Quilting Retreat for Two

17 11 2018

About a week ago our daughter Trinity arrived with a backpack full of quilt tops she planned to complete while visiting us. The weather was chilly and rainy – the perfect incentive to stay indoors and quilt. We kept my longarm humming!

On the far left, you can see the Texas themed quilt, a raffle quilt for grandson Keith’s junior class to benefit the prom. We also finished a quilt for her son, Kaleb, who is now over six feet tall and needs a longer bed quilt. And then, there was the stack of baby quilt tops, all completed now. Did you notice the plum and blue star table runner on the top of the pile? Trinity’s visit coincided with a runner class I taught at Sew There! Quilts and More. Teamwork had Trinity longarming while I machine sewed binding on the quilt previously finished.

We’re offering a fabric and quilt pattern prize for the first person who correctly guesses how many projects we completed on our retreat for two. Write a number in your comment below.

Toward the end of her stay, we went shopping, yes, for fabric for two more quilts, and also for a suitcase. Trinity came with a backpack of tops and left with a suitcase full of completed quilts!


“Scrappy Squares” Finished!

2 11 2018

I’m happy to show you my Leader/Ender project made with 2″ squares. You can read about the beginning of this project here. And you can read about the middle of the project here. The blocks measure 6,” finished, and the quilt is 42″ square. This is a great lap quilt size for a rest home resident. (The Tarheel Quilters Guild, of which I am a member, donates lap quilts to our local VA Hospital.)

This quilt is fun to look at because of the variety of textures and prints it contains. From juvenile to Christmas, from polka dot to paisley, from florals to stripes, from Civil War repro to batiks, this quilt has it all!

To match the background fabric, I chose white thread. Meandering adds curvy texture to soften the angular squares. I had planned to bind the quilt with a black polka dot fabric, but after trimming the excess backing from the quilt, I decided to use backing scraps instead. I think the teal Grunge is a great choice; it lends a happy finish to the quilt, and it’s surprising how many of the teal squares in the quilt’s interior are now noticeable.

The making of this quilt has reduced my box of 2″ squares to light backgrounds and boring dark colors, so I’ll use my box of 1 3/4″ squares for my next Leader/Ender project. If you say the block design is similar to the quilt pictured above, you’ll be correct, but daughter Trinity says I should set the blocks on-point and add a piano key border. Stay tuned as I chronicle my progress!


“Scrappy Squares”

11 10 2018

Guess what is on the design wall . . . my “Scrappy Squares” leader/ender project. To see the beginning of this project, click here.

My plan was to make a quilt with a 7 x 7 grid, i.e. 49 blocks. Sewing squares together in between other projects, I made 25 blocks. The centers were cut 3 1/2″ square and were surrounded by 2″ squares. Once I completed these 25 blocks, I placed them on my design wall. If blocks are on the wall rather than in a box, they are more likely to become a quilt. Seeing them is motivation to work on the project!

I chose a simple design for alternate blocks that utilizes Four Patches leftover from my “Confetti” quilt. Click here and here to see the “Confetti” quilt. The colorful squares were cut 2″ x 2″ and the white strips were cut 2″ x 3 1/2″ and 2″ x 6 1/2.” Here’s a close-up of a section of my “Scrappy Squares” lap quilt.

It is so exciting to see “Scrappy Squares” coming together. I might be tempted to complete the alternate blocks in one sewing session rather than piecemeal as leaders/enders.

What motivates you to finish a long-term project?

“Patriot Stars” Finished!

24 09 2018

Following Hurricane Florence, after power was restored, I quilted “Patriot Stars.” I began this quilt as a Leader/Ender project at the prompting of Bonnie Hunter, scrap queen extraordinaire. This block design is the “Jewel Box Stars” Leader/Ender challenge she issued in July. You can read about the beginning of my project by clicking here.

I made nine 16″ blocks which, with sashing and border, make a nice sized lap quilt. Most of the fabrics are leftovers from various patriotic quilts I’ve made with Wilmington Prints strip packs for magazine publication. It feels great to give these vibrant, Americana scraps a place to shine!

For quilting, I used a light blue variegated thread and “Becker’s Shooting Star” pantograph distributed by Urban Elementz.

By clicking on the picture, you can zoom in to see the quilting design. I love the contemporary feel this stitching brings to the quilt.

Practical Life Insight: I blogged about a scrappy Leader/Ender project that I began prior to finishing “Patriot Stars.” I hesitated sharing the new project for fear that you would chastise me for having too many scrappy irons in the fire.

And not one of you, my faithful blog followers, called me on the carpet for beginning a new project before finishing an old one. Not one of you judged me for my enthusiasm on the one hand and procrastination on the other.

This makes me wonder how many of us won’t begin something new or won’t share our excitement for something new because we are afraid of other people’s comments. When the truth is, most people don’t pay that much attention to how many projects are on our to-do list; they are only concerned with their own spread-sheets. The people who love us will applaud our excitement with a new endeavor, and they will encourage us along the way.

Now I’m not advocating abandoning your “old” projects and never completing them, but I am encouraging you to put fear aside and follow your creative instincts. I certainly won’t be the one to judge you!

New Leader/Ender Project

3 09 2018

My daughter, Trinity, found a scrappy block on Pinterest that she suggested I make. She knows I trim and organize my scraps in boxes by usable sizes:  1 1/2,” 1 3/4,” 2,” 2 1/2,” 3,” etc. And she also knows that I am always on the look-out for Leader/Ender blocks. Click here to read Bonnie K. Hunter’s explanation of Leader/Ender projects.

My all-time favorite Leader/Ender block is “Ups and Downs” shown on the left in the photo below. I’ve used this block with sashing to make numerous kids’ quilts. And when I need to expand a quilt backing, I often insert a row of these blocks. If you look closely, you’ll see that “Ups and Downs” requires 4 each of two different colored squares, yellow and green in this case. However, sometimes my scrap piece yields less than 4 squares, so Trinity’s Pinterest find is perfect for a truly scrappy block.

You could use any size square for this project. In fact, by cutting Jelly Roll strips at 2 1/2″ intervals, you could make a planned scrappy quilt. Hint, hint, National Sew a Jelly Roll day is 15 September. For this Leader/Ender project, I’m using 2″ squares that surround a 3 1/2″ square. (Thanks, Judy B., for the FQ of “Dirt”; it’s perfect for the center 3 1/2″ squares!) I plan to make 16-20 blocks for a drag-around kid-friendly quilt.

How do you think I should set my scrappy blocks? With sashing? On-point? With alternate blocks?

New Quilt Project: Flying Geese

20 08 2018

Last February, at a quilting retreat, I exchanged bright print and tone-on-tone 2″ x 4″ Flying Geese blocks with about a dozen friends. The challenge for all of us is to make quilts to display at the 2019 Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival. Until now, my Geese have patiently sat in their zip-loc bags awaiting a freedom flight to my design wall.

Although we’re keeping the final lay-outs of our quilts secret, I’ll give you a sneak peek at the beginnings of my project.

“Well begun is half done” – I am really excited about my design idea inspired by a quilt I saved on Pinterest. I’m motivated to work on it every day until it’s finished. Won’t this be a fun, cheerful quilt?

“Stacked Coins” Baby Quilt

13 08 2018

Most of you remember seeing my “Roman Stripe” quilt finished this summer.

As happens with most scrappy quilts, there were a few blocks and lots of 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangles as well as 1 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ strips left over. To use some of these scraps, I decided to make a “Stacked Coins” baby quilt.

Last summer I purchased the black polka dot for sashing and borders as well as the trucks print for backing. Indeed, I purchased enough fabric for two quilts but only got around to making one with grandson Kaleb’s help. It feels great to finally use this fabric for its intended purpose! If you zoom in, you will see several orphan blocks from the “Roman Stripe” quilt, and you will see the quilting design in variegated thread. Loop-loop-meander adds curvy whimsy to the very structured quilt, and the colorful thread brightens the dark sashing and border. The yellow/orange print makes a happy binding that blends well with the primary colors of the quilt backing.

Tip: It’s way too easy to stretch columns of rectangles when pressing. Mathematically, each column of my quilt should measure 30 1/2.” I cut the sashing strips 4″ x 30 1/2″ and the side border strips 5″ x 30 1/2.” Placing a sashing strip on the ironing board, I pressed each pieced column to match the length of the 30 1/2″ long strip. This pressing tip ensured that all the columns would be the same length, making quilt assembly a snap.

Have you made a “Stacked Coins” or “Chinese Coins” quilt? If so, what color sashing/borders did you use?