Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Quilting Accomplishments

About a year ago I made a list of quilts I had in my mind, some of which had been bouncing around in my head for years. Over the past 12 months I've kept track of the quilts I made from that list, as well as the ones that were surprises - unplanned and unknown at the beginning of the year.

The results: I made 9 from the possibilities list, plus 15 surprises. Of those two dozen quilts, 16 were throw size; the rest were wallhangings. Whew!

Here is the list of possibilities and finishes:

Titles in Red have become realityTitles in Red were on the possibilities list
Art Deco (Fast Friday Challenge)Superman
Balkan Puzzles times 3Me, in Words
Can't SleepIn Love with Animal Prints
Coffee RoadLacy Dresden
Dare to DresdenRosa's Travel Quilt
DonnaThe Mystery of the Missing Library (Nancy Drew)
Draw from the HatCherries Jubilation (Think Outside the Block)
KathleenBinky Patrol Quilt (Stanislaus Family Justice Center
Liberated Quilts*New - Pink Animal Print Quilt
Manila*New - Lights On, Bob!
Nancy Drew*New - Wedding Wallhanging
North Wind*New - San Francisco Giants
Paris Blue*New - Music Stamp
Parts Only*New - Follow Your Dreams
Quilters' Playtime*New - SantaCard Gift Card
Red-Winged BlackbirdStars and Stripes - wasn't on Possibilities list but should have been as it was in my head for a couple of years
Redwood Family Center (2)*New - A Tropical Medley
Roxanne 2*New - Cake!
Solitude (Fast Friday Challenge)*New - Light the Night Fundraiser
Solvorn, Norway*New - Menswear, Gleen's Wear
Square in a Square*New - In Verdant Dreams
Stanislaus Family Justice Center*New - Christmas Fundraiser
Superman*New - Thanksgiving Quilt
Tango*New - Dogs, Dogs, Dogs
Think Outside the Block
Vicki C.

I enjoyed that experiment so much, I'm going to do it again for 2014. See here for the current possibilities list. For the next few weeks I'll add to the list as I remember projects.

Follow along and see what happens in 2014!

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Year of Retirement Quilts

I have named 2013 as The Year of Retirement Quilts. I have made six quilts for retiring co-workers this year. That's a lot! In comparison, I made two retirement quilts last year. In 2014 I anticipate about the same number as this year.

I keep a list of upcoming quilts in my Outlook Tasks at work, arranged by due date. They help me keep organized. Months ago, the list became so long, I had to break it up into two tasks: quilts due in 2013 and those due in 2014. Whee!

The retirement quilts for 2013 are:
Lights On, Bob!
San Francisco Giants
A Tropical Medley
Menswear, Gleen's Wear
In Verdant Dreams
Dogs, Dogs, Dogs

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dogs, Dogs, Dogs

Dogs, Dogs, Dogs
For retiring co-worker Linda C. 
60" square. Mostly from stash. 
Started 12/11/2013, completed 12/16/2013.

During my spy mission of Linda's cubicle, I noticed she had several pictures of dogs. She also wears black and red fairly often, which helped determine the color scheme for the quilt. She dresses in a classic style, so I kept the quilt design rather simple.

I gave Dogs, Dogs, Dogs to retiring co-worker Linda C. today. Linda was very surprised, never expecting a quilt. As it happens, Linda happened to wear an outfit in black, red and gray today. She coordinated perfectly with her quilt!

Dog fabric squares laid out on the design wall
I cut double layers, and alternated Front and Back layers for symmetry:

Vertical strips attached

Horizontal strips attached

Main part of quilt top sewn together

Close-up of quilt top
Lots of dogs!

Border attached
The red really makes the quilt sing.

Once again, the finished quilt

I may be able to squeeze in one or two more quilts by the end of the year. One quilt is due shortly after the new year begins. It is another dog themed quilt, for yet another retiring co-worker. I have looked online and pinned several possibilities to Pinterest. One cute print may be found locally, so I will check it out tomorrow night after work.

The other possible quilt would be for my granddaughter Piper. She's three years old, and I've made her two quilts so far: Piper's Polka Dots and Pipes and Piperoni. But she's still two quilts behind her older sister Reghan, who had four quilts by the time she was four. Grandma needs to get busy. I looked at Jo-Ann's last night, in search of the cute frog fabric Piper liked on our visit together about a month ago. But the print I found last night didn't seem right. I'll check online to see if I can find the one we saw before.

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

WIP Wednesday 12/11/2013

Electric Quilt sketch - Dog themed quilt
For retiring co-worker Linda C.

Fabrics from stash
Dog fabric must have been a donation, because I don't recall buying it.
After spying at Linda's desk, she appears to like dogs. Linda dresses very classically, often wearing red and black. I think this dog fabric will work well for her, since it's fun without being too cartoonish.

Large square of theme fabric
Inadvertently cut 15", .5" too short, but didn't have enough yardage to re-cut at the proper size. So I went with the flow and cut all of the squares 15". I plan to make up the difference by making the border a bit wider. 

First strip sewn to the side

Strip added to the bottom
There are just 9 large blocks like this, so the quilt should go together quickly.

Trying out the red border fabric. I like it. The white dots add a little femininity and interest. I have some plain red fabric, as well, but at the moment I'm leaning toward the print.

It shouldn't take long to get this quilt done. I don't usually sew on Thursday nights. It's the end of the work week for me, as well as rehearsal night. I'm usually pretty tired by the time I get home. But with such simple, no-brainer blocks, I might sew, after all.

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Friday, December 06, 2013

Christmas Quilt Delivered

Christmas themed quilt
 Fundraiser for local charity
Top made from stash
Includes Snowball blocks
Original design. 60" square. 
Began 11/30/2013. Completed 12/4/2013.

A few Santa themed squares on the design wall

Main part of quilt top sewn together
White in the Snowball blocks was bothering me. Too bright.

Considered several fixes, including subbing in a light green.
In reality I was on a tight deadline and had no time to undo stitching, re-make the blocks and sew the blocks into the top.

My solution: add more white! I ditched my plan for a dark green border and subbed in white, hoping that the Snowball blocks would make more sense.

Quilt top finished
In person, the border reminds me of the white trim around Santa's outfit. The Snowball blocks look like big buttons. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

Trying a new batting: Buffalo Batt Comfortloft (Jo-Ann's)
90" wide, folded once on the bolt
I bought six yards, enough for three quilts.

I've been using packaged Soft N Crafty for a long time. Lately the wrinkles have been getting on my nerves, as they stay in even after letting the batting breathe for 24+ hours. Hoping this new batting will work better for me.

Results: The batting works beautifully for me. It lies nice and flat, with no wrinkles.

Finished quilt


I delivered the quilt to Bethany Christian Services yesterday. The quilt will be sold this weekend at their annual fundraiser. I hope the quilt brings lots of money for them.

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Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Tuesday Update - 12/3/2013

Over the weekend I started a new quilt, a fundraiser for a local charity. It's Christmas-themed, at their suggestion.

Electric Quilt sketch

Fabrics from stash

Christmas fabric must have been a donation, because I don't recall buying it. Cute!
White-on-white reminds me of snow. Will use it in Snowball blocks.

First nine-patch block

Most of the nine-patch blocks. Note the center red block. The three sets of red blocks are a little different from each other. The center set uses reds from the other two. I call it a hybrid. there wasn't enough of either reds to make four blocks, so I combined them.

Nine patch blocks done

Background fabric for Snowball block

Fabric squares for the corners
Drew a diagonal line through the center

Placed on background, sewed on the line

Pressed toward the corner

Trimmed away excess red, leaving background intact

Folded triangle back in place
Could have trimmed red before pressing, but I like to make sure the corner works first.

As seen from the back. Can just see a red shadow behind the white fabric, top right.

All corners sewn, pressed and trimmed

There are some waste triangles left. I may use them for another project or donate them to Binky Patrol. Either way, I put all of the triangles in a zip bag to keep them together. Makes them easier to find later.

As seen from the back

Snowball blocks added to design wall

Close-up of Snowball

 The quilt is due in a couple of days. I stayed home from work today and did quite a bit of sewing. I'll continue this evening, as well. Plain squares of the Santa fabric need to be cut, then the blocks sewn together and a border attached. My goal is to get the quilt close to knot-tying stage by bedtime tonight.

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Saturday, November 30, 2013

If My Mug Could Talk

I eat cookies for breakfast at work. Some people think it's weird, but I do it anyway. My mug is tall, colorful and sassy, a gift from dear friend Debbie S. I used junk mail and snippets of embroidery floss from recently made quilt In Verdant Dreams.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Quilt

Thanksgiving 2013
10" x 11"
All from stash
Completed 11/28/2013

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I whipped up this little quilt in a couple of hours. I had been searching for Thanksgiving pictures to post to my personal Facebook page, when it occurred to me that I could make a small quilt block and use it.

I searched Pinterest and found a cute little placemat by Dark Horse Farm Designs. I simplified the design but the idea is still there. I chose a couple of fabrics from stash. I traced around my hand on the back of the red fabric, cut it out, then spray basted to the background. I made a quilt sandwich and zigzagged over the edges.

I did some straight stitching just inside the edge of the hand. I could have done a zigzag with invisible thread but I was looking for speed. The little quilt won't be washed, so the edges will be fine.

I hand sewed an eye, beak and legs. I thought about writing Happy Thanksgiving on the background but my handwriting isn't very good and I was afraid I'd ruin it. Not bad for a couple hours of work.

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

WIP Wednesday 11/27/2013

In Verdant Dreams
 For retiring co-worker Cecilia K.
Inspired by a tissue box in shades of green, Cecilia's favorite color.
Raw edge applique. Partly from stash. 
Original design. 60" x 72". 
Completed 11/26/2013

Inspiration for In Verdant Dreams
Part of a tissue box donated by co-worker Margarita A. after another co-worker Veronica B. did some spying and learned that green is Cecilia's favorite color.

Petals are from the tissue box, magnified many times.

Also from the tissue box
The "eyes" bothered me for a while, but I came to accept them when I set them upright like this. I think of them as eyes on peacock feathers.

I just finished In Verdant Dreams for co-worker Cecilia K., who will retire tomorrow (Wednesday). Update: I delivered the quilt to Cecilia and she loved it.

For many more photos and details about the quilt, please read on.

Using a light box to complete the "circle" shape

Drew in horizontal and vertical lines to keep each shape oriented properly. Using just one paper pattern for all four layers of the circle, trimming as I go.

Wrote "top" on the paper pattern, used flower pins to mark the top of each cut shape, all in hopes of maintaining the proper orientation of each layer.

Three layers stacked

Blue sewn to dark green with zigzag

Completed circles

Circles laid out close to flower

Background - lots of 6.5" blocks plus a few large squares
Wasn't till after the sections were sewn that I realized piecing them together might be a problem, particularly around the 4-piece square in the lower center. Had to really think about it to avoid painting myself into a corner. A partial seam in a strategic place would help.

Trying out the circles

Another possibility

This and next few photos: Trying out the flower with circles in different ways.

Trying with a green circle. Doesn't bring much to the party.

My favorite for the circles. They remind me of the eyes of peacock feathers.

Circles sewn to background

Trying out the background fabric. Looks good!

Moving the bottom circle to different locations

Didn't like this one, either. Decided to stick with the original layout.

Paper circle - 3" (golf ball printed from Electric Quilt)
Will use as the center of the flower, temporarily.

Ball centered on background

First four petals spaced evenly, although they won't stay like this since there are seven petals, not eight.

Seven petals spaced pretty well

Petals held in place with safety pins. Will zigzag stitch around each petal, one at a time. Leaving paper circle for now, in case a petal should wander.

Petals sewn down, paper removed. Leaving center unfilled. Implied is more artful, I think.


Back - silver thread in bobbin, which I figured wouldn't show too much on front.

Sewing sections together - bottom left section and the left edge of 4-piece center.

Stopped sewing about an inch from the bottom edge. This is a partial seam, which will be finished later.

Flower section added (horizontal seam)
Basically, I'm making my way around clockwise.

Upper right section added

Lower right section added. Left side of this seam meets the partial seam area.

Preparing to complete the partial seam
Black pin is where the partial seam ended. Nothing to the right of the pin has been sewn yet.

Seam completed

Pressed seam. Pencil points to the partial seam area. Nice, smooth and straight line. No Y seam!

From the right side of the quilt - very nice

Main part of quilt top done

Wide background added to top and bottom

Border completed
I have to say that I was floored at how good the quilt looked with the border added. It isn't often that I'm blown away by my own design, but I was this time. The border, with its busyness, adds a lot to what I was afraid was an otherwise too-simple design. In my mind it more than makes up for all of the white space where I "didn't do anything."


I tie nearly all of my throw-sized quilts. I usually have blocks to help determine the spacing of knots. But in this quilt there's just an awful lot of white space, with some white square blocks. To help create a grid in the wide open spaces, I used safety pins to mark 6" lengths.

Then using the pins and seams from the 6" blocks, I applied masking tape. The plan is to tie one knot per 6" square.

All done

Close-up of flower area

Close-up of a circle

Next, I'll make a quick fundraiser quilt. The theme is Christmas. I found a cute Santa fabric in my stash, which was probably a donation from someone, because I don't remember buying it. Anyway, I'm hoping to make most of the quilt top from stash. I may need a little for the border. Right now I'm thinking nine-patch blocks, and I may throw in a few snowball blocks to reinforce the theme. I'll get started in the next few days.

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