The Thursday Quilters….

As I have mentioned before, my Mom was a prolific quilter and the queen of scrap quilting. Seldom did ANY piece of fabric get thrown away, whether it was cotton, polyester or even knit!!!

One of the joys of her life was ‘The Thursday Quilters” group. Two times each month, a group of 4 to 10 quilters would meet to work on projects….either their own personal project, a “group project or a joint quilt for charity. Their favorite charity was the West Texas Rehabilitation Center and, as I cleaned out Mom’s house, I found many photos of her and her friends, proudly standing in front of their offering…..

This quilt was made as a result of one of their group projects. Each person made a certain number of blocks and then they were shuffled around and redistributed to each participant. The result was a large number of very interesting fabrics…..

…. some of the most unusual (but effective) fabrics that I have ever seen……

Mom LOVED applique so this project would have been right up her alley!!!

I am happy that I have my own group of “Thursday Quilters”!! We may not meet on a regular basis, but we have got each other’s backs….and tops…..and batting….and quilting……….!!

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!!!

Continuing with Morewood Mystery

Last month I posted about joining the Morewood Mystery Quilt presented by Meadow Mist Designs. We are currently in the first sewing step, making Half-Square Triangles. The administrator of the mystery presented a wonderful video with suggestions about how to make these blocks faster and easier.

But first I had to MAKE the squares and decided to “up my game” a bit when drawing the lines prior to sewing. Previously I would just put the fabric on the cutting mat and trace the line but often the fabric would slip and slide around so that the line wasn’t straight and didn’t fall perfectly in the corners. This time, I pulled out my sandpaper board and used it to hold the fabric in place……

It worked perfectly!!

Once the squares were sewn, I turned to the first of the video suggestions…… a way to press the blocks so that the corners don’t slide out of square.

I normally cut the blocks apart first and then press them but Cheryl suggested that a majority of the pressing should be done BEFORE the center line was cut.

Press one side first……

Turn it around and press the other side so that it is pre-folded and looks like this…..

Now you cut along the marked line…..

When you get ready to do the final pressing, the piece is already “Pre-pressed” and ready to go!!

I felt like it made a huge difference in how the squares turned out and it will definitely help with the trimming process but I will talk about that tomorrow!!

So my HST’s are now ready to go and I will wait NOT-so patiently for the next clue!!!

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!!!