• 05Dec

    A good friend of my sister’s lost her husband a few years ago.  She still had three of his Hawaiian shirts in her closet, and when she saw a quilt made out of old shirts, she knew she wanted to use the Hawaiian shirts for quilts for her three children.  Since she’s not a quilter, Sally put the SOS out to me.  The timing was perfect, as we were going to a retreat at The Wild Rose.

    Sally brought along the shirts and I started unstitching them.

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    It was really a bigger job than I thought, but I wanted to make the most of the fabric.  I ended up cutting the shirts into 4-1/2″ squares.  I divided them in thirds and put one stack up on the design wall to balance out the colors.

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    I wanted the quilts to be similar, but still different, and I wanted the prints to be the “stars” of the show.  So I decided I would use solids and set the blocks together with sashing and cornerstones.

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    It’s a very simple setting, but I think it served its purpose.

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    I finished them off with a simple stipple.

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    Each shirt had a pocket, so I stitched one to the back of each quilt.

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    I was pleased with the way they turned out.

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    I’m sure the kids will treasure them.

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    If you want the fabric requirements to make one of your own, they’re below.  This is also a great way to show off fussy cut, novelty prints or even photo transfer blocks.

    Hawaiian Shirt Quilt

    Materials

    1 Hawaiian shirt (I got enough squares from each shirt to do one quilt, but I mixed them up for interest)

    7/8 yard cornerstones and inner border fabric

    2-1/4 yards sashing and outer border

    4 yards backing

    From the Hawaiian shirts cut 80) 4-1/2″ squares

    From the cornerstone/inner border fabric, cut 10) 2-1/2″ strips.  Cut four strips into 2-1/2″ squares for cornerstones. Use remaining squares for inner border.

    From the sashing/outer border fabric cut 18) 2-1/2″ strips; crosscut into 142) 4-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ rectangles for the sashing.  Then cut 7) 4-1/2″ strips for the border

    Cut the backing into two equal pieces.

    I pulled the backing around to the front of the quilts and machine stitched for the binding.

     

     

     

     

  • 13Oct

    Yesterday I taught a class on the Hunter’s Star at Boardwalk Quilts.

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    I love the ruler from Deb Tucker, that makes this pattern so easy and precise.  I made step-by-step samples for class from solid yellow and  vintage white.

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    My goal was to have each student complete at least four units to make one star–and they did!

    Joe Ann was the first.  She used fabrics she’d bought at my store before it closed five years ago!  Who says it isn’t important to have a stash?!

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    Right behind her was Earlene, who was outside her comfort zone, using browns.

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    This dark blue batik on a stark white that Suzy made was really striking.

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    Sandy’s black and gold on cream looked great.

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    Susan had success with the green and white tone-on-tone fabrics she used.

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    Barbara told me she hadn’t taken a class in years, but you’d never know it when you look at her block.

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    Isn’t Joyce’s red and yellow version stunning?

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    I wish you could see Susan’t fabric in person as it was really beautiful and her blocks turned out great.

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    Judy’a gold and red combination was a winner.

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    Elena had never taken a quilt class before!  The icy blue and silver snowflakes worked together great.

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    And Lonna’s choice of a rich batik and pale aqua looked amazing.

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    Joe managed to get all 16 units finished and sewn together.  You can see how the secondary star forms in the middle where the blocks come together.

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    I was so proud of all of them and have confidence they’ll all get their tops finished at home.

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  • 14Feb
    Categories: quilting Comments: 13

    I’m so excited!  I just discovered an amazing way to make scrappy Four-Patch blocks lickety-split!  All of the blocks end up different, and you really only have to measure once!

    You start with squares of any size.  That’s right, it doesn’t matter what size your squares are!  For this tutorial I used 5″ squares, because I had a little packet of them.

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    Place two squares, right sides together.  I tried to match a dark with a light, but some were medium, so I just let them pair up randomly.

    Sew down BOTH sides.  I fed a lot of pairs through my machine at one time, doing first one side, then doing the other side of the stack.

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    Now slice them in half through the middle.  Since my squares were 5″, I sliced at 2-1/2″ but, remember, any size square will work, just find half, and slice!

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    Open the pieces up and press toward the dark–if you have a dark!

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    Do this will all your squares.

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    Now sew them together as shown below…

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    …all of them!

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    Once you have them all sewn together, slice a 2-1/2″ piece off one end.  Set this two-patch aside.  You only have to measure this first one.  After this, the magic begins!

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    Flip the short piece over…

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    …and use it as a guide for your next cut!

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    There’s your first Four-Patch!

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    See!  Now just keep going, flipping and cutting, until you get to the end.  At the end, you’ll have a two-patch, which you can sew together with your first cut piece.

    From my charm pack, I was able to make this little quilt.  I thought the brown in there added a little interest.

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    Try this method and let me know what you think!

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  • 15Jan

    Last month the Longview, Washington library had a red and white quilt show.

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    It meant a snowy, 150 mile round trip drive from here, but I’m so glad we went.

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    I’ll just be quiet and let you enjoy the show!

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  • 21Nov

    In June I posted a tutorial for String Piecing for A Quilt Block A Day.

    Finally, I’ve finished 100 blocks.  Now I just have to decide how to put them together!

    My first thought was to set them in a Chevron pattern.

    It didn’t look as good on the design wall as it did in my mind, so I went more traditional, with X’s and O’s.

    Hmmm……I’m liking that, but I just had to try one more setting.  I call this Exploding Diamonds.

    Oh, wait!  Just one more…….  How about if I do Offset Diamonds!?!

    Oh, too many decisions.  What do you think?  Leave me a comment and let me know your favorite setting.  I’ll enter your name in a drawing to be held November 28.  The winner will win 100 fabric strips to get you started on your own string pieced quilt!

  • 08Nov
    Categories: quilting Comments: 4

    My friend, Melinda, was just over in Walla Walla and went to the quilt show at the museum there.  Today she shared slides from the show, and I just had to post them.

    This Whig Rose was definitely the star of the show.  Amazingly, they have the provenance of the quilt.  It was made in 1854 by Mary K. Clark.

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    The quilting is incredible.  There are over 350,000 stitches in it!

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    This Enhanced Four Patch is a sweet quilt.  It’s not a design you see very often.  From the 1930′s.

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    This is a really fine example of a Victorian era Crazy Quilt.  It has an amazing variety of stitches!

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    Here’s a Churn Dash.  I see the label also refers to this pattern as Sherman’s March To The Sea.  I hadn’t heard that reference before, but I love it!  Quilt names say a lot about the what was happening in people’s lives.

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    Doves at the Window is a very difficult pattern to piece.  Do you see the four doves in each block?  Isn’t it interesting that quilters were doing “abstract” designs over 150 years ago?

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    I’m not at all familiar with this pattern, called Wisconsin Star.  It’s quite interesting the way it is pieced.

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    Here’s a very traditional Dresden Plate.  Melinda thinks it may be from a Ruby McKim pattern entitled Friendship Ring–and I agree.  It has 20 petals in the plates and the ice cream cone border.

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    The Double Wedding Ring pattern is probably one of the most recognizable quilt patterns—even among non-quilters.  The quilting on this one is lovely.

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    Now this is incredible!  Small silk bands were wrapped around cigars to identify the manufacturer.  Never ones to waste bits of fabric (and undoubtedly attracted by their bright colors), women began to collect and save cigar silks.  They were most often yellow.  The maker of this jacket certainly had a huge collection of silks, and the purple ones are the perfect choice for the collar and cuffs.

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    Her chevron design is perfectly pieced.  And once the piecing was done, she did a feather stitch—by hand, of course—along the edge of each band!

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    This cigar silk quilt was found in the same trunk as the jacket.

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    Again, beautifully sewn and feather stitched.

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    And don’t you love the “fringed” border?

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    An Eight Pointed Star.  The label refers to “Japanese” quilting.  Perhaps it’s reminiscent of Sashiko.

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    This wool quilt was probably made from suiting samples from a tailor’s sample book.  My husband’s grandfather and great-grandfather were both tailors and we have some quilts similar to this.

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    This is a very old Courthouse Steps quilt.

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    I suspect it’s foundation pieced.

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    Even utilitarian quilts are pleasing to the eye.

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    This last pattern is called Hearts and Gizzards!

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    Thank you, Melinda, for sharing with us!

     

  • 31Jul
    Categories: quilting Comments: 2

    We have a winner in the Name The Quilt Contest!

    The winning suggestion was Pretty Maids All In A Row.  It was suggested several times, but Linda was the first—so she wins a kit to make her own Pretty Maids quilt.

    I also used a random number generator to pick a second winner.  There were 138 entries.  The number generator chose #86, so a second quilt kit will go to Emilee in England!  Congratulations to both winners and thanks to all of you who left comments.  To order a kit of your own, CLICK HERE!

  • 21Jul
    Categories: quilting Comments: 140

    You know how it is when a co-worker’s great-nephew’s girlfriend is having a baby, and your co-worker comes to you because she “…knows you just LOVE to make quilts and it wouldn’t be too much trouble, would it, to make something for the little expected bundle of joy???”  So you’re looking for something quick, really quick, but not something that looks like you didn’t care.  That’s why I put together kits to make this super fast but super cute quilt.

    As an experienced quilter, you know it’s just a matter of zipping those strips together.  The end result, though, is a very adorable (if I do say so myself!) quilt made with my Dolly Dear fabric collection.  I’m ready to add the kits to my web catalog, but I need a name for the quilt.  I want something that represents how easy this quilt is, and my pea brain keeps spitting out “Stripping With the Dollies.”  Yeah, I know, there’s just something wrong with that!  After all, they’re already in their underwear!

    So, I’m turning to you for suggestions.  What would you name this quilt?  I’m going to give away two kits–one to the person that comes up with the winning name, and another one to a random commenter.  Here’s your chance to win!  Leave me a comment with your suggestion.  This should be fun!

    Added July 31—Thanks to all who played along.  The contest is now over!  CLICK HERE to see a post about the winners.

  • 22Jun

    Got scraps????  I’ve got the perfect block for you, then–STRINGS!

    These things are like potato chips–I bet you can’t make just one!  They’re a great way to use up strips and scraps from old projects.

    I keep a bin (well, two) on the bookshelf behind my cutting table.  Every time I need to straighten the edge of a bolt of fabric (or a hunk of fabric), I toss the resulting strip into the bin.  If I’ve been using strips for a project and have leftovers, into the bin they go.  And what about those 2 or 3 or 4 inches of fabric left after cutting out the pieces of a project.  ZIP!  Into a strip and into a bin!

    I like to use a fabric foundation when I do string blocks.  You can use paper, but I hate to tear away paper if I don’t have to!  So, if you’re ready to begin, follow along.  Layer four pieces of your foundation fabric–anything goes!

    Cut into 10″ squares.  I like 10″ because you get the best use of your fabric.  You could do any size.

    String pieced blocks are simple, easy, forgiving even!

    Grab a handful of strings.  I like mine to be between 1″ and 3″.  I like the look of narrower strings in my blocks, but the wider ones come in handy for corners.  More on that below.  The don’t have to be straight.  In fact, some slight angles make the blocks look better!

    Take a string of fabric and place it right side up, diagonally, on one square.

    Now place a second string, right side down, on top of the first string, aligning the right edges, then stitch down that right side with a 1/4″ seam allowance–or not!  It doesn’t really matter!

    Press the top strip over–and repeat until you have covered up your square!

    You don’t have to use white fabric, and you don’t have to use yardage.  Do you have some “ugly” fabric that you are never, ever, ever going to use in a quilt?  It’s perfect for the foundation for your string blocks.  When I do this, I use the back, as it’s usually a bit lighter.  Here’s and example.  This is the back of a red print fabric.  The red was just a bit “off” and didn’t seem to work with other reds in my stash.

    I did my string piecing on it, just like I did on the white foundation.

    When you’re piecing these blocks, it works great just to feed a whole stack of them through your machine, one after another.

    When you’re finished, they’ll look like this!  Notice that I used wider strips on the ends.  You don’t want to end up with a teeny tiny strip at the end.  It makes it bulky when you’re putting your blocks together.

    Just take them to your cutting mat and lay them upside down.

    You can either use your foundation square as a guide for trimming, or measure and trim.  If you use your foundation square as a guide, your blocks may be a little smaller that the 10″ you started with, as the stitching tends to draw the fabric up a bit.  No matter, just make them all the same size.

    There’s a lot you can do with string pieced squares.  Here are a couple of great examples.  This is a vintage quilt I saw on Ebay.

    Here’s one from Em’s Scrapbag.

    But my favorites look like they have sashing like this one from Quilting Board.  Guess, what?  They don’t!  It’s faux sashing!

    Here’s how it’s done.  On your foundation block, mark a diagonal guide that’s 1-1/2″ – 2″ wide, centering it with the points on your square.

    You aren’t going to sew on these lines, you’re going to line your fabric up with them.  If you marked line is 1-12″ wide, your “sashing” will be 1″ wide.

    Lay your first string down along the edge of the line and stitch.

    Press your string over…

    …and keep going!

    Arrange your squares and, magically, you have sashing!

    It’s fun to play around with your squares, arranging them in different ways.

    You can get creative, like this quilt I found from Blue Ridge Girl on Flickr.

    And, oh!  Your  ”squares” don’t have to be square.  They could be rectangles, like this one from Leedle Deedle Quilts.

    And your sashing doesn’t have to be white!  Check out the controlled color palette and black “sashing” in this example from Angelina79.

    So, are you ready to try string piecing?  I hope you do.  And I hope you’ll join my Facebook page, A Quilt Block A Day, and share your photos.

     

     

  • 27Apr

    Here’s the last installment of Tah-Dahs from the Spring Quilt Escape.

    These bright blocks were made by Sue.

    I love the tall, skinny Churn Dash blocks that Nan was making.

    Chara made this baby quilt with lambs in the borders.

    I think these snowball blocks belong to Karen J.

    Stephanie made this striking quilt top.

    That’s Connie, looking quite coy, behind her polka dot creation.

    Pat made the quilt tote that I demonstrated.

    She did some fabulous free motion quilting on it.

    Sarah has some appliqué planned for this, but I made her pose with it anyway.

    Marsha got this great top finished.

    Lonna was working on some beautiful indigo and cheddar blocks.

    Annie got this tah-dah finished just before we left on Sunday.

    Jean made this incredible quilt.

    And yes, I even did a little sewing.  That bin is filled with selvedges…

    …and I got a lot of blocks made, but want to do more.

    As at any retreat, we had lots of goodies, but I had to share photos of these two.  Cookies from Karen R…

    …and cake balls from Robin.

    It was all great fun. I can’t wait until September when we do it again!

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