Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Pets on Quilts

It's time once again for the Pets on Quilts show over at Lily Pad Quilting.

This is Murphy. And this is his very most favorite spot in the whole wide world to be.

Check out all the other cute pets on quilts over at Lily Pad Quilting. Voting for Viewers Choice will start in a few days, after the link-up has closed.

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Red Project: Completing the Dresden Blocks

The Red Project has been a task-of-the-month project since last fall, usually making blocks to this point. Last month the snowball corners were added.

This month the goal is to get all the centers appliqued on and the backs of the Dresdens trimmed out. First task, prep the centers:

After cutting, gathering, pressing and starching all the centers, I removed the cardstock circles from them and lightly glue-basted them in place. They're getting the same machine-stitched applique around the edges that the blades have.

See that presser foot? That's my quarter-inch piecing foot. The open slot is less than 1/8" wide. If I align the inside right side of the foot against the edge I'm stitching down, the needle will be close to the edge and the stitches will be nice and even. Sometimes the "wrong" tool is actually the right tool for the job.

I'm liking the proportion of center circle to blade diameter. I had earlier auditioned several sizes and I liked this one best. The center circle finishes 2-1/2" and the total block finishes 14".

Here's the back of the block, now that the center has been added: 

My friend Suzanne Marshall, applique artist extraordinaire, recommends cutting away the layer(s) of fabric from behind the applique so the batting will fill into the space. She should know, check out her website.

I'll definitely follow her advice. It's tedious, cutting the backing away from all those points.

You can see in the photo above that the red Dresden points still have an extra layer of fabric with seams. After cutting away the light background, I'm going back into each point and trimming the red to 1/4" seams. 20 points per block times twelve blocks. Good thing I have the rest of the month to get them all done. And a nice sharp pair of scissors.

Here's the back after cutting the layers away. I haven't decided if I'll cut away the center or open it and insert batting like trapunto, so for now I've left the background fabric there.   

Not really much to show for a lot of time and tedious work, but it'll be worth it in the end.

Link ups:
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Em's Scrapbag
Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, August 10, 2018

August N4Nb Quilt

My August Nurses for Newborns quilt is finished. Once I had the blocks made correctly and laid out, it went together quickly.

It told me it needed spiral quilting. 

Double spirals, centered on the star points. 

I found the perfect backing in my stash, a large grey polka dot. It came from the free table at STLMQG awhile back. It was two cut pieces which I think were left over from the year our charity project was pillows. It's nice to be able to use it for our charity project this year.

The spiral quilting looks good on the back, too.

About the binding - A local shop had a FQ promotion last weekend, where everyone could register for a drawing, receive a FQ for just coming in, and receive an additional FQ for each $10 spent. By the time I got there the available FQs were pretty picked over, but there was one that was a chevron stripe that had the same colors in it as the focus print here. Turns out it's also labeled Dear Stella, so it's probably the same collection. I was just able to eke out enough from one FQ for the binding on this little quilt.

So the August installment of my N4Nb quilt saga is complete; three more months to go.

Linking up with Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

What's Your Super Power?

Mine is: I can make everything much more complicated than it needs to be. 

Let's start at the beginning, with the fabric for my next Nurses for Newborns quilt.

Grey, coral, and navy. Gender neutral. This was a remnant purchased in Paducah in the spring, to be used for a donation quilt. The info on the bit of selvage I have says Dear Stella. I pulled some friends from stash to go with it:

So far so good, right? Now to choose a pattern.

Since I'm making one of these little N4Nb quilts each month and they're only 24" by 36", each one is an opportunity to experiment with fabrics or design or layout on a small scale. 6" blocks work within this size, in a 4 by 6 layout. Since the blocks are small, let's use a simple one.

When these blocks are combined, they create a diagonal star effect.

Still not complicated. But let's color these blocks with my fabrics, and move them around a bit. So I scanned the fabrics and played with them in EQ7.  Hmm, since these blocks are asymmetrical, they might lend themselves to more interesting layouts than just simple stars....

Keep in mind, the focus print is one-directional and the herringbone is also directional. So after I thought I had a plan and printed it out, I revised it.

Since I didn't want to waste ink on reprinting the revised plan, I just made blocks from my notes. And I adjusted everything so that my directional fabrics would all be going in the same direction.

Sheesh, it would have been less wasteful to reprint the plan. It was easier for my brain to follow the picture than the notes, so I wasted a lot of time ripping when I sewed wrong colors together or added the triangles on the wrong side for the print direction to be consistent.

So after much ripping and resewing, I now have the blocks on the wall, ready to be sewn together:

Kite tails blowing in the wind.

My super power is taking a very simple block for a very small quilt and making a very complicated production out of it. What's your super power?

...But the spiral concept is cool. It could be interesting to create a larger design using this concept. In a square layout, two accent colors could swirl around each other. I should probably avoid directional fabrics if I try it out. Maybe play some more in EQ first. And print the final plan, even if it wastes ink.

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, August 6, 2018

Whale Baby Quilt Flimsy

I finished sewing the whale baby quilt into a top. The blocks are 9", 6" and 3", and it measures   
39-1/2" by 45-1/2".  Here's the flimsy in natural daylight, which shows the shades of blue much better than all my earlier indoor photos.

My plan is to use that same whale print for the backing; I have enough. I'll quilt it with an all-over meander. The question is, what thread color should I use?

I'm thinking the quilting thread should match the blue background of the whale print. The stitching would blend in in those areas, but show as high contrast in the navy areas and the white print areas. Or, maybe go a little darker than the whale print, match the medium blue triangles. What do you think?  What color would you use?

Link ups:
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Love Laugh Quilt
Em's Scrapbag

Friday, August 3, 2018

August First Saturday

I get together with some quilting friends for coffee and conversation on the first Saturday of the month. Early on, we each declared a project we'd show progress on each month, such as making a block or two or moving the project forward in some way. Mine is the red Dresden plate and checkerboard project. This month my goal was to snowball the corners of all the Dresden blocks.

Done! All twelve of the blocks now have their blue corners.

What a difference the snowball corners make in the overall look of this project. I'm really pleased with the diagonal movement they add to such a rigid checkerboard layout.

Next month's goal will be to get the centers appliqued to all the Dresdens.

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

July Stash Report and Goals Update

It's time once again to look at how this month went and look ahead to what I want to accomplish in August. The best part of July was getting together with friends. The stash report took a hit this month, but it's all good. Some of it was gifted and I'm very grateful.
L-R: Me, Julie, Cherie, Kevin

July Stash Report:

IN this month: 17-1/4 yards (Blues for snowball corners, 1-1/2 yards. Jackman's FQ sale - 4-3/4 yards. Gifted from Julie Sefton, 11 yards)
OUT this month: 10 yards (Heart Builders top #2, my fabrics, 3 yards.  Heart Builders Top #3, all my fabrics, 4 yards. Binding for 2 Heart Builders quilts,7/8 yard. Cherie's Round Robin, 5/8 yard. July N4Nb quilt, excluding scrap pack and charm pack, 1-1/2 yards. )

IN YTD: 96-1/8 yards
OUT YTD: 80-1/8 yards
YTD Net Change: 16 yards added to stash

OK, so I have 16 yards to make up by the end of the year. There's still five months, so if I don't get carried away with more FQ sales, and if I finish some of the WIPs, I should still be able to break even.
Gift of backing fabrics from Julie
~Thanks, Julie!~

Goals Update: 

July Goals Recap:
1. Clean, make desserts, and host Piecing Group. DONE; hosted a smaller group  than usual on July 3rd due to the holiday. 
2. Assemble 2nd Heart Builders top and possible third top. Get all tops sent out to Heart Builders. DONE, three tops made, sent and received. 
3. Add first borders to Pickle Dish top. Draft, cut, and start piecing second borders (to be paper pieced).  DONE with slight change of plan; top and bottom first/second/third borders are pieced and assembled. 
4. Get grandson's big boy bed quilt layered and basted; start quilting. Change of plan - Sent it out to be long arm quilted; due back in early September. 
5. Piece and/or quilt another N4Nb quilt. DONE, using gift of Amy Smart's scraps plus remains of a Scrumptious charm pack. 
6. Finalize post for 12 Days of Christmas in July blog hop, to be featured on July 15. DONE
7. Snowball the corners of the Dresden blocks for the red project. DONE
8. Start working on baby quilt for new great-nephew due end of September. Yes, in progress, blocks made. 
9. Hand sew on WIVSP Piecing Group Project. Not touched - too much other hand piecing for Piecing Group blocks this month. 
10. Keep up with bee blocks. DONE

 12 Days of Christmas in July

Heart Builders Top #3

Pickle Dish Borders

July N4Nb quilt

August Goals:
1. Finish baby quilt for new great nephew.
2. Finish adding borders to Pickle Dish to complete the flimsy; order fabric for backing.
3. Make another N4Nb quilt.
4. Add centers to the Dresden blocks for the red project.
5. Hand sew on WIVSP Piecing Group Project.
6. Keep up with bee blocks.
7. Look at UFOs and WIPS and plan next one to be worked on.

Future baby quilt for great nephew #7 due in September

It's a shorter list than in July, but some of the items on it require more focus and more time. We'll see how much I can actually get done.

Link up: Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, July 30, 2018

Design Wall Monday: A Whale of a Baby Quilt

Great Nephew #7 is on the way, due around the end of September. Because I'll have some grandma stuff going on in September, I want to get the baby's quilt done by the end of August, so if he comes early I don't have to scramble.

I'm using a cute whale print and three sizes of blocks, 9", 6", and 3" HSTs.

After making a few more HST's, I can start to play with layout on the design wall.

Getting there; not final yet but the concept is as I envisioned. A few more tweaks and I can start assembling this top.

The final size will be 39" wide by 45" long. I have enough of the whale print for the backing. I'd like the same navy for the binding, but I've used up all I have, so I'll probably use the medium blue Grunge for the binding. I have just enough lime green for piped binding if I decide to use it.

Hopefully I can tweak the layout and get the top assembled this week.

Link ups:
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Em's Scrapbag
Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, July 27, 2018

July N4Nb Quilt

I totally forgot to take WIP photos of my July Nurses for Newborns quilt. Actually it went together quickly this time.

For participating in Hands 2 Help, I received a bundle of Amy Smart's scraps. They were clearly all one collection, and mostly 4-1/2" squares or strips. I don't know what the name of the collection is because there wasn't any selvage info. The cute aqua and red prints reminded me that I had charms left over from a Scrumptious charm pack, and the colors and prints coordinated nicely.

A couple of extra prints from my stash were added, including a red floral that worked perfectly for the back and binding. The nurses prefer darker colors since these little quilts are used on the floor for tummy time.

Simple serpentine quilting over all the seam lines will help it crinkle up nicely after it's washed. (I did prewash the red backing; I hope the charms and scraps don't bleed).

One more sweet little N4Nb quilt done! STLMQG is collecting them in November, so I still have four more months to make them.

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Baby Whales

Great nephew #7 is on the way, due at the end of September. It's time for me to get going on a baby quilt for him. His mom likes blues and teals, and the baby's room may have a nautical theme, so I chose this super cute whale print...

 ...and some coordinates to go with it.

Some play in EQ7 resulted in a plan, and the blocks are started. Some big ones, 9". I specifically wanted a block with a large area to feature the print without chopping it up too much. There will be eight of these.

And some medium ones, 6". There will be eighteen of them. There will also be thirty-some 3" HSTs, which I haven't started yet.

I think this is the beginning of something cute. And it's a fun new project for me to work on. I hope to get it finished by the end of August so it'll be ready when the baby comes.

Linking up with Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, July 23, 2018

On My Design Wall: Pickle Dish Borders

One of my goals for this month is:
    - Add first borders to Pickle Dish top. Draft, cut, and start piecing second borders (to be paper pieced).

You know I've been paper piecing the second borders; I've posted about them a couple of times. Now the border strips are finished.

And then it occurred to me, when I take the paper off, those strips will be really stretchy. As planned, they measure 60-1/2 inches.

Just to be safe, I decided to add the inner and outer borders to both sides of the pieced strips before attaching to the quilt, that way the inner and outer borders will control the length of the pieced strip. I double checked the measurements of the quilt center. It should have been 60-1/2" but I found that it was 61-1/4".  No problem. I selectively removed a few scattered papers from the pieced border and eased it to 61-1/4". Then I joined the inner and outer borders and removed the rest of the paper.

Voila, top and bottom borders ready to add to the Pickle Dish quilt center.

The colored wedges will point toward the center, leading the eye into the quilt. The outer borders are an inch wider than the inner borders. Next month my goal will be to sew these and the plain side borders onto the top, to complete the flimsy.

Meanwhile, I'm thinking about backing. I have some of the Rifle Paper Company print left but not enough. If I want to use it for backing I'll have to order some more and it'll be a different dye lot. I looked on-line at images of the rest of the collection and I didn't see anything else I want to use. If I order more of this print I'll have to figure out how to handle any mismatch. Suggestions?

Link ups:
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Em's Scrapbag
Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, July 20, 2018

Friends and Fabric

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting up with friends from the quilting world. Julie Sefton, aka "Quilt Diva Julie" who blogs at Me and My Quilts, Exploring the Possibilities, was in St. Louis for a trunk show and workshop with one of the guilds in town. This is the first time I've met her in real life.
L-R: Me, Julie, Cherie, Kevin

Julie is the author of Build-A-Barn, No Pattern Construction.  She's friends with Kevin the Quilter and with Cherie (Quilted Jonquil) who was one of the members of Julie's "Secret Society of Barn Builders."
Julie's book, available from her blog

Julie's trunk show was terrific; she brought 40 quilts. She loves color, the more saturated the better, and her quilts all have a fun cheerful vibe. My favorite is her recently finished Spotted Winkle.

Kevin and I met up with Julie at a local fabric shop that just happened to be having it's FQ sale going on that day - FQs for $1.09 each. At that price, I stock up for making donation quilts. And, who am I kidding, for general stash enhancement. My stash report will take a hit this month.

Some warm colors:

Some good kid prints:

Some stash basics:

And some low volumes:

All good useful additions to the stash, and some of them will definitely find their way into Nurses for Newborns quilts or other donation quilts. 

In addition to my purchases, Julie very generously gifted me some yardage from her stash that she suggested I could use for backings for donation quilts. Thank you, Julie! 

I have met some of the nicest people through blogging. It's so fun to meet people in real life that I feel like I already "know" from their blogs.  I enjoyed your visit, Julie, and I hope we get to meet up again!

In other quilty news, the 12 Days of Christmas in July blog hop continues, hosted by Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. Check out all the posts for some clever gift and decor ideas while there's still plenty of time to make them before December.