Friday, July 30, 2010

Christmas Blocks

Got a Kate Spain Christmas fabric layer cake that's wonderful and having so much fun making up blocks. Most are from a book already mentioned on here: 301 Country Christmas Quilt Blocks by Cheri Saffiote, printed 2002. All sorts of techniques, but mostly doing pieced ones. I'm also using ideas from other places. Last nite the ones done and in progress counted up to 48! And that's not all I want to do, so obviously they're not all going to fit into one quilt, but I'm intrigued by trying so many different blocks. I've added in some other fabrics--in fact, looking at the poinsettia one I noticed there's not any Kate Spain fabrics in there, but most blocks do have hers in them. The blocks are turning out to be all sorts of sizes, but mostly less than 10 inches. A couple have turned out to be 12" so am thinking they will be a pillow top or a mini quilt or two.

So far my very favorite is one called Poinsettia Wreath. The directions in the book are quite minimal and don't make sense to me on some of them. The book has two or three blocks per page; includes a picture; includes some direcctions; and includes a black and white drawing. This one was just not working at all, so decided to draw the pattern out on printer paper, then trace each section on a separate paper and add seam allowances. I then numbered each section on the pattern in the order they'd be sewn. Am so pleased with it and just love the block. Did it so the background color (yellow) was two different yellows--wouldn't do that again, but it'll be ok. I can see a whole quilt done in this design. The design consists of four small blocks with a flower in each. Think this could be done in several colors and layouts. It looks a lot like tulips to me!

The second picture is what I call the eighth block. It's based on 2 1/4 inch squares--size before sewing. Since it's copyrighted, I don't feel like I can put the pattern on here, but will tell you how I did it, so maybe you can figure it out. You need 16 yellow and 8 green squares. I think you could look at the eighth block and draw that out like I did, figure each section and add 1/4 inch seam allowances. I can't think of what that odd red piece is called--a parrallelogram of some sort? For me the way I figured out to sew it was to sew the small red and yellow triangles together--one is sewn with yellow on top, other with red. EVERY time I sewed them I had to look at the diagram to figure it out! Then I sewed one set to the right side of a yellow square, then sewed the other triangle set to the bottom of the square. This produces a small triangle that then was sewn to the long side of the odd red piece. Then sew the green triangle to the shorter side of the odd red piece. (for part of the sewing, there will be points hanging over at one or both ends) This all forms a square. I sewed a yellow and green square together, and two yellows to a middle green square. These rectangles were then sewn to the red/green/yellow square. Cannot tell you how many times I had to pick things out because I wasn't paying attention!! attention a whole lot better than I did!!
This one is called Christmas Tulips

This one is called North Wind--love how it looks with the fabrics chosen:

Peppermint Candy is one of my favorites, too: There are lots of patterns for blocks out there--lots of free ones!! Try it to add up to a Christmas or any other holiday or no holiday quilt, so give it a go.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Baby Girl Quilt Top & Start of Flip a Coin

This little quilt top is from scraps for Olivia's quilt. It's totally different and had so much fun putting together little bits and pieces to make the center part. Just kept building the rectangle with as many scraps as could figure out how to utilize them since the materials are all ones I just love. Then made "coins" for the side's adding a couple materials not in Olivia's. Fons and Porter have a quilt called "flip a coin" that uses a focus fabric, a stripe that coordinates and then using 11-12+ different fabric strips sewn together then sliced to make the coins.

I'm in the midst of making a lap size quilt out of the flip a coin in the very vibrant materials shown here. I sometimes get frustrated trying to cut long strips, so chose to tear (I KNOW that's a no no for some of you, but my shoulders and my psyche sometimes come in on the tearing side). It probably wasn't the best idea with the striped material, but it'll be ok. I envision my little girlie girls and boyly boys wrapped up in it when they come visit with or without their parents and can overlook a few oops places!! Hoping to upload a picture of stripe strips, coins and focus fabrics sewn in one of the sections, but it's not showing up in my email, so will have to load that later.

The pictures were taken with my phone, so not the best in the world, but you get the idea. Baby one was so ridiculously simple. Not exactly lined up on the sides, but happy with it. Thinking of using a vibrant green for a narrow border, but might end up using more pink or yellow and then use the green for the binding . Not sure if it'll have more of a border. Mostly I like smaller baby quilts so they work well with a brand new baby and then baby can drag it around. I try to make sure they're definitely washable and cuddly.

This is my "ironing mat". It's just a folded hand towel, over a quilted pad my sewing machine sits on. The area's not very big--and OOPS! noticed my plastic machine casing has met the iron once, but it works for me. I don't move easily, don't have a place close by the machine where an ironing board will fit anymore , soooooooo...this is the solution. Am thinking it would proably be a good idea to get a tiny travel iron but do like the heft of a regular sized one. It's utile and well utilized by me for most of the ironing needed as sewing progresses. Might try my little teensy ironing thingy next time sewing is in progress, but I tend to grab it in the wrong place all the time where it's HOT!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Marabella Quilt Peek

Well...I accepted a challenge to finish the Marabella quilt top this week for new little girlie girl Olivia. Got all the applique blocks done first as my philosophy is "eat your peas first, Eileen." I have decided applique is something I'd like to do more of, but it is time consuming. I knew the time thing going in so decided to get them out of the way. That went pretty well, but tried two different types of applique--lining with thin pellon and freezer paper. Neither worked really well for the leaves but freezer paper worked the best. Ended up doing fewer leaves!! And not sure I'd ever do anything pointy for applique again. I also hand sewed stems, leaves and vases, but used a pretty stitch on my machine to sew on the flowers. Didn't think my ancient fingers would like the hand sewing, but they did just fine.

Owlie blocks got done. Cut a bunch of strips for that then figured out the darling rose buds look so good if centered in the strips. I didn't pay attention to where the buds were when cutting--DUH!!!!!! Have been able to find enough strips to work--wow it's looking sooooooooo cute. Will be able to use those other sad strips in other things like string quilts, but geesh!!! Looked at the place I'd gotten the cute fabric (44th Street Fabrics) and there wasn't any more of it, so super stressed till able to figure it all out with the little bit of left over fabric.

I had to do some trimming on pieces of this to make them fit onto other pieces. Don't know why that happened as I was sure I'd cut everything so carefully. They've all worked out ok, but would like to figure it out as I love this pattern (Marabella by Wendy Sheppard in Quilter Magazine)and would like to do it again. Wendy has a blog called Ivory Spring--wonderful stuff. Aren't those corner pointy pieces just cute? Love those. She used lovely materials in mostly lavenders with some green and some red, but I changed them to use mostly pink fabrics that I'd bought when awaiting Olivia's birth but not knowing she was she!!

Have two corner pieces of the quilt put together and just finished the middle strip. I didn't really think when fussy cutting the darling owlie fabric that on point means they'll sort of be going several directions--oh, well. They're so adorable Can't wait to see sweet little granddaughter wrapped in it. (Just showing little snippets right now until it's ready and at Olivia's home)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Christmas Quarter Square Triangle Star and Wonky Stars

The quarter square triangles that make the points are one of my favorite things to make. They're so simple to do. Learned to do them when making the Victory Quilt by Quilt In A Day. She has a video library on her site--look for Silent Star for the directions if you've not done these before.

This is just one of several blocks I'm doing for my Christmas quilt. I'm not planning on it being too large, so will have lots of extra blocks for some other project(s). Just have to try a bunch of things not tried before by me, so think there may be as many as 30 or more blocks in the future and only want the Christmas quilt to be a lap size. I've also made a bunch of wonky star blocks both in Christmassy fabrics and others. has directions that are excellent. Printed them out--very long, but I did a print preview and ONLY ended up with 13 pages. Well worth it to me. Love tutorials that are this precise. Go try these--so cute and I want to do a whole quilt of them some day and try all kinds of prints. Tried three times to load the pictures but they won't--will try again later.

Love to hear your comments!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Go, Olivia!

Here's sweet little Olivia on her first trip home. She's showing her true colors--purple and gold for UW Huskies. Mom and Dad and many other family and friends are UW alums and someone sent her this cute little cap to wear. Isn't she just a cutie pie? Lucky grandpa gets to see her in person first, but I get to wait to meet and greet my littlest girlie girl in real life!! In the mean time, I'm enjoying the pictures mommy and daddy are sending.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Hi, Olivia!

We have a new granddaughter. Now I have four girlie girls and four boyly boys!! So happy for my son and his sweet wife to have a boy and a girl to love and care for. So excited for me to get to make her a pink, white and yellow quilt and a dolly and...oh, so many fun possibilities!

Olivia was born in the afternoon yesterday. Due to the wonders of the times, we've already seen her picture and a little video of her just moments after she arrived on this beautiful world. My first thought was I wanted to call my mom--she adored her grandkids. She'd have been so happy for Adam to have a girl to spoil along with his little boy. She passed away about 10 years ago, so I can't call, but I know she's aware of our family.

Doesn't little Olivia look like she's smiling already? Bet she's so happy to be with her mommy, daddy and big brother! We love you Olivia and can't wait to hold you. Grandma's thinking about your special song.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Baggy Ideas

These are pictures hubby took of one of my favorite bags--it's really a big size. For several years it was used when going to hydrotherapy. Holds a lot of stuff!! Now, it's being used to store some WIP's--non-quilting types, but mostly sewing things. I wanted to put it on here to illustrate how I make bags most of the time. Just love the sort of randomness of them. To start I make combo strips--sometimes I try to get similar sized pieces, but a lot of the time, it's just whatever I have on hand and then add little strips to make the pieces fit the one before it to make a strip as long as needed. Wish I'd taken process pictures while making it, but that was several years ago. When I make bags I have a size in mind and make combo strips that will be long enough to go around, or strips long enough for the height of the bag plus the bottom of it and a couple inches for turning under at the top of the bag. Sometimes the combo strips are sewn together with a plain narrow strip between them, other times without. You can see two combo strips in the picture of the whole bag with red strips on either side of them. There's a blue strip on each end.

You have two options for a lining--actually three, I guess if you want it more sturdy than I usually worry about. Usually I just lay out the fabric I've now created for the bag and cut a piece that's the same size, pin the pieces together and start sewing pretty stitches on each seam. I love to use a different stitch for each seam and usually different colors too--I'll do the same stitch and color randomly on a few seams, change color and stitch and do a few more seams, etc., etc. You can do the pretty stitching just on the fabric if you want. You can make a lining by making a second bag that you sew inside. You can also make the bag quilted by using batting, fleece, or there's a really thick pellon if you want something with lots of oomph. For this bag, there are four combo strips and six narrow red strips and two blue strips that all got sewn together into a tube after the pockets got sewn on. Sometimes I'm not paying attention and pockets get sewn on later when it's really inconvenient--like after the whole bag is just about finished--what, me??? I've been known to add velcro to pockets very late in the game. Anyway...after the tube stage, the bottom was sewn across, and then the corners were squared off. shows how to do it really nicely.
For handles, I just use strips about three to four inches across and turn under on the long sides. I like to sew down both sides with a pretty stitch--this works to give them a little stiffness and makes edges stronger. I do make sure to sew them on really well. Also sew the pockets on well with a little triangle stitching at the top of each side. You can add inside pockets if wish.

Hope you find this useful. People seem to like the vividness of the bags I make for them. As I showed in a previous post, I try to personalize them for the colors they like and their interests. I usually do add a little ladybug embroidery and/or hearts someplace to most of what I make. Since this was for me there's ladybugs, hearts and flamingoes--a little thing between hubby and me. Have fun trying this idea out. I'd love to see what you come up with!

Sunday, July 4, 2010


Hope you're having a great 4th of July wherever you are, and if you're an American that you're enjoying the bounties and beauties of this wonderful country. We live in a marvelous area--amidst hundreds of acres of apple, cherry and pear trees. We live on an acre of land with many trees and plants my dad, mom and brother have planted over the last 30+ years. We've planted a lot of things in pots, barrels and planters that we also enjoy seeing bloom this time of year. Our view is of beautiful trees, mountains and the river (well...the river in winter when the trees don't have leaves), but we know it's there. A few miles east of us the Wenatchee flows into the Columbia. 35 miles above us is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world--Lake Chelan. If my children lived here life would be complete. As it is, I am constantly thankful for modern communication that allows me to talk with and sometimes even see my darling grandchildren, and their parents. I feel very blessed and thankful to be an American.

My husband was in the U.S. Army and we spent many years moving from place to place. Mostly around the U.S. but also in Germany. That was a special experience. As my dear hubby reminded me today, if you went to the theater on base, the Star Spangled Banner was played before the movie and we all stood at attention and some sang along. Also, for several years if you were on base at 5 p.m. everyone stopped their cars and got out while taps was played--a daily reminder of the sacrifices of thousands and thousands to keep our country safe and secure--and to allow us the right to express our opinions--something not inherent in most countries--even those considered democracies. In case it's not clear, I'm proud to be an American and wish all of you a good day, wherever you are.

Here's a flag quilt Imade for DH a few years ago. It used to hang in his office at the college but now he's sharing a very small office so we get to have it here. Every seam has hand embroidery on it but that doesn't show because it's in matching threads. Hoping to get my Fourth of July table runner done soon--late, but oh, well!!