Thursday, December 26, 2019

Underground Railroad Quilts

This year I became very interested in the origin of quilt blocks.  I read Hidden in Plain View by Jacqueline Tobin and started to do some research on line about the idea of using quilts as symbols to guide slaves on the Underground Railroad.  I then read Elanor Burns Quilt in a Day Underground Railroad Sampler which has patterns for all of the quilts in the quilt code.  I decided to make a sampler quilt.  I then turned my research into a presentation for the quilt guild. 
Each block represents a code on the Underground Railroad.  The last square on the bottom right is a copy of the code printed on fabric paper.
There is a lot of controversy about whether the quilt code is true.  I made sure to address that in my presentation but also highlight that the idea of a quilt code is interesting in itself whether it is true or not.  And as a quilter I love the idea of the blocks symbolizing something.
I quilted each row separately and then attached the rows. This made the quilting easier to manage.  Especially because at the time I made this I did not have my new machine.
The presentation went well.  It was fun to lecture on a topic that was not work related.

Moda Quilt Along

Moda always has a quilt along going on.  This year I did the At the Seashore quilt along.  I really don't like this quilt.  I don't like the lack of symmetry and the colors.  It happens that sometimes we don't like our finished product.
Because I disliked it so much I decided to use the quilt to practice free motion quilting skills.  I quilted something different in each block.  This really helped to hone my skills but made me dislike the quilt even more because of the total lack of uniformity.  Someone someday will like it and it will become their quilt.  For now I plan to use it as a picnic blanket.

Holiday Table Runner

Holiday table runners are quick easy gifts and a great way to use up scraps.  Here is a quick table runner I made and free motion quilted with my new Juki.

Snow Panel

I love the free table at my quilt guild.  You can always find such wonderful treasures there. I found this snow man panel and with my new Juki I was able to do some fun free motion quilting on it.  I added some Victoria Findlay Wolfe candy cane fabric and I had a nice holiday quilt.

Merriment Panel by Gingerbear for Moda Fabrics

I think this panel was the most popular one for the holiday season of 2019.  I bought it in Arizona during my shop hop.  I had no idea what I would do with it.  I soon came up with lots of way to use it.  And I kept seeing it everywhere on Instagram and Faecbook.  I still have some panels left.  This was a great way to make holiday gifts and I look forward to seeing what Gingerbear comes out with next year.

4th of July

Another great scrap buster is this 4th of July pattern by Pat Sloan.  The pattern is called Grand Ole Flag. I whipped this up just in time for the 4th.  I loved using a different background color then I normally would have.  This turquoise is unusual and really makes the flags stand out.  The backing is centennial fabric I had in my stash.


This is Juki TL-18QVP.  She is new and she is all mine. I have sewn on a Singer Patchwork for the last several years.  Joining the guild and taking my first workshops showed me I needed a better machine.  I searched for about 6 months, trying out machines, talking to people, researching.  I finally settled on what I wanted most in a new machine - a larger throat space and the ability to do free motion quilting (FMQ).  This machine does all that.  She sews like butter and my FMQ has improved tremendously.  I love her.
Here are some example of the FMQ I can do on my new machine.  This is something my Patchwork could never do.  I don't dread FMQ anymore and I don't have to only do straight stitching any longer.
I love the ability to almost color a pattern and really make it pop by sewing around something.
I am so happy with my new machine.  I still have my Patchwork and I am proud of all the things we made together.  But having an expensive machine that is made for certain features can really change things.

Summer Book Club Quilt Along

I love to read, always have.  When I saw this summer book quilt along by Kate Basti I knew I was going to join in.  I didn't have fabric that matched actual book covers but I did have this lovely charm square and fat quarter combo.  Quilts can be very therapeutic and remind us of the time we made them.  I made most of these books during a weekend when I was having a medical issue and couldn't leave the house.  I was very uncomfortable but knew I would soon feel better. I just focused on making book after book and I got through the weekend.  This quilt will always remind me of that time and what dedication and focus can offer us during a time of need.   

Cat Bags

When you friend gives you a bag of fabric you make her a makeup bag.  This cat fabric was too adorable to cut up.  So I fussy cut the big cat faces out and make two makeup bags.  Having some cat fat quarters on hand helped to make the inside catastic!

Travel Case

Travel cases are always fun to bring along to workshops. In January I will be attending Road 2 CA and taking a workshop.  This travel case will be a great place to store sharp objects.  I picked up this pattern during a shop hop in Arizona with my friend Tina.

Patchwork and Quilting Magazine

I love Patchwork and Quilting Magazine.  They always have the best projects.  This fox pattern could not be passed up.  And I love displaying it in the hoop frame.  I may turn this into a tote bag at some point.  But for now it shares space on my bookshelf with my favorite magazine.

Scrap Buster

Several books and blogs have reshaped what I do with my scraps.  Instead of shoving them into a bin to get tangled and creased, I now cut them down to three different sizes.  When I have a sizable amount of scraps I trim them to 2, 3, or 4 inches.  If the fabric is really special I might adjust the scrap size to save more of the fabric.  I then store them in a tin.  This was the first quilt I made using the scraps. I actually made two of them I had so many scraps.  Each tiny square was 2 inches and the center square was 6.5 inches.  These two quilts took a while as sometimes I had to wait to accumulate more scraps.  Quilters never throw anything away so these quilts were a great way to use up every bit of fabric I had.  It is also super fun to look at the scraps and remember the project they came from.

Mini Hoop Embroideries

Super fun book with great projects.  I love making tiny craft projects I can share with friends and family.  These mini hoop embroideries are the perfect item.  Using fabric and embroidery skills that are clearly out lined in the book you can make rings, pendants, and necklaces.  Although it looks like part of the book cover that is my hand and those are the three projects I made.

Falling Charms Quilt Pattern

The guild has an accuquilt machine you can rent for the month.  Add some gorgeous floral pattern fabric from the free table and you have the Falling Charms Quilt Pattern by Missouri Star Quilting.  Five inch charm squares and jelly strips make this a super easy and fast quilt to put together.

Hoffman Fabric Tour

The guild took a trip to the Hoffman Fabric Factory in Mission Viejo.  We learned all about how the batiks are made.  I grabbed this sweet rose pattern at the pop up store.

Tote Bags

I love to make tote bags.  They are a perfect way to use up panels. 

This is our dog Teddy in a pop art style using batiks.  I take cardboard and put it in the bottom of the bag to give some hold.

This is a swan made from a pattern by Andrea Tsang Jackson of 3rd Story Quilting.  To protect the bottom I added two large buttons.  Now if the bag is ever on the floor the pretty pink fabric will stay clean.


Mandalas are usually circular geometric patterns. Some people find the drawing and coloring of a mandala as a form of meditation. As they focus on coloring in the patterns of the form, they relax, their mind grows quiet, and they may enter into a spiritual space. I copy the patterns from coloring books and stitch them.  They are great projects to take on the go.  Here are a few I have made and turned into bags.

Leah Day Friendship Sample Block

Like sewing with 100 tiny pieces then this is the quilt for you.  This is Leah Day's Friendship Sampler.  Each block was quilted separately and sewed together.  This made for easy quilting because you didn't have to wrestle a large quilt under the needle.  I also liked breaking out of my normal white or cream background to this gun metal grey. Another great scrap buster quilt.

Riley Blake Challenge

Modern quilting can be so freeing and abstract.  I participated in the Riley Blake Challenge this past year.  I was sent fat quarters and I had to use them plus any other Riley Blake fabric I wanted to incorporate.  I used a cut and slash method that I read about in a magazine.  Cutting really nice fabric into slashes can be a bit anxiety provoking but I decided to give into the method.  The result was this abstract piece I titled Regatta.

Stitch Happens

Stitch Happens by Kelli Fannin is a great scrap buster and a fun wall hanging.  Lots of small pieces add dimension to this piece which makes a nice wall hanging or lap quilt 

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Moda Doll Panels

I fell in love with these Moda Doll panels.  I can't stop making them.  They are adorable.