Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Beginnings

Monday already and a whole new week ahead!  It seems that I just can't stop finding new and interesting quilt projects on the internet.  I just can't stop beginning new projects!

This week it's Quilters Club of America's new Mystery Quilt IV.  It looked very easy, and my gallon bag of 2 1/2 inch scrap blocks is way overflowing, so I started making the step 1 four-patch blocks as leaders and enders as I sewed other projects.  I have them grouped in safety pins of 10 blocks so I don't have to keep re-counting them. 

I have yet to select the background color.  I need 2 1/2 yards, and don't really have much in my neutrals with that quantity.  I think a very light grey would look nice but I don't have any, or maybe just muslin since it's really scrappy. I might have enough of that.

I love to see what everyone else is working on and am linking up to Patchwork Times Design Wall Monday.    Thanks for stoppin by!  Hope you have the chance to Quilt Awhile this week.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Finale

It took two days, and no small amout of seam ripping.  (I followed the directions and joined all my half square triangles in the same direction when they should have been half one way and half the other.)  But the large Feathered Star block from Just Takes 2's sampler quilt in red and white is finished!  No, you are not suddenly color blind.  I'm making my version in green and white. I just couldn't find the right red.  I was procrastinating on this block because it looks so complex, but it really wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.

I spent my procrastination time making up this little quilt top.  It's from ... hmm, well I jotted down the website to share with you and can't locate it at the moment.  I'll update as soon as I get my desk cleared off.  I think the gold binding will look nice, but I think I'm about 6 inches short.  I'll have to dig around and see if I can come up with a bit more.

This morning I quilted up the Four Patch I made earlier in the week from Shirley's leftover fabric ends.  The cable on the inner border is now a new favorite for me.  It worked quite well.
And, I quilted and put binding on this table runner made from three of Shirley's orphan blocks I showed you earlier too.  I practiced free motion feather quilting in the borders, but it's impossible to see against the print.  Probably a good thing considering my skill level at that! 

I've enjoyed linking up with crazymomquilts to see what everyone else is doing, and I've loved getting your encouraging comments.  I'll miss it since she has said she'll be too busy over the summer to host the linkup.  I'd be willing to try and learn how to add the linkup so we can continue over the summer.  Leave a message if you would participate, and if there is enough interest I'd give it a try.
Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Silver Anniversary Quilt - Honeymoon

Honeymoon block

Of course the next block after Steps to the Altar is Honeymoon!  We went somewhere warm, so I used warm colors.   Honeymoon is a traditional block with three colors: light, medium and dark.  It might be fun to make the center block with a honeymoon photo transfered to fabric if you are familiar with that process, or fussy cut a print fabric if you find one that brings back Honeymoon memories for you.  Looks like I have a little adjusting to do on that right side.  :-)

 The block is put together like a nine patch. 

First, the corner blocks.  Cut four light and four medium 2 1/2 inch squares.  Cut four light and four dark 3 inch squares and cut them once diagonally.  Make half-square triangles out of these blocks, squaring them up to 2 1/2 inches.  Join these blocks together into a four patch for the corner block.

Next the side blocks.  Cut four light and four dark 5 1/4 inch squares and cut them twice diagonally in an X.  Make four hourglass blocks from these triangles for the side blocks.  Square the blocks up to 4 1/2 inches.

Finally, cut the center block which is 4 1/2 inches square.
Join like a nine patch,  making three rows: Corner, side, corner.  Side, center, side.  Corner, side, corner.  Then join the rows to complete your block.

Happy Honeymoon!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Design Wall Monday

This weekend I worked on my Just Takes 2 green and white sampler quilt.  Blocks 15, 16 and 17 are done!   I had to do a bit of improvising on the basket block.  The side background pieces were too narrow, and I removed them to add wider pieces to make the block come out the right size.  I also did a few simpler blocks, so the checkerboard Blocks 28, 31and 32 are also done.  The big Feathered Star needs to be next, but I'm kind of afraid to tackle it.  Perhaps this week I'll take the plunge.  The paper piecing went a little better this weekend.  I think I only had to rip out one or two pieces per block instead of nearly every piece, which happened the previous weekend.

Also on my 'to do' list this week is to finish quilting and put binding on the table runner put together last Thursday from some Orphan blocks which came from Shirley, who was my dear friend's mother.  The pattern is Doe and Darts, and Shirley had made these three blocks.  Some of the pieces are hand pieced, and other parts are machine pieced.  She was probably auditioning colors in different places before making a bed sized quilt of this pattern.  I replaced the center square in one block so that two blocks matched, and put the third block in the center.   I had a bit of darker teal in my stash and cut the binding from that to give the quilt a frame.  It doesn't match anything in my home, but it is fun to see a project finished.

I really enjoy seeing what other quilters are working on by linking up with Judy's Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Shirley's scraps

This was an interesting challenge!  I pulled out a box of quilt blocks and scraps that came from my dear friend's mother.  Shirley was a quilter, and made beautiful quilts for her children and grandchildren in the 1970's and 80's.  In the box are some sample blocks that never were used, extra triangle pieces, scraps, partial blocks and leftover ends from joined strips.

Today I pulled out a bag with about 10 pieced strips.  It looks like Shirley had originally joined 3 1/2 inch strips and then cross cut them.  Perhaps it was an Around the World quilt, or Streak of Lightning.  Anyway, these strips were the odd tail ends.   The one at the top of the photo was almost 2 inches wide, the next was not much wider.  But the rest were at least 3 inches wide. 

I trimmed the wider strips to an even 3 inches.  Then cut off every other seam and trimmed to make pairs of 3 inch blocks.  Joining two made a nice 4-Patch block.  All together there was enough to make 15 blocks.  Then I trimmed the narrower strips to 1 3/4 inches, then cut out pairs of blocks and made small 4-Patches to use as cornerstone blocks.  I squeaked out 8.
I fussed with the placement on the design wall awhile.  First with the lights on one diagonal and the darks on the other.  Then I realized the heart print blocks were directional and I moved things around so they were all upright.  Finally, I thought that the dark brown fabrics needed to be placed more symetrically and in the corners to draw the eye around the quilt.  I settled on an arrangement and found a half yard of neutral stripe fabric in my box for the sashing.

Ta Da!  NOTHING leftover except one pair of 3 inch blocks!!!

Then I came across a few more 3 inch strips of tan and blue, so I used them all up making a border.  The selvedge of the blue was dated 1987!  There wasn't quite enough, so I pieced in what was left of the dark brown.  Antique quilts often had oddly pieced borders like this, didn't they?  Well, here it is with Chocolate brown flannel for both batting and backing.  Pinned and ready to quilt! 


Shirley's 4-Patch 2012  30x44 inches

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Silver Anniversary Quilt - Steps to the Altar

  This past year marks 25 years of marriage to my wonderful hubby.  Looking back on the years, they seem to have gone by so quickly.  So many wonderful experiences together have been packed into those years, and they are worth celebrating! 

I have enjoyed the creative process of quilting for many years.  Indeed, my family wonders what ever we will do with all the quilts I’ve made!  In particular I am drawn to the traditional quilt patterns, and how their names tell stories.  So, I have designed a sampler quilt of traditional quilt blocks to tell the story of our 25 years together.   

Come sew along with me and make a sampler to celebrate your own life story, or someone close to you.  Most of my patterns have come from the wonderful free quilt block patterns available at .  I will try and include a pattern link or simple pattern in my posts which a moderately experienced quilter should be able to follow.  The blocks are all 12 inches finished size.

Steps to the Altar block

The first block will be Steps to the Altar.  The pattern I used is here.  We were married on a lovely day in May.  I wore the same Chantilly lace wedding gown my mother wore in 1953 .  The groom and groomsmen wore grey tuxedos.  The bride's attendants wore light pink taffeta dresses in the then-popular puffed sleeve style worn by Princess Diana at her recent marriage to Prince Charles in London.  Our mothers wore darker rose-pink gowns.  The silk bridal bouquet included white lily of the valley, pink lilies and light blue freesia.   Because I sewed the attendants and mother's gowns, (and apparently never throw a bit of leftover fabric away,) I was able to use those actual fabrics in my block.  

 note:   Do be careful if you choose to use fabrics that are not 100% cotton.  They could distort, may not be able to handle the heat of steam pressing, or may not hold up as well over the years.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Two projects on the wall

The week has flown past, but I did quilt awhile on a couple of ongoing projects. First, I've been chipping away at the sampler blocks from Just Takes 2 .  I just couldn't find any red fabric that really called my name for this, but there was a lovely forest green and 5 whites with that same green in mini-prints.  They hopped right into my basket, and so my version will be green and white.  I have finished 13 blocks and this week put some of them together.  Now it feels like I'm accomplishing something! 

But...quite a few of the blocks are paper pieced blocks and I must admit that I have a terrible time with them.  For some reason I just can't think 'upside down and backwards'.  Though I seem to be following all the tips and directions, when I flip over a piece it just doesn't cover the area it's supposed to.  I end up ripping out the majority of the seams and trying again.  and again.  and sometimes again!   I'm quite a bit behind, but am trying to get one or two blocks done each weekend.

Another project this week has been blocks for the April Color Palette Challenge.  In my stash was a this print, which has probably been there 20 years!  I loved the color combinations, but never found anything to use it in.  The print is a bit overpowering.  But it has all the colors in the April challenge, so I'm making myself use it up. 


Considering the colors originally came from a pie, Shoo Fly Pie seemed the logical theme for my project.  I've been experimenting with 6 inch (finished) Shoo Fly blocks and colors.  The lighter colors just seem to disappear against the strong print.  The teal and red show up well, and the gold is ok.  I have some moss green and burnt orange scraps that I'll test out next.  Fabrics that 'read' solid give the eyes a place to rest amid the busy print background.   With the fabrics, blocks and colors in mind, the next challenge is a placement design.  That might take some thinking.  Any ideas out there?  

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Little Blue Nine Patch

1990 Blue Nine Patch

It's been a busy week!  It all started when the washing machine discharge decided to plug up and become a gushing fountain.  Fortunately, I heard the splashing and caught it right away, but not before several boxes of fabric took an unexpected bath.  Once I got things dried out  I started going through all my boxes of fabric, refolding and sorting.  Though I couldn't seem to get rid of anything, the unfinished and orphaned projects and blocks are now all together and I have a good idea of the fabric I have on hand.  My goal is to make a real dent in finishing up some of those projects and using up those orphaned blocks.

April 2012 Nine Patch Small Quilt

Fortunately, Kathleen Tracy's April small quilt project used 9-patch blocks.  There were several leftover from a blue 9-patch quilt I made for my son (back in 1990!) and they were perfect for the project.  So out they came.

Little Blue Nine Patch 2012

There were ten blocks in two shades of light blue that I didn't use in the original quilt because the contrast was too low.  One went into the April small quilt.  You can see it in the center along with the remaining odd blocks from that quilt. You can see why I didn't use them, they're a bit wonky, but just right for this project.

In the spirit of using things up, I put the other nine of them on point and made up a small tabletop quilt that is just 27 inches square.  The machine quilting on it is 'not too bad' (as we say in Minnesota).  Wish it showed up better in the photo.

Wishing you a Joyous Easter...