Square Pegs Quilt

If you’ve followed my blog for awhile you know that I make a couple of quilts for charity each year.  I just finished a quilt for a group that I am part of called do. Good Stitches which is organized by Rachel at Stitched in Color.  There are several groups and each group is made up of 10-12 quilters that stitch blocks and/or assemble and finish the quilt.  I am a quilter at this time which means that I am also responsible for coming up with the design and colors for that month.

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For my month, I decided to use the Square Pegs pattern available at Moda Bake Shop.  I asked the stitchers in my group to use their scraps and make blocks in melon colors.  Think watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew.  And boy did they deliver.  It’s so bright and fun.  And will be a great quilt for the women that benefit from the makeovers done by Enchanted Makeovers, the charity it is going to.

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I quilted it with organic stacked half-moon shapes.  The blocks are 13″ square.  And because I asked our stitchers to make it scrappy, I had to refigure the instructions for assembly, but it was an easy pattern to figure out.

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It snowed this past weekend and the snow made the perfect background for this bright quilt.  It was 8 degrees when we were outside taking the pictures.  Just a little cold so I didn’t take many pictures, but thankfully I didn’t need to.  Today, 5 days later, it’s 70 degrees.  Gotta love NC weather!

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Linking up with Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

UFO Finish #4

I love this mini quilt.  I started this quilt last year when I started a much larger lone star quilt.  I had never done a lone star quilt so I wanted to ‘practice’ on something smaller.  I often practice new techniques in a similar fashion.  I’ll make one or two blocks to see how a quilt will go together, or if a bag or some other project, I may make it first with fabric that I really don’t care about before I cut into my good fabric.  Many times it ends up being a waste of time because (1) the pattern is so complicated I never want to make another one after the first (haha). or (2) because it goes together smoothly.  Other times though, I’m able to find areas that need to be improved or find things I would do differently in order to save fabric usage.

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I pulled this navy scrap with orange, teal, lime green, and purple elephants from my scrap bin and then found more scraps that complemented it.  For the most part the placement of each color was due to how much of each fabric that I had on hand, but I wanted the points to be bright so that the star would SPARKLE.  So orange was the only way to go there.  I just love orange these days.  It’s such a bright, cheery color.

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I used this tutorial by the Hopeful Homemaker for piecing my strips.  I did one thing different that I found to be very helpful.  When piecing the diamonds, I first ‘basted’ the seams with a long stitch.  I found that I often needed to adjust the seams just a smidgen in order for them to line up and it’s so much easier to pick out longer stitches.  Then, once I was happy with how the seams lined up, I would stitch one last time with a small stitch.

One thing I didn’t do that I wish I had was starch all the pieces when piecing.  I usually skip this step because I am impatient and want to get it done, but it really would have helped provide a much crisper, less puckered and wrinkled, finished star.

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I decided to offset the star rather than center it on the background.  It took me a few days to figure out how I wanted to quilt it, and I love what I came up with. First I marked and quilted diamonds to extend the star shape to the bottom and right.

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Then I free-motion quilting the remaining areas with a paisley flower.  I practice my FMQ every chance I get, and this was a very fun design to stitch.  I just love it!

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Then I decided the bottom right corner was a perfect place to put a small elephant.  He’s so cute!

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Quilt finishes at 17.5″ x 17.5″.  Each diamond in the star is 1″ x 1″ finished.

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Red Fox

It seems that I’ve disappeared from the blogging world again.  We are hoping to move to the mountains in a matter of weeks, so we have been busy making more repairs around the house, decluttering, and packing.  More about that another time.

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I wanted to show you a quilt I designed for my youngest grandson.  He was born last August.  I found this fabric at my LQS and fell in love with it and knew I wanted to use it for his quilt.

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The fox and tree are raw-edge appliqued.  And other than the background and the fox fabric I just had to have on the back, everything else is scraps.  I quilted bamboo onto the background, and filled in the fox, tree, and leaves with free motion quilting.DSC_0167 DSC_0161

Last but certainly not least, it’s somewhat hard to see, but in the tree trunk I embroidered my grandson’s initials.  I really love that part!

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I decided to enter  this quilt into the Blogger’s Quilt Festival at Amy’s Creative Side.  Head on over there and vote for all the wonderful quilts.  There are lots of fun quilty prizes up for grab, so we are all super excited about it.

Linking up with Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, Link a Finish Friday at Richard and Tanya, and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Sorting Scraps

I have been keeping my scraps in a large drawer of an antique buffet (cabinet).  This is probably my most single favorite piece of furniture.  Unlike modern day furniture, it is sturdy, HEAVY, and holds a lot of fabric scraps at the moment.  I have batting scraps in one drawer, things like duck canvas in another, and quilting cotton scraps in yet another drawer which brings me to my present quandary.

I recently signed up to participate in the Gypsy Wife quilt-a-long at Factotum of Arts.

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As you can see, the Gypsy Wife quilt pattern is rather scrappy looking.  So rather than buy fabric, or use the larger cuts of my stash, I decided that I would rather use my scraps for this quilt since it appears to use such small pieces of fabric.  And we are talking small scraps here.  Anything around a fat-eighth or larger I typically fold up and put in a shoe box (or 3) with my regular fabric stash.  So, what I would be pulling from this drawer is anything smaller than that.  Also, I am not organized enough to have already cut my scraps into standard sizes – i.e. 2-1/2″ squares, 2-1/2″ strips, etc.  So, how am I to sort through this crazy mound of fabric to arrange all this into some sort of usable concoction?

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Should I sort by color — all the blues in one pile, pink in another, yellow in yet another?  Should I sort by shape — all the strips in one pile, triangles in another, squares/rectangles in another?   Should I also sort by tone — warm colors in one pile, cool colors in another?  Hmmm….

After pondering my pile of scraps for a while, I decided to sort by size.   These scraps are all different sizes since they are such wonky cuts of fabric.  So to make it easier  I decided that if I could get a 4″ square or more out of a piece of fabric it went in one pile.  Somewhere between a 3″-4″ square went into a different pile.  2″ in another pile, and 1″ in yet another pile.  So, no matter if it was a triangle, square, strip, or just a wonky piece of fabric, I added it to the pile that would provide the largest cut square.

1" fabric pieces

1″ fabric pieces

2" fabric pieces

2″ fabric pieces

I’m pretty good at planning so that when I cut larger pieces of fabric for a quilt, I end up with as little scrap as possible, so I wasn’t too surprised when the 1″ and 2″ piles ended up being the largest piles.  I was surprised however to find some 5″ and larger pieces of fabrics in the pile.  I must have thrown those in before I decided to fold them up and keep them with my regular stash.

So far, the sorting has worked pretty well.  Once I opened the pattern I was a little surprised at how the designer has you cut the fabric.  She has you start with a larger, around 4″ square, and then cut into half or fourth’s diagonally to get the smaller triangles.  And like I said, I have much more 1″ & 2″ scraps, than I have 4″ scraps.  So that kinda put a damper on using my small scraps.  But, I was able to improvise and  have cut the fabric for the first 12 blocks and put each in a little baggie.  There is a mixture of cool, warm, print, solid, bright, and muted.  This quilt is a lot of work, so I sure hope when it’s done, it looks wonderfully scrappy and not like fabric vomit.  I might just have to find room for a design board so I can lay it out and get a feel for it before I start sewing everything together.

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Now that I’ve made it this far, I decided to search the internet to see how others sort their scraps.  As usual, I’m a little backwards and try to invent my own method before seeing what other great quilters have already determined to be the best method. Haha. One day I’ll learn to stop reinventing the wheel.

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Bonnie Hunter has a great tutorial here.  I would say the method I came up with is similar but much more simplified.  She has 1″, 1-1/2″, 2″, 2-1/2″, 3″, 3-1/2″ piles, and then further sorts by strips, squares, or bricks.  Maybe I’ll follow this method once I get more scraps and more space to keep the different sizes.  I guess anything is better than the method I had last week, which was to jam them all in one large very stuffed and overflowing drawer.

And if you are one of those crazy people that just throw scraps away, grab yourself an empty cardboard box and place it near your cutting table and throw the scraps in there.  When it gets full, tape the top closed, put my name and address on it, and ship it to me.  It will be like Christmas morning when the postman gets here.  Oh, and then find yourself another empty cardboard box and start the process over…   (By the way, I am VERY serious about this!! LOL.  No really, I am!)  🙂

So, how do you sort your scraps?  I’d love to hear from you.  Maybe you have found an even better method.

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

Bento Box Charity Quilt

YAY!  I’m so excited to have finished this quilt this week.  I made this quilt in just 2 weeks, which is a record for me.   I’m sure picking a simple pattern, rather than designing my own, expedited the process as well.You may remember from a couple of weeks ago that I picked up some free fabric from one of our quilt guild members.  She had cleaned out her stash and her only request was that we use the fabric to make a charity quilt.  So, I picked up purple, blue, yellow, and pink and figured I could make something cheery and fun with that.  I ended up with about 4 yards and decided I better get started soon, or otherwise it might end up like one of the other projects that I never get around to.  (Please tell me I’m not the only one that buys fabric for a ‘special’ project and then years later end up using it for something else.  And if I am the only one, please don’t tell me… ignorance is bliss!  I just keep telling my honeyman this is normal.)

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So, within a few days, I had all the strips cut, spent the next week making the blocks, and then quilted it over the last few days.  I also love the fact that I was also able to use just under a yard of scraps from my scrap bin.

I quilted it with wavy diagonal stripes using a light grey Aurifil thread.

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This is the third quilt I have machine sewn the binding onto, and I did a much better job this time.  A few more quilts and I might be an expert at it.  I love that it’s much faster.  My sister said she loves to hand sew binding onto quilts.  I will avoid hand sewing at almost all costs.

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So, next weekend I get to turn it in at our next guild meeting and it will go to a lucky little girl in foster care in Durham county. It finished at 48″ x 64″.  I sure hope it brightens her day!

front - ignore the shadow crossing it

front – ignore the shadow crossing it

back - there's that pesky shadow again

back – there’s that pesky shadow again

Linking up with Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, Link a Finish Friday at Richard and Tanya, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation.

Charity Quilts in Progress

As if I didn’t already have enough projects, I started two new quilts this week.  As usual, I have created my own busyness.  Thankfully, however, I find this type of busyness very stress relieving rather than stress causing.

First I picked up this stash of fabric from a member of my guild.  She had cleaned out her stash over the holidays and her request was that if you take any, then you use it to make a charity quilt.  Our guild makes and donates charity quilts to the foster care program in the county.  So I took what ended up being approximately 4 yards of fabric, and decided to make a lap quilt.  Some of these are already made blocks, some are smaller than a fat quarter, and there are two pieces that are just over 1 yard in length.  I also decided that I have to make it right now or I may never get around to it!

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So, I cut the fabric into strips…

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I decided to make the quilt using a bento box pattern.  This is where you sew the strips into a large square and then cut the squares into fourths, mix them all up, and sew them back together again.  I didn’t have enough of the fabric that I picked up for all the strips I would need, so I have been using fabric from my scrap box to fill in where needed.   I love that I’m able to use some of the scraps I’ve been saving!  I would love to make an entire quilt with scraps.  Maybe one day… so far I’ve only been able to fit them into projects here and there.  Edit: I remembered that I have made a quilt with all scraps.  I made a wonky star last year.  I just have so many scraps, and I keep adding to it, so it doesn’t look like I’ve even put a dent in it.  So my goal is to make another quilt with just scraps.  🙂

I just finished piecing all the squares last night… today after work I’ll trim them up, cut them into fourths and lay them out to determine how I want to rearrange them.  Hopefully I’ll be sharing another finished quilt with you next week.

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I haven’t gotten as far on the second quilt I started.  I picked up two charm packs last fall during a shop hop, which gives me four 5-inch squares of each of these fabrics.

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Well, that in itself isn’t enough to make a lap quilt.  So I either need to add a neutral, such as cream or white, or more fabric.  I have decided to follow what Aspen Hill did here with her charm pack.  This means I need to add both white AND more fabric.  So I went through my stash and found fabric that I think matches and cut an additional 74 5-inch squares.DSC_0532

So that’s where I am with this quilt.  I have 154 5″ squares cut out and ready.  I still need to cut the white strips.  My plan is to do that and start piecing once I get the other quilt finished.  I probably won’t provide many updates on this quilt since it is for a friend that may read this blog.  But, know I’ll be working on it and will share it with you when I can…

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

To Boston With Love

When tragedies occur or someone is in need, what do quilters do?  We sew.

A couple of the Modern Quilt Guilds in and around the Boston area are sponsoring virtual sew-ins either to provide those that were directly affected by the bombings with cheerful quilts, or to send a message of hope and love to the Town of Boston.  Members of other Modern Quilt Guilds around the nation are joining in the efforts by sewing either flags or quilt blocks to provide to those guilds in Boston in spreading their message.

I have decided to participate in two of them – the Quilts for Boston sponsored by the Boston Modern Quilt Guild and To Boston with Love sponsored by the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild.  My first thought was I could pull together a couple of quilt blocks.  Then a couple of blocks turned into 6.  Then I decided I could sew a flag or two, and that has turned into 4.  It’s just keeps growing.  LOL.  I’m not sure when I’ll stop, or if I’ll actually get anymore done before they need to be mailed to Boston; but I thought I would share with you what I had accomplished so far.

The Boston Modern Quilt Guild is collecting quilt blocks in order to make quilts for those directly affected by the bombings.  They have asked that all blocks be 12-1/2″ x whatever, and that they be restricted to the colors yellow, blue, grey, and white.  More info can be found here if you are interested.  http://bostonmqg.blogspot.com/p/quilts-for-boston.html

I made all of these from my scrap bin, which is cool.  I’m always looking for ways to use up scraps and since my blocks will be combined with blocks from others around the country I saw no need to make blocks that would all match.  So, it’s a great use of the scraps.

DSC_0208Blocks made by others in the country can be found here.  There’s not too many there yet (just over 130), but I’m sure, like me, many people haven’t uploaded their photos yet. http://www.flickr.com/groups/quiltsforboston/

The Vancouver Modern Quilt guild is asking for flags and they plan to hang them in Boston at the Memorial Day celebration.  I have had a ton of fun making these!  They are a complete project in one little package, so they are quick and provide fairly instant gratification.  And they have been made entirely from scraps as well.  Here is the information for them if you are interested in making a few yourself.  http://vancouvermodernquiltguild.ca/blog/.  They have also set up a flickr page for uploading photos that can be found here.  http://www.flickr.com/groups/tobostonwithlove/

DSC_0213Like I said, I don’t know how much more I’ll get done.  I have a few other sewing projects I need to work on, the more immediate being Mother’s Day.  YIKES!

I’d love to hear from you if you are also sewing for these or other efforts related to the bombings in Boston.  Wonder if a Texas guild is doing anything for those affected by the factory explosion these?  Hmm… I think I’ll have to look that up.

Signing out, with Love to Boston.