Scrappy quilt top finished! Now, to have it finish quilted...

Scrappy quilt top finished! Now, to have it finish quilted…

A close-up of Springtime Glory

A close-up of Springtime Glory

My scrappy quilt, using only pieces from my stash, is finished, and ready to be taken to the long-arm quilter. I’m delighted with the way it turned out, and it was so much fun to construct! (The simple directions are found in the previous blog post.) What a great way to use up “bits and bobs” and feel satisfied that they weren’t just tossed away. Now, because I just made up this simple pattern as I went along, and wasn’t following anyone else’s directions, I think I get to name it. Looking at all the lovely floral prints that were used, I’m going to call it “Springtime Glory”. (Be sure to enlarge the pictures so you’re able to really see all the lovely fabrics that blend so nicely in this floral montage.) The next blog post will show the finished quilt, so stay tuned….

Happy Stitching to you all!

10-1/2" block with 4 patch center and log cabin frame using scraps

10-1/2″ block with 4 patch center and log cabin frame using scraps

001 So,you have all these marvelous bits and pieces of fabric left over from past projects, and you’re wondering just how they can be used in a fresh and oh-so-lovely way. Recently, I gave myself that little challenge, and here’s what happened…I just started piecing! I began with a four patch in the center, each piece 2″ (finished), using the Abracadabra stripping technique to save time (otherwise you have all these little 2-1/2″ squares to sew together separately). Then I decided to add 3-1/2″ log cabin technique frames. VOILA, a simple yet fun and colorful 10-1/2″ block. Now I’m going to add 2-1/2″ sashing between the blocks with 2-1/2″ squares at the corners. I’ve laid out four blocks on the carpet along with the sashing so you can see how it will look. I think I’ll go for four blocks across and five down, then add a zippy contrast 1″ border, and 6″ wide finish borders. I might even piece those so they have more than one fabric in each border. It’s so much fun to design as you’re going along, just letting your creative spirit move you. Give it a try!

HAPPY STITCHING!

King size quilt using the basic star quilt block-I call it Sea Star

King size quilt using the basic star quilt block-I call it Sea Star

Alrighty then, just how large should you make your quilt?? First let me mention that all Abracadabra Quilting patterns can be added to or made smaller, depending on the purpose of the quilt. You simply make more blocks (or less), or in the case of the Hugs and Kisses (which is put together in rows and not blocks), more rows. Larger quilts will require more fabric, of course. But a little time spent figuring should help you come up with the yardage.(It’s always best to err on the side of too much fabric rather than too little.) Then it’s going to depend upon how you’re going to use your quilt…a wall hanging, a queen size coverlet, a crib blanket?
Following are some basic guidelines for quilt sizes, depending on their use. (Much of this will depend on other variables such as how thick mattresses are, whether or not you’re planning on using a bed skirt, or the size of the wall space where you plan on hanging the quilt. Obviously, a measuring tape is going to come in handy as you figure out the dimensions you’re going to want.)
Place mats: 11″-12″ wide by 15″-18″ length
Table topper or runner: Depending upon the size and shape of your table, you can determine the size you’ll need. A typical square table topper might be 36″ by 36″, turning the quilt so that the corners are pointed towards the sides of the table. A table runner is usually 12″ to 18″ wide, running the length of the table.
Wallhanging: Your choice! Just make sure it fits the space.
Baby quilt: Usually 36″ by 36″ – 52″ depending upon whether you want it to fit in a crib.
Wheelchair or lap quilt: 36″ by 36″ – 38″
Personal size quilt: This quilt can vary widely in size, depending on the pattern chosen .
Twin: between 64″-72″ wide by 86″-96″ long
Full: between 70″-88″ wide by 88″-100″ long
Queen: between 88″-99″ wide by 94″-108″ long
King: between 94″-108″ wide by 94″-108″ long
A last tip on sizing quilts:You can always add wider or more borders to enlarge a quilt, or smaller borders to decrease the size.

HAPPY STITCHING!

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We layer our hair, we layer our clothing, why not layer quilts? The picture is of my king size bed. I made the quilt using the Garden Trellis pattern, but was disappointed upon its completion, because it just looked too skimpy. The solution? Layer it on top of another larger quilt! I found a sunshiney yellow backing fabric, 108″ wide, that looked like it would be perfect. Double the length plus a yard extra for the binding was purchased so that the quilt would be reversable. I cut off the yard for the binding and laid it aside. Then the large piece was cut in half across the width. I took those two pieces to Linda, my long arm quilter friend, and we chose a thin batting, a fun pantograph pattern, and yellow thread. She got busy, and soon the quilt was ready to trim and bind, according to Abracadabra instructions. Voila! I had a lively yellow quilt to layer underneath my skimpy but beautiful Garden Trellis quilt. I love the look, and have especially enjoyed the extra warmth when the temperature has dipped these winter nights.
I chose a yellow fabric with no pattern so as not to compete with the Garden Trellis floral. However, I can picture a little (or large) gingham pattern, or polka dots, or a plaid used as a layering quilt beneath a floral print, especially in a little girl’s room. As with most quilting projects, the possibilities are endless and encourage your creative juices and imagination! Have fun layering and enjoying the happy results!

Happy Cozy Winter Stitching!

DSCN0807DSCN0808DSCN0809DSCN0811DSCN0815DSCN0805So, what happens when a gifted mathematician becomes a quilter extrodinaire? Why patterns for Gordian (never-ending) Knots, of course. My Aunt Mary Whitehead was that gifted mathematician and quilter extrodinaire, and these are the glorious results!

These pictures are of a king size quilt top featuring Aunt Mary’s Gordian Knots, pieced by quilter Janet Coen from colorful batik fabrics. Aren’t the results dramatic and stunning! Far from the traditional countrified feeling of so many quilts, this quilt top is bold and exciting, inviting the admirer to come closer to inspect the intricacies of the patterns. Bravo Aunt Mary for pushing the boundaries of traditional quilt patterns, and thank you Janet Coen for sharing with us the glorious results!

Now the story behind Gordian Knots according to my Aunt Mary.

According to Greek legend, King Gordius of Phrygia was concerned by his lack of an heir. He went to an Oracle for assistance and was told to fashion a knot with no visible beginning or end. He was to use this knot on the yoke attaching his steeds to his chariot. Whoever proved clever enough, the Oracle stated, to undo this knot would then become his heir and the future master of all Asia. Many tried and failed. One day a bright twenty-year-old, failing to untie the knot, cut the cord with his sword. This young man went down in history as Alexander the Great.

You last found me finishing the repair to the quilt top and backing (see blog post dated August 15), and feeling very pleased that it was hardly noticeable. However, it needed to be re-quilted using the lovely Chantilly Lace pantograph pattern. My friend Linda-the-long-arm-quilter was up to the challenge! When I took it to her, she started stitching where the patch began, and was able to complete the repair using the same pantograph pattern. Now I really can’t tell you where the hole was! I was going to take a picture, but I don’t think you’d be able to find it either. Suffice it to say, one of my favorite quilts is back from being a sorry mess to its original glory, and Barnaby has been forgiven!

The lovely GLAD TIDINGS quilt

The lovely GLAD TIDINGS quilt

Clara snug as a bug beneath her cozy heirloom baby quilt

Clara snug as a bug beneath her cozy heirloom baby quilt

Clara Josephine snoozing on her quilt

Clara Josephine snoozing on her quilt

Hello again fellow quilters and wannabes! I’ve been a bit lax in my blogging recently, for a wonderful reason: Clara Josephine arrived in August, and I’ve been having so much fun with this precious little one! Some of her earliest photo shoots featured her baby quilt, shown here. This is the simplest baby quilt, but with a complimentary suite of fabrics, is delightful!

This quilt (I call it Baby Blocks) is made of pre-cut charm squares, (5-1/2″ square). They are sewn together in rows, six across, and eight down. A 1-1/2″ contrast border is added, and then a 4-1/2″ finish border. Voila! A precious quilt top waiting to be finish quilted in whatever way one desires. (There are so many cute pantograph stitching patterns that could be chosen…bees, flowers, clouds, hearts…)

JOYOUS OCCASIONS IN OUR LIVES CALL FOR JOYOUS AND LOVING GIFTS. WHAT COULD BE MORE MEANINGFUL AND LASTING THAN AN HEIRLOOM QUILT, DESIGNED AND CREATED JUST FOR THAT SPECIAL SOMEONE BEING CELEBRATED!

HAPPY STITCHING!

The hole that Barnaby chewed in my Glad Tidings quilt

The hole that Barnaby chewed in my Glad Tidings quilt


The backside of the quilt and gaping hole

The backside of the quilt and gaping hole


Cutting out the damaged blocks or squares

Cutting out the damaged blocks or squares


Can you find the patch?

Can you find the patch?


Cut squares and batting

Cut squares and batting

Can you find the patch?

Can you find the patch?


So, what happens when one of your beautiful heirloom quilts meets up with a small dog who loves to chew on things? It’s not the happiest of projects, but it’s good to know that holes in quilts can be repaired. Let me take you through the steps.

1. Figure out which blocks or pieces are involved. In my case, it was three 1-3/4″ (finished) squares, as you can see in the first picture.

2. Be grateful that you have saved scraps from all your quilting projects and assemble the needed scraps (including backing) and batting that you’ll need for the repair.

3. On the front, carefully cut out the damaged units with a seam ripper, and cut out the batting.

4. On the back, cut out a patch large enough to cover the damaged area adding 3/8″ on each side. Fold under all edges 1/4″ and hand stitch the patch over the hole with tiny, shallow, inconspicuous stitches. (In my case, I had used a flannel toile for the backing, and had to be very sure that I matched the pattern on the patch to the fabric so the patch would be as inconspicuous as possible.)

5. Cut patches to fit the the hole, adding 3/8″ on all sides. Cut a piece of batting to fit the hole. Press under 1/4″ on all sides of the patch (in my case, “patches” since I used three squares to match the pattern of the quilt.)

6. Sew on the patch using tiny, shallow, inconspicuous stitches.

7. At this point, now that you have made the repairs, you need to decide what to do about the finish quilting that was cut away. You can hand stitch it using little stitches through all three layers and following the quilting pattern already established. This would be fairly simple if you had hand stitched your quilt to begin with. If you did your own machine quilting this would also be pretty simple to repeat the stitching pattern over the repairs.

My quilt had been longarm-machine quilted by my friend Linda (see Abracadabra videos for a trip to her quilting studio) using a pantograph pattern that I dearly love called Chantilly Lace. I called her to find out if she could pick up the quilting pattern where it had been cut away and stitch over the repairs using her longarm machine. She hadn’t tried this before, but was up to the challenge. So the next time I visit her studio, I’m going to take my quilt and see what she can do. If that doesn’t work, I’ll go back to the hand stitching, following the Chantilly Lace pattern already established.

Notes: You alone are going to know where the repair is on your quilt. Anyone else looking at or enjoying your quilt is going to notice the beautiful over all pattern, admire the lovely colors, and appreciate the love and effort that went into its construction. So, once you’ve completed your repair work, forget about it and go back to loving your quilt the way it was before. This is your little secret and it doesn’t have to be shared unless you really want to point out what excellent repair work you can do! Happy Stitching and I’ll let you know how the finish quilting goes with Linda’s longarm!

The lovely GLAD TIDINGS quilt

The lovely GLAD TIDINGS quilt

So, you’ve been accumulating bits and pieces of fabric, and maybe the question has occurred, “When are fabric scraps just too small to save?”

This is a very individual decision, and it depends upon just how thrifty you are, and the type of quilting you like to do.

A water color quilt-Monet's Rose

A water color quilt-Monet’s Rose

If you like watercolor quilts where you’re actually “painting” a picture with tiny squares of fabric, then there is hardly a scrap that is too small. If you’d like to try a “grab bag” quilt, (putting the square scraps in a bag, giving it a shake, and releasing the scraps, using them in the random order they fall), then it depends upon how large you want your quilt top to be.

The Glad Tidings quilt shown above is a grab bag quilt, alternating 10-1/2″ (finished size)blocks of pieced squares with the the same size plain blocks. The blocks are set on the diagonal and separated by sashing. Each mini-square is 2-1/4″ X 2-1/4″ (cut size), and there are 6 across and 6 down. The result? Beautiful!

A little secret: Actually, I cheated! I saved oodles of time making this quilt by using the Abracadabra Quilting stripping method, demonstrated in the Tips and Tricks section of the video series. I sewed 2-1/4″ wide strips together and then cut them at 2-1/4″ intervals. Voila, I had only 18 units to sew together for each pieced block, not 36. That’s what we mean by Abracadabra!

P.S. Always save a few scraps of each fabric that you use in a quilt, including the backing, for repairs. Our little rescue dog Barnaby recently chewed a rather large hole in this Glad Tidings quilt. Fortunately, I have fabric scraps for the repair. My next blog post will be on repairing a hole in a quilt….stay tuned!