Saturday, September 28, 2019

Many Mendotas

Today I have a big batch of small finishes to share. My online quilt guild, Sunshine, stitched up tons of simple blocks over the last year or so. Finishing at 10"x10", the block is an offset bordered square with a 5" center.

The blocks were sewn into tops at a retreat in Mendota, MN back in June. Since I sadly couldn't attend the retreat, I put together my own blocks at home, and also committed to quilting and binding five of the retreat tops.

Each of these quilts will be donated to one of Sunshine's two sponsored charities: Wrap A Smile and Quilts Beyond Borders.

The "Mendota" block is so simple and versatile that I am still cutting pieces to make more! It's a great way to use novelty fabrics, either as the framed center or as the surrounding borders.

These little quilts, either 40" x 50" or 40" x 60", piece and quilt up really quickly. The 40" dimension makes it easy to use width of fabric chunks for the backings. I try to always document the backings, because sometimes that is all that shows in photos we receive from the charities. It's always a thrill for someone in Sunshine to spot a quilt they made, wrapped around a tiny child!

This blue/green one and the black/white/gray one above were made completely by me.

I love this camping fabric! See the woodpecker on the picnic table?

This backing features bugs on teal and silver metallic stars on blue.

This one and the ones that follow below were made at the Mendota retreat and sent to me to finish. I love all the bright birds and butterflies! I quilted this one in casual back-and-forth squiggles in each block.

The backing was also provided to me, and features abstract pink cat heads and blue/pink zigzags.

Happy amphibians! I guess the birds in the next block can't see that there's a froggy snack just above them.

It was dark and gloomy the day I finished this one. But the fabrics are mostly happy sea critters. I like the clean blue and white color scheme.

So I added my own jaunty nautical backing on it after quilting in a soft, loose stipple. The binding is tiny red, white and blue anchors. 

Penguins count as sea critters, right? 

It passed inspection by Angel, who says both fish and penguins are delicious.

This one is a bit more random, and it was fun to peer at other people's fabrics as I quilted it up. The backing features more of the pink cat heads plus a pretty blue and pink floral. Alas, that photo didn't turn out at all. I've been really struggling with getting pictures lately.


This is the only photo that is even a little scenic, if you consider a glimpse of the Illinois River past our dinghy scenic. 

Here's a more comprehensive shot of the cute Mendota retreat quilt. Even though it is red and green, it isn't Christmas-y at all. Lots of really fun novelties peeking out: jelly beans and soccer balls, farms and foxes.

I put a big chunk of yellow plaid on the back to play down the red/green, and found a cute stripe in red/blue/green/yellow for the binding. The little fairies on red were a gift from Rose of Something Rose Made fame. The quilting is alternating straight and curved lines done with the walking foot. Nice to do something other than stippling every once in a while!

This final quilt was also made at the retreat, but features elephant blocks in myriad colors. Aren't they cute? The dark blue plaid is a flannel, so this one is super soft.

I backed them with seagulls and lighthouses. Perhaps the elephants were on a seaside holiday? I can't remember, but the elephants will never forget.


  1. Lots of love happening in your quilty world. Local hospital is begging for more quilts...i should take a break from itsy bitsy piecing and try this mendota block.

  2. Each quilt has the cutest squares. Such fun quilts, Sure to put a smile on a child that gets it.

  3. Louise, how do you accomplish so much? You are amazing.

  4. What fun to see these quilts, Louise. You have such a generous quilting spirit, and I'm sure whoever receives these quilts will be delighted and comforted. Mendota is pretty close to me; just a 40 minute jaunt!

  5. Great finishes...and all so fun to view. Those blocks are just perfect for donation quilts.

  6. Those Mendota blocks are so fun - you can do a lot with them! I like all of your different color groupings and themes, Louise. The kids those are intended for are just going to love them!

  7. What fun you are having with that block! It amazes me how versatile the results are with such a simple block design.

  8. All of the quilts are really special. You really have a way with the bright colors and the children’s themes. What is that block name and is there a pattern for it?

  9. Oh my goodness you have been busy. I agree that block is great.. so effective and perfect for little pictures... the quilts end up a really useful size too. Well done on lots of lovely work...

  10. Another batch of great quilts Louise. I really love the elephants and the bright red and green quilt. It's not Christmasy at all!

  11. Wow, all of these are great! I absolutely LOVE novelty fabrics, and your quilts have tons of cute ones. Congrats on all your hard work!

  12. Wow! So many wonderful and fun quilts will certainly brighten the children's lives. Love your kitty on the boat too.

  13. Louise, you never cease to amaze me with the number of quilts you show us and to know they're going to good homes bringing heaps of pleasure is wonderful!

  14. Loved seeing all those Mendotas. I’ve got one cut out for fall retreat time. I’m guessing it will be done first. Thanks for sharing the pattern with me. I’m in awe at how much you get done. Amazing.

  15. What fun quilts for the children. So many cute things to look at and see. How very, very kind of you to help with the quilting & binding of quilts since you couldn't be at the retreat. I know that all you did was really appreciated. You have such a huge, kind heart & do so much for so many. Thank you!

  16. Catching up on blog reading here. The Mendoza blocks are so simple, but so versatile and fun! I bet it was delightful to open the boxes from the retreat to see what you’d be putting together. You’ve really made good use of your time as you loop. As always, I’m so impressed with how you have the right fabrics in your supply to make the backs as fun as the fronts. These will be heartwarmers for sure!

  17. Very fun and whimsical! You got a lot accomplished. Those are definitely quilts that will make someone smile.


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