Friday, February 21, 2020

Textured pillow for L

Happy Friday! My most recent finish is this little pillow that I made as a gift for a friend. It is about 12"x18".

Each of the six blocks is a different textured design: pleats, ruffles and tucks in purple and turquoise. I used this free tutorial from Teresa Down Under. The specific blocks are:
  • 3. Double controlled pleats
  • 5. Centered tucks with bow ties
  • 6. Gathered strip
  • 8. Undulating tucks
  • 17. Pleated peakaboo
  • 18. Gathered double edge ruffles
I also tried to make #4, "Double controlled pleats with ripple," but it turned out more like "Outta control pleats with cursing." That block is currently in timeout in my crumb bin. That'll teach it!

The quilting is stitch in the ditch around each block with a few extra stitches to hold down some of the more adventurous pleats. I also added prairie points (or as DH calls them, Stegasaurus points) to the outer edge. My first prairies! They're kinda fun. The backing is a simple envelope enclosure in a tonal black.

My friend has Parkinson's disease, and I made this as a sort of "fidget pillow" for her. Fidget pillows and quilts give a person with dementia something to do with their hands. Many of them have zippers and buttons and such. I thought all the different textures would be interesting to touch. Plus, she lives far away and I miss her! So I hope this makes her happy and reminds her of me from time to time.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Wheelchair quilts with feet

Happy Thursday! Today's finishes are two wheelchair quilts that I sent off to the Joyful Stitchers in Alabama. They distribute quilts to nursing homes in their area. The quilts are quite small, only about 36"x48". This size keeps the fabric from getting caught in the wheels while still providing some warmth and color.

The first one was made in January, when the RSC color was green and my own theme-o-the-month was food. I think this panel was meant to be placemats? I fattened up the panels with a scrappy green and cream checkerboard, reminiscent of tablecloths in a casual restaurant. 

The fun panels are all Italian food, an all-time favorite here on the boat. DH's family is Italian and both his Dad and uncle are fantastic cooks. The back is also food themed: cafe tables with wine bottles, and fun teapots. I wouldn't use wine fabric on a kid's quilt, so this is a great way to use up that chunk.

And speaking of DH, here are his feet! You can tell we've gotten back into warm, southerly waters because the weather is perfect for shorts and bare feet.

The second quilt is my own design and made from a jelly roll of batiks. I pieced it many months ago and finally got it finished. One more off the UFO pile, hooray!

It's one of those stitch-and-flip kind of layouts, where you sew together all the strips and then cut sections off the ends. Those sections are flipped over and sewn back in the middle for a bit of contrast. For the quilting, I just did wiggly lines across all the seams. EZPZ.

The back used up the last of this fun VW bus fabric, plus a newspaper collage with upbeat article snippets. I hope it will bring back memories of the 60s for someone. Of course, they say if you can remember the 60s, you weren't really enjoying them fully!

You can tell this piece is slightly longer than the last one, because there are feet but no shorts. Rest assured the shorts are actually there...he was not nekkid in this pic! Is that reassuring, or disappointing?

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Quilts Beyond Borders finishes

Happy Wednesday! Today's finishes were all made for Quilts Beyond Borders (QBB,) which provides quilts to children in need all over the world.

This one was made with a batik layer cake, using a free pattern called Cobblestone Street by Robert Kaufman. The layer cake was called "Cockatiel" and the colors really do look like the pretty little birds! 

Usually the quilts for QBB are fairly small, around 40"x60". I heard via my online quilt guild, Sunshine, that one of the QBB regions was collecting slightly larger quilts for teens in a shelter near Baltimore. So I stitched up a few closer in size to 50"x60".

I had a big chunk of this antique airplane fabric that I used on the back. Maybe some future pilot will enjoy it.

Don't stare at this pattern for very long! It will make your eyes cross! This quilt is also a bit larger, and features this kinda crazy double hourglass block in blues and grays. Even though it is busy, I like the strong geometric movement of the design. It is a free pattern from Mary Quilts called Spools.

The back features pale blue stars and a jumble of railroad motifs. The quilting on both these teen-sized pieces is a simple, soft stipple for maximum cuddliness.

QBB requires a sewn-in label, and I try to piece it right into the backing. This one I added later, in the bottom left corner. I cut it using pinking shears so it will hopefully only fray a little.

The third quilt is the standard size for QBB. It is a Round Robin quilt made by 3 or 4 of my guild members. The first person, our resident Quiltin' Harley Dude, Spoon, made the column of interlocking squares, then sent that to the next Robiner in line. 

When it came to my turn, I added these scrappy feathers, made from a pattern called Feather Bed by Anna Marie Horner. It looks like she's selling it now, but it was free when I downloaded it.

Usually the person who starts the Round Robin finishes the quilt, but I knew Spoon was really busy. So I offered to sandwich, quilt and bind this piece. Spoon sent me some backing material, but I stole it for a different quilt and used these chunks from my stash instead. Many thanks to my guild friends for adding their creativity to this quilt!

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Wrap A Smile

Happy Tuesday! Today I'm sharing two recent finishes I made for Wrap A Smile. This charity provides quilts for children undergoing cleft palate repair surgery. I shared this first quilt as a flimsy last month, when the RSC color was bright green.

My own theme for January was food, so this quilt uses some green fabrics with fruits and veggies. I had this backing already pieced for another project last year, so steered the top towards pinks and reds, too, to coordinate. 

For the quilting, I tried a motif that I saw on Cathy's blog, "squiggles and loops."
I didn't get a good photo of my quilting, so go check out hers!

The second quilt was made here in February. The RSC color is orange, and my own theme is cats. 

I pulled all the fun kitty fabrics I could find that had at least a little orange in them.

Then I cut squares of various bright orange blenders and made a simple patchwork design. 

The backing uses a large piece of orange, leftover bits from the front, and this super fun kitties-on-black chunk. Wiggly lines of quilting across the seams and scrappy orange binding finish it up.

And speaking of scrappy binding, I had an AHA! organizing moment recently. I usually cut my binding to 2.25" and then put the leftovers in my string bins by color. That's all well and good, but I also deliberately cut scraps to 2.5" for the string bin, and they are hard to tell apart. Then it occurred to me that I could put all the 2.25" binding pieces together in a single bin and they would always be right there, ready to sew together into scrappy binding. No need to separate by color, since there aren't so many to sort through. It's working really well: I've already made three bindings from the bin! Hooray for using scraps efficiently!

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Green green green

It's Saturday and that's when Rainbow Scrap Challenge folks can link up their projects in this month's color. January 2020 is bright green, a hopeful color for folks living in the wintry parts of the world. Here in Florida, there's no shortage of inspiration.

The blocks above are simple "Mendota" 10-inch finished squares for the Sunshine guild. There's a bit of bright green in each one. I'm currently using these as my leader/ender project, so they quietly accumulate in the background.

This year, I'm expanding the RSC for myself, and thinking of it as the Rainbow Stash Challenge. I'm trying to use up more of my fat quarters, and this little top made a small dent in the greens. The lemons and oranges are my favorites! This one is the right size to donate to Wrap a Smile, just 40"x50". I'm hoping to quilt it this month and I'll share more closeups of the fabrics then.

I've also divided my big drawer full of Covered in Love orphan blocks into color batches, and this group was the clear choice for bright green. These blocks were left over from one of Kat's block drives last spring. I'll share more photos after I quilt it up. Meanwhile, Angel makes a rare fabric inspection appearance! 

In addition to RSC, I've challenged myself to use at least one of my theme fabrics per month. DH has volunteered to pull one out of the hat on the first of each month. January's randomly chosen theme is food. These panels of pasta fit the bill! Since the spaghetti panel background is green, I figured I could make it an RSC project, too, adding scrappy green and white checkerboard side borders. We've seen similar tablecloths in Italian restaurants, so it works, right? This one is sized to be a wheelchair quilt, 36"x48". It should quilt up quickly and a green binding will tie it up nicely.

And finally, I thought I'd share this pretty collection of threads I bought recently. Tula Pink curated it and most of the threads are subtly variegated. Doesn't it look like candy? I'm not usually a thread nut, but I keep taking these out and petting them.

Sharing with Angela on So Scrappy. Check out other fun RSC projects there!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019 Year in Review

Happy New Year's eve! Lots of quilt bloggers are looking back at 2019 today to see what we accomplished, so I'm joining in. I had a busy year, and I've collected my photos in collages sorted roughly by date. Early in the year I had a batch of gift quilts, with a few charity ones thrown in. 

This group featured several panel quilts, a finish from 2018's Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC,) and the fruit-themed flimsy. One of the charities I support, Victoria's Quilts, asks for only tops.

This next batch had more panels (yes, that's a second quilt with the same Geisha) and the start of my new journey of finishing other people's orphan blocks for Covered in Love (CiL.)

Toward the middle of the year, I was up to my eyeballs in "Mendota" quilts for the Sunshine Online Quilt Guild. Most of the Mendotas were tops made by others, finished by me. I did make a few of my own "from scratch." A couple more CiL orphan finishes, too.

More orphans and Mendotas! This is when I decided to write a series of blog posts on different ways to put together orphan blocks: Giving Orphans a Home. This series will continue in 2020.

This next batch shows a few finishes for 2019 RSC, more orphans, and a Round Robin from 2018 that finally got quilted and bound.

And finally, my latest finishes. They are a few more for CiL, both orphans and original piecing by me. Whew! One thing I've learned this year is that quilts sure go together quickly when someone else makes all the blocks or when using a panel. Or both!

I had a great quilty 2019 and am looking forward to 2020. Lots more orphan blocks are waiting for their chance to meet their forever homes, and I have plans to do a deep dive into my stash and use up some hoarded fabrics. And I'm so happy to be part of the larger online quilting community, sharing inspiration and encouragement with all of you. Your kind comments keep me connected even when I'm out in the middle of the ocean. Thank you for being a BIG part of my journey!

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Four for Covered in Love

Happy Boxing Day, quilty friends! We're having gorgeous weather along the Florida panhandle. That has allowed me to finally, FINALLY take some photos to share with you. I've had a stack of finished quilts waiting for their glamour shots before I could mail them off to Kat for Covered in Love.

This first one is made entirely of other people's orphan blocks. The colors in the scraps are really bright and saturated! Like wiggly kindergartners, they needed just a little bit of help to calm down and play nicely together, so I sashed them with a tonal brick red and gray cornerstones. I also trimmed them all to a consistent size so they could be sewn in this even grid. The overall effect is interesting and cheerful without being chaotic, I think. 

Kat sent me quite a bit of donated fabric in larger chunks, great for piecing into backings. I used all the jungle animals here, plus a few extra orphan blocks. The binding was premade by a CiL contributor, too, a nice time saver for me.

This next one came to me as finished flying geese, already sewn together into loooooooooooooooong strips. Included was a note from Gail H. who had sent it to Kat: "These pieces were given to me by LaVonne Bevens in 2000. Someone had given them to her, she said." So those geese flew from "someone" to LaVonne to Gail to Kat to me. I'm at least the fifth quilter to handle them, so it was definitely time to let these geese fly home! The note also included some photos of possible layout ideas, and this one struck my fancy. The mustard yellow fabric was also a donation. I quilted wishbones all along that yellow, using yellow thread, so it's completely invisible. Good thing I find wishbones to be rather pleasant and meditative because I doubt anyone else will even notice them.

The backing is pieced from fat quarters that were part of the same fabric line as the mustard. They are reproduction prints with Americana motifs, and super nice quality cotton. This quilt is so soft!

This one is my favorite of the bunch. Look at that sweet birdie panel! SO cute! Kat sent this to me, and I'm not sure if it was donated to her or from her personal stash (edited to add: Kat says it was donated.) I know the jelly roll strips that I used to make the 16 patches and binding were her own fabric. They were lying next to the panel in my studio and I had one of those "Aha!" moments. They look made for each other, don't they?

I love the modern, stylized design of these birds and the pretty autumn colors. The deep, rich, chocolate brown borders were also part of the Americana fabric line donation. Aaaaaaand now I want some dark chocolate.

The backing is pieced from a combination of my own yardage and donated pieces. The birdhouses at the top are a chunk I've had for ages that never went with any of my other fabrics, but it works thematically and chromatically here. Every fabric has a destiny!

All the darker pieces of the argyle came from a donated fat quarter bundle, and I added the black polka dot sashing and cream background. I've loved argyle since I was in high school, so it was really fun to stitch up! I think my Mom will approve of this one, too. I wish I had taken more close up photos of the fabrics; they have really pretty metallic accents. Maybe Kat will do that when the quilt arrives in Texas.

The back is a big chunk of a funky donated mod olive green print, with the leftover squares from the argyles. I left this photo uncropped so we can all enjoy the shadow of my hand on the camera. Apparently I hold my fingers out JUST SO to take pictures, because every single one of these photos have that same shadow!

Three quilts got boxed up today (how appropriate!) and are winging their way to Kat. I would have sent more, but to paraphrase Donald Rumsfield, you to go the post office with the boxes you have. And there are more quilts that finally were photographed today that are ready to feature in my Giving Orphans a Home series, so stay tuned!