Thursday, March 11, 2021

Little Blocks 365 Update

My additional fabric arrived so I've been working on some Little Blocks.  

It is pretty easy to make two or three blocks in the late afternoon before dinner and I feel really satisfied as I finish each one so there is a lot of positive reinforcement in this project.  It is not without its frustrations though!

I have occasionally lost track of which piece goes where on a block or reversed colors.  And most of the blocks are foundation pieced on several foundations that are joined together at the end.  Getting the seams to match up without nipping of points, etc. has been tricky, even impossible for me, on a few blocks.

My plan is to make a wall hanging size quilt to put up in my sewing room so I'm not using the setting from Sentimental Stitches.  I've picked out another setting, tentatively, and I have a Pinterest board of sampler block quilt settings; you can find it here if you are interested.

In my planned setting, the blocks will be arranged "in rainbow color order."  I had been making the blocks randomly, just whatever color took my fancy at the moment, but decided I better be more methodical about it so I have the color distribution I need when I am finished.  So my last set of blocks focused on purple and I am currently working on red and orange.  

I put all the purple through orange blocks I've made so far up on a design board so see how the color flow is working so far.  This is not the final arrangement but I can see that I will need to re-make a few as I get closer to finishing.  That orange block with the pink cross does not have enough contrast to work for me, I think I'll replace it.  

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Monday, March 1, 2021


I've never done a quilt-along before and now I'm in two of them, simultaneously!  Must blame it on Covid-19.

I'm joining American Patchwork & Quilting magazine's latest quilt-along, making a quilt designed by Sherri McConnell called Square Dance.  I first saw it on Sherri's blog, A Quilting Life, and knew I would like to make the quilt.  Then my magazine arrived (I subscribe) so I could figure out what fabric to used based on the fabric requirements.  It looks like fairly easy construction.  Though a lot of pieces for a 9" block, it uses some strip piecing techniques.  In fact, the recommendation is to use two honey buns and a charm pack, which will eliminate a lot of the tedious cutting.

This is the issue of the magazine with the directions.  You can also order the pattern directly from APQ.  More info here.

I had been eyeing some fabric at Laundry Basket Quilts and decided to go that route for my quilt.  Since this fabric line does not come in honey buns, I did the math and figured I could cut the blocks from fat eighths.  The floral on the left is the "inspiration" and will probably be the borders.  I'm using Kona in Cream for the background.  Kona Snow is my default background but I wanted something a bit darker/richer to better complement the fat eighth bundle fabrics.  Cream is significantly darker, with a slight golden tint to it, compared to Snow.

Time to starch!

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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Little Blocks 365 and Portable Design Wall

I joined the Little Blocks 365 quilt along hosted by Sentimental Stitches.  Every week, the host emails participants directions for making seven blocks using foundation paper piecing.  I saw the blocks Nicole had made and decided I had to join.  

So far, so good.  I'm using this little rope basket from Target to hold my finished blocks.

The fabric I'm using is all solids, in a rainbow of colors.  I had this charm pack of Century Solids in my stash (that makes this another stash quilt, right?).  It's an extra large charm pack, about 85 squares, each a different color.  I'm planning on making a wall hanging size quilt using a different setting than that suggested by Sentimental Stitches and for what I plan, I need 56 blocks instead of 365.  I had the idea I could make all the blocks out of this one charm pack plus some background fabrics but quickly learned otherwise!  So much fabric is consumed in the seams when you are working this tiny.  So I have a fat quarter pack ordered and on its way to augment the charm pack.  Actually, it is the other way around, the charm pack will augment the fat quarters.  

This project is christening my new design boards.  I made two of them to use in my sewing room; each is 24 by 36 inches.

I visited our local Hobby Lobby when they were having a going-out-of-business sale (just that store, the chain is still around) and got the idea when I saw these big artist canvases.  My original plan was to "upholster" them with flannel to make portable design walls.  However, our staple gun, about 30 years old and last used about 15 years ago, was not working.  Rather than get another staple gun just for this project, I moved on to Plan B, "slipcovers."

Basically, I made a pillow case that slides over each canvas.  The flannel side is a product from Kaffe Fassett, gray flannel marked in a 2" grid.  I used an unidentified white solid from my stash for the reverse side.  The canvases are 24" by 36" and less than an inch deep so I cut the fabric 26.5" by 38" and sewed around three sides then made a narrow hem at the bottom edge.  They fit tightly but with enough room to slide them on and off easily.  This slipcover method has the added benefit of being washable if necessary.

I got the flannel from my local quilt shop, Pennington Quilt Works.  They are doing a big online business now and can send it to you if you can't find it locally.  

I have my first seven blocks up on the board and they stick pretty well, better with the paper removed from the back of the blocks.

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Thursday, February 11, 2021

Modern Handcraft Snowflake Quilt - Snow Day

We've had an unusual amount of snow in NJ over the past two weeks, keeping me indoors and working on this snowflake quilt.  

It is from a pattern by Modern Handcraft; she recently held a sew along but I wasn't ready at that time.  It is a very well written pattern with lots of illustrations and a few photographs, in an 18-page booklet.  Very thorough and easy to follow, I 10/10 recommend!

For the background, I used various blue fabrics leftover from the quilts I made in blue and gold when my daughter was in high school.  I wanted a wall hanging that would fit in my kitchen so I reduced the size of the quilt from 60" by 72" to 40" by 48" by reducing the size of squares of fabric that make up each block.

The first step is to cut out the fabric then make the HST's that give the snowflake image it's shape.

Instead of using solid white fabric for the snowflake, I used Michael Miller Fairy Frost in the snow white color.  It is hard to see but it is printed with a little bit of gold that gives the fabric a pearly shine.  

The top went together fast and I'm happy with the way it came out.  I think it will look even better after it is quilted.  

Funny story:  I asked Mr. Main Street to help me by holding the quilt while I took photos.  After we were done, he asked me, "What is this design supposed to be?  A Viking rune?"  In his defense, he likes designs that are centered and have symmetry but it is a good thing I have you blog readers for positive feedback!

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Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Bachelor Button Mini Quilt

For the past few weeks, I've been focusing on some Christmas projects I had intended to work on in the last months of 2020.  First up is this Bachelor Button mini quilt.

This was a kit from Sweet Treasures Quilt Shop using fabric from the Holliberry line by Corey Yoder for Moda.  It is a 20" square block and the kit includes fabric for the pillow back and binding/piping.  She has kits with a Valentine's Day look now.  The block went together quickly and easily.  I'm debating how to quilt it before I sew it into a pillow.  I also need to get out and buy a zipper because I want to try a zip closure for the pillow instead of my usual envelope back.

The pattern is from White Barn Quilts and is an inexpensive PDF download.  

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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Like Sunshine On A Cloudy Day - A Finished Quilt

I have a quilt finish to share; I'm calling this one Like Sunshine On A Cloudy Day.

This quilt was inspired by a string quilt I made several years ago.  It is my most used quilt and I thought something similar to use in rotation could be a good idea.  Inspiration also came from my stash, as it holds a lot of floral prints in light colors, mainly from the 3 Sisters collections for Moda.  I was really wanting to make a quilt from my stash, something I would really like and not just for the sake of using the stash (I put too much time into my quilts to spend it making something I'm not enthusiastic about).

I sent the top and backing to Karen Thompson, my longtime quilt collaborator.  Karen used an edge-to-edge design that is similar to Baptist fan, a quilting pattern I'd wanted to use for a long time.  

I bound the quilt with a darker pink tone-on-tone print.  It makes a nice finish and complements the darker pinks in some of the floral prints. The blocks are just 6" square and each strip of fabric in the block finishes at 1" wide so this is a good block for those leftover bits and pieces of fabric we all have.

I even used fabric from my stash for the back.  This is big quilt, 96" square for a queen size bed, and I didn't have enough of any one print but I had two coordinating prints.  I must have bought these with some use in mind but I can't remember what.

I'm happy with the way this quilt turned out and have it on my bed now.  It's like a ray of sunshine on these dreary January days.

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Monday, January 4, 2021

2021 Quilting Intentions

Happy 2021!  I'm hopeful it will be an improvement over 2020.

A year ago, when thinking about my quilting plans for 2020, my main intention was to devote more time to quilting.  Well, the corona virus pandemic sure helped with that!  My other plan was to tackle some UFOs and use more of my fabric stash.  I consider myself quite successful on these fronts as I made five quilt tops using primarily stash fabric:

Love in the Time of Covid-19:  background, backing, and binding from stash, heart from a new charm pack. 

Mabel Mae:  totally made from stash.

Sunshine on a Cloudy Day:  totally from stash.  This top has been quilted but I still need to bind it.

Trip Around the World quilt:  made mostly from stash, has been quilted but needs binding (and a name).

Stardust:  made from stash except for backing.  Still a flimsy, needs to be quilted, etc.

But the truth is that these quilts made barely a dent in my stash!  My intent is to continue to focus on using my stash and completing UFOs/PIGs/kits in 2021 but that doesn't have to be my sole quilting "thing" and I do have my eye on a few new fabric collections coming out in the first half of 2021.  I also want to make some progress on my hexagon flowers and Dot Dot Dot.  Both of these quilts involve a lot of handwork and I started them as portable/travel projects.  However, with little reason to leave the house lately, I've been doing machine work rather than handwork.  I doubt the travel situation will change for the next few months but I think I will devote a few hours a month to these handwork projects anyway.  

I'm actually going to start 2021 with a few smaller, Christmas projects.  These are things I originally intended to make in 2020 but I lost my quilting mojo for a couple of months in the fall and they fell by the wayside.  I'm re-excited about them now so will tackle them while I have the urge.  Then I'll be ahead when Christmas 2021 comes around.

Do you have any specific quilting plans for the year?

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