Thursday, January 30, 2014

WIP Wednesday 1/29/2014

Free-pieced heart blocks

The last couple of nights I've been working on a little hearts quilt, inspired by Stargazey Heartz quilts seen online. I gathered a bunch of red and off-white scraps and paired them up. My idea was to free-piece the blocks, but just to make sure I was in the ballpark I made a sketch of a block and kind of measured the width and length of the red strips.

Rough cut strips without measuring too carefully, sewed them together.

Pinned along the seam line just to see how it would work out.

Folded back, pins still in place. Not bad.

Removed pins, stitched.

Trimmed off the excess.

Pressed open

Attached strip along the top edge.

Attached to the other top edge.


Cut a good-sized square (no measuring), then cut diagonally.

Triangles added

Four blocks sewn

I measured the mis-shapen blocks and figured 4.5" unfinished was the biggest cut I could get. Found this template in my little collection of various sizes. Yippee!

Grainline went out the window long ago, so I just found a spot that worked. Drew little pencil marks at each corner, removed the template, then cut the square using a ruler.

Four blocks squared up. Each is different, but that's what I wanted.

Changed the arrangement a little.

I may add some sashing between the blocks, but I may sew them together as they are. Either way, the quilt will be very small. I intend to display it on my bulletin board at work, which is only 17" long. It will be nice to enjoy during February and probably for a while after that.

Patriotic Quilt - Electric Quilt sketch

A sampling of red, white and blue fabrics. Many others will be used, as well.

Tonight I designed a quilt to be made in red, white and blue. I plan to use all stash for the quilt top. I'll start the quilt in a day or two, and I'm sure I'll have it done before President's Day.

Like my Facebook page Traveling Quilter and get more updates on my quilting and my travels.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Horses Quilt

For co-worker Steve S., who is leaving the office for another job. Steve likes horses. 
Original design. 56" x 70". 
Started 1/19/2014, completed 1/20/2014.


Electric Quilt sketch
Design is very similar to Dogs, Dogs, Dogs but one row longer since Steve is tall.

Hard to see here, but brown stripe has little circles similar to the ones in the horse print.
Not shown - rust colored bedsheet from Wal-Mart, a couple of years old but never used, served as the backing.

Cut three squares from each width of fabric. Above are the pieces. Little strip to the right of the center square is waste.

Originally my idea was to stagger the squares something like ABC, BCA, CAB, ABC. But when I laid out the squares on the wall in the original order ABC, ABC, etc., I liked it so I didn't shuffle.


Vertical strips sewn on

Horizontal strips added
For me it's easier and faster to sew long strips and eliminate the cornerstones.

Sewed one half of the quilt top at a time, then joined them. But something was wrong. Where is the bottom? And there's extra wide black in the middle. Turns out I sewed the halves in the wrong order, with the bottom on top and the top on bottom. Seam ripper time!

A little while later - much better.

Quilt top finished
I like that the each fabric stands out on its own.

Once again, the finished quilt.

This was one of the fastest blanket-sized quilts I've ever made. I didn't have much time, as I had only a week's notice that Steve was leaving, and I was still working on Edna's New Signature Quilt. Luckily, I was ahead of the game with Edna's quilt, and had Monday off work. I started the horse quilt on Sunday night and finished late Monday night. The design was simple, with the busy print doing much of the work. I gave the quilt to Steve today, his last day. He was really happy with his quilt. Wishing you all the best in your new job, Steve!

P.S. I gave Edna her quilt today, too. She was very touched. I knew the 60+ people who signed blocks would like to see the finished quilt, and Edna graciously allowed the quilt to be displayed in the central hallway of the office today. Tomorrow is Edna's last day before retiring. Happy retirement, Edna!

Like my Facebook page Traveling Quilter and get more updates on my quilting and my travels.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Signature Quilt Finished

Edna's New Signature Quilt
For retiring co-worker Edna N. 
Blocks signed by 69 co-workers, collected over many months. 
Quilt's title is a play on Edna's name. 
Partly from stash. Original design. 58" x 75". 
Completed 1/19/2014.

Early last year I gave a list of employees to Edna, asking her to highlight those she had worked with closely over the years. There were 67 names! 

Blocks like this were passed around the office, 6-8 people at a time. With each batch I included about a dozen blocks, in a variety of colors. It took many rounds to collect all of the names. Masking tape prevented people from writing in the seam allowance. Freezer paper ironed to the back of the block gave the fabric stability and kept it from wiggling as people signed.

Blocks on the design wall
All told, there are 69 names (two unexpected participants). There were three spaces left, which I filled in with Congratulations, Happy Retirement, etc.

This and the next couple of photos - trying to find a good balance of colors

A sequence of blocks stacked on my ruler. Makes it easy to transport to the sewing table.

Lower left quadrant sewn together

Quilt top in four large sections

Main part of quilt top sewn together

During a conversation with Edna, I learned that red is her favorite color. So I chose to use it as the border. The blocks were made from scraps. The border is new fabric, but seems to go well with the "old" fabric in the block.

Quilt top done

Once again, the finished quilt

I plan to give the quilt to Edna on Tuesday, her next to last day. I'm hoping she'll allow the quilt to be displayed in the central hallway of the office, so that those who signed blocks can see the finished product.

Like my Facebook page Traveling Quilter and get more updates on my quilting and my travels.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

WIP Wednesday 1/8/2014

Currently I'm working on a quilt for retiring co-worker Edna N. When thinking about making a quilt for Edna, I decided that she might like a signature quilt. So several months ago I gave her a list of employees and asked her to highlight the names of people she's worked with closely. There were 67 names! I created a design that uses striped signature blocks.

Electric Quilt sketch of Edna's quilt

Although I'm fast at making quilts, I knew it would take quite a while to get 67 people to sign blocks. So I started months ago, passing around a few blocks for signatures at a time. I ironed freezer paper to the back of each block to keep the fabric from wiggling while the block was signed with a fabric marker. I put strips of masking tape on the edges of the white stripe to prevent people from writing in the seam allowance. 

Block ready for signing
Freezer paper ironed to the back for stability
Masking tape prevents writing from being caught in seam allowance

When passing out a set of blocks for signing, I included an assortment of different colored blocks, along with a fabric marker. I typed up a sheet of paper, explaining that the quilt was for Edna N. and that it was a secret. The instructions said: "Please choose a block. Write your name in the white space. Please do not write beyond the masking tape or some of the letters may be lost during sewing. Please return to Debbie A. as soon as possible."

Below the instructions I typed the names of 6-8 people from Edna's list of employees. (I kept a copy for myself, in case I had to hunt down the blocks.) I put 10-12 blocks and a black fabric marker in a big office envelope and stapled the sheet of instructions/list of people to the envelope. I handed the envelope to one person, who signed, crossed their own name off the list, then handed the envelope to the next person on the list. The last person returned the envelope with signed blocks, usually by the end of the day. As blocks were returned, I circled the names on Edna's list so I knew who still needed to sign. This scenario was repeated many times over the past several months.

Some of the signed blocks
I'll finish collecting the last few blocks tomorrow. I'll probably begin arranging the blocks on the design wall this weekend. Edna will retire in a couple of weeks but it won't take long to assemble the quilt top and finish the quilt. I expect she'll be blown away that all of this was going on around her and she had no idea.

Like my Facebook page Traveling Quilter and get more updates on my quilting and my travels.

Friday, January 03, 2014

First Quilt Finish of 2014

Colorful, Comical Dogs
For retiring co-worker Tricia T., who likes dogs and wears purple quite often. 
Original design. Partly from stash. 60" square. 
Began 12/28/2013. Completed 1/1/2014.


Found the adorable dog print during an online search. Was able to purchase locally.

Fabrics for the quilt, some from stash

Electric Quilt sketch using Organized Chaos grid

I found this scrapbook paper at Jo-Ann's and created a new pattern for my Organized Chaos grid. The scrapbook paper has five colors, like my original grid.

The quilt pattern is the same as San Francisco Giants, which I made last June. Testing the size of the blocks to be sure I get at least one "whole" dog in each square. Looks fine.

First nine-patch block

Background is the fabric for the border. The darker purple is from my stash. I'll use both purples for the nine-patch blocks, placing the darker purple ones on the edges. Without some sort of narrow border between the blocks and the border, at least in my head, an identical fabric would seem to "bleed" into the border. Probably no one would notice but I'm weird that way.

Darker block on the left, same border fabric in the block on the right. Both set against the border fabric. There's just enough difference between purples to make me happy.

Blocks set on the design wall
Starting at the top right and coming downward, I'm not too happy about the repetition of colors (pink, purple, orange and red). Seems too uniform. I'd rather have a more random look.

Did a little tweaking and I'm happier with the layout.

Added the theme fabric squares

Trying out the border fabric

Main part of the quilt top sewn together

Cute doggies!

Quilt top finished

This is what was left of the white thread after I sewed on the last border to the quilt top.
Good thing I bought another spool that afternoon.

One of the darker purple blocks against the border. I like it.

Again, the finished quilt.

I gave the quilt to Tricia T. yesterday. Her last day is today. She was surprised and likes her quilt. Enjoy your quilt and retirement, Tricia!

Like my Facebook page Traveling Quilter and get more updates on my quilting and my travels.