Thursday, February 28, 2013

Owl Quilt

Call me thrifty. After reading Todera’s blog post about upcycling men’s shirts, I decided to try a project. It was customer appreciation day at the Hospice thrift store, and I scored 4 shirts for 80 cents apiece. Yes, you read it right. Shirts are normally $1, but on Wednesday everything is 20% off. The dark blue and striped shirts were linen and the peach one was a white poplin which I dyed. The light blue one was an oxford cloth (which I would not use again…too flimsy). You may not have a bargain basement thrift store near you, but the Goodwill stores in my area arrange men’s dress shirts by color, just like a fabric store!
I used a stack and whack wonky log cabin block pattern to make the blocks. When the blocks were finished, they measured 13.5 inches and the center space of each block seemed so empty. I used some fused scraps and put owls in the blocks, and pieced the border.
owl quilt top
white owl block
How’s that for a $3.20 quilt top? Plus I have lots of leftovers for another project or two.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Finished Scrap Quilts

Here are two finished scrap quilts for our community’s new hospice unit. Our church quilting group committed to make ten quilts. I think we may have enough scraps to make 20!
scraps around the world
diamond scrap quilt
Rather than groaning that I had to piece the back, I had fun using left over scraps to create a new design element
scraps around the world back
I went a bit overboard on the quilting for the yellow string quilt which will go to our hospital's neo-natal unit. I used some of my odds and ends of variegated thread to finish it.
yellow scrap quilt
I had to piece the back on this one as well. I think I hear the modern quilt movement calling my name.
yellow scrap back

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Valentine Superlatives 2013

Here’s the 2013 edition of Clayton valentines.
Best artwork: Tom for hand drawn heart font
heart font
Best Pop culture valentines: Laurel
(Raylan and Boyd from Justified, my favorite show)
boyd and raylan outside
raylan and boyd inside
Best UK themed valentine: Patricia
UK valentine 3 reasons UK valentine inside
(You must be a hard-core, long time fan to connect the dots for this one)
Best use of personal photographs: Susan
king of my heart
Best use of newspaper puzzles: Tom
words of wisdom outside
words of wisdom inside
Best use of advertising: Laurel
bad ideas outside
bad ideas inside
For additional Clayton valentines, check out Patti Wagon. You’ll find my stitched owl valentine there.
We always have so much fun with these silly cards.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Taming the scrap basket part 3

Our quilting group at my church, “Wrapped in Love” makes a lot of baby quilts. As a result we had a pile of soft color scraps. I found a butterfly appliqué pattern and sized it on the copier so that it fit on a 10” block and fused it using Pellon Wonder-Under. In a former life I might have done a blanket stitch or a satin stitch to firmly attach the fused pieces to block, but I did multiple lines of free motion stitching with 30wt. thread.
applique butterfly

Set with 10” scrappy blocks, the blocks are ready for a member of my quilting group to finish.
 butterfly quilt

Monday, February 11, 2013

Taming the Scrap Bag, Part 2 My Take on String Quilts

String quilt block tutorial
I do love string quilts. They are such an efficient way to use scraps. I use foundation fabric for piecing my strings and pair them with a solid fabric to make a diagonal block. Some quilters recommend using paper, but after spending over 20 hours picking out the paper from a paper pieced quilt I made, I said never again. I now use the cheapest thinnest cotton muslin I can find and pre-wash it to avoid shrinkage.
I begin with a color scheme in mind. In this case I had some yellow batik I wanted to use as my background fabric, so I chose strip scraps of yellow and orange for the strings
I cut the muslin to 7.5” squares. The first strip is laid face up diagonally across the center of the muslin. Since this strip will be cut in half later in the process, I choose a strip 2.5” to 3” wide.  I then pin strips on either side of the wide strips right sides down.  For efficiency, I pin both sides, so that as soon as I have stitched one side, I turn it the block around and stitch the other. Working with a pile of 15 blocks makes it easy to chain piece.
laying out the first pieces
After stitching both sides, move to the iron and press sewn strips face up.
first pieces sewn and pressed
Add two more strips face down on both sides of the block. I try to alternate width of strips as well as color to create contrast. I very my strips between 1 and 2 inches, and like that they are not cut straight.
When all the muslin has been covered, the block will look like this.
ready to square and trim
I then turn the block over and trim it to 7.25” square. The sewing process does tend to draw up the muslin. Your blocks may differ slightly, but all the blocks need to be the same size.
backside ready to square and trim square and trim
You could stop here and make a quilt with your trimmed blocks.
could call this finished
But I’m going to double the amount of blocks and increase my seting options by sewing them to solid yellow squares.
Cut your solid fabric into 7.25” squares. (or the size of your trimmed blocks) Your trimmed string blocks need to be exactly the same size as your solid blocks)
Lay your trimmed block face down on the solid block, making sure the corners and edges are lined up.
Draw a line with a pencil diagonally across your string pieced block.
draw a line corner to corner

draw  the line in direction as the stitching

Taking your blocks back to the sewing machine, use your 1/4” foot and sew on both sides of the drawn line.
sew on both sides of drawn lines
Now for the reveal!
Now cut your block in half diagonally, on the drawn line.
slice on drawn line
And open your block
the reveal
Decide on how you want to set the blocks and complete your quilt. The finished blocks will be about 6 3/4” squares.
Here are some setting options
barn raising reversed  barn raising setting

light and dark setting pinwheel setting

 streak of lightening horizontalstraight furrow setting
And that’s another edition of taming the scrap bag. Even for a scrap hoarder like me there are limits as to the size of the scraps I use.
You might also like taming the scrap bag

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Taming the scrap bag

I’ve been quilting since the turn of the century, so over the years, I’ve collected lots of scraps. I rarely throw out any fabrics. My fabric bins were overflowing, I received a call for a need for quilts for a new hospice unit in our community and I got busy making a scrap quilt.
I found a pattern online and began cutting 2 1/2” strips

click here for the tutorial for this quilt and some examples of quilts others have made. The process is addictive and I pinned most of the blocks during the super bowl.
Here's my example
taming the scrap bag
Were I to make this quilt again, I would try making all the strong diagonals in the same color, or value. I think it would give more definition to the diamond pattern.
This pattern had more definition than the others and I found this pattern online .
scrap vomit mock up - bigger version
I like scrappy quilts, but my preference is that the quilt has definition, or places for the eye to rest.
Our quilting group at church just received a huge bag of scraps, so be watching for more scrap quilts as we make quilts for the hospice unit.