Riley’s Quilt

Red, White, and Blue giveaway info is at the end of this post.  Many thanks to all who entered!

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If my grandchildren come to visit me long enough, we can crank out a quilt.  Last time it was Keagan’s.  This time, it was Riley’s.  I discovered last time that simpler quilts are best, so I started leafing through my BLOCK Magazines from Missouri Star, until I happened on her pattern titled Slice of Life, found in Volume 1, Issue 4.  You can get a download here.

Riley Quilt layout

Riley picked out blue and green prints from my stash (using your stash is also a good thing to do) and he ironed while I cut.  He arranged the squares on the wall into groups of nine.

Originally the book called for “layer cake” squares, which if you have a layer cake (or have the pre-cut sizes memorized), you are set, but I don’t.  I get grumpy when patterns call only for precuts, and don’t tell you what the actual dimensions are, so I’m telling you that I cut squares that were 10-1/2″ square. [Yes, I know they are bigger than a layer cake.] I narrowed the sashing, cutting it at 2″ (sewn in it will measure 1-1/2″ wide).  You make three of these giant nine-patches, then cut them apart like this.

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I cheated a bit, and folded the giant 9-patch into fourths, and took a bare sliver of fabric off the fold when I cut–kind of like when the local quilt shop cuts fat quarters.  Then we arranged these new designs up on the wall.

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Sometimes Riley took a break with his little sister.

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I sewed the giant pieces together, but sometimes Riley did.  I pinned it a LOT when it was his turn at the sewing machine, also teaching him not to sew over pins.

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Everyone helped pin baste the quilt on the kitchen counter.  We would pin a large section, then shift the quilt.

Everyone helped quilt, even the littlest sister, as well as my daughter, mother to these three charmers.

Binding was next, again from the stash.  Late that afternoon, they went to the beach and my husband and I headed up the mountains to our church’s camp for the young women.  I sewed on the binding all the way up, and while we waited for the program to start. I finished it.

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Backing is Marimekko fabric.RileyQuilt_8c

He couldn’t think of a title, so I wrote a couple of details on the back.  I think this is the section that Riley quilted–I think it’s great that he helped in all phases.  This is Quilt #184 on my 200 Quilts List.

The youngest of these grandchildren is eight years old, so I imagine her turn will be next!  Baby Blues comic strip ran these this week, and I thought it fitting (although the sisters do quite well, too!)


Congratulations to Nancy S. who won the bundle of Painter’s Palette Solids!  I’ve been in touch with her via email and will get the bundle sent out to her.  I had the best time reading over all the comments about fireworks, from those who had a first date watching them (that happened to me, too, early in our courtship) to those who watched barges-full launch them into the air.  Thank you all for your wonderful responses!!

(This is for those who mentioned that they watched them over the Washington Monument.
I did too.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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(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

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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:

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

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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.

Oh! Christmas Tree Quilt

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Oh! Christmas Tree Quilt
Quilt #175
Began January 2016 • Finished December 2016

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It’s finally finished.  I started this once I saw the QuiltMania magazine it was featured in.  It is a pattern from Wendy Williams of Flying Fish Kits.  I had a companion in the making of this, in Wendy Welsh from New Zealand.  She was about a month ahead of me in construction and was such a great help, especially in untangling the borders dilemma.  All of the posts about the making of this quilt are referenced in the Quilt-A-Longs tab, up above.christmas-tree_2

I did finish it by my goal of December 1st, but had to find the right locale accessories, like the lumber-jack looking guy above.  (By the way, the most important man in this photo is unseen, holding up the Christmas Tree quilt.  Thanks, dear!)christmas-tree_3adetail

I had written about how I quilted the center: a meander with tiny stars here and there.

oct_fmq-for-starsAs usual, I printed out my quilt with partial transparency and doodled and doodled, coming into a dead end always.  But finally, inspired by an idea from  *here,* I chose to do swirls around my stars with a spiral in the center, linking them all together.christmas-tree_3detail

I quilted the cream background fabric around the wool felt appliqués, then in around those red triangle points, leaving them unquilted.  I did outline them in a straight stitch, helping them to stand out from the background.

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My husband Dave and I went out for a photo shoot as the sun was dimming, first hitting the tree lot at Teen Challenge (below), a charity near our house.
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And then we went looking for more evergreens for backdrops, a near herculean task in Southern California.  We finally found these pines in the university parking lot.  I told my husband that Marsha, in Vermont, could photograph hers out in the woods amid the snow, but that typical to our climate and locale, we have to pose in an asphalt parking lot.

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The back is a series of panels and fabrics from Cori Dantini from her Merry Stitches line, purchased at Quilt Market this past May and available now.  It’s fun to use them on the back.christmas-tree_front1

This quilt (or parts of it) have gone to Spain, all around my town, and then finally tucked in at home to be finished with the quilting. I took inspiration from all of those who followed along on the Quilt-A-Long and on Instagram, but am indebted to my husband for his love of my quilting and constant support.  Lastly, the design for Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus are found here on the blog. Uusually we say that what’s important about Christmas isn’t found under the tree.

But in this case, it is.

I hope your Christmas season is merry and bright and filled with the love of our Savior.