Musings from the mind of a modern day Sue.

Progress on quilting projects has been slow this week.  But, I have a great excuse for putting my needle & thread aside: my fifth grandchild was born.  I spent three days and two nights caring for my 4 1/2 year old grandson, while Mom & Dad were at the hospital.  Then, I had to catch up on everything at home.

This week, I am sharing a new project from a Craftsy class that I purchased.  I love to applique and have taken several classes, even started a club at a local quilt guild.  I love the Craftsy platform and finally signed up for a class.  I can work at my own pace, review the information as much & as often as I need to, and the materials are excellent.  This particular class is called Hand Applique Made Easy by Mimi Dietrich.  I chose the class because I wanted to learn applique from this teacher.  This is a basic class for all levels of stitchers.

I began by selecting fabrics, mostly from my stash, but I did search out a theme fabric to use for the borders, then pulled colors from my stash to blend in.  Here is my color palette.

hand-applique-color-palette

I started the lessons after the new year began.  I decided to allot time each week-end to work on this project.  Here is my progress so far.

block-progress

I began by tracing all the applique designs onto my starched, white muslin.  I really like the hand feel of Legacy Studio muslin at JoAnn Fabrics.  I completed the first lesson on how to make stems, which also includes the basket & teacup handles.  Then, I moved into the lesson on freezer paper applique.  I really like appliqueing with freezer paper, but this class has provided additional tips that have already improved the shape of my heart.

basted-heart

Here is a large heart already basted and ready to applique.  I have prepared several more smaller hearts for different blocks.  I cannot wait to get to the applique process, but preparing the shapes correctly makes a world of difference.  Basting is also a great take-along project.

So, I am continuing to meet my goal of stitching a little each week, and sharing it with you all.  Hopefully, you are finding time to quilt, as well.  See you back here next week.  Until then…

Happy Stitching!

 

So, we meet again on the pages of my blog.  I said I would be here, so I needed to show up.  I made myself accountable to you all.  Hopefully, you showed up again too.

And, what have I accomplished?  I haven’t been lax, but quilting takes time.  I work a 40-hour per week job, so I have to find time in between everything else to do this craft that gives me such satisfaction.  And, you do to, with whatever you like to make with your hands.

The scalloped-edge binding wasn’t difficult.  I say this as an experienced sewist, but really, if you’ve successfully put a binding on a quilt, stitching a scalloped edge is doable.  Note: I use the word sewist because I like how it sounds, even though Merriam-Webster doesn’t recognize it.checkerboard-edge-treatmentI chose to make the binding single-fold.  For those that don’t know quilting terminology, that just means one layer of fabric wrapped around the edge of the quilt instead of a double layer.  With this small table topper, it seemed to make sense, but ultimately it made for an easier binding.

To make a single-fold binding, fold your strip in half with wrong sides together; press.  Open up the fabric and fold each edge in to meet the center crease and press again.  Fold together on the first fold line and you have the binding.  I like to give it another good pressing to make the folds crisp.  Don’t use a walking foot to attach the binding to the edge of the quilt.  I just used my 1/4″ foot because it was easier to maneuver, and I could see the edge of the quilt.  To stitch, open out binding and lay along front edge of quilt.  Stitch a 1/4″ seam, which will be along the first fold line.  When the binding is attached, turn it to the back and it will fold over the edge perfectly.  I started with a 1-1/4″ strip of bias fabric, choosing to use the border print for non-contrast.

checkerboard-table-topper-corner

The corners were turned just like you traditionally would, while the scalloped points were stitched by pivoting the foot at each turn.  I also clipped into the scallop point, just  through the thread on the initial seam line, before attaching.  Hopefully, my word pictures explain this process well enough that you could give it a try.  I love the finished project.

Image result for check mark symbol– one completed project off my checklist created by my 2017 blog posts.

checkerboard-table-topper-finished

Finished Checkerboard table topper

I also spent most of my Saturday afternoon working on a Craftsy class project.  It’s a basic hand applique class by Mimi Dietrich.  I’ll have to save progress on that project for next time.  Hopefully, you’ll meet up with me again next week and we’ll see what I’ve been up to with all those WIPs in boxes and bins in my sewing room.

Until then…Happy Stitching!

I make lists.  Lots of lists.  I’m the type of person that adds to a list just so I can cross it off the list.  I like to see that I completed something.  I like to look back at my lists and see what I accomplished.  At the beginning of each new year, I like to create a list of the quilt projects I plan to finish.  Generally, the list gets longer and the finishes are fewer.  I seem to spend a lot of time creating lists and less time doing what’s on the list.

Last year, I didn’t make a list.  In fact, I haven’t been working off a written list all year.  Instead, I focused on my current project and worked on it until it was done, then I moved on to the next project.  In 2016, I completed 3 baby quilts and 1 queen size quilt, from start to finish.  I made progress on several other projects.  I also stitched up several items for my grandchildren: baby burp cloths, baby bibs, baby blankets, doll clothes, and lined curtain panels.  I also didn’t post much on my blog.  Seems I get more done when I stitch and avoid the blogosphere.

elephant-baby-blanket

Flannel elephant fabric with comfy gray fabric on back and satin blanket binding with heart stitching – baby blanket for my next grandson we are patiently waiting to arrive.

Lately, I hear more & more quilters are trying to downsize their stashes and complete UFOs, WIPs, or whatever you call them.  I’ve been trying to do that, as well, but find myself obsessing about the particulars.  I can be a perfectionist.  But, I’ve decided I need to jump in and just do them.  I can’t take too long making a decision.  So, now that I have caught up on current projects, I decided to jump into a WIP and get it done.

I picked up a table topper I put together last September, from a kit I bought several years ago.  I bought the project so that I could try my hand at a scalloped edge treatment.  I spray basted the top, batting & backing together and started quilting.  After stitching around an inner border with a walking foot, I started free motion quilting organic designs.  In no time, the topper was finished.  I marked the scalloped edge, stitched the line, and trimmed away the fabric edge.  A couple rows of echo quilting along the scalloped edge and I’m ready for the binding.

Well, I’m feeling pretty satisfied with my progress and excited to have a finish in sight.  Makes me want to pull out another project and get it done.  So, meet me back here next week and I’ll show you what I’ve accomplished.  And, maybe after several more weeks, I’ll begin to see a dent in those UFOs and WIPs.

Happy Stitching!

 

 

 

Quilting is a passion of mine.  I like to share what I do with others.  But I have found blogging to be time consuming and takes away from the time I get to make quilts.  So, you will see only a few posts when I have more time in my life to visit this site and input another quilt story.

Today’s story will be short and contain few pictures.  Sorry!  Many of my quilts are for gifts.  And, in the process of finishing a gift, I often forget to take a picture before wrapping it up.  I recently made another Charm Squares Baby Quilt as a gift to my niece’s son born in October.  I also made a flannel baby blanket with that bumpy, plush fabric on the back as a gift for my nephew’s son born in November.  Now, my attention is on making a baby quilt for my soon-to-be-born grandson.  I know, I had a grandson born in July with my previous post about that quilt finish.  Now you can see why I don’t have time to blog about my quilts.

I have a great pattern picked out for this grandson’s quilt.  It has rows of elephants, which is the theme of the baby’s room.  Check out the pattern here.  I have fabrics selected with an emphasis on grays and teals.

I cannot wait to get started on this quilt, but I have another Christmas project to finish first.  I am making bedroom curtains for my two granddaughters.  Mom made a special request to have them as Christmas gifts.  So, I must end this post and get to work on these curtains.  I have an entire week free of regular work to sew on them.  How great is that!

Happy Quilting!

I’ve completed another baby quilt.  This one is for my soon-to-be-born grandson.  Big Sister, my 7-year-old granddaughter, assisted with picking out the pattern and fabrics.  The design is adapted from the pattern Tiny Treasures in Picture Play Quilts by Ami Simms.  Her pattern used 2-inch patches, but I had lots of 3-1/2 inch patches that I’ve saved using the Scraptherapy method, by Joan Ford of Hummingbird Highway.  I also completed a different border treatment than the pattern by Ami.

I found a great bargain on a dotted fabric and used it to make borders and backing.  The colors are perfect for a baby boy quilt: brown, yellow, blue & green.  And, it fit well with the patches in the quilt.  I love all the little designs fussy-cut from my collection of children’s prints.  I’ve been collecting these since my first grandson was born four years ago, but haven’t used any of them until now.  Isn’t that how it goes. We collect fabrics with good intentions to make something, but it takes forever to get that project made.  It took my daughter having a baby to give me a deadline to finish a quilt.

Speaking of deadlines, her delivery is fast approaching.  So, I took time this holiday week-end to get the outside borders onto the quilt and make the backing.  Here is a peek at the quilt top before I send it out to the longarmer.

Tiny Treasures Picture Play Baby Quilt

Baby quilts are so much fun to make.  Over the last 30 years or so, I’ve created more baby quilts than I can even remember.  I really need to document all my baby quilts together.  That may be a topic for a future post.  For now, here are more close-up shots of the picture patches.

DSCN2275DSCN2276DSCN2277DSCN2278

Enjoy!

Today, we hung quilt trail blocks on the facade of our business.  We own a small bakery in our hometown and decided to paint our own quilt blocks for the Gratiot County Quilt Trail.  We started the project in January and finished today with the hanging.

DB Quilt Block Trail

As you can see, we finished two quilt blocks.  To create a 4’X4′ block, we needed to purchase a 4’X8′ piece of marine plywood.  Since  we ended up with two pieces, we made two blocks.  They fit perfectly on either side of the business sign.  The paint is Resilience exterior  paint by Sherwin Williams in goldfinch, gladiola, and forward fushia on the Sister’s Choice block; and the addition of blue chip  on the Sunbonnet Sue block.  The background of both is in dover white.  I chose bright, autumn colors that blanket the landscape in October here in Michigan, for the blocks.  Sue wears blue & gold as a Yellowjacket fan, the local high school mascot and alma mater of both myself & my husband.

Sister's Choice Quilt Trail Block

Sister’s Choice block: Gratiot County Quilt Trail

Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Trail Block

Sunbonnet Sue block: Gratiot County Quilt Trail

As an avid quilter, I chose the quilt patterns as a reflection of my personal quilting history. Sunbonnet Sue is a favorite pattern and has become my avatar.  One of my earliest quilts was a sampler of various Sunbonnet patterns.  Quilting wasn’t passed down through my family.  I don’t have quilts that my Grandmother made, although she sewed and taught me to crochet.  Rather, I’ve introduced both of my sisters to quilting, and we bond regularly over sewing and quilting activities.  I originally stitched a small Sister’s Choice quilt for a guild challenge, then gifted it to my oldest sister, Roxanne.  The pattern seemed a fitting choice to represent my family quilting connection.

The Gratiot County Quilt Trail is producing a brochure that will be available in the Fall, so that enthusiasts can travel through the area and view each of the 50 blocks on display.  If you’re in the area, stop and visit our local city.  Enjoy a cup of coffee and a roll; it’s definitely worth the trip.

Enjoy!

 

I finished another baby quilt.  This seems to be my forte.  Thinking about it, a baby quilt is what got me started in quilting.  And I’ve made more baby quilts than any other quilted project over the last 30+ years as a quilter.  This particular quilt is for my nephew and wife, who are expecting their first child.

As quilts go, I like the scrappy ones a lot.  This one is made from several 9-patch blocks I’ve made while working on other quilt projects.  I will take scraps from projects, such as jelly roll strips or other small pieces, and cut them into 2-1/2 inch squares.  Then, I use lights and darks to make a 9-patch block.  These are usually sewn together as beginners and enders while sewing other projects.

Nine Patch Baby Quilt

I also received several 9-patch blocks as a gift from guild members when I completed two terms as the guild president.  From this collection of nine patches, I selected several with children’s prints and flower designs.  I chose a yellow dot fabric to make alternating blocks in the center of the quilt.  Nine patches surround the center like a border.  You may notice that the blocks alternate with five dark patches in the outside corners and center patch with blocks that have four dark patches in the opposite locations.

9 patch lower right

I completed all the machine quilting on my Bernina.  The yellow dot blocks were quilted first with a meander.  The nine patches are quilted in the dark patches by stitching a curve from corner to corner.  By alternating the blocks, I was able to complete the quilting in a continuous motion from block to block.  The design also created a circle around the light patches.

9 patch upper corner

More quilting.  I really enjoyed making this quilt.  And, I found out yesterday that I have a niece that is expecting her first child.  So, I’ll have to add another baby quilt to my projects for the year.

I wasn’t away so long this time and have been steadily progressing on other projects that I hope to write about.  Next up, a wedding quilt for another niece.  I’m also following The Splendid Sampler.  Have you joined?  Some pics of those blocks may show up here, as well.

Until next time…happy stitching!

Finishes

I recently read a comment by a blogger that said, “I’m a quilter that blogs, not a blogger that quilts”.  I wholeheartedly agree.  And, for several months, I have been quilting and not blogging.

I found myself at my blog site today and decided to write a few words and post a few pictures of quilts that I have finished over the last 6-7 months.

DSCN1574

Galaxy, my NQA 2014 Block of the Month, was finished in time to display at my local quilt guild show in September 2015.  Some of you may know that the NQA has dissolved it’s organization.  I received a final member letter December 29, 2015, outlining some of the final steps taken by the board.  It is sad to see the organization go, but not surprising.

Medallion

Medallion is my entry into the Circa 1825 quilt challenge for the American Quilt Study Group.  I finished the quilt in July and it was displayed at the annual Seminar in September 2015.

Sugar & Spice Quilt finished

Sugar & Spice is a queen size quilt I began last summer and finished just before Thanksgiving.  It is a pattern from Joan Ford‘s book Cut the Scraps and uses her Scraptherapy method.  The quilt was finished for my niece and her new husband, who were married in October 2015.

I also finished have finishes for projects that I did not photograph, but some of you may have followed the progress on my blog.  I completed two Feather Tree Advent calendars for each of my daughters to have for my grandchildren.  I was so determined to finish them to be used in December, that I neglected to take photographs of the finished feather tree quilt with all the wool ornaments attached.  You can look back at several blog posts about the wool ornaments, here, here, here, here, and here, that I made throughout 2013 & 2014.

I also completed two Christmas table toppers from my Groovy Girls Club days with my two sisters.  I spent November and part of December machine quilting both of the Advent calendars and table toppers.  And finally, I finished the binding on my second Dotty Quilt…finally.  I sent the quilt out to the long-armer in January last year.  I attached the binding, but never completed hand stitching it down until New Year’s Eve.  I decided that I wouldn’t move on to another project until the binding was finished.  As I think about it, the quilt really isn’t finished, because I still need to add the label.

I am on to other projects.  I always set quilting goals for the year.  Some are new and others are UFO’s and WIPs.  Maybe I’ll find the time to come back here and let you know about them.  Hopefully, I won’t be away for so long this time.

Happy Stitching!

I’ve been stitching together some pillows. Pillows make great small projects for trying out a quilt block, using up scraps, or just the satisfaction of completing a project. I’ve made three pillow projects in the last couple of weeks to give as gifts.

My purple string blocks, back a couple of posts, were made into an 18-inch pillow cover as a wedding gift for my nephew. I like to make the pillows with openings in the back, so that the cover can be removed and cleaned. Here is the finished pillow.

Purple String Pillow

Purple String Pillow

I also made a 16-inch pillow cover from string blocks using woodland fabrics. The fabrics are leftover strips from other projects that I save in small totes. I just sort out colors that fit with my theme and make the string blocks. This pillow top is also for a wedding gift for a co-worker. Unfortunately, I have a habit of finishing gifts at the last-minute and forget to snap pictures of the finished project before gifting. Here is the finished top before adding the back.

Woodland String pillow top

Woodland String pillow top

Over the last two days, I completed a third pillow. This one is a wedding gift for another co-worker. Her favorite color is aqua, which is a limited color in my fabric stash. Being frugal, I decided to use some fabric scraps, adding in a few other shades of blue. I picked up a yard of fabric for the backing at Wal-mart. This time, I didn’t make string blocks. The scraps included several 3-1/2 inch and 5-inch blocks cut up from other projects following the Scraptherapy process for using up your stash by Joan Ford. I also found an online tutorial on how to make a flange pillow edging. Although the tutorial suggested inserting a zipper in the back, I chose to make my usual cover with an opening.

Aqua Flange Pillow

Aqua Flange Pillow

Here is a look at the back.

Flange pillow back

Flange pillow back

As you can see, there is an opening across the entire back of the pillow. The edges have a 1-inch double fold hem and the two pieces overlap each other about seven inches. The pillow form can easily be removed and the pillow top laundered.

It feels great to finish these projects, since they have put other quilt projects on hold. I’ll put these pillows into gift bags with a little tissue paper and get back to piecing a challenge quilt that is due soon.

Enjoy!

The American Quilt Study Group has self-published a book on their 2014 Civil War quilt study. Titled, In War Time: A Study of Civil War Era Quilts 1850 – 1865, the book features all 50 of the study quilts that were displayed at the 2014 AQSG Seminar along with photos of the inspiration quilts and the written statements. I am excited to get my copy of the book, since I participated in the quilt study and had my Rose of Sharon quilt on display at the 2014 Seminar.

In War Time

AQSG 2014 Quilt Study book

On display at Bay Heritage Quilter's Guild April 2015 quilt show.

Rose of Sharon quilt on display at Bay Heritage Quilter’s Guild April 2015 quilt show.

Studying quilts and quilt history brings to light our past, uniquely telling the stories of women. Facts and myths about American quilt history proliferate in the quilting world, and studying quilts aids historians in recognizing those stories that are merely fiction. The DAR Museum in Washington DC has an exhibit on display until September 5th, Eye on Elegance: Early Quilts of Maryland and Virginia that debunks some of those myths. Mary Fons put out a Fireside Chat on a recent Quilty episode busting five common myths related to American quilting. Check it out here.

One myth is the idea that quilts were used to direct slaves North on the Underground Railroad (UGRR). In fact, many of you reading this sentence may get angry, scoff at the comment, or even stop reading this post altogether just for me stating that line. But, anyone interested in finding the truth will seek out reliable sources of information. I wondered about the idea when I first read Jennifer Chiaverini‘s fictional story, The Runaway Quilt, published in April 2003. In 2005, I was in Atlanta, Georgia walking through Underground Atlanta in the Five Points district when a sign caught my attention that directed passer-bys to an UGRR quilt show. The steps lead into an antique shop that featured an historical display of quilts, pictures, and stories advocating a quilt code used on the Underground Railroad. None of what I read convinced me that the stories verified a quilt code. After returning home, I researched the topic and found much more information on both sides of the aisle. Hidden in Plain View, authored by historians Jacqueline Tobin and Raymond Dobard, brought to light the idea of an UGRR quilt code. However, as any historian will tell you, history is constantly being retold as information is studied that brings new facts to bear on topics.

I’m not trying to convince any of my readers to change their minds, but hope that anyone truly interested in quilt history would search out the facts by studying the topic. I see so much of the quilt code myth being used to market quilting, whether through a book, fabric sales, or a quilt shop club. Some good resources to encourage study include noted quilt historian Barbara Brackman’s many published books, and her historical blogs here and hereHart Cottage Quilts also has a reliable website with an extensive look at the topic of quilts and the UGRR.

Book by Barbara Brackman

I hope that some of you ameteur historians, like me, will check out the AQSG website and the book on the recent quilt study. And delve into the topic of quilts and the UGRR for yourself.

Enjoy…

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