Let’s Get Crackin’: Finish This! • June 2017

Okay, so I used up my old list with crossing stuff off and writing stuff on.  It’s a bit dispiriting to see some quilts that never seem to launch, but I’ll give it a go.  Again.

I had fun at this web site, making these titles in a “text generator.”  Scroll down to where you type in your text (on the left), choose the kind of font you want (scroll up on the right to see the categories), add color, effects and then generate it.  As a Mac owner, I hold down the Shift+Command+4 and it turns the cursor into a crosshairs pointer so I can capture images.  I wadded them all up into one document and printed it off.  I hope soon to get to crossing off things.

I finished Mary’s star block for June’s Gridster Bee blocks. She blogs at NeedledMom and always has a lot of fun gardening things to see, besides all her stellar quilting.   The free download for her choice can be found here.  And here is our signature blocks, which we send to each other:

I use a cardboard template behind my block to help me remember what to sign (and I also back the signing place with a piece of ironed-on freezer paper and use a .08 Micron pen).  Seems to work okay.

City Summer_NinaMata

City Summer, by Nina Mata

Hope you get your summer launched off to a great start!

One Life • Many Lives

ESE twoyrold

This has to do with quilting, but it doesn’t start out that way.  It starts out this way, with a two-year old girl posed on her family’s front lawn.

Then all of a sudden, I was a young mother, then a mother of three-soon-to-be-four children, then a grandmother.  When I was that young mother, I took a class on how to make a quilt.  I was a Clothing and Textile major in college, so I knew how to sew, but I thought there was something extra you had to know to make a quilt.  And with one young child at home, I had absolutely no extra time (or so I thought then) but figured I could squeeze it in somewhere.  Between then and when the fourth child was born, I made about eight quilts: each child had a baby quilt, I had a quilt for the bed, and I’d even made a baby quilt for my sister and one I sold in a consignment shop.

Mothering was that life.  That was what I chose and on balance, the kids seem to have turned out all right. But somewhere in that life as mother, I also chose a life as a Mary Kay Lady and a seamstress– I was always sewing, making all the outfits the children and I wore.  And somewhere after I finished my undergraduate education (I was on the 28-year plan), the number of quilts I made took off like a rocket, blogging happened, rotary cutting happened; things just changed.  Again.

I’ve been thinking about this because of two experiences:

ESE at Trunk Show

The first was the presenting of my quilts at a trunk show at my local guild.  I reviewed all my quilts, and each represented some life I lived at the time of the making of that quilt, from the simplest beginning quilt (a small whole cloth quilt with the knots on top) to the recent finish of The Circles Quilt, with all the blocks I designed.  It was a satisfying evening and I was happy to share some of my life’s work.

The second was when I flew home last week after visiting my mother for her birthday, and I stitched improv appliqué blocks while on the plane.  The young man next to me was reading DeLillo’s White Noise, a book I had read in grad school.  The title fit the book perfectly, and that was about the only comment I could make when he and I visited.  I realized he saw this grandma-person stitching away and that was the only life of mine he could see.  But, I wanted to say, I’ve had so many other lives!

So if all my lives were strung together as pearls on a necklace, what might I see?  Would I see only the failures, the quilts I gave away, the moment I lost it and yelled at a child?  Would I see the classes I had to drop, the cosmetic saleslady I could never be?  Or would I focus more on the pearls burnished from the striving and from the use: a creative life, a life with laughter, traveling and family. A life with happiness, because in addition to all that, I get to walk into my sewing room every day, thread a needle and get to making.

tiny nine patches

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!