Monday, February 13, 2017

Rainbow Bargello

A bargello quilt has been on my bucket list for awhile.  In March 2016, Patty over at Elm Street Quilts started a Bargello Quilt-along (QAL).  There were two sizes to choose from:  large (aka Queen B) finishing 36" square, and mini (aka Baby B) finishing 16" square.  I couldn't decide which one to make, so I made both.  There were prizes, which was the perfect motivator for me.

I stitched up the tops for both before the QAL ended in April 2016.  I had the Baby B completely done in April.

Baby Bargello
16" x 16"

It took me a lot longer to get the larger one quilted, but I finished it in February 2017.  I tried several quilting patterns but didn't get the look I wanted (so there was a lot of  'unsewing' involved).  I finally got it quilted, bound and hanging sleeve attached.  I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out!

Rainbow Bargello
36" x 36"

Here's a close up of the quilting:

Turns out I didn't win anything in the Elm Street Quilts QAL, but I did get two great quilts out of the experience!  And I found that bargello quilts are not really as hard as I had thought.

This is the first UFO I've finished this year.  Judy at Patchwork Times has a UFO challenge on her blog:  make a list of 12 UFOs (unfinished quilts), and each month she picks a number, and we work on that number each month.  This quilt technically was not either number she's chosen this year, but since I had this one and another larger quilt pin-basted, I needed to get one of these two done to free up pins for other projects.  And I figure as long as I'm working on SOMETHING, that's a good thing!  After all, I hear it takes a long time to finish a quilt you're not working on.

Now it's time to get the pins out of the other quilt.  For the record, I did start quilting that one in January.  So this is where I will be today:

Friday, October 28, 2016

Row By Row 2016

The past few years I've collected various Row By Row patterns.  I completed a few rows, but never finished a whole quilt.  (For more information on what Row By Row Experience is, check out their website:

This past summer was no different until the end of July.  I had picked up a few rows in late June and early July, but had no firm plan on what to do with them.   I had seen the photo list of the Minnesota rows and had a mental list of a few I'd like to put together--but most of them were quite a distance from my home.

My brother likes to go on long motorcycle rides during the summer, and he usually asks if I'd like to ride with him (and I haven't turned that down yet!).  At the end of July, he asked if I wanted to ride to Brainerd with him, so I did.  I asked him if he'd be interested in riding a little past Brainerd to visit the shops that had rows I was interested in, and he agreed.  So off we went, stopping in Aitkin (Sew Much & More) along the way, and going to Country Fabrics in Brainerd.  After lunch in Brainerd, we headed out to Wadena (Hometown Crafts and Fabric) and Perham (Bay Window Quilt Shop) and I bought a kit at each store.  I saw the winning quilt at the Perham store and as I was paying, I commented to the clerk that I was collecting rows but I'd never have a winning quilt (Row By Row started on June 21, and there had been quite a few winners already).  She commented that last year there were winners into September, so if I was interested, it was not too late.  That put an idea into my head!

There was one more row that I wanted that day, and it was at Piecemaker's Quilt Shop in Hackensack.  We worked our way from Perham to Hackensack, but I was worried I wouldn't make it there before closing time.  I thought perhaps they'd be open until 5:30 or 6:00 (and it was already after 5PM), so we stopped and I called.  Someone answered, and when I asked how late they were open, she said, "5:00, but I'm still here".  I mentioned that we were about a half hour away, and she said she'd be there.  (The Quilt Minnesota shop hop was going on, and several stores had extended hours during the hop.  In the past, Piecemaker's had been on the QM shop hop--but they were not participating this year).  We drove to Hackensack, and I got their row kit and their license plate as well.  I was so happy to  be able to include their eagle row in my quilt!  Every time I've been to that shop, I've been treated very well.  I can't say that about all quilt shops.

Within a week of the bike ride, I had all five of those rows together.  I had already picked up a few other rows (Quarry Quilts in Sandstone, Quilted Dog Quilt Shop in Cloquet (more about this one later), Hingeley Road Quilt Shop in Floodwood, Kelly J's in Duluth, and Quilt Corner in Beaver Bay--they had two different kits, so I bought both), and started planning my quilt.  After I sketched out my design, I realized I needed one more horizontal row, so my husband drove me to Superior, WI, and I bought their kit.

Once I had my quilt top laid out on my 'design floor' (living room floor), I realized that the pieces weren't going to fit perfectly.  The rows are supposed to measure 9 1/2" by 36 1/2" so they finish at 9x36, but a few rows were a little off.  So I had to figure out how to make them all fit and ended up adding a few pieces of fabric here and there.

I had a piece of fabric in mind for the back, and there was just enough to fit after I pieced my two vertical rows into the back.  Whew!

I made a label that identified the rows:

Then I quilted the whole thing on my sewing machine (Janome MC6600p--love that thing!  Got it at Kelly J's in December 2010 and it's THE BEST sewing machine I have ever had!)

By this time, it was the middle of October, and I'd been seeing winners pop up all over on the Minnesota Row By Row Facebook page.  I FINALLY finished this quilt on October 21, 2016.  After calling several local quilt shops to see if they'd had a winner yet, I found one relatively close that hadn't yet had a winner.  My husband was off that day, so we went out for lunch and drove to the Country Schoolhouse Quilt Shop in Superior, WI.

The dog row is pretty special to me--I bought it the day I had gone to Friends of Animals to meet a dog I had seen on their website.  We were able to adopt that dog the next day, and we named him Max.  I put his name on the doghouse on that row.

The prize for being first to turn in a finished quilt with at least eight rows is 25 fat quarters.  If a person has used that shop's row, there's an extra prize.  My prize was a Moda 30s Playtime fat quarter bundle (30 fat quarters--the extra five FQs were the bonus prize from the shop)!

This quilt was a lot of work, but I have a beautiful row quilt.  And I can cross 'make row quilt' off my bucket list!  One of these days I'll finish the rows from the past few years and put them together.

I need to thank my brother for putting all those extra miles on his bike for me (we rode 475 miles that day!), and my family for being so understanding throughout the making of this quilt.  The dining room was rearranged for a few days while I quilted this quilt, and there were several days when they were on their own for dinner.  Things are somewhat back to normal now--at least until I get going on my next quilt!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tumbler Flag

A couple Fridays ago, the Missouri Star Quilt Company (MSQC) had a tutorial for the Tumbler Flag wall hanging.  (Every Friday they have a new YouTube tutorial for a project.  They are very well done, and I've gotten way too many projects on my to-do list because of them!)  This was a version of the American flag made with tumblers cut from charm squares (which are 5" square).  I wanted to make my own wall hanging for the Fourth of July but felt that the 5" charms were too big for what I had in mind.

I figured that if I used 5" tumblers, by the time my flag got to 13 stripes and was proportional, it wouldn't fit on the wall I had in mind.  Early in the morning of June 20, 2015 (the day after the tutorial came out) an idea came to me (I get my best ideas in the middle of the night!).  I decided to use mini tumblers (nice that I already had the template from MSQC!).  (NOTE:  tumblers are NOT square, and my drawing was not exactly proportional to a real flag!  I had to leave off six columns of the red and white stripes, and I think I also had to change the blue rows.)

Around 10 that morning, I started digging out the reds, blues and whites and cut out about a bazillion tumblers (or a few hundred).  There were a few breaks in between, but by 10 that night, the top (except for the border) was done!  In the tutorial, the tumblers were cut flat at the top and bottom of the flag before the border was added.  However, I liked how the tumblers made the flag appear to be waving in the breeze and felt that chopping it off might spoil that look.  And of course I thought of this AFTER it was all sewed together.  So out came the ripper (I call mine Jack--get it?), and I had to rip the end of the seam between each column to add a tumbler of border fabric.  Then after I sewed the columns back together, I cut those rows flat and added a strip of border fabric.  I chose a light blue Stonehenge fabric to look like the sky.

My goal was to finish the whole works (piecing, quilting, binding, hanging sleeve) by the end of June.  I did it--finished it last night!  Start to finish:  11 days--that's pretty fast for me, especially since it took almost 20 years to finish my first quilt.

Here it is on my living room wall:

I did echo quilting on the stripes and quilted a star in each of the blue tumblers.  It's not entirely accurate (since there are 56 stars!), but I like it.

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Even though I really like batiks, I don't use them often in my quilts. Awhile back, I found a quilt online done in batiks ('Split Decision', The Teacher's Pet by Dierdre K. Brown), and it looked easy enough for me to do.  It was done with a 'Butterscotch' Bali Pop, so that is what I wanted to use also.  I don't recall the name of the online shop, but I do know that they have since gone out of business.  (Their photo had a cute cat sitting on a corner of the quilt.  When I was getting ready to take this picture, one of our cats thought he would check it out--but he left before I got the camera ready.  Quilts on the floor sure are cat magnets!)

I started this one in 2011, finished the top in early 2012, and it was quilted and bound by October 2012.  I used the one leftover block on the back, and apparently I forgot to make a label for this one.  

The quilt measures about 56"x72".  I'm pretty sure I used Warm & Natural batting as that's what I use most of the timeSee that white thing in the upper right corner?  That's what happens when your batting sticks out so far that it gets sewn to the backing!  Not my first 'oops' moment, that's for sure.  I used a marking pen to mark a flower on each block and worked on my free-motion skills.  This was one of my early attempts at free motion quilting, so the flowers are definitely not perfect or even close.  But if you stand back (way back) and squint your eyes, it doesn't look that bad!  My mother tells me that Grandpa used to say 'no one would notice from a speeding car'--ha!  The important thing is that the quilt is finished and being used.  

This quilt currently sits on the back of a chair in the living room.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Alien Invasion Quilt

When my sons were younger and played sports, we would travel all over the area to various games.  I loved it when they played in the town with the big quilt shop!  One Saturday during basketball season, my youngest son and I stopped in that shop, and he picked out a charm pack called 'Alien Invasion' by Amy Bradley for Moda.  He liked the designs, but we didn't really have a plan for it at that time.  

Later on we decided on a pattern (Charming Stars from and that summer we ended up getting three more charm packs so I could make a twin-sized quilt for his bed.  He picked out turquoise for the sashing and stars, which is not what I would have chosen, but I think it looks better than anything I would have used.

I did echo quilting inside the stars and just stitched in the ditch on the rest.  I probably started this quilt sometime in 2011.  My son actually gave me a deadline:  he wanted this done by the time he turned 12!  It was finished one month early, in April of 2012.

I used the leftover charms on the back:  I sewed them in a long row and used that between two lengths of yardage of a dark blue print.

Later on I ended up finding more of this fabric in another shop and made him a pillowcase to match.

This is the biggest quilt I've made so far.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sudoku Quilt

My husband really likes sudoku puzzles, so when I saw a pattern for a sudoku quilt, I really wanted to make one.  The pattern is called "Quilter's Sudoku" and says "Quick Quilts" on the bottom (I'm pretty sure it came in the mail with a magazine invoice).

I chose nine colors, assigned each a number from 1-9 and cut nine squares of each one.  Then my husband had to solve the sudoku puzzle on the pattern.  From there it was very easy to assemble, making nine different nine-patches and sashing them with very thin strips of black.  I just stitched in the ditch to quilt this.  I used a white batting, and there was a lot of bearding happening (which was very noticeable on the black backing!).  Next time I'd use black batting, but I didn't really know there was such a thing at the time.  

I like to spend a little extra time if I can and use leftover fabrics (or a block) on the back like this:

Sorry for the lousy picture--it had been folded in the cabinet right before this photo.

I have been labeling my quilts and made sort of a 'key' to the puzzle on this one:  colors 1-9 left to right, top to bottom.  

I made this quilt in 2011.  It measures about 39" square.  It currently hangs on the living room wall.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Verna's Verna Quilt

When the Verna line by Kate Spain for Moda line came out in 2009, it was the turning point of my fabric buying.  Up until that point, I would only purchase fabric for a particular project I had in mind.  When this line came out, I think I bought as much of it as I could--besides being beautiful fabric, it had an awesome name!  It was the first of many beautiful fabric lines designed by Kate Spain; I love them all, so of course I had to buy them all!  I guess that's when I became a 'real' quilter.  I now have a huge, out-of-control stash and am always on the lookout for more.  Which I feel I can justify since I'm sewing more, right???

Here's my first Verna quilt--I call it 'Verna's Verna Quilt'.  It measures 42" x 42".

I finished this in 2010 and it is one of my favorites.  

The pattern is also by Kate Spain and includes a pattern for a bag.