Finally done with the postage stamp quilt…

Wow, that was a long hiatus! I’m blaming retirement in July for the majority of my tardiness in writing. There was some adjusting…and then the visits from my grandkids…and hot humid weather that left me with no energy. But while I didn’t do so well with the blogging, I did manage to finally finish the quilt! I had to add a couple of borders to wrestle it to the size I needed for the futon it was intended for.

Finally, I had to make a decision about the binding. It could have been red but that would have been too much of a good thing. My color-talented daughter suggested using a solid turquoise to match the color in the larger border. Bingo!

Three evenings of hand-sewing later, it was finished! I snapped a few photos outside before putting it on the futon, where it will provide warmth to anyone who visits us this winter.

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Still chugging away!

It’s been a busy time and I haven’t posted as much as I’d like. Heading toward retirement at the end of the month, and can’t wait! Free time to quilt as much as I want, oh bliss!

In the meantime, the postage stamp quilt has not been forgotten, I’ve made 126 squares and am beginning to sew them together in strips.

The finished quilt should be somewhere around twin size. I’ll probably add some borders if I need to.

I sure did use up a lot of scraps with this project…and a lot of time. I’ll update once I’ve got the strips together. Would love to hear from other quilters who’ve finished one of these!

Postage Stamp Quilt

Not sure if I’d call it fun or work…these little 6″ squares take a lot of time to complete!  And I think I’m going to run out of stash before I run out of the need to make more of them.   My goal is 150 squares, and I’m only about 1/3 of the way to my desired quilt size. I’m going to have to really motivate myself to get ‘er done!IMG_1015

Luckily, the finished product is going to be AWESOME, but getting there is the hard part.  I may have to start a second project before I lose what’s left of my mind!

Getting Rid of the Scrap Heap

I don’t know about the rest of you, but after a winter of quilting, I have piles and piles of small scraps left over from various projects.  Since my drawer was full, I decided it was time to make my annual “postage stamp” quilt.  I never know how big it’s going to be, but the fun is in the making, so I got started last week.  (I was planning to restart my Civil War quilt, but that’s going to have to wait till this one is done.)

The last time I made this quilt, I cheated and used 2″ squares.  This time I’m doing it with 1″ (more or less).  First step was ironing all those scraps and cutting 1 1/2″ strips.  Lots and lots of them.

IMG_0963Next step was sewing the strips together, six at a time.  It didn’t really matter whether they were the exact same length or not, since I was going to cut them horizontally anyway.  I cut and sewed and cut and sewed, and finally had a basketful of strips from all my projects (well, most of them, anyway!).

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The fun part was mixing all the strips up so I wouldn’t have repetitions.

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Since I took a day off and it was darn cold out there,  I spent a good part of today sewing the single strips together into blocks.  They don’t always match up, and probably a really good quilter wouldn’t let that go…but I quilt for fun, so I give myself leeway.  My process is to sew six of the strips together, then go to my ironing board and press all the seams in the same direction.  Next I go to my cutting table and cut the excess fabric away, making sure I keep a 6 1/4″ square.

You can see how uneven the little squares are.  That just adds to the charm!

If it’s not gardening weather tomorrow (or maybe even if it is!), I hope to continue on this project.  I have a long way to go, but half the fun is getting there!

Happy piecing!

Finally, it’s done!

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My husband’s birthday was last Friday, and I was sewing that binding on till the very last minutes.  Finally got the thing done, snipped as many threads as I could stand to, and gifted him with it.  He snuggled up in it Friday night and was surprised at how such a thin blanket could be so warm!  Anyway, that project is done and over with.  I should have made it one row bigger but I’ll know better next time.

Over the weekend I was able to finally quilt a tabletopper that has been on my mind since before Christmas.  I had no end of trouble with it because I wasn’t thinking it through.  I had to pick out the quilting twice before I finally got it flat enough to look right.  It’s on my table now.  Luckily it wasn’t targeted as a gift or something to sell, so I’m the only one who has to look at it!

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Finishing the Evening Star Quilt

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Last weekend was cold and snowy (yes, snow in April in Vermont, surprise!), so I had ample time to obsess over getting this puppy quilted.  Given that it had sat folded up on my ironing board since the weekend before, it was ready and waiting for me when I got up Saturday morning.  Turned the radio on,  got my cup of coffee and English muffin, adjusted the sewing chair and sat down at the machine with somewhat of a plan in mind (I never think things through, apparently–they just happen, sometimes happily, sometimes not!).  Since my last project turned out pretty well, I decided to stitch in the ditch horizontally all the way to the end, then flip it and stitch in the other direction.  While I enjoy free motion quilting, it’s pretty difficult to do it with such a big quilt and no longarm, so we do the best we can with what we’ve got.

I used big safety pins to keep the quilt folded up and away from the machine except for where I wanted to quilt it.  By afternoon the quilt was draped around my neck to hold it straight, and thank God for quilting gloves and a walking foot on my machine, because they sure came in handy to keep the lines straight.  Had 3/4 of the quilting done by nightfall, and thankfully broke for dinner.

I love how the hours fly by when I’m involved in this kind of thing.   I can easily lose track of hours altogether as I sit at my sewing table.  The simple act of working through the problems that arise, envisioning the finished product, thinking through ways to be more efficient, and letting my mind drift away to solve problems from other areas of my life is one of the great joys of quilting.  My poor long-suffering husband has learned to find his own things to do when I’m in the quilt studio–he drops in from time to time to make sure I’m still alive, but mostly lets me be so I can stay in the zone.  My dog has gotten into the habit of curling up under the ironing board where she’s more or less safe, and reminding me only now and then that she too has needs.  Good thing they’re both patient!

Had to take an aspirin Saturday night because my upper leg was aching from holding it in the same position all day (duh).  Like I said, I forget everything else, and pay for it later.

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See those four triangles that form the star?  Those were fun to quilt, since they’re diagonal and the piece had to be manipulated quite a bit to get them stitched.  At first I was going to leave them unquilted, but the extra stitching really added a lot to the overall look, so it had to be done.  That was Sunday’s chore.

I made my 2 1/2″  binding out of the white/blue dotted Swiss, and am currently involved in the final step of handsewing the binding to the quilt, an excellent pastime in front of the TV set in my comfortable living room.  I’ll post a final picture of it when it’s complete.

One more for the books… next up, back to work on my Civil War squares!

Current Project: Evening Star Queen Size Quilt

We had a couple of cold days this weekend, so I actually spent most of my time in the quilting studio and made some progress on my Evening Star quilt!  The pattern came from a 2006 posting by The Spruce, and was pretty easy to piece once I had the pieces cut.  Because I was working with a red, white and blue palette, and didn’t want too much uniformity, I cut three blocks at a time using different fabrics of the same tones, which probably extended the amount of time it took to make the blocks but gave it a nicely unified look.

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Of course, as usual, I kept running out of one color or the other, so there were a number of panic trips to Joann’s (half an hour away) over the time I’ve been working on this project.

I finished the 30-12″ squares I needed on Friday.  Then it was time to sew the blocks together into strips.

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Next the strips had to be sewn together with some sashing in between.  I didn’t have enough of the vertical sashing, so found some fairly similar fabric and used that.  If I was making this to sell, I would have had to plan a little better beforehand, but this quilt is for my house, so I can live with some imperfection!

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By Sunday I was ready to put the quilt top together.  Love those long horizontal seams!  My sewing machine was purring along when disaster struck.

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This happens now and then (embarrassingly enough) when I forget to turn the spool in the right direction.  Fixed it, and off we went.

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Next step was to “sandwich” the layers together.  I chose a dark blue amorphous print for the backing, laid the whole thing out on my bed, and glued the layers together with my favorite quilt basting spray.  By then, it was getting dark out and my husband was wondering if I was still alive, so I decided the day was over and so was my quilting for the weekend.

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Next, I have to figure out how to roll up and fold that huge “sandwich” to fit onto my sewing machine.  That delightful little job is going to have to wait till the weekend — possibly even longer, since it’s a birthday weekend and I’m pretty sure I won’t be quilting for most of it.  Stay tuned!