Winter Blues

Let’s get this new year started out with the quilt that moved me into my “monthly quilt series”.

When I first started quilting, I really needed a REASON to make a quilt….not like now when I will make one simply because I want to!!!

Our house didn’t have lots of wall space so hanging a bunch of wall hangings just wasn’t in the plans. So, I got to thinking about having one area (in the entryway) where I could hang a different quilt every month. You see what I did there…..I could make TWELVE quilts and still have a purpose for them!!!

And, to make it even more special, I wanted a surface underneath that I could decorate to match the quilt!! A friend of ours was a woodworker and he built this pie safe to match my specifications (mainly that it be tall enough that I could hang a 30-36 inch quilt above it)…..

But back to the quilt!!

One day I was drooling in my local quilt shop and saw this wonderful fabric….

I immediately thought of the term “Winter Blues” and the quilt seed was planted!! If I remember, the pattern came from one of the Trudie Hughes books about template free quilts (my introduction to rotary cutting).

I loved the way it looked……

The quilt was 34 inches square and I made it it 1994….over TWENTY FIVE years ago.

As my kids went thru school, I often did talks to classes about the art of quilting and this quilt was the one that I used to start my presentation. I would start by showing the various shapes of fabrics…..

…..and then show how these shapes were used to form the different blocks…..

I was younger back then!!!

…..and then I could show them a quilt that contained a four-patch…..

….flying geese…..

…..puss in the corner…..

….and square in a square……

The quilt is proudly displayed every January…..

….and makes a great start to the new year!!!

It’s a mystery…..new clue!!

When I finished the October step in the Morewood Mystery I couldn’t wait for the November clue to come out. BUT, when it did, life was simply too busy to get it done! I did find time before the end of November, but just barely!!

Fortunately the steps were fairly easy and didn’t take too long.

First was to used some of our half-square triangles and the Irish-chain units to make this tulip-looking block….

They look pretty good all laid out although I have no idea what orientation they will be in the final project……

Some of my yellows lack a bit of contrast but I am hoping that those lighter colors will be attached to darker colors to help with the contrast.

The next step was to make a series of Half-Square-Triangle units. Thankfully I remembered the instructions about ironing these units prior to cutting them …..

Finished and pressed flat!!

Here are my November batch of HST’s……

I am super happy with these, especially with the sparkle that they provide!!

On to the December clue…..

Fast and Furious

Michael, my husband, has been out of the country for the past two weeks and I have used that time to get my life organized….particularly the quilting/blogging/business portion!!! I am enjoying blogging a lot more and trying to turn it into more of a business, but it takes time….lots and lots of time!!!

The other night, I was TIRED of sitting at my computer, WRITING AND THINKING about quilting and decided that it was time to do some sewing.

I turned to a kit that my guild’s charity group had provided and was pleased to open it up and see the fabrics already cut and ready to go…..

The kit even had detailed instructions about how to complete the top…..

The first step was to sew 12 W-O-F strips to 12 other W-O-F strips!! I put on my 1/4 inch foot that provides a ledge to butt up against……

…set the speed to “SUPER RABBIT”……

….and off I flew!!

After doing a bit of ironing, sewing, sub-cutting, sewing, and even more ironing, I was pleased to have this wonderful quilt top ready to go…….

I spent 2 hours from go to whoa on it and, not only did it make something that can be given away to help those in need, it gave me the welcome relief of getting to touch fabric and actually create something!!

Many thanks to our guild charity group as they do much of the “dirty” work so that I can have fun with the fabric part!!!

What do you work on when you JUST WANNA SEW?

From 5-inch to four patch

I have been talking this week about a Quilt of Valor that I was making using a panel and lots of 5-inch squares that were given to me by my Guild Charity Bee.

I knew that leaving the squares at 5 inches was way too big so I came up with a method for turning those 5-inch squares into a four -patch and then those four-patches into a checkerboard. Check the video out here……

I’m good at math….I promise!!!

…..although some of my recent work didn’t prove it!!

I was working on a Quilt of Valor using a panel and fabric pack that had been provided by my guild’s Charity Bee……

The first problem was that the panel wasn’t printed straight and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get it to be completely straight……

I finally just picked a point and trimmed the excess fabric off…..

This is when the math wheels fell off!!!!

I had decided to add a 2-inch checkerboard border around the panel so the center panel height and width needed to end up being even numbers. I measured, calculated, re-calculated, cut, and sewed the borders on. Then I measured again……NOOOOOOO!!

When I had planned the vertical border, I failed to include the 1/2 inch needed for seam allowances!!! Instead of unpicking those long seams, I opted to just trim the seam allowance off…..

I now re-cut the borders being sure to add the additional 1/2 inch. What I DIDN’T account for was the 1/2 inch that I trimmed off…..AAARRRRGGGGHHHHH! Fortunately, I figured this out before I sewed them back on again.

At this point, I had run out of the fabric that I was using for the border!! So I trimmed off the bottom and top seam allowance and started over again with a different fabric!!! You can be sure that I added a bit more than I thought I needed. It was a tense moment as I measured the piece to see if I had given myself enough room…..

WHEW!!!!

Now I could move on to making four the four patches and, fortunately, things went better from there. At the end of the day, this was where it stood……

So tomorrow I will take a few math classes and then keep working to grow this piece to an acceptable size!!!

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!!!!

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!!!