Monday, December 9, 2013

It's a Boy! It's a Girl! Oh My, It's Twins!

My cousin is having her first baby.  But it's really babies.  As in twins, a boy and a girl.  And she is over the moon about it.  I made these quilts a few years ago and have been saving them ... now I know why, and for what occasion.

My standard wrap for quilts ... like
the English Christmas 'crackers'
I came up with this wrap the very first quilt I gifted.  I of course did not have a box to put it in ... but I did have tissue paper, wrap and ribbon ... and it just seemed natural  to roll the quilts up.

Hug and Kisses, X's and O's ...
one for a boy and one for a girl

I knew these matching Michael Miller gingham's would be perfect for the backs of the twin quilts.  I think I have just enough of these fabrics for another set of baby quilts.

And by luck I had matching color graded fabrics for the binding, one in a pink yellow colorway and the other in a blue green colorway.  I really like something interesting going on with the binding on my quilts.

 I just love how these two quilts turned out.  Can't wait for the babies to get here... early February!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Matched Pair O' Christmas Quilts ... Enough Fabric for Two!

I've had this little stack o' Moda Christmas fabrics for a very long time.  Not quite long enough to qualify the fabrics as vintage, but quilters will recognize this very sweet line of Christmas fabrics that is resplendent with roses.

I had enough fabric for two lap size quilts.
So I made two.
And they are a very nice size
for table toppers.

My dining room table was my grandparents.
There has been 85 plus years of living
around this table.

The table top needs a good size topper
to cover all that living,
and it truthfully could really use a refinish,
but why erase all that history?

I played my first poker game around this table.
And Papou could always deal
the littlest kid a winning hand.

Both of the quilts have the same sweet
green fabric with sprays of red roses.

And a band of white with some
little leftover bits for interest.

Both of these quilts .... 

... are available in my Etsy Shop


Friday, August 23, 2013

1970's Calico Quilts

These quilts were made with fabric given to me by a very dear woman named Dorothea.  She was an accomplished hand quilter ... and made each of her 6 children exquisite quilts in the 70's and 80's. She pieced by hand.  And quilted by hand.

Checkerboard Lap Quilt

But her arthritis got so painful she could no longer quilt.

I dated her son Chris and she was just tickled that I was a quilter.  As none of her children or grandchildren quilted or sewed she gave me all her fabric.

That Christmas I made Dorothea a quilt ... a quilt for the Quilter.  I used at least one piece of every single fabric that she had given me.

There are hourglass blocks, because there are lots of hours in making a quilt.

There are appliqued hearts, because quilters love to quilt.

There are spool blocks, because lots of thread is used.

And there are a few random crazy patch blocks, because quilters have to have a little crazy streak to cut fabric into little pieces just to sew them back together again.

She loved the quilt.  And was very touched.  That made us all very happy.

Chris with the Quilters Quilt for his Mom

Just finished is this little baby quilt ... very country, and very scrappy.  It was made with little unused pieces that Dorothea had already cut ... I just had to cut a few more.

The blocks are sashed with unbleached muslin squares alternating with calico squares ... I don't know what the pattern would be called, but I really like how it turned out.

Scrappy Baby Quilt ...
... with a darling scrappy 'make do' back

 So that is how I came to have all these sweet little calico's from the 1970's.  I made these quilts for my Etsy shop ... I know someone will love the 1970's calico's and the Little House look of these quilts.

I Will Spend the Winter in a Flower Garden

Contrary to my young years, summer is my least favorite season. And August my least favorite month ... I'm weary of the heat, my under-the-eaves sewing room is too hot and everything in the garden is past it's best bloom.  But just on the horizon is autumn ... cool crisp air, bright blue skies ... and the beginning of a new Quilting Season.

This year's TV time project is to finish the Flower Garden quilt that my Grandmother started back in the 60's.  YiaYia got all the flowers pieced.  I joined the flowers together.  And now she's ready to quilt.  Since this is all pieced by hand, I am going to quilt it by hand.

Grandma's template for cutting the hexies.
1960.  3 lbs of hamburger or sausage for $1.00

These hexies were not English paper pieced.
They were just plain ol' hand pieced.
The key is learning to pivot and anchor each of the Y-seams.

After a few, you get the knack.

If I had to bother with templates, this quilt never woulda happened.

Early in my quilt life I pulled all of the flowers with red centers from Grandma's pieced blocks and made a small baby quilt.

 ... and did the quilting by hand.
I think it was my first large hand quilting project.
It was lap quilted without a hoop.
I should have used a hoop.

If I had used a hoop there may be fewer
 globs of fabric where they ought not to be.

The other thing I learned was not to fully quilt each hexie ... there is no definition of the individual flower garden blocks.

So this Flower Garden quilt will be quilted
to follow the blocks, not the hexies.
I am much happier with the look on the back.

I am still finding the hoop a bit awkward
because there is lots of turning as
I quilt around the blocks.
But I'm sure I'll get better at it.

This is a big quilt ... 90 x 95 ... 99 blocks
There is lots of opportunity to hone my craft.

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Short Tale of Two Quilts

I only had one quilt in mind when I started cutting fabrics ... a contemporary lap quilt with Flying Geese blocks.  After cutting all the 7 1/2 in squares to make the geese, I had a lot more fabric cut than I needed for one quilt.  So voila and ooh-la-la ... a coordinating baby quilt.

Lap on the left, Baby on the right
And just as a side note (because I go off on tangents so easily) the French really do say ooh-la-la with cute little regional variations ... the Parisians say it more ho-la-la.  And the Italians really do say Mama Mia ... I've heard it with my own ears.  Ok, back to quilts ...

A simple white binding

4 different fabrics for the binding
so each corner
is a different color

As per my usual, the Flying Geese quilt was laid out in EQ7.  I played around with having the geese flying in all different directions but decided I liked them flying in formation.

Making Flying Geese blocks is painless and fun when you use the full square method which I first saw years ago when Simply Quilts was still on the air.

Here is a link to '...laugh yourself into Stitches' web site.  She has a great tutorial on the full square method for flying geese.  Also, checkout Stitches quilting ... some pretty amazing work.


Just cuz, I made Hourglass blocks with the remaining 7 1/2 inch squares. I ended up with 4 blocks with the white fabric and didn't like the white randomly placed ... so made a design feature out of them with a Square in a Square block in the middle.  I really like the effect.

' 1/4" mark ' has a great tutorial on easy sew hourglass blocks.  She marks her sewing surface like I do so she doesn't have to mark the center line on each piece she sews ... big time saver. 

The back of the lap quilt.
There was one last Flying geese block left so it was incorporated into a strip on the back to give the reverse side something interesting ... and I love not so many scraps left at the end of a project.

Soft tonal fabrics with not much pattern ... love these colors together.

Available in my Etsy shop.

Don't know if anyone will be interested in companion
lap and baby quilts, but thought it might be a nice "Mother and Child" gift for a new mom


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Aqua Blue and Lime Green and Two Very Different Quilts

Aqua looks good with just about every color ... but my favorite is with lime green.  I've yet to meet something aqua that I was not immediately drawn to.  My heart's desire is a pair of aqua cowboy boots ... someday, sigh.

The circles quilt I made a couple years ago as a wall hanging in the laundry room to hide the electrical panel.  The walls are a soft soft lime color and the floor is black and white check so it looks really zippy. I'm going to try and make a Christmas wall hanging with lime green and red (same plan as I had last year ... one of these year's anyway).

The chevron zigzag quilt is a girls quilt I just finished for Etsy.  I made the chevrons using a square two-patch method because I wanted the lime green strip a wee bit smaller than the aqua strips ... you don't have the option to vary the widths with the half square or triangle method.

The squares are 6" and the circles are roughly 3" and
the circles are pieced with the freezer paper method.
Anyone who has done their own quilting is familiar with Leah Day's website The Free Motion Quilting Project.

I did the quilting in a 'stream of consciousness' way using several of Leah's patterns.  It was a blast to do!  With the heavy quilting it causes a trapunto effect on the front and I hand quilted around the circles to give them even better definition.

The batting is 100% polyester because I wanted to minimize the puckering since it's a wall hanging.  For the quilts I keep warm with I don't like heavy quilting because it makes the quilt too flat (learned the hard way) and I always strive for just the right amount of wonderful quilty puckering ... it's that quilty puckering that makes a quilt so comforting, and warm.

And back to the other aqua lime quilt ... the back is a wonderful Michael Miller gingham that I got years ago.  I have the same pattern it in pink too. They make a wonderful quilt backs.

The strip is made with the little leftover bits from the zigzags.  I really like pieced backs ... and I really like not having scraps left. There was next to nothing left on this quilt.

While we're on the subject of zigzag quilts, thought I would share my sad story of the blue and white batiks ... indigo bleed.  Augh! This quilt was originally intended to be an Etsy quilt, but that beautiful deep rich indigo batik bled into the white.

Chagrin for me ... but not for my brother and sister-in-law ... it's their new boat quilt.  It'll be a great quilt to have for sitting back deck when the evenings are cool.

I did use 3 color catchers in the wash which I think helped
minimize the bleed, but didn't stop it altogether.

Aqua quilt on my aqua screen door.

Here it is on Etsy ....

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Lone Star Quilt ... with Half Square Triangles

A Lone Star quilt with half square triangles is a much less daunting proposition than a Lone Star quilt with diamonds, bias edges and inset seams.

It has a wee different look than a traditional Lone Star, but still makes a striking quilt without all the sewing anguish.  Inset seams still give me lots of quality time with the seam ripper.

This is the first quilt I did on the Pfaff Grandquilter.

Pebbles on the Lone Star.  I love quilted pebbles
but end up not doing them very often anymore
... they take such a long time.

As designed in EQ.

The squares and HST's are 4-inches finished and the
overall quilt dimensions are 68 x 93,
which washed and dried down to 63 x 87.

I find I usually get about 13% shrink once my quilts
get all their quilty puckery goodness.

In the Dogwood tree ... it's a nice quilt hanger
(when it's not raining).

One mo' picture, just because the tree fern
is looking so good this time of year, and I like the pic :}

Friday, June 14, 2013

New Life for My Grandmother's Orphan Lone Star Blocks

There were three Lone Stars in my Grandmother's suitcase of orphan blocks.  I saw a picture of a Lone Star table topper on Pinterest and thought it was so cute and decided to do table toppers with these three Lone Stars.  I think Yiayia would like the idea.

This is the first one completed.

It is a quiet little riot of Federal blues, reds and pinks.
And perfectly imperfect with one of the star points 'out of pattern'
and a little piece of make-do tan fabric.

The other two Lone Stars are indigo and white.
One is completed, the third one is a work in process.

I'm hand quilting the stars and finishing the edges
with a traditional knife or butt edge binding.

To try to keep the star points from getting too wonky,
the center pieces are all quilted first leaving the edge pieces

un-quilted when I do the knife edge bind.

Pippa Ross at her Welsh Quilt blog has a wonderful
tutorial on how to do a traditional knife edge binding.

Once the interior pieces are quilted, excess batting and backing are trimmed away, the edges are folder under and pinned together.

It takes forever plus two and a half hours to do the trimming and pinning, repinning and repinning to get the star points just right.

I knew those little applique pins would come in handy one day.

The second star done.

With all my Grandmother's quilty things, I am always
prone to pondering whose shirt or dress did that fabric used to be?