Don’t have a lot of time? Want something fun, quick, and personalized in a quilt? Pre-printed fabric panels or blocks are a great way to do this. This quilt, Proud Polar Bears, went together super quick and easy.
I used two coordinating prints to go with the polar bear blocks. I chose a fabric that looked like snow flakes for alternate blocks. The second fabric was all white animals for the border.
The quilt top was simple and easy to piece in 1996. It was machine quilted in 1998 by MG. It was a Christmas gift to the daughter who loves all animals. She loved the Proud Polar Bears on the front, and the cozy flannel on the back.
Finished size is 75″ x 88″.
Quilts do not have to be complicated to be loved and beautiful.
Projects using pre-printed blocks or panels can be used in simple or complex ways. What appeals to your creativity?
AMERICAN MELTING POT: No doubt you have done this too. Purchased some fabric because it really “spoke” to you, and then had to figure out a quilt to go with it. This is the story of the quilt that used this fabric of eagles and flags.
I pieced the top during 2008. The blocks are a mix of left over shapes of fabric, so there are both “strings” and “crumbs”. I pieced this to scrap paper for stability, then when I had a pile of them, wet down the paper to remove it from the back of the block. It is a pretty easy process.
Supplies for the top:
Fabric scraps of desired size and color.
Foundation for the fabric to be sewn to. It can be paper, or a lightweight sew in interfacing. A light weight fabric such as muslin or an old sheet also works well.
The alternate blocks are a dark red brick fabric. To me it represents all the legal immigrants over the years. It takes all of them to make up the wonderful American Melting Pot of this country – the USA.
The inside darker blue border and the binding are the same fabric. The blue is similar in shade to the blue in the American flag.
The outside border is the flag and eagle fabric that is a wonderful old fashioned looking patriotic fabric perfect for this quilt.
The machine quilting was done in 2009 by RLM. It is a swirly design. I used a printed sheet for the backing.
I completed the binding and tag in 2010. The binding is machine sewn down on the front. Then I folded it over to the back, and hand sewed it down.
I think of the pieced blocks as “crazy” blocks because of all the various shapes of fabric in them. As I pieced American Melting Pot, I thought that these blocks are a lot like our country – lots of various people, languages, and cultures mixing together to make our great country.
Our country is a country of immigrants and I am happy for any who choose to come here legally, work, and contribute to the USA.
Quilting Goals for 2020 – I cannot believe how fast 2019 flew by! It was such a crazy busy year on so many levels: job, personal, and quilting. However, I can honestly say that I completed all my quilting goals for the year. I need to really pat myself on the back!
So how did you do on your quilting goals for 2019? It’s alright if you didn’t get them all done – any progress is better than nothing. If you are one of those rare people who actually got more done than what your goals were – yippee for you!!
I am a list maker, and it really does help me get things done in my life. I made myself a new “fancy” list template for quilting projects in 2020. You are welcome to use it too if you like:
I spent yesterday going through UFOs (Unfinished Objects) and deciding which ones I wanted to get done in 2020. Here are my quilting goals for next year:
My 2020 list is hanging in my sewing room where I can easily see it. I didn’t write any “prizes” in yet because I will decide on that as I go.
I don’t necessarily do the UFOs in any order – a lot of how they get done depends on my time and travel. The ones that need a sewing machine I have to do while home, but the ones I can do by hand (like applique, or bindings on small items) can go along on job trips.
The important thing is that I am working on the items all year and staying focused – it is so easy to get distracted and want to move on to another project before one is completed. Yep, that is how I ended up with so many UFOs in the first place….
Hopefully I have encouraged you to get busy on those projects you want to do for 2020, whether they are UFOs or a new item. Set quilting goals for 2020. Remember to have fun with your quilting.
P. S. Another helpful source on writing down goals for 2020:
Lettuce Be Berry Christmas Quilt – it is not the average Christmas quilt. This top was sewn together in a day and a half while on my annual trip to Maine in Sept. 2014. It is named for the lettuce and berry fabrics in it. When I decided to make this quilt, I was looking for fabrics that read “red” or “green”, not the theme of the fabric.
The center blocks and inside border are a solid black with gold flecks – perfect for the beauty of Christmas.
I cut the fabric before the trip and took it along to be sewn together. The center squares are 4″ squares and the strips are 2.5″. I did two “logs” around each block. The inside border is 4″ wide and the outside border is 6″ wide. There are 36 blocks.
I got the entire top done in the day and a half except for sewing on the final border on two sides of the top. Here it is at Colonial Pemaquid in Maine:
I finished the top 100″ square in Oct. 2014 and it was machine quilted in Nov. by RLM. I finished the binding on Christmas Eve 2014.
Here is a photo of Lettuce Be Berry this year ready to be shown off for the Christmas season.
Christmas quilts are a wonderful addition to the season:
GRANDMA CAME FOR CHRISTMAS – The last time grandma and I went fabric shopping together, she told me that I didn’t have to buy scraps (I was buying 1/4 yd. pieces of Christmas fabric) because she had plenty and would be glad to share.
I pieced the center 16 Log Cabin blocks in 1988 while living in West Germany. The red center block is 2.5″ and the logs are 1.5″ in width when cut. I used green and red scraps with muslin. I put them away because I wasn’t sure what to actually make with them.
At some point, I added two borders around the center blocks, with the red border being 3″ cut and the cream muslin border being 4.5″ cut.
On one of my trips back home, Grandma and I went fabric shopping – many of those 1/4 yard pieces got put into the piano key border which is 10″ wide (cut). The final outside border was from Grandma’s fabric collection and is 6.5″ cut.
I would piece on it, then put it away for several years (1988 – 1997). Grandma never saw the completed top or quilt since she died in 1996. I hand quilted this in 1997. The binding is also hand finished.
Finished size is 80″ x 80″.
In 1998 this quilt got a blue ribbon at the county fair. Here are the comments from the judges:
Grandma was a huge part of my life growing up. She encouraged me to quilt and be anything I wanted. She insisted on good grades in school and finishing high school because she only was able to complete up through 10th grade. I miss her still. Her wisdom and compassion are something that are missing in our current world.
“Grandma Came for Christmas” is brought out every year at Christmas to be displayed, cuddled in, and talked about. It is a great way to remember a super important person in my life.
Quilters, your quilts can have a story or be in memory of some important person in your life. Quilts can have funny or sad stories. Don’t forget to pass the stories on with the quilts.
I am a big believer in giving back to my community. Here are six simple donated baby quilts to the local crisis pregnancy center that I made. As I make these quilts, they get donated in batches of 6 – 12 to two local pregnancy centers.
The blocks are a mix of flannel and cotton with the batting being scraps left over from my own projects. The backing is usually a flannel or child print cotton. They are tied with yarn. People know that I make many of these annually so much of the supplies are donated to me for this purpose.
Nine 9.5” cotton or flannel squares (3 rows of 3 squares each)
Bright colored yarn
Backing fabric (flannel or cotton – 1.25 yard)
At a minimum they should be tied at each corner and in the center of each block. They could be machine quilted easily in straight lines.
I do a self binding by trimming the batting even with the top, and then trimming the back to 2″ on each side larger than the top/batting. Fold the over hang in half once (so now 1″ wide all around quilt) and sew down as binding.
If using fleece as the backing, when self binding trim to 1″ and zig-zag stitch down. I have found if using fleece for the backing, I do not use batting.
If you ask or look around your own community, there are people or places who would love to receive warm and cuddly quilts. These are also a simple way to teach people basic sewing skills.
In the past, I have used these quilts to teach basic sewing and giving skills to a group of teen girls at church. It was a fun way to learn and for them to socialize as well. Currently I am making the baby quilts alone as the girls have all left for college and none of the current teen girls are interested in sewing.
The gentleman who does my machine quilting always has a list of quilts to quilt and tells me when I drop off a quilt how much he enjoys quilting the quilts I bring to him because they are well made and he doesn’t have to struggle to get them quilted. I asked him for some suggestions to help a machine quilter do a great job on your quilt.
His suggestions to help a machine quilter:
Pre-wash all the fabric, both in the top and backing.
Use proper tension on your sewing machine so the seams are strong and will not start to come apart during the machine quilting process.
Use good quality fabrics and sewing thread in your top.
Have consistent seams throughout the quilt top. Do not make smaller than quarter inch seams because they will start to unravel and come apart.
Iron the seams as you sew, and the quilt will be (more) straight.
If supplying the batting, buy good quality (he prefers Warm & Natural or something similar). Ask your quilter for his/her preferred batting to work with.
Make sure your backing is at least 4” bigger than the top on all sides.
Know what kind of quilting design and color of thread before he/she starts on your quilt.
Your good quality supplies and workmanship plus the machine quilting will make for a quilt you both are happy with when it is complete.
You put many hours into making a quilt. Take time to complete it correctly. Snuggle up and enjoy – you have earned it.
Here are two quilts he machine quilted for me. I request stippling much of the time.
Today was a fairly nice day for early December in central Indiana. No snow, no rain, in the 40’s temp range, partly cloudy that eventually turned blue. I wanted to be outside but couldn’t think of a real reason to be there – I needed to be getting some fabric cut. Um….how about a road trip and beautiful quilts thrown in.
So six Christmas quilts got chosen to go along and get their photos taken outside and/or in an interesting location. Ended up in Sullivan County, Indiana with my trusty side kicks (AKA hubby and grand-daughter).
Taking photos of quilts is fun and honestly, who doesn’t want to show off the quilts they make? Look around for interesting places to use when taking photos of your quilts – it can be your own personal quilt show and a fun road show at the same time.
We lived in Germany for five years during the 1980’s. The short version of this story is that I lost the coin flip and we spent Christmas in Paris 1985 (instead of Rome). It was certainly exciting to be in Paris, and we saw all the tourist places during those five days (Arc de Triomphe, Norte Dame, the Louvre Museum, Versailles, Eiffel Tower, etc.).
Not to mention walking around downtown and getting lost, or that my husband got food poisoning. It was a memorable once-in-a-lifetime experience (he is rolling his eyes right now).
Never did I think of making a quilt as a keepsake for the trip – I had lots and lots of photos that are still fun to look at. However, I was in a fabric store recently, the Rockin Bobbin https://www.rockinbobbinquiltshop.com/ and there was some really pretty Paris themed fabrics.
The light bulb went off – a quilt to commemorate the Christmas in Paris 1985 trip would be fun so I picked up several different pieces. After washing and ironing the fabric, I cut it up without thinking to take photos before this fabric was cut up, but here a close up of a piece that is used as an alternate block for the quilt.
I went through my Christmas prints and chose some that were glittery (like Paris, right). The goal was a simple wall hanging so I cut 8″ squares of the Paris fabric, and a few glittery Christmas fabrics for a total of 20 squares which I sewed together 4 squares x 5 rows.
A gray stone looking fabric was chosen for between the blocks and the glittery music outer border.
It was easily pieced in a day and is ready to go for machine quilting. The finished size is 41″ x 48″.
The backing is a Paris toile and I will hand cross stitch a pretty tag to put on the back once it is quilted.
I am normally the person taking photos, I am not fond of having my own picture taken but here are two photos of a much younger me in Paris during December 20 – 25, 1985.
Life’s events can certainly be commemorated with a quilt, either simple or complex. What life event would you like to commemorate with a quilt?
On this winter day, Hot Chocolate and Peppermint just sound so good. I can almost smell them both. There are two really great things about this quilt – it used a lot of scraps, and there are no calories involved.
I have to admit that it took a long time for me to warm up to log cabin quilts. I didn’t like how they looked, and I really didn’t like all the seams. The first one I can remember making was a just plain scrap one and it just did not appeal to me. I immediately gave it to another family member. See: https://indianaquilter40.blogspot.com/2011/09/log-cabin.html
However, the years have flown by and I have come to really like them for the ease of going together, the flexibility of size and colors, and the way they look – everything from classic antique to modern.
Hot Chocolate and Peppermint Quilt was the result of having so many brown and pink scraps. I decided on a whim on Nov. 15, 2019 to pull the browns and pinks out of the scrap bin and box of already cut 2.5″ strips, and just go for it making log cabin blocks. I completed the piecing on Dec. 2, 2019.
The hardest part was finding something in my stash for the center blocks. I finally settled on a white with black print words that had short positive sayings. it also became the narrow inside border.
I set the blocks in the “straight furrows” arrangement because it seemed to work best with the colors. Let me confess here that I have never made a brown and pink quilt before – they are just two colors I do not really like separately and My thought was that they would look good together – wrong! I am super pleased with how this quilt top turned out. My daughter asked if I was sick when she saw it because she knows how much I dislike these two colors.
The top finished at 100″ square. I used these sizes to make Hot Chocolate and Peppermint Quilt:
Center blocks 4” square
Inside border 2” (between the blocks and the pink dotted border)
Second border 2.5” (pink with brown dots)
Outside border 4” (brown with white dots)
I have made more Log Cabin quilts since then – it amazes me how different they look, even though the blocks are all made the same: