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Scraps for a Friend

What’s the story…

I am typing this post from the KCMQG retreat at Missouri Star Quilt Company.  Yeah!  Look at the wonderful design board that have been installed for retreaters.   By tomorrow they will be full of beautiful fiber artwork!

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Every time I retreat, I meet so many wonderful people.  Everyone has a story and their projects are extensions of that story.  I just had to share the smiles of some of my new friends.

I met one such friend at another MSQC retreat a couple of years ago.  Last year we met there and she stayed with me at my home.  Before she came,  my friend said;  “You like, batiks, right?”.  I think this followed making my first quilt from batiks.  I said;  “Yes, I do!  They are easy to work with, and I love the “waxy” smell when I iron them”.   (Are you with me, or am I just nuts!?)

That was just the opening she needed.  Friend told me that she was going to bring me some scraps she had leftover from a quilt, that she just wasn’t really “IN” to batiks.   I said;  great!  I’m sure I could use them.  🙂

What was delivered was a disposable grocery bag full of batiks.  Later when I sorted through them, I discovered that the scraps consisted of half paper pieced blocks from a Judy Neimeyer quilt and small accompanying yardage.  SCRAPS?  What’s the story?

Well,  I’m sure we have all had projects that, part way through, just stopped being fun.  Either something goes terribly wrong, or it just doesn’t encourage us to continue with it.   If that ever happens,  by all means,  give it to a friend!

This quilt is the result of those scraps.  I just couldn’t bear to see all of the beautiful paper piecing go to waste.  Curved piecing is cool with me, so I salvaged all that I could and came out with an alternative layout for the pattern and added a border.

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THEN, from all of those scraps, I pieced a backing too…

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and binding…
and five mug rugs…

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and I still have fabric left!

Those are my kind of scraps.

So my friend,  I will be sending your scraps back to you, with the watery depths of fabric quilted with golden fish.  It is appropriate I think, for the Goldfish in Chinese legend is a symbol of surplus and wealth, and a GIFT of goldfish is a blessing in the hope of good fortune.   Send me your scraps anytime!  I feel rich having a friend like you.

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EnderQuilt – Game On!

Lately I have not posted many completed works.  I have been quilting for others, which, though rewarding seems to slow progress on my own projects.  But, I persevere…  This one took me less than 1 year!

I started this quilt back in November of 2015, on a whim, during a visit to Quilted Memories.    I remember picking up a stack of solids and talking to one of the ladies cutting about my plan to make a Minecraft quilt for my son that I had seen on Pinterest.

Creeper was completed in November of 2015, then in January he was followed by an enderman, cow, and a pig.  Steve, the chicken, lava and diamond ore came later, much later.   If you remember in my previous post, my son declared that he wanted an Enderdragon on his quilt.

Yes, I am glutton for punishment.  I couldn’t resist the challenge.

GAME ON!

An Enderdragon was born out of fabric in my stash.  I designed him in EQ7 as four separate blocks, based on a perler bead image I saw at Kandi Patterns online.  I didn’t want to use all small blocks like a bead pattern does, so created the pattern out of a mixture of large and smaller squares.

Originally he was on a solid background, but I felt that white just wouldn’t work.  I couldn’t use black or grey, as it would blend with his body and wings.

In comes Max (he is 8).  He sees my design.

“Cool!  That’s epic”, he says (or something like that.  I am glad he approved.)

Me:  “Max, what color do you think the Enderdragon should be on?”
Max: “Mooom, Enderdragons live on enderstone.”
Me: “What’s enderstone?”
Max: “Duh, just google it, here I will show you.”

Max proceeded to pull up an image of enderstone on my computer.  There it was in all of it’s stoney glory.  Max helped me pull out scrap squares of tans from my box of brown and tans from his great grandmother’s stash.   Stone is good practice for random.

After finally assembling the four, 24″ squares of the dragon, I assembled him in all of his glory.  As the dragon took up my entire design wall, I realized that I needed to come up with a plan for the rest of the quilt, that would now be a king size!   I used MS Excel to layout my borders and sashing.  What you see was my final pick.  I didn’t keep all of my sashing and borders equal because if I did, it wasn’t going to fit on my longarm!

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The quilt is hanging from my second story bannister below.  It is the largest I have made to date.    I think, in minecraft, the enderdragon prevents players from leaving “The End” until he is defeated.   Once defeated, a player gains lots of “experience”.

A special challenge deserves a special label.  I digitized and embroidered the minecraft diamond sword and font.  This was my final touch to a “just because” gift for my son, and co-designer, Max.

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A little sprinkle

There aren’t very many little girls in the family, so it is exciting for my aunt to have a granddaughter on the way.  This is my way to send good wishes for a healthy baby girl.

My mom wanted to give a quilt for the shower, so we got to work.  I found this fabric during a random stop to a local quilt shop, Harper’s Fabric and Quilt Co..  The backing came from a quilt shop near my mom, call Prairie Point Quilt & Fabric Shop.  It is from the Moda, Basic Grey fabric line, Mon Ami.  This is a little funny, since I found out that in french, “Ami” is the masculine version of friend!   Oh well.

I loved the grey raindrop fabric, and picked up a charm pack to create the tumblers in the center.  My mother and I pieced the top together using our own layout.  I like how the tumbler border gave the little quilt a feminine touch.

The quilting is a pattern called “Rain Drops” by Brandon Smythe of Intelligent Quilting.  I used blue variegated thread to give the pattern more depth.

It is a simple quilt, but I think will work well as “A Little Sprinkle” of good wishes for my cousin and his wife.

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A Saturday Morning Quilt “Jaunt”

Quilts have a way of staying in style, over the year, just like fun words.  Take “jaunt” for instance.  How could a short pleasurable excursion ever go out of style?  🙂

Since I was the only one in my household up earlier this morning, when my mom texted me and said, “Do you still want to go out to the quilt shops?”, I didn’t have to think twice.  Lets go!   We visited two of our local quilt shops, Harper’s Fabrics and Quilted Memories, took in the scents of Penzy’s Spices and then finished off at the Overland Park Farmer’s Market.  My family will enjoy the lovely cinnamon rolls I brought home for a treat.

I was mostly good, but picked up a stack of solids for my latest kid quilt, Minecraft, and one of the rows from this years row-by-row.  I thought Quilted Memories lemonade row might make a fun summer wall hanging.

Creeper is completed, but now I need to begin laying out some of the other characters.   The Minecraft quilt is made of 100% solid colors with pixel based art.  My inspiration came from pinterest.  Sorry, I can’t post a pattern here…

 

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Chains of Luck

Some projects have a way of blossoming. I started this quilt as a small scrappy lap quilt from some of my grandmothers stash. However, my dad visited while I was working on it and commented that it should be Queen size… Then he brought me a book of celtic knots for “inspiration” and made me a quilt ladder, complete with celtic knots and dragons for my birthday! SO, I made a queen size quilt, complete with quaternary knots, known for their luck! The quilt has double batting, cotton on the bottom, wool on top, to help the knots “pop”.
I’m such a lucky kid to have a great dad! Happy Birthday Dad!

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Passing Pinwheels

This September I attended the MSQC fall forum retreat.  There were over 40 ladies and gentlemen in attendance.  We enjoyed socializing and sewing in the beautiful retreat center space and partied at the companies 7th Birthday Bash events.  An extra bonus was the JCPenney’s day festival that coincided with all of the events.

I enjoyed meeting many new people.  Some did demos and most everyone had created special custom favors to share with their new friends.

One of my contributions was a portable design wall for everyone that contained the triangles needed to create traditional pinwheel blocks.  The design wall was inspired by the UFO to GO at the Riley Blake Designs site.  The half square triangles for this block were cut from vintage stash using a Sizzix Bigz die.  Sashing was added as a design element to separate the triangles spinning in opposite directions.

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I named the quilt based on a poem that I found online.  It felt fitting for the event and final destination of the quilt.

This quilt will be gifted to a homeless shelter and I am sure it will be cherished. Thanks for everyone’s participation!   It turned out soft and beautiful.

Passing Pinwheels
By: Kenneth Alan O’Shaughnessy 
Colors burning in the bright summer sun
Kaleidoscoping in the breeze
Friends beside me to share in all the fun
There are no other joys like these

Passing pinwheels from hand to hand
And smiles from face to face
Sharing our simple God-spun joys
Blown our way by grace

Sometimes we have to create our own wind
When the breezes cease to blow
We blow and blow with all the breath God gives
To try to make the pinwheel go

Passing pinwheels from hand to hand
And smiles from face to face
Sharing our simple God-spun joys
Blown our way by grace

And when the soft breezes blow in the clouds
And the sun hides behind the rain
We pass the pinwheels safe on the porch
Until the fair winds blow again

Passing pinwheels from hand to hand
And smiles from face to face
Sharing our simple God-spun joys
Blown our way by grace

All we need is the breath of God
A little paper and a stick
A bunch of friends who’ll stay with us
Through the thin and thick

Passing pinwheels from hand to hand
And smiles from face to face
Sharing our simple God-spun joys
Blown our way by grace

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Curve it Up – Block 7 – Log Cabin

UnknownIf you can believe what is on the internet (ever) then you might know that the log cabin quilt dates back further than the pioneer days in the United States.  Supposedly, similar designs were found on an ancient Egyptian mummy and in an English quilt predating 1830!  While that is all fine and good, the design makes me think of the pioneer spirit and workmanship and bravery of those who rebuilt their lives in new territories.

I would like nothing more than to built myself a log cabin home as a retreat (complete with a real floor and AC). I’m afraid I would be left sleeping on top of my sewing tables!

logcabinThis curvy log cabin block starts out the same as a traditional log cabin.  Lore says a red center symbolizes the hearth of the home, and yellow a welcoming light in the window, My pink centers represent something else entirely.  For a long time, I hated the color pink.  Don’t ask me why, I just couldn’t mentally handle it.  One day after college, before I became a mother, I decided it was time to “girl up”  and come to terms with what is now one of my favorite colors, though I lean toward the darker pinks.  My centers are not “just pink”, they are built of peony medallion and navy haystack fabric with a hint of traditional navy.  They represent my “inner girl”  that used to hate pink…

I really liked making this block, and may need to build an entire quilt like it.  The only “trick” to the completion was the tapered 1/4″ curve to finish the curved center.  IMG_7298Start your seam  1 3/4″ down on your curve and taper your seam to the normal 1/4″ seam allowance.  Taper back down on the other side.  It took me a couple of tries to get it right, but mistakes were easily corrected.

 

Update (11/2016):  I recently received a bunch of inquiries regarding the pattern for this block.  It is part of the Sew Kind of Wonderful, Curve it Up, pattern.  It is not free.  I think a link to my site was listed under free patterns somewhere incorrectly.  I hope this clears up some confusion.

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Row By Row – Amazing Map of Participating Quilt Shops!

I was browsing the MSQC blog, and they had a great posting about the “Row by Row” experience.  I saw some of the “plates” at the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival this weekend, but didn’t know what the program was all about.

Yes I know, where have I been??

Anyhow, check out this link of participating shops.  It is fun even if only to see all the quilt shop locations across America!

Row By Row Participating Shops

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Curve it Up – Block 4 – Four Patch

After a month of stormy weather, broken arm blues, and family “vacation”, I sat down to complete the fourth block in the Curve it Up series.

The four patch block was one of the earliest “block” styles used by quilters.  It enabled them to use small “scraps” of fabric in their designs.  I could see this lending itself to the use of old clothing, especially dresses or shirts that were not being up cycled to other clothing use.  Can you imagine what early generations would think of our tag of “up cycling”.  They would think it is funny how much we simply dispose of!

The curved four patch is certainly not a simple stitching design due to potential stretching of the curves.   Attention to detail for matching your corners is important, as is pressing and squaring the final blocks.

No fear, the pattern designer did leave enough “extra” on the background sashing to allow you to square up the wonky final shape.  (Whew!)

Color Selection:
I selected colors from my previous block, turquoise/blue and purple, to help tie the designs together.  Funny, I must have picked colors for my mood, but even those are beautiful, life can’t always be rainbow!

Fabric Sizes:
The squares in the pattern are 4 1/2″ and the strips are 2 1/2″ wide.  This could be easily adjusted to be “charm pack” and “Jelly Roll” friendly. A whole quilt of this block would have sashing that looks like flower petals or leaves!
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Step One:  Cut your fabrics.  You will need 8 focus squares, and 8 background fabric squares.  You will also need 16 of the 2 1/2″ wide sashing background fabric.

IMG_6978  There are lot of ways to lay these out.  Pick oneyou like and stitch them together like four regular four patch blocks.

Step 2:  Sew the four patches and trim each edge of the blocks using the curve it up ruler.

IMG_6979IMG_6980 This is a great time to use a spinning rotary mat, the lazy “susan” of quilting.   Several manufacturers sell these, Olfa, Fiskars, Martelli to name a few.  I love them while working with small pieces and when cutting multiple directions. I used it for the initial curve trimming shown here and for squaring my blocks after stitching the sashing.

Step 3: Sew the sashing…

IMG_6983 Your block will not look like this (After trimming it will).

It will probably look like this!  IMG_6984  Breath!  You are fine.

It is important to sew the opposing edges (left/right , top/bottom) to help keep the curve edges stabilized. After each curve is sewn, press the seams open to help reduce the bulk at the points.

Step 4:  Trim each curved four patch with a squaring template. Use your seams to help center and align the block with the ruler.

Step 5:  Make a larger four patch with your new blocks!
Note:  I again used the Terial Arts – Terial Magic to give my blocks better shape hold and to help prevent fraying as I store them for the rest of the year!

Give this one a try!

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Curve It Up – Block 2 Sawtooth Star

I finished Block 2, Sawtooth Star, in the Curve It Up pattern by Sew Kind of Wonderful.

Assembly of the sawtooth star was very traditional.  If I wanted to complete a whole quilt of this design, I would definitely change the cutting and assembly of the half square triangles and center checkerboard block.  Half square triangles can be assemblIMG_6462ed two  – four at a time, and the checkerboard would be easier to work in strips.

The QCR (Quick Curve Ruler) allowed me to cut gentle concave and convex curves for the curved half square triangle blocks.  Notice how the pattern had me cut the tips of the triangle off?  IMG_6459

This allowed me to align the curved slot to a corner on the fabric.

Just like block 1, the fabric for the curved pieces is oversized so that it can be squared up after sewing.

The curves on these blocks do not lie as flat as I IMG_6464would like after pressing.  If I clipped the curve, they would, but I wanted to leave the edge alone.

I “resorted” to a new product I had been meaning to try, Terial Magic by Terial Arts.  This product is meant to replace stabilizers and fusible for quilters and embroiderers.  It also can help keep fraying in check.  Best of all, it is water soluble and can be washed out.  I can’t wait to try it for cutting appliqué items using my Silhouette Cameo!  IMG_6482

When used by itself per manufacturer directions, It makes fabric VERY stiff and paper- like.  However, I diluted the solution 1:1 with tap water in a small, fine mist spray bottle.  I gently sprayed the back seam, and then pressed it.  This made my seam lie perfectly flat, and gave the blocks a slightly firmer hand. As an added bonus, my blocks will not stretch out of shape now when handled!

Good news: I sprayed this over my fabric and let some of it get on my new ironing board cover.  After I was finished, I damp wiped the surface of the cover, and there was no indication of staining or residues!  I’ve ironed on the board since, and there is no scorching or discoloration which you tend to see over time with other starch sprays.

I’ve sent an email request to the manufacturer for the SDS.  I am interested to compare it to starch.  Bonus, my regular starch is in an aerosol can and this is not!

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