Sunday, February 21, 2016

February Finishes!

     February was a good month on the quilting front.  I finished 2 children's quilts that will go to my niece's two foster children.  These two sweet children have been in her home since just before Christmas full time.  She and her husband were a respite home initially, but this brother / sister duo were in a home with other very young children and needed more nurturing time.  

Criss Cross Applesauce  Backing 

Criss Cross Applesauce 

Bright Hearts  / Foreshadowing  

Bright Hearts - quilting detail 

     These were both tops done as mystery quilt test tops.  The one with hearts was half of the blocks originally made for the 2011 mystery. (another youth top was finished and gifted 2 years ago)  and the one with  the yellow and green crossed lines was started last March.   

     I love testing new patterns!  Especially mystery quilts.  It's fun to see if I can figure out where the designer is going.  This designer, Jessica Smith, of the Quilt and Needle always keeps me on my toes.  My mind does not think in the same brainwaves as hers, and she always surprises her mystery followers with a wonderful finished project.   My biggest problem, is that the tops get to the finished top stage, and if I don't have a specific recipient or home for them, they don't get quilted right away.  If you look at my "to do" list, it has several mystery quilts from the Q&N that need finishing.  I'm hoping this is the year. 

Sticks and Stones 

     This donation quilt is finished!   Last year, while going through some boxes of donated fabric with my quilting sisters in Corbett, (The Windy Hill Quilters),  I came across some partially cut and  sewn blocks, lots of them! 

Sticks and stones - detail 

      There were probably enough for 3 quilts worth .  The majority of the fabrics are from the 80's.. blue/ pink, plaid with hearts.. very outdated and country looking.    However, while  looking through the bag, I thought.. if I replace the  plaid center on these dark blue blocks  with a cream, they would go nicely with these other blocks. (There was a pattern in the bag, called "sticks and stones", but it had been copied from somewhere, with no reference to the designer.  A google search helped me find 3 more images of the same quilt, but again, no designer credit.   So... whoever designed this quilt, I'm sorry I can't give you credit.  
     This measures 60 x 72.  No one else  in the group was interested in working with the bag contents so it came home with me.   There will be more to come from that bag, but I will mix it with some more updated fabrics and use some of it in pieced backs.  

     I also finished 4 star blocks for a Quilt of Valor.  These blocks need to be mailed in the next few weeks to the person who will piece the completed blocks into a quilt for a well deserving veteran.
Quilt of Valor blocks 

      I also got four more tops finished that were in progress.   C
ampfire Cowboys  and Rodeo were made from some flannel in a tote of fabric I purchased at a garage sale in the fall of 2014.   I had some of the smaller plaids in my stash that  coordinated with the two large scale prints.  I used the pattern " Just Can't Cut It"  by All Washed Up, to allow the prints to be seen.  These both  measure out at a Twin size 75" x 87" . I still have some of the branding iron fabric to use for backing.  These will be  donation quilts when done, possibly to a homeless shelter,  or to an Indian Reservation that our small quilt group is sending quilts to this spring. 

Campfire Cowboys 

     The other two Thomas the Tank Engine tops are ready for quilting now as well.  These are going to the new family homeless shelter with the three quilts I finished last month.  

Thomas the Tank Engine II 

Thomas the Tank Engine III
Stash busting news!
     See the black fabric with the bright hearts?  I purchased that fabric when my granddaughter was born on Valentine's day, 20 years ago!  She has always been a hot pink & zebra kind of girl, and this little print  and it's companion never made it into a quilt for her.... It is all gone now... only thing left are a few 2 1/2" squares that are in the scrap drawers.   In fact,  the binding on this quilt is about 1/2 and 1/2 of the two prints to make it all the way around. 

     The bright yellow print used as backing in the top photo, has been one of my favorite prints, and I'm down to less than 2 FQ.... It is such a fun print to put in children's quilts.  I'll miss it.  

     The checkered border has been in my stash for a long time as well, and it's time to move it along.  I got it for a great price,  there is enough for another large border, or to piece into a back somewhere.   

Monday, February 1, 2016

January Finishes!

 Planes and Propellers    

 I have a new great nephew due in February.  This is the quilt I made to welcome him into this world.  I call it
"Planes and Propellers".   Designed with the help of Electric Quilt Software. (EQ7)  This quilt measures 42 x 50.   The blocks are paper pieced.  Parents chose a nursery theme of red, navy, gray.  

Planes and Propellers  
Planes and Propeller   Details 
Planes and Propellers


Planes and Propellers - Label Detail 

Thomas the Tank I - 

   January has also been a good month for finishing up some projects that have been hanging around on the end of the counter for awhile.   The majority of these are destined for a new homeless shelter for families  Shelters that take couples with children are hard to come by.   I purchased a couple of tubs of fabric at a Garage sale a little over a year ago, and there were several (about 25) fat quarters of Thomas the Tank Engine fabric.    I should be able to get a total of 4 or 5 quilts out of that group.   Not bad, when they were just a part of the garage sale goods that I paid less than $100 for.  These were hidden in the bottom of the tub! 

Thomas the Tank 1 
Thomas the Tank 1  Backing 

Thomas the Tank I - block and quilting details 

Playtime Station:  quilts I and II

     These two panels were some I found in a remnant bin several years ago.  This seemed like a perfect project to use them up and have them go to good use. 

Playtime Station - Blue border   40" x 44"  approx 

Playtime Station - Red border   40" x 44"  approx
Flannel Backing  - same for both 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Wedding Gifts

So what else would I gift to a special nephew and his new bride, if it wasn't quilt related?  

My nephew Austin and his bride, Madison (Madi),  became husband and wife on Nov 14, 2015.  

These two have known each other since about the 9th grade!  

As with his mom and sister who both married in the last couple of years, I offered to make them a pair of couch throws that would coordinate with each other, but yet still have an individual feel to them. 

Austin is a tall guy, so I made sure his quilt will cover him from neck to toe if he wants to nap on the couch. It measures at about 90" long 
The two of them chose a color theme of browns and tans.  Then from about a dozen EQ7 mock ups of quilts in that color scheme,  they chose the patterns I used. 

These are their labels. 

Madi's Quilt :

Close up of quilting details...


I chose overlapping circles, to help soften the straight line work in the squares.   

Austin's quilt is a woven knot design.  

I quilted it with an overall swirl pattern on my domestic Janome Horizon 7700.  

It felt good to get these sent off to them before they celebrate their first anniversary. 

I think I'm ready to put my brown scraps away for a while.... next up?  a brighter colored baby quilt.  

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

How did I do That?

So it's once again, been nearly a year since I've added any progress to my blog.   I really did get some stuff accomplished this last year,  but much of it was outside in the yard over the summer. 

As I was updating my finishes on my sidebar a few minutes ago... I realized that I had six major finishes this year, which were all gifted away, and they were all new starts after summer of 2014.  

I really do want to move these UFO's along.....  but my design wall is covered with another new start which will be a baby quilt for a new great nephew due in the next month.  

I worked on several projects besides these 6 finishes,  but they included round robins and row robins that made their way through my sewing room and on to the next participant.     

This is "The Approaching Storm".   Made for my hubby's niece, Kristin.  She and her hubby purchased a small parcel of land so they could enjoy their horses just out of Spokane.  Their home is large enough, and has a separate living quarters in it, so they took in her dad and his wife.   

I found the panel at our local quilt show, and knew immediately that it was  going to be a quilt for Kristin. 

I love using EQ to design with!  I took a picture of the panel, and was able to import the  photo and use it in my actual layout as I was working on the borders.   This finishes at approx 66 x 80.  Other than the panel, all the pieces came from my fabric stash.  

She looks pretty happy, cuddled up.  If you know Kristin, you know that she doesn't sit still for very long.  She is always busy working on some kind of project, or out tending her horse or working in her garden after her full time job with the Army Guard. 

I cannot just send a quilt to one person.... Kristin's hubby, Mike needed a quilt too, right?   

At a different quilt show, I ran into this panel, and it had Mike's name all over it!  I really liked the fact that it was smaller panel pieces that I could use as block centers.  Since Mike is a tall guy, over 6',  I used 2 sets of panels to get enough blocks to make this quilt, "Working the West". 

It measures 
80 x 92".  Plenty large enough to nap under.  

I used EQ to map this one out as well!  I created  scrappy "rail fence" sashings,  which I used to frame each picture.  This required a refresher course on Partial seams. 

The strips all came from my stash! 

I really do love the artwork in these panels.   I had to make a few sawtooth stars to fill in along the way.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sometimes the little finishes are the best...

So this week, I had the luxury of finishing up  some small blocks called "Wild and Goosey" that Bonnie Hunter had published in Quiltmaker magazine this last spring. (April/ May 2014)   The blocks are small at 3" finished,  and are paper pieced.  They are like potato chips... you can't make just one. 

I made some in scrappy mode....  all from little crumbs and scraps....  they turned out cute.... 

Then... I thought about a project I want to do for our guild.... a small quilt (under 24" square), that will go in our small quilt raffle.  I pulled out my scrap drawers and pulled scraps that  were purple and lime green.  This is the result.... it measures 9" square.  Still needs to be quilted and bound, but I don't need it until April. 

Who would ever think that these are pieces that many throw away?  Those little white areas are less than 1" square! 

If you want to make some of these adorable blocks, do a google search for "Wild and Goosey"  and you should be able to find the PDF of the downloadable pattern to print out. 

Then I have signed up for 4 blocks for a baby quilt.....  This is a Moda Bakeshop pattern called "Jungle Path".  It goes together quickly  and are 10" blocks.   These are ready to send out in the mail. 

I still need to make a couple of pinwheel blocks for another baby project, they need to go in the same envelope, so those are next on the line. 

I also finished the final 2 blocks of our Block of the Month project for Guild.  Being the chairperson, means you need to work ahead.  I had all the blocks done in October, but didn't take enough of a couple of  fabrics with me to retreat where I worked on them last.   It feels so Good to get those off my "to do List". 

I also finished the row I had of the 2015 Stitchin' Sisters Row Robin I'm participating in this year.  We all chose our own theme....  I mailed my starter row earlier in Jan.  My theme is "Winter".... my thoughts were around winter items "NOT CHRISTMAS"... so  snowmen, snowflakes, mittens, cocoa, birds, branches, etc.  I had snowflake fabrics from an internet exchange several years ago, and this seemed like the perfect way to put them to use.

The checkerboard is one of three "filler rows" I have made.  I sent it along to let everyone see the variety of blues I envision.  I will also add a pieced border using the same fabrics... piano key... or some other idea....  I want to use all my fabrics though. 

Vanessa's starter row arrived at my home last week, right on time.  Her theme is "Coffee and Cupcakes".  She sent a little fabric along with her row.   It didn't take this project very long to talk to me....  I made log cabin blocks in brown and tans. Appliqued a small cupcake from the fabric she sent in the middle of each block.  Then made 3 larger applique blocks with coffee cups on them.  These don't have to be mailed until after the 20th of February.. but I'm early for a change... That feels good too! 

Here are some of the individual blocks in close up.  They finish at 8".  We aren't attaching our rows, as most of us want to add extra filler rows to make our tops larger when we get them back later this year. 


While none of these is  a huge project... it sure is nice to clear them off the project table.  I'm wanting to put another top or two into the sandwich and quilt mode, so getting these little things done helps a bunch.  

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Stash Organization Tips - a tutorial

 If you can't see it, you won't use it!  

That's my motto!    I've tried cardboard boxes... even covered them to make them pretty....  I've tried large plastic totes..... I've tried plastic shoe boxes.....  But this is the system that works for me so far..... 

I use several types of storage containers and systems to organize myself.... depends on what it is I'm storing. 

Large pieces of fabric...  1/4 yard  to 1 yard or more.... 

for a 1/4 - 1 yard piece, I fold it so that it is  4 or 5" by 1/4 WOF   
 for pieces over 1 yard, I fold it so that the piece is approx  9" x 1/4 WOF... 

They go on these IKEA Billy book shelves.  I have added more shelves.  

notice the two sizes of blue fabric stacked in this picture.  They fit on a 12" wide shelf nicely this way.  

I have not tried the comic book boards.... seems like $$$ I can use for fabric.... I can see what I have with this method. 

I sort generally by color group... however, I have my homespuns on the top of another shelf all together.... and I have the fabrics for children's quilts on a different shelf as well.  I also have a collection of leaf fabrics, and outdoor / woodland fabrics  that are each in a separate area. Flannels have their own spot too. 

Smaller pieces.... FQ or smaller, but larger than a 6" square. 

These pieces go into my drawer system... 
These were purchased over time at either Target, Walmart, or wherever I found them on sale.  These were in sets of 2 larger drawers and then 4 shallow drawers.  As you can see... I've rearranged them so that the deeper drawers are more at the bottom of the stacks... this is so I can pull the top drawers out without them being too heavy. I did not use the casters on these in this area.  

I'll post a list at the end of this tutorial of how I separate the fabric... but mostly they are by color, or size of strips.  

These are my three green drawers....  when one gets full,  I sort through it, and cut the smaller pieces, or the oldest pieces down into strips, squares, or bricks.... 

I usually cut out in the other room, so having these drawers makes it easy to pull the drawer out of the unit, and then put it back.  The clear shoeboxes got frustrating for me, trying to get a box out of the bottom of a stack.  I also like being able to open the drawer and stick a piece in. 

Smaller pieces.... squares, bricks, crumbs and triangles.... under 3" 

See the little unit to the right of the plastic stacking drawers?  ...Just behind the chicken pincusion on top of the shelving unit? 

I found these small drawer units that are for holding small hardware.  Mine came from a swap meet, but Harbor freight has them, or you might try Lowes or Home depot.   The small drawers have little handles.... and the smallest size ones are 1 1/2" wide.... the medium size ones are about 2" wide, and the larger ones will hold 
 3 1/2" x 6 1/2" bricks.  

I have three of them....  and they work great! 

Small pieces.... squares, bricks, crumbs and triangles.... over 3-1/2" 

I also save 4" squares, 4 1/2" squares,  5" squares and 6 1/2" squares.  I simply cut the largest size square I can from a scrap when it gets to that point.  I can always cut it smaller if it's the perfect color, but I can't add to it, if you know what I mean....

When cutting with the easy angle ruler and companion angle ruler, if I have the leftover outside piece, I save those too, in... 1 1/2" 2 1/2", 3 1/2" strip size before cutting. 

The bright colored boxes on the right are from the Dollar Tree store.  I have these larger cuts stored in them.  

Special collections.... 

My  pieces of wool, 30's reproductions, civil war.... florals.... patriotic fabrics... solids.... batiks.... muslin... etc..  These are in a different  drawer set.  I purchased these first, and then couldn't find them again.... since they don't interact with the others... and are slightly larger, they work great for these thing.  I also have rolls of fusibles, and golden thread quilting paper in the top drawers.  

For projects under way.... and yes... there are lots of them!  

I love these stacker boxes that go on sale after Christmas... they hold 12" blocks....  and they stack easily w/o sliding around.  They have a handle for taking to class.  

I keep the yardage with the cut pieces until the top is done..... just in case I need to re-cut something or I change plans mid-stream. The pattern or instructions go with the project....  I make a photocopy of instructions that are in a book or magazine, so that I can use the original source for another project if I want to. 

The zippered bags that linens come in make super project bags.... I have several of those..... 

I also have some of these 12" boxes that come in a 6 pack at Costco.... but they aren't as deep, and with their curved edges, they tend to slide around a bit more. 

This pink box is one that I've set up for sorting small cuts while taming scraps.  When this gets full, I take it to the back room and put into the drawers.  
Out next to where I actually sew, is my drawer that has my strings.  Since this is where i cut, it made sense for me to have the string drawer close by.  

List of how I sorted what's in the drawers.... 

  • Whites and creams
  • blacks and grays
  • Black and white prints
  • dark blue, medium blue and light blue (3 separate drawers) 
  • turquoise and teal
  • orange 
  • golds and rusts
  • browns
  • tans
  •  yellow
  • dark green, light green and misc green(3 separate drawers) 
  • bright reds and dark reds/ maroon (2 separate drawers) 
  • light pinks and dark pinks (2 separate drawers) 
  • light purple and dark purple (2 separate drawers) 

  • 3" strips
  • 3 -1/2" strips
  • 2 - 1/2" strips 
  • 2" strips
  • 1 -1/2" strips
  • Bias strips  
  • Plaids
  • focus / novelty fabrics
  • vintage flour sacks
  • Christmas fabrics
  • Seasonal - not Christmas or winter
  • Winter / snowflakes fabrics
  • Orphan blocks
  • left over block components... mostly 1/2 square triangles 
  • Civil war repros (Fat Quarter size or smaller) 
  • Floral fabrics 
  • Solids
  • 30's 
  • wool
  • Batiks 
  • Batiks scraps
  • Patriotic prints
  • Panels
  • Border prints
  • Muslin

Scrap Saver System sizes: (Bonnie's system)

I cut into the sizes that are on Bonnie's blog... so the sizes I store in the little drawers are: 
  • 1 1/2" squares
  • 1 1/2" x 2 1/2" bricks
  • 2" squares
  • 2" x 3 1/2" bricks
  • 3" squares (not usually a Bonnie size, but I save them.)
  • 3 1/2" squares
  • 3 1/2" x 6 1/2" bricks 
  • crumbs 
  • Triangle pieces (these will all go away with wild and goosey! )

I do separate all these little sizes into colors, and into neutrals.... all colors go together.... neutrals go into a separate little drawer.   I know... I'm a little OCD..... As I cut them, I separate.. so it's not a big task, but it sure is easier to grab the neutrals to go with what ever else I'm using, than to dig through the entire stack. 

I hope you have enjoyed my storage tutorial....