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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“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.

QUILTING TRENDS FOR 2021

Hello 2021 clip art
Source: Bing clip art

As time allowed over the past week, I did some research on quilting trends for 2021. I will probably go my own way for my quilting journey, but maybe I will discover some fabric or design that inspires me.

And this blogs’ readers may find something inspiring as well. I hope quilting in 2021 is much more about fun for all quilters the world over. For many, 2020 was about illness, politics, and isolation.

And the trends are….

According to Gathered (a British publication), the list of quilting trends includes: fabric panels, raw edge applique, curves, eco quilting, the color blue, and hand quilting.

On this blog, I have several posts about quilts that include some of 2021 quilting trends. Maybe I am ahead of my time! Here is fabric panel wall hanging for Christmas, and another that is nautical and blue.

Quilting Trends for 2021 - using fabric panel in a quilt.
Christmas Cardinals

Bernina Sewing Center of Lincoln, Nebraska’s list has three items: the color Horizon blue, simple piecing, and asymmetrical.

Any regular reader knows that I thrive on quick, easy piecing of any size quilts. Here is one of my favorites, and it gets many compliments when I show it off to other quilters. I am not the only quilter who likes blue and yellow together.

Easy 4 patch quilt
Sunny Tuscany 4 Patch

When it comes to home decorating, I like a mix of items both old and new. Wall art is great, but I hate to dust around knick-knacks. I like wooden floors (and if they squeak when walked across that just adds to the feel). Colored walls are my preference because white walls look dingy since we heat with wood. I want organization. And I really want a place for textiles.

I checked on decorating trends for 2021, and found that the look is less clutter, more natural lighting, and mixing old and new items. Wow, what I like is finally popular! Now, if only the featured slideshow had quilts hanging on the walls! But that means opportunity awaits.

I know some of you are missing quilting classes. This quilt shop is doing zoom classes. While I am not familiar with this shop, some of the readers may like to explore this option.

Quilters – Make a quilt that makes you happy

Check out the decorating and quilting trends for 2021. Find an idea that inspires you and go for it. Have fun. Open the door to inspiration, and make a happy quilt for this year.

Live, Laugh, Love....Quilt !
Source: Quiltville.blogspot.com

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

ANOTHER BOX OF FABRIC

ANOTHER BOX OF FABRIC

I love my mom-in-law, she is such a cool lady. She does not quilt, but she loves my quilts. Over the years she has given me many, many yards of quilting fabrics for holidays, birthdays, and just because. Today the UPS man showed up with another box of fabric from her – just because.

UPS man with box
Source: Google clip art

The mom-in-law is a wonderful oil painter of scenery. We have entirely different tastes in color, patterns, and end products. That is one reason why I love the fabric she gets me – it is fabric I would never buy for myself. Of course the other reason is because I love her.

Is she helping me become a fabric hoarder?

This box had western style fabrics, St. Patrick’s Day fabrics, and brights. You know greens, pinks, and yellows. They ranged in size from a quarter yard to a 2 yard piece.

Western themed fabric

The box contained right at 25 yards of fabric. Naturally I had to “pet” all the fabric and make sure that it was not hurt in its’ travels from Montana to here. This leads to sorting and dreaming about more projects….

And more fabric...

She and I have a great relationship but we have never gone on a fabric shopping trip together! Yes, in 30+ years that has never happened. Why? I honestly don’t know, but it just hasn’t happened.

I have a scrap 4 patch started for her Christmas gift this year and I will be putting in some of the fun and bright fabrics she gets me through out the year.

Look at any of the quilts on this blog, and chances are very good some fabric from my mom-in-law is in it. And she usually gets some of the fabric back in a quilted item for herself.

Bright and cheerful

And you thought I bought all that fabric in my stash myself…

ANOTHER BOX OF FABRIC
Source: no idea, another quilter shared it with me.

MORAL OF THE sTORY:

When you make up a wish list or “Christmas” type list for yourself, always say you would like 100% cotton fabric. I tell anyone who asks what I would like is more fabric for a birthday, holiday, or other occasion gift.

Be gracious and thankful for any fabric you do get. You can use it, trade it, or “re-gift” it to another quilter. Good quilting fabric is always useful in some form.

Happy quilting.

Make today amazing.

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

A BUSY QUILTING MONDAY

Today is beautiful outside. Brilliant blue sky. Cloudless. Took the day off and hibernating at home, and having a busy quilting Monday. So fun!

A busy quilting day.
Source: Bing clip art

Sometimes a person just needs a “mental health day” as my sister would say to do something fun and personal.

clip art - no news
Source: Google clip art

Today I did not listen to the news, or check social media. I put on fun music that I enjoy and opened the windows. The phone is off (I know – scandal right!).

I went through a pile of about 40 quilt magazines that were given to me, and pulled out two patterns. The magazines are now ready to go to the recycling bin in town when one of us heads that way.

Sewed together five rows on the mystery quilt. I love the colors but am ready to move on to another project. This one has taken way longer than I normally spend on a quilt.

Mystery quilt rows

Located a pattern I would like to make a wall hanging from next that involves stars.

Washed a stack of fabric that I traded another quilter for. She had some different spring type colors than I do.

My point is this:

If you have a chance to take a few hours or a day to just do quilt related activities, please do so. All of us need time to recharge and do something that fulfills us.

I used to think it was very selfish, but time has taught me that I am a better person, a better employee, a better spouse, a better parent if I simply take a short time for myself to recharge and relax.

Enjoy a busy quilting Monday (or any other day of the week).

Other quilters say:

How Many Hours A Day Do You Spend Quilting? – The Quilting Forum – Missouri Star’s Quilt Community (missouriquiltco.com)

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

QUILTING BOOKS FOR TINY SCRAPS

Quilting Books for Tiny Scraps – I am not really sure how it happens, but I start with one shelf for quilting books and pretty soon they have taken over two. I recently decided that some weeding and/or organizing of these books was necessary. Doing this actually forces me to really look at the books – which can be a distraction because then I start thinking “I could do this quilt, or this one…….” And sometimes I even wonder what in the world I was thinking when I brought a book home.

Over the past 2 or 3 years, I have been trying to use up my scraps and also my stash.  These two books have wonderful patterns or ideas that I have based a couple scrap quilts on. They have patterns from easy to expert.  They are “keepers” for my personal library.

Another great book for small and tiny scraps.
QUILTING BOOKS FOR TINY SCRAPS

I was asked how I get books with spiral bindings.  After purchasing, I take the books to the local copy shop. There they cut off the binding and put on this spiral binding.  I like my quilt books this way because they lay flat when I am working on a project.  The cost is very reasonable – generally about $2-3 each book.

I truly encourage quilters to collect quilt books that are helpful to you, whether it is techniques, patterns, or inspiration. There are so many wonderful quilting books out there to choose from. We don’t need all the books, but building our own reference library of books that help us as quilters is a great boost to our quilting journey.

https://indianaquilter40.com/three-favorite-quilting-books/

https://indianaquilter40.blogspot.com/2019/06/more-books.html

QUILTING and 7 MONTHS OF COVID

Quilting and 7 months of COVID: I read an article this week about how hard COVID has been on people around the world. The “isolation”, the “aloneness”, and the “frustration”. Actually I just shook my head over the article. I get that I am an introvert, but I have looked at these last several months as an opportunity. Back in March I wrote this post about the crisis .

My advice is the same now as in March: “I want to encourage you to take care of yourself including eating properly, getting enough rest, some form of exercise, and of course quilting. If you are not sick, the most important thing is to stay well. If you are already sick, rest and allow yourself to get well.

QUILTING and 7 MONTHS OF COVID
I completed the hand quilting for this customer on 3/24/2020. The size is 70″ x 86″. I put in 172 yds. of quilting.

Yes, there has been a lot of inconveniences and frustrations. Like being a month into isolation and discovering that I had no more (as in not a single piece) Wonder Under and I was in the middle of a machine appliqued quilt block. Guess what, Walmart and JoAnne’s did not have any either. Put that project away for later…

Quarantine quilt top: Scrap Bonanza #1.
Scrap Bonanza #1 – my first “quarantine” top complete. See the post: https://indianaquilter40.com/scrap-bonanza-1/

Up to that point, I had heard the grumblings from other quilters about the lack of supplies in local stores, and for certain products even Amazon was not any help. But I had been in my own little quilting bubble while working remote from home.

It’s an opportunity for quilting

No commute, no overnights in hotels, no constant interruptions. When my work day ended, I turned off the computer and the phone and retreated into my quilt bubble.

I saw then, and still see now, COVID to be a real opportunity to get quilting projects and ideas completed that had been running around in my head and/or sewing room unchaperoned for long enough. I was determined to work out of my own stash, and scrap bins.

Another COVID quarantine quilt top completed.
Another “quarantine” quilt top. Working from my stash and scraps. See here: https://indianaquilter40.com/happy-hibernation-quilt-or-using-those-crumbs-strips-part-2/

I am still very much enjoying the alone time when not at work. Travel is very limited right now for my job. I didn’t even whine much about personal travel plans that had to be canceled – the girl cousin trip to Baltimore, the family reunion over July 4th, the annual trip to Paducah, KY for the AQS show.

So here we are quilting and seven months into COVID…..

I have cleaned the sewing room – twice. The various piles of unwanted but good items have been sold, traded, and given away. That makes room for more fabric. I love having fewer magazines. And fewer scraps. And fewer, well just quilting stuff that is not being used. I hope all that stuff likes the new homes.

When this all started back in March, I tried to follow the news closer. I spent a lot of time reading real medical journals. That lasted about two weeks. After that I dug out fun old movies and music CDs and binged on fun stuff that was in no way related to the current situation. But if nothing else, I rediscovered a world forgotten in the hurry scurry of a time consuming, stressful career.

QUILTING and 7 MONTHS OF COVID
Simply Squares is another quarantine quilt. See here https://indianaquilter40.com/simple-squares-quilt/

Life slowed down and joy returned. I got to:

Work in the garden.

Walk 1 – 2 miles a day outside.

Enjoy the frogs singing their little hearts out that spring had returned.

Sort fabrics and play with colors like I normally do not do.

Read other quilt blogs and watch YouTube quilting videos.

Talk to neighbors I rarely see because we are all working crazy schedules.

Enjoy the laughter of children who were playing outside.

Clean the house, and finish small projects.

Ate quiet meals with my husband, who continued to work his normal 12 hour shifts two days on and two days off.

And I quilted. Some quilts were UFOs that needed completed. Some were brand new quilts. I even got some hand quilting done for other folks.

Hand quilting during COVID.
Hand quilted for PB of Brazil, IN. Size is 60″ x 72″. Has 80 yards of hand quilting.

Be Happy and Quilt

In no way am I criticizing anyone for not getting as much done as me. There is no race. I just have way to many quilting ideas that I want to try. And growing up with a hoarder parent, I cannot do clutter.

Clutter makes me sick to my stomach. It distracts me from what needs done. Clutter cannot live at my home.

I just want to encourage you to not get caught up in things you cannot change (COVID, the rising prices, or the lack of fabric in some stores, etc.) and concentrate on what you can change in your life.

It is super easy to let outside things discourage us. Pretty soon we are laying on the couch eating 5 pound boxes of chocolate thinking that our world is ending.

Instead find something to do. Not for the sake of doing something. But for the sake of having a finished item to make you feel good.

So you aren’t happy with the size of the quilt, or the colors. You now hate that pattern. There are plenty of people out there who would love to have the item if you do not want it. Make your corner of the world a better place.

Another scrap quilt during COVID.
Still working from my own stash and scraps. See story here: https://indianaquilter40.com/scrap-rectangle-party-quilt/

My discovery about quilting and 7 months of COVID

  1. I love my home and my family more each day.
  2. It is ok to slow down and enjoy the world around me.
  3. God is so good, and I need to thank him more for His goodness.
  4. I have no end of quilting ideas.
  5. Saving money is fun.
  6. I need to pay more attention to my own health.
  7. While I hate to cook (always have), I am a good cook.
  8. Giving household items of all sorts to Goodwill is a guilt-free way to clean out unneeded/unwanted clutter.
  9. I hate poison ivy and am completely sure that I can identify it now before I start weeding flower beds.
  10. My neighbors are actually pretty nice people.
  11. I love spending time right here at home, alone or not. This is my happy place.
A finished UFO quilt project during COVID.
https://indianaquilter40.com/log-cabin-in-the-fall-woods-another-log-cabin-quilt/

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

ONE OF THOSE DAYS

Today was one of those days……you know the kind where nothing goes as planned. 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….

ONE OF THOSE DAYS
Source: Pintrest


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

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 do not have to iron those wrinkled up scraps (they are so much easier to cut and sew when ironed first). 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".

Other quilters have bad days too

https://maryquilts.blogspot.com/2007/01/bad-day-quilting.html

https://www.stitchedincolor.com/blog//2011/03/good-very-bad-day.html

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 just allowed to hang on the back of the quilt top.

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.

TO CLIP THOSE LOOSE THREADS OR NOT?

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:

If it is a scrap quilt, I use that as a chance to use up 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 another 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

Third:

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 if I 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…

Summary:

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.

Another thought about clipping threads:

https://forum.missouriquiltco.com/forum/we-don-t-know-much-but-we-know-quilters/quilting-questions/57736-clipping-threads-on-back-of-a-quilt-top

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