"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jer 29:11 (NIV)

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Greek Keys - A Tutorial

This quilt was started because of a mistake I made in cutting binding for another project.   The mistake  though made the perfect size strips to use for making the blocks with the dark blue polka-dotted fabric.      So when you're making projects and make a mistake, don't let it frustrate you, but instead look for how you can use what you end up with in a project that will bless someone else.

I'm still debating about whether to put a final border onto the sides of the quilt, but at the moment it is done.

This quilt is made from simple two strip rail fence blocks.

2 notes before the tutorial -

First - I haven't given total fabric amounts because I used remnants of fabric to cut what was needed from for all fabrics except the turquoise, which is why there are two different cream-on-cream (COC) fabrics in this quilt.

Second - The strips I used were cut oversized thanks to the mistake that I made in the initial cutting.   This allowed me to trim everything to the same size after the strip sets were sewn and the blocks were cut.  If you want to be able to square up your blocks on all sides, then then you will need to cut them at 3 1/2 inches in width.

Tutorial - 

Fabrics needed - 

To make this quilt you'll need three different fabrics.  However, that doesn't mean you can only use 3 specific fabrics in your quilt.   In my quilt there are actually 4 fabrics - 2 COC's, the navy blue and the turquoise blue fabrics.  What you will need is three different looks/colors.   But using many, several, or just one fabric to get the look of the three colors is just one of the areas where you can play with this quilt and make it your own.

The fabrics you use will need to work for the following:

Background - COC
Color 1 - A dark blue, polka-dotted fabric in this top
Color 2 - A medium turquoise print here

Blocks and Strips needed for the body of the quilt - 

Rail Fence blocks, 6" unfinished in size --
     Color 1 and Background - 24 blocks

     Color 2 and Background - 22 blocks
Strips, 3 1/4 inch wide --
     Background - Two strips 6" long

Strips and squares needed for the border of the quilt - 

Solid color blocks, 6" unfinished (not pieced) --
     Color 2 - Four 6" square blocks
     Background - Three 6" square blocks

Strips, all 3 1/4 inch wide --
     Color 2, 30.5" long, two strips (note, I used a full
        length strip and then trimmed to size after
        sewing it on)
     Color 2, 17" long, Four strips
     Background - Four strips 6" long
     Color 1 - Two strips 11 1/2: long

Approximate number of strips needed for the Rail Fence blocks is 3-4 depending on the width of the fabrics you are working with.   The fabrics I used were a little more narrow than some I have so I was only able to get 6 Six-inch blocks cut from the widths of them.

Sewing Instructions - 

1. Cut the number of strips that you will need in order to make the number of blocks needed for the center of the quilt.

2. Press strip sets flat and then cut and trim your blocks to an unfinished size of 6 inches square.

3. Starting where you feel comfortable sew the rows together for the center of the quilt.  Press the seams flat.  (I started with the center row and then pieced outwards to the ends from there.)

4.  Sew the 30.5 inch strips to each end of the quilt center.

5. Piece the side borders and then sew to the sides of the quilt.   Press seams flat.

6. Quilt and bind to finish the quilt.

As made, the quilt is 39" wide by 57" long.  If you adjust the size of the rail fence blocks then the size of the finished quilt will also change.

1. Counts, while down, are still still above a critical level.

2. A cozy apartment on a snowy spring (aka "winter" warmed-over) day.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

What do you get when.......

.....you gut your fabric the wrong way?

Well in my case you get a bunch of oddly sized blocks in order to make the most of the fabric that you just cut wrong.  

The polka-dotted fabric was supposed to be the binding for the last two snack mats until I realized I'd cut the 3.5" strips lengthwise of the fabric instead of crosswise.....Oops!  And not wanting oodles of seams in the binding on the mats, I decided to use the miscut strips for blocks instead of the binding.  

I've decided on a layout for the quilt that will result from my mistake in cutting, but still need to pull a coordinating fabric and another COC to make more blocks.   Will work on that this coming week among everything else that I need to be doing.

Gratitudes -

1. My coworkers

2. Only 5 1/2 more weeks before summer vacation!

A few finishes............

Was able to get a few small things finished up this past week amidst all of the craziness that comes with the school year rocketing towards the summer and doc appts.

First up was getting the next commissioned item through the quilted stage and it is now just waiting for binding to be put on and sewn down.  My aim is to get that finished up this week so I can get it in the mail with everything else headed to the same address.

Next up was making a set of flannel pillowcases.   These will be a Christmas present this year.  Yeah for actually getting started early making gifts for a change.

Also finished this week was a snack mat that features a cross-stitch cardinal and cardinal fabric.   It finished out at 18" wide by 9" or so tall.   It too will be a Christmas gift this year for a friend.  The same fabric that was used on the front side was used for the backing of it.

The last set of finishes was getting the binding onto 4 of the snack mats/mug rugs that I'd quilted last week.

Up to work on this week - making progress on the commissioned leather knife sheaths (ideally getting them done so I can be paid for them and the materials), binding the last two snack mats that are quilted, getting the backing sewn for both of the two commissioned quilts that I need to get quilted, and then getting the quilts basted so that I can start quilting them.

1. Medical insurance that pays well.

2. Knowing that God will supply the means to pay my share of the medical expenses that are out there.

3. Knowing when information for next years contract will be sent to us at school.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Snack Mats and Mug Rugs Quilted

The last couple of mornings has seen me busy quilting the mug rugs and snack mats that I've got in process right now.

The top four snack mats started with the preprinted quilter's sayings that I had for several years without using.   I then raided my precut batik 3.5" squares (the perfect size!) to make the mats.    Didn't make a dent in using the batik squares, but that's beside the point.   Backings are more batiks from the FQ stash.   And the poly fleece/batting used as batting came from the stack that was used as padding in my box of winnings this week.  These finished out at 9 by 12 inches.   Just need to find fabric now for the bindings on all four.

The last two mug rugs were orphan blocks made from patterns originally published by The Foundation Piecer magazine 10+ years ago.  They had designed and published a quilt made from 12 beautiful blocks and these were two of the patterns.   They were easy to do, but oh so very time consuming.   The black "Leading" between the 'panes' is only 1/8th of an inch in width.   And the paper (I was using tissue paper) was a pain to pull off.   Decided it was too much work for me so I never made anymore of the blocks than these.   Used a green tie-dye like batik for the backing of both blocks.  Batting for them also came out of the pile that was used as padding in the box.  =)  I'll be using black Kona to bind these two.

All of these will either end up as gifts or being sold.

1. 8 weeks of summer vacation coming up......I think, lol......all depends on what happens with the job.

2. A great opportunity for professional development back at Purdue in June and the boss is going to allow me to end the school a day early so that I can attend.  =)

Winnings arrive

The rest of the prizes that I've won in the last few months arrived at the beginning of this week.   Two fun quilt books and a nice selection of 4 different pairs of scissors.  Thanks to Modern Quilts Unlimited for both!

1. Snow has melted and the weather is warming up.

2. Resume has been updated....not a chore I'm fond of!

Monday, April 18, 2016

More projects started......

Yesterday was a day filled with lots of snow (more than 24 hrs worth!) which made for a great day to stay in and quilt.  =)  

So I started the next commissioned project - a memory quilt made with baby outfits that the son of a good friend wore as a baby.   Yes, he's ok........she just wanted a memory quilt.    This will be used as an example of what I can do for memory quilts and will be a gift for her.  =)    Fabrics are flannels with a little bit of 'normal' cottons in it.

My friend chose most of the fabrics in it.  The Daniel Tiger block was a special request.  The top is together, and I just need to add her son's name "Henry Kenneth" to it.  I'll be adding the first name to the middle of the quilt, and the middle name to the bottom right corner.   Both will be running vertically.   I plan to use a grey w/white polka dot for the names and binding.  Backing will be a grey flannel and there won't be any batting in this one.

Once the names are on I can layer it and quilt it.   Backing will be a

Second set of projects that I started are some more mug rugs using 3 inch finished blocks with quilter's sayings on them.  I have four of them total that I'd been wondering what to do with them and decided this would be a fun way to use them up.   Am pairing them up with just a few of the scrappy batik 3" squares that I'd cut several (many?) years ago and then tucked away.   The mug rugs will finish at 9' by 12".   These most likely will be sold or perhaps given as gifts.


1. 7 more weeks to go in this school year.

2. Kids did great at State Competion for Skills USA last week.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Cross-Stitch and More

This has been a busy week.  Sunday through Wednesday I was at the WY state Skills USA conference and competition with 17 kids and 3 other advisors (I'm head advisor this year).  Busy, busy time with lots of running around making sure everything happened when it should and the kids got to where they needed to be.   Thankfully not too many problems and those that did happen were solved.

But through these days no quilting happened.....I did however have some time to get some cross-stitch done.

Thanks to having a long weekend this week, I've been able to get some quilting done - put the binding onto this snack mat that features a piece of cross-stitch I made yrs ago.  This finished at 15" by 11" in size.

I then took one of the little cross-stitch pieces I finished at the conference and put it into a snack mat.   this finished out at 14 by 10 inches in size.

Next up was to add borders to these blocks in order to get them to a common size (some where 1/4" too small).   Pulled the green and purples to match what was in the blue floral print and all was out of my stash.  =)   The quilt top finished at 40" by 60" in size.   Current plan has this top being donated to Sunshine.

1. Platelet counts were up to 242K this week!

2. Stayed home this weekend instead of heading to Cheyenne for errands so I'm missing the weather problems between there and here.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

UFO Blocks in Progress and a Finish....

Haven't gone digging through my stash for border fabrics yet for the Polka Dot & Teddy Bear quilt, so out came a set of UFO blocks that had been stalled for years (date on note with block was either 2001 or 2010).  

These blocks were from a lotto block swap that I was in for several months with an online group of friends.  I had supplied fat-eights of fabric from a FQ set that I had to the gals in the swap and picked the block to make.   These lovelies (the star blocks) were what I got back.   There was one other block, but because of the fabric I sent it just didn't fit with these blocks.   It will be used in another project at some point.

The two corner blocks were made to fill out the 12 needed to make a quilt top for Sunshine.  Haven't sewn the blocks together yet because I'm debating about whether to use sashing and cornerstones (have enough scraps for cornerstones) or just sewing them together as is and adding a couple of borders to finish it off.  If I end up quilting this one, then the two corner blocks will be quilted in the same kind of pattern that the other blocks are pieced in.

Also finished off a wedding present over the weekend for a friend who is getting married in May.   Her kitchen is furnished in retro red/aqua and I found two cute prints to embellish a set of kitchen towels. Am hoping the colors work for her....

Next gift that will be coming up are two sets of embellished towels for grad gifts.   Gotta go digging thru the stash for the fabrics for them tho first.

Next set of commissions includes the leather knife sheaths, and quilting the two quilt tops that are in progress.

1. State conference is here and will be over by about noon on Wednesday......

2. Three day weekend next weekend!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Polka Dots and Sunshine

Between finishing up the t-shirt quilt, and trying to get everything lined up for the Skills USA State Conference and Contests that I'll be at for 4 days this next week as lead advisor I decided I needed just something simple to work on.

So I pulled out a set of blocks that someone in Sunshine had made using fabric that I had in response to a challenge that I made last year.  

The focus print in these features little bears doing all sorts of things.   Main colors are navy and red with just a little bit of green in it.   The fabric I used for the setting squares/triangles is a RWB polka dot fabric that I'd originally bought for a patriotic quilt, but never gotten around to using.  

There will be two borders, and for the narrow inner border I'm thinking of adding a pop of color to it and using the same green that is in the focus print, followed by a navy or red border.


1. State Skills USA Conference is coming up the 10-13th next week....only 6 more days and it will be done!  Then on to the next thing.

2. Platelets were up a wee bit which is better than dropping again....and no more chemo scheduled at this time.  =)

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Finished.....but not as planned

So I never said I could manage to put things together the way that I laid blocks out........Finished putting the blocks I'd been playing with together - they were supposed to have gone together looking like this pic to the right.......

Well got top together this morning and then finished the borders tonite.....and then looking at teh pic of finally realized that the layout had morphed into something totally different in all that sewing w/o me realizing it....oops.......   I do have too admit that I really like it better like this, even if it was as I had planned it.

1. 3 day weekend next week.

2. Only 7 more days and State Skills competition will be over!!!!!

Commissioned Quilt Finished and shipped!

Finished the Commissioned t-shirt and matching pillows  this week.   And they've been shipped off to their new home.  Just waiting now to hear how my customer likes them.

Front -

Back -

Remaining pillows-

1. State Skills USA competition is almost here and done.

2. PT jobs that can be worked at home.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Layout decision made.....

Decided to combine the first two layout designs for this.  Once the blocks are sewn together the center will measure 30" by 40".  

Debating now on what to do with the borders to get it up to size for Sunshine Quilts.   The two options I'm thinking of at the moment are a solid 4" border of black or an inner border of black followed by an outer border of a novelty print of some sort.

Meanwhile  before I get to that point, I need to get the blocks actually sewing together first.  But that is a task for another day.


1. The dratted cough is not in my lungs so no bronchitis on top of everything else at the moment.

2. Health insurance.....a good thing with all the visits that i've been making this month.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Decisions, decisions, decisions.....

Finished up 10 more of these blocks....making a total of 15 that I have finished.   And now I'm trying to figure out how many more I need to make before starting to put them together.  

Only problem is I'm not sure what layout I want to make with them.....

First one would definitely be the easiest and quickest.   Just a few more of the pieced blocks (7) and once the alternate blocks are cut I could put it together.

Layout 2 and 3 are similar except for the centers of the alternate blocks.   #2 would have various colored solid print for the centers.   And #3 would have more of the 4 patches, leading to the white squares being highlighted in them.

Part of me says to take the easy way and just do the solid squares as alternates, but part of me is intrigued by the third layout........

What say you?

1. Chemo didn't hit me so hard this weekend.

2. Weather is lovely this weekend after the storm in the middle of hte week.  =)