Category Archives: Flimsies

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

Hazel Hedgehog

Hazel Hedgehog – pattern by Elizabeth Hartman

Isn’t Hazel cute? Once finished, she will be adopted by my oldest daughter as her birthday gift this year.

The pattern was very well written with clear cutting & sewing instructions. The only method change that I made was using Doug Leko’s Simple Folded Corners ruler instead of the stitch-n-flip method.

It didn’t take that long to cut the corners off and I feel that my sewing was more accurate. The corners needed to be trimmed whether it was before or after stitching, so why not?

Once all 9 bodies were constructed, I auditioned the fabric for the spines. The requested colors were pink, purple and robin-egg blue.

The blue may be a tad bit darker than robin-egg, but I like how these fabrics play together. Are they sporting Mohawk haircuts here?

Much better – getting a trim.

Ta-Da – quilt top completed. Now you may be wondering about the one hedgehog wearing purple glasses. Ms Hazel with the glasses is in honor of a very special granddaughter.

Ms E is a fan of all things purple and is holding a purple carrot that she (with some help from her mother) grew this year. What a cutie! And I swear that I am not biased or anything.

Now it is time to get this quilt top on the frame. The top finished at 36″ x 39″, so I am hopeful that I can finish the machine quilting tomorrow.

Marlene

PS The template for the glasses was found on Elizabeth Hartman’s website.

Little Bit of This & A Little Bit of That

I didn’t make as much progress on my quilting projects in June as I had hoped. However small progress is better than no progress and perhaps I will do better in July.

The picture didn’t lie – Diamond Stars quilt top was 1/2″ wider through the middle. I am blaming those long skinny side triangles, however they have been pruned to the correct width. It is a subtle difference, but I felt it was worth the time to fix the issue.

The next project on the UFO list was Emerson’s Snail #2. Last year I made this wall-hanging for Emerson from her drawing.

I always intended to make a second wall-hanging for me and now is the time. Once I decided on the border, it was a quick piecing project. It will take longer to machine quilt the snail than it did to complete the quilt top.

I want this hanging on my wall sooner rather than later, so it is on my July to-do list right after two birthday quilts.

First up is Mini-Metro which is currently on the frame. It is being quilted with Baptist Fans and the most challenging part is not sewing the pockets shut.

Mini-Metro is a birthday gift for my brother and needs to be finished by the end of July. I am also working on a 39″ wall-hanging as a birthday gift for my eldest daughter. July is full of birthdays in our family and this year seems to be full of quilty gifts.

Marlene

Diamond Stars

Another UFO bites the dust! The first Diamond Star block was made in December 2018 and now it was time to make a quilt.

For the last week or so I have been piecing the other diamond blocks. They are easy to piece and so much fun watching them come together.

Five of the six diamonds completed with the orange star left to be pieced. The fabric on the right was auditioned for the background, but was rejected – too busy.

Instead I went with this light gray background with amazing texture. Since I was setting my diamonds totally different than the quilt pattern, I needed to draft a pattern for the background pieces. It actually wasn’t as difficult as I thought it might be. The two triangles are 1/2 diamond with seam allowance and the four corner pieces are full diamonds with one side extended to make a square corner.

Looking at the picture of the finished quilt top (46″ x 51 3/4″), it appears that the center bows out. I will need to check into that and make any adjustments needed.

The next UFO project is my wall-hanging of Emerson’s Snail. I have finished 8 UFOs this year, but there are still over 30 projects on the list. Isn’t that depressing? Just remember – the turtle won the race.

Happy quilting,

Marlene

Reign of Dragons

My goal over the Memorial Day weekend was to complete a project that required no decision making efforts from me. Most of my UFOs acquired that status due to the fact that they needed decisions made and I just wanted to sew. The obvious answer was a kit and the Dragons kit by Jason Yenter was the winner. At 76″ x 92″ this is a large quilt, but it contains panels with only 6 pieced blocks, I was confident that it could be completed in 3 days. Saturday evening most of the center was completed.

I don’t have a picture of the quilt top on Sunday night, however the center had been completed and the four border lengths had been cut. Monday afternoon the quilt top was completed.

I underestimated the amount of time it would take to sew the borders, but I am very pleased with the end result.

I read the pattern instructions regarding the mitered corners, read the border print mitered corners information from the Jinny Byer book and then did my own thing. The pattern directions did not match the print at the corners and Jinny Beyer said to match the print & cut the 45 degree angle. My way matched the print, marked the angle, sew, verify that all was correct and then cut. I was not committed until everything looked good.

This is the first time I have used digital print fabric. The pros are the amazing details of the dragons and the soft feel of the fabric. The con side for me is that the fabric panels did not lay as flat as printed panels. I wonder if there are any special considerations for machine quilting a digital print quilt top. That is something that I will need to check out.

Happy Quilting,

Marlene

Victory – Space Invaders Conquered

For such an simple pattern, Space Invaders quilt top took a lot of perseverance, unsewing/resewing and stubbornness to complete.

The last picture of Space Invaders looked like a bomb was detonated on the black rectangles.

And the quilt top looked a lot worse before things improved, but it was worth it. The center looks so much better with the focus fabric replacing the solid black rectangles.

Once that was completed it was decision time regarding the borders. The pattern called for 5″ borders which required careful cutting since the focus fabric is directional.

However the more that I looked at the borders, the more unhappy I was. The Space Invaders characters printed on the fabric were too small for such a wide border, so the first decision was to trim the border down to 3 1/2″.

Better – the next challenge was what to do with the side borders. Since I started with 1 yard of the Space Invaders fabric, I knew that there would need to be alternate blocks to achieve the length needed.

Nope, blocks with random colors wasn’t going to work – what is Plan C or is it Plan D now? Okay, 3″ finished alternate blocks on one color with 3″ focus fabric squares. Since there is only one strip of yellow in the center, maybe it would look good with yellow alternate blocks.

That isn’t what I wanted. The yellow alternate blocks are yelling “Look at me! Look at me!” instead on complimenting the center. The dark turquoise squares, however, receive an A+ for playing well with others.

And ta-da!

The Space Invaders may have won a few skirmishes, but I won the war. Right now all I feel as I look at this top is frustration, tired of all the decisions necessary and relief that it is finished. In a couple of months or years I will know if I am really happy with the final result. For now, done is good.

Why is it that some quilting projects are a battlefield from start to finish and some flow so smoothly that you are sad when they are completed?

This marks another UFO off the list – YEAH! – and time for something different. I wonder what that project will be. Hmmm

Happy quilting and stay healthy,

Marlene

Blue Onion

Since I have several works-in-progress that has stalled due to different reasons, so I decided to pull out a project that would be fast, fun and no thinking involved. Does such a quilting project truly exist?

The first challenge was choosing the fabric. The pattern calls for 3/8 yard of 12 different prints which means no raiding of the fat quarter stash. A shopping trip to the local quilt store (the end of January) produced 7 of the 12 and I was able to cull the remaing 5 from my yardage.

The next step was to cut out rectangles and organize them into 6 stacks of 6 different fabrics.

Using the Ovals All Ways by Creative Grid, the curved pieces for each block was cut. Each block contains 5 pieces with 4 seams, so the piecing went smoothly.

Remember my comment about no thinking involved – well that part of the plan hit a brick wall. After sewing the below block, I had second and third thoughts about including the turquoise polka-dots on white background fabric in this quilt.

After careful consideration, thinking through all my options and a headache, I decided to finish the quilt top without fabric changes.

The Blue Onion quilt top (50″ x 70″) was completed today and I have to admit that I am glad that I left the polka-dots in. To me they add a lot of playfulness and energy to the quilt.

This weekend was very productive in the sewing department. Besides Blue Onion, I also sewed two tablecloths and one pink pillowcase. The last time my youngest granddaughter visited me, she told me that the pillow in the playroom should really be pink.

Happy Quilting and Stay Healthy

Marlene

Oldest Quilt Tops

I started quilting in the fall of 2001 when my youngest went off to college. The first 5 or 6 years were spent trying out different techniques, designers and fabric combinations to discover what made a Marlene quilt. It wasn’t until sometime in 2007 that I realized that I didn’t know what was where, so I started numbering my quilt tops and keeping a list.

The first quilt top completed in 2008 has the number 2008-1, but how were the quilt tops made between 2001 and 2007 be identified? Going the easy route, they are numbered U-1, U-2, etc.

The goal this year is to machine quilt the remaining 5 U-tops, so it seemed appropriate to have a lineup of the remaining members of the U-tops gang.

U-01 Batik Sampler Quilt

I don’t remember what book or pattern originally inspired this quit, however I do remember substituting a couple of different blocks for the ones in the pattern. The sleeve needs to be hand-stitched down, then U-1 will be a completed quilt.

U-02 Autumn Card Tricks Pattern by Eleanor Burns

Autumn Card Tricks was machined quilted last weekend and is waiting for the binding and sleeve. This top was also on my 2020 UFO list since it had been a quilt sandwich for several years. My definition – quilt tops are not UFO’s, but quilt sandwiches are.

U-05 Shadow Box

Shadow Box was a quilt kit that was purchased (I believe) from Holly’s Quilt Cabin. The fabric designer – Jason Yenter – has been a favorite of mine since this quilt. I like the layering effect that is a trademark of his fabric designs.

U-09

Other than U-09, this quilt does not have a name. Maybe I can find one on the list of Colorado ghost towns.

U-09 was the project of an online quilting class from Quilt University – the only online quilting class I have taken.

U-15 African Courthouse Steps Pattern by Eleanor Burns

As you can see, there were at least 15 quilt tops before I started my current numbering system. I think it is time that these pre-2007 become finished quilts, don’t you? The bottom three are all bigger than my new quilting frame, so I will be getting experience in machine quilting larger tops.

Next post I will have a new project and a finished quilt to share.

Happy Quilting,

Marlene

Periscope

My Periscope quilt top – a free pattern on the Quilted Twins website – is completed.

I made quite a few changes to the pattern while constructing this top from recycled shirts. The first thing I did was scale the block sizes down to 3/4 size. The original pattern finishes at 100″ square which is way too big for me. My Periscope is 75″ square and contains multiple background fabrics (second change to the pattern).

Originally my plan was to go all scrappy, but after I had a few blocks on the design wall I decided it was too chaotic as shown below.

Continuing the background from the Shoofly block out into the Courthouse Steps block gives the top a calmer appearance and more interest. The next design change was to add Hourglass blocks to the center of the Courthouse Steps.

It took some attention to detail to make sure the background was positioned in the Courthouse Steps block correctly, but I think it was worth it. The final change was to the border – instead of piano key borders, I used larger rectangles.

I am glad that this quilt top is finished, but I will admit that it is not one of my favorites. If I was going to make it again with the intent to keep it for myself, I think that I would downsize the blocks again and use a scrappy two color combination. However at this time I have no plans to make another Periscope quilt.

The recycled shirts have been put away and now it is time to let the animals run free.

How do you build an elephant quilt? One stitch at a time.

Marlene