Thursday, March 26, 2009

Flower Stars

I've decided to make a vine-y, flowers and leaves border for the Periwinkle Stars quilt center. "Flowers" will be individual Periwinkle Stars to which I'm adding a make the stars look more flower-like!

From one gold fabric, I've cut circles. Bits of batting were cut into circles too so each fabric circle has a batting circle inside it. This gives the flower a little dimension as well as preventing any shadowing from fabrics beneath the circle. I baste around the edge of a fabric circle so I can draw it up over a heat-resistant template plastic circle. After it's pressed, I remove the template plastic, making a nice round circle with a smooth edge to hand-applique to the center of each star.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hand Piecing - Periwinkle Stars

Several years ago I wanted a travel project. Something I could work on while riding on long road trips. I came across this design called Periwinkle Stars. The quilt I saw was also pieced in the "snowball" part (the ivory fabric), so it could be straight-stitched on the sewing machine. On my quilt, the snowball is a whole, single piece of fabric. That's because it's my preference, when hand-piecing, to join pieces that are more challenging to accomplish on a sewing machine. Set-in seams, like those on this quilt, require a little more precision which I am able to accomplish when I stitch by hand.

With no specific size in mind, I cut out oodles of snowballs from a solid ivory fabric. Then, using my scraps and scraps from quilter-friends, I pieced the stars, being sure to have a light and a dark for contrast. Notice how each star alternates the placement of lights and darks.

Now the quilt top is 80" X 90"! I briefly entertained the idea of calling it enough, but one of my favorite quilt effects is a geometric pieced center surrounded by a border of softly curving applique. So, bordered it will be!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

QAYG - Quilt As You Go

A week ago, our Hope Quilters group at church learned how to string-piece onto foundation paper. Now several quilters are interested in learning how to make QAYG (Quilt As You Go) blocks. In the right-hand menu is a slideshow tutorial I've created. (Thank you Jan MacFadyen of Victoria, Australia, and your blog Sew Many Quilt - Too Little Time.) Jan and many other quilters are busily making these QAYG blocks into quilts to donate to Australians who have experienced terrible losses due to the February 7 bush fires where 1,834 homes were burned. Visit Oz Comfort Quilts blog to see pictures of their quiltmaking relief efforts. 
Note that I made my QAYG samples starting with 9-1/2" X 9-1/2" backing and batting squares--'cause that's the size square ruler I had. My finished block is 8-1/2" X 8-1/2". Expect to lose a whole inch from the size you start with. Aussie quilters are beginning with 11" squares and ending up with a 10" X 10" finished block.

Click on the slideshow and enjoy learning!

Mariner's Compass

My friend Lola made this beautiful, all-batik, 34" X 34" Mariner's Compass for her husband's studio. He's a professional photographer; that's why the lighting and photo quality is so fabulous. You might guess correctly that they're sailors.

On the condition Lola would enter the quilt in the Iowa State Fair (group quilts/wall hanging), I quilted it, basically covering the entire surface with feathers.

Lola's never entered a quilt in competition, so look for her first blue ribbon at the August 13-23 Iowa State Fair

Saturday, March 7, 2009

It's a Quillow

Today I finished a quillow. In case you don't know, a quillow is a quilt that folds up and tucks into it's own pocket, making it look like a pillow. The outside of the pillow pocket is four 6" X 6" turnstile blocks.
Here is a close-up of the opening where the quilt is folded into the pillow pocket.

Quillow instructions are from the Jan/Feb 2007 issue of Love of Quilting, though I changed the pillow and quilt dimensions--the pillow is 12" X 12" and the quilt is 36" X 48". 
The quilt front is the clown print and the quilt back is the polka-dot print.

Monday, March 2, 2009

String Piecing and Rollin' Along

Saturday was a sewing day at Lutheran Church of Hope for Hope Quilters and quilters from other churches. We began with a color lesson, learning about a color wheel. Then, I shared how to string piece blocks... I have lots of experience with that now! (See previous days' photos.)

Hope Quilters has several
bins of donated quilting cotton, and stringing is not only a stash-reducer, but it's fun! Several quilters have already told me, "I can't stop stringing!" (Do we need a new support group?) Andrea (at right) sure looks pleased with her block, doesn't she? We hope to receive several wonderful new mission quilts from everyone's efforts.

Today I cut out and pieced several Turnstile blocks. Decided to try my "new" manual presser, roller. It's an old wallpaper seam roller, and it works great! Really even better than a wooden presser which can pull and distort fabric grain. The roller just rolls over the seams. (duh) Another great quilting gadget that isn't found in a quilt shop. 


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