Category Archives: quilting

Sending Quilts to Texas?

Quilting and knitting friends, this is important information–know when, where, and how to donate!

Catbird Quilt Studio

The hurricane disaster in Texas may displace people from more than 100,000 homes for at least several weeks. They need housing, food, water, and some way to replace all the goods lost to water damage, or simply washed or blown away. Should you send replacement items? Should you send quilts?

It’s tempting, isn’t it? A quilt is a tangible item to show your concern, to offer both comfort and warmth. I’ve already seen a number of requests for quilts for Texans. I’ve also seen one of those requests in a Facebook group called a fraud, and deleted after the group moderator couldn’t affirm its legitimacy.

In the past I’ve made quilts to give post-disaster. But unless a disaster is local, I won’t do it again. Why not? Very simply, if a community is facing the scale of tragedy that Houston and other Texas cities are facing, figuring out how…

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Thread Color on Welcome “Blanket”

Six blocks are quilted using an Angela Walters approach (so it is taking longer than an all-over design would.) I’d considered all-over paisley, then thought this was a great time to try custom quilting a slightly different design on each block.

As I usually do, I started in the center.

40 center q

Most quilting designs here are Angela Walters inspired. The center is from her first Shape by Shape book. (I don’t remember how she named the nesting squares.) Yep, I know the center isn’t square–I stitched the square then did the design.  I’d decided that the nesting square would be in each block as a unifying feature. The pear print prompted paisley after outlining them. This block was done with thread that matched the brown background.

The edge blocks are quilted with light beige thread, Aurofil 50 weight. Another of Angela’s ideas is that a single color of 50-weight thread will sink in and not show contrast much.  It speeds things up by eliminating thread changes. So I tried it.

My first thought, while quilting, was that it doesn’t hide well enough.

40 red close q

The center here begins to show how bold the thread looks up close (though in real life it is much more of a contrast). I began to think Angela had misled me, or maybe I had more contrast than she had intended. Then I saw it from a distance.

40 quilted stars

And the thread was much less visible. I think when the quilt is washed the thread will be even less visible.

For unity, I decided not to use too many different motifs. So I limited myself to spiral, pebble, and paisley at first. Those didn’t quite fit the background of the star to the right, so I did a  modified feather with pebbles at the one edge.  And I added ribbon candy to some of the wider log cabin like strips that don’t show here.

I tried to do as few stops and starts as possible so combined outlining he points with moving into the background, something I couldn’t have done had I been changing colors of thread.

Here’s a look at the two blocks with similar brown fabric.

40 two browns close q

The lighter thread does a pretty good job of disappearing.

Three blocks and binding yet to do and a welcome letter to write. Luckily the due date has been extended to November 7.

First post about this quilt with information about the Welcome Blanket project here.

You can view the project’s progress at the Twitter site and (if you live near Chicago) find days to go and knit or sew at the Smart Museum installation of welcome blankets. https://twitter.com/WelcomeBlanket

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Many Peoples’ Scraps and a New Leader-Ender Project

I brought home one kit that I put together from the pieces remaining at the end of the recent Sunshine Retreat.  And I’ve been itching to see what it will produce. So I laid the pieces out and did my usual rearranging thing and ended up with this:

Omaha arrangement

These squares and rectangles came from the offerings of many Sunshine members who started cutting their scraps as soon as the block pattern was announced. While selecting, I’d decided on a floral theme. First I pulled all the BIG floral squares. There were not 24–it was near the end and the piles had been picked over many times.  So I added medium size and then small. Finally I added the monochrome green and I had my 24. After selecting the big squares, it was just a case of finding colors that would work for the other parts.

I debated between making blocks and then arranging or arranging from parts since I could. I chose the latter, the better to switch colors of the big square around without ending up with with smaller pieces where I didn’t want them.

Having decided on this arrangement, I’ve now gathered the squares by row and labeled them so that when I am ready to sew, I can just start sewing. No more planning and re-plannng. No forgetting what I had in mind should significant time pass.

On another note, Leader-Ender projects.  I’ve had only short ones lately, relatively without a project goal. Just assembling parts that await future inspiration. But Deanna of Wedding-Dress Blue has come to the rescue with Irish Stars. Maybe you’ll want to play too.

I’ll try to remember to link with other scrap projects, one (Oh Scrap!) is in the sidebar. The other, Scrap Happy deserves that you check it monthly on the 15th.

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Bias Project–Green Added

I left off here, wanting to shop for yellows and to add green.

I bought seven tints of yellow. Even if I don’t do the checkerboard on this piece, I have another yellow start that needs pieced borders. A project for the future. So I added dark green and laid the blocks out on the new fabric.

bias-plain centr

It helped that I trimmed the tails of bias. I’m not going to consider the checkerboard anymore as I am liking this. But one more try.

bias print centr

How about a cornerstone of the yellow print fabric? I think I like it.

One more thing. In the interest of variation, I’d moved the wider red from bottom to middle to top, but I don’t like it in the top position in the upper right block. Easy enough to fix; I had a piece of left over dark green, just the right size.

bias more green added

It was a tight fit, but it did two things. Even though I wanted variety, having the top of each quarter circle green adds a nice symmetry. And nods to difference by being a different shade of green. It also adds some curve where the wide red had ended up too straight.

You can barely tell that the width of the two greens is 1/8 inch different. In the future I don’t think I’ll work with such small differences.  The 1/4-inch bias is easy to sew, but I had a bit of problem pressing. One side wanted to flatten instead of fold. I noticed that there was wiggle room, the bias maker being wider than double the finished width. Luckily I’d not cut but one piece. I cut the next one 3/8 inch instead of  1/2 inch. And it worked like a charm.

Now I’ll set this project aside till I’ve prewashed the new yellow fabrics and get back to the Welcome Blanket project (the one time I am willing to call a “quilt” a “blanket”).

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Four Blocks in the Bias Project

I thought I’d be finished with the blocks at this point.

four bias 1

But now I am thinking the dark green is rather stranded. And some of the spaced between the center lines seem too wide. So maybe some dark green stripes?

i think I’ll try 1/4 inch bias. (Most in the design are 3/8; the wide strip is 3/4.) I’ll try a very small piece so that there isn’t much to rip out if it is too hard to work with.

The 3/8 surprised me by handling much easier than the 3/4-inch. I also bought a 2-inch bias maker, but don’t know what I’ll use it for. When I figure it out, I’ll be ready.

Also, I am rethinking the yellow checkerboard sashing. It sounded good in the abstract, but looking at this, I now think it would be distracting.

Has it ended up “modern” or “primitive”?

Early posts, in case you missed them, are here and here.

Tomorrow I’ll link with Move it Forward Monday (button in sidebar).

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Bias Control, a Sketch, and a Block

The second block is almost completed.

bias block 2

18 x 18

It needs one more row of green, but I still have to make the green bias.

I had planned to finish two blocks, but making the long strips of bias took longer than I expected. (Something always seems to take longer than expected.) But now it is under control.

bias made

While cutting, I thought it seemed like plenty, but I may run out of the narrow and have to cut the wider down. We’ll see. Now my excuse for working on a new project is gone–I no longer have to prevent tangles. Oh well, I’m working on it anyway.

I made a sketch for the next three blocks. The first block was made in class, detail here.

bias sketch

I wanted swirls and loops on each edge and stripes in each center corner. However, I didn’t want any exact duplication. It seemed I should sketch with the whole in mind rather than make four separate blocks and hope they looked good together.

One thing I like about Latifah’s bias quilts is that she didn’t fill every swirl. I think my first instinct would have been to fill them all.  I tried to get that effect by having lines intersect, but also wanted some loops that are empty. They will appear in blocks 3 and 4.

ETA: Ironically, Latifah’s gallery that I linked shows quilts where all loops are filled; however, in class she showed several that were not. Maybe someday they will get to her gallery.

Here are blocks 1 and 2 almost in position.

bias 2 blocks

They will have 3-6 inches between them in the finish. I couldn’t step back any farther to get them both in the photo so moved them closer just for the shot.

Maybe the blocks will be finished by the end of the week. I’ll need to dig in my stash and probably shop (oh darn!) for some yellows for the sashing.

Linking with Moving it Forward Monday.

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Latifah Saafir Workshop

Barely had I recovered from the retreat weekend when it was time for a guild workshop. Latifah Saafir  spoke at the Portland Modern Quilt Guild meeting, and while she was in town, she led three workshops. I chose Designing with Bias.

And here is the result.

bias 1

The narrow bias is 3/8 inch and the wider is 3/4 inch. The middle loop is dark green, not the black that it looks like in the photo. I decided to do an 18-inch square (unfinished) in the class. That left me with two options: If I didn’t like the process I could border it and make a doll quilt; if I liked it, I could make more and have a larger quilt, probably 40 x 40. To make more than four blocks I’d need to buy more yellow.

Looking at the block now that I am home, I see it is more top heavy than it seemed in my sketch. I’ll add narrow green rows, one or two, and I think that will fix it. I’m considering trying the 1/4-inch bias maker; however, 3/8 is already fairly hard to work with. Maybe I’ll try one strip of 1/4-inch and see how it goes.

I like the process enough to make three more, so a lap or baby quilt it will become.

There will be sashing.  Maybe squares of various yellows. The bottom lines will repeat (nor exactly) to form sort of a diamond in the center. Each block will have 3-5 loops. Some may be outlined in green; I haven’t decided that yet.

Latifah showed us a neat way to cut bias without drawing lines, using any size piece of fabric. I had a half-yard piece of red and cut it all (figuring I’d never be able to refold it if I underestimated how much I’d need).

I’ll probably work on it tomorrow before the bias gets too messed up.

Latifah’s tips for working with bias will be useful to me when I want to make lines a part of a design and don’t want to piece them in. I prefer a class like this where a skill is taught instead of one where the class follows a pattern together. “Design” was in the title, but there was minimal discussion of design principles. We did have the first hour to sketch our plan for our projects, though, and all projects will be different.
As is my custom, I took fabric from my stash. I never buy fabric for a class. So the yellow print is very old. It sort of pushed the design toward primitive art instead of modern. Time will tell what the whole will look like.

I’ll link with Move it Forward Monday, this one or the progress I make tomorrow. (Button in sidebar)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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