Sunday, September 25, 2016

Crossed Laurel Leaves

Block 22, Crossed Laurel Leaves, of the Pastor's Attic Quilt is completed. This block was actually completed by last Sunday . . . but I didn't like it. I think the red and black fabrics overpower the leaves. 

Several of my friends saw this block. They thought it looked fine, but I just wasn't satisfied and thought I could do better.

So, I made another one and this block is much better looking.

Most of my blocks have the red/black/gold-beige combination. I have a few red & black blocks and some red & gold blocks, but this is the only beige & black block.

What do you think? Which block do you like best?

I was eager to see how long it would take me to applique this block because . . .

Hanging on a rafter, on the third floor of the Davis Merchantile in Shipshewana, is a Crossed Laurel Leaf quilt. I have looked at this quilt for years and wondered if I would have the patience to reproduce her. 

There are 20 blocks in this quilt. The two blocks I've made were both appliqued in seven days. If I could keep up that pace, I would have the blocks completed in 10 weeks, but we all know that won't happen. Maybe someday?

I'm not into the Row by Row craze that sweeps the quilting world in the summer. I just don't have the time to participate and most of the row blocks are overwhelming to me with the amount of machine applique involved.

However, Yoder Department Store's rows are for people like me. My favorite of their row's is the 2014 block. The 2014 block came in the four seasons and you could choose which season you wanted. I bought an  Autumn kit and sewed it up. It has been hanging in my kitchen since the fall of 2014.


We had guests last spring and the wife kept admiring the wallhanging. When I had purchased my kit, I had bought an extra one thinking this would make a nice gift for someone. I pulled out the leftover fabric from my block, and between the the leftovers and the new kit, I made these 2 rows, one for a gift, one for a spare gift.

I hope to machine quilt them this week. After the quilting is completed, I'll iron the felted wool applique onto the row.

Linking up to Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching, Quilting is More Fun than Housework, Em's ScrapbagLove Laugh QuiltQuilt Story, Esther's Wednesday WOW!, Sew Fresh Quilts, My Quilt Infatuation, Crazy Mom Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Show Off Saturday

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Two Finishes & Vintage Candy Cane Snowman

I have a lot to show you today but first . . .

Some of you are you are confused about the back basting applique technique I talked about last week.  Gay, from Sentimental Stitches, has a step by step tutorial. Gay is left handed so right handed people will be sewing the opposite direction. I noticed she marked on top of her fabric too.

Now onto the show & tell stuff!


Last Sunday afternoon I started quilting this snowman and I couldn't stop! I did all the quilting in an afternoon. Now I admit, there isn't a lot of quilting on this little quilt. I stitched in the ditch along the edge of the border fabric, then just outline quilted the embroidery. 

Since this project was hand quilted, I hand sewed the binding on the back side.
On the backside you can see the straight line quilting in the border fabric.

Several commented on how perfect this stripped fabric was for the border. This was fabric left from the Zippy-Strippy quilt I made DIL 2 in June.


He finishes at 12" square and I'm displaying him in a picture frame. I had to take the picture from the side, there was a glare otherwise. 

I'm not a seasonal decorator. If I think something looks nice, I display it, no matter what the season. 


The pattern is Vintage Candy Cane Snowman by Crabapple Hill Designs. The pattern was purchased from the Pumpkinvine Quilt shop in Middlebury, Ind.

Since the embroidered snowman project is completed, I'm appliqueing again every evening. Block 22, Crossed Laurel Spray, of the Pastor's Attic Quilt has been started. Freezer paper in the back of the leaves is the technique I'm using for this block. Pictures next week.



I also got the king size pillow cases sewed. Yes, I am finished sewing pillowcases! At least I think I am, you never know for sure.

Last spring I finished two flimsies which were to be long arm quilted. They were both quilted by Tammy from the Three Sisters Fabric. Last week they came home. I've finished the binding and they are officially finished!


First is the Summer Lake Log Cabin quilt designed by Judy Martin. The pattern is found in her Log Cabin Quilt book. I purchased a kit from Lolly's Fabrics in Shipshewana years ago. I love how she has turned out.

This log cabin quilt finishes at 95" square which I think is a rather awkward size for a quilt, but it is what it is.
The colors that read as blue in the picture are actually purples.

A close-up of the center star. 




The snail blocks in the center and the border are actually pieced the same as the log cabin blocks. It is just the placement of lights and darks that make a different design.



I used a purple whole cloth for the quilt back. The simple meandering stitch shows up nicely. 

I also stitched both sides of the binding on my machine. The straight stitching on the back beside the binding doesn't bother me at all. I think it looks just fine.
The next quilt is Cherry Blossoms by Karen H. Her blog is Faeries and Fibres. (Click the heading Patterns by Karen H. She asks that people link to her blog, not directly to the patterns.) 

This quilt is different colors than I normally use but I think she looks so peaceful and elegant. The 9-patches finished at 3" and the little HST are 1" finished. 

Karen had a plain fabric border on her quilt but I added a pieced border. I thought the border was needed to add a definite stop to the center, it looked too plain. The binding is a flange binding.
Again this binding is machine sewn on both sides.

The backing fabric for both quilts came from Calico Point. They have the most reasonable priced quilts back of anywhere, including the online fabric stores.  I like whole cloth backing, no piecing!
Here is a close up of some of the blocks.

This quilt was made entirely from my stash, even the background fabric!

She is quilted with meandering and measures 90" x 102". Karen's pattern finishes at 69" x 82" but I wanted it to be bed sized.

Both of these quilts will go on the pile to be given to the grandchildren as they become adults. 

Linking to - Log Cabin LooniesKathy's Slow Sunday StitchingQuilting is More Fun than Housework, Em's ScrapbagLove Laugh Quilt, Super Mom - No CapeQuilt StoryEsther's Wednesday WOW!, Sew Fresh Quilts, Silly Mama Quilts, My Quilt Infatuation, Crazy Mom Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, A Quilting Reader's Garden, Show Off Saturday

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Back Basting Applique

Several of you had questions about back basting for hand applique. I'm sure if you google that phrase, you'll find many sources to check out.
I've taken pictures of the block I'm working on for the Pastor's Attic Quilt. This is block 24, Crossed Pinecone Variation. The 4 corner fronds are completed and I'm ready for the center. I mark the design on the back side of the background fabric with a black Frixon pen. Straight pins go around the design so I can see on the front the position of the applique. (The outsides fronds have been appliqued, but the cream colored thread doesn't show.)


I lay my fabric on top, pin it outside the pins on the back. Next I turn it over to the back; remove the back pins and then with a larger needle and a high contrasting thread, I basted the design onto the red fabric. 


After the fabric is basted to the front, I remove the pins. Using a pair of very sharp scissors, I trim the large piece of fabric from the design, making sure I leave a good 1/2" from the basting.


Then I very carefully trim around the outside of the design. Once that is completed, I very, very, very carefully cut between the curvy pieces.





Here is a blurry close-up photo.

There is a design in the center of the block but I won't trim that until I have the outside applique completed. I'm afraid the raw edges would fray too much.

I know this sounds complicated but it really isn't, it is just time consuming. I can't do freezer paper on the back of the design, too many problems removing it because of all the small protrusions. 

Some people will cut slits in their background fabric under the applique to remove the freezer paper. I won't do that. We've all seen old antique quilts with the applique  worn off. If there are slits in the back when the applique wears off, that quilt is ruined.  

I've tried freezer paper on the top of my design, but it never stays attached.

Some people mark the top of the fabric with the design, baste to the background fabric, then needle turn. That is fine too, whatever works.


Two sides completed.











The four sides completed.












Inside star is appliqued. This was the hardest part to applique on this block. Not the best of applique, but I got her done!








Back side of the block. Since I used red thread, you can see how it lines up with the black pen. I don't always stay on the line, but I'm normally pretty close.







All pressed and looking pretty for the camera.












What's next? I'm going to take a vacation from applique and quilt my little snowman wallhanging.

Linking to - Kathy's Slow Sunday StitchingQuilting is More Fun than Housework, Em's ScrapbagLove Laugh QuiltQuilt StoryEsther's Wednesday WOW!, Sew Fresh QuiltsMy Quilt Infatuation, A Quilting Reader's Garden, Crazy Mom Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Show Off Saturday

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Sister's Choice - Gretchen's Headache

Last week I told you about starting a Sisters Choice quilt since I already had the 9-patch blocks completed, and how I decided to cut the mutant flying geese differently than Bonnie Hunter said. I thought I would be saving some time by not messing with flippy corners and the extra HST's.

And remember, I didn't cut the rectangles the right length so I was needing to trim the 9-patches. I planned to trim the 9-patches after the mutants were sewn; which I am still waiting to do.

As I was sewing the star point rectangles or mutant flying geese (I don't really care what they're called) I realized that some of the rectangle length were cut slightly shorter than the other rectangles. UGH! 


I finished sewing the HST's to the rectangles, pressed them, then started trimming them all to the same size. The width needed to be downsized to 2" (1-1/2" finished) and the length 5-1/2" (5" finished). I trimmed maybe 20 then decided I didn't want to spend time doing this right now. I want to sew! I did trim 1 9-patch block to the correct size and sewed the mutants onto her.

Then I wrote up notes, so I could know what I had been doing; then gently, neatly and carefully placed all the blocks and pieces into a ziplock bag and put the bag into a tub. Sister's Choice - Gretchen's Headache is now an official  UFQ (unfinished quilt). I'll work on this project next winter when I have more time and patience.


I pulled out my embroidered snowman, trimmed him up and added a border.

Yes, this is actually what I needed, a finish! He may be only   13 1/2" by 15" but it is a flimsy and I have a sense of accomplishment.

These strips are 3" wide but that is more width than I will need. I'll trim after he is quilted. Mitering a printed stripe fabric is more challenging than a woven stripe. That is why the bottom left corner looks goofy.

I'll get him marked, then he'll be all ready for quilting.

Linking to - Esther's Wednesday WOW!, Sew Fresh Quilts, Jo's Junction, Quilting is More Fun Than HouseworkMy Quilt Infatuation, Crazy Mom Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, A Quilting Reader's Garden, Show Off Saturday

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Oak Leaves & Acorns Block; Pastor's Attic Quilt

Block 12 for the Pastor's Attic Quilt is completed! The name for this block is obvious, Oak Leaves & Acorns. I used the back basting applique method entirely for this block. 

Back-basting is also the technique I'm using on the next block which is block 24. When I start working on a new block, I look at it and think, this is going to take forever, but it doesn't. 

I remember as a little girl watching my mother applique and thinking, "Someday I want to do that." Now I am!


This hasn't been a very long post so I am going to share this picture of the butterfly weed blooming. The first signs of Autumn are here.

Linking up to - Kathy's Slow Sunday StitchingQuilting is More Fun than Housework, Em's ScrapbagLove Laugh Quilt, Esther's Wednesday WOW!, Sew Fresh QuiltsMy Quilt Infatuation, Crazy Mom Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Show Off Saturday

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Sisters Choice

One summer, several years ago, I made 9-patch blocks, all different sizes.


I used some of the 3" finished blocks in the Cherry Blossoms Quilt. There are a lot of 3" blocks left. 

I made many 4-1/2" finished 9 patches. I haven't done anything with them yet but I did sketch out an idea . . . someday!

I also sewed at least 100 6" finished 9-patches. Earlier this summer I turned to the queen of scrappy quilts (Bonnie Hunter of course) and see what she had on her Quiltville! blog for 6" 9-patches. I chose her Sisters Choice quilt.

Bonnie tells you to make flippy corners for her Star Points. I didn't want to make flippy corners. I know Bonnie raves about them because she loves the extra HST's for a future project but I think they are just a nuisance. 

I had the bright idea to cut my rectangles with the edges angled and then sew the colored HST's on those edges. By doing this way I don't need those nuisance extra HST's.

I'm sure this would have worked fine if I had used the correct length for the rectangles, but I didn't. The star point were too short for the 9-patches. I know, I should have checked earlier, but I thought I had done the math!

Now I could do one of 2 things, 1 - Make new 9-patches to fit the star points. 2 - Cut more fabric to make the correct size star points. 


I chose to do #3 - none of the above. I just trimmed down the 9-patches to fit the star points.

These blocks will measure 9-1/4" finished instead of the 10" they're supposed to be.

Have I created a new design? Isn't that how new quilt designs are made, by making mistakes? I'm still going to call it Sisters Choice.

I've been sewing these mutant flying geese when I'm in the mood to sew and I don't have anything else to work on at the moment. I'm making progress. After all 724 of them are sewn, I'll trim the 9 patches. I don't know when I'll get these blocks finished but a little sewing time here and there adds up.

Cynthia, from Quilting is More Fun than Housework, has asked us to list our favorite blogs. There are many blogs I enjoy reading, but I am going to just list a few. They all are quilters but they all have different interests in quilting.

Jo's Country Junction and Karen from Quilts.....Etc. They post everyday! Jo sometimes has an evening post too. These two are the first blogs I check every morning over a cup of coffee. Kathy Quilts has a link party on Sundays and promotes slow handwork. 

I enjoy all the blogs I link to. In some of the links, quilters from other countries link up. I get to travel to Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Canada and many other countries. Stitchin Farm GirlGlenda from Patchwork Dreams and Chris from Quilting at the Farm are just several from the very many blogs.

Linking to -  Quilt StoryEsther's Wednesday WOW!, Sew Fresh Quilts, Silly Mama Quilts, My Quilt Infatuation, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Love Laugh Quilt, Em's Scrapbag, Crazy Mom Quilts, Show Off Saturday

There are also blogs I enjoy reading that don't post very often. These are the quilters who are so busy making WOW! quilts they don't have time to post. Hilde from Every Stitch, Carla-A Few of My Favorite Things, Carole-Wheels on the Warrandyte Bus, Susan-Thimble Stitch, Mereth from Artful Sister.

Click on the sidebars of blogs or linky parties and visit someone new!


There are many other greats blogs out there but I can't list them all. Enjoy your reading! Have a good week. Blessings, Gretchen

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Pillowcases & Applique

Last week, if I had any down time during the day, I ran to my sewing machine and worked on the pillowcases. They're finished, all 15 of them. The fabrics include everything from Dr. Suess to breast cancer awareness fabrics. (I hope I never need to give those to someone!) I couldn't get all 15 on the clothesline at once but I am pleased they are completed. I do need to make one more set of cases, a king sized pair. I'll get to those in September.

In the evenings I worked on my applique blocks for the Pastor's Attic Quilt. I just realized, each block has a name (duh!).
I didn't have time to do a lot of prepping so I marked several blocks that I could do back-basting applique. I'm working on block 12 (because 11 has a LOT of pieces!) named Oak Leaves & Acorns. This week I should get 4 red oak leaves appliqued. 


A couple weeks ago the weather forecast was for rain. I had tilled some empty spaces in my garden then planted field radishes. We got rain; we've received a LOT of rain and the field radishes are up and growing.


The farmer has plowed the wheat field and we hope to sow it to alfalfa. Normally we seed our alfalfa by the middle of August, but this year is proving to be a challenging growing season for faming.


One of the perks of having grandparents who farm is riding in the tractor with grandpa. What is even better is when you are the only local grandchild old enough to ride in the tractor; you don't have to take turns!


And at the end of the day, you can say, it's been a good day, good job done.

I'm linking to - Kathy's Slow Sunday StitchingQuilting is More Fun than Housework, Em's Scrapbag, Quilt StoryEsther's Wednesday WOW!, Sew Fresh Quilts, Crazy Mom Quilts, Show Off Saturday.