Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Down Memory Lane with Buttons

Do you check out the Design Wall Monday posts over at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts? Judy H. took over DWM after Judy L. gave it up. Yesterday Judy  H. posted a story about the quilt in her blog header, and her story sent me down memory lane.

Judy's header quilt is a postage stamp table topper with one inch squares, and each of the light squares has an antique button sewn to it. Hundreds of buttons. She mentioned that she was inspired years ago by a button shop in St. Charles, MO.

Wait - I remember that button shop!!! 

In fact, I bought a pattern there that got me started down this quilty road. I have no idea what the name of the pattern was or who designed it; if anyone knows, please leave a comment. I made this little wall hanging in the late 1980's or very early 1990's.

I had been doing a lot of counted cross stitch at that time and this was a new direction in stitchery for me. It's about 15 x 19" and has batting but no actual quilting. The layers are just anchored by the buttons which are sewn through to the back. The background is muslin and the dusty peach was the color in my guest room/sewing room at that time.

I think the bits and snippets of lace must have come from my general sewing stuff at that time, which was before we started referring to such collections as our "stash."

The buttons mostly came from my grandma's button box, which had been her mother's, and some from my mom's button tin.

This hand-made box is about 16" long, 7" wide, and 6" high. My grandma was born in 1897 and it was her mother's, so it probably dates from the late 19th century.

At one time it was so full that it was hard to close the lid. It still has some treasures in there. The tiny white shell buttons are less than 1/4" across and are sewn through copper foil onto the card. 

So what became of all the other buttons that filled that box? This:

This is a big, heavy acrylic vase. It just barely wedges into the bookshelf in my sewing room, where I keep it on display. Most of the buttons are from my grandma's box, especially the old shell ones. Some were from my mom's button tin, especially the giant coat buttons. There are a few newer metallic buttons as well among the older buttons in there.

It's been fun to revisit grandma's buttons and the sweet little wall hanging I used them for. But now it's got me thinking, What do I do with this stuff??? There are no girls in the family who sew, no one who would want this stuff. As I think about downsizing my home, what do I do with this?

Monday, December 10, 2018

On My Design Wall Today

Last week I showed patches on the wall for a Plus quilt I'm making. It was inspired by a Blogger Bundle I won from Bernie at Needle and Foot, so I'm making it into a Mercyful quilt for the hospice program she supports.

This week's progress: half of the patches are sewn into rows. This is so not my usual color palette - I'm not a purple kind of girl - but I think it's really pretty and I'm glad for the opportunity to expand out of my comfort zone a bit. Hopefully this week I'll get the rest of the rows sewn. 

But wait - What's all that red checkerboard stuff on the right? Those are nine patch blocks that will eventually become borders for the Red Project. More on that project another time.

Check out the other design walls at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts.
Other link-ups: Em's Scrapbag, Love Laugh Quilt

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Using Die Cut Triangles with Simple Folded Corners Ruler

Last week I mentioned a group project that my friends and I are working on, a Quilt of Valor in a new pattern I'm calling Star Spangled Spiral. We got together at Kevin the Quilter's studio, and managed to get all the blocks made in one day.
Photo credit: Kevin the Quilter

Here are all the blocks on the wall. I can't believe how much we accomplished!

The blocks are 6" finished (6-1/2" unfinished) with 3" triangles in one or two corners. We were able to make the blocks so quickly by using die-cut triangles and the Doug Leko Simple Folded Corners Ruler.

The ruler does not have instructions for using it this way. It took me a bit of trial and error to figure it out; I'll share the method here, at the request of a friend. This method works for any size triangle that will fit on the ruler, up to 6".

Our blocks are 6" finished with 3" finished corners, so we used the die cutter to cut 3" triangles. The dies are labeled by the finished size and the 1/4" seam allowances are built in.

Tape a die-cut fabric triangle to the ruler, positioned as shown below. My triangle, to finish 3", comes to the 3-1/2" line (orange arrow). I've marked the ruler with a small piece of tape pointing to that line.

Align the ruler on the cut background fabric to which the triangle will be sewn.

Once you understand where the ruler lines up, you can remove the taped-on triangle fabric. You can see my little tape arrow showing where to line up.

Cut along the diagonal side of the ruler.

Sew the triangle to the background using a 1/4" seam allowance; chain piecing works well for making multiple blocks.

Press as desired, shown here pressed toward the corner. (For the QOV above, we pressed the seams open because there will be places where the blocks won't nest.)

The corner triangle came out just the right size.

This method will work for Diamond-in-a-Square blocks, too. Start with opposite corners, press well, and align the ruler for the remaining corners as described above. Note that a tiny bit of the triangle fabric will show beyond the ruler.

Cut the background square, sew on the additional corners, and press. Fast and accurate!

If you have a die cutter for the triangles, this method is much faster than the traditional method of cutting squares and marking them on the diagonal.

Link up: Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, December 3, 2018

Mercyful Plus on my Design Wall

Recently I was thrilled to be the winner of a Blogger Bundle from Bernie at Needle and Foot, curated by Sandra of MMM Quilts. Thank you, Bernie and Sandra!

I left a comment on Bernie's post, saying that if I won I would make a Plus quilt using this bundle. Bernie supports what she calls Mercyful Quilts, for hospice patients and their families. I know how much the special people of Hospice did for my dad and our family, and I would like to make a Mercyful Quilt for Bernie. 

These prints are so pretty, not my usual colors but I love them together.

I got carried away pulling fabrics and cutting patches before I remembered to take a photo of the fabric pull. So, after cutting, here are all the "friends" I found in my stash to harmonize with the blogger bundle. 

I knew I would need abut 300 patches to make a 60" x 80" quilt so I pulled everything I could find that would coordinate with the prints in the bundle. 

I ended up with a layout which will finish at 60" x 76". I used every scrap of most of the fabrics in that pile! My patches are cut 4-1/2" square because you can get 16 patches from a fat quarter, if the FQ truly measures at least 18" and if you cut carefully. I pre-washed all the fabrics (for bleeding) and most of my FQs were ju-u-ust barely big enough. 

After much tweaking, I ended up with this layout: 

(Sorry for the bad color. Indoor photo with incandescent room light from the ceiling, with an LED light at the floor to illuminate the very dark bottom. The incandescent is very warm and the LED is very cool, making the colors look a bit off. That lavender at the lower left is the same fabric as the pink at the top. The true color is somewhere in between.)

As time permits I'll work on getting this sewn into a flimsy this month. Although it's not a color palette I would have selected on my own, I really like it! I appreciate the opportunity to stretch out of my comfort zone a bit. 

Link ups: 

Saturday, December 1, 2018

December AFS

The goal for today was to get the first border sewn on the Red Project. Done.

The goal for next month will be to add the checkerboard border to one side.

Friday, November 30, 2018

November Stash Report and Goals Update

It feels like it's been a busy month. I know it's been a big month for stash acquisitions. I think I'm still doing okay, the stash is still down for the year.

November Stash Report:

IN this month: 22 yards (Blogger Bundle from Bernie at Needle & Foot, 1-1/2 yards. Remnant order from Connecting Threads, 7 yards. FQ Frenzy & Sale at Jackman's, 12.5 yards. Inner border for the Red Project, 1 yard. )
OUT this month: 17-1/4 yards (Star print backing for Snake QOV , 5-3/4 yards. Donated Coral & Ivory top from 2011 STLMQG Sew-In, 2-1/2 yards. Binding for donated green top, 3/8 yard. Sheep baby quilt: pink Plus top, 1-3/4 yards, backing 1-3/8 yards, binding 3/8 yard. Donation to Cave Quilters spiral QOV: Star Print, 3 yards; white-on-white prints, 1-7/8 yards. )

IN YTD: 138-5/8 yards
OUT YTD: 143-3/4 yards
YTD Net Change: 5-1/8 yards OUT

Some of the yardage out this month was donated to a group QOV project. I've been working with Kevin the Quilter and some friends on a spiral star design that evolved from one of my Nurses for Newborns quilts. Here's the N4Nb quilt, the inspiration.

And a photo showing our progress on making a QOV in the same spiral concept. We got together earlier this week to make blocks, and amazingly we got them all made. 
Photo credit: Kevin the Quilter

The blocks are not sewn together yet, they're still on Kevin's design wall, so we're hoping to get together again very soon to finish the top so he can have his wall back.

November Goals Update:
1. Make one last Nurses for Newborns quilt for November; due Nov. 10. DONE
2. Prep backing, layer and baste Pickle Dish. DONE. Quilting started.
3. Make another Operation Shower baby quilt for CSQ. DONE, pink Plus quilt with sheep backing. 
4. Add first border to Red Project top. DONE
5. Look at UFOs and determine what to work on and/or what to do with some of them. DONATED four flimsies to Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for her Quilt Ministry.
6. Deliver donation quilts to their respective organizations. DONE - N4Nb quilts went to STLMQG on 11/10 and the orange Operation Shower quilt made in October went to the CSQ coordinator.
7. Hand sew on WIGSP Piecing Group project. Not done. 
8. Keep up with bee blocks. DONE

Nurses for Newborns quilts turned in in November

Operation Shower baby quilt with sheep print backing

Basting Pickle Dish

December Goals:
1. Make two doll quilts for great-niece's doll bunk beds for her Christmas gift.
2. Make one side of checkerboard border for the Red Project.
3. Use the FQ bundle from Bernie (Needle & Foot) as the starting point for a Mercy Quilt for her, and get it to the flimsy stage. 
4. Work on quilting Pickle Dish: get all of the SID for the background done and a good start on the background stippling.
5. If time permits, make another donation quilt for Operation Shower.
6. Hand stitch on WIGSP Piecing Group project.
7. Keep up with bee blocks.

Not listed, but if the scheduling works out, finish the Star Spangled Spiral QOV top with Kevin and friends.

That's a big list considering all the Christmas prep activities and social events going on this month. It might be kind of a stretch, but we'll see how much I can get done. 

Link up: Confessions of  Fabric Addict

Monday, November 26, 2018

Stash Refresh

I might have added a little a lot to my stash this month. My usage numbers have been good this year and I was down by nearly 10 yards at the end of October, so no guilt for refreshing my "Fabric Resources."

First, I'm thrilled - I won a blogger bundle from Bernie at Needle and Foot, this beautiful selection curated by Sandra at MMM quilts. Thank you, Bernie and Sandra! More on how I'm using these rich prints in another post, but suffice it to say I love them, even though purple is not one of my usual colors.
Image from Bernie, here

Connecting Threads (no affiliation) had a remnant sale earlier this month, $1 per yard. I must have gotten lucky there, too, because there was still stock left when I looked, but it sold out by the next day. I scored some great basics. The two whites are actually white-on-white; I thought I was ordering low volume grey-on-white, a paisley and a medallion print. I like the white-on-whites even better!

Jackman's (LQS) had a sale including their $1.09 fat quarters earlier this month. You know I can't resist their FQ sale so I had to check it out. They had lots of great basics, including brights and low volumes. I may have stocked up with doubles of some.

In addition to brights, I must have been thinking about masculine colors, too. I didn't intentionally pull these blues, neutrals, and chocolates for one quilt, but they sure do look good together.

While at the store I checked out the sale yardage, looking for backings for baby quilts. I found this cute coral pup print and a couple of all-purpose greys. Most of my stash is cuts of one yard or less, or FQs, so I either have to piece backings or purchase yardage for them. For baby quilts, these 1-1/2 yard cuts will work great.

So, total stash enhancement, 21-1/4 yards. Total outlay, $78.57. Net cost per yard, $3.70. Not bad. This is how I can continue to make donation quilts. And now I have lots of inspiring new prints to play with. Should keep me busy for awhile!

If you've left a comment for me lately, I haven't been getting them by email so I've been unable to respond. If you left a comment and I didn't respond, I'm sorry.
Louise answered my call for help to fix the problem, so I've tried what she suggested and I'm hoping the problem will be fixed and I'll be able to get comments. Thanks, Louise!

In camera news, my son brought my old camera to me over the weekend, so the above photos should be the last of the phone photos, I hope. Henceforth I can't blame the quality of the photos on anything other than operator error, as I'm not a photographer.

Linking up with
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Em's Scrapbag
Love Laugh Quilt

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Lost Comments

Does anyone remember the fix for getting blog comments sent to email?

I'm suddenly no longer getting comments in my email so I'm unable to respond individually.

Thanks for any help or suggestions you can provide.

Friday, November 23, 2018

A Finish for Operation Shower

With all the little boys in my extended family, it's rare that I get to make girly quilts. But last spring when I found a remnant of a cute sheep print, I knew it would make a great backing for a sweet baby girl quilt. Just needed an opportunity or reason to make a girly quilt.

My guild is supporting Operation Shower by making baby quilts for expecting military families. The perfect opportunity to put that sheep print to good use! Earlier this week I was able to get it quilted and bound, so now it just needs a spin through the washer and it'll be ready to go. Since we don't meet in December, I'll deliver it at the January meeting.

No sheep print on the front, but the palette was definitely inspired by the print. The sheep became the back, with a little help to bring it up to size.

A loose meander made for quick quilting, and will keep it soft and drapey. So cute!

Since this is a donation quilt for a baby, I'm going to include it in my Rocking Chair Quilts tab above. 

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

O Tannenbaum Revisited

Now that Thanksgiving is upon us, it's time to think about Christmas, and Christmas decorations.
Last year I created a life-size Christmas Tree wall hanging for my son's home. They don't have room for an actual tree, so they have a full size quilted one. With real ornaments. *

This project was part of last year's 12 Days of Christmas in July hosted by Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

It was so popular that I wrote a tutorial for making it. You can find the tutorial here. It has been my most popular post ever.

There's still time to make a Christmas Tree wall hanging like this before Christmas. If you know anyone, such as a student or a nursing home resident, who doesn't have space for an actual Christmas tree, this two-dimensional one would be ideal. And a lovely way to display their collection of treasured ornaments.

Before we jump into the Christmas season, though, I want to wish all my readers a very Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you get to enjoy time with friends and family, and lots of good food.

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts and My Quilt Infatuation

*Pardon the magnets holding the quilt to the metal door. The quilt has a standard hanging sleeve for hanging it in the usual way on a wall, but I needed to use the door for photos.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Early Snow

We had a little snow last week so I stayed in and sewed. This is the first time I can remember having this much snow this early in November. We got about 5" or so. It was still coming down when I was taking pictures.

You may remember last week I showed this adorable sheep print and the beginning layout of a baby girl Plus quilt.

I got the flimsy sewn together and couldn't resist a couple of pics in the snow. Actually, I didn't go out in the snow, just took the photos from my back door.

I'm still using my phone for photos and I just can't seem to get a good, well-focused shot of these fabrics. This is about the best I can manage.

I'm working on quilting this and I'll have a finish to share later in the week. The cute sheep print is the backing. This will be a donation to Operation Shower.

In other news, I took the broken camera in to the well-known camera store in town. They don't do repairs there, they send them out. By sending it out I would be authorizing up to $200 in repairs plus the $20 shipping. They would call me if the repairs are over $200. This model sells used on EBay for $200. I can't justify the repair now. I've asked my son if I can "borrow back" my old camera that I gave him when I got the one that's now broken. He just uses his phone so he's fine with that. Hopefully he'll remember to bring it next times he comes for a visit. Meanwhile, I'll be making do with phone photos here on the blog for awhile.

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