Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mystery Quilt 6 top

What a busy weekend!  On Friday morning the Quilters Club of America revealed the block arrangement for their Mystery Quilt 6 and I was able to take a look just before we headed north for the Memorial Day holiday weekend. 

Two birthday parties, a holiday neighborhood picnic, and a weekend of meals for 11 later... I finally had a quiet evening Monday to put the quilt top together.  

There are still borders to be decided upon, but it's a good start.   Any suggestions? 

I think my son has claimed this one for his new apartment as soon as it's finished!

Linking up with Patchwork Times on Design Wall Monday.  Take a look and see what other quilters are up to this week!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bright Tones

Bright Tones 2005

The Mystery Quilt is coming along and there have been  lots of e-mail from the discussion site.  Some posts are off-topic and one caught my eye today. 

Diane mentioned she was looking for a quilt pattern and wanted to use music themed fabric.  It reminded me of "Bright Tones", a quilt I made in 2005 for the high school Band and Orchestra fundraiser.  I think I made up the pattern, though it's likely I was inspired by a pattern I had seen somewhere in a magazine. I was looking for a quick and easy quilt that would have a random block look. 

I'll try to reconstruct the cutting instructions from looking at the photo.  Please let me know if any corrections need to be made.  I'm a stingy fabric cutter, so you might want to get a little extra for 'oopsies'.

The quilt is 60x75 inches.  It takes 2 yards large print focus fabric (musical instruments in this case).  One half yard secondary print fabric (white sheet music on black background for me).  One half  At least 5/8 yard EACH of four colors to compliment the focus fabric.  (I used red, gold, blue and green tone-on-tone which look nearly solid.)  One Yard for narrow border and binding.  Match or compliment the background of the focus and secondary prints. (I used solid black.)

The pattern is based on an 8 inch finished block, (8 1/2 inches cut. )  So, the pictured quilt is 5 blocks by 7 blocks.
The individual blocks are:
A) 8 1/2 inch focus fabric blocks. Cut 11.
B) Four-patch blocks made up of  four 4 1/2 inch squares and C)  Two halves of the four-patch within the same row which gives a little more random look to the rows. Make 8 four-patch blocks and 10 two-patch blocks.
D) A 6 1/2 inch cut block of the secondary print with smaller 2 1/2 inch cut squares on two sides.  Sew a strip of three small squares and add to one side of the larger square.  Stitch four small squares together and then stitch them to an adjacent side of the block.  (The side only matters if the secondary print is directional and you want the blocks all facing the same way.) Make 3 blocks.
E) This block is cut a little big and trimmed.  It uses a 5 3/4- inch cut block of the secondary print, and 3 1/4-inch cut squares on two sides.   Sew a strip of two small squares and add to one side of the larger square.  Then sew three small squares together and add that strip to an adjacent side of the larger block. Trim this block about a quarter inch on two sides so it is 8 1/2 inches squared up.  Make 8 blocks.

Before cutting the first border, measure up your quilt top.  Then put together the pieced border.  Measure to make sure that 2 inches finished is the inner border width you need to get these two to match up.  Math is one thing, reality can be another.

The first border is cut 2 1/2 inches if you don't need to make any adjustments.  Cut an additional set of 2 1/2 inch strips for binding.  (About 7 WOF strips each)

The second border is made up of 4 1/2 inch cut squares of the bright colors.  The outer border is 4 1/2 inches cut of the large scale print.  I used 52 colored  blocks and the four corners were my secondary print.  I think it was because I ran out of the colors.  The rows are:
The rows with the split 4 patch (as two C blocks) will have one extra block letter.

Finally, the outer border is cut 4 1/2 inches from the large print focus fabric.  It takes 7 WOF strips.  If you would like a wider border it certainly would look nice, but make sure you have about 1/4 yard of additional focus fabric for each additional inch in border width.  

This was such a fun quilt to make!  Bright Tones of course refers both to the bright colors, and the sound of the music itself.  Those high school band days are long behind us now. (sigh)  I really do miss attending concerts and hearing our kids play.  Cherish those days while they last.  Our youngest graduated from college this month, and will be off on his own with his first job and apartment in just a week or so.   He's been looking through the quilt photo album to pick a few quilts to bring with him!

Well, when 'moving day' is over perhaps there will be more time to Quilt Awhile. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

On the Design Wall this week....

Colorful 16-Patch blocks

It promises to be a busy week, and my schedule is REALLY full, but I'm hoping to put in a little time on the Quilter's Club Mystery Quilt IV.   Is anyone else working on this one?

It's sure used up a lot of my scraps!   My gallon size scrap bag of 2 1/2 inchers was overflowing, and now it only has a handfull of strips, mostly in whites and lights. 

Saturday evening my son and his girlfriend played with blocks.  They took the pile of four-patchs and put them together in groups of four for me. I got them sewn up last night.  I LOVE the super scrappy look they put together.  They've enjoyed helping me with a couple of quilts.

Perhaps the borders?

I have to admit, I skipped  step 2 and need to get back to it.  I've put together the colored patches, and finished the border strips with their triangle of color in one corner, but I've only got a measly  five blocks done with color on two corners.  So, the goal for this week is to get those finished, because I'm certain that the next step has us combining them in groups of four. 

Linking up with Patchwork Times really does help me keep on track.  Thanks for taking a peek.  Come back and visit soon!

Only 5 done?  91 more to go!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A quilt with my Mom

It's Mother's Day this weekend and I've been thinking about how much my mother taught me about fabric and sewing.  She made most of our clothes and was game to takle any sewing project, from curtains to coats, bean bag chairs to bedspreads, pajamas to purses.  I remember her even making a couple neckties for my father just to see if she could do it!  She taught me to sew by hand and machine from a very young age.

The first three quilts I made were entirely from her fabric scraps.  She would smile and shake her head as I worked away at my quilts because although she was an excellent seamstress, knitter and crocheter, she was never a quilter.  She just couldn't see why I found it so interesting.

Here's a quilt I made way back in 1983.  Mom had relatives coming to visit and wanted to clear out her sewing area.  She had an entire lawn size garbage bag filled with scraps from years of sewing clothes for the family, and I sat with a 3 1/2 x 5 acrylic photo frame.  I drew around the frame and cut each block out with a scissors.  If the fabric scrap was smaller than the frame, out it went!  There were enough blocks to make this queen size quilt, plus a lap quilt!  It is yarn tied and has a rust colored sheet for backing.  There are lots of memories in those blocks - I can tell you what garment had been made from each fabric.  Dresses for Mom and Grandma, blouses for my sister and I, a dark green floral square dance dress, a peasant dress from 1969, striped shorts, plaid shirts, a little green dotted swiss dress, and many more, all made by my mother's hands. 

In 1997 Mom's brother was seriously ill and had to move to a care center.  She called me and asked if I would show her how to make a quilt for him.  So, together we pulled out some fabric from her boxes and made this little four-patch lap quilt for him.  I rotary cut the pieces and Mom sewed them together.  Then I machine quilted - stitch in the ditch - and embroidered his name on the border.   It is the only quilt Mom and I made together.  It was really special to be able to share my love of quilting with her.  She gave it back to me after my Uncle passed away and I still use it often.

This is my second Mother's Day without my Mom.  It surprises me sometimes how much I miss her, but I feel so blessed to have had such a wonderful mom.
Happy Mother's Day! 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Silver Anniversary Quilt - New Home

Like many young couples, we eventually began looking to buy our first house.   We were fortunate enough to find one in our home town, and we're still here 25 years later! 

The New Home quilt block is a variation of the traditional Friendship Star.  Our little suburban rambler was painted grey with white trim around the windows and doors.  Bright red shutters alongside the front windows gave the house a splash of color.  I used those colors in my New Home block.  The center and four corner blocks are cut at 4 1/2 inches.  The four side blocks are made up of two red and two grey 5-inch blocks cut diagonally and sewn in to half square triangle blocks.  Square up the half square triangles to 4 1/2 inches before joining the blocks in typical nine-patch fashion.  

Make up a New Home block to celebrate your new home!
If you would like a more detailed pattern, Marcia Hohn has a wonderful Friendship Star pattern on her web site.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Plain and Simple Finale

My design wall is a little bare this week.  Our son graduates Magna Cum Laude from North Dakota State University in Mechanical Engineering and it promises to be a busy week! (A momma just has to brag sometimes.)  We 're so very proud of him.

Last week I finished the quilting on the little the Plain and Simple doll quilt.  The pattern was shared by  Cheri.  I have no idea what I was thinking when I quilted the borders with white thread!  It just happened to be in the machine and I completely spaced out and didn't change it.  In the long run it helped me see my work better.  I'm still learning to quilt something other than straight lines with my machine, so this was generally a practice piece.  We just redecorated the kitchen and I think this little quilt might look good as a wall hanging in that room.  The new curtains are red and cream.

Welcome to everyone who visits through the Design Wall Monday link.  I love to read your encouraging comments, and love to see what you're working on as well.  Take a peek at the posts on my Silver Anniversary Quilt.  Stop by again soon!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Silver Anniversary Quilt - Happy Home

Happy Home traditional block

Though it seems our Honeymoon has never really ended, it's time to move on to our first apartment.  Happy Home is the name of this traditional block, and it's the next block in our Silver Anniversary Quilt.  In this block I was able to use some fabric from the cream and blue bedroom curtains we had in our apartment.  Very country 80's!

This block is also simple nine-patch construction.  The dark blue center and four corner blocks are cut 4 1/2 inches.  The four side blocks are made by cutting two light blue and two cream 5 1/4  inch blocks.  Then cut them twice diagonally in an X.  When the triangles are joined in the hourglass shape this makes the outside edges on the straight of grain, and there's less stretch as you piece the nine -patch rows together.

Happy Home first appeared in "Hearth & Home".  It is a version of the Ohio Star, and Marcia Hohn has very good instructions for that block on her Quilters Cache website.