Saturday, July 30, 2011

Blueprints for String Quilts

Let's see. What project shall I work on today? I had several choices. As I was sifting thru my scrapboxes, I decided to begin another string quilt. I wanted some 'mindless, stress-free' sewing.  HA!

I had a small bundle of muslin to use as foundation. I cut that up into strips. It will make 40 blocks. I have a mundane sort of green fabric. I decided to use that up for the center strip and outline it with a narrow black frame.  This method of framing the string blocks with a narrow sashing strip was first used by Melva and shared on the HeartStrings group. I do not take credit for creating this design element. This post is for illustration only.

I had planned to make a 48- block quilt with a narrow border. As I was preparing the green strips, I discovered it will not yield 48 pieces. Now what?  Why not spend the day in EQ and find out what you can really do?  LOL

I can see this will be a recuring issue, so I made up some blueprints for my string blocks. I want to know how many blocks I need and what size I will get from each plan.

This is a string block drawn in a 4-patch setting. You can achieve a few different settings, depending on the orientation of the patch.  Here are 2 different orientations. The sample layouts which follow, are using the first layout.  The measurements in the layouts are based on a string block finishing at 9".

This is a really nice size for a baby quilt or wheelchair quilt. The basic block setting measures out at 36". You can decide your own border treatment to make it a size you need. This diagram finishes at 45x45.

This one has 24 blocks and works up to a nice lap size of 49 x 67

Here is a 48 block plan with a narrow border. I think a border contains the strings and gives a nice, finished look.  This plan incorporates the QAYG joining strips. It makes quilting and assembly a very easy process!

I'm pretty sure this is the layout I'll have to use this time. It is a nice, squared plan and "sofa sized". It has 36 string blocks. The black joining strips are the same size as the black in the accent frame.

What is your favorite blueprint? Please leave a comment for me.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fiesta Fans

This project was one of those 'special accidents'. I began editing a traditional fan block in EQ. I gave it vivid colors, a little rotation and this is what turned up. I began this project way back in 2002! I submitted it, with a less dramatic border, as a Club Eq challenge project. When I submitted the file, I made a comment that I should make it for real. Well, dear Penny, a major player at the EQ Company, dared me to make it. So,  I did.  Where is the pic of the real quilt?  It is still a top, a UFO! I made this in my early quilting days. I  trimmed the blocks wrong, so that the quarter circle arcs didnt meet up properly.

I paper pieced the fan blades independently, then joined them into a fan. I used interfacing on the curved edges of the blades, so I could sew on the line and invert it to a finished edge. I appliqued the fan to the background squares. I planned some nice fancy quilting in the open areas.

I might actually finish this quilt, if Penny dared me again, but not this year. Actually, next year would be the 10-year mark from 2002. Unbelievable!  That may be a good year to finish it!

If you would like the EQ7 file for this project, you can download it here
Please remember that you must have EQ7 installed on your computer in order to open this file.

Fiesta Fans Quilt -

Monday, July 25, 2011

Braid Strips

I have the two braid strips pieced now. They will become part of my Sofa quilt. They turned out 76" long! I havent finished off the edge yet. I'm auditioning thoughts of what to use as the edge. This picture shows it using a portion of the border stripe fabric. The same stripe which created the center block design. It is a stripe, cut, re-cut and re-assembled "hidden wells" style. Turns out very cool!

Now back to the braid....I am worried about overkill with this border strip fabric. You may recall I have already made parts of a center panel for this quilt, with seminole piecing and the border stripe on the ends. The center edges remain undone for now. It is waiting to have another band, considerably wider, to be inserted between the seminole strips. It will contain another piecing style.

On either side of this center panel will be panels of  applique!  It will definitely NOT contain any border stripe! LOL

Did I ever get back to the issue of the braid bands?  Okay, Instead of using this border stripe on the ends of the braids, I could entertain the thought of using a very narrow dark wine, solid fabric on the ends.

If you havent run for the bottle of tylenol, please leave an opinion for me.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Thread Tales

Right now, I am piecing two rows of braids which will become a part of my L.R. sofa quilt. You can only add one piece at a time before pressing open in preparation for the opposing piece. I am chain-sewing the two bands each time. I wondered to myself if it was really accomplishing anything to chain sew only 2 units before having to cut.

My mind had to analyze this - I could not let it go. So, say you have an ending thread tail of 3" and say you have a new beginning thread tale of another 3", that would be 6" of thread. Now, we have a top thread and bobbin thread, so that is actually 12" - yes, one whole foot of expensive thread, every time you have to cut and start a new piece!

I am glad that I have grown up to the better quality of thread, BUT I will be more conscious of how I use it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

BunnyHill Block #4

Who says I cant keep it simple? I must have had my fill of applique for the week because block # 4 is done!  Cool eh? Very cool. I especially like this one, probably because all of the pieces except the leaves, were made before today!  LOL The circles turned out really well when I did those. I wonder what I did?

I really like the whimsy of this block. Now, onward to blocks No. 6 and way, not today! I need to tidy up now, so I can get back to some normal quilting!  I am encouraged to gather pieces for some new braided rows for my sofa quilt.

How about a pic of all the blocks together? Here is the first five blocks - four more to go plus borders. Again, please disregard the yellow overcast in the photography. My cameraman is off today!

I'm beginning to like this piece but it is starting to look a little cluttered. I especially like the folk art feel of the black top stitching thread. The piece has been made solely from my scrapbox. It may become my new studio  mascot quilt when it's finished.

Pillowcase Dresses for Haiti

I have had a few inquiries about the campaign for donating pillowcase dresses. The batch of dresses that I made will be provided to the local chapter of United Methodist Women.

This website represents the large organization. It contains general information for various causes.

If you are interested in supporting the pillowcase dresses program for the children of Haiti, my first suggestion is to contact a United Methodist Church in your area. Someone there would be able to provide the information you need.

Thank you for your interest in this charitable work.

Bunny Hill Blk #5 - Finished

Phew. That was just way too much work! LOL  An entire day and a half, just for the applique. The background block was already done prior. Should I do the applique for my block #4 now that all the stuff is out?   My photography is substandard! The fabrics are really more earthy and cream toned.

When you are quilting, you are spending time with yourself. I usually learn something about myself while I'm doing a quilting task. Today I have learned not to snub my nose up at fusible applique! Generally,  I am a handwork person, but this 'A' stuff really stretches my patience. I have learned to recognize pieces with inside curves as very unfriendly.

I had a charming pattern for a lazy susan flower, but it was too big AND too many points. Here, again, is where this fusible technique is beginning to look better and better. I dont mind machine stitching around those odd curves and points.

This block #5 is my center block, to set the theme of the whole piece. I can move on to block #4 now and keep it simple.  LOL

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bunny Hill Blk #5

 My Bunny Hill block #5 is  almost done. I knew where I wanted to go with it, but I ran out of steam. The fence logs are deliberately offset. My plan was to apply some greenery along the bottom. I also wanted to have something in the open space opposite the crow. I thought I knew where I was going with this, but my motifs werent quite right.

I have some gorgeous stars from Keepsake Quilting. They are cut from shimmering gold fabrics. I wanted to use one of those but it was just a bit too big. If I tried to cut it down, I wouldnt get it right.

It is frustrating to have your day ending and your tiny project not quite finished! I still have blocks 4, 6, and 7 to make and I think block 8 is just around the corner! LOL

What do you think this block needs?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

More Pillowcase Dresses

Today I finished up the last of a batch of donated pillowcases - made into dresses. This campaign is being collected by the United Methodist Women and will be shipped on to the children of Haiti.

I made 4 dresses today. It doesnt sound like much, but that bias tape is a time-consuming effort. I refuse to buy bias tape since I have the resources to make my own. All total, I have made 21 dresses. I'm 'nearly' tempted to go back to the church, looking for 29 more donated pillowcases, just so I could achieve a personal goal of 50 dresses.  Sssh, dont tell.  I want to acquire them innocently!

Well, it is my pleasure to have an opportunity to use my skills for a needy cause. I am always asking our Lord to open my eyes to opportunities of his will. I am overwhelmed with grace when I recognize an opportunity!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Log Cabin Rose

This block design has created some interest on my favorite yahoo group, C-bees, which is a sister list of Cyberquilters. One of the members, Jean, posted a pic of her Curved Log Cabin quilt, queen size! It created a stir because some quilters have not been exposed to the mystery of all quilt blocks. It was required to explain how a square block could come out looking round?

I unofficially call this design "Log Cabin Rose". It is made up from just this one block. Rotating the blocks and changing the number of blocks will ultimately alter the design it produces. This is a square block. The circles and curves are created because the lavender strips are wider than the blue strips, creating the illusion of being rounded.

This block is in the EQ library, filed under 'Foundation Pieced -Log Cabins'. They gave it the title "Off Center 6 - Log Cabin".  You could also piece this block in the traditional way.


This is what can result from rotating the blocks. I call this layout the Rose Medallion.

I call this layout the Vertical Strip Rose

I call this layout the Circles and Stars Rose. This is similar to the layout that Jean used for her quilt, only she used many more blocks!

and you could also use this block to simulate a scallop could use it to surround any of your favorite quilt centers

I hope you found this article interesting.  If you have EQ7 software installed on your computer, you can download this file and continue designing. You can access the Log Cabin Rose file here:

If you find this file helpful, please leave a comment.

Thank you for stopping by to see what I've been up to!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saturday Sewing

Today my energy will be devoted to working on another batch of pillowcase dresses. The pillowcases are so pretty. Ladies from church donate them. They have pretty flowers or stripes or abstract designs. I probably wont get them all done today, but I would like to have a new batch to take to church tomorrow.

I will make 'continuous bias' from a square piece of fabric this time. Last week, I cut bias strips and joined them together. My purpose for using this method was to avoid some of the extra seams created from the shorter sections. I made alot of bias!  It is a time-consuming process, even with the bias tape maker.

Create an opportunity to create something today!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Last Supper

I had a chat recently with my Dear Aunt. She mentioned a wallhanging I had made for her a few years back. I realized that I had wanted one of these wallhangings also, but I had never gotten around to making it for myself.

So today I spent machine quilting a printed panel of The Last Supper. It is about 43" by 34" .

I also sewed the binding down by machine. I figured if I was going to get this far with it, I wanted to be able to call it done! (as Joyce would say). I have already finished hand stitching down the hanging sleeve.

This is the day the Lord has made and it was a good one! Thank you for another day.

Criss Cross Bands revised

I've put alot of work into these bands. When I sewed the segments together, they were incorrectly offset by approx 1/4".This made it impossible to align a ruler to mark a trimming- off point. Occasionally, I am inclined to take a short cut after I've already invested much time on this small part of the big quilt. In the end, I unstitched all the segments (6 segments in each band) and put them back together again. Once done correctly, they actually came out longer than my original measurement.

Now, I had already cut off a piece of my border stripe from the bolt to run it thru the laundry.Oops, since my band is now longer, will I have to cut another piece? God was with me again and I am humbled with thanks!  I had 1" to spare after attaching a strip to the band!

I had purchased this border stripe a few years ago. It is by Henry Glass. Initially, I hadnt planned to use it as a design factor on this quilt. Now that I have, this sofa quilt is becoming  a piece of careful planning.

I carefully cut the stripe lengthwise, so the seam line would fall exactly where I wanted it. Actually, I cut four bands, but I change my design travels as I work! My original plan was to sew this border stripe to both sides of the bands. Now I'm thinking about putting something else between them, so for now, I've just put these strips on the outer edges.

I wish I had  kept more aqua on the edge between the stripe and the seminole band. I always wish I had made another choice! I thought about unstitching this, re-cutting a piece differently. No. Not going there! I will live with it and be happy!  LOL

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Crochet Chenile Set

I finished up this crochet hat and scarf set made from a variegated chenile yarn. I got this yarn a few years ago in the clearance bin at Big Lots. It is so soft and cuddly. I will donate it for the children's collection this winter at our local hospital.

Once I took up quilting, I gave up my time for knit, crochet and needlepoint. While traveling, I HAD to have something to do! So  I took along a bag of yarn and crochet hook. I also have a tiny collection of knitting, in slow progress. So, occasionally, into my quilting journal, a little yarn will creep.

May you have a happy day filled with blessings and answered prayer.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Musings

The nice Raders' repairman replaced a wire which was burned out. The AC is now blowing some cooler air. Now mind you, I'm not in the freezer zone yet, I am staying in its path.  We are still in the 90's here for the next few days.

I tried to stay in my sewing area during the weekend, but it was short intervals because of the heat. I am working on some seminole bands for my sofa quilt. I was able to get the stripsets sewn, pressed and some of them were sub-cut into their required segments.

I also managed to re-assemble some sets. I managed to re-assemble some sets into an incorrect position!  This is easy to do with seminole piecing. I am doing the 'Criss Cross' design from the book Simply Seminole. I may choose to make another design when this one is done.

This one still needs a narrow strip sewn to both edges, then the points trimmed off for my scrap pile! I dont want to add those edging strips until I'm sure about the length.

These seminole bands will become part of a vertical row quilt for my sofa. It is made from fabrics of creams, teals and wines. Some of my vertical rows will be made from other quilting techniques such as braids, applique  and curves.

Stay tuned for more on the continuing saga of the Sofa Row Quilt.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Hot July in the Midwest

Greetings everyone!  For some reason, the window AC is not keeping me dry. I hate sweating. I always have. I am such a prima dona. I know I was born from royalty. Was I sent home with the wrong family? Aren't all babies born with black curly hair and high cheekbones?

Well, let's fast forward fifty (50) or so, years.

I have updated the photo for my string quilt #1. With a little help from my quilt guild friends, I was able to get a straighter, full view of this scrapbox beauty!  LOL  You can find the new photo here:

Today, I hope to concentrate on a plan for some seminole patchwork.  I hope you all get to do something creative today.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pillowcase Dresses

Have I been AWOL from blogland? Actually, I have been busy making pillowcase dresses for a charity mission for the United Methodist Women. They are making a collection to benefit the children of Haiti. I followed the lead from directions found on Nancy's Notions website.

There are several free tutorials for pillowcase dresses on the internet. They offer different options for making the dresses. I used elastic for gathering the neckline of the dress. I made single-fold bias binding and stitched it to enclose the raw edge of the armholes. These binding strips are each about 38" long, so they can extend and become the ties at the shoulder.

Here is a photo of a few of my finished pillowcase dresses. I apologize for my method of display!

If you are interested in making some of these dresses, here are some links to free patterns.
the pattern is in the top row
the 2nd grouping, click on the red link to Download Free Dress
this one is made from yardage

Thank you for your interest.  See you soon!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

I am eternally grateful for those who have served to gain our independence.    I extend this card to  all of you and THANK YOU, for your service to God, Our Country and Humanity!

I hope everyone has a safe celebration with family and friends. Happy 4th of July !

Saturday, July 2, 2011

String Quilt #1

I've just completed my first string quilt. Since I plan to make several string quilts in a variety of color families, I will just name this quilt.......String Quilt # 1.  How inventive is that! I think the black sashing sets it off. It reminds me  of stained glass. It is a lap size quilt, 55" x  75".  All the strings came from a pile in my 'scrapbox'.

This is the back of the quilt. Since I assembled it QAYG style, I was able to have fun with the layout. I enjoy machine quilting manageable sections.

It's out of the dryer now, I can stitch on that label. I made a very simple label by writing with a pigma pen onto a pre-printed label.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends!  I lived in Canada for 19 years. It is a beautiful country and, of course, I miss it. I didnt quilt while I lived in Canada. My dearest Canadian friend, Cynthia, did manage to expose me to every other craft, if it involved needle, thread or yarn. I appreciated learning all those skills. It provided uncountable hours of enjoyment for me. 

So, HAPPY CANADA DAY!   I celebrate with you.