Thursday, October 31, 2013


The quilt and I got together and we agree that the patch had to go.
I do not know why all the of photos are different colors. I shot them in the same place with the same light and auto setting.  Ah well that is not the point of the photo collage (not this time anyway).

On the Left is the offending patch, not really terrible but it doesn't seem right in the overall picture.
Center is the hole where the patch was removed. I am getting good at removing small  pieces without taking out whole seams.
On the Right is the new patch.

Voila, the whole flimsy, finished, yes it is. The quilt has stopped asking for anything more.

When I thought it over I came to the conclusion that I did not need to change anything on the lower right side of that border because it had the zig zag fabric on the right in the next border.
I had made the decision in the first border around the giraffe panel to have all the zig zag  fabric in the piece oriented in the same direction. Kind of like it was a background and everything was laying on top of it. I didn't know at the time how or where I would use the fabric again or even if I would use it again. I think I made the right decision but right or wrong it is done.
It is what it is!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Giraffes Redo

Yesterday I thought I had a finished flimsy. Not so! When I looked at it this morning I admitted that there was something about the left side that I didn't like. The quilt tried to tell me that yesterday but I refused to acknowledge it. This morning I knew I had to fix it. Where to begin? When all the borders are different, with each side added in a different order; it needs to be analyzed before taking up the seam ripper.
So, this was yesterday when I tried to tell myself it was finished.

This is the area that bothered me.
 On the left is where I started and I took out the seams back to the black border.
In the center , I had added another of the bright batik and separated the motifs with strips of the zigzag fabric. Still not quite right.
On the right, I had changed the bottom leaf motif for a more colorful patch from the same fabric and added the zig zag strip. What!!!
I added a strip going in the wrong direction.

So I took up the seam ripper again and fixed it. I considered adding a zig zag strip to the top of that border strip in place of that hot pink section above the leaf motif. I had not added one to the right end of the horizontal border strip with the same fabrics and I don't want that zig zag fabric at that end next to the same fabric in the next border on the right. The jury is still out, I might add that strip at the top after all. I will wait till tomorrow to see what the quilt tells me to do.

Let me tell you, this has been one bossy quilt. Every decision I've made about what comes next has gotten an argument from the quilt; and the quilt has won every time. I am about ready to tell this piece that I am the boss.
We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Giraffes coming along

I started this early last week and I worked on it on and off as far as actual sewing goes but I had it percolating in my mind all the time. This has been improvisational all the way so there has been a lot of stopping and thinking with each piece I cut and stitched. All of the borders are different widths and the border fabrics do not follow in a four sides the same order. Many decisions here, I guess that I what improve is.
The spotted fabric borders on the top and left are going to be trimmed  to about 3 inches (I think). I cut them 5 inches  but that is too wide. The bright fabric shows up true to color here but everything else looks washed out which is not how it really looks.

After I got his far I wasn't sure what I wanted to do for the binding. I have to know what I want to do before I cut it all up as there is not enough of the bright batik fabric to experiment. I scanned all my fabrics and sent them to EQ7 and worked out the quilt in EQ the way I had put it together. This EQ version looks a lot more straight than the piece on my design wall looks although it actually is nice and straight.

I decided that I am going to use the right batik for the binding on two sides and black on the other 2 sides and add some prairie points in the lower right corner to brighten up the zigzag stripes.
the colors all show up better here in the fabric that was scanned than in my photo of the quilt. The prairie points are too small to show up the other colors in EQ but I will make sure I cut my squares to get the purple and hot pink as well as the orange. I do not plan to add any prairie points in the upper left but I colored a couple triangles there to see how they look and forgot to change them. Who knows though, I have changed my mind from one addition to the next several times. I am ready to layer this and quilt it right after I decide on a backing;  I can save the decisions about the binding and prairie points till last.

Bloggers Quilt Festival

It's time again for Bloggers Quilt Festival. Be sure to check it out at  or click on the button on the sidebar.
This entry in the Baby quilt Category is my interpretation of the Falling Charms quilt in a Missouri Star tutorial. I made my blocks 5 inches and they finished 4 1/2 inches. In the tutorial Jenny used a 5 inch charm pack and 2 1/2 inch strips from an all white "Jelly roll". I used 2 1/2 inch strips of Kona Bone, which is a favorite of mine.
44 x 50 inches

I have been sewing scraps of fabric together to make blocks for a long time. At least 15 years ago I made a quilt with blocks made from scraps as an example of quilts we could make for our quilt guild Linus Project. It was just a straight set with sashing  I used a pretty floral print with pink and yellow roses on a blue background for the sashing, borders and backing. It was pretty and kind of quiet and nothing like this one. I wish I had a photo but it is one of many for which there is no photo.

More recently, I started "making fabric"  after being inspired by Bumblebeans "15 Minutes of Play". Most of the time, I prefer to "make fabric" about the size of the blocks I want and trim to the size I want, instead of a making a larger piece to cut up into blocks.

Close up of 5 inch blocks showing some of the quilting
in the light patches and stitching on the binding.
For "made fabric" blocks I don't like to use a paper foundation. I prefer to add a strip and press it and trim the seam allowance to 1/4 inch. I like to trim the edges straight that I am going to sew as I find that I am more likely to have a nice straight seam when I do. I usually work on 3 to 5 blocks at a time, adding pieces and chain sewing and then press and trim and add the next addition to all five at a sitting.

I always try to keep some semblance of order when I make fabric but the truth is I am messy. I might have things in order when I start but in the end I end up with it all tangled together. I probably spend way too much time trying to maintain order.

I like to keep all the pieces up on the design wall and on my design boards, along with strips and other pieces I want to incorporate somewhere. I helps me to keep track of what I need to add for balance.

Piano key borders are my favorite for scrappy quilts. Some people like to "calm down" the quilt with one fabric but every time I audition a single fabric for the border it seems to lack something. I make strips sets with 5 or 6 random width strips that are long enough to make 2 or 3 cuts the width of border. I sew the sections together with one or two different fabric strips between. I have to make more strip sets than if I used longer strips and sewed my sets wider but I like to keep things as random as possible. If I have a piece at the end of the strip set than is too small for a border section I  trim it and turn it sideways and insert it between sections as in the top section next to the bright blue strip. 

I quilted in the ditch around all the blocks. I also ditch stitched around the patches inside the blocks because it needed more stitching to lay flat.

Close up of the quilting in the solid light fabric

I use cotton quilting thread in primary colors with the #4 stitch on my Bernina for the quilting in the solid light patches. I considered feathers or something fancier but in the end opted for lines that followed the stair step pattern in the quilt, with the lines crossing at the ends of the steps. I wasn't really very happy the way the seams showed up in the solid light fabric but the variegated thread in the wavy pattern helped to minimize that.

I used a solid yellow for that back and Kona bone for the binding. I sewed the binding to the back and turned it to the front and finished it with the #4 stitch. I think the #4 stitch is in keeping with the informal whimsical nature of the quilt.

Close up of stitching on binding and inner border
Now hop on over to and check out all the rest of the quilts.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Giraffes - A start

This start has been a long time coming. After I finished the T shirt quilt I cleaned up and cleared off all the horizontal surfaces and dug out these fabrics.  I've had this 18 x 19 batik panel for at least 3 years. It's another one of those fabrics that I was so excited about when I bought it that I could hardly wait to get home to start. I  am not sure why my enthusiasm waned.  I bought this at the NQA Quilt Show and2 fat quarters of the bright batik fabric, on the right. That was all they had and though I looked everywhere on line I never found more.
I must have brought it to a quilt guild meeting once because one of the members asks me every time I see her if I have started something . Lately she has been telling me I should sell it to her if I am not going to use it.

I pulled two of these fabrics from my stash and I bought the spotted gold fabric yesterday

 I also found some pieces of the fabric on the right, that I intend to use but I will have to be creative with it as it has been chopped up and these are the two largest pieces; there are mostly small pieces left. Maybe I will have to "make fabric" for the border.

Here I have 2 border strips sewed on. For some reason I thought the zigzag striped fabric would look good turned cross wise on the top and bottom and I took great pains t make the corners match. I don't like it and intend to take it off and put the zigzag stripes going the other way. I am not sure if I will leave that print in place where it is or not. I had to go out again last evening and buy some solid black to go in there too.

The last photo has border strips auditioned on the side and bottom. I am still  not sure where this is going. I still like the batik panel but I need to look at it and think about it for  a while. Once I cut up those left over scraps I will be committed and that is the one fabric I am sure I want in there somewhere

Monday, October 21, 2013

T Shirt Quilt

Sometime after Christmas I cut the fronts from all the T shirts my daughter in law gave me and put them in this box. They stayed there until August when I took them off the shelf and shot this photo. I think that was when I ironed the interfacing to the backs. at first it was on again - off again working on it as there were more interesting things to play with.
I worked this out in my Electric Quilt program and I followed it pretty closely. the striped fabric here was one of the stripes in the program but it represents the actual fabric well enough for design purposes. I ordered backing fabric and when it came I decided to use it for the borders also and I cut down the striped fabric on the side borders and eliminated the stripes on the top and bottom borders.
I used the stripes cut on the bias for the binding.

I constructed the top and quilted it in sections. the right and left sections included the borders and the center section included the sashings. I was undecided about including the more narrow top and bottom borders in the sections and in the end I left them off and added them after everything else was done. At some point I neglected to remember (in other words I forgot) that I considered adding them to the sections and went ahead and layered each section up. after I stitch the sections together on the machine I finish on the back with hand  I could have saved myself having to hand stitch those 2 long seams.
Here is the quilt almost finished, the binding is not on yet. That's me on the side. Some of the T shirts I was given were not in good shape but Jack had some brand new T shirts from motorcycle events they had attended together and he offered them for the quilt.
I gave it to John yesterday but didn't get a picture of him with the quilt.
 I think he likes it.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

256 HST's

I finished quilting the baby quilt for the church closet. the next one I make with HST's will have larger pieces.  I quilted this in the ditch and to me it looks like there is too much quilting. I  am also not too happy with the quilting in the borders.  Maybe it was too few pins or the poly batting but it starts out nice and flat at the beginning of each side but it is rippled after about the center. I am not going to fix anything because this is not going to hang on a wall and will probably end up on the floor or in a playpen and no doubt it will be washed often.
When I decided on the border and backing fabric I found that I had cut out a small chunk of it for something and I would have to do some piecing to stretch the backing. That's what happens when you have something for a long time and after every audition you put it back on the shelf; eventually you cut a piece of it for something. Very soon after doing that you will decide it just the thing you need and it WONT be enough. These two shots show the backing . I found another fabric that I had for awhile and had auditioned many times but never used and though they were from different designers and bought several years apart I think they are a perfect fit.
These two shots above show the front and back of the binding. (I still need to clean up the stray shreds of thread  which are hard to see sometimes but they sure show up in a photo close up).
I really have a hard time doing a lot of hand stitching anymore so I do my binding completely on the machine. I used to stitch it to the back and turn it to the front and finish with the machine on the front. Recently I started to stitch the binding to the front and then press it toward the binding and turn it over and press the  binding down and use 1/4 inch stitch witchery to hold it in place. I finish it from the front by stitching in the ditch along the edge of the binding or on children's quilts or something whimsical I use the #4 stitch on the Bernina, as I did here.

Front                            Back               
These photos on the right are showing the front and back of a corner of the binding, stitched in the ditch, on the T shirt quilt. I finished it on Sunday and I will post a photo soon, after I have given it to the recipient.

I guess that when I shop I tend to get what I came to get and don't look around. That is probably because Jack is usually waiting in the car for me.
I had no idea that stitch witchery came in 1/4 inch width until I ran out of the 1/2 inch and had to buy some more. I had been cutting the width in half; before that I was using strips of Wonder Under cut 1/4 inch wide. I got the whole idea from something Melody Johnson said on her blog and something Mari from The Quilting Edge wrote (probably from someone else too). Someone was using glue to hold the binding down until  it was stitched but I hate getting glue on my fingers and then sticking to everything. I think this works pretty well and it is so much easier for me than using pins. It works better on fabric that is not black or navy blue or dark brown.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

I'm Back

It has been a long time since my last post. I have been busy finishing up some things and busy with things other than quilting; none of it was worth posting.
I altered and shortened a bridesmaid  dress and I have a brand new appreciation for what goes into the construction of a strapless dress after deconstructing the zipper installation and reinstalling the zipper after taking in the seam. Then there were four layers of skirt. It is done....... and that sound you hear is a deep sigh of relief. This really taxed my skills.

Our quilt group at church usually has a weekend retreat in the fall at a Y camp on Lake Erie. This year our plans fell through and we decided to have two days of sewing at the church instead. There were 9 of us on Friday for some sewing before a pot luck supper and 2 hours of sewing after we ate.

A great thing about this week end was having some young people with us. One of the girls from summer Quilt Camp joined us both days  and Saturday another girl from quilt Camp and her mother joined us, along with a granddaughter and her friend of one of our group. One of our members came with her two daughters on Saturday for the day.
Sharon started this quilt after quilt camp last summer using the  pattern we used for QC. The one she made this summer and this one are for her two grandmothers; she worked on it all weekend. On the right is another of our Quilt Campers she and her mother came Saturday afternoon to make "made fabric" blocks for an  quilt that everyone at Quilt Camp contributed to and which will be auctioned at a fundraiser the youth group will have in the spring.

Emily is working on really colorful  quilt. She has not been old enough for Quilt Camp but she has been sewing at home with her mother (middle photo). On the right. you can see all the shreds that have been trimmed away as her locks were squared up. She couldn't find bright enough fabric so she used some bright bandannas along with black and white dotted fabric. Good choice!

Here are all the ladies (young and old older) working on their made fabric squares.

Betty makes a lot of quilts using scraps, some of them very small as in this pine tree quilt and others are strip pieced using large scraps and in the "many trips" flimsy. Some of her quilts she quilts by hand and you can see the quilting in the close up.  she also make a  lot of quilts with a planned fabric palette show in the lower right corner.

Here is most of the group; Dorine couldn't make it Saturday and Kim had to take one of her girls to a birthday party. I am on the other side of the camera.  The six in the middle are the young people OH WAIT! That is Debbie in the red shirt in the center; she is not one of the girls but she is young at heart.

We had a good week end and though we missed the sunsets over Lake Erie it was more than made up for by having the girls join us. We hope they will make it a habit the second Saturday of the month.