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STARS IN PINK AND GREEN

STARS IN PINK AND GREEN

I admit it – I like cheater blocks and novelty fabric panels. They can make quick and easy projects. And so Stars in Pink and Green was born.

Back in the 1990’s I had six of these really attractive looking stars in pink, but I was stumped with what to do with them. They were pretty and feminine, but once home the question was “now what?”

One of those aw-ha moments, and digging through the stash produced the answer. I found a coordinating print and soft green solid.

Easy assembly

I cut the blocks apart so that I had 6 individual star blocks.

Star "cheater" block

I cut the green solid into 4″ wide strips. Sewing two blocks together with a green strip between was easy and quick.

Iron all the seams flat.

Next I sewed the long strips down each side of the blocks from above.

Iron the seams I just sewed flat. Ironing really does make the quilt fit together better. It will look nicer too.

I cut the outside border 8″ wide from the print fabric, and sewed it to the blocks.

At that point, I had about two hours total into the quilt top.

That was in 1997. I hung the top up neatly on a hanger in the closet with the backing fabric. And moved on to the next project.

The top was re-discovered in November 1999. It would make a great Christmas gift for the daughter. Off to MG for machine quilting and binding. The machine quilting design was looping and simple.

Finished size of Stars in Pink and Green is 54″ x 78″ – perfect for her twin bed. It is looking rather worn these days, but now the gr-daughter is enjoying it.

Suggestions for you

As you shop for fabrics, look for cheater blocks or panels. They really are fun to work with and can be made into an easy and fast pieced quilt.

Or take several of different sizes and make them into a single top. Various size borders of coordinating fabrics will make it visually interesting. Yes, some serious measuring may be required, but it is well worth the results.

Happy quilting.

USING PRE-PRINTED QUILT TOPS

Using pre-printed quilt tops as a pattern for quilting is wonderful. I used the Feathered Pineapple pre-printed top for the Amish Bar Quilt. Plus it saves hours of frustration marking a quilting design onto fabric.

USING PRE-PRINTED QUILT TOPS
Source: my photo

Steps to success:

The first thing is to purchase the top  – I get mine from The Stencil Company  either on-line or at the quilt show at Paducah, KY. Do not pre-wash these tops.

The next thing is to decide which top you already have, or make one to fit the size of the pre-printed top you bought.  I like my quilt tops to be about 2″ bigger all the way around just so I am sure they will fit together.

Next is to make your quilt “sandwich” like always – if you are going to hand quilt it then you will want to baste it  really well.  Use the batting of your choice (I use wool from Hobbs).

When I use the pre-printed tops, I put the pieced quilt top on the bottom, then the batting, then the pre-printed top. I will be following the marking on that top to make the quilting design of the quilt.

I am hand quilting these – I imagine the process would be similar if it is machine quilted.

When you put the quilt “sandwich” in the frame, make sure that the pre-printed top is what you see. Until you complete the quilting – the backing is the top so the marked lines can be followed. 

Marks be gone:

Once you have completed the quilting the quilt can be washed to take out the lines, or lay the quilt outside on a dry sunny day.

Method 1:

Lay a king size white flat sheet on the ground, lay out the quilt pre-marked quilt top up, and then lay another king size white quilt on top. By late afternoon, the marking has pretty much faded. 

Method 2:

I have 2 methods to wash quilts depending on the weather or my available time:

One way is to put a white sheet in the bottom of the bath tub, put the quilt loosely bunched up on top of the sheet and put in warm soapy water.  Let soak a couple hours. Drain water and push as much of the water out by hand. Then run in more warm water and let set another couple hours to rinse. Drain really good – usually another couple hours.  Hang up over chairs or wooden drying racks to dry. 

Do not hang on the wash line as the weight of the quilt will damage it.

The second way to wash a quilt is to take to the laundry mat. Use a large front loading machine  that does not agitate on the gentle cycle.  Then throw it in the dryer for one cycle and take home to hang up over chairs or wooden drying racks.

Conclusion:

Using pre-printed quilt tops allows you to spend the time quilting, instead of marking the top. I find it very enjoyable to follow the printed lines and relax with the rhythm of the quilting. Here’s another pre-printed top I used to make a quilt.

USING PRE-PRINTED QUILT TOPS
Source: my photos
Make today amazing.
Source: Bing clip art

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SIMPLE CHRISTMAS TABLE TOPPER

Christmas tree clip art
Source: Bing clip art

Table toppers are easy and quick to make. It is such a nice feeling to make an entire quilted project quickly and have that wonderful warm feeling of “yeah, it is done”. That is how I feel about this Simple Christmas Table Topper.

SIMPLE CHRISTMAS TABLE TOPPER
Yippee!! It is complete.

Courthouse Steps pattern is a variation of the ever popular Log Cabin.

Making this Simple Christmas Table Topper:

Obviously the strips and center squares could be cut the size you need. But I used 2.5″ beige center blocks, and 1.75″ strips in green and red.

The front pieces were all from the scrap bin. The backing was a piece from the stash.

The blocks are super easy to piece. Sew a strip of one color (green) on the two parallel sides of the squares. Iron. Sew the other color (red) on the two parallel sides of the squares. Iron. Repeat until the block is the size you want.

The border I added was cut 4″ wide. I really like the cardinals and pine cones on it.

The border of the table topper.
Courthouse Steps border

For the machine quilting, I did straight lines along each row of blocks. Also along the borders. Simple and quick.

Polyester batting is great for this sort of project because it does not need to be closely quilted.

SIMPLE CHRISTMAS TABLE TOPPER
Courthouse Steps

The binding is a 2.5″ straight strip that is folded in half and ironed. I then sew it onto the front of the quilt. Yes, the corners are mitered. Please use whatever method of binding you want on your project.

I hand sewed the binding down on the back.

This Simple Christmas Table Topper is 34″ square. Finish it by adding a tag with at least initials and year. I use up scraps of Aida cloth from counted cross stitch projects for this.

Happy Quilting.

Holly clip art
Source: Bing clip art

A QUILER ON THE ROAD AGAIN

A QUILER ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Source: Bing clipart

I have always been ready to travel when the opportunity arises. Quilting and travel seem to fit together fine. So I am a quilter on the road again.

The hubby and I took a few days off to escape north to see my sister, her family, and any other family who showed up in MN. The plan was to make the drive each way a two day trip with overnights in the Wisconsin Dells.

Peaceful, quiet time…

The other part of the plan was simply to relax on the lake, enjoy no schedule, and have a great visit. The trip was great and the plans worked out fine.

The cabin deep in the north woods of MN.
The cabin deep in the north woods of MN
View of the lake from the cabin.
View of the lake from the cabin.
A QUILER ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Time on the lake
Peaceful view
Peaceful view

Quilting by the lake

I am still dealing with a problem shoulder so chose a small project that is very mobile. It is also great to just pick up, work on, and put down. No stress.

All the fabric pieces in the small project bag was cut out prior to the trip. The bag also had needles, thread, and small scissors. This makes for keeping everything together, and does not take up much room in the suitcase.

A QUILER ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Quilting project on this trip.
20 completed flower blocks
20 completed flower blocks
Muslin backing and paper removed from flower block
Muslin backing and paper removed from flower block

Fabric shopping to complete the trip

On the return trip, we made a stop in Hutchinson, MN. Hubby headed for the DQ down the block while I did a quick shopping spree at the wonderful store “Quilt Haven on Main”. If you are up that way, make time to stop at this fun fabric store.

Ok, I really don’t need any fabric, but I picked up a few pieces anyway.

Old timey prints
Old timey prints
A QUILER ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Just fun prints.

A QUILER ON THE ROAD AGAIN…

Travel, peace and quiet, and quilting can go hand in hand. If you have a chance to do so please take the time away from your regular life and just enjoy. Pick a project that travels easy and work on it while relaxing.

Happy quilting.

Happy quilting. Make today amazing.
Source: Google clip art

“UGLY FABRIC” (what should I do with it?)

Most of us quilters have come up against the problem of “ugly fabric” (what should I do with it?) After all, it followed me home.

It is just fine to describe a fabric as “ugly” – we are talking about an object. All of us have a different opinion of what we think of as beautiful vs. ugly fabric and there is no reason not to be honest. After all, if everyone liked the same colors and designs there would not be the selection of cloth that we currently have.

clip art - quilt block

The fabric looked great at the store, or quilt show… but now that it is home, I wonder what possessed me to pay good money for that.  And why did I think five yards would be enough? Am I losing my mind?

I have tried several ways of handling the “ugly fabric” issue in my own quilting world. So far, the two most used answers are cutting it up as small as possible or using it as the backing of a quilt (especially if I can donate it or give it away).

When I would complain to my grandmother about ugly fabric, she would smile big and tell me that I had “not cut it small enough”.  Good point, and it generally does work.

What to do with ugly fabric:

  1. Over-dye it which for me is a hit and miss method.  I have come out with a truly beautiful “new” fabric, and I have come out with something far worse than what I started with.
  2. Mix it with a lot of other scraps in a quilt and it won’t stand out.
  3. Donate it (Goodwill, art class at the school, 4-H, or the animal shelter for bedding, etc.).
  4. Trade it because someone else will probably love it and he/she has a chunk of fabric you just love.
  5. Sell it because you can use that money to buy a piece of fabric you like.
  6. Make a simple pet bed for the local animal shelter. This is basically a pillow case that I keep on the cutting table and stuff with left over snippets of batting and fabric. When 2/3 full, I sew the open side shut and off to the shelter it goes. The shelter here cannot get enough of them.

No doubt other quilters have their own solutions to this dilemma, and I wish you would share them with the rest of us.

clip art - bolts of fabric and scissors

I remember years ago using a specific line of fabric to make a quilt.  One of the fabrics was just too hideous (in my opinion) and when I brought the finished quilt back to the shop to show the ladies there, I said something about putting the ugliest fabric on the back.  The owner was totally offended and made sure I knew it.  My comment was thoughtless, but it was my honest opinion.

Ugly fabric is useable:

The point is not that the fabric is ugly, but that we find a way to use it.  In the world of recycle, reuse, and re-purpose, fabric should be used. It has not been many years ago that nothing was thrown away because the item was too expensive or too hard to get to waste. We have so many choices today in the fabric world that we forget how hard it was for our predecessors to get nice fabric. So, let’s find a use for it, if only in honor of the quilters who came before us.

Pioneer woman sitting on porch with quilt top

Some ideas for ugly fabric:

https://www.quiltinghub.com/Articles/ArticleID/66

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

QUILTING AND INJURY

QUILTING & INJURY
Source: Bing clip art

Quilting and injury are not a fun mix. I have not mentioned my shoulder injury. It has really slowed down my hand quilting, and all areas of the sewing and quilting journey. I am sure other quilters experience shoulder and hand injuries too.

Repetitive motions such as rotary cutting and hand quilting just make my shoulder throb painfully.

I am not even sure what caused the injury in January. However, during a visit to the chiropractor I mentioned the pain in my shoulder. He diagnosed it as “frozen shoulder” and gave me some light exercises to do to help the stiffness and pain.

The exercises were easy to do and as time goes on the issue is diminishing. But I was not mentally prepared to not do any quilting activities for several weeks. That has been the worst part of the injury.

So what am I doing…

Currently I am hand quilting for one hour a day – at this stage I am thrilled with that. Rotary cutting and hand binding are even slower. But there is progress so I am happy.

I have sorted scraps by size and cleaned up the piles of fabrics.

Quilting books have been perused and new ideas marked. Magazines have been looked at and enjoyed. Some have been passed on, and some reorganized.

I enjoy other quilter’s blogs, but there has been time to catch up on reading (that are new to me, mostly) quilt blogs. It is fun to see what other quilters are doing and their projects. I found some really neat projects to possibly make.

Blog clip art
Source: Bing clip art

I also found a few new quilt blogs and thought I will share some with my wonderful readers:

A list of popular quilt blogs for 2021.

A mystery quilt (I like the blue and white version).

Quilts that are refreshingly different.

A different star block.

All kinds of fun ideas.

Make today amazing.
Source: Bing clip art

Enjoy your week readers. If you are a quilter with an injury, please find other quilt related activities to do while you recover.

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

DONATED BABY QUILTS TO THE LOCAL CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTER

DONATED BABY QUILTS TO THE LOCAL CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTER

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 many of the supplies are donated to me for this purpose.

Supplies For the Donated baby quilts:

Nine 9.5” cotton or flannel squares (3 rows of 3 squares each)

Batting

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.

DONATED BABY QUILTS TO THE LOCAL CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTER

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.

Please remember that these donated baby quilts for the local crisis pregnancy center are meant to be loved to death, so make them well and colorful.

Reach out to others:

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 donated baby quilts alone as the girls have all left for college, and none of the current teen girls are interested in sewing.

https://indianaquilter40.blogspot.com/2015/02/10-crisis-pregnancy-quilts.html

https://indianaquilter40.blogspot.com/2014/09/19-crisis-pregnancy-center-quilts.html

LOST AT SEA QUILT

Lost at Sea quilt

This quilt started out simple enough as an Ocean Wave quilt. And then “disaster” struck and I ended up with this Lost at Sea quilt.

My daughter wanted a bright and cheery quilt. And as always I was happy to make a top that used lots of scraps from my overflowing scrap bin.

This pattern uses two sizes of triangles and normally goes together easily enough. I currently cannot find the old paper pattern from a magazine that I used (it may finally have been used to death), but this quilt pattern is very similar.

Due to the the small pieces, and large amount of pieces needed there is a real need for the time to work on it.

“Disaster strikes”

So how did I make this mistake on the Lost at Sea quilt? Lack of time and being over tired so I just did not catch my mistake. I pieced this top in 1997 and my kids were all under 12, and we were homeschooling.

The blocks went together individually just fine.

It was when I connected the blocks that the mistake happened. The blocks got turned around and ended up in a totally different design. Yes, it does resemble real ocean waves and we all liked the finished top.

At least the gray and pink striped border frames it beautifully.

Another view of Lost at Sea.
Canon Inc

Crisis avoided by laughing about it, and just renaming the quilt. This quilt was a favorite of my daughter’s and it is long worn out from being loved into nothing but rags.

The finished size was 68″ x 88″. It was machine quilted in an all over wavy pattern in 2000 by MG.

And finally…

I love this pattern and it makes beautiful quilts. So far, I have only made these in scraps but it would make a beautiful two color quilt. I am thinking about making a solid colored quilt – maybe like an Amish quilt with black or navy background.

I made the below Ocean Wave quilt in 1990. Here it is in a personal quilt show last spring. It still looks good.

Ocean Waves quilt in green, blue, purple, and gray.

Wherever your quilt journey takes you, enjoy the trip. Learn from it. Challenge yourself. Be happy.

Make today amazing.

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

VINTAGE CHURN DASH QUILT

Vintage Churn Dash Quilt
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Sometimes a quilt top appeals to me and I just have to bring it home. That is what happened with this vintage Churn Dash quilt when I saw it at an antique store in Oaktown, IN back in 2010. Plus it fit my budget at $30.

The blocks are 8″ square and are made of cheerful 30’s and 40’s prints. A solid orange sashing is between the blocks. Here is an easy pattern to make your own.

I kept it where it could be seen for several months while I decided about adding an outside border. I was not concerned about the size, however, I personally like an outside border to frame the quilt.

After several months, I decided to leave the quilt top “as is” and had it machine quilted by RLM in January 2011. The design is a loopy design that is close and does a good job of covering the entire top.

Loopy quilting design shown on front and back of quilt.
nary comment

We chose a poly/cotton blend batting, and the backing is a cotton multi colored design on light background.

The finished size is 64″ x 76″.

This vintage churn dash quilt makes me happy every time I look at it. The fabrics and cheery colors remind me of something my beloved Grandma would have made from feed sacks.

Cheerful colors make this quilt top.
Shoo fly quilt

Reminder to all quilters:

Please don’t feel like you have to make every quilt you have. It can be fun to purchase completed blocks, a completed top, or a finished quilt. The important thing is to surround yourself with quilts you like because they make you happy.

Purchasing parts of a quilt, or an entire top can also save some much needed time. Quilting should make you happy, not stressed.

HOW TO ENGLISH PAPER PIECE

I have no idea who showed me how to English paper piece hexagons and diamonds. But the years have slid by and I really enjoy this technique. It is portable, easy, and looks great when completed.

What research I have done on this technique is that it started in England (well that certainly is obvious) in the 1700’s. The technique showed up in America in the early 1800’s. I have not done enough research that may or may not show this technique in other countries.

Gather supplies:

Paper (I use scrap paper that is on hand, such as discarded mail)

Fabric

Pattern in shape and size desired

Thread

Scissors

Easy directions:

I found this slide show about English paper piecing to be very easy to follow and the photos much better than anything I had in my own personal collection for directions.

If you prefer YouTube, this is a nice presentation.

This previous post has a PDF pattern for the hexagon I use in most of my quilts using this technique.

How To English Paper Piece
Flowers & Tumblers Quilt

This is not a hard technique, but it is time consuming.

Here are my steps and tips FOR HOW TO DO ENGLISH PAPER PIECING:

  • Get my supplies together.
  • Make the template from something sturdy (I cut up the plastic lids from ice cream containers for this). Draw around it on the paper for the amount of hexagons (or diamonds) you want to do. Personally, I start with 2 or 3 sheets of paper and cut more as needed. I find I can use the same paper shapes 3 times before they are no longer stiff. Cut carefully and accurately.
Papers used for English paper pieced hexagons
  • I do not cut out hexagon (or diamond) shapes from fabric. I do cut squares or rectangles big enough to cover the shape plus be folded over to the back. My reasoning is that I can trim off the extra fabric from the back of each shape – I cannot make extra if I don’t allow enough room. I learned the hard way that not centering already cut fabric means there is not enough fabric on back to prevent fraying or just flat out not enough fabric.
  • Take one paper shape and one fabric piece. Pin the paper to the wrong side of the fabric. Baste all around the shape. You will want the fabric to fit snug and the edges sharp. Do not bend the paper shape or have the fabric sag away from the paper.
  • Starting with the center and one petal, whip stitch along one side. Add another petal and sew the two seams. Do this all the way around until you have one complete “flower”.

One completed English paper pieced flower.

AND FINALLY:

  • Do not remove the paper yet. When you remove the paper will depend on what you do with the sewn shapes. The basted edge holds the raw edges firmly so they can be sewn together to the next row of hexagons. Or sewn down to a fabric block by applique.
  • When you decide to remove the paper, simply take out the basting stitches and pull out the paper. As long as it is still stiff and the edges untorn, it can be reused in another “petal”.
More English paper pieced flowers.

Other places for information:

I found several other links about English Paper Piecing. We all learn differently, so these might be helpful too.

The History of English Paper Piecing | MQG Community (themodernquiltguild.com)

My Summer English Paper Piecing project | Diary of a Quilter – a quilt blog

Discover Vintage America | Covering Quilts (discoverypub.com)

Dear Readers,

Have fun exploring the world of English paper piecing. You may be one of those quilters who becomes “addicted” to this technique. Even if you are not one who becomes “addicted”, at least you will have learned how to do English Paper Piecing. Happy Quilting.

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