Quiltmaker 100 Blocks

Quiltmaker 100 Blocks
My block is in the November 2015 issue!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Stars in Stripes - Scrap Addicts #3

My last Scrap Addicts project was dubbed “Stars in Stripes’ by my daughter when I was deciding how to arrange the blocks, and the name stuck!

For this quilt, I decided to go with a controlled scrappy theme.  I challenged myself to work with value, rather than color, for the large and small star points.  In order to make that work, I chose to use all one fabric for the background and all one color for the center squares.  I then dug in my scraps for darks for the small star points, and mediums for the large star points.  The darks are burgundy, black, navy blue, hunter green, etc.  Some of the mediums are dark mediums, some are lighter mediums, but as long as they showed a good contrast with the background fabric and the dark points, I used them! If all the mediums were the same value, it would be boring. Using anything from brights to 30’s reproductions as my medium fabrics really made the stars sparkle.  I used whatever was in my scrap bin, including a potato print fabric left from making a microwave ‘baked’ potato bag and a candy corn print.

Some of the blocks are pretty by themselves, some are downright ugly!  But when they are thrown together, it is the contrast that matters, not the print.

I ran into all sorts of issues when I was putting this quilt together.  My original setting idea didn’t work out, so I had to start over – several times.  I finally decided on a stripe-y setting, but only after I had already put some of the rows together. Matching the sashing on the rows was a challenge, even when I pinned them. (Lower left, near the fall leaves print.)

Another issue was matching intersections.  Here are three blocks that have intersections that I wasn’t happy with (upper left in the first two pictures; upper right in the last one.) 


I had to decide whether it was worth taking them apart and remaking them.  My inner perfectionist said “yes”, while my inner realist said “am I really going to notice once they are set in the quilt with all the other blocks?”  The realist won this time.

Each quilter differs on how perfect their work has to be.  One quilter friend of mine says that perfection is overrated.  After ripping out and re-sewing the offending rows several times, some of the sashing still didn’t line up.  I decided that she was right, at least for this project. If I was planning to enter this quilt into a quilt show, I would tear it out again and again until it was perfect.  Since this quilt is destined be a couch quilt, which will get used and abused, I decided that it was OK that the sashings didn’t line up exactly and that the points and intersections aren’t perfect.  

Some things however, HAD to be fixed.  For example: 


Somehow I managed to not only sew the bottom row on upside down, but I had some units in the wrong place!  The take away lesson here is to always look at the pieces that you are sewing together BEFORE you sew them together!  In this block, the bottom row should have been the vertical row on the left hand side, and the middle left unit belonged on the bottom.   So I grabbed Jack, and got busy remaking the block.  Oh – Jack is my (seam) ripper. I know, bad pun.

When deciding how to quilt it, I wanted to emphasize the diagonal lines of the quilt. So I used my walking foot and stitched diagonally through the stars from one side of the star stripe to the other with an off white thread, pivoting when I reached the navy strip. The good thing about that method is that I didn’t need to mark the quilting lines; I just stitched from one intersection to the next.  It’s easier to see the quilting from the back:

In the sashings, I stitched straight down the center of the hourglass blocks. That wasn’t quite enough quilting, so I switched to a navy blue thread for the top thread and added a line of stitching down the center of the navy solid strips.
I discovered that was not the best choice. Since the navy strips are narrower than my walking foot, I couldn’t keep the quilting line straight down the center, and it meanders somewhat in places. 

I was seriously considering tearing out that quilting and trying something else when my daughter walked into the room.  I asked her if she thought that I should rip out the navy thread and stitch down both sides of the solid instead of making one line down the center.  

She looked at me like I was nuts. The conversation went something like this:
Daughter: Mom, your quilting OCD is kicking in again.  Why did you use navy blue quilting thread?  Me: So it would blend in and not be as noticeable.   
Daughter: Sooo…..
Me.  Oh. (pause) Yeah. (pause)  Let it go, right?
Daughter: Right.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Second Scrap Addicts Project Posted!

I just have a few minutes, but I want to tell you about something exciting!

I checked the Quilty Pleasures blog this morning and saw that they posted a really nice write-up about my Pinwheels on Parade quilt!  This quilt was based on the Pinwheel Fancy block in the Jan/Feb issue of Quiltmaker Magazine.  Even though it was the first issue of the year, it was my second Scrap Addicts project. It's a long story, which you can read about here:


I had a real "Aw, shucks" moment when I read today's post. Diane Harris, who is one of the editors over at Quiltmaker Magazine, said that my quilt was "Brilliant".  Wow!  Who, me? She really didn't mean that, did she? I am really flattered.  I took a few required art classes in high school, but I have been a scientist most of my life.  So having people compliment me on my quilts is a new twist.  A very nice twist, I must say :->.  

Here is the link to the blog post: http://www.quiltmaker.com/blogs/quiltypleasures/2015/10/bonnie-hunter-pinwheel-fancy-and-barb-johnsons-scrap-quilt/

I hope that you will come back and visit my blog soon.  I am going to have a some nice give-aways in conjunction with the next issue of the Quiltmaker 100 Blocks magazine, which will be coming out sometime in November.  It would make a great stocking stuffer for any quilters among your family and friends!

Now it's outside to finish winterizing the yard while the weather is still nice!  I hate to think that summer is over, but I have to face facts.  And I'd rather be outside getting rid of tomato plants and pulling the root crops now than wait until it is cold, dreary and wet.  

Till next time!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Quilty Secrets

I have been keeping a secret for about 2 months now, and it is killing me! I have been feeling like I could burst because I wanted to TELL people, but it was too soon.  I did tell a few local friends, but they don't quilt, so they didn't see why I was so excited.   Sooo... before I let you in on the secret, a little background information is in order.

While I was working on my Scrap Addicts projects, I was fooling around with layouts for blocks.  As I moved the different pieces around, I suddenly saw a layout for a 12 inch block that I didn't recall seeing before.  The combination of fabric placement and the orientation of the blocks made a really cool graphic design.  I looked in all the quilt block reference books that I have to see if anyone had published it before, and what it was called.  

I didn't see it anywhere.  Hmmm, that started me thinking about Quiltmaker Magazine's 100 Blocks series.  I grabbed all the issues that I have (all but Volume 1; somehow, I missed that one :-<)  Anyway, I looked through the 10 issues that I do have.  And I didn't see anything exactly like the one I came up with in any of those issues either. I looked through 1,000 blocks, and there was nothing exactly like mine.

As an aside, it is amazing to think that there are over 1,000 unique quilt blocks, not counting all the ones in the quilt block reference books.  Wow, that is mind boggling!  I wonder how many other un-dreamed-up blocks are out there waiting to be discovered?

So, back to the topic.  I took a deep breath and submitted my block to Quiltmaker to see if they would accept it for publication in an upcoming issue.  I never really thought that they would, but I figured that it was worth a shot.  

A couple of weeks went by, and I put it out of my mind.  Then, one day I received an email from Quiltmaker that started with "Congratulations"!!!!! 

They accepted my block!!!!!!  SSSSQQUUEEEEL!!!!  My husband came running because he thought that I had somehow hurt myself, LOL!  I was so excited that I could just point at the email and couldn't say a word.  He read it and said something along the lines of "oh, that's nice".  NICE??  Men! (humph).

My block is going to be published in Volume 12, which is due to come out in November!  Stay tuned, I am going to have a giveway in conjunction with the blog tour!  I'm not sure what exactly it will be, but it will be fun!