Quilting Wild and Free

I finally have my first finish of 2021 and it’s a big one. Literally. As in king-sized. It’s 96 inches square and a very heavy foundation-pieced string quilt. I call it Blue Jean Dreamin’.

If you want to know who I am as a quilter, you need only look at this quilt. It is SO me. It’s the me-est quilt I’ve ever made. It contains all of my favorite elements:

  • Something vintage
  • Something modern
  • Something gifted
  • And something Tula Pink

Let’s talk specifics. I love scrappy, of course… The Scrappy Camper!! Duh. However… I love scrappy best when it’s a mixture of vintage and modern textiles. I mean, you can be assured of getting a 100 percent unique creation when you mix it up a bit, right? And I’m always amazed at how well the two play together. Vintage is nice. Modern is pretty. But combine them and you get chills, it’s so good. At least I do.

Something vintage – Is it not beautiful!!!
Something modern – PLEASE ignore all that cat hair. Ugh!

I said, “something gifted,” by which I mostly mean fabric scraps given to you by a friend. This category imparts a little magic to your quilt. When a friend gives you their scraps it does two things for you. A) It reminds you of that person every time you use the quilt, so I really hope you like them, and B) It adds some variety to your scrap bucket. Most people, including me, tend to buy similar prints. There’s a certain sameness to them. Infusing a little spice from a friend livens up your quilt and keeps it from being boring. I like to buy scrap bags from some of my favorite online retailers for the same reason.

Something Gifted – one of my all-time favorite scraps

Finally, Tula Pink needs no explanation. She’s the bomb. If I can work even a small piece of her fabric into my quilt, I consider it a success. I have other favorites too. Victoria Findlay Wolfe and Alison Glass spring to mind but there are many more. Who’s your fave designer?

Something Tula Pink

My final thought on why I love scrap quilts so much is that they are so wild and free. They are the cottage gardens of the quilt world. Other, more regimented gardens are beautiful, but they just don’t resonate with my gypsy soul I suppose.

 

 

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Asian…

… and also something blue.

I am so super-stoked to have finished this quilt top today. It’s a UFO from waaaayyyyy back – about 2013 to be more specific. I started it when I lived in Peyton, Colorado.

“Something Old” is most of it. The red/brown/cream daisy fabric was my original inspiration. I loved it then and I love it now.

“Something New” is the backing fabric, which I adore! It’s Pastiche in flame orange from In the Beginning Fabrics. It’s a perfect match to the fabrics I used on the front. With it’s rich, vibrant colors I’m tempted to call it the quilt top. 

“Something Borrowed” is this little bit of cherry blossom fabric donated to my quilt guild’s freebie table by a friend. With it’s Asian vibe and coloring, it fits right in and adds to the quilt’s story in such an impactful way, I’ll never look at it without thinking of my guild and my friend.

And check out that creamy kanji fabric (above). I bought it when I visited my soldier hubby while he was stationed in Korea. (What a trip that was. If you ever get a chance, you must go. The fabric district is A-mazing!!!) I don’t have a clue what the kanji means. Hopefully nothing awful. Haha.

As I mentioned, the project has a great oriental vibe, hence the “Something Asian.” It reminds me, not only of the aforementioned trip, but also of the six years I lived in Japan. Of course, the “Something Blue” is self-evident. I just need to finalize the placement and iron those buggers down.

I have a strong love/hate relationship with this project.

I hate that it’s so imperfect. I never make perfect quilts but this one is quite, quite flawed. My skills were definitely less impressive in 2013, which you can see clearly in some of my pinwheel points. My aesthetic has also changed and I’m not as enamored of the pattern as I once was. I wouldn’t say I hate it, but… I don’t love it. In fact, I almost chucked the whole thing, but I had completed more than half of the blocks so it would have been a terrible waste.

So, what do I love about it? I mostly love that it’s nearly finished. 🙂 I love the colors and the fabrics and the story. Ugly though it may be, it’s a keeper. I can’t wait to snuggle beneath it, thinking about my quilting buddies and reliving my adventures in the Orient.

Mahalo, Y’all, for stopping by.

 

Making a Zipper Pouch in 5 Easy Steps

Happy Easter everyone. All two of you. 🙂 Love you, Mom. Haha. My audience may be small right now, but I have faith…

Anyway…it’s been a busy weekend quilting-wise and that means it’s been a GREAT weekend. 

I decided last-minute-like to make my daughter a little Easter gift so this morning before she woke up, I whipped up this little gem.

If you need a quick gift, you really can’t beat a nice zipper pouch. They are so easy to make and can be customized to the recipient. 

Step One The hardest part is picking out your fabrics, but that’s also the funnest part. (I know that’s not proper English, by the way, but proper English can be so tedious.) Aren’t these kitties the cutest things ever? That fabric is by Cotton Kobayashi. The black lining fabric is Ink and Arrow’s pixie dots.

Step Two Quilt as desired.

 

Step Three Add a binding to the top.

Step Four Add your zipper. Yeah, I could use some practice on that part.

Step Five Sew around the sides and bottom. Ta da. I like to add a little ribbon tab too. Makes it easy to grab and go. And it’s cute.

Those instructions aren’t exactly detailed, but let’s face it…there are loads of zipper pouch tutorials out there and I’m not in the mood to reinvent the wheel tonight. Sorry gang.

I also made a pillow…

And made great strides in quilting Found Treasure. But I’ll tell you all about those things next time. Have a lovely week!

Sliding into 2018 Like…Woah!

I love the week between Christmas and New Year. I enjoy reflecting on the past year and setting goals for the coming one. What’s amazing is that I’m not super depressed by all the goals I didn’t accomplish this year. The list is long, but staring at the face of a fresh, new beginning, I can’t help but be optimistic. Take a look back with me…

I was planning to go from size XL to size M by year’s end. That didn’t happen. In fact, I’m on the verge of XXL at the moment, but that’s okay. I’ll add it to my list for 2018.

I put 24 books on my 2017 reading list and read only 6 of them. That didn’t go as planned. Too ambitious. If I keep it at 12, I feel confident I’ll get it done this time. Probably. Maybe.

Happily, I did pretty well on my sewing list. I got my studio set up at my new house, which was a major accomplishment. I machine-quilted Positively Scrappy. And – just today in fact – finished my Girlie Mod quilt top. I also made significant progress on Chaos Theory, despite f-ing up several sections as I discussed here. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but… oh hell… that’s NOT a lot. It is, however, something, and that’s better than nothing.

SO…Merry Christmas, y’all. I hope you have an amazing holiday season and an even better New Year. I’m about to write down my 2018 New Year’s resolutions. They will probably be over-ambitious like always, but who knows. This could be the year I discover the secret of life, accomplish all my goals and become fabulously rich and famous. My last fortune cookie certainly gave me hope.

Until then, here’s my latest finish…Girlie Mod, part 1 of my 3-quilt Mod Squad series. I will be posting the pattern next month. In fact, it’s the first item on my 2018 resolutions list. 🙂

 

 

This finished at 60 inches square, making it a nice lap quilt. Another resolution that’s going on my list… learn to take better pictures. 🙂 Aloha, y’all.

The Mod Squad

I began work recently on a new, original pattern series called the Mod Squad. There will be three variations:

  1. Girlie Mod
  2. Mod and Manly
  3. Mod One, Mod All

Here – obviously – is the beginnings of Girlie Mod. This adorable fabric – Chérie by designer Masha D’yans for Clothworks – is just about as girlie as it gets. It’s been sitting in my stash for several years. I picked it up in Wasilla, Alaska, around about 2011 but haven’t used it until now because with it’s large-scale design it doesn’t work for typical, traditional quilt blocks. With such a large center block, Girlie Mod needed something big and bold. Win-win all around.

These pictures don’t do it justice but I’ll get better ones next week when I finish. In the meantime, let me just say, I am absolutely loving this pattern. I’ve been sewing 2½” squares for nearly two years, so it was a delight to work with bigger pieces. I would have finished the entire top in a day, except I’m waiting for my new Accuquilt 4½” half-square triangle die to arrive. I did NOT want to cut those by hand.

Speaking of Accuquilt, except for five large-ish pieces, this pattern can be cut entirely by that method, which makes me so happy. I despise cutting fabric with a rotary cutter.

I can’t wait to show you the finished top, AND start the quilting, AND share the pattern. 🙂 

Aloha y’all 

It’s Binding Time

Today, I machine-stitched the binding to the front of my Positively Scrappy quilt. All that remains is a few evenings of Netflix binging while hand-sewing it to the back and the quilt will be cuddle ready.

I love this quilt for many reasons, even though it’s probably not the most beautiful one in the world. 

  1. It’s a visual representation of my sewing history. It contains literally hundreds of memories. I used scraps from just about every cotton item I’ve sewn over the past 35 years, so it is to me what a photo album would be to a normal person. 🙂
  2. This was my first large-scale project using the Brother Muvit digital dual feed foot and I am so thrilled with how it performed. I almost regret buying the Dream Fabric Frame because I enjoy straight-line quilting so much more than free motion now that I discovered the dual feed foot. However, I’m sure there  will come a time I yearn for free motion quilting again and the Dream Fabric Frame will be there for me.
  3. Speaking of the quilting, I did a 2-inch grid pattern over the entire quilt. I considered quilting in the ditch but decided I wanted to be able to see the lines so I sewed about an eighth of an inch from every seam. It turned out great. The gray thread was a spool of Simplicity Pro 50 wt that came with the machine. No complaints there.

I like to review one or more binding tutorials before I start binding a new quilt and there are SO many to chose from. Here are a few that I like:

Well, here it is…Sunday evening again. I’m off to bed and tomorrow I’ll be back at my day job for a few days, so Aloha for now, Y’all. Thanks for stopping by. 

To Baste or Not to Baste…

Can I hire someone to baste my quilts? Is that a thing? I want to do the quilting myself, but I do NOT love putting together that quilt sandwich.

Today was the day to begin quilting Positively Scrappy, so I eagerly spread out my backing, batting and quilt top on my sitting room floor. I gingerly lowered myself to the ground and began the tedious task of pinning it all together. It hurt. A lot. After all, I am on the dark side of 50, my knees are shot, my back aches and I’m fat. After a half hour I felt like I’d been doing intense yoga for several days.

I got about halfway done and said, “forget this crap,” except maybe with a little saltier language. I remembered that I had a can of spray baste in my sewing room. Praise the Lord!

I sprayed the remainder of my sandwich. What a hot mess! There is still fuzz on my fingertips from that little adventure. At one point I thought about taking it all over to the local long-arm quilter, but my daddy always said I was tenacious. He actually used the word stubborn, but I knew what he meant.

Here’s what I learned from this morning’s endeavors:

  1. I’m too old to crawl around on the floor like a baby. I need a couple more folding tables for laying out quilts.
  2. Pinning is painful and I have the bloody finger to prove it. If I try it again I’m definitely buying some quilt basting pins.
  3. Spray basting is sticky, messing and frustrating but it doesn’t draw blood, so there’s that.

How do you baste your quilts? Or do you hire a professional sandwich maker? Also, can you send me his number?

One Bite at a Time…

The Chaos Continues

I’m beginning to feel like this project will never end, so I have to remind myself of the question, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer, of course, is, “One bite at a time.”

Today I finished Section 12. I did Section 13 some months back, so I now have three left, notwithstanding the three or four I must redo as mentioned in my last post because of inaccurate seam allowances. I’m not counting those today, however, because… well, because I don’t want to. It depresses me.

Despite setbacks, I am quite pleased with how it’s turning out. I can’t wait to finish it and get the pattern ready for release, which I plan to do by the end of 2017. Lord willing and the creek don’t rise. 🙂

 

Did You Know?

Did you know the word quilt comes from the Latin culcita, meaning stuffed sack? Well, now you know. You’re welcome. 😉 I’ve been reading a lot about the history of quilting lately. Fascinating stuff.

One aspect of our craft I really relate to as far as history is concerned is the necessity of it…the need to stay warm, the need to re-use old fabrics, maybe also the need to create some beauty even while you’re making something so necessary for survival. I guess that’s why I’m so drawn to the scrap quilt.

In my last post, I talked about thrifty quilting. This quilt top I made in 2016 came entirely from my scrap bucket. Even though it has 1,440 squares @ 2 1/2″ each, it barely made a dent in my bucket. I call it Positively Scrappy. Get it? Haha. If you are a seamstress of a certain age, like me, you might recognize some of those fabrics from the 80s and 90s.

It’s the kind of quilt I will probably use at the beach or for picnics. One I’m not afraid to get dirty, you know. It was a ton of fun to construct and it made me feel somehow connected to all those pioneer women who quilted because they had to, but maybe also because they enjoyed it.

Winning Color Combinations – Red and Brown

Quilting inspiration comes from many places: a photograph, a shape, a memory even. For me, it almost always begins with color. One of the reasons I love fabric so much is all the scrumptious eye candy. It’s like a painting you can cuddle.

In this series, we’re going to discuss awesome color combinations, and we’re going to begin with one of my all-time favorites: red and brown.

All the Feels…Color always sparks some emotion. Blue is calming, yellow, uplifting. Red on it’s own can be angry or passionate, but pair it with brown and it becomes cozy, warm, (sometimes) rustic. And who doesn’t love being warm and cozy? That’s why it’s the perfect combination for a quilt.

Here’s what I’m currently doing with red and brown.

This is basically a fence-rail block with a pinwheel in the middle. It’s a UFO from several years back. Maybe, probably, hopefully — no, dammit — I WILL finish it one day. I think this would have been just fine without the orange, but I ran out of my reds and browns so being the innovator that I am… haha.

How do you feel about red and brown? Have you ever used it in a quilt? I’d love to see it.

Thanks, y’all, for stopping by.