Tag Archives: child quilt

Lake Tahoe Retreat Has Come and Gone

The Sunshine weekend I’ve been waiting for since January has finally come, and then it has gone. Sunshine is an online guild, a Yahoo group; we make quilts for two organizations: Wrap a Smile(WAS) and Quilts Beyond Borders(QBB).

The setting was the SewReady Retreat center, and it is lovely.

sewing room

Look at those cushy chairs! Terry of WAS is planning; Penny is stitching away. Everyone else must be taking a break.

Together we finished 77 tops on the spot. However, the online community was also engaged. Not only did they contribute blocks and pieces for us to work on, they sewed along and increased the total.

Supply table

Here is one table full of supplies; there were two others. There is a bit of everything here: yardage, blocks, pieces, sorted by color, ready to be made into blocks. And beyond the supplies is the luxurious kitchen where Jeannie and Gail are making lunch.

These are the tops I made from “the block” (second from the top left). Three were finished there and the last two at home. Heidi is holding my orange quilt. I designed from pieces that were cut or from completed blocks. We had all approaches to design. Some worked with piles of similar blocks, some did random scrappy, and others worked from fabric to create their own designs.

Besides “the block,” members sent in orphan blocks; these got sashing or alternating blocks and lots of color play. [ETA link to Giraffe Dreams’ Blog where there are photos of more of the arrangements of “the block” plus stars and the square-in-a-square block arrangements.]  I did work on one set of orphan blocks. There were 8 blocks with 16 half square triangles (HSTs) and a 9th with 12.  I made the needed four HSTs and put some sashing between blocks so I didn’t have to deal with matching seams.

HST top

I’m glad someone else had made the HSTs.

Here is the view from the patio where we ate most meals.

view from patio

Officially we did not have lake view–this is “only” a bay. There were bluejays that came to beg along with bees who helped themselves to bits of egg. I didn’t know that was in their diet, though I have shared ham with them on other occasions.

And now I am working on getting back into some sort of routine.

Linking with Oh Scrap! (Button in sidebar) –there were lots of scraps as well as stash involved in these blocks.


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Block Lotto Top–Red for February

Back in February I made and sent a pair of red blocks. I used up all my Waterfront Park red except for the bird fabric. I saved it in case I got the blocks back.

Red improv blocksI did win 12 blocks–there were two of us who won–and they arrived yesterday. I didn’t get my block back. But I still had the bird fabric.

I played with the blocks a bit and noticed they were rather dark. I put them up and went to bed.  My subconscious must have played with them while I slept, because I wakened and thought of the bird fabric and how it would lighten the dark blocks. I got them out again.

When I went to cut the borders/sashing I didn’t have as much fabric as I had remembered. Ah but there was blue in the blocks too. And I had the bird fabric in navy.

So this is the top in what we in Sunshine call the Tammy Setting because she popularized it.

Lotto top

40 x 40

I was swapping blocks in and out so fast I forgot to take pictures of the various options. But this is how it ended up. The photo is too dark to see that there are the bright blue cornerstones in each corner–because I didn’t have enough navy.

Once the top was finished and I was moving some stray fabric, what did I find but the rest of the white with red birds. Oh well, I think I like it better with the navy than if all had been light.

I really should be quilting bunk quilts–I did pin and start one.  But it seemed reasonable to stitch this top rather than struggle to put it away such that I’d be able to tell what I was thinking when I got it out. Or is that procrastination?

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday if and when the link is up–button in sidebar.


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Belated Finish Photos of Doll Quilts

Because Logan enjoyed playing with the doll quilts destined for charity, I decided he needed his own for his birthday. Only I forgot to take pictures before putting them in the mail. So his mom took some for me.

The quilt to the left was Plan A, various animals playing various musical instruments–both things Logan is familiar with and enjoys identifying. But then when some repairs were being done, he was fascinated with the screwdriver. Soon after he got a tool bench and played with it for 2 whole hours and more after dinner. Since I had the tool print, it seemed he needed that one too. Not quite I-Spy quilts, but lots to talk about. (Alas, I can’t make the video of him finding the saxophone work but you can see him studying the tools.)

Studying tool print

Someone else in the family liked the quilt.

Cat on quiltAny self respecting quilt needs a cat (or dog). Now the interesting thing is that Shirley, the cat, has so far only chosen this one. Poor low-esteem tool quilt. Logan tried to help by wrapping her in it.

Cat wrapped in tool quilt

I don’t know if she stayed long enough to establish the quilt’s dignity or not.

Linking up with Finish it up Friday, TGIFF and LAFF when links are available. (Hmmm. since it is almost noon, maybe I should say, When I wake up, instead of when available.)


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A Back for Salt Water Taffy



Salt Water Taffy has been on the back burner since the beginning of the month. I didn’t want to put all those little pieces that I’d need for its back away loose. And I was tired of moving the pile around. Meanwhile, other projects were calling. So the only option was to get the back together.  I thought I needed six more inches than I had for backing. Actually I needed a bit more.

Sometimes I work faster than others, and this was one. The back is finished and the binding prepared as well. I used all but 3/4 inch of the darker green and all of the butterfly print. I still have some of the pink lemonade scraps left though. I think this is the last I can do something with them together. It was nice to have coordinated scraps, but they will now mingle with all the others and reorganize themselves.
Pieced backThe second, smaller strip was not planned. I measured what I had of the butterfly print, and it was a yard. So to get the needed 24 1/2 inches, I made a 6 1/2 inch pieced strip and  cut an 8 1/2-inch strip and a 10 1/2 inch strip of the darker green. However, when I straightened the butterfly fabric to get it on grain, I lost 2 inches.  Lesson learned. Straighten fabric before measuring and cutting the second fabric! At least I had enough little pieces to add 2 inches. Maybe it looks better with it anyway.

The binding will be the darker green. I’ll have to get matching thread. I should have a more limited taste in colors; then I wouldn’t need so many threads!

Not promising when I’ll get to quilting it.

Linking with Oh Scrap!  And Let’s Bee Social. And WIP Wednesday. In case you missed the top, it is here.



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A Quilt Top to Begin 2015

My friends at the Yahoo Sunshine group decided we needed to work on quilts on New Year’s Day since what you do on New Year’s foreshadows what you will do all year (at least according to some traditions).

Salt Water Taffy

Salt Water Taffy

A friend gave me so me left over pinks and yellows from her “Pink Lemonade” quilt. They were in nice strips, approximately 2 1/2 inches wide and ranging from 3 inches long to a little over 8. I counted to get the ratio of pink to yellow (2:1) and sorted by length. I wanted to end up with a quilt 40 x 60 so I took groups of 30 and found the shortest. Then I trimmed all thirty to that size.  I ended up with (unfinished) an 8 1/2-inch colunn, a 7-inch, a 6 1/2-inch and a 2 1/2 inch.

Perhaps I should confess that I didn’t get the top finished on New Year’s Day. So what will I be doing all year? Starting things and finishing them “tomorrow.” I foresee UFOs in my future. Imagine that!

The design is inspired by the traditional Chinese Coin design; however,the pieces would be smaller for the traditional design. And all the columns plain and pieced would be the same width.

I went stash diving to see what pastels I had to coordinate and found a yard of a mint green tone on tone print. The background strips used almost the whole yard. The addition of the mint green changed the impression from lemonade to Salt Water Taffy, one of the few times I have a name for a quilt.

I found fabrics suitable for a backing, but only one yard of each.

backing fabricThere are also some pink and yellow scraps (plus other scraps that didn’t come in 2 1/2-inch strips. I’m thinking on possibilities for piecing the back.

Linking with Show Off Saturday. And Oh Scrap. If you are visiting from Oh Scrap, you might want to see the finish of the top I linked last time, here. And WIP Wednesday because I have been reading quilty books instead of working on this (see review here). And Link a Finish Friday, the 150th.



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2014 In Review

Whee! I just learned to make a collage–how fun! Thanks Susan. So, the year in review. I was most interested in showing the variety. I really do love it all. There are more art quilts than usual because of my taking the MasterClass with Elizabeth Barton. I finished only six of the assigned 11. Monthly projects consumed quite a bit of time. Five pieces are challenge pieces–you hear about them, you are interested, there is a deadline, you set other things aside–always fun. And it does push to the finish. Three are group projects: a round robin and two made from blocks made by others. One is from a tutorial. And only one is my own idea from start to finish, and even on it, the finish was done by a professional longarm quilter–queen size is too big for my DMS to handle. I don’t make a lot of goals, but one is to make more quilts that are my own idea from start to finish.

Made with PhotoCollage.net

For some reason two didn’t make it to the collage. They showed up on the “canvas”; the count said “17,” but only 15 showed. Here they are: one for the class and one assembled from blocks made by others.

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And here are the doll quilts (I forgot to choose a background, so got the default black). All but three started with blocks made by others. The collage program crops photos in odd ways–I haven’t figured out if I have any control over that yet.
Made with PhotoCollage.net

I have been so conscious of what did not get finished (about the same number of items as are shown here), that it is quite a surprise to see how much is finished. I don’t set goals in terms of specific quilts to start/finish, but more general ones. Like, now that I have begun FMQ, I had wanted to quilt all those tops in waiting. And the pile is still there because I got distracted by the class and challenges. And the blocks I started in quiltalongs need to become quilts. Do I want to make a goal not to be distracted?  Kinda sorta. But also kinda not, because I learn something from the challenges and quiltalongs, and they are fun. It helps that quilting is my hobby and not my career.

My balancing act goal: to finish as much as I can while being as flexible as possible.

Thank you for visiting, and come back to see what choices I make in 2015.

Linking up with Finish it up Friday .


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Three Finishes, Two New and One Old

Last week I blogged about the finished Fading Charms quilt, but photography at midnight is not ideal. And it took a couple days for the sun to shine in the daytime. But today the sun was in and out of the clouds. Sometimes back in by the time the camera actually clicked. That time lag in electronic cameras can be tricky. So here it is.

Fading Charms

38 x 56


And some quilting detail.

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And of course, I experimented on the busy squares so that the quilting wouldn’t show. Now I want to show it. The back gives you a glimpse.

And in case you want to make one too, here is a link to the tutorial. The tutorial is for 2 1/2-inch squares; I just happened to have two or three boxes of Keepsake Fabric samples that I wanted to find a use for. It started as a Leaders-and-Enders project as I attached pairs of 1 1/2 inch squares. Then an online group that meets F2F once a year decided we should all bring a Fading Charms top to the “Swarm.” So I had to move a little faster, and it became the primary project. This one is destined for Quilts Beyond Borders.

Now two finishes this week would be much more impressive if they hadn’t already been all finished but binding. Between other projects taking front stage and my forgetting to buy blue thread, these have been languishing. The oldest first.

Sesame Street Quilt

40 x 39

The three rows of “crumb” blocks date way back. An online friend offered a box of 6 1/2 x 6 1/2 crumbs, and I accepted. The box had 300 blocks. This was around 2007 or 2008. I used up all but the brights. At that time my stash did’t have many brights–how times and  my taste have changed. After I acquired the needed brights and assembled the top, it waited for me to be ready to do FMQ. That was about two years ago. Finally it is finished and ready to become a Linus quilt.

It has been eight months since this next one was quilted (Link here); the round robin was started in May of 2012 .

Round Robin front

41 x 41


I really had fun experimenting with the quilting, especially this motif from Leah Day’s collection of 400+ filler designs:

quilting detail


And a top one inch wider than width of fabric pushed me into pieced back terrain.

Pieced back

This one is destined for Wrap a Smile.

I’ll be linking up with  Let’s Bee Social , TGIFF , LAFF and Fresh Sewing Day.

1/16/15 Linking with Free Motion Mavericks because I didn’t find it earlier.



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Fading Charms, a Late Friday Finish

I was so close that I had to keep sewing. And it is only 11:30 pm.

Center and first couple bordrsI did daisies and echoed around them plus some meandering in the center.  (The daisies actually showed better in a previous post, here. )After doing the string of circles for one border, I decided I didn’t want to do it all the way on the others. I’d seen lines with occasional circles and thought that fewer circles echoed the fewer blocks.


Here you can see my two-borders-in-one design. I echo loops in the borders of four squares  and of 2 squares (someday the sun will shine and I might get a photo that shows that) and the circles echo the other three green border circles.

And I think these are the best corners I’ve ever done after learning a trick from Wendy Butler Burns on Craftsy. And I’d never pressed my binding before–that too probably helped.

It seemed to me that with all the brightness going on in the quilt, a subdued binding was called for; hence the dark brown binding. I think it works.

Linking with TGIFF and Finish it Up Friday.

ETA link to Wedding Dress Blue’s tutorial for Fading Charms.

ETA history of blogs on this quilt

Center finished (May 2012)

Top minus last two borders (June 2012)

Top finished (July 2012)

Quilting begun (Dec 2014)



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Quilting Fading Charms

The Fading Charms top has been in waiting quite a while. (It is hard to believe I started it in 2012. Posts here and here.) There is something about the bottom of the pile that keeps getting lower. While I have plenty of ideas I could start on, there are no new projects that need to be done right away. So it is time to tackle the to-be-quilted pile. I’ll be making a list for a UFO project at guild, but for now just pulled out one that had a back ready.

I knew how I wanted to quilt the narrow borders (circles and ribbon candy) but took some time deciding on what to do with the center. And of course I wanted to start with the center.

Daisy quilt pattern

I considered straight line, but didn’t want to pass up a chance to practice something else on this busy background where the quilting isn’t the first thing to be seen. For stability, I wanted the quilting design to run through most of the seams. Straight line would have done that, but so can the daisy pattern with some echoing.

My stitch is getting much more even on top. The tension varies on the back. Since sometimes it is perfect, I doubt adjusting the tension would do much. I’m thinking speed of sewing is a factor in the changes. Any other suggestions? I think there are enough tight stitches to hold the quilt together, so I’m not ripping. But I will be testing speeds and results on practice pieces later.

I have learned that I like to do quilting designs that have built in places to pause and think about where to head next. And curves that are not too large. (I love to look at quilting with large curves–may work into it. Or it may be precluded by my sewing space.)

In addition to the glitches when I go over seams at the corner (the side seams seem okay), there are the jerks when my hand accidentally hits the light bulb! Gotta keep track of hand/light locations.

The tutorial for the Fading Charms quilt comes from Wedding Dress Blue.

Linking up with Free Motion by the River



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Holiday Doll Quilt Time

4/6/15 Reviving this post for Tuesday Archives (on Wednesday); after the first two, they are QAYG.

The time for doll and teddy bear quilts for the Fire Fighters Toy and Joy program has rolled around again. Last year I made around a dozen in November/December and thought to work more steadily during this year instead of all in the last month. Um hmm. Another good intention down the drain. So here I am with four finished and hoping to make ten or twelve.

These two are the quick ones, the way I usually make them: a simple block and border sewn to a back, then minimally quilted.

Star quilt

20 x 20

A friend gave me the novelty fabric and I thought it needed multicolor points. The pinwheels are from the “bonus” triangles left from the star points.

25-patch toy quilt

16 x 16

The size was determined by the width of the piece of red cuddle fabric–I had originally planned another plain yellow border. The squares came from a welcome packet at a recent guild retreat (Alas, I’ve forgotten the fabric line and the label is gone–if you recognize it, add it in the comments please.) Looking at the finished product, I see much better color distributions were possible. No matter how much I play with arrangements, I always see something in the final product that I wish I’d placed differently.

The next two have needed more work than I usually do on toy items. But it has been good practice.

These started with blocks already quilted.  I’d made them for Soy Amado (now concluded); however, my 12 1/2-inch blocks shrank when I quilted them and were no longer usable in that project.They are quilted more densely than I’d normally do, but it was good FMQ practice. And it was nice to quilt such small pieces. The ladders came from Leah Day’s website and seemed perfect for a firetruck block. The flowers on the black print were an attempt at extending the fabric design into the quilting.

I’d watched several YouTube tutorials on assembling the pieces. The process is simple enough, but tedious. And even the 12 1/2 inch side under the machine harp made it difficult to keep the topstitching line straight on the final seam on my Featherweight–currently my only machine. If I’m going to wrestle a piece anyway, I may as well FMQ it whole and wrestle there without the tedium.

I have a couple of these prequilted blocks yet to do, then I can get back to the simpler method.

I’ll be linking with Link a Finish Friday, TGIFF, and Finish it Up Friday (as soon as the links are available). It’s always fun to see other peoples’ finishes, but more fun when I have one too. And the first two were NewFOs for November, and the total ten are not finished, so linking up with Barbara’s NewFO . It’s as much fun to check out new starts as old finishes.

ETA: links


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