Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Baby Quilts and Stash Enhancing

On Friday, we Frankfort quilters met at Sheryll's for our regular session. We were missing JoAnn. Terry had 2 quilt tops to show us. Friends of hers are grandparents for the 2nd time, and Terry has these two darling quilts for the lucky little girls.  Pretty cute, aren't they?

I got a couple of gift certificates for Christmas to the new quilt shop in Chillicothe; about a week ago, I had the chance to go in and use them!

I know, I have enough Kaffe Fassett fabric! And I know, I have promised to use my stash and limit my fabric purchasing! I just couldn't resist, you know??

Happy Quilting!

Monday, January 30, 2012

My Sister's Bar Stools!

Sandy, my sister of "get the ripper" fame, is boasting yet another reupholstering project - and this one she did all by herself!

Here is a before barstool.

Remove the seat; these are screwed on for easy removal.

Purchase the foam rubber; Sandy's came from JoAnn Fabrics.

The steps are easy enough; just follow the pictures she sent me.

She stapled the new fabric under the seat, reattached the seat to the stool, and there you go!

This stool has the same fabric as her desk chair that we did a few weeks ago.

A no-sewing project by my sister. Thanks, Sandy, for providing the material for today's post!

Sunday, January 29, 2012


I went over to Terry's on Thursday for a couple of hours to help her get started on a t-shirt quilt. She'd never made one before, and since I've made several, she thought I could coach her through the process.

If you've never made a t-shirt quilt, it is absolutely the easiest, fastest quilt in the world to make. The blocks are big and because it's made of t-shirts, it's generally not going to be an heirloom or anything, so being super exact about everything is optional. (YAY!)

My tried-and-true method requires using a 15" square ruler to cut the front design out of a t-shirt. These would be adult-size shirts with big designs on the front or back. (The picture above is from a previous t-shirt project.) Naturally, for children's shirts or for shirts that have smaller designs, a smaller ruler would be necessary. All of Terry's t-shirts had smaller insignias on the upper left chest of the shirt, so we used an 8" square ruler for her blocks. She will end up with more of a lap quilt than a bed-size quilt. She had 12 shirts in all.

There will be a lot of waste with what is discarded after each shirt is cut. I've seen some really cute things on Pinterest that use t-shirt knit, so the fabric could be repurposed. The knit also recycles nicely as car rags, camping rags, pet rags, etc. - they sky's the limit on uses.
Here is the waste from 12 adult-sized shirts.

Next, cut the fusible lightweight interfacing - the same size as the block. This then is ironed on to the back of each t-shirt block to stabilize it and prevent the stretching and curling that working with knit would naturally have.
These blocks have the interfacing ironed onto the back.

Next, cut the sashing strips. No rules to follow - they can be any width you want! On my Ohio State quilt, I cut 3 1/2" strips to finish out at 3" sashings. Cut as many as you need to do the sides of each block, then sew the rows together.

For the long sashing pieces, I would measure the length of each of my rows, establish an average, and cut them to that length. Another alternative is to do the math: add up the totals of the blocks and sashing strips. It would all come out pretty much the same (ideally). Cut as many strips as you need to this length. 

Then construct the top by sewing long sashing strips to rows, until you have your top. Add borders to your desire, and VOILA!! Your t-shirt quilt top is done! Easy-peasy, right?

So, you may be wondering, why is the title of this post Bartering? What's the connection? Well, Terry did the quilting on my Ohio State t-shirt quilt. Instead of paying her, she wanted me to give her lessons on how to make one! How sweet is that? In just a couple of hours, I paid off my debt, had a wonderful visit with a dear friend, all the while doing something that I love!

Have you every bartered with someone - exchanging one service for another? I think it's pretty cool!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ditty Bags

Yesterday I was involved in a project that I felt very good about. A friend who is a DAR member invited me to participate with her and others in a service project that would benefit our local VA Hospital - the making of ditty bags. Strange name for a bag, but who am I to question it?

Every patient at the hospital - both those who are recovering there and those who come for appointments - is given a ditty bag that contains certain personal hygiene products (I don't know exactly what those are). The size of the bag is strictly 9" wide by 13" tall. We were given a direction sheet to follow.

We cut long 10" swaths of fabrics, then we cut those down into 33" segments. We folded at the bottom, sewed up 13" on each side. Then we were left with turning down a casing-style top. We did not have to insert a drawstring; we just made the bags.

The morning went pretty fast, and we established a bit of an assembly line of duties. We had stations for cutting, pinning, stitching, and pressing. The beauty of the endeavor - besides the fact that we were performing a service to veterans - was that it's a great way to use up old, out-dated fabric. I know I have a box or two of fabrics that are ancient, but still useful. The hospital had no requirement about the color or even the type of fabric! We were using all manner of fabrics, including t-shirt knit. Previous bags have been made using double-knit - remember that stuff?? So anything goes.

At the end of the day, 50 bags were completed. I did not stay for that entire time, but several ladies did and got a lot accomplished. As I said earlier, I really felt as though it was time well spent, and I am planning to make more bags on my own.

I asked if VA Hospitals nationwide use these ditty bags, but no one knew the answer. If you were so inclined to make ditty bags for the VA in your area, I would suggest first contacting VA offices to see if bags are needed or wanted.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Are you hooked on Pinterest? I have described it as being as addictive as "crack." I heard someone else describe it as being similar to looking at magazines. Since I have cancelled or let expire nearly all the magazines I used to get, I can relate to that similarity. Now I can look at the pics I used to look at in my magazines free on Pinterest. Strangely, I never would spend much time looking at pictures of food. I generally enjoyed looking at pictures of homes, decorating, fashions, shoes, etc. On Pinterest, however, I seem to pin an exorbitant number of food pictures. Here's a salad I've recently pinned.

Does that not look like an absolutely scrumptious dish? The main ingredients: spinach, strawberries, feta cheese, candied walnuts and croutons.

Here's my version, which I had for lunch both yesterday and today.

I changed a few of the ingredients, but the spinach and strawberries are still there. The original recipe called for raspberry poppyseed dressing; I had just regular poppyseed dressing on hand, so I went with that. I also added a diced chicken breast. It was quite good, if I do say so myself!

My quilting report: I've finally pressed the last of the half-square triangle blocks for Chantilly. I will begin creating the rows next - except...

I found about a dozen more suitable fabrics that would work nicely in this quilt. So I might cut a few more squares and add them into the stack. I will  have oodles of extra blocks, but I will have nice variety, that's for sure!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fabric Bonanza

It just doesn't get much better than this!! I am in fabric heaven this week! I've invited all my friends to play along: Lynette, Judie, Johanna, the 3 Sisters, the French General, Robert, and a host of others. We've had quite the bash!

The two projects I currently have out are ones that will be very scrappy; therefore I have pulled lots and lots of fat quarters out of the stash - some of them well aged - and have been cutting away! The assortment above has given  me 6 7/8" squares for Chantilly.

The pattern is in the book Mulberry Lane by Teri Christopherson, copyright 2000. Ever since I bought the book, I have wanted to make this quilt! I even plan to make it a bit larger, as illustrated below:

I think it's evident that I've drawn on additional blocks, right?

So, I'm happily cutting away. I  have a stack already put together from a few days ago.

And I have a hefty pile of newly cut squares from my stash that need to have the diagonal line drawn.

There are some golden oldies in there. And some newer stuff, too. But mostly old.

Besides cutting and prepping more HSTs for Chantilly, I've been working on Mom's signature quilt. I'm using two lines of Fig Tree Co. fabrics - Mill House Inn and Patisserie (sp?). I had a charm pack of each. It will be a nice, soft-color quilt. These signatures were collected at the big 75th birthday celebration my siblings and I had for Mom back in October. There are over 80 signature blocks, and I will need to hunt for more charm packs of these fabrics, because 2 weren't enough!

Do you open up/unfold all your fat quarters when you get them home? I sure don't. But maybe I ought to because I found one fat quarter that wasn't fat at all! It was about 4" too thin! I got ripped off! I pressed all the fabrics and when I laid this one out on the cutting board, I discovered the dastardly truth.

Aren't fat quarters supposed to be 18" x 21" or 22"?? Fortunately, this is the only one that was short. And probably whoever cut this just had the ruler in the wrong place (I know first hand how easy that is to do!!) I have asked myself if perhaps I'd cut off a 4" swath, but I don't think so. Anyway, buyer beware, right?

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Jayne's Reupholstering Service??

A week ago Sunday, out of the blue, my sister calls to see if I have some free time. She is newly retired, and is working - no, tearing - through a to-do list like gang-busters!! Her mission on this day was attempting to reupholster her desk chair.

A bit later in the day, here she is with Mom in tow, bringing her chair and the materials, needing a woman with a sewing machine (that would be me!) to help out with the back. She'd managed to do the seat with a staple gun, but as the back was made around a metal frame, stitching was inevitable.

A quick bit of background: Sandy has always been the tomboy sister who never had the least inclination to learning to sew. Her few attempts back when we were in 4-H resulted in Mom's telling her to "get the ripper." We still get a good chuckle out of that.

We traced and pinned and tugged and tucked until VOILA!! we had a really awesome-looking desk chair!!

A close inspection would certainly uncover some imperfections, but it's functional, will serve its purpose, and looks fabulous, wouldn't you agree? I love it, and, more importantly, so Sandy loves it!

Today I spoke with Sandy on the phone. She is now reupholstering kitchen bar stools. I told her to take pics before, during and after. I even suggested she be a guest blogger here and share her little endeavor! We shall see about that!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Frankfort Friday

The quilting babes of Frankfort *snicker!* got together on Friday for some stitching and quilting. We had our first blast of winter -finally - so we were 'over the river and through the woods' on this moring!! Brrrrrr, was it shivery! Temperatures in the 17-19 degree range, but wind chills in the 5 degree range! Gracious!

Everyone made it despite the wintry conditions, and we had some yummy muffins and coffee in Terry's cozy kitchen.

Sharon had a sweet finish to show us - a happy little table runner in festive holiday fabrics. This was a kit she'd had; wouldn't you love to have this on your Christmas table?

Sharon's stitching for the morning was this table topper.

I worked on handquilting the border on an old UFO; a Schnibbles from almost 2 years ago. It's been taking up valuable space in my sewing room for far too long, so it's time to finish it off and make use of it somewhere!

 In searching for the pic, I found that I made Tagalong in April of 2010. Somewhere along the line, I began hand quilting it. I remember stopping when I got to the borders because I wasn't sure how I wanted to quilt them. That is when I brought home the box of templates from under Grandma's bed. She had a border template that pleased me, so now I'm going to finish it. (I swear, sometimes I need a fire lit under me to get me moving on things.)

Sheryll, JoAnn and Terry were working on things that I think have already been pictured here on the blog from previous get-togethers. That's the way this every-other-Friday-thing works - we save these projects for just this time. The good thing about that is that we always have a hand-stitching project ready to go; the downside, however, is that I don't have any new photos to share. No biggie.

A new project has arrived on my to-do list. Terry is running another mystery quilt for her guild's retreat, and she asked if I'd be interested in making a quilt that she could use as an example. I will need to have that done by March. It's a twin-size quilt, and the pieces aren't terribly small, so I think I can accomplish it. I will need to get crackin' on it, though! Time flies, and March will be here before we know it! The pattern is by Debbie Caffrey.

When I got home from quilting, this lovely bouquet was waiting for me from DD Emma. Aren't they pretty? Yours truly will be blowing out some birthday candles on Sunday (today). *grin*

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bento Box Quilted

Emma Jean got a surprise for Christmas. Most of what she got, she knew she was going to get - isn't that the way it is with most teenagers? She gave me her list and I bought from the list!! Sneaky old mom, though, had a surprise up her sleeve! I took it to a long-arm quilter in Hillsboro, Bonnie Morningstar, who quilted it in a jiff - a week to do this quilt and one for my mother! Fast service for December!Bonnie is establishing a quilting business in Hillsboro, and I have now had her do 3 quilts for me. Very happy to have her so near!  Anyway, here is Emma's completed Bento Box.

Fortunately, Emma had a job over her Christmas break which allowed me time to get the binding stitched in secret! There were a couple of times where I was scrambling to hide my work as she was pulling into the driveway!  This is her bed (minus a pillow!). Notice the stars on the wall? That is the handiwork of DD#1, Erin, who resided in this room prior to Emma's taking over when Erin moved out. Nice complement to the Bento Box, isn't it?

The iron bed is my childhood bed - a real antique!  :-)  No, really, before I got it, it belonged to my paternal grandparents! This bed is an heirloom! DH and I began married life with this bed. It is perfect for showing off quilts - I should use it more often. Now that Emma is away at college, it is available, too. So, maybe I will do just that!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, January 13, 2012

OSU T-Shirt Quilt

Wrapped up in Christmas finery was this gift to my DH.

He'd casually mentioned early last summer that he'd like to have a quilt. Can you believe I've never made one for him?!?? I went to the thrift shop and bought all the Ohio State t-shirts they had (11) and found an old one here of ours, and VOILA! a quilt for hubby was born!

I could not get it quilted before Christmas, however, so also in the box was a note: " This is scheduled to be quilted in early January."  And it is; I'll be taking it this week to a friend who will quilt it for me.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Meet My Stars!

I'd like to introduce you to French General Stars. Or I could call it Rouenneries Stars.

Whichever I end up calling it, I love it. That line of fabric has been out since around 2007, if I'm not mistaken, and I'm just now using it in my first project! (I know I'm not the only one hoarding a few yards of French General fabrics!!) I am happy to report that I have plenty of FG fabric remaining in the old stash; I hope to be churning out a few more lovelies in this fabulous stuff!

The quilt pattern, September Stars, is from a Thimbleberries book called September Morning, from 2001. I not only hoard fabric; I hoard books, as well! Surely other quilters can relate, no??

I have a bit of a dilemma. Technically, I just put the borders on this week - Monday, to be exact. But I had all the rest done before the new year. I really want to count this quilt as a product of 2011; it was on my goals list for the year, and it ends up taking care of 2 quilts at once - it is a Christmas quilt in addition to being the French General quilt I wanted to make in 2011. So, the quandary - consider it a 2011 finish, or the first finish of 2012?? Maybe 2011 with an asterisk?

That's what I'll do - 2011*.

So, on the sewing table today, I find myself working on 2 things at once. I've got Mom's signature quilt going. I'm using square-in-a-square blocks for that. Also, I have begun cutting and stitching Chantilly, a quilt I have wanted to make for ages and ages.

I've pulled a bunch of fabric for it, and the cutting couldn't be easier - 6-7/8" squares!
the stitching is pretty easy, as well. Draw a diagonal line; stitch on either side; cut apart ~ voila!! It should go together fast. Easy-peasy. Great way to begin a new year of stitching.

Here's some of the fabric I pulled.

These are mostly Robert Kaufman fabrics from a very old fat quarter pack I've had. I have about this much more random stuff pulled to go with this. It will be very scrappy.

I was reading some blogs this morning and came across Kathie who talked about working on more than one project at a time on her blog called Inspired by Antique Quilts. Now, I am notorious for this; I like starting things, and I start LOTS of things! The trouble is I always have to push myself to finish them.  It must be a character flaw. That's why I could spend a whole year working only on UFOs, and still have work left to do! Anyway, it was nice to read her post about needing to work on more than one thing at a time. I share that sentiment, for sure.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I Love January!

There is just so much promise in beginning a new year, don't you think? I've got lists upon lists, and they grow each day. I've started some new projects and am planning many more.

I wonder why we don't like Mondays. It's the same concept, isn't it, as January? Beginning a new week as opposed to a new year? Well, I was never a big fan of Mondays when I worked, but I don't mind them a bit now that I'm retired! :-)

Yesterday Quilt Sue and I held our first Lone Star Quilt Along. She does a very nice wrap-up on her blog today. Check it out, and then consider joining us for the fun! It's like being in a sewing circle, but not having to attend any meetings! Just work on your Lone Star, sign in using the Mr. Linky on both my site and Sue's, take a few pictures of your work and share them on the first Saturday of the month! Next month, yours truly will hostess our get-together; the date will be Saturday, Feb. 4. I'm looking forward to seeing all the progress we will have made by then!

I did want to mention one quick thing related to the quilt-along. The book I am using is an oldie (1989), but I imagine that it would be available in libraries. I also looked on the internet and found that while Amazon doesn't have it, they do list sellers who have used copies available - inexpensive, too! I found it, as well, on ebay, but it was somewhat pricier. Several quilters had mentioned that they were looking for patterns that showed strip-piecing methods, and this one does.

I offer that info just as a bit of FYI to those out there searching for a book/pattern.

What else has this new year brought to my sewing room? In an earlier post I referenced the doll quilt along that Lori at Humble Quilts hosts each January. This year's is called Pink Lemonade, and it's a real beauty! I have pulled the fabrics I want to use; now I need to press and cut. Last year, I made Midnight Stars with Lori, and the year before that I made Cheddar and Crackers. The beauty of making doll quilts is the speed with which they can be finished. I get to use super-small pieces, but I am not trying to make a bed-size quilt with them! A perfect combination: small pieces in a small quilt. I love it!

I spent the better part of Friday working on drawstring book bags for my twin nieces who are 4 now.

This project was featured in the BH&G magazine, Quilts and More. Either summer or fall, 2010. I can't wait to give them to the girls. They attend a Montessori (sp?) school 3 or 4 days per week, and are just as smart as can be. They will be thrilled to get these bags, I think. I plan to include a book, a box of Crayons, and a tablet in each one.

Yesterday I prepped a backing for a t-shirt quilt; it's now ready to take to the quilter's. Today I want to cut and attach the borders for my French General Stars. It was supposed to be finished by the end of 2011 - the center was, but not the borders, dang it! (I am still going to count it as a finish for 2011, though.) I'll get pics of those to share in the coming days.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Lone Star First Saturday!

What a pleasant surprise! I am farther along on my Lone Star quilt than I realized! Happy New Year to me!! *big, goofy grin*

The first Saturday of the month is supposed to be the day when we check in and report our progress on our Lone Star Quilts. If you recall, Sue of Quilt Times and I are teaming up for a quilt along. Her desire to make a Lone Star quilt and my desire to finish an ages-old UFO of a variation called Broken Star have brought us together for the quilt along. Hope we get a few quilters out there motivated to begin and/or finish one of these stunning beauties!!

As Sue said, there are no rules for this quilt along. We just invite quilters who are interested in beginning or finishing one of these gorgeous quilts to click the Mister Linky button above, register your progress and perhaps share a few photos, as well.

Now, let me show you what has made me such a happy girl. I'd brought the tub down from the shelf, but hadn't really taken out and examined the contents until last evening. Whoa!! I'd made a lot of progress on this quilt!!

Of course, when a UFO is nearing 20 years old, one needs to take stock of the progress and determine a course of action. I truly had no idea what to expect as I delved into this tub. To find this thing so far along is a complete surprise. It makes me wonder why I ever quit on it in the first place! If, in fact, it was the bias edges and some occasional  "wonkiness," they aren't too bad as far as I can see, and I am uber-excited to get back to work and finish it!!

Doesn't that look great? I astonish myself! (I don't mean for that to sound like bragging.) This is the center section. That central blue star is not as flat as a purist might want it to be, but it pressed out rather nicely, and considering all things, I will be happy with it just as it is.

Here are three sections of the outer ring - the starburst, I guess I could call it. A few pictures down is the picture from the pattern book; you'll get what I mean. Not all the points are matching, but again, I am not objecting because it's really not that bad. The main thing is that they lay (mostly) flat and the look is definitely established, so why complain? (I have never been known to be a purist/perfectionist when it comes to quilting!)

Finally, I found 15 of these units ready to be sewn into the remaining starbursts. There are a total of 8 starbursts, each containing 3 of these units. The math works (thankfully!).

So, like Sue, I've not sewn a stitch this week on my Lone Star. I am, however, eager to get back to this and finish it! Pressing it (carefully!) and examining my earlier work was fun. I am so pleasantly surprised at how much of it was done once upon a time, and am ever thankful to Sue for providing the prod I needed to drag this UFO down off the shelf.

Here's the picture of the pattern from my book.

The book is by Better Homes and Gardens from 1989.

So come on, quilters! Begin the new year with a Lone Star quilt! Or, if you are like me, begin with finishing a Lone Star UFO! Hop on over to Sue's blog to see her progress. I have a significantly smaller following than she does, so I imagine there'll be quite a few folks already signed in on her Mister Linky. She has already done several posts today (sorry, Sue, to be such a slacker!!). Check hers out here, here and here!

Happy Quilting, Friends!