Sew Fabulous Quilt Shop is having a giveaway of a fat quarter bundle of Kate Spain's Central Park. Since I haven't been able to bring myself to use my Verna or Fandango, I really can't justify buying Central Park, as much as I love it. So, I'm going to jump through all the hoops to get FIVE entries in the give-away. This is one of them. http://sewfabulousquiltshop.blogspot.com/2011/03/march-2011-giveawayand-...
I ordered a studio scraps bag from Anna Maria Horner's shop, and included in it was a gorgeous finished block! I pieced up some other fabric from the bag for the backing, made some piping, and - voila, a pillow for my niece Ana Maria. Unfortunately Ana Maria gave it to a friend to keep for her while she's spending the semester in S. Africa, she didn't realize it is an envelope pillow and you can just slip the pillow out of the slot in the bag. Oh well. I really LOVED that pillow.
Panels are what really got me back into quilting after going through a loooonnnnngggg period where I thought it was dumb to cut apart fabric just to sew it together again. But when I saw these panels, I thought it wouldn't take long to whip a quilt together. The backs took a little while, especially Ben's Buddha Party quilt because he wanted the back pieced in diagonal stripes. Not being a spatial person, this was hard for me!
Ben and his Buddha Party quilt:
Andy's Beatles quilt - this was my first try at free motion quilting, so don't look too closely!
I subscribe to Sandy Gervais' blog and today she announced that she is joining with 9 other designers for a "Fall-O-Ween" blog hop. It sounds like fun!
Here is the scoop, right from Sandi:
Listed below are the designer and their designated day to feature a FREE project.
Sept. 27 Gudrun from GE Designs: http://www.gudrun.typepad.com/
Sept. 28 Sandy from Pieces from my Heart : http://www.piecesfrommyheart-sgervais.blogspot.com/
Sept. 29 Roseann from Rosebud's Cottage. http://www.rosebudscottage.typepad.com/
Sept. 30 Kari from New Leaf Stitches : www.newleafstitches.com/blog
Oct. 1 Terry from Atkinson Designs : http://www.terryatkinson.typepad.com/
Oct. 2 Heather from Anka's Treasures : http://www.ankastreasures.wordpress.com/
Oct. 3 Terri from Whimsicals : http://www.whimsicals.typepad.com/
Oct. 4 Carrie from Miss Rosie's Quilt Co: http://www.lavieenrosie.typepad.com/
Oct. 5 Linda from Linda Lum DeBono: http://www.lindalumdebono.blogspot.com/
Oct. 6 Pat from Pat Sloan & Co.: http://www.patsloan.typepad.com/
Day 1: color
Day 2: scents
Day 3: taste
Day 4: texture
Day 5: clothes
Day 6: decorations
Day 7: gatherings
Day 8: traditions
Day 9: haunts
Day 10: quilts
My friend Kathy has two pre-schoolers. I made the placemats below for them. You can't really see, but the applique ghost and skeleton are sewed on with gold metallic thread - it was fun to use!
I had one leftover totebag that was unclaimed from Bible Study, so I'm going to give that to Kathy.
I think it is a lot easier to keep your materials together and be organized if you have a separate bag for each activity. The first year I ran a Ladies Bible Study at work I bought pink gift bags and decorated them with stamped Bible verses and die-cuts. They worked out pretty well, but by the end of the year they were looking pretty raggedy and many were stapled together. The second year I didn't have time to do any kind of a bag, which wasn't too bad because we did a book study, so we didn't need to bring our Bibles each week, just the book (Amish Grace - the story of the Nickle Mines tragedy).
But this year I wanted to make bags again. I decided to use a lot of the 4" square blocks I had bought on EBay. The ladies either picked their fabric or told me what they would like.
The bags went together very quickly - I pieced the squares into one long strip, and added a contrasting pocket to the backing fabric. Then I laid out the batting, backing fabric, and the top - not the normal quilt sandwich, but with the batting on the bottom, the backing fabric with pocket right side up, then the pieced strip face down. The handles were laid out on the backing fabric with the ends at the top, so they were caught in the seam as I stitched around. I sewed around all but 2 or 3 inches, then turned it right side out. The opening was closed when I top-stitched around the edges.Then I just folded the long strip in half and sewed the sides together. Because all the edges are finished, the bags are reversible.
I'm glad I did my own thing and didn't find a pattern because I'm very pleased with the way they turned out. Like the prayer throw I had just finished, though, I made them FAST - as many as 4 in one day, so they aren't perfect, but again made with love! Here are a couple of them, inside and outside -
I made two of these exactly the same for ladies from Dairy Farming families.
Barb really likes hearts, maybe that's why she's such a sweetheart!
I made a prayer throw for a friend with pancreatic cancer. Because her prognosis is only 2-3 months, I tried to make it as quickly as possible. But, like the old adage "haste makes waste" I ran into a few problems. I started with a GardenSong panel because I loved the block that says "Where flowers bloom, so does hope." I bought some complementary fabric and decided on a pattern to enlarge the panel into a throw. The pattern I chose was all half square triangles. I speed/chain-pieced them by setting the squares right side together, drawing a diagonal line from corner to corner, stitching on either side, and then cutting them apart.
The problem arose after I completed the quilt and washed it to set in the quilting. I had not left enough room on either side of the diagonal line, so the seams came apart in about 15 different places. I resolved the problem by top stitching a very narrow zigzag to close the gaping seam. The big problem was with the seams on the row of blocks I had put in the center of the back. I couldn't zig zag those because they were in the middle of the panel blocks on the front, so I had to hand stitch those. Some of the zigzag spots I was able to make much less noticeable with embellishments.
All in all I think it turned out very pretty. Not something that you would be happy to give as a formal gift or sell, but a quilt made with lots of love and prayer.
Here are the pictures:
Detail: (the quilt is embellished with buttons and crochet flowers. The Bluebird of Happiness button in this block is from SewSmart Fabrics in Doylestown)
Folded, tied, and ready to give:
I've been working on a quilt for Katy since last fall - I worked on it all through football season. She picked out the fabric online at fabric.com - it's mostly Amy Butler - Lotus and Midwest Modern. I think there is one Kaffe Fassett in there, too. We bought the backing fabric at Sew Smart Fabrics in Doylestown when Katy was home for Andy's graduation - it is Brick Road from the Oz collection by Sanae for Moda.
I have a bunch of Oz charm packs, so hopefully there will be some fabric left over to use with the charm packs!
At first I was hand-piecing all the blocks. But when I put Katy's quilt on hold to finish Sloane's in time for her graduation, I got spoiled by the machine piecing. It goes so much faster. BUT it is not nearly as precise. My friend Betty Westlake, who has the most gorgeous collection of quilts that she's made totally by hand, never machine-pieces because she says you can't finesse the pieces together the way you can by hand. The first few blocks I pieced on the machine had little tent domes in the middle where all the points come together. And being a non-spatial person, I couldn't figure out for the longest time what to do to keep that from happening. I think I've got it worked out now. The domed ones have little rings around the point where I flattened them with the iron - that gave me an idea about how to quilt them when I finally get to that stage.
The pattern Katy picked out is from McCall's Quilting, it's Shadows on the Pond. It's meant for batiks, so the look of her quilt is very different from the one in the magazine.
Here's what the blocks look like -
When completed, the different elements of the blocks make different patterns. I can't decide whether to lay them out in groups of four by solid color, or just mingle them at random. Here is what some of the light blocks look like grouped together:
followed by the dark blocks.
Here is what the blocks look like laid out randomly, I think I like this better.
And here is the pile of blocks still waiting to be pieced
I am really hoping to get the quilt finished so I can take it with me when I go out to California at the end of July. The first few days I'm staying at the Hilton in Long Beach to go to the quilts.com International Quilt Festival. I am taking Debbie Caffreys "Guess who's coming to dinner?" class on Friday, then Friday night Katy and I are taking an "Ornamental Fiesta" class together. It should be lots of fun for me, I hope Katy likes it. I'm hoping she'll find some fabric she likes for her next quilt. I think when we went to Sew Smart she realized that she had missed a lot of fun by picking out the fabric online.
Between E-Bay, fabric.com, Hawthorne Threads, and Sew Smart Fabrics in Doylestown, I have accumulated way too much fabric. I started out just buying no-name sets of 4" squares in coordinating fabrics. Then I started bidding on Moda and Free Spirit charm packs, with the goal of accumulating at least enough to make a throw. The charm packs I focused on are: Eden (Lila Tueller), FreeBird , Frolic (Sandy Gervais is one of my favorites!), Lakeside Resort, Boutique, Collections for a Cause-Charity, Butterfly Garden, BirdSong, Verna, Make Life, TweetTweet, Nature's Notebook, Cherish Nature, Civil War Homefront, California Dreamin, Hotflash, Georgina, Chloe's Imagination, and a bunch of different Kaffe Fasset collections.
Then, of course, I had to get coordinating fabric to go with the charm squares for the borders, binding, and backing. I also fell in love with panels (I hate the term 'cheater') when making quilts for the boys, so I've been picking up some of them - it makes the quilt go together sooo much faster. The ones I've picked up are Hot flash, 2 Cherish Nature, Frolic, BirdSong, and a variety of different patriotic panels.
I've also gotten hooked on Laurel Burch - I bid for and won a bunch of Ocean Songs panels and fabric, some coming from as far away as Australia!
One of my favorites that I ordered from Hawthorne Threads is Berkeley by Alice Kennedy for Timeless Treasures. In this month's Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting magazine there is a pattern for a quilt of yellow and blue baskets, I think I'll use my Berkeley for that. I might have to supplement it with a little Nature's Notebook.
Fabric.com is great for filling in the empty spots, or just grabbing some great fabric on sale. I've gotten a lot of Kona solids, plus bits and pieces of collections like LoveU, Verna, etc. I usually only buy fabric that's on sale from fabric.com, so I've ended up with quite an eclectic collection!
Needless to say, storing all this fabric has become a problem (not to mention Henry's blood pressure when he sees the bills!) My girlfriend Sue in England gave me a JoAnn's gift certificate, so I bought a bunch of their portable storage units with the multicolored drawers. I also have 6 or 7 three-drawer plastic stands that have filled up. Eventually I'm hoping to get my fabric stash set up on shelves like my yarn stash is. It'll be so much easier when everything is set out on shelves and I won't have to dig through drawers. Plus it's exciting having all the different colors and textures of yarn out on display, so I can't wait for that inspiration in my fabric.
I finished the quilt I was making for Sloane about 2 weeks after graduation - almost on time! The pattern is "Gingham Stars" from McCall's Quilting, the fabric is mostly Spring Magic by April Cornell for Moda. This is a queen-sized quilt, machine pieced and machine quilted.