Obey the Chocolate!

Obey the Chocolate!

I don’t know if chocolate is a quilter thing, or a ladies thing, but it is my husbands thing, so I try to keep some on hand.

Who knew Dove Chocolate would be an enabler?

A few months ago, I opened this one:

Buy_Frivolous

and of course I obeyed.

When I bought Frivol #8 last sumer, I told myself I wouldn’t get caught up in the “Got to have one of each” thing, but it turns out one can’t live with “Bread ‘n Butter” alone.

12_Frivols02

Why are  these in my office? Because I often find the cordinating fabric collections on sale, and I must buy them. That also explains the Windermere layer cake and the Songbird Gatherings mini charm pack. The Petite Prints Deux charm pack, and the Bread ‘n Butter Jelly Roll are hiding. One day, I will hear “Hello Darling, you must make me today” or “Little Miss Sunshine wants to come out and play” and I will be ready.

and I saved that Dove Chocolate wrapper in case he asks.

 

Minnie To The Max

Minnie   To The Max

Sometimes you just gotta do something relaxing, that doesn’t take much brain power.
This is that quilt.
I like fabric panels, even though I know there will be no lines . . . ahem . . . ditches to follow when I quilt it.

There’s a girl at work who is pregnant. One day, she  told me she would have 2 girls, and I asked if she was having twins. She said no, she had one girl already, and showed me some pictures of her family at a birthday party. The theme was pink Minnie Mouse. Probably a month later, I was drooling over fabric online, when I found some pink Minne Mouse fabric that reminded me of her. I threw  a couple yards in with my order, thinking I may make a baby quilt for my co-worker.
I was only thinking about it because I feared that somone else would want me to make them a quilt, too.

I have many thoughts on “Request sewing” but the bottom line is I don’t care for it. I really have enough to do, and I sew some out of need, and some for fun. The thing is we can’t control many things in life, but I can control what I sew.

peshaw! If you think you can get me to make you a $50 quilt and yes that is my piecedby.me water mark

Then I came across a Minnie panel with some pink in it, and decided I wasn’t going to overthink this, and just make her a darling baby quilt already! I would give it to her quietly, and hope I wouldn’t get any requests.
I ordered the panel, then cut strip pieces that I thought I would make a nice piano key border – something I haven’t done yet. Hey, why not practice on other peoples quilts?

When it came, I saw it was much too big to be the center of a baby quilt. Most panels are 24×44, but this one was 36×44. I hung it up for inspiration, and thought why not the back? That certainly solves two problems. 1 How to make a quilt out of a larger panel, and 2 what to put on the back!

Minnie_Backing

I had already cut 12 – 2 1/2″ strips of each contrasting colors, so I decided to do the whole quilt out of them. Notice the Remnant Quilt  pieces I was taking a “think break” from in the background.

Minnie_Cutting_Blocks

The 2 1/2″ strips were fed through Mustang when my brain needed a break from the remnant quilt process.

Minnie_Strips

I sewed the 2 contrast colors together, then sew those two strip sets together , alternating the colors to make a tube. Like I did for my Dish mat

The 6 resulting tubes of stips should cut to 8 – 6″ blocks each, but I got 9 out of mine. Normally, I’d use all 48 or [54 if you get 9] blocks, but I was limited to the size of the panel. I have some fabric left, so maybe I make another?

Minnie_Rows02

Once I joined the blocks to make a row, I pressed the first row on one direction, and the second row in the other.

Minnie_Rows_Back02

I usually press to the dark, but when I stitched the rows together, they were quite bulky, so I pressed them open, making a note to myself not to stitch in that ditch.

Minnie_Rows_Back_Pressed

I always place a pin in the top row to help keep me from sewing the next row to the top.

Minnie_Pin_Top

I arranged 42 blocks 6 across by 7 down, and quilted in the ditch diagonally in each direction.

Then I stitched around the  square in the center of each block, removing the pins after I completed each square so I wouldn’t miss one.

Minnie_Quilt_In_Square

The back looks kinda good!

Minnie_Quilt_In_Square_Back

Sometimes a contrast binding is called for, especially when the quilt contains large prints. I found some black fabric with white hearts, and used it for the binding.

Minnie_Finished_Binding

Finished!

Minnie_Finished

Yes, I did try to agonise  over thread colors, but went with pink on top and white on the bottom, and now I am happy I did.

Minnie_Finished02

My husband remarked that she may not know which side is the front!

Minnie_Finished03

Just for beginer quilters who use home machines, the quilting was a cinch! Here are my crudely drawn quilting diagrams.

First diagonal lines in one direction

Minnie_Finished_SID_01

Then diagonally in the other direction

Minnie_Finished_SID_02

Then outline the whole design following the V’s  on the edge of the border.

Minnie_Finished_SID_03

Finally, I outlined the little squares formed by the pattern. This was easy to stop with needle down in the corners, and spin the quilt through the throat of my machine to sew the next line in the square.

Minnie_Finished_Stitch_In_Ditch02

Simple, and easy for a domestic sewing machine.

The monday I was going to give the girl this quilt, she was off for maternity leave already, so I gave it to her best friend to give to her. No fan fare was made of it, so I am happy about it.

I think I’m ready to tackle another quilt!

  • which I am already playing hooky from as I write this.

Jenny’s Starburst Quilt Enlarged

Jenny’s Starburst Quilt Enlarged

Many people have seen Jenny from Missouri Star Quilt Company’s video on making a quilt she calls Starburst, and would like to make it bigger. Me too.

Yes, I am breaking another rule, because I haven’t made this quilt yet. I’m actualy playing with HST’s right now in another project, but I thought I’d have some fun ‘on paper’ with this for a moment. I’ll post that project later.

Starburst Quilt Video

Jenny’s quilt is 58×58 including a 4.5″ border [49×49 without border]. It uses 16 colored  Layer cake pieces [or 10″ square], and 16 background layer cake [or 10″ square] pieces. She has 8 rows and 8 columns.

I designed the same quilt using 36 colored Layer Cake pieces [plus 36 background Layer Cake pieces] based on her method shown in the video above resulting in a 6″ block.  The blocks will actually be close to 6.125 which is 6 and an 8th inches. Trim them down to 6″ or not, but just know your quilt may be slightly bigger than my measurements if you don’t. Being bigger doesn’t seem to hurt here, since that is the purpose of this.

With same size border [4.5] as Jenny’s it will be 81×81
[72×72 without border] I also colored the original 8 rows and 8 columns of blocks differently to help visualise the added on rows. There are 12 rows and 12 columns in this version.

picture_quilt_starburst_81x81w4-5border_36lcs_6inblocks

Color option with the incomplete diamonds on the outside edges blending into the border, which I like better.

picture_quilt_starburst_81x81w4-5border_36lcs_6inblocks02

Here is the same thing, but using 49 layer cake pieces [plus 49 background Layer Cake pieces] to make 93×93 with the 4.5 border, or 84×84 without. Layer cakes tyically come in packs of 40, so you’ll have to hit up your stash.

There are 14 rows and 14 columns. Again, I have colored the original 8 rows and 8 columns of blocks differently to help visualise the added on rows.

picture_quilt_starburst_93x93w4-5border_49lcs_6inblocks

If those aren’t big enough, here is a 100″ square one with the incomplete diamonds on the outside edges blending in to the 2″ border, that will take 56 [each of the red and background] Layer Cake pieces [or 10″ squares]. Not 64 if you are paying attention, because  28 of the HST’s plus 4 corner blocks are paired with the border color.

Again, I have colored the original 8 rows and 8 columns of blocks differently to help visualise the added on rows. This one has 16 rows and columns.

picture_quilt_starburst_100x100w2border_56lcs_6inblocks

I hope you enjoyed my resized version’s of Jenny’s lovely quilt!

and now I can get back to my tiny little HST project.

Breaking the rules – Disappearing 9 patch

Breaking the rules – Disappearing 9 patch

Who names these things anyway? I mean did they make a 9 patch, not like it, slice it up and say, “Hey where did my 9 patch go?” and their accomplice answered “I dunno, it seams to have disappeared”?

This quilt was in my head from the moment I saw a picture of one.
The instructions seemed simple enough, but I wanted the small patches to repeat, and all the pictures I found were scrappy.
Like usual, I had to modify. and educate myself.
A co worker had wanted me to make a quilt.
Sound familiar?
This wasn’t the first co-worker who had asked. The first one wanted a Spider Man quilt, and he’s a big guy, so that would be no throw. I had to tell him the bare facts: The fabric would cost over $100, and if I only charged $100 labor, he wouldn’t be happy with paying it, and I wouldn’t be happy with doing all that work for that, so we’d have 2 unhappy people at the start.
but this co-worker wanted a baby quilt for a gift for his new Grand Daughter. He only had a budget of $60 and wanted pinks. I told him I would see what scraps I had, because the budget would quickly be used up in fabric and batting. I found a charm pack I paid $2 for on a daily deal, plus some fabric I had left over from other projects, and told him I could do it, as long as he didn’t mind giving me all the design control.
Wheeeee!
Now I could do an experi-mental 9 patch!
I had already broken my first rule: I have 2 price points – “Free, if I want to”, and “You can’t afford me, if I don’t”.
Breaking that rule was like the first scratch on a new car. I was set free – of rules.

A nice size baby quilt will take 12 of these blocks. There are 4 corners, 4 background pieces, and one contrasting center piece in each, so I will need 48 prints, 48 backgrounds, and 12 contrast pieces. Using charms or 5″ pieces should result in a 39×52 quilt before borders.
I got out that 42 piece charm pack, and began cutting 12 – 5″ squares in a co-ordinating color [yellow] I found at a thrift store for $2.
I had some 108″ Kona white set aside for curtains, and figured I wouldn’t miss a couple 5″ wide strips, so I cut 48 5″ squares of that.
I dug up enough scraps to make 6 more 5″ squares in cordinating colors, and I was ready to assemble.
Now, here’s the thing: when you combine a precut with pieces you cut, they don’t always match.

Disappearing 9 patch patches

This precut had pinked edges, and mine didn’t. Some say to measure from the outside [or peaks] and some say the inside [or valleys] but knowing my 5″ squares were dead on [I obsess] I used my cut pieces as my guide, and sewed my 1/4″ seam from those.
I probably broke another rule here by making every printed square orient so that all prints were in the same direction. No easy feat since I would be turning every other block. [more obsessing]
Would people notice? [I would]

So, I put the pieces I wanted to orient ‘up’, in the 2 opposite corners on every 9 patch block. It doesn’t matter which two corners, as long as [1] they are opposite, and [2] they are the same for all 12 blocks. See the girls in the upper right, and the trees in the lower left pieces shown below. You will see why when I slice and turn the blocks later.

Disappearing 9 patch block

Once the 9 patches were done, I had some trimming and squaring to do.
The rule I did not break: People don’t tell you this, but when you trim, you don’t just willy nilly even the edges. You not only have to make the blocks all the same size, but the pieces in that block must measure the same distance to the outside edges. If you just line up your ruler with the bottom corners and start slicing off excess fabric, you will have problems. Knowing the middle squares measure 4.5 inches [5 inches minus the 1/4 seam on each side] after being sewn, that is where I want to start. These blocks will measure about 14 inches. Then  after trimming, cutting and resewing, they will have a finished size of 13″ if I did it right.

Disappearing 9 patch_trim

You want to line up the center patch in the middle of your ruler, making sure the 45 degree angle on your ruler goes from point to point on the whole block, as well as that center patch, and then trim the top and side, spin, and do it again. This will ensure that your block is truly square.

Disappearing 9 patch_trim02

Once trimed, slice in half both ways

Disappearing 9 patch_trim03

Disappearing 9 patch_slice

Then turn 2 of the 4 resulting patches in opposite corners. Notice I did not turn the little girls, or the tree.

Disappearing 9 patch_turn

So happy I had my husband build me this 24″ rotating mat!

Disappearing 9 patch_trim04

Now to agonise over block placement

Disappearing 9 patch_arrange

Take a picture and walk away. See if I still like it, and either rearrange [always] or begin sewing [never]
Oh, and did I fail to mention that he wanted the baby’s name in the quilt?
It took me 3 weeks to find someone to do this – that was still open by the time I got to my home town after work. Given the cost of embroidery machines, $8 was a bargain.
I broke another rule by making the top border bigger then the other 3.

Disappearing 9 patch_embroidered

Now to check it with the backing I bought for $15 and see if I still liked it. It had to be pink. The quilt needs more pink!

Disappearing 9 patch_assembled

Knowing who this quilt is really for – the parents – it’s always for the parents. I guessed that they may not be familiar with how flat hand made quilts are, so I broke another rule and used #3 thick batting – doubled. Twin size [72×90] for $15 worked for this 43x 58 quilt.

Disappearing 9 patch_quilted04

Yep, and not only that, I had exactly one inch to spare for the backing!
Many quilters want the batting and backing to be 4″ bigger on all sides.
I blew that rule up with a 43″ quilt on a 44″ wide backing.

Disappearing 9 patch_quilted02

Of course I stiched in the ditch. Ima ditch stitcher. There I said it.
Embrace who you are. I embrace the ditch!

Disappearing 9 patch_finished03

I wasn’t done breaking rules yet. I used yellow thread on the spool, and pink in the bobbin.

Disappearing 9 patch_binding_back

Disappearing 9 patch_binding_front

I managed to stay under the $60 in materials for this quilt, but just barely. I mean who can go shopping for a 2 yard piece of backing and not see some fantastic fabric you must have for a future project?
There’s another rule I broke: buying pretty fabric without any project in mind, figuring the pretty fabric will tell me what it wants to be in due time, . . . and I will obey.

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Ugly Jelly Quilt

Ugly Jelly Quilt

This project was really a test run of my newly aquired 1937 Featherweight, that was in mediocre condition upon arrival. I cleaned, oiled, greased, and polished to a fairly nice condition, made a case tote and bed cover for it, and wanted to perfect the tension settings [1937 models do not have numbers on the tension] and get that coveted 1/4″ stitch.
I while picking up some fabric for the interior of my FW case tote, I also had picked up a couple of jelly rolls on sale, and thought they’d make a nice napping quilt, since nothing I currently had matched my bedroom, or would cover my feet.
FW_Case_Tote02

The rolls were mixed browns and looked like a bunch of fun all rolled up and ready to rock my world. They practically begged me to make something of them!
I did the research on jelly roll quilts and they typically turn out to be 50″ by 64″. I knew that wouldn’t warm my toes, so I did some math and added a yard of brown swirly fabric, and a yard of an accent color so it the quilt wouldn’t be quite so brownish.
So, I had my plan, and my stitch width guide from Nova’s Featherweight store, and was ready to go!
When I unrolled the jellies, I was taken back by all the loud gold splattered all over the brown strips! One strip was camo, one looked like an ugly brick, some were pleasing, but all with this shiny gold haphazardly spilled across it. It looked like a disaster. I put on my sunglasses, and proceded to sew them together anyway.
When my boss asked me to work Sat and Sunday, I thought of my FW that I couldn’t wait to try out, and then remembered the fabric so ugly I had to sneak up on it to sew it, and I said I would. So the “Jelly roll race quilt” that’s suposed to take about an hour would have to be done in bits and pieces, and that was ok.

UJ_Fabrics

One thing these Jelly Roll strip quilt instructions don’t tell you is that there is a reason all these quilts turn out to be 50″by 60″. Because after sewing all the strips end to end, each time you fold the strip in half and sew up the side seam you loose half the width. Once you get to a strip set about 100″ long, you have 2 pieces 32″ wide, resulting in the 50″ by 64″ not-wide-enough-or-long-enough-quilt. I mean who uses these 50″by 60″ quilts anyway? Well, probably kids, but I’m not a kid anymore. I just act like it sometimes.

Here’s the detailed mathimagical reason why:

Using the standard Jelly Roll Race Quilt Recipe, your first strip will be  1600″ long and 2.5″ wide
Then you grab the two ends and sew them right sides together for about 800″ long, making it a 2 piece strip set 4.5″ wide
Then you grab the two ends and sew them right sides together for about 400″ long, making it a 4 piece strip set 8.5″ wide
Then you grab the two ends and sew them right sides together for about 200″ long, making it an 8 piece strip set 16.5″ wide
Then you grab the two ends and sew them right sides together for about 100″ long, making it a 16 piece strip set 32.5 wide
and finally,  you grab the last two ends and sew them right sides together for about 50″ long resulting in one piece consisting of a 32 piece strip set 64.5″ wide. If you continue, you’d have a 25″ by 128″ quilt which nobody is shaped like.

You didn’t think I was going to tell you why I act like a kid sometimes, did you?

I came up with this “Random Organised Jelly Roll Quilt” recipe for those over thinkers who do not like complete, caution to the wind style randomness [like me] and want a bigger jelly roll quilt. This will result in an aprox 70″ wide by 80″ long quilt perfect for twin size bed or a nice couch nap.

Ingredients:

2 rolls of 20 strips = 40 mixed browns
14 strips of brown swirl [cut from one yard of fabric] to dilute the ugly and make it bigger
= 54 total brown strips
14 green/blue/brown floral accent strips cut from one yard of fabric, and then cut in 2 pieces = 28 half length strips

Random Organised pattern to avoid simular colors grouping and forming cliques, because nobody likes cliques in real life :

divide by number of accent half strips /28 = 1.9 or round up to 2
So we place one half length accent strip [AC] for every 2 brown strips
but to mix the assorted [ugly] browns with the brown swirl, we have to divide the 40 mixed brown pieces by the 14 brown swirl pcs
40/14=2.8 so 3 Brown Mixed [BM] strips from roll, then 1 Brown Swirl [BS] strips cut from one yard
Pattern = 4 browns and 2 accents would be a 6 pc repeat like this
AC/BM/BM/AC/BM/BS/ . . . AC/BM/BM/AC/BM/BS/ . . . AC/BM/BM/AC/BM/BS/
I sewed the strip ends together in the diagonal pattern instead of straight across. The first strip was about 2800″ long. Then I sewed the two ends together and got a 2 piece strip set aprox 1400″ long. I was planning on doubling it one more time and cutting 10 strips 70″ long, but I like the pattern I saw emerging with the half accent strips at that point, so I cut that 1400″ strip in to 20 pieces 70″ long, and carried them to the bedroom to lay out in my desired pattern.

UJ_numbers

I then numbered a bunch of clothes pins, and placed them on the ends so that all I had to do is play  “match and sew” See how ugly these are up close? Thank God for that brown swirl!

UJ_Quilting

My mega sewing table with all the incerts installed. Ok, well some call it an extending dining table, but we’ll never eat on it. There’s a mighty Viking Husqarna sewing machine in there somewhere, and you can see how those half strip accents came together in an intresting way.

Other details: I used 80/20 Nature’s Touch by Pellon quilt batting, and 505 spray basting. That’s why you don’t see a lot of safety pins. The spray basting is TEMPORARY, so you want to start quilting it imediately, which I did.

After adding a 4.5″ border on only the sides, the final result was 77″ wide by 86″ long. I did the quilting via “Stitch in the Ditch” straight across using my walking foot, every 2 strips or 4″. After washing, it shrank nicely for an all over scrunchiness of 74″ wide by 82″ long. and it’s not so ugly anymore!

Ugly_Jelly

And there you have it! The prefect napping quilt that only a color blind husband [who’s only appearent short comming is failing to close his drawers completely] and a “can’t just do random” person could love!