Neuleiningen Grapes

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(around 90″ x 90″)

So many times we were stationed near this castle; you can see it at the top of the hill in the right upper corner. It is called Neuleiningen Castle, and has a wonderful restaurant called the Burgschaenke. Just writing about it, I can still smell the smoke from the huge fireplace that you smell lingering as you walk in, even if there isn’t a fire burning. In all the years we’ve been going there, the menu hasn’t changed that much. It is rustic elegance. You can go there, have great wines, have a great meal, have a great dessert, you can spend hours there and at the end, you hate to leave, it is such a wonderful, fun, atmospheric restaurant.

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This is one of my earliest quilts. I had an idea about making a lot of different colored grapes with snowball-like blocks; I used corners I had cut off half-square triangles I was making for something else and just cobbled together rural looking fabrics to make the grapevine fields and plowed fields on the long slope leading up to the castle.

This area has some of the finest white wines, icy and dry, I have ever tasted. They live in my memory.

I finally finished the quilt, years and years after it was conceived. What held me up? I never could figure out what to do with the big borders I had put on it; I kept trying to do grape bunches but the chalk would wear off, it just never worked. Finally, I just figured “finished is better than great” (and it had been like 12 years since I started it) so I did straight rows, thinking it is a lot like furrows, so in touch with the feeling of the quilt. Whatever – it works. The quilt is finished. My husband loves it, and we really need a trip back to Neuleiningen and the Burgschaenke 🙂

45 Minute Quilt and Machine Quilting Inspiration

It’s not that I haven’t been quilting, but November and December I spent my quilting time babysitting my sweet adorable endlessly fascinating grand-daughter, and now I am scrambling to catch up.

I’ve got two quilts promised next week for young men aging out of the foster care system, and I am down to the wire on the last one. I saw a video on making a quilt in 45 minutes. No, it is not possible, but I was intrigued by the technique. You take – in her case, I believe 33 width-of-fabric strips, connect them with diagonal joins (the kind you make for binding), then you start sewing by taking the end and stitching it to the beginning, lengthwise.

Strips

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That first seam is a doozy. You cut the fold when you reach the end. The second seam, when you take the end and start stitching it to the beginning, lengthwise, is only half as long :-). The third seam is only half the length of the second. In total, you sew like five long seams, because at the end of every seam, you cut the fold. You get 16 + 16 and you have a 32″ quilt wide, and maybe 47 inches long. I can’t tell you exactly, because of course, I didn’t do it the way she said. I threw in lots of scrap 2.5 inches here and there for visual interest, and then did a second one using 66 strips (around 1600 linear inches in the first strip).

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It is a fun and easy way to use up scraps, and the result doesn’t look like you just threw something together, it has visual interest. I shared it with my quilting buddies, and they have run away with it. We discovered that if you cut the strips 3.5 inches for a 3 inch strip, you end up with a 48″ wide quilt, which is closer to what we need for single bed sized quilts.

The problem – how to quilt. It stymied me for a while, and then I went to my notebook, where from time to time I draw designs I have seen that I want to think about using. There I found the perfect pattern for the African fabric quilt I am trying to finish:

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You see this everywhere in Africa. For some reason I think it is called squash blossom, but I do not know why I think that. It takes me a little longer, but I love the repetition, and I am nearing the end:

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Here are the quilts I have just about finished:

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And this is my experiment with 1600+ inches; it turns out vertical because I made it 64″ wide. When you are working with 2 1/2 inch strips, your finished strip piece will always be either 32 inches or 64 inches, adding strips just varies the other dimension. To get anything besides 32 or 64 inches, you have to vary the strip width.
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I realize this is not very clear.

This is actually called the Jelly Roll Race, by Jenny Doan. Here is the Jenny Doan video I watched.