Friday, June 30, 2023

June Stash Report and Goals Update

It didn't feel like a busy month, but I got more done than I thought. One of the charities PCQ supports put out a request for quilts for teen boys. I don't have anything specific to teen boys (sports, video games, science) in my stash, so I pulled a generic masculine palette together and pieced a top. Unfortunately as I was getting ready to post about it I saw in the photos that I transposed a couple of the pieces, so I have to fix it. I have backing for it and I hope to get it fixed and quilted soon. 

Masculine top, detail

The big thing for this month was a blog post for Kelly Young's new book, Perfectly Pieced Quilt Backs.
Backing for Perfectly Pieced Quilt Backs blog hop

Together with my friends, we finished enough blocks for our first Scrappy Celebration top and started on a second in a brighter palette. None of us are bored with making these blocks yet, and these are charity quilts, so we'll just keep going. 
Scrappy Celebration

Other than that, I quilted and finished the Flying Geese quilt and pieced a lot of blocks for Scrappy Celebration and Road Trip. 
Flying Geese quilt, finished

The chair of PCQ's Community Service Committee talked me into taking an Adopt-a-Quilt kit (someone's UFO), so I finished piecing that. It just needed borders added and they were in the kit. The fabric was some kind of iridescent silk patchwork with gold metallic screen printing and other metallic fabrics pieced in, all serged together. Someone had added quilting cotton with a gold metallic Asian print for the borders. There was backing fabric in the kit, too, but not enough, so I added some from my own stash, pieced the backing, and made the binding. I'll pass the whole thing along to the girls who cut batting, then they can put it in the to-be-quilted pile. No photos.

I finally broke down and ordered backing to go with my Four Patch Shuffle top and quilted it. I never could find anything suitable in the club's backings, so it's been sitting since January. I found the most perfect wide backing when an on-line vendor was having a sale. The quilt is not bound yet, so no photos yet, but I'll post when it's finished. 

In addition to the wide backing, a few other smaller cuts of fabric jumped into my cart, including more of the turquoise I'm using for my Road Trip project, so I did have some stash additions this month. 

June Stash Report: 
IN this month: 5-1/2 yards (5-1/2 yards Connecting Threads order, includes wide backing)
OUT this month: 9-3/4 yards (3 yards donated for backing for an Adopt-a-Quilt for PCQ. Masculine geometric top, 6-3/4 yards)

IN YTD: 25-3/8 yards
OUT YTD: 82 yards
YTD Net Change: 56-5/8 yards out

The masculine quilt and the Adopt-a-Quilt kit weren't on my goals list for this month. Even so, I was able to make good progress on my list. 

Goals Update: 

June Recap: 
1. Make blocks for second Scrappy Celebration in bright color palette. Yes, 18 blocks made so far

2. Make blocks for earth tone sampler. Yes, now called Road Trip; about 20 blocks made so far.

3. Plan and prep for July retreat. Progress; I die-cut some strips for a planned project and have other projects packed. 

4. Photograph top and back and write blog post for Kelly's book release. Yes, posted on June 21 for her blog hop.

5. Finish quilting the flying geese quilt, bind and finish it. Done. 

6. Quilt something on the club's long arm. Yes, quilted the Four Patch Shuffle.

 - Pieced a quick masculine top in response to one of our charities' need for teen boy quilts.
 - Finished an Adopt-a-Quilt top and pieced a backing for it. 

Road Trip blocks

Darker, brighter palette for second Scrappy Celebration

July Goals: 

1. Finish prepping for retreat. Have fun at retreat!

2. Bind Four Patch Shuffle.

3. Make blocks for Road Trip sampler and work on layout.

4. Make blocks for Bright Scrappy Celebration.

5. Quilt something on the club's long arm.

6. Find or create a new project to work on at social sewing.

With four days of sewing at retreat, I expect July will be a very productive month. We'll see....

Link up: Alycia Quilts

Friday, June 23, 2023

Flying Geese Quilt Finished

 Remember the Flying Geese top I was working on back in April, using these fabrics? 

I had an opportunity to quilt it at the end of May and now it's a finished quilt. 

I loaded it sideways on the long arm and quilted straight-ish lines in the ditch and through the points of the geese. It was my first time trying ruler work on the long arm. Very awkward. 

My intention was that the long arm quilting would hold everything together and I could come back on my domestic machine and quilt all the horizontal lines in the ditch. That would have resulted in much denser quilting, making the quilt stiffer.  This quilt already has a stiff batting, so I opted to only quilt in the ditch horizontally between the tall blocks.  There's enough quilting in the vertical channels, 3" apart, so it'll hold up just fine, and hopefully this quilt will soften up with washing. For charity quilts, whatever batting they have is what gets used. 

The backing is a mint green tone-on-tone print from the club's backing stash and the color is perfect. I used the backing off-cuts for the binding. 

This quilt will go to the local agency for victims of sexual violence, whose clients tend to be a lot of teens and tweens. At 60" square, this quilt should be suitable for one of their clients. 

I enjoyed working on this project. The palette was a challenge for me to use lower contrast than I usually do, and I was partially successful. But I reverted to my usual stronger contrast and ended up with the mix you see here. It was also a retreat project, and it's always fun to work on projects at retreat. The girls there helped me lay out the blocks, another part of the challenge. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Perfectly Pieced Quilt Backs

 Today I'm honored to help Kelly Young of My Quilt Infatuation launch her newest book, Perfectly Pieced Quilt Backs. Kelly is a master of improvisational piecing, and she shares patterns and techniques in her two previous books, Stash Statement and Scrappy Improv Quilting. But this time she lends her out-of-the-box thinking to the design of quilt backs. 

Kelly offers patterns for 30 - yes, 30! - different quilt backs, each in three sizes, lap, twin and queen. 15 of the patterns use scraps and leftovers, the rest use stash and yardage. There's a backing for every possible top. 

I chose the Intersection back, page 130, for my Red Round Robin Medallion. Here's Kelly's book image:

See that little bit of the quilt top showing at the corner? There are 18 FREE downloadable bonus patterns for the "fronts" featured in the book, lap size only.

Anyway, I chose the Intersection back for several reasons:
 - It corresponds with the medallion aspect of the front of my quilt;
 - I could make it work with the sizes of the leftover fabrics I had on hand plus a little extra:
 - I could easily adapt the size to work with the size of my quilt front. 

So here's my Intersection back: 

And here's the front it goes with:

Perfect, don't you think?!
And I never would have thought to do something creative like this without Perfectly Pieced Quilt Backs. No, I don't have my quilt sandwiched and quilted yet, but it will get there. And when it's finished, it could even be considered a two-sided quilt. 

PCQuilters make a lot of charity quilts and backings are expensive. I'm sharing Perfectly Pieced Quilt Backs with the committee members who make backings, because they'll be able to make pieced backings from the stash of random and smaller pieces we also use for the tops. Kelly's patterns are arranged by scrap size and/or number of fabrics needed, to make backing pattern choices easier. 

I see more pieced backings in my future quilt making thanks to Kelly's book. If you're  interested, Perfectly Pieced Quilt Backs is available everywhere you usually buy quilt books online- Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Connecting Threads, Missouri Star, and signed copies are also available from Kelly's Etsy shop.  It is also being carried by many quilt shops, so ask about it at your local shop, because it has also been picked up by ALL the major distributors. For more information, visit Kelly's website at

Some of my favorite quilters are also helping Kelly launch her new book today. Check out their posts and their perfectly pieced quilt backings at the links below. 

Congratulations, Kelly, on the publication of Perfectly Pieced Quilt Backs, and best wishes for its success. 

Monday, June 19, 2023

Road Trip Progress

I've made a few blocks for my new project that doesn't have a plan, which I'm now calling Road Trip. I put the blocks on the wall just to see what I have, what's working and what isn't, and what changes I need to make. This is by no means any sort of final layout.

Immediately I see that it's too busy, so I'm going to have to use sashing in places to separate the blocks and give them some breathing room, instead of packing them all together and filling in with small units. 

I still love the palette, but the proportions of some of the colors used may need to be tweaked. I don't like all the off-white in the 18" turquoise block, so I'm going to take the block apart down to the 12" Ohio Star center and reuse the outer pieces for another block. 

The light off-white needs to be used sparingly. There's a different light print in the four 6" Broken Dishes blocks that reads darker, but I have only a little bit left. I have one more ivory/tan print (not used yet) but it reads light and there's only a small amount of it. I'll use the lights very carefully to just sprinkle a bit of sparkle around the quilt. 

Every block has the license plate print in it. It's a busy print and these are busy blocks, so I might need a few blocks that don't have that print. Or maybe confine it to the center like the two 12" rust blocks.

My husband really likes the tiny geometric print used in the rust star block. I need to figure out how to use it in more blocks. The value is so similar to the khaki Grunge that I'll have to be careful about contrast.

Almost all the blocks have khaki Grunge in them. I'll continue to use that as as constant and also use it for spacing and sashing, but it's not required in every block. 

The 15" block at the far right reads very dark compared to the others because it has dark cinnamon brown and hunter green in it. I need to use those dark value colors in some more blocks, but scatter them so there's not one standout dark section. 

Okay, so now I have a bit more of a plan than I did to start with. Or, more like what to avoid... I guess I need to make some more blocks and add them to the mix, then critique again.

Should I make each 9" and 12" block different or should I repeat a few blocks? My original plan was to fill in with 6" blocks and 3" units, which would be repeated, but maybe I need something less busy. I have a few Flying Geese units available. If you have any suggestions for me, please leave a comment. 

Link up: Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Friday, June 16, 2023

Scrappy Friendship Stars

Introducing another pattern for PCQ's charity quilts, Scrappy Friendship Stars. Our June sew day is this weekend, and we have kits prepped and ready to sew. I think this one will be very popular, because some of the people who helped make the kits have already started sewing theirs. 

The top is planned for a twin bed and measures 72 x 90". The blocks are oversized, 18", and go together quickly.

I made the prototype using batiks from my own stash, but from what I've seen of the kits so far, this pattern seems to be working quite well in the prints we have in the club's stash. 

The pattern is posted to the Free Charity Quilt Patterns tab above. It's easy to kit up, and it goes together quickly and easily. Anyone who can make half square triangles and sew a nine patch can make this top.

The charity quilt patterns were designed to be included in kits packaged up for sewers to work on at our Community Sew Days, and the quilts we make go to the charities supported by PCQ. If your guild or group would like to use any of these patterns for donation quilts, and you'd like a PDF of one or more of the patterns, leave a comment. PLEASE TYPE YOUR WHOLE EMAIL ADDRESS WITHIN THE TEXT OF YOUR COMMENT, otherwise I have no way to send your pattern to you. 

I'm looking forward to the sew day and seeing these Scrappy Friendship Star quilts come together. 

Link up: Alycia Quilts

Monday, June 12, 2023

New Project

 I so enjoyed making individual blocks for Scrappy Celebration that I've decided to start a new project, just making blocks until I have enough to puzzle together for a quilt top. I pulled some fabrics that I absolutely love together, and the quilt I make with them will probably stay with me. 

I have two yards each of the license plate print, khaki Grunge, tomato Grunge, and the ivory netting print. More of the bright turquoise is on order. Most of the others are leftovers, partial backing offcuts, or smaller cuts. Plenty of variety to play with, but a cohesive palette together. 

My plan is to make three 15" blocks, a few 12" blocks, several 9" blocks, and puzzle it all together with 6" blocks and 3" units or squares. Here are the parts for the first block: 

So far I've made two 15" blocks. I'm thinking that each block will have at least a little of the khaki and the license plate print, but everything else can vary. 

No pattern. No timeline, no deadline. Just making blocks whenever the mood strikes. Sounds good to me!

This project needs a name. Any suggestions? 

Monday, June 5, 2023

Scrappy Celebration with Friends, Finished Flimsy

 Last week at social sewing we combined all the blocks we have so far for Scrappy Celebration and put them up on PCQ's design wall. We discovered we had enough blocks for our top. 

We spent all morning moving the blocks around. Every time we made a change, something else had to change. Too many pinks together? Change. Same block design next to each other? Change. Two blocks that didn't play nicely together? Change. Too light at one end and dark at the other? Lots of changes. 

After all that, I think this is close to the final layout. 

Linda, our project leader, took the blocks and has already assembled them into a quilt top, a twin bed size for one of the charities PCW supports.

Photo credit Linda L.

There were three blocks left over. Color being relative, the fabrics in these blocks looked brighter and darker than everything else in our top, so they stood out. 

These blocks will become the seeds for our next group project. We've all enjoyed piecing blocks so much that we don't want to stop. So Linda and I pulled fabrics for our next version, more vibrant brights. In our first version above, we had mostly midtones but some of the prints had white in them, so some read as pastel. This time we're going for bold and beautiful! 

Lots more happy blocks to come!

Linking up with Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Friday, June 2, 2023

May Stash Report and Goals Update

I was away for awhile in May, at the beach with my family, but even so I managed to find time to sew. Most important, I got a back made for my Red Round Robin Medallion top. It'll be part of Kelly Young's (My Quilt Infatuation) new book kick off, so I'll wait until then to show it. Here's the top:

I worked on a lot of Scrappy Celebration blocks with friends this month. We now have enough blocks for one top and we're starting on a second. More about that in another post. 

I finished another charity quilt top, which I'll turn in as is. Others on the committee will prep backing and quilt it. I've asked them to return it to me for binding because I have enough of one of the fabrics used in it to bind it, and then I can get a finished photo. 

I'll count the portion of the fabrics in the charity top that were mine in my stash report. Between that and the RRR Medallion top and its still-secret backing, my stash usage was pretty good this month. I indulged in a bit of stash enhancement in Pensacola, but that's okay. 

May Stash Report: 

IN this month: 4-7/8 yards (from A&E in Pensacola)
OUT this month: 16-3/4 yards (Red Round Robin Medallion - 5-1/8 yards. Backing, 3-1/2 yards. Kaffe lily pad 4 patch, 6-3/4 yards. Additional Scrappy Celebration blocks & donated fabrics, 1 yard.)

IN YTD: 19-7/8 yards
OUT YTD: 72-1/4 yards
YTD Net Change: 52-3/8 yards OUT

Since my goal is to break even or reduce the stash each year, I'm on track to do all right. 

The other big accomplishment this month was to finish Mineral Plus. It had languished as an unquilted top for several years, but I was able to quilt it, bind it, and donate it this month. It was always intended as a hospice quilt for Hands2Help, so it's been donated to the local hospice that PCQ supports. 

I mentioned the Scrappy Celebration blocks I've been working on. Well, I've enjoyed making individual blocks without a specific plan, just pulling fabrics from our communal palette for one block at a time knowing that they'll all work together. So I'm inspired to make a quilt of my own, using my own earth tone palette and a variety of blocks. I pulled fabrics and made the first block; story to come in another post later. It's definitely something I can see myself working on over the next few months. 

Goals Update: 

May Recap: 
1. Sew a backing for the red round robin top for Kelly Young's upcoming book promotion. DONE

2. Make blocks for Scrappy Celebration small group project.  Yes, more than 20 blocks made so far.

3. Quilt something on PCQ's long arm. Yes, quilted the flying geese project. (Needs more SiD quilting which I'll do on my domestic machine.)

4. Plan and cut a new project to piece at Social Sewing. Yes, another Four Patch Variation with border, using Kaffe lily pad print; I actually finished the top.

5. Bind Mineral Plus. DONE

June Goals:
1. Make blocks for second Scrappy Celebration in bright color palette. 

2. Make blocks for earth tone sampler.

3. Plan and prep for July retreat.

4. Photograph top and back and write blog post for Kelly Young's book release.

5. Finish quilting the flying geese quilt, bind and finish it.

6. Quilt something on the club's long arm.

The other thing I want to do in June is get back into the habit of blogging twice a week, which means I need to take more in-process photos and do more photo editing ahead of time. I've kind of gotten away from that, so I need to refocus. I also want to get back to reading blogs more regularly; I've kind of fallen away from that since the demise of Bloglovin, and I miss my blogger friends. 

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Alycia Quilts