UFO Completion Update

12 02 2018

Happy Monday, Everyone! Here’s hoping you had time to spend a couple of hours this past weekend to sew and work on your UFOs.

Speaking of UFOs, Patti sent a picture of her bright ‘n cheerful Sixteen Patch quilt made with leftovers from an Eleanor Burns class she took in VA in 2011. This quilt goes to her “Prayer Quilters” group at church. I love the diagonal movement in the quilt. Way to go, Patti!

Judy sent a picture of “Long Road Home” composed of blocks exchanged among quilting friends. It’s just beautiful, Judy! I know you will enjoy using this quilt made from Civil War reproduction fabrics in your home.

I worked on my second “serious” UFO for the first quarter. It is serious because if I don’t finish, I’ll owe a fat quarter to everyone who did finish her UFO at an end-of-February quilting retreat. That is what you call a deadline with a penalty, definitely a motivator! The design is “Chopped” by Joan Ford who taught a workshop for Tarheel Quilters Guild two years ago. The interior of the quilt is done. Now to add pieced borders, made of leftovers from chopping the Pinwheel blocks. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

 

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Valentine Table Topper

5 02 2018

If you follow several quilting blogs as I do, you’ve seen many, many beautiful heart-themed wall quilts, table runners, bed quilts, and pillows for February decorating. My simple table topper can’t compete with the others for intricacy or fancy design, but it was fun to make.

On November 26 I saw an “On Point Baby Quilt” on Moda’s Bake Shop website by Karin Vail  that I wanted to try. Click here to read the full tutorial. While Karin used purchased 5″ charm square packages, I determined to cut squares from my stash of red, pink, white, and purple fabrics. After selecting a stack of colorful prints, I happened to think of my overflowing box of 3 1/2″ scrap squares. Would I have enough “pre-cut” squares in the right colors to make the project? Not quite, but it was a great start and sped me on my way.

First I sewed two blocks of 25 squares each. Generally, I press seams to one side or the other, nesting seam allowances where they meet. For this project, however, I pressed all seams open.

After pressing, I cut both blocks in half diagonally. Tip:  Before cutting, I should have first marked the diagonal lines with chalk and then sewn 1/8″ away from both sides of the drawn lines. These diagonals become the outer edges of the table topper. And we all know that cutting diagonally yields bias (stretchy) edges. Stay-stitching prior to cutting would have prevented stretching.

Now here’s the “Ah-ha” fun part:  Use all four triangles to make a square by turning the 90 degree corners of each triangle into the center. In other words, all the diagonals form the outside of the table topper while the right angles of the triangles are in the center. Sew the triangles together; press seams open.

I layered my on-point patchwork with batting and backing. With purple thread I stitched straight lines 3/8″ away from all seam lines by aligning the edge of my presser foot with all the seams. A multi-colored floral print serves as backing and binding. (If you’d like to see a close-up of the quilting, click the first photo in this blog post to zoom in.)

My table topper, though not elaborate, was the happy result of trying a new technique. As Karin says in her tutorial, you can use this method for any size squares and any square grid configuration as well. Let me know if you try this technique; I’d like to see your quilt, be it large or small.

 





House Quilt Finished!

2 02 2018

I am excited to share a picture of “Mi Casa Es Su Casa,” the quilt made with blocks exchanged between twelve friends most of whom live in Germany.

I quilted, E’s and 3’s, a freehand all over design with pale yellow thread. The yellow blends well with the orange sashing as well as with all the other colors, and yet it fades into the white background of the blocks.

For binding, I chose a black and white even stripe. I considered cutting the fabric on the bias so that the stripes would diagonally wrap around the quilt, but I decided I liked the look of straight stripes just as well. In comments to a previous post about this quilt, Sana suggested adding a narrow black flange or black piping prior to attaching the binding. What a great suggestion! In the future, I need to dress up some of my quilt edges. Unfortunately, I had already machine stitched the binding to this quilt before reading Sana’s suggestion.

I added a wide hanging sleeve on the upper edge of the quilt back because “Mi Casa …” will hang in a quilt show in Nuertingen, Germany with other block exchange quilts. I can’t wait to see pictures of the quilts made by my friends.

Whew! One of my “serious” UFOs is done. Now to move on to the second – which has an end of February deadline. But first I have to quilt a handful of customer quilts and make a patriotic quilt that has been accepted for publication. Sew many quilts, sew little time!





“Cozy Cabins,” a UFO Finished!

15 01 2018

“Cozy Cabins,” designed by Lynn Lister and published by McCall’s Quilting magazine caught my eye in the fall of 2016, and I began making blocks. The darker, muted colors struck a chord with me because I have plenty of those types of fabrics in my aging stash. Click here to link to the McCall’s blog for October 7, 2016; you can download a free pattern for “Cozy Cabins.” Click here to read my blog post when I began this project.

I modified the pattern by increasing the cut size of the center black squares to 3 1/2″ and increasing the cut width of the surrounding strips to 2.” It was fun to coordinate colors/fabrics, and I managed to decrease my stash of scrap strips and fat quarters. Did you notice the black triangles in the corner block pictured below? Each of the four corners looks like this; the triangles are my solution to the not-quite-enough-strip-to-go-around-the-entire-block dilemma!

As you can imagine, the blocks were easy to assemble. I enjoyed sewing one or two at the end of a busy day. For me, simple sewing is a great way to unwind!

A black 4″ border handsomely frames the project, and I pieced together strips of binding leftover from other projects. I used an old gold quilting thread, knowing it would blend nicely with all the scrappy fabrics yet show up richly in the wide black border. I used a pantograph called “Happy Times” designed by Hermione Agee (Lorien Quilting/Urban Elementz). The backing is a brown calico, purchased cheaply, that I’ve had forever. I am happy to have found a way to use it!

Do you currently have a “simple sewing” project which helps you unwind?





“Garlic Knots” Finished

8 01 2018

Since finishing my “Dresden Plates” quilt, I have poured sewing time into finishing my “Garlic Knots” quilt. You can read about the beginning of this project and a strip piecing hack here. The patchwork block was popularized by Bonnie Hunter in an “Addicted to Scraps” column for Quiltmaker (Jan./Feb. 2014 issue). I saw this arrangement of blocks on Pinterest which motivated me to make the quilt.

I had about 3 yards of the shirting background fabric and so decided that my total of blocks would be determined by the amount of background fabric on hand. Fortunately, the fabric stretched for making 100 blocks and an inner border. As usual, I auditioned fabric for the outer border and settled on this wavy stripe. It forms a dark frame around the multi-colored patchwork blocks, achieving a calming finish, yet the unusual orange and white stripes add zing.

Construction Tip:  Before adding the inner border, I turned the quilt to the wrong side and stay-stitched 1/8″ from the edge all around the quilt. By turning the quilt over, I could see all the pressed seams. The stay-stitching ensured that the pressed seams would not flip out of place when I attached the first border.

Surprises:  I usually think of Civil War fabrics/quilts as a bit faded with muted colors. Intellectually I know that quilters of that generation selected bright colors that have merely faded over time. But practically, I expected this quilt to look faded even though I selected CW reproduction fabrics. Silly me! However, I do like the bright, bold appearance of the quilt, so it’s a keeper. Another surprise was the way the wavy stripes misbehaved in the mitered corners of the outer border. I expected the stripes to mesh in an orderly fashion as they would in a mitered border of straight stripes. Instead the corners of the outer border are a riot of zigs and zags!

I was tempted to quilt an all-over feathers design with an old gold polyester thread as I did on my recently finished Dresden Plate quilt. However, the gold thread would contrast too much in the dark navy stripe-y border. I want the viewer to appreciate the unusual border fabric without being distracted by gold thread. The solution was quilting rounded, back and forth lines about an inch apart with navy thread in the border and meandering with the gold thread in the quilt’s interior. The binding is solid black, an understated finish for a vibrant quilt.





“I Spy” Placemats

20 10 2017

Several days ago during mealtime, my 16 month old grandson was sitting at the table pointing to the various squares on his quilted placemat and identifying colors and shapes in baby talk. His attention and interest gave me the idea of making “I Spy” placemats for both boys. I enlisted Aidan’s help with designing, i.e. placing the thirty-five 3″ squares in a grid of 5 x 7.

For the prints, I raided my container of “I Spy” fabrics and added in tonals of the colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, and brown), cutting two of each. Aidan used a portable Olfa cutting mat/ironing surface as a design board. Once all the squares were in place, I easily transported the board to my sewing desk. Chain piecing the squares with Bonnie Hunter’s web technique kept everything in order, but Aidan was aghast. “Grandma, the placemat has holes in it!” Zoom in to see the bits of thread connecting the squares of row 1 to the squares of row 2, and so forth.

After pressing the seam allowances in the odd rows (1, 3, 5) to the right and the seam allowances in the even rows (2, 4) to the left, I sewed the rows together and pressed seam allowances to one side. I layered the patchwork with cotton batting and a large scale dinosaur print for backing and quilted a grid “in the ditch” with muted blue thread. Aidan asked for orange binding, and we plan yellow binding for David’s placemat. Incidentally, Aidan placed the prints and tonals differently for his brother’s placemat. The label on the back reads “Designed by Aidan . . . Quilted by Grandma Dolinger . . . October 2017.” Aidan and I are pleased with our projects, and I am dreaming up new “I Spy” games we can play at the breakfast table!

Click here to read a previous blog post about similar placemats designed by children.

 

 





A Tale of Two Quilts

26 09 2017

My friend and fellow quilt guild member, Yolanda, has a long time friend, Sophia. This is the story of Sophia’s family quilt and Yolanda’s remake in the spirit of the original design. My part was quilting the remake.

Sophia writes “My great-grandmother, Serena Herndon (Richards), started this quilt in Oklahoma in the late 1920’s, but my grandmother, Elzira Scoggins (Herndon), finished the quilt top in Mt. Shasta and Oroville, California sometime during 1930s-1940s. My mother, Serena, born in 1945, quilted this blanket in Oroville around mid to late 50’s.” Be sure to click on the photograph to zoom in. Many of the fabrics are wildly colorful.

Sophia’s mother recently passed, and so she asked if Yolanda would cut up the quilt top to incorporate some of the original blocks into a new quilt because  many of the fabrics were worn out from age and use. Yolanda encouraged Sophia to allow her repair the old quilt instead and also to make a new one that would capture the design of the original. Happily, Sophia agreed.
The inspiration for the quilt blocks came from the original quilt. Yolanda’s goal was to isolate the original block design and set it on point. However when she laid out the blocks to audition them before sewing sashing between them, she liked the look of a horizontal set best. By exercising creative license, Yolanda gave the new quilt its own identity. The angels in the central panel are representative of Sophia and her mother meeting again in heaven. The wording “To God be the glory, until we meet again” is her way of rejoicing for the coming reunion.
Yolanda selected 2 1/2 inch wide strip packs of Civil War reproduction fabrics from Connecting Threads. The border is an end of bolt find from Pineapple fabrics; the backing is 108 inch wide cotton backing also from Pineapple fabrics. I quilted the “Splash” pantograph with old gold polyester thread. The gold blended well with all the patchwork blocks yet showed up nicely in the wide blue border. Since I didn’t want to quilt the panto over the angels, I meandered in the background of the panel and echo stitched around the angels. (It was not easy to interrupt the pantograph in this way, but this treatment suited the quilt.) Yolanda added a label which details the tale of these two wonderful quilts.
In the words of Hattie, another of Yolanda’s friends, this Granny Square block is so reminiscent of lessons learned from those who have gone before us.  Yolanda’s remake of Sophia’s family quilt is a beautiful story of a shared love for this ageless art work.  Isn’t it wonderful how the past can bring out the best in us?