Some Colorful Joy

Recently I learned of an acquaintance that has an unpleasant health condition. I also learned that a friend would be visiting with her and I wanted to send along a quilt of comfort. I went to my closet of flimsies and found a bright, cheerful and colorful top that would be perfect. I also had the best bright green fleece for the backing.

Several years ago I cut this bright colorful collection on my die cutting machine using a large triangle die. It was quick piecing and the best way to showcase these large prints. Having not looked at this quilt top for a while, I found myself really appreciating the setting and know that I’ll be doing this with other large prints.

Some quick quilting and a bright binding – voila! Done and ready to go. How wonderful to know that this quilt is bringing warmth and joy to someone rather than hanging in a closet!

Great joy also this past week here in North Carolina – blooms! The daffodils are especially beautiful this year and I love that so many bloom among the hellebores. In the fall I pruned my Camelia and it sure paid off! The red blooms are so striking. Hubby’s Japanese Magnolia is also full. Unfortunately, the magnolia has pale pink flowers and does not photograph well. It’s always a bit sad when these blooms begin to fade, but I know there are others to follow.

Linking up: N&TT

Let’s March Into March!

My goal for 2020 and beyond was to reduce my Works in Progress. I define those as a project that has been started either by cutting or cutting and sewing. A project is a pattern and fabric sitting together with nothing having been done to it. As you can see by my listing below, I have greatly reduced my WIPs. Four of the remaining projects have a great amount of handstitching to be done, so they won’t be a quick finish.

I would love to concentrate on the lap quilt I am quilting with big stitch, but I have encountered problems with that as of late. Usually I work on it in the evening when I’m tired and it slows me down. The last several years my hand cramps when I’ve done some hand stitching and I have to stop and rest often. AND, the biggest problem: Callie my cat hops on my lap and is definitely not in favor of my stitching. I find it so peaceful and comforting to have a cat in my lap, so I never say no to her. The quilt will get done eventually.

Lollypop Tree quilt is all together except for the outside border which will have many appliqued circles on it. Time. Now that I’m this far along on this quilt, I will do some of the applique work during the day as my sewing on the machine for WIPs has decreased mightily.

My log cabin quilt is at a total stand still. I’ve run out of the dark grey and have been unable to match it. It’s quite a dilemma and I’m just not sure how I will remedy the situation. There is already so much work into it that I know I want to go forward, it just won’t be right away.

Starting a new WIP: I have two kits in the wings. I don’t usually do kits, but there was no way for me to do these quilts without a kit – too much variation in fabric. The first one I will do is a plaid Christmas quilt and it has 30 fabrics! I’m going to need a couple of uninterrupted days to get this one cut. Mistakes just won’t be an option!

For the first time I’m also keeping track of fabric purchases. I have a typical quilter’s huge stash of fabrics, and my goal is to reduce it. Putting it down on paper should help to make me accountable!

CAN – CAN, the Quilt!

Cut, pieced, quilted and bound in five days! Amazing how much I enjoyed making this quilt. No contest when I auditioned border fabric. The bold black and white was a definite winner – perfect for all the bright, pretty and fun strings in the quilt body.

A very simple quilting – diagonal wavy lines – was perfect. I wanted this quilt to be about the fabrics, not the quilting. And I am tickled the way the black and white prints come together in the center of the blocks and where four blocks meet. I finished the binding by hand which quickly reminded me why I rarely do that anymore. My hand cramped and ached so I had to take many breaks along the way.

The backing – oh the backing! I bought this Brandon Mably fabric when I took a workshop from Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably a few years ago. Brandon, who knows my daughter, brought a bolt of the Can Can fabric up to me and thought I had to have it as it reminded him of my feisty daughter! Of course I bought some, but I never did use it in the workshop project. So glad because it is perfect for the back of this quilt, thus the name Can-Can! She’s already living in my living room – bright, cheerful and warm.

Links: Oh Scrap! N&TT Whoop Whoop Friday Brag About Your Beauties

Another Squirrel Attack!!

Absolutely NOT my fault! A few weeks ago I made the above block for a group project. It’s Kaffe stripes and a solid thrown in. I cut one inch strips and made four identical 8 inch blocks and sewed them together with the black and white in the center. We were to submit a 16″ block finished. I loved it! And, as it happens, I have lots and lots of scrap Kaffe and Kaffe Collective fabrics which includes Brandon Mably and Phillip Jacobs.

Off to the drawing board I went. I had to do this for me. My blocks are smaller – 12 inch finished. I pulled out my scraps and large pieces and began to sort and choose. Such fun! The above pic is of a joyful and organized mess. I put the strings for each individual square on a paper plate which is a trick I learned from a friend at a retreat. It works really well for some of my projects.

I sewed the one inch strips onto a lightweight stabilizer which keeps the block from getting wonky as can happen with such thin strips. I didn’t sew the black and white fabrics onto the corners until I placed all the squares onto the design wall, as the intersecting blocks needed to have matching black & white.

Oh the fun I had sewing these! It was just the burst of joy I needed as I was tiring of the sewing I had been doing. I had all the blocks sewn, squared and trimmed in three days!! A couple of borders are needed. I searched my stash and have come up with my first choice. Tune in to see.

Do you have squirrels in your studio waiting to attack? Don’t fight it – feed your creativity!

Some “Joyful”

“No new Works in Progress this year until a few more of existing ones are complete” is what I told myself over and over again at the end of 2020. Well, inspiration hit and a quilter’s gotta do what a quilter’s gotta do! It all happened because while rummaging through a bin, I came upon some long forgotten Robert Kaufman Christmas fabrics. They are so pretty! “Joyful” was born.

Never having done a sixteen patch, but having admired them for such a long time, I decided to do one with this batch of fabric. It’s a fast and easy block which was my Psyche needed at this time (you guessed it, Pandemic Syndrome or maybe more likely just Quilter’s Squirrel Disorder!!)

Having gotten bored with the sixteen patches, and wanting four more blocks, I did stars! It was a quick finish and a lot of fun. However, the border is now a bit troubling. I put the narrow green border on thinking I was going to put a wider border on the outside using one of the prints in the collection. None of them worked. They looked absolutely terrible! I now would prefer to use the green with gold dots as a slightly wider border alone and also as the binding. Can’t – not enough fabric. A pieced border? That could work, but I just don’s want to! I’ve scoured my fabric closet and came up with nothing. I’ve also looked on line and, your guessed it – nothing. This top will now hang in the closet of flimsies until next fall when I’m sure there will be something in a fabric Christmas release that will work. Should be fun to pull this out after many months and give it its needed finish!

Wishing all of you a lovely Valentine’s Day!

Linking up with: Oh Scrap! NT&T

Wheel Chair Quilts

When I first saw wheel chair quilts on Pinterest, I got very excited. What a great idea and how well it fits into the Hospice quilts effort! This is the basic pattern I’m going by:

With a huge pile of half square triangles I had sewn as leader/enders, I began arranging on the design wall. Once I was satisfied, they were sewn together and the bottom corners cut (a safety feature to avoid wheel chair wheels). The quilt was then quilted. I love the idea of having a pocket as was shown on pics of other wheel chair quilts I had viewed.

Note that the pattern is “off” – just squares, not half square triangles in the center. That’s where the pocket will go. Not wanting to cover the quilt pattern, I did an overlay of the pattern with the pocket and matched it as best I could when sewing it on top of the quilt. The quilt backing is fleece as is the lining of the pocket. Not only does the pocket serve as a hand warmer, personal items such as tissues or a cell phone can be kept in it.

A second one done!

I then contacted the Hospice coordinator who will be receiving the donation quilts on Hospice’s behalf and she was so excited about the concept of the wheel chair quilts. I will definitely be doing a few more this year!

On another note: When I’ve emptied a spool of thread, I saved it. It’s a kick to see the accumulation of empty spools at the end of a year. Here are last years – not as many as in previous years, but I’m now working on fuller spools. The tall spool is from the bobbin thread I use which is finer than the threads I sew with. Really? That much thread gone?!

Look what we woke up to this morning! No, not much, and it’s raining so it’s going away quickly. Still, we so rarely get snow, that it’s fun to see! Hope you’re all staying warm, comfortable and safe!

Linking up with: Oh Scrap N&TT

Orphan Blocks

Amongst my bins of cut fabric scraps is a bin of orphan blocks. Not feeling motivated to work on any of my current works in progress, I pulled out those blocks and began to play. These are leftovers from my Tula Strings quilt. I began by putting them all on the design wall for inspiration. Certainly not enough for even a small quilt, and there’s no way I’m doing more of these blocks!

Next, I cut each block into four. This would give me more to play with and some flexibility. I put those on the design wall with random scraps. No, no, no!

I then coordinated each set with a solid and made four patches.

After some rearranging on the wall, I divided the two color groups diagonally, and used two solid colors to make blocks the size of each four patch. A diagonal row of both the solid colors as half square triangles seemed to both divide and unite the two sections.

A mottled dark gray border pulled it all in. There’s only navy blue fleece left for backings, so this won’t be quilted until I restock the fleece. I’m not in love with the final outcome, but I do like it and the more I look at it the more it grows on me. I think quilting will help it come alive a little more, perhaps using a variegated thread. Once quilted, this will be another Hospice donation.

And, yikes, another month! I’m looking for motivation to work on the projects in progress. There’s so much effort already put into them, seems a shame that they just sit there. Soon.. Soon. This is where I now stand with the new year:

All in a Row

This brings me such joy! All are quilts on their way to Hospice. There are nine pictured above. Some were donations by quilting friends, some were made from blocks sewn at retreat, and some were put together by me at home. There is such a feeling of accomplishment when a Hospice quilt is complete.

The two quilts on the right above were quilt tops sent to me by readers. A friend quilted the center quilt. I quilted the quilt on the right and the one on the left I made from start to finish. There is just so much color and joy in each quilt – truly gifts from the heart!

I continue to take donations of completed quilts and quilt tops. Lap size or even a bit smaller suitable to be used by someone in a wheelchair are preferred. At this time, however, I am not accepting any fabric – my bins overfloweth!

A New Design Wall

Not all quilters work with a design wall, but I’d be lost without mine! For years I’ve had a double white design wall with a grid backing. The grid showed through to the front for the purpose of lining up blocks. It was getting a bit ratty looking and difficult to clear of threads.

I have now replaced it with a 72″ x 72″ heavy weight grey felt. I love it! It cleans off easily and fabrics just pop on it! And, I don’t miss the grid at all. Yes, it’s a bit smaller than the former, but more than sufficient for my needs. Another plus is that I bought it on sale at a fabric store and it was SO economical. I have yardage of a printed flannel made for a design wall, but I would have needed two lengths as it is only 44″ wide and I just didn’t want the seam. Also, the heavier weight of this new wall just seemed so much better to me.

Leader-Ender blocks are now “stored” on the design wall. Not in any particular order, to be played with once more are ready.

This new addition also helps to make my studio a bit neater looking. A definite win for me!

In With the Old – Update

I have had several inquiries about what was meant by the needle being close to the head of the machine. Hopefully this illustration will help.

Note the red arrow showing the distance of the needle from the head of the machine.
Here the red arrow is showing a much shorter distance of the needle from the head of the machine.

My Singer is put away, so this last illustration I used a ruler instead of an actual rope basket in the making. With the greater distance, once the base is sewn, the rope can only be raised at an angle, thus making a bowl. With the Singer, it would be able to go upright to form a basket like the one shown.

I really appreciate your feedback and inquiries. Hope this helps!!