Happy Independence Day!

In honor of Independence Day, I decided to post a few Patriotic Crafts.

Red, White and Blue Quilt donated to Quilts of Valor

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A quilt given to a foreign exchange student to remind him of his time spent in the USA:

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A woven scarf:

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And, some Raspberry & Blueberry Scones:

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Raspberry-Blueberry Scones
Makes 6 scones
1 cup  flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1/4 cup granular sugar
1/4 cup butter, cold, cut into pieces
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tbs dehydrated blueberries
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
2 Tbs freeze dried raspberries, cut in half

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine flour, baking powder and sugar.  Cut in butter (a mini food processor works really well).  Add milk and vanilla.  The batter will be very crumbly but should hold together when pressed into a ball (add a small amount of milk if necessary).  Mix in berries and chips.  Divide into six scones.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes.  Drizzle with glaze (optional).

 

 

Shibori Quilt

Sometimes, when working on a quilt, parts of the original design are adjusted and changed as I proceed with the project.  This was the case when I was making the large butterfly quilt that I described in August 2016 posts.

Early in the design process, I had thought that a rainbow shibori border would look nice.  To create the border,  I made four 9″ x 90″ shibori panels with red, blue and yellow dye.  These panels turned out lovely.

The next step was to dye the fabric that the butterflies would be appliqued onto.  When planning out this step, I changed my mind about the border and decided that I wanted the butterflies to be in a more “natural” environment.  So, I made four more panels of shibori that looked like grass.  This change was perfect for the quilt at that time.

However, I had the rainbow shibori panels already dyed.  Not knowing what I wanted to use them for, I just stored them in my fabric stash and didn’t really think about them for a few years.

Recently, when organizing my fabric, I ran across these panels and decided I really needed to use these in a quilt. Utilizing a simple triangle quilt design, I combined the shibori  fabric with a black fabric.  This was a quick project that turned out really nice. I love the optical illusion that the dyed fabric creates.

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Strip Quilt

IMG_2981Like most quilter, I have lots of fabric in my craft room.  But, unlike other quilters, I try to keep the amount as low as possible.  I no longer purchase fabric “just because see it and like it”. I have to have a specific project that I plan to use it in before I will purchase any fabric.  Over the past few years, I have also received fabric from my sister, my mother and some of my friends.  So, I really do not need to add to my stash.

When I am designing a quilt, I try to plan around fabrics that I already have.  If I do need to purchase fabric, I calculate the amount of fabric yardage I need to be a careful not to purchase more than necessary.  Sometimes this has been to my frustration, especially if I decide to change the design and find that I am needing more fabric to make the changes.  But, usually this works well and keeps me from having too many scraps left over.  I have even created an Excel spreadsheet that helps me calculate the yardage quickly.  If you are interested, email me and I can send you the file.

Every once in a while, the quilt design I am working on is too abstract or too intricate to be able to calculate yardage exactly.  This was the case when planning the “Moonscape” quilt for my son.  I did not plan out the quilt in enough detail prior to sewing to be able to calculate how much fabric I needed.  Using grey fabrics and black fabrics I already had, I added other shades to create the gradation I was seeking.  Not knowing how much fabric I would need, I purchased a half yard of each shade.  After I had pieced his quilt, I had a lot of excess fabric.

What to do? Make a scrap quilt?  Stick it back on the shelf for another day?

Make a strip quilt?  Now, this was an idea I liked.  I have been wanting to try piecing with strips on my longarm machine for a while now.  So, this seemed like the best idea for a quilt to try this out on.

I loaded the backing onto the frame and pinned the batting in place.  After basting the first strip in place, I cut and pieced 2″ x 72″ strips in the gradiant order of the fabric shades.  To sew, I carefully measured and marked the placement of the begin and end point of the seam that I was planning to sew. Then, I used the multipoint placement, border only sewing to sew the next strip to the the first strip.  The new strip sewn was flipped and ironed lightly in place before going to the next strip (my cordless iron was really helpful for this step).

A pop of color was incorporated with scraps of yellow, orange, red and purple.

I successfully used up my shades of grey and black and have another nice quilt to donate.

Moonscape

Last summer, my third son moved into a new apartment.  Prior to that, he had been renting a furnished room in a brownstone house in Brooklyn.  With this change, he needed to purchase some furniture, especially a bed.

Since I really enjoy designing new quilts, I asked him what he would like for a custom quilt for his new bed.  When expressing his ideas, he said he wanted a quilt that was not traditional block based, but rather something that was more flowing and organic. I suggested that he try to find an image of what he was thinking and asked that when he found something that he send it to me.

ForMomA few days later, I received an email with an image attached. The image was a topographical map of a section of the moon.  This was going to be a challenge – designing a quilt to represent this image!

After thinking about this challenge, I settled upon a modified bargello design. To help create that quilt, I printed out a copy of the map overlaid with graph lines.

The sewing of the quilt was probably one of the most difficult quilts I have made.  While there were no Y-seams, inlaid areas, or applique, the challenge was keeping the transition of eleven different fabric, ranging from medium grey to deep black, straight. There were numerous times when I thought to myself “I must be crazy”.

However, once the quilt was finished, I was very happy with the result.

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Embracing my son’s desire for a more “organic” design, I decided to do free motion quilting connecting each fabric along the topographical lines.

The thread for the top of the quilt was grey 50 wt cotton following the topography, and black 100 wt silk crosshatching on the black background. The thread for the back of the quilt was rose colored 50 wt cotton ( to mimic the topography lines of the original image) and grey 100 wt silk.

This is certainly a one of a kind quilt !

Birthdays, Weather and Walks

Very early this morning, I returned from Phoenix where I spent a few days with my parents.  My father’s 83rd birthday was last Thursday and I flew down to celebrate with him. Happy Birthday Dad!!

For his birthday, I made him a quilt to use when he is sitting in his recliner and/or sleeping.  Because he really likes eagles, I purchased two different fabric panels from Amazon and incorporated the printed eagle pictures into a pieced quilt. The other fabrics were pieces I already had in my fabric stash.

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By using panels, this was a really quick quilt to make.  I think I spent a total of 12 hours cutting, piecing, quilting and binding the quilt.  That’s certainly a lot quicker than most of the quilts I make!

To celebrate his birthday, we went to Thee Pitts Again in Glendale, AZ.  This restaurant has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and is well known for their tasty BBQ.

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When planning my trip, I was looking forward to some warm, sunny weather in Arizona.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.  The news headlines while I was visiting my parents was all about the record levels of snowfall throughout the state of Arizona. While no snow fell in Glendale, where my parents live, it did rain almost the entire time I was there.

Poor weather seems to like to create havoc with my recent travels. My departure on Wednesday fell on the day of a snow storm.  All of the schools in the Twin Cities were closed that day due to the storm.  After working in the morning, I went straight to the airport, only to find out that my flight was delayed by about two hours due to the weather.  Again last night, my return flight was during a snow storm with another two hour delay.

Both of these were better than the flight I took to Tampa two weeks ago.  My departure flight for that trip also fell on the day of a major snow storm.  That time I was delay five hours.

Dealing with weather delays in an airport calls for creative ways to help pass the time.  Waiting for my flight to Tampa, I was sitting near the gate working on a hat.  Knitting was a good way to fill the time, but when another major flight was posted, I realized that I  needed to move around rather than sit for so long. So, I set out on a challenge to discovered the distance that a person could  walk in Terminal 1 of the MSP airport.  Utilizing my Fitbit, I discovered that if a person walks to each gate of all of the concourses (A-G) it involves 11,266 steps (4.6 miles) and takes  two hours and 15 minutes.

This was a great way to fill the time and do some people watching.  And, until setting out on my walk, I had never been to Concourses A or B. Now I know where they are if I ever need to quickly get to one of their gates.

On Wednesday, learning that my flight was once again delayed, I completed my walking circuit again.  This time my goal was to try to walk faster  – kinda hard to do in a crowded, busy, snow-delayed airport.  I did, however, successfully reduced the time to 1 hour, 45 minutes.

Last night, being delayed yet again, I decided to do the same thing at the Phoenix airport.  Starting at gate A30, walking to the end of each concourse, and returning to gate A30 required 6,951 steps (2.8 miles) and took just over an hour to complete.  Terminal 4 of the PHX airport is definately smaller than Terminal 1 at MSP.

I may have started a new challenge for my self!  Whenever I am in an airport for longer than two hours, I think I will set out to measure the airport walking distance.

Fractured Tree

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“Fractured Tree” wall hanging.

I enjoy reading historical fiction books. When reading, I like to look up information about the events happening at the specific time in history.  This helps me understand the book’s story line better.

I enjoy these books even more when there is a reference to the art of the era.  Having recently I read the latest book by Jennifer Chiaverini, I did some additional reading about the history of quilting.

One of the sources talked about Depression Era quilts.  Many of these quilts were string quilts made of small fabric scraps stitched together to make a piece of fabric large enough to cut a pattern piece. These larger pieces were stitched together to make a quilt block. The quilt blocks were put together to make a quilt top. This method was used during hard times when money and fabric were scarce.  Scraps of all sizes were utilized.

 

Over the past decade, this method has also made a resurgence within the art quilt community.

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There were several pictures of a string quilts that have caught my attention.

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One of the quilters that I really liked was Ursula Kern.  Her string quilts are breathtaking.  The illusion of movement and shape that she creates is absolutely amazing.

 

 

 

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I decided that I wanted to try to make a string quilt wall hanging for my sewing room.  With wall space limited, the only spot I had left to hang something was adjacent to my four seasons landscape quilt.  So, in keeping the the landscape theme, I thought a tree might fit the area well.

 

Looking at tree clipart images, I selected one, traced it out on pellon, and then divided the pellon into a 7×11 grid. Each section of the grid (2″ x 3.75″)  was used as one block of the string quilting.

Since I have a lot a scraps from various other quilts, and not wanting to purchase more fabric right now, I pulled out my scraps, sorted them by color and started creating each of the blocks.

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Pieced, but not quilted.

 

The seventy seven blocks were sewn together (with numerous changes to match my design better). The illusion is somewhat like a stained glass window – I really like it!

For the quilting, I used one layer of Quilter’s Dream Cotton batting.  To create texture for the tree and shrubs, I placed pieces of Quilter’s Dream Wool batting in these areas between the cotton batting and the pieced top.  The background sky was quilted with straight lines and the tree was loosely quilted to allow the depth of the batting to show.

 

More Donation Quilts

Having received a large quantity of fabric from my sister, I needed to make room for storing this.  Sorting through my current stash of fabric, I found a container of dyed fabrics that I had made when trying different dyeing techniques.

These swatches were each 5″ x 5″.  Many of my original dyeing samples were used in previous projects,  such as described in “Fabric Dyeing” and “Spring has Sprung“.

The ones left were a bit dull in color. No longer needing these, I decided to make another of the many quilts in my “Future Projects” folder on my computer.  To brighten them up, I combined them with white fabric and use variegated thread for the quilting.  It’s amazing how the white makes even drab fabrics look cheery.

This was a simple pattern that combined these 250 different swatches in long rows separated by white sashing, turned on point and set in asymmetrically.  I really like how it turned out. IMG_2732