Friday, November 30, 2012

Peppermint Churn Dash Doll Quilt and Other Play

The Peppermint Doll Quilt is finished and ready to show to you:

It will be a table topper on the living room coffee table this Christmas season.
The finished size is 17" by 21" and I used light cotton batting, and a striped fabric cut on the bias (single fold) for the binding.  The little churn dash squares are 3" finished size.  As I said before, it's a design by Darlene Zimmerman, called Peppermint Dash, and I downsized it to make it fit a doll bed.

Like a lot of others, I have started Bonnie Hunter's Easy Street quiltalong.  I am using up some Christmas fabric from my stash, and I have the first clue finished, which is making lots of four patches.  I'm trying to get myself into the Christmas spirit, so I photographed them as a wreath:

Here's a close-up so you can see the snowflakes and holly leaves:

The second clue came online at Bonnie Hunter's website this morning, but I have not worked on it yet.  I've been working on a baby quilt for a friend's first baby.  Here it is:

 It's from a free online pattern from Moda Bake Shop:

I put the prairie points on the outside edge and changed the borders, but I started with that pattern.  The nursery is painted a soft green.  The Baby Shower is tomorrow, but I am going to wait until the baby comes to add a label to the back.

I am also making Barbara Brackman's weekly blocks for the women's suffragette movement.  Here's the source:

The last two week's blocks:
Little Boy's Breeches
Everybody's Favorite:  Universal Sufferage

Here's the design wall with all of my cheddar and black print blocks so far:

Well, December is coming tomorrow, whether we are ready for it or not.  My goals for next week are part two of Easy Street and addressing Christmas cards.  I'll talk to you in December.  Take Christmas prep one baby step at a time, and it'll get done......and even if it all doesn't get done, Christmas will still come, just the same. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas Doll Quilt

While I was at the Dear Jane retreat in Shipshewana, Indiana, I was making churn dash blocks that will finish at 3 inches, for a little Christmas doll quilt:

Several people stopped and asked me about it, so I thought I'd tell you about it here.  The pattern is a free pattern from the internet, from McCall's Quilting. 

I printed out the pattern some time ago:

It's designed by Darlene Zimmerman, and is called "Peppermint Dash". If you google Peppermint Dash and McCall's Quilting, you should be able to find the free pattern and print it out. It's for a larger quilt, and I halved all the measurements to make the doll sized squares, and also made only 20 churn dash blocks, to downsize it. 

The peppermint candy fabric has been in my stash for quite a while, and when I saw the pattern and the fabric the same day, it fit for a doll quilt.  I'm happy to be using this old fabric, but I think any candy print would look great in this quilt.  I shall add red borders and probably a peppermint striped biased binding.  If you make your version of this doll quilt, please let me know.  I will post more pictures of mine as I progress on it.

I will be back to my sewing machine in Virginia by tomorrow, and will be working on this doll quilt, plus a Christmas fabrics version of Bonnie Hunter's Easy Street quilt.  I can't wait!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Weekend in Michigan

Some of you asked to see the "Third Weekend in October" leaf quilt on a bed: 
We are at the cabin and this king sized quilt is perfect for this rustic Amish made bed, don't you agree?

While preparing for Thanksgiving dinner, I wanted to make three pies, 2 pumpkin and 1 apple.  But I have only two pie plates in my limited kitchen pans up there, so I made do with a square pan for the apple pie.  It tastes just as good as a round pie, and we had a great Thanksgiving dinner, with so much to be thankful for.  Here's a picture of the pies:


Have you ever made a square pie? 

I will leave you today with a picture of the mute swans on the lake in front of the cabin.  They are so beautiful, and I love to watch them as they plunge their heads under the water to eat and their tailfeathers tip up in the air.  Very peaceful and serene, just like our Thanksgiving dinner with family.  Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fall Retreat at Shipshewana, Indiana

I spent four wonderful days at the Dear Jane Retreat in Shipshewana, Indiana.  I worked on some fall doll quilts, and started a Christmas doll quilt.     There are so many great quilters there that it is a treat to walk around and see what everyone else is working on.  Here is a picture of one of my fall doll quilts in progress:

It is from a kit I bought at a quilt store and has tissue paper-piecing help for the little bear paws.  It will have another two borders before it is finished.

The retreat provides opportunity to see some vintage quilts up close and personal, and here are two that were interesting to me:

Interesting for three things:  1) We couldn't determine what the bird was holding in his beak.  Some thought it was a match.  I think it is a baton, and the pattern is one that was used to celebrate the country's centennial.  So it would be like a band leader's baton.  2) the bird's wings are appliqued upside down.  Why?  We don't know.  But other quilts very similar to this one have the wings on with the curved part at the top.  3) Most quilts similar to this one have a shield in the middle of the eagle.  This one has the main part of the bird as three appliqued pieces - tail, shield, and head, but they are all black, so the shield doesn't show up as it does in other similar quilts.

As I said, very interesting.  It was bought in Pennsylvania by my friend Susan Kraftcheck, and she brought it to show to everyone.  

The next quilt has such beautiful vibrant colors that I just loved to look at it:

Here's Susan's little Hitty doll admiring the beautiful colors.

This quilt is just loaded with beautiful fabrics, and the colors are so vibrant.  I wanted to take a picture of each square.  Lovely!  I hope you are having a wonderful Thanksgiving week.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Motivational Tips - One Every Month

Every time I walk into my quilt room, I mentally say "you should put that should do should do that.....yada, yada, yada.  Do you talk to yourself like this too?  Well, I'm now beginning to motivate myself (and maybe others) by offering a monthly tip to keep us on track.  My goal:  completing more quilts and keeping my quilting areas tidy.  I work better when I am not mentally talking to myself about other things while I'm trying to quilt!

Today I worked on my cutting table:

Here's what happened:  I set the timer for 5 minutes, and put away as many things as I could before the timer rang.  

Here's a before and after picture with the timer setting routine:



I do confess it was 2 bouts with the 5 minute drill, but only 2!  After 10 minutes, doesn't that look better?  Just 10 minutes!   Let me know if you set the timer and played fast pickup at your house.

Now I can look up from my sewing machine and admire my clean work area.  Yes I can keep my room clean, Mom!

FYI, The two framed samplers are first embroidery attempts.  The one on the right was done by me when I was eleven years old, and the one on the left was done by my daughter when she was ten.  Here's a closer look at them.  These make me smile whenever I walk up to my cutting area.

These are "primitive" before primitives were fashionable.  LOL

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Serendipity:  something nice happens when I am not looking for it!  I've had several of these lately.  The nicest one was when I won these lovely fat quarters from Humble Quilts , for Lori's little Mountain Trails quilt-a-long.  I really enjoyed making the quilt, but it was a serendipity to find out I won her drawing of a prize for the participants.  Here are the lovely fat quarters:

But, the serendipity continues!  When the package arrived, I found that Lori had also included a book about miniature quilts.  "Heirloom Miniatures" by Tina M. Gravatt.  It has wonderful miniature quilts in it, with instructions to make them.  Lori knows what I like!

Just look at this picture from the book!  I love all the little beds and their quilts.  More ideas for quilts to make.  I really like the red and white one in the bottom left corner, don't you?

Thank you again Lori!  

I'm still free motion quilting small leaves on the king sized leaf quilt, and also this weekend I caught up with the block of the week project from Barbara Brackman's Blog   I am making each week's 8 inch block in black and cheddar fabrics.  I did a redo of one block that was wonky, and caught up with four other blocks, and here they are:

Redo of Week 2: Amethyst: Suffragettes
Week 8: Rocky Road to Kansas: 1912

Week 9:  Brick Pavement: March on Washington
Week 10:  Susan B. Anthony Breaks the Law

Week 11:  Little Red Schoolhouse:  Lucy Stone
It is never a good thing for me to get behind on a project, and this one was nearing the danger point where I was going to stop on it.  But I figured out what was bothering me: I just didn't like one block because it was very wonky.  So after I redid it, I felt like moving on.  Do you ever get stuck like this?  I am glad I am caught up with these blocks again, and I hope you enjoy seeing them.  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Free Motion Quilting

This past week and a half have been spent free motion quilting for the first time.  On this quilt:

I wanted leaf veins in all the leaves, and I was reluctant to give it to  someone to custom quilt it, so I am doing it myself.  The machine quilting has been fun, but I can't believe the amount of bobbins I've emptied, and the amount of time it has taken me to quilt this quilt. Plus I'm not finished with it!  

I still have all the smaller leaves to quilt, but have veins in all of the larger leaves, and I just love this quilt - no leaf fabric purchased, all from stash, and a few traded fabric from my friend Julie's stash, as we each made this same quilt at the same time.

Here's a picture of what I did for the big leaves.  It was fun and a good starting project for free motion quilting, as each leaf vein could be wherever it went, and I didn't have to be very precise.  I did get better as I went along.

Also, I learned, after a mistake, to listen to my machine.  It was making a funny noise on one leaf, and I just kept on going until the leaf was all quilted, but when I looked at the back of the quilt......there were lots of snarls of bobbin thread at every stitch.  I must have had the bobbin in backwards, or something wasn't threaded correctly.  So Mr. Seam Ripper and I fixed it.

I outlined each leaf with straight stitching, and did the free motion veins on the large leaves, so I could go ahead and bind it to show it to my local guild this past Saturday.

But I am going to go back and free motion quilt veins in all of the smaller leaves, which will give me more opportunity to practice free motion quilting.

Here's a picture of the quilt on my white couch - which is where it will be until after Thanksgiving:

The backing is a Hoffman print of orange leaves, which hides all of my free motion quilting sins very well.  The quilt is a whopping 84 inches by 106 inches, which has no business being on a blog about small quilts, but I wanted to show it to you.  The pattern is "Third Weekend in October" and costs $8.00 on the web.  They describe it as follows:

This scrap quilt pattern is a real show stopper! Random leaves are scattered across the surface like leaf litter on a sunny autumn day. Simple piecing using foundation papers results in the most unique maple leaf quilt yet. Themes: seasonal, autumn, leaf & vine, foundation & paper pieced.  Designer: Ruth Powers 

The quilt is composed of 2.5 inch squares, 34 across and 44 down. My friend Julie, and I mapped out our quilts to do five rows each month, starting in January, 2012, and planned to do five more rows each month to have it completely finished by the third weekend in October.  We divided each month's squares into smaller 5 square by 5 square units, 7 each month.  (technically 6 of the 5x5 units and 1 5x4 unit per month).

Julie and I were great support for each other through this process, and when I would get behind, Julie cheered me on to keep up with her.  Thank you Julie!   I enlarged and copied the intimidating pattern, cut it into the small doable chunks, and looked at them separately, concentrating only on that week's task. 

It is not a hard pattern, but it looks hard when you look at it all at once.  I encourage you to give it a try.  Any color red to orange to yellow works in this quilt!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Little AAQI Quilts to Donate

Here are two little quilts I made to support Ami Simms and her organization, Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI).

The first one has been made from my first attempts at paper piecing about a year ago.  I made these red and white half square triangle rows for an ocean waves paper piecing pattern.  This summer I made them into a little wall quilt to donate to AAQI.  

It's called "Ocean Waves Remembered" and measures 9 inches by 9 inches.
The little HSTs are 3/4 inch squares.

The second one is made from scraps thrown away by my friend at the Dear Jane retreat last year at Shipshewanna.  She was cutting little triangle pieces off her blocks, and I liked the scraps and made a little quilt from them.  Remember my first little AAQI quilt?  It was named Homespun Triangles, and has been sold.

I thought I'd used all of her scraps in the above quilt, but found some more scraps the other day when I was doing my quilt room clean-up.  I made another plaid scrappy one, and am naming it "Homespun Hope":

It is only 6.5 inches square, and the HSQ's are one inch.  I have just contacted AAQI about these two, so it will be a while before they are for sale on the website,  I'll let you know when they appear there.

Both of these have the suggested hanging triangles on the back:

They are lots of fun to make, and I love to help.   I imagine they are selling a lot of their little quilts at the big quilt show in Houston right now.