An Easy Little Remnant Quilt

Of all kinds of quilting, I like the easy ones the best. You might not win the prize at the county fair for making one, but little quilts can be memorable, and provide hours of comfy relaxation.

I had this patchwork remnant from JoAnn’s in the stash for a long time. Whenever I see a patchwork remnant, I get it, because it represents added work, and therefore value. So the retail price of this sort of pieced-together fabric is about $25 per yard. Half-price as a remnant, the finished product makes it look like you did a lot of measuring and ironing and seam-clipping, but we know the truth. And if the truth doesn’t set you free, at least it gives you a reduced price for using a remnant.

lap quilt

lap quilt

I used a plain piece of flannel as a near-match in color. And I happened to have a small bit of batting in the stash that was pretty close to the exact size (ended up trimming off about an inch, what are the odds of that?) I chose to “channel-quilt” the top, backing, and batting sandwich. Why? By channel-quilting, I mean I stitched in the ditch from the top one way, so that I traced the patchwork squares by either their tops and bottoms, or their sides, not both, to outline rows rather than squares. I figured if I tried to outline all the individual squares there was more possibility for puckers. As it was, I only had to rip out a few feet of stitching and re-do it, and that’s a pretty good result for me.

I had one package of brown quilt binding in the stash, but I knew that wouldn’t be enough. So when I went to the store to get another one, I saw this luscious chocolate brown satin blanket binding, and I splurged for that. At $7.49 per 4.75 yard package (of course, I applied a 40 or 50% off coupon to that), it’s not cheap but one whole package was exactly enough. What are the odds?

I was thinking it would make a nice baby gift, but it seems to have a more sophisticated look to it. And I also messed up a bit on sewing down the corners of the binding, and added several rows of visible brown stitching at that corner (which would horrify my mom, no doubt) where it shouldn’t have had to be seen if I’d placed the entire binding on correctly to begin with. So I reasoned, not good enough for a gift, but good enough for us. The cats like it.

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Things that make you go “MMMMMM…made in America…mmmmm”

I got an email from the Gainesville Handweavers Guild to be on the lookout for a new, made-in-America quilting cotton fabric. AMB’s web site said that the fabric could be found at a couple of shops in the NC – SC area where I happened to be for a few days, visiting while a family member attended Evolution2014 in Raleigh. IMG_1841

Cary NC Quilt Shop

Quilt Shop in Cary, NC

I stopped by here and snagged some fat quarters of the American Made Brand fabric, which my email said is from cotton grown in Arkansas, milled in SC…and then apparently marketed out of Seattle.

While in the vicinity of Raleigh, I was by no means subject to any sort of sensory deprivation. The beautiful sights, flavors, and atmosphere had me swooning with summer joy!

Raleigh Convention Center

View of our hotel from inside the Raleigh Convention Center

Convention Center artwork

Convention Center artwork

For more art on display at the center, click here.
Raleigh Convention Center

Raleigh Convention Center

One regret: the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is coming to Raleigh, right here at the Convention Center, this weekend, and I will be long gone by then! If only…woulda, coulda, shoulda….sniffle…

We got take-out from The Pit, a famous North Carolina Barbecue place that has been featured on Man V. Food and Bobby Flay’s Throwdown. My favorite: the mashed potatoes with spicy gravy. Another: Soul Rolls, a deep-fried egg roll stuffed with smooth, piquant, mellow-seasoned chopped pork and collard greens and tender-crisp shredded carrots. We sampled a lot of delicious food in this town.

So what do you think about AMB: American-Made Brand fabric? Everyone I’ve spoken to about it is excited that there’s an American-made cotton quilting fabric on the market now. Is anyone up to their Farm-to-Fabric challenge? Hurry, there’s a deadline to register.

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Hue of You

quilting fabric stash

quilting fabric stash

For this weekly photo challenge

we want to keep it simple: share a photograph with a prominent color (or assortment of colors) that reveals more about you. It could be a symbolic, meaningful shade; a color that expresses how you currently feel; or a combination of colors that excites you and tells a visual story.

Nothing says much more about me than my fabric stash: the hues and patterns that call out to me. It’s a little disorganized, the boundaries between the colors are a little jagged, some important items are hidden behind others. It’s a collection of possibilities and permutations.

People ask me my favorite color; I say green. But most of the clothes I like to buy are blue. And yellow looks terrible on me, but I have yellow-gold dishes and I loved my yellow-painted kitchen and dining room. It would appear that the hues of me are not all that simple…

Deep in the <3 of Texas, with Remnants

Deep in the heart of San Antonio

Deep in the heart of San Antonio

El Mercado, San Antonio

El Mercado, San Antonio

Any vacation, for a fiber-holic, must include a sojourn to a local craft, hobby, fabric, or yarn shop. We went to Salado, called “The Best Art Town in Texas,” which has over 60 artsy-craftsy shops filled with antiques, home decor, savory adornments, glittering jewelry, food!

Recurring themes and motifs: glitzy crosses of all sizes. Camouflage on clothing, recliners, purses, hats, cars. For women, pink camo. Duck Dynasty. Stars: most buildings have a lone star somewhere.

We sauntered through the shops with wonder and appreciation, taking in their marvelous textures and colors. When we got hot and thirsty, we simmered down with some Texas pizza and calzones, then bought a cute little cake at the Ambrosia Tea Room, to go with the pulled pork sliders D wanted to make for dinner.

raspberry lemonade layer cake

raspberry lemonade layer cake

We found http://www.thesewingbasket.com/home.aspx, and I knew right away that place was going to be the new home for my Florida tourist spending money. This little quilt shop was busy! They specialize in cowboy fabrics, and also serve the sewing population around Ft. Hood, one of the world’s largest military bases. The shop was teeming with fabric eye candy; sadly their website doesn’t begin to convey the excitement and thrill that you get when immersed in the atmosphere of this awe-inspiring place. Even my DIL began to believe, with some encouragement from the staff, that she might want to come in and take a sewing class! I love it when someone feels inspired to try sewing!

Being me, I raided the remnant bin of any small bits and pieces of cowboy fabrics, anticipating DH’s delight. He loves to watch Westerns…so much that after looking at the “recents” page on Netflix, I was afraid I might have to schedule an intervention on him. I fear he’s spent more time with 1960’s images of John Wayne than with me :(.

cowboy fabrics from the remnant bin

cowboy fabrics from the remnant bin

I also snagged some fabs with military and patriotic themes. (And when I say military, I mean primarily ARMY.)

military fabs

military fabs

I could kick myself with a spurred boot for not taking a picture of some of the paper-doll quilts hanging up in the back of the shop. I have never seen a photo on the internet that remotely compares with the adorable quilts and blocks I saw there. Quilt block kits were on display, and sign-ups for the classes to make them were all around. I thought vaguely that such things would be available in other places, too, but after doing a search I sadly realized that Texas must have a corner on those darling, over-the-top girly paper doll blocks: little cowgirl outfits and frilly, frothy dresses the likes of which must only be found in these parts. Sad enough that quilt shops in every locale seem to get swallowed up by the big box venues. Oh please, let the creativity go on!

A Sewing Basket had on display several bolts of Texas fabric that will be available for purchase in September. Until then, I’ll have to get busy with all this cloth festooned with boots, saddles, horses and hats and see what comes of it!

Craftsman Style with Remnants

My DH is a woodworker and a maker of Craftsman-style furniture. His most recent accomplishment is this “grandfather chair” and ottoman in the style of Gustav Stickley.

Stickley-style Grandfather Chair

Stickley-style Grandfather Chair

He has also made a settee, a Morris Chair, a media console, and several tables. As the rooms are graced with more pieces of Arts and Crafts style furniture he has lovingly produced, we’ve thought about adding accessories like lighting, textiles, art objects and even wall coverings.

At one point I collected machine embroidery patterns for making textile pieces to complement the style of the furniture. And yesterday, I FINALLY made for DH my first Arts and Crafts themed pillow.

linen remnant gingko pillow

linen remnant gingko pillow

Er, sorry about that moire effect; it’s the first time I’ve noticed it so prominently in a photo. Perhaps because the linen fabric slubbing catches light and shows off the warp and weft more dramatically than other fabric? How does one fix a moire effect in a photo? I am posting a tag on here for “Weekly Photo Challenge: Pattern” because that is the theme of the challenge for this week. The photo has a moire pattern going on, although it’s not sought after. If you want to see more Pattern photos in the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, click here.

Sewing divas must be using linen a lot more lately, because I’m finding great pieces of it in the remnant bin at Joann’s. Thank you, sisters, you know who you are and I appreciate you!

thanks for the linen remnants

thanks for the linen remnants

Linen is made from the flax plant. I love to picture an old-fashioned flax spinning wheel with its birdcage distaff overflowing with fiber. I have a large cache of well-used table linens from my grandmother, that are still in majestic shape, even with so many washings and ironings and applications of starch. Linen fabric is thick and lustrous. However, one wrong glance, touch, or breath out of place, and it’s wrinkled.

The embroidery design for this pillow is a stylized gingko vine. I plan to make more textile items using the gingko and other popular Arts and Crafts motifs: dragonfly, moth, lily. I tried to find the source of this design but I couldn’t discover where I bought it from; so sorry. I also found a treasure trove of machine embroidery designs for a quilt at Secrets of Embroidery. That project will be a long time in the making! But don’t you agree that the painstakingly hewn and polished and hand-crafted (complemented with machine tools) furniture needs a hand-pieced and theme-embellished quilt to set it off?

settee, with pillow

settee, with pillow

matching Morris chair

matching Morris chair

We have remnants, we need to know the STORIES!

Overall, I had a pretty happy day. I know, you’re about to tell me, “But yesterday was International Happiness Day.” True, I missed the boat not blogging about happiness yesterday. But I thought about it. And International Happiness Day is growing into something bigger. I have plenty going on now to make me happy.

I finally got the Ruby back from the repair shop. It has been in limbo there since early November. Funny, when I look at the Husqvarna Viking website, I do not even see Ruby, now they have a Ruby Deluxe. Perhaps the Ruby model is no longer produced, historically kind of like the Edsel? I didn’t sew on Ruby right away, because I’d been in a car accident and then hurt my head and got my neck and back jacked up. But today I plugged in the Ruby and made another rag quilt while watching the opening day of Rootstech. Ruby was all better, smooth and beautiful like I remembered! sigh! Rootstech is a 3-day genealogy workshop that is in its 3rd year of production. And it is BIG! An estimated ten thousand people listened to the streaming videos today, besides the throng of over 5,000 that attended in person at Salt Lake City.

Several points impressed me from the conference talks. One was that stories were stressed. Not just names and dates. Over and over I heard, we need to know the stories. WE NEED TO KNOW THE STORIES! Another point stressed: what will our great-grandchildren wish they knew about us? What would we know about our ancestors if they’d had social media like we have today?

I finished another larger rag quilt, using cotton flannel remnants. This one will go to Baby L, and the little one I already gave her will seem like a changing pad compared to this.

20130321-210814.jpg.

20130321-210912.jpgback

Then I finished another lap quilt, one not made of remnants but of charming designer flannel fabric: Les Amis by Patti Sloniger for Michael Miller Fabrics LLC.

20130321-211551.jpgfront

20130321-211638.jpgback

20130321-211730.jpgdetail of Michael Miller fabric “Les amis de la foret”

For those creative readers who love this fabric, perhaps you could be the next fabulous new fabric designer? Check out this contest from Spoonflower and give it a chance!

I have sewn things that were given away, and later I forgot. If I did not keep a record I might not remember what I have done. Like the felted name tags for the FTWG conference, all gone and not remembered in the least. This giftee may not know that I picked the designer fabric just for her, with its French motif and Pantone color of the year, but here I note the remnants of the story.

A Nice Warm Blankie on Election Night

It’s Election Night and I finally finished the Baby Brit Quilt-Along I started back in August. I posted here under the title a Little Quilting Help From Friends. Ah, what a carefree time that was! I met with Ann and Anna for lunch, and heard from Ann all about her new quilting adventures. And I heard from Anna about her life and times.

Ann, Anna and Me

I am so sorry to say that Anna got killed in a motorcycle accident just a couple of weeks after this happy-go-lucky photo was taken of us by the waiter at The Braised Onion.

I mentioned in the post that I’d begun a quilt-along and had been shopping in my fabric stash for suitable remnants to go into the project. This is how it finally turned out.

Little Baby Brit, a bound and ready comforter

My note of identification on the back

At the time, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was the big thing of wonder in the world. Somewhere back in my ancestry, I have a connection to Great Britain, but it’s great to be an American.

Thank you again, Cynthia Horst, for the inspiration and the great tutorials that helped me through it! I feel a sense of accomplishment, although we went through a lot of turmoil to get here and there’s likely to be more changes and cloudy days ahead. Cynthia had to interrupt the scheduled segments of the quilt-along to rush to help her daughter and premature grandbaby, whose schedule to enter this earth life did not correspond with everyone else’s! But now we have a little comforter to cheer and keep us warm this winter, and a few months ago it was all just a dream.

I used Warm and Natural needled cotton batting. I didn’t have a single piece big enough for this larger-than-a-baby-quilt-size, so I pieced together some remnants; you know me! And for the border strips and cross-strips, I did a sampler using some of the omnimotion, heirloom and quilting stitches programmed into my sewing machine. The quilting stitches worked out best; the ominimotion stitches were complex and used a great huge amount of thread.

Sampler stitches on the cross-strips

I mostly used lusciousKing Tut thread (first time I’ve tried it) until the 500 yard spool I had ran out, then I had to resort to Joann’s Coats and Clark’s brand machine quilting thread. Not highly recommended, as the thread shredded several times before I was finally through, even though I was using a topstitch needle with a big eye.

Coats and Clark’s thread shred

I did a free-motion stipple stitch around the border pieces. I used Karen Grof’s method for binding that I learned from her class at the Quilt Expo and I was pretty happy with that.

Squaring up the corners and borders

Snuggling in to watch election results

I guess I am a blanket sort of a person. I make baby blankets, I make fleece blankets for bigger kids, and now I make quilts. And, like a proper old hippie, I think of the appropriate rock ‘n roll tune while I work, and right now it’s Bruce Springsteen’s “Cover Me.”

We will wake up in the morning, and no matter who wins the election, half the people in the US won’t be happy. But when the cold night looms dark and threatening, some of us will have a nice warm blankie.

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