Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trying a New Technique

I'm always up for trying a new quilting technique that might simplify my life.  A youtube video has been going around the quilting message boards that shows a brief tutorial for using Layer Cakes (or using any 10 inch square or using strips sewn together and then cut into 10 inch squares).  The video promotes the book "10-Minute Quilt Blocks" by Suzanne McNeill.  Here is a link to the video:

Well, I tried it and it certainly is as quick and simple as promoted.  My issue is with the wasted fabric since I sew for various children's charities.  You end up with a 6.5 inch square on point in the center of four squares and have wasted the rest of that particular 10 inch square because the fabric is doubled up underneath.  The time savings or ease of just sewing three seams doesn't make up for the fabric loss to me.  I'd rather put squares onto the corners of the big blocks and sew on the diagonal (saving the resulting triangles to make pinwheels).  When sewn together, you get the same visual effect of a single square set on point.

These test squares were leftovers from a pinwheel quilt I made for my grand-niece last spring.  I'll sew a couple of borders on this and make a baby quilt to donate.   All in all, I enjoyed the experience, but probably won't use this technique for the type of sewing that I do (where I try to maximize fabric to save money to make more quilts).

 I did get to practice a few decorative stitches on my machine that I never use.  The center squares need to have their edges stitched in place so I tried bows and leaves plus two other stitches that don't show very well in photos.  I should have used colored thread - of course, NOW I think of that!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

And It's Done

And this is the final picture of Pink Posies - it is now bound in dark green and happily packed in a box.  Now I can move onto something I like more!
This one is designated to go to Wrap Them in Love.  To get more information about this organization, check out this link:

Not a Favorite

Did you ever make a quilt that you ended up not liking at all?  I was given a quilt kit that had lots of pink fabrics in it and was supposed to make up a simple brick-type top.  Well, (1)  I've never cared for pink and (2) I didn't like the mushed-up, messy looking brick construction.  But, since I've had this kit taking up space for over a year, I decided to make it up into something and give it away.

I wanted to use up all of the fabric, so I selected this pattern and added wide borders to the top and bottom:

Then, I didn't like the plain borders so I added the posy appliques.  But, I still wasn't feelin' the love for this top.  It made into a quilt that was larger than I usually make and it was awkward to move around at any stage (even as a flimsy).  I have been dragging my feet getting it done, but I finally finished the quilting today.  I will put the binding on it tonight and put it into the donation box.

I do like some of the fabrics (the paisley and the small calicoes), mainly because they have a considerable amount of green in them.  Here's a closeup of some of the squares.

I know there is not a thing wrong with this quilt ... and I'm actually happy to know that someone, somewhere, will be very glad to get this.  Someone who likes pink ... !!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fourth Top Finished for *M*

The fourth top that *M* made for the Sunshine Quilt Guild is finished - quilted and bound.  This one is so cheerful that, if it were mine, I would have to name it Sunny Poppies!  I have just one more to quilt for *M* and then these three will go into a box for Wrap a Smile (two have already gone out in the mail).  If you'd like to find out more about the Wrap a Smile program, check out this link:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Preview of Next Quilt

I am about to finish loading another one of the quilts that I am quilting for another person.  This is a gorgeous top with exciting colors.  Here's just a sneak preview of several squares and the two borders:

I'll finish this one up tomorrow.

Meanwhile, this is what my dog and I saw on our walk around the pond today.  Yep, one is a *nothing to worry about* soft shell turtle sunning himself .... and the other is a *let's stay away from him* young American Alligator.  I say young because he still has his camouflage colors with striping, but he's about 4 feet long.

 We'll just keep our distance!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Another Finish and a Surprise

I finished quilting another one of *M*'s tops to send off to the Sunshine Quilt Guild for Rotoplast.  This one was made of flannel and is extra bright and extra huggable!
 Detail showing the (ahem) sunflower that looks like funky chicken feathers instead - and that's the backing and binding that appears on the left.

And while I was quilting yesterday, my husband called me to look at the surprise visitor to our backyard.  We see quite a few of these small Florida deer this time of year - I hope she's eating the dollarweed back there!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Quilting for M

I have the distinct pleasure of being able to quilt 5 tops that *M*, a member of the Sunshine Quilt Guild, pieced.  *M* has been awarded a grant to obtain her teaching credentials, then she will teach disadvantaged youth in Indiana.  Her current studies keep her really busy, of course.  These quilts will go into a special collection in memory of a dear member of the Sunshine Guild who passed away recently.  The special collection will go on a Rotoplast Mission to Peru next year.  What a fine tribute.

Here are photos of the first 2 finished quilts from *M*'s tops:

Monday, October 18, 2010

WIP Finished

My work in process from last Monday is finished.  I kind of thought the yellow stars would pop out more, but it looks ok.  I think I would prefer not to have the star points interlocked like the designer had it (e.g., if they were separated by a block or sashing).  This design is modified from a pattern in the book called The Giving Quilt (Crazy Quilt Designs) and is a Sharon Craig design.

Since it had large blue/yellow dots on the front, I backed it with a small blue/yellow dot and bound it with the yellow paw print fabric.  It's very cuddly!  Some child somewhere in the world will like this one.  It's going into the box to be mailed off to Wrap Them in Love soon.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Block Lottery

I belong to the following online quilt guild dedicated to quilting for childrens' charities.

This group has a member that hosts a monthly block lottery.  The requirements are that each participant make two (or more) blocks, one to be put into a quilt for Sunshine and the other to be entered into the block lottery.  Each month has a different designated color scheme.  At the end of the month, a drawing is made for the winner of the blocks.  The October colors are to be predominately red, black and white.  I won the October blocks last year and a picture of the resulting quilt (that was donated to Wrap Them in Love) is in my Oct 2, 2010 post.

These are the blocks I will be sending in this month, plus a few pictures of blocks sent in for earlier months this year:
Oct 2010 Red/Black/White
 Jun 2010 Pink/Green
 Jul 2010 Novelties

This is always a fun way to try out a new block design before committing to a whole quilt, or to go back to an old favorite pattern.  It's great fun to see the variations of blocks and fabrics that are submitted.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sandhill Cranes

We have a lot of sandhill cranes in our area and they are fearless.  While majestic, they will fly in front of cars, walk around people and endanger their lives at the drop of a hat.  They have a loud honking kind of croak that is unmistakable.  Yes, we do see the babies quite a bit, too.

Today we were at the local grocery store in a strip shopping center and one of these beauties was two feet away from the front automatic doors and croaking up a storm.  People just walked past him and into the store (with a few trying to distinguish if he was real or a Disney creation - after all, this is Florida!).  When we came out, he was a few doors down, still looking for a hand-out apparently.

My thanks for the above photo to

And, as an aside, I finished quilting the Stars of Avon (Quiltmaker Magazine, Mar/Apr 2004, designed by Avon Leekley of Culver City, CA - modified to include my own scrappy borders) - I really like it and, of course, I wonder now what took me so long to put it together!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Stars of Avon is now a Flimsy

I finally finished sewing together the small squares and half-square triangles of the Stars of Avon top.  Sewing together small pieces is my least favorite part of making a quilt.  I love to read quilt magazines and/or seek our new designs on the internet.  Then I love to cut them out and lay out the design.  But when it comes to picking them up and sewing them together, I fall out of love.  Once they are complete, I fall back in love and feel particularly happy that another top is on its way.  What a cycle ... BTW, this doesn't happen to me with large blocks - those I love from start to finish.  I wonder why I ever work with smaller pieces ... Go figure!

I'm thinking of adding decorative borders at top and bottom to make this a rectangle - it is now 41 inches square.  We'll see what develops.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Go! Giveaways

Have you been seeking out all of the Accuquilt Go! Cutter Giveaways?  I have found another at:

Entries are open until Wed, Oct 13, so visit this interesting blog and give a try to winning a Go! Cutter.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Work in Process

I finished up a top with a quickie design using fabrics from my stash this weekend.  I had to improvise from the pattern a little, since I only had a small piece of the aqua color.  This was the last of the works in process from a challenge to use your stash from a member of the Sunshine Quilt Guild.  Once quilted, this item will be included in the next box to be sent to Wrap Them in Love.  I had purchased a bunch of fabrics at one time and I have the perfect blue with yellow dots for the back, so this top should be moving along briskly to the quilt frame!

It is called Love Your Pet because the aqua blue has subtle hearts shaded in it and the yellow has tone-on-tone puppy paw prints.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Looking for Fall

We had a lovely *cold* snap a week ago, when the temperatures dropped below 80 (F) and the humidity was lower.  It was wonderful while it lasted.  Today it was back up to 85 and and humid again - fortunately, there was a slight, continuous breeze so it was still quite pleasant.  October is usually a good month for us.

I went around the neighborhood looking for signs of Fall - which is more subtle here than up North.  We occasionally see red leaves in a small bush or vine, but not usually in the trees.  The yellow leaves are usually duller than the exciting golds, but we still have unmistakable signs that Fall is on its way.  Check out the following:

Halloween is always a giveaway that Fall is here!
 Holly Berries are starting to come out (last year's photo).
 Sometimes you see a red leaf.
 These aren't holly, but this bush is trying to berry out, too.
 The crepe myrtle is changing colors and will drop its leaves entirely soon.
 The cypress trees will also drop most of their leaves in the winter.

Marigolds and Mums make for a lovely display.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Wild Turkeys

We have wild turkeys in various numbers hanging around all year in this area.  Yesterday, I looked out and there was a whole flock at the base of my bird feeder.  I usually put some feed on the ground for the doves and when the turkeys come around they seem to find every tiny little speck and gobble it up (no pun intended!).  Here's a mix of yesterday's and older pictures (they did tend to scatter when I approached within camera distance ...):

From behind the screen door; sorry for the poor photo.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Donating to Quilts for Kids

One of the organizations that I occasionally make quilts for is called Quilts for Kids.   I have participated in two ways:

(1)   I joined in with the Downy Touch of Comfort program, whereby the Procter & Gamble company – the parent of Downy Fabric Softener – partnered with Quilts for Kids to provide comforting quilts and a touch of home to children hospitalized in the Children’s Miracle Network hospitals.  I believe this partnership has now ended as they exceeded their goal of donating 10,000 quilts to children;  AND

(2)   I have volunteered at a local quilt shop (LQS) for several different all-day events to crank out a bunch of quilts for the local chapter of Quilts for Kids.  When you work with your local chapter, the quilts that you make stay within your community. 

The national Quilts for Kids organization will send out a free quilt kit upon request.  Kits include the fabric for the top and backing of the quilt.  The pattern and official Quilts for Kids label is also included in the kit.  The quilt must be returned within 4-6 weeks.  The organization also requests that you include one or more quilts of your own when you return the finished quilt so they can reach more children in need of comfort.
The link to request a kit follows:

The following photos include my two Downy quilts (the kit that was sent and the one made from my own fabric) and several tops that I have donated to my LQS for the all-day volunteer event for the local chapter of Quilts for Kids.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Block Swaps

I have been a member of an on-line quilt block swap called MailBlocks for about a year and have now accumulated quite a few UFOs from those swaps.  The group normally has at least one swap per month, the theme for which is chosen by the members, and a monthly block lotto. In addition, they periodically have round robins and fabric exchanges.    If you are interested, the MailBlocks Yahoo Group is located at:

I’m sure the UFOs will be the subject of another post, but today I want to show you a few pictures of some quilts from those swaps that I have actually finished.  The first three of these quilts were donated through the Sunshine organization that I mention in my profile and the last picture, the pinwheel quilt, was donated to an orphanage in Kazakhstan.   Enjoy the pictures!

The last picture shows a quilt made from the leftover triangles resulting from the squares-in-squares from the quilt above it.  The *squares* blocks were 12", so the triangles that were cut off were large and I couldn't bear to throw them away - voila!  a different quilt resulted!  What fun ...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Design Wall Today

OK, I must admit that I have been dragging my feet on actually putting UP my design wall - and these photos were taken on my design floor (LOL).  I have been thinking of rearranging my sewing room and haven't done it yet, so the design wall isn't up.  These two designs call for sewing smaller pieces together so they have been waiting patiently on the carpet for a few days until I force myself to get it done!  One is a magazine pattern called Avon Stars, done in 30s Reproduction prints.  The other is from a block swap of autumn prints that I've set with friendship stars sashing.  Tonight is Bluegrass music night on my local community radio, so I'll be sewing on one or the other!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

On My Walks

As a regular feature of my blog, I will add a few pictures of interesting plants, animals and other stray characters that I see on my [almost] daily treks around the neighborhood.  Today actually had a touch of Fall in the air (just amazing for us since it has been so hot in Florida), so I'll show you a few photos of fall plants.  These were actually taken last year since I forgot to take my camera with me today, but you'll get the idea!  Above is a Firebush blooming like crazy, then Lantana in bloom and finally, an exploding CatTail.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Learning to Post Pictures

Today's adventure in blogging is going to be learning to post my quilt pictures to my blog.  I tried to change my header this morning and had a frsutrating experience with the text disappearing behind the picture, so I expect posting photos to go much smoother ... oh, ye eternal optimists!

Here are a few of my most recent quilts that were sent to a group called Wrap Them in Love.  You can visit their Yahoo Group site to learn more about this great organization:

Quilt made from lottery blocks I received:

B/W/Red Lotto Blocks

Scrap quilt with bows:
Scraps and Bows

9-Patch Tribute to a special lady (Helen) with a heart for children:
Helen's Heart for Children

Uses the Downy Fabric Softener pattern (modified) used for Quilts For Kids donations:
Helen's Heart for Children 2

Bug Jar quilt uses the special lady's (Helen's) fabrics:
Helen's Fabric 1