A gem, revisited

Remember this quilt?FinalGemmaQuiltFullWell, it’s available as a Row House Creations pattern in the latest issue of Fons & Porter’s Scrap Quilts… (Summer 2015)17093_10205811642123170_7308003853359679834_nThere are some wonderful quilts in this issue, 13 projects total… including one by my friend and fellow DSMMQG member, Leila! Go grab your issue this week…

Happy Quilting,

Doris

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The garden that took a long time to grow.

This quilt is another 2014 finish I have yet to blog about, but it was started waayyyyyy before 2014. I bought the fabric to make my niece a quilt when she was 8-9 months old (May 2012). Here she is at my mom’s house, lovin’ on the fabric:

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There is another shot taken just before this one where she is sitting up looking at the camera with a big cheesy grin. Then she just kept snuggling the fabric on the floor. Yep, I completely understand, Z–I feel the same way about new fabric.

I started cutting hexagons for her quilt in July 2012 at my Gruber’s retreat in Minnesota using a friend’s Go! Cutter and this die I bought:GoCutterHexagon

I only cut the large hexagon, not the two smaller sizes.

In the meantime, I had used some of the fabric I bought to make Z this sweet pillow for her 1st birthday using our One Big Cabin owl applique, and I made a matching valance for her new bedroom… y’know, to match the quilt she didn’t yet have. 😉

I didn’t really have a pattern in mind when I started cutting hexagons, but shortly after that retreat, I came across Terry Atkinson’s Hexie Garden pattern, and I knew that was meant to be Z’s quilt.

I worked on it at a few more retreats, and naturally, adapted the pattern a bit (because I have a hard time sticking to a pattern), added a double border, and eventually had it ready to gift to her for her 3rd birthday last August. It’s twin size, perfect since she was moved to a big girl bed that very same week:

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The center of the hexagon flowers are a light grey print from Sunkissed by Sweetwater for Moda, the purple triangles are Tiny Diamonds by Dear Stella, and the flower “petals” all came from my scrap bin, mostly scraps from my Candied Hexagon quilt.

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The quilting is a computerized Innova design, and includes butterflies, flowers, dragonflies, bumblebees… truly perfect for this quilt, and this sweet girly-girl.

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I used leftovers on the back, leftovers from the valance and pillow, and the front of the quilt, and a few coordinating pieces from my stash.

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One of my favorites is this Valentine print, tiny X’s and O’s with little hearts hanging inside each O:

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Z is the child I believe should have been named Joy, because she is THE poster child for living a joy-filled life. She’s kind of a party waiting to happen, very sweet and kind, almost always smiling and enjoying herself. I hope she stays that way, always.

Zoe&HerQuiltThat’s her on birthday #3, when I gifted her the quilt. She gets lots of goodies from Aunt Doris, handmade and purchased–it doesn’t hurt that she knows how to melt her auntie’s heart.

Happy Quilting,

Doris

Sometimes late is better than never…

In early 2014, Lynne put out a call for a challenge to be published in Fat Quarterly magazine (Issue #17, late Spring 2014) using mini-charms from Moda. I emailed her my idea, and she sent me two mini-charm packs of Zen Chic’s Sphere collection. She mailed them from England, they were returned to her once, and re-sent, and finally, weeks later they arrived in Iowa! But then, my life fell apart, cancer took my husband’s life — and for a very long time I didn’t even know which way was up.

Lynne was of course very understanding that my project wasn’t completed in time for the publication. But I was determined to finish it. In the meantime, my Mom and I had made an impromptu stop at Ikea and I found a table runner that SCREAMED Spring, and just happened to be the exact same colors as Brigitte’s Sphere fabric collection. So I scrapped the original idea I had proposed to Lynne, and started making small half-square triangles and randomly piecing mini charms and HSTs together in two long strips.

I appliqued the strips onto the long edges of the Ikea table runner, leaving about an inch of the white background visible along each edge:

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I didn’t want a dark binding to take away from the bright colors, or draw the eye away from the floral center, so I made a faux-flange binding using a Moda blue floral print from my stash with a white binding.TableRunner3

Here it is displayed (LAST MAY!) on the built in buffet in my old house:

TableRunnerI don’t live in the home with the pretty built-in anymore, but I still have my beautiful quarter-sawn oak antique table, and this runner and it’s bright Spring colors still look great and make me feel happy. Not sure why it took me 11 months to get this project on the blog; I finished it at the end of May… I think it just fell through the cracks.

Late is, indeed, better than never.

Happy sewing,

Doris

X & Plus Block — DOUBLE-SIZE!

In 2013, I had my International Stashes Bee make me X & + blocks, using Badskirt Amy’s tutorial. Her tutorial makes 8″ unfinished (7.5″ finished) blocks. The Bee members used a lot of text fabrics and bright colors, and I LOVE the blocks; but it’s still a WIP.

Then, I saw THIS quilt by Karen:

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Karen of CapitolaQuilter

When I saw that photo, I was SO grateful that I hadn’t pieced my quilt top yet–because I want a quilt like that to hang on my high, cathedral-ceiling wall in my living room! So, I’m asking my Sew Sisters Bee to make me 15.5″ (unfinished) blocks to go with my smaller blocks.

Karen did a great tutorial for her big blocks, but hers finish at 24″–too big to be companion size with my 7.5″ blocks. Her tutorial includes a GREAT tip for getting eight bonus HSTs (it was definitely a “why didn’t I think of that?” moment!).

SO anyway… for me it was back to the drawing board, to figure out cutting sizes for a block to finish at 15″ (15.5″ unfinished). Here you go:

15″ X & Plus Block cutting:
Plus Center (navy floral) = two 3″ squares and one 3″ x 8″ rectangle
Plus Ends (green print) = four 3″ x 4.25″ rectangles
Background (text print) = eight 4.75″ squares
X (tree print) = four 6.75″ squares (THIS SHOULD ACTUALLY BE 4 DIFFERENT FABRICS, I cut mine from the same print because each piece of my fabric varied so much)
X&+Block1Draw a diagonal line down the center of the wrong side of the 4.75″ squares. Match up to a 6.75″ square, right sides together (RST), sew along drawn line:X&+Block2

Trim seam to 1/4″, and press open toward smaller triangle. Repeat for opposite corner as shown here to complete each corner X unit (your corner unit should measure 6.75″ square):

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TIP: You can chain piece all of the center lines on one side, then the center lines on the other side to make this go together a little quicker.

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Sew two 3″ x 4.25″ green print rectangle to the two 3″ navy floral squares RST, press seam open. Add a corner X unit to each side of the green/navy floral units as shown above.

Sew a 3″ x 4.25″ green print rectangle to 3″ x 8″ navy floral rectangle. Join three sections to complete your block. Square up to 15.5″ if needed.

Here is my finished block along with the smaller blocks from my 2013 Bee:

X&+Block5I look forward to getting this pieced together and hung on my wall!

(EDITED: Vicki pointed out to me that I had the block sizes mixed up (good catch!)–the post is now edited; my blocks are 8″ unfinished and 15.5″ unfinished).

Happy sewing,

Doris

 

I have it Sew Together (yeah, right)

Social media drives trends in every area nowadays, including sewing and crafting. Remember when everyone was making Swoon quilts and Granny Square quilts (in 2012)? I tend to avoid projects when everyone else is making them–sometimes, I get around to making them eventually a few years behind everyone else (I’m starting my first Swoon quilt next week!).

Such is the case with my Sew Together bag. I bought the pattern and the fabric after watching Terri, Stephanie and Cindy make theirs together at retreat last summer. I didn’t get around to making it until November, when my friend Jill taught a class on it at a local quilt shop. (Note: Doris dislikes reading patterns. If you take a class, you don’t have to read the pattern!)

Fun to make and really, not as complicated as you might think. My sewing themed fabrics and pretty colored zippers:FabricsZippersThe zippers are done:

SewTogether1Sides attached (note the cute little tag, added from some printed twill tape I bought a few years ago):

SewTogether3My finished bag:

SewTogether4And the bags we all completed in class:

SewTogetherAllMost people I know that have made this bag have made more than one. There was one available in our MQG holiday swap this year (filled with chocolate no less) it was a coveted gift! They do make great gifts, good for stashing makeup, sewing notions, drawing tools, etc. You can get the pattern here. How SewDemented ever came up with this, I have no idea… but I’m glad she did! Elizabeth came up with a worksheet for downsizing it into a smaller bag. Smart, and she did so without “giving away” the pattern. I haven’t tried the smaller version yet, but I plan to!

Have you made a Sew Together bag yet?

 

A message of support

In August, my friend Karen and I checked out an installation of The Monument Quilt in downtown Des Moines. It’s a powerful project to experience. The Monument Quilt (this link has many more photos from across the country) is a crowd-sourced collection of thousands of stories from survivors of rape and abuse, with the purpose of creating a culture where survivors are publicly supported, rather than publicly shamed.

I studied art and art history in college and graduate school, and I’ve always appreciated that art has the potential to deliver difficult messages and instill understanding and compassion across cultures.

The full installation originally took place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and since then, parts of the quilt have been displayed all over the country. This image of the mall in Washington is wonderful (one of support materials distributed when the quilt is displayed):

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The portions displayed in Des Moines included the same message:

IMG_6014The quilt has interactive components, one can create their own 48″ x 48″ panel to submit to the project, or share their story at one of the installations by adding to an existing panel:

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IMG_6002Some of the stories are shared behind pieces of fabric (a flap that can be lifted); allowing the viewer to choose whether or not they want to read the survivor’s words… These stories have the potential to be emotionally draining, difficult to “hear”. There are volunteer “supporters” on hand for viewers to talk to about what they are feeling as they view the installation.

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The myriad of fabrics, mediums, colors, images and words create beautiful and strong messages. If you have the opportunity to visit this project in person, I highly recommend it.

The Des Moines installation as photographed from above (photo by Eric D. Sammon):

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“Your Positivity Truly Inspires Me”