Friday, December 31, 2021

The End of 2021

Although I have not stopped making quilts, I am going to taper off my blogs.  My first blog was posted in May, 2015.  That's 6-1/2 years of showing you my inspirations, hick-ups, winners and losers.  And musing about all sorts of things, mostly related to quilting.  However, this will be my last regular blog about quilting.  I may still post a few things here and there.  


I have spent a year writing a daily paragraph about nature, and I really like going on a walk, taking a few pictures, and thinking about how much nature inspires me.  This is more of a private, contemplative type of writing, and isn't something that I want to turn into a blog.  

A huge thank you to all of my readers and all of the wonderful comments you've made over the years.  

And I hope you keep quilting and loving it too!

Charity quilt #5 from Kaffe Fassett fabrics - Flying colors

This is the 5th quilt top that I made from the box of donated fabrics from Audrey Prothero.  She loves Kaffe Fassett fabrics and has so much that she asked me to see if I could make some charity quilt tops from them.  December is the month of the year that I dedicate to making charity quilts and quilt tops (also baking Christmas cookies!).  I had lots of time to sew with the snowy weather this year.

I found this quilt as a free pattern from Art Gallery Quilts and its called "Flying Colors".  I purchased 3 yards of navy blue grunge for the background and used the Kaffe Fassett material for all of the colored pieces.  It's entirely made from flying geese blocks and using the no-waste method that is also detailed in the free pattern.  The quilt pattern makes a quilt that is 60" x 60".  That is a tad too short for our charity group, so I added 3 @ 3" strips at the top, middle and bottom.  This quilt top measures 60" x 69".

I hope you like it!

Charity quilt #4 from Kaffe Fassett fabrics

This is the 4th charity quilt top that I made from the donated Kaffe Fassett fabrics.  It is very similar to the one that I previously posted, but with the center square slightly higher. 

I purchased all of the brown grunge fabric for this quilt top at Fiddlesticks Quilt Shop in Vancouver, WA. The striped shot cottons were mostly green and red, giving this quilt a holiday feel.

I hope you like it!

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Charity quilt #3 from Kaffe Fassett fabrics

This is the 3rd quilt top that I made for charity from the donated Kaffe Fassett fabrics. 

I bought all of the solid brown fabric and used a lot of the shot cottons that were in the box of donated fabrics.  One more quilt top is in the process and will be uploaded in a few days.

I hope it will make someone happy!

Oh, and this is the sketch that I made for this quilt:

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Charity quilt #2 from Kaffe Fassett fabrics

This is the second quilt top that I made for our charity group from the donated Kaffe Fassett fabrics.

I made this with the scraps from "Diamonds in the Sky".  Some pieces from a couple of other fabrics were fussy cut, and then I added strips to the half square triangles to make them the same size.

It's 56" x 70".

 I hope you like it!

Monday, December 27, 2021

Charity quilt #1 with Kaffe Fassett fabrics

One of my small quilt group friends gave me two boxes of Kaffe Fassett fabrics to use for sewing charity quilts.  I added the off-white grunge for all of the sashing.  

This is the first quilt top from the box.  Its called "Diamonds in the Sky" and was designed by Melissa Lunden.  Finished size is 64" x 66".

I hope you like it!

Monday, December 20, 2021

New York Beauty Improv quilt, top is finished!

This is a continuation of many previous posts about the making of the New York Beauty improv quilt.

I tried out several different designs for the setting strips.  Here is what I decided.  This layout will end up with a quilt that will be 70" x 70".  Just the right size for me to be able to quilt on my sit-down longarm.

I pieced a few of the setting strips with alternating black and dark blue fabrics.  It seemed a little too dark, so I sewed the rest with some light blue pieces.   I brought in some more medium blue and red with circles set into the "center" of the New York Beauty blocks.  Here's the finished top.

I hope you like it!

Sunday, December 12, 2021

New York Beauty, improv quilt, part 4 or 5?

This is a continuation of previous posts about the making of the New York Beauty imrpov quilt.

All 16 blocks have been completed and trimmed to 14-1/2" x 14-1/2".  I arranged the blocks into groups of 4 that included points, circles, ovals, and wedges.  Here they are:

Next, I'll work on the design of the setting strips, and decide if I want them or not.  In the meantime, I found a new red hat for my birthday.

I hope you like it!

Monday, December 6, 2021

Improve quilt, making components that look like floating rectangles

This is a continuation of several posts about the making of the New York Beauty improv quilt.  This post about the making of another one of the components, which ends up looking like floating rectangles.

I cut a black strip of fabric at 1" wide, and two strips of white fabric at 1-1/2" wide.  They were sewn together into a strip set and pressed towards the center black strip.

I also cut a white strip at 3" wide.

The best way for me to describe my paper piecing is to show you the steps.  All of these steps are after you have your freezer paper foundation ready to go.

Step 1.  If all of the pieces are the same size and shape, just cut one template piece out of freezer paper and add 3/8" around all the outside edges.  For this piece, all of the them were a different size.  So, in this case, cut a template for each piece, number it and mark the left side.  

Step 2.  Pin the freezer paper template on the BACK of the fabric and cut out at least 3/8" around all the edges; even more if you are uncertain.  Make sure that the LEFT side of the template is parallel to the left side of the fabric, and at least 3/8" away.  Note:  Every other piece is solid white.

Step 3.  Place all of the templates/fabric pieces are in a pile with #1 on the top, and the left side on the left side. 

Step 4.  Pin the first piece in place, trim the seam to 1/4" and pick up the next piece and place it right sides together with the first piece, making sure that the LEFT side of the second piece is where you will be sewing the seam.

Step 5.  Sew the seam.  Trim if necessary.

Step 6.  Press.

Step 7.  Trim the excess fabric to 1/4".  And repeat all the steps until all of the pieces have been sewn and pressed to the foundation paper.  Make sure to alternate the pieced rectangles with the solid white background.

Finally, press the piece really well and trim the curved edges to 1/4" seam allowance.

Here is the final component.

And here it is in the block.

I hope you can use this technique somewhere in your quilting.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Improv quilt components - Making directional prints move around the curve

This is another component trick that I used in the making of the New York Beauty Improv quilt.

This component utilizes a directional print with a strong stripe.  I wanted the strips to move around the curve of the piece, while lining up with the direction of the radius (a line from the center of the circle to the outside edge).  

I numbered the pieces on the foundation drawing.  These were then traced onto freezer paper templates and cut out.

The templates were ironed to the back side of the fabric, lining up the CENTER with one of the circle striped sections.  

The pieces were then cut apart, leaving a generous seam allowance and lining up the LEFT cutting line with the same angle as the left of the template.

Starting with piece #1, the piece was lined up with the template and pinned in place.  Piece number two was placed right sides together with piece #1, matching up the edges of the templates, and placing a pin at each location to hold them in place.

The seam was sewn, then trimmed to 1/4".

The pieces were ironed to the back side of the foundation paper.  The next piece was then picked up, placed right sides with piece #2, matching up the edges of the templates.  The rest is a repeat of the steps to sew, trim, press, and pick up the next piece.

After the entire foundation was covered and pressed, the excess fabric was trimmed to 1/4" on both of the curved edges.  Here it is before it was trimmed.  You can see that the strong vertical lines of the fabric ended up just where I wanted them to be.

And here is the component in the piece.

I hope you like it and can use this technique to get the results that you want.

P.S.  I decided that it is easier to use solid components between the pieced components.  This one used two piece components side by side and it was too hard for an improve quilt block!

Monday, November 22, 2021

Improv quilt components

I wanted some of the striped components to lean in a certain direction on the New York Beauty improv quilt.   Here is how I planned and sewed the stripes to end up on the slant.

First, I drew the piece on freezer paper and numbered the pieces.

Second, I cut apart the pieces and pressed them to the reverse side of the fabric, lining up one edge (the left) with the stripe.

Next, I cut apart the pieces apart, leaving a seam allowance.  The pieces (with the freezer paper pattern still ironed to the back) were matched at the outer and inner seam allowance and sewed together.

Next, the seam allowance was trimmed to 1/4", and the piece was pressed.

Here, the picture shows two pieces sewn together after they were pressed.

Next, I'm showing you a few more pieces sewn together, and the last one in place.

The entire piece was pressed really well.

Here is what it looked like on the front side.

The final step was to trim the inner and outer curved edges to 1/4", and leave a larger seam on the outer seam.

And here it is in the block.  I also have used this technique with other directional fabrics in the blocks.  Oh, and if you do this, don't forget to remove the freezer paper!

I hope you like this technique and can use it on your quilts!

Improv quilt, Part Two

This is a continuation of a previous post about the making of this Improv quilt.

What fun it has been to make the improv blocks.  And to say that they were entirely improv is a bit misleading.  I did use foundation piecing methods for the black and white parts.  And some of my dissolving foundation and invisible applique methods for the dark ovals and spots.  Here are 4 of the blocks pressed and ready to trim to 14-1/2" square.  

I hope you like them so far.  

Monday, November 15, 2021

Modern Scrap Squares, take 2

I made a quilt from some of my recently hand dyed fabric.  Here are the fabrics that I used, which were a range between yellow, green, teal, and khaki, and included some commercially printed fabrics:

The pattern is very similar to the one that I used Modern Scrap Squares.  I only changed a few things, and quilted it the same way as the first one.  It's 64" W x 76" L.

I hope you like it.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Improv quilt, part One

I looked for inspiration for a quilt that would use some of my hand dyed fabric.  This one jumped out at me.  The improv nature of curved pieces was really appealing.  Here was the inspiration:

I sketched up some blocks that I thought that I would like to make:

I wanted to use some of the fabrics from my hand dying experience.  Here is the pile that I started with:

I originally sketched up the blocks as 6".  But, no sooner than I started making one of them, I realized that it would be way too difficult (and not fun) to piece the tiny pieces.  So, I transferred the sketches to 14" and 18"  blocks, and drew up some overall quilt designs.

If I did the first design, the quilt would end up being 74" square, which may look pretty unique.  The second idea would be 56" square and would make a large wall hanging.  Stay tuned to see what I did.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Testing for dye fastness

I hand dyed almost 13 yards of fabric earlier in the year and did all the recommended rinsing and washing.  However, I didn't really trust that the washing had removed all of the excess dye.  And there is nothing worse than completing a quilt and having some of the fabric run the first time it's washed.  So, I tested the pieces that I was going to use on a new quilt.

I cut a small piece out of each fabric and sewed them to a larger piece of white fabric.  Then, it was sprayed with water and left to sit.

Here is what I discovered after letting it sit for an hour.  You can see that all of the hand dyed blues and red had issues.  Two of the commercial blue fabrics also had issues.  All of the commercial red fabrics passed the test with flying colors. 

When the problem with fugitive dye was discovered with this simple test, the plan of attack was to wash all of the fabrics that failed again in hot water with Synthropol and a color catcher sheet, and then do the test a second time.   Here is the second test:

All of the blue hand dyed materials failed this second time and so did the red fabric.  So, they were put back into hot water for another round of Synthropol and a color catcher.  As you can see the color catcher is getting more and more pale, which means there is less and less fugitive dye in the water.

The last round of washing was with hot water and Retaine.   I thought that I'd finally gotten all of the fugitive dye out.  But, just to make sure, one last dye fastness test was run. 

And, yes, finally, these 4 fabrics were ready to use!

I hope you check out the dye fastness in your materials too.  

Monday, October 25, 2021

Vagabonds Challenge 2021 - Two legs on a path - Emily's Boots

Vagabonds set up another challenge for 2021.  We were challenged to make a 24" high x 24" (or less) width art quilt that features a pair of legs walking on a path.  I remembered a picture that I took of one of my granddaughters helping me in the garden when she was about 2 years old.  She was wearing little yellow boots and blue jeans.  It was such a sweet picture!  I knew right away that it was the one I was going to use.

I printed the photo, traced the parts that I wanted to use, and had it enlarged at my favorite blueprint shop.   I don't know how many of you live in the Portland, OR area.  If you do,  Rose City Blueprint is fast and cheap.  It only cost $3.25 to enlarge my sketch to 24" x 24".  

Once the drawing was the size that I wanted, I traced the lines onto clear acetate film.  Notice that I had to imagine the bottom of the boots that couldn't be seen in the photo.  

The acetate tracing was taped to a board covered with a Teflon sheet.  I've used this board and sheet many times and I keep it on hand for art projects.  I tape it at the top so that I can flip up the film and place pieces of fabric.

For the boots, I picked 3 shades of yellow, fused them to Steam-a-Seam Light II and cut out the pieces, placing them to match the drawing.

For the pants, I picked 3 shades of blue, following the same technique.

And for the jacket, I picked 3 different shades of blue than were used for the pants, following the same technique.

When all the pieces were placed, the entire piece was steamed and allowed to cool.  Here's what it looked like on the assembly board.

The background started out with just a couple of pieces of fabric to test out the colors.

It seemed just a bit too simple, so I added some different colors into the grass.  I trimmed notches into the top of little pieces and layered them from top to bottom.

When that was complete, I fused the legs and boots on the top, weaving the grass around the boots.  I quilted it with a quilting stitch #1304 and a walking foot on my Bernina 570 sewing machine.  It was easy to start with lines 3" apart, then sew down the middle of those lines, and once more between the middle of all of the lines.  I liked the way that stitch looked like rain with it's two forward and one backward stitch.

The piece is 24" x 24" and is faced.  I added silver bugle beads to enhance the rain effect, which were added after I took the photo below. 

I hope you like it!