Saturday, January 30, 2016

Quilt Reveal: Dog Gone Cute

Dog Gone Cute is ready for a quilt reveal.

This is Lorna Mahon's pattern from Sew Fresh quilts.  She offered it on her blog for free.  She has many other dog patterns as well.  She is also getting ready to host an Ugly Sweaters quilt-along.

I adapted this one - okay, it was partly an error that I decided to keep because I thought it would get a longer nose this way.  Then I looked at Zeus and realized that I only see his nose when he is looking down but when he is looking up, I see his mouth and chin.  So I  gave the quilt dog a chin.

I quilted straight organic lines, like Lorna would do, but it looked like the Bad Dog picture in the Small Quilts photo album. He looked like he was in jail. I then quilted wavy lines between all the straight lines. I started on the right side, and didn't like the really wavy lines so I made them less wavy as I went to the left.

I bound it with a solid brown. To make sure it got finished this month, since I don't have hand work time, I sewed down the binding on both sides by machine.  It isn't perfect, since I am not used to doing to sewing down the binding by machine (and I was sewing from the front where I couldn't see if the binding was catching on the back), but I managed to get it done, and pretty quickly too.

I showed you the back of the quilt yesterday. With so many finishes so quickly and limited space, the improv elephant quilt didn't get to stay on the bulletin board very long.

It is 17"  x 17 3/4". To see other posts about this quilt, click on the Dog Gone Cute label under this post or in the sidebar. To see other posts about finished quilts, click on Quilt Reveal label under this post or in the sidebar. I think I finished more quilts this month than I did all of last year combined.

Wanda said that for each finished quilt, I can start three new ones. Who am I to argue with that?  So I have picked out three quilts to start!

Shirts Quilt

I received a stack of solid blue shirts from my brother-in-law and I have decided to make a quilt with these to give back to him.  I was considering all kinds of quilt patterns to make but I recently saw the Gee's Bend documentary, and saw a quick glimpse of a Courthouse Steps quilt. The steps are on two sides instead of all four sides.  It only uses two colors and there is very little of the other color.  I figure I could use a pair of jeans for my second color, and make this simple quilt that showcases the shirts.  I won't make it improv method though; I think he would prefer straight lines.  This will be a pretty big quilt though, even if it means I have to buy more shirts, so it won't be a quick finish.

Adinkra Quilt 2016

Debby Kratovil is offering an Adinkra Quilt 2016 block of the month.  I have decided to join her, because this quilt uses African fabrics in a beautiful way and I want to use my African fabrics. It is a simple quilt. Alternating blocks are pieced, and one design is appliqued every month. When I printed the pattern, it printed smaller than the size needed to make the block. This is probably my fault, since I didn't check to see if the printer was going to print actual size.  I was going to consider reducing the size anyway, and now I didn't need to. I decided to use the smaller size. I am going to have to remember to make my alternating blocks smaller.

Scrap Quilt

I am going to start cutting fabric for my next scrap quilt.  When I pull out scraps for the Quilty 365, I wind up having to put the remaining scrap away.  I think it would be better for me to trim these scraps down and get them ready for a scrap quilt.  I am thinking Quilt Vortex, which lets the scraps be the size they are for the most part.  I also want to start cutting fabric for the triangle quilt for my own bed.  I haven't made a quilt for my bed, and although it hasn't bothered me before, it is bothering me now. Mostly because my Walmart quilt is shredding to pieces day by day.

Linked to:
Fabric Tuesday 
Linky Tuesday 
Let's Bee Social #110

Friday, January 29, 2016

Quilting and Quilt Label

Hand quilting continues on the Cheddar and Crackers quilt. I am still hoping on finishing the quilting this month.

I machine quilted the Dog Gone Cute quilt using organic lines.  I am going to show you how I made the quilt label. This quilt label is sewn into the binding of the quilt.  There are several benefits of doing it this way. First, you only have to hand sew two sides of it, since the other two sides are under the binding.  Second, it provides a nice professional finish. Third, it makes it harder to steal the quilt since someone cannot simply take out the label without having to re-do the binding.

I first pieced together the bonus triangles that came from making the front of the quilt. You know, those bits that you are supposed to throw away.  Since this is a label, I tried to keep all the white places together so they would form a continuous space to write the information for the label.

I wanted to include the raw edges in the seam allowance of the quilt.  That left two sides that would need to be hand sewn.  Since this is pieced, I wanted to make sure that these hand sewn sides were neatly turned under.  To do that, I sewed these two sides rights sides together to plain square.

Turn it right side out and poke out the corner. Note that the other two sides are still raw edges.

Align the raw edges to the edge of the quilted and trimmed quilt and pin in place.

Then baste it in place using a smaller seam allowance than you will use for the binding.  You will notice that I also folded squares in half and basted the triangles in place to serve as quilt hangers.  I just have to bind as usual to cover these raw edges.

When I sew the binding down, I plan the path for sewing that includes the label. Which means that I start the quilting near the label if I plan to do the label last. I usually start with the label first and then work my way around the quilt.  When I start near the label, I don't have to tie off the thread to end in one place and just to have to move to do the label.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Circle Progress

I was planning on showing you pictures of my circles put together after I joined the rows of the 21 circles.  Even though I can't join the rows because of the size of the circle I just finished making, I am showing what they look like so far.

It is hard to photograph them all together since the rows are so long.

Each row is made up of three weeks.  Here are all the first weeks of each row.

Second weeks.

Third weeks.  I am now working on the third week of row three.

Linked to:
AHIQ - share your improv #5 
Oh Scrap! 
February Quilty 365 Linkup

Super Size Circle

I had been meaning to make a larger circle during these 21 days, so when I came to the 20 and 21st day, it was now and never. I decided to make double the length and width of the background. Instead of a 3 1/2 square, this is a 7 inch square, finished.

I cut some blunt tip triangles and sewed them together, and luckily they fit perfectly into a circle! My ruler does not have a lot of diagonal lines for triangles so I just eyeballed the triangles.  I was expecting to have to do some fudging to make things fit. Not only did it make a nice circle, it was just the right size for the background!

 I then appliqued the circle on the top of the result, and appliqued the whole circle on the background.  I thought it looked better with a green background than the blue background, but if I had realized how much it looked like a buoy, I might have used a blue background. A buoy is one of the shapes I drew early on in my idea book.

Since this was a larger circle that would attract attention,  and since I wanted to practice different techniques, I even turned under the edges of both circles.  I used a trick I just learned about using foil paper and cardboard to turn the edges using this Youtube video from Sarah Fielke. It's obviously not perfect, but I am happy with it.

Last time I had to decide whether blocks with more than one circle would count as more than one day, and I decided no. I would use the background, not the number of circles, to decide how many days it represented.  Now I have to decide whether blocks this big count as more than one day, and I have decided yes. Since this block takes up the room of four small blocks, this one represents four days.

The big size does mean that I can not sew this block to the previous circles until that row is the correct size, so it will have to wait  four weeks.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sunday Circles Continued

Here are the circles I made yesterday.  Today is Day 71 but after this batch, I have 53 blocks. I haven't made today's circle(s) yet. They don't take too long to make, so I am not worried about being able to catch up.

I debated using flowers in the wintertime, but that's when I need them the most! I didn't realize until it was too late that the background fabric is wrong side up. Oh well, Gwen Marston said we could use the other side for variety!

I find that my most creative ones come from scraps so here's another one with the trimmings of the shirt circles I showed you yesterday. Let the quilt police debate whether ovals count as circles.

More flowers. Even though there are three circles in this block, it counts as one block.

And to keep it from looking too springy, here is one that is more fall-like. It's been a while since I've done a pieced circle.

I have two more circles to make before this row can be joined to the one above it.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sunday Circles

The cross hatching of all the background on Cheese and Crackers is finished.  There are 12 feature squares that I am quilting circles on, and six of those are done.  I only do one a day, but since there are more than six days left in the month, I should be able to get the quilting done by then, and maybe even the binding.  We'll see how my wrist holds up.

The daily work on Cheese and Crackers has kept me from doing daily work on Quilty 365 Circles. I have been making a few circles, but have fallen behind.  Today, I will be making more to catch up, so this project can finish in a year.  After all, the closer to the day the circle was due, the more similar the fabric / weather, mood situation. It's no pressure;  I'll make circles until I don't want to make any more.

Let me show you the circles I have made.

The bird is for our first real snowfall of the winter. I thought the blue reflected the coldness.

The polka dotted fabrics are leftovers from the Dog Gone Cute quilt.

During a walk, I saw two oranges in the snow by a trash can. I liked the contrast between the white and the orange and decided to recreate that.

The pink is just a tiny scrap I found on the sewing room floor and decided it was just the right size to use for a circle.

I was given a bunch of blue shirts and am trying to think of a quilt I can make with them.  In the meantime, I made the four circles from one of them.

And while I was at it, I made a leftover of two of the four circles into another block.

The snowman is leftover fabric from the Winter Scene quilt. We didn't get any snow during the storm but I have friends who did.

I do have some more circles prepped and will show them after they have been sewn down. To see more circles, just click on Quilty Project 365 in the labels below this post or in the sidebar. Or click the Quilty 365 button to see how other quilters are interpreting this circle a day project.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Quilt Reveal: Winter Scene

I have a surprise quilt reveal for you today.

This quilt was made for the Seasons Quilt challenge at Persimon Dreams.  The challenge is to make a quilt, from start to finish, in one week.  Yes, you heard that right.  It takes me an average of two years to make a quilt from start to finish.I have a spreadsheet that says so, although it is not accurate since it does not include quilts that have not been finished yet, so the average is actually much higher.  I - someone who takes an average of more than two years to finish a quilt - made this one in three days.  This quilt will really help with my average, so thanks for this challenge!

In order to make a quilt this quickly, besides dedicating a lot of time to do it, is to go with the first idea that popped into my head. I drew a picture, found some fabric (mostly non-quilting), used up a lot of my recently-purchased fusible, and quilted them down. I folded under the front and folded over the back to finish it. I made the drawing on a back of an envelope and then remembered I now have a notebook for such things

I then put away the drawings and just used my memory and fabric to recreate the scene. I chose non-quilting fabric in an effort to use them up. I put the tree up before the windows, and messed up the perspective of the house. Oh well, that's what folk art quilting is all about!

I like the sparkly velvety tree fabric. It looks like snow sparkles.

I quilted down the applique.  The needle became gummy and the thread kept breaking, but I kept on going.  The quilting added a lot to the folk artsy nature of this quilt. I hand embroidered the faces on the people, the dog and the snowman.

The size of the batting scrap determined the size. After carefully trimming the batting, I trimmed and folded the  background fabric to the back to keep it from unraveling. I then trimmed and folded the backing up and machine sewed it down as a binding.

The fusible did not stick to the wool very well, hence the pointy toe.

I guess it is fitting that the winter weather keeps these pictures so dark.  I used white boards to back light it, opened the window blinds, used a flash camera, and auto-lightened the image with an image editing program. 

It's about 13 inches square.

Please vote for my quilt in the challenge.

Linked to:
Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River
Let's Bee Social #109 
Scrap Quilt Challenge

Sunday, January 17, 2016


This mosaic is for a contest by Stitched in Color. These beautiful fabrics would  make a great fairy tale quilt.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Dog Gone Cute

When Wanda suggested using the end of the month as my deadline for the Moldy Cheese and Crackers quilt, I thought that would be fantastic.  I would be done early, and I would get a gold star!  Then I started quilting it and realized why this is a slow quilt.  My wrists hurt if I do a lot of handwork, so I can only do a few minutes a day.  This means I won't get done early and won't get my gold star.  I may not even be able to get the whole thing done by the end of the month. I will be happy if I can at least get the quilting done and the binding machine sewn down.  Then hand sewing the binding down can be done early in February.

But what this means is that I have quilting time that is not used on the Cheese and Crackers quilt.  Free time in which I can do anything my little heart desires.  So let me tell you about the Dog Gone Cute quilt.  This is a quilt that Lorna from Sew Fresh Quilts offered as a quilt-along. (It's still available if you are interested.) I told myself that since I was still working on Elephant Parade, I should wait to start it.  I printed out the patterns (all of them even though my plan all along has been to just make one dog.

This is a big deal for me, since I don't like to waste paper and ink and especially storage space on patterns, but I really like this quilt.  Then my mother needed a ride to Walmart, and this fat quarter pack just jumped into the cart as we were walking by to get the groceries. Those little puppy dog eyes were just begging to be in a Dog Gone Cute quilt! And now the pattern and the fabric has been united.

My original plan was to use the two browns -the regular brown as the main part of the face and the reddish brown as the accent.  I considered the gray for the accent, but I decided against it.  I cut the parts of the fabric as I work the steps to make sure I don't use the wrong size shapes and don't lose any pieces.  As I was putting the block together, it was getting darker outside and the two browns were barely distinguishable from each other.  I decided then to use the gray instead of the brown so there would be more contrast.

I liked playing with the pieces to see the different animal shapes I could make, as you can see in these pictures. Looks like a bear here.

I adapted the pattern to make his snout a little bit longer.  I have to decide whether to add a border.

All last year, I wanted to make these one block quilts - the Farm Girl Vintage, the Snapshots, even this Dog Gone Cute. And now I have been able to make one of these.  I just have to quilt and bind it and I will have a start to a new collection!

Linked to:
Linky Tuesday

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Next Item to Finish

The next item I have decided to work on is this quilt. It is already sandwiched and I've hand quilted about 3/4ths of it. I've even made the binding, so finishing it up shouldn't take too long.  Wanda says I have until the end of the month to get it done. 

It is Moldy Cheese and Crackers. I'm not going to show you the front now so there will be a little bit of suspense at the finish, but if you look back on my blog, I'm sure you will be able to see what it looks like.

I have decided I am not going to over-analyze which quilt I will work on next. Just grab the first one and get it done.  I like doing the ones that are already sandwiched though, because they will make a bigger impact in clearing the space and because I have run out of usable safety pins, and if I work on quilts that are using them, I will be able to finally get them back. I have plenty of safety pins, so I'm not buying any new ones!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Quilt Reveal: Awards Banquet

Hello all!

I have a finished quilt to show you!  Awards Banquet.

Here is the story. This quilt started out as a leftovers quilt, as do many of the small quilts I make. Here is the original quilt which used free pieced rails.  To make this one different, I used only the black and white fabric and cut the rails with a ruler.

4 Improv Quilt
©Shasta Matova

After I made the triangle blocks and decided to set them on point. I auditioned several fabrics and decided to use red for the setting squares and the center squares.  I pulled out this red which feels more city and made the quilt more elegant than the improv origins would show. I added it despite the fact that the red fabric felt more city-like as compared to the black and white chickens which felt more country.  We are allowed to have chickens in the city.

When it came time to choose a border, I was a little bit conflicted. I wanted to use up the black and white fabric I had, but I read the words as 2000 at first glance.  If I wasn't willing to use 2000 fabric in 2014, when was I going to?  So I decided to use it.  As I cut it up, I realized that it didn't say 2000 at all. It said "moo" and there were cows on it. How could I have missed them? My favorite fancy red fabric was going into a quilt with chickens and cows on it. I don't think we are allowed to keep cows in the city. Most of my black and white fabric came from a fat quarter swap.

My realization came at just about the time I received an invitation to attend an awards banquet.  It is an annual banquet to thank the employees for the hard work they have done during the year.  Usually when I am invited to this banquet, I am asked whether I want beef or chicken.  I didn't get to choose that year, because the person inviting me chose for me. It's probably because he didn't think to ask me until it was too late and had to make a choice right away, but I will believe that it is because he loves me and wants me to eat healthier that he chooses chicken.

Anyway, these two things mixed in my head and this quilt became to be known as Awards Banquet. After all, the name "Leftovers Quilt" has already been taken, and this quilt is far too nice to be a leftover.

I cut the setting triangles the wrong size, and instead of scrapping them, I turned them into three-dimensional prairie points in the border. I really like how they extend the setting triangles make the top float.  I was going to leave them loose, but it was easier to quilt them down. I free motion quilted awards ribbons in the center squares to fit the name. #1 of course.

This is a small quilt measuring 19 1/2" X 24". It was started in April 2014 and finished today.  It snowed yesterday, so I rushed to finish it today while there was still daylight outside.  I was able to photograph it outside in the snow. Even though it isn't an unusual design, it is my own design. It is my first Finish for 2016.

For finishing, I received this Certificate of Completion. But no beef or chicken, unfortunately, as I am trying to eat vegetarian, and I don't have either of those in the house.

Linked to:
Let's be Social #107.
Needle and Thread Thursday

The Problem with Being Finished

If you recall, my word for this year is Finish.

NCDOTcommunications CCBY2.0 via Flickr

I have to admit to you that this word makes me anxious.  I thought about just letting it slide into oblivion by not talking about it again or changing it to another word that feels more positive to me.

Instead, I decided to stick with it a little longer and analyze why this word makes me anxious.  After all, finishing something, particularly a quilt is a good thing.  Why does this word make me nervous?  Here's where I lay down on the counseling couch and turn all of you into therapists. 

First of all, it feels like a drastic change from last year, and I thoroughly enjoyed quilting last year. Last year, my Clarity goal seemed like a refinement of things I was already doing instead of a drastic change.  I didn't even make real goals about quilting, so I went back to an older word of Start.  The quote with the word Start had to do with taking the first step to climbing the mountain, which was something as simple as buying the gear.  So even though it wasn't actually said, it was something about just taking the next step.  And I had just read the book Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  My house isn't any tidier since I've read that book, but I have made sure there was more joy in my life.  So the undefined rule for quilting was, "if it brings you joy, take another step to bring it forward."

This year, since so many quilts had so much progress on them, I could just take a few more steps to bring them down the finish line.  I thought I was gently saying, just keep going.  But it feels authoritarian, like I MUST finish what I start. This is strange, because I didn't come up with any rules like I had in the past, such as finishing one or two quilts before starting a new one, or not starting any new ones at all.
NCDOTcommunications CCBY2.0 via Flickr

Second is the negativity of the word.  Finishing someone off isn't a good thing nor is it good to be done with someone.  Even the good connotations of the word are somewhat negative.  When you finish a good book, you don't have any more to read. When you are done cleaning, you don't want to start doing anything else, because you will mess up the cleanliness. When a party is over, there is the loneliness of an empty house.  I know that finishing something leaves you open to start something else, but when I made the rule that I could start something new for everything I finished, it felt more punitive than rewarding.

I'm also having a hard time finding a quote and a picture that provides the positive encouragement I need. Going down the finish line at a race isn't a good analogy, since I am not going to be the first one to finish, as slow as I quilt. And if  I am first, because I am the only one racing, then going down the finish line isn't all that rewarding.  Besides, just finishing isn't all that big a deal. It is more an avoidance of humiliation than a real accomplishment. That finish/start picture is the closest I got, to show that once you finish something, you get to start something else.

I obviously have more work to do to relieve this anxiety.

Thank you for listening to my rambling. The check is in the mail. Don't worry, I don't need your address.

Monday, January 11, 2016

2 Rows of Circles Done

To reward myself for finishing my Awards Banquet quilt (nope it isn't done yet), I made an award circle.The background is leftover from the backing of Awards Banquet.

And this panda showed up. It is the 42th circle, which means that I have finished six weeks worth of circles.

I plan to sew them together in rows of 21.But because of my larger embroidery circle, I decided to sew two sets. I didn't want to add an extension all the way down the left circles just to make these circles fit with the right side, knowing that there will be other larger blocks added along the way. This is the left side.

This is the right side which will be added once I add a large circle or two to the left side. Of course, it is easier to photograph when the rows aren't so long.

Two rows finished!