An Easy Spin

I’ve made several “one block wonder” or “stack and whack” quilts, but when my friend Elisabeth was teaching a stack and whack star at Studio Stitch, I had a hard time not signing up for it. These quilts are so interesting!

Instead, I resurrected the “4-patch posy” idea. I did that pattern years ago, too, and it was fun. I’ve since found another version of it, though I’m sorry to say I can’t find the link any more 😦

I made the 4-patch posy using some Laurel Burch fabric I’ve had forever, and it was a hit! My grandson went right over to it and started looking as soon as he came into the studio.

This was so much fun that I’m going to teach it in January.

Here are the quilt stats:

Name: Rumble in the Jungle

Finished size: 54″ x 54″

Design: Variation of 4-patch posy

Quilted by: Elisabeth Pugh

Saved! Sort of.

Today is Grandparents’ Day, in case you didn’t know. So, along those lines…I’ve found things during our move that I swear I’ve never seen before, though of course that’s unlikely. One such item was a very large damask tablecloth, probably linen.

I thought it had belonged to my grandmother, who was very much into fancy tables. (We’re talking multiple sets of china, flatware, etc.) However, the monogram marked it as having belonged to my great-grandmother, Ida Miller Ownbey (1862-1923).

Despite the beauty of the cloth and the handwork, there were several holes in it, and too many Sunday dinner leftovers to save it.

I threw it in the trash.

THEN I needed to spray baste a small quilt. I retrieved the tablecloth and used it to cover the garage floor for the procedure. Ha!

I was so glad it wasn’t wasted. May we all be so useful at age 100!

 

Sunrise

Here’s the last finish of August, made of HST (half square triangle) blocks left over from another project.

And here it is held out the window for me to photograph! I thought it would be fun to have my husband stand on the landing half way up the stairs and hold the quilt out the window. And it was fun!

Quilt Stats

Name: Sunrise

Design by: me

Finished size: 50″ x 75″

Quilted by: Julia Madison

And just in case you asked, the quilt isn’t upside down in either picture. It’s ambidirectional–is that even a word?

Stars Again

I’ve probably made more stars than any other type of quilt block. For some reason the design just appeals to me. Here’s the latest.

The original inspiration was this quilt called “Scrappy Stars II”, found on Pinterest. The post from which it was pinned is here.  I also found a similar pattern, called “Night Sky”, at the Missouri Star Quilt Company, here.

I didn’t care for the way it was arranged and I wanted to make it bigger anyway, so I redesigned it. First I drew the basic idea in EQ8, as I had found it on Pinterest, but with a border added.

HST Stars, drawn in EQ8 as a starting point for my design. Sources in preceding text.

I used this drawing to lay out my HSTs (half-square triangle blocks). Then I started adding rows and fiddling with the design. This was during the time we were in temporary housing, so there was a LOT of running up and down stairs to view the design from the loft. It was extremely easy to get pieces turned the wrong way!

The back is a sheet I got at my favorite thrift shop.

Quilt Stats

Design based on two sources noted above

Finished size: 78″ x 53″

Quilted by: Julia Madison

More Stars

Lucky Stars by Atkinson Designs is one of my all-time favorite quilt patterns because it is so clever. It uses fat quarters and makes lovely stars without the need to worry about cutting off the points!

I don’t recall how many quilts I’ve made from this pattern, but here’s another one. It’s made with the fossil fern fabrics I’ve collected over the years for no particular reason other than a love for those fabrics. Hoping to use them up, I made the back out of my scraps.

Julia Madison quilted it with stars and loops–perfect!

Quilt Stats:

Pattern: Lucky Stars by Alex Anderson

Fabric: Benartex Fossil Ferns

Finished size: 59″ x 44″

Quilted by: Julia Madison

Pattern available here. As always, this is not an affiliate link; it is just for your convenience.

Two Lovely Beginner Books

I am charmed by a couple of new little books for beginners in sewing or quilting.

Jump Into Patchwork and Quilting is an approachable introduction to quilting. It is not completely basic, as it assumes you have a sewing machine and know how to use it. However, it covers basic information about quilting, including fabric selection, batting, basting, and so forth.

I found the level of detail exactly right. For example, there is a well-illustrated explanation of how to use a rotary cutter safely, without getting into the eternal debate about whether it’s OK to use the lines on your mat for measuring.

The book begins with easy projects and proceeds to a final sampler quilt. This seems to me an encouraging way to teach a beginner to quilt, as these earlier projects can be completed fairly quickly. Here’s part of the Table of Contents showing some of the projects:

Photo courtesy of C&T

The final project is a typical beginner sampler quilt. It is done in cheerful colors and has a modern look while using some traditional prints. I like the combination, which should allow those drawn to both traditional and modern type quilts to enjoy the project.

Phot courtesy of C&T

The one additional thing I would have liked to see in this book is encouragement to allow for mistakes. There is the usual explanation of the importance of a consistent 1/4″ seam, but it would be nice to see acknowledgment that even “imperfect” blocks can be beautiful.

This would be a great book for a series of classes, or for teaching a friend to make quilts. It is available here.

Jump Into Sewing is bright and cheerful without being childish. There are many useful illustrations.  It starts with “Anatomy of a Sewing Machine”, which will be especially useful for those who may have inherited a sewing machine without knowing anything about it. There is a section of clear explanations on troubleshooting common machine sewing problems such as thread snarled on the top or bottom of the fabric.

Photo courtesy of C&T

The first project is an easy pillow. It gave me the idea of helping my 5-year-old make a pillow. He enjoyed decorating a tote bag and the pillow would be a fast project.

Photo courtesy of C&T

More advanced projects include making a buttonhole and putting in a zipper. The final project is a substantial-looking tote bag, which, like the other projects in the book, could be gender neutral.

Photo Courtesy of C&T

Jump Into Sewing is available here.

The book does not offer any information about garment construction, though of course the techniques would transfer. I hope this new series will progress to “Jump Into Garment Sewing” in the future.

These are fun books that make me think of the non-sewers on my holiday list 😉

P.S.: The links above are for your convenience; they are not affiliate links from which I make money.

Wonky

I’m currently on a program of finishing 2 UFOs (unfinished objects) before starting each new project. I caught up quite a bit last year, but there are a few things still to be done.

Most recently I pulled out these swap blocks from a long time ago. They should finish 24″ square. Of course, since they are medallion style blocks, there’s plenty of opportunity for the size and shape to get “off” with each additional border.

There was one in the group that surely was not perfectly square. I put 4 of them together anyway, figuring this could be a picnic quilt and “fixing” the wonky block was way too fiddly.

This worried me a little, even in a picnic quilt. (OK, like most quilters, I’m more than a little O.C.)

Then my daughter came along and said, “It’s not wonky, it’s organic in design!” Ha! So there! Art-speak is frequently useful!

Finally, the Move!

Aha! We are finally in our new home and loving it.

It includes a specially-designed quilt closet for storing finished quilts on wire shelving with good ventilation.

There are vents at the base of the doors to let air in

And a vent on the side wall at the top to let air out, encouraging passive circulation.

And it’s nice to know the quilts will be well treated now, because some of them had a little accident on the trip here.

Luckily the boxes that got damp contained finished quilts. I just washed and dried them and they are just fine.

The rest of the quilts (for the second part of the move) were packed like this.

So, once I can get my studio set up, the quilt making will begin again! Here’s a picture of the studio

And the special knob for the studio door

There’s a house attached to the studio, as well as a yard.

If anybody is looking for a great builder in the N.C. triad area, you should know that our house was built by My Granville Home of Greensboro. They were wonderful! Feel free to contact either me or the Granville people with questions.

A Little Finish

This is a quilt top I made as I was working out the details of the Lightening pattern I did for Studio Stitch a while back.

This is only 36″ square, so it will be a quilt for Ronald McDonald House in Winston-Salem, where they use this size for incubator covers.

I quilted this on my domestic sewing machine (a Bernina 550). I did not use the BSR stitch regulator primarily because it is packed somewhere in a moving box, though honestly, I don’t feel the need for it. I quilted a meander because it is fast and easy.

My blogging friend Clair pointed out some time ago that gold thread goes with almost any quilt top, and I’ve found that to be true! This is my favorite gold thread because it does look really gold but it is NOT metallic. (Metallic thread can be a bear to quilt with.)

As always, I used Bottom Line in the bobbin. I love that thread! If you have it in black and white you can blend it with almost any backing, though I have bought a few other colors as well.

And FYI, nobody paid me to say all this, and I bought the thread with my own money, etc, etc.

In case you missed it, here’s the quilt for which this was a practice piece. Last I looked Studio Stitch still had the pattern available free with purchase and even had one bundle of fat quarters left of the fabric.

Thanks for reading, and have a good week!

 

Virtual Design Wall

I’m making a queen sized quilt from my 100 Tula City Sampler blocks using this design. I made several layouts in EQ8, my design software, and chose this one.I love this layout, but it’s turning out to be a bear to piece!

BTW, I don’t recommend this design particularly. The sashing is waaay too fiddly.

Anyway, I have assembled the top in 4 quarter panels to improve the accuracy of my piecing. Now I’m ready to assemble the panels into a quilt top, but we are still in our rental house so I don’t have much of a design wall.

I thought I would wait until I have a big design wall in the new house, but then I had another thought. I took a picture of each of the quarters, edited them all with Photoshop, and custom printed them so each quarter is 7″ square. The pictures aren’t perfect, but I think they’ll work!

Now I can play with arranging the quarters in various ways. The printed colors aren’t great (I used regular printer paper) but this is going to be much easier than moving 4 big panels around on a big design wall. I may even use this technique again when I have a big design wall available.

I’ll let you know what happens.