Indian Summer update

Remember these quilt blocks?

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It looks like I got everything cut and organized in April 2018.  Well, I finally made some progress with this!  I took my unfinished bits to a quilt retreat this past April and it was the perfect project to sew on while talking, eating and drinking wine.  I mean you just sew on the lines, press and trim – then repeat 83 times!

I got the triangles sewn together last week and that finished the middle part.

The next step was to cut out the outside pieces and then I crawled around on the floor to get the layout I wanted.

The directions for these patterns from Quiltworx are extremely detailed and if you just follow each step, things work out well.

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The strips are sewn onto pattern pieces that have 5 strips on each.  The directions have you stack them with #1 piece on top and #5 on the bottom to make sure you get everything in the right place.

I’m not sure if I got everything in the right place but I did refer back to these photos a few times to make sure my pieces were going the right way so I tried.

There are 22 paper pieced sections around the outside of the quilt and 2 corner pieces.  (The other 2 corners are sewn together with a mitered seam.)  This is definitely one of those quilts where you wonder if things are going to work out.  Have faith!

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I got all the strips sewn onto the papers.  These went together very fast.

Then I sewed the bottom and top borders on.  They went on very easily.  I only had to add the one extra strip that was suggested in the directions.  One of the side borders fit perfectly but one was a little too short.  I ended up taking off the last strip and making a bigger piece and sewing it back on.  (Luckily I had some extra fabric.)

The pattern called for taking the paper off the #1 and #5 parts before sewing the paper pieced sections together.  You leave the rest of the paper.  This helps to minimize stretching in the border and it seems to have worked great.

After getting all the sides on; I dove right into sewing the mitered borders together.

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Those seams take a little finessing.

Then I sewed on the 2 corner triangles.

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And this Indian Summer quilt top is done!!

I still need to sew a basting stitch around the outside before taking the rest of the papers out.  Hopefully, this will keep the quilt top from stretching while it’s being quilted.

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A Big Bear

My husband asked me to make another baby quilt for a coworker who is expecting a baby this summer so I found this quilt that I thought would be fun for a new baby boy.

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This quilt pattern is called “Big Bear” by Annie Brady.  I found it online and I think at one time it was a free pattern using the Big Sky fabric line by Annie Brady for Moda.  I was able to buy the pattern download directly from Annie Brady’s website here.

I only saw the cute bear and thought – that would make an adorable baby blanket.  I didn’t look too closely at the pattern or the size of the quilt.  I also thought I would have enough fabrics in my stash for a little bear quilt until I started cutting.  Most of the blocks are 4 inch or 7 1/2 inches.  This is a big bear!

I had to do some scrap matching and swapping as I ran out of fabrics.

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Once I got all the pieces cut out, I put them up on my design wall so that I could sew them together correctly.  It felt a little like a puzzle!  Really, this quilt was quick and easy and a lot of fun to put together.

These eyeballs reminded me of all my flower circle appliques from last summer.  I’m a pro at them now!

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So the quilt from the pattern measures 59 1/2 inches X 70 inches but I wanted it to be more of a baby quilt so I didn’t add the last border which measures 7 inches.  My quilt came out to 46 inches X 55 1/2 inches.  It’s a little bigger than I would normally make a baby quilt but maybe this one will take the baby through the toddler years too.

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Another option would have been to cut the block measurements in half but that sounds like too much math for me.

I wanted to quilt an all over design on this that would be quick and easy for me to do on my sewing machine so I went with horizontal lines a little over an inch apart.

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I marked the lines and used my walking foot.  I’ll need to wash out the marking lines when I finish the quilt.

I thought I might go back and outline the bear after I finished the horizontal lines but I decided that might be too much.  I don’t like to have too much quilting so that the quilt is a little softer.

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I found this blue polka dot fabric at a fabric sale downtown so I used it as backing and I have plenty left over for the binding.

My binding is finished and ready to be sewn on and after a quick wash, this baby gift is ready to go!

 

Pin Cushion Sewing

The quilt guild I belong to is having a pin cushion swap this month and I’ve had fun browsing through Pinterest looking for pin cushion ideas.  I finally found one I really liked and bought the pattern from the Heather Bailey webpage .

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She has some adorable pin cushions and other sewing patterns and kits.

I ordered the Seymour Spyhop pattern and kit so all I had to do was sew it.

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First, I cut out the pattern pieces.  These are small!

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Included with the pattern was some fusible interfacing that you iron onto the fabric pieces and then cut out all the whale parts.

The first thing to sew were the flippers and optional fin.  I wanted to do the WHOLE thing so I included the fin.  There was a lot of clipping the curves for this project.

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Then I sewed the bottom together and added my Orca parts.  So far, not too hard except for a lot of hand stitching.

Then I had to baste the fin to the top, sew the darts in the head and put the top part together.

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Sewing the top to the bottom was the trickiest part.  I pinned a lot and went very slow.

After stitching the whole thing together, you  have to turn it right sides out.  I hate this part because it takes a little finessing.   Trying to get the whole thing turned through the little hole takes some patience.

Then it’s time to stuff him!  I used ground walnut shells to give it weight and make it a sturdy pin cushion.

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I performed some delicate surgery to close him up.

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How cute is this!

But wait … there’s more!

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The pattern and kit came with a little bonus crab friend for our pin cushion whale.

He’s cut from red felt and stitched together by hand very quickly.

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I spent a few hours on this project and I would definitely make another one.  Of course, this one will no longer be mine after the swap so I may need to make another one.

According to my pattern, you can get a little sailor cap pattern online so I think the whale without the fin but with a sailor cap would be a cute gift for my daughter-in-law in the Navy.

Remembering a Beloved Pet

I was recently asked to put together a special blanket as a kind of memorial for a family pet. A friend lost her beloved dog a few months ago and wanted a way to hang on to his special bed and blanket as a remembrance of him. She had cut his name off his dog bed and already had an idea of what she wanted for a special “quilt”.

I cut a bit off the edge of the bed fabric and made a loop to attach to the bottom of the name piece so my friend could attach the dog’s tags. Then I squared off and finished the edges of the name piece so I could later attach it to the blanket.

She had given me his two favorite well-loved blankets so I needed to put them together.

I stuck them right sides together and sewed them pillow-style around the edges, leaving a little space open to turn them right sides out and then I sewed the hole closed and top stitched around the edges.

Then I just quilted along the lines in the blanket to keep everything from shifting around. I used my walking foot for these straight lines.

The last step was to attach the embroidered name from his bed onto the blanket. I thought about doing this before sewing the whole blanket together but I just wasn’t sure about things shifting around and I definitely wanted it to be centered and neat.

So there you have a simple way to remember a pet and keep their favorite blanket around.

I’m so happy that my friend thought of me to put her vision of this project together and I hope it brings her a lot of joy.

Binding, Binding, Binding…

I’ve found myself in a perfect storm of quilt finishes although the quilts are not quite finished – they still have to have the bindings sewn on.

It makes me feel good to have all these quilted quilts but a little overwhelmed to do all the hand sewing that the bindings require.

It took me 3 weeks to get the binding on my recently finished hand quilting project. This is my “40 Shades of Grey” quilt that I spent the winter hand quilting. I don’t know why it took me so long to get the binding sewn on other than the fact that it’s a pretty big quilt. But it’s completely done now!

I’m halfway done putting the binding on my “On Ringo Lake” quilt. I remembered last night that I needed to make the label so I can’t go any further until I do that. (It seems easier to just sew it on along with the binding.) I mailed this quilt off to Missouri Star Quilt Company to have it quilted back in January, I think. Sometimes when I don’t have the backing or any batting, it’s easiest for me to mail it to them and include the backing in my quilting order. They get busy though so it took some time. It was a coincidence that it was returned about the same time I was putting the binding on my last quilt. Luckily, I had set aside the binding fabric so I was able to get it on the quilt quickly.

And then my “Good Fortune” quilt was returned right after that! I gave this one to my friend, Lisa, to quilt here in Germany. She broke her hand and was out of quilting action for awhile but she managed to get this one done and back to me last week. It looks beautiful! I wanted to piece the binding together from light background fabrics but I haven’t gotten around to that yet. So… it’s at the bottom of the pile.

And last is this Preemie Quilt for charity. My quilt guild makes & gives them to a local hospital and I picked up a kit. Of course it only needed barely 3 strips for binding as it’s only about 25 inches square. It will be a fast finish but it’s still on the pile.

So that’s what I’ve been working on and what I’ll be working on for a little while. It’s good to almost have 4 quilts finished already this year!

Taming the Scraps

My scrap basket is overflowing again. I was looking for a piece of red scrap fabric yesterday and as I searched, the scraps just kept coming out like one of those handkerchiefs from a clown’s sleeve! I was beginning to think I had a magic basket with no bottom.

I knew it was time to get in there and tame this thing.

Too much!

I started a sorting system.

First I set aside larger pieces and long strings. I can cut these later or use the strings for any string pieced projects.

Then I cut smaller pieces into 2 inch or 2 1/2 inch pieces. Lots of my pieces were only a little bigger than this so it seemed like a good size. I’m thinking I may have enough to make some sort of checkerboard quilt blocks.

And last, these are the pieces that were too small to do anything else with but I couldn’t stand to part with them. These bits are great for kids craft projects and that type of thing.

Since I started saving all my scraps, I’ve discovered endless possibilities and the beauty of whole quilts made from the leftovers of other projects. It can be fun and challenging to try and use up these leftovers.

Just don’t wait until they’re taking over your sewing room like I did!

Scrappy Fun with Flags

I dug out another unfinished project and have been working on it this past week.  Before we moved to Italy I started making flag blocks but then they got put away in the move.

Now that I’ve visited more countries I thought it would be fun to make flags for all those countries.

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So these are the flags that started it all.

Actually, I started making the flag blocks smaller and then switched to this bigger size.  This is actually an 8 1/2 X 11 inch block which is the size of American computer paper.  I thought that size would be both flag shaped and easy to make paper pieced if I needed to.

I’ve visited 20 countries now so I made a quilt layout that would be 4 flags across and 5 down.  So far, I’ve made 16.

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Some have been easier than others.  And I wouldn’t recommend starting a project like this without a good supply of red fabric!

So, I don’t think I will completely finish this quilt until we leave Europe because I have plans to visit more countries.  (Of course I’ll have to visit countries in multiples of 4!)  But I think a black and white map type fabric would be nice for the sashing so I’m on the search for something like that.

I was thinking it would be nice to print or embroider the country name onto the flag and maybe the year I visited.

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I was able to use my Liberty of London fabric to make the British flag which worked out well.

What didn’t work was the paper pattern I created for this flag.  It took a little trial and error.

As did my Canadian flag.  I tried to use a leaf pattern I had but it was set on point so there was a lot of math to get the flag the correct size.

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The Spanish flag also gave me trouble.  I planned to make the background and then paper piece & applique the crest emblem.

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I was trying to get the correct size for the crest emblem but do you see the problem with my flag?  I didn’t see it until I had already sewn it together.

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I got the background flag correct but my crest emblem looks a little … well, simple.  Hopefully, in the overall quilt, it will just look like the Spanish flag.

These flag blocks have been a lot of fun and I think it will be hard to decide that the quilt is finished because there’s always more places that I want to visit.  I’ll definitely share my progress on this project.

 

Baby Quilts x 2

The past couple of weeks I’ve been working on some baby quilts for a friend who is having twins!

I pulled out my notebook where I keep all the patterns I’ve collected to see what I should make.  One pattern I had is called “Cuddly Critters” and it’s a tumbling blocks pattern.  This pattern was in the Summer 2012 Fons & Porter’s Easy Quilts and is designed by Patti Carey.

The pattern came with instructions to use the Fons & Porter 60 degree Diamond and Pyramid Rulers or cut out the templates included in the magazine.  I don’t have the rulers so I used the templates.

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This quilt was really easy to make.  The key is to use light, medium & dark variations of the same color to create the 3-D block effects.

I pulled out three fabrics and got started cutting but quickly figured out I didn’t have enough of those fabrics.  (Wouldn’t it be nice if I read the whole pattern first?!) That’s when the quilt became more scrappy!  I had to find fabrics that were the same shade as the first ones and I mixed them in.

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The fabrics I used were very geometric and maybe it’s that or just the combination of  different fabrics that give this little quilt a modern feel.

This quilt was fun and easy to make and then I bought some flannel to use for backing.  I ALWAYS forget what a pain flannel is to work with!  I layered everything and used my walking foot to quilt around the blocks.  The flannel also makes the quilt a little heavier than I wanted but over time, with washing, it should soften and thin out.

It quilted fine but then when I sewed the binding on, there were issues.  Maybe the flannel doesn’t move through the feed dogs at the same rate as the top or have the same amount of stretch?  I don’t know but my top kept coming out longer.  It definitely took some wrangling to get that binding on.

The second quilt was a pattern my husband picked out.  It’s called “Pinwheel Baby Quilt” and I found it here on the Moda Bake Shop.  It’s by Jodi at Simply This That and The Other.

The pattern called for using a Charm Pack and I did use some Charm Pack pieces but also some of my own fabrics so I would have more choice in colors.  I wanted it to have more greens.

This quilt is a simple pinwheel pattern but has these fun Prairie Points added to the outside border.

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There was a little time spent cutting, folding and pinning these to the inside of the quilt.

And of course, when I bought the flannel backing for the other quilt, I also bought some for this quilt.

I now have the whole thing sandwiched together and I’m trying to decide if I want to go ahead with the flannel on the back or switch to regular cotton.

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It’s a sweet and fun baby quilt no matter what’s on the back.  I plan to use my walking foot again to quilt diagonal lines with the pinwheels and I have some fun green polka-dot fabric for the binding.

I can’t wait to give these quilts away and meet these baby boys!

Good Fortune Quilt finished!

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After the reveal of Bonnie Hunter’s mystery quilt a couple of weeks ago, I put my sewing into high gear.

I still had two parts to finish so I managed to do those and get all the blocks put together last week.  This week I concentrated on those 4 borders.  Yes, 4!

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I love the colors and movement in this quilt.  It wasn’t a really hard quilt and it’s not as big as last year’s so it felt easier to do.  Mine measures at 73 1/2 inches square.

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So there’s the first quilt top finish of 2019!  I’m really happy with it.

You can still get the free pattern on the Quiltville website until February 1st – after that, you’ll have to pay for it.

Waiting for a Clue…

Well it’s a new year and I have a new project!

I somehow got sucked into this year’s Quiltville mystery quilt.  I wasn’t even finished with the one from last year when Bonnie Hunter announced this year’s quilt called “Good Fortune” which was inspired by her trip to China last year.

At first I thought I would just dig through my stash and see if I had any of the right fabric colors … and I did.

Then I thought I would make my goal to get at least 1/3 of each step done … and I did that.

Then Christmas came along and it was the first time in 26 years that neither one of our kids was with us and I was feeling a little sad.  I suddenly had more time to go back and work on the steps that I hadn’t finished and it kept my mind off things.

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I’m working as fast as I can on Part 7 right now.

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And I’ve finished everything except Parts 3 & 4.

These little red & white 4-patches are from Part 1 and Part 7.

I was thrilled that I could clean out my scrap box for some parts of this.  I definitely had plenty of blue and red and tons of background fabrics.

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I had to go out and buy some more orange so now I can finish Part 4 and I’m not sure if I have enough green but I think I probably do and I don’t mind if this quilt is really scrappy looking.

I’m just wondering how many more clues there are and what this quilt will look like.  I’ll keep you updated on my progress.