About Gretchen

I am a retired public school teacher and media specialist and University lecturer. Total retirement is new to me, but I'm adjusting.

Books on Monday – Scrap-Basket Strips and Squares

Yes, in cleaning up the sewing room I discovered a stack of books that I could review. So, yes, there will be a few Books on Monday posts on the second and fourth Mondays of the next few months. Since today is the fourth Monday, here we go. Remember that this post will contain Amazon Affiliate links which will help to support this blog.

This week we are looking at Scrap-Basket Strips and Squares: Quilting with 2 1/2″, 5″, and 10″ Treasures by Kim Brackett.

Kim is the author of other Scrap-Basket books also, most of which I own. Obviously, I like her design aesthetic. This book is no disappointment. There are 18 projects in this book and I marked 15 of them as projects I might be interested in making. I have a ton of precuts, so it is realistic to imagine that some of that may actually happen.

One of the first things that I appreciated as I looked at this book is the fact that Kim mentions in the Introduction the fact that the fabrics used in the projects in the book would most likely have been discontinued. She then gives tips for people who want to make a quilt as close about as possible to those in the book even if the fabrics are no longer available. I’ve not seen that anywhere before and I found it very interesting to read.

After the Introduction, there’s a section called “Things to Know About Precuts” which includes information about how to deal with the pinked edges among other things. This is followed by a page called “Special Piecing Techniques” which basically describes how to do folded corner units.

Next come the projects. As I mentioned previously, there are 18 of them. Each of them gives cutting instructions for those who prefer to use scraps in their projects in addition to the cutting directions for the precuts. The directions appear to be vey easy to follow, although I have not yet actually made one of the quilts. As I read the directions, I can picture how I’d do each one, so I’m hopeful.

After the projects comes a page of resources, including identifying the fabrics in several of the quilts. This is followed by a page with Acknowledgments and About the Author.

Overall, I have plans for this book and recommend it if you are looking for scrappy quilt ideas.

Quilt on!

Deep Sunday Morning Thoughts

Not really. Just a few random updates.

First, I now have a clean sewing room. Yes I took all the movable stuff out and rearranged and put things away. I still have several things to put back, but I’m very close to done and my cutting table is no longer a collector of junk.

Here’s how the room looked when I moved all the stuff out:

Part of putting stuff back in the room included setting up my new backup/class machine which is now named Sophia. (Ella, my big machine, is at the spa.) Here she is in all her glory.

Once she was set up, I had to make sure she worked. So she and I put together this block for Layer Cake Explosion.

We will probably do more later, because my Lone Star Burst came back from the quilter and it’s binding time. Of course, binding is a bit easier to make with Ella and her laser, but Sophia and I can handle this!

Quilt on!

Update

Just a brief post to show you the little that I’ve been up to since taking the Lone Starburst to the longarmer.

Thursday I remembered that I needed to make my two blocks for the Saturday Sampler. I managed to get them cut out on Thursday and assembled on Friday. My hand slipped while I was trimming the top block to 15 1/4″ but I was too tired to deal with fixing it then. You can see the problem in the lower right hand corner of the top block.

Saturday morning I felt more like tackling the problem and fixing it. You can see the results in the picture below.

I also did some work on La Passacaglia during the football game watching portion of the day. I have the first star wreath of the third Rosette 2 nearly completed, but I haven’t taken any pictures yet.

I think next up really needs to cleaning up the sewing room.

What have you been making?

Quilt on!

Pondering Life’s Anomalies

Yes, that title makes it sound like I’m thinking deep thoughts today, but not really. I’ll explain.

Yesterday I got out the Lone Star top to put the borders on it. You remember this one, right?

The one that had one side a full inch longer than the others, right?

Well, yesterday I decided to get brave and do those borders, I measured through the center and made the borders for two sides, neither of which had to be eased to fit the border. I was a little confused because I thought one of those first sides was the long side, but I measured through the center again, cut those borders, and attached them. Still no easing required. Totally confused.

I had measured multiple times when I found that side was an extra inch long! All I can figure is that in pressing the heck out of it and whacking the seams to flatten them, the other three sides lengthened just enough… Oh well, never look a gift horse in the mouth, right?

I also pressed some of my wide backing fabric and trimmed it to fit and took this quilt over to my most LQS to go out to the longarmer. It should come back in plenty of time for a finish this quarter. I just have to decide on a binding color. I don’t have enough of the white background fabric to make the binding, at least I don’t think I do, so I either make a scrappy binding or use the yardage I have from one of the prints that I purchased. The borders are the white.

What have you been up to?

Quilt on!

Q4 Finish-A-Long Finish Number One

Yes, really! I have a finish already. Of course, it wasn’t a very big reach to finish these table runners.

In the previous post, you saw the first table runner finish – the Christmas table runner.Today I  basted and quilted and finished the other three table runners I was planning.

This one will join the Christmas table runner in the church auction.

And these two will probably live here with me, along with the Fall table runner from the previous post. These are all made from the same pattern and were very quick to make. I had originally thought I might try some free motion quilting but I decided that the walking foot quilting looked pretty good with this pattern. And it was faster since I feel somewhat proficient at it.

This will be the official finish post for these table runners and will get linked up with the Finish-A-Long post at the end of the quarter.

Quilt on!

A Little Progress Already

This week I completed all the original table runner tops. I also completed the Christmas table runner.

Here is the completed table runner with the fall table runner I had previously completed.

I had previously hand quilted the fall table runner with orange embroidery floss, kind of big stitch quilting.

The Christmas table runner got machine walking foot quilting. My hope is that by the end of the weekend, the other three table runners from the original fabric batch are completed. Then I will have one Finish-A-Long item done! I do have a couple other border fabrics to make table runners, but they were not included in the original count. I’d kind of like to find fabrics to do one for each season, but so far I haven’t found that. I will keep looking though!

What are you doing this week?

Quilt on!

2017 Q4 Finish-A-Long Hopefuls!

Yes, I am calling these all hopefuls. I am fairly close to done with all of these and do think this is a possibility. Seriously! Yes, there are six here. Yes, that seems like a lot but I am hoping!

Here’s the annotated list.

  1. The Kimberly Einmo Lone Star. The center of the top is completed. Once I add the borders, it will head off to a longarmer and then when it comes home I will need to bind it. At least that is the current plan.
  2. Layer Cake Explosion. I started this one in May. I have the four paper piecing blocks to do and then sashing to cut and assembly to do. It too will most likely go to a longarmer. Although it does need a little more work than the Lone Star, I also think it is doable.
  3. Christmas Jelly Roll Race. I started this on a whim a couple of years ago. It needs some borders and then I think I might quilt this one myself. I really want to have it done for Christmas, so I think it has a chance.
  4. Finish the four table runners I have started for the church auction. Yep, these will probably get finished. After all, most of them just need quilting and finishing. And the auction is an important impetus.
  5. Kimberly Einmo Spinning Stars quilt. I would like to see this finished. It is a bright fun looking quilt! I’m not sure what I’ll do with it when it is finished, but I do want to finish it. This has a pretty long way to go though, so it is probably the least likely to make it.
  6. Disappearing Pinwheels. I have enough blocks made that I could just put them together and make the quilt top, but I think I want to make a few more blocks so I have more choices. Then the left over blocks can go on the back.

So there are my fourth quarter hopes and dreams! We’ll see how it goes!

Quilt on!

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Jolly Bar Jazz Quilt

I have the distinct pleasure of participating in a blog hop to introduce The Fat Quarter Shop’s Jolly Bar Jazz quilt pattern. If you want to see more examples from the blog hop, you can head over to the Jolly Jabber Blog!

I’d also like to add that

In case you were wondering, a Jolly Bar is a pre-cut exclusively available at the Fat Quarter Shop. It measures 5” x10” or half a layer cake. This pattern uses 2 Jolly Bars and some background fabric yardage. I chose Zen Chic’s True Blue. The colors fit my living room perfectly and the prints are beautiful. For example:

For background yardage, I used Michael Miller’s soft white cotton couture. I already had a bolt in my sewing room!

This pattern was a delight to make. I don’t usually make quilts with big blocks (or big pieces, which you know if you regularly read this blog), but it was fun to assemble 12 blocks 17 inches in size. It felt so fast. Here’s an example of one block:

Yes, that is some spiral quilting in the block there. I did it with a walking foot and it is far from perfect, but it looks good here. I alternated the spiral quilting with some straight lines in the blocks. This is what that looks like:My original plan had been to bind it with the background fabric with the remaining Jolly Bar pieces interspersed. Then I looked into the yardage closet and the first thing I saw was the perfect blue Bella solid.I also practiced sewing my binding to the back and then machine sewing the front with a zigzag. This is the second time I’ve done that and it was better than the first time.

And now, here is the finished product!

The finished quilt measures 65” x 84”. The pattern is available from the Fat Quarter Shop. So,of course, are the Jolly Bars. There is also a YouTube tutorial. It’s quick and gorgeous!

Thank you, Fat Quarter Shop, for this opportunity to take part in my very first blog hop. Remember to check out the Jolly Jabber blog for links to other posts with this quilt. Also, you can find in progress pictures on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #JollyBarJazzquilt.

Quilt on!

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Been Quilting Up a Storm

I spent several days quilting the Jolly Bar Jazz quilt for Friday’s Blog hop. I did not feel good about some of (let’s be honest, most of) the quilting I did, but I only ripped out a very little bit of one spiral. I can’t show pictures of the finished product until Friday’s blog hop post for that.

My first thought had been that since the quilt blocks were so square, we needed some curved quilting. I thought about a huge walking foot (because my free motion really needs some work before it sees the light of day) spiral. Since there really wasn’t a great place to start in the middle, I decided to do individual spirals in the blocks. Do you know how many times I spun that quilt through the machine to make these way less than perfect spirals? AAARGH!

Here’s the beginning of one. If you look closely, you can see how bad this really is!

After the first spiral, I decided that just to be on the safe side in case I got really sick of these spirals, I should quilt alternating blocks with the spirals. Then, if after six, I was really sick of them, I could do something else in the other six blocks and it would look planned.

As it turns out, that was a very wise plan. I was sick of the spirals after two. I think I wouldn’t have gotten so sick of them if I had felt like they looked at all good. Of course, once they are washed, they look fine. Especially from a distance!

I decided to do straight lines in the alternate blocks. I think those actually took quite a bit longer than the spirals because there were so many starts and stops.

As you can see from the above picture, I also did the same  straight line idea in the sashing . In the borders I did three wavy lines. 

I didn’t want to quilt it too heavily because I wanted it to be soft and usable. Wool batting puffs up perfectly so I got my wish.

Come back Friday morning for the final reveal!

Quilt on!

Catching Up

It has been a busy couple of weeks around here – at least in the sewing room. And on the couch while watching football games. Want to see some pictures?

First, the second Rosette 2 of La Passacaglia is done and pressed. The center started out with cool colors and then it heated up on the way out to the outer rings.

And I finished some three dimensional sewing with embroidery! (Embroidery is kind of fun. I could get used to this.) Yes, pillows are about as three dimensional as I get! The blue is more of a royal blue than it looks here.

I completed the quilt top for the blog hop quilt. And today I pressed the backing

I did run into a small problem when trying to baste the quilt.But I did get it done, so quilting will start tomorrow. Unless I decide to make the binding first, that is.

Yesterday was Sew With a Jelly Roll Day, so after I finished the quilt top, I got out this jelly roll.

I guess technically it’s something other than a jelly roll since it is not a Mode Fabric. It is Oasis from Robert Kauffman.

My first plan was to make a Missouri Star Quilt Company pattern called Stack and Flip so I started sewing strips together for that. I didn’t like the way it was looking so I took it apart. Before I did though, I noticed that these two strips had matched amazingly. I couldn’t do that if I tried.

So next I decided to just go easy and make a jelly roll race quilt. Only for me it did not go easy! First, I got the strips sewn together with no problem thanks to my lovely laser on my machine. Then it all went downhill from there.

I started the first long seam and got to the end of the first strip (or two depending on how you look at it) and realized that I had forgotten to cut off a few inches. Yes, I could have left it like that, but I don’t really like the look of all the seams lining up, so unsewing happened there.

Then I re-started joining the ends and got about four (or eight) strips in and realized I was sewing the wrong side of one strip to the right side of the other. More unsewing. But eventually I got the first seam finished just in time for bed.

Today I sewed the second seam, but today’s real goal was to get the quilt layered and basted. I will probably finish the next three seams tomorrow before I start quilting just to call it a done center.

What have you been doing?

Quilt on!