Crumbs complete!!

Yesterday I wrote about the start of the crumb block quilt design phase. Today I have to actually put my thoughts together into a cohesive design!!!

The first decision was to have the geese move in a left to right direction so that you can follow them across the quilt. This also meant that the crumb block would float to different corners of the block…..

The black block was going to be in the center, but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to add flying geese to it so tried just putting borders around it…..

I liked that better, but it looked a bit bland, so I added a small strip of a multi-color fabric that I found on the shelf…..

…and really like the way it separated the black block from the others.

In the final piecing, I made the strip a bit wider and probably should have centered it better in the borders, but I am still happy with how it looks….

Let me say once again how pleased I am with having all of my fabric out so that I can see it at one time. I would NEVER have remembered this multi-color fabric as it would have been in a completely different box!!!

My plan was to go up the next day and pick some borders but, the more that I looked at the quilt, I didn’t want to add anything else to it. So this top is FINISHED!!!

I really like this layout design and can see where it would work with almost any 8 inch block. I am looking forward to doing some more playing with it!!

Cleaning up the Crumbs

A few weeks back, I posted about making crumb blocks and showed three that I had finished. A few days later I finished 6 more so ended up with 9 finished blocks……

They were luscious but now the question was “what to do with them”!!!

My first decision was to finish each block with a one inch black border….

I kept thinking about flying geese and decided to experiment on the green block. This was my first attempt…..

Nope….the back polka dot is TOO much!!!

Second attempt……

No again….the grey is too bland!!!

How about a mottled black…..

Okay, I like that…..let’s try another one…..

YES…..we have a winner!!

I spent the next few hours at the machine madly sewing flying geese. I do love when the pieces back up behind the needle…..

….except when I realize that I ran out of bobbin thread ELEVEN geese ago!!!!

I did make one other decision about the black block…..

I felt that the white was too prominent but rather than re-piecing it, I simply got out a grey Fabrico marker and toned down the whites…..

It isn’t greatly different but I think that it is better.

Now to figure out the layout and borders!!!!

Falling Leaves & Flying Geese

Michael and I have been fortunate to live several places in this world.   We grew up in Abilene, Texas, a flat, mostly treeless area in the center of the great state.

We then moved to Lubbock, Texas to attend Texas Tech University.   Lubbock is located at the base of the Texas panhandle in the “High Plains” area.  There were not many trees there either.

In 1981, we left Texas and moved to Canberra, Australia where Michael studied for his PhD.   While a truly magical place, the trees were almost entirely Eucalyptus.

Do you see a pattern to this history???

When we returned to the US, we lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for 18 months where most of the trees in our neighborhood were tall, tall pines.

As a result of my geographic history, I had never seen a true Autumn where the Deciduous leaves would turn gorgeous colors and then float gently to the ground.  This phenomenon is what caught my eye in the Autumn of 1996. 

We were living in Athens, Georgia and I had just begun an exercise regime that had me walking 7 days a week.  As the days grew shorter, I started to notice the beautiful colors of the leaves and then watch as they twisted and turned their way to the ground. The change in the color of the sky as winter approached was also noticeable.

These ruminations were the basis for my quilt “Falling Leaves and Flying Geese”

What I envisioned was a quilt where the summer sky and green leaves appeared in the top left….

….. and the winter “white” sky with brown, dead leaves were in the bottom right corner……

Since I was still relatively new to my quilting career, I was so excited to think about designing this quilt from scratch and then actually making it happen.

The first step was to get a piece of scrap flannel and draw out a grid of 2 inch squares and start filing them in with gradations of blue scraps.   I didn’t have a huge stash so quickly ran out of fabrics, but it was a case of “Quilters to the Rescue”!!   I sent out the call to my quilting bee and everyone showed up to my house with scraps in tow!!  We all had so much fun picking out the colors and placing and RE-placing them on the board so that the gradation was PERFECT!!

With the background planned, it was time to decide on the leaves.   I found a pattern that I liked but it had stationary stems and this quilt needed movement so I decided to applique a curved stem on each one.

I was especially proud of this leaf since I allowed the stem to break into the border.

Another natural sign of Autumn had also stood out to me as I walked…..the honking of geese as they traveled thru the sky.   I decided that the quilt would be bordered with flying geese, some in groups…..

some by themselves and a few that were invisible (ie….only quilted and not pieced)……

Once the top was put together it was time to think about quilting.   I knew that it needed motion so finally decided to just do a few simple lines to imitate the wind as it chased the leaves across the yards…..

Back then I only used monofilament thread to free motion quilt and really like that the quilting disappears!!

This quilt hangs in our home every September and is my harbinger of Autumn!!

This may get addictive!!!

I have been working on the quilting for the Brown Stripe Quilt…..

I finally decided to do a linear design in the stripes and a circular wreath design in the white blocks. Since the rulers that I ordered haven’t arrived yet, I started on the stripes……

After finishing 15 of the FORTY EIGHT stripe blocks, I decided that I needed a break.

Last week (while on the treadmill), I watched a woman piece crumb blocks. Now I have NEVER had any interest in making blocks out of my little bits and pieces, but she caught my interest. So, once I had grown tired of quilting, I pulled out all of pieces that were “too small to use but too big to throw away”…..

….and started piecing them into squares, using a base fabric for a guide…..

Come to find out, this is kind of fun and relaxing!!!!

Now I have made three……

…although I have no idea where they will go from here….maybe into a charity quilt.

It was certainly sweet to take the time to just do something mindless, but I can certainly see this turning into another BIG addiction!!!

Another tool in my Quilter’s Toolbox

As I said in my last post, this month was the second installment of the “Morewood Mystery” presented by Meadow Mist Designs, and this month centered around making Half-Square Triangles in two different sizes.

Cheryl, the moderator of the mystery gave some amazing suggestions for how to easily trim these HST’s using a Rotating Cutting Mat and the Bloc-Loc ruler. Check out my video to see these latest tools that I have added to my Quilter’s Toolbox…..

No yardage was harmed….

I don’t normally do mystery quilts!!!

I have problems spending my time, energy, and money for fabric when I don’t know if I will like the final result. But, sometimes they just pull me in!!!

I am a member of the “Scrappy Girls” Facebook group which is sponsored by Meadow Mist Designs. It is an extremely active group and they produce many GORGEOUS scrap quilts!!!

Each year they put out a mystery quilt and it has been fun to watch the progress of the quilts during the last few years. This year I decided that I didn’t want to watch from the sidelines but instead to participate in the fun!!

BUT, just as in previous years, I didn’t want to use any of my precious fabric for the quilt and sure didn’t want to go out and buy yardage!! Instead, I decided to try to cut the entire quilt just from scraps. It became a fun challenge!!!

I started with my largest squares, deciding on the four colors that I wanted to use and finding any squares that were as large or larger than the required ones. I set up a post-it note for each piece and counted down the squares as I added them to the pile.

In some cases, I didn’t have squares that were large enough so I sewed strips together to make a piece big enough to cut out the square. I tried to be sure that the seam wouldn’t hit in the middle of the block thinking that it probably wouldn’t be in the way when piecing the quilt…..

We will wait to see if that was a correct assumption!!!

When I needed 2×3 inch rectangles, I cut 3 inch squares down to fit the required size…..

I made good use of the layer cake squares that were languishing in my scrap drawer, cutting them into 5 inch squares OR a mixture of 5 and 45 inch squares. I used 2.5 inch strips to make the 5.5×2.5 pieces.

Kaitlyn was working at one end of the cutting table and I hovered over her scraps like a vulture, waiting for her to say that she was finished with one particular yellow strip so that I could grab it!!

Toward the end, I was running out of background fabrics but still needed sixteen 5.5 inch squares. I was about to break down and pull out some yardage but remembered my box of small pieces (too small to be on the shelf but too big to cut down into scraps)…….

These white and beige fabrics provided the final few squares.

Into a project box it went…..

….waiting for next month’s clue!!!

I will say that she has done a great job of obfuscating what the individual pieces are going to be used for!! Often times you can tell, but not with this one!!!

If you are interested in joining the…..

you can find it here……

Why don’t you join me and we can compare results!!!

Throwback Thursday (a little late)…..

….well Friday actually…. I posted the wrong one yesterday!!!!

My Mother, Lois Swinson was an amazing quilter. She did mostly handwork and spent many of her nights with some form of needlework in her lap. She had the bad habit of putting her pins and needles in the arm rest of the couch that she sat on!! I think about this often when I reach over to put a pin in my pincushion!!

When I was in High School (in the 1970’s), Mom decided that I needed 5 quilts for my “Hope Chest”. This Double Wedding Ring Quilt was one of those….

Double Wedding Ring Quilt

She spent MONTHS on this quilt and many times swore that she would never make another one!! She kept the quilting fairly simple…..

….and agonized over the scalloped binding…..

Mom was never a purist when it came to fabric content so there quite a bit of polyester floating around in it. But if you are old enough to remember, you know that polyester was what was readily available and Mom, who grew up during The Depression, would NEVER waste fabric.

It is one of my favorite quilts. I love the sparkle in the design and especially love seeing the fabrics that were old friends!!!

A little scrap piecing

I have spent a lot of time thinking about what I want my next big project will be. I heard someone describe this as having a project that takes up a large portion of your mind, as opposed to something that you can basically do in your sleep.

So, while I was waiting and thinking, I knew that it was important to keep my hands busy with some type of fiber work. I looked thru lots of scrap quilt ideas and found Bonnie Hunter’s “Carolina Chain”…..

I liked the sparkle in the quilt and decided to give it a try. I pulled out all of my 2 inch strips and started cutting blocks.

As I put them up on the design wall, I just wasn’t impressed!!!

It didn’t have her sparkle and, frankly, I didn’t have the fabrics that I would need to make it have that special feeling.

SO…..instead of turning it into a Queen size quilt, I decided to make it a smaller Charity quilt.

I did like it better after I added the deep blue setting triangles…..

It needed that dark edge to pull the design back into the center.

But, I think that the addition of the final border made a huge difference…..

I like it much better now, but not enough to keep on making them!!!

If you want to give it a try, it is a simple pattern that you can access on the C&T website

But, there is an upside…..I THINK that I have figured out what my next “full brain” project will be!!!

Stay Tuned……..

Brown Strip Quilt gets a back….

As I started cleaning up my leftovers from the Brown Strip quilt, I realized that I had TONS and TONS and TONS of strips that I had cut and never used…..

I knew that they would just languish in the scrap drawer so I took things into my own hands and started piecing them together to make FOUR strips that would fit end-to-end on the back. I added some other solid strips and ended up with this as a back…..

I was running out of the main fabric and was getting desperate as I finished the last outside strip. I ended up piecing FOUR 2.5 inch strips together to make it long enough…..

Count them….FOUR seams!!!

Now….what can I start next to avoid having to think about quilting this!!!!

It’s Brown Border time…..

In my last post, I took you thru the creating of the inside of my Brown Scrap Strip quilt. As I mentioned there, I made WAY too many brown strip sets and was determined to not let any of them go to waste…..

So, it was imperative that the border contain as many of those strips as I could cram in. I started with laying them out end to end but that was just BORING!!!

Next I thought about the block design….

….noticing that the brown came to a point in each of the blocks.

HMMMM…wonder if I could emulate that in the border??? I made a few test blocks and decided that I had hit on the answer…..

I also made the decision to put a 2 inch background strip as the first border so that the striped border would float.

The only problem with this design was figuring out how long each of the strip sets needed to be to reach the edge of the quilt. TOO MUCH MATH…. So, I did the next best thing and decided to make them different sizes so I could “fudge” it to fit.

I would love to say that the process of making these border blocks was well thought out, the fabric sizes were properly calculated and cut. But, the truth of the matter is that I cut big, sewed and trimmed to size!!

I used the Essential Triangle Tool to cut the initial points and used my trusty painters tape to mark the edges of the strip so that the points were always in the middle of the strip…..

I love this measurement on one of my smaller rulers. It made trimming the point super easy.

To finish the top, I added another strip of background fabric to finish the “float”.

And at last the final seam was sewn…..

…and I was able to hang the finished top on the wall and step back to admire it…..

Of course the next question is how to quilt it….. but that decision can wait for a while….