Monday, July 6, 2020

Little quilts for little people

Hello, hello! How are you? I hope you've been safe and well. Things are fine aboard the good ship Vector as we make our way slowly north this summer. I've been quilting along steadily and have a big batch of little finishes to share with you. First up is this jungle quilt, made with a tiger panel. One of my Sunshine Quilt Guild-mates sent it along. She had 3 or 4 of them and it was fun to see how folks used the panel.

She also included the chunk of tigers that I used in the upper left side of the backing. This quilt will go to Wrap-a-Smile (WAS.)

This quilt is also made with a panel. The cute sheep in the center were made to be a growth chart, so there were inch and feet marks up the left side. I just cut that part off and added some scrappy hour glass blocks. This one is also headed to WAS.

The back is nothing special, just a couple of pieces of green that coordinated with both front and binding. You'll see a photo of the back of each of my pieces here, no matter how boring. Why? Because occasionally the charities that I donate to will publish a photo of a quilt being used by a child, and only a glimpse of the back is visible. Twice now I've spotted one of my pieces this way, which is SUCH a thrill! I use my blog to document the fronts and the backs to help me remember them.

Next up is this super duper scrappy quilt in red hot colors. The blocks are made of crumbs that I stitched together during last year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I bordered two sides of each block with scrappy brown strips and there is lots to look at in this quilt!

The back is a strip of the same bright orange as the binding, and a couple of the cartoon characters from "Cars." I don't usually buy licensed character fabrics, but this chunk was part of a bigger lot and I admit the goofy cars make me smile. I hope it will also make a child smile! It will be donated to Quilts of Compassion.

Here's a tiny quilt! Only 36"x42", it used up the last of some pretty rainbow butterfly fabric I've had kicking around. I also had a charm pack of solids that were juuuuust right with the butterflies. A bit of plaid bordering and voila! Just right for a new baby.

The back is a single piece of hot pink with cute little bugs on it. DH's feet are included because, well, why not? I think he's as cute as a bug. This one will also go to Quilts of Compassion (the quilt, not the husband.)

And here's a third quilt for the same charity, which gives quilts to people affected by disasters. It features a panel with elegant ladies and gentlemen. I added rows of 16-patches and snowball blocks in the same soft pinks, purples, yellows and greens.

Here's a close-up of the panel. Isn't it fun? I like to think these are young couples who have just fallen in love, and hope the quilt ends up in the arms of a starry-eyed child. 

The back is a single piece of urban row houses in the same color palette. Could it be New York? Paris? It's where all these couples live, of course!

OK, on to even smaller quilts. The next three are tiny doll quilts, and will be donated to A Doll Like Me. The first two were made with just a handful of small blocks left over from other projects. Sometimes I use blocks like that on the back of a quilt, but these lent themselves to finished quilts in their own right. I like the soft pastels of this piece.

The back shows my swirly quilting, and is a rather thin piece of peppered or shot cotton. 

This one is scrappy floral blocks bound in dark green for a summer garden feel.

An old fashioned ditsy white with black somethings (flowers?) fit the back just fine. Doll quilts are a great way to use up scraps of batting, too.

And finally, the last doll quilt is perfectly square. I know it doesn't look that way! We waited a long time for a calm, bright morning to take photos and the wind kicked up right at the end. These little pieces really can get flapping in the breeze! But I think you can figure out that this one is kind of an I-spy with planes, trains, bikes, cats and more. I like to include a variety of styles that will appeal to any kid when I make a donation.

The back continues the transportation theme with a fun railroad print.

Whew! Well, I'm mostly caught up with sharing my finishes now. I hope you enjoyed the gallery of little quilts. Which one is your favorite?

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Hands 2 Help 2020 link up

This is the final week for the Hands2Help Comfort Quilt Challenge, where we link up our finishes that will be donated to the H2H charities. I fell behind a bit on my goals this year, but did manage to finish a few by the deadline.

One of the charities chosen this year is the Little Lambs Foundation, which provides comfort kits to children in the foster care system, hospitals, or emergency shelters. I really like this group, and want to support their important work. I know that they often need receiving blankets for newborns, so I stitched up six.

My friend Stephanie gave me a big batch of really nice quality flannels and minky, and I used it all up in these. In the top photo, you can see that there were two "Tree of Life" flannel panels. I added flannel sides to bring them to about 40" square, and backed them with regular quilting cotton. I think this combo of flannel on one side and smooth on the other makes for a really great weight for a receiving blanket. I do a very small amount of quilting, mostly hidden along lines in the printed designs, to keep the layers from shifting in the wash.

The pastel piece on the far right is made of the minky. The pieces were smallish, so I trimmed them up as big as possible and made this simple patchwork. The backing is a cute railroad print of regular cotton. Minky is sooooo soft and cuddly, and sooooooo big a pain in the butt to work with. It's best if you can use a single, unpieced chunk as a backing. Otherwise the little fur bits get everywhere. 

These next three are all made with panels I had in my stash, and backed with Stephanie's flannels. 

The little owls are super cute, especially the upside down one! There's one in every family, isn't there? I'm happy they will find a home here in the US since some of my international charities prefer we not use owl motifs. 

The ABC animals panel is the most classically "baby" themed, but I have to say: that is one GIANT frog.

The final panel is another "Tree of Life." Or maybe "9 Partridges in a Pear Tree." It has kind of a folk-art vibe. 

This quilt, which I wrote about previously, is also for H2H, and will be donated to Quilts of Compassion. I also have three or four more pieces in progress and I'll tell you about them when they are done. Even though H2H has a deadline each year in June, I know that all these fine groups have an ongoing need for quilty comfort and comforting quilts. So anything in the pipeline will still find a way to go to work.

Many, many thanks to Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for putting together this fun and useful challenge each year!

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Remembering Paula

Today I am participating in a blog hop to honor Paula Budinger, a beloved member of our online quilting community. Paula passed away in early February of this year and is sorely missed. Paula blogged at Paula B Quilts, where she shared her bright, happy quilts. She loved color and improv and antique quilts, and was never afraid to try new techniques and join quilting challenges. More importantly, she was sweet and supportive, always offering words of praise and kindness to fellow quilters.

To remember her "can do" spirit, I'd like to share with you my first ever Jelly Roll Race quilt. I made a small change from the standard Race technique, so this is also a tutorial about what I did. I started with this pretty red and white roll, called "So Ruby," by Riley Blake.

There was a nice mix of designs, ranging mostly red to mostly white, with just a few evenly mixed red/white patterns. However, I wanted just a little pop of something else, so I decided to swap out two of the strips for blue fabrics I had in my stash. I removed 2 of the less contrast-y jelly strips and put them into my scrap string bins.

To add a some whimsy, I chose a blue with tiny kitties on it, and another with a bazillion little mice. So cute! From the jelly roll, I pulled out three very white whites and three very red reds. With the two blues, I now had 8 strips.

I sewed these eight fabrics into two strip sets. Each set had four fabrics. One alternated white/red/blue/red and the other was white/blue/white/red. I wanted each strip set to have white at the top and red at the bottom.

Then I sliced the strip sets into 2.5" wide pieces. This yielded 16 rectangles from each strip set, for a total of 32 of these alternating blocks. Since the jelly roll started with 40 strips and I pulled out 8 at the beginning, I now had 32 of the original strips plus 32 of these smaller blocks.

Now I started the jelly roll race part of the program. But instead of just sewing all the long pieces together end to end, I inserted one of the shorter blocks in between each long one.

The key to this part was alternating the colors. So at the end of a long red strip, I sewed the white end of a smaller block. That would leave the red end available for the next seam.

Then I sewed a white long strip to that short red end. At the other end of the long white strip, I sewed the red end of  a shorter strip. I continued like that, alternating long uncut jelly roll strips with the shorter blocks, always sewing red to white or white to red.

And like all jelly roll races, I ended up with one, loooooong strip. I'm sure you know how it goes from there, but if you aren't familiar with how race quilts are put together, here is a nice tutorial.

As the top got closer and closer to being finished, I noticed that a lot of the whites ended up clumped together. Same with the reds. Hm, I didn't expect that. I'm not sure if that often happens with two color races, or if adding my little squares in between caused that. My quilt brain is usually pretty good with math, but right now I have Quarantine Brain. So, I decided to just embrace however it turned out.

And here is the finished quilt. It does indeed have a red side and a white side, but I like it! Kind of an unintended, surprise ombre effect.

The part that I saw in my head from the beginning turned out just right: the little groups of four squares look like they are truckin' across the quilt, and the blues pop nicely. Here they are in a whiter section.

And here they are in a redder section.

For the back, I used up the rest of the mice and kitties, plus a chunk of red, white and blue anchors. Because, you know, I live on a boat and my job is Boatswain. Anchors are my thing! More mice scamper around the binding and a big stipple keeps it soft and snuggly. 

I'll be donating this quilt to the Hands2Help Comfort Quilt Challenge by sending it to Quilts of Compassion. As a long time Red Cross volunteer working in disaster relief, their work calls me.

This memorial blog hop was put together by Janice of Color, Creating and Quilting, and Kate of Smiles From Kate. Thank you, ladies! Please visit the other "hoppers" below to see how they are honoring Paula's memory. And there are fabulous prizes! Every comment you leave on any of the blogs earns you a chance at these fun giveaways: (The deadline for winning prizes was May 15th, but feel free to visit these fine blogs if you are interested!)

Lorna, Sew Fresh Quilts, is giving away a $50 gift certificate for her pattern shop. Super fun animal designs!

Yvonne, Quilting Jetgirl, is offering 2 PDF patterns of choice. Bold and modern!

Bernie Needle and Foot, wants you to have a $25 certificate for her shop. So many pretty fabrics!

A lovely fat quarter bundle from Figo Fabrics could be yours!

A set of super cute quilty gift cards from Initial Thought by DMF  (Note cards set 1) will be given away!

A pattern of choice from Karen, Sugar Free Quilts, might end up in your studio. Some really fun ones there!

A $30 gift certificate is being offered by Doris, Cactus Queen Quilt Co. You'll love her pattern selection!

A PDF pattern of choice from Joanne, I love Joanne's patterns!

$25 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop could buy some sweet loot!

In addition to these, I am also offering a prize to one of my readers. It is a jelly roll by Boundless Fabrics, their Ombre Sunset selection. These are beautiful solids ranging from dark purple to sunny yellow. All you have to do is leave a comment below. If you want, tell me if you've ever made a Jelly Roll Race! I will ship this prize internationally, because couldn't we all use a little happy mail right now? The deadline for my giveaway is midnight, March 15, 2020. (Please note this giveaway is now closed. The random number generator chose #28. Congratulation to winner JanineMarie!)

Here are all the folks remembering Paula. I hope you'll visit with them and join in the spirit of giving and learning that is the strength of our quilty community. It's what Paula would have done!

Wednesday, May 6 

Thursday, May 7

Friday, May 8

Monday, May 4, 2020

A very sad day

Our sweet little kitty, Angel, passed over the Rainbow Bridge yesterday. She was 19 years old and in failing health. My heart is bruised and broken and empty. Words are hard to find, so I'll just share some photos of her inspecting my quilts. 

Rest in peace, sweet girl. We love you.