Friday, July 18, 2014

Master Procrastinator and a free pattern

So, once again it has been a long time since I last posted.  I really must quit being so darn lazy.

I am going to try to do a recap with a few separate posts instead of one really long one.

So here goes…….

I spent the latter part of January and February working on the disappearing pinwheel quilt that I started during the Martin Luther King Day Sew-In.  It took me forever to decide on a border for it and I wasn’t in a big hurry to finish it since it wasn’t going to be gifted until the first week of May.  So of course I procrastinated and didn’t finish it until the last week of April.

Finished size 108” square…

This picture was taken at King's Gap Park near Carlisle, PA, with my sister and niece standing on the wall holding the quilt up.

Here is a close up of the quilting; I must apologize again for my horrible picture taking skills. I did an all-over swirling design in the center and swirls with leaves in the borders.

I stayed busy between starting and finishing the pinwheels quilt by making a quilt for an intern at work who was graduating and moving away.  I wanted to make sure that she knew her hard work and positive attitude were much appreciated.  I came up with a design I called Positive Energy.

The front is clean and simple with lots of negative space.

Since I wasn’t certain on the style preferred by her I thought it would be a good idea to make the back a little more colorful.  I cut random width strips of the same solids used on the front and a coordinating print to make a pieced back…

It was a very simple and quick quilt to construct so I decided to write up the pattern for the top and post it here for anyone who would like to make their own. Positive Energy Pattern

This is the first time that I have attempted to create a pdf link in the blog so I hope that it actually works.  I will keep my fingers crossed and in the meantime if you cannot get it to display and would like to receive it by email just send me a request at


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Chopping Up Old UFO Blocks

I needed wanted to make a last minute baby quilt for a friend of a friend.  I heard, and was very touched by, her story 2 days prior to her due date so I was in a rush. 
When I started thinking of what to do for a fast baby quilt I remembered seeing some of the awesome disppearing 9 patch quilts that Sandy from Quilting...for the rest of us has made.  That got me thinking that if you can chop up a finished 9 patch then why not chop up other completed blocks and see what I get.
I had some old UFO blocks in a box on the shelf. They were from my 3rd attempt at making a quilt and I was far from mastering the 1/4" seam allowance needed to make blocks that fit together correctly. My obsessive brain could not get ovet the fact that my seams didn't match up perfectly when piecing the blocks together so I gave up and threw them in a box.
I started with 4 of these blocks

Chopped them into 4 parts each.
Tried some different layouts

 Then said the heck with it and just tossed them around onto a white background fabric.  I decided that I liked the tossed look, so I pieced them together into wonky columns

Then added some polka dot sashing strips in between

I free-motion quilted loopy lines in the background and dot-to-dot (ala Angela Walters) in the squares

  Since I was in a hurry I wanted to attach the binding by machine but I usually don't like the look of machine binding because I can see the seam line. Also, I really suck at following a straight line so my machine bindings look especially terrible.  Then I found a tutorial on youtube for "piped" binding and the light-bulb went on. I used the polka dots with a yellow accent strip.

Wow, that was so easy and looks way better than my usual attempts at machine binding.

Now I only have 12 more of these old UFO blocks to repurpose

What I Have Been Working On Lately

So I have worked on several projects recently that I hadn't yet had a chance to post about, so here goes...

In Progress

Christmas Cactus Quilt for Mom

This is one 1/4 of the top.
The pattern is by Piecemeal Quilts and I am using fabrics from Winter's Lane by Kate & Birdie Paper Co for Moda and Rock Candy from Blank Quilting for the background.
I have got 1/2 of the top done now but took a break to work on a project for Martin Luther King Day Sew-In on Twitter. (#MLKSI)

Disappearing Pinwheels for #MLKSI

I have the nine-patches made and all of the squares cut out for the disappearing pinwheel blocks. Can't wait to get started on the rest of the blocks tomorrow!

Recent Finishes

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Tote

The pattern is from Eazy Peazy. It was pretty easy to construct and it holds a LOT. I used it to go shopping at my fave LQS yesterday. I ended up with a 70" square quilt (picked up since display was done for now), my small tote with wallet and 2 bolts of fabric in it. (I think it could have held even more though) I put a fauxe-piped binding around the top because I really didn't want to attempt turning right-side out with the stiff peltex bottom.

Sketch/Note book cover with matching pen/pencil pouch for guild gift exchange

too darn cute, if I do say so myself...and I do.

Wall Hanging for Riley Blake Fabric Challenge for the Modern Quilt Guild

All improv piecing, very abstract and outside my comfort zone but it was a whole lotta fun once I got my brain to stop trying to be so anal about it.

Chopped up old UFO blocks
Nevermind, I think this one deserves its' own post so back in a few...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Disappearing Pinwheel math

Who knew that there would ever be an up-side to having a kid home sick with the flu.  He might be “grown” but it is a bit reassuring to know that I am not completely unnecessary as mother anymore.

It gave me a bit of time to work out the math for the Disappearing Pinwheel quilt.  I had seen the video from Missouri Star Quilt Co and thought it would be fun to work on so I was super excited when the Twitter buzz started about everyone working on that together for the MLK Day Sew In.

I wanted to try it using charm squares instead of a layer cake but had no idea what the finished size would turn out to be.  Since my son was super ill with the flu and couldn’t be left alone for the day I decided to dig out some scraps and work out the math while he was napping.

So here goes…

finished trial blocks


I had a candy bar (2 ½” squares) laying in the drawer so gave it a try, finished size = about 2” = Heck NO!, It was impossible to cut straight, the ruler kept wobbling because it was all seams and I couldn’t get it to lay flat no matter how much steam and starch I used. So I would only recommend that size for the super brave at heart or an experienced miniature quilter, obviously by the photo I am neither, it looks terrible.

Charm Square (5”), trimmed the pinwheel to 5 ¼” to make the math easier since quilting rulers don’t have 1/16” markings.  5 ¼” ÷ 6 = ⅞” so I cut ⅞” from the center on all 4 sides.  After piecing together into the churn dash block it was 4 ¼” so the finished size would be 3 ¾”.

I wanted to try it with the charm squares for a wedding quilt that I want to make for a May wedding.  I was already looking at a pattern that was churn dash and shoo fly blocks so this project was perfect.  But after realizing that I would need about 400 of them I decided to go with the layer cake size that was shown on the video.

Layer Cake (10”), trimmed the pinwheel to 12” to make the math easier.  12” ÷ 6 = 2” so I cut 2” from the center on all 4 sides.  After piecing together into the churn dash block it was 11” so the finished size would be 10 ½”.

Here is the EQ drawing of what I hope to accomplish with this.  Thinking reds and creams, maybe batiks...

red/cream disappearing pinwheels

Hope the math helps.