Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cottage Puzzle, Fab $5.00 quilt program

What a difference a year makes! How often have we heard that? A year ago I was recovering from a pretty bad concussion and designing and piecing my Cottage Puzzle quilts for The Round Bobbin Quilt Shop. A few days ago I did five presentations on the finishing instructions to many of the participants. What a fun, talented group of quilt makers! Each session was fun and interesting, there were many questions not just about how to put Cottage Puzzle together but general quilt making.
How to trim a block, how to measure for sashing or borders and how to choose a border fabric were just a few of the questions. I really enjoyed my time with these quilters and know that I've made some new friends and that they've stretched their quilting muscles and learned some new techniques!
      I promised to post the instructions-
 *** My "Map" of the quilt won't show up here so  I will take a photo of it and publish it later!

Below is the key to block designation on the quilt map. You may place any of the same size blocks into any of the corresponding letter squares on the map.

A = 6” finished blocks-
  Sawtooth Star (2).
Ohio Star Variation (2).
Friendship Star Variation (2).
Lost Ship.
Sara’s Choice.
Churn Dash.

B = 12” finished blocks-
Basket block.
Kansas Sunflower block.

C = 10” finished blocks-
5 Patch Chain.
Shoo Fly.

D = 4” finished blocks-
Bowtie blocks (2).
Square in a Square blocks (3).

E = 8” finished blocks-
King’s Crown.
9 Patch On-Point.

F= 19” finished block-
  Trevor’s Bears Paw.

G= 15” finished block-

H = 9” finished block-
Maple Leaf.

The odd shaped blocks are-
Checkerboard- 4”x11” finished.
Giuliana’s House- 5”x9” finished.
Laela’s Punkin’- 4”x 6”.

There are four “spacer” sashing pieces used in finishing the quilt-
1- 2.5” x 10.5”.
1- 2.5” x 12.5”.
1- 1.5” x 19.5”.
1- 3.5” x 7.5”.

***Please check your block measurements before cutting the sashing pieces and make any necessary adjustments.

This drawing is to show the placement of the sashing pieces. They are highlighted in Yellow.

The border pieces are light Grey and the measurements are noted in each section. 
You should always measure your blocks and make any adjustments necessary.

The three  * on the diagram represent the three places where you will sew partial seams.  When you sew these seams, stop 1” from the end and cut the thread. 

Each section that you will piece is labeled U,V,W,X,Y & Z. Piece each unit as shown.  
Press all seams as you are sewing the units together. 

The border sections are labeled in the order that you will sew them to each section and the number is the designation for the order that they are to be sewn.  

Be sure to FOLLOW THE SEWING ORDER below as it is very important to putting your top together easily!

Sewing Order:

1.) Sew B1 to section X.
2.) Sew B2 to section Y.
3.) Sew B3 to section Z.
4.) Sew B4 to section B3/Z. 
5.) Sew B5 to section G.
6.) Sew B6 to section V.
7.) Sew B7 to section B6/V.
8.) Sew Section V & W together. Press seam to W. 
9.) Sew Section V/W to section U starting at the left and sew toward block G and leave a partial seam at the end.   
10.)  Sew border B8 to the U/V/W unit. You can now finish sewing the partial seam closed.  The left side of your quilt is now complete.
11.)  Sew Unit B1/X to B2/Y.  
12.)  Sew unit B1/X/B2/Y to B3/Z.  The right side of your quilt is now complete.
13.)  Match and pin the two sides of your quilt together.  Sew the vertical seam from the top down to the partial seam.  Then, sew the vertical seam from the bottom up to the partial seam.  Finger press seams adjacent to the partial seam.
14.)  Pin and sew the horizontal partial seam at section Z to section W.  
15.)  Sew B9 to the top of your quilt. Press to the border.  Your quilt top is now complete.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Design Time.....
I've designed a quilt and it's going to be used at The Round Bobbin Quilt Shop http://www.roundbobbinquilts.com/shop/Block-of-the-Month/p/Fab-Five-x3002438.htm for the Fab $5.00 BOM program. What that means is if you come to the shop and sign up, pay $5.00 and get your first month's block packet- then go home and make the block(s). The following month there will be a presentation of the next packet and show and tell. Bring your completed block(s) and get this packet for free. Continue making your block(s) each month for 10 months and always bring them in to show at one of the meetings and you will receive all 10 months of blocks for just $5.00!
These are the two versions of my quilt, I call it Cottage Puzzle...

What do you think? Are you a traditional fabric or a Batik person? The fun in this design is that you can move the blocks around....exchange the same size block in any matching size position!
I am starting to make a Christmas fabric version of Cottage Puzzle and I think each of my four children might get one for their homes!
Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

To Prewash Fabrics or Not?!
Which do you do or do you use fabric both ways? When I first started making quilts I didn't know about pre-washing. I learned several years later that cotton fabrics CAN and will bleed/run in the wash. We all know that reds are notorious for bleeding and black fabrics can be just as bad! 

What can you do if you participate in a block exchange, where different people makes blocks and you exchange them to make your own quilt? I have some suggestions but first a little background on how I know what to do.

I participated in one exchange back in the late 1990's. It was an Ohio Star Christmas themed exchange.  The exchange was organized by a woman named Sue Anderson who lived in Minnesota. We were part of a group that all sewed with and loved Janome sewing machines. 

Fast forward to receiving my blocks and making a wall hanging out of them. It was great with so many different fabrics used in the blocks. I had some trouble choosing a sashing that would go with all of the blocks and finally settled on a plaid. I hung this quilt in my dining room until we redecorated and it clashed with the new paint color. That's when I ran into running fabric, yup you guessed it, I threw it in the wash.....ouch. Many of the reds bled into the cream background fabrics. I was upset and didn't know what to do so I put the quilt away.

Yesterday I pulled that Ohio Star quilt out figuring that I had nothing to lose by washing it again. The arrival of Shout Color Catchers in my world has been a boon so why not try it even though the dyes had run and been set by the dryer.  I liberally doused the offending red bleeds with Zout stain remover, threw an old towel in the washer along with 2 Shout Color Catcher sheets, which I tore in half to spread them around the quilt. I set the washer to warm/cold, heavy duty and let it go. Whew! Success! I took the quilt out and no more bleeding the color catchers had absorbed a lot of red dye! 

Here's a photo of the freshly washed, no running dye Ohio Star quilt-

So now you know how I saved my quilt. Your best option is to always pre-wash or test your fabrics. If you receive blocks in an exchange hand wash them if you need to check for colorfastness. I usually toss in at least one Shout Color Catcher with bright colors, it will absorb any loose dyes and show you if they run or not.

These are the Color Catcher's that came out of the washer with the quilt-amazing isn't it?
By the way I am not affiliated with Shout or Zout in any way, I just think that they are good products in my experience.

Happy Autumn! It's a great time of year to create quilts and to snuggle under them!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Raffle Ticket Blues

Raffles, don't we all love to spend a buck to try and win something, anything? How about 6 tickets for $5.00, a chance to win and a bargain all in one! If you've ever attended a quilt show you know how Guilds love to raffle off quilts to raise funds. Guilds use their funds for the guild, speakers, bus trips and other quilt-related activities BUT they also support charities.

The County Line Quilter's, the guild I belong to supports our local food pantry, a children's home in another town, a woman's shelter for abused women, we make quilts for the military and for babies.
Quilter's in general are a caring, generous people, in my experience.

Back to the Raffles, I do love them but I get so discouraged when the tickets do not get a good mixing.
Today for instance I was at a show with my Mom and we bought tickets for their large raffle quilt, which is very pretty!  We also bought tickets for a mini-quilt raffle in which there were over 20 small quilts that were raffled off at a certain time. There were three separate draw times  so they had over 60 mini-quilts to raffle off at 3 tickets for $1.00. What a great group of minis they had!

At the appointed time the ticket holders awaited the calling of the numbers with tapping toes and bated breath. They had looked at the quilts and taken time to decide which numbered bag to take their chances on.
The Mini-quilt Chairperson did the picking, she stuck her hand in each bag and chose a ticket.

Almost all of the numbers were close, you could tell when they were put in the bag by what they were in sequence....one lucky winner won not 1 but 5 quilts! Another lady won 2 and everyone cheered when a winner came forward until the lady with the 5 wins who became so embarrassed she was slinking up to claim her prizes.  These tickets were not mixed up, had the Chairlady held each bag closed and turned them upside down and shook them, then it would have been a better raffle.

I am looking at ways to help my guild with raffles, to make sure that every ticket gets a fair shake!
I want to support the guilds, the members who worked so hard on the quilts and on the show but I also want fair chance to have my ticket or yours chosen!  What do you think? Do you have any suggestions to get those tickets shook up more? Please post a comment and let me know!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Happy February, we have survived the threat of winter storm 'Nemo'. I personally think that the naming of every little winter even is beyond ridiculous, but I guess the Weather Channel is running out of ideas to sell the talking heads....
In thinking about naming things, like the movie 'How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days'. ( think Krull!)  Do you name your projects? If you do how do you choose the names for the quilts that you make? I do name some of mine but I don't name the afghans that I knit or crochet. Is quilting a more personal form of art? Does the name have to do with the design or the person it is for, an occasion or the fabrics that you used?
One of my UFO projects that is almost done, it just needs binding, is from a Terry Atkinson pattern called 'Lasagna'.  Like lasagna it's made from 3"x5" or longer strips sewn together, end to end. I started this quilt many years ago, using up the leftover pieces from flannel Rag Time quilts that I made. I gave this quilt to my daughter-in-law, Andrea this Christmas, when it still needed 2 borders to make it large enough for their bed. It should be done by next week and I'll send it over to them. I've decided to name it, can you guess?  Leftover Lasagna! It fits and I think it's cute since they love Italian food.

This is Andrea, my son Trevor and grandson Trevor 2 at Christmas.
Some of the flannels in this quilt are in Andrea's Rag quilt and she noticed them right away. I love scrappy quilts and this one is very large, 108" by 98". I added borders to just the sides to make it wide enough for a queen size bed and then quilted in in an all over meander pattern.  I used Dream Wood batting and 2 different flannels for the back. This is a warm quilt to be used in the cold months and I am sure it will keep them toasty warm for many winters!
Think about your quilts and if you name them and make the names special and don't forget your labels!
Stay warm, it won't be long until spring arrives.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Happy 2013! What a year 2012 was for our family both good and not so good but we've survived and are all looking forward to better things this year!

I love Quilt Shops and Quilt-y People, I love fabric! I started sewing when I was in 8th grade and have never stopped since. I love creating and though my beginnings were in clothing I am mostly a piecer and quilter now. My first job at 16 was in a fabric store called The Stitchery in Lake Hiawatha, NJ. I loved working there, not only was it bright and full of fabric and notions but we had to make samples of the newest fabrics! Oh to be working when new orders arrived and get to choose a pattern to create with the newest fabric lines! I outfitted my entire family while working there.

Back to the Quilt-y People of whom I know many but don't always get to see. Yesterday I arranged to meet a new customer, Wee, at The Round Bobbin Quilt Shop, www.roundbobbinquilts.com/ where I also work part-time. Susan, the owner was a former co-worker at Country Quiltworks.  I walked in and there were several of my  Quilt-y friends, Sue K., Dolores R., Susan S., Sue E., Sally M., Carol M., Storm E., Peggy B., Brenda T., & my newest client  Wee. How lovely to see so many familiar faces and to be hugged by such kind and giving women! I felt so buoyed when I left and that warm feeling lasted all day. It amazes me how being around people or talented women such as my friends improves your outlook and feeling of well being.

This is why we need our Quilt Shops, Knitting Shops, Craft Stores and Book Shops, to be connected to each other in this world were everyone is so disconnected by electronics. In a world where we can have instant everything sometimes it's better to take time to seek out what our heart needs to be happy. Finding just the right pattern, book or song having someone who knows how you feel about your craft to share it with or bounce ideas off of. This makes Community and we need Community to survive as people, we are not meant to go it alone.

Seek out your Community, build your Tribe and find a better life, more joy and be creative.

Blessings to you and yours in the coming months!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

What a difference a few days can make, the test quilt that I mentioned Monday is all pieced and I love it! The colors so rich that they make me smile. I'm calling this one 'Little Gems' and it will be in Donna Lynn Thomas' next book that will be published by Martingale next fall. There is also a very cool ruler that Donna designed to take the math out of using bias cuts. The ruler is made by Omni and will be out in the spring of 2013 along with it's own pattern. If you would love to make pieced borders to make your quilts extra special then you will love this ruler!

Today I took a class at the Round Bobbin Quilt Shop, in Horsham, PA. Susan Shiveley was the instructor, I've know Susan for years, she is not only an prolific quilter and pattern designer but a math professor. Her designs are often math driven, they are very different than the run of the mill quilt patterns. I've quilted for Susan but this is the first I've made one of her designs and I found it to be like solving a jigsaw puzzle. Change is good and this quilt was pieced differently than what you usually see in patterns. I had to think and thoroughly enjoyed the process, even better it was a small project and it was just about complete when I left the shop today. I'm still deciding if I want to add another border, if I don't then it's done but for the quilting and binding. Isn't it pretty?

Here in Bucks County we are waiting for Hurricane Sandy to arrive, the predictions are pretty bad with this being a huge storm that is  meeting up with a cold front and will become a monster nor'easter causing millions of dollars in damage, lost property and power outages. Everyone please stay safe and be prepared! I'll be here sewing or cutting out more quilts!