Category Archives: quilting

QBB’s FQ Challenge

A little alphabet soup for the soul. Never did like chicken soup.

QBB = Quilts Beyond Borders, an organization that gives quilts to children in need in many places. The above link tells about their Fat Quarter (FQ) challenge as well as the organization. QBB is a group that Sunshine Online Guild donates to, so I had heard of them.   Recently they had a booth at the Clark County Quilt Show that I attended.

So I selected a bright geometric print, thinking it would be a focus fabric to which I could add solids. It came with a pattern, Rainbow’s End, a Villa Rosa Design. A nice pattern, but the block involved 6 equal weight squares.

Here it is, laid out.

QBB challenge

I had not anticipated the dark blue and green squares ending up adjacent. I almost like that it looks like a rectangle instead of two squares.  And if I had it to do over, I’d have used a different yellow. The other yellow fabrics I had on hand were worse than this one.

It is an easy to assemble block; the layout of blocks takes a bit of concentration, but with the help of the picture on the pattern, I got it right after a couple tries.

I think the pattern has great potential for scrap quilts. I’m not sure if I’d try to make a pattern by color of scrap square or simply go for a random look. (It may be decided by what color of squares I have.) I’ll have to see if my 4-inch square pile has anything resembling 120 squares. It also might be hard to have enough large scraps for the purist to make the background scrappy–guess that depends on how one defines ‘scraps.’

If you want to see quilts made from actual scraps, vist Kate’s Scrap Happy list.




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Paint Brush Studio Fabrics

I’m trying a new thing. I applied to a  Paintbrush Studio Fabrics  request for people interested in making things with PBS fabric. ( I don’t remember if it was an email request or a link on their website.) They send an email with their fabric selection and some prompts each month.  Receivers submit descriptions of what they want to make with it and how much fabric is needed. Then PBS sends fabric to the people whose projects were chosen.

I was too busy to consider responding the first two prompts they sent. There were second requests showing  quilt pattern possibilities for the fabrics. I figured when I was ready to submit I may be in demand. And this month my idea was created and accepted.

Here is the sketch (each square is 2 inches)

quilt sketch

And the fabric arrived today.

I’ve combined pieces from two lines: Gulls Just Wanna Have Fun (designer’s name, other than Paindbrush Studio not given) and Maja Ronnback’s Garden Glory. And Painters’ Palette Solids, of course. I’m rethinking the background shade of blue, but don’t know if I can make a change after a project has been accepted. I’ve asked.

I think the design is a good way to showcase fabrics. I had done something similar with fewer fabrics in the past (here). This seems an easy arrangement to vary. Maybe a series? Time will tell (unless 2 makes a series. )

It is destined for my local guild’s charity program. The size (46 x 46) can be either a child’s quilt or a lap quilt for a nursing home resident.



Filed under Uncategorized, quilting

“Torii” Sketches

You’ve been dying to see what I’ve done for Elizabeth Barton’s class with last post’s photo, right? (Quite likely not, but I’m going to tell you anyway.) First I cropped the photo.

b torii corner

Then I sketched the major lines including some of the wires and poles in the background because I thought the latter added interest.

L3 lines

I put “torii” in quotes in the title because I was pretty loose with the lines, and only one of the sketches has anything resembling a torii look. And that maybe only if you already know about the photos. (I also wonder to what extent the three appear to have come from the same source.)

In the first sketch I kept some of the hanging tags. And added an extension to the left.

L3sketch 1

This one needs the most work:rotating, eliminating, etc.

The next was my favorite

L3 sketch2 adjusted 2

It needed the fewest changes, and they have been done. Mostly filling the upper left triangle with extensions of the lines below it. Since it was my favorite and needed less work, I’m thinking my judgment might be improving.

The third one has some resemblance to a torii.

L3sketch 3

But when  rotate it 90 degrees left, as suggested, the toriiness will be gone. No matter. I have more ideas from this photo, which I suppose makes it a potential series. But I don’t think I can call it my torii series since the torii keeps disappearing. I’ll come up with a name. Or maybe one of you will.

The assignment included grabbing colors from the photo, but the photo had so few that I took a photo of a nearby bush. And saturated it in iPhoto.

berry color_2 saturated

I also have a color assignment for Lesson 2 which has been fun to work on.  I did it armchair method, computer open and showing the art source, and a swatch book in hand.  I had planned to set it aside and move on to Lesson 4, but I was in the mood to think color. I can move on while waiting for fabric to arrive.

And I signed up for Elizabeth’s next class, Mod Meets Improv. I am especially interested in her version of improv since she emphasizes sketching so much in the art quilt classes.

Chances are I’ll not have any more progress to post before Friday so this will be my post to link to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday (button in sidebar).




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More Thinking than Sewing (and Vanport Mosaic)

I recently signed up for Elizabeth Barton’s “More Abstract Art for Quilters” through the Academy of Quilting, and it has been fascinating. It moves quickly, so I am gathering potential projects.

Most likely I will not make all of them.


I like this one but I don’t see myself making all those circles out of fabric. Maybe someday if I run out of other ideas I could do it as fused applique or reverse applique. Time will tell. That was the first week.

The second week involved making grids.

grid many lines 1 and 2

This project at least has straight seams. The top grid was deemed stronger; the bottom one had the major flaw of being split in half horizontally. Multiple assignments followed.  Do several value studies for the top one; crop the bottom one into something useful and do value studies. But before I got to that, Lesson 3 came along. So this one moved into the potential folder.

Of course there have also been comments about and links to observe well known abstract artists–totally fascinating. The third lesson involved watching Mondrian’s path to increasing abstraction and the assignment to follow similar steps from a photo we had taken. So far I have only the photos to ponder.

b torii whole car

The car wasn’t there when I composed the shot, LOL.  And I will just ignore it as I work with this photo –if it is the photo I choose to work with.

I lean to working with this one.

b torii corner_2 cropped

That ends thoughts on art quilts for today; continue reading if you are interested in the photos of torii. I was attending a Vanport Mosaic event, and they are located at the site as well as integral to the weekend.
It is Vanport Mosaic weekend, a time of memory activism.  The story of Vanport is not well known, and the Mosaic project’s purpose is to unearth and perpetuate minority stories that have been silenced. The Vanport story is a story of race relations, some successes and some failures. The town of Vanport was constructed by Henry Kaiser because he needed housing for workers he had attracted from all over the US for his shipyards during World War II, and Portland was dragging its feet because many of the people coming in were African American or poor. The housing was segregated, but schools, work, and entertainment were integrated. Since families worked shifts, there was 24/7 daycare provided.
After the war, there was less need for workers.  White workers moved into Portland, an option not available to black workers.  Others moved into the vacated homes, they included veterans, Native Americans, and Japanese, who were returning from the concentration camps where they had been sent during the war. The torii are a memorial to the Japanese experience, an experience that is another major feature of the weekend.
Memorial Day, 1948, Vanport was flooded.  Residents had about an hour to evacuate with what they could carry. The town was totally destroyed. (For those interested in more, here is a link to the online Oregon Encyclopedia entries on Vanport, and here for the Japanese incarceration.)
The Mosaic project includes gathering stories from folks who lived there and filming them. The day, an annual event, includes showing the films, other exhibits related to the town, the flood, and the imprisonment. Often classroom projects are shown. This year one was from a human geography course with proposals for a more visible memorial than what exists.

Unless I get a lot accomplished on this week’s assignment and post again, I’ll link this post to Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Friday (button in sidebar).

6/1/2019–ETA: Today was a play, Gambette, about the Japanese experience.  Here, from an exhibit in the lobby,  is a photo of an enlarged tag like those required to be on each person and item of property.

CC tag

These are memorialized in the rows of metal tags on the torii sculptures.




Filed under Portland OR, quilting, social issues

Baby Quilt with a New Quilting Design

A new project interrupting the other running projects.  It was prompted by the firemen’s request for more baby quilts (36 x 36). They keep some quilts in the trucks for when they have to take a baby out of a dangerous situation, and they were running low. And guild meeting is tomorrow. So a time limit. Couldn’t get too fancy.

When I am on good behavior, I spend regular, short amounts of time cutting scraps into squares and rectangles. I start with the largest square I can make and work down to 1 1/2 inch squares then throw the smaller (but at least 3/4 inch) pieces into the crumb jar. So maybe, just maybe, there would be 36 6-1/2-inch squares that would work together. There were. Not ideal, but passable.

1 baby top

I probably spent more time selecting and rearranging than sewing. Luckily there were 6 of the rainbow striped squares; since they dominate it was nice to put them in the center. I’d always thought I’d eventually gather enough crayon-colored squares to go with them, but oh well . . .

Next was quilting design. It seemed a good time to try a new pattern. Very recently I’d read a blog about Dragon-Fruit Fill and it seemed it would go quickly enough. (Here is the link in case you want to try it.) Susan used it in a smaller space; I just enlarged it.

1 baby quilting

I did it from memory and forgot that her echoes were more sharply angled. Next time. After quilting at least half of it with no problem, suddenly I started skipping stitches. At first it was just on an occasional curve, but it got more frequent and even occurred on straight lines. It no longer seemed like it was a speed change problem, so I changed the needle. That fixed it.Not sure why, but I’ll not complain since it worked.

And here is the finished quilt.

1 baby finished

Sorry about the poor light–I won’t have time before guild tomorrow for a better shot.

And I made two more sets of blocks to send to the Sunshine Online Quilt Guild retreat where blocks will be turned into tops. This time I had some cute novelty prints for the centers. A set is 8 because 3 strips of 4-inch and 3 strips of 2 1/2-inch make 8 blocks.



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I think the original idea for half light edge and half dark was that they would be alternated; however, I think a quilt using all the same background would work out well. An allover design like the ladybugs allows for turning the blocks any way that appeals; A directional fabric, like the jungle print requires some planning when adding the first piece.  Whatever color/value scheme is used, the result wilt be an alternative-grid look.

I have three more sets prepared. I think I’ll stop at 60 since they said they had a good supply. Then I’ll experiment with enlarging the edge pieces to make 12 1/2-inch blocks so that 9 will make a baby quilt. (I don’t want to enlarge the square because keeping it 5-inches allows for using charm packs.)

Linking with Let’s Make Baby Quilts, Moving it forward Monday, and remember to check here for the Scrap Happy list of bloggers who sometimes have scrap projects, but always have interesting ones.

ETA: At guild meeting it was announced that the guild had been giving 100 baby quilts per year to the firemen; they requested 200.


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Two Backs and a Bunch of Blocks

My two recent orphan tops now have backs.

1 orphan back 1

This one goes with the first orphan top (here); the block is one that was unfinished–I added the orange corners–and suggested the color for the back. I don’t have enough purple for binding but there is enough excess on the back to bring the back to the front, so that is the plan.

And this one goes with the second (here).

1 orphan back 2

I had made an oversized striped square so I could play with direction, and that left some pieces that I cut into 2-inch strips. The end result is not quite what I’d pictured in my head because of the alternating directions of the stripes in the strips. But it will do. I’ll cut the binding and keep it with the top and back. I have learned how easy it is to grab fabric I’m supposed to be saving for one project and use it for another.  Early on I’d save the fabric with the top, but that puts the whole piece out of commission. So now I cut the binding. (I think this brown will make a nice star for the Irish Star quilt, so knowing what I have available is important.)

These two will now go into that black hole called “to be quilted.” At least when I am ready, they will be ready to pin.  It is quite annoying to be in the mood to quilt but to have to make a back first.

And here is a sample of the blocks in progress:

1 Mendota blocks 1

When trimmed they will be 10.5-inch blocks. Sunshine Online Guild (information currently visible at by searching groups) has its F2F gathering this June. People who go will assemble tops from this block; people who cannot go will send blocks to be assembled. I will miss playing with the piles of blocks this year, but I’ll be watching for the results.

I have 40 cut and ready to sew, all with light borders. We were asked to make half light borders and half dark borders, so I have to dig into my fabrics for the dark ones.  I knew I didn’t have much light-colored fabric on hands so just want shopping.

I’ll link with Em’s Scrapbag for Moving it Forward Monday and the Tuesday Colour Linky.




Filed under quilting

Orphan Becomes a Top

Back when I was planning what to do with abandoned blocks that I picked up as a charity quilt starter kit (here), there was one that didn’t play well with the arrangement.

My first idea was to add a couple borders and make a doll quilt. Meanwhile, my design group had been looking at minimalist art and decided to do a project (sketched or sewn) inspired by Sol Lewitt. There were many directions go to, but I was intrigued by the colorful stripes. And the link with this block was obvious. So I pondered possibilities. I thought of a circle of vertical stripes inside horizontal stripes. Realizing that would take making two blocks and leave a circle and its square with cut out extra, I thought some more. I ended up with this:

I’ve inserted circles before using instructions from a Ricky Tims workshop. He recommends working from the right sides when pressing freezing paper onto the pieces to be the circle and to be the receiver of the circle and marking. I thought the stay stitching around each would be easier to manage if it were up instead of down because of the seams. I reasoned that what mattered was that one be consistent. Also, I noted that either way one marked side is down.  Well, I was wrong. It is much easier to peek at the underside of the top piece than the underside of the bottom piece when sewing!

The middle block where the circle is plain was more difficult. One sews with the concave piece on top, in this case the pieced stripes. Apparently the seams distorted the shape even though it was stay stitched. (I’ll have to try it again sometime to see if it was that or merely user error.) At any rate, the striped piece ended up about 1/4 inch larger than the circle in spite of appearing to meet at the first three marks. I eased in the excess with moderate success. The upper left block was a breeze–either because it was the second or because it was a solid piece of fabric.

Minimum size for guild charity quilts is 40 x 40; this is 34 x 34. So I plan a dark blue border as wide as the fabric on hand allows. There is enough for a 3-inch border for sure, but a little more would be nicer, I think.

And the back and binding will be the warm brown (both because I like it and because I have enough).

You may wonder why I worked on this piece instead of forging ahead on the Irish Star quilt. I had thoughts of using some of these dark fabrics in stars and needed to be sure there was enough for both uses. As yet, I have no plan for quilting design.


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