Friday, September 28, 2018

Heart Builders Quilts

Back in July I wrote about making some tops for Heart Builders, who provide quilts to kids in crisis. They sent me fabrics for one top, but due to fabric choices I ended up making three tops. Story here. I sent the tops off to team leader Liz, and she arranged for them to be quilted, bound, and distributed.

Since I just pieced the tops, Liz kindly sent me photos of the quilts after they were quilted. Here are Liz's photos of my Heart Builders tops all quilted and finished.
HB Top #1 Quilted by Liz

HB Top #2 Quilted by Liz

HB Top #3 Quilted by Liz

Don't they look so much better all quilted and full of texture?! I was happy to piece them and I'd be glad to make more if Heart Builders asks. 

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

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Oh, NO!!!

See that little snip? It happened when I was trapunto-ing the center.
See those very tiny stitches where the center is appliqued down? Yeah, too tiny for the seam ripper. I ended up using a needle to unpick them. I was able to replace the center.

Unfortunately there's 12 of these centers that I'm working on. See description here of what I'm doing  to make them not look and feel lumpy.

After I snipped the one above, I was super careful to keep my fingers between the seam allowance and the center fabric when I trimmed the next one. So I snipped my finger. Yeesh! Fortunately I didn't get any blood on the project.

So why am I going to all this trouble for these Dresden centers? Because this quilt means a lot to me and I want it to be of a good enough quality that I can enter into shows. I was inspired by something I saw at AQS Paducah in 2017, and I'm hoping this one can be entered into an AQS show when it's finished.
EQ Rendering of design

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, September 24, 2018

Starting a CSQ Baby Quilt

The traditional guild I belong to, CSQ, has chosen a new-to-us charity for the next year. I can't remember the name of the organization, but they support military families while the service member is deployed. One of the things they do is provide baby showers to expectant parents. So we at CSQ are making baby quilts.

I pulled a cute stripe from my stash which actually came from the most recent CSQ fabric swap. Gender neutral with touches of orange and green, perfect! A few friends from stash, nice cheerful brights, and here's my palette:

I'll keep it simple, just patchwork squares. I need some easy, mindless sewing.

One of our members does a lot of screen printing, and made muslin labels for us:

I'm hoping I can turn these fabrics into a finished baby quilt before too long.

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

Monday, September 17, 2018

"We Don't Like Lumpy"

... said my friend Margaret. 

The lumpiness we were talking about has to do with the centers of my Dresden blocks.

Can you kind of see the ends of the Dresden blades behind the gold center?

The background fabric has been cut away from the backs of the Dresdens so the batting will fill in when they're quilted. But even if I cut away the background from behind the centers, the seam allowances will still leave a ridge.

It feels lumpy, and as Margaret says, we don't like lumpy.

So I went back to my original test block to find a solution. Here's the test block, and you can see the lumpiness in the center here, too.

The solution is to stuff the centers of the Dresdens, like trapunto. I'll cut circles of batting, one big enough to fill in the entire center of the Dresden, and another to fill in within the seam allowances to avoid that ridge. Remember circle templates from way back when? Handy tools to keep! (Photos not to scale here)

The herringbone background fabric has been cut away from behind the blades, leaving just the center. I unpicked the seams to open it up.

The tails of the blades were did not extend evenly inside there, so with the "flaps" opened up, I carefully trimmed the seam allowance to about 1/4". Very carefully, because I didn't want a slip of the very sharp pointy scissors to cut anything else.

I laid in the larger of my two circles of batting, then laid the smaller one on top, and pushed them into the deep part of the center to fill it out. I tried with the smaller circle first, backed by the larger circle,  but on the right side of the block it was still lumpy from the seam allowances. It's much smoother with the larger batting circle filling in the entire Dresden center.

Next I pulled the "flaps" back into position and basted them closed. Because this will be buried deep within the quilt, it doesn't have to be pretty.

Voila, no lumpy center!

Seems like a lot of fussy work, but to me it's worth it for the Red Project, which is special to me. I can feel and see the difference; maybe you can see the difference in these photos, too. Margaret approves.

Now to do the same to my 12 red Dresden blocks. That'll keep me busy for awhile, and now that I've explained the process, it won't make for very interesting blog posts, so if I don't post for awhile, you'll understand why.

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

Friday, September 14, 2018

OK, Maybe It's Not So Bad After All

I still wouldn't say improv is my thing, but this little Nurses for Newborns quilt maybe isn't as bad as I originally thought it was. Anyway, it'll serve the purpose, a Tummy Time mat for a young baby.

Simple wavy line quilting to keep it soft. It'll crinkle up  a bit more after it's washed.

Backing from stash. Personally, I like the back better than the front.

My stash is becoming depleted of suitable prints in large enough pieces. Since I knew I wanted to use the stripe from the front for the binding, I was able to find a green that works.

This makes N4Nb quilt # 8 that I've made this year.

The Nurses for Newborns quilts are due at the November 10th meeting, so I'll make two more between now and then.

Link ups:
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Crazy Mom Quilts

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

September N4Nb Quilt

In my Nurses for Newborns quilts, I'm trying for a variety of boy, girl, and gender neutral. I'm making one of these little 24" x 36" quilts a month for STLMQG's charity project. Here's where I'm at so far:
February, March, April, and May




Looks like a boyish one should be up next. I have some leftover prints from the recent baby quilt in blues, and some greens from stash that could work.

I kind of like how they look laid out in stripes like that. Maybe I'll just sew strips together and see what develops.

Here are the WOF strips sewn into a strata, and cut in half.  The plan is to cut a strip from across the other half, reverse the direction, and insert the strip so it bisects the quilt across the middle.

No photo of that result. It was disappointing.

I've learned that if something is not working, sometimes I can salvage it if I cut it up and rearrange it. So by doing that, this is what I ended up with.

Not wonderful, but it'll do. Once again, confirming that even the simplest improv just isn't my thing. It was definitely a learning experience.

I'll get it quilted and bound and add it to the pile of N4Nb quilts to turn in in November. Even though it's not great design, it will certainly serve the purpose of a Nurses for Newborns quilt.

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, September 10, 2018

He Likes It

Grandson CJ's  Big Boy Bed Quilt was quite a hit. 
Sorry for the blurry pictures; 
it's hard to keep an excited three-year-old still.

 We were playing I Spy and he was finding all sorts of things. 
He pointed out an "excavator" all on his own. 

Very gratifying!

This is why we make quilts, isn't it?!!

Scroll down to Friday's post for images of the whole quilt.

Link ups: 

Friday, September 7, 2018

CJ's Big Boy Bed Quilt

Grandson CJ is 3-1/2 and he has graduated from a toddler bed to a big boy bed (twin). So of course I made him a quilt for it.   Ta-da - finished!

I got it back from the quilter on Tuesday, and finished putting the binding and label on yesterday. Perfect timing; I'll see CJ this weekend.

As soon as I put the final stitch in, I hurried outside to take some photos. It was about to start raining, and it's supposed to rain all weekend.

The back is pieced from leftover fabrics from the front.

CJ chose the focus fabric. I pre-selected some prints and showed him images of them on my laptop, and asked him which one was his favorite. He chose the same print two days in a row. Now a few months later, I hope he still likes it! Here are some of the prints shown closer on the back.

Some of the prints are directional. When I planned this quilt, I laid it out so that no matter which end is at the head or foot of the bed, and which side is toward the room or the wall, the print in the border and the blocks hanging down the side of the bed would always be right side up. From a three-year-old's eye level, that's mostly what he'll see.

Here you can see more of the border print and some of the swirly quilting. 

And of course he needs a pillowcase to go with it.

I hope he likes it. 

Linking up with Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, and TGIFF, hosted today by Katie Mae Quilts

Monday, September 3, 2018

August Stash Report and Goals Recap

Some finishes in August resulted in some very good usage numbers for the stash report, but they were a bit offset by a purchase, so I haven't quite caught up to the break even point. The finishes: August N4Nb quilt, Dr. Seuss's Pickle Dish top, and the whale-themed baby quilt.
August Nurses for Newborns Quilt

August Stash Report:

Month IN: 5 yards (5 yds backing for Pickle Dish)
Month OUT: 17-7/8 yards (3-3/4 yds for whale baby quilt top, 1-3/8 yds for backing, 5/8 yds for binding.  2-1/4 yds for August N4Nb quilt. 9-7/8 yds for Pickle Dish top.)

YTD IN: 101-1/8 yards
YTD OUT: 98 yards
YTD net change: 3-1/8 yards IN

I'm sure I can make up 3-1/8 yards by the end of the year to break even. A couple more N4Nb quilts will take care of that, and those are all from stash. However, I'll have an opportunity soon to visit a quilt shop I only get to once a year, so I may do a little stash enhancement while I'm there.

Whale Baby Quilt

Goals Update: 

August Recap:
1. Finish baby quilt for new great nephew. DONE, the whale quilt.
2. Finish adding borders to Pickle Dish to complete the flimsy; order fabric for backing. Done and Done; backing arrived but needs to be pre-washed.
3. Make another N4Nb quilt. Done - Spiraling Star.
4. Add centers to the Dresden blocks for the red project. Done; also finished cutting away the backs behind the Dresdens. 
5. Hand sew on WIGSP Piecing Group Project. YES!!! I got two whole row seams and part of another done this month. That's 12 or 13 days with some stitching.
6. Keep up with bee blocks. Done.
7. Look at UFOs and WIPs and plan next one to be worked on. Have several projects cut and kitted up for retreat in October. Will plan on working on those then. 

WIGSP Piecing Group Project - Bottom Half

September Goals:
1. Bind grandson's Big Boy Bed quilt when back from the long-armer.
2. Prep backing, layer and baste Pickle Dish.
3. Make another Nurses for Newborns quilt.
4. Stuff centers of Dresden blocks (trapunto).
5. If time permits, make a donation quilt for CSQ's baby shower quilt drive.
6. Keep up with bee blocks.

It may look like a light list for September, but I'll be taking a break from quilting for a few days for some Grandma duty. Getting Pickle Dish basted will be huge, too.
Pickle Dish Flimsy

So we'll see how much I can really accomplish this month. And how much stash I can bust!

Design Wall: WIGSP

On my design wall: the Work in Glacially Slow Progress that I'm hand-piecing. This is the lower half of the top, extending past the upper half of the wall. It will be a generous queen-size when done.

This was started in December 2007 and has been worked on by my Piecing Group bee friends for several go-rounds. Now it's in pairs of rows and I'm slowly stitching them together.

My friend Laura hosted a CSQ social meeting recently with a UFO theme. I was inspired to work on this and I showed the girls the bottom third at the meeting. Since then I stitched two more pairs of rows on, so now it's halfway done. That's a lot of hand stitching for me, and my hands are feeling it. Pressing this is a real PITA, spinning all those seams on the back where the triangles come together.

With half of the top together, the "glow" is becoming visible. The colors of the pieces in the hexies at the center of the top are much lighter than the ones at the edges and the bottom, for a luminous effect. There are 164 different batik fabrics used in the top. I like how the colors seem to sparkle; some of the hexies look like faceted gems.

I need to put this aside for September because I have some other hand stitching to do, but I'll come back to it. Seeing it this far along, I'm motivated to keep going and get it finished.

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