Practice Makes Perfect • Frivols #6

Frivols6_PracticeMakesPerfect4

Practice Makes Perfect
Quilt #204  • June 2018
26″ by 31.5″

Frivols_all_6Xs

The requisite shot of the X-ed out Frivols tins show that I’m now halfway done with my goal.  I try not to set goals, as they just give me angst, but there’s just this lingering expectation: finish all the Frivols.

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I call this Practice Makes Perfect, as I’ve been thinking about the nature of work, and how much of it is repetitive, boring even, but repetition appears to be a necessary step on the way to mastery.  I think I can handle churn dashes, but it was learning the finer points of free-motion quilting loops that needed my attention.  Frivols6_PracticeMakesPerfect3

The freebie for tin #6 was this strawberry label with barely any room for a person with two long names.  It would have been better if my name were Dot Smith or something.Frivols6_PracticeMakesPerfect1Mothers Luncheon

I had started on this quilt at the end of May, after a long month of travel and serving and caring for people in my life, culminating with an intimate luncheon celebrating my mother’s 90th birthday in Ogden, Utah.  We rented a small conference room at a local hotel, and had the hotel cater the meal.

Mothers Flowers

We’d done this two years earlier for my father’s birthday, and had only my brother and sisters and parents there, with no spouses or great-grandchildren.  We were worried then (I was wondering) if if it would work without the supporting members, but we did fine two years ago, and again this year too.  The feelings expressed to my mother were tender, kind, showing her (and my father’s) careful influence in our lives.  Because of them there are amazing individuals in my family: strong men and women, who are good men and women, too.

Mothers Luncheon BrosSis

Some of you know that I’d been up in Utah earlier that month caring for my sister for a week; it was good to see how much progress she’d made in getting around with her crutches and wheelchair.  From L to R, around the table: Mom, Dad, Susan (child #3), Scott (#6), David (#5), Cynthia (in gold jacket, child #2), Christine (#1), and Andy (#7).  I’m child #4, yes, that infamous “middle child.”

Mothers Olive Oil

I had little bottles of specialty olive oil etched with the saying “Olive you forever” and “Happy 90th Barbara” (my mother’s name).

We drove home and two days later I quilted this, finishing  it the next day.  I was still putting away what I’d gathered on my trip, but needed a break, and Practice Makes Perfect was the tonic for what ailed me.

Frivols6_PracticeMakesPerfectFrontFrivols6_PracticeMakesPerfectBackFrivols6_PracticeMakesPerfect4

John Piper wrote: “Work is a glorious thing. And if you stop and think about it, the most enjoyable kinds of leisure are a kind of work. Both these facts are true because the essence of work, as God designed it before the Fall, was creativity — not aimless, random doing, but creative, productive doing….
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“If you are starting to grow lazy, I summon you back to joy. God made us to work. He formed our minds to think and our hands to make. He gave us strength—little or great—to be about the business of altering the way things are.

“That is what work is: seeing the world, thinking of how it could be better, and doing something—from the writing of a note to the building of a boat; from the sewing of what you wear to the praying of a prayer.
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“Come, leave off sloth and idleness. Become what you were made to be. Work.”

excerpted quote found on @TheSmallSeed

Spring Mini Quilt-on-a-Frame

ACK!!  It was 93 degrees today!!

Mini Quilt Spring 18_4

My snow-covered Orangeman (or Snowman, made of oranges) has his arms thrown up in amazement/horror.  While Rachel and Carol show snow days on their IG feeds, we are already burning up out here.  My newly planted zucchini and spaghetti squash plants are wilting, and it’s only April.

The origin of this mini quilt (tutorial is here) started when I first moved here, and commuted an hour to the Orange County Quilt Guild.  We had a block swap, and the theme was snowman, and since I was a newbie, I think I got all the rejects.  Except this one…which was my own (I made one for myself).  One snowman block was a zig-zagged stitched pair of stacked circles, with two hot-glue-gunned twigs for the arms, and dots of makeup for the coal and eyes.  Yes, I threw that one away.  But in looking for another project in my Orphan Blocks Box, I found this one, and turned it into a Mini-on-a-Frame quilt.

Mini Quilt Spring 18_1

I bordered it with those fabulous swirls, quilted it and trimmed it up).

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I backed it, and slipped it on its stand.  Now I’m up to four of these mini-quilts-on-a-frame.  Given the success of this one, I may turn other orphan blocks into bits of art to be displayed!

tiny nine patches

PS: Swirl fabric is by Valori Wells, “Marks,” design #16354–by Robert Kaufman.  A young mother in church yesterday asked me if I bought fabric for a single project, or if I bought it when I feel like it.  This purchase was obviously the latter.

Home, Sweet, Home Mini-Quilt Class

 

HomeSweetHomeClassRecently I taught a class for my Home, Sweet, Home mini quilt.  I snapped these photos as they were working; they’d all mostly prepped up their pieces before coming, and it made the class go quite smoothly.  I loved all the different ways that people did their blocks (shown here at our Guild Meeting):

HomeSweetHomeClass_1

Here are most of them (some didn’t bring them to Guild):

It wasn’t until posting these up that I found two errors in these quilts.  Isn’t it funny that you don’t see things…until you do?  (Hint: it’s in the bushes.)  I love the rainbow quilt made by my friend Lisa.  I may have to make one for myself.

HomeSweetHome_Melissa

(Breaking News: Melissa finished hers!)

Rose Window • Four-in-Art Quilt

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It’s Four-in-Art Challenge Reveal day today, the penultimate challenge in 2017.  We began this art mini-quilt group in November of 2012, and we are in our fifth year.  Bette, Rachel and I have been with the group since the beginning, with additions and changes here and there.  It’s been wonderful to have this to look forward to four times a year, a chance to stretch and try some new things, all contained in a mini-quilt (we are more flexible with the size now, but originally, it had to be contained in a 12″ square).

Rose Window_front

Rose Window
13 1/2″ wide by 18″ long
Quilt Number 185

Since I chose the challenge of Stained Glass Shadows, obviously I’m in love with the highly saturated blocks of color left on the floors of cathedrals and churches when the sun shines through stained glass windows.  I originally thought I’d try some figurative work, but the colors are what always catch my eye.

So I began with the warm tones, adding the layers of earth-colors as they moved toward the bottom, and celestial-colors as it moved upward.

I also knew that somewhere on this quilt there had to be a Rose Window, that enormous circular window high above entryway doors.

Then it was quilt the background, and I went with the idea of the rose window as the center, with thread-streams of color coming out from there: navy and deep colors from the top and the warmer yellow-orange-red tones as the sun filters downward through the stained glass. My solid fabrics are Paintbrush Studio Solids, and the thread is Magnifico by Superior Threads (with Bottom Line in the bobbin) with some So Fine here and there, as the color dictated.

Details of Rose Window quilting.

Rose Window_back

Back of quilt, with standard label, and added corners for easy hanging.

Rose Window_front

Please visit the others in our Four-in-Art group, and see how they interpreted the Challenge of Stained Glass Shadows:

Betty        Blogpost on Four-in-Art

Camilla         http://faffling.blogspot.co.nz/

Catherine         http://www.knottedcotton.com

Janine         http://www.rainbowhare.com

Nancy         http://www.patchworkbreeze.blogspot.com

Rachel         http://www.rachel-thelifeofriley.blogspot.com

Simone         http://quiltalicious.blogspot.com

All of our blocks are on our blog, Four-in-Art.

Our next challenge is Illumination, and will post on November 1st.

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National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.

Mucha_Prague

Stained glass window from Prague Cathedral, by Edward Mucha

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Rose Window, Italy

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Red, White, and Blue Star

Welcome to Day 4 of the Patriotic Palette Blog Hop, hosted by Paintbrush Studios and Painter’s Palette Solids!

Red, White, and Blue Star • Quilt #183
25″ square, made from Painter’s Palette Solids

A couple of weeks ago, the fine people who make Painter’s Palette Solids sent me some fabric and asked if I would make something. At the end of this post, there is a giveaway so you can win your own stack of red, white and blue fabrics.

I’m part of a series of posts showing items you can make with just three reds, three blues and some white.  Here is the complete list and the days that they are presenting:

6/23: Jayne of TwiggyandOpal (@twiggyandopal)
6/26: Elizabeth of OPQuilt (@occasionalpiecequilt)
6/30: Cindy Wiens of Live a Colorful Life (@liveacolorfullife)
7/3: Stephanie of Peas in a Pod (@stephiepeterson)

The project I chose was a quick and easy mini-quilt, which finishes at 25″ square, and is perfect for a table top when you want to give a little patriotic flare to the kitchen.  I’ve written up a free pattern, available in my Craftsy shop for download (see button to the right), but the instructions are here if you need any tips and help with construction.

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I was sent fat quarters in three shades of red, three shades of blue and a fat quarter of white.  The white needs special cutting: cut the long borders first (see chart on pattern), then the squares for the half-square triangles.  You may have enough the other way, but do it this way to be safe.  I also was tight on the medium blue, as I used it for the binding, too.  You’ll need to provide your own backing (about 3/4 yard, or pieced scraps).

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I basically constructed this as a nine-patch, a favorite thing of mine to do with minis. I started by sewing four bright red triangles on the edges of the blue square, then pressed them all away from the center.  I squared this unit to 7 1/2″.  (This quilt is forgiving if yours is slightly smaller.)  I squared all my nine units to the same 7 1/2″ as then I wouldn’t have to square up (or true up, depending on how you refer to it) the finished quilt top.RedWhiteBlueStar_2a

Next was the construction on this corner, sewing the medium and dark red triangles together to make a square, then sewing on the dark blue triangles to make a larger triangle.

RedWhiteBlueStar_2a1

Sew on the medium blue triangle to make it a square; true it up to 7-1/2″ inches.RedWhiteBlueStar_2b

Now make the rest of the blocks: sew the triangles together as shown, then seam those together to make a square.  I always press to the side, if you are wondering.  Only rarely do I press open, so avoid that.

Lay out all your squares (as shown above, left), then sew them together like a nine-patch (upper right).  Measure the square; the sides should measure 21-1/2″.  Trim your long white border rectangles to measure.  Sew the darkest red blocks on each of two of the white rectangle borders.

Sew two white borders: one on top of the quilt and one of the bottom.  Press.  Then sew on the borders with the squares attached; press.  Admire your quilt top.

Let’s get quilting!

Here’s a picture of the quilt in the sunshine, showing my quilting stitches.  I always have the hardest time coming up with what to quilt where; yours may vary.  The “bandstand swag” arcs on the outside were a happy accident.

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This was all done on my Sweet Sixteen machine, but that functions like a domestic sewing machine. I did do ruler work (which is probably easier on my machine than a domestic) but it can be done on your regular sewing machine.  Just make sure you have a thick enough hopping foot and thick rulers designed for this task (not your cutting rulers!); put grippy stuff on the bottom of your rulers, as you’ll use them to help you move the fabric under your needle.

Happy Fourth of July!

If you haven’t heard me tell you about Painter’s Palette Solids, made by Paintbrush Studio, you must be a new reader.  It is my FAVORITE solid: it’s easy to work with, has a nice hand, deals well when I need to unpick and re-stitch (I had to do that with the quilting, but you can’t see it, right?).  It’s a fairly new fabric to the market, but many brick-and-mortar shops, as well as online shops, are starting to carry it.

Giveaway Banner

Patriotic Bundle June 2017

from here

As is my custom when sewing for Painter’s Palette, I give away my scraps when I finish a project, so that some fortunate quilter can give this fabric a try.  BUT!  Paintbrush Studios has generously offered up a stack of the fabrics I used in this quilt — seven fat quarters — so you can make your own (giveaway is for domestic/US only).

To enter, leave me a comment telling me if you like fireworks, and why (or your most memorable).  I’m not talking the little things that are lit up down on street level, but those glorious bursting displays of color and light.  It will get us all in the mood for Independence Day.

Giveaway picking a winnerI’ll activate the Husband Random Number Generator and pick a winner, to be contacted by email.

Giveaway closed.  
Winner has been notified and will be announced in next post.  Thank you all!

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A Tiny Quilt for Summer

Tiny Sailboat Quilt_front on frameI made this for an exchange at my Guild Night, but then my daughter and her family came into town and I didn’t go, so now I have my own little quilt.Tiny Sailboat Quilt_on frame

It has its own stand, and it’s easy-peasy to make.

Acrylic Frame

First, buy one of these.  They used to be more durable, but this is cheap-cheap-cheap and it works.

Tiny Sailboat Quilt_1

Make yourself a sailboat.  I pieced the sail on the left first before sewing it into the mini-mini-quilt.  Here’s the templates in a PDF file (be sure to set your printer to 100% before printing): Tiny Sailboat  And if you like to foundation paper-piece, here it is again: Tiny Sailboat PaperPiece Pattern

Tiny Sailboat Paper Piece

If you are using the foundation paper-piece, cut the pattern into three pieces, as shown by the red lines, being sure to mark it somehow with seam allowances. (I use a colored pencil and draw it along the line before cutting it apart to remind me it is NOT a cutting line, but a seam line.)

 

The little sailboat finishes at 6 1/2″ by 8″ which isn’t big enough for the frame.  I added the sunshiney fabric on three sides, seaming a bit of “ocean” fabric on the sides to keep the horizon line.  I also added ocean fabric to the bottom, so now my little boat is afloat.

Tiny Sailboat Quilt_cut to size

Quilt as desired (curvy waves in the ocean, straight lines outlining the sailboat and sails, and stippling in the sunshine), then trim to the above size: 8-3/4″ by 10-1/2.”

Tiny Sailboat Quilt_back

Make the sleeve: Hem one short edge of a piece of fabric cut to 8-3/4″ by 9-1/2″ and place it wrong-sides-down on the back of your mini-mini quilt.  Pin in a couple of places.

Cut strips of binding 1 1/4″ wide, seaming if necessary to get the desired length.  Stitch the binding from the front, right-sides-together, then turn the back, tucking under the raw edge.  Hand-stitch closed.

Tiny Sailboat Quilt_front on frame

Our guild does these a couple of times a year, creating a changeable scene for your home.  I’ve previously hung minis on a wall, but I’m really liking this quilt-on-a-stand idea.