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.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Calendar Girl

Another finish from the UFO pile!

Calendar Girl 83 x 93 inches
'Calendar Girl' is a queen size Row-by-Row quilt of the months of the year.  It started in 2011 when Lyn Brown posted free patterns on her web site for a monochromatic row-by-row quilt.  Quite a challenge for her students!  But, I saved the patterns and made a number of them in full color rather than monochromatic.

The blocks I used for January, March, May, July, August, and September are all from her patterns.  Then I branched out a bit.  I used her baskets for April, but added Easter eggs from a great pastel striped fabric instead of her rabbits. The rest are other row-by-row patterns I found or blocks that I made up into a row, and are totally different from Lyn's quilt. 

The song 'Calendar Girl' kept running through my head as I quilted, and so that's what I named her in the end.  Why not?

"I love, I love, I love my little Calendar girl.  Every day, every day, of the year!"

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Pilgrim Ships

Here it is, March already!  The resolve to finish up some languishing UFO's this winter is still going strong.

The next project I tackled was what to do with this piece of wonderful fabric that I have had for years!  The colors are so soft and lovely.  Rich brown and rust, purple and teal.  It's called Pilgrim Fathers designed by Fabric Freedom, London England.  The squares have tall ships, a deer, a fish and a goose (or brown swan maybe.)

Quiltmaker Magazine had a pattern a few years  back called "Chopsticks."  Some adapting had to be done to fit the size squares from my feature fabric, but all worked out in the end.

Here's the final result.  The quilting and binding was finished by lunch time today, then a quick spin in the washer and dryer to get out the markings in the border.  Whoop Whoop!  Nearly every bit of that fabric was used up too.  There is only one square and four partial squares left for the scrap bin.

This is my third Queen size finished up since New Years.  I'm stuck on the next one, but that's another post.

Linking up to share with:
confessions of a fabric addict

Monday, February 19, 2018

A pair of February finishes!

This weekend up at the lake, while the guys were ice fishing, my project was to hand sew bindings on two little quilts.

The first is the February challenge from Kathleen Tracy.  "Windowpane" is from her book "Small and Scrappy." This one's entirely from my scrap bag.  I was trying to use up some of those mid-tone fabrics that I always seem to put back.   I wasn't sure I had enough contrast when I first put it together, but it's growing on me.

And, finished just in the nick of time, is this small Delectable Mountains quilt for my DIL who wanted a purple table topper.  We celebrated her birthday this evening.  The block is from Bonnie Hunter's "Scrappy Mountain Majesties," which I've been wanting to try out.  It went together very easily!  I might be persuaded to make a Scrappy Mountain quilt one of these days.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Tutorial: Apron for Care Center Residents

Many of us will have to face an elder loved one moving into Assisted Care or a Nursing Home.  As "Dad" has advanced into his 90's his hands tremble a bit, and eating in the dining hall has become frustrating.  He became discouraged that he spilled so often, but staunchly refused to wear a 'bib.'  And who can blame him?  He has had to let go of his dignity and independence in so many ways.  It was time to figure a way to help him out.

 The answer came when my husband's company changed their corporate logo.  The old shirts, though in great condition, were about to go out to the thrift store.  That is, until I got ahold of them. 

This is the result:  A double layer apron that looks like a man's dress shirt. The double layer keeps wet spills from soaking through before he can grab a napkin. It's wide and long enough to give good coverage down onto his lap.  No ties or buttons for arthritic hands to fumble with, and it doesn't pull over his head.  The weighted straps just rest over his shoulders.   It even has a pocket for his silverware or cell phone.  And, it went together in an hour!

He loves it! "Dad" wears one at every meal.  It's easy for him to put on and take off, has saved a ton of effort on laundry and he doesn't feel it's demeaning.  He's proud of his son, and pleased to wear his old company logo.  Win, win!

Here's how it's done:

* one men's medium weight, long sleeved dress shirt.  (I used chambray and a light twill size Large Tall.)
* six old fashioned disc drapery weights.  You could use quarters too, but would need about 3 in each of the six pockets to have enough weight.
* sewing machine, scissors, marking chalk, thread and sewing pins. (Rotary cutter, cutting mat and 5-inch wide ruler optional.)

Step one:
step 1: cut off collar and sleeves
With scissors, cut off the collar and sleeves.  Discard collar.

Step two:
Turn the shirt inside out.  Spread out the shirt.  The back will probably be a little wider than the front.  Use pins to extend the center pleat farther down on the shirt back.  This will take up the extra fabric for now. The sleeve opening front and back won't exactly match.   Smooth out and draw a gentle curve around the armholes from a point a bit below the armhole and re-cut so they match. 

step 2: pin to extend pleat in back

Step three: 
Cut straight across the top above the top button, but below the back yoke. I had to cut off the collar buttons because they were just where I wanted to cut.  Make sure you don't cut through the pins holding the back pleat together.  You can't see them from the front!  Stitch the curve from side seam to top opening.  I used a standard seam allowance.  Then, stay stitch across the pleat in the back so it doesn't shift.

step 3:  cut straight across the top, below the yoke
Stitch curved side seams.

Step four:
Next, smooth out the the sleeves.  Cut off the cuffs right above the placket, parallel to the cuff edge.  Discard the cuffs.  Turn sleeves inside out.  Using the fold of the sleeve as one edge, cut a five-inch wide strip from shoulder to cuff.  Trim the top edge at an angle, cutting off the seam at the top of the sleeve.  (The cuff end will be attached to the apron, the angled end will have the weights.)

step 4: cut off cuffs

step 4: 5-inch strip and angled edge cut
Step five:
Sew the long side and the angled side of the 5-inch strips to make the shoulder straps.  Turn right side out.  Place your weights along the angled side and mark with chalk to make three little pockets.  This helps keep the weight distributed during use, and they don't all fall to one corner.

step 5: sew and turn straps. note the angled edge

Step six:  
Stitch the three pockets by sewing lines about 2-1/2 inches long or so up from the bottom.  Drop in your weights.  Then stitch across just above the weights to keep them in the pockets.
steps 5 & 6: marking pockets for the weights

  Step seven:
With the shirt still inside out, slip the shoulder straps between the front and back.  Place the strap at the very outside edge on both sides.  The longer point of the angled, weighted edge should be toward the center, and slid down between the front and back shirt pieces.  Stitch across the top edge, catching the front, the raw edge of the straps, and the back all together.  Turn right side out.  All done!

step 7: slide straps down into the shirt,
points toward the center
straps all the way to the outside edges

step 7: stitch top edges
Turn right side out.  All done!