ONE OF THOSE DAYS

Today was one of those days……you know the kind where nothing goes as planned, or even actually right. Have you ever been tempted just to crawl back in bed and hope to start the day over?? Yes, it has been one of those….

Woman in chair and says she is in timeout until she can play nice with others.
Source: Pintrest


Sadly, all the distractions and problems of today interfered with the quilting that I had planned. But I wanted to get in a few minutes today of some quilt related activity.

So I set the timer for five minutes. I pulled out a few scraps from the bins that I wanted to cut for the next scrap quilt.

Two cardboard boxes marked "small scraps".
These hold fabric a quarter yard or less – it keeps me from loosing them on the shelves with the bigger pieces of fabric.

Next, I set the timer for 10 minutes and ironed those scraps.  I hate to iron (am I allowed to admit this?) even though I do so much of it. I tend to get stalled right here trying to pretend I really don’t have to iron those wrinkled up scraps (they are so much easier to cut and sew with if ironed). The timer went off just as I was ironing the last scrap.

These lovely pieces of fabric will have to wait until tomorrow for me to cut up – I don’t trust myself to cut the fabric accurately tonight. I am tired and headed to bed.

Selection of small pieces of ironed fabrics.
All ironed and ready to cut into blocks and strips.

I know all of us have these kinds of days occasionally and I just think it is important that we just do the best we can. Try to end the day on a good note. It makes for a good night of rest and a fresh start for tomorrow.

Folded fabric with saying "When the going gets round --- don't forget to pet the fabric".

Pleasant dreams to all.

BRIGHT & HAPPY BUGS QUILT (or a fabric panel quilt)

Cheerful and bright nap size quilt featuring happy lady bugs.

This Bright & Happy Bugs Quilt is a fun nap size quilt for the four year grand-daughter “C”. It’s hard not to smile at these cheerful, colorful bugs. She loves the bright colors and has quite a story to tell about the bugs adventures when she is here.


The Bright & Happy Bugs quilt stays at our home and when “C” wants to curl up, read, or nap she gets it from the rocking chair and curls up in it. Usually there is also a stuffed animal enjoying the quilt with her.

The top is a panel that I pieced bright borders to. We picked the 3 bright colors to add. The pink and yellow strips are 2.5″ and the dark purple is 4″ wide. The outside border is 6″ wide, and is a bug print that coordinates with the fabric panel. The outside border of small bright bugs is a coordinating print to the panel. We had a wonderful time working on this together – building memories and a fun quilt.

I saw a quilt at a fabric store that was off-set like this and thought it would be fun to try. I usually do borders all the way around, like a picture frame. It is good to try something different.


RLM machine quilted it in a stipple design. I self bound it by pulling backing to front and machine sewing down using matching lilac thread.


I decided to use this really soft lilac linen for the quilt backing. It was for a previous project, and there was enough leftover to use for this quilt. I love it when things come together perfectly, don’t you?

Solid lilac backing of quilt.  Can see machine quilting design.


Size is 35″ x 58″.

Helpful tip:

Fabric panels are a fun way to make a quilt or other items for home, and there are so many available now that cover many interests and color schemes. Look around for panels the next time you are out shopping for fabric and see what can be found for a fun, easy project.

Clip art of spool of thread with needle.


MAINE ROW QUILT

Row quilt featuring pine trees, birds, houses, leaves, fish, and mountains.

This Maine Row Quilt is beautiful !!! I completed the hand quilting on it in July of this year.  The top was done by my good quilting buddy (SB) of Caribou, ME. I believe she said the pattern was done by a local guild member up there.

SB had started quilting it, and decided to move onto another project so I got to complete the hand quilting. It was so much fun to quilt because each row was different so the quilting design changed with each row. I put in 182 yards of quilting to finish it for her.

Several people saw it at my home in the quilt frame while I was working on it and we all agreed that it was a truly beautiful quilt (even without my hand stitches in it).

A close up of the bird  and house rows.

The back is a beautiful print of brown bears: 

Backing is a bear print.
A larger view of the entire backing.

The finished size was 88″ x 90″. 

I returned it to her unbound so that is something SB will do over the winter when the snow is flying thick in northern Maine.

I already have so many ideas for quilts, but if I can convince her to loan me the pattern, I may make a Maine Row Quilt for myself.

RANDOM QUILTS IN UNEXPECTED PLACES

I love to travel. One thing I watch for when traveling is random quilts in unexpected places. Quilts like to pop up in places that don’t scream, “hey, a quilt is on display here”.

And let’s face it, I am always excited to see quilts, talk quilts, and make quilts.

I have traveled to Maine annually for many years – the scenery is beautiful and I get together with a group of friends for a quilt retreat. We have way too much fun sewing, visiting, and eating too much but it’s such a great time. It’s a time away from jobs and normal day to day stress to just enjoy quilting and good friends.

But I also spend several days down in the Rockland, Maine area just enjoying the lighthouses, the used book stores, the wonderful scenery, the great food, and the slower pace.

Below are some quilts I have found while in Maine in places I would never have expected to find quilts:

The Lighthouse Museum in Rockland, ME has these two wonderful quilts https://www.mainelighthousemuseum.org/

Pink and white quilt by Connie Small
Quilt by Connie Small
Display info for quilt by Connie Small
Info for quilt by Connie Small
World War II photo quilt
World War II photo quilt that hangs in the museum store.

How about the US Post Office in Round Pond, ME? Yes this lovely sampler quilt featuring blocks that have to do with coastal Maine is hanging in the lobby:

Sampler Quilt of blocks that show off coastal Maine.

The museum and gift shop at Marshall Point Light in Pt. Clyde, ME has these two beauties hanging up. I love the pebble fabric that is around all the counted cross stitched blocks. https://www.marshallpoint.org/

Counted cross stitch blocks of lighthouses with pebble fabric machine quilted wall hanging
Counted cross stitched lighthouses sashed with pebble fabric and machine quilted.
Pictorial quilt with various boats.
Postcard of quilt (This is much better than my photo)

The next time you are out and about or on a trip, look around for those random quilts in unexpected places. You might be surprised where quilts hang out.

QUILT SHOW – Terre Haute, IN

Quilt with triangle blocks and appliqued flower border.

Today is a dreary, gray, foggy day here and I thought it would be fun to “Go To A Quilt Show” in Terre Haute, IN for fun new ideas and inspiration, and to encourage us in our quilting activities. The best part is that we don’t have to get out of our jammies, drive anywhere, or see the show at a certain time.

Quilt of solid colors with center star, and card trick borders

This show was held in Terre Haute, IN in January 2006 by the Vigo County Quilt Guild. I attended this quilt show for many years because it was just plain fun. I always came away with ideas for my own quilts because of the quilts hanging at the show. And the guild folks were always so nice to visit with.

Trip around the world quilt done in solid fabrics.

Why go to a quilt show?

I will go to any quilt show if I can fit it into my schedule. Sure the vendors are usually worth at least a good look at, there are other quilters to talk to and bounce ideas off of, but for me the biggest thing is simply to see what other quilters did with patterns, fabrics, and their own creativity.

Quilt with cream background with red bias tape designs.

I usually end up asking myself, “why didn’t I think of that?”

Quilt: Mariner's Compass center with star and 9 patch blocks around it.

If you get a chance to go to a quilt show, no matter how big or small, try to go. Look, ask questions, enjoy the camaraderie, and come away with lots of new ideas.

Red, white and blue quilt with appliqued eagles in the center.

Quilt shows can be found in any city or rural area. Bigger national shows are easy to find on the internet. I find smaller or local shows by asking at fabric stores, checking other blogs, networking with other quilters, or looking through quilt magazines.

Scrap quilt in all hexagons.

These quilts are in no order, just simply what caught my eye that day.

Solid fabrics look like woven ribbons against black background.

I am not a purist, so I make some quilts to be hand quilted, and some to be machine quilted. Besides the pattern and colors, I always study how the quilt was actually quilted – machine or hand?

Two geometric quilts in solids or batik fabrics.

What pattern was it quilted in? Does the quilting blend in, or is the quilting meant to be seen? Is the quilter experienced or is he/she starting out?

Blue background with Chinese lanterns quilt.

What is a quilt challenge?

Two wall  hangings - one is flying geese and one is a woven pattern.
Two challenge quilts – the floral fabric in these had to be used in the quilt top.

I personally love to see “challenges” by a group of quilters. A challenge is where the same fabric or the same pattern is used in all the quilts. Give several quilters the same pattern or fabric guidelines, and they will still have very different quilts when done.

Ideas for quilt challenges: http://sillygoosequilts.blogspot.com/2015/01/ideas-for-quilt-challenges.html

To a quilt show we will go

Fellow Quilters Unite….. well maybe not, but let’s go to quilt shows if possible. It is so much fun, and just a great way to meet others who have the same interests we do. What is your favorite quilt show to attend?

Scrap quilt of nine patches set at an angle with arrow sashing.

FLOWERS & TUMBLERS (or scraps are taking over my world) – Part 2

This quilt, Flowers & Tumblers (or scraps are taking over my world), was started in July 2019 with the English paper pieced flowers.

My goal for this year is to make a dent in the scraps bins which have overflowed, plus figure out fun and different ways to use up leftover pieces from other quilts that I have made.

Here’s the previous post about this quilt: https://indianaquilter40.com/flowers-tumblers-or-scraps-are-taking-over-my-world-part-1/ .

Two flower sections completed laying flat.
Two completed flower sections

After completing the two sections of English pieced flowers, I did the tumbler sections. Many of the tumbler pieces were leftovers from another tumbler project (https://indianaquilter40.blogspot.com/2017/07/tumblers-galore.html) that I made in 2017. Once the leftovers were sewn together, I had to cut more anyway. Well, a little more dent in the scrap bins.

The photo below is of two completed tumbler sections and one almost complete flower section. The sashing is not between them yet. I am liking how the sections look together. The leftover green rick rack makes a great vine.

Two tumbler sections and one flower section of the quilt.
I like the look of these sections together.

PDF pattern for flowers and tumblers. The flower will take 7 hexagons (1 center and 6 petals):

The top is together with light weight denim between and around the outside of the five sections. I like the look so far. I will complete it with Flying Geese blocks for the outside border. The top currently measures 72″ x 80″ and my goal is 92″ square.

Three tumbler sections, and two flower sections all sashed with denim.
This used lots of scraps !!!

There will be one more post on the final section of borders of Flying Geese in the next few days.

I encourage you to go through your scraps and just have fun combining them together. I really enjoyed doing this quilt in sections instead of blocks or the same repeating pattern. It has a totally different look than scrap quilts I have done in the past. I think this method may become addictive…

These are the posts on the previous blog about this quilt, please see:

https://indianaquilter40.blogspot.com/2019/07/grandmas-flower-garden-or-take-along.html

https://indianaquilter40.blogspot.com/2019/09/returned-from-trip-and-ready-to-go-again.html

MAINE MYSTERY QUILT 2009

Maine Mystery Quilt 2009

It was really fun to be a part of the Maine Mystery Quilt 2009 – I belong to a local quilt guild. That year I also belonged to a guild in Maine that several quilting buddies belong to (even now) in northern Maine and this was the mystery quilt for that year. It was from a book named “Minnesota Hot Dish” (https://www.amazon.com/Minnesota-Dish-Atkinson-Designs-ATK-902/dp/B000GKKXTM/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Minnesota+hot+dish+quilt+book&qid=1571932601&s=books&sr=1-1 ).

It’s so easy to do the same style of quilts in the same colors or fabric designs which is why I like to push myself out of my own comfort zone periodically and do something I have not done or never done in the quilt realm. It’s so easy to get stagnant and I want to learn new things – yes, even in quilting.

I don’t do many mystery quilts. I am very visual and want to see how the top looks when it is finished, even if the colors are not my favorites. For those of you who do many mystery quilts, what do you find appealing about mystery quilts?

When the top was complete, I passed the book to another quilter so I do not have the directions. However, I do remember that it was all squares and rectangles which went together easily.

There was a vendor for several years at the national quilt show in Paducah, KY https://www.paducah.travel/quilting/aqs-quiltweek-paducah/ that carried beautiful French fabrics. I bought small quantities each year. I had no idea what to do with them but they were so beautiful. Does fabric ever follow anyone else home from quilt shows?

close up of blocks and quilting design

The background was a navy solid. The difference in how the navy feels and how the French fabric feels is very noticeable.

The paisley border fabric was also from the same vendor of French fabrics https://www.french-nc.com/shop/Fabrics/French-Fabrics/Printed-Cotton-Fabric-Provence-and-other.htm.

Another close-up of border and quilting design.


I cut out and machine pieced the top during January to May of 2009.

It was machine quilted in June of 2009 by RLM. The small vine and flower design looks wonderful and really works well with the fabrics.

The backing was a piece of blue and yellow striped print from my stash that coordinated with the blue and yellow fabrics in the top.

Maine Mystery Quilt 2009 - backing of blue and yellow fabric

Maine Mystery Quilt 2009 finished quilt size is 44″ x 60″.

This quilt hanging on fence.

THREAD & FABRIC – SHOULD THEY MATCH?

Clip art -  thread and needle

Should the thread and fabric match? I have been asked this so many times, especially by beginning quilters.  We were taught in a sewing class taken back in the dark ages that the thread and fabric should match. And honestly, if I am sewing clothing, I want the thread to match. However, we are talking quilting here.

Should the fabric and thread colors match? Does it really matter? I decided years ago that it was more important to me to cut and sew accurately, then be concerned about matching thread color for piecing the pattern.

Here’s my take on matching threads to fabric (and remember this is simply my opinion) – it depends on what part of the quilting process I am working on.…

If I am piecing, I do not care what color of thread that is being used.  Oh, the scandal!!  Every time I changed fabric colors, I would have to change the thread and bobbin. In my mind that is such a waste of time, and I would rather be happily sewing.

Container with many spools of different colors of thread.
Partial spools of beautifully colored threads

Your quilt is about you, and only you can decide what steps in the quilt making process are priority to you.  You will need too decide what you are willing or not to do. I know I am in the minority on the subject, and I am comfortable with that.  I really notice this each fall when a group of us get together every September in Maine to quilt for several days – I am the only one who does not spend time matching the thread to the fabric.  Clearly it is not a priority for me, but a high one for the others.

However, when I am piecing a planned top with purchased fabric for that project, I try to find some neutral color and use that for the entire top. 

Right now, I am trying to clean out my scrap bins – how would I even begin to match the fabrics and threads?  I already feel my head starting to hurt. When I am piecing with scraps, I use it as an excuse to use up all those partial spools and bobbins of odd colors. 

Plastic tub of 2.5" scrap strips of fabric
2.5″ strips all cut and ready to sew
Plastic tub of 3" fabric squares.
3″ squares cut and ready to sew

This is the biggest reason I rarely use white as a background fabric – combined with the use of many different colors of thread, there are all the loose hanging threads. I just make sure they are at the back when I am sewing those seams. (See other post: https://indianaquilter40.com/to-clip-those-loose-threads-or-not/)

Other quilters’ thoughts about this issue:

https://www.generations-quilt-patterns.com/what-color-quilting-thread-should-i-use-for-piecing.html

https://www.quiltersworld.com/basics.php#Thread

This is a good time to address sewing thread – buy the best you can afford.  My own mistakes showed me a long time ago that usually the store brand is not quality which lead to frustration as I sewed (knots and shredding) and it did not hold up to use. The other issue was that some of the color was not set right, and it bled through the quilt top after the first washing.

I do match the thread if I am doing applique, or a binding. Why? Because I want to see the design, not obvious stitches.  For both applique and bindings, I usually like to use a thread that matches the background because it seems to blend in better. This is also how I end up with partial spools and bobbins of various colors.

I personally use Coats & Clark machine thread because the color range is fantastic, and it holds up well for both hand and machine sewing.

There is also the budget issue, after all I have spent money on quality thread, and I can’t see letting it just sit in a cupboard unused.  My goal is to use the fabric up until it is gone (those glorious scraps need a home, right?) so I personally want to have the same attitude about the thread.  

Now I am going to really be controversial (!!) with the next comment.  Once I discovered thread adapters (I bought mine at JoAnn’s) I went to using neutral serger threads for much of my sewing. I still buy quality, but the cost is so much less than buying the same amount of thread on regular spools. My grandma told me that the only thread colors I would ever need were black, gray, light brown, white, and navy and those are the colors I buy in serger threads because they really are versatile and neutral.  Only you can decide if this option works for you, but I have done it for well over 30 years with very satisfactory results.

Thread adapter with 4 spools of serger thread.
Thread adapter and serger thread
Four spools of serger thread.

Only you can decide if matching threads for piecing is a stress or a joy to you. 

Remember that quilting should make you happy.  If you are distracted or stressed by some part of the quilting process that does not matter once the quilt is finished, then maybe it just is not worth it. My grandma would say “don’t stress the small stuff”.

Quilt block with saying "Decide for yourself what matters to you and what doesn't"
Source: Quiltville

Quilting folks, please comment – do you match your fabrics and thread?

CELTIC KNOT PILLOWS (hand quilted and embellished with beads)

Mixing large quilts with smaller projects is fun and allows me to have several projects going at the same time. I intended to only make one of these Celtic pillows, but somehow a single project morphed into two separate projects. They started with the purchase of some historical looking metallic trim that I hand sewed small white beads within the design. The hand quilting and embellished trim really made for a one of a kind item.

The navy blue fabric was silk and made for easy hand quilting. I drew the design with a white chalk pencil using a stencil. The I carefully machine sewed the trim to the fabric – I had to be careful to go slowly so I did not catch on the beads. I finished the back using the envelope method (see below) and off this one went to an auction.

Navy blue silk pillow with beaded trip and quilted Celtic knot.
Complete and ready to go to the auction !

The burgundy pillow was also silk fabric and again hand quilted so easily. This one was a gift for a local woman who helped me sew some clothing (in my opinion, complicated compared to quilting). The method was the same for both pillows.

Burgandy silk pillow with beaded trim and hand quilted Celtic knot.

The pillows were sewn together and finished with the envelope method. See: https://www.domesticimperfection.com/how-to-make-envelope-closure-pillow/.

These two pillows were made during 2000 – 2001.

The finished size was 18″ square.

BASKET WEAVE NINE PATCH

Scrap quilt - Basketweave Nine Patch with back sashing.

Waste not, want not or so we are told. The Basket Weave Nine Patch is a classic example of not wasting those pesky scraps that keep filling up a tub in my sewing room. This is a super easy pattern to do and can be adjusted for any size quilt. If you have not made a quilt from this pattern, let me encourage you to do so. It is easy to make and can be adjusted to any size strips you want to use.

I saw this pattern in some quilting magazine back in the mid to late 1980’s while living and working in West Germany. I thought yippee!! A great way to use up some of these scraps.

Obviously even then, I had a real problem with scraps!

Various colored fabric scraps in a pile.
Oh those scraps……..

I understand that rotary cutters were available by this time, but I had not seen one yet, so I actually cut all those pieces out by hand with scissors! It made for sore hands. Plus the issue of keeping those sharp scissors out of the little folks reach since I generally sat at on the floor to cut my fabric and they were playing around me.

Bolts of fabric and a pair of scissors.
Source: Bing clip art

So I eventually cut enough rectangles out for four queen size Basket Weave Nine Patch quilts that were completed over several years. It’s ok, you can say and think that this poor woman had a serious problem with fabric addiction. You would be sooooo correct.

In the first photo, the quilt has blocks made of 9 “Roman Stripe” patches. I don’t remember the exact size but the three strips sewn together were the same length and width. Just alternate them as shown in the clip art below when sewing together.

Clip art - Roman Stripe quilt drawing.

The next step was simply adding solid black sashing between the Nine Patch blocks. The post was a square the same size as the width of the sashing. I believe the sashing was 4″ wide, which would mean the posts were 4″ square – obviously this was a personal choice size wise and could easily be adjusted to fit any size quilt.

The top was finally put together in early 2007 and machine quilted by RLM the same year. It was given to our son M. for Christmas.

The same pattern, but totally different fabric choices and way blocks are put together can be seen here: https://indianaquilter40.blogspot.com/2009/10/roman-stripe-table-runner.html

https://indianaquilter40.blogspot.com/2011/11/roman-stripe-charm-quilt.html

PLEASE NOTE: 
ALL PHOTOS AND WRITTEN CONTENT ARE MY OWN UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.