Featured

Kaleidoscope Quilt

Yesterday, I was able to pick up my quilts from the MN State Fair. One of those quilts was a kaleidoscope quilt that I have alluded to in a couple previous postings. Today, I thought I would give some more details of the construction of this quilt.

I started this quilt while on a vacation last November. I packed up a box of fabric scraps in a variety of colors and heading to South Carolina. When not enjoying the lovely beaches, I planned to spend time cutting and sewing.

Originally, I planned to hand piece the quilt using English Paper Piecing as described in the book “The New Hexagon”. Using a graphics program, I printed some sheets of paper with the number of hexagons that I intended to use to make the quilt the size that I wanted. Next, I sketched out the location of medallions that I thought would look nice and decided on the color placement. However, like most projects, I did change the color locations as I worked on the quilt.

The first medallion that I worked on was the one I intended for the center of the quilt. After a lot of “fussy cutting” to make create the symmetry of the hexagons, I started hand stitching.

Three days later, after sewing the seams of this section by hand, I was concerned that my stitched seams may not hold up to normal usage on a bed. So, I stopped stitching and focused on more fussy cutting. When I returned home, I reinforced my hand sewn seams by sewing them on my domestic sewing machine. For the rest of the quilt, the seams were sewn by machine. Being hexagons, this was not a simple task – way too many Y seams!!

But, it was fun to watch the different sections come together.

After all the sections were pieced, they were then sewn together into the final design and black hexagons were sewn on the edge to create a black border. The pieced quilt top was quilted on my long-arm machine. Each of the medallions were quilted the same with designs selected for each row of hexagons for the medallions.

For the backing fabric, I found this really fun fabric.

And, for the binding, I was really excited to find some fun fabric that when folded matched the quilt really well.

Featured

The Great Minnesota Get “Back” Together

Each year, I enjoy going the the Minnesota State Fair, viewing the artistry of the creative activities entries, as well as entering a couple quilts in the competition. In 2020, I was disappointed when the fair was cancelled.

This year, I had originally thought that I would not be able to enter any quilts in the competition. Having a trip to Colorado scheduled during the drop off days for the creative activities, I was at first unsure how I would be able to enter. About a week prior to our trip, I learned that I could drop off entries at the fair office during early drop off days before leaving on our trip.

After entering, I was still hesitant to attend the fair due to the increase in Covid cases. However, with the attendance numbers on previous days being down, I decided to go this morning. Being there from 8 to 11am, the number of people that were there was pretty small. The weather was cool and it was an enjoyable morning.

Things that I did not do:

  • Utilize a Park & Ride bus – to avoid the crowds of people on the buses, I left home early morning and was able to find parking in a lots across the street from one of the fair entrances.
  • Eat Fair Food – I usually avoid the fair food, so this was nothing new for me.
  • Ride any amusement in the Mighty Midway
  • Do any shopping in the Market areas.

Things that I did do:

  • Wore a mask and avoided crowds
  • Arriving early, I walked through several of the animal and 4H exhibits prior to the other buildings opening
  • Enjoyed the artistry in the Creative Activities building, including quilting, weaving, crochet and woodworking
  • Enjoyed the flora of the fair, a much overlooked aspect of the fairgrounds

Animals:

Creative Activities – My entries:

My hexagon quilt received a third place ribbon. The quality of the entries this year was amazing. So, I am pleased with a third place finish.
My miniature doll quilt, made with hand dyed fabrics received a second place ribbon. This was a huge surprise to me. I only entered this quilt as a whim at the last minute, the quilt was never intended to be entered into a competition.
The Twin Cities Skyline wall quilt that I made for a friend did not place. However, it is displayed in a very prominent location at the entrance to the Creative Activities Building. I will be interested to read the comments from the judge when I pick it up next week.

Creative Activities – Noah’s Ark: My absolute favorite of all of the creative activities entries that I saw today!

Creative Activities – Other Quilting:

Creative Activities – Weaving:

Creative Activities – Others:

Butter Sculptures of the Fair Princesses:

Flora of the State Fair:

Featured

Apple Table Runner (& Checkerboard)

With fall weather settling, a week ago, I decided to make a new table runner for my kitchen. This runner was made with apples to depict the bounty of the fall harvest. The runner turned out really nice.

After it was done, I realized that the center section could be used as a checkerboard. All I needed was some checkers.

Originally I thought about purchasing some apple shaped wooden pieces that could be painted. However, when I looked at the options available at the local craft stores, I thought I would need to do some carving of a crown on one side. This, to me, seemed like a lot of work. Then I thought about engraving a crown. This also seemed like a lot of work.

One day, while I was at work, I had a great idea – I could print checkers on my 3D printer. Using Tinkercad, I designed some apples that could be printed. I did try to make the checkers interlock so that they could be stacked for designating a King. This, however, did not turn out well. So, I went back to Tinkercad and designed an indent on one side of the checker that showed a crown. Problem solved.

Having extra fabric, I decided to make a second table runner/checkerboard. This one, I have posted on Etsy. Hopefully someone will like this item.

Sleep in Heavenly Peace

As most of my friends and family know, I like to try new ideas for quilts.  Many of these are made and then given away to charities.  Last winter I learned that the charity I had been donating to changed their donation policy.  In order to donate an item, I needed to donate one for ever person living at their housing location. That meant I needed to make 24 quilts before I could donate them.  That would be a difficult task for me to accomplish.

Fortunately, last December while watching the evening news, I  saw a news article about an organization that made beds for children who do not have a bed and are usually sleeping on the floor.  When I learned I needed to find a new place to donate quilts to, this organization came to mind.

SHPSleep in Heavenly Peace (shpbeds.org) is a national organization “dedicated to building, assembling and delivering top-notch bunk beds to children and families in need”.  I went on-line to learn more about the organization.  What I learned was when the beds are delivered, the children are also given a mattress, pillow and bedding (including a comforter or quilt).

This, I thought might be a good place to make quilts for.  And, since the beds are for children, I could make all kinds of fun kids quilts! After contacting them, I started setting aside quilts to drop off.  A few days ago, I delivered the twelve quilts that I have made this year.  Hopefully there will be a dozen kids who enjoy these quilts.

Many of the quilts I have already written about in previous blog posts.  But, here are a few photos of the ones I have not already posted about.

A flannel quilt (front and back):

Another flannel quilt (front and back):

An airplane quilt:Twin

Diamonds:Blue Baby Quilt

Patriotic Bargello:Attachment-185880

If any of my friends have quilt tops that they would like to donate, I will gladly quilt them on my long-arm machine and donate them to SHP for you.  Just contact me.

Quilt from old Denim Jeans

Over the summer, we replaced the carpeting in our home.  The original carpet was over 30 years old.  And, while it had held up well, it was time for an update.

I realized, when preparing for the installers, that replacing carpeting is nearly as bad as moving to a new home.  Everything needed to removed from the floors.  This included all of the furniture in the rooms, as well as things on or near the floor in the closets. Logistically it was a bit overwhelming at times. However, now that the new carpet is installed, it is nice to have updated the look of the house.

Piles-of-jeansIn the process of moving things, my husband had a pile of jeans to donate.  Rather than taking them to Goodwill, I decided to make a denim quilt instead.  This was something I had thought about doing for the past couple of years.  And, now that I had some worn, but not holey, denim to work with I decided to give it a try.

To make the quilt, I settled on a quilt-as-you-go technique.  My concern was that quilting such a heavy project would throw the timing of my long-arm machine off. So, this technique would completely avoid using my quilting machine

To make the quilt, I cut out 9″ denim circles.  Out of each pair of jeans, I was able to cut 12 circles. Needing 154 circles, I used 13 pair of jeans. Next, I drew a 6″ square on the back of each piece of denim to help with lining up and sewing the pieces together.  

After each row of 14 circles were sewn together, I added a six inch squares of quilt batting and flannel to the back side of the denim (the side that would have been inside the pair of jeans).

This was a great way to use up a lot of scrap pieces of batting.  However, in retrospect, the quilt was really heavy and the batting was probably not necessary.

IMG_3186

 

After pinning the flannel and batting in place, I used a zig-zag stitch to sew down the raw edges of two sides of the denim.  A total of eleven rows were sewn.

IMG_3190

 

Before sewing the rows together, I used a zig-zag stitch to sew down the raw edge of one side of two separate rows.  These would become left and right side of the quilt.

IMG_3192

Next, I sewed the rows together, zig-zagging the raw edges of each circle after they were sewn.

What  I didn’t realize is how heavy the quilt would get by the time I was halfway done sewing it together!  The next denim quilt I make will definitely be done using a different method.

I will be donating this quilt to a charity (Sleep in Heavenly Peace).  It should provide a unique quilt for a young boy or girl to stay really warm this winter.

Dyed Fabric Strip Quilt

IMG_3010

One of my original posts on this blog was about fabric dyeing (Sept 22, 2015).   At that time, I mentioned that I had watched a Craftsy class about dyeing fabric.  Before jumping in and buying numerous colors of dye and supplies, I decided to try a sample kit.
The purchased a gradation dyeing kit which was a smart decision.  This kit gave me the opportunity to try my hand at mixing dyes to get different colors, as well as working with low volumes and how to best handle the fabrics.
The first color kit I purchased was “STONES & SHELLS”. Stones&Shells
Colors included were: Camel 5181, Old Rose 5220 & Stormy Grey 6160
Following the directions, I created thirty fat eights in a gradation of earth tones.  While the samples were fun to make, I had no idea what to use them for.  So,  these pieces of fabric have been sitting on my shelf waiting for some inspiration.  Earlier this year when I was doing some strip quilting, I decided that a strip quilt might be a good use of these fabric as well.
To add some pops of color, I dyed three fat quarters of cotton fabric using a variety of techniques – marbling, sun dyeing and batch dyeing.  For the sides and the backing, I dyed a three yard piece of 108″ wide cotton with a evergreen dye.
The gradation fabrics were cut into 2.5″ x 20″ strips.  These were then sorted by color and then   The green pops of color were cut into 2 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ pieces.  The strips were then sewn together with dark green on each side.  After sorting the gradation fabrics, I split them into three groups and pieced starting with the first color of each group.  This allowed for the fabrics to be distinct rather than blending from one gradient to the next.
The quilt top was then put together using my long-arm machine just like a did with the black strip quilt earlier this year (May 8, 2019).
Another fun quilt to donate.  And, more fabric used from my stash!

Strip Quilt

IMG_2981Like most quilter, I have lots of fabric in my craft room.  But, unlike other quilters, I try to keep the amount as low as possible.  I no longer purchase fabric “just because see it and like it”. I have to have a specific project that I plan to use it in before I will purchase any fabric.  Over the past few years, I have also received fabric from my sister, my mother and some of my friends.  So, I really do not need to add to my stash.

When I am designing a quilt, I try to plan around fabrics that I already have.  If I do need to purchase fabric, I calculate the amount of fabric yardage I need to be a careful not to purchase more than necessary.  Sometimes this has been to my frustration, especially if I decide to change the design and find that I am needing more fabric to make the changes.  But, usually this works well and keeps me from having too many scraps left over.  I have even created an Excel spreadsheet that helps me calculate the yardage quickly.  If you are interested, email me and I can send you the file.

Every once in a while, the quilt design I am working on is too abstract or too intricate to be able to calculate yardage exactly.  This was the case when planning the “Moonscape” quilt for my son.  I did not plan out the quilt in enough detail prior to sewing to be able to calculate how much fabric I needed.  Using grey fabrics and black fabrics I already had, I added other shades to create the gradation I was seeking.  Not knowing how much fabric I would need, I purchased a half yard of each shade.  After I had pieced his quilt, I had a lot of excess fabric.

What to do? Make a scrap quilt?  Stick it back on the shelf for another day?

Make a strip quilt?  Now, this was an idea I liked.  I have been wanting to try piecing with strips on my longarm machine for a while now.  So, this seemed like the best idea for a quilt to try this out on.

I loaded the backing onto the frame and pinned the batting in place.  After basting the first strip in place, I cut and pieced 2″ x 72″ strips in the gradiant order of the fabric shades.  To sew, I carefully measured and marked the placement of the begin and end point of the seam that I was planning to sew. Then, I used the multipoint placement, border only sewing to sew the next strip to the the first strip.  The new strip sewn was flipped and ironed lightly in place before going to the next strip (my cordless iron was really helpful for this step).

A pop of color was incorporated with scraps of yellow, orange, red and purple.

I successfully used up my shades of grey and black and have another nice quilt to donate.

Fractured Tree

img_2855
“Fractured Tree” wall hanging.

I enjoy reading historical fiction books. When reading, I like to look up information about the events happening at the specific time in history.  This helps me understand the book’s story line better.

I enjoy these books even more when there is a reference to the art of the era.  Having recently I read the latest book by Jennifer Chiaverini, I did some additional reading about the history of quilting.

One of the sources talked about Depression Era quilts.  Many of these quilts were string quilts made of small fabric scraps stitched together to make a piece of fabric large enough to cut a pattern piece. These larger pieces were stitched together to make a quilt block. The quilt blocks were put together to make a quilt top. This method was used during hard times when money and fabric were scarce.  Scraps of all sizes were utilized.

 

Over the past decade, this method has also made a resurgence within the art quilt community.

stringtreeidea

There were several pictures of a string quilts that have caught my attention.

tuxzkrr

One of the quilters that I really liked was Ursula Kern.  Her string quilts are breathtaking.  The illusion of movement and shape that she creates is absolutely amazing.

 

 

 

birchimg_2759

I decided that I wanted to try to make a string quilt wall hanging for my sewing room.  With wall space limited, the only spot I had left to hang something was adjacent to my four seasons landscape quilt.  So, in keeping the the landscape theme, I thought a tree might fit the area well.

 

Looking at tree clipart images, I selected one, traced it out on pellon, and then divided the pellon into a 7×11 grid. Each section of the grid (2″ x 3.75″)  was used as one block of the string quilting.

Since I have a lot a scraps from various other quilts, and not wanting to purchase more fabric right now, I pulled out my scraps, sorted them by color and started creating each of the blocks.

img_2811
Pieced, but not quilted.

 

The seventy seven blocks were sewn together (with numerous changes to match my design better). The illusion is somewhat like a stained glass window – I really like it!

For the quilting, I used one layer of Quilter’s Dream Cotton batting.  To create texture for the tree and shrubs, I placed pieces of Quilter’s Dream Wool batting in these areas between the cotton batting and the pieced top.  The background sky was quilted with straight lines and the tree was loosely quilted to allow the depth of the batting to show.

 

More Donation Quilts

Having received a large quantity of fabric from my sister, I needed to make room for storing this.  Sorting through my current stash of fabric, I found a container of dyed fabrics that I had made when trying different dyeing techniques.

These swatches were each 5″ x 5″.  Many of my original dyeing samples were used in previous projects,  such as described in “Fabric Dyeing” and “Spring has Sprung“.

The ones left were a bit dull in color. No longer needing these, I decided to make another of the many quilts in my “Future Projects” folder on my computer.  To brighten them up, I combined them with white fabric and use variegated thread for the quilting.  It’s amazing how the white makes even drab fabrics look cheery.

This was a simple pattern that combined these 250 different swatches in long rows separated by white sashing, turned on point and set in asymmetrically.  I really like how it turned out. IMG_2732

Burst – Quilting closeups

A friend recently pointed out that I had not posted pictures of the quilting of my Burst quilt, as I had originally said I would do.

So, here are a few close-ups.

IMG_2698
Small corner Burst

IMG_2699
Small middle Burst

IMG_2701
Large Burst

And, the full quilt hanging on my wall.

img_2706.jpg

I especially like how the doll quilt turned out.  Kinda wish I had made the bed quilt the same design! Maybe, some day, I will make this quilt again (perhaps with a black background?)

IMG_2713