“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.

 

 

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String-Pieced Pumpkins

20 09 2017

Grandson Aidan’s birthday is near Halloween, and he is enthused to decorate (already) for both celebrations. We decided a pumpkin quilt that he could keep “forever” would be fun to make. For inspiration, we used Bonnie Hunter’s string-pieced pumpkin design published in the Quiltmaker September/October 2017 issue. You can see pictures of a table runner Bonnie made with string pieced pumpkins here.

To begin with, we dumped my shopping bag of strips and strings on the sewing room floor, searching for all the orange, rust, tan, and green. After ironing the selected strips and cutting paper foundations from an old phone directory, I changed my sewing machine needle to size 90 and decreased the stitch length to 1.5. Piecing the four pumpkin blocks on the paper was quick and easy; in a couple of hours, all were complete.

Aidan decided he would prefer a long, skinny wall hanging rather than a Four Patch style block layout as pictured above. This layout makes the quilt more versatile as it can also be used as a table runner. Sashing and border strips were cut 2 1/2″ wide from Wilmington Prints black “Criss-Cross.” The quilting design is a spider web pantograph with metallic gold thread. (I suggested metallic silver thread, but Aidan’s choice of gold turned out just fine! Click on the picture, zooming in to see the quilting details.) Lime green binding makes a lively finish. With a hanging sleeve on the back, we are ready to decorate for fall and Aidan’s birthday!

 





“Scrappy Patch” Published!

29 08 2017

I am very excited to tell you that my quilt, “Scrappy Patch,” was published in the October/November 2017 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts!

My inspiration for this quilt originated with a Block of the Month challenge issued at my quilt guild. We were instructed to make totally scrappy “Aunt Sukey’s Choice” blocks with a white background. To speed construction along, I dove into my container of  2 1/2″ squares and my container of 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangles. Click here to read the blog post about my disappointment in not winning all the blocks submitted by guild members. But since I liked the idea of turning my scrap squares and rectangles into a quilt, I made eleven more blocks which resulted in a large lap quilt, 57″ x 71.” Click here to read about how I assembled a kit for each block during a car trip. And Click here to see a photo of the quilt and instructions for ordering a digital pattern from McCall’s. If you are not yet a subscriber to Quick Quilts, you can order a copy from  the online Quilt and Sew Shop.

After completing the blocks, I debated what color to use for sashing such a “wild” quilt. I felt a neutral or solid color would be best. Black would work, but might lend the finished quilt a somber air. I settled on white to add some modern “negative space” with the added bonus of a secondary “Nine Patch” pattern. I thought a black print would frame the quilt and help settle down the multitude of colorful prints. I found the black print with zigzag lime green lines in a quilt shop’s sale basket. Perfect! And I decided a coordinating lime green tonal would make a great inner border.

To repeat and accentuate the triangles in the quilt blocks, I overlaid some Prairie Points on the wide black border after quilting the quilt, enclosing the raw edges in the binding. The Quick Quilts magazine gives excellent, step-by-step instructions for making the 3-D Prairie Points. As you can see from the picture below, I folded back the triangles about 1/4″ and hand-tacked the Prairie Points to the border so they would lay nearly flat but still give a 3-D effect.

Using lime green thread, I free-hand quilted spirals over all the quilt. Alas and alack, I didn’t have enough of the same lime green print used in the inner border to bind the quilt, but I found another stashed lime tonal to conclude this very scrappy quilt!

Would you like to win a copy of the magazine? If so, leave a comment below stating if you would make this quilt totally scrappy or employ a limited color scheme. I’ll draw a winner on September 5.

 





“Confetti” Progress

19 07 2017

Earlier this summer I posted about being inspired to make a “Confetti” quilt designed by Augusta Cole. Click here to see the original post. I pieced Four Patches from my bin of 2″ scrappy squares; I strip-pieced some two-sies for Four Patches; I attached white rectangles as leaders/enders while piecing other projects; and I attended my guild’s Sew Days for the purpose of making a dent in the patchwork.

Here are some pictures snapped at our Sew Day in early July. Drusilla, using 30’s reproduction fabrics displays a corner of the quilt, demonstrating that it is assembled in diagonal rows. Nancy generously shared squares from her scrap bin. And my little Featherweight bravely puffed along.

    

I have decided it is time to finish this 1000+ squares project, so I’m arranging the 99 blocks on my design wall. Here we go! Looks like I need to make a few more blocks . . . Stay tuned!

Remember that the 12 Days of Christmas in July blog hop is happening. Here are the list of blogs for your convenience. You’ll find all kinds of projects: overnight duffle bag, sparkly ornaments, table runners, fabric baskets, etc.

 Friday, July 14th
 Saturday, July 15th
 Sunday, July 16th
 Monday, July 17th
 Tuesday, July 18th
 Wednesday, July 19th
 Thursday, July 20th
 Friday, July 21st
 Saturday, July 22nd




“Born to Excel” Camp

2 07 2017

For the past several years Crossroads Church in Lillington, NC has educated and entertained youngsters from 9 to 12 a.m. the third week in June. The kids register in advance, each choosing two “tracks” of interest:  from Woodworking I and II, to Cooking, to Crocheting, to Fun and Fitness, to Dance, to Science experiments, to Drama, to Quilting. I volunteered to help with Crocheting and Quilting. Besides learning new skills, the children sang songs and studied the story of Ruth in the Old Testament. “Born to Excel” Camp is our church’s brand of Vacation Bible School, and it is open to the community.

Space is limited to about 145 campers, so it’s first come, first served for the tracks. The Quilting class has 8 slots which were spoken for the day registration opened. My friend, Michelle, designed a lap quilt project for the girls this year, and leaned on the Sew and Sews church quilting group for adult volunteers. She cut 2 1/2″  bright strips donated from our stashes and divided them into kits in preparation for camp. My protégé was Lydia, age 9 or 10. She was so excited to make her very own quilt! We adult volunteers had to keep the girls encouraged and on task during the daily 45 minutes sessions so they would finish their quilts by Friday morning.

As you can see, The quilts were “pillow turned” to avoid a lengthy lesson on binding, and minimal quilting around the cross and around the outer edge holds all the strips in place. Michelle embroidered each girl’s name on a heart and appliqued it in place after the quilt was completed. What a great memento of a fun week!

 





“Postage Stamp” Quilt – a Graduation Gift

7 06 2017

My young friend Emily has reached a milestone – graduation from high school!

I love to make “Postage Stamp” quilts for graduates. All the tiny squares can symbolize the bits of knowledge they’ve crammed into their brains for the past 12 years. Amazingly, the bits and pieces combine together to make a beautiful and useful whole. I encourage young people to keep on learning.

“Postage Stamp” quilts are also a metaphor for keeping friendships alive by corresponding. Yes, it is an effort to keep up with friends long distance after graduation, but long-time friendships are worth preserving.

I made this quilt with 1 3/4″ squares that I cut from scraps and save in a box. My friend Linda made a portable design board for me by covering a sturdy piece of cardboard with batting and then with gridded flannel. As I lay out pieces for the wall quilt, my squares will easily stick to the flannel . . . unless I’m outside and it’s windy like on Memorial Day. In that case, I pinned each square to the design board, securing them until I sewed the squares into rows. I think alternating light and dark squares helps the eye to focus on the motifs of the dark fabrics. I arranged the 99 squares in 11 rows with 9 squares each. Click here to see a “Postage Stamp” quilt completely made with bright/dark squares.

The following picture shows how I pressed the seams so they would lock together when I joined the rows. Every other row is pressed to the right; the alternate rows are pressed to the left.

I obtained insider information from Emily’s mom for the border color; her favorite color is turquoise blue. I cut the inner solid border 2″ wide and the outer tone-on-tone border 3 1/2″ wide. The wall quilt measures 20 1/2″ x 23.” Straight line quilting with white thread in a cross-hatch design through the squares is simple, yet enhances the patchwork. I echoed the seam lines with white thread in the inner border and meandered with turquoise thread in the outer border. A congratulatory label on the back completes the gift.





Dinosaurs say “Raaarh!”

10 05 2017

Last week daughter Trinity visited us ostensibly to help hubby celebrate his birthday. We celebrated, yes, but we also quilted up a storm. I quilted a fall quilt that granddaughter Krystine finished piecing this summer. Click on the picture to enlarge it; you’ll see the leafy edge to edge quilting design.

And Trinity worked on three baby/toddler quilts as well as a large lap quilt her friend pieced. Quilting and bindings progressed smoothly and on schedule . . . and then we paid a visit to our favorite local quilt shop, Loving Stitches on Ramsey Street in Fayetteville, NC. The striped dinosaur fabric called Trinity’s name! She has a two year old great-nephew who loves dinos. So she mentally designed a simple quilt, bought the fabric, and stitched it up. I quilted a simple edge to edge design adding “raaahr” in the orange blocks, and I bound it while she worked on blocks for another quilt.

Needless to say, I had to lend Trinity a suitcase for the return trip. All six quilts would NOT fit in the two backpacks she arrived with. She couldn’t wait to visit Hagen and give him his “I love you this much” dino quilt. He loves playing with it, and the kid who never naps with a blanket fell asleep under the cozy, fun quilt Auntie Trinity made!

It is so rewarding to give a quilt to someone who loves and appreciates it, wouldn’t you agree?