Monday, September 20, 2021

African fabric quilt top #2

I had enough African fabric left over from the first African quilt top, so I made this second one.  I changed up my design a bit, by making the triangle pieces smaller and more wonky and eliminated the smaller blocks.  I also was more cognizant of the size, keeping it to 60" x 72".

I made it with square in a square blocks, strip pieces blocks, and wonky foundation pieces.  

I hope you like it.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Sewing a wonky foundation pieced pattern

I made some wonky foundation pieced strips for the second African fabric quilt.  This post is to show you how to do that piecing.  Warning:  it is complicated!

1.  Draw the pattern onto freezer paper.  The finished size of the strip was 6" W x 18" L.  So the pattern was drawn to these dimensions.  (Hint:  I find that adding the seam allowance makes it much harder to tear away the freezer paper.  This means that you must remember to add the allowance around the edges.)   Draw a line 3/8" in from both of the long edges.  This will be where the points will end up, and not on the edge.  (I like this look a lot better than precision pieced points.)  Draw in the triangles, making sure to alter their angle and width to get that wonky look.

2.  Cut the strips of dark and light fabric 1" wider than the width of the strip and WOF.

3.  Lay the first color underneath the pattern and cut out the shape generously.  I like to leave about 1/2" around all the edges to make sure that I don't have to tear out the seams and try again.  Pin it in place with the right side down and the paper on the top.

4.  Place the second color underneath the pattern; lining up the top and bottom of the strip horizontally.  Eying where the fabric is supposed to cover it's shape, cut out the shape generously.  (Hint: fold back the pattern and trim the seam to be sewn even with the shape of the pattern, but leaving 1/2" allowance.  Fold back the pattern on the other side, and trim even with the shape of the pattern and also leaving 1/2" allowance.)  Remove this piece and set it just to the right.

5.  Using a thin ruler or long post card, place this on the seam to be sewn.  Fold back the paper, and trim the first fabric 1/4" away from the edge.  A ruler that adds 1/4" is very helpful.  This picture shows the thin ruler underneath and the 1/4" ruler on top.

6.  Flip and place the second piece underneath and line up the seam allowance, making sure that the left side seam is  the side being lined up.  Also, make sure that the wide side is opposite of the previous strip (Hint: if the wide side is down on the previous piece, the next piece should have the wide side at the top).  There is a bit of flipping and turning using this method, so I apologize in advance for how confusing this is to write up.  The main thing to remember is that the seam allowance is trimmed on the first piece before the next piece is sewn on.  And that the second piece has a seam allowance that matches the first piece, but is flipped right sides together with the first piece and underneath the paper. Pin it in place.  The stack should be (1) paper with the lines visible, (2) the first fabric face down, and (3) the second fabric face up.

7.  Flip back the paper , leaving the two fabrics right sides together and only the seam allowances to the right side underneath the paper pattern, and sew right on the seam line with the paper on top and the fabric underneath, using a 1.8 mm to 1.9 mm stitch length.  Start and stop 1/4" outside of the top and bottom.  It works best if you place the second piece to favor the wide side, meaning that the point can be placed at the top of the paper and the wide side hangs over the bottom.

8.  Press the piece in place.  The freezer paper's waxy side will hold these pieces in place.

9.  Pick up the strip of the first fabric again and follow the above steps until the strip is complete.  Make sure to alternate the light and dark fabrics.  I used batik fabric, so both sides were the same.  If you are using a fabric that has a right side and a wrong side, you need to pay attention so that the right side of the fabric is facing down when you cut the piece, and right sides facing up when you sew the piece.

10.  Trim the piece 1/4" outside the edges of the paper.  The piece will be 6-1/2" W x 18-1/2" L.

11.  Sew the entire quilt top and then remove the freezer paper.

Monday, September 13, 2021

African fabrics

I ended up with another bag of fabric from my friend Bonnie Keller.  She served in the Peace Corps in Africa when she was in her twenties.  She's had this African and African inspired fabric for quite a while and hasn't been able to bring herself into cutting it and making a quilt with it.  I'm not sure if some of it was from 50 years ago, or if she purchased it more recently.  Anyway, she asked me if I was ready to tackle it.   I felt like this was a monumental request, and I really put my thinking cap on for a design.  Here are her fabrics and some that I collected to go with her African fabrics.  The darkest piece is a very dark blue batik, which coordinates with the blue in the African pieces.

I liked the idea randomly piecing blocks and setting the quilt off into 4 unequal quadrants.  Here is my sketch:

I started with the square within a square blocks and mostly cut the center pieces at 8-1/2" x 8-1/2". A couple of them got trimmed to 6-1/2" x 6-1/2".   I tried to vary the size of the square blocks by adding different width of strips, improv style.  Here they are in place on the design wall:

Then I started cutting strips between 1" and 3" wide.  Here's the pile of the strips:

I sewed these together with wonky seams so that I would end up with a big pile of strip sets.  From these, I cut the strip blocks.  Here they are on the design wall with the square blocks.

The next thing that I sewed was the triangle sets.  I pieced these together on freezer paper to keep the diagonal sides from stretching.  Here they are on the design wall along with the other pieces.  

The piecing from there on was pretty straight forward, since I had designed the quilt in 4 quadrants.  Here is the top all sewn together.  It measures 66" W " x 78" L".  It's a tad too big for the size the charity group usually likes, but this is just how big it ended up being by the time I added borders.

I hope you like it.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Geometric scrap quilt

I saw this pattern on Pinterest and decided to make it with fabric that was donated to me by Bonnie Keller, as well as some fabrics from my stash and a lot of plain black.  The previous geometric quilt tops that had a similar look got me excited about doing one a little more complicated.

The one that I made used her yellow, yellow-green, and green fabrics.  I added some blue and turquoise and olive green fabrics from my stash.  I changed the pattern up a bit and made the squares really small.  As in 3" finished size.  This one was a real puzzle. (I love puzzles and geometry!)  I don't think I could have made it without a design wall. 

I first made a bunch of half square triangle pieces, pairing the like colors with each other; yellow with yellow; blue with blue, etc.  Starting with 4" squares and trimming to 3.5" after sewing and pressing.  I placed them up on the design wall.  When there was a layout that I liked, I cut 3.5" wide black strips, to place in-between the colored rows.  I really polished my ability to multiply by 3 (6, 9, 12, etc.) to cut the strips to length. After enough of the pieces were sewn together, I placed a black ribbon around the edges so that I could see when I needed to add or stop with the blocks.  Here's a picture of the quilt top after it was all sewn together.

I decided to go ahead and quilt this top with my sit down longarm, and used thread to match the fabrics.  The black was all quilted with straight lines 1/2" apart; the colors were done in stones and marbles.

It ended up being 70" x 58". It will be gifted to my brother-in-law and his wife after it is exhibited in the Clark County Quilters show in October. 

I hope you like it!

Monday, August 30, 2021

3-D quilt in 4 colors

I saw this picture on Pinterest and decided that this would make a fun 3-D quilt.  

I made the blocks pretty small so that I would end up with a smaller quilt.  It's made with 3-1/2" finished blocks.  I used gray, black, white, and green, and in hindsight, should have put the two lighter colors together and the two darker colors together, instead of substituting green for the red.  Because of the value difference, I lost a lot of the 3-D effect.

Here's how I made it:

This is entirely made with half square triangles.  Determine where you want the different colors to be, and count the number of pieces you'll need.  (Sorry, I forgot to keep the count for the blog!).  Cut the squares 5", mark the center diagonal seam on one of the squares and sew them together for half square triangles.  Cut them apart, press towards the darker side and trim to 4" square.  You'll end up with six different combinations of blocks, as shown below:

Lay the blocks out according to the picture, sew the rows and press each row in opposite directions.

Sew the rows together, pressing the seams all in one direction. 

Stay stitch around the outside edge.

For quilting, I ran parallel lines in the areas that that are supposed to look like long lines on the diagonal.  And then quilting heavily in the background spaces to "push" those areas to the back.

The quilt ended up being 42.5" W x 56" H.

I hope you like it - now I just to figure out what to name it.  Can you help?

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Dying fabric

Our quilt guild hosted a fabric dying class recently and I was thrilled to get into the class and learn a little more about fabric dying.  One guild member hosted the workshop in her yard and the other guild member prepared all of the fabric dye and material for the class.  PLUS, she brought all the containers and squirt bottles, measuring cups and spoons, and fabric soap.  It was so amazing that both of these women went to so much work ahead of the class for all of our benefit.  Bravo!

The first gradation that we dyed was of one color, with 8 steps.  I used blue.  Here are they dye cups from the class, and the first gradation:

The next set was a rainbow gradation of 12 colors, using 3 primary colors of dye.  Here's my set:

The last set that we dyed was a gradation of 9, using 2 primary color dyes.  Here is my set:

It was a wonderful day and I ended up with some really cool fabric.

And P.S. They had donuts, cookies, and coffee in the morning, and chocolate in the afternoon.  What's better than that!

Monday, August 23, 2021

Pale Green Charity Quilt

I saw this pattern on Pinterest and decided to use the pale green scraps that were donated to me by Bonnie Keller.  I don't know if Sweetwater is the name of the designer's company or the name of the pattern, but isn't cute?

I added some of the pale green, darker green, and brown fabric from my stash.  Without any preconceived size, I just pieced 60 degree triangles together in vertical rows until I had at least 12 or 13 triangles.  This ended up at about 65 inches in length.  I added 5" strips between the double rows of triangles and at each side.  It was finished off with 5" borders on the top and bottom.  

Here's the finished quilt top.  It measures 64" x 75".

I think the original is much sweeter, but when you have scraps, you do the best you can.  I hope you like it.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Zig Zag Scrap Quilt #2 in 2021

I finished a really cute and modern zig zag scrap quilt.  It was the same pattern I used on a previous quilt with turquoise and blue fabrics.  This one turned out a lot better because I used the same solid white for all of the background pieces.  The purple fabric was donated to me by Bonnie Keller from her stash.  I've lost count (again) on how many quilt tops I've made for our charity quilt group this year.  I'm definitely on a roll!

This quilt is 65" x 70", and was made with 5" finished squares.

I hope you like it!

Monday, August 16, 2021

Charity Quilt - 2021 - Alternating Stars

This quilt top, made for the Clark County charity group, utilizes a focus fabric and dark and light fabrics that coordinate with the focus fabric.  Most of this fabric was donated to me by Bonnie Keller, and some was donated from the stash by the charity group.

It is 72" x 72", and uses 10-1/2" squares from the focus fabric, 25 squares of the light fabric that were 5-1/2", and 80 half square triangles made from the light and dark fabrics.

I hope you like it!

Monday, August 9, 2021

Shisha mirror embroidery part two

This is the second post about embroidering the shisha mirrors onto an art quilt.

The advice that I was given was to quilt the background first and then do all the embroidery.  And to start with the embroidery in the center of the quilt and work towards the edges.  This was supposed to make it easier to handle with the mirrors already attached.  I decided that I needed to applique colored fabric background pieces for all of the flowers.  After I did that, I quilted the background and around the flowers.  And to make it really soft, I went ahead and washed the piece after serging the edges.

This is a closeup of the shisha mirror embroidery and some of the beading.  

After I added these mirrors, I realized that I should try to finish the rest of the embroidery before attaching more mirrors.  So, here are some stem stitches, as well as some random long and cross stitches to fill in the background space.

I hope you like it so far and stay tuned for the completed quilt.

Monday, August 2, 2021

Ideas for a reflection quilt using Shisha mirrors

I had a few shisha mirrors on hand that were left over from a previous project.  When the 'Reflection' theme was announced as our quilt show theme for 2021, I thought that this might be a good time to drag them out and USE them.  Don't you find that you have an urge to USE STUFF or PURGE STUFF since we've all been locked in for a year; staring at our stuff?  Anyway, here are sketches of some ideas:

The sketch with the extra large artistic flower among a field of smaller flowers appealed to me the most, so that's the one I ran with.  I pulled out a really cool background fabric that I had in my stash and played around with freezer paper shapes to get a better idea of the scale and amount of flowers that I would use.

This piece needed a lot of embroidery.  When I got ready to pull out my embroidery floss, I remembered that I had loaned it to one of my granddaughters and told her she could use whatever she wanted.  Well...  I texted her Mom and said that I needed to pick up the supplies that were left and she said, "Oh no.  I think she's literally used it all!"  You know what, that made me happy!  I like the idea that my granddaughter(s) are interested in my stuff and can figure out a way to do things with their hands.  And, this kind of gave me an excuse to buy some hand dyed variegated threads.   

I asked one of my long time friends, Kathy, to meet me at a local embroidery shop and help me figure out what I needed and how to do the embroidery.  She was immensely helpful, as was another lady in the shop, and here is what I ended up with:

There are hand dyed silk from Dinky Dyes.  So beautiful!

Here are the fabrics that I pulled out of my stash to use for the flowers.

I can't wait to start the handwork on this piece! 

Monday, July 26, 2021

Charity quilts 2021 - Stripes and red white and blue - Two quilts

I've lost count again on how many charity quilts I've made in 2021.  I turned in a bunch of finished tops and picked up more fabric.  I was especially looking for striped fabric that would go with some of the material that had already been donated to me.  I found this great red, white and blue stripe with a hint of green.  And there was enough to use it all throughout two quilts.

Both of these quilts use just plain old 6" squares.  I cut the striped fabric on the bias and then played around on my design wall with the layout.  There are 11 rows of 13 squares, or a total of 143 squares.  Both quilt tops ended up being 60.5" x 71.5".

I hope you like them! 

Friday, July 23, 2021

Charity Quilt - 2021 - Opposing squares #2

I am still working through the box of material that was given to me by Bonnie Keller.  I previously made this pattern from the overdyed blue fabric.  This one is with two shades of green fabric and solid black, and I call it "Opposing Squares".

It's all made with half square triangles, that started with 6" squares that were sewn together, then trimmed to 5-1/2".  The quilt is 60" x 70".

I hope you like it.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Charity quilt 2021 - brown and gold fabrics - Cross

I've really been on a roll since December in making charity quilts and quilt tops.  I started out using materials and scraps from my stash.  Then I made a bunch with boxes of material that were donated to Clark County Quilters.  Then I got two boxes of fabric from Bonnie Keller's stash.  With each quilt, I'm using a bit of my material too, so my pile is getting smaller.  Which is a good thing.  Most of us stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic really took a good look at our belongings.  And most of us wanted to purge a lot of stuff.  We're almost out of the closures and restrictions, but there are still a lot of places that require masks and people are still being cautious.  Maybe, we will all decide to live with less and whatever our new normal will be when this is all over.

This quilt was made with brown and gold fabrics, with a little bit of tan tossed in.  It was the same pattern that I used for the cross quilt.  Nearly all of the 6" squares were sewn together, then cut apart into half square triangles.  It also used 24 each of 5-1/2" squares for the center cross.

It is 60" x 70".

I hope you like it.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Charity Quilt - Opposing triangles #2

I made a beautiful quilt top from overdyed fabrics from this same pattern (described in an earlier post).  This one was made with brown and tan fabrics from my stash and pink/brown fabrics given to me by Bonnie Keller.  And it's kind of pretty too - but more antique looking than the modern looking one made before.

It was pretty simple to make.  Here's what you need for the 65" x 70" quilt.

From the darkest brown:  13 @ 6" squares; 2 @ 5-1/2" squares; 2 @ 5-1/2 x 15-1/2" strips; 2 @ 5-1/2 x 25-1/2" strips; and 2 @ 5-1/2" x 35-1/2" strips.

From the medium brown:  23 @ 6" squares
From the light brown:  19 @ 6" squares
From the tan: 14 @ 6" squares
From the lighter tan:  6 @ 6" squares
From the pink/brown scraps:  75 @ 6" squares
Sew the brown squares with the pink/brown scraps squares and cut into half square triangles.  
Press towards the brown fabrics.
Trim to 5-1/2" x 5-1/2" squares.
Lay out according to the pictures.
Sew the columns together, pressing each in opposite directions.
Sew the rows together and press all in one direction.
Stay stitch around all the edges.

I hope you like it!

Monday, July 12, 2021

Charity quilt - Modified Cross

This is the same quilt that I posted previously about which I hadn't named, but I think I will call it "Cross". 

For this quilt, I didn't use any overdyed fabric, just the blue that was in the box of fabric donated to me by Bonnie Keller and meant for making charity quilts for men.  I added some red and burgundy fabric that I had in my stash, as well as some Riley Blake striped navy and white fabric that I purchased.

For this quilt you'll need the following:

12 @ 5-1/2” squares of red fabric
12 @ 5-1/2” squares of burgundy fabric
32 @ 6” squares of striped fabric
54 @ 6” squares of blue fabric
40 @ 6” squares of white fabric
18 @ 6” squares of plaid fabric

Sew 18 squares of white with the plaid to make 36 Half square triangles
Sew 22 squares of white with blue to make 44 Half Square triangles
Sew 32 of the blue squares with the striped to make 64 Half square triangles
Press towards the darker side
Trim to 5-1/2” squares
Lay out the squares according to the picture.
Sew the rows together and press each in opposite directions
Sew the columns together and press in one direction.
Stay stitch around the outside edge.

I hope you like it!

Tuesday, July 6, 2021


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Monday, July 5, 2021

Charity quilt #5 with overdyed fabric - Opposing Triangles

I've written 4 previous posts about the quilts that I made with overdyed fabric.  Bonnie Keller gave me two huge boxes of old fabric that she wasn't going to use, and I overdyed a lot of it.  I saw a picture of this quilt on Pinterest and used it for the inspiration for this quilt.  

It's 65" x 70", which is the size that our charity group likes to work with.  Mostly made with half square triangles, it also includes some longer strips of the background fabric.    Since I wanted to alternate yellow with the gray background, I made 150 half square triangles, pairing the overdyed fabric with the background as follows:

From the yellow:  50 (from 25 @ 6" squares of both colors)

From the light gray:  46 (from 23 @ 6" squares of both colors)

From the medium gray:  28 (from 14 @ 6" squares of both colors)

From the darkest gray: 26 (from 13 @ 6" squares of both colors) and  2 strips at 5-1/2" x 35-1/2"; 2 strips at 5-1/2" x 25-1/2"; 2 strips at 5-1/2" x 15-1/2"; and 2 each 5-1/2 x 5-1/2" squares.

I hope you like it!

Friday, July 2, 2021

Charity quilt #4 using overdyed fabrics - Opposing Squares

I've written 3 previous posts about the quilts that I made with the overdyed fabric.  Thanks to Bonnie Keller for not only giving me the fabric, but also in helping me figure out how to dye the fabric.  This quilt top was made with predominately purple fabrics and some fabric from my stash.  I found a similar quilt on Pinterest.

Here is the finished quilt top, which measures 60" x 70".  Its all made with half square triangles.  I used 84 of the bluish purple, and 84 of the reddish purple.

I hope you like it!

Monday, June 28, 2021

Charity quilt #3 with overdyed fabric

This is the third quilt top that I've made with the overdyed fabric that I made with scraps given to me by a friend.  The other two were in the navy and royal blue tones.   This one was made with the turquoise fabric and some of her black scraps.  I added a bit of gray here and there to lighten it up a bit.  It's 65" x 70" and is intended for a male recipient.  It's been donated to our Clark County Quilters charity group.  

The main thing that I learned from making this quilt is an old lesson - pay attention to the value of the fabrics.  I don't think this quilt is successful for that very reason.  I mixed light turquoise with dark fabrics, and medium and dark turquoise with med and light grays.  Rather than a strong zig zag pattern, I ended up with a mish mash.  Lesson learned (again!).

Here was my inspiration, which has a strong value difference between the red and the gray/black background.  I found this on Pinterest and am assuming it was a quilt designed by Victoria Finley called "Fractured".  I fell in love with the modern graphic nature of this quilt.

And here is the quilt that I made:

Here's how I sewed this quit together:

Unit #1  Start with 46 of each color, stack them right side up, do the slash 2” from the left top to 4” from the left bottom.  Swap the top and bottom layers on one side and sew back together.  Trim to 5-1/2” x -5-1/2”.  You’ll end up with 92 each 5-1/2” squares.

Unit #2  Start with 41 of each color, stack them right side up, do the slash 4” from the left top to 2” from the left bottom.  Swap the top and bottom layers on one side and sew back together.  Trim to 5-1/2” x -5-1/2”.  You’ll end up with 82 each 5-1/2” squares.

Solid squares  Cut 8 each 5-1/2” solid squares


Lay out the squares according to the picture below and by this count:

Row 1:  5 each Unit #1; 7 each Unit #2 and 1 solid block

Row 2:  8 each Unit #1; 5 each Unit #2

Row 3:  5 each Unit #1; 7 each of Unit #2 and 1 solid block

Row 4:  5 each Unit #1; 8 each Unit #2

Row 5:  5 each Unit #1; 7 each Unit #2 and 1 solid block

Row 6:  4 each Unit #1; 9 each Unit #2

Row 7:  8 each Unit #1; 4 each Unit #2 and 1 solid block 

Row 8:  6 each Unit #1; 6 each Unit #2 and 1 solid block

Row 9:  8 each Unit #1; 5 each Unit #2

Row 10:  7 each Unit #1; 5 each Unit #2 and 1 solid block

Row 11:  8 each Unit #1; 5 each Unit #2

Row 12:  9 each Unit #1; 3 each Unit #2 and 1 solid block

Row 13:  6 each Unit #1; 7 each Unit #2

Row 14:  8 each Unit #1; 4 each Unit #2 and 1 solid block

Sew the columns together and press alternate rows opposite directions.

Sew the rows together.  Press in one direction.

Stay stitch 1/8” around all the edges.  I started with 6" squares, layered them right sides up, slashed them on the diagonal, then switched the pieces to form two new squares.  Those squares were trimmed to 5-1/2".   

I hope you like the quilt and can use the pattern!