Sweet Land of Liberty

SweetLandLiberty_frontSweet Land of Liberty
Quilt #182
28″ squareSweetLandLiberty_upper border

I started this in January, prepping up the stars and beginning the hand-blanket-stitching a couple of days after my rotator cuff surgery.  This was a bright spot during that time, keeping me focused as I moved forward through different steps of what I was calling my “Liberty USA” quilt.SweetLandLiberty_stars

My friend Susan of Patchwork N Play, in Australia, is always hand-quilting her quilts, and I wanted to try that, too.

SweetLandLiberty_star

So I rustled up some patriotic colors of perle cotton from my Oh Christmas Tree quilt, and went to town…well, riding on a pony and all that, because it took some time to do this.

SweetLandLiberty_detail

I cut some fabric for the rod pocket this week and on the selvage, I saw this.  Perfect for my title, I thought!SweetLandLiberty_back

It’s up there, stitched onto the rod pocket in the upper right corner.

SweetLandLiberty_label

I listened to Hamilton, the novel, last year and one take-away for me was how imperfect our early Founding Fathers were, but what a magnificent thing they created as they pulled together and figured out our country and its laws.  They had patriotism in its purest form: e pluribus unum, out of many, one (our country’s motto).  I try to keep that ideal in my head every year as I celebrate our Independence Day.

And yes!  I finished the quilt by my self-imposed deadline of July 4th, so that’s great news.

RainbowGardensLiberty

(You’ve seen this photo before…)

This makes three red, white and blue quilts for me.

AQuiltingLife_RWBI’m way behind my friend Sherri, of A Quilting Life, who has over a dozen in this collection. Head over to her blog to get a tour.  I’ve got to get busy to catch up with her!

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Rainbow Gardens, redux

RainbowGardens2017_front

Rainbow Gardens (the original) was made for a swap back in 2015, and I always wished I’d kept it for myself.  So this week I did the next, best thing: I made a new one.

RainbowGardens2017_upper corner

I had all but one of the fabrics for this 18″ mini quilt still in my stash, as I pretty much hoard my Kaffe Fasset fabrics.  I tried to quilt it the same, too, using my favorite Magnifico Thread from Superior Threads. But the backing is different, as is the label:

RainbowGardens2017_backRainbowGardens2017_labelRainbowGardens17_corner

The backing is “pindar paisley” from Alexander Henry, from 2012.  The front of the quilt is all Kaffe Fasset fabrics, some new, some older.

RainbowGardens2017_angle

I also updated the pattern, trimming out this and that, and editing it more tightly, and it is up on Craftsy for sale, if you want to replicate this.  And even though it feels strange to say this, I’m going backwards and keeping  the number from the original make: this is quilt #148 of mine.RainbowGardensLiberty

I so rarely duplicate my quilts, that this feels a little odd.  I have plans to remake one more, but that will come later this summer.  After sending off these two quilts to their owners, I wised up and began duplicating everything I swapped from then on.  I rather like my quilts, I guess.  Have you ever swapped a quilt, and then wished you had it back?

I also finished another quilt this week.  Stay tuned.

Single Binding on a Mini Quilt

Mini Quilt Binding TutorialWe all put double layers of fabric bindings on our larger quilts, but have you thought about using a single binding on a smaller quilt?  It’s quicker, flatter, and really–are you going to wear out those edges any time soon?  And if you do, won’t you just repair them?  That idea came from Gwen Marston, in one of her last workshops.  That idea — that a quilter would just repair them if they became worn — is why she uses single bindings on all her quilts.Mini Quilt Binding_1Start by squaring up your mini-quilt.  Yes, that is a gigantor square ruler, and I use it a lot, actually.Mini Quilt Binding_2Prepare your hanging corners, by cutting a larger square (for a 24″ quilt, I use a 5 1/2″ square), folding in half, diagonally, and pinning it in the upper corners of your mini, against the back, matching raw edges to the edge of your quilt.

Mini Quilt Binding_115a(Here’s what it looks like on another quilt, as my corners just disappeared on this one.)

Mini Quilt Binding_3Cut strips of fabric (lengthwise, if you can) about 1 1/2″ wide and the size of two sides.  Pin, then stitch on, using a 1/4-inch seam.

Mini Quilt Binding_6Repeat for upper and lower edges.  Pin and stitch, but watch out that you don’t veer off on those corners (I pin them).Mini Quilt Binding_5Mini Quilt Binding_7Square up the corner, and cut off the excess, both underneath (above) and on the outer edge (below).
Mini Quilt Binding_8While this looks angular, it isn’t.  Mini Quilt Binding_9Press binding out away from quilt.  Mini Quilt Binding_10Fold up lower edge, so the raw edge of the binding meets the raw edges of the quilt.Mini Quilt Binding_11Fold it up again, covering the raw edges of the quilt. Pin in place, and then repeat with the sides:Mini Quilt Binding_12Mini Quilt Binding_13Hand stitch all the way around, or if you are a confident quilter, you can use a glue stick to affix the binding edges down, then machine stitch.  I personally don’t like the machine stitching, as I think it makes the edges too rigid, but “To each his own,” said the Old Lady as she kissed the cow.  (My Dad used to say that all the time.)Mini Quilt Binding_14Here’s the corner already on, but it’s hard to see.  I cut a dowel the width of the quilt, minus 2″ and slip it into place. Then I hang my minis, balancing it on a push pin.Mini Quilt Binding_15Mini Quilt Binding_aThanks to all who came to the Trunk Show and to all who sent their best wishes.  It was a lovely evening!  If your guild would like to see my Abecedary of Quilts Trunk Show, just drop me a note.

Early-May Accomplishments

Gidsters May Bee

I finished my Gridsters Bee block for Rachel.  She asked for buzzy bees, as she is a beekeeper in the Midwest.  Her tutorial is *here,*  as well as links to her pattern, but I didn’t cut apart the pieces.  I just straight paper-pieced the thing, then joined the head section to the body section.  We blew up the basis 6″ pattern to make 10″ finished bees.  I can’t wait to see what she does with them all.

Chuck Nohara May17_1This is beginning to feel like the never-ending quilt.

I’m making small (2-1/4″ finished) plus sign blocks to go in between all the Chuck Nohara blocks that Susan and I made together last year.  Our blocks are 6″ finished, so after I worked out the measurements, I drafted a pattern for the sashing.  Here is the PDF: Chuck Nohara SashingFinal

I started the plus blocks by cutting strip sets (2 low-volume and 1 bold), then seaming the two low-volume onto the bold on either side. Cut those across the strip set into 1-1/4″ wide strip pieces.  These pieces are both the a) top and bottom of your plus block, and b) the center of the “dot” block, shown in the intersection of the sashing, above

ChuckNohara_plus assemblyI then cut matching pieces of fabric into 1 -1/4″ x 2-3/4″ bits.  I sewed a matched set of two strip-set-blocks, one on top, and one of the bottom to make a “plus.”  Then I sewed 1 -1/4″ x 2-3/4″ pieces of low-volume on either side of a “dot” to create the mini block that is at the intersection.

Then the low-volume center piece, in between the two plus blocks, measures finished  at 2-1/4″ by 1-1/2″ (so cut 2-3/4″ by 1-3/4″).

ChuckNohara_plus blockThe “plus” and “dot” units finish at 2-1/4″ square, so trim them to 2-3/4″ square (size before sewing).

Sew two “plus” units on either side of the low-volume center piece.  Arrange them all around, then sew the row with the blocks and plus-units first:

ChuckNohara blocks row

Then I sewed the “dots” and plus-units together:

ChuckNohara blocks row2

And then I finished sewing them all together:

I’m now trying to figure out the borders.  After all the piecing I did for the sashing, I can guarantee you it won’t be like the borders Chuck Nohara showed in her book:

I’ve finally progressed to the place in my physiotherapy (I like the way the Australians say it, as we just call it “PT”) where I could try out my Sweet Sixteen quilting machine again.  After 3-1/2 months.  It took me a while to get the thread tensions balanced, but then was I able to get going on my quilt from the Traveling Threads Bee, made of Alison Glass fabrics (with a few others).

Bliss.  This block, from Toni of HoosierToni, is coming along nicely.  I’m limiting myself to 30 minutes/session so I don’t break my surgery (my one big fear in life).

Lastly, you are all invited to our Raincross Guild Meeting this coming Tuesday, May 16th (6 p.m.), where I’ll present a trunk show of my quilts–well, only 25 of them.  My husband helped me get them from our closets, walls and cupboards, so I can decide the order and what to say.  I just clicked over to the Guild’s website, and in true humbling fashion, I’m not even listed.  But Latifah Saafir is, on the day I’m supposed to teach a class for the Guild, too.  What will I be teaching?

My Home, Sweet, Home mini quilt.  I think they have a few openings, but I’m not sure.  I’ll be emailing the class members prep instructions, that if they complete them, they will finish their quilts in class.  That’s June 3rd, from 9 a.m. -2 p.m., with a 30-min lunch break (bring your lunch).

Last time I taught this class, I was able to snap a photo of three Home Sweet Home quilts. They look awesome!  Patterns are for sale in my Craftsy shop, just in case you aren’t able to attend that day.

Happy Quilting!

Belle Etoile du Jour

BelleEtoileduJour_4gardenBelle Etoile du Jour
Quilt #181 of 200 quilts, 88″ square
Began December 2016 • Finished May 2017
BelleEtoileduJour_1unquilted

A couple of weeks ago, I had my son and grandson hold up the unquilted top of this creation, and I include it here so you can see the quilt top.  I was late starting this quilt, as everyone else in the world began making it in November when Bonnie Hunter announced her En Provence Mystery Quilt for 2016, based on colors she’d seen in her trip to France.  BelleEtoileduJour_5BelleEtoileduJour_1front

I decided that if I made the various units, as described in the mystery, then stowed them away, I might be able to get back to the quilting even when I was convalescing from the planned rotator cuff surgery.  I was able to finish all but two steps.  When it was time for me to do those, I figured out how to sew one-handed, and my saintly friend Lisa trimmed up 60 blocks for me. BelleEtoileduJour_3back

I did my best to get it up on my garage-door-photo-studio today, but I had a wrinkle in the quilt that I just couldn’t manage to ease out, so I have to resort to other photos to show it off.  I like looking from the back of the quilt outward, like it’s stained glass.  I had purchased about 5 yards of backing fabric, unable to remember how big the quilt top was.  I needed more, so spliced in a yellow coordinating print, then took it all over to my Cathy, my quilter.BelleEtoileduJour_6BelleEtoileduJour_7

She was a good sport and let me choose a new pantograph for her collection, which I think really works well with the quilt.  The original quilt called for purple fabrics in those 18″ blocks, but I went instead with periwinkle, a favorite color of mine.BelleEtoileduJour_8label

The title comes from an old poem, where the poet calls flowers “Day Stars.”  I had Google translate “beautiful day stars” into French, then ran it by my French-speaking husband who said it was fine. (I didn’t want to be swearing in French, or something.)  I don’t really believe there is a top or bottom to this quilt, so I sewed the label on an angle, just for fun.BelleEtoileduJour_2And again, if you haven’t started your listing of your quilts, start now!