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FLOWERS & TUMBLERS (or scraps are taking over my world) – Part 1

Colorful scrap quilt that has sections of tumblers, English paper pieced flowers, and flying geese blocks.

This Flowers & Tumblers quilt looks great, but it did not start as a cohesive quilt idea. It started out as an exercise in frustration because the scraps had gotten out of hand and were taking over my world. I absolutely had to do something to stop the flood of scrap piles on the floor, on the shelves, and generally in my way.

On Jan. 1, 2019 I went thru every single piece of fabric on the shelves and put anything a quarter yard or less in a box (ok, it turned out to be two). Then I started cutting 3″ blocks, 2.5″ strips, and hexagons in two sizes. Each type went in plastic storage totes.

The leftovers from this went in a “crumb” tub to make string or crumb blocks at some point in the future.

Large tub full of colorful strips and odd shaped scraps for making string or crumb quilts.
This tub stays below the cutting table – the odd shapes and too small stuff for the sizes I normally cut go to live in here until I get a chance to make “crazy” blocks.

The hexagons went in bags that I drug around on my job travels. The smaller size “flowers” are being appliqued to plain muslin blocks. The larger ones shown here got used in the strips in the photos – and yes, there are several more waiting for me to get back to them.

Am I the only one who comes out with leftovers from most of my quilts? Honestly, I never thought I was that bad at math….

One English paper pieced flower in blues.
Several English paper pieced flowers in various colors laying on grass.
Two muslin strips with vines and paper pieced flowers appliqued down.
The vine is left over rick-rack and bias tape. Photo taken on dock at lake in Maine.

So these two strips of English paper pieced flowers were the starting point for this quilt. I made the flowers while at a family reunion in July. I don’t sit well with nothing in my hands, so these were easy to pick up and put down with all the visiting and conversations.

PDF pattern for flowers and tumblers. These are the exact size off the plastic pattern pieces I used (print off on 8″ x 10″ paper). The flower will take 7 hexagons (1 center and 6 petals):

Here is a link to my previous blog about the quilt shown here, and it gives a basic idea of how to do English paper piecing. I will get back to giving more info and better directions in a later post here for Flowers & Tumblers.

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

In the meantime, have a great time on your quilt projects. You have got this……

Girl sewing quilt top
Source: google clip art

Please comment fellow quilters – do you like English paper piecing? If so, what is your most used shape?

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

TO CLIP THOSE LOOSE THREADS OR NOT?

Not to dishonor Shakespeare’s “to be or not to be”, but as quilters our question is more likely to be “to clip those loose threads or not?” We all know they can make a mess if not handled properly.

This is my take on loose threads, and you don’t have to agree, but I am rarely bothered enough by those threads to take time to clip them off.

You either gasp in horror at this point or break out laughing.

I am aware they can make a huge mess, and if I am not careful as I sew, a good portion of them end up in the seam and show up on the front of the quilt.  Sheesh….now they really do need clipped, right?

First, I rarely use white or any other light color for a quilt background – because I know this about myself. The first quilt I ever made with a white background I learned the hard way about not clipping those threads because I had it completely basted and in the frame for hand quilting and gasp…. I could see the darker threads.  Many hours later, I had un-basted the quilt sandwich and clipped all those threads.  Then to put it all back together……Ugh….

Second is that if it is a scrap quilt, I use that as a chance to utilize all those colored, partial spools and bobbins of leftover thread that probably don’t match much of the fabric in the current quilt top. See previous post: https://indianaquilter40.com/thread-fabric-should-they-match/

By now you are either so horrified you stop reading, or you are rolling on the floor laughing because you do the same thing.

Bonnie Hunter quote: Decide for yourself what matters to you and what doesn't.
Source: Quiltville

I decided long ago that I was more concerned about accurate cutting and piecing than about always matching the thread to the fabric, or clipping all those nasty loose hanging threads that appear on the back of my quilt top.

I am careful to take the time to pull them back out of the way when sewing the seams and since I usually use darker background fabrics it is rarely noticed so I just simply choose to ignore the clipping step.

Quilters, whether you are a beginner or very advanced in your quilt making exactly what part of the quilting process is priority is up to you.  No one is going to die if we do a shortcut on our quilts.  Yes, they should be well made, but some things are not worth the time.

I refuse to stress about loose hanging threads on the back of a top that once it is quilted will never show up anyway.  So now you know my awful secret…

To clip those loose threads or not? I encourage you to make your quilts, your sewing process, and your priorities while quilting your very own. Only you can decide what causes you stress while sewing or quilting, and if ignoring some small irritant is right for you.

Photo of cupboard full of quilts with the words - live. laugh. love...quilt!
Source: Quiltville

Have a wonderful day of quilting.

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

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

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

First, 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.

However, there are a few other things I have also tried:

  • Over-dye it which for me this 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.
  • Mix it with a lot of other scraps in a quilt and it won’t stand out.
  • Donate it (Goodwill, art class at the school, 4-H, or the animal shelter for bedding, etc).
  • Trade it because someone else will probably love it and he/she has a chunk of fabric you just love.
  • Sell it because you can use that money to buy a piece of fabric you like.
  • 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 I am not going to lie.

Just remember my fellow quilters that the point is not that it 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.

REMEMBERING BEATRIX POTTER QUILT

I have never out grown my enjoyment of Beatrix Potter’s stories ( https://www.peterrabbit.com/the-23-original-tales/ ). I remember as a child being fascinated by her beautiful illustrations. When I found this cute border fabric of her storybook characters, it just had to go home with me. This colorful fabric would be in my stash whenever I needed it for a project. It would make a cute and cuddly baby quilt.

Quilt made from Beatrix Potter  border fabric and  coordinating strips of other fabric.

This was a fun quilt to make with the Beatrix Potter border print and strips of coordinating fabrics that I pulled from my stash to make a 45″ x 50″ quilt for a friend’s new granddaughter in 2009.

My notes don’t say what size the strips were, but I can say that I just played with various size strips of scrap fabric until I figured out the right size of borders and strips.  All machine pieced.

Batting was polyester, and the back was a plain pink cotton.

It was machine quilted by RLM in a all over pattern of loops.

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

BOOKS ABOUT AMISH QUILTS (or a world of stunning colors)

Book titled "Quilts Among the Plain People"

I pick up good quality Books About Amish Quilts (or a world of stunning beauty) when I have the chance. Here are some from my personal collection.

BOOKS ABOUT AMISH QUILTS (or a world of stunning colors)

Even if there are no patterns – there are wonderful photos and ideas for the next quilt.

Book titled "Amish Wall Quilts"

I love the contrast of colors on traditional Amish quilts – especially those from Lancaster County, PA.

Book titled "Amish Quilting Patterns"

The immense amount of hand quilting that goes into them is simply amazing. I think these quilts were the start of my inspiration for doing, and loving the look and feel of hand quilting.

Book titled "Amish Patchwork - Full Size Patterns for 46 Authentic Designs"

In my head I start thinking about what fabrics in my own stash. Would any lend themselves to making a quilt in the bright and bold patterns of the Amish community?

BOOKS ABOUT AMISH QUILTS (or a world of stunning colors)

When I can get to Amish communities, I go to local stores. The quilts are always inspiring.

Book titled "The World of Amish Quilts"

The Amish store two hours south of me has wonderful fabrics, both solid and prints. The prices are good and the selection is wonderful.

Book Titled "Amish Crib Quilts from the Midwest"

If you get a chance to see Amish quilts (especially antique ones) and/or visit an Amish dry goods shop do so. Slow down and relax. Enjoy the chance to do something different and see another kind of quilt.

If you are interested in Amish quilts please take time to find and look at any of the BOOKS ABOUT AMISH QUILTS (or a world of stunning colors) listed here.

https://indianaquilter40.com/amish-4-patch-doll-quilt/

https://indianaquilter40.blogspot.com/2011/12/amish-center-diamond.html

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

NIGHT FLIGHT (or a Flying Geese quilt)

Flying Geese quilt with black background and bright colored geese.

Flying Geese seems to be a well known and well loved block among quilters. These blocks are fairly easy to make and can be arranged in other ways beside the traditional Flying Geese quilts. I like darker backgrounds, and thought that “Night Flight” was a good description of geese flying through a night sky.

According to a couple books in my personal library, this setting is called “Dutchman’s Puzzle”.

Close up of the flying geese

 All the “geese” in this quilt are Jinny Beyers fabric. I had a stash of them and thought this would make a really neat looking quilt if I used solid black for the background. I put a lot of hours into this quilt and it was finished from start to finish in 2008.

Steps to make your own Night Flight:

I started with 5″ squares. I drew a line diagonally and then sewed on each side of the line to make 2 half square triangle pieces that I matched and sewed up the center to make each “goose”. I know this is a time consumptive method, but I prefer the accuracy and working with smaller pieces of fabric.

In order to put the design together, I simply laid the pieces out like a magazine photo I had seen. The pieces in the photo were much smaller, but I like the bigger blocks and they were actually easy to work with.

I used to spend a lot of time working with triangles, but over the past 10 years or so I have gone to using the half square triangle method because of the accuracy, and the way triangles tend (for me at least) to really stretch out of shape, which is means a lot more squaring up to make the blocks fit.

When I show other quilters how to make these Flying Geese blocks, I use this method. The size can be adjusted easily to any size triangles desired.

Another close up of the Flying Geese.

The backing is not a match to the front at all. In fact, I think it is a super ugly fabric (my own opinion). This fabric was on sale for a great price and is good quality cotton. Another plus is that it was on hand. The budget would not stretch enough to cover another back, and the machine quilting.

Backing fabric for this quilt is large orange flowers with green leaves.

Finished size is 100″ square.

Machine quilting is an all over cloud design by RLM in July 2008.

The binding is 2.5″ strips cut from the leftover Jinny Beyers fabrics. It is sewn into a long strip, and ironed in half (1.25″). I machine sewed the raw edge down on the front, flipped it over to the back and hand stitched down.

Night Flight quilt outside

Here are two links to other info on Flying Geese quilts –

https://indianaquilter40.com/the-great-migration-quilt/

https://indianaquilter40.blogspot.com/2010/04/flying-geese.html

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