Wonky Hearts Aflutter

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How do I make nearly 60 wonky, improv-y hearts and not go crazy? Now there’s a challenge.

Wonky Heart Illustration

I started here, with a rough pattern of how big I wanted my “improv” wonky heart to be. The free PDF file is available for download.  It finishes roughly at 5 1/2″ wide by 7 1/2″ tall.

Click here: Unfussy Wonky Heart

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I started with the heart pieces. I layered up seven pieces of different pink and red fabrics, pinned on the heart pieces and placing my ruler along their outer edge, I cut around them with a rotary cutter: it wouldn’t really matter if I was hyper-accurate…close enough would do.  I repeated this nine times.

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Then I did the same thing with the background pieces, but was careful with my directional fabrics: I kept the pieces oriented as they would sew into the heart block.

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Everything’s stacked up.

Word Quilt in Process

These photos were taken over two weeks’ time, as I tried to fit all the words together. Words were made in The Spelling Bee, from 2016.

I shuffled the fabrics so no two fabrics would be together, and made a sample heart (at the top of the post). I pinned it next to the quilt of words I’d been working on, closed up the machine, turned off the iron, and enjoyed the sunset:

Sunset July 2019

Word Quilt Mock-up

When I woke up in the morning, I decided to try a digital mock-up of the quilt with the hearts as a border, as I wondered if the hearts were too big.  I sent the photo to my two of my quilting buddies and they gave me two thumbs’ up.  I’ll probably try to sneak in a narrow red/pink border between the quilt center and the outer border of hearts.

 

I’ve become braver about being wonky and improv-like, skewing seams, overlapping, cutting off points, generally going at it easy, instead of pristine.

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I have a few more hearts, now, and while the widths vary from 5 1/4″ to 5 1/2″ (I just trim them where it feels right), I’m forcing them to 7 1/2″ tall (that’s before seaming).  Because I am tired of cutting off the points, I’ll now be cutting about 1/2″ off the bottom heart section before I seam it to the top part.

This is one of two long-term UFOs that haunt me in my dreams.  The other one is Small World, which I keep in parts in a basket in my shelves.  I do have hopes on finishing that one, too.  I signed up for a Jen Kingwell class at Road to California in January; I suppose one goal would be to have it finished so she could sign it?  Right.

July Gridsters Block 2019

In other sewing news, I finished July’s Gridster Bee blocks for my beemate Linda and sent them off.

 

And I’m trying this new type of tomato, developed for scorching temperatures.  This year we were almost chilly and foggy until June, then the temps shot up high.  I haven’t had good luck with my garden in three years, after a stunning first year of beginner’s luck.  But hope is a thing with feathers, said Emily Dickensen, or my case, tomatoes.

 

I’ve also started quilting City Streets, a quilt of my own design.

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I’d picked up this Magnifico-cousin (same type of thread) when I visited Superior Threads last time.  It’s color 101, and it looks like a gold thread, but isn’t a metallic thread:

Quilting City Streets_4

I hope I don’t run out before I finish this quilt.

Random Quilter

Finally, in my discussion about how the internet irritated me, I read a ton of blogs, some of which I can’t quite remember.  But I did take a screen shot of this gem, a featured quilter on a truly dedicated quilter’s blog. (Given what he says about his favorite fabric color, I don’t think he would like my gold thread.)  However, I leave you with the hope that you, too, have started quilting several times, as well as the ability to make the quilts in your head.

 

 

Delectable Baskets: Quilt Finish

Food Basket Quilt_1

Delectable Baskets • Quilt #220
Approximately 70″ wide by 90″ high

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Delectable Baskets gets its name because each basket is filled with food — well — food fabrics. I’d been collecting for over twenty years, so I had a few to choose from.  In February 2018 I was Queen Bee for the Gridsters, and put up a post about making basket blocks, deciding that I wanted to use my collection of fabrics with food motifs.  I sent each of my beemates a couple of squares. (There is a free basket tutorial on that post, if you are interested in making some baskets.)

Baskets of Food quilt top

Not only did my Gridster Beemates send me blocks, but a few other long-time friends sent them also; I had so many blocks that my quilt grew and grew, and then it was overflowing, a lovely dilemma to have.  So I pruned it a bit, as I was aiming for twin-size, and still have enough baskets for an upcoming wall-hanging.

Cathy of CJ Designs did an expanded Baptist Fan on it, leaving it nice and soft, which is a good thing, as I intend it for use in the guest bedroom, which is currently the quilting-and-thread-storage bedroom.  I promise that maybe I can share.

Food Basket Quilt_4

The back, using some Phillip Jacobs (on the right) and some Marimekko (from Crate and Barrel’s outlet sale some years ago).  The signature blocks (the white Xs) are pieced into the Phillip Jacobs, or at least I think that’s who designed that fabric.  At any rate, the print is a lovely-as-can-be radishes.Food Basket Quilt_5

Thank you to everyone who sent me blocks.  Delectable Baskets has been on my radar for  a couple of decades or more, beginning with visits to Fabric Patch quilt shop, the vendor mall in the early years of Road to California, a couple of Southern California Shop Hops, and an occasional trip to Utah.  There were no mail-order shops then, as there was no internet then.  We bought fabric from JoAnns which it wasn’t then (maybe Cloth World?).  I accrued fabrics a yard at a time, a piece at a time, a slow compilation.

This quilt was finished in an era where everything is on hyperdrive.  The internet runs, assists and invades our lives, helping and hindering us in our quilting.  Sometimes we are in a quilt bubble, making the same quilt (see my Flag Quilt from last post), using the same colors, same fabric lines.  Other times it brings us news of friends in Australia, in Japan, Canada, Germany and certainly from around the United States, and allows us to meet and be friends with people all over the world.

Our gathering of Gridsters would not be possible without the internet, and all members, past or present, contribute to my life is a positive and beneficial way.

I am happy to know you all, Gridster Bee member or not.  Thank you for enriching my life, making it a veritable feast.  I dedicate Delectable Baskets to you.

Betsy’s Creation: Flag Quilt Top

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Betsy’s Creation • Flag Quilt Top Finished!

Last week in another post, I threw together a fun little worksheet about how to make a flag quilt, then got busy and not only made this quilt top, but also a wallhanging:

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In case you didn’t see that free worksheet…

BetsysCreation_Illustration

…click here to download a PDF version of this: Betsy’s Creation_OPQuilt

It’s a just a worksheet and assumes you know how to put together a quilt.  Why did I have enough for a quilt and a wallhanging?  Seems I had a bit of a miscount, excited as I was to be cutting into all my reds, and whites and blues. I overshot my mark of 15 sets.

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I put each strip set on my design wall, then added a blue rectangle to coordinate.

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Progress!

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I mixed them around until I found an arrangement I liked, putting four to the side for the wallhanging, then sashed and bordered them with the light blue.  I used Painter’s Palette Solids in Aruba (121-100), available from Pineapple Fabrics, if your local shop doesn’t carry it.

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Then I went outside and fought the breezes to get these few shots.

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I did all the cutting, the sewing and fighting-the-breezes-for-a-picture in three days.  I tell you that so you know it’s a quick quilt to make.  I’ll hang the smaller version in our front hallway in July, but the larger one will be quilted and tucked into the car for fun picnic blanket getaway events.

 

Happy Red, White and Blue Sewing!

Flag waving

tiny-nine-patches

Other Red, White and Blue projects I have made:

RedWhiteBlueStar_kitchen table

Red, White and Blue Star

SweetLandLiberty_front

Sweet Land of Liberty

Red White Blue Quilt

Red, White and Blue Quilt (friends blocks)

AmericaIsATune_front

America Is A Tune (it must be sung together)

Fourth July Tiny Quilt

Happy Fourth of July (Tiny Quilt)

 

 

 

 

Bee Happy QAL Progress • June 2019

BeeHappy_June_1The wheeled devices in the So Very Cute Project I  lost my mind and decided to do are completed.  It’s nice to see it before it goes to a Time Out in my closet, so I can get some Real Quilting Work done.

But before I tell you about the basket of flowers in the back of the truck, you need this chart from Whip Stitch:

WhipStitch Bias Tape Cutting Guide

Head to her website to read all about it, or download it here.  Trust me, you’ll want this, as the weensy little instructions with the Clover bias tape makers will drive you batty.

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This is Lori Holt’s logo for this delightful project.  Notice the dog in the back of the truck.

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Notice how the people who live in my quilt realized that they needed the space in the back of the truck for hauling baskets of flowers.

Make 1/2″ mini-hexies for the flowers, fussy-cutting a couple. Cover some triangles, sized in relation to the flowers, then give each a pleat in the lower edge before sewing them on.  I used three “leaves” and five flowers.  I used the lower edge of piece D8 as a pattern for the basket, then turned it upside-down to get the wider edge at the top.

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It is really dense in that section, with the layering of fabric.  I’m one who cuts away from the back whatever I can to lighten it up for quilting:

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one more wheel to cut out

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Here’s the Guidesheet for this week: Bee Happy Sew Along Week 4
See you later, Bee Happy-Sew-Along-gator!

LadybirdQuilt_June13

I’m still working on this quilt, which I call Ladybird, because it reminds me of a ladybird beetle (sometimes called a Ladybug).

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I finished the first book (long, but good) and am now onto another:

SAVE ME THE PLUMS -- cover

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And this happened. Yes, no more PT. Now I’m getting ready for my project for tomorrow, Flag Day, the day when we find our rolled up flags in the front hall closet, and hang them out front, a prelude to the month of July, when it’s all red-white-blue all the time.

Betsys Creation Wallhanging

Okay, my wannabe flag quilt morphed into this flag-like wall hanging.  I say flag-like, because I read one Instagrammer say that she had to make another less flag-looking quilt because her family didn’t want to lay hers on the ground for picnics.

Flag wall hanging

Another version

I opened up my QuiltPro program, guessed out the proportions and figured it out.  There is no pattern in my worksheet, because I do assume that you’ll figure out how to make this, if you really want to.  Again, if either of my arrangements bother you, make one that you like.  I was inspired by a lot of what I saw on this post from Quilt Inspiration, where you can find lots of free flag and flag-like quilts for your patriotric needs.

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Here’s my worksheet, with all the dimensions, in a downloadable PDF file:
Betsy’s Creation_OPQuilt I named it after the original creator of the flag: Betsy Ross.

Happy Flag Day!!

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Scrappy Radiant Star

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Mary, of NeedledMom, chose this block for her June turn as Queen Bee of the Gridsters.  Originally found on Wombat Quilts website as a free illustration, I redrew the block to Mary’s specified 6-inch (finished) size.  Four of these blocks are put together to make Mary’s larger 12-inch block.

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Scrappy Radiant Star Illustration

Click on the download PDF file here:

Scrappy Radiant Star

You’ll need four copies to make one 12-inch block, as shown below:

scrappy radiant star_4

sketch I made to keep the colors organized

Notice there are FIVE colors per Mary’s larger block.  Four corners have the same color, which when sewn together make that center star.  But in looking at the way she designed it, the colors are to be distributed throughout the quilt.  You can see her initial thinking about this version on this blog post (where you’ll also get a glimpse into her gardens and cooking.  I love reading her blog).

Peek Marys Chart

Just a peek–download below.

Mary gave me permission to post the chart she drew up to keep her ideas straight.  You can download this as a PDF:Mary’s Chart_ June Gridster Bee

You can see that she’s diagrammed the main stars (in the center), and the secondary stars in the corners.  We Gridsters each chose two blocks, identifying our choices using her coding on the sides and are now sending them to her.

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To further my tributes to Mary today, I’m making her bread recipe to go with my version of Italian Wedding Soup.

Have fun making these blocks!

Bluebird of Quiltiness

Bluebird Tiny Quilt_1

Another Tiny Quilt was hatched today, and its this Bluebird of Quiltiness.  Based on a 1-1/2″ block size, I figured it out and made it up, finishing it with the perfect faceted black bead for the eye.  There are multiple patterns out there for pieced birds, and while I changed this one up enough that I consider it my pattern and no one else’s, I’m not putting a PDF out there.  Just in case.

Bluebird on Nest

However, this one is different enough that I’m posting up a PDF of the pattern pieces, in case you want to make a bird on a nest for your next Tiny Quilt.  Grab the PDF file here: Nested Bird pattern and have fun making another little Tiny Quilt.  (I have a listing of all the Tiny Quilts on this blog, in case you’re interested.)

After you create the bird (with, or without nest), then you sew on borders until it’s large enough.  See the first Tiny Quilt for more instructions.

 

Wanting to finish this today made me leave the house, avoid the parking lot also known as our Memorial Day freeway gridlock, just to get over to WalMart to buy a landscape-oriented frame. It’s those cheesy plastic frames, nothing fancy.   To modify this one, I laid the frame down on my quilt, traced around it, and used those lines to create the backing and put the binding on.

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I also finished this bird-themed stitchery, purchase eons ago at Primitive Gatherings.  I took it with me to Berlin, but finished it up here.  Now to find a frame for this.

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The other day I pin-basted three wall-sized quilts, and started stitching on the first one:Quilting with no direction

Right.  I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m having fun.  I think am hoping it will make more sense when I get the whole thing done.  Stay tuned; it will be long while, as I still limit my daily quilting minutes.

Bindings Needed_1

And the three quilts came back from Cathy of CJ Designs, my quilter.  One is in Active Binding Mode downstairs by the TV, and two (above) are waiting for binding.  The whirly-gig backed quilt is also waiting for more quilting along the borders.  The fun thing was that I’ve had a number quilts done by her, and so I hit the magic number and the last one was done for free.  It’s her way of saying thank you to her customers.  (Thank you, Cathy!)

Mom and her quilt

But I’m leaving all this behind this next week, as I head up to my Mother’s to help celebrate her 91st birthday.  (I do like to remind her that if you turn the numbers upside down, she’s a girl of 16.)  She’s shown above with about the only quilt I can remember her making: a cross-stitched top which was sent out to be hand-quilted.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Mom on young birthday SM

Mom, around age 12, holding her birthday cake