A Christmas Gift

A few months ago, after my father-in-law died, my mother-in-law requested I make some quilted throw pillows for her bed.  This gave me the perfect opportunity to goof around with some small-scale quilt ideas that had been buzzing around my head for a while, and I finished in time to send them to her for Christmas.

The first one is a woven quilt:

And the second one, a miniature apple core quilt:

I think the apple core is my absolute favorite.  I just love it!

For the woven quilt, I made tubes of fabric, pressed them flat, then wove them together.  It was very simple and easy – until I stitched it into a pillow.  Ha.  Sewing through that many layers of fabric required moving up to a size 18 needle!  And let me tell you, that pillow cover is HEAVY.

The apple core quilt was a great project to work on while watching football with my husband.  I starched the seam allowances, glue-basted them as applique shapes, then top-stitched.  A very easy and forgiving process.  And much easier to sew through!

I added zippers to make them washable.

I love how they turned out, and am happy to report that my mother-in-law loves them too!

 

 

Inspiration from a home improvement store?

I know lots of quilters have found COLOR inspiration in Home Depot’s paint section, but have you ever found QUILT inspiration there?

These are Behr’s new paint chips.

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I see some awesome templates!  Don’t they just scream “applique”?

How about a whimsical tulip with a leaf?

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Or maybe a dogwood…

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This one looks kind of like a gardenia or hibiscus.

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I don’t know what kind of flower this would be.  Poinsettia?

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One thing’s for sure – I’ll definitely be using this petal template in a quilt soon!

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10 minute block additions and variations

There were a few comments on my earlier post asking for a link to the 10 minute block tutorial I had talked about.  This video here is probably the best, although she doesn’t show the actual sewing.  The first half of the video is instruction on how to make the block, the other half gives a few ideas for variations.  Let me know if something doesn’t make sense, I can help.  And can I just say, if I had known y’all like seeing my boo-boos more than my actual successes, we would have been BFFs a LONG time ago, because I make LOTS of mistakes!

I made an addition to my 10 minute block.  Once I got several blocks completed, I was ready to sew them together, but thought they needed an extra diamond “window”.

Here’s the original quilt design:

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Here’s my adaptation:

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I like the extra windows.  Speaking of mistakes, those two striped blocks at the top were NOT supposed to be side by side.  That was a mistake.  I left them in just for y’all.  You’re welcome.

Then I wondered about sizes.  What if, instead of a layer cake, I used charm squares instead?

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Ha, I like that even more!  What a great way to use stash!  I’m thinking it might be awesome in reds and blues, with white center diamonds.  Or maybe alternating blue and green blocks.

A weird thing kept happening when I was working on the yellow quilt, though.  I kept getting a craving, and I could not figure out what it was.  Dontcha hate when that happens?  At first, I thought it was a chocolate craving, because of the chocolate-brown bunnies.

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So I checked the kids’ rooms for leftover Easter chocolate bunnies and came up empty-handed.  Apparently they actually ATE their candy, the selfish little oinkers.  I prowled the kitchen for some chocolate – ANY chocolate – and managed to find a few loose chocolate chips hiding under the stove with a gaggle of dustbunnies.

What, you expect me to clean under the stove?  I’m a quilter, not a housewife!  Oh, wait.  I AM a housewife.  Whoops.

I’m not desperate enough – YET – to eat the dustbunny-covered chocolate, so I kept scrounging and finally found a few more errant chocolate chips.  They were scattered in the back of the cupboard I USED to store them in, back in the day when chocolate actually made it all the way into the house.  But those chocolate chips didn’t cut it.  They were pretty stale.  (I’m curious – what’s the most bizarre thing you’ve done/eaten to satisfy a chocolate craving?)  I waited impatiently until the kids were in bed, snuck down to the corner store and bought a Hershey bar.  If I had gone when they were conscious, they would have insisted I buy THEM Hershey bars, too, but I refuse to buy candy for kids who are too inconsiderate to leave a little leftover chocolate laying around for a hormonal middle-aged woman having a chocolate crisis.

Unfortunately, the Hershey bar didn’t cut it, either.  It needed something, some little tweak or twist.  I was puzzled – plain chocolate NOT working?  Maybe I’m sick.  Maybe it’s time for a medical checkup.  I continued working on the quilt while pondering my unknown medical condition and this craving conundrum, until I finally noticed that the yellow fabrics I had added from my stash were NOT the same yellow in the layer cake.  This disturbed me greatly, partially because I’m “detail oriented” (well, okay, anal retentive) but it also meant that my so-called “true-light” lamp wasn’t “true” and had failed me.

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See?  The two fabrics on the left are from the layer cake, and the two fabrics on the right are from my stash.  The layer cake yellows are a nice creamy butter color.  The stash piece on the upper right leans more toward lemon, and the stash piece on the lower right has orange-y tendencies.  Hmm.  Butter, lemon, orange, and chocolate.  I’m sensing a theme here, how about you?  It’s Moda’s fault; they started it by calling them “Layer Cakes”.

Wait.  Wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute!  Orange?  As in ORANGE SHERBERT???  With CHOCOLATE CHUNKS???  Holy cow, I had scrounged through the entire kitchen, but forgot all about the freezer!

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Whew. Craving mystery solved; I’m not sick.

By the way?  I decided to leave those off-yellow “mistake” blocks in the quilt, just for you, my wonderful readers.  You’re welcome.

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Quilt group meeting

Saturday I hosted a passel of my quilting friends for a get-together at my house. There was food, LOTS of laughter, and quilts!

This is Yvonne’s quilt. I LOVE this! I always struggle with what to do with large-scale prints, and this quilt was fabulous in person! I believe she said all the fabrics were from the same line. Kinda wishing I had some in my stash!

Yvonne's quilt 2

Nancy’s quilt, made from jelly rolls. It’s HUGE.

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I LOVE the quilting on this quilt. All I could think about was which one of my quilts would look good with this quilting pattern!

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Gail’s quilt. Curved piecing! Gail said there was a LOT of steam involved in this quilt. I love it! I’ve never seen anything like it!

Gail's quilt 2

Lynette’s quilt. It’s a pattern called “Florentine Fantasy” and it is GORGEOUS! All those blocks are made using one fabric, which is very carefully fussy-cut. It’s a little like a stack-n-whack, but easier. And Lynette had a fabulous idea – instead of using sashing, she simply put a second border around each block.

Lynette

Here’s a close-up (she made a couple of pillow covers). Another thing that occured to me is I don’t think I would have thought to put that dark wine fabric together with the brighter red, but it works beautifully!

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Carol’s quilt, made for a service member. I can’t remember if it was for QOV or a different organization. I wished I’d taken a close-up of it. I believe the print is Air Force fabric. Love that brown border! The color was pulled from the print, and reminds me of gingerbread. Yum!

Carol's quilt

Another quilt from Nancy. I can’t remember what the name of this pattern is, but it comes together FAST. On one of our quilt retreats a few years ago, we all spent maybe an hour sewing up some blocks and ended up with 5 quilts! Lynette quilted them and donated them to one of our local hospitals, which has a program that gives each terminally ill patient their own quilt.

Nancy's quilt 2

Another Florentine Fantasy quilt. That pattern is so cool!

Nancy's quilt 3

Here’s a close-up I took last month, before it was quilted. See the border fabric? That’s the only fabric used in the blocks. Pretty cool!

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And last but not least, my Beaver Nation rag quilt, which was featured in an earlier post.

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We laughed so much, it was a lot of fun!

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Confirming my suspicions

Saturday I made my quarterly trip to Shipsewana, Indiana to do some fabric shopping. I picked up this jelly roll, “Remix” by Robert Kaufman:

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Beautiful, isn’t it?

Well, Peggi informed me that it is made of strips from several different lines of their fabrics. They all go together so nicely!

This confirms (at least to me) that current fabric lines pretty much all look the same these days. No wonder I’m so bored with fabric shopping anymore. Older lines are pretty but getting dated, the newer lines all look the alike.

The difference between traditional and modern fabric is like black and white. At totally different ends of the spectrum. I long for a fabric in the middle. Maybe an updated traditional? Or modern traditional? Or a traditional modern? I want to to go the fabric store and see a new line that makes me say “That’s so different! I’ve got to have it!”. Fresh colors and fresh designs.

Well, until I find the book on “Fabric Designing for Dummies”, I’ll have to keep hoping a designer out there thinks of it!

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I fell in love with that jelly roll and searched in vain for it online.  Every place I went that had it described it as a montage of previously released fabric lines.  Phooey!

I have a single word of advice for those of us who are waiting for new and different fabrics:  Spoonflower!

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Getting my Mojo back

I’m trying to find just the right pattern(s) to make memorial quilts for my three brothers and sisters from my mom’s clothes. She passed away a month ago and I’ve got five green trash bags of her clothes in my sewing room right now.  Peggi has been such the help, not only sending me TONS of quilts to look at for ideas, but also keeping my spirits up. Don’t know what I’d do without you, sweetie!

I’ve decided not to make just one pattern, but different ones for each sibling since I can’t seem put my finger on one design. I love this one from Elizabeth Hartman’s new book The Practical Guide to Patchwork:

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Kitchen Sink from

It’s called “Kitchen Sink”. It would certainly showcase the clothes, wouldn’t it?

I’d also like to make quilts for mom’s two sisters. I just love this one by Gigi at Gigi’s Thimble, which is available at Moda Bakeshop. I’m thinking it would be perfect. Of course I’d have to make it lap-sized.

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My only question – where do you find the giant rick-rack (1-1/2″ from tip-to-tip) for under $3/yard? I’m probably going to need 20-25 yards of it – yee-ouch!! On Peggi’s advice, I’m going to call Fabric Depot to see if they’ve got it. JoAnn Fabrics only has jumbo, not giant. Too bad – that 40%-off coupon would have sure come in handy!!

If anyone has any other patterns that would be appropriate for memorial quilts I’d love to see them. I’m definitely looking for patterns which will showcase the fabrics more than the pattern itself. In other words, large patches of fabrics.  My mom was a sewer, so I’m also thinking about making a quilt with spools on it.

Choosing patterns has been quite difficult, actually. I want to make them pretty, but with 4-6 quilts to make (and make fairly quickly!) I need simple patterns. You’d think these would be easy to find!!

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From cards to fat quarters

My sister just bought a gift store and had lots of things in the basement she was going to throw away. Look what I brought home for free:

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It’s called a “card spinner” and is used to hold greeting cards for sale. It’s the perfect size for fat quarters and charm packs (and almost any other fabric if it’s folded right)! I threw some FQ’s in so I could see what it looks like, but I think I’ll put them in color order. What a great way to see what I’ve got with just a glance. Thanks sis!

How cool!!!  That sure looks a lot easier than my box-under-the-couch system that I have!  I wish I lived close enough to snag one!  And what is that quilt I see peeking from behind the spinner?  I’m checking out all your tools hanging on the pegboard – you are so stinkin’ organized.  Ok, you might have to post pictures of your quilt studio, so I can live vicariously through you.   – Peggi

Friendship

Ya know, I’d probably get a lot more quilts finished if I didn’t surf so many blogs.  I must send Cindi 10 or 20 emails every night with links to beautiful quilts posted on blogs.  She doesn’t mind, she likes to look them while she drinks her coffee in the morning.  Gives her a reason to get out of bed, lol.  She does the same for me.  Let’s just say we’ve both doubled the size of our To-Do list since we’ve become pals!   The neat thing about this exchange is that even though we live thousands of miles apart and have never met, we know each other’s style fairly well.  I recently went to a quilt show, and although physically I was alone, I took Cindi along in my heart.   I looked at quilts through her eyes as well as my own, and it gave the whole experience an added dimension.   I think we expand each other’s horizons in wonderful ways because our styles are so different.  I stop and look closer at quilts that I ordinarily would have walked right by, and sometimes I think to myself, “I don’t really care for it, but it’s totally Cindi!” and I smile to myself.

I mention this because while surfing, I came across the blog Red Pepper Quilts and this beautiful quilt.  She used Amy Butler fabrics.  I am not a big fan of Amy Butler fabrics.  The color combinations are jarring (orange and pink?), the prints are too large.  But I LOVE THIS QUILT!  Cindi has expanded my horizons, made me slow down and take a second look at things.  And because I slowed down and gave it a chance, this quilt grabbed my imagination and my heart.

What would we do without friends, especially the ones that challenge us and make us grow?  Cindi, I love ya more’n my luggage!

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(Blush!) More than your luggage?! LOL – Man, I really rate, don’t I?!

It is true though, the first thing I do in the morning is fire up my computer, get my coffee and look at all the quilt porn Peggi has left for me. While she says I’ve influenced her, I think she’s influenced me even more. I now find myself looking at quilts online, at quilt shows and in books and asking, “Is this challenging enough for Peggi?” or “What colors would Peggi make this in” or even “Oh, she’s gonna tease me about this one!”. I know that the 9-patch/hourglass in my last post isn’t that difficult, and even has very simple squares, but I made it because I knew it was something Peggi would like. She likes scrappy (check!), lots of pieces (check!) and applique (check again!). I was actually making it for a Girl’s Club Christmas gift exchange, but since we exchanged in September this year it wasn’t completed. Now it’s mine and will always remind me of Peggi.  That is, unless it somehow gets accidently packed in one of the squishies Peggi and I are always  exchanging……. 😉

Speaking of quilt shows, I’ve gone to several of them, mostly by myself or with a group of people, and I’ve always done my own thing and walked around by myself. I’m actually looking forward to the day Peggi & I can attend a show together – and actually meet! We’re like peanut butter and chocolate. Good alone on our own but better when we’re together!

BTW, I love that quilt you’ve got up there, Peggi. Just my style!  ~ Cindi

Trying something new

I’ve been turning this pastel string quilt over and over in my head for the past few weeks. I want to put a border on it, but what kind? Cindi and I batted a few ideas back and forth, and I finally decided on a white border with appliqued flowers and vines. A very sweet, feminine quilt, unlike anything I’ve done to date.

Earlier this week, while surfing the internet, I saw something that finally ignited my brain. It was a pillow made with yo-yo rosettes. I don’t really care for yo-yos, but seeing that pillow sparked some creative thinking – what if I made the appliqued flowers three-dimensional? What if instead of being sewn down to the quilt top, they stuck up off of it? The image I had of the finished quilt in my head was fabulous! So I messed with circles and leaves and here is what I came up with:

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There will have to be some adjusting and finessing going on. My sewing machine absolutely did not like sewing through 5 layers to get the leaves attached to the fabric. At first I was just simply going to sew the center of the flower on, but there was no way it was going to lay flat, so I decided to stuff it instead. I really, really like it!

Now I have to decide if all that extra handwork will be worth it. But thankfully, my creativity has FINALLY stirred!
Peggi, these are perfect for the string quilt – absolutely perfect! The 3-D look is really going to make it all come together. The extra handwork will definitely be worth it.