Monday, April 19, 2021

Charity Quilt #9 - Rail Fence

Still working through the box of scraps given to me by our charity quilt group.  This makes #5 from the box, and #8 since the first of December.  This pattern is super easy to make and is called rail fence.  All I did was to the sew the 2-1/2" strips into VERY long strips; sew 3 colors together, and cut them into 6-1/2" squares. 

The layout alternated the black on the bottom with the black on the left-hand side.  There are 120 blocks needed for this size, which is 60" x 72".  Here is the completed quilt top:

I hope you like it! 

Monday, April 12, 2021

Square in a Square calculator

I recently stumbled across a simple calculator for square in a square blocks on the internet.  Don't get me wrong -- I love math!  But rather than go back and figure this out again, or find something in my files, I hit the internet.  

Quilter's Paradise has developed a simple square in a square calculator.  You either enter the inside square or the outside square and their formula calculates everything for you! To get there, click on this link:

Square in a Square calculator from Quilters Paradise.  

I was trying to figure out the pieces for a 6" inner square and 12" second outer square.  Here's what the calculator gave me:

The first result is for the 6" inner square:

The second is for the 12" outer square:

Now, I can confidently make the blocks I need for an interesting quilt that starts with a double square in a square block.

I hope you can use this calculator too!  

Monday, April 5, 2021

Charity Quilt #8 - Modified First Crush

I'm still working through the fabric that was donated to our quilt guild.  I was able to make 2-1/2" strips and 5" squares from the fabric.  In December, I made First Crush, which was a pattern in the Charm School book by Vanessa Goertzen.   Here's what that quilt looked like:

This quilt is basically the same, except that I didn't have any more white fabric, so I pieced the long black strips to the long blue strips.  From those strips, I cut 4-1/2" squares and 4-1/2" x 8-1/2" rectangles.  

I pulled some yellow fabric from my stash and used that to make the half square triangles.  Here's what each block looked like before it was pieced.

I didn't like the look of the quilt when I laid it out like the first one, so I turned some of the squares this way and that until I liked the layout.  And here is what the modified version ended up looking like.  It's 61" x 73".

I hope you like it! 

Monday, March 29, 2021

Owl Art Quilt - Final - "Hootie"

This is a continuation of 2 previous posts about the making of the owl art quilt, ad the final one of "Hootie".

I decided to paint the owl since there were so many tiny little pieces in its breast feathers.  The process was the same that I've used in previous quilts, which is basically a paint by number technique.  I made sure to shade the outside edges of the owl to make it look more like it was in the shadow of the tree, and also shaded the tree itself.  I also decided to add the moss around the hole, instead of just the left and right top.

The owl got a lightweight stuffing underneath it and the edges were glued to the backside.

The tree got two layers of batting underneath it to give the whole piece more depth and the moss was placed on the edges of the tree.

It was lightly quilted and bound with traditional binding to match the tree color.  It measures 15-1/2" W x 20" H.

I hope you like it!

Monday, March 22, 2021

Owl Art Quilt - Part Two

This is a continuation of a previous post about the making of the owl art quilt.  I sent my concept picture to my sister for her review.  It was the wrong type of owl!  So she sent me a recent picture of "Owlie" who is still living around Wellton, Alaska. 

Here is the revised picture with the right owl in it:

I traced the picture and intended to take it to a copy shop to enlarge, but then decided that I could do this simple enlargement at home.  

I painted the background fabric (the tree) by first gluing tissue paper to muslin, and tinting it with acrylic paint.  

Then I made some moss with yarn, thread, and wool roving.  It was formed on a base of tulle covered with Solvay, stitched with green thread, rinsed, and dried.  I even put some of the real owl's feathers into the moss.  When the moss dried, it had a realistic texture.

I placed some plain black fabric underneath the tree, moss and sketch of the owl.  It seemed like it was too high up in the hole in the tree, so I moved the owl down a little bit.  

Next, I worked on the owl to be placed in the hole.  See the next blog on the final art quilt.  I think you'll like it!

Monday, March 15, 2021

Owl Art Quilt - part One

My sister sent me photos of an owl near her property in Alaska and some of it's feathers a few years back.  I sketched it up and had plans to make it when I was doing a lot of nest art quilts.  Well, other quilts and plans got scooted in front of it and, before I knew it, it had fallen off my list of quilts to make.  Guess I got tired of seeing it week after week, month after month, and year after year on the list.  Best to start with a fresh list and not beat myself up about unfinished projects, even if they had never been started.  My thinking is that is what a sketch book is for - ideas that you might use some day.  Here were my sketches back then:

Since all of my outside activities with friends and family got cancelled due to the continued surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths, I had time to get this project kicked back to the top of the list.  I didn't like any of my original sketches, so I hunted on Pinterest and the internet for more ideas.  It's pretty neat to be able to print them out and paste them into your sketch book.  (Do you know how to do a print screen on your computer?  Just hit Alt+PrtSc, which puts the image into your clipboard.  Then, in a word document, hit paste, and there it is.  From there, just treat it as one picture, which you can crop and move around.)

In the end, I liked the owl looking out from a nest in the tree.  And I liked another picture of an owl.  So, I imported them both into Photoshop and merged the two images.  Here it is printed out:

I decided to make it about 18" tall and paint some fabric again!  It was so much fun on the hiking art quilt!  

Stay tuned for more on this art quilt!

Friday, March 12, 2021

Pets helping me (?) make quilts

We have a cat and a dog now and both like it best when I give them my undivided attention.  When I don't, they make it so that I can't ignore them.

Here's our dog anchoring a quilt that I was attempting to sew a label on.

Here's our cat preening on top of my cutting table with a quilt underneath him that I was trying to trim.

And here they both are in the morning as I was trying to sip my coffee and read the paper.

I think I need a bigger house. Or least a bigger chair!

Monday, March 8, 2021

Charity Quilt #7 using 2-1/2" strips and 6" blocks

This quilt was made with scraps donated to our charity group from a local bicycle skirt manufacturer.  I added some fabric from my stash to give it a little more tropical feel.  It started with 6" blocks and 2-1/2" strips.  The 2-1/2" strips were sewn together into super long strip sets (the pink and the black).  They were sewn to one side of the 6" block, pressed and trimmed.  And finally, the strip set was sewn to the other side of the 6" block, giving me 10" squares.  The quilt is 57-1/2" x 67".

I hope that somebody will love this quilt when they get it from our charity group!

Friday, March 5, 2021

Mariner's Compass and Pickle Dish Quilt - All Done!

This is the final installment of the Mariner's Compass and Pickle Dish Quilt.  I wrote so many blogs about the making of this quilt, and many of them probably showed my frustration with this very challenging pattern.  But, like most of my quilts, I loved it in the end.

Su Holmes quilted this one for me on her longarm machine.  She used a digital pattern called "Spiral Maze" designed by Krista Withers, who is a friend of mine from Seattle.  Krista used to do quilting for me and many of my friends in Seattle and Sammamish, but quit doing that and instead is designing modern digital quilting patterns.  I loved her work then and love her designs now!    

And thanks to Su, I now have a finished quilt.  It's 90" x 90" and I named it "In a Pickle".

I hope you love it too!

Monday, March 1, 2021

January charity quilts #6- Rock Star

 I've fallen in love with the book "Charm School" by Vanessa Goertzen.  This quilt that I made for our charity group is called Rock Star.  Vanessa made her quilt 69" x 81"; mine is 61" x 73".

It was really fun to pull out some of my old Hawaiian fabric to go with the donated fabric scraps by a local bicycle skirt manufacturer.  I used the same scraps cut into 2-1/2" strips for the outside border.

I hope you like it!

Monday, February 22, 2021

January Charity Quilt #5 - First Crush

After I got a huge pile of scraps from our charity quilt coordinator, I made a few more quilts in January.  Here is a pattern that I found in a book called "Charm School" by Vanessa Goertzen.  She called this one First Crush.  Her quilt was 72" x 84", but I made mine 60" x 72".  

It's more colorful in person, but I think you get the idea of what it looks like.  And I hope you like it!

Monday, February 15, 2021

More charity quilts

December is the month that I like to set aside to make quilts for charity.  I wrote a previous blog about 4 quilts that I made and donated to my quilt guild.  Guess what?  When I dropped them off with our coordinator, she asked me if I liked using scraps, and before I knew what I was saying, I said enthusiastically, "YES"!

"Oh good", she replied.  "Come on in and let's go into the charity quilt set-up in my garage."  One of our members had just dropped of 6 boxes - yes 6 boxes full - of scrap cotton fabric from a local manufacturer of bicycle skirts.  I didn't know that bicycle skirts were made of cotton, so I tried to back out, but she quickly assured me the fabric was all cotton.

You probably know what happened next.....

A huge pile of fabric ended up sitting on my drafting table, just waiting to be made into more quilt tops.  I think January will now also be a month for making quilts for charity.  Hey, what else am I going to do?  Everything is still shut down because of COVID-19, and we can't go and visit anybody and they can't come and visit us.

I hope you are also finding things to keep you occupied (and productive).💚

Monday, February 8, 2021


Do you have as many ideas floating around in your head as I have?  I swear that I will have to live to be 100 just in order to sew up all the things that I want to make!

I have several sets of placemats that I use seasonally.  My Christmas placements have a holiday theme on one side and plain red fabric on the other side, so they last through Valentines.  The fall ones have a Halloween theme on one side and orange fabric on the other side, so they go from the fall through Halloween.  But for much of the year, I don't have any that I have made and use store bought placemats.  Not that there is anything wrong with buying them, but they are looking ratty and I wanted to make some more.

Two yards of fabric makes 4 placements.  One yard is for the front, and one yard is for the back.  You also need 1 yard of lightweight batting. (And material for binding.)

Cut the fabric into 4 rectangles, apx. 14" x 20" (assuming your fabric is 36" x 42").  

Layer one fabric on the bottom, right side facing down, one layer of batting, and one layer of fabric, right side facing up.  Quilt as you like and stitch around the outside edge.  Apply binding. (I zig zagged the edges on one of the new sets, but don't recommend it as an edge finish!)

And voila!  There you have 4 placements that are two sided. 

Here is a set that I made for spring, showing both sides:

And here is a set that I made for summer, showing both sides:

I hope that you like them! 

P.S. Here is why I didn't like the zig zag edging:

I had to steam press them and spray them with starch to get them to lay flat.  Over time, I will have to do that every time they get washed too.  😕

Monday, February 1, 2021

Charity quilts #3 & 4

 Here are the 3rd and 4th quilts going to charity.

I hope you like them!

Monday, January 25, 2021

Charity quilt pattern and picture

December has traditionally been the month that I make charity quilts.  Since I had a lull in the action on my quilts, I pulled out some scraps and went for it!  I developed a quick and easy pattern:

60” W x 75” H
From your scraps:
Feature fabric(s) Cut 60 each 5-1/2” squares
Coordinating fabrics dark:  Cut 90 each 6” square
Coordinating fabrics light:  Cut 90 each 6” square
Preparing the half square triangles
Draw a line on the diagonal of the light 6” squares
Place a light fabric right sides together with a dark fabric
Sew ¼” on both sides of the diagonal line
Cut on the diagonal line
Press the seams towards the dark fabric.
Trim all of the half square triangle blocks to 5-1/2” x 5-1/2”
You should have 180 half square triangles
You will end up with 12 blocks across and 15 blocks down.
Layout the pieces to your liking, distributing the fabrics throughout the quilt.
Sew the 15 squares in each vertical row.
Press the first, 3rd, and every odd row with all the seams facing down.
Press the second, 4th, and every even row with all the seams facing up.
Sew the vertical rows together, nesting all the seams in opposing directions.
Press all of these vertical seams in one direction – right or left.
Stay stitch the outside edges by sewing a scant ¼” around all the edges
You’ll need backing that measures 68” x 83”.  This can be made with scraps.

And here's the first two:

I hope the people who get these quilts will like them!

Monday, January 18, 2021

Bryce Canyon Shadow Quilt Part 5 - FINAL

This is a continuation of 4 previous posts about the making of the Bryce Canyon Shadow quilt.

The next thing that I tackled was the picture of my husband.  I decided to add him in black and tones of gray so that it would stand out against the colored background. I used a similar technique that I used on a tree against a colored background a few years ago. The figure was put together using fusible web and a non-stick sheet. And of course, I forgot to take progress pictures!

After all the pieces were in place, I ironed them to fuse them together and let them cool.  Then I transferred the figure to the quilted background and fused it down.  The final step was to sew around all of the edges.

Sometimes, I straighten the edges on my art quilts, and sometimes I square it all up and add binding.  Since the paper fabric was pretty stiff, I knew that it would be hard to turn the edges to the back.  So, binding seemed to be the logical choice.  Black also seemed a natural choice.  Here it is all done!  It measures 31" W x 45" H.

I hope you like it.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Bryce Canyon Shadow Quilt - part 4

 This is a continuation of 3 previous posts about the making of the Bryce Canyon Shadow Quilt.

After the pieces of "paper" fabric dried, I added more paint and tinted each section darker than the first one, until I achieved 4 tones of each colors.  Then I took pictures of the pieces in monotone to make sure that I had enough difference for the pieces to show.  

Now that I had all the base materials, it was time to put them together on the design wall.

I cut out sections of the pattern, pinned that to the right shade of each color, cut around the sections and spray basted them directly to the batting, which was placed underneath the full sized pattern.

After all the main pieces were placed, I cut out all of the little pieces and pasted them to the background.  I don't know if I would do this again; you can barely see the little spots of color against the background, which already had plenty of variation.

I placed a piece of gray tulle on top of the background.  Then I placed 3 layers of black tulle underneath the section of the shadow.  I sewed around this a couple of times, then cut away the excess.  

I hope that you like the progress so far.