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:
TRIANGLE CHARM QUILT – So my quilting buddy (SB) and I had the brilliant idea to do some charm quilts using the same fabric packs, but we did different patterns or ways to put the charm pieces together. I simply took my 5″ squares and made half square triangles from them. I added enough “charm” pieces from my own stash to make the top big enough to suit me.
The green sashing and brown posts were out of my stash. I just wanted someplace for my eyes to rest and all those triangles were busy.
I pieced the Triangle Charm Quilt top during March to May 2002. It was fun, and it was fun to work with some different fabrics I would not have bought otherwise.
I kept track of the charms by keeping the fabrics in baggies by main color. Since the point of “charm quilts” is to only have one piece of each fabric in a quilt you will want to find a way to know what fabrics you have already used.
The definition I found for charm quilts “…when quilters make a charm quilt, no fabric is used more than one time in the quilt“.
This was machine quilted in May or June 2002 by RLM.
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.
(PINK) FLANNEL ONE PATCH QUILT -Some quilts are made as heirlooms, some are made to be used (but not abused) and some are made to be loved to death. The fate of being loved to death is the story of this quilt.
I pieced it from a stack of left over mostly pink flannel blocks in 1994 – 1996. The blocks were cut 8″ square and there is no border. The backing was a pink flannel flat sheet. The “batting” was a worn white cotton sheet. It was tied with yarn.
My daughter (H) was the recipient of this and she also “helped” with the sewing and tying of the quilt. She was so excited about how soft and cuddly it was. She was four years old when we finished it.
We sewed it together so it looked like a pillow case, smoothed it out, and tied it. After that the open fourth side was sewn shut. It was a simple quilt and made to be loved to death.
She still thinks it was wonderful and did use it until it was a ragged mess that was finally thrown away when she went to college. H. has happy memories of the quilt itself and of us working on it together.
Finished size was 67″ x 80″.
The morale of the (Pink) Flannel One Patch Quilt is simply that not all quilts are made to live long lives and be beautiful. Some are made to be used, washed, played on and under, and just generally have a short life span – but the memories produced are for a life time.
Fall is my favorite season and the only one I really decorate for. I believe that is one reason I go to Maine every September – the colors are so brilliant – the blue sky, the leaves, the ocean water. I thought it would be fun to make a log cabin quilt in fall colors. Here is the start of my “Log Cabin in the Fall Woods” quilt.
I started to make a fall themed log cabin quilt from my fabric stash. The goal being to not buy any fabric to make this quilt top. It was not hard to find the right red, orange and purple scraps and cut them into the correct sizes and shapes:
4″ center squares (dark red)
2.5″ strips (purple and orange)
When constructing the blocks, I only did two rounds instead of my normal three. When sewing two of the sides of the block are in one color (orange) and the other two in another color (purple). There is a total of 36 blocks to make this square quilt, or six rows by six rows. I like keeping the math simple.
I cut many strips to start and ended up cutting more to complete the blocks. That really is fine, I am trying to use up scraps.
36 blocks are done:
When the 36 blocks were complete, I set them together in what is called the Sunshine & Shadow setting or the Dark & Light setting. Whatever the name, it gave a different look to the purple and orange blocks. I only recently realized how many ways the log cabin blocks can be put together to make designs.
At this point, the top for “Log Cabin in the Fall Woods” is 68” square and needs a border or borders to complete. I lost interest and moved to another project. This project got hung on a hanger in the closet to be finished another time.
Update Dec. 22, 2019
I added more of the leftover strips to make the border to finish this quilt top. There are 5 borders to make the quilt the size I want.
Starting closest to the blocks, first border is 4″ in red print. The second border is leftover 2.5″ leftover purple strips. The third border is leftover 2.5″ orange strips. The fourth border is leftover 2.5″ purple strips. The final border is 4″ wide and a leaf print with metallic highlights.
Update Oct. 8, 2020
The quilt was machine quilted in a large stipple design. The machine quilting was completed in May 2020 by RLM.
Finished size is 88″ square.
The backing is a solid purple sheet.
I did not buy any fabric for the quilt top. It is made of scraps or from fabric pieces already in my stash. Goal reached !!
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.