Long Time Gone BOM #2

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I’m sewing in my very own sewing room again and I was excited to get this month’s fabrics for the Long Time Gone block of the month.  This month we made the Jacob’s Ladder block and the strip of Pineapple blocks.  We’re basically finishing up the blocks for the upper left hand corner.

I’ve always wanted to try my hand at Pineapple blocks but I think I’m over that now.  These little blocks are 5 inches finished and there are 37 little pieces of fabric!  There are 16 of these blocks in total throughout the quilt, so this was only a taste.  I get to make more!

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This month while I was laying all the finished blocks out, I realized that I made last month’s half triangles block backwards or upside down or something.  My triangles are not going the way they’re supposed to.

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At this point, I’m not changing it and I don’t think it really matters.  The block has the correct measurements so it will fit in where it’s supposed to.  My quilt will just be a little different than all the others.  Still nice.

I’m already loving this bright, fun scrappy quilt!

Long Time Gone

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The new block-of-the-month quilt that I just started is called “Long Time Gone” by Jen Kingwell.  It sounds like my life right now!  I’ve been gone from this blog for a long time now because of all the events going on in my life.

We packed everything up in Italy (OK, it wasn’t that much) and we moved to Germany.  My husband had the opportunity to take a job here in Stuttgart where we were before he retired.  We’ve always loved Germany so we decided to go for it.  Things moved quickly after he said yes and the movers (yes, this company has movers!) came and got our stuff.

I really, really tried to figure out how to squeeze my sewing machine in the car but we had clothes and bedding and computers and it just wouldn’t fit.  I did bring my hand sewing and some other projects.

This block-of-the-month pattern and fabric came in the mail last week!  I signed up for it through the Homestead Hearth website.  It’s going to be a fun, colorful project.  There were a lot of small pieces in the bag this month which looks like how it’s going to be every month but I love that scrappy, sampler look.

I’m lucky because I can rent a sewing machine and space to work at the Arts and Crafts center on the base here in Stuttgart.  We’re still in temporary housing so it’s been nice to go there and do some sewing and meet other sewists, er sewers – some nice ladies.

The other project I brought with me are the Acorn’s Promise blocks that I was working on before we left Italy.  This is going to be a quilt for a friend there.

This is the second Acorn’s Promise quilt that I’ve made and it’s a challenging block but fun.  There are 5 trees in this quilt and so far, I have 3  1/2 finished!  Next week, we move into our house here and I’ll have my machine back and I hope to make faster progress.

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So that’s the update of my life and projects in case you’ve been wondering why I’ve been gone so long.  I hope to be back soon!

A Use-All-Your-Fabric Quilt

I’ve been putting the finishing touches on this scrap quilt this week.

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I got the pattern from the ladies of my old quilt guild; The Black Forest Quilt Guild in Stuttgart, Germany.  They made a quilt like this for a raffle and I loved it.  I thought it would be a great way to use up a lot of my fabric stash before we moved last year.  As I cleaned up my sewing room and went through my fabrics, I cut and strip-pieced the 6 inch blocks so that I only had to mail a stack of these blocks.

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I also had a bunch of 1.5 inch pieces left over from my Crabapples quilt so I used those for the little nine-patch blocks in the sashing.

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The Black Forest Quilters made their quilt with a scrappy multi-colored piano key border but I didn’t have the time or energy for that.  I just added a couple small, complimentary colored borders to finish off this bright scrap quilt.

This is definitely a great quilt to use up your fabric stash!

Quilts all Around Us

I wanted to share some quilt patterns I found while I was traveling with my family over the holidays.

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This is the chapel floor in the church of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice.  It’s an interesting geometric floor that reminded me of a LeMoyne star quilt block.  The colors are dark but very striking.

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This is one of the mosaic floors in the Vatican museum in Rome.  Look at all the quilt blocks! (Sorry for all the feet.)  There’s a couple of Square in a Square blocks, or Ohio Stars – which ever way you look at it.  In the right hand corner ( I couldn’t get everything in) there are some Flying Geese blocks and there are some 4-Patch blocks in the middle.

Everyone else was looking up but I just happened to look down.  It made me smile to see these quilts blocks under all that beautiful art.  Of course, I think this is art too.

You just never know where you’ll find some quilts!

Fun Little Project

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Check out this cute heart-shaped pot holder that I made from a kit!  I bought the kit at Jackman’s Fabrics in St. Louis while I was in town visiting my daughter.  They had these little pot holders on display and had kits made up with all different fabrics.  I wish I had bought more than one now because it was so easy to make.

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The kit came with all the fabrics you need, the pattern and very easy to understand instructions.

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You cut out the heart pieces.

The directions said to quilt these parts lightly so I just quilted along some of the lines in the fabric for a criss-cross design.

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Then add binding strips to the half heart pieces for the back.  Baste these heart pieces on and then put the heart front piece onto the back upside-down and stitch around the heart, leaving an opening to turn the whole thing right side out.  Then you just hand stitch the small opening you have left.

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I wish I had used the small bit of red I had left over to add a little hanging loop to one of the heart tops.  This thing is so cute, I would love to hang it in my kitchen!

Now that I have the directions and pattern, I can make more.  You really only need small amounts of fabric and batting.  I would need to buy some of the Insul-Bright batting for the inside.  This is a nice product to use on potholders because it keeps the heat from going though the potholder and burning you.

And by the way, these would make great little gifts for that friend that likes to cook!

A Tied Quilt

Since I’ve been on roll finishing so many quilts (and the weather has gotten cooler) I decided it was time to finish my Sister’s Choice quilt so I can use it on my bed.

I’ve been putting this off and I should have bought supplies while I was back in the states but I didn’t.  I looked at the PX to see if they had anything I could use and found some crochet thread and yarn and some larger needles.  I thought I could use the crochet thread to hand quilt the quilt with big stitches but I don’t have a thimble and it’s just too painful to do without.

Then I found the invisible tie online and remembered that we did that with a quilt at my Virginia church but you need a VERY long needle so that left me with tying the quilt with little knots.

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This method is usually used with utility quilts – often for kid’s quilts.  It’s not super pretty but it works fine.

The type of batting you use will determine how closely you need to put your ties.  I used a thin 100% cotton batting which doesn’t have to be quilted very closely.  6 inches apart is probably the maximum and obviously you want to put the ties in a pattern that’s pleasing to the eye and fits in with the overall quilt.  While this is a quicker method, it still took me 3 days to finish all the ties.  Once I finished the middle of the quilt, I thought maybe I could straight-line sew around the blue inner border.  I tried using my walking foot but I didn’t have much luck.  I ended up using a regular foot and a longer stitch to give it a homey look.  The goal is to keep that batting from shifting when you use the quilt.

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When I started cutting fabric for binding, I found I didn’t have enough.  I know – you’re not surprised since this happens all the time to me.  It’s my thing.  I’m the queen of strange bindings.  I did have enough of the light blue that I used for the border to bind 3 sides but then I had to use the bright blue for the last side.  Hey, it’s a scrap quilt!

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So now I just need to hand sew the back of the binding and this quilt is finished!  Kitty is giving it her stamp of approval.

Finishing Touches

This week I’ve been finishing the binding on several quilts.  I had a quick visit back to the states and was able to get my Global Warming quilt quilted while I was there.

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I bought some extra-wide bright yellow fabric to use as the backing and had it quilted with swirly circles.

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I was going to use the left over yellow backing fabric for the binding but I decided to use some of the remaining batik jelly roll strips and try to match light with light and dark with dark.  It made the tedious binding job a little more interesting and I’m very happy with how it turned out.

I love this quilt!  It’s so bright and fun.  Plus, I think this is some sort of record for me.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever made a quilt this fast from start to quilted and bound.  It just worked out that way, I wasn’t even trying.  So often, after I finish the quilt top, I’m sick of it and need to put it away for awhile.

While I was home, I was able to dig a couple other quilts out of storage and get them finished.  They will be going to new homes.  Here is the Mystery Quilt I made last year:

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It was quilted with a floral pattern that goes along with the floral fabric.

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And the Quiltworx Compass Quilt which was so fun to put together:

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It was quilted with an all-over wavy stipple pattern which lets the design show through.

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I feel like I’ve really accomplished something with these finished projects and now it’s on to new projects!

Global Warming quilt- Part 2

The Global Warming quilt top is finished!

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It really wasn’t that hard.

Once I had all 4 of the segments done, I stacked them up with the center 4 squares on top of each other- all the segments facing up.  I tried to carefully get all the seams matched and pinned all 4 sides so they would stay all together.

Then I got out my tape measure (the pattern called for a yardstick but I didn’t have one) and started marking my curve.  The pattern called for it to be at 36 inches but since my quilt came out a little smaller, I marked my curve at 35.5 inches.  I wanted to keep my curve at about the same place as the curve in the pattern.

After measuring and marking and re-measuring, it was time to cut.  I just used my scissors and cut along the line I had marked.

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Here’s the quilt all laid out and ready to have the curves sewn.

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Normally when I sew curved pieces, I find the center of each piece and line them up first.  With this quilt, it was more important to line up the seam lines of each block.  Most of the time they lined up pretty well and the whole thing wasn’t too hard to put together.  I used A LOT of pins which always helps when doing curves.

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So there it is: “A Global Warming Quilt No 1” by Anthology.  I bought some really bright yellow backing and it’s going to the quilters next week.  I think I’m just going to sew some of the left over batik strips together to make a colorful binding.

I’ll share the finished quilt with you when it’s all done.

The Global Warming Quilt

I’ve finished all 100 blocks for the Global Warming quilt – and 5 seasons of Gilmore Girls on Netflix!  (Hey, you have to have something to make those boring blocks go faster.)  I laid them out and now I’m sewing them into 4 sections.

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I have to say this about the blocks- many of mine didn’t come out at 8.5 inches.  I puzzled over this because some did and I double checked my seam allowance but then I decided that maybe these jelly roll strips are a little off.  Some were 2.5inches but some were not quite there.  Then I noticed a small note in the pattern that said, “Strips may vary in width. You can deal with it!”  I guess they were referring to what I had discovered.  It’s definitely not the end of the world but the blocks really need to be the same size to all fit well together so I ended up cutting all the blocks down to just over 8 inches.  I hope this is the right way to deal with it.

One of the sections has the light blocks, one has the dark and the other two are medium value blocks.  I noticed that I had a lot of yellow and orange blocks in my medium values so I decided to put those together in one of the sections and the other medium section has more blues and greens.  I’m hopeful that when I cut the large circle out and turn it, this layout will create the most contrast.

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So the next step is to stack these 4 sections, pin them and mark a 36 inch arc and CUT it.  (How scary is this?)  Then move the circle pieces and sew everything back together.

It sounds like it could be cool.  It also sounds like things could go badly.  I will be holding my breath while I perform these feats of magic.  (And taking photos so I can let you know how it goes.)

Time for Something new

The fabric I ordered came in last week and I got the Sister’s Choice quilt put all together.  I wasn’t really happy with the blue fabric.  It looked a little lighter in color online than the blues I used for the star points but when it arrived, it was a lot lighter and BRIGHTER.  Oh, well.

The light colored fabric I used for the outer border is very old.  I think I bought that when my son was a baby.  The point of this quilt was to use up lots of my fabric and it definitely did that.  I sandwiched the whole quilt and eagerly got to quilting it.

What was I thinking?  This sewing machine is tiny!  I had a little wrestling match getting it into the machine.  I was so excited to try out the walking foot but then was very disappointed in the results.  My other machine never had a walking foot because Pfaff has the “integrated dual feed” system.  I have some options here: 1. un-sandwich and mail to quilter back in the states, 2. power through the quilting, 3. hand quilt, 4. tie the quilt.

I’ll think on this dilemma for awhile.  But in the meantime… time to start a new project!

I routinely cut out pictures of quilts that I want to make and put them in a binder.  This new project was one of those and when I went looking for the pattern, I was excited to find it for free online!  The quilt is called Global Warming by Anthology.  It was made originally to use Anthology’s line of Batik strips.  It just takes 100 2.5″strips of fabric.  I thought a couple of jelly rolls wouldn’t take up much room in my boxes to mail so that’s how I decided on this project.  Most jelly rolls have 40 strips in them and I brought 2 so I knew I would need to order another.

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The main thing about this quilt is that your blocks have to be distinctly light, medium or dark.  I separated my fabrics and figured out that I needed more dark so I ended up ordering 2 more jelly rolls. (What the heck – you can never have too many Batik strips.)

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I love working with Batiks!  They’re so bright and cheerful, it’s like working with a rainbow.  I guess we’ll see if I was successful separating and selecting light, medium and dark colors when the quilt is finished.

Here are sample blocks:

img_0235The blocks are very simple.  Two of the strips are sewn together and then cut into 16 pieces to make 2 – 16 patch blocks.  These are sewn together according to the pattern, then there will be cutting and sewing like a large drunkards path block.  It should be interesting.

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I have all my dark blocks waiting to be put together.