Archive for the ‘Quilting’ Category

Jan 2017
I send boxes to be shipped to my friend, Trish, every year.  Most of the items are for distribution to the local Honduran families to which they minister.  I’ve made and sent quilts before as their homes don’t have heat and many nights can be down in the 50’s!  I don’t want to sleep that cold and not have a quilt or blanket so they are really needed.  Mostly it is my time and I use fabric I already have.  I have yet to make much dent in the fabric stash so I’m glad to make someone happy with a warm quilt.

I also send school supplies, kitchen items, and small gifts for the Christmas packages they make.  I like supporting them because my funds and the gifts go to the people who need it most.  And Trish & her family continue to minister, teach, and train the ones they help in the economically poor country.  They don’t just drop a gift and never return but continue to make sure the family knows about God’s love and to make sure their physical needs are being met.

Last year they had some of their gifts stolen so I hope that quilt is keeping a  young person warm and they feel God’s love from my work.

This year, I made a quilt in colors for Trish’s room as she’d been talking about them moving houses to allow for their son and growing family to move into their bigger home.  I thought a new quilt would be nice for her new room.  This kept me so busy the month of January to try to get it done as a few customer quilts had started to come during my weeks of vacation. (Stay-cation, of course, but I was trying to quilt for me.)

Loaded on the frame.  I forget the exact dimensions w/o looking up the notes but I think it was 96″ square.

Each star triangle got about the same but freehand quilting motif.

It was a last minute piecing idea to put piping in between the borders.  It wasn’t a smart idea either! Besides being tedious, now my triangle points were all cut off! Argh!!

And my triangles didn’t fit my corners properly.  I decided it didn’t matter in the overall look of the quilt and I wouldn’t mind it if it was my quilt!

I pieced the backing from leftover fabrics from the front and I had clearly cut way too many triangles for the borders!  

It is easier to show the quilting from the back sometimes.

So as not to be removed, I incorporated my label into the back of the quilt!  I appliqued her initial and then wrote my words on the lighter fabric along her “T”.  I added narrow fabric strips along the bottom of the label area on a 45′ angle while I pieced the backing.  I found it fun to decorate the back as I had done on the Pencil Quilt last fall.

In one of the borders, I also backwards quilted a special message to Trish that I was going to tell her about when she received the quilt.  I’ve not heard from her or if the quilt made it safely to her or not.  :\   It sort of makes me sad but I know that she is very, very giving and could have given it to someone who needed it instead of keeping it for herself.   (Hence, the label that can’t be removed.) I also know it isn’t possible to run such a ministry they do on their own and send notes to everyone that sends boxes for them.  I loved making this and would love to make a giant star quilt for myself sometime and add all the heavy freehand quilting.  It was a lot of fun!


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I bought this cloth book in a kit to make the quilt several years ago.  Finally, I was tired of waiting on myself to have it done at Christmas  so I made it!  I had the 2017 quilts finished for customers and the 2017 books caught up for The Farmer.  Time to quilt for me!

Since it was first printed to be a child’s cloth book, I cut apart each page to use as a block in the quilt.  The kit included fabric to make the pages all the same size.  I quilted around the animals and the first line of story on each page.

The border quilting was a fast double scallop and loops (ornaments) and the small decorative blocks in the quilt design had a freehand loop and leaf depending on which way I was moving at the time so they go different directions.


The last page tells of the animals welcoming the baby Jesus, The Great “I AM”.  Also the name of the fabric line.  A quilt shop in SD put the kit together to create the quilt from the book.  When I bought this at a quilt show, they said it was their last kit.

Since I had the binding on but not wrapped by Christmas I finished the hand-sewing the week following Christmas and plan to keep the quilt out all winter.  Someday a little one might come visit me and we can read the story while keeping our laps warm.

My first time to use a corner and fast label!

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This IS the BEST way to spend a February weekend!!  Dear, dear friend from Texas flew to visit ME!  I realized that in all these years, I’ve only had family visit, never a girlfriend.  This was the best weekend of quilting, sharing, encouraging, eating…. EVER!!


She is a hand-piecer but wanted to try my long-arm!  I let her!  LOL!!  My thinking was that I’d start it, she’d do a bit, and ask me to finish.  She loved it and did her whole quilt – a throw size.

This is in the evening after she had just arrived that day!  I’d be way too tired to think.  She did an amazing job!

Put any 2 ‘retired’ homeschool moms together and what do they do…?  We took a historical field trip!  This is an old stone bridge on some property we rent where a famous future President crossed following some local debates.  It is cool to see, the weather was so mild we were sliding in mud!, and it was a good time to be out and hike.  Thankfully, we took a driver and slightly OK photographer.

We were dressed for February, not for fashion photos!  It didn’t matter, we were together!

The middle of our mild winter, she saw a few bits of snow fall and the pond behind us had ice on it.

She got so comfortable with the machine she added her name to one of the near-solid blocks.  She also added a bit of glow-in-the-dark thread for fun on this quilt!  We were so excited when it really glowed!  (by Superior)

I added the binding by machine and she had her quilt ready to take home with her!  She left 3 other quilt tops for me to quilt and bind for her.   She hand sews the bindings.  All had wonderful labels that she lettered while she was here.

She also got a junior version of English Paper Piecing class.  I’m no pro but it was fun to play with fabric together.  She also organized and culled my batik fabric bin.  Clearly she didn’t cull enough as the lid still doesn’t fit on!

Monday night we threw in a trip to one of my quilt guild meetings.  In February, we don’t usually have programs scheduled but she loved it enough she promises to go to a local guild near her!  #cough

At the airport and sadly it is time to say good-bye.  We had realized we’d never run out of things to talk about.  I needed to get a jump on the traffic.  And really just.in.time!  It backed up a ton behind me and in the other direction as I headed out of the city.  Sad to send her back home.  Thankful over the top that she came to visit!

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The last clue added the last row on the outside of the quilt.  The soloist continued a pattern to the centers and the corners.

She also suggested piecing the backing from stash and I continued in my neutral pile.  And you know …. there are still more fabrics in the bin!  Her instructions included a bit of “sashing” on the back and corner posts.  I did all of this in neutrals but many in the group did another design of colors with this piecing.


I wrote the label on one of the backing cornerstones before quilting.


Planning the quilting….  I took a photo of the complete top, printed it in black & white, and then used tracing paper over that master to draw some ideas on paper.  In this photo, some is marked and I’m looking at thread ideas.


Next up… quilting!

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It is rare that I get a chance to piece a quilt.  But there are gifts for special ones that go out ‘in haste’ here & there.

This is for a friend’s first granddaughter that is due soon. A family friend found me via FB and asked if I and any of our group’s quilters would like to make a baby quilt.   Sadly, our friend died 7 yrs ago and we thought it would be sweet to bless the daughter with quilts from her quilting friends as her mother would have been doing.  I was the only one that sent a quilt. The baby’s room is painted a golden yellow with accents in navy, purple, and fuchsia.

I chose the accent colors from my stash but just could not find the right background fabric for this.  I could drive 1 – 1 1/2 hrs each way to a modern quilt shop to try to find something which adds up to “take a day trip” with 3 hrs on the road, lunch out, etc.  I could have looked online for awhile and ordered but then I wouldn’t have it in time.  Or… I could dye my own!  My SIL was here and I was asking her help with choosing dyes off my color chart. Nothing was quite right and I was also looking for yellow dyes in the storage drawers.  There NOT on the chart but in my inventory, was pencil yellow.  Yes!  That was the color we wanted and I had bought that on a special – no longer made deal.  Of course, now I love it and hope to get some more pencil yellow fabric from my amount of dye.


The next day I dyed an extra amount of fabric than my plan needed just to be sure I had enough.  I was also making my own pattern so was just using my guesstimated amount of fabric needed.  I used about a 1/2 strength of dye.  I stirred the dye about every 15 mins for an  hour to have it more of a ‘solid but not quite’ coloring.  I was so excited as I think it came out perfect to what I wanted!
I cut the half-square triangles (HSTs) with my accuquilt Go! cutter.  LOVE IT!  I line up the fabrics that will be sewn together, right sides together, and they come out of the cutter ready to zip under the sewing machine.

Once I had all the HSTs sewn and pressed, I laid out part of the center design.


Sewed the top together…


And this also shows some of the quilting marks I made before I loaded it in my machine for quilting.  I had guidelines for the circles and divisions of 8 or 4 per ring.

First the detail quilting in a variegated thread that stands out on the lighter fabrics.


The finished quilt – quilted, labeled, bound, & washed.

12Close-up of a corner and you can see the circular designs.  The background fill thread was a matching yellow and a finer size thread.


The back of the quilt. Once again, without going to buy the fabrics, I pieced the back from other fabrics in my stash.  🙂

I appliquéd the baby’s first initial and a heart, then pieced in the diagonal piece of fabric for an accent.

label 01
I had help from my family & friends on the label verse but I found it fitting since the mom has never met me. It was just a gift from God, with love from one of her mom’s quilting friends.  Sent from Illinois to Mississippi.


The one who contacted me and the new mother were surprised at how well it matched the baby’s room.  Yeah!  I loved this quilt and had a hard time putting it in the box to ship away.  It was a gift of love so I knew I needed to send it.  It sounds like it was well received.

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Once I had my detail guidelines marked and the ideas mostly in my head and a bit on paper, I was able to load and quilt.  I only got the detail quilting done and then the customer work was flowing in fast so I took it off my frame.  A hard choice to make but I knew I had enough quilting done, plus added a few pins for basting, that I could put it aside.


I used a turquoise and purple variegated thread; Superior Rainbows 802 Brasilia Blue.

This was on & off my quilt hanging rack 20 or more times while other quilts were photographed!

Some of the detail quilting —




So then it waited from early March until August.

I took a week to quilt a baby quilt and finish this mystery quilt.  The Olympics were on TV so I had that as my background noise a lot while I did the small fill-in quilting.  This took a bit over 10 hours of quilting time.  I quilted  during the day a few hours at a time and 2 nights until 10 p.m. or after to finally get it done.



I knew my current bobbin was nearing the end as I was nearing the end of my quilting and prayed I’d make it without having to wind one more bobbin.  I made it with this much left!  Yeah!  10:20 p.m.  #yawn


I had it just draped on a chair until a weekend when I could trim it and sew on the binding.  I walked into my studio one day and it was like this and I just had to have  a photo.  I was so glad to finally have the quilting done on one of my own quilts.


I added the soloist turquoise for binding and once that was on, it had really completed it!


I really like this and I’m not sure I want to give it away now!
Pattern is available at Colourful StitchesSymmetry Square  it is an e-pattern.  I suggest it!!  No special tools needed.

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A new baby great-niece needed a new quilt and even tho by now she had added several months to her age, I found fabric I loved and chose it for her quilt.  Part of it came from a store gift certificate that I had been awarded accidently by the change of one character in our usernames.  However, I still found something to fulfil the gift certificate and quite a bit more so all were winners on that part!  This is what I chose.

I chose the spool block from the AccuQuilt system that makes quick and accurate cutting work for me.  Here are all the HSTs made and the blocks laid out for assembly line sewing.  Just 9 blocks but many pieces.

Blue stars & pink and red spools.

I decided to use leftover pieces for an artistic (random) border and used filler fabrics so it all fit together.  Pink swans for the outer border.

The flimsy top top needed quilted and now to play with thread.

The quilted and washed top.  Striped binding – my favorite!

Close-ups …


The texture…..

I used Sue Heinz’ circle maker for the circles and wreath areas that I then used as guidelines to place the quilting.  It is unique, adds another element of design to the angular piecing and is just plain fun to fill in with freehand quilting.  I pull that tool as often as I can on my personal quilts.

When the quilt arrived to her owner, I received this back in return!  A tiny one sitting to read on  her quilt!

And as she grows (and I delay my blogging) Miss #4 in this household, still enjoys reading on her quilt!  I think she looks like a precious doll!  In fact, I named this the Reading Quilt because so many of her photos show her reading!  What great fun!!

I chose to make all my great-nieces & great-nephews quilts and now as of this writing (12/17) I have one nearly 18 months and another 8 months and a negative 4 months!!  Oh dear!!  So much work and not enough pleasure sewing.

When this one received her quilt, the others brought out their quilts for a photo op as well.  Melted my heart.  All my quilts plus one from a great-aunt on the other side.  🙂   These kids should be cozy! I hope they know they are well-loved! Maybe we great-aunts could have given them a gift card to welcome their birth but I doubt they’d be loving the gift card like this.  ♥

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