“Not Cheetos! Cheetah!”

Five years old is such a wonderful age, and my five year old grandson asked me if I would make him a Cheetah quilt. “Cheetos?” I asked. “I think it will be really hard to find fabric with Cheetos on it.”

“No! Not Cheetos! Cheetah!” he screamed! We went through this same conversation several times for months, while I sought out the right fabrics.

I had a wonderful piece I had bought in the airport in Lusaka, but it didn’t have a Cheetah, it had a Leopard, and I knew he would know the difference.

And I did have a beautiful, sort of sepia tone Cheetah panel, but how to integrate them? Finally, I used the Big Five panel for the back, and the cheetah panel, and a lot of leftovers from previous African quilts, on the front. I put loops at the top so it can be used as a quilt or used as a hanging, and hung with either side showing.

He loves the quilt. Right now it is on his bed.

CheetahQuilt

CheetahQuiltBack

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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).

00FirstLongStripCompleted

SetOfFourCompleted

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00CuttingEndOfStrips

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:

00QuiltingIdeas

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:

00QuildIdeaApplication

Here are the quilts I have just about finished:

00AfricaAgingOut

00ConfederateAgingOut

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.
00ExperimentVertical

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.

Stars of Sossusvlei

I am not doing such a hot job of record-keeping here; I finish something and it is out the door before I enter it. Oh aarrgh.

I did another Sloppy Stars demo several months ago with African fabrics (I still have a lot in my stash, so you will probably see yet more . . . ) and had enough for two bed-sized quilts for one of our bee projects . . . I still have one more chance to photograph them before they disappear, but they are not with me.

Meanwhile, with the blocks I had left, I did a wall hanging quilt for us. I don’t do a lot of those, but this one contains some fabric I love and bought thirty-something years ago in Tunisia. I don’t even know if Tunisia even produces fabrics any more.

This is the hanging:

00NamibianDesertStars

Sossusvlei is an area in the Namibian desert, where the ambient light is non-existent and you can see the rings on Saturn, the red-ness of Mars, and a million stars you never even knew were there. The sight is awe-inspiring and breathtaking. We were at the CCAfrica Lodge, now called And Beyond; it was so much fun. One of my best memories was riding ATV’s to the top of a mountainous rust-red sand dune for sundowners. 🙂

Update: Our bee has a project every year to benefit a local charity. This year we made quilts for one of the Waterfront Mission recovery houses. These are two more of the Sossussvlei quilts made for them. Actually, these are the original quilts and the one I am keeping for us is made with left over blocks from these. One of these is made with “light” background and one with “dark” background, all things being relative 🙂

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This is my backing on the dark Sossussvlei Stars quilt”

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African Dreams

I actually finished this quilt back in July, but it is a gift, and I didn’t want to take the chance of them seeing it before it was Christmas. They dream of going to Africa. It’s been a long time in the making; I started cutting for the quilt while I was still with the Q8Quilters, in Kuwait, gathered all the fabrics and pieces in the ubiquitous plastic bin, and hauled them to Qatar and then to Pensacola for more cutting and ultimately the piecing. This is one of those quilts that was a lot of fun to work on because I loved the fabrics so much.


(It looks lumpy because my trial wall hangs over my book/storage cases, and sometimes things from behind poke out and make the quilt bulge in some places)

Many of the fabrics are genuine fabrics I have found in Africa, have been given by people who lived in Africa, or were sold to me by Africans. Some batiks I found at a little shop in Edmonds, WA, where they sell objects made by African women as a means of supporting themselves. As I have less and less genuine African fabric left, the quilt pieces I use are smaller and smaller! I hate to waste a single fragment!

I tried some different kinds of quilting on this, and while it went together quickly and was fun to put together, at the end, you have all this bias edge and it is hard to make it all match up, or at least it was for me. I love the look, and one day I may try another, but I will be thinking how to avoid having that bias on the outside edges, hmmmmmmmm. . . . . (thinking)

Fabric To Make My Heart Sing

Today I am cutting for a new quilt, another scrap quilt, another Africa quilt. I came across this wonderful piece of fabric. I believe I got it from my French quilting friend who lived in Ghana, but it also may have come from the international trade fairs in Qatar, where Africans would come and sell their fabric.

Did you know that fabric manufacturing in Africa has been hit hard? The problem is what they call “Dead White Peoples’ Clothes.” Bales and bales of used American clothing land in African countries, and no one believes that living people would part with clothing in such good condition, therefore, dead peoples’ clothes. Bales and bales and bales, literally TONS of clothing dumped in Africa, and it has nearly killed the need for locally produced fabrics and clothing.

This fabric celebrates the Nonvitcha à Grand Popo, which I can only guess is a celebration either of the birthday of or the reign of “The Grand Popo” of Benin. That guess would be wrong. Wikipedia says the Grand Popo is “a town, arrondissement, and commune in the Mono Department of south-western Benin.”

Don’t you love this fabric?

VIQ (Very Important Quilt)

The problem with a very important quilt is that you can over think. I know what I want a baby quilt to be – I want it to be colorful. I want it to be lovable. I want it to be big enough to go to pre-school and kindergarten for nap time. I want it to end up a beloved rag, dragged here and there, washed innumerable times, all used up.

I’ve probably made a hundred baby quilts. But when it came to a quilt for my first grandchild, I dithered. Nothing I could come up with was good enough. Finally, I had to give myself a good talking to, “JUST GET STARTED!” I yelled at myself in a figurative way. Just do it.

It’s an OK quilt. Not the best effort I have ever put forth, but I came to the conclusion – it’s not the quilt that is important, but the recipient. God willing, he will love it because it came from me, and because I am a safe place, a place he can count on for unconditional love.

So – it’s just a quilt. For a very important Quentin! 🙂