Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Quilt Stories - Nico's Star 2015

A new grandbaby boy was on the way!

And I wanted to make him a quilt.

I had a bit of a brainstorm.... autographed squares.  I took 6.5-inch squares of Kona Snow and fabric markers to my daughter's baby shower.  The guests all designed a square for baby Nico.

I had also found a line of fabric in colors that I thought my daughter would like and bought some yards and half-yards to play with (and a coordinating solid brown) ... because I had no idea what I wanted to make.

Hmmm... where to start.....  I thought a star would be nice....  or maybe a pinwheel...  so first thing was to make some half-square triangles.  I wanted them to square out between 6-6.5-inches so I cut 7-inch squares and made a bunch of them.  I chose 4-5 of the fabrics.... cut 7-inch strips (then squares), cut the brown also and started making half-square triangles......    BUT

I saw that I was not going to have enough brown for the whole quilt.... so I only did half of each chosen color with that brown.. and had to hunt for something similar when I went to town...  Yikes - I found a suitable brown that did not match Brown #1.. but decided that it was a seriously scrappy quilt anyway so I forged ahead!  Bought 2 yards so I wouldn't run out again and kept moving!

Anyway - I got the triangle squares and the plain squares done enough to play - and chose a star design.  And pieced the top in time for the shower (Go Me!)

(You can see the 2 browns in the photo.. I alternated the blocks so it works!  My favorite quilt saying is: "There are no mistakes... just creative design changes!")

3 weeks later, baby Nico made his appearance.... and I pieced some rail fence strips to put between squares on the back.. and we rounded up a few more squares from visitors and relatives... which took another 2 months....

And then pulling it all together and figuring out how to quilt it.... took a little longer.. but he had his new quilt by the time he was 5 months old - so.... not too bad :-)

the back

I had one too many autograph blocks including my own so I used mine as the label!

This is not a complicated quilt but I am really proud of it.  It's the first finished quilt where I chose the fabrics and played and came up with my own design with no pattern.  The quilting is basic grid along the square block lines.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

WIP Wednesday Sandwiches!! 9/23/2015

As you folks probably know... creating the quilt top with pieces of fabric are only the first step.... next comes a whole other thing.... the sandwiching and quilting itself...

This last week - because it's September, I am reminded of several projects that are hanging around waiting to be made into sandwiches....  That is, they need a backing and the batting in the middle with the quilt on top.

The is the fourth of a 4 panel piece I bought and started this time last year :-)  I completed and gave away two of them.... one is half quilted.. and this one was waiting for the backing and batting....  I have hand basted all of these on this page

One of the bird lattice panels I spoke about in one of the prior blog posts.  This is a small completed wall hanging that is now basted and ready for quilting.

My grandson's quilt... I LOVE the way this turned out....  I used half square triangles and came up with the design myself

This is the BACK of my grandson's quilt....  autograph squares from my daughter's shower....  This will be the coolest quilt ever when I finish it....  This one is the FIRST on the quilting list when I get started!

Lighthouse panel squares with a rail fence variation between....  Second on the list.. it is a wedding present for someone whose wedding was in May..  Most people who machine quilt use safety pins to baste their quilts but if you work in multiples like I do...  well, I don't even WANT to own all the pins these tops would require!

Another OLD one with finished piecing.  This is another of the rogue sets of blocks I started years ago when I first started piecing.  The color choices are not very good.. but I can see where I pulled from scraps and which were some of my first fat quarter purchases.  The stitching is awful and lumpy piecing in a few.. but I am pleased with the fact that I finished up the piecing in this last year and found a great fabric for sashing.   By the time I am finished, I think it will be great - I will put enough embellishment on the blocks to make them work!

The spring lattice panels..... too big for a wallhanging - for me - but will make a nice throw.... I am still tickled about being able to pair an old remnant I loved with a more current fabric.  Those birds have been in my stash for years!

This is a Sisters Choice block... last year I made a throw for my sister and have a thought in my head of making more of these for the chosen sisters in my life.  It's a long term project I have not worked on this year!  I made this particular one with one of my SOLE sisters in mind (I have several special women I WALK with in one way or another...) At some point, I will make a bunch of these blocks for the sisters in my life.  I made the block large - so this is almost table topper size... bigger than a placemat.  It's my first one and I can't wait to see how it turns out when it is finished.

And this is the last one from this basting party!  A full size jelly roll quilt.   When I do a batch of basting... I try to get all the smaller stuff, at least one OLDER thing, and at least one FULL quilt.  [I had 3 more fulls in the pile that I planned to baste but I think I will be lucky to get these done!  If I work through these quickly enough, I will baste the others]

I did hand baste all of these - which, if you need a photo, you can imagine me on my hands and knees on the floor!  I first tape the backing down on the floor to keep it from shifting while I work.... then layer and trim the batting (middle layer)... and then lay out the top.   and start making LONG stitches to hold it all together... an X from corner to corner and then a 6-8 inch grid over the rest of the quilt starting in the middle and working out.

All of these quilts now can be folded and can wait until I am ready to get stitching on my sewing machine..... or by hand.... wherever the spirit leads.....

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

WIP Wednesday Day 259/365 2015

It's been a while since I've shared my works in progress....  I did such a good job of winding up and putting away my things before I went to Hawaii that it has been hard to know where to begin again!

I had bought fabrics for a quilt in my Leisure Arts encyclopedia book that is like Eleanor Burns Jewel Box.  Not the same but close enough that I didn't want to purchase another book.  My quilt shop was holding the Jewel Box as a class and I wanted to join my friends (at home) so I got the fabric to make my own.

These are the two main blocks for MY jewel box quilt.... little 4-patches and half-square triangles.. bazillions of them :-)  I used 16-17 different batiks and Kona Snow

Starting a new project keeps me interested while I pull out the ones I need to get moving on again.

And... back to the scraps by color ... it's been a while....  I am not even sure where I left off.. purple I think.  So I have moved forward with more purple and added reds and browns.

Will do more posts on the scraps later!

Summer Porch from one of Eleanor Burns' books.. my quilt shop does a lot of her designs as classes.  I love the way this worked out.... I had the birds from a remnant I bought years ago.. I have a cardinals and flowers (springlike) and cardinals and pine (winterlike)..  but not enough to do anything with.   When I saw this pine fabric in the shop about the time the class was being held, I thought... hmmm...

..and it has turned out fairly well... I will share more later as the blocks come together.  I don't have enough for a full quilt so will fashion something for my wall and see what else is left.  At the same time I found a reasonably coordinating flower fabric for the spring birds so will have some seasonal hangings to play with

 And this bird....  From the Elephant parade posted earlier this year at Sew Fresh Quilts  

No problems with any of the blocks EXCEPT reversing the bird.  2 birds - one is fine.. the reversed one is kicking my tail....  anyway - I will show you later how it turned out and tell you what I plan to do to him later to fix!  

This part looks fine - but I got the tail messed up.... THREE times... and, if you know me, you KNOW I am not messing with it any more after a while.  I think I can fix the damage with an applique or embroidery later when I am actually quilting it!

Also in the mix is a mini-quilt from the Aurifil Designer of the Month series from 2015.  I think this one is from April

..which obviously is my month for PURPLE!

 And, last for right now is turning the log cabin heart wallhanging (Eleanor Burns again) into a lap quilt.  I simply don't have walls that want hangings as large as what she defines a wall hanging!

 In this photo I am working on one of two sets of borders to make it a bit bigger...

So I am back in the swing....  Next week as I finish these things up, I will be working on quilt sandwiches, getting ready for a BUNCH of machine quilting to finish by year end!

Friday, September 11, 2015


I'm a great STARTER.....

As a matter of fact... I have discovered my greatest strengths are researching the new... strategizing how to begin.... and starting a new project.   (It's best for all concerned that SOMEONE take the reins soon after because my interest will wane)

I've often said that I follow Jesus' motto.... work hard for 3 years.... turn everything over and then move on to another project...  Three years does seem to be my limit of real effectiveness unless there is an ongoing reason to continue...

BUT I am learning to gain pleasure from the FINISH.

Physical road races helped me see how this works :-)  All the blood and tears near the end.. and that RUSH as you cross the line....

And I set stages of time that clue me in that it is time for a last push....  (Mile 3 of 3.1, Mile 10 of 13.1, Mile 18 of 26.2)... time to start thinking about the end...  AND the JOY I feel when the job is completed...

And September marks that time frame for me.

When other people are talking about STARTS..... I am thinking about FINISHES..

What is ongoing that I can finish by December 31..... what can I accomplish?

Much of it is crafting.. and I will post some of that in the next few days.

Some of it is solidifying habits..... much is decluttering....  I like to focus NOW.... because in another month the holiday madness will set in and I will lose focus.

And the BULK of my FINISHING is to NOT

NOT buy what I don't need
NOT start a new project
NOT accept a gift I can't use
NOT store what I do not envision a use for in the near future

So for a month or two... a couple of times annually.....  it's about the finish!

[of course... you do have to know that I am marginally successful.. I am ME after all.. and my personal talent is STARTS :-)

How about you.... what will  you accomplish - or finish - by year end?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Things I Learned in Year 59 #1 Time Matters

Time matters.

At best, I am halfway through my journey on this planet.... (IF I live to be 118, that is :-)  and I PLAN to see my 100th birthday....

But no matter how you slice it... my journey is on the downhill side.

And how I spend this time matters.

When you are young, you are growing and fighting and flailing around... and have time to spend on things that don't help you..

Like irrational fear.

There are definitely things to fear in this world.  But they are not irrational fears.  Like spiders, snakes
Or thunder

Even things that hurt me once but are random.... like hurricanes... and poison ivy

These are things that are real... that co-exist with me on this planet.... and I can prepare for and watch out for.... and deal with. 

But I no longer have time to wallow in the fear of what MIGHT happen.

I only have time for now.

And again..... I keep my eyes open.  I am a realist.
And I prepare.

But fear will not stop me.

And I exercise this in wild adventures (for me).... where my intellect knows I am 98% safe..... and it's a risk worth taking if only to remind my emotions that I am in charge.

Being in charge of my emotions makes me a victor.
 Unchecked irrational fears make me a victim.

And I have no time for that!


Lesson #1:  I have no time for irrational fears and am willing to work to remember that!