“Plus and Square” Published!

Have you seen the March/April 2021 issue of Quiltmaker? It is chock full of exciting quilt designs! I know you’ll find one or two that you just have to make.

My quilt, “Plus and Square,” is included in the magazine, and I am so excited to share the design with you! I had a ton of fun making this quilt. Although it is a quick and easy project, it packs a vibrant, visual punch. I selected brightly colored fabrics from my stash and stitched to my heart’s content. The Pluses seem to float on a sea of white background, while the Cobblestone squares form a solid anchoring frame around the perimeter.

The polka dot extra wide backing is from Connecting Threads and is perfect for this project. I quilted the “Tartan” pantograph designed by Melonie J. Caldwell in a neutral thread that blends into the white background but isn’t garish on the various colored fabrics. The angular lines of “Tartan” mimic the Plus patchwork. A red binding completes the quilt’s fun-loving vibe.

Soon after receiving “Plus and Square” back from Quiltmaker, I learned of a young boy who loves color and who “needed” a quilt made by “Auntie Mum.” Do you think he is a little bit excited?

Some of the fabrics used in the interior are duplicated in the border. Won’t this youngster have fun finding the matches?

Trains for Alex – a Quilt Story

Once upon a time, there was a Grandma who had many grandchildren. And she thought to herself, “What could I make for my grandchildren that would show them every day how much I love and care for them?” She thought, and thought, and thought some more until she hit upon the idea of making each grandchild a quilt of his or her very own.

Grandma B’s skills and supplies were not fancy or advanced, but her love was great. When Alex was born, she decided to make a train quilt for him, because every little boy is certainly captivated by trains. She purchased two twin sized sheets for the front and back of the quilt and found drawings of various trains she could sketch or copy for the applique shapes. She cut the shapes out of double knit fabric, stuffed a bit of cotton batting behind each one, and machine zig-zagged them to the front of the quilt. Grandma thought about Alex as she sewed, hoping he would love the red caboose as much as she did.

After appliqueing the shapes, Grandma B layered the top with cotton batting and the sheet backing. Then she painstakingly tied the quilt with royal blue yarn in a 4″ grid. As you can imagine, Alex loved his train quilt. It graduated with him from crib, to big boy bed, through grade school, high school and college. And Grandma B was happy and satisfied that her gift was so appreciated.

But that is not the end of the story of Alex’s train quilt. Because of many adventures and many washings, the front of the quilt grew soft with age, and the back of the quilt obtained tears and rips. But Alex still treasured his train quilt, and when he married, he brought it to his new home. Alex’s wife wondered if the quilt could be rescued and preserved for further enjoyment. I agreed to re-quilt the quilt if she would remove the damaged backing. She, bless her heart, carefully cut the backing away around the ties since they are integral to the quilt’s history.

We chose a light blue print for a new back and binding, and I used light blue thread to freehand quilt Es and 3s all over the quilt. The quilting design resembles clouds or steam from an old steam engine train. I avoided quilting through the appliques and most of the yard ties, although the ties are soft and my needle pierced them without issue.

Won’t Alex be surprised to see his childhood train quilt now, with a new lease on life?

D is for David

And D is for Dinosaur.

Our little grandson David loves dinosaurs. And he loves stomping around and saying “Rawr” at every opportune moment. How does a three-year-old memorize the long identifying names of prehistoric lizards?

I found the perfect dino fabric at Sew There! Quilts and More in Angier, NC. The fabric was designed by Jenny Newland/Art Licensing Int’l for David Textiles, Inc. I selected three coordinating tonal fabrics of different textures: red, blue, and gold. A simple patchwork design allows the dino fabric to do the talking. Inspiration for the pieced blocks came from Trinity’s nautical themed quilt made last fall for her nephew, Kingston. Click on the blue and white quilt to zoom in for closer inspection.

Desiring a twin size quilt that David can grow into, I enlarged the cut sizes from 2 1/2″ squares to 3″ squares. I cut blue and gold strips 3″ wide and strip-pieced Nine Patches that are 8″ unfinished. I cut red strips 2 1/2″ wide for frames around the Nine Patches; this yielded 12″ blocks, unfinished. Next, I cut the dinosaur print into 12″ squares and alternated them with the framed Nine Patches. Both my quilt and Trinity’s are 5 blocks by 7 blocks.

The quilting motif resembles contour plowing with some interspersed swirls. I quilted the edge to edge design with periwinkle blue thread, and bound the quilt with red tonal fabric.

The birthday party was this afternoon, and it was so much fun to see David pull his quilt from the wrappings and immediately begin playing with it. This totally surprised me because he received lots of toy dinosaur figures which I felt sure would eclipse a “blanket” from grandma. He played “peek-a-boo,” and “tent” from which he emerged with a “RAWR.”

    

D is for Dinosaur, D is for David, and D is for Delighted grandma!

“Earth Movers” Baby Quilt Finished!

What inspires you to make a quilt? A patchwork design you want to try? A seasonal motif? The need for a gift or decor item? Fabric? (Fabric designers and manufacturers are counting on the latter!)

Fabric was definitely the inspiration for the “Earth Movers” baby quilt. I acquired the central fat quarter in a pack labeled “Gray.” Gray? Well, I guess the roads are gray, but not much else reads gray in that fat quarter! I considered fussy cutting the trucks and signs to include in an “I Spy” quilt, but the vehicles are larger than my other “I Spy” patches. What to do with this “gray” fat quarter? Then, when I received a trucks and diggers with light green background in a fat quarter drawing last month at my guild, I was inspired to combine the two fabrics in a baby quilt.

After squaring up the central fat quarter, I added a gray “roadway” border and a border of red print. Alternating a light blue print with the squares and rectangles of the truck print stretched my fat quarter into an interesting border. And binding with the red print finished the quilt nicely.

I met my personal challenge of using every bit of the two “Earth Movers” fat quarters in making this fun baby boy quilt. I think I might try this design idea again with a large floral print or Disney princess print for a little girl!

By the way, “Earth Movers” was one of the 12 projects Trinity and I finished on her recent visit. Several of you guessed 12, but Karen P. was the first to respond with that number. Karen, would you like a couple of fat quarters of batik fabrics or a couple of fat quarters of Tula Pink fabric?

“Propeller” Quilt – A Beginning

DSCN7910Recently I purchased navy anchor fabric from fabric.com for my grand niece’s baby quilt. In order to get free shipping, I also ordered a bundle of remnants “for boys.” I received over 12 different fabrics, each measuring in excess of 18.” Everything from tennis balls to “Blaze and Crusher” monster trucks … with a few tone-on-tones and geometrics thrown in for good measure. Such a deal!

Since my nephew and his wife, who trained as a pilot, are expecting a boy at the end of August, I’m inspired to make an airplane-themed quilt. A 10″ “Propeller” block in bright fabrics seems like an appropriate design choice.

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I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

“The Adventurers” Finished!

The baby quilt for my expected grandson, made with “The Adventurers” fabric is finished! Click here to read about the beginning of this project. You will find printer friendly instructions for making the quilt on the Patterns page.

DSCN7773Thanks for all your comments on which shade of blue would look nice for the sashing. At Loving Stitches, my local quilt shop, I found a blue spiral tone-on-tone in the same fabric line. Perfect! Echoing the subtle shapes in the sashing fabric, I quilted spirals all over the quilt with a muted light blue thread. Click on the picture detail to zoom in and see the quilting design as well as how I used some leftover strip-pieced patchwork in the binding.

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Anchors Aweigh, Matey! Let the adventures begin!

“The Adventurers” Baby Quilt

We are expecting a new grandson in June. And you know what that means . . . Grandma needs to make a quilt to celebrate!

My local quilt shop, Loving Stitches, currently stocks “The Adventurers,” a line designed by Cori Dantini for Blend. The pictures are so sweet and just perfect for a baby boy!

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I purchased a panel of 8 large blocks, a panel of 8 rectangles, and 1/4 yd. each of red, yellow, and green print. My plan was to strip piece the prints, cross-cut and sew the simple patchwork to the rectangles. This would enlarge the rectangle blocks to the same size as the large blocks.

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Here’s a lay-out of all the blocks. I think they need some sashing so each picture can be appreciated. Take a look at the lower left corner; I auditioned 2 blues from stash that blend with the colors in the quilt blocks. I think I like the lighter blue better. The darker blue draws my eye to the sashing instead of to the sweet pictures. What do you think?

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Off to the quilt shop I go! I figure I need 2 1/2 yards for sashing, border, backing and binding.

Kathy’s “Speedy” Quilt

IMG_3684My friend, Kathy, sent her turtle quilt to me for quilting. Is it not the cutest? “Speedy,” designed by Kelly Davis, was published in Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting magazine, March/April 2014. Kathy plans to give the quilt to a young mom in her church who is expecting a baby boy. He is going to have fun fiddling with the 3-D heads and tails.

I used a bright variegated thread in the border and turtle shells and a light gray thread on the white background.

“Disappearing Half Square Triangle” Finished!

Have you viewed some of the Missouri Star Quilt Company videos on You Tube? What great how-to instructions, free for the watching! I am especially intrigued by  the “Disappearing . . .” designs Jenny Doan and her staff have collected, sewn and filmed. You can find Disappearing Four Patch, Nine Patch, Window Pane Nine Patch, Pinwheel, and Hourglass.

To jump on the Disappearing band wagon, I experimented with a “Disappearing Half Square Triangle” idea. You can find a link to printer friendly instructions on the Patterns page of this blog.

2015 photos from nikon 529To make 2 blocks, you’ll need 10″ squares, 1 white and 1 dark print.

Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the white square. Layer the 2 squares, right sides together and sew 1/4″ away from both sides of the drawn line. Cut apart on the line and press seam allowances toward the print fabric. Important:  Trim the resulting Half Square Triangle (HST) to 9 1/2″ square.

Measure and rotary cut 2″ in from all 4 sides of the square. Then swap the white and print rectangles.

    2015 photos from nikon 531     2015 photos from nikon 532

Sew the block together like a Nine Patch with 3 rows of three units each. The block measures 8 1/2,” unfinished.

I experimented with several layout ideas before sewing the blocks together in rows. Which is your favorite? I think, for the fabrics I chose, the second layout is more interesting.

        Disappearing HST layout 1        Disappearing HST layout 2

For the quilting design, I borrowed a motif from the tractor tires and the bulldozer tracks in the outer border print. As the picture below shows, I quilted pairs of gently curving lines across the width of the quilt. Then I quilted crenellations, some slanted and some straight, of various heights and widths.

Quilting Tracks

This quilt will help a little guy learn about color, about earth moving machines, and perhaps he’ll roll his Matchbox cars along the quilted tracks!

2015 photos from nikon 546

Be sure to check out “Disappearing Half Square Triangle” on the Patterns page. On page 2 of the instructions, you’ll see a diagram of another colorway for the quilt.

July Fabric Resolution Finished!

As a reminder, here’s the fabric I resolved to use somehow, someway in the month of July.Flags

I found a soccer themed fabric in JoAnn’s. The balls are imprinted with flags of the nations, perfect the quilt’s planned theme–world cup soccer tournament.

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But the fabrics are very different in style and coloration.

flag and soccer fabric

So I decided to use my old fabric as the backing, and the new fabric as a feature print on the front of the quilt.

The quilt top measured 42 1/2″ square, and my backing was a mere inch wider. I sewed 4″ muslin extensions to the sides of the backing so my longarm clamps would have something to grip. The muslin extensions are re-usable; I sew them to the quilt backing by machine with a basting stitch. After the quilting is complete and I have trimmed the excess batting and backing from the top, I use a seam ripper to quickly snip and rip the extensions from the remaining narrow string of backing fabric. I have two lengths of extensions: one set for queen size quilts and one for baby or lap quilts.

July fabric resolution muslin extensions

Sorry to tease you by only showing the back of the quilt . . . but the front is a design I am pitching to McCall’s Quilting magazine for possible publication. If I receive a rejection notice, then I’ll feel free to show you the front of the quilt. Until then, here’s a sneak peak.

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I really like the bright colors, the black and white circle print, the white background, and the black and white zigzag binding fabric. July’s fabric resolution . . . done!