Quilt tops

These are more of the wonky star block that I love making. I love the jive of the colors, and even some that when they come together I think I don’t like, they grow on me after a while.

I finished the tops in November. There was a trip to Venice, Slovenia, Montenegro, Croatia and Greece, and then Christmas, and then finally I got three of them quilted and bound, one is still on the sewing machine.

These are the unquilted tops:

To you, they may all look the same, but to me, usually one color dominates. I have a lot of fun practicing quilting skills, when I can find enough time in one chunk to quilt. Meanwhile, I have all the reciprocals – dark stars with light backgrounds – to piece and assemble for the next batch. I have a friend who is struggling with a grave enemy, cancer, and it seems it will take a while to battle, more than a year. I think I will make him one of these to cheer him on.

Using Up Pink Scraps

Don’t you usually have some sort of default for cutting up scraps of leftover fabric? I gravitate towards 2 1/2 inch strips and 2 1/2 inch squares, just because they are so useful, and because when I am using graph paper to plot out what I am going to need, I often use 1 square = 2 inches, so having squares and strips that size just tends to work for me.

And then again, sometimes I have too many squares or strips. I am finding ways to use them up, but sometimes I get bored, or just want to try some other way of doing things.

With grandparenting, I seem to have a lot less time for quilting, but as our group still has requirements for give-away quilts, I spent some time trying to find a way to use the scraps in pleasant quilts.

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Pink really is not my favorite color.

Bag Lady

In Kuwait, a wonderful generous lady taught us how to make small bags. It takes several steps, but the results are wonderful.

It’s coming up on Fall, when all our charity quilts are due for this year’s project, when bazaars need donations, and, of course, Christmas is also coming. I’ve been busy with bags, and this is the first round completed – I have more, many more, in the works:

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These are so handy – make-up, medications, chargers, snacks – each in its own travel bag. Woo HOOOOO!

Colors of Kuwait: A Quilt Series

It all started with a conversation about a baby quilt. My sweet young Kuwait friend is having a baby, and I asked her what she thought about a quilt in ‘the colors of Kuwait’. “What colors of Kuwait?” she responded. “When I think of Kuwait, I think of black and white.”

That got me started. I found Kuwait rich in color. I never knew the desert could be so flat, and that in the beige-y-ness, there could be so many variations. All the flat white-to-beige-to-grey and a thousand variations, and with such a neutral background, any color at all made a splash. I thought of how very green a palm tree looked against the flat beige hard-packed soil, how a turquoise dome stood out; I thought of the colors in the souks, and oh, the colors of the Arabian Gulf.

I knew exactly how I wanted to proceed for her baby, but I also thought of her, a reader, a Kuwaiti now living in a cold country. I thought she also needed a quilt, a quilt big enough to wrap her and her two little boys as they read stories on a cold winter’s day.

I decided to do another Wild Stars series, use the best Kuwait colored blocks for her new baby and use the leftover blocks for a children’s charity my small quilting group has identified for the coming year.

Note to self: No. No, you cannot cut through 25 layers of cloth. You were mistaken. You can cut through 13, but not 25. So, good! Learned a lesson right off the top!

This time, by piecing every square exactly the same way, they all came out around 15 1/2 inches. I had to add a thin strip to two squares, but out of 25, that’s not bad.

Loved the color combinations, how they came together, and loved them so much I used the same fabrics for my friend’s quilt, with a little of the Gulf thrown in. This is the quilt for my friend, a Kaleidoscope of Kuwait colors, which came out to be about 65″ x 65″:

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For her new son, Colors of Kuwait in wild stars:
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Squares made with leftover blocks:
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Last quilt, a rectangle, still 32″ x 46:
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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).

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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.

Pensacola Beach Quilt

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This year I have three bed sized charity quilts to do, no sense in waiting, just get it done. I had some fun this summer just playing around, and the result is a very playful quilt. I wanted to try something a little modern, with solids. I would do a little here, a little there, look at the colors and cut some more (this is my normal).

Yes, I do plan quilts. I often do my own designing, and from time to time, I even designate exactly where each color should go on the graph. Other times, I let the quilt tell me where it wants to go.

After a while . . . I am embarrassed to tell you this . . . I could tell that this quilt was just a flirtation, not the real thing, and it wanted to go out the door. I found fabric to make it long enough for the requirements, did the Pensacola Beach ball and quilted in some footprints along the surf line. Done! (Only two to go!)