An Easy Donation Project

Pineapple Fabrics recently sent an email requesting blocks to be made into quilts for Brenner Children’s Hospital.  Some days I feel completely overwhelmed with making donation quilts, but this looked easy and fun.  They asked for applique pineapple blocks, using a template they provided.

Here are mine:

A couple of my quilting buddies made even more, and Chela even used Dr. Seuss fabric for hers!

Here is the link to the Pineapple Pieces Project if you are interested.  Full disclosure: these blocks were as fun and easy as they looked, I also appreciated not having to make a whole top and quilt it!

And I have donated this little art quilt of to the Studio Art Quilt Association’s annual auction.

Quarantine has provided a lot of good quilting time, though I miss getting together with my quilting buddies!  I hope you are finding benefits to enforced time at home, too.

 

Don’t Try This At Home

Sometimes I feel that there’s an unspoken rule in quilt-blog world against showing our mistakes or talking about patterns or tools that we didn’t like.  In fact, I often write about patterns or books I love, but skip over the others.  Well, here are a couple of things I won’t do again!

First, a pattern that just did not work for me, though you may have better luck.

 

I’ve had this pattern a long time and really like the quilt on the cover.  However, I found it involved matching all those seams.  I first modified the pattern so the strips were of varying widths, eliminating the need for matching.  However, when I started making the last set of triangles, they just didn’t fit!  At that point I made a few more modifications and completed enough blocks for a donation quilt, and DONE!

It’s entirely possible the problem is with me rather than with the pattern.  I still like the look, so I may design my own version later on.  Alternatively, it appears (on Pinterest) that Zen Chic had an almost-identical design called “Fractured”, but I can’t find it on the Zen Chic website now–perhaps it was too identical and they withdrew it?  Don’t know.

Anyway, if I ever make this again I’ll re-design it completely so it works for me.  I do still love the look.

Has anybody made this quilt from either pattern?  How did it go for you?

Second, a pattern that worked out exactly right, possibly because I did it in a class!  It is beautiful, but it is paper piecing (of a different type, but still).  In this case, the pattern is perfect and the instructor was great.  I just did not care for the process so I won’t make the other 11 gems in the series!  If you want to try it, here’s a link to the site for all the gem patterns and classes.

I do like this, but it finished the size of a large block or a wall quilt–what shall I do with it?  All suggestions that don’t involve paper piecing are cheerfully invited!

And what have you messed up lately? 😀

It Was A Very Good Year

This year’s finishes:

One bed size quilt:

This isn’t as wonky as it looks, thank goodness! It’s just that I had trouble hanging it for the photo because it’s bigger than the design wall!

And a number of other quilts for various family, or for things I was teaching, or just because I wanted to:

A few of this year’s 13 donation quilts:

And finally, some table runners, art quilts, etc:

These projects were started this year but still aren’t finished:

Yes, quitting my day job really improved my productivity 😀

A Swap Block for Donation Quilts

One of my quilt groups makes donation quilts about 40″ square for various organizations. The size is easy to construct and quilt at home, and is appropriate for the children who receive the quilts.  Here are the recent group donations:

We often use swap blocks for our quilts and recently decided on a new swap and I want to tell you about it. One of your quilt groups may enjoy it, too!  Here’s how:

First make a big wonky log cabin block. Our blocks started with a 5″ square, which was modified to make a wonky center.  It was then surrounded by strips from my scrap bins, and occasional strips were trimmed so they were wonky, too.

These big blocks are 21″ square (unfinished).

We cut each block in quarters, so each quarter is 10.5″ unfinished, and started arranging them to make a quilt top that would finish at 40″ square.

This was how we eventually decided to arrange them in the finished top:

And then, of course, we made 4 more:

If you decide to do this, there are only 2 things to watch out for:

  1. As you add strips, keep measuring to be sure the center block remains centered enough so that there will be a piece of it in each quarter when you cut the block up.
  2. It’s easiest if the final round of strips is considerably wider than needed so the block can be trimmed to (unfinished) size easily without running into seams.

This is a really fun way to use scraps!  If you make one, or use this for a group swap, send me a picture!

Scraps Happen, Part III

There is no shortage of patterns for scrap quilts, and often I start with a pattern I’ve found somewhere and modify it to suit me.  I have notebooks full of pictures from magazines and photos I’ve taken of vintage or show quilts, so I use those for inspiration.  Here is a quilt I made by modifying a pattern from a magazine I’d been saving for a long time:

You can find the original pattern for this quilt by going to AllPeopleQuilt.com and searching for the “trail mix” pattern

The above quilt was made from my husband’s old shirts–whether that counts as scraps or yardage is a matter of opinion 🙂

I have some favorite scrap patterns I’ve used repeatedly over the years.  This one, which I learned from Barbara Lenox many years ago, is intended to be made at the end of the year using scraps from all the projects you made that year.  I love that idea and have made several of these.  You can see my post explaining the basic block here.

Another favorite quilt pattern is Junk to Jems, by Linda J. Hahn.  Here is my version which has been modified a fair amount from the pattern.

One thing I love about this pattern is that it is possible to make the elements of each block then re-arrange them so that there are several different variations on the same block.  So yes, my version is not quite like hers.

Augusta Cole is another teacher whose scrap quilts I admire, and I have made several from her Snappy Scrappy Stars pattern.  This makes a great leaders-and-enders project for me and I often use the blocks in donation quilts.

This is a leaders-and-enders project from Augusta Cole’s Scrappy Snappy Stars pattern

Of course, often a quilt starts as a pattern and then veers off course (surprise!).  The quilt below started as a way to use both a linen background and a group of fabrics I had in small amounts.  The original pattern is one of Karla Alexander’s stack and shuffle designs, and you probably can see that if you know the pattern.  This is my variation.Alison Glass fabrics quilt

And finally, even when I buy fabric for a quilt, I often buy fat quarters, which pretty much guarantees a scrappy look.  And I don’t really like making the same block twice, so often I make a variety of blocks for a single quilt.  Here is one last example of a quilt made from a fat quarter bundle, though it appears scrappy.

The pattern is Bermuda Sunset, another one by Linda Hahn.

A friend who is a writer mentioned the other day that her stories sometimes take on a life of their own and lead where she didn’t expect to go.  She asked if my quilts do that, too.  Absolutely!  Start out headed for A, end up at Q!

It’s all good. 🙂

Scraps Happen, Part II

Many of my scrap quilts are inspired by other quilters.  I still find it useful to start with a collection of fabrics I think “go together”.  In that regard, I do NOT worry about color per se, though I recognize that color is a big “bugaboo” for many quilters.  I do find it useful to decide at the outset whether the quilt is to be bright or muted colors, but beyond that I don’t worry much.  And of course I break that rule sometimes, too.

One of my first inspired-by-others adventures was a series of quilts I made after reading Gwen Marston’s books.  I just love her aesthetic, and wish I had been able to take a class with her while she was alive.  Here is a quilt I made for the Quilt Alliance annual contest a few years ago, based on Gwen’s published quilts:

improvisational quilt

“Gwen Visits the Farm” is a quilt I made for the Quilt Alliance contest; the black fabric has words representing animal sounds such as “quack”

I also used a collection of Cherrywood scraps to make this quilt based on Gwen’s “liberated log cabin” idea:

improvisational quilt

Cherrywood Toss, 59″ x 61″, 2016.  My favorite part of this was making the background out of a mixture of dark colors.

Also, taking a cue from my friend who makes a small art quilt each week, I made these 3 quilts based on lessons in one of Gwen’s books:

I continue to learn from the quilters I consider “the best” by making quilts inspired by their ideas.  A recent one was inspired by Maria Shell’s tutorial on improvised flying geese:

The colors of the quilt blended with the colors of my chimney, where I stuck it up to be photographed

Of course, not all such experiments are particularly successful.  I love Freddy Moran’s aesthetic, but this table runner based on her ideas didn’t turn out very well, in my opinion.  I expect to make more things using her ideas, and they’ll improve 🙂

I designed and made this runner for a guild challenge

Since, at this point in my quilting career, most of my fabric collection is scraps, there will be many more scrap quilts to come!  Next week I’ll discuss how I use scraps in quilts made from patterns.

 

 

Another UFO Bights the Dust!

I’m making a concerted effort to get rid of more UFOs (UnFinished Objects) this year. Of course, the real challenge is to avoid creating new ones!

This is the third time I’ve made the Lombard Street pattern by Sassafras Lane Designs.  This shows how much I love the design–usually I make any pattern only once.  Here are the previous quilts:

And here is the completed UFO, ready to be donated at the next retreat with my donation quilt group:

Quilt Stats

Pattern: Lombard Street by Sassafras Lane.  This is the smallest of 3 sizes.

Finished size:  39.5″ x 43.5″

Fabric is scraps for the triangles and solid from stash for the background and binding.

Pieced by me, though it took over a year.

Quilted by me.

If you want to make one, you can get your own copy of the Lombard Street pattern here.

One Mistake Makes Two Quilts!

A while ago one of my blogging friends posted a picture of her “red rails” quilt.  She makes these quilts to use up 1.5″ x 3.5″ scraps, so it seemed perfect for me.  I cut my scraps into strips varying from 1.5″ to 4.5″ in width and store them in drawers, sorted by size in 0.5″ increments.  Here are some of those (stuffed) drawers:

Since I had a lot of 1.5″ strips and wanted to make another donation quilt, I got started.  Her quilt is “red rails” because the center strip of every block is red.  I have a lot of blues, so mine became “blue rails”.  I drew it with EQ8 to start with, to be sure I knew what I was doing:

Blue Rails, drawn in EQ8 based on a quilt by Nann at withstringsattached.blogspot.com

I got busy sewing 1.5″ strips together in sets of 3 and cutting the sets into 3.5″ squares.  Then I started making the blocks.  Before I knew it, the 1.5″ bin was almost empty and I had a lot of little 3.5″ blocks.

I joined them in groups of 4, and that’s where I went wrong.  It turns out there is a right way and a left way for the blocks to twirl in sets of 4, but I didn’t realize that at first!

Trust me, no matter how you rotate these two blocks (drawn with EQ8), they do not match up!

So, I will have TWO blue rails quilts, one rotating in each direction.  Here’s the first one, which I am donating this month.  Another doggone learning experience 😀

Blue Rails donation quilt, about 40″ square

What have you learned lately?

 

Donation Quilt Catch-Up

I now belong to THREE groups that make donation quilts, and it may be a bit much.  I’ve decided to focus on the group I’ve been working with the longest, both because it was the original and because we donate the quilts locally.  (I fear there’s some truth to Garrison Keillor’s quip that most donation quilts sent to other countries go to hot climates where their best use is as compost.)

I see from my notes that I fell behind on donation quilts over a year ago due to being over-committed.  Duh.  Anyway, here are my recent attempts to catch up.

I found this panel in the SCRAP BIN at a shop where I teach, so I got it for $1 an ounce! The finished quilt is 34″ x 44″.

This top was started over a year ago when I wanted to experiment with half-rectangle triangles. The finished quilt is 40″ x 48″

This was made from slabs swapped in one of my groups. I spy some orphan blocks incorporated into slabs!

This one was done for leaders and enders, and is going to have to be entitled “Nobody’s Perfect”! Finished size is 34″ x 39″

I made this after starting the blocks as a class demonstration last time I taught “Twinkle”. Finished size is 40″ x 40″

I can just hear somebody saying, “Well!  That certainly is a variety!”  It would be more efficient to make the same pattern multiple times, but I just can’t do it.

What are your favorite donation quilt patterns?

 

A Little Landscape Quilt

My friend Melanie mentioned recently how much inspiration comes from travel, and I agree.  While travelling in New England last summer, I came across this book in a quilt shop.

I enjoy making landscape quilts and made quite a few at one time, but donated them almost all of them to the free clinic where I worked for a while.  It’s time now to make some more!  I have been saving this project as a reward for getting some other things done!

My First Tiny Landscape

Karen gives very, very detailed step-by-step instructions and I must say that’s a good thing!  The book is well illustrated and I had no trouble making this little village on my first attempt.  Because I already had the materials, it is postcard size (4″ x 6″)!  As you can see in the picture, her directions involve finishing the piece with tulle over everything to be sure none of the tiny pieces comes loose.

I enjoyed this project and like the way it came out.  I must note, however, that it took all day to make one postcard 😀