Sunday, October 30, 2016

Hot and Cold Corners

Happy Halloween quilters!  We are entering America's big holiday season, so I thought for the next block drive we'd run it from now until the end of December.  Most of us are traveling a lot and/or hosting relatives over the holidays and I know that limits sewing time.

The Covered in Love block drives make quilts for the families of patients who pass away at a hospital in Texas.  I run a new drive every month or so and anyone can participate.  This time we're going to be making blocks with flip and sew corners. There are many ways to make these corners, I outline my method below but if you have one that works for you already, go with it!

First off you will need to cut (4) 6.5" squares of white/cream/off -white or otherwise low volume fabrics. You may want to cut these about an 1/8th inch fat to give yourself wiggle room later.

You'll also need (8) small-medium scrap triangles, half in warm colors (red/orange/yellow) and half in cold (green/blue/purple).  The cut offs from making binding are great for this.   I have a whole big ol' jar of scrap triangles I am always looking for ways to use!

To make your flip corners, take one triangle and lay it over the corner of the larger square.  Don't line up the outside (90 degree) corner of the triangle perfectly with the square underneath. Scoot it out just a bit to give yourself wiggle room.

Place a piece of paper or thin cardboard (like a book mark) onto the square and line it up so it just touches the edge of the triangle.

Carefully, without moving the paper, remove the triangle and place on a ruler aligned with the paper.  Extend past the paper by 1/2" inch and cut there.

Oh look, we made another scrap triangle! Suddenly this seems like a self defeating cycle...

Flip the triangle right side down onto the square, center it and sew a quarter inch seam.

Repeat with a warm triangle on the opposite corner, press, and trim back to 6.5" square.

Sew your four squares with the flip corners into a 12.5" block with the cool colors together in the center.

(Edited to Add: View finished quilts here)

If you want to participate in the block drive I'd love to have you! You can make any number of blocks you like.  Email or leave a comment (make sure I can contact you!) for a mailing address.

Linking to Oh Scrap!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Hogwarts for Halloween

Hopefully I'll have better pictures of this costume in action later, but for now here are some selfies of my Halloween costume.  I'm staying with some friends over this Halloween, so there will actually be kids around to enjoy it with!

I made a Hogwarts robe for the Hufflepuff house (if you're not a Harry Potter fan this won't make sense, don't worry!)  I happened to already have an extra badge for Hufflepuff.  The robe was made by eyeballing proportions from this post and freehanding a pattern onto the fabric.  I did shorten all the lengths since I am quite a bit shorter than the poster.

The robe is made from a black twill and lined with gold fabric along the front, sleeves, and hood. Of course I had to make myself a wand as well.  A dowel rod painted brown and washed with copper paint, then buffed with black to age it.  Here's a picture that shows the subtle shine pretty well.

I used a bit of leather craft twine to decorate the handgrip.

The grip is topped with a Turks Head, ode to time spent sailing :)  Not pictured, I also have a waxed canvas school bag to carry.  I've been experimenting with bag designs, will post if I ever make one I'm really happy with!

I haven't been around kids on Halloween since I was a kid myself so I am quite looking forward to this year :)

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

More String Maddness

 For about the past year I haven't sewn many blocks for each of the CiL block drives.  I always test the blocks and make a demo block or two, and of course if I wind up a couple short of a whole quilt I make up the difference, but beyond that I usually don't make any more.  You fine folks have done such a good job of supplying blocks for the quilts! And knowing that I will soon be sewing so many of them, it keeps me from getting burned out, I think.  However, I do often find myself wanting to sew along a similar tangent. Something inspired by the blocks piling up on my desk.

Just before October, when the CiL string block drive officially began, I trimmed up the strings in my scrap box and set to work on bright and loud string log cabins.  That quilt is about wrapped up now and yet I still have plenty of strings!  Next up? I'm trying something like a string herringbone.  Here are the first dozen blocks on the wall. What do you think?  I'm not sold yet.  With my glasses off the herringbone effect is really prominent and I like it, but in-focus the lines between the blocks catch my eye much more than the herringbone.

Linking to Oh Scrap!, Design Wall Monday, and Moving it Forward Monday.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Disappearing Nines

More disappearing nine patch quilts from Covered in Love's August block drive are done!  If you missed the post with the first two quilts check them out here.

These two quilts were quilted with a loose stipple and bound with scraps from my string bin. One got blue/yellow/green binding and the other got black and white.

I love all the cute novelty fabrics that pop up in these quilts so many different people contribute! (You know I have a soft spot for cats!)

The quilts came out with a lovely cozy texture.  Thank you to each and every person who gave blocks during August! We wound up with right about 130 blocks!!

There are still 2 more of August's disappearing nines to go so stay tuned for those!  If you want to contribute to Covered in Love be sure to check out this month's block drive here. We're making scrappy string blocks to gift to folks who lose family members in the hospital.

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Design Wall

Are you tired of seeing the same thing on my design wall? 'Cause I sure am.  Fortunately, the string log cabins have moved on toward the quilting stage and the last of the disappearing 9s are ready to become a top.

You can just see the top of my stack of string blocks from October's Covered in Love block drive there at the bottom left of the picture. They are continuing to come in!  There's still plenty of time if anyone wants to join in with this month's block drive to support CiL :)

I also recently sewed up my blocks for my do. Good Stitches circle. Louise has us doing a fun flying geese design.

I'll get the last D9 top sewn later. Right now I'm about to get binding on the freshly quilted scrappy log cabin.  Happy sewing ;)

Linking to Oh Scrap!, Design Wall Monday and Moving it Forward Monday.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Babies, again

More baby sewing? Yes, more!  It's apparently baby season around here. Two of the four have made their debut, little girls. Now we're just waiting on those twins!

I wish I had taken more pictures of these, but I was in a rush to get them packed up.  I'll explain everything better below:

  • (2) of the Best Bibs in the World! made from the Bapron pattern.  Everyone I've given these to has loved them once baby starts on real food.
  • (2) pair of Big Butt Baby Pants, (size 0-3 and 3-6 months).  The larger pair used some of my wood block stamped fabric.
  • a "slouchy" baby beanie size 6-12mo. It looks big to me, maybe babies have bigger heads than I think...   Or maybe she'll wear it when she's three.  Either way, I really liked the pattern. I modified it to line the hat and hide all raw seams.
  • a flannel/minky receiving blanket made pillowcase style from remnants
  • finally, everything is sitting on the smaller scrappy flannel quilt I made last month
These have winged their way to my college friend and fellow quilter Libby who recently welcomed baby Vivian to her family :)

PS- Check out these lovely quilts for Covered in Love that one of my do. Good Stitches mates, Dhia, recently sent in!  These were our May and March group blocks I believe.  You can read Dhia's post about them  here.

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Summer Sunshine in the Fall

Remember waaaay back in June when the block drive made bright blue and yellow "sun and sea" blocks?  At long last I have two finished quilts from that drive to show!

I made 2 layout versions of the diamond weave design, one with the small HSTs toward the center of the block making flying geese and one with the larger HSTs to the center.  One also got a gray sashing while the other did not.  Do you have a favorite?

Both quilts were stippled with a light gray thread and bound with blue scraps from my string box.

Both quilts turned out differently than I expected. It's amazing how many different patterns can come out of the same blocks depending on how you look at it.

Thank you to everyone who donated blocks toward these in June! If you don't see yours here don't worry, the extra blocks that didn't add up to another quilt have gone into the "leftovers" drawer. I think I see a block drive row-by-row style quilt coming out of that drawer soon.

These two quilts will be added to Covered in Love's stash.  CiL gifts quilts to the families of patients who pass away at an East Texas hospital so they can have something to carry home from the hospital and hang on to.  If you would like to contribute to CiL consider participating in October's block drive, going on now!

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts Friday Finishes.

The Zen of Quilt Gifting...

Do you have a philosophy of quilt giving?  Most quilters give away the majority of their quilts and I know over time I have developed sort of a zen stance on gifting, I wonder what your thoughts are?

I have heard quilters complain about people they gifted quilts to, whether they didn't seem all that excited about a handmade quilt, or never sent a proper 'thank you' card in-the-mail-with-a-stamp if you please, or they did use the quilt and it got all dirty, or they didn't use the quilt and it sat on a shelf unappreciated, etc etc.

image from Whip-Stitch

If I were going to pick a side I would be in the camp of use-the-quilt.  I think it completes the life cycle of the quilt, from idea to creation through gifting to use, and nothing would make me happier than hearing one of my quilts was worn to pieces (by the way, all my quilts come with a lifetime patch and repair warranty).  Like a car that stays in the garage and never goes for a drive, a quilt on a shelf stays nice and clean but never really lives as it was meant to. 

And now we get to the Zen of Quilt giving...  I have realized that I cannot control how a quilt is received, I can only control how it is given.  I give my quilts freely, in love, without expectation of reciprocation or show of thankfulness.  Gifts should not have conditions attached; real gifts are free.  I know that some of my quilts have wound up in hallway closets or relegated to back bedrooms, does that mean the recipient wasn't worthy of their quilt or it is unappreciated?  No.  And what's more, I choose not to live with the pit-of-your-stomach feeling that I did something wrong or they were ungrateful.  I can't control their response, and I won't let things that I can't control have control over me. 

My quilts are like little love bombs that I'm setting out into the world.  Wherever they go they bring handmade comfort, even when I can't be there. Like planting a seed not knowing how the flower will grow.  Sometimes they literally are like love-grenades I'm lobbing over a fence to people I cannot see, cannot touch, will never know.  The Covered in Love quilts are that way.  I'm blindly tossing, hoping they'll land with the right person. Other quilts are more like an origami boat, set adrift gently in a pond. You point it toward its Person, give it a nudge and let it go...

What are you thoughts on quilt giving? I want to hear what you think.