Monday, June 18, 2018

Blame It On Bonnie Quilt

The "Blame It On Bonnie" quilt is finished.  I finished sewing on the binding on Friday night at 8 PM.  Then Saturday morning I got my Aunt Daisy, and T came over and we went on a road trip, to Council, to put the quilt in their annual quilt show.  After we dropped it off, we had a picnic in the park and T and I swang on the swings.  Not a pretty sight, but a lot of fun!  Then we drove back by way of New Meadows, McCall, Donnelly, Cascade, and Horseshoe Bend.  We visited both quilt shops in McCall, where I fed my addiction.  What fun we all had.

Daisy and the Blame It On Bonnie quilt.
Payette Lake 06/16/18
Flowers in front of Granny's Attic Quilt Shop

Monday, May 28, 2018

I hope I have this done by July 4th!

Remember the letter "S" in my April post?  That little experiment has grown out of control.  I told Bonnie that I blame it on her.  What this means is, yet again, she has caused me to test my creativity.  The "S" grew into "USA", and then it was surrounded by a red border, then one inch half-square triangles, then I had to decide on a blue border . . . deciding .. .
which blue, from my stash, to choose?
I think I like this dark blue best.

Yup! This one is perfect!
Stay tuned to see how this turns out.  I am having so much fun with my red, white, and blue scraps!  I am making some liberated stars to use as corner stones, and I had to use some left over doggie fabric, too! I am pretty excited about it so far!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Fabric from Luxembourg

My favorite daughter, who went to the Fabric Festival in Luxembourg this past February, mailed me some fab fabrics from that fair city.  She also sent me a chocolate bar.  She really knows what I like!
Love the owls! Can't wait to use it with the wild batik I picked up at the quilt shop in Crouch, ID, a couple weeks back.  I think it is called The Stitch N Snip, but I am bad with names.  The chocolate was yummy, and it is good to be the best Mama in the world!  I think my daughter is the best daughter in the world.  :)

Monday, April 16, 2018

How Did This Happen?

Four-patch Chain quilt from "Mini Charm Quilts" from Moda.
What? I was making a 'grow it' version of a Freddy and Gwen style quilt.  How did this happen?  It's a long story, beginning with the letter "S".  It is all Bonnie's fault.  At our February meeting, in Kuna, Bonnie showed some slides/videos about piecing letters of the alphabet.  I have pieced letters before, and I have always believed the letter "S" to be the most difficult to piece.  Bonnie left us with a challenge to piece your name, or some letters for the next meeting. As it happens, she was out of the country for the March meeting, and I was the only one who actually brought pieced letters to the meeting.  Is there something wrong with me?
 Well, I started with a grid and did piece the letter "S".  I used 1.5 inch squares, that when pieced became 1 inch squares.  Then, I had to piece something to go with the S to spell a word or something.  I decided to grow it into a Freddy Moran/Gwen Marston sort of creation, but limiting myself to red, white, and blue.  That did, indeed, take off, but then I wanted to do a pieced border with on-point four patches.  But first I needed an eye-resting border of very dark blue.  I had no very dark blue that would work, so I had to go to the Quilt Crossing and see if I could find some very dark blue fabric.  Well, I did.  I also found some wild animal fabric that was screaming out for the bright blue polka dot fabric to go with it.  So, I bought the fabulous wild animal fabric and bright blue polka dot fabric (which has nothing to do with my current project).  Then when I get home, I think, "This is blue! I could put it in my Freddy/Gwen style quilt.  My auditioning did not make me happy.  I also needed to know how to make the correct size of triangles to place my four-patches on point.  I checked the Four-patch Chain quilt in my (relatively new) book, and decided to do a dry-run to learn about the triangles and see how the bright blue polka dot fabric would look with other red, white, and blue fabrics.  I did the whole quilt top on Sunday.  I have figured out the triangle part (with no help from the pattern, as it did not address that part . . . and a few other parts), but decided the bright blue polka dots was probably not a good background fabric for the other four patch blocks.  I did accomplish my mission, with regards to the planning of my quilt growth.  Now back to growing my red, white, and blue quilt with the letter "S".  Bonnie . . .

Monday, March 26, 2018

Big and Little Stuff on the Tables in My Quilt Room

A couple weekends ago, I got the backing for Jojo's quilt done. I laid it all out on three tables across and one (smaller one) across the top.  This quilt is 'big'.  It was hand-pieced by Jojo's mother, from the childrens' outgrown clothes.  Jojo lost her vision and could not finish the red triangles being inset around the edge of the quilt top, then the purple butterfly border.  I inserted all the red triangles, then sewed on the border.  T has the quilt now, as we sandwiched it, pinned it, and rolled it up for her to take home.  T has the job of hand quilting it.  Big job, but T is up for it.  She may try to get me to hold a needle in my hand, tie a knot, blah, blah, blah . . .
Jojo's quilt is lovely!  Now, it is in T's capable hands, I can move on to finishing some UFO's or making something new.  I was looking though a book I've had for awhile, called Sew Darn Cute, by Jenny Ryan.  I realized the  "Square Bears", would be fun to make and a polar bear would be perfect for my friend, T.  I had not embroidered in decades, but I went through my grandma's button jar and found the perfect colored plastic buttons, and dug out my long lost embroidery floss and made it happen.
     This is my first "Square Bear".  I have another nearly finished, and I have decided to make the next one more square.  I used the pattern provided in the book, but it does not look square to me.  Making some of these to have on hand will use up some of the rick-rack I have, and some of my stash, while providing fun gifts for so many friends!  UfO's??

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Zippy Bags!

Phyllis invited me over a couple Saturdays ago, to hang out and sew.  I had no easy quilting to bring along, so I brought some stuff to make zipper bags.  I carefully watched the tutorial on You Tube, the night before, and took copious notes.  I managed to remember everything I needed to take except my notes.  Just having gone through the process of writing the instructions down, helped me to remember them.  T had a tip for me, as she has made these bags before.  It helped me be successful and I made seven scrappy zippy bags.  This is a great use for scraps left over from quilting.
Some of the scraps were donated to me by Shannan.
Her cute ducks and bears go with so many other fabrics.

I quilted both sides of every bag. I had fun using green thread
and zipper on the cat bag; fabric given to me by my friend Mary F.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Piecing Off-set Frames: Sashing, Borders, and Block Making

In January, I gave a presentation to a local quilt group.  I discovered this method of putting frames (or borders) around blocks a couple years ago, when my friend, T, gave me a magazine that she was finished with.  Reference Issue 5, 2016, of Today's Quilter.   I wanted to present it, here, in a slide-show, but the You Tube tutorials on slide-shows are extremely lacking.  I wanted Marcia and some others to be able to see what I presented, as they could not be at the meeting.  Here is my presentation:
Click on the photo, you can do a little slide show of the photos in this post.

In her 'how-to' article I liked that she states, "The first rule of quilt making
is there are no rules - hooray!" On the next page, she goes on to state the
wrong and right way of piecing a 'door' type frame.
I did quite a bit of experimenting with the off-set frames, and I came to the conclusion that there are four types of framing a block (or framing a quilt top) with borders:
  1. door frame type, as illustrated above
  2. mitered corners (or fake mitered corners)
  3. off-set frames
  4. use of cornerstones
When you design your project, you choose what you want for your quilt.  If you want balance, then mitered, off-set, or cornerstones are the way to go.

This is an example of a 'door' frame type of framing of a quilt block.
The "right way" is to sew the framing strips to the sides, then across
the top and bottom.  But there are no rules, so if you want to do it the
other way round it may make a nice effect for your creation.

The block with the red & white diamond pattern show the off-set
frames type of framing.  It give balance and the eye walks it's
way around the block, not being stopped where the seams meet.
Another example of off-set frame: these boots look like they are marching
circles around the fish.  I like how it looks continuous and not disjointed.
Start by laying the center block on your gridded cutting mat. Lay the framing
strip next to it. You can see how long you need to cut your strips.  5" for safety.  You can subtract the seam allowance, if you wish; making it 4.5".  Cut four strips, all the same length. 

Sew the top strip on first, leaving the last inch not sewn.
The hardest part is remembering not to sew to the end, but
that is why we have seam rippers!
I like to leave a little extra and trim when I have surrounded my block.
If you are into quilting math, read Lynn's formula for getting your strips
just the right length.
This is how the finished block looks. Solid colors really
make an impact, as you will see in the following slides.
Now for a quick step-by-step of how to piece this block:
Step 1: sew the top one first, and leave an inch left unstitched.
Press after each strip is added.   Step 2: sew the left side on.
Step 3: sew the bottom strip
Step 4 sew the right strip on; press the seam flat

Step 5:  finish sewing the seam of the top strip to the block; you may need
to press it first, so it lays flat
Step 6:  press the seams out; square the block up
and you have a nicely balanced, finished block

I used the off-set frame technique to make this wall hanging for my daughter.
It is not a square block in the center, but it works just the same way.
I did not want to incorporate too many skulls into this, so it worked perfectly!

Notice, in the center of this photo, how the off-set frames create a weaving effect where the blocks come together.  If you use bolder stripped fabrics around your blocks, this woven effect is much more pronounced than with the choices I used in this quilt.  I was trying to use what I had in my stash, instead of heading out and buying more fabric.

Even though those weaves at the intersections of the blocks are not hugely noticeable, I really love how this quilt turned out.   The best fabric choices for accentuating the woven intersections are bold strips and plaids.
I used off-set frames to frame the bear blocks in this quilt. Looking back, I think if I had looked at the shade values of the different pinks I could have made a more striking window pane effect.  Again, I went to my stash to locate the pinks I used in this quilt.  A close-up of this quilt is on my previous post of Dec 31, 2017.
This quilt it a good example of balance. I used cornerstones between the blocks, then the inner and outer borders are done with off-set frames. It is not so noticeable that off-set frames were used, as that was the goal.  I wanted it to look balanced and not have those "door frame" borders, which I think give quilts a choppy look.  Sometimes I like the choppy look, but other times I do not.  This quilt looks smooth and consistent and the attention is on the whimsical cats at the heart of the quilt.
This quilt has three borders in it.  The orange inner border was pieced in the door frame method. due to the solid colors this works fine.  Note the border surrounding the orange inner border was pieced with the off-set frame technique.  Again, this was done 1) for balance and 2) for lack of longer strips to go across the top and bottom (should I have leaned toward door frames).  The outer border has big tulip cornerstones adding continuity to the overall look of the quilt.
 This is a quilt, my quilting niece made.  It is made completely with the off-set frames technique, including the pieced outer border.  If you look closely you can see them.  I like this scrappy approach, and I did not readily notice it, when I first received it.  It looks so 40s to me and I really like it.
I made these blocks for my presentation.  They are merely on my black design wall, but you can see the profound effect that solids have when using the off-set frames technique.  This has made me add another quilt to my list of quilts to do, as I want to make a big quilt with solids against black with this type of framing (borders).
I did an experiment, with this technique, making log cabin blocks.  I discovered, on traditional log cabin blocks, the upper left colors impede on the lighter area.  If you lay your ruler across the block from upper right to lower left, you will see this to be true.  If you surround the center block in the off-set frames technique, you have a block that is half dark and half light, again being more balanced.  Look at the lower left of both blocks to see the difference.
    Thank you for reading and viewing my presentation. Now I have to decide what to do with these two log cabin blocks, because I have run out of the outer swirly blue fabric and only had a fat quarter of the bicycle fabric . . . I guess it is time to make another fab bag!