I finally had enough cut pieces to write a post on the Fabric of the Year 2018 piece. This year I chose a 2.5″ square so I could have a realistic chance of doing the Ellsworth Kelly style layout. The size of the pieces from Fabric of the Year 2017 makes this layout realistically impossible. First of all, I don’t have a design wall large enough to accommodate such a large piece. Second, I would have to cut all the pieces down to a square and I want to work with the subway tile shape. Third, I don’t want to wrestle such a large quilt. FOTY 2017 will probably be a monster anyway and I don’t want to add to it. It seemed better to start afresh with an idea in mind.
The 2.5″ shape also means I can get pieces out of small leftovers where needed. I am excited, though FOTY 2017 being undone still drags a bit. I am making progress on my list, so I can’t complain too much.
I finished the binding on Ta Dots & Stripes last week. I got three quilts back around March 2d and I am steadily working on getting them actually completed. Well, at least completing the binding. I decided to enter this one and the Planned Improv quilt into the fair, which means I have to make sleeves.
This also means the quilts will be hanging around through June rather than being sent off sharpish.
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Quilt World News
Have you ever heard of The Quilting Company? No? Me neither. Well, it is a new organization made up of Fons & Porter, Quilting Quickly, Easy Quilts, Quilty (I thought that mag was dead! Glad to see it is still around), McCall’s Quilting, McCall’s Quick Quilts, Quiltmaker, Quilting Arts (WHAT???) and Modern Patchwork. I checked out their site. No sign of even the archives of Quilter’s Newsletter. 🙁 Their site is about sales. They have kits and patterns and fabric right up front with no warm and fuzzy letter from the editor. When I went to the Discover & Learn link, I found that they have online classes. There are a variety of different certifications, such as Sulky Teacher Certification ($199), APQS Longarm Certification ($499) as well as regular classes. Some of the regular classes are needle-turn applique’ with Jan Patek ($49.99), a variety of Log Cabin quilt classes ($24.99), Anatomy of a Bag ($40), Essential Math for Quilters ($25), and a whole lot of other classes for a variety of prices. It seems they have free classes, but I didn’t see any to click on.
There are galleries of quilts from each publication of quilts and projects. The quilts open in a new window where there aren’t any other photos of the quilts from the main page (only a lifestyle shot for the ones I looked at), then all the links to buy the various products needed to make the quilt. I would have at least put up additional photos. There is a section of free quilt patterns and a newsletter you can join.
I truly don’t believe that everything in the quilt world should be free. I believe that people should be paid for their designs, patterns and work. This site is all about sales. There is nothing cheerful or friendly to make me want to look around and, perhaps, get interested in a pattern or project. I know the site is new and is probably being built out, but they need to pay some writers to add content, get some photographers to add photos to the project pages and, generally, beef up their offerings. Beyond that I am not sure what to think except one of some magazine (blog, website, IG feed) needs to write a column called Quilt World News so I don’t find out about this stuff in an ad. Perhaps one does and I am missing it?
Another organization I came across was the National Quilter’s Circle. Where have I been? They claim it is free, but you can’t see anything without entering your email. Once you enter your email “you have been invited to become a premium member.” Hhmm. Cost is $5 (cheap) and they also have online classes, but still. I can’t see anything, so how do I know if the information will help me? Once you put in your email, you can see a sample video (I haven’t watched any yet). They say they have videos, projects with new videos every week. I’m not joining even at $5, but it could be interesting and cheaper than $25 or $49 of The Quilting Company. After a week or so of receiving the National Quilter’s Circle emails, I might sign off. I get at least one email every day and 1-2 times per week they are offering me a deal to join.
Projects, Patterns, Classes & Tutorials
If you need to dip your toe into bag making, then the Crafty Wench’s Pool tote looks easy and has some things going for it. Despite the fact that I haven’t made the project, I read through the directions and like:
the shoulder strap and handles features
she makes the strap early on in the project and you know I like having the little parts of the project done first
her cat looks like my old cat Spooky
I updated some of the pincushion posts to make the pattern information clearer. One pincushion I like to make looks like a little cake. I love this pincushion and may have to make some more of them! It is a pattern from Fig Tree & Co called Petite Gateau. I bought the print pattern at PIQF, but she has a downloadable version, if you want it NOW.
The other pincushion I make is the WonderClip pincushion. I found the pattern in Love Patchwork and Quilting, issue 39. It is available digitally in the Apple and Google Play stores. I don’t know if the print issue is still available.
Tucker University is a program from Deb Tucker of Studio 180 designs, the Rapid Fire LeMoyne Star ruler, Wing Clipper ruler and many other products. This program allows shops to get a kit for demos and classes. You, as a LQS customer, can look at the available classes (you know you want to make a Hunter’s Star quilt with the Rapid Fire Hunter’s Star ruler!) request these classes from your LQS. Shops can subscribe to the classes and get a bonus if they subscribe for a year. The program looks interesting.
Normally, when I make a pillow cover, I just make the back out of two smaller pieces of fabric and make sure they overlap. At some point I got a catalog from Spoonflower and saw that they had a tutorial for putting in a back zipper closure. In an upcoming swap for my guild we are making pillows. I decided that I would try this method. I’ll let you know how it goes.
I visited the Quilts Illustrated site to see if they had zippers (they do). I bought a zipper from Elkhorn Quilt Company at QuiltCon to complete the Quilts Illustrated Tool Tote pattern I bought, but now that I have decided on fabric colors for the bag, the zipper is not the right color. As I was looking through the site, I was reminded of the cutting pages. The pattern I bought comes with little tags you can attach to your cut pieces to keep them in order. QI has PDF versions if you need more.
Need to make some aprons and want to make them from free patterns? AllPeopleQuilt has a post with 5 free patterns.
I updated my Half Rectangle Triangles tutorial page with a technique by Latifah Safir. I saw an episode of Fresh Quilting where she talked about a quilt she made with the HRT shape. She has a nice handout, though she doesn’t talk about different sizes of rectangles or the ending size of the patch made with this tutorial. I also added Jacquelynne Steves tutorial, which does have some math included to help with determining finished sizes. I haven’t found a complete chart yet that allows the maker to look up finished sizes and find cut sizes.
As you know from my mentions of the Organizer Club I joined, the Crafty Gemini is my new best friend. 😉 She put out a new video on taking body measurements and how those measurements relate to sizes on patterns.
I updated the Quilt Class: Curves tutorial with a new resource. I watched Fresh Quilting and came across the Curves Survival Guide by Jen Carlton Bailly. I’d like to try this, but I might just stick to pins. Since I pre-wash (the living daylights out of) all my fabrics, I don’t wash them after I finish them. I am not sure I want glue in my seam allowances. Still, it is an interesting technique.
The MQG has articles, patterns & Videos available to MQG members. Check it all out on the Resources page!
Articles – New articles from the modern quilting community are published each month! » Learn more
Patterns – Quilt of the Month patterns and additional bonus patterns are available year-round » Learn more
Blocks – Each month, the MQG publishes a block pattern with loads of variations on how to use it in a quilt. Block and quilt patterns are available here. » Learn more
Fresh Quilting – All episodes of Fresh Quilting seasons 1 and 2 are streaming online for MQG members! See them all here. » Learn more
Tools, Notions, Supplies & Fabric
If you want to know how thread is weighted, Aurifil posted recently on their Auribuzz blog about that very topic. It isn’t a very long post, but very interesting and has a challenge for librarians at the end! Their blog is very graphically oriented and that makes it a little difficult to navigate.
I was introduced to SewTites at QuiltCon. I got a couple of samples and find them to be strong. These are magnets described as “A way to “pin” when you can’t! Magnetic “pins” for sewing super thick materials, like leather or cork, or pieces that aren’t near an edge, like pockets on bags. Simply align the pieces you need to sew together, snap on the SewTites, and SewTite-ly!” I really like this idea for keeping layers together before sewing. I’d love to see these work for basting, but can’t see how to keep the quilt taut while sliding the magnets under the quilt. If you make bags, you might want to try them out.
I decided it was time to make another Sew Together Bag for my embroidery/Big Stitch stuff. I actually decided a long time ago and just finished cutting everything out on the last Sew Day at the beginning of the month.
My first Sew Together Bag is getting stuffed and I use it a lot. I might actually have to make another one for EPP as well, but that might be going too far. The point is to have everything handy in the bag so I can grab and go. this means, I need multiple pair of scissors, etc, and I am not sure I want to buy more. We’ll see.
I am using the Quilt Barn tutorials again and the process is going pretty smoothly. That is not to say there hasn’t been some ripping and bumps, but all-in-all, the process is going well. They suggest a walking foot and since I bought all those new walking feet, I decided to take their advice this time. It is nice! The zippers are causing me very little hassle.
Recently I bought the January-February 2018 issue of Quiltmaker magazine. I remember when this magazine started and it was very different to the behemoth that was Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine.
I didn’t have a chance to read it until this week when I had to stay home and be quiet for a few days.
I noticed several things about it. First, it still has a few quilts from readers who made patterns found in the magazine. I haven’t read many magazines lately, but I don’t remember seeing that feature in some of the newer magazines.
Next,There is one page about new notions, gifts, books and “gotta-haves” (pg.8).
Third, this is still a pattern magazine. There are 12 patterns in this issue, which, if I worked diligently, would take me over a year to make. The patterns have a lifestyle shot and an easy-to-find straight on shot. Included on one pattern page is a small sidebar that tells the difficulty, the finished size of the quilt and the size of each box. FABULOUS! Patterns also include a coloring page. Not only can you relax with some coloring, but you can also try out your own color ideas without needing to buy EQ8. Some of the patterns have colored in drawings of the quilts as well. This issue had a pull out section with some templates and designs for quilting as well.
Fourth, one of the patterns, Sodalite Cabins, includes an artists profile after the pattern. I think this is a nice touch. I always like to know more about people, how and why they quilt.
Next, I like their directions for basic quilting instructions. The instructions are for the Stitch and Flip method of adding triangles to a square or rectangle type unit. The description says “Stitch & Flip is the perfect technique for making Flying Geese, Square in a Square’s [sic] and parallelograms without having to sew on the bias” (pg.33). The new Folded Corners Ruler does the same type of thing, but with these Quiltmaker instructions you don’t necessarily need the ruler. There are 6 illustrated and easy to follow instructions to show the reader how to get the job done. You have to buy the magazine to get the full instructions, however what caught my eye was the way the editors showed the particular placement of the ruler. Nice!
Fifth, Articles! Yes, the magazine has a few articles, some non-pattern content. A couple of the articles were on using some type of machine for quilting and the last one was a column called Addicted to Scraps. Addicted to Scraps is written by Bonnie Hunter. She is the designer of the various mystery quilts that start around the holidays like my En Provence quilt. In this column she talks about using her Essential Triangle Tool and about making some scrappy blocks that include 4 patches. These are not instructions for a quilt, but you can see a layout diagram for a quilt if you follow the link included on the page. I like this idea as it forces readers to be a little more creative.
While I don’t plan to become a subscriber, I am pleased with what I saw in this magazine this week.
The top is finished and I am on to putting together the back. I don’t think I will make my deadline of having this ready for Big Stitching, but I have made great progress and see the light at the end of the tunnel.
There is much more space and lightness in the piece and the solid areas will provide some good spaces for stitching.
The quilt in this set was probably the easiest part. I did a pillowcase binding and then sunk the threads. It is a pretty basic quilt, but the small amount of quilting I did on it looks nice, I think.
I don’t think I will make this brand of panel dolls again. The good thing is that everything is all on one panel. The bad is that the seam allowances are really small and the seams tend to blow out after play. My little niece plays with these dolls, a purpose for which they are intended, and I don’t want her to be disappointed. I have another pattern – not a panel – with lots of zippers and buttons so she can learn to dress herself (we had a doll when I was a kid with the same concept called Dressy Bessy). I hope to get started on that doll soon-ish.
In Portland a couple of weekends ago, I drew a couple of Zentangle tiles. I haven’t made it to the truly meditative stage of ‘tangling’, but I enjoyed myself.
I tried branching out to new motifs, but didn’t like the outcome that much. Although the designs are not symmetrical, I liked them individually. I thought the combination, though, had too much white space.
I tried those motifs by skipping ahead in the book. After I finished this tangling exercise, I went back to my bookmark.
I tried again with the same basic motifs I learned on. These are just like the first card, but I can do it and it gave me confidence.
I put this piece up on the design wall and decided that the bottom of the quilt was too heavy. The sections needed space so they could be seen. In order to provide space, I had to unsew some of the quilt, modify and resew.
This took longer than expected and the top is no longer in one piece. When it is finished it will be bigger and there will be more space at the bottom. I am more happy as I see the lightness at the bottom develop.
I am making progress and I see the light at the end of the tunnel. My goal at the moment is to try to get the sides to be same same length (or approximately) as the middle. I am working on the last bit of the bottom, which is sort of improv-y, but more like my normal quilt style, though less planned up front.
I am happier with the piece in general, though I did feel a little bad about messing up others’ work. I do think this is a better piece, designwise.
I finished the EPP Travel Pouch I am giving to Gerre for her birthday. I like the way it came out. I probably should have used more orange and pink to really suit her tastes, but I just loved that ice cream print and had to use it. I really hope she likes it.
The two times I have made this bag, I have thought it would be a quick project. There is so much handwork that it turns out to take longer than I expect the handwork to be relaxing, but it takes a big needle to push the thread through the many layers.
The other thing is that the directions are somewhat confusing. I made notes on them this time so, if I make this again, I won’t make some of the same mistakes again. The only thing that bugs me is that the piece does not have a handle. I really think it should have a handle. I am not sure where or how I would add a handle, but I’ll have to think about that.
Still, this project comes out well and has some clever elements.
I finished the inside of the Altoids tins to make them into little sewing kits and storage kits. I’ll have to figure out a decoration for the top next time. I wasn’t up for that challenge this time.
As I said in January, I am working on getting my quilt house in order. In February’s post, I showed progress. This means I am continuing to finish projects and tidying up my workroom. I spent time the week before last reorganizing some in process projects and putting the parts into bins. I don’t have a lot of space in my fabric closet for project bins, but making some space allows me greater access to my fabric. I also made progress on some projects, which is the whole point of this exercise.
Terrain quilt – SIL and I made the top and back and Tim quilted it. He put the binding on at March’s Sew Day
Mostly Manor HST top and back – ready for quilting by Tim
The ‘In Process’ is used to denote projects on which I am actively working or pretending to stitch. I try not to put away projects, because that will ensure I never work on them.
BAMaQG IRR –The top is done and I am working on the back in preparation for quilting
English Paper Piecing Project– half hexies – I have mostly been knitting while I watch TV, but I did make some half hexies in anticipation of making another star
Stepping Stones #2 – This quilt was on the design wall, but I took it off to work on the BAMaQG IRR. I need to cutmore patches and sew more border blocks.
I still have WIPs. Who doesn’t, after all? A project in the ‘UFO’ category means I am stalled. A nicer way of saying UFO is a WIP. The list is a lot shorter and the projects are newer, for the most part.
City Sampler – blocks all made. Need to sash the blocks and put the top together. Due to some issues I had with my seam allowance, some of the blocks are smaller than others, so I will have to adjust them in some way – either ripping and resewing, adding a piece or two to the block or with sashing. This is sort of a sticking point and while I consider this quilt ‘in process’ I hadn’t worked on it in awhile until I took the blocks to the BAM Sew Day and started measuring. Once I know what I am facing for each block, I can move forward
FOTY 2017 – pieces cut. Need to layout and start piecing.
Handbag Sampler – this is a project about which I had forgotten. I actually don’t know exactly where the blocks are, but I have an idea and will crawl up in the far reaches of my fabric closet soon and see if I can find them.I haven’t even found a picture of all the blocks. The blocks were teaching samples when I taught a sampler class the time before I started writing the quilt class sampler tutorials.
Lobster – I still have more stitching to do and then I need to quilt it.
Octagon 9 Patch: In the past week or so, I have started to sew pairs together as leaders and enders. I am not convinced this is a great idea, but I want to make progress, so I will make it work.
Pies and Points from Victoria Findlay Wolfe class. No further progress. I need to focus on this and it is not up high enough on the list yet.
Self Portrait: started in 2006 at a class at Quilting Adventures in Richmond, Virginia. I am stalled on this again. Again, I didn’t capitalize on the excitement I got from my career counselor and now the feeling is lost.
Under the Sea: class project; like the design and am happier with the colors. I had an idea for it, which didn’t end up working out. I would like to finish it soon.
Black and Red quilt – This came about because of two other projects. I made a whole bunch of bias tape as part of my failed attempt at doing the Mighty Lucky Club a few years ago. Another part of the inspiration came from my class with Tina of Little Blue Cottage fame. This was going to be for a nephew, but I think it will be for one of my SILs and BILs. I have rectangles cut and some bias tape ready. My next step is to sew the bias tape to the rectangles like pickup sticks. I don’t have any photos of this, so you’ll have to trust me.
Half Rectangle donation quilt – I want to work with half rectangles and the 16 patches we make for the guild. I have the blocks made and the cool ruler I thought would work for this project. Now I need to gather the fabric and just do it.
Small Projects in Process
2 gift Sew Together Bags- most of the fabric is cut , the zippers are purchased and I am ready to sew
Another Sew Together Bag for me – the fabric is cut, the zippers are purchased and I am ready to sew
1 gift Sew Together Bag as a gift – nothing cut
Mel Beach quilted piece – I want to make it into a pillow cover
Tool Tote – I bought the pattern at QuiltCon and started cutting it out at Sew Day in March
Ready for Quilting
nothing right now
In Quilting Process
En Provence – at Colleen’s. She hasn’t quilted it yet, because we can find the right color thread for the blue.
30 Something: I am still cutting 1.5 inch squares. I am pretty sure I have the 800 I need, but I am not ready to sew them together yet, so whenever I have a chance I cut more I cut more. It will give me choice when the time comes. I’ll have to think up a new name, too. My next step will be to figure out if I need to cut other sizes of squares and switch from cutting 1.5? squares to cutting the new size.
Blue Gradation Quilt: cutting 2.5 inch x 4.5 inch blue rectangles. It has to end sometime. I wasn’t sure I was ready to put this together, but I think I am. I might do a couple of gradation quilts in a row just to get the practice.
Blue Lemonade: cutting blue, green, purple 2 inch squares. I used a lot of these squares for En Provence, so I am slowly cutting more.
Pink Gradation Quilt: cutting 2.5 inch x 4.5 inch pink rectangles
Spin Wheel: really not started, but supplies gathered. I might have to cut some more background fabrics. I probably have enough fabrics and just need to decide to start.
Windmill quilt: Still hunting and gathering. I am supposed to be cutting a variety of greys for the background, which required the purchase of a new template. I should be able to get going again
Stepping Stones #3 using the Macaron pre-cuts from Hoffman. I have all the fabric in pre-cuts and am just waiting for space (and desire) in my schedule.
I’ve used just under 30.5 yards of fabric so far this year. I am pleased, but I want to hit 50 soon and possibly make it to 100 NET, not gross.
I subscribe to the AllPeopleQuilt.com newsletter, which I often delete. I was just about to delete the Valentine edition (I am NOT making a V-Day quilt this year, despite my love of that heart quilt from QuiltCon) when I saw that they had a compilation of bag projects. The variety of projects ranges from totes and market bags to pouches and backpacks. There are a number of options that look like they would make great gifts.
Sara Lawson has a great bag for taking supplies and tools to Sew Day or on Retreat. It is called the Oslo Craft Bag and it is free IF you sign up for her newsletter. The video to help make it also available. Videos seem to be all the rage.
You might remember the casserole carrier I received as a gift in the guild Winter Exchange. I saw a pattern for the same sort of project that looked interesting and useful as well.
Only 2 more days to get Sara Lawson’s (no affiliation-just a happy customer!) 4-bag video/pattern bundle. Check out the intro video to see the projects available.
Quilt World News
There is an article about Bonnie Hunter on the Quilting Company website.
We all woke up to the news that Coats was closing Freespirit. I must be a bad librarian because I had no idea Coats even owned Free Spirit. Well, good news! (if you have already heard) FreeSpirit is saved! The Fortunoff family, owner of Jaftex, a textile company whose holdings include Henry Glass, Studio E, A. E. Nathan, Fabric Editions and Blank Quilting bought FreeSprit. The Kaffe Fassett Collective, Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner and Tula Pink will join Pepper Cory under the Jaftex umbrella. Scott Fortunoff, the owner of Jaftex wrote a wonderful blog post about the whole deal.
You can find out more about the company on their About page. I like the blog very much. It is thoughtful and entertaining.
Julie turned me on to an article on Hyperallergenic about (and titled) Quilts as Tools of Resistance. It was about the quilts at QuiltCon, which were tools of resistance. I was glad to see the writer mention the fact that quilts have been used to promote women’s agendas for change throughout the past few hundred years of history. The article includes examples of historical protest quilts. I find history often is left out of the modern quilt movement, so this article is refreshing.
I was so pleased to see StoryBee with our own Frances Dowell! StoryBee is a new video interview show from the Quilt Alliance. It is about 20 minutes long and the first one was very well produced. The questions were excellent and went past the normal ‘how did you start quiltmaking?’. The interview show is described as being “created exclusively for our members. It’s a way for us to say “thank you!” to our members and to come together to enjoy stories from prominent quilt lovers across the country (and the world)”. The first interview is with Victoria Findlay Wolfe. Yes, according to the information you have to be a member to view the shows. You can find membership info on the Quilt Alliance membership page. There are various membership levels, which all seem very reasonably priced to me:
Student: $20 (beginning March 1)
StoryBee is included in all membership levels, but other benefits for different levels are described on the page linked above.
No I am not taking over Frances’ blog, but it does seem like it today. Frances has come out with a series of short stories related to quiltmaking. Check out Margaret Goes Modern, the latest from Frances, who also wrote Birds in the Air.
Dale Drake, moderator for the AQSG list wrote recently regarding Underground Railroad quilts “You all might have already seen this – I’m catching up on my magazines and this is from the May 2017 Smithsonian, on the Ask Smithsonian page:
Q: “Did slaves communicate information about the Underground Railroad through their quilt designs?”
A[nswer] from Elaine Nichols, curator at the National Museum of African American History and Culture: “That idea was popularized in the 1999 book ‘Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad’, for which authors Jacqueline L. Tobin and Raymond G. Dobard relied on a South Carolina family’s oral history. But without documentary evidence, scholars remain skeptical.”
March 27 is the day that Marie Bostwick’s new book Just In Time comes out. It is available for pre-order now!
Quilts Out and About
I saw a photo of a quilt in a dorm room when I was in Portland visitng the YM a few weeks ago. The museum was closed, but we were looking at their hallway display.
It is a real quilt, too. Look at those Sawtooth Stars in the border!
Valerie over at Evening in the Garden turned me to on to a new donation block drive that might interest some of you who don’t have a well developed charity program in your guild or don’t belong to a guild. I may have mentioned this particular project before. Kat runs a project called Covered in Love where she collects blocks every month and makes quilts. She has a new block this month and is now accepting blocks. Covered in Love provides quilts to the families of patients who pass away in an East Texas hospital.
I had to get a couple of shirts during QuiltCon. I planned to wear one thing, and then ended up wearing another which left me short of shirts. While In the dressing room, I saw the sticker on the mirror (photo, left). This is great news! I don’t like giving crappy clothes to Goodwill even if there is a mending policy. This gives me another option when donation and pet beds won’t work.
I get a little annoyed at the ads on IG, though every once in awhile there is a gem. As you may know I love pens. I am particular, though, and extremely picky. JetPens.com has a pen sampler by color! They advertised the turquoise sampler in their ad on IG, which OF COURSE ended up as out of stock before I heard about it. They have other tempting colors as well. I am walking away. I am.