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39.0 First BOM – Stained Glass

January 17, 2016

For the brand new year, I happened upon a brand new BOM that I decided to join up and work on.

I love the stained glass look for quilts, and this one just spoke to me this time.

A designer for which I know little about, lives in Europe, I have bought one of her patterns before and the quilt is on my list to do, Ula Lenz has made the Ray of Hope quilt in hexagon style.

I have already completed the first block, here are some of the pieces I was working on.

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I had a bright bag of orange, purple, pink batik scraps that I knew just “went together”. I think someone from my guild donated them to me at the last retreat a year ago. I had kept the fabrics separate from the rest of my stash, hoping to find a use for them.

I remembered seeing these fabrics recently, so I located an appropriately dark batik that I had bought to use for some purpose that matched these pretty batiks.

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I have already cut out the border fabric for these blocks, the way Ula has us do the quilt is to make sashing and fun border wonky stars in between each of the hexagon blocks.

There are many color ways that would look fantastic for this quilt. I have luckily got the first block done, so I hope that I will be able to remind myself to download her next BOM when it’s posted at the beginning of each month.

It’s free. As you can see, each of the hexagons will be done in three sub blocks, and several of them have different amounts of seams on them.

Paper piecing doesn’t scare me.

Here’s the pretty block without the border pieces.

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I hope I can keep enough of these fabrics in the quilt. I may try to find another light fabric to help with the contrast a little more on future blocks.

And here’s the block with border pieces. So now it can be sewn in square.

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38.9 Quilt Accomplishments for 2015 – the Year of Scraps

January 15, 2016

I would like to recap my 2015 quilt related accomplishments. Many of them are tops, I really did little to no Free Motion Quilting during the year of 2015. I did have three quilts quilted during the year.

Some of the blog posts I was about a month or two behind. Usually I am finding myself sewing or surfing with my extra time, or board game playing, or football watching, or video game playing, or playing solitaire on my phone, or chatting with ladies from 4 other quilting states at the big quilt show this year.

You get the picture. Distractions abound.

From the beginning of the year, I did spend a lot of my weekends quilting, even if they weren’t documented immediately afterwards.

I will try to recap my quilt life 2015, using some familiar pictures, some new.

I started off with the last round of the Twilter Round Robin quilt I was working on for Diane.

Round Robin Dianes Twilt On quilt with Darla borders

I did the last bargello style border (green to blue waves). I drafted this from graph paper. I made more work for myself than I needed to because of the multilevel greens that I added.

I completed the quilt top for fellow quilter (and also once “quilt” podcaster) who lost her husband suddenly in the fall of 2014.

Darla and Ruthanns quilt top

Looking back through my archives, I can’t believe that I forgot to blog about this quilt. It was meant as a nice surprise for Ruthann. She wanted something “green and sciencey”. I had seen this quilt in a book I got in 2014. I had emailed a bunch of other people in our group, most of which remembered Ruthann, but not all of them had.

I had a list of the strip sizes I needed, and instead of the other people sending me “completed blocks” I asked if they could send strips and/or strip sets. I was amazed at what was sent on this quilt.

And I did lots of extra work, cutting up and only using a portion of what was presewn  for me just so I could have a lot of variation on the quilt.

I completed the top in early January, and completed the finished quilt in May, after our meetup with Jackie from Sew Excited Quilts quilted this quilt (and one other) for me.

ruthann and teddy healing quilts

I had overestimated the size of making 5 full DNA strips, so the last one became a “bed runner” which was quilted separately by me at home.

In Feb, at the annual guild retreat, I finally finished my borders and my backing for my Royal Red King’s Puzzle quilt.

Royal Red Kings Puzzle Quilt Top With Borders

In March, I translated the quilting pattern from my Dancing ribbons quilt to ceramics. I need to mount this.

dahlia plate after glazing

I also finished the borders on my weave quilt after figuring out how to do the ends.

Circular ends

I brought a small quilt I had worked on a few years ago, a disappearing four patch quilt, to the lady who was quilting my Royal Red quilt. Sandy from Artfully Quilted did the honor for me for the red quilt, and also works on donation quilts for the local hospital. I was happy to donate my disappearing four patch, even though I was originally going to practice free motion quilting on it.

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I think sometime I worked on the back for the weave quilt, I didn’t finish it, but I got some pieces together for it. I usually piece my backings so I don’t buy the extra large fabrics that often. But it takes some time.

April I made some things for the quilt show, in addition to another quilt block for another quilty podcaster.

galaxy star pattern via quilters cache

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I also received my fantastic Round Robin quilt back and in the squeak of time, got arrangements for this quilt to be in the regional festival. I think I was on top of the world one minute of the day, and I was crying in disappointment the other part of the day. This quilt, didn’t almost make it into the show, and I am blessed that things either worked out for it to be there, or someone gave up a spot or something else happened to allow me to have the quilt in the show. Anyhow I can only take credit for the center, some of the fabrics, and the tiny outside border.

Darlas round robin quilt finished top

May was the finish for the show, getting all these quilts ready with labels, sleeves, and everything prior to June. It was also time for me to get extra wound up for inviting some friends to Kansas City area.

May I also met with Jackie for our (now annual sorta) sewing day at her studio!

Royal Red styled on porch swing

June was our regional quilt festival, and fantastic meetup with friends and with guildmates, seeing other friends’ quilts and making new friends.

twilter meetup five twilters at barbecue

three of seven twilters entwined

In July I finalized my “watermelon dresden” pattern for myself, and worked on getting my studio organized, and set myself up for the fall of scrappy quilts.

water melon dresden version 2

string quilt small

August, I was getting myself organized and sewing all the 16 patches that eventually became my Arkansas Crossroads quilt. And getting more strings for the hashtag quilt swap.

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And I was starting to make shoo flys for the disappearing shoo fly quilt.

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I also took some time out to make a few small blocks for other small projects. These went to different quilts for different projects, but are both definitely “my” style.

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I made my hashtag blocks to be sent out to the twilter swap.

string hastag blocks to send

And received some different ones in return.

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Then the end of the year I started sewing together all the scrappy pieces I was working on in the fall.

shoo fly top as a table topper scrap quilt

I think I just blogged about unsewing and resewing my Winslow’s Corners quilt, which took up some of my November time.

Winslows Corners Quilt with good corners

I experimented but haven’t yet committed on a low contrast, but high saturation scrap chevron quilt. (still in many smaller pieces)

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One weekend I looked at all the scraps I had left over from Ruthann’s quilt in the spring and put together a different top for picnicking.

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And on Thanksgiving day, got my Watermelon Dresden quilt layout figured out with actual fabric pieces I am working on.

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Currently I am in a “small battle” (with myself) as I ran out of the background fabric needed to make the quilt. The shop that sold it to me in November, I called, and they don’t have the same fabric anymore. I am working out how to do it since I started some of the border pieces already in one fabric.

Actually, the quilt will have lots of background space due to how I set the border pieces. I figure there will be lots of room for background quilting on this quilt.

And since I am writing this in January, I will hold off on my latest quilt block project. That is actually finished – for January anyway.

Oh… and in April, just before all the mess for the quilt show started, I attempted to quilt my Samurai Sudoku quilt. But I was having a bad day, things weren’t lining up right. I haven’t yet told myself to rip out and start over on the quilting, but I almost have. I have been avoiding the longarm rental since I have to make a decision on this quilt that I will not like to make right now.

upclose picture of samurai sudoku quilt on longarm

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38.8 Winslow’s Corners quilt an Arkansas Crossroads pattern

January 12, 2016

The end of 2015 was surrounded by creating quilt tops of the “scrap” genre.

Quilts with lots of different fabrics in them, sometimes color controlled, sometimes completely random.

I readily obtain many 2.5 inch blocks by my “cut out strips” method of using fabric for projects. I know the value in 2.5 inch squares and so tend to cut squares into this shape when I have no set purpose for these squares.

 

I have posted about this top a few times already, but I did finish the top at my recent Arkansas retreat.

winslows corners quilt top backwards corners

I was trugging along, trying to get everything sewn down, I knew how I wanted the borders to match the rest of the quilt.

As you may be able to see the quilt is a simple idea.

  • Alternating 16 patches filled with all the scrappy 2.5 patches I sewn together earlier the past summer
  • Alternating x blocks made of 4 album blocks “pointed” inward together
  • Borders consisting of each piece being a “half album” block with the two corners together

Three pieces of winslows corners quilt

This is how I organize this quilt in my head when making it.

I have noticed it is starting to become “popularized” – aka I have been seeing it on some websites, or mainly the quilting group on FB as a single block, rather than 2 blocks of different styles.

winslows corners alternate quilt block

Either way works, it depends on how the maker would prefer to work on the designs.

I made my album blocks by a simple paper piecing method. Very easy to paper piece.

In fact, I would recommend this quilt to anyone who wanted to learn a little bit about paper piecing. Not too many tiny paper pieces, the quilt seems satisfying in scope when done.

In any event, while at my November retreat, I was in a rush to complete the quilt and I didn’t consider “row placement”.

I ended up with my X blocks (four album blocks) on the outside corners. All of them.

original top winlsows corners double corner

So the very corners are these silly little hour glass type things.

I finished the quilt top, but I didn’t really like the corners of my Winslow’s Corners all that much.

But then later that month, I was thinking. And thinking.

I figured out a relatively easy way to correct the corners on Winslow’s corners.

Since both edges ended up being off, if I would remove the last row on one side, move it to the other side, scooting it down some, remove both small borders.

winslows corners plan for moving last row

I had some “downtime” aka non-internet non-machine sewing time planned for the Thanksgiving holiday, I could unpick all the edges, get the quilt prepared, and then just had to do a few quick seams after black friday.

So that’s what I did, picked off one border, took a whole row including the border, scootched it over to the opposite side of the quilt.

winslows corners border removed block missing

The left over border on my “left” in the picture above is good since I removed the “offending row” and put it on the right.

And scootched it down by one block.

winslows corners close up of last row

You can see from here, I still had to pick out the extra X block, and I had to quick make an extra 16 patch block.

But only minor changes from this point and now the quilt top has much better border corners.

No funny corners on my Winslow’s Corners quilt.

Winslows Corners Quilt with good corners

Did I mention why I am calling the quilt Winslow’s Corners? My annual fall retreat is in Winslow, Arkansas. And the quilt pattern is sometimes named Arkansas Crossroads.

 

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38.7 What happens when you disappear a shoo fly block

November 29, 2015

I have been sewing shoo fly blocks as leaders and enders for several months during other projects.

Growing shoo fly block collection

I started with two 5 inch blocks, right sides together. I did the trick where you sew around the edges of the pieces, then cut diagonally both directions.

A result is 4 half square triangles that are sewn with the bias edges on the outside.

I trimmed these 4 pieces down to a size of 3″ unfinished.

Then I collected groups of 4 squares for the background fabric – white in this case – also cut to 3″ unfinished, and a random assortment of colored middles – also cut to 3″ unfinished.

I had these piles of blocks done for most of the summer, just grabbing and sewing together these shoo fly blocks over and over. As you can see a shoo fly is a 9 patch block with the 4 half square triangles on the outside corners. The outside corners color matching the background squares in the middle of each 9 patch block.

At the retreat I recently attended, I put them up on the “design wall” with a possible plan that I had tried not to talk myself out of over the last few weeks.

I saw a design first on Pintrest, a disappearing shoo fly block from Tuxedo Designs blog.

So that’s what I did, I cut the shoo fly into squares, sewed them all back together to make the disappearing shoo fly quilt.

shoo fly quilt block to disappear to sew to purple lightning dsf quilt

Here’s a picture of the quilt as it was on the wall before it was sewn.

shoo fly test block and unsewn scrappy block

As you can see, I tested it out first using just 4 blocks (leftover blocks), so I have a mini quilt from this too!

And here, as a “tabletopper”.

shoo fly top as a table topper scrap quilt

I honestly don’t know why this design isn’t more popular. It’s pretty easy to do and I love the resulting rows that come from it.

Really once you get the quarter blocks made, they only rotate two ways, up and to the left, and down and to the right, alternating each row/column.

How fun is this top?!

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38.6 Hot Air Balloon Festival – Quilts in the Sky

November 22, 2015

Hello! I am working back through some wonderful experiences I would love to share with you extending back this fall.

The first was a month ago, the Great Midwest Balloon Festival. Normally held in August, but this years’ later time gave us opportunity to view the pretty leaves of fall in addition to the pretty balloons.

I am pretty much a sucker for quiet events, balloons, fall, outdoors, the park.

I see balloons as “quilts in the air”. So pretty color combinations, I see bargello style ‘quilts’, applique, chevron, patchwork, jelly roll stripes all sorts of quilts and styles up in the sky.

Orange, yellow, and brown hot air balloon

There is usually a big festival with rides, vendors, food, competition.  Every year since I have planned attending, I have gone on my own for the morning competition, rather than viewing the pretty balloon glow that draws so many others.

This year, the balloon festival was near last year, on the west side of the city, near the speedway, but actually closer to our annual permanent location of the Renaissance Festival grounds.

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The first day of the festival was misty and windy so it was cancelled for the early morning part of the day, not reopening until the night glows on Saturday.

Sunday morning, rather than head to the crowds, I took refuge in the local next door county park. It was so beautiful. The balloons had to travel past the park to head to the festival grounds.

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I originally hesitated heading to the park due to the presence of “many people” on the southern park entrance that were racing a 5K blocking that entrance. Luckily, I got brave enough to try a more northern entrance, so I wasn’t doomed to see the pretty “sky quilts”.

I tore through the park, under the trees, walking to an “upper ridge” area in the middle of some kind of cross country track in the middle of the park grass.

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From my vantage point, I could hear the hot air balloons pass over me. The black balloon with the rabbit, carrot, and parrot was “right above me” poking out of the trees, a little behind where I chose to stand for most of the morning.

I remember feeling in awe of that hot air balloon.

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I saw balloons coming from the east of the morning, using the trees as interesting frames for some of my shots.

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I have some close pictures, some far pictures. I snapped many versions of the same picture, just seconds apart, just to ensure I got a good picture. I kept wishing I had a DSLR.

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Some balloons I have multiple full-on shots of, a few of the more interesting ones were out of frame a little to the south. I found I liked staying in one general area.

Another “park photographer” had set up not too far from me, and both of us were looking around behind, in front, to the side, trying to get the best of the morning.

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Later in the morning, before the last of the balloons, I ventured near one of the park shelters. This got me a picture of a couple of balloons nearby the structure too.

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I tried to zoom and tried not to zoom sometimes to get the bigger picture of the hot air balloons.

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Sometimes I get a sense of the hot air balloon movement by looking at three consecutive pictures taken right after another.

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I took way more pictures than I ever posted. It was so beautiful and magical!

If you want to see my whole flickr set, which is over 70 pictures, follow the link below:

GM Balloon Fest on flickr

Stay tuned and I will talk about actual quilts soon. I have several things to share!

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38.5 Royal Red King’s Puzzle – Bloggers Quilt Festival Entry

October 25, 2015

I had to highlight this wonderful quilt of mine at least one more time in honor of the Bloggers Quilt Festival hosted by Amy’s Creative Side

I have been thinking and wondering if this quilt should be entered in more than just this show, in addition to the Kansas City Quilt Festival last June, and the local guild show.

royal red kings puzzle at KCQRF

The quilt as I recall measures 80″ on each side and is very square. I haven’t thought of it as a two color quilt or a monochromatic quilt, but it really is.

The center is a color-modified version of the Pattern King’s Puzzle, in which I changed the background colors to accommodate my amount of the middle fabric. I have always been partial to red and black color combination.

The borders are completely my own design, using the 10 minute block technique, and the 5 minute block technique, paying particular attention to the fabric choices on the blocks.

Then, in between fabrics, I introduced unfilled piping to create the thin black line running from 10 minute block to 10 minute block.

This “glamour shot” was done at another quilting friend who did some quilting for me for two other quilts. This picture (below) was taken back in May before the quilt was bound before the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival.

Royal Red styled on porch swing

My quilt didn’t win anything at the Quilt festival, and I heard one or two nice comments, in particular when I was picking up my quilt at the end and someone could see the quilt & the maker together.

Judges comments were that they liked the dimensional elements to the quilt in particular – aka – the raised part of the 10 minute block, 5 minute block, and piping.

I also had a few out of town/state friends come and look at my quilt in person during the show, which still means the world to me!

Enjoy the festival!

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38.4 Sewing String Hashtags

October 14, 2015

The last month I have been trying to finish these blocks before the October 15 swapping deadline.

The #Twilter! group on Facebook (email scientificquilter@gmail.com if you want an invite) was doing a swap of a free block.

We chose to swap “wonky hashtag” blocks available on Craftsy from their 2012 free block of the month for January.

Carole is taking charge of handling the swapping in & out and the blocks will come back in November.

Due to a recent reorganization of my sewing room, I have still been focused on sewing scraps together. I can thoroughly say that the 2nd half of 2015 was a scrappy quilting month for me.

I had a baggie of strings that I had been sorely neglecting. Just prior to the block swap announcement, I started arranging and sewing strings together to create “fabric”.

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Lots of varying bright (mostly) colors that are the unmeasured strips between 1.5 & 0.75 inches strips that are usually the leftover after cutting other scraps.

cutting string strips for hashtags

These seemed to make the perfect happy fun pieces that would go into the hashtag blocks.

So the wonky hashtag blocks has no rules for what angles are sewn into the blocks, we take a 12.5 inch block, slice it up any angle the first direction.

Then sew strips into it. Here is the first 2 strips of strings sewn into my blocks.

hashtag first seams

At this point I was wanting to preview the design to see if it would work.

previewing second hashtag seam

And then this gets pressed, and then cut at 2 more random angles, going the other direction.

preparing to make the 3rd and fourth cut hashtag blocks

I honestly found the 3rd and 4th cut of this block easier in the fact that I didn’t have to make a decision on how to angle the strips. I had to try to chose (sometimes didn’t work) the widest pieces of fabric to cut through so the seams wouldn’t become a huge problem on the 2nd direction.

I have to admit, I lost a few fabrics on one side or the other of the seam, just due to the symmetry of the whole thing and trying to find the best option didn’t always mean there was a “good” option, if you get what I mean.

The nice thing about this is that I overestimated the length of string strip I needed, so I was able to create more string blocks with the leftover pieces from the original cuts.

This gave me enough string blocks to eventually make 16 blocks.

string hastag blocks to send

I did have one “mess up” block that I sewed the wrong fabric side of the white on white AND I sewed the bias edge to the outside.

I am keeping this block so I will have 17 total from this project.

I realize besides my mess up block I won’t have any string strip blocks because everyone else is just making regular fabric strips to go in the center of the hashtags.

But I thought of a creative way to do sashing that incorporates more strings. I need to make wonky sashing that mimics the tilted hashtags of the quilt, also creating mini cornerstone blocks of sashing as well.

A preview of it below, not to correct scale or colorful proportions:

string sashing idea with hashtag blocks

And yes, this concludes yet another version of the “Darla goes overboard” portion of my quilting life. I am really happy with these blocks, and am amazed at the positive responses already to the blocks that I posted online already.

I have, however, hit another mini-burnout for quilting due to this project. Don’t worry, I’ll be back at it shortly. I am going to try to take some pictures of the other quilts I have in progress on the floor. I also am starting to take inventory on what I am going to bring to the retreat next month.

I am thinking of collecting strings from the other quilters in the retreat group and working on strings to go in the sashing of the hashtag quilt. Till we talk again, hopefully soon!

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