Friday, January 29, 2016

Tackling my UFOs

Saddle Tramp top is 64 x 91"
Three UFOs moved to my "done" stack this month.
The first is "Saddle Tramp," a quilt I started a couple years ago.  The pattern is by Marcie Patch, and I found it in two of my magazines, McCall's Quick Quilts Oct/Nov 2010 and America Loves Scrap Quilts 2012/13.

Here is a link to download the pattern for free from the McCall's Quilting website.  The strip sets were sewn, trimmed to size, and sat in a box since 2014.   I made the 9-inch stars last week, and the top went together in one day.  Large pieces, simple layout.
(All photos enlarge with a couple clicks)
This older peachy fabric from Alexander Henry, called "Buckarettes," will be used for the backing.   I've been waiting for the perfect project for these vintage-looking cowgirls, and this is it. 

basket blocks from Wendy W's instructions
A second quilt top I finished combines two projects from the past.
Wendy Whellum, an Australian quilter, offered free patterns for 12 baskets on her blog Legend and Lace in 2013-2014.  My 8-inch baskets (from Civil War repro fabrics) needed a home.

In 2011 Barbara Brackman gave weekly block instructions for a Civil War Sampler quilt, which were also 8-inch blocks.  I made more than half of those blocks, and they were set aside.  I put the two projects together in this on-point layout. Some of the Civil War sampler blocks will go on the back, as I have too many blocks for this layout.

Cheddar Basket Sampler finishes 60 x 74"
I've wanted to make a quilt with cheddar, and DD2 suggested I pair my 2-inch cheddar sashing with dark navy cornerstones and setting triangles.  It looked bright after adding the cheddar strips, but the navy triangles settled down
the look.  This will never be a favorite quilt, but two UFOs are crossed off my list.

SETTING TRIANGLES INFO (for block plus sashing):
Figuring the size of the setting triangles can be a mathematical challenge, but there are instructions and convenient charts online, such as here (by Bonnie Hunter) and there.
*My blocks finish at 8 inches, but the setting triangles (for the sides) touch a block plus one 2-inch sash.  So I  referred to the 10-inch line of the chart.

**For the corner triangles, two 2-inch sashes touch my  8-inch block, so I referred to the 12-inch line for that measurement.  Confused?  Hopefully not. Bonnie Hunter's info mentions block+sash to figure the side triangles, but she did not stress that corner triangles are figured according to block+2 sashes.  I had to figure that out for myself (after cutting one corner pair too small). 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

New lives for vintage tops

Star Puzzle or Pieced Star block -- #2146
My quilting projects to finish out 2015 were mainly lap quilts for the nursing home where my mother-in-law resides.  I wrote about some of them here back in October.   
bold backing for Star Puzzle quilts
The nursing home staff was very appreciative of the ones I took to them, but I was just as happy to find a home for the UFOs, orphan blocks, unfinished tops, and scraps that I was able to turn into lap quilts.

Thanks to my friend Chris for giving me 10 finished quilts to work with. They became 16 lap quilts for the NHome and 14 placemats for Meals on Wheels. 

A total of 43 lap quilts went to the NHome in time for their Christmas party.   The quilts were gift choices for residents to choose from.  Each resident drew a number, and group by group, they went to the gift tables and chose something.  Staff told me that 3 or 4 men residents chose quilts as gifts for their wives.  That warmed my heart !!

Six of the lap quilts were made from two vintage quilt tops I bought on E-bay some time ago.  They sat in a box on a shelf, ignored for too long.   The larger quilt became four lap quilts, and the smaller quilt became two. 
these small Star Puzzle quilts finished 36 x 43"
Tops were gently washed, stained blocks removed or pieces replaced, and questionable seams reinforced.  They were bland with no flash or drama in their design or fabrics, but I felt the charm of vintage blocks could be enjoyed by nursing home residents. 

the other Star Puzzle small quilts--different borders
a wonky star, but I'd call it "charming"
The larger quilt was made from Star Puzzle blocks, (AKA Pieced Star) #2146 in Barbara Brackman's data.  You may notice that some stars were sliced in half to make the 4 small quilts.  That's just the way it worked out, and I don't feel guilty (though maybe I should).
pretty pink and green combination block

The smaller vintage quilt had Water Wheel (AKA Windmill or Pinwheel) blocks, #2314 per Barbara B.  The fabrics in this quilt appear to be older than in the Star quilt (in my layman's opinion).   The alternate blocks are a small scale red/white print that look pink from a distance.  No info from the E-bay sellers re: age or history when I bought the Q tops.  Some of the blocks in this quilt had to be tossed --too stained to be used.
Each finished quilt was 39" x 48"

Water Wheel block, #2314

A subtle floral/geometric design fabric was my choice for this backing.  NOTE:  all photos enlarge nicely with a couple clicks.
subtle backing for the Water Wheel blocks; navy binding

The other quilts I finished for the NHome were varied and nice -- but nothing special to post  about.  I'm just glad I was able to contribute to the Christmas party that I heard was fun for the residents.

Monday, November 16, 2015

More Stars in a Time Warp

Progress on my "Stars in a Time Warp" over the weekend.  An early star last week had little contrast between the points and the rest of the block, but I left it.  Yesterday I made a star where the points were invisible. I couldn't leave it, so I deconstructed the star and replaced the points.
week #2 -- Prussian blue
#2-- Prussian blue with foulard and neat stripes
#4 cheddar -- not enough contrast! -- points were replaced (see below)
#4 -- cheddar; with California gold on the right

#6 -- double pinks, with foulards (R)
#6 pinks;  not sure what other categories are in the L star, but I like it.

#9 -- chrome yellow

#10 -- green calicos;  paisley also in L star;  Cal. gold, cheddar, and serpentine also in R star
#10 -- green calicos, with California gold and neat stripes

Saturday, November 14, 2015

33, yes, 33 Stars in a Time Warp

#17 conversation prints
I've been a busy little worker bee--cutting and sewing stars for hours -- and smiling the whole time.  I've set no target number for each category.  For now, I'm just wandering through my stash, recognizing a color or pattern Barbara B. wrote about, and cutting star parts.

Today I have 33 of my stars in 10 categories to share.  More stars on the docket for this weekend, with +50 more cut and ready to be sewn when I find take the time.

(all photos enlarge with 1 or 2 clicks)
A couple "maverick" blocks will stand out as "wrong" when they're all together, but they're in my group to stay.  One is in group #41, and the other is the middle block in group #44.  I didn't think the stormy, light pink star points would disappear in that star as much as they did, but they're staying.

In 19th century making-do fashion, two stars have pieced parts or a substitution.  Can you find them?
Enjoy my star show.  They're rather blah as a group, but pink, chrome, cheddar, and a few greens are next on my list and will add life to the party.   Have a great weekend of sewing!

week #1 -- turkey reds

week #11 -- purples

week #20 -- eccentrics

week #31 -- toiles (one claret red in the group)
week #32 -- faded synthetic dyes

week #37 - chocolate and blue (middle, with Asian-inspired star, is bluer than photo shows)

week #41 -- neon novelties (novelty black prints)

week #43 -- provincial prints -- haven't found blues yet for this group

week #44 -- clouds and storms

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Stars in a Time Warp--beginning at last

Joining a project 10 months after it started is nothing to brag about, but "started" is better than "ignored."

I condensed Barbara Brackman's weekly lessons into a summary of the main points, and a few photos from each week remind me what I'm looking for.  Armed with a ring notebook with my notes and photos, I'm attacking my stash, looking for (or recognizing) specific fabrics, and I'm having FUN!
Eccentrics (left star fabric from Sue)
 (all photos enlarge with a click or 2)

more Eccentrics
My star count is currently 16, with more star parts cut and ready to be sewn.  The first stars were sewn last weekend at a group retreat, mainly from scraps and random pieces (plus an eccentric and some star points from Sue).
I'm not trying to do them in order right now--I'm just finding a fabric I like that fits a category, picking a complementary fabric, and sewing.

Neon black  &  chocolate+blue
indigo or celestial & double pinks
toile & lace or floral trails
One of these days I'll go through the list (43 lessons so far), check off which I've sewn and which are left to make.

Prussian blues

This has turned out to be a relaxing project.  A few more stars, and then back to lap-sized quilts for a local nursing home.  I have a stack of 8 tops ready to be quilted, whenever I decide to switch projects.

BTW--my Bernina Aurora QE 440 is for sale, if you know anyone in the northern Iowa/southern MN area who might be interested.  It's currently on Craig's list.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Time for a new project

found in my stash--lucky me!
Though it has tempted me since January, I've made no stars for Barbara Brackman's 2015 Stars in a Time Warp project.   I've just saved photos and notes in my laptop, and I've learned something each week about fabric colors and patterns.  But so far -- no stars sewn.

conversationals bought at our Sept. group sale
DH and I spent hours today doing overdue sorting of STUFF in our garage.  Surprises and occasional treasures were found. It was kind of fun, but oh, so dusty.  I've also finished and delivered 18 small quilts to the local nursing home for the residents.  I'll be making more. 

Next, I'm rewarding myself by sewing for me -- wandering through my stash, looking for specific fabric colors or patterns, and making stars.  Today's post from Barbara was about "Neon Novelties," AKA black novelties.  She wrote that "these reproductions are hard to find."  

small quilts for nursing home residents
I knew I had some in my stash.  I found several yards of black novelties in a box in a back room, neatly labeled.  One yard each of 4 of the fabrics in the photo above, and 2 yards of the hot pink/black bubble fabric.   These are the kinds of fabric that I pet and refold, admire and don't cut.   I'll be cutting into these to make stars.  Enough admiring.  Time for the blade to do some cutting. 

I found a great buy at our group fabric sale last month.  One of my friends sold yardage of three "conversational" prints.  I love them!  and I bought all three.  (photo above)  

I'm a sad baseball fan.  It looks like my favorite team, the Chicago Cubs, won't be advancing to the World Series.  They're losing, and it's already the 8th inning.  The sad faces of fans in the stands tells the story.  Maybe next year. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

With a lotta help from my friends

 "Roundabout" lap quilts
I want to make quilts for me, but first I'm using a lot of orphan blocks, UFOs, and interesting scraps so my conscience will be clear.   I just can't let those things sit in bins, unused.   I still make an occasional placemat for Meals on Wheels, but focus now is on lap quilts for the nursing home where my mother-in-law lives.   I have a nice little stack of 8 quilts done so far, labeled, washed, and dried.  The average size of each is about 35" x 45".  (All photos enlarge with a click or 2)

The "Roundabout" quilts were made by my daughters using a layer cake, yardage, and Carrie Nelson's book "Another Bite of Schnibbles."  
I made the smaller rust-gold quilt by combining orphan blocks, and the larger autumn quilt was my project for Small Quilt Club 2015, using 5-inch squares.

The two "Sand Castle" quilts were made using a pattern Black Mountain Quilts book.

"Sand Castle" floral quilts
I'm sewing printed labels (made on my computer) on the back of the quilts before I quilt them.   I prefer to keep my identity a bit hidden on those labels--not giving my full name and address.  The staff at the nursing home know who I am, but I prefer that these quilts just go to residents quietly without recognition.  It sounds like many of them will be set aside until the NHome Christmas party, and they'll be offered as gifts to choose from. 
A couple friends are helping with quilts for the NHome.   Betty gives me leftovers and orphan blocks now and then, to use as I wish.   She worked on, but never finished, a row quilt using a 1996 book "Row By Row Quilts" by The Corny Bunch.
Row-by-row quilt tops, ready to finish
She gave me bags with finished blocks, cut-out parts for blocks, and the book.  I've turned it into two little quilts, so far.   I still have finished blocks with funky cows and blocks with black sewing machines.  Nothing comes to mind, as far as combining those two into one quilt.  They may become placemats.

Hoffman and batik fabrics in quilts from Chris
My friend Chris called me to her home last week, and I went home with 10 completed quilts she no longer wants.  Four are smaller and just need a label and a wash-and-dry before they go to the  NHome.  Five are larger and I'll be (gulp) slicing, binding and turning each larger one into 2 smaller ones.  The 10th quilt will become 4 placemats.  Chris's quilts are colorful, beautifully made and quilted, and I appreciate her generosity in passing them on to me for the NHome residents.

Bold log cabin block Q and a 2nd batik Q

Stack of 10 quilts from Chris

1930s fabrics Q and a Thimbleberries pattern Q


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