Friday, September 15, 2017

Hurricane Quilts, Free Patterns

Thank goodness the recent hurricanes are over, and people can start putting their lives back together.  All my family members in Florida are okay, although my brother and his girlfriend in Key West are still struggling with lack of running water and electricity.  Thanks for the prayers on their behalf.
Three more quilts are ready to go to Texas, for kids who have been through Hurricane Harvey and the Houston flooding.  I had hoped to get these done last week, but you know how it goes.
All of these are made from simple patterns, and can easily be used by groups or individuals.
Up first is a Scrappy Bricks quilt.  I made this using a pattern from the Austin, Texas Linus Connection web site.  Apparently this is one they use a lot.  All of the pieces are 4.5 in. wide.  The rectangles are 4.5 x 8.5, and the squares are of course 4.5 x 4.5.  I made the baby quilt size, which finishes 40 in. x 40 in.  Other sizes are listed on the pattern, and are mostly just adding more rows.  Click HERE to go to the one page PDF.  This is a great scrap buster.
The other two quilts are Trip Around the World.  Here's the pink and purple one...

And here's the blue and green one.
I have made several of these quilts for different causes, and I always use the same method.  I know these can be strip pieced, but I make them from squares.  I have used 4.5 in. squares, which makes a quilt 36 in. x 36 in., but both of these were made with 5 in. squares, so they measure roughly 40 in. x 40 in.  It's convenient if you have scraps cut in this size, but you may have to dig into yardage for some of the fabrics.  I find it easiest to use two colors for each quilt (in this case blue and green), and I look for fabrics with both colors in them to help blend the prints together.
When I work on these I lay them out on the floor, and place them in "rounds".  The first square is the center, in this case a medium blue print.  I'll use the same print for the four outer corners, so I need 5 squares in this fabric.
The second round needs 4 squares, in this case the blue chameleons.  I like something eye-catching in this round.  The pink quilt has castles in this spot.
Round three uses 8 squares, which are a turtle print here.
The fourth round uses 12 squares, a sort of crackled print in this quilt.
The next two rounds use 16 squares each, and are the largest in the quilt.  My quilt has a Go Diego Go print for the 5th round.  I bought it years ago to make something for my oldest grandson.  He's 12 now, (did I mention I procrastinate somewhat?) so this is a good use for the fabric.  My 6th round, also 16 squares, is a blue print with swirls.

Round seven needs 12 squares, in this case a jungle print.  I often include something lighter, like prints with a cream background, in one or two rounds, to brighten things up.
Round 8 takes 8 (that's easy to remember!).  I know you can't see it, but my fabric for this round is a green print with numbers on it.
And that takes us to the corners, which are 4 blue squares in the same print as the center.

So that's a total of 81 squares, set in 9 rows of 9 squares each.  This is easy, especially if you already have squares cut, and makes a nice sized quilt.

I've got my eye on another free pattern to make.  It's by Bonnie Hunter, so you know it's terrific, plus it uses 5 in. squares.  I've never seen this one on her free pages or in any of her books.  The pattern makes a quilt 60 in. x 70 in. Click HERE to go to Bonnie Hunter's Sticks and Stones.  It's a 3 page PDF.

I am absolutely in awe of all the people across the country (and even the world!) sending help to the hurricane victims in Texas and Florida.  All of us working together in our own small ways can make a real difference.
Wishing you joy and peace,
Today's Link Ups:
Crazy Mom Quilts
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop
Busy Hands Quilts

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Sunshine and Shadow

The sunshine is streaming in here today, and I actually have finished another UFO.  It's a half log cabin quilt in a set called sunshine and shadow.

This is what the blocks look like.  I used 1.5 in. strips from my overflowing scraps to make them, way back in March of 2015.  Click HERE to go to the tutorial.

The blocks are set to create these on-point squares of light and dark.  I quilted concentric squares to emphasize the piecing.  I did the quilting on my domestic machine, one half of the quilt at a time.
Here's a shot of the border, binding, and back.  Most of the prints are 1800s reproductions, including the back, which I got on sale at J. J. Stitches in Sun Prairie.  It looks like old wallpaper to me.  Which of course means I love it.
I'm trying to get out of my red binding rut, so I went with black on this one.
The name of this pattern has always seemed appropriate to me, since all our lives have ups and downs, sunshine and shadow.  It has seemed even more relevant in recent days, with sunshine here and shadow hanging over my family members in Florida due to the upcoming hurricane.  If you're inclined to prayer, please include my three brothers and their families.
In other news, here's what else I'm working on.
I've got 3 baby-sized quilts ready to quilt.  These will go to Houston via Austin when done.  The Austin chapter of Linus Connection is making sure kids affected by Hurricane Harvey get donated quilts.  Click HERE to go to their web site for instructions and their address.
Loot!  This pile of wonders is what I bought at a flea market last weekend.  Fabric, yarn, and scraps!
These are my favorites--baggies of cut pieces and strips, plus a small stack of cat fabrics!  I'm already using some of these scraps in my rainbow scrap challenge quilt.
I'm going to go sew now, and keep an eye on the weather.
Be safe this week.
This week's link ups:
Busy Hands Quilts
Crazy Mom Quilts

Friday, September 1, 2017

Quilts for Children

I love making quilts, ANY kind of quilts, but my favorites will always be quilts for children.  This is my adorable youngest grandson posing with his new quilt.
I made the top before he was born.  It's bigger than the usual baby quilt, but not as big as a twin.
I just knew he would love cars and trucks and fire engines, and he really does.  I think he's influenced by his daddy and big brother.
I finally made time to quilt it.  The quilting is done very simply, mostly in the ditch.  In the border, I tried to make it look like a road.  The center line has really long stitches.
Here's the back, one of my favorite polka dots.

In other news, sometimes, procrastination pays off.  I had been dragging my feet about sending some baby quilts to Quilts for Kids in Pennsylvania when the hurricane hit Texas last week.
So I boxed up three baby quilts, and sent them to Linus Connection in Austin, Texas, to be distributed to children affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Click HERE to go to their web page for instructions on mailing, etc.  Linus Connection is a 501(c)(3) organization, very similar to what we know here in Wisconsin as Project Linus.
Here's the next one I'm making.  I hope to send a new batch next week.

None of us can do everything, but all of us can do something.

I wish you good weather, warm hugs, and lots of lovely quilts.
Linking up this week with Confessions of a Fabric AddictCrazy Mom Quilts, and Busy Hands Quilts.

Friday, August 25, 2017

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

My husband, 12-year-old grandson, and I took a trip last week to Washington, D. C. to see museums and historical sites.  Above is the rotunda of the National Museum of Natural History.
Like all quilters, I had to pack something to work on while away from my sewing machine, so I selected this UFO that I've been appliqueing off and on (mostly off) for several years.  You can see how I basted this block within an inch of its life.  The inside and the outside of the circle are basted under, and then the whole "plate" is basted to the background.  If I was working on it at home, I would just have pinned it on the background, but it is much more portable this way.  I'm less likely to lose pins or to stab the person next to me on the airplane with a misplaced pin.
Not much sewing happened the first few days.  My husband, while normally a mild-mannered man, is a drill sergeant on vacation.  We walked all over Washington, checking off boxes on his mental list.  When we finally got back to the hotel each day, I usually threw myself on the bed, barely summoning the energy to read.  (The photo above is the capitol rotunda, beautifully restored.)
The museums have lots of inspiration for quilters. This is the original Singer 1851 patent model sewing machine.  Wow!  The guys could not understand why I was so excited about it.  Sorry about the bad photo, it's in a glass case.
Here's a coverlet with a star pattern.  Sure looks like a quilt.
I think I've seen these on the internet before, as an inspiration for a modern quilt.  These are (I think!) sections of different woods, dyed to show their structure.
The Harriet Powers Bible quilt was not on display this time, but I've seen it before and it is wonderful.  Click HERE to go to a photo/description.
This is the view from our hotel window.  In the foreground are the old historic houses of Georgetown.  To the back on the left side is the famous Watergate complex.
Just had to pose with this guy, Alexander Hamilton.
We're back home now, and I did manage to finish 3 more blocks of the Dresden plate.  I took out the basting thread, pressed them, and hung them on a skirt hanger to wait til I finish the rest.
Above is my favorite "carved in stone" saying of the whole trip.  It is at the new FDR memorial.
Words to live by.

School starts in 3 days!!!
Summer must really be over.
Have a wonderful week!
I'm linking up with Myra as usual at Busy Hands Quilts,  and Can I Get A Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for the first time.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Kids, Books, Scraps, and Quilts

It's a scraptastic Saturday around here, and I've got my blocks done for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this month.  August's color is neutral.  Hmm, can I do neutral? 
Neutral is tough with novelty fabrics, so I decided to go for fabrics with light backgrounds.  Here's my strawberry house.   Mmm, strawberries.
This one is nice and weird.  The main fabric is printed with bandaids, and for some reason there are bugs on the bandaids.  So the door has a bug, too.
Here's a house for me.  Save our flowers, save our pets, save our trees, save our planet!
A dotty house, sugary sweet with smiling flowers in the sky.
Three Pooh bears are peeking out of this house.  From the tropical sea shell print on the roof, we can see that the Poohs have left foggy England behind for sunny Florida.  They do need to work on their spelling.
And lastly, the orange house, probably also in Florida.  Or maybe California.
I decided the neutral theme really wouldn't fit with the Buckeye Beauty blocks, so I'm skipping those this month.
Making blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is the most fun I've ever had doing homework.

This homework comes in a close second--my blocks for the Children's Library Quilt, hosted by Pat Sloan.
The official block for August is this one.  I can't stop using Dr. Seuss fabric!  I got these scraps at the rummage sale at the quilt museum in June.  There's Clifford fabric in there, too.
I'm making 12 blocks for my Children's Library Quilt, instead of the 9 Pat is giving us, so I've been finding blocks elsewhere and using the book character fabrics to sew them up.  This block is modified from Cross Keys by Gina Gempesaw, block #573 in Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, vol. 6.
I changed the center to a solid square, and put the Very Hungry Caterpillar in there.

Lately I've been doing more quilting, as well as piecing.  Here's something I actually finished.
It's a baby quilt, made of flannel, for charity.
I tried to get my youngest grandson to post with it, but he was just too busy.
He did curl up with it later on the floor.  Tired, but fighting sleep.
I washed the quilt after he went home, and it's even more cuddly now.
Clean and soft, and ready to go to a new home.

I am so lucky!  I get to enjoy the things I love most every week--kids, books, scraps, and quilts.
How was your week?
Join me at the linky parties at Busy Hands Quilts and So Scrappy.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Waves, Soap, and Duckies

Happy Friday!  It's gloomy, rainy, and cool here (50s!  In August??) but a good day for quilting.  Heck, every day is a good day for quilting!  My almost-finish for this week is a give-away quilt.
You might recognize the shapes.  They're tumblers, cut with the Accuquilt cutter by one of our members.  There were 48 of the duckie tumblers cut when I got them.  I tried to figure out a layout that would use all of them.  In the end, I needed 49, so the center tumbler was a different duckie print, cut from some of my wonderful novelty fabric.

I added solid fabrics from my stash, and this daisy print for the backing.  The daisy print was originally bought to go with another quilt, but it works okay with this one.
Mr. Biddy is supervising here.  He went to the vet yesterday, and they think he's doing pretty good for being a 15 year old cat.
You've seen the duckies.  Here's where the waves and soap come in.
I am a walking-foot quilter.  The walking foot on my Pfaaf is built in, which is great.  Most of this tumbler quilt was quilted about 1/4 in. from each seam, but I got a little fancy in the outer border with these waves.  It's one of my favorite stencils, and this time I used soap to mark the lines.
I've used soap to mark other quilts, but I didn't think it would work on stencils.  After all, soap is wide, and you have to mark through a fairly narrow channel.  I tried it, just for giggles, and found that the plastic edges of the channels cut through the soap enough to leave quite nice marks.
Warning--it does have the same major drawback as chalk.  The marks will easily wear off if you touch them while quilting.  To counter this, I marked one border at a time (these aren't continuous), and tried to hold the quilt by the outer edges as I quilted, grasping mostly the batting and backing.
Here's what it looks like quilted.  I never try to make these waves turn the corners, I just run the lines to the edge of the quilt or start/stop at the corner seams.
Isn't this a happy print?  Our quilt group regularly donates quilts to a local charity that helps homeless families find apartments.  This quilt will go to a child who needs it.
Now all I have to do is bind it!
Here's what's on my makeshift design wall this week.  I started these blocks about a year ago, and made 42 of the small ones.  But look what happens when you put 4 together!  So far, I am loving it.  I have to make LOTS more blocks, which is what I'm sewing on my treadle in the top photo.  I'm also using my 1930s and 1940s scraps to good purpose.
What are you working on this week?  Why not join me at the linky party at Busy Hands Quilts?   It's always a good time.