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.

 

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“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.





Aidan’s Quilt

2 09 2017

A Step-by-Step Photo Journal

In July four-year-old Aidan and his family visited for a long weekend. It happened to be the weekend his cousins Kaleb and Krystine had finished their summer quilt projects and were ready for a photo shoot. “Could I make a quilt, too?” he asked. Absolutely! There is no better question to bless a quilting grandma’s heart!

We looked in my bin of juvenile prints and he selected a rocketship print and an seaside print (thinking he might make two quilts, one for himself and one for his little brother). Grandma Aby decided to focus on one project at a time.

We selected colorful tonals that coordinated with the rocketship print. The patchwork design is a variation of my “Steppin’ Up” quilt found on the Patterns page of this blog. Instead of cutting ten 4″ x 40″ strips, I cut eight 5″ x 40″ strips. Then we arranged the strips in color order.

Next, we sewed the strips together on the long sides, joining the first and the eighth strip to make a tube. Note whose toes are operating the sewing machine’s foot control.

   

I cross-cut the tube in 5″ increments and un-sewed one seam of each unit to make a “Steppin’ Up” design. We placed the rows on the design wall so Aidan could see what his quilt would look like.

I pinned and sewed the upper four rows together and then the lower four rows together. “Yes!” we are making progress!

After sewing the upper rows to the lower rows, Aidan joined his cousins for the photo shoot. If you missed it, you can see Krystine’s and Kaleb’s quilts on this blog post.

In order to make the quilt a little larger for this would-be astronaut, I added a narrow black border, a scrappy border made from 2 1/2″ wide strips, another narrow black border, and a 5″ wide red outer border. Aidan was enthusiastic about the “Blast Off” pantograph from Lorien Quilting which pictures a rocketships, stars, and Saturns. He selected a variegated thread of primary colors. Black binding completes the project modeled here by one happy boy!





Ninja Turtle Quilt

10 07 2017

In late winter, a house fire tragedy occurred near Gatesville, TX, claiming all the earthly belongings of the family. The young son, a Ninja Turtles fan, attends the same country school as my granddaughter. Together we cooked up the idea of a Ninja Turtles quilt to comfort him. Once I found the licensed turtle print in JoAnns, we selected solid red, orange, blue, and purple to match the headbands of the sensational reptiles.

The patchwork design is simple — Four Patches from 5″ squares alternating with plain 9 1/2″ squares of the Ninja Turtle print. Krystine began sewing the quilt in February, but then schoolwork and sports crowded out her sewing time. She brought the unfinished project in her backpack to my house this summer for us to complete together. I pinned and pressed while she sewed the blocks and rows together. Then I loaded the quilt top on the longarm and installed the “River Run” pantograph for her to stitch. We selected green thread which blends nicely with the majority of the fabrics. Leftover turtle backing fabric became binding which we top-stitched with a machine zigzag stitch.

I am proud of Krystine for carrying on the family tradition of gifting quilts to folks in dire straits. I related to her my husband’s grandmother’s practice of making quilts and saving them in her cedar chest for the purpose of giving them to families who had lost all in house fires. We know Scott is going to love his quilt and we hope his parents will realize that folks in the community care about them in their great loss.





Fat Quarter Challenge–August

15 08 2016

The 15th of the month has rolled around again, and I am once more posting about a quilt project which utilizes some of my hoarded fat quarters.

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The inspiration for this simple “Four Patch” quilt comes from Mari Martin’s “Snowbroth” quilt pictured on pg. 46 of the August 2016 Connecting Threads catalog. Click here to view the quilt and/or order a kit. (See more of Mari’s designs here.) I wondered if Mari’s design would morph well from her pastel white/gray/teal palette to my bright orange and blue butterfly print with coordinating tone-on-tones and prints. What do you think?

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I down-sized the quilt from lap size to baby size in order to use my fat quarters. By cutting 4″ squares from four FQs, I obtained enough for 20 “Four Patch” blocks. (Each FQ yields 20  4″ squares.) With 2″ sashing, the quilt measures 36″ x 45 1/2.” Note the use of partial blocks for the border surrounding 12 complete “Four Patch” blocks; I think this feature adds interest. If you make this baby size quilt from FQs as I have described, you will need about 3/4 yd. of fabric for sashing as well as 20  2 1/2″ squares for cornerstones.

Now it’s your turn. What are you making with your fat quarters? I would love to show a picture of your project to blog readers. Send your digital picture and explanation to aby.quilts@gmail.com.





Revisiting “Charmville”

5 10 2015

While tidying my sewing space, I found a house block leftover from making “Charmville” blocks in various sizes. The original quilt was published in the February/March 2014 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts.

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You can read all the blog posts about “Charmville” by typing “Charmville” in the Search box in the top right corner of the side bar. During the Quilt-A-Long, I made a sample block using 2 1/2″ squares, and that’s the one I found recently.

IMG_3661I decided to make 8 more house blocks and sew all nine into a baby quilt. To make each block, I raided my container of scrappy 2 1/2″ squares to find 8 squares of the same color plus a yellow for the window. I sewed 2″ wide light blue strips to the sides of the resulting “Nine Patches” prior to attaching the roofs. The roofs are giant “Flying Geese” units measuring 5″ x 9 1/2,” unfinished. Additional light blue strips separate the houses, and a black print, representing streets, separates the rows. Orange tonal fabric makes a perky border, and I used Quiltmaker’s September Bitty Blocks of “Saw Tooth Stars,” mentioned in a previous blog, for corners in the border.

A simple all-over quilting design in light blue thread adds texture to the interior of the quilt while orange thread blends with the border. I quilted black loops in the black “street” strips. A black and white zigzag print binding completes the project.

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Making the “Flying Geese” roofs for the houses by the “one rectangle, two squares” method, produced a bunch of bonus triangles. Sewn together in a row, they add interest to the quilt back.

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Have you found an abandoned project recently and been inspired to work on it again?





“Scrappy Trips” in Paducah

15 09 2015

DSCN7662Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my “Scrappy Trips around the World” designed by Bonnie Hunter of quiltville.com was in Paducah, Kentucky! No, it was not juried into the prestigious American Quilters Society show held each year in April. Rather, it made a guest appearance on the lawn of The National Quilt Museum. I began the quilt while visiting Pam about a month ago and completed the top while visiting Kathy last week. Kathy invited several quilting friends to visit her new home; sewing, chatting, and sight-seeing were on the agenda, and visiting The National Quilt Museum was a priority.

DSCN7654If you are ever in the vicinity of Paducah, Kentucky, plan to spend several hours at The National Quilt Museum. The guided tour is well worth the extra fee as Kathy, Alicia, Marie, and I can attest. The museum collection contains about 500 quilts, most of them top winners at past AQS shows; about 60 are on display at any given time. We viewed “Perfectly Pieced” and were awed by the colors, designs, precision and inimitable quilting! In addition, we viewed three special exhibits: unbelievably exquisite miniature quilts, heart stirring Quilts of Valor, and vibrantly alive quilts from Caohagan, Philippines.

DSCN7658Since we were forbidden to take photographs in the exhibition halls, I purchased a coffee table book of all the quilts. We were, however, allowed to touch and photograph the Caohagan quilts for sale. The quilts featured appliqued freehand scissor-cut shapes of birds, trees, flowers, houses, fish, boats, people, and some included patchwork. The quilters used polyester batting and hand quilted horizontal parallel lines about an inch apart. It was amazing to read about the quilters and their desire to creatively provide for their families’ needs by making and selling quilts.

After an inspiring morning of viewing award-winning quilts, we enjoyed a picnic lunch on park benches on the museum lawn.

Have you visited The National Quilt Museum? What impressed you most?