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 Travel Sewing Machine

As I was carrying my sewing machine up the steps a few weeks ago, it occurred that the price of repair for my shoulder (if I hurt it, which I haven’t yet) would be a lot more than the price of a lighter sewing machine for travel. Of course, I have a wonderful rolling travel case for the heavy machine, but that case doesn’t do stairs.

I considered for quite a while, since it seems to me that my home already contains enough “things”. I decided that, since I’m planning more sewing travel in the coming year, a lighter machine was worth the investment.  (A little more self-justification: I was the only serious sewist I know who owned only one machine!)

After some research, I settled on a Bernette 33, which is made by Bernina and sold by my Bernina dealer.  It is just what I was looking for:  smaller, lighter, with no computer parts to worry about.

Bernette 33, my new travel companion!

So far it performs just fine.  I’ve mainly used it for piecing, since that is most of what I do when I go to sewing gatherings or teach.  It certainly doesn’t feel as sturdy or sew as smoothly as my Bernina, but I think it is “just right” for travel.  And the price was right, too.

Of course I made it a cover to match the bag that carries its accessories:

This fun fabric came in prints of two sizes, so I had one of each to use

How many sewing machines do you own?

 

Twinkles All Around

Twinkle is an attractive and easy quilt by Swirly Girls Design, and I taught it recently at Studio Stitch in Greensboro. We used the Tucker Trimmer for the half square triangles (HSTs) and everyone seemed to have a good time.

First, here’s my shop sample in a glamour shot:

Twinkle, a pattern by Swirly Girls Design, was made because I had some fabulous leftover fabric

Then, here are some of the wonderful blocks made by the people in class.  I’m sure I took more pictures, but apparently my camera quit part way through!

This one was two-color instead of scrappy and it worked quite well

BJ got several blocks made. Look closely and you can see the astronaut near the upper right corner

Arranging the stars on a design wall before sewing them together was very helpful–I don’t think anybody made a mistake!

And a few more for good measure!

Isn’t it fun to see everyone’s individual choices!

My next class at Studio Stitch is basic binding on March 14.

Current Series, Parts 2 and 3

In our “first exciting episode” about this series, I showed the fabrics and the first set of improvised blocks, which were based on triangles cut from a strip set…

For the second set of improvisational blocks, I set these rules:

  • Start with a strip set
  • Cut and recombine the strip set in random ways
  • Continue to do the final trim so that each block is 6.5″ wide; any length is OK

Here are the blocks:

I wasn’t crazy about these and decided to return to a more planned approach with the next set.  The rules for it were:

  • Start with a strip set
  • Recombine it into loose grids
  • Keep to 6.5″ in one dimension for each block.

I’m marginally more satisfied with these, but that 3rd block in this set makes me think that the next set will need some diagonal lines.  Stay tuned!  And thanks for visiting 🙂

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 🙂