Sunday, May 29, 2011


Last Monday, Julie and I decided to have the first ever challenge in our "Non-Traditional" quilt group.  Julie suggested making a block without using a ruler.  I put off my homework assignment, just like in high school.  Tonight, the night before we meet, I decided to get started.

The first thing I did was pull some fabrics that I liked.
I had an idea involving a BIRD.  Maybe I could make a simple ground and sky, then drop in a little bird or two.
The first attempt was kind of BORING.  I just did "sew and flip" with scissors-cut strips and the seams turned out almost straight.

Then I decided to employ the curved piecing method that I used in last week's purple blocks and I liked the results much better.
I even gave my birds a branch!  Now I've cut out a couple of paper birds to play around with for placement.  I'll use the gold fabric seen in the first picture for my birds.
Sure hope Julie lets me use a ruler to square the edges in the end!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

More Strips and Strings

Today I finished the table runner with string pieced blocks.  It is approx.14" x 42".  Couldn't resist a few buttons.  This will look nice on a table in the fall.
I have a few more strip piecing ideas to explore, so tonight I pulled out some scraps and began to piece some triangles.  First I had to decide if it would be totally scrappy or have a color scheme.  I ran across several reds that I liked, then I found an older green calico that had red and yellow, so that became the plan.
These can be pieced with or without paper of course, but I think that I can sew faster and straighter with a foundation.  I'll start out with a hexagon and see how that goes.
I made a few extra pieces for "visual aids" when I give my little demo in a couple of weeks.  When I packed the scraps back into the tote bag where I found them, it didn't look like anything was missing.  Scrap piecing is like that, you sew and sew and sew and the scraps seem to multiply!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

OH DEAR, Jane!

Back to Dear Jane.  I spent ALL AFTERNOON working on one block.  Just a sweet, simple little basket block named "Rebecca's Basket" in the book.  Not hard on the surface, but remember that the book only gives you a picture of the original block and a line drawing (which was flawed).  It took more than one trial and error stab at it, but I finally succeeded.
I'm up to 16 blocks now.  Here are a few of my more recent ones.
I continue to enjoy the problem-solving aspect of tackling each block.  I use whatever method a given block seems to call for, often a combination of techniques.

Dear Jane by Brenda Papadakis, 1996.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Blocks with Curves

One of the "bees" I belong to is having a traveling box activity.  Each person has put fabric and a journal outlining her theme into the box.  The box is passed once a month and whoever gets the box makes a block and an entry in the journal.  (That's it in a nutshell.)

This month, the box I received was filled with beautiful batiks in purples, blues and aquas.  The owner wanted CURVES!  I took two squares, layered them, made gentle layered cuts and then pieced them back together (oops, looks like she's getting two blocks from me!
I decided to add some circles to the blocks.  I don't like fused applique, so I went looking for items of various sizes in the kitchen and craft area to trace different size circles on freezer paper.
I iron the shiny side of the freezer paper to the back of the fabric, cut out a scant quarter inch beyond the cut paper shape, carefully fold the fabric to the back side and baste.  Yes, it's time consuming, but it gets good results.  (If you're always in a big hurry, maybe quilting is not the sport for you).
I appliqued three circles on each block, removed the basting, cut out the area behind the circle and took the paper out.  Here are my two blocks, finished and trimmed to 12 1/2 inches.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

String Pieced Table Runner

About a week ago, I thought had a great idea.  I was going to make strip pieced blocks using phone book pages as the foundation.  I got busy and made enough for a table runner.
The paper was thin and the blocks were ready in no time.  I trimmed them to 6 1/2" square and sewed them together.  The fun started when I started to remove the paper.  In the past I have used both Carol Doak paper-piecing paper, and sometimes plain old copy paper.  No problem.  The phone book paper was HARD to take off!  They must add something to the composition of that tissue thin paper to make it strong!  Wish I had figured that out earlier.

Finally, the paper was off and most of the crumbs removed from the seams.  I sewed the blocks together in two rows of six blocks.  Here it is, basted and ready to go.  In a non-traditional departure, I'm going to machine quilt with a decorative stitch, then add borders, narrow on the sides and wider on the ends.  The fabric on the bolt is what I've chosen for the borders and binding.
Last, but not least, here are a couple of fun pictures of the QWAC's, the great bunch that belong to my Friday drop-in group at the store.  QWAC stands for Quilting Women Acting Crazy!  Some of them come early to get a good seat.....we've been known to run out of chairs.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Quilt Show

On May 13 and 14, we attended the Crystal Coast Quilters Guild quilt show.  We had a nicer size booth than the last show, therefore a better looking display.  Shoppers could actually have a look without bumping into each other!
One of my very good friends from here in Washington, NC entered a quilt and a quilted jacket.  She received a BLUE RIBBON for her jacket!  It's strip pieced with gorgeous Asian fabrics from my store.  They are all from Kona Bay Fabrics.  Sorry, I don't know the source of the pattern.
I've got things put away and the store all straightened out, so will have something new to show SOON.

Monday, May 9, 2011

String Piecing

In June I'll be doing a demo involving string piecing, so I need some new samples.  I decided to work on what will be a table runner.  I rounded up scraps in a fall color scheme and got out a phone book!  That's right;  because we have a business account, we get six phone books every time they are published.  A while back it dawned on me that the weight of phone book pages would be ideal for foundation piecing.  Today was the day to give it a try. 
Here's the fabric selection, phone book, and a dozen 7" squares.
Here are the blocks part-way along.
The piecing is done and the trimming has begun.  After starting with 7" paper squares, I am trimming the blocks to 6 1/2" so the finished size will be 6".  The runner will be 2 blocks wide and 6 blocks long.  I'll probably add a narrow border to make it look a bit more finished.  More soon....

Friday, May 6, 2011

Red, White and Blue

I haven't been too productive this week - suffering from weather related headaches (believe me, I can tell you when a storm is coming!)  I'm still working on hand quilting the big spiral.  Here are a couple of new store samples I put together last night and this morning:
The little center pieces (some people like to call them candle mats) are my version of an idea I saw a million years ago.  People pestered me so that I re-drafted it and made up my own pattern.  The table runner is called the "Ten Minute Table Runner".  I have NO idea where that idea originated.  My sister-in-law told me about it after seeing it in her local quilt shop in the mid-west.  Later, a lady from Canada emailed me a version called the "Twenty Minute Table Runner" and the only difference was that the measurements were in meters instead of yards!

We have a quilt show again next weekend, so that was my incentive to use some of my pretty new fabrics in some new samples.  This fabric line is called "Tribute" from P & B Textiles and was designed by Pat Sloan.  

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Spiral II Complete

Yesterday I machine quilted the little spiral.  Most of it is a "pebble" pattern, quite dense.  It lays nice and flat, very tight.  Here's a close-up of the quilting.
In order to straighten the sides, I had to trim off a bit more than I had planned.  It still turned out OK.  The density of the quilting did make the beading tough!  Here is the finished piece.
 Here is a close-up of the beading.