really enjoying making these small quilts as I attempt to reduce the volume of scraps in my scrap bags.  Those gallon zip-loc bags are bursting!

The 2-1/2 inch cut centers of each block aren't exactly fussy-cut, but I tried to find a nice floral or something as a focus.  The rest of the strips are cut 1-1/2.  This was a great use of those medium range fabrics that get set aside so often and never get to play.

I adore the striped binding!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Olde Glory

Olde Glory 20-1/2 x 32 inches
A quiet day at the Museum yesterday, so I was able to finish hand-stitching the binding on this little UFO.  The inspiration was a free pattern I saw on this Temecula Quilt Co. blog. post.

I have some flag fabric in my stash, and so I used a piece of that for the center instead of piecing my own flag.  Then I up-sized the rest of the blocks to 3-1/2 inches so it all fit nicely.

It was a great way to get rid of use of some leftover triangles I had in my scrap bag.  I tried mostly for red/white/blue, but there's a couple of grays and greens, a floral, and a plaid scrap from our daughter's elementary school uniform skirt!  Now that's a scrap with 'seniority!'

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Violin Concerto

Once upon a time there was a violin printed on a fabric scrap rectangle.  It sat in the scrap bag for a very long time because it was not really 'light', and not completely 'dark.'  So, it just didn't fit in.  It really was a sad little thing.

One day the quilter was looking through the scrap bag for something entirely different when the little violin scrap called out "I want to BE something!  Can't you think of a way for me to play?"  It was so insistent that the quilter stopped what she was doing and gave the little violin a chance.

The other scraps all wanted to help the little violin play.  A scrap of music notes on white appeared from the scrap bag, and then came a bit of mottled rust.  The little violin became the center of an uneven 9-patch block.  A narrow black border framed the block.  And it was quite happy.

Then, unexpectedly, a strip of black fabric with white music notes fell out of the bag and wanted to become part of the song.  It wasn't long enough to be a full border, but the last scrap of mottled fabric offered to become cornerstones.  So they did, and a nice mini-dot tan frame squared them up and held them all together.

Then the little violin said that the music really needed to keep better time, and suggested that a border of hour-glass blocks was just the thing it needed.  Blacks and browns volunteered to keep time, and another tan border helped them stay in tempo.

Soon, some leftover black and white strip sets stepped forward and wanted to be a border too.  They weren't quite long enough to be piano keys, but they squared their shoulders and said they would do their best.  And, of course, they needed a border too.

The music called for a repeat: the same color that was in the center block.  But none was to be found in the bag or box.  Then the quilter remembered that she had used that fabric to make pumpkin applique's and looked in a project box.  Sure enough, there was a piece just exactly big enough to make a lovely border.

Finally, a piece of gold and brown paisley named 'Versailles' called out to say that this lovely piece of music needed to finish with a flourish!  And so it became the final border on the little violin's piece.

And that is how a little 2 1/2 x 4-inch violin, quite unexpectedly, became a 41-inch square "Violin Concerto."

The quilter thinks this is "the end", but who can say for sure?