Thanks for dropping by to take a look at some of my thoughts and ideals. Hope you will let me know if this has been helpful, useful, inspiring or whatever, and remember to come back soon.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Just a Quickie

I am forever and always hunting new ways to use up scraps or pieces of material left over from other projects and found another way to use up these pieces of material the other day.  Kay came by with a couple of quilts she had made for her sisters for their upcoming girls get away to the beach.  She came in with two lap size quilts that were just strips of fabric sewn together.  The strips were the width of the fabric and the they were cut in 6 1/2", 10 1/2", 11 1/2" and 12 1/2" strips.  These strips were then sewn together, edges were trimmed and then quilted and bound.  The quilts were as cute as they could be and Kay had chosen fabrics that represented her sisters and their likes and interest.  I thought these were just the cutest things and popped them on the quilting machine and finished them up for her in no time.  I mean it took like 30 minutes or less to put each one on the machine and quilt and take it off.  Kay shared that it took more time for her to pick the fabrics than any other part of the process.

Okay, so it's getting close to Christmas and I have all this fabric and not a lot of extra cash.  Gosh I have an absolute ton of fabric and since I typically buy yardage and not always fat quarters there has to be something there.  Okay Sandra loves the fall type stuff and leaves and I have some browns and greens that go together well and there are some of those leftover pieces of fabric that will go with that.  Okay this piece is the width of the fabric but not 6 1/2" in length, it's only 5 inches.  So what, I'll add another 1 1/2" to one of the other pieces, because this just goes so well!!  Wow that was easy.  I used a total of 9 strips of fabric with width of fabric and it turned out great.  Now what can I do about Rose??  Okay I know what she likes, she like oriental prints, yeah I have a lot of those because I like them too and I have one that has gold that I know she will like.  Another one finished in no time, and Bruce needs a manly one and I have this print with southwestern pottery and one with wagon wheels (not the cartoon style), gee these just all go together so well, and then there was one for mother, French Country Market are her colors.  In no time I had 8 quilts all put together and the best part, I used things I already had and didn't have any out of pocket expense in getting all these tops done.

Okay, now is the time for the out of pocket.  I decided I wanted to put a flannel back on them because those are the most cuddlie quilts, especially after they have been washed a few times, and this size is perfect to use on the sofa when watching tv and eating popcorn.  Then I, being the frugal person that I am known to be, thought, as the light bulb appeared over my head, "if I use the same backing on all I bet I can get a whole bolt and get the discount for emptying the bolt and 25% off is nothing to laugh away in these economic times.  Each quilt is 5 feet long and add a couple of inches to start and stop each one so 5 feet, 3 inches each comes out to about 42 feet of fabric divided by 3 means 14 yards of fabric.  I actually found 2 different pieces of fabric on the sale rack which was really cheaper than purchasing all that was left on the bolt of fabric.  I got the backing for less than $5 per yard which made these quilts very affordable for gift giving.  Everyone loved their quilts and my nephews wife asked if I would do a quilt for her two little girls.  Well I did the same type quilt for them using some fabrics I felt they would like and finally got to give them to the girls the other day.  They really liked their quilts.
Abi gave me a big hug for this.

Kayleigh really liked her quilt.
 So if you get stuck in a bind (no pun intended), these are really quick quilts you can make up out of what you have on hand.  They are wonderful gifts and no one will ever know they were your scraps.  Have a great day and remember God loves you!

This past week has seen the destruction of many homes and businesses and the loss of many lives throughout the southeastern United States.  Our local quilt store was completely destroyed by the tornado that hit Ringgold.  We are so saddened by the loss of life and the massive distruction.  People have been stepping forward and donating and trying to help in the clean up.  Makes me very proud to be a Southerner and an American.  If you have extra quilts, the people who have lost homes and literally everything they owned are in need.  These are really quick quilts to make and would be great to donate.  If you are not in the Southeast or don't know how to donate to those people, please look around you, there are people everywhere that are hurting, lonely, homeless, cold and heart sick.  A lap quilt could change their whole life.  There is nothing so precious as love that is shared.  If you are concerned that your hard work will go to an undeserving person let me share what a very special person once shared with me:  We are given a duty by God to feed the hungry and cloth the poor.  If we from the goodness in our heart give to someone who has said they are in need, then we have done as God commanded us to do, and if they are not truthful they are the ones who will have to stand before God and answer for those things.  God bless.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

What to do about color?

When looking at quilts and quilted items that others have made, I am constantly amazed at the use of color in those items.  How on earth do people decide what colors to use?  I don't have the eye for color that I detect in some of my friends.  My best bud, Peggy, is really good with colors and wow she can remember colors from a year before and match it perfectly without having a sample of the fabric with her.  She's like "oh, Anna, this would go great with the print with the little flowers that I bought last year at Paducah.  Do you remember it, it has the tiny little yellow rose buds with just a hint of gold in them and the little green leaves and that touch of red just around the edge of the rose bud.  I'm like, sure you know I remember that, I can't even remember what I had for dinner last night.  I frequently take Peggy with me when I'm going to pick out fabric for a quilt.

What happens when Peggy isn't available?  There are a few different things on which I rely.  First I make use of all the money the fabric manufactures spend on the payroll of those people they have to coordinate their lines of fabric so they all match and you have any number of varities of color options.  Then I just do the large print, small print, geometic, reads as solid and coordinating secondary color and I've got a great quilt colorwise.

Another way to utilize the money the fabric manufacturers spend is to buy a jelly roll, or a group of fat quarters, layer cakes or charm packs.  These are available at all quilting stores and you can pick up a border from that fabric and if there are no solids in the pack then pick up something that reads as a solid to go with what you have chosen.

Recently I have been on a "jelly roll trip" and I purchased some jelly rolls and have been making those strips into some really great quilts.  The profile picture is a jelly roll quilt.  One of the pictures in my borders post is the left overs from a jelly roll quilt.  I recently taught a class and we made use of a jelly roll for 3 quilts or some of the people used the blocks to make one large quilt.  Here is a picture of the quilt Jacki made from that class.  As you can see from these pictures that this is an awesome quilt.

Jacki really stepped out of her box in putting
this quilt together and did some unique things with
the sashing and cornerstones.

Jacki's Jelly Roll Quilt
 Gee, the fabric store has already sold most of the line and there are only a few colors left and just 3 I really like.  Then it's a search and find if I don't want to buy a Jelly Roll.  While I still try to go with the large print, small print, geometric, solid and secondary color scheme  I pull from a wider variety of fabric to pull in the other items I need.  Just bringing all the bolts together can really give you an ideal of the look of a finished project.

Then again I may just find one got to have fabric that is a print and build around that fabric.  Maybe it is a large floral print with a beige background.  I'm going to try to find a small print that may have a beige small design with a background that coordinates with the main color of the first large floral print.  Then I may go for a stripe with 2 or more colors of the large floral print and then I want to pick out a "read's as solid" that has the main color of the large floral print and then either a small print with one of the secondary colors in the large floral print.  None of the fabrics should clash when placed side by side. 

If I'm having trouble I will talk with the people who are working in the quilt shop.  They are always helpful and will try to help you find what you are searching for, just remember their taste and your taste may be very different, so you have to be able to say, no I just don't really like that combination, or that fabric if it is something you really dont' like.  DO NOT buy a fabric just because someone tells you it will be perfect with those other fabrics you have picked.  If you don't like it chances are you will never change your mind and this may be destined to be a UFO.  (Unfinished Object)

Pick a color palate that is pleasing to you!!  Remember everyone has different taste in colors, but if you don't like it you will not have nearly as much fun piecing your top, and that is one of the main things quilting is all about, having FUN.

If God has blessed you with a discerning eye for color, thank Him!  If He has blessed you with great friends who share wonderful ideal, thank Him!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Borders and things

Tossed Nine Patch with Borders

Nine Patch and Borders
 I had thought about the ideal of posting about colors today, but instead

want to share some information about borders.  Borders are wonderful things.  They create a frame for our quilts.  They tell us, here is where the pattern stops.  My job is to brings all those wonderful blocks together and enhance the colors and pattern.   Now I know that many people have taken blocks they have made and just decided they don't want to make any more of those blocks, or else they ran out of one of the fabrics and the quilt is not as large as they wanted it to be so they add very wide borders just to enlarge the overall area of the quilt and make it fit the bed.  This is doable with the right combination of borders.  There is absolutely nothing that says your quilt has to have only 1 border!!  As a matter of fact, borders are a wonderful way to bring several different block sizes together to make a quilt (Tossed Nine Patch with Borders).  In this particular quilt I used a couple of different charm packs.  The problem was the sizes of the squares from the two charm packs were different.  I believe one set had maybe 5 1/2" squares and the other had 6 1/2" squares.  Being the lazy person that I am, I did not want to recut the squares.  I simply made the blocks and then used one set at an extra border and the other set as the main part of the quilt.  This also had the effect of enlarging the size of finished to quilt which was an added benefit.  If you have never tried the "Tossed Nine Patch" pattern it is quick and easy and you can easily complete a quilt top in an afternoon.

Borders are also a way to take a few blocks and make a small quilt (Nine Patch and Borders).  After completing a group of quilts from a Jelly Roll, I had 4 nine patch blocks left and some other odds and ends of fabric left over from the project.  Well I didn't want those orphan blocks to just be tossed into a basket somewhere and left for no telling how long before I pulled them out again.  I decided to just go ahead and try to use all of the scraps from my project and sewed the 4 blocks together with sashing and cornerstones and then started adding borders.  The borders are all different sizes and a couple have cornerstones and the first border I actually used two different fabrics.  The quilt turned out really cute and I have had people tell me they want to make that quilt.  It's a great way to use odds and ends of fabric.  The entire fabric line for this quilt was batiks and this is what makes the quilt work.

You can see from these pictures of quilts I have made that borders can be used in different ways and there are all types of twist to regular borders that can be added.  If you don't have enough fabric to do a standard border but really want to use that fabric think about adding a section in a couple of the borders pieces that coordinates.   These extra pieces can be added at one corner of the quilt or you can do opposite corners on the quilt.  Doing opposite corners is always a good ideal and makes people know that you planned this effect and not that you just ran out of fabric, which you did but everyone doesn't need to be aware of the fabric shortage. 

Now to the main reason I am writing this particular note.  When you add borders, please don't cut a piece of fabric the width you want for the border and whatever length and just match the top and start sewing, and when you run out of quilt top cut the border to match.  Every border will be a different length and will make the quilting much harder.  Lay your quilt out and if you need to you can fold it in half.  Fold top to bottom first and measure to get the length of the side borders.  Measure in 3 places.  The left side, the right side and the middle of the quilt.  Hopefully your measurements will all be within 1/4".  If they are, cut your border the length of the smallest measurement.  This will even work if there is up to 1/2" difference.  If there is more than 1/2" difference then you will need to add the 3 numbers together and then divide by 3 to get an average.  If your three measurements are 38 inches 36 inches and 37 inches then add 38, 36, and 37 and you will get a total of 111 inches.  Divide 111 by 3 and the answer is 37.  Cut your borders 37 inches.  Yes you will need to ease the borders and ajust them to fit so be sure and pin the top the bottom and the middle of the border to the top the bottom and the middle of the quilt top and then as you are sewing the difference will be eased or stretched more evenly which will help.  Repeat this process for the top and bottom borders again folding right to left and measuring at the top the bottom and across the middle, and cutting your border according to the above formula. 

Why do I recommend this method.  Your quilts will turn out with square corners.  If you machine quilt or have someone else machine quilt the finished top you will have fewer pleats and fewer wavey borders.  I've quilted a lot of quilts and very few quilts have square corners and very few quilts have borders that are not wavey.  Don't beat yourself up over the quilt top not being perfect!  I've always been told the sign of a good carpenter is the one who can hide his/her mistakes.  I believe the same applies to the quilter.  I've also always liked the Lady Godiva rule.  If Lady Godiva were sitting on her horse, naked, with her long flowing hair her only covering beside your quilt hanging on a line, a car load of people are driving down the road at 50 miles per hour and those people notice the mistake in the quilt, then you need to fix it.  If they don't notice the mistake in the quilt, then it's fine.  Finish it and enjoy the learning experience.

I hope you enjoy the post and have a happy quilting week.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I have been asked what my plans are for this blog.  My plan is to post things that I believe will be of interest to quilters.  It will include what I am doing and also will include tips and tricks for quilting as well as everyday living.  The largest portion will be quilting related.  There will be pictures of recent projects of mine and some of others who have allowed me to share.  There may be post about things of interest that are coming up not only in my neck of the woods but across the country and also comments about stores that I have visited and my experiences at those stores and my experiences with ordering from companies online.  There will be information about gadgets and books and how to make or buy things and about some of everyday items we have in the house that can be a real boost to quilters.  There will be information about people you don't see in the stores but who offer services for quilters and just general infomation.

Part of my plan is to post new information weekly, not daily.  Most quilters are too busy to sit and read on the computer every day so I felt weekly would be better.  If you have questions, please leave me a comment.  Hope if you enjoy the site you will follow us and recommend us to your other quilting friends.  

For now, I hope you are having a wonderful day and remember God loves you and has a plan for your life.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Just a Quick Look

I am a lover of the scrappy quilt.  There is something about a scrap quilt that brings visions of a family, working, playing, living  and learning together that brings comfort to my soul.  Having told my friends time and again how much I love scrappy quilts and showing the scrap quilts I have made in the past, everyone is aware of my love of this part of the art of quilting.  A friend knowing this brought by a book that she had aquired for me to look at the different patterns.  While thumbing through the book I came across a pattern that was just a jumble of rectangular pieces of fabric that were sewn together in a particular pattern.  The picture shown was a very busy quilt, with no apparent pattern and was much too busy for my taste, but the more I looked at the pattern the more I thought that could be a beautiful quilt if.... and my mind started whirling.  Well the quilt isn't finished yet, but I have already made up 12 blocks of what promises to be a wonderful scrap quilt. 

What I decided to do really isn't that complicated.  This particular block begins with two center rectangles which form a square when sewn together.  Next you sew a row of rectangles around the center block, much in the fashion of a pineapple or courthouse steps pattern and continue around the block with a 3rd row and then a 4th row the end product being a 12 1/2" block.  This is a wonderful way to use up scrap fabric but as I said, too busy for my taste.  What do you do to decrease the busy appearance?  My ideal was to change rows 2 and 4 to one fabric instead of a row of the smaller rectangles, and in addition to that I decided that I wanted to stick with a specific color scheme for those two rows. 

When I looked at the option I was thinking about I realized that if each block ended in the same specific color that would not be good.  I decided to solve this problem by using a couple of colors and alternating them withing the block.  Maybe black and white.  What I finally decided was to use black and white but not a solid, instead using a black on white print, and a white on black print. 

Unlike some people I don't believe that every piece of fabric in a scrap quilt has to be scrap.  I believe you can purchase sashing, borders and even some fabric to put in the quilt and it remains a scrap if you are using more than one-third of the fabric from your scrap bag.  I look at it this way, I'm still using scraps and saving because I'm not purchasing the entire amount of fabric needed for the quilt.  I will have a beautiful quilt that is coordinated and looks good and really doesn't even look like a scrap quilt most of the time.

Now it was time to go to the store to purchase some fabric.  I had already been through my stash and collected my black and white prints and knew I needed some more white on black to make the quilt.  Well when I got to the fabric store I found some prints that were the same pattern reversed, white on black and black on white.  An ideal was born.  Use the same pattern with reverse colors, but not just one pattern but several.   Well I've completed several blocks on my project and am looking forward to completing the entire quilt.

When you pick up a book of patterns, instead of thinking of it as a book of patterns, think of it as a book of possibilities.  How would it look if?????

Hope you have enjoyed the post :)