Tuesday, May 21, 2019

H2H Quilt Party!

This is a week when we all need to set aside a little more time to scroll through all the quilty goodness: the week of the Hands2Help Comfort Quilt Challenge Party. Oh goody! It's always so heartwarming to see all of the quilts that everyone has made to give others comfort, and to see how the number of quilters and number of quilts grows every year. A big thank you to Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for arranging this. I  can't even imagine all the time that goes into that, but our quilt community sure appreciates it. 

I have shared a couple of quilts previously, and I'll include them and their links at the end of this post if you want to take a look, but today I have two more quilts that I made this month. I didn't know if I could make it happen, but it all came together. In fact, as I'm writing this the last one is getting it's bath so it will be all set to send. At the end of this post I'll share where these are all going.

This first quilt is special because it's made from a bundle of fat eighths I received from the generous sponsors of last year's H2H challenge. 

There were 33 cuts in the bundle: Authentic Etc by Sweetwater for Moda. 

Twelve were text prints. I really liked them, but I'm a bit uncomfortable making a quilt with words on it when I don't know who the recipient will be. One print was the alphabet written in tiny script in three colorations. I was okay with that, so I kept those fabrics. So there were 24 cuts in all that I chose for the quilt. I didn't really want to spend a lot of time designing a quilt, so my next step was looking around online for a fat-eighth-friendly pattern. You know what? There aren't many. In fact, I kept finding the same two over and over, and for various reasons, they wouldn't work for this bundle. Then I saw a post from Wendy at Pieceful Thoughts with a quilt block that intrigued me (the purple and white one at the bottom of her post). I wondered if I could size it in a way to make good use of my eighths. After a bit of scribbling, I decided to just look up the pattern. It's Modern Puzzle by Christa Watson, a free pattern here. The quilt is made with 2 1/2 inch wide strips, but as I looked at it, I realized it could also be cut from fat eighths, as the pieces fit perfectly with only a tiny bit of waste  usable scraps along the selvages. I looked at the fabrics in grayscale, matched them up in 12 sets,

and was able to cut 4 blocks from each set for a total of 48 blocks. I sewed them up in a hurry. You can tell I was in a hurry because there are no photos of the process. After I got them laid out 6 by 8, I decided that one more column (8 blocks) would make it a bit more comfortable size--7 by 8 blocks. I dug into my scraps, and (would you believe it?!) found three fabrics that were just big enough to cut out enough pieces. I needed one more fabric, but--no problem--I needed to go to the fabric store to buy the backing I had had my eye on in the sale bin, so why not look for one more black print there. Well, yes, I did find a print that would work not only for a block but (yippee, a stripe!) for the binding. So here are the extra fabrics I added in to make my extra blocks:
I really wanted that binding to pop, and I didn't want it to touch the same fabric in the quilt, so I laid out the quilt so that the darkest fabrics were away from the edge. Other than that I didn't pay too much attention to where fabrics came together, except for the dark/light arrangement of the pattern. If I had, I think I would still be on the floor switching blocks around and around and around--you know how it goes.

There was one little hiccup when it was time to prepare the back. I had figured out yardage for the back before I decided to make an extra row of blocks. I almost had to go back to the store to buy a little extra, but with some creative seaming I was able to make use of what I had. Whew. The mismatch in pattern shows just a tiny bit in the photo of the whole back if you look really closely, but the seaming doesn't show outside of photos. 

I did a loose wavy walking foot line for quilting, based on the sample in the pattern, but with more widely spaced lines and no overlap. A quick wash, and the quilt was as cozy and cuddly as I hoped it would be. 

I really like this combination of colors and patterns. I think it will appeal to most anyone because of the colors and patterns in the fabric. There is a floral on the back, but it's pretty subtle--and it's nature, so what's not to like about that, right? 

Barely visible initials and date going up the side (also a stray thread, sigh)
So quick stats and a couple of glamour photos, and then we'll move on because there is more to see.
Pattern: Modern Puzzle by Christa Watson (and with thanks to Wendy for her post about it!) And now you know, this pattern is perfect for that fat eighth bundle you weren't sure what to do with.
Fabrics:  Authentic Etc by Sweetwater for Moda plus three random scraps from the stash for the front; Chelsea Market Essex Rose in Green by Brenda Walton for Blend for the back; Farm Fresh Strings in Kettle by 
Gingiber for Moda for top and binding
Batting: Warm and Natural 
Thread: Superior-- Masterpiece in Granite for piecing; King Tut in White Linen for quilting; Coats cotton hand quilting thread in black for hand stitching binding.
Binding: 2 1/2 inches cut, double layer, machine sewn to front and hand stitched on back
Size: 64 1/2 by 56 1/2 inches, pieced; 64 1/4 by 55 3/4 inches after quilting; 60 1/2 by 51 3/4 inches after machine washing and drying.
Machines: Singer Featherweight for piecing; Singer Treadle 115 for walking foot quilting.

With our latest yard art from the local art festival
I just had to make one more quilt. Time was short, so it would have to be simple.

A notification for a huge sale at a local store showed up in my inbox, and I had a thought to make a little whole cloth quilt. So I headed on out with the intention of buying a large floral print that I could follow for the quilting. After mulling everything over (did I mention that my husband just happened to be with me doing errands--couldn't dither too long), I suddenly changed my plan. A beautiful little navy/aqua/celery arrow print was calling my name. And just a few bolts away, there was a tiny circle print with the same colors. And a tiny navy dot print. Within two seconds of the first choice, I had a whole quilt's worth of fabric in hand. (It is not a bad thing to have my husband with me--it has a positive effect on the dither factor.) 

Once home, I spent some quality time carefully basting the top and bottom fabrics with white flannel for batting. It was important to me to get the fabric straight since it was quite a directional pattern--in more ways than one! Then I quilted along every other white line to hold it all together. Binding was a cinch, with a relaxing evening to hand stitch it to the back. When I first finished it, I wondered if the quilt was too plain. 

I'm used to piecing blocks. But I know that some people are not really into pieced quilts (really!) and this would be a comfy little blankie for a newborn that might also fit well into a lot of modern nurseries. It's lightweight, so perfect for summertime use, too. 
I think this type of quilt will now be on my list of quick quilt projects to make now and then.

And here are the stats:
Pattern: None! It's an easy peasy wholecloth quilt.
Fabrics:  Front: Dog Gone It Collection Arrows Multi by Jackie Studios for Camelot Fabrics; Back: Mirage Dots by Alex Anderson for RJR Fabrics; Binding: Unknown Navy with tiny "square" white dots.
Batting: White quality flannel 
Thread: Superior-- Masterpiece in Granite for piecing; King Tut in White Linen for quilting; Treasure in Old Lace for hand stitching binding.
Binding: 2 1/2 inches cut, double layer, machine sewn to front and hand stitched on back
Size: 37 3/4 inches square, cut to size after quilting (I washed and dried all fabrics before quilting to minimize shrinkage of the flannel); 36 1/2 inches square after washing/drying finished quilt.
Machines: Singer Featherweight for piecing; Singer Treadle 115 for walking foot quilting.

So...here are the other two quilts. Click on the name of the quilt for the link if you'd like to read more.

Butterfly Quilt This quilt will be donated to Emily at Em's Scrap Bag for Quilty Hugs for Happy Chemo. I think its cheerful vibe will brighten someone's day during treatment.

Strip Quilt I guess I never named this one, so Strip Quilt it is. This one is going to Bernie at Needle and Foot for Mercyful Quilts, an end-of-life quilt collection at Mercy Hospital in Sacramento, California. 

The Modern Puzzle Quilt (above) will also go to Bernie for Mercyful Quilts. I like to think these quilts represent the one I didn't have an opportunity to make for my mother-in-law when she moved into a new care facility before she passed away. The Little Wholecloth Quilt (as good a name as any) will go to Jack's Basket, an organization started by Carissa Carroll to celebrate newborns who have Down Syndrome. I'm giving it in honor of my brother-in-law who has his own extra chromosome.

If you don't know about these organizations, be sure to go to Confessions of a Fabric Addict and click on this link to learn more about these organizations. And here is the link to the ultimate linky party to celebrate everyone's finishes this year

See you all next year for more H2H fun!!

(I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores I'm just documenting what I used or liked.) 

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Strip Quilt for H2H

Time for another check-in with the Hands2Help Challenge for this year. At our last check-in on April 17, I had a top to share as well as a bit of quilting. Today I have the finish. Yippee!
We have lots more tulips since this photo was taken, but I wanted to prove that spring had finally come.

This quilt started with a packet of strips I bought on a vacation last June. I knew exactly what it would become when I bought it--a version of the Strip and Flip Baby quilt that I first saw on Cluck Cluck Sew. Sarah also has a tutorial of a version here. I don't usually sew with precut strips, but I had seen a quilt made of these in the quilt store where I bought them and thought it was sweet. (I was also overwhelmed by all the fabric in the store, which often happens to me when I really want to purchase something but don't have a project planned, so buying a strip set was an easy way out.)

I have to admit that when I took the strips out of the packet, I was stumped. For one thing, there were duplicates of most of the strips, but not all. And the colors were quite varied. Many quilts I had seen in this pattern went through a range of one or just a few colors or a range of values. After a whole lot of arranging and rearranging, I ended up with pretty much this order--actually just kind of random, with some groupings of similar colors. I wasn't sure how I felt about repeating the sequence, but there it is.

In the final version, I left off some of the strips at the right end and used them as a sort of border because with all of them, the quilt would have been longer and narrower than I would have liked. 

The other thing that stymied me at first was the uneven lengths of the strips. There was a particular print that occurred in four colors (8 of the strips) that was shorter than all the others. So I had to make that the base width. Rather than cutting all the strips to that length, I lined up one selvage consistently (right where the color met the white edge) as I sewed them together. That way I didn't risk losing a lot of fabric when I squared up the top. 
Here's how the other edge looked. See how much shorter that green print is? I felt bad losing bits of the other strips (at least 3/4 inch of some) but what can you do?. The packet said the strips were 44 inches long. I guess that includes selvage, but doesn't account for the variations. I did notice that online stores usually report a shorter length. Good, because I'd hate to have this discrepancy ruin someone's design.  

Anyway, when I finished sewing all the strips together I trimmed them up even and then eyeballed proportions of the three printed sections. I chose measurements of about 20, 8 and 12 inches plus seam allowance. I have lots of numbers on a scrap of paper, but they don't make sense now, so I'm not exactly sure of those measurements. Then for the contrasting strips, I cut some white mystery fabric that I also bought from another store on that trip, probably about 3 inches for the inner strips and 4 for the outer. Again, not sure of the exact measurements.The actual sewing went very fast. I did fiddle a bit with the addition of the printed strips on the side borders. I'm not terribly pleased with how I arranged them. It might have been better to cut them in smaller chunks and/or mix them up a little more. Overall, I think they're okay, though. 

Here's the finished top hanging on the design wall.

As I showed in the last post, I chose to quilt the printed strips with my walking foot, one foot-width (a scant 3/8 inch) away from each seam. 

This went super fast, except for having to tie off and bury a million ends. I know. I exaggerate, but it seemed like a million. 

I took a break from this project for a few days because of a squirrel, but actually that was good. That project also needed my walking foot, so I was all set.

Then some new fun began. I had read Lori Kennedy's review of the Crayola Ultra Clean Markers for marking quilts. I don't usually like to mark quilts with any kind of colored marker, or even chalk, but her test of these markers was so impressive that I knew I wanted to try them out for some freemotion quilting on the white strips of this quilt. I have been doing fairly limited FMQ the last couple of years due to lingering effects of a shoulder injury. My arm gets really tired. I thought that I might take some of the stress off if I marked lines before quilting so that I wouldn't have to concentrate as much on where I was going and just keep my hands in place to guide the quilt. So I bought the markers and chose to mark my quilt in gray. I used a vague variation of Lori's fabulous flower motif. My flowers had fewer petals and more swoopy lines between them. I drew a sort of grid with my Hera marker to space them out and then just went for it free-hand with my marker. Then I quilted in off white, following the lines, but not worrying if I didn't hit them completely. They were just a guide. I quilted from the top down on each column (five to seven passes) so that I could easily see where I was going. I LOVED it and my arm did not get nearly as tired as usual.

Here's how they looked when done. At this point, I almost wished I had quilted with gray thread. (Oh, you can see the binding here, too. I bought that lovely bit of bias printed gingham print after the quilt top was done. And a tip: I waited to quilt the last line of the printed strips touching the binding until after I machine-sewed the binding to the front because it was hard to gauge just where the line should be before the binding was on. Afterwards, all I had to do was line my walking foot up with the edge of the binding. Worked great!)  

The weird thing about using the marker is that I couldn't show the quilt unwashed (as I usually do) without the marker showing. Oh well. Small price to pay. So here's the quilt on the garage:
The gray lines don't show that much from far, I guess, but are pretty strong close up.

I used a sweet print with a vintage vibe for the back fabric--whole cloth, which is pretty unusual for me. 
Hanging a bit unevenly here

And then the washing. First I rinsed the white areas under running water in my bathtub. That made me a bit nervous. Because these strips were precuts, I hadn't prewashed them, and it looked like some of the colors were starting to run. (Red, green and yellow, I'm looking at you.) But when the marked parts were thoroughly wet, I put the quilt in the wash with my usual detergent and two lingerie bags with four dye catching sheets in each. I washed on cold/gentle with an extra rinse, and when I took the quilt out of the washer, all of the gray was gone and so was the extra dye I had seen. Yippee!! I dried the quilt on low, and it came out in perfect condition. 

So it was time for more photos. 
As you can see, I had (once again) gotten carried away with dense quilting. With the shrinkage (maybe a little more than usual because I hadn't prewashed the fabric), the flowers pretty much disappeared and I got mostly crinkly texture. I could have just done stipple quilting for the same effect. Oh well. Trying out the markers was great fun and a big success, so I'm glad I did it. And maybe the quilt will relax a bit as it's used and show those flowers a bit more. One thing I do like is the contrast of the dense columns and the more minimally quilted prints. Neat feel. 

My initials and the date are hidden below. Pretty sure they'll be my secret in all those crinkles.

Now the stats: 
Pattern: Variation of the Strip and Flip Baby Quilt on Cluck Cluck Sew
Fabrics: Amorette 40 Karat Crystals by Kaye England for Wilmington Prints; mystery white fabric; Quilting Treasures Bleeker Street (backing); Amberley Dark Peony Gingham by Brenda Riddle Designs for Moda (binding)

Batting: Warm and Natural 
Thread: Superior-- Masterpiece in Granite for piecing; King Tut in White Linen for quilting; Treasure in Old Lace for hand stitching binding.
Marking for FMQ: Crayola Ultra Clean Washable Marker in Gray
Binding: 2 1/2 inches cut, double layer, machine sewn to front and hand stitched on back
Size: 62 by 64 inches, pieced; forgot to measure after quilting, but I don't think it changed much; 58 by 58 1/2 inches after machine washing and drying.  
Machines: Singer Featherweight for piecing; Singer Treadle 115 for walking foot and freemotion quilting.

So what did I learn from this quilt? 
--I loved using those Crayola markers for planning my FMQ! I will definitely do that again.
--If I'm going to keep quilting so densely--probably will, because it's fun--I will need to keep expecting texture, not pattern, in the finished quilt.
--I still prefer to choose my fabrics from multiple lines, but precuts are easy to sew for a quick project. And they are a good way to purchase fabric when I'm on vacation and want to support little quilt shops. 
--I really need to keep better notes while I'm working so I can accurately record my measurements when I'm finished with a project. Given my quilting history, probably not going to happen, though. 

This might be it for me for my H2H projects this year. I still have a bundle of fat eighths that I won in the giveaway last year. I think I'll use that in my next project, but it's still in the thinking/planning stage. I also want to make a little whole cloth quilt. I'll still donate them, but probably after May. If I do get one done, I'll link it up at the party. 

I'll see you again for the party the week of May 19. I probably should have saved this for then, but it's easier to share this now before I lose even more details. (Ha!) And now I can get on to something else.

I hope your H2H projects are going well if you are participating this year. Have fun quilting!

Here's the link to the H2H check-in with Sarah this week at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. Be sure to go over there and drool over all the quilty goodness.

(I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores I'm just documenting what I used or liked.) 

Saturday, May 4, 2019

RSC Butterfly Bits

It's May now, and I know the official RSC (Rainbow Scrap Challenge) color has changed, but I want to share my aqua bits anyway. I made them on the last day of April. Whew! (To my credit, I did do other sewing with aqua earlier in the month, just not scraps.) Luckily, I only had to make butterfly bits last month, not crumb blocks. The background fabric for my crumb blocks has blues but not aqua/turquoise, so those blocks got a rest. The light's been awful for photos lately, but here's what I have:
The colors are prettier and brighter than here. I tried not to let myself be stymied by the whole aqua/turquoise/teal conundrum. Just went with lighter for the top wings and darker for the bottom ones. I think after the next color (ORANGE!) I'll be ready to think about possible background fabric. The butterflies will look so much better with those strings added in on the block corners and with the body pieces. 

So that's it for April. I'll need to get going sooner than the last day of the month for Orange. I have to make both crumb and butterfly blocks. 

I'm linking up this weekend with Angela at So Scrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday and with Cynthia at Quilting is More Fun than Housework for Oh Scrap!

Happy Scrapping!

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Family of Baby Quilts

Happy Throwback Thursday! I'm starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel for old quilt photos, but I do have some left for a few more posts. Today's quilts are three I made for one family--my niece's. She and her husband have a son and two daughters--our oldest great-nephew and great-nieces. Their son is 22 years old now (and has a son of his own), and their daughters are in college, so these quilts are probably used up (I hope). At the time I made these, I was working outside of home and had little time to quilt, so all are tied--the quickest way I knew at the time to make a baby quilt. I still have the plans (such as they are) for two of the quilts as well as some leftover fabrics (really!). So let's have a look. 

This is the quilt for baby I, made in 1996. I remember going to a big storewide sale for the fabric--so big that the store rented an empty store front next door for the sale. I knew I wanted to make something simple in just two contrasting colors. Please pardon really poor lighting. 

And the back, which is the light fabric from the front.

I have a planning sheet, which is pretty much incomprehensible to me now. I had two schemes based on color placement. Looks like I chose the one in the lower right.
These numbers don't add up for me right now. I guess if I really studied the plan for awhile, I'd figure out how big the patches were. Oh, well. In any event, the quilt got made. I'm thinking I was trying to decide how long to make the quilt, but my guess is that the whole thing was probably about 41 by 50 inches.

Here are the fabrics I have left in my drawer. I'm 100% sure that the light fabric is the one, and about 99% sure about the green. I tied the quilt with pearl cotton with what look like amazingly long ties. I hope they softened when it was washed. Isn't it interesting the pattern that shows up in a whole cloth back? These scratchy marks almost look like a floral when you see all the repeats from far in the photo of the back.
If you look at the quilt you can sort of see "I" in the design. I didn't plan that, but noticed it when it was finished. So when I's sister C was born, I thought I'd be clever and make a quilt with Cs in it for her first initial. I don't have a written plan for that one, but here it is.

Poor lighting, but no problem. I still have all of the fabrics so you can imagine it in all its vintage glory. Yipes! Here's the back, which is the same print as that tealish one on the front.
Here's a close-up. I'm still trying to figure out how I put the blocks together. It looks like maybe three squares and a long strip per block, but the Cs are staggered, so I'm not really sure how I joined them. 

Here are the fabrics from my drawer. I should probably try to use them up sometime, Ya' think?
What I remember about making this quilt is that I was frustrated when I bought the fabric because I wanted all big florals but just could not find a yellow one. I'm thinking this quilt is probably roughly the same size as the one I made for I

I was pretty proud of myself coming up with a quilt made of Cs (even if some were backwards), so when I found out another baby was coming, I planned to make another quilt with Baby's initial. Uh oh. When Baby was announced, her name started with G. I was stumped. Tessellating Gs were just beyond my designing ability. So I made a giant G and surrounded it with strips. Yeah, I'm not real proud of that, but at least there was no mistaking which quilt was hers.

The back:

I had two planning sheets for this one. 

I'm thinking that what happened with this quilt is that I made a plan and then went to the store and revised the plan based on the colors of fabrics I was able to find. It looks like I started with the G floral fabric as the focus to pick the other colors. I have a few of these left.
But not the floral or the turquoise. I know the turquoise ended up in some landscape quilts over the years. The white background was a tone on tone print--you know, the kind with the prints on muslin-like fabric. Again, the final size is a mystery as I have several numbers on my plan. 

I like to think--well, I hope--I've come a long way in designing and planning colors/patterns since I made these quilts. But I'm sure the babies did not mind my choices. I haven't made a tied quilt in a long time. I do know they were puffy and cozy with their polyester battings. I still have some tied quilts at home that have held up well over the years. These days I would quilt these kinds of quilts by machine, but tying is still a good option when you're short on time.
I'm linking up today with Sandra at mmm! quilts for Throwback Thursday. If you have some oldies from your pre-blogging days, be sure to go there and link up. It's fun to look back!