About zippyquilts

I quilt for pleasure but I also teach and write about quilting.

What Did I Learn in 2018?

My friend Melanie recently listed some (quilty) things she learned or re-learned in 2018, and it seemed like a good idea! So here goes…

And while I’m at it, I’ll re-introduce a few of the quilts I finished in 2018.

The center piece is a fabric”jewel” made in the same guild workshop as the block

1. Despite my history of using high-loft batting, I learned that it is much easier to neatly trim, square up, and bind a quilt made with LOW loft batting!

Mini-Quilt for Jill made from an orphan block

2. Deb Tucker’s “Tucker Trimmer” is the bomb for making half square triangles!  A friend introduced me to this tool.  I have used at least 3 other methods for trimming HSTs, and this is by far the best.  Much better than the (considerably more expensive) Bloc Loc tool, more accurate than my slotted square-up ruler, faster and easier than just using a regular ruler.

art quilt

Small quilt for a challenge with my local MQG

3. After many years of quilting, I have LOTS of small pieces of fabric but not many big pieces. I went to pull blue fabric for a quilt from my blue drawer.  I thought I had plenty since the drawer is full, but most pieces were less than half a yard!  So…

donation quilt

Donation quilt: The concentric squares are pieced; the other pieces are a print from Michael Miller

4. When I buy fabric for stash now, I often buy 3 yards at a time because that’s likely what will be needed for a single fabric in a planned quilt.

Gypsy Wife quilt

Finished Gypsy Wife; it was made from a couple of FQ bundles but the background required yardage

5. I want to do everything, but I’m going to have to choose and prioritize or nothing gets done.  Maybe a little of everything???

slabs, scrap blocks, scrap quilt

Donation quilt from single-color scrap blocks

6. Some projects just need to go in the fizzle drawer!

One for the fizzle drawer, but I have taken it apart and will re-purpose the fabrics in 2019

And a few opinions I haven’t changed my mind about:

  1. Almost all quilts need some purple in them somewhere!

    Block made in a workshop with Rosalie Dace

  2. Superior So Fine is a great thread for piecing, resulting in very little lint in my machine.

    I will be teaching this triangle quilt in March at Studio Stitch in Greensboro

  3. Almost any day is a good day if I learn something new

As always, these opinions are my own and I have received no compensation for sharing my favorite tools.  Your opinions and results may vary 😉

 

My Quilt is in Quilty Magazine!

This quilt was designed with friends at a retreat and remained unfinished for a year while I contemplated what should go in the big.white.center.  

Eventually I decided on petals, finished the quilt, and submitted it to F&W, where it was accepted for the January 2019 issue of Quilty.  I love Quilty, so I was thrilled.  And now the January issue, including my quilt, is available at Barnes & Noble.

This is Quilty’s “glamour shot” of my quilt

Once I got going on what to put in the center, I made another version with a ring in the center and the addition of a floral border:

If you pick up the magazine but want to make the quilt with the center ring instead of the petals, e-mail me and I’ll tell you the measurements.  Alternatively, just trace a dessert plate from your collection, which is what I did 😀

Snow Day = Sew Day*

*Thanks to the Studio Stitch website for the catchy title!

We recently had enough snow that my office was closed for a day!  My husband built  a wood fire in my studio, and I spent the day getting a few projects DONE.

The tractor was ready to plow us out, but wasn’t needed for the amount of snow we got.

First, I trimmed and bound the Christmas quilt for some very special people.  You’ve seen the top before, but here it is again. It finished 55″ square.

And here is a closeup of the quilting done by Julia Madison.

I went on to make this reversible, cross-back apron, which has been on the bucket list for about a year.  The pattern is from Indygo Junction and was very easy.  Luckily, my friend Sally agreed to model it!

I also made progress on a couple of UFOs (Un-Finished Objects) but pictures of those will have to wait until they’ve been quilted.

Happy holidays to everyone!

Equilateral Triangles

I love triangles and I love log cabin quilts, so what could be better than triangle log cabins?
This was made using Moda’s pattern for Wild Waves Batiks, available free here.
I used a 60 degree triangle ruler rather than the template provided, and it was not at all difficult.

The backing is fabric I got off the sale rack at one of my favorite shops.

I wanted to try my hand at getting a quilt to come out completely “squared up” for a change. I don’t usually worry about it–after all, most of my quilts are intended to keep people warm rather than hang on a wall, so what difference does it make?  However, just for a challenge…
I used Susan Cleveland‘s instructions for squaring and stabilizing a quilt while applying tiny piping around the edge.

Here is my pile of tiny piping

I took a binding class with Susan years ago, and I highly recommend it. I used her Piping Hot Binding tool and binding instructions, which I also recommend. The whole process was well organized (Susan could have been an engineer!) and her directions were easy to follow.

Here is a detail of the binding.  My quilt came out nice and square (OK, it’s a rectangle, but you know what I mean!).

The quilting was done by Julia Madison, and you can see in the photo here that she used a triangle motif to go with the quilt.

The quilt finished 50″ x 53″.  The pattern finished larger, but I quit when I got done making triangles 🙂

Triple Update

First, my modern guild members wanted to add some of the quilty things they’re thankful for to my recent list.  They are thankful for:

  • The way quilting connects us to generations past and future
  • Having time to do what I want to do, which is quilting
  • The opportunity to learn new quilting techniques
  • Inspiration from friends
  • Friendships made through quilting
  • New viewpoints from others in the group
  • Deadlines to motivate me to get something finished!
  • A husband who can find his own supper 😀

Second, I am thankful to be able to teach classes, and there were some pretty place mats made at a class I taught last week. You can click on any mat to get a better view.

OK, true confession: I loved everyone’s fabrics and was forced to buy some of those fabrics before I left the shop…

Third, I finished the mats I made to demonstrate in class.  They’re for two little boys who  are learning to sit at the table to eat but are too young to read this post, so it’s safe to show these!

Any holiday sewing at your house?

A Month of Thankfulness

One of my fellow bloggers recently titled a post “Thirty Days of Thankfulness“, and that strikes me as a good idea.  Much of her post ended up being about making cards to thank people for various things, which seemed like a good idea, too.

Then another blogging friend, Chela, commented that the day after Halloween is WAY too soon to start Christmas music in the stores.  The combination got me thinking…

Maybe instead of the month of December being about shopping and decorating, it might be a time of reflecting on what we have to be thankful for.  Thanksgiving could be the kickoff, and that would give us exactly a month of thankfulness until Christmas.  Just saying.

It’s not difficult to think of something I’m thankful for every day, but since this is really a quilt blog, here are 10 quilty things for which I am thankful:

  1. My hands and eyes work well enough to make quilting fun.
  2. I learn something from every quilt I make.
  3. I’m thankful for my sewing machine!
  4. Many fabric designers and manufacturers provide wonderful fabrics for me to work with.
  5. I’m thankful for my rotary cutter!  Yes, I started quilting in the days before rotary cutters!
  6. Many people have taught me along the way, and I appreciate their contributions.
  7. Quilting books are an endless source of inspiration!
  8. I appreciate the way my blog puts me in touch with other quilters, and the way we share ideas.
  9. My quilt studio is well equipped, and this time of year I especially enjoy the wood heat.
  10. I’m thankful for the way quilting has helped me make good friends everywhere we’ve lived over the years.

What are you thankful for?  And yes, next week it’s back to our regularly-scheduled program with quilt pictures!  Thanks for stopping by.

 

A Different Floor “Quilt”

We recently met friends for dinner at Balsam Mountain Inn, a large “railroad hotel” built in 1908 with a train station right in front. Before the days of air conditioning, it was a popular summer spot for vacationers from the cities; the Inn is at 3500 feet elevation.

Photo from Balsam Mountain Inn’s Facebook Page

The floor of the sun porch, where we ate, had an elaborate pattern made up of those one inch tiles that were common in the early 20th Century.  We were told the floor is not “original equipment” but it is in keeping with the period.

A friend took some pictures of the floor for me, since I immediately wanted to document the pattern for possible use in designing quilts.  These were taken with my cell phone in low light, so the quality is not great, but I thought you’d like to see the floor anyway.  You can look up Balsam Mountain Inn on Trip Advisor and see better pictures of the floor as well as the Inn.

This is the one that first caught my eye as a potential motif for a quilt.

And here is a design I made with EQ8 based on the floor.  I think it is way too fussy for me to ever make as a quilt.  It would make a better embroidery design.

Christmas is Coming! A finished quilt

I actually put this quilt top together last year, but waited to finish it because the grandson for whom it was made wasn’t in a “big boy bed” yet. Now, here is the finish in time for his pre-Christmas excitement.

The idea was to use cute Christmas novelty prints. There are plenty of those available, but they don’t lend themselves to intricate piecing so I used the old reliable Turning Twenty Again pattern.  I’m not sure I like how chopped-up it looks, but the point is for the child to have fun finding the different items in the novelty prints, and the layout serves that purposeThe quilting was done by my friend Joyce Miller in a pattern of swirling snowflakes.

The backing is a flannel I bought a couple of years ago.  Flannel shrinks more than most cotton fabric, so I pre-washed it.

The finished size is 62″ x 73″.

What’s Next

Naturally I have started work on Christmas projects.
First, a “big boy bed” quilt for my younger grandson, which is ready except for binding.  Here are some of the cute fabrics and the cozy flannel backing:

I made a set of Christmas place mats for a quick place mat class I’ll be teaching in December.And I’ve finished the top for this quilt to be given to some special people who presumably do not read my blog!This is a modification of a pattern I found in a Quilter’s World publication called Autumn Colors:I kept the size of the squares and the idea of wonky stars. I love wonky stars! However, I added a row of squares all the way around, repositioned the stars, and eliminated the big borders. I’ll show it again when it’s quilted and bound.
What are you up to?

Travel Inspires

As my friend Melanie recently pointed out, travel can inspire creativity. We just got back from a loooong drive across the country to New Mexico and back, and I took a few pictures of things that inspired me.First, we saw literally thousands of these wind generators across the flat, windy, high plains of West Texas and Oklahoma. The complex shape of the blades is quite an engineering feat by itself, even before the rest of the contraption is considered. It was great to see renewable energy in action, and these are attractive additions to the landscape in my opinion. (No, we never saw any dead birds near them, despite looking.  Research in Europe suggests this is mostly an urban myth.)

In New Mexico, I looked for the details that said “Southwest”.  These design elements are a kind of shorthand for “you are here” and I thought that idea would be useful in designing quilts (or anything else).  Here are a couple.

Stucco walls, turquoise trim, tile roof

Courtyard enclosed by a stucco wall with a wooden gate; tile accent along roof edge; flat roof

Now, I’m off to learn to organize my photos in Photoshop so I can find the rest of the pictures from the Southwest 😀