Friday, June 24, 2016

Keeping up with the Quilters

A busy summer here, how about you?  But I'm keeping up with a couple of sew-alongs.

Temecula Quilt Company's "Circa 2016" has us make two blocks each Friday.  Haven't made this week's blocks yet.  They've given me pause.  The pieces are awfully tiny and my machine doesn't like pieces that small.  Chews them right up because of the wide feed-dogs.  (sigh)  But here's the last few weeks blocks...

And there's a Basket Medallion sew-along going on too.  Lots of freedom with this one. They give you a theme and you just run with it in whatever direction your heart desires.

I had one orphan basket block, so thought I'd use that for the center theme which was selected in May.  The June theme for the next row was 'childhood.'  My childhood days were spent playing with my sister, so I chose to make Sister's Choice blocks.  They ended up an odd size because I used bonus HST's that were 1-3/4 inches square.  So, I added a narrow tan border to make things match up.

Here's what it looks like so far, and I'm lovin' it!
(The little basket in the corner was another option, just in case the on-point plan didn't work out.)

Have a great weekend!

Friday, June 10, 2016

The rescued quilt top

Just checking in from tropical Minnesota.  Whew!  Summer is officially here!

This week there's a new addition to the WIP pile.  While taking a quick look through the fabric at our local thrift store I was amazed to find this beautifully made quilt top just waiting for a new home.  (As if I don't have enough tops that I've made in the pile ready to be quilted!)   How could anyone let it sit forlornly at the store, unwanted and unloved?   It took about a minute to decide it needed to come home with me.

Does anyone recognize the pattern or designer?  I wonder if it is from a class, or block of the month.  I couldn't come close to buying that amount of fabric for what the price was. And it was 25% off because it was Thursday.  OK with me!

I doubt I'll ever know who pieced this, but I hope I can finish it for her, and perhaps then donate it to someone else who will enjoy it.



Monday, May 30, 2016

Gifted Concerto

Violin Concerto has found a new home.  A family friend was in a skiing accident and has a long recovery ahead.  As a youth, he played the violin.  Perfect fit!  It was gifted this afternoon.  Should be a good size for a lap or wheelchair quilt.  I was glad to see how well he is doing!
In another re-use of scraps:  The next Circa 2016 block was posted and I WAS able to use the leftovers from last week's blocks. Last time, I used the Magic 8 method to make the very small HST's. The block used 12 of the 16 HST's that were made.  Those leftover 4 pieces fit right into this week's block!  Can you see them?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Little Log Cabins Mini

The extra little log cabin blocks from Circa 2016 have become a May Mini.  This little 8 x 11-inch quilt can be tucked just about anywhere around the house for a splash of color.  And it's small enough to fit a standard picture frame too!  So many possibilities!
I'm struggling with last Friday's Circa 2016 block though.  Making HST's that finish at 3/4-inch is ridiculously small - even for me.  I think I'll make the HST blocks with the Magic 8 method to keep the pieces a manageable size and hopefully eliminate a lot of the twisting I get on my machine as I start and end on little pieces.  Each block takes 12 little HST's, so I will have to start with two pairs of 3.5-inch squares for each block.  There will be a few leftover, but they might come in handy later on.  We'll see.  I can guarantee I won't be making any extras on that one!

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...