Monday, February 13, 2017

Little Hearts

There was no time to make a quilt but I still had to make a little something for Valentine's Day.


I sort of followed a tutorial on the Cluck Cluck Sew blog for making the hearts but fooled around and made mine a little bit smaller for a coaster and mug rug. Or, maybe I'll surprise myself and make a few more and then that one on the plate will become a block in a quilt someday.


Right now I'm working on the second block(s) for the Welcome home Mystery Quilt.  I'll upload the pattern to the files in my Yahoo and Facebook groups on Wednesday, Feb 15. Don't worry -  this part will not be nearly as difficult as the first block. Oh my goodness, what a disaster with those templates and the sizing of the block. Sorry for all of the confusion when some of you printed out the pattern as a .pdf file. The rest of the quilt will be more straightforward and the remaining blocks much simpler. 

Happy Valentine's Day!




Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Civil War Baskets

Continuing on with workshop photos . . . The Bloomington/Normal quilters made these baskets from my book Remembering Adelia last weekend -



Here's my scrappy quilt and its twin.


Lots and lots of pretty prints. 











Civil War meets Batiks . . . .




Making those basket handles wasn't as difficult as they expected. Once you get the hang of it, it's easy peasy. 

If you're hesitant about making handles for your baskets - here's a simple method that takes away a lot of the stress. You can use the same technique for making vines and stems on other applique projects. See the full directions in the back of my book Remembering Adelia.


The first step is to cut your fabric strip on the bias - which means that it's cut on the diagonal of the grain.


I used pressing bars to form the handles. These are 12" long, heat-resistant plastic bars for making applique vines and stems. They come in a package with several bars of varying widths. You may prefer to use bias tape makers and they work as well. Just follow the package directions for the tool you use.


For the bars, fold the strip WRONG sides together and sew a 1/4" seam along the raw edge to make a tube. Cut the ends of the strip to the the correct length - for the Civil War Baskets it's 1 1/4" x 6". After sewing, trim the seam allowance a little.


Slide the rounded end of the pressing bar into the fabric and press as you roll the seam to the middle of the tube. Press the seam in one direction. When you turn it over, the seam will be hidden. Remove the bar CAREFULY as it gets very hot and finish pressing the tube flat.


Now you're ready to shape the handle into the curved shape and pin it to the background fabric. Since the fabric was cut on the bias it will stretch easily. Find the center and pin. (Mine is a little off but it's just a sample piece.) Baste, pin or glue the handle in place. Then, applique it down either by hand or machine. Voila! Easy bias-strip basket handles. Follow the rest of the directions in the book or your particular pattern to attach the handles to the basket. 


 You can also make handles with the 1/4 inch Clover bias tape maker, which is what I used for these handles in my Cherry Baskets quilt from the doll quilt club. 







Sunday, February 5, 2017

Scrappy Stars

I always meet the nicest quilters. I taught a couple of workshops for the Hands All Around Quilt Guild in Bloomington/Normal, Illinois, this past weekend. The first project was the Scrappy Stars quilt from my book Remembering Adelia. Everyone seemed to have a great time.



This is a great quilt made with blocks that resemble a LeMoyne Star. No set-in seams. Thought you would like to see some of the students' work.  I love seeing what others make from my ideas. They're all different. Isn't that one of the best things about quilting?  Being inspired by something someone else has made but creating something that's uniquely your own . . . .
























Thanks for a great time, Bloomington/Normal quilters! 

I'll show you some gorgeous scrappy basket blocks and quilts from the second workshop in a day or two.



Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Mystery Quilt Sew Along

I'm starting a Mystery Quilt Sew Along in my Yahoo and Facebook small quilt groups. First block is this cute little house.


Every other month you'll get a free pattern for another block (or blocks) to make another part of the quilt. I'll be sewing along with all of you and, if you keep up, the whole quilt will be finished by late summer or fall 2017 when the "Mystery" is revealed. Sew with us! Just click on one of the group gadgets on the side of the blog to join in the fun. Details and directions can be found in the group Files.

The block patterns will be posted  every other even-numbered month. (We'll still be working on small quilt challenges from my Small & Scrappy book during the odd-numbered months.) Beginners are welcome. This is a no-pressure, do-it-at-your-own-pace project. There will be plenty of time. Pick your own colors and fabrics from your stash or scraps. I am making mine scrappy using some of my favorite colors but the quilt will also look nice as a two-color quilt.

I already have the perfect place picked out for hanging my finished quilt. In the front foyer, where I can see it every time I walk in the door to welcome me home.







Monday, January 30, 2017

Persistence Pays Off

I remember telling people in 2010 that I had made up my mind - I was going to try making a replica of Jane Stickle's 1863 quilt. Responses:  "Oh. Um, okay."  They were thinking:  "Sure you are. Good luck with that idea."  


It's been a strange journey. Hot and cold at times. In my own war with this quilt. I saved some of the more difficult blocks for last. If I'd tried to make them 5 or 6 years ago I know would have quit altogether. Here's what I learned: Persistence pays off. I'm a much better quilter now than I was then. I'm incredibly more patient with myself. I kept plugging away, learning as I went along. I'm congratulating myself this week because I made some good progress in January and have only FOUR more blocks left to go for the center of the quilt. Then 52 triangles and the 4 corners. 


Who knew I would make it this far?  I'm excited because there's a chance I will finish the top this year or next. Not pressuring myself too much because there are a lot of other things I'd like to do as well. If I do, I do.



Jane's extraordinary quilt displayed at the Bennington Museum. It's amazing that the colors are still so vibrant.


It will be such fun to pick through my old reproduction fabrics and carefully place my favorites in my quilt's border of triangles.  They sure don't look easy though. 


This post is for those of you who are still on your DJ journey or eager to begin one.  Just take it one block at a time. And, if you get discouraged, make an easy block and see how it goes. Don't give up. There's hope. If I can do it . . . .




                                           Can't wait until my crazy blocks look like this.


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