Thrift Shop Finds

My friend Tierney occasionally blogs about fabric she’s found in thrift shops and I’m always envious 😉 The good news is that I recently found a new (to me) and really good thrift shop. (Better news: it’s near an excellent bakery. Oops!)

A recent trip yielded 3 flat sheets, all in the same floral print.  They seem to be twin size.

I think they will make wonderful backing for some quilts!  Back in the day before there was much wide fabric available, I usually bought sheets to back my quilts, so this is a great throwback!

On the same trip I found these pewter buttons, which I believe to be good quality because they have detail on the back, not just the front.  I will use them to decorate a quilt at some point.

Oh yes…cinnamon rolls, sticky buns, and cookies 😀

Another Scrap Class

Here are some pictures from the recent scrap quilt class.  The block is directional, so it is considerably more difficult to get right than it looks!  Nevertheless, everybody got it right by the end of the day.  Here are a few of the blocks with their makers:

Gail chose the more challenging smaller size and still was the first to finish a block!

Here are a few of the larger blocks:

Sorry I got the glare on the glasses, but the block is beautiful!

This woman made a small block, too!

Love those bright colors!

My next class at Studio Stitch in Greensboro is Twinkle on Thursday, February 21:

I looove this quilt!  Join us if you can!

An Experiment in Quilting on the DSM

I’ve quilted a number of quilts, large and small, on my home machine (Domestic Sewing Machine, DSM) with the variable results that might be expected 😉 I now do mostly small pieces and send the large ones to long arm quilters.
Then last fall I saw this quilt by my friend Diane Ramsay.

Detail of Dutch Holiday by Diana Ramsay

In addition to thinking it is a wonderful quilt, I particularly liked the grid pattern of the quilting. So when I needed to quilt fabric for a project recently, I gave it a try.

First I spray basted the fabric really well.  It’s small, only about 13 x 18 inches, so it was pretty easy to spray baste.  I then marked a line with 1″ painter’s tape and quilted along both edges of the tape. tape guide for machine quilting

The rest of my lines were spaced by simply moving the tape every time.  Again, the piece is small, so I only needed one length of tape for all the lengthwise lines.  The layers were basted tightly enough that there was minimal shifting, but I did alternate directions as I quilted the lines.

After doing all the lengthwise lines, I put several evenly-spaced lengths of tape crosswise and quilted on both sides of them, moved the tape and quilted some more, etc.  I was greatly relieved to see that there was no puckering where the lines of quilting crossed.

The quilting doesn’t show up much on that busy fabric, so here’s a picture of the finished back:

This was very successful, primarily because it was tightly basted, I think.  Has anybody else tried this?  Any advice?

 

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 😀

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″.