String Diamonds

I have realized that my quilting personality requires a plan when starting a new quilt project whether that is following a quilt pattern or designing my own layout.  I am not able to just make a bunch of blocks and then decide on a layout later.  As soon as I start making blocks my brain kicks in forming and rejecting a setting until it settles on a Plan A.  Now Plan A can go sideways and end up as Plan C or D or maybe even K, but I start with Plan A.

That being said, I needed an idea for the String Diamond blocks.  After thinking and looking at quilt patterns, I decided on the Kashmir pattern by Nancy Mahoney.  Here is the link if you are interested in this free pattern:  http://www.nancymahoney.com/files/Kashmir_quilt_pattern.pdf

Of course I had to make a slight adjustment to the alternate block to accomandate the LeMoyne stars, but that was not difficult.

And then there were six!  This is looking good.

Here is my design wall on Monday morning.  All the alternate blocks have been pieced and the triangle/HST for the remining LeMoyne stars are cut out.  Now to get busy on the remaining string diamonds.

I wonder how many I can get made this coming weekend?

Marlene

Mini Fly With Me

The Butterflies Fly With Me quilt top was made in 2018.

While I was piecing this project, I had the idea to make a wall-hanging to coordinate with it.    However as my brother always tells me “Anyone can have an idea, but the person who does something with that idea is the one who can claim credit”.  I can tell you right now that I am claiming credit for my idea since the wall-hanging is in process.

My plan was to have the same layout, but make the butterflies out of hexagons.  What do you think?  Aren’t they so darn cute?

The hexies are 1/2″ per side with the butterly measuring 5 3/4″ x 4″.  The final butterfly is in almost done, so this week I will locate the scraps from the original quilt.  Hopefully by next weekend I will have a finished wall-hanging top.

What is on your to-do list for this week?

Marlene

One Finish & Two New Projects

It only took a year, but my wall-hanging of Emerson’s Snail is now finished.  I smile everytime I look at Emerson’s Snail.

The snail is the same, but the setting is totally different than the wall-hanging gifted to Ms Emerson.  Twins, but different.

A couple of years ago I was sorting through a bin and came across the Wheel of Mystery templates and fabric from a class with John Flynn in 2007.  I must have been very interested in this block, since I also found 3 or 4 template sets in different sizes along with an Accuquilt die.

I used the die to cut the remaining fabric into block parts and then packed it all back up.  Now it is time to get this pieced together.  There is no note stating how many blocks were cut and I am not going to count them.  It will be a surprise once all the blocks are pieced.

The next piecing project is a string diamonds for a LeMoyne block.  Bonnie Hunter has a free pattern on her website for string diamonds called Out On a String which I have been looking at for the last 4 -5 months.  Now is the time to get busy on this.  My diamonds are 4″ per side instead of the 3″ per side in Bonnie’s pattern, but my thought was a larger diamond – more strings used.

Right now the plan is to make 9 String LeMoyne blocks and then decide if more are needed.  I don’t need to make any decisions at this time, so I won’t – time enough for that later.

I do however need to decide what I want to accomplish by the end of the year.  A little over three months and we can say good-bye to 2020.

Happy Quilty Friday,

Marlene

A Daisy Finish

This cute daisy wall-hanging was finished last week.  After seeing the pattern in the current Quiltmania magazine, I went on the hunt for a kit which was found on the In The Patch Designs website.  The Do A Daisy wall-hanging is completely hand stitched except fot attaching the front, back & batting together.  It was fun although a bit difficult to make good stitches in the center of the wall-hanging.

The leaves and petals are attached with a running stitch through the middle of the wool.  This gives them a subtle 3-D effect which is one of my favorite parts of the wall-hanging.

The Multi-Print Strata top is also completed.  It is the largest strata at 55″ x 58″ and does have some fullness which I will need to ease in during the machine quilting process.

All my curiosity and what-if questions regarding the Strata quilts have been answered at this time, so on to something else.

Time to load another quilt top on the quilting frame.  The winner – Black, White & Gold pieced in 2016.

This quilt rquires custom quilting, so more practice with rulers is coming my way.  I will probably start work on it sometime in October.  In the meantime a new scrappy project and an old UFO are jumping up & down and waving their hands.  I guess it is time to give them some personal attention.  More on that in a later post.

Have a good quilty week.

Marlene

A Couple of Finishes

I am a bit behind in my posting, however today I have a couple of finishes to share.

African Courthouse Steps is now a completed quilt.  This quilt top was pieced sometime before 2008 and is one of my oldest projects.  It measures 54″ x 71″ and – if I remember correctly – was an Eleanor Burns pattern.  Yeah!  There are only two more pre-2008 quilt tops to finish before the end of the year.

The second quilt finish is the Purple Strata (40″ x 42″).  I don’t care for this one as much as the Green Stata.  Maybe it has to do with the concentration of solid purple in the center.  But that is okay since this one is intended as a charity quilt; I am sure that someone out there will love it.

My new piecing project is the third strata using multi-colored strips.

The 1 1/2″ strips were divided into light, medium & dark piles and starting with the lights in the center.  I think that this one may be my favorite of all.

Have some quilty fun this weekend.

Marlene

Leader and Ender Challenge 2020

Every year, Bonnie Hunter posts a new leader & ender project on her blog.   The 2019 challenge was Shoo, Fly, Shoo blocks.   I chose the 4″ finished size and pieced a few of them. 

When I didn’t have time or take the time to cut out the HST triangles, I sewed Uneven 9-Patch blocks instead.

And then a surprise – the 2020 Leader & Ender Challenge is Easy Breezy which also finishes at 4″.

This gave me an idea for a layout.  I would have dark gray/black fabric in every Easy Breezy block, making a strong diagonal.

By combining two Shoo, Fly, Shoo or Uneven 9-Patch blocks with two Easy Breezy blocks and sashing, an interesting 9″ finished block was created.

Isn’t this fun?  I will have so many layout options to choose from.  My plan right now is to make 20 or 25  – 9″ blocks before deciding on a final layout.  I suspect that the quilt will end up with 35 blocks (5 x 7 layout), but will make that decision later.

I will also need to decide on the sashing color between the larger blocks.  The sashing width will be 1 1/2″ and I will use a different fabric & color than the smaller sashing.  For fun, I pulled out two Kona cotton solids to audition for the larger sashing.

Hmm  I don’t think that either of these is quite what I want.  Maybe a light green?  Time to dig through the stash again.

Hope you have time & fun digging through your own stash.

Marlene

Sewing Update

The border fabric for the Long Tall quilt arrived in the mail, so that was the first thing on my quilting to-do list.. That plan got blown to bits – I really didn’t like the border fabric – so it was on to Plan B. The Kaffe print that was planned for the border was too busy and chaotic for my tastes.

Luckily I had enough of the dark gray that was used as the accent, so off with the green and on with the gray. Much better

Long Tall quilt top is 71″ x 90 1/2″ which is taller than my design wall,. The photo does give a good idea of how it looks. Now that the borders were on, this top went into the to-be-quilted pile and I was on to the next project.

Purple was the color choice for the next Strata quilt which would be testing my theory regarding the walking foot issue. I pulled out the purple 1 1/2″ strips bin and started sewing end-to-end

and then round and round.

 

Victory! It does has some waviness, but nowhere as much as the Green Strata. No more walking foot while making a Strata quilt.

A couple more rounds and then two rounds of 2″ gray strips for the border. Purple Strata will be smaller than the Green Strata which is okay by me.

I have been thinking about making one more strata quilt using multi-colored strips. My current plan is to divide the strip pile into light, medium & dark and then sew end-to-end starting with the light pile. The lights will be the center rounds, followed by the medium and ending with the dark on the outside. I suspect that this will be the largest Strata of them all since there are a lot more multi-colored strips.

There will also be some machine quilting this weekend. The quilt top that was just loaded on the frame is this one made before 2008.

It should be a busy quilting weekend. What are your plans for the enxt two days?

Happy Quilting,

Marlene

Mostly Mindless Sewing Project# 3

My third mindless sewing project is Helter Skelter by Abby Lane Quilts. It turned out to be mostly mindless sewing, not totally mindless sewing.

The technique used in this quilt is stack, cut & shuffle – Buggy Barn quilts use the same technique.

The blocks finish at 10″ x 12″ in the Helter Skelter quilt, so a layout 5 x 5 will yield a rectangular quilt. My problem was that I had 10 fat quarters that I wanted to use in this quilt and each FQ makes two blocks. With 20 blocks my layout will be 4 X 5 – a skinny rectangle.

The blocks are fun and cheerful and that was exactly the feeling I wanted for this quilt.

Oh no, we have a runaway!

Another added challenge was the limited amount of background fabric. I was determined to make it work since I really liked the background with the color of the blocks.

However skinny rectangles are not my favorite, so I decided to add side borders only. This is where the “mostly” mindless sewing into play.

In my opinion my version of Helter Skelter achieved the goals of fun, cheery and airy. The finished size is 48″ x 64″ so the dreaded skinny rectangle was avoided. I like how the colors pop out against the background.

The issue of the limited amount of background fabric – the leftovers were one short 2 1/2″ strip, one 1 1/2″ strip and a couple of 6″ squares. That was way tighter than I like, but everything turned out well.

The next and last mindless sewing project is a Purple Strata quilt. The long string of purple 1 1/2″ strips sewn end to end is gathering under my sewing machine.

Happy quilting,

Marlene

Green Strata Experiment

Green Strata is finished – binding and all. Due to the waviness, it was a bit of a challenge to machine quilt. And yes, I did have to add pleats to get it to lay flat. Unless it is closely inspected, I don’t think that many people will even notice.

An added bonus was using some orphan blocks to extend the width of the backing. Green Strata was machine quilted with a spiderweb panto-graph using green variegated thread.

I have a theory on why my Green Strata had so much waviness. The quilt top was pieced on my Juki with the walking foot attached instead of a regular 1/4″ quilting foot. I think that the walking foot may have contributed to the waviness issue. Hmm it seems like a purple strata experiment may be in my future.

The way the strips wobble up & down and around the quilt appeals to me – maybe it is my inner child drawing outside the lines. My perfectionist adult likes the fact that the quilt is flat and square, so both parts of me are happy with Green Strata.

Wishing everyone good health and some quilting time,

Marlene

Mindless Sewing Project #2

My second mindless sewing project is Long Tall, a pattern by Cozy Quilt Designs. If you are ever looking for a pattern that leaves very very little scraps, I would recommend this one. I an piecing the twin-sized version and the only scraps left were four or five 2 1/2″ squares.

Here are two blocks – one a mirror image of the other. I laid them all out on the floor to make sure that there were different fabrics in each block.

There are two tricks that I would offer to anyone making this pattern. First is to press half the blocks in the opposite direction of the first half and second is to assemble the quilt center in columns. By assembling in columns you only need to match 10″ worth of seams at a time instead of 40″ or 60″ across rows.

I am waiting on the inner and outer border fabrics to arrive, but once it does I will finish the quilt top.

Also I found this applique kit at my local quilt shop.

The name of the kit is Colorado Range and it is part of the Quilters Trek. The blue fabric for the mountains is perfect and adds a lot of dimension to the applique wall-hanging.

So, I wonder what kind of quilty distractions are headed my way in August or if – for once – I will be able to make a list and stick to it. Maybe I should get busy on that list.

Take care and stay healthy,

Marlene –