Black and Gold

Recently, while digging through a fabric bin of precuts, I came across a bundle of black and gold fabrics together with coordinating fabrics. I slashed the squares into triangles and began sewing them into half square triangles. No real plan – just wanted to sew. Sometimes this method works for me, sometimes it doesn’t, but luckily it did this time!

As I put them on the design wall, the plan changed several times. A central block soon became key. Finally I had the look I wanted and sewed it all together. I even quilted this one myself!

The center block has some free motion loops and the black and gold border print has a curved line in keeping with the fabric design. The rest of the quilt has straight line quilting, except that the border also has the curved lines to mimic the fabric design.

This quilt is a little more dramatic than most of my quilts and not bursting with color. It was a change I thoroughly enjoyed. After studying it for a while, I knew exactly who I’d be gifting it to in a couple of months. I think that makes me even happier than the successful completion of the quilt!

A Cool New “Aid”

There seem to be so many ways to do bindings. For years I would machine sew the binding onto the top of the quilt, then hand stitch on the bottom side. That is a lot of hand stitching! I now only do that for a quilt that is very special. Another way I tried was to sew the binding on the top, turn it to the back, and machine stitch on the front on the inner edge of the binding. I was not thrilled with the outcome.

Now, I sew the binding onto the back of the quilt, turn it to the front and machine stitch close to the edge of the binding on the front. I love the look! And now, I’ve added to that to make the process even better and easier. Binding tape. I happened upon it by accident on Amazon (where else?) and took a chance to order some. A winner!!

Here’s the process: Sew binding onto the back of the quilt. Turn the binding to the front, press.

Then apply the tape.

Remove the tape’s cover and set the binding over it. Press to secure.

Sew close to the edge. No pins, no clips. It’s neat, secure, and easy! It has also been an absolute timesaver for me!

SO, Sew Many Strips!

“Not starting something new.” Repeat: “Not starting something new.” HA!! I enjoy doing intricate blocks, choosing colors, patterns, but sometimes I just want to sew without having to give it much thought. And, I have a ton of narrow strips ranging from 1 1/2″ to 1/2″. Thus, this strip quilt was born.

I first cut the base from a lightweight white fabric. There was absolutely no interest in doing these blocks on paper because I didn’t want to remove the paper after sewing! What really inspired this quilt was the pile of solid purple strips I had cut for a project that had taken a drastic change. I then pulled strips with mostly purple or that would coordinate with the solid purple strips. The solid purple strip was put down from corner to corner. Then the joy of sewing quickly and a lot began!

On the second day I was laying out the blocks with only a few to go. I had to lay them out on my cutting table because with the backing, and all those pieces, they were a little too heavy for the design wall.

I finished putting this beauty together on the second day! Whew! I gave the machine a good cleaning and an oiling after this marathon!

The benefit: two days of mindless sewing and a pretty quilt top. Double win! Even better – I have the perfect backing fabric! And that bin of strips? Still full! Next I will do a little something different in the way of a string quilt – not the usual “sew on a base.” It will have to wait for my next inspiration.

And I found the perfect backing fabric!

Linking to: N&TT

Adoption

The Quilt. What do you get when you combine your orphan blocks? A quilt – Adoption! Some time ago I put my orphan blocks on the design wall and started to put them together. And then the mood changed and I put it all away. I resurrected this project and voila – a quilt!

I used pieced black and white borders and sashings to help bring it all together. The key for me to make this happen was to let go of being overly particular and just go ahead and sew. This quilt reminds me somewhat of the style of Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston, whose quilts I adore. This quilt is put together in a somewhat unthinkable manner, but I like it!

There are still a couple of orphan blocks leftover to be used at a much later time or maybe even tossed. It feels good to have this long awaited project together, although it’s now hanging in the “flimsy” closet keeping the other flimsies company, waiting to be quilted and bound.

I’ve seen many quilts made from orphan blocks and are often referred to as “Franken” something (as in Frankenstein) but I like the more positive aspect of Adoption – something of beauty, rather than monstrous, although I know those were done with humor in the name.

A “Little” to Gift

Recently, a Tula Pink fan and friend who I had the privilege to meet with last year, and have corresponded with on the internet for the past couple of years, put out the word that she now had a separate building as her quilting/creating studio and wanted to do a wall of mini Tula Pink quilts. (She offered payment, but gifting was the way to go) My Tula Pink stash is quite depleted. I have made several quilts from her fabrics and sold or gifted most of the remainder. I did, however, still have a partial cameo of a Nightshade Coven Cameo (very rare and coveted by Tula Fans.) Perfect!

I didn’t have but one Tula fabric I could use, a cream color from the Saltwater collection. I then found a teal color that matched perfectly and a black solid. This mini Coven Cameo quilt was born! I wanted the Cameo to speak for herself. There is free motion quilting in the black and light teal which doesn’t show in the pic, and the border with wavy lines.

I know she has received many mini quilts to adorn her studio and can’t wait to see her final presentation. My wish is that this lovely helps to bless and inspire her incredible talents.

Square in a Square – Comfort Quilt

A tutorial for a different way to do a square in a square block popped up while browsing Pinterest one day and I thought I’d give it a try. Place two squares of equal size on top of each other, right sides together. Then sew all four edges using a 1/4″ seam. Mark from corner to opposite corner then the next corner to corner. Carefully cut the “x” being sure to not cut into the seam. Fold out each cut section, press, and voila! there’s your block! It’s not a true square in a square as the points are lost, but it is a quick and easy method and I’m okay with the look.

I put them all together for a comfort quilt which will go to Hospice when completed. The blocks seemed awfully plain, so I appliqued a circle in the center of each block. This was quickly done in a day and now it’s (I bet you guessed it) hanging with the other flimsies waiting to be quilted. The inspiration will hit me one day, hopefully soon, to get them quilted and bound.

It’s Been a While

Where have I been the last few weeks? Mostly in the garden. We did have a little cool spell that found me out there about 4 hours a day. Once coming inside, there was no motivation to sew. It has gotten back to hot, hot, hot days so I’m back inside. But instead of sewing, I’ve been doing some organizing for which there never seems to be an end!

One project did get finished – a special quilt for a special person. At one of my retreats one gal told me about a patient of hers who is 25-26 years old and is disabled – body has struggled to hold up and has experienced pain, surgeries and much more that most people do not have to endure during their lifetime. My immediate reaction was: this person needs a quilt! I made it a little bigger than the usual Hospice quilts and I do hope it brings warmth and comfort to this person. As usual, the backing is fleece making for a warm and cozy quilt.

Hardy Amaryllis given to me by a neighbor over 25 years ago! Only lasts a little over a week, but such a joy while it blooms.

Scrappy Batik

There are seven bins full of batiks in my studio, one of which is scraps. From the book “Scrap=Basket Bounty”, I chose the Snippets pattern to make use of the scraps. The cuts are 1 1/2″ squares and 1 1/2″ by varying lengths. There are 80 blocks with 16 pieces in each – in all 1,280 pieces! Here is the first round of piecing:

Then another. Chain sewing makes for quick work, but I’ll admit to getting bored part way through and switched to another project.

Finally, there were blocks to put on the design wall:

Finally, a flimsy complete with border! Now, hanging in a closet, it’s waiting its turn to head off to the long arm quilter. And that scrap bin? Yup, it’s still full!

This past spring, this is where I’ve spent most of my time. Lack of rain has been challenging, but it definitely remains my happy place. I have learned to embrace the shade and make the most of what sun the garden does get.

A Graduation Pillow

My brothers’ eldest grandchild, my great niece, just graduated high school. She is one very smart, athletic and talented young lady. I wanted to send her something special for a graduation gift. My friend Laurie had made her daughter (and many others) a pillow with the school logo. What a great idea!

She is going to attend the University of Buffalo and the logo is a blue bull. I enlarged the bull to the size I needed and found the perfect blue to use. I spray basted it onto a medium gray.

I then stabilized on the wrong side of the piece I was appliqueing.

Lots of buttonhole stitching which went surprisingly quick! A backing and binding and off in the mail it went!

And here she is! It got a bit crushed in the box, but that will be an easy fix. I hope she enjoys her pillow and has a great college experience. It’s unfortunate I won’t be able to attend her big celebration party, but will certainly be there in spirit!

Another Group Effort

At the April retreat, participants put together this simple block.

One of the retreaters suggested I put the blocks together this way so as to not have to match seams. Great idea!

I found this layout boring, so I decided to have some fun with slashing the blocks.

Four of the slashed blocks made this cool design:

Here are all the blocks put together. Note that there is a secondary design.

It now needed something more and it wasn’t wide enough. Back into my bin of donated fabrics to add two side borders.

A Hospice flimsy – yeah! It is now hanging in my “flimsy” closet waiting in line behind the others to be quilted. My goal is to have them all done by the end of summer. Bonus: there are enough blocks left to make a second quilt from these blocks!