Wednesday, January 30, 2019

UPDATE - January Monthly Mini

I've added 2 to the "join in list" (below) for this month and updated Janet's and Katy's post, so please do check them all out. Such talent! We all need a little eye candy on a Friday!

Dawn (Collector with aNeedle) offered this little quilt pattern on her blog (here). I decided to make it as a tribute to Dawn for her efforts in bringing quilters together with her delightful patterns and sew-a-longs. She calls it “Thankful”. I gathered up some of my favorite early reproduction prints and titled it “Dawn’s Early Lights”. 


There are 23 different prints in this little quilt. The darker fabrics used in the 4-patches are from one of my favorite fabric lines by Pat Speth.
They are at least 10 years old. The lights are pieces toiles from my scrap basket.

Here are links to all the FABULOUS monthly minis. You will definitely want to see them all. There are some very clever quilters out there! Thanks for joining in the fun.

And although Katy (Katy's Quilts) didn't officially join us this month, do look at her fantastic little quilt made from an orphan antique block (here).

As always, feel free to jump in any time. I try to post them in the last few days of the month. If I have missed a mini maker - PLEASE let me know and I will link you in. Happy Quilting!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Humble Quilts String-a-long and Pearls of Wisdom

I am having a ball with Lori’s (Humble Quilts) string-a-long blocks! It will come as quite a surprise to my regular readers, but I have decided to make these in the potholder method (insert silly laughing face here). Actually, this kind of quilt really lends itself well to the potholder method. Many of Lori’s followers are doing these on a foundation and I am just taking it one step further. 

For some reason I thought it would be fun to spice it up by piecing the center strip. It actually hasn’t been that difficult. My friend Meliss gave me some finished half square triangles which I used in several blocks. And, I found some old orphan blocks and just whacked away until I found a size that would work. 
This will be the 20th quilt I have made in the potholder method so I decided to try something different. I am going to make this one completely by machine. Keeping my fingers crossed that it will be at least functional when it is done. Be sure to watch for Lori's link up on the 30th. 


Audrey’s (Quilty Folk) post last week on organizing her sewing space really hit home (actually most of her posts get me very motivated in one way or another). One of the reasons I prefer blogging to other social media is I am not one to follow what is popular. I simply do what pleases me. As Popeye says, “I yam what I yam and that’s all that I yam”. Because I belong to several quilting groups on Facebook, it is difficult not to notice what is trending as I scroll through to find what interests me. One thing that is coming up a lot is “simplifying your life by de-cluttering”.

I see nothing “simple” about de-cluttering. For those of us who are on the “hoarding spectrum”, this can be a monumental task. I have tried to weed out from time to time, but I must admit I have failed miserably. Apparently, everything in my sewing room brings me joy!

However, I was so inspired by Audrey’s efforts that I decided to give it one more try. My scrap bins were out of control and I could no longer see my antique pine floor. I needed to cut more strips for my string quilt blocks which I organized by color in 2 ½ quart plastic paint buckets.
It has made a huge difference in the variety of color in these blocks and I am very happy with this system.

Then I found 2 three drawer bins and filled them with my colored scraps in ROYGBIV order. 
That left only 3 baskets to trip over containing my lights, miscellaneous and browns. 
I might get to those this weekend, but for now I am happy to have a floor back!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Potholder Quilts 101

Maine is celebrating 200 years of statehood in 2020. There are many bicentennial activities happening throughout the state. The one closest to my heart is sponsored by our state wide, PineTree Quilters Guild. We are inviting members to make a potholder block (or 2 or 10) to be made into quilts as a fundraiser for the Maine State Museum. Laurie LaBar is curating a fabulous quilt exhibition at the museum. I will post details as they become available.

In the meantime, our president, Callie Lavoie, asked if I would be willing to write up some instructions for members to facilitate the block construction. People are always asking me for helpful hints and instead of making you scroll through old posts to find the information you need, I thought this might be the perfect opportunity to post my crazy method all in one place.

First – you have to read (or scroll though) my intro:

The Potholder Quilt Method by Wendy Caton Reed

I saw my first “potholder” quilt in 1985 at the Maine State Museum in Augusta. It seemed a perfect method to use when undertaking a project made by a number of different quilters. I have since found out via our statewide documentation (Maine Quilt Heritage) and through the careful research of Quilt Historian, Pamela Weeks that this was indeed a very popular method of quiltmaking in the 19th century, especially in Maine and a few other New England states.

I have seen photographs of potholder quilts in numerous publications over the years, but at present, the only book I know of dedicated to the history of this method is “Civil War Quilts” by Pamela Weeks and Don Beld. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in quilts made for Civil War soldiers and for learning more on this wonderful construction method of quiltmaking. You can get an updated version on Amazon (click here).

The American Quilt StudyGroup (Lincoln, NE) published an article on Potholder Quilts by Pamela Weeks in their annual publication, “Uncoverings” in 2010. This can be found on their website;

I have made a number of potholder quilts with blocks as small as 3” and as large as 16”. It is method that works well with piecing or applique or a combination of both. I have outlined some tips that will help you enjoy your “potholder” quiltmaking journey!

1)    As with any quilt, the size of your block will be determined by your desired overall quilt dimension. However, you must remember that your ¼” binding will be a factor in that measurement. For this Maine Bicentennial project, we are making 8” blocks, which means after quilting and binding your finished block will actually measure 8 ½” due to the binding all around.

2)    You may choose any batting that suits you and even mix machine and hand quilting, as long as it is roughly the same weight and thickness throughout. For this project we recommend a lightweight cotton or low loft wool batting.

3)    After your block is quilted, it is time for trimming. This is the most crucial part of this method.  No matter what size you determine your finished block to be – they must all be the exact same size or they will not fit properly when stitching them together. In this case our blocks will be trimmed to 8 ½”.

4)    A nice even binding is equally important. I recommend a single, straight (not folded or bias) binding cut to 1 ¼” by the perimeter of your block, plus 4” (example; if your block is 8 1/2” finished – you will need to cut your binding strip 38” long [34” + 4”]). Cut your binding selvage to selvage to allow a bit more “give” in your fabric strip. Simply start stitching your strip down (using ¼” seam allowance) leaving a 2” tail piece .
Your mitered corners must come to a nice sharp point so that when the blocks are stitched together there will be no gaps at the corner intersections. Stitch along your edge stopping ¼” before the end.
Turn your block and binding 90 degrees, placing your fold along the top making sure that the fold is on or a bit above your top edge,
stitch directly down the next side and repeat at each corner. When you come to your starting edge, stop at least 2” before your starting place
and remove the block from your machine. Bring binding edges together
and make a crease or mark with a pencil on that line. Pin those tail pieces together
and stitch one or two needle widths to the left
to create a little camber
then trim to ¼”, press open and stitch down. The camber allows you to stitch down your binding
without creating any puckers. Then simply turn your binding and finger press or pin as you desire and stitch the backside down.

5)    And now you are ready to stitch the blocks together. I use what I call a “modified ladder stitch”. Using a single thread, bury your knot under your binding and bring the needle up to the top of your mitered corner. Take a couple of stabilizing stitches, then with your thread on the edge facing you, cross directly over, turn your needle perpendicular, taking a bit of fabric, then turn your needle back toward you in one sweeping stitch.
Once you get the hang of it, it moves pretty quickly. The smaller the stitches, the stronger the seam will be! These are very simplified instructions, but I do hope they will answer some of your burning questions. 

If you are still awake – go cut some fabric and have fun!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Quilt-a-long with Bea and Cecile

A few more hexagon flowers for my quilt-a-long with Bea and Cecile (Patchwork Inspirations).
I am beginning to play with the setting. I think this panel from Moda’s Collection for a Cause – “Preservation” will be my center.
We are to make at least 16 “flower” blocks in January and February. With the temperature a mere zero this morning, flowers are just what I need!

Bea and Cecile have a Facebook (here) page for the sew-a-long as well. Do visit all the wonderful floral blocks. They are all gorgeous!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Happy Days!

I feel like I have unearthed a four leaf clover from our white ground cover! So many happy things have come my way. 

First, I discovered my Shenandoah Valley Botanical Quilt was in issue #129 of Quiltmania. You may recall Doreen (Aunt Reen’s Place) curated a fabulous exhibition of these quilts at Houston last Fall. Quiltmania chose to publish two, mine and Karen Beigh’s (Log Cabin Quilts) wonderful chocolate background beauty. This is the third time I have had a quilt in this magazine. I think I need to go to France! 

On Sunday I had a rare day alone in my sewing room! I began preparations for the string-a-long with Lori (Humble Quilts) and was able to complete 4 little hexie flowers for my sew-a-long with Bea and Cecile. Super day! 

Then I found out last night that I was a winner (through Heather’s, Peachy Pages blog) in Diane Knott’s (Butterfly Threads) blog hop give away for her new book, “Strip Quilt Secrets”. I love Diane’s quilts and her blog. I’m sure I will gleen some helpful hints for Lori’s string quilt-a-long. Thanks Diane! 

And as if that wasn’t enough, we had a wonderful 1 year birthday dinner party with this little man. My daughter made a delicious cake (his first taste of sugar!) which he devoured with glee. I simply cannot believe an entire year has flown by. 
I am blessed!

Friday, January 11, 2019

AQSG Quilt Study 2018

Reading one of my favorite blogs this morning - Sandra Starling’s (Textile Time Travels) reminded me that I had not posted about my participation in the AQSG Quilt Study for 2018. We had to keep it secret until the seminar in Maryland last October and I just forgot about it. 
The theme was “200 Years of Solid Color Quilts”. My friend Laurie LaBar (Maine State Museum) had made a little reproduction of one of a beautiful 18th century Maine wool quilt back in 2016 for our state show. I thought it would the perfect entry and encouraged her to enter only to realize (or rather remember) that you needed to make your reproduction specifically for this quilt study and that it had to be unveiled at the seminar. Here’s Laurie standing between her the original quilt and her sweet little reproduction. I might add that this was Laurie's first attempt at quiltmaking! 

So, we decided to team up and make another reproduction of this same quilt. Laurie did all the paperwork and the quilting design work and I put it together and quilted it. I had to hand dye the salmon fabric as it was a bit bright. It was a learning experience for sure. I love using wool batting, but it’s not easy to hand quilt through all that wool woven fabric! How on earth did they do that in the 18th century by lamp (or candle) light? So here is Laurie at last year's seminar with our collaboration: "Wooly Mammoth". 
It is hard to see in the above photo, but I made this one in the same shape as the original and I must say those little inverted curves on the binding were not fun to do! 

Cynthia (Wabi-Sabi Quilts) and Barb (Fun With Barb) made super little quilts and remembered to post theirs! Do check them out (Cynthia’s) (Barb’s) along with Sandra’s little gem (here). You can read about how the study plan works and get the touring schedule on the AQSG website (here).

Next year’s (2020) quilt study theme is “medallion quilts”. Oh boy am I in trouble. Medallions are my favorites (next to the potholder method and hexagons and applique quilts and feedsack blocks and…)

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Healing House Blocks

I finally finished a few house blocks for victims of the California fires. I have had friends and family who have lost their homes to fire. It is something no one wants to imagine. Thank you Lori (Humble Quilts) for posting (here) the request for 10” finished house blocks to be sent to:

Debbie’s Quilt Shop
6287 Fremont Dr.
Magalia, CA 95954

You can make any house block you want as long as it finishes 10”. A BIG thank you to Diane Knott (ButterflyThreads) for allowing Lori to post her pattern for this one (here). These went together very quickly and I hope to make more when I get another 20 minutes!

Diane is also hosting a Blog Hop for several chances to win her new book, “Strip Quilt Secrets”. Diane’s books are full of colorful quilts and easy to follow directions. Hop on over to get the full details (here).

Enjoy the day!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Congratulations Mrs. Sew and Sew - It's a Quilt!

After 17 months of fun and frivolity, my Noah and Matilda quilt is finally finished! I have enjoyed every stitch of this quilt! And, I have had so much fun watching others post their versions on Dawn’s Facebook page. There are so many fabulous renditions, it would be wonderful to have a “Noah and Matilda” exhibition someday – wouldn’t it Dawn – hint, hint!

Normally it would only take a few weeks to go from this 
to this
but with the holidays in between… let’s just say I feel justified in missing my goal of finishing in 2018 by just a few short days. Actually, it feels good to have this be my first finish of the new year.

The only thing I have struggled with on this quilt (except for a few minor do overs!) is what to name it. It has been my practice to give my potholder quilts a title with some reference to cooking. After much bantering about, I have gone back to my original thought. Since 2018 was our 40th anniversary year, I am calling it “Our Ruby Anniversary Cake”. Silly, but I could think of now other iterations that would work. Let me know if you have a better name for it.

Once again, I would like to thank Dawn (Collector with a Needle) and her daughter who drafted the patterns. They were a joy to work with and I highly recommend them!

My next long term applique project is one that has been running around my head for a while. I hope to start it soon before I am tempted by any more sew-a-longs. Thanks for sticking with me!!

Friday, January 4, 2019

Pam Buda - Vintage Patchwork - UPDATE

As mentioned in my New Year's post, one of my 2019 goals is to make one project from Pam Buda’s Vintage Patchworkbook each month. You can get the book directly from Pam (here).
I’d love to have some more guinea pigs followers to join in the fun. You can make one or all twelve – No Pressure! In fact, the only pressure I allow in my quilt room is under the iron! 

I decided to follow Pam’s instructions completely, which is a real stretch for me as I don’t follow directions well! (I can hear some of you laughing!!). I have to say Pam makes it so easy. You can make everything (yes, all 12) from the book with forty 10” squares. You can use precuts or cut your favorite fabrics. I chose my own because I like to prewash my fabrics. I love the system of tracking each fabric by sticking them on the chart.
Included in the book is a large sheet of cutting directions. You simply label 12 little plastic bags and place each project’s pieces in them.
Cutting is not one of my favorite parts of quilting, and this process made things so simple.
Now all I have to do is grab the baggie and whip up a quilt!

Randy (Barrister's Block) and Cathy (Big Lake Quilter) have finished their first little quilt as well and they are absolutely spectacular! Do check them out!!

The only problem is that this first one was so much fun, I want to make all of them right now!!

Since I will be posting my monthly mini quilts at the end of the month, I will be posting these projects on the first week. Chime in any time!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

A Little Wool Goes a Long Way - All the way to California!

A while ago, I told Randy (Barrister’s Block) that I love to collect wool fabric, but I rarely use it. Randy’s wool creations are wonderful and we decided it was high time I made something too!

She found a wonderful Kim Diehl pattern which was offered as a free pattern by Martingale Press and said “hey, let’s make this together!”. The only rule was to have it finished by the end of the year. So, this is the one I made 

and this is Randy’s fabulous quilt. 

We both learned a lot in this little challenge. We both admitted it was a lot more wool work than we had anticipated. We both tweaked the pattern, but Randy's tweaking came out way better than mine. I LOVE the sunflower! 

I definitely got better as I went along, but I quickly realized that I really prefer needle turn cotton applique and I think I need to stop collecting wool! Thanks Randy for the nudge! I had a ball!

We like to begin and end the year with a hike. The end of year hike was relatively short. We lost all our Thanksgiving snow due to rain and temps well above normal. However on Saturday the temps dropped to below 20 degrees and we were really feeling the cold. We hiked up to a ridge over the Kennebec River and listened to the ice coming down and crashing against the rocks. It sounded like a twenty car pile up! We thought about going down the hill to get a closer look, but were afraid we might not get back up the icy trail! 

 Our New Year’s Day hike was warmer but super windy. We walked to the end of our road with my daughter and her family and watched the surf. The swells were magnificent, but since the tide was out, it was hard to get a picture of just how high the waves were. 
Happy New Year!!