Monday, April 3, 2017

Celebration of Spring

To celebrate spring, I started a new small quilt!  (Not that I need a reason to start one, but I'm using this reason)

Center design:

Complete quilt layout, on the table in the family room.  It will be 24" by 26" with each square or hst finishing at 1 inch.

The drawing in my "quilts to make" notebook is shown below.  Not my original design, as I saw it somewhere on the internet, and didn't document where it came from.  If you know, please tell me.

Valentine quilt is progressing along.  I haven't taken it down from the design wall yet, as I am still having fun adding grids to it.  There are three rows of grids almost completed, and three rows of grids to go......and then additional grids if I decide to add wording at the bottom.  It is a very peaceful process.

Linking up with:
Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times

Monday, March 27, 2017

A Tulip Quilt for Sweet Alyssa

Years ago, we went on our first mission trip to Haiti, and a worker in our group was a sweet young girl, who was 16 years old.  In fact, if I remember correctly, I think she turned 16 while were were in Haiti.  Anyway, she has always held a special place in our hearts, and at the end of 2016, Alyssa got married.  The quilt that we are giving to her as a wedding gift is this tulip quilt:

The binding went on this week, and I love the flower quilting pattern that my longarm quilter used on it:

Here's another picture of it on my front porch bench.  It's a cloudy day, but it still looks bright and cheery draped over the bench:

We are rejoycing in the spring weather here in Michigan, and I do believe the snow is gone for good.  The birds are chirping their spring songs to me, and I am looking forward to seeing real tulips in bloom here soon.

Here's a picture of the lovely bride, and her sister, the matron of honor. Her veil was so delicate and beautiful, and she was so happy.  I love this picture!  Can't wait to put a label on this quilt and send it to her and her groom, to cuddle under.

Today is Monday, so I'm linking with Design Wall Mondays (Here)  and we will see what's on other quilter's design walls.

Also linking with Love, Laugh, Quilt's blog for "Monday Makings" (Here)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Is Here At Last!

I am so glad spring is here!  We still have some snow on the ground, but with the calendar saying it is spring, it makes me glad.  The daffodils are a present from my hubby,  as a celebration that spring is officially here.

Lisa Bonegan started a free triangle blocks sew-a-long.  (link here - for instructions) and I saw lots of pretty blocks from their group on the internet.  I love triangles, and am easily drawn into a project using them, so I pulled out my box of small half square triangles, and began laying out some of the blocks.  Lisa is calling the project "Triangle Gatherings", and it was a lot of fun making the blocks, and so easy when the hsts are all made ahead of time.

Two days later, I have them all made so far, and I don't know what the finished quilt will be like.  But that will be decided later.  There are instructions for 21 blocks right now, and I think a block comes out each week.  My blocks are using triangles that finish at 1 inch, so the blocks are 4.5" x 4.5" unfinished size.

The three quilts that I sent to the machine quilter are finished now, so I just have to go pick them up, and put on the binding.  I can't wait.  One is a wedding quilt for a newly wed couple, and the other two are for my home.  (Pictures are coming after they are bound.)

This week I worked on an unfinished sampler quilt that was 90% finished in 2011, and for some reason, it never was completed.  The goals for 2017 are to finish some of these quilts, so it is now ready for the outside borders to be sewn on.  I will post some pictures when the borders are attached.

Today I took another picture of my design wall, with the Valentine's Day quilt up there.  It will probably be taken down soon, but I am still enjoying the process of adding another grid section of 10 x 10 squares.

Here is the design wall for "Design Wall Mondays"  as I like to link up with Judy Laquidara's blog to see all the design walls  (Here).  The three longer grids have the columns sewn together, but not the rows.  After sewing the rows, they will be as short as the grids on the left side of the picture.

Monday, March 13, 2017

A Little of This, A Little of That......

Quilting adventures this week:

Finished a small doll quilt by hand quilting it, and adding the binding.  It measures 9" by 12".  I added very small hanging corners on the back.  Here's the pictures of the front and back:

I may add another line of quilting in the middle of the outside border.  Always a critic of my own work, aren't we all?

Took three quilts to the long-arm quilter on Thursday.  That feels so good to get quilts on their way to being finished.

Made a laundry bag for when I travel.  In April, I'm going to Shipshewana for a retreat with some wonderful ladies, most of whom have finished a Jane Stickle replica quilt.  I don't know if you know this, but when a Jane Stickle quilt is finished, this group deems you a "Goddess".   Our table at this retreat usually gives us a "challenge" to make something for the next retreat.  Last fall, the challenge was to make a bag - Jane Stickle related if possible.  I am not very good at making handbags, and am afraid of zippers and buttonholes, so it took some thinking on my part.  I decided to make a "royal" laundry bag.  After a search of Google, I found a crown, and made my laundry bag.  It is about the size of a pillowcase, and I traced the crown from the free internet copy, using a lightbox and permanent markers.

        Close-up of the "royal crown"

Worked on two more blocks for the 365 Challenge quilt.  The dark square will finish at 3 inches and the lighter square will finish at 6 inches:

Started another row of the Valentine Quilt:

What is on your design wall this Monday morning?  It's snowing here, and as always, is a fine day to quilt.  I'm linking with Design Wall Mondays to see what other quilters are doing.  (Here)

Monday, March 6, 2017

Tiny Quilt Retreat

Today is the 6th day of my "Tiny Quilt Retreat", (me, myself, and I).  Hubby is in Florida golfing with a group of men, and I am quilting here at home, and having such a good time.  I pick him up at the airport tomorrow, and miss him very much, but my time quilting has been lots of fun.

Here are the things worked on this week:

The Valentine quilt:

The first two rows of grids are on the design wall, and all of the fifty+ baggies of grids are set aside for future assembly.  I am thinking about the wording at the bottom, and may spell out "Be Mine".  I will be taking it off the design wall soon, to get the 365Challenge blocks up to sort out the assembly and completion of that large quilt.

365 Challenge Quilt from 2016:

I worked on last year's Karen Kerr's 365Challenge, to make more of the blocks. It is almost finished, and I have only a few blocks to go.  I work on a week's worth of blocks at a time, and have about 5 weeks left.  This week I completed a week in November.  Here are some of the blocks made this week:

The rows of the indigo and shirting quilt are almost all assembled.  I have four more long rows to sew.  I will probably not sew a quilt top together this way again.  I thought it would be faster then putting blocks together first, 
but forgot to factor in the underwhelming task of pinning and sewing long row after row.  When I am underwhelmed, I procrastinate.  I have four more rows to sew.

Here's my little kitchen blackboard reminder that spring is coming soon.  The chipmunk cookie jar is one I bought before I was married - so it's over 50 years old.  I love chipmunks and yesterday started putting three pecan halves out on the front steps for my resident front yard chipmunk.  The pecans were there for a long time (my first day of treating him) and today they were only there about 5 minutes!  He's a fast learner!

Posting as usual at Design Wall Mondays at Judy Liquidara's blog.  (Here)

Monday, February 27, 2017

My Goal Is To Stay "Whelmed"

Have you ever been overwhelmed?  Underwhelmed?  I like to be submerged deeply in quilting, but not over-stressed with my projects, nor the opposite feeling of being uninspired and unmotivated.  Neither overwhelmed nor underwhelmed.    It is a balancing act for me, and I am working on several projects at once.  It keeps me whelmed.  

I made a doll quilt using hsts that were left over from the Churn Dashers group project last year.  It went together quickly, and I am ready to machine quilt it and choose a binding.  It will finish at 15 inches square.

The pattern is "Soaring Triangles" from the book "Sew Charming" by Mary Etherington.  I had small triangles already made, so I used the size I had, half square triangles that would finish at 1.25" by 1.25".  I put the hsts in order on a mat (used the back of another small quilt) in design order, carried it to the sewing machine, and chain sewed the columns together. Here's a picture mid process of sewing columns together:

Here's what it looked like with columns chain sewed together, but with rows not sewn yet:

Then I sewed row to row together, and made the doll quilt top in one day, easy peasy - lemon squeezy. But easier to do on this small project than on the large quilt that I'm showing you next.

I am finishing a large quilt by sewing (chaining) the completed columns together, then sewing the quilt together row by row.  It's necessary, but underwhelming.  I do two rows a day, with lots of pins and pressing of seams.  I am looking forward to making a doll quilt to match it, which will go much faster.

I will talk about this quilt more when I finish the top.  I love blue and white quilts, and bought a kit for this one at the Grand Rapids AQS quilt show.

I also prepped baggies of 1.5 x 1.5 inch squares for future grids of the Valentine's Day quilt that was started last week. This one:

I want to be able to pull out a 10 x 10 grid baggy or two and complete them occasionally, with the goal of having the wall hanging finished next February.  I have all the red squares cut, and haven't bagged up the neutrals/shirtings squares yet.

Hubby is leaving for his annual men's golfing week in Florida with 21 other men equally passionate about golf.  I am contemplating a week of intense quilting while I am here without him.  I will try to stay in the groove, not overwhelmed, and not underwhelmed with my projects.  Are you having success with this?

Design wall Monday (Here)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Quilts - Finishing One and Beginning Another

The design wall has a newly started Valentine's Day quilt on it:

This picture was from the Internet - (Here)- and the printout was in my quilting notes, and I wanted to see what it would look like as a quilt.

The bottom wording may change when I get to that point.  But the picture already had grid lines, so I cut squares of fabric and began to make it. 

The red is a constant because I have a lot of it, but the shirting is from scraps. The picture is divided into about 60 grids, and I have finished 8 this week.  It is a very peaceful project, and I like having a new Valentine's Day quilt in process. There are 100 squares in the center larger grids (10x10) and less in the smaller outside grids.  The process is as follows:  (1) cut the squares (1.5 x 1.5 inches) which finish at 1 inch square.

(2) lay out one grid of squares (following the picture)on a portable piece of fabric (I used the back of one of my doll quilts):

(3) sew columns together in a "web", as I have these two on the right:

(4) sew the webbed columns together, row by row.  I leave the whole thing attached so it stays in order, and sew row 1 to row 2, etc. on down the piece.
When the rows are sewn, the two right pieces will be the same length as the ones on the left side of the picture.

(5) put each assembled grid on the design wall to see how it is progressing.

(6) Smile and do a little happy dance and start another grid.  I enjoy the process.  I usually work on two grids at a time, using them as leaders and enders going through the sewing machine, so there is not wasted thread.

Here's more Valentine's Day pictures from my home.  The newly completed quilt top is on the back of the living room couch.  By popular consensus, it will not have any borders, and will be bound in solid red binding.  I'll post another picture after it is back from the machine quilter, but she won't get to it until June.

The front door has Valentine Hearts to greet you, which I'll keep there until March:

What are you working on this week?  I'm posting a picture of my design wall at Judy Liquidara's blog, as I like to look at all of the pictures of other quilter's design walls, and see what they are doing. (Here)

Monday, February 13, 2017

I Love Valentine's Day - Reprise

A few years ago, I started a quilt as a February "Valentine's Day" project, but stopped working on it when I ran out of the toile fabric.  Later, I bought more of the fabric, but then we moved, and the project got boxed up.  So this February, it's on the design wall, and I am putting rows together.  It feels so good to be moving a project along to the finish line.

I searched my blog, and found that I started this quilt in 2014.  Here's the blog post:  I love Valentine's Day

I have 9 blocks by 9 blocks made, and the quilt will be about 95" by 95".  Here's this week's picture:

I posted a picture on Facebook and Instagram, asking if people thought there should be a red border, a toile border, or no border.  I am binding it with the solid red, regardless of the border decision.  Now that I'm looking at it, I may want to make it into a king sized quilt for our bed, in which case, I will add another column, and another row, or do a border.  Lots of people like it with no border, which would involve 19 more blocks, but only half of them would be any work.  What do you think?

Colleen Lim, a friend from the Shipshewana retreat I attend, asked me about the pattern.  I made it up, and will write a tutorial on the measurements, tips, etc.   I will post the directions here for Colleen, and anyone who wants to make their own Valentine Quilt.  

Through the years, I've saved Valentine's Day cards from my husband.  This year I put some of them on the fireplace mantle in the living room, and the rest of them on our dressers in the bedroom.  I told him to "shop" in our home supply of cards, and pick out one to send to me again this year.  

It is a wonderful collection of cards through our long married life, and I love seeing them again.  Do you save cards from your sweetheart?

Happy Valentine's Day tomorrow!  This little doll quilt is on my coffee table this year.

Today is Design Wall Monday at Judy Liquidara's blog, so I'm heading over there to see other quilter's work.  Judy has some cute little girl's dresses on her design wall.  (Here)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

February, A New Month to Enjoy

Good morning!

Last month, we took a long car trip to Corpus Christi, TX to visit family, and while I rode along, I took a pad of graph paper, and drew out plans for some doll quilts I'd like to make in the future.  Today, I'm sharing the plans and pictures of the first one I made after we returned home.

Here's the drawing for a doll quilt. 

It is a 9x11 inch quilt with six small stars.  The stars finish at 2 inches, and I planned the corners to gently curve, as I've seen on some old doll quilts.  I imagined it in all one color stars on a shirting background.  Wouldn't cheddar stars be great?

Well, I've been cutting and organizing scraps into shoe boxes full of small squares.  I pulled out a shoebox and began laying out bits of fabric.  This box had half square triangles in it too.  Since it was easy to use 2 hsts instead of a flying geese block, six stars were planned out on a piece of flannel, and then carried over to the machine, and sewn together quite quickly.  The box had only unfinished 1.25 inch pieces in it, so I revised the quilt size to fit the squares I was using.  If you think of the star as divided into a 4 x 4 graph grid, the center is a 2 x 2 grid, the four outside corners are 1 x 1 grids, and all the rest can be 8 hsts, or else 4 flying geese.  Hope this makes sense.  So I used 2 x 2 inch squares for middle of star, eight 1.25 x 1.25 hsts, and four corners of shirting 1.25 x 1.25 inches.  It would have been a lot harder to make if the hsts weren't already made.  I used whatever I had, trying to get a star in mostly the same color.

When the top was together and I added the borders, I quilted it and added the binding, completely forgetting I had planned on rounded corners.  Oh well, that's what happens when you are forget some original plans.  I do like it.  It measures 13 x 17 inches.

But I still wanted to make it as drawn up - with rounded corners, and in the smaller size with one color stars.  So, since we had a short car trip coming up last Sunday, I took my little lap cutting board, and a bag of scraps with me.  I cut enough blue and shirting fabric to make six sets of four flying geese using the "no waste flying geese method".  You can google it and get the instructions.  I also cut the centers for the stars, 1.5 x 1.5 unfinished size.

When home, I cut the star corners, and decided to cut them 1/4 inch larger than needed.  This helps me in two ways.  1) Making them a tad bigger helps me pick them up and place them while sewing, and 2) when trimming the completed stars, it gives me a little wiggle room in case my seams are a little crooked or not exactly 1/4 inch.  So the corners are cut 1.25 x 1.25 (and finish at .5 x .5)  The flying geese finished size is 1.5 x 1 inch.

Here's a picture showing one trimmed star and 3 untrimmed stars.

Here's the quilt top, ready to quilt:

I put a round glass on the corner and drew a pencil line to get the corner curve.  The binding is cut on the bias to help with the curves.  I didn't follow the written directions for borders, just eye-balled it on what looked good.   It will measure 10 x 12 inches when finished.

If you make a little quilt with these instructions (any size) I would love to see it.  
Hope you are having a nice start to February too!  Spring is coming!

Monday, January 16, 2017

January Progress in 2017

Good morning fellow quilters!  It is a beautiful day here in Michigan, and I have made some progress on my quilting goals:

I have two quilts I made (for the Churn Dashers group display at the Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival) all boxed up and ready to put in the mail tomorrow.  They are on their way to Virginia, to a Churn Dasher friend, who will gather all of the group's quilts and get the display ready.  I am hoping to go to the quilt festival in Newport News, VA to see the quilts hanging, but we shall see if I can get there.   It's February 23-26, 2017, if you are in the area and would like to go.

To get them ready, I added hanging sleeves and labels to the backs of a bed quilt and a doll quilt.  I should have taken a picture of the finished quilts, but I will take a picture when I get them back after the show.

While cleaning out my quilt stash, I found a "kit" someone had given me years ago, and at the time, I was confused about the instructions because there was no picture.  I am a very visual learner.  But now, when I looked at it again, I figured it out, and decided to put it together while I was temporarily enlightened.  I have the wall hanging made, and the bias binding cut, waiting for the quilting to happen.  I do not know the fabric designer, but I love the fabric.  I am not inspired yet on how to quilt it.  What do you think?  I am just learning machine quilting, so this will be a good practice piece.

When working on the blocks, I did the mitered corners by hand.  That is, I sewed the dark green strip to the left side, the light green strip to the bottom by machine, and then ironed the miter in place, and hand appliqued it.  It was so easy that way, and I wondered why I haven't done them that way before.l

So, it's one more project out of the unfinished fabric stash, and on it's way to being a finished project. 

What is on your design wall today?  Monday Design Wall Linkup (Here) at the Patchwork Times blog.

Post Script:  Sandra Walker asked me what magazine the "Merry Christmas" sledding pillow was in, because she liked it so much. Original post is (Here)  At the time, I couldn't find the magazine to answer her, but now I have the info.  It was a project in American Patchwork and Quilting, December 2014 issue, and was designed by Tina Lewis.  

Monday, January 9, 2017

New Year Thoughts: Junk Drawers

Sweet little baby girl quilt top made last week.

I was thinking about junk drawers today, and what part of my quilt stash I considered my true stash, and what part was other miscellaneous fabrics.  In other words, When I look at my quilting stash, what are the "junk drawers" of my stash, and my unfinished projects?

My true love in fabrics:  civil war repros.  Most of my antique kitchen cabinet in my quilt room holds fat quarters of civil war repros.

My "other fabrics" stash includes:

1) baby prints, flannels, fabrics that were in my Mom's baby blanket stash

2) red, white and blue patriotic fabrics.  

3) solid color fabrics.  I have one quilt in mind for these guys.

4) plaids, plaids, plaids, two boxes of them

5) Christmas prints, two boxes of them

In 2017, I plan on using up more of my "junk drawer" fabrics, while also concentrating on two unfinished civil war repro projects.

Civil war repro projects:  Jane Stickle quilt and blocks to be made for an exchange with The Churn Dashers, for a future quilt.

"Junk drawer" projects:  Continue making baby quilts, to use up more of the flannels and baby prints.  They are fun to make, and go quickly.

Make a Quilt of Valor using the red, white and blue stash.  Maybe make two?

Finish The Splendid Sampler 100 blocks that were started in 2016, using the floral fabrics.  After that project is complete, the rest of the floral stash can be combined with the baby prints to use for infants.

This week, I made 12 "kits" of baby print squares to sew into baby quilts.  There doesn't seem to be a diminishing of the baby prints stash, but it must happen sometime, if I continue.  I got out the baby bassinet, and put all the kits inside it, to remind me to pull a kit out and assemble a baby quilt top often.  Here's a picture of the bassinet:

The baby quilt laid on the edge with it's backing was this week's quilt top.  I love how the backing (from my Mom's stash) goes with the flannel animal squares on the front (given to me from my friend Dee).  Here's a close-up:

The word for me in 2017, is "perseverance" in purposefulness, steadfastness.  Since moving, I now have all of my quilt projects and fabric looked at, sorted, cataloged, and know where I want to go with it.  I am on the journey to tame the tiger!   Eating the elephant, one bite at a time.

Today, I'm linking up with Design Wall Mondays, to join with others about what they are working on today.  (Here)