Thursday, November 14, 2013


Quilts! Quilts! Quilts!
I have been making progress on more quilts since I last blogged. And since I can't seem to upload my photos to one of my quilting groups today, (just a technical glitch) I can share my progress here on the blog instead.

Hubby's Minnesota Retirement Quilt!
UPDATE! Here is the quilt top with all the pinwheels on and more borders added. After the navy blue border I added a print with bears, moose, trees, and wolf paw tracks. After that I added the pinwheels all around. I think there were 36 of those! All from plaids and from flannels in outdoor prints. The blue outer border was purchased from a garage sale and was perfect! It has old fashioned steam trains (which hubby loves), Mt Rushmore, Mount St Helens, Lady Liberty, Space Needle and several other places my husband and I have traveled together. Onward now to sandwiching, quilting and binding!

From a previous (but related) posting:

Primarily sharing my projects since August!

Starting with a medallion quilt which is still a work in progress quilt in the Medallion Quilt Along with Melanie in Iowa. For me, this is WIP number 37 for this year and I am making it for my hubby's retirement this past July and also celebrating his birthday this November month. This quilt incorporates many of his favorite things. The central panel is Camp Wilderness Boy Scout camp here in Minnesota. I included a Flying Geese border as we have kind of a thing for the geese here in our hometown. Pinwheels being added now for his sense of fun and humor.Will add a few more borders later this weekend and next week. Debating adding a log cabin block of some kind too for all the times spent at his grandparent's and parent's cabin. Right now I am still making 16 MORE six inch pinwheels in addition to what you see below so that I have enough to go all the way around the navy blue border.

2013 Review:
The projects below are varied UFO and WIP that I have completed recently.

This is just half of the pinwheels needed for the WIP # 37 Mike's Retirement Quilt!
WIP 31 baby girl flannel quilt before binding (done now)

WIP 32 cheater cloth and strips flannel baby quilt for charity. Using it up!
WIP 33 Baby Boy twin flannel 1

WIP 34 Baby Boy twin flannel 2

WIP 35 Baby Boy flannel 3 for Benjamin C
WIP 36 a tester potholder log cabin style to see how I did on pebbling free motion quilting.
Those are the Works in Progress (things started and finished this year) In addition we have UFOs that were technically cut and started before this 2013 calender year. Starting where we left off last time, I had completed UFO 11 in August from Depression era blocks.  Here are the more UFO creations since then!  ENJOY! 

UFO 12 Depression era hex blocks from a summer garage sale with remaining star border.

UFO 13 Russ's birthday quilt in wools and tweeds.

UFO 14 is a Disappearing Nine Patch using up some precuts and scraps from donations.

UFO 15 was our Primative Star table runner using leftovers strips and an orphan star block. Our cats love these mats on the buffet to sit on and take in the view or nap on. I call these runners Cat Mats now. Haha

UFO 16 Missouri Log Cabin made from Grandmother's Dresses. Uses clothing from 6 generations of people in my mother's line and our immediate family.

UFO 17 Miller Estate quilt finished up and on display. Uses blocks from the 1900s in blacks. indigo blues, and tans.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

UFO 11

All that practice on the tablemat WIP #29 and #30 was in prep for doing the same center flower frond shape all over this lap sized authentic 1930s-1940s sampler quilt completed this month from  34 extra Depression Era blocks. Most of these hand quilted blocks were rescued from a musty garage sale oblivion. (126 blocks in a shoebox for $1.00)

My goal in 2013 is to get ALL my UFOs done. That includes things that have been on the shelf a while. So, I used another 1940-1950 bowtie top (seen below) for the back. The bowtie piece was given to me free with another garage sale quilt top purchase and it needed a use.

However, the bowtie top was not a strong enough top to visually or practically stand on its own as a front. Putting it on the back of the 30s sampler was era-appropriate and a great solution! Happy choice for a back. Coral colored binding going on it this week. Done will be good!
Here are some of the quilted fronds in the front of the 1930 block sampler. I do all my own free motion quilting on my Pfaff Quilters Expression 4.0 with 50 weight cotton Aurifil threads. I try to challenge myself to a new fee motion design with each quilt or project. Bit by bit, I get better.

They say sewing teaches you patience with a project, well, free motioning teaches you patience with yourself!

Be patient with yourselves. Keep moving along. And have a wonderful week!

*UFO- Unfinished Object is a project were fabrics were cut into and started any time BEFORE the current calender year --by anyone-- and it doesn't have to have been you. Hence my rescued quilt blocks are always UFOs. *WIP- Works in Progress are things that you yourself have started during this current calender year. They were not planned or cut out before January 1st.

WHOOHOO!! Completion of WIP number 30!

This one is a baby quilt. I didn't know I was going to make a baby quilt last week but when I was done with the last UFO, I decided to pick up a couple things around my sewing desk. At the bottom we a small stack of about 90 miscellaneous pastel charm squares from the six totebags I did for my mom's bible study ladies. Well that was just enough to make a baby quilt! Here are the pics! And I used the same flower frond design to quilt it. Not too shabby for extras! It may go off to charity or if may become a gift. Not sure yet. But it is always good to have one in reserve.

Plus it was great to get the sewing area cleared up a bit! Now those charms are sewn up and useful!



This lovely little table mat was a quick practice for some of my free motion quilting and happens to be my 29th work in progress. I purposely used cream thread so I could easily see where I was going and see where I needed to improve.


The center is free motioned with what I call flower fronds. I was inspired by Angela Walters video class at Craftsy but someplace between watching her video and going downstairs to sew, I lost track of how to do the backside of the flower!! Too lazy to go back up and restart the computer, I just winged it. LOL Yes that is me. So I improvised after the echoing and I like it!

The next small border out is pebbling and I learned that I like only one or two rounds of thread on a pebble. Not so into the look of the thicker thread painting that results with 4 or 5 layers. Maybe on a larger scale project or with a matching thread I would do more layers.

Lastly, I did some freehand feathers along the outer border. I learned to watch where I was going and that it is not too hard to control a smaller FMQ design. In fact I think it is easier to go small than to go big! And it looks more fancy too! Just make sure you are using a clear foot or an open toe foot! I am not sure it it is "correct" or not but I am often working a little blind (behind the foot) because on a border, I am pulling the fabric toward myself as I sew it.

Great little practical project and a fun way to get in some more FMQing on my domestic machine. Bit by bit we learn! Now on to the Next UFO!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Happy Birthday Grandma! (UFO 28)

My grandmother is 90 years young this year and her favorite color is PURPLE! Any shade of purple, lilac, lavender, or plum will do. I dug in my stash and came up with lots of scrappy possibilities for this quilt and even though I am a bit late on this surprise delivery, I  know she will love it. 

This is my 28th work in progress for 2013. All from stash of course and all pieced, free motion quilted and bound by me!  I love it when goals are being met and a plan comes together! The colors in the middle photo below are the truest to life. Enjoy, and find some time to be creative today!

 Linking up to Leah Day Free Motion Quilting with this one too.


Happy belated 90th birthday Grandma Helen!


Friday, May 31, 2013

Grandmother's Flower Garden is Blooming!

This completely hand pieced hexagon quilt UFO 9 for me was started when I got the half done top at a senior center garage sale for five dollars about 10 years ago. Funny part of the story is that when I got to the senior sale ten years ago my eye spied this right away and I made a beeline for it. I got to it split seconds before another gal and at garage sales once you pick something up it is yours kind of like dibs until you lay it back down on the table. The gal that was a slim moment too late after me got all testy about it. She followed me with a grim frown for about 5 minutes around the sale while I shopped. Finally she said Are you going to put that quilt down or not because she wanted it! I said no I intended to buy it, thank you. Off she stomped casting looks as she went. Sorry, hon! :D

The parts of this quilt top that were already done were the coral, green and some blue in the center top region maybe 1930 and early 1940s fabrics. In the bag were also the other completed blocks of more colors and fabrics up to about a decade newer maybe late 1940s.Most were pieced from feedsacks, fabrics that had obviously been garments, and even some of the hexies were pieced themselves.

I used old muslin, old fabrics, feedsack fabrics and old dress maker yard goods to make the rest of the hexies joining them and the borders. I quilted it in a utilitarian grid. The gal who pieced these varied using single thickness thread, double thickness thread, white string and even black string to sew her hand pieced blocks. She was a very practical quilter and frugal. Some seam allowances were as small as one eighth of an inch depending on how much of a fabric she had. I used pieced plain muslin on the back and used old muslin I bought at the same senior citizens center sale this spring. 100% cotton batting and a plain pieced muslin back was the historically accurate way to go.

Hexies are a very portable project! Here the quilt has traveled with me on vacation to Virginia Beach VA!

On vacation I finished joining all the flowers to the quilt. At this point it needed a good pressing, for sure!

Then, I had to figure out how to get a straight edge on this project so I could add my borders. I decided to cut off the half of the flower that was sticking out on the left and top edges of the quilt top and add them in reverse on the bottom and right sides. This gave me a straight edge on all four sides to add my two borders.  The first border was a yellow vintage feed sack fabric above. The wider second border was of a blue dressmaker yard goods fabric seen below.

The borders on made all the difference to the cohesiveness of the quilt. They are what blended the pastels of the earlier blocks to the primary colors of the later blocks. What a jump forward adding these borders made. Just goes to show that fabric choices for borders do matter!


This gal was so practical and her machine would have likely been a simple one. No fancy stitches here! So I quilted simply in a grid every two hexagons. Some intersected the flower centers (green example) and some framed them (see blue example).

I did not know the original quilter. But it was an honor to see her work up close and continue it. Taking this half done flower garden to a blooming completed beauty was a lot of fun. Even though this is not free motion stippled or fancy, I did sew my grid quilting freehand by domestic sewing machine. Hence a few crooked lines but hey, it's all good! Linking to Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Project! And now this UFO number 9 which is ALL DONE!! :D

Monday, April 08, 2013

Blue on Blue Birthday Quilt

UPDATE! May 17th!
Hurray it is completed!

The blue on blue D4P birthday quilt I was making for my daughter Jen is now done! Hurray! I took many breaks from this blue beauty this last month to also work on a hexagon hand pieced quilt UFO. My mom has been visiting us here in Minnesota for three weeks and one of those weeks we took her out to see our daughter Jen on the east coast. The hexie was a more portable project for our 8 day vacation to Virginia Beach. More on that in my next post. So, even though I have been quilting like crazy person in my spare time, I have not had much spare time! LOL  We did have a great time in Virginia Beach!

But I came home from vacation, got busy finishing the last few feet of quilting free motion leaves on this lovely blue disappearing four patch and then bound it. Here are some final pics!
(And now that I am done free motion quilting the leafy motifs on this beauty, I am linking it up to Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Project too! Thanks for all the tutorials and inspiration, Leah!)  

--------------------Below was Posted on April 8th-----------------------

This is my progress this last week or two on a wonderful blue quilt I am making for my daughter. All blue stash fabrics. Not a speck of new-buy for it! I am very proud of that. :D

First I selected all the cream, white and blue on light for the lighter parts of the blocks and cut them into 5 inch squares. See left side of this photo below.  Then I dug out and cut 5 inch squares of all the deep medium to dark blues which are shown in the right side of the first photo. We are making a disappearing four patch quilt. That means one whole day cutting....Whew!  320 five inch blocks.

This above photo shows the cotton french country toile fabric print of a young couple sitting beside a stream. I got 4 yards of it at our local Savers thrift for $2.99 at Christmas time and my daughter immediately wanted it. At the time I said NOPE! I thought I was going to make something with it for me....But when she asked again to have it in this toile included in the quilt for her birthday. my heart melted and I gave in. :D Love you Jenny!  This toile fabric has a 9 inch repeat so I decided not to cut it up. Instead I am keeping it whole to show off the design. I am using it for the backing.

Time to sew!  Making one light and one dark in each pair. I chain pieced 160 pairs. Put two pairs together to make a four patch. Then make two cuts vertically and two cuts horizontally. I cut mine 1.25 from center seams on both sides of the seam.

Flip over only the resulting = bars that look like equal signs. Leave the center mini four patch and the large square corners alone.

Sew them back together in the new formation. I made 80 of these disappearing four patch blocks. Then I sewed four of those together to make 20 giant blocks. These 20 blocks make it easier to work with the elements and lay them out. Once you get a layout that you like (My blue and my white fabrics were scrappy and from existing stash in varying amounts, so I tried to distribute the blocks and fabrics across the quilt nicely.)

Note how the darker "light" fabrics almost make ghost blocks here and there around the quilt because they are between the lightest and the darkest in color value. I like that.

I added a 2.5 inch mini dot medium blue inner border and a 3 inch navy blue mini dot border on the outside with border strips left over from this Row by Row quilt finished a few weeks ago. Honestly, before that, they are likely left over from the 1990's I think! LOL But they are perfect for this quilt as borders. And I know Jen likes them too.

With borders I think it is 72x86. Now to get that toile backing on, sandwich batting in there, and get it quilted!