It's just a cold.
That's my mantra right now. Chris got it about 4 days ahead of me (because he gave it to me) so I just watch him to see when it's going to finally leave this house. We're both fine, just tired and annoyed.
But I had some energy to do some sewing and these were perfect to work on. I 21 cards ready for backs. Why 21? Well, that's how many symmetrical diamonds that I could cut from the scraps. I would have been happier with 25 or 30 but this is what I got. I'll get the backs on them this week. I'll probably save serging the edges until I have all the cards ready for edging.
I started to sweep all this in the trash but I was lethargic and just listening to my book so I thought some mindless piecing might be good therapy.
It was good therapy because ti kept me from snacking and didn't require much thinking. That's a pretty big chunk of fabric from nothing. I don't know what I'll do with it. It could be cut into crumb blocks, made into placemats or even postcard backgrounds. But that takes thinking so it's going to get folded up and put away for now. What would you do with it?
I'm not a world's-about-to-end environmentalist. I'm not worked up about plastic straws or any other sudden crisis that's really meant to divert our attention from other things. Instead I'm more interested in thinking about consumption in general. I don't judge your consumption, only my own. I try to really think about things I want to buy and whether I really need them. I don't buy note pads, for example, because we generate plenty of scratch paper from printing my mailing labels every day. I don't like having a lot of collectibles or stuff that needs to be managed.
Right now I'm most annoyed that my cell phone is dying after only 5 years. It has all the capability and function that I need but I'm going to have to buy a new one anyway because some of my apps will no longer work and it's starting to overheat. I was able to extend it about a year with a new battery but I can't keep going to the Verizon store to have it restarted when an app crashes and shuts it down. If I could keep this phone 2 or 4 more years that would make up for a ton of straws. I don't know why I'm talking about straws, I don't even use them.
But I've got no control over controlling technology so I have to focus on what I can control and one of the things I can control is trying to reduce the amount of garbage that we produce in this house. This is one of my garbage reduction projects.
Quilting my quilts plus 40+ veterans quilts each year produces a lot of scrap batting and backing. I save the wide end pieces (12" - 20" on average) along with extra backing fabric and give it to a woman in our quilt club. She makes dozens of baby quilts for a local hospital. These batting chunks are easy to piece into baby quilt size batts.
Since I trim the veterans quilts I have all of the trimming scraps. I chop up the bits like this.
All of those bits get stored in this white trash can but I had some overflow this week. I'll also add in here some chopped up fluffy clothing (like sweatpants) and pillow filling. I do not add in fabric cut offs. Plain chopped up fabric makes the pet beds too dense and heavy (in my opinion). Fabric attached to batting is fine, plain fabric bits are better for scrap quilts or fabric postcards.
It was time to deal with all of the batting scraps because it's gotten out of hand.
My main rule is that I will not purchase anything to make these. Occasionally I find someone wanting to get rid of a stash of decorator fabric. In the case of the green fabric, that's some old double knit polyester! A friend was clearing out her MIL's house and came across a stash of fabric. I figured I might as well try the poly. It made a pretty soft bed and I've got plenty more. The brown print was a heavy cotton jumper that the MIL had made but never added buttons to. The skirt was big enough to make another pet bed.
I got 6 beds out of all of that and every bit of it was destined for the landfill. Now it has a second life to make some dogs comfy while they are at RAL (Richmond Animal League) also waiting for a second chance at life. I asked my friend to let me know if the double knit actually works out because I have a ton more of it.
Now, don't get any ideas. I am often offered other quilter's scraps but I can barely handle my own garbage! You'll have to be responsible for your own and I don't judge if yours goes to the landfill. Time is also a valuable resource that has to be factored in and after all, that's why we made landfills.
I mentioned Monday that before starting a new project that I wanted to see if I could get something else off the UFO list. This quilt is what I picked.
The original plan was to use this on a bed in the guest house after appliqueing some giant sunflowers on it. You can sort of see that I have a few rows of predominately green tumblers at the bottom. I drew out lots of ideas that I liked but I eventually realized that the quilt wasn't quite big enough for the twin beds in there and I wan't motivated to cut and sew more tumblers.
This being 4th of July week I though maybe I could turn it into a couple of veterans quilts. Of course the easy solution would be to cut it in half, quilt then and call them done. But the quilt wasn't quite wide enough for that easy solution.
But it would work with a border. I remembered that I had a veterans quilt upstairs paired with a green backing so this predominately green end of the quilt and a green border would mean I'd have 2 more quilts ready for quilting.
It wasn't quite as easy as cutting it in half and adding a border. I added a step to remove 2 of the green rows and sewed them to the other side for a little more balance. Truthfully, in really life you don't see the distinction between the green and blue so much.
Most importantly, I've 1/2 a UFO down! For the remaining half I wanted to see if I could do something different (more interesting). So off to EQ I went to work up some designs.
I checked my stash and I had at least 2 yards of 4 different blue fabrics that I could work with. I love a good stash!
I unsewed the rest of the quilt into 2-row sections. The finished width of these is 6" so that was easy to work with in designing a very simple pattern.
Voila! Two veterans quilt tops! These took longer than they should because I made some ridiculous cutting mistakes. Fortunately, most of the cuts were too large. I was thinking that this would be a great way to use some of my waste fabrics or even a bold print. I'd only need about a yard of the feature fabric. You could even do crumb blocks like this. I might write this up as a pattern just so I have the instructions for future use. Anyone else interested?
The nest part is that this is all that's left of the original quilt top!
Now on to some quilting. I'm so glad that my quilt club makes veterans quilt because they are such a great way to use scraps and bring new life to old UFO projects.
A few weeks ago I took a break from Lost My Marbles to quilt some veterans quilts and this quilt for Mom.
Mom thought she was going to use up her stash of 2.5" squares.
Seriously, she should know better by now. We know that scraps procreate while we are away. This might have made a dent but I don't think it came close to using up what she had. Still, it's a pretty stunning quilt.
The color in the first photo is way off. This one is a more accurate representation of the color.
The first original quilting plan was a pantograph but I've used pantgraphs a lot and wanted a change. I decided on a mix of ruler work in the narrow sashing and continuous curves in the blocks. But while I was quilting the first block I thought that the outside border needed to be feathers. I wanted feathers somewhere else too so I changed the plan a bit and decided to do alternating blocks in feathered wreaths.
I can quilt small feathers pretty good but I am totally horrible at feathered wreaths simply because I've not done them often. I really, really bad at the centers of the wreaths. I got a little more practice on this quilt!
I dyed a pale green backing for this quilt and you can see the texture of the quilting really well here. There's a 4" feathered border and feathered medallions to go with it. I probably should have feathered every block but I wasn't going to rip out any stitches to start over.
This quilt is going to my cousin who will really appreciate having something made by her Aunt but she will not care about, and probably not notice, the quilting. Our policy is that we give people blankets to cuddle with so we don't stress the construction details.
To show you how big this quilt is, here it is draped over the queen guest bed. I think this could also serve on a king size bed.
I'm glad I don't have to bind it.
I've been working a bit every day on Mom's quilt and, as of last night, I finished all of the first pass of quilting. That includes the crosses in the narrow white borders and the Terry Twist in the borders and half of the big blocks.
It's so much fun to quilt a scrap quilt and recognize some of the fabrics. There are lots of these fruit and vegetable fabrics in the quilt. Mom and I fell prey to these fabrics many years ago. We both made quilts with them but they multiply in the drawers. She's been trying to get rid of them for ages and I don't know if they are gone yet. But 2.5" squares are a great solution for ugly fabrics. They can hid a lot of ugly!
Here's a close up of the quilting. This motif quilts up so quickly and I always love how it looks and I love the secondary pattern that it creates.
There's a lot of ugly hidden here!
Next up is the feathered border and feathered wreaths in half the blocks. I haven't quilted feathers in a long time so I did a little practice last night.
Feather quilting is kind of like riding a bike. It all comes back to you.
These started as a plan to use up more of the Indonesian batik scraps but, honestly, they didn't make a dent in the scrap. The other motivation was to use the rest of the backing fabric on the Indonesian batik quilt. I had about 18" of 108" wide fabric at the end of the quilt and that was perfect for 6 placemats.
I'll have to come up with a postcard design to use the rest of batik scraps but I used every inch of the dyed backing.
The background is a gradient fabric that I had in my stash. I don't know what I originally dyed it for but it worked out just fine for these.
The tree and the circles are fused and all of the stitching is free motion.
I had enough of the gradient to do 4 using the blue/orange side of the gradient but I had room on my extra quilt back for 2 more placemats.
The other half of the gradient was green so I made these 2 with green backgrounds. I like both sets. I'll keep the 4 blue ones and give the green pair to Mom.
I'm happy to have another finish for 2018.
My Christmas prep projects are done. The hot pads are all made and postcards are in the mail. Chris and I are going shopping for my Christmas gift today (a shooting vest, my jewelry days are over!). So now I can get back to some of my own projects and the first one is to use more of the Indonesian batik scraps for some placemats.
I've seen this idea of trees with circles for the foliage for a while and have been wanting to do a version of it. I remembered this tree stencil and thought it might work. Fortunately cutting circles is easy because I have several circle dies with my Go! Cutter. I cut a few out to test the idea with the stencil and I really like it.
I fused the scraps to WonderUnder, because it was easier to handle them if they were backed with paper. I cut enough for 6 placemats.
I really want to get these wrapped up because I'm planning to quilt them on the left over backing from this quilt that's STILL loaded on the frame. I want it off and bound by the end of the month. I also have 8 veterans quilts that need to mbe quilted soon. So, the placemats are my focus for this week. Now I have to decide on a background and if I'm going to stencil the tree trunk or cut it out of fabric and fuse it.
If you've been following me for a while you know that when I make a quilt I have to deal with the scraps. By "deal with", I do not mean "throw in the trash". That would be a horrible waste of good resources and free projects. By "deal with", I mean USE. That's even doubly required for the Indonesian Batik scraps because they were even more expensive than the hand dyed fabric that I sell. I'm not throwing away good money.
Back in April when I cut out the quilt I cut the scraps into as many 2.5" strips as possible and then matched each of the 10 fabrics up with a hand dyed green from my stash. I set it aside until this past weekend. With the big quilt top done it was time to start dealing with the scraps. I was pretty sure that I have enough fabric for a veteran's quilt top so I wanted an easy project. Let the fabrics do all the work!
My first idea was to make blocks like this. This one would finish to 5.5"
There are dozens of ideas to use a block like that but I was considering this. Thankfully I made the test block first and determined that it would be just too much trouble with a lot of trimming and a lot of waste.
I went back to EQ and after a few ideas I settled on these blocks. They finish to 6" which is perfect for a veteran's quilt (48 x 60).
The layout will look something like this but totally scrappy. It will sew together very quickly with string piecing.
I got the whole thing cut out in one evening so I'm ready to go when I get in a piecing mood.
Here's what's left and they will probably get sewn into crumb blocks for placemats or something. For sure, they will not be thrown in the trash.
I made a set of Dragonfly postcards in November using scraps from the Maine quilt and some screen printed dragonflies that were in my stash. I used those cards mostly for our Airbnb guests and I just gave the last one away. While I'm waiting on the new ruler foot washer to quilt I'm going to make some new postcards for upcoming Airbnb guests.
I have loads of Maine quilt scraps left and several different screen printed elements in my stash so I'm going to see how many cards I can get out of them. Last week I had an hour to fill so I pre-fused and pre-cut the Stiffy for card bases and pre-fused and cut a lot of postcard backing fabrics so I'm set to go.
The first dozen start with a little screen printed leaf image.
Because the Maine quilt is an apple core block, most of my scraps have curved edges and I'm just going with it and sewing it all raw edged. I'm using the Quilt Highlights braid to accent the stitching. These are going together FAST which makes them perfect for Airbnb guests who might not appreciate something handmade. Although most of the guests say that they really love the cards....even these simple ones.
These will get their backs and serged edges soon. I'm going to stretch the Maine Quilt scraps as far as I can!
Today is sewing day with Country School Quilters so that means I'm working on the Maine quilt! I don't get to go both days but there's a little chance that if I'll sew more and talk less that I might get the top done today.
I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.
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