Friday, April 29, 2016

Chevron Quilt Finish

Last Saturday was a beautiful day here.  I'm getting in the mood for spring cleaning, and washing some of the quilts we use most often.
I spent some of the weekend making this Chevron quilt top, inspired by a pattern from the Moda Bakeshop called Scrumptious Scrappy Chevron Picnic Quilt, made by Rhonda of Patchwork Sampler.
(Click here for the free pattern link).
I changed the pattern, of course, because somehow I never can quite make myself follow all of any quilt's directions.  I made the quilt baby-sized, and instead of squares pieced from rectangles between the chevron rows I just added strips.

The blocks are made from 4 half square triangles of prints with white.  There are 16 blocks in my quilt.  Below you can see the very basic quilting.

When I got the top finished, I laid out a queen sized Warm and Natural batt, and laid the backing for this quilt, plus 3 other small quilts, on it.    (The blue fabric on the left is on the back of the Chevron quilt.  The print is a one-way design of Winnie the Pooh, writing about friendship.)
I then cut them out.  This didn't waste much batting at all--there was only a short strip left over to go in the scrap batting bag.
On Monday, I made the binding from the same fabric as the borders, and sewed it together on my trusty Singer.
On Tuesday, I finished the quilting and added the binding by machine.  For quilting and binding I used my Pfaff electric.  I once used a Davis VF for that job, but I had some serious tension issues and finally had to give it up.
So here's my finish for the week, a Chevron quilt made from fabrics we used for tablecloths at the baby shower.  There are lots of animal prints here, which I hope will be cheerful for a baby and the baby's family.
There are lots of uses for clothespins besides hanging out the wash!  Instead of a fancy book holder, I use clothespins to hold cookbook pages open when I'm cooking or baking.  Here I'm making granola from one of my favorite cookbooks:

The Homemade Pantry, by Alana Chernila.  You can find her blog at Eating From the Ground Up.

Use what you've got, I always say.  And, if you can, make it yourself!

Have a lovely week, whatever you do.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Fidget Like Crazy

When you were a child, did anybody ever tell you "Stop fidgeting!" ?  I can still hear my grandmother's voice saying that.  And in more recent years, I can remember saying it to my own kids, especially in church.
Keeping calm and paying attention without moving around is all well and good in most situations.  It keeps us from distracting others.  But sometimes, due to illness or trauma or mental state, small movements are good for us.  Sometimes we just need to fidget.
Quilters have started making Fidget Quilts for this reason.  The little quilts, about the size of a placemat, fit in the patient's lap.  There are usually lots of textures for people to feel, and sometimes zippers or velcro or buttons to work.  Many nursing homes are using these quilts with Alzheimers patients.
My amazing quilt group (Ties that Bind Quilters) has made stacks of these quilts.  Here's Joan D. holding up a couple.  The ladies are so inventive.
Here's a closeup of the one Joan's holding up.  It has great colorful fabrics, loops of rick rack and beads, and a place for a photo in the center.
Check out the butterfly on this one!
It's a great place to use orphan blocks and fun fabrics.
This is our fidget cat!  It's made from lots of wild fabrics like fake fur and crushed velvet, with some orphan blocks and buttons.  We're going to make a few more, some this size and some smaller.
This is my first fidget quilt, and it's my finish this week.  It wasn't easy for me to make one of these.  I just felt like I didn't have any good ideas.  Putting all these different fabrics together reminded me of all the crazy quilts I've seen at documentations, so I made a crazy fidget quilt. 

The fabrics are crushed velvet, flannel, brocade from a dress, acetate/satin from runners I made for last year's wedding, etc.  Lots of etc.
Here's the back.  I made this as one large piece, adding the scraps to a large piece of batting and backing.  You can see the seams, which function as quilting.
I'm thinking about adding some embellishments, like buttons or ribbons.  I want this to be fun for the person who receives it.
These things are addictive!  I'm already planning another one.
Below is a link to an info sheet on Fidget Quilts.  I don't know if the person who wrote it actually invented these or not, but it's a good summary of what they are and why we make them.
Fidget Quilt Info Sheet

Have fun this week, and fidget like crazy.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Oh, baby!

This week's finish is a flannel trip around the world.  I have finally finished a quilt for my soon-to-arrive grandson. 
There are 81 squares in the quilt, set 9 across and 9 down.  I cut them 5 in. square, and added a border of the same size.  When finished, the quilt measures 49.5 in. x 49.5 in.  It may have shrunk a little in washing, as flannel does, but I did wash all the fabric ahead of time to minimize that.
I got to use lots of my favorite flannel prints.  This is the very last "Baby Boy" print I had.
This is also the last of the cowboy teddy bear fabric.  The ducky print was left over from a burp cloth.
I was really glad I took this picture before I started sewing the squares together!  My rotten cat got into my sewing room and scattered the squares everywhere.
I tried a new thing when marking the borders for quilting--I used soap.  My husband has a weird idea of what a soap "sliver" is.  I think this is still a good sized piece of soap, but he didn't want to use it anymore and got out a new bar, so I marked the quilt with this one. 
I've been using chalk to mark with for years, but it tends to rub off as you're working.  I was hoping the soap might be better.
The verdict?  The soap is slightly better.  This big hunk marked kind of a wide line, but that was okay for what I was doing here.  And it smells nice.  This is Ivory soap, I don't know how other brands would work.  It washed off easily.
It's still babymania around here, with just about a month to go.
Last weekend, we had a baby shower.  We held it at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts in Cedarburg.  Instead of tablecloths, we used baby-style fabrics, which you can see some of here.
A real baby came to the shower!  This is my daughter's friend with her little one.  My granddaughter is the little girl in the pink, and next to her is her mother, my oldest daughter.  The old lady is me.

We will be using the fabrics from the shower to make baby quilts for charity.  Some will go to Project Linus in West Bend, and some will go to Quilts for Kids, to be given to kids in hospitals.

I've started kitting up the fabrics, and have two done so far.

The first kit features this adorable whale print.  This will be a 4-patch quilt, made from the Quilts for Kids pattern on their web site. 
Here's a link to the pdf for the pattern, if you're interested.  It's the same pattern they put in their kits, so there are instructions on returning the kit within 4-6 weeks.  Just ignore that if you're cutting your own fabric.
Quilts for Kids 4 Patch Pattern

I branched out a little for the second quilt.  The pattern comes from the Moda Bakeshop, and was submitted by Jo Kramer of Jo's Country Junction (I love her work!)
Here's the link to the free pattern:
Step Up Quilt Pattern
This quilt will be red, white, and blue, to go with the light fabric, which has little teddy bear sailors printed on it.  I'm making it smaller than the original.  It's sort of similar to the Falling Charms quilt.

My sewing room is an absolute disaster right now, with all sorts of fabrics being auditioned to go the with baby fabric.
It's a fun kind of chaos.
Have fun this week.

Friday, April 8, 2016

More Leftovers

Big Scraps, Little Scraps is finished!
It's on the bed in the extra room, ready for a visitor or just for the cat to nap on.
Here's the back.  You can see the border here, too.  It's a brown print on the front and this rusty red on the back.  All of the fabrics came out of my stash.  Even so, it really didn't make a dent in what I have.  Guess I just need to keep sewing!
I didn't forget the finishing touch--a label.

When I finish a quilt, I like to take stock of what I have and figure out what I need to work on next.  That means sorting through things in the closet.
Cleaning out the closet reminds me of cleaning out the refrigerator.  No matter how organized I try to be, there always seem to be leftovers lurking in the back that I have completely forgotten about.  Old food has to go down the garbage disposal, but quilt pieces thankfully don't spoil.
In a plastic zip lock bag, I found 7 of these blocks plus more cut pieces.  I have made this particular pattern over and over for charity quilts, and I'm not always counting the blocks as I work, so it wasn't surprising that I would have extras.  I could see why I hadn't made more blocks, however.  The fabrics in the bag were dull, and so were the blocks.   This was an easy fix.  I made 23 more blocks with bright fabrics, and mixed the dull blocks in.
We had just been to the Newport Aquarium in Newport, Kentucky, so I was thinking of that when I added the sea turtle print border.
Here it is, quilted and bound in a dotted red print.

I always like to have a leaders and enders project going, so I don't waste any time or thread (thank you, Bonnie Hunter).  One of the other leftovers filled that job.
There was a whole bag of these half square triangles in the closet.  Some of them probably came from a quilt I made for my grandson Henry a couple of years ago, but I actually can't remember where the others came from.
I trimmed the hsts down to 2.5 in. squares, and added white squares and a print center to make these little blocks.  The pattern is similar to Double Hour Glass (Brackman #1687a).

I've almost got enough of these blocks done for a small quilt.  So I guess I need to look for another project to finish.  Wonder if I'll ever run out?

I wish you the joy of sewing this week.