2020–Yikes!

My blogging friend Velda at Freckled Fox Quiltery  posted a while back that she is making a temperature quilt for 2020 because–what a year!  I liked that idea. I certainly feel that this year deserves to be memorialized in a quilt, but I do not want to paper piece a picture of the COVID virus, or make the quilt I designed to represent the ICU, or quilt anything else directly COVID related.  Making and wearing masks is a sufficient reminder, thanks!

In addition, Velda linked to a free pattern that I liked the looks of.

Here’s a link to the free pattern.

Any temperature quilt will require a lot of research (high and low temps for every day of the year for your location) and organization.  Here are a couple of things I learned along the way.  This pattern is clearly written and she has some good suggestions regarding fabric choice.

First, of course, I pulled fabric from my stash.  I was happy to see that I had everything I needed, since quilt shops were closed for browsing and I thought it might be difficult to order by phone. 

The colored blocks in the pattern are cut 2″ square (yikes!) so I decided to try something new to cut down on fraying.  I recently purchased a product called “Terial Magic” at A Stitch in Time.  It is a “fabric stabilizer” and has several uses.  It kind of glues the fibers in the fabric together to decrease fraying and also makes the fabric stiff.

After talking with the lady at the shop, I mixed the Terial Magic 1:3 with water and put it in a spray bottle. I will say that I was happy to have to prepare only fat quarters of the fabric, as the process was kind of time intensive.  However, the fabric came out very crisp and wrinkle free and did not fray at all when I cut it.  Actually it was easier to cut than usual.  The stuff is supposed to wash right out once the quilt is finished, and I’m trusting that it will 🙂

When I got the squares all cut and started sewing, I discovered that I had somehow tricked myself into believing there was enough contrast between these two shades of green!

Luckily there was an adequate substitute in the stash!  Here are the strips for the first quarter.  Each strip is sewn together, but I have not joined them yet.

One final hint: I cut up the January calendar page and pinned the numbers on the blocks to keep them in order until they were sewn together. 🙂

Are you making a temperature quilt?  Another quilt to commemorate 2020?

 

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? 😀

Swirly Leaves: Support Your Local Quilt Shop

My friend Lynn Kline developed this pattern to make fall leaves easy and modern by using scraps, low volume fabrics, and points arranged so they come out well.  I took her class last fall to make the quilt, mostly because my friends were taking the class, too.

Photo courtesy of Lynn Klein

Everyone who came to the class brought scraps to share, so we had a lot of variety.  I’m always amazed at how many people can bring scraps and still not have any two fabrics the same.

My version of Lynn’s quilt

This quilt was fun.  I always have more scraps than yardage, so it was good for my scrap collection.  I enjoyed making leaves of several different sizes rather than just one block repeatedly.  And of course it was fun to do it with friends!

As you can see I didn’t do it exactly by the pattern.  I changed the background.  Lynn used a variety of low volume fabrics but I used a blue that made me think of October sky.  Oh, and I changed the layout.  Whatever!  It’s still Lynn’s pattern 🙂

Lynn’s pattern  includes a handy chart for cutting leaves of various sizes and leaves that make it easier not to cut off your points.

The pattern is available from Lynn’s shop, here.  She and her staff are working to make goods and services available during the quarantine, so you can order and do a drive-by pickup or have things mailed to you.

Here’s a detail showing the swirly quilting by Julia Madison:

Quilt Stats:

Name: Swirly

Pattern: Scrappy Modern Maple Leaves, by Lynn Klein

Finished size (for my variation):  51″ x 62″

Quilted by: Julia Madison

As always, the links in this post are for your convenience; they are not affiliate links.

Three Bag Patterns That Were Worth Paying For

Just as there are lots of great free bag patterns, there are many excellent patterns for sale on the internet. Here are 3 of my favorites.

1. Divided Basket.  This is another pattern from Noodlehead, who also designed one of my favorite free patterns.  The instructions are excellent and the divided basket is cute.  It was just right for a diaper basket for the changing table for my grandson.  It is available here.

fabric basket

Divided basket made from pattern by Noodlehead

2. Clothesline bag/basket.  This pattern is from Indygo Junction and was much easier to do than I had anticipated.  You can read my review of it here, or buy it here.

3. Sweetpea Pods, by Lazy Girl Designs..  This little bag was so.much.fun that I made more than a few!  Once you learn the zipper trick it is easy, quick, and so satisfying.  I’ve given away many of them and I keep a couple on hand for when I need a little gift for someone.  (Of course it should contain chocolate!).  I even gave one to a male friend, and rather than ask “what the heck” he said he’d use it to carry his guitar picks!  The pattern is available here.

And so you know I’m not just blowing sunshine, here’s one I thought was more trouble than it was worth, even though it is very, very cute (and was all over the internet for a while):

Which bag patterns do you recommend?

Clothesline Basket Fun

It’s been over a year since I purchased the Indygo Junction pattern for a basket made of covered clothesline, so I expect everybody else in America has tried this already. Anyway, it was fun.

The pattern gives basic instructions for starting the basket, shaping the bottom, and then shaping the sides.  Instructions are given for two types of handles, and for making the lining.  The basket itself was easier than I expected, then the lining was a little tricky.  Probably my fault because I changed the instructions 😀

My husband sometimes asks, “What is this one for?”  The answer is, “For making something I’ve never made before.”  Which means I have no idea of a use for this basket, but I do want to make at least one of (almost) everything just for the experience!  (Bonus: this used a lot of scraps!)

What about you?  Do you have a plan for everything you make?

A Little Quilt

Finished the smallest size (41″ x 35″) Lombard Street pattern and I’m about to send it to Studio Stitch, where I’ll be teaching the class. The triangles are all dots, though not polka dots!Lombard Street quilt pattern
I quilted this on my home machine, just following the zigzags in the background, and it worked just fine.Lombard Street quilt pattern
And the backing is a fun fabric I found on the sale rack at Studio Stitch last time I taught there! Win!triangle quilt

I’m teaching this as an introduction to modern paper piecing, of which it’s a great example.  Paper piecing makes it easy to get all those nice sharp points, and the arrangement of blocks makes people wonder, “How did she DO that???”  It’s always fun to keep people guessing 🙂

Pattern Review: Lombard Street

After over a year of dawdling, I have finished my quilt from the beautiful Lombard Street pattern by Sassafras Lane Designs.

Quilt pattern review

“Amish on Lombard Street”, my quilt made from a Sassafras Lane pattern

I rarely use patterns, since I prefer to design my own quilts, but this one caught my eye! The “trick” is that it is paper pieced, which helps all those points come out nice and sharp. The pattern is well written and the instructions are clear.  I had no trouble from that quarter.

I did have trouble when I decided to quilt it myself, and ended up taking out quilting from the entire quilt, then sending it off to my favorite longarm quilter!  She did a great job, and I’m happy to say I had the perfect binding waiting when the quilt came back to me 🙂  Pattern review Lombard Street

And look at that nice angular quilt pattern that reinforces the overall design!

Here’s a picture of the original pattern, courtesy of the Sassafras Lane site:

I haven’t made any of the other patterns from Sassafras Lane, but I was very satisfied with this one, and they certainly have some cheerful and interesting designs. I do recommend checking them out if you like cute modern patterns.

 

Giving Kraft-Tex a (Second) Chance

I made a couple of bags using Kraft-Tex for a sturdy bottom section a while back, and wasn’t that happy with it.  My review is here, if you want to read it.

Kraft-Tex review

Tote bag made with Kraft-Tex for the bottom section

However, when I got some lovely bird fabric in a guild swap, I decided to make another tote bag and use Kraft-Tex to protect the bottom again. I pre-washed the Kraft-Tex to soften it a little, then crumpled it in my hands to soften it a little more.

Kraft-Tex for bags

Since I didn’t really want the thick Kraft-Tex in the seams, the shortage worked out OK

I had BARELY enough for a shorter-than-recommended bottom section, but it worked out fine.  I used the same pattern as before, the Market Tote which is free at Bijou Lovely.

Market Tote from Bijou LovelyAs you can see, I had some beautiful birds-in-the-grass fabric (a Moda print) for the inside.

Kraft-Tex for tote bagI used a buttonhole stitch to secure the top edge of the Kraft-Tex.  Overall, the Kraft-Tex was much easier to use this time.  It makes a sturdy bottom for the bag, is washable, and presumably will wear better than a plain fabric bottom.

As before, the Market Bag tutorial was very well done and easy to follow.  The only change I made was to revise the way the bottom was attached so that I didn’t have Kraft-Tex in the seams; that would have been quite bulky.  I laid the Kraft-Tex on the top fabric and secured the edges with buttonhole stitch just inside the seamline, so it wasn’t necessary to have Kraft-Tex in the seams to hold it in place.  That worked a lot better.

Kraft-Tex for bags

Finished Bird Bag

In other words, I am now revising my opinion of Kraft-Tex and probably will use it for this purpose again!  It still does’t really look like leather to me, but in this case that isn’t the point.

QuiltCon, Anyone?

QuiltCon, the Modern Quilt Guild’s annual gathering, will be in Savannah in February 2017, and I am going!mqg-new-logo

I recently read an interesting blog by Becca Fenstermaker about how to deal with a convention when you’re an introvert.  Believe it or not, that would be me, so I plan to use her idea.

Becca’s main suggestion was to start ahead of time and try to find people who will be attending, so you’ll have somebody to visit with when you get there.

Fortunately, there will be several people from at least two of my guilds, but of course the point is meeting new people as well as visiting with old friends.  So if you’re going, please leave me a note in the comments–I’d like to met you!

Meanwhile, I’ve made two more clusters of sweet pea pods.  The pattern is well illustrated and the directions easy to follow 🙂

Hope you have a good week!

A Cute Apron and a Pattern Review

Kitchen apron

Photo courtesy of Indygo Junction

My husband recently discarded some shirts, so I was interested to see this “Kitchen Shirt Tales” pattern from Indygo Junction.

It looked pretty simple, and I’ve made dozens of aprons over the years, but I decided it was worth the money to buy the pattern rather than having to figure it out on my own.  The pattern was downloadable, which added to the appeal–instant gratification!

I was pleased with the way the apron came out, but only because I abandoned the instructions part way through construction.

The instructions were MUCH too complex for a simple garment like this.  For example, rather than providing a pattern for the garment in different sizes (if, indeed, one needs a choice of sizes for an apron), the instructions were to measure yourself and then derive the cutting lines through a rather complex formula. After figuring out these measurements, you were instructed to draw the curve for cutting out the top by connecting the measurements..  I did get it drawn just fine, but  it would have been so much simpler to just have a pattern piece for cutting out the main body of the apron!

As you can see below, the apron looked just fine on two of my colleagues who are different sizes.

At this point, the instructions became confusing and there were VERY few illustrations.  I usually do pretty well with verbal instructions, but the most commercial patterns have a drawing for each step for a reason.

This pattern would need many, many more drawings to be clear.  I quit the instructions at that point and made the rest up as I went along.

I still think it is a great idea to recycle a shirt into an apron, and this is cute the way it came out.  The pattern, however, could be greatly improved by the addition of a pattern piece for cutting and many additional illustrations.