Sometimes things just happen. As I was looking for a particular fabric yesterday, I happened onto a little box that was full of 3-1/2″ squares and some half finished four patch blocks. I think these were made when my Mom was living at our house the year before she died. I even recognize some of the fabric she and I used at a retreat or two. I decided to stop what I was doing and finish the four patch blocks. That exercise turned into a finish of a comfort quilt for the cancer center. Sherry had given me some Kaffe Fasset fabric awhile ago and it was a print that had all the colors that I saw in the four patch blocks, so I put it together and this is what I have. I will get it quilted today and send to Sherry for binding. I love it when a project gets done so quickly.
Ted has introduced the children to roller blades – he pulled our old blades out of the closet. They are so excited. But disappointed they have had to wait for the new helmets, knee, elbow, and wrist pads to come. Today is the day.
How have two weeks passed since I wrote last? Virtual 8th grade is pretty intense. However, we got results back from the progress made since school started in August. The students take iReady tests in Math and Reading to determine how much they have achieved. We were absolutely thrilled to see that Ezri tested three grades higher on her Math and one grade higher on her Reading. It tells us that the one to one attention for a Special Needs student makes all the difference. Since Ted does the Math and I do the Language Arts, it also makes me want to work even harder with her on that. It’s not our favorite subject because we have to do the readings that are assigned rather than choose our own. But we have decided to do some reading just for fun besides Fablehaven and the assigned readings.
I watched a Lori Holt video tutorial on Youtube about 10 days ago. It was for a star block that is similar to one I saw on a Missouri Star Quilt video. These stars on floating on the background – an effect that is really pretty. The Lori Holt tutorial made a lot more sense to me for the size squares it uses. This is a link to the video
During 8th grade classes when I was not needed – like chorus and PE and Math – I dashed upstairs and made some star blocks. I used Lori’s method for the stars:
4-1/2″ background squares with 3-1/2″ color squares for 12″ blocks and
3-1/2″ background squares with 2-1/2″ color squares for 9″ blocks
and I made star blocks. Of course I tried different ways to make them. I used my half square triangle dies instead of squares to see if I had to use a square or if I could make the star points by placing half square triangles on the background squares. It works all right but getting the placement right is easier using a colored square. With a plastic bin of 2-1/2″ color squares and a bin of background scraps to be cut already on hand, it was easy to use strip dies to cut the background squares. In the end, working with squares was the best way to make these stars.
The first blocks made were 12″ finished. But because it’s easier for me to work with smaller squares, I changed to 9″ blocks after I had 12 of the 12″ blocks finished.
The 12″ blocks made a 36″ x 48″ top and that would have been a nice baby quilt. But it is nice to have a bigger quilt, so the 4″ half square triangle die was used to make a triangle border. By using two 2″ finished borders and a 4″ triangle border, the finished size was 52″ x 64″. This likely won’t be a comfort quilt, but will keep to use as a gift when one is needed. I like the Riley Blake Bee Basics fabrics by Lori Holt.
Happy end of Thanksgiving weekend to all. It was so busy here with five grandchildren that we didn’t take pictures, but we had a wonderful time. It is so nice that during this Covid pandemic that we can see the local grandchildren because they have remained as isolated as we have. Our duties with virtual school for Ezri require that both they and we maintain our distance from the rest of the world as best we can.
I wrote on Facebook that “one of the best things about being a grandma is being able to tell the 5-year old who is worriedly scrubbing the glob of cherry pie off the white tablecloth with her napkin that she doesn’t need to worry about it, Grandma can wash it out just fine and it won’t hurt the tablecloth at all.” And I did wash that tablecloth and there wasn’t a hint of cherry pie left.
Now to quilting – last summer I made a couple of Jelly Roll Race (JRR) quilts for charity. We usually use a 42 strip jelly roll and can make two quilts with wide borders for them. In getting these ready to quilt, I realized that they did not meet the 42 x 62″ measurement that we use for comfort/charity quilts. In thinking about ways to lengthen this quilt, it reminded me of what I had seen on Pinterest showing blocks placed at the top of JRR quilts. Thus, a search of the orphan block bin ensued to see what I could find.
These stars are left over from a quilt I designed for AccuQuilt called “Star Surprise.”
And sure enough, these star blocks are perfect to lenthen the quilt to 42 x 64″. To match the inner width of the jelly roll strips I needed 32-1/2″ and the blocks are 6″ finished. So the width needed between the blocks was a total of 8-1/2″ which doesn’t work out to an even number. I started with 3″ between the outer blocks and that left 2-1/2″ to use between the inner blocks. A 2-1/2″ sash between the jelly roll strips and the stars was added and also the top border was stitched onto the top of the stars.
And suddenly our lives have a minor complication. Yesterday Ted said in the morning that he had been achy all night and then about 11 am he was cold and decided to take a nap. This was so unusual. I was working on a quilt project upstairs and when I came back down an hour later, he was in bed with fever and chills. This has really scared me as we have stayed isolated and one wonders how one could be sick with anything at all. Anyway, he had fever the rest of the day and during the night. Will likely take him to urgent care today to find out what is wrong with him. He does not have symptoms of Covid, so must be an infection of some sort.
One of the favorite quilts we make around here is made with a 3″ x 6″ finished brick with 1-1/2″ strips on either side for a finished 6″ block. And it is entirely possible this has been the subject of a previous blog post. If so, it’s worth showing it again as many may be making Christmas quilts or comfort quilts for the needy over the holidays.
This is also the quilt I have used for teaching my grandchildren to quilt. It can be sized any direction, works great for novelty prints for children’s and theme quilts.
The rotary cutting instructions for the blocks are as follows. This can also be cut with the AccuQuilt 2″ strip cutter, the 6-1/2″ strip die, and/or the 3″ x 6″ finished rectangle die.
This is the diagram for the quilt layout as well as the cutting instructions for a 42″ x 60″ quilt without borders.
This is a picture of the quilt using a dark strip. This also makes a beautiful quilt. The quilts pictured in this blog post were made by Sherry Gray.
Stitch and Slash Blocks are fun, but it seems they rarely end up the exact size they should be and in order to have a “square” quilt, all the blocks should start out the same size. There must be a very compulsive streak in me because I just can’t sew blocks together that haven’t been “squared”. All these years of stitching has caught up with me and arthritis in my hands has slowed me down a bit.
Sherry has been helping me finish up some UFO’s and I pulled this set of blocks out for a Patience Corners quilt. They needed to be slashed and squared. They were made for comfort quilts for children using novelty fabrics. Here’s one of the blocks that has been slashed. It is an 8-1/2″ square of fabric cut with the AccuQuilt GO! 8-1/2″ square and 2-1/2″ strips sewn on the outside. After slashing and squaring, these blocks will be a cut size of 6″ square and will finish as 5-1/2″ square.
To square up these blocks I am using the 10″ square with the AccuQuilt GO! Big Cutter, but you can also use the 8-1/2″ square with the AccuQuilt GO! Cutter.
The first step is to mark the die. I use Painter’s Tape for this because it removes easily. Once upon a time, I marked my dies with Sharpie permanent markers, but soon my dies had many, many marks on them. To mark for this cut, I placed a ruler on the die and carefully placed a strip beside each edge. In the photo, you will see that there is a slight shadow on the edge of the ruler from the lamp lighting, but in reality, the tape placement is very accurate.
The next step is to place the fabric on the die. After getting this process going, it was easy to place two or three squares on each corner as the inner seam allowances fell on the foam and not on the die blades and the outer seam allowances could be alternated so there was no more than four thicknesses going through the cutter. Here’s the first square placement.
And here’s the second square placement. (Don’t you love the two tone foam so you can see exactly where this will cut?) As I worked, I found that it was easy just to line up the edges of the blocks with the tape on the side and not necessary to flip back the center corner to place the second square.
And this is what it looks like after going through the cutter. You can see the edges that have been trimmed and the perfectly squared blocks. In this example, I cut two blocks at a time.
Can’t wait to show you the finished quilt.
And here’s one to show you that Sherry pieced, I quilted, and she is binding. It’s a comfort quilt for the Cancer Center.
The summer weather has been beautiful, and it’s been a great time to get some UFOs finished around here. Thought I’d give you a little quilt show of what’s been done before I ship these off to their recipients. While the political season is in full swing and does not make one feel positive in the least for the future and with other very somber news, I have been listening to the Cincinnati Pops Gershwin selections with conductor Erich Kunzel from an old CD. While audiobooks are usually the media of choice for me, some upbeat music is just what is needed right now.
These quilts have been finished in the last two weeks:
This one was pieced by Norma and quilted by me. Sherry will bind it. Great team effort on a beautiful “Brick” quilt.
This is the car quilt that I made for the AccuQuilt blog post and shows a closeup of the cars. It is going to my second youngest grandson who is 18 months old. His older brothers have lots of quilts and this will be his. There is no more fabric like this–and it will truly be missed around here. I love this fabric with the Gulf and Esso and Phillips gasoline signs as well as the Route 66 signs. Do you remember that TV show?
This is a quilt that I made ages ago–actually it was years ago and all those New York Star points are paper pieced using Sharon Schamber’s method. This was before I had an AccuQuilt to make the Drunkard’s Path blocks so these were cut with acrylic templates. This quilt is going to my daughter who needs a quilt to take to soccer practice and for games that won’t show red dirt stains. This has a batik backing that is black with colored checkered stripes all over it. I thought that would be perfect for a soccer quilt.
And this is a Hunter’s Star made with the AccuQuilt Hunter’s Star die. This is the third one I’ve made and I still love this die and the way it turns out. It is just so easy to make these blocks–no question as to which way to press. If you always press to the dark with this pattern, all the seams interlock and it makes a beautiful quilt. Four blocks make a star with a quarter star on each corner.
There are a couple more quilts but I can’t show them because Sherry made them–I quilted them, and they will be gifted.
I had turned off comments, but have adjusted my email, so hopefully I will see the comments when they arrive. I always hold my breath when updates, etc., are installed as my technology skills have not kept pace with all the advances.
There are so many fun quilt blocks to make and never enough time. Here’s another block from Bonnie’s Quiltville Free Quilt Patterns that is so much easier using the AccuQuilt 2 1/2 inch Strip Die. Complete instructions are found on Bonnie’s website in the Scrappy Trips link of the Free Patterns tab. I used this block as a demonstration at a recent presentation and finished it in the wee hours last week just so there wouldn’t be another UFO around here.
Strips can be cut from scraps or a Jelly Roll can be used. I used some half yards and a little yardage that I had on hand. The colors are dark and not my usual preference–but sometimes we use what we have. The overall look is nice though as there are some lights in the batiks that give it a little sparkle.
Blocks were made with five strips stitched into a tube, then the tubes were carefully layered on the 2 1/2 inch strip die and subcut into 2 1/2 inch “tubes”. Once the long tubes were cut into 2 1/2 inch tubes, they were separated at alternating colors to create a block as shown.
Blocks were separated with sashing and the cornerstones were placed to continue the colors that were in the blocks. Click on the images for a larger view and more detail. This was a fun experiment. I like the use of sashing to provide a symmetrical design. Wouldn’t it be fun to make a scrappy one without sashing?
I want to share one of our favorite brick quilts. Sherry wrote these instructions, and I formatted them into a nice one page handout. One of the things I like best about this pattern is the fabric placement of the bricks. The quilt looks great as a scrappy quilt with careful placement of the solid, neutral, and print fabrics. We used 3-1/2 x 6-1/2″ bricks.
Here’s an EQ version of the quilt in three fabrics:
Overall Size: 42” x 60” Finished Block Size 6 x 9”
Solid: 36 each 3-1/2 x 6-1/2”
Solid Neutral: 36 each 3-1/2 x 6-1/2”
Print: 36 each 3-1/2 x 6-1/2”
Sashing: 210 inches of 3-1/2” strips sewn together
Binding: 210 inches of 2-1/2” strips sewn together.
Cutting: The bricks for this quilt are easily cut with the AccuQuilt GO! 6-1/2″ strip die (55086) and 3-1/2″ strip die (55032).
Sew two 3 1/2 x 6 1/2 bricks together along the long side. Use one print and one solid (or reads as solid).
Sew another solid/neutral to one side vertical to the seam to make a “T”.
Make 36 patchwork blocks. Note that if you want to keep the print bricks in alternating rows, you will place the “T” brick on the opposite end as you stitch as shown:
Arrange as shown in picture above, alternating the orientation of patches in every other row. Four patches across make one row. Make 9 rows.Add sashing and binding.
Alternate Option using a Jelly Roll: This can also be made with 2-1/2 x 4-1/2″ bricks using one each 42 piece Jelly Roll of coordinated fabrics and fanfolding those jelly roll strips across the 4-1/2″ AccuQuilt GO! strip die (55054). This would require seven blocks across and ten blocks down for a total of 70 blocks and 210 each 2-1/2 x 4-1/2″ bricks.
This is my day in the “It’s All About the Kids” blog hop, and you can read on to find out about a special giveaway by the Fat Quarter Shop and about opportunities for giving quilts to special children.Giving quilts is dear to my heart because as many of you know, our oldest granddaughter was born with a very rare and large brain tumor. She has had four delicate brain surgeries to remove parts of this tumor. Thus over the past few years we have spent weeks in the St. Joseph’s pediatric intensive care unit in Phoenix, AZ. One of the most wonderful things that happened to us during each hospitalization was receiving a quilt from the AZ Blankets 4 Kids Organization. These quilts were simply and well-made, they were colorful and bright, and they truly lifted our spirits and those of others in the ICU.
Because of this, I have been working on digitizing a center block for a child’s quilt. Paper dolls are one of my favorite things and this paper doll pattern is from my mother. The design isn’t finished yet–this is my first iteration of it, but it’s good enough to go into the center of a quilt. And I can border it with simple squares or flying geese or star blocks to make it just the right size for a child.
This is a work in progress, but here are two possibilities of ways to use this center block for a child’s quilt.
And here is an example of extra embroidery blocks used in a child’s quilt and following that, a picture of novelty fabric used in a child’s quilt.
Novelty fabrics are really fun to use. And the nice thing is that you can get a single panel or a book panel print for less than $10.00. It only takes some sashing or additional borders to make it just the right size.
How can you get a quilt to a special child?
While I am most familiar with AZ Blankets 4 Kids, other organizations that come to mind are Project Linus and Quilts for Kids. And there are many local organizations and local hospitals who will welcome your contributions of quilts. At your local hospital, contact the Volunteer Services Department or the Director of Nursing for the Hospital.
What is the best size quilt to make?
In general, most organizations ask for quilts that are approximately 38-40 inches wide and 42-48 inches long for toddlers and children. However, as you read the requests from the different groups, you will see that there are also real needs for quilts for teens. A quilt for a teen should be slightly larger (lap quilt size), approximately 40-45 inches by 56-62 inches. There are also special requests for quilts for boys. As the grandmother of five grandsons, I can unequivocally state that boys love quilts.
The AZ Blankets 4 Kids organization lists the following recommended sizes:
Infant – 38-40 inches square
Toddler – 38 x 44 inches to 40 x 46 inches
Child – 40 x 48 inches
Teen – 40 x 56 inches to 42 x 60 inches
What fabric and batting should be used?
Fabric: My recommendation is that you use quilt shop quality fabric because you will find that it is softer and more durable. Flannel quilts are particularly soft, but it is important to prewash the fabrics to assure all shrinkage is accounted for before cutting and stitching. If you have novelty prints or bright colors or sherbet colors, these are all very cheerful for children and teens. And for boys–dinosaurs, transportation/construction vehicles of all kinds, and Superheroes are especially welcome.
Batting: A low loft cotton, cotton/poly blend, or a good quality polyester batting are all excellent choices. A high loft batting can be difficult to quilt and difficult to manage with all the tubes and equipment that are around a child in the hospital.
How should a child’s quilt be quilted? Can I tie the quilt?
These quilts can be quilted on the machine using a walking foot and stitching horizontally and vertically or cross- hatching the quilt. They can be quilted using your domestic machine and free-motion quilting or with a longarm machine. It is important that they be quilted with a medium all-over design so that they can be washed and cleaned.
And yes, tied quilts are just fine. Be sure to use good embroidery floss for tying and space the ties in a 3-4 inch grid across the quilt.
What are the best patterns for a child’s quilt?
Each of the sites listed above share free patterns. However, as a quilter you all have favorite patterns that you love. Simple traditional patterns like rail fence, bricks, strips, and four and nine-patch blocks are favorites. Simple stars and pinwheels are also wonderful patterns for children’s quilts. And another quick and easy quilt to make is to use orphan blocks. Do you have extra blocks leftover from other quilts you have made? Why not put them together with sashing and borders to create a sampler quilt? And there are many free patterns in the links on this blog that can be modified in size and fabric to make quilts for children.
I like to wash quilts for children before I send them. I think it is a personal preference, but somehow it makes me feel better to know that the quilt is nice and clean and the fabric and batting are “softer” because of washing.
And we would like to thank The Fat Quarter Shop for sponsoring a $25.00 gift certificate giveaway. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post before Sunday, November 2 to be entered into this giveaway. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, November 3.
Does it seem that blogging is on the back burner? I think about it every day, but seems that life is just as hectic as it was before I retired. We fill the spaces. There are six grandchildren now and another one on the way. While only three of them live nearby, they all have a pretty high priority on my to do list.
Yesterday 2 year old BO played with the buttons on the front of the dishwasher–they all light up when you push them–and the dishwasher no longer works. We called tech support, and they couldn’t help, so it means waiting until a repairman can come to fix it. Fortunately, it’s still under warranty, so there will be no cost. The question is: was it the combination of buttons he pushed, or would it have happened anyway? Who knows, but children sure do keep us on our toes. Once the dishwasher is repaired, we will use the child lock button for sure. However, it only makes one wonder how long it will take him to figure out how to disable that.
And why is the dishwasher situation significant to quilting? Well, since hubby does all the dishes, it means I’ll be helping with the dishwashing until it’s fixed.
But quilting has occurred (not in the past two weeks) but in the weeks before that, so here are some snapshots of things that have been finished. This first quilt is just lovely. The customer did not want to pay for custom, and I wasn’t willing to do custom for free, so I did an edge to edge of one of my own designs. This is called Tilt A Whirl and is one of my all-time favorites. I can’t think of a prettier edge to edge for a quilt with large open spaces.
And this quilt is one that Norma sent me to quilt. I absolutely love the colors on this one.
And these three are quilts that I sent to AZ Blankets 4 Kids. As I’ve mentioned before, they provided quilts for us when Ezri had her surgeries in Phoenix at Barrow Neurological Institute / St. Joseph’s Hospital, and this is my way of giving back. Sherry pieced the butterfly quilts and Norma pieced three Teddy Bear quilts (only one is pictured). They’re all beautiful. The photos of these last three don’t have enough light to show the beautiful bright colors as well as the real thing. They are so beautiful and will be loved I’m sure.