First Quarter Challenge–More from Blog Readers

15 03 2017

Just a little reminder about our First Quarter Challenge–make something with your secret stash of Fat Quarters or Quilter’s Candy (packs of 2 1/2″ squares) and share a picture to inspire others.

Kathy used her stash of Fat Quarters to make a darling 60″ x 68″ heart quilt which she may eventually give to her granddaughter. “The pattern is Blended Hearts by Judy Dohrman of Black Cat Creations. The pattern calls for 32 fat eighths but I used 16 fat quarters.”

It took me a minute to notice that the red hearts are right side up, while the pink hearts are upside down. Don’t you love the lime green heart? It adds fabric bling!

Maridee has been busily using Quilter’s Candy to good advantage. This table runner would look great with white dishes or blue pottery as well! (Maridee is unsure of the pattern info for these runners.)

A second runner by Maridee is equally appealing. Floating the Nine Patches on a light background certainly adds interest.

“I have 6 more Quilter’s Candy packs to use, but think they’ll get put on the back burner for now. I’m busy working on the bzillion charm packs I have!”
Thanks for the inspiration, Maridee. I sometimes wonder what substantial project I could make with the tiny package of squares I was tempted to purchase. You have inspired us with attractive table runner projects which stretch the minimum to the maximum.
Helga transformed a package of 2 1/2″ squares from Zen Chic into a modern wall hanging. For inspiration for this quilt for her brand new grandson, she turned to the October 2006 issue of McCall’s Quilting. Click here to see Lise Neer’s quilt, “Skyward Nines.” As you will see, Helga downsized the design by substituting 2 1/2″ squares for the Nine Patches Lise’s design calls for. The squares show up so nicely against dark blue solid linen.
  
Stephanie is working on a scrappy table runner. “On the Bright Side” is a free pattern from All People Quilt. “In keeping with the first quarter challenge, I pulled out two packages of Quilter’s Candy and used them for the Nine Patches.  If you want variety, it becomes a slight challenge.  This table runner requires 90 2 ½ inch squares. Each 42 piece package of Quilter’s Candy has 21 different fabrics.  With two packages, I ended up with four squares of each fabric.  There were several black fabrics ‘discarded’ from consideration.  There was a little cheating – I cut some squares from yardage.  The Churn Dash blocks are cut from Fat Quarters.”

“I may change the center block before quilting.  The light blue flowers on a white background blend in with the white background too much for my liking.  This table runner is a great way to use up an impulse purchase of Quilter’s Candy found on a sale table.”

Thanks, ladies, for sharing your projects. You have reminded us how fun it can be to accept the challenge!





“Conflagration” Quilt Top

10 03 2017

This is a wedding quilt for a young couple whose favorite color is orange. But since they bought red couches, the bride asked if I could combine red and orange in the quilt. She said, “I have always liked red and orange together.” Well, personally, I generally do not combine red and orange in the same quilt. I use either red, or I use orange. However, I concluded, after an online search, that orange and red could look really nice together. To see what I saw, search for “images of red and orange quilts.”

I found inspiration for this quilt from a “Nine Patch” quilt on Pinterest made by Leslie with black and white and lime fabrics. I changed the alternate blocks, putting a “Four Patch” on point, square-in-a square style. I purchased quarter yard cuts of 3 red tonals and 3 orange tonals, and I repurposed black and white prints I had saved for a different quilt project. All squares are cut 3 1/2,” and I cut white triangles over-sized so I could easily trim the alternate blocks to 9 1/2.”

I plan and edge to edge quilting design, and the backing is an orange/red and yellow print. But I’m in a quandary over thread color. Red or Orange . . . or Yellow? What is your opinion?





My “Splendid Sampler”

7 03 2017

About this time last year, I decided to join the “Splendid Sampler” quilt-along hosted by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. Did you also sign up to receive the 100 emailed pattern instructions? They have published two 6″ blocks per week; over eighty quilt block designers contributed to the project. The official QAL is nearly complete, and you can still access the patterns online by clicking the “Splendid Sampler” button in the right hand column of this blog page.

At the outset of the QAL, Pat and Jane showed samples of their bright, modern fabrics and promised that a variety of techniques would be employed for the sampler blocks. You can read about my fabric selection on this blog post. As the weeks progressed, I began to realize that not all of the patterns were suitable for my muted traditional fabrics from the “Chocolat” line by Moda. At some point, I decided to make only the blocks that correlated well with my fabrics, and to include other favorite patchwork designs.

After making 56 blocks, I decided to set the blocks together. I am sure the desire to finish the project prior to moving into our new home weighed heavily in my decision. My quilting buddy, Karlene, suggested that I arrange the blocks with darker tan background all around the edges of the quilt. I really like the effect! The darker blocks act as a pieced border of sorts. After arranging and rearranging the blocks on my design wall, I sewed the vertical 2″ x 6 1/2″ sashing strips between the blocks in each row as you can see in the photo below.

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Tip (from my daughter, Trinity): Prior to joining the rows together, measure and sew the top border strip above Row 1, and sew the bottom border strip below the last row. This means less “heavy lifting” work when adding the borders after the rows are sewn together.

I added horizontal sashing rows and left and right border strips. Now to find the perfect print for an outer border.

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Later:  Again, my friend, Karlene, came to my rescue. She gave me a yard of paisley “Chocolat” fabric. Since it is a large scale print of muted colors, it doesn’t draw attention itself. The viewer’s eye is rightly focused on all the patchwork and applique blocks in the quilt’s center. I draped the quilt top over the kitchen porch railing of our new home. (We are hoping to procure the certificate of occupancy this week and move in!)

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Leprechaun Sighting

1 03 2017

leprechaun-sweetsLook what I saw on display at Food Lion today. Lucky Leprechaun and his enticing array of sweets decorated with white and Irish green! And speaking of green, I’d like to remind you of a table quilt I stitched a few years ago. Click here to read my tutorial blog post.

Karla, who blogs at mysewfulretirement.com, made the 23″ square Single Irish Chain quilt this past weekend. While I used scrappy green squares for my topper, she used one Island Batik Spring Fling blue/green along with a cream batik, a text print with French words. She writes, “I loved how the topper turned out. Your instructions were clear and fantastic. Thank you for sharing the tutorial.”

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If you’d like to make a table topper using just one green/blue fabric as Karla did, you can, of course, strip piece the Nine Patches. Cut strips 2″ x Width of Fabric (WOF). Make two types of strip sets:  A- Print, White, Print; B- White, Print, White. Press seams toward the Print fabric and cross-cut in 2″ increments. Sew the Nine Patches together in rows, A, B, A. Click here to find instructions for assembling the quilt top.

Green and white are perfect colors for St. Paddy’s Day, but I wonder what other color combinations entice you. Leave a comment below with your suggestions.





Inspiration for “Quilter’s Candy”

31 01 2017

Our “Use your pre-cuts” challenge for the first quarter is using Fat Quarters or Quilter’s Candy (2 1/2″ squares). Happily, I made my goal already! You can read about a quilt I made from Fat Quarters here.

But I’m thinking maybe some of you need ideas for using the deliciously sweet packages of Quilter’s Candy. To that end, I’ve searched my blog’s media library for examples of quilts made with squares. The photo roll begins with my latest quilt top finish – made with leftover 1930s repro 2 1/2″ squares. Imagine the quilty, home-y feel if muted or Civil War repro fabrics are used, and the blocks are set on-point for visual interest.

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Last June I made a quilt for Charlotte, my baby grand-niece. The quilt is made with 2 packages of Quilter’s Candy sewn into Four Patches. I framed the Four Patches with narrow white strips and inserted alternate squares of navy anchor fabric. My niece declares it coordinates perfectly with the nursery décor.

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“Aunt Sukey’s Choice” 12″ blocks are constructed from 2 1/2″ squares along with 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangles for the “Flying Geese” units. This design would sew up quickly if you purchased coordinating Quilter’s Candy and a roll of 2 1/2″ strips from which to cut rectangles.

Postage stamp quilts are a snap to sew when the squares are already cut! Consider alternating print squares with plain white or ecru squares. Mini quilts such as the one pictured make wonderful gifts for wall or table.

A star block with ferns

DSCN7512You could make some color/fabric coordinated placemats. Those pictured were made from 3″ scrappy squares, 35 squares each. Adapt the design by sewing 63 squares in a 7 x 9 grid to yield 14″ x 18″ placemats.

My friend, Tricia, used small colorful squares as cornerstones when making this predominately blue and white quilt. Wouldn’t this idea stretch your tiny package (or two) of Quilter’s Candy into a lap size quilt?

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A sampling of quilts made from squares wouldn’t be complete without a “Nine Patch” example. Cindy made this with nearly solid mottled prints. Set on-point with alternate white background squares, the “Nine Patches” seem to float.

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DSCN6080I made this mini quilt for my sister from a Quilter’s Candy package plus a few fabrics from my stash. I paired each 2 1/2″ colored square with a tan background square right sides together. I drew a diagonal line on the wrong side of each tan square and sewed 1/4″ away from both sides of the line. Then I cut the squares on the drawn lines and pressed the seam allowances toward the darker fabrics. So petite and country, just as my sister prefers!

 

I hope the quilts pictured in this blog post have jump-started your creative ideas for using Quilter’s Candy. I would love to share pictures of your projects for Fat Quarters or Quilter’s Candy with blog readers. (aby.quilts@gmail.com)

 

 





1930s Four Patch Baby Quilt

28 01 2017

This past Thursday I enjoyed a sew day with my friend Heather. We worked on various projects and caught up with what is going on in each other’s lives. While Heather trimmed some patchwork blocks, I rotary cut borders for a lap size quilt and sashing for my Splendid Sampler of 6” blocks (more on that in the future).

fullsizerender-10Another of my projects was making a Four Patch baby quilt. As always happens, I have scraps leftover from a recent quilt top finish. If you remember, I purchased a roll of 2 ½” strips of 1930s prints and solids to make the 6” blocks for a Vintage Farm Girl lap quilt. I decided to use my scraps to make a baby quilt.

I was inspired by a sweet quilt on Pinterest featuring Four Patches each made from four different 1930s prints. The Four Patches combined with white sashing for a pretty, fresh finish. My quilt does not look quite as soft and sweet because of the solids I included. (I HAD to use those solids in order to use up my scraps.) Note the Four Patch in the bottom right corner of the photo; you can see that I pressed the final seam open to reduce bulk.

img_0580 Before beginning my project, I calculated that I needed 32 Four Patches and 32 white 4 ½” squares. Placed in an 8 x 8 grid, the dimensions of the patchwork would be 32” square. By adding 4” wide borders, the quilt measures 40” square – just the right size to fit on 42” – 44” wide backing. I considered purchasing 2 1/4 yds. of 1930s print for borders, backing, and binding, but decided to check my stash first. There I found enough of my favorite lil’ chicken print for borders and a multi-colored polka dot for backing. Neither print is 1930s repro, but both blend with the colors and playful nature of the baby quilt. I am not sure yet what I’ll use for binding. Click on the picture to zoom in for a better view. I draped the quilt top over the front porch of our new home. Here’s hoping the contractors finish in the next week or so.

I had some help from Heather’s five year old daughter with laying out the squares and sewing them together. If you are wondering how such a little girl could reach the sewing machine foot control . . . Christina found a little stool on which to rest the foot control. I pinned and helped her guide the pieces beneath the presser foot. Teamwork at its best! After lunch, when she tired of helping with my project, Christina worked on her own quilt in progress from 6″ floral charm squares.

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What a fun sew day! Including Christina in Heather’s studio was so rewarding – It’s great to motivate and encourage the next generation of quilters!

 





VFG Leaf-y Borders

9 01 2017

Vintage Farm Girl, a popular sampler quilt designed by Lori Holt, continues at the top of my WIP (Works in Progress) list. You can see a picture of my patchwork blocks on this blog post.

Lori includes a pieced block with 4 leaves to represent farm crops in her book. However, I am customizing my quilt with a leaf-y border. Instead of piecing 100 leaves, I decided to hand applique them next to pieced stems. The applique borders of the quilt are my current take-along project. Since hubby and I are traveling, hand applique is perfect for quiet evenings in hotels.

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An explanation for piecing the stem:  My border is 6 1/2″ wide, unfinished. I cut the green print 1″ wide and sewed it between two white strips, each cut 3 1/4″ wide. I pressed the seam allowances toward the green stem. This means I will not have to push the needle through the seam allowances when appliqueing, and it also means my stems will puff with a bit of dimension after quilting.

img_0508Preparing the leaves:  The leaf template included a generous 1/8″ seam allowance. I cut out about 4 leaves from each fabric and worked on placing/pinning leaves on all four borders at once to evenly distribute the fabrics/colors. I considered using a ruler to measure the distance between the leaves and to make sure the center “veins” of the leaves intersected the stem at 45 degree angles. This proved too fussy! Instead, I eye-balled the 1″ distance between the leaves and simply made sure to orient them at a quasi 45 degree angle, pinning them 1/2″ from the edges of the white border fabric. I overlapped by 1/8″ the section of the leaves that touch the stem.

img_0507Appliqueing the leaves:  Since my leaf is a simple shape, I elected the “needle turn” method of hand applique. (Sometimes I use freezer paper or pellon stabilizer as an aid, but not this time.) I did not need to clip around the leaves since the curved bias edges naturally result in a smooth finish. Selecting spools of thread that most nearly matched the fabric colors of the leaves, I began stitching the leaves to the borders. It was easier to maintain the orientation of each leaf if I began at the point that touched the stem. I folded under 1/8″ so as not to sew through the leaf and the stem and continued bit by bit, tucking the seam allowance under and stitching all around the leaf.

I can’t wait to attach the borders and pieced corner squares to the quilt’s patchwork center!

If you’d like to learn more about needle turn applique, I recommend the Craft University class, Sew-on-the-Go with Needle-Turn Hand Applique taught by Deanne Eisenman.