Category Archives: creative

Scrap Quilts

My first quilt class was with Ann Albertson. I saw her work in the San Diego magazine and thought it was beautiful.  She rarely taught. Ten years after I started making quilts as baby gifts at Christmas I signed up for a class at the local quilt shop with Ann. It was a scrap quilt class. I walked in with an armload of fabrics. She took one look at me and said, “this is a scrap quilt class.” I set my fabric down on the table and said — “these will be scraps soon.”

The first class was explaining what a quilt was and what a scrap quilt was. She also gave many ideas for a scrappy quilt: Friendship Stars, Nine Patches, Puss in the Corner. I wanted to make a quilt with the pattern I had seen in the magazine. Challenging for someone who had never used templates.

The next class would be in two weeks. So I had time to make blocks. I fell in love with the picture of the quilt in the magazine. It was a Star within a Star block. I could only manage to make one quilt block a day. I had a toddler at home. I was very used to making freeform quilts and using templates was beyond me. Getting those points pointy was a struggle. I decided not to rush it because for the most part it was all new to me.

I decided to go back to the beginning and remember what beginning quilting was like. One major problem was lack of cotton fabrics for the longest time. Diana Leone wrote a Sampler Quilt book and I used polyester fabrics. Polyester fabrics were not stable and would shift when you sewed them.

The quilt above quilt is one I took it to a conference I took with Nancy Crow. It was machine pieced. And I machine and hand-quilted it.

To be continued



Quilting 101: Fabric found

I’m grateful. The fabric was found in a shoe box at the far end of my shelves — not labeled, of course.

Fabric Auntie Grace 002

So the trip I so wanted to take to the not so local quilt shop to buy more fabric will be postponed until tomorrow. These fabrics are very workable and I’m sure I could finish a quilt with what is here but there is something in the hunting and gathering that makes me salivate.

Also in the box with the fabric were already started blocks and templates for quilt blocks I made years ago in the hope that someday I would have a granddaughter. In need of a Christmas present before her 5th Christmas I remembered these blocks. I didn’t have much time to make the quilt with only a month before the holiday. I had to think quickly and made this quilt:

Abi's Big girl quilt copy 2

Little girls go through the pink and purple phase so combining the blocks with pink and purple bands worked out well since I made only 16 blocks but they were big.

Now back to my Nine-Patches.

Quilting 101 (time lapse)

As all good plans are made, they aren’t always achieved.

Now on to DAY TWO:quilt day two 001

Adding a different set of two colored strips. This time pink and green. You’ll need three of each color strip. You can do this using fat quarter strips 1 1/2″ wide by 22″. Five strips of each color, as shown using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Be sure to press as you sew. Press DO NOT IRON, pressing is an up and down motion with the iron. I do not use steam because I like to get my fingers in there and steam and my fingers do not like each other.

quilt day two 002

Lay the sewn strips right side to right side as you would sew them together being careful to line up the edges carefully. I like to trim the front edge first to even it up. Then resting my grid cutter on the 1.5″ marker I make my first cut. Without moving the fabric I carefully line up the edge on the 3″ mark on my ruler and make the second cut, again I carefully move my ruler without disturbing the fabric to the 4.5″ mark and cut again. The my final cut will be on the 6″ mark before I move any of the fabric. Then repeat to the end. You can also do this following the grid by matching your ruler with the cutting board grid to get an accurate cut.  Keep your fingers clear of the cutter. I have trimmed my nails but have been lucky enough to not draw blood. I can’t say the same for my use of a French knife. I almost lost a finger tip when I got distracted using one of those.

quilt day two blocks 002

I press the sewn seam down first to set them, then I press the seam to one side usually the darker fabric. In this case you would have to be the judge of which is darker. You can press from the back side of the fabric or the top side. I use a small spray mister and prefer to press from the top side of the fabric, but not always. It is a judgment call.

quilt day two blocks 001

The finished squares will measure 4.5″ This is not always true. Measure and see if your blocks all measure the same. If they all measure the same and it isn’t 4.5″ then that is your personal measurement. If most of them measure 4.5″ and some are a tad off carefully trim the excess. Be careful when trimming, you will be gratetful that you do because just being a 1/16″ of an inch off on several blocks can throw you off by half an inch overall. When I started quilting it didn’t matter to me, when I sewed them together at the end it did matter and I have to tell you — I hate ripping out.

(to be continued)

Happy quilting,  Joanne



Quilt: Log Cabin

quilt blocks log cabin 004

I did a lot of sorting and organizing in my workroom last summer.

In a box marked Katherine’s quilt were cuts leftover from a quilt I made for Katherine.

Also in there were a stack of log cabin block, the ones pictured above. Why weren’t they a finished top? Several reasons perhaps. First thought, I got tired of making them another I became distracted with another more pressing project.

I put them on my design work wall and decided I was one block short to make an ample sized lap throw of 60″ square. In the container were all the pieces to make more blocks except the last fabric.  That would do it. I love making scrappy quilts that don’t match, but when I try to make quilts that actually match, that can be a challenge. I fall in love with a fabric and end up using it in many quilts and then it is gone.  So I will resume a search in hopes of making this quilt a bigger size by finding more of that LAST fabric.


Quilting: Fabic Sorting Continues

quilting fabrics 003

I opened three more plastic shoe boxes. Why am I doing this? Is it a new form of therapy? I think it must be. I’ve heard other women do the same thing. What shall I do with myself today — oh yes — I’ll sort.

One box revealed yellow and white blocks sewn into 25 square blocks.  I remember making them. I guess I was trying out colors.

quilt fabric yellow 001

Then there were the Purple starts. Not sure what this was about either — test patterns like the old patterns on the TV when it went to sleep at night.

quilt fabric putple 003

Then I struck it rich with the third box. These were leftovers from a quilt I made as a house warming gift for a dear friend.

quilting fabrics 002

This sorting also reminds me of what she said once, “when I don’t know what I am doing I resort to research. It’s what I do to avoid something I need to do.” . . . digging deep. She is a Marriage and Family councilor so I guess this is my therapy.

Quilting: Reorganizing Studio Space

I had new flooring put down in my studio. Together the big guy and I packed all it’s contents into boxes and moved them to a storage unit.  Once the hardwood floors were in shelves went up. The big guy and son assembled what seemed like way too many shelves, but the engineer with his calculator said you will fill those up — trust me. He was right, all the boxes were brought back in and I emptied them onto the shelves helter skelter. My suggestion should you think of doing this is DON’T.  For two years I haven’t been able to find what I am looking for. SO — of course I go buy more fabric. It is painful process walking into a quilt store to buy more fabric. AND YES –  the shelves have filled up.??????????????????

Here’s Riley enjoying the empty shelves.

But once the decision to stop procrastinating about reorganizing happened it was HOW? I decided to just take it one shelf at a time. I emptied the top of my sewing table and emptied the first two shelves and began. I would start with Black and White.Fabric - black and white008

then I would move through the color wheel. Red would be next.frabics - red

It feels good to have forward momentum again. It is also inspiring because I am seeing the fabric again with fresh eyes.  I’ve decided to just work on one section at a time. In the past I have torn everything up at once and found myself in the center of chaos. At that point I will walk into the room, look around and walk right back out overwhelmed with the job in front of me.

I am also finding old fabric friends, and pieces I may need to make just one more block is an almost finished WIP quilt.