Book of the Month: Inspired by endangered species

My Book of the Month for February is

Inspired by Endangered Species by Donna Marcinkowski DeSoto

I discovered this book purely by chance browsing in an online bookstore and after seeing a few pages I just had to buy it. And I’m so happy I did.

After watching volunteers rescue a nest of turtle eggs and provide a safe hatching place for them, Donna Marcinkowski DeSoto started to study endangered species, beginning her research with the Red List of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources). As a quilter herself she decided that quilts would be the perfect medium to educate people about endangered plants and animals in a non-threatening way.

This led to 182 quilts by 129 artists, each one 24 x 24 inches, depicting an abundance of endangered animals and flowers – breathtaking quilts on one side and alarming facts on the other. The whole collection premiered at the International Quilt Festival in Houston in 2019.

And at the same time Donna Marcinkowski DeSoto edited this beautiful coffeetable-book with all the quilts and interesting details concerning the animals and plants.

Since I got the book it’s on my desk and whenever I’m taking a break I’m browsing in it. The quilts are beautiful works of art and the pictures really do them justice. The information provided is interesting but sometimes rather depressing. But then you can always skip to the end of the book where 4 success stories are told.

I am really happy that I found and bought this book and I’m sure that everybody (not only quilters) will love it as well. Don’t forget to put it on your wishlist.

Inspired by Endangered Species
by Donna Marcinkowski DeSoto
Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2019
ISBN 978-0-7643-5220-1

 

The taming of the scraps

When I made my New York City quilt I tried to make a smooth graduation from the very dark 9patches to the soft-colored ones. So I cut a lot more of the squares than I needed.

As I was about to toss the remaining patches into my scrap box I realised (not for the first time) that this box was a mess. That’s the reason I usually cut even small new pieces from my more organized stash than digging into my scrap box.

As our season is going into spring I just bought some new shoes and the boxes still lingered there. So I decided to make a start on organizing my scraps. I always envied quilters who cut their scaps into some useful size and when it hit them they just could grab the box and start to sew a great scrap quilt. That’s what I wanted to do as well.

So I cut my small scaps into squares 2½ inches (6,5 cm) which is a sewn square of 2 inches (5 cm) and seam allowance. They all went into one of my shoe boxes.

My larger scraps got cut into 5 inches (13 cm) squares. This is two times the small square plus seam allowances. So if needed I can cut the large squares into 4 small squares. They got a separate shoe box.

And finally I had some strips left over from jelly rolls. They got their own shoe box as well and will be joined by longer strips from the scrap box. As they all will be 2½ inches wide they too can be cut into small squares when needed. Of course they got their own box too.

And those boxes fit perfectly into my fabric closet. 6 of them. So I can choose 3 other dimensions for my scaps – we’ll see. But therefore I have to buy some more shoes first.

It’s just a start and it will take some time until all my scraps are cut and organized. But at the moment I feel clever, busy and organised. What more can you wish for.

 

New York City Quilt

I finally finished this quilt. I bought the panel a couple of years ago but had no idea how to turn it into a full sized quilt. But then my daughter asked for a quilt incorporating this panel and as mothers do, I obliged. I looked around for ideas and found some other panels with 9patch borders. I really liked that. And I had a second panel of Manhattan. So I made some borders – with parts of the second panel in the 9patch border and voilá – it worked out perfectly. I backed the top with batting and dark grey polar fleece and had a perfect birthday gift for cold winter nights.

If you want to make a quilt with a 9patch border the best way to calculate the size of all parts needed is to work from the inside out and then from the outside in. What does this mean?

I started with the size of my panel and then added borders until I reached the quiltsize I wanted. And then I worked backwards, adapting the width of the borders for easier cutting. The 9patch border was planned 8″ (20 cm) wide which means cutting the patches 3⅙” (8,17 cm). So I adjusted the 9patch border to a width of 6″ (15 cm) and I could cut the patchtes 2½” (6,5 cm). Much easier to do. But of course I had to adjust the outer grey border and make it 2″ (5 cm) wider. If you work back in from the outside you can finally adjust the size of the center panel so that everything will fit together perfectly. As a final step I sketched the whole top on graph paper with one square representing one patch of the 9patch.

If you still have a beautiful panel somewhere in your stash and you don’t know how to make a quilt out of it – consider this way of enlarging it. It’s quick, it’s fun and it only needs a few calculations.

 

BOM 2021: STAR #2

I hope you liked your Star #1 (if you do post a picture in the comments on my Facebook-page – we all would like to see it). Here is Star #2 of my free Block of the Month 2021.

Cutting
All the measurements include a seam allowance of ¼ inch (7,5 mm).
I also name the color I used to make it easier for you to identify the different pieces.

From the yellow fabric cut
18 squares 2 x 2 inches (5,5 x 5,5 cm) – cut all of these squares diagonally

From the dark blue (background) fabric cut
6 squares 2 x 2 inches (5,5 x 5,5 cm) – cut all of these squares diagonally
6 squares 3⅛ x 3⅛ inches (8,5 x 8,5 cm) – cut all of these squares diagonally
4 squares 2¾ x 2¾ inches (7,5 x 7,5 cm)

 

Sewing

Join a yellow and a blue triangle along the long side to get a two-colored square. Sew 12 squares.

Press (I pressed the seam allowance to the blue side). Cut off the dog ears.

Sew a yellow triangle to a blue side of the two-colored square exactely as shown in the picture. Align the bottom sides as shown and start to sew where my scissors point.

Sew another yellow triangle to the other blue side of the two-colored square exactely as shown in the picture. Start to sew where the tips of my scissors point.

Press (I pressed the seams into the yellow triangles). Cut off the dog ears if you want (I did).

Join each of the triangles you just sewed with a dark blue triangle along the long side. Cut off dog ears.

Now you have only squares to join.

Arrange the squares as shown in the picture.

Sew the squares into rows. Be careful not to change the squares or the orientation of the squares.

Join the rows and press the finished block.

Take 4 of the strips 11 x 1 inches (28 x 2,5 cm) that you cut from the background fabric previously (see introduction to the BOM here) and sew 2 of them to opposite sides of your block. They are a little bit too long – shorten them to the block size. Sew the 2 remaining strips to the other sides of the block and shorten if necessary. Finished!

That was fun! And I really like this block. Imagine a whole quilt with this block, every star in a different color – yummy!

If you just found this BOM you can find the general instructions here and Star #1 is here.

I would love to see your finished star-blocks. Please post them in the comments at TheQuiltingSpace’s Facebook page, tag me on Instagram @thequiltingspace and/or use the hashtag #thequiltingspace.

See you in March for star #3.

 

I’m linking this to Off the Wall Friday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop and to Brag about your Beauties.

 

While surfing the Internet …

… I just found a link that had me clicking for the last couple of hours. A lot to see – beautiful art quilts, traditional quilts, videos about quilt artists and a lot of information. And this link is

https://quiltnsw.com

It’s the website of QuiltNSW – the Quilter’s Guild of New South Wales in Australia. Not only is this guild running special shows and a lot of challenges but it also plays a major role in the founding and the running of Quilt Australia, the Australian Council of Quilters.

If you just click the link above you come to the landing page where you can see all the quilts of the new special show “The New Quilt 2021”. “The New Quilt 2021 is a juried survey exhibition showcasing the art of quilting that reflects the richness and diversity of contemporary expressions of the quilt medium in Australia.” Be sure to read the artist’s statements to learn what the quilts are about (Covid, the devastating bush fires of last season, but also of nature and the joy of creating).

Click on “Exhibition” in the menu bar and then “The New Quilt” and you will find the catalogue to this exhibit. And if you go right down to the bottom and click on “Miss Grace’s Quilt” you will come to the “Australien Museums and Galleries” where you will find antique quilts with their stories.

Back in the “Exhibition” menu you will find challenges with an abundance of challenge quilts and a link to the Sydney Quilt Show 2019 (as 2020 was cancelled) with all the winning quilts.

If you still have time click “Links” in the menu bar. There you will find their YouTubeChannel with interesting artist talks, a link to the blog and to the Facebook Group and last but not least to the State Guilds of Australia where you can loose yourself in more beautiful quilts and interesting blog articles (i.e. the Canberra Quilter’s site with all the winning quilts of their exhibitions).

Don’t tell me that I didn’t warn you. If you go to this website it’s like Alice following the White Rabbit into Wonderland. I will meet you there.

 

Valentine’s gift

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner so it’s really time to think about a gift for your loved one. How about making something different this time. Not a card, not a tag, but a cushion. A comfortable pillow, colorful and soft, big (65 x 65 cm / 26 x 26 inches) and with a broad floppy border, really easy and fast to sew.


Layer a piece of foundation fabric 28 x 28 inches (70 x 70 cm) with a thin piece of batting the same size. Put a piece of fabric 18 x 18 inches (45 x 45 cm) in your background color (here dark blue) in the middle of the batting. All measurements given include 1/4″ (0,75 cm) seam allowance

Sew border strips in 4 different colors around the background piece. The strips have a width of 1¾ inches (4,5 cm). Sew through all layers – sewing and quilting at the same time. Now sew border strips the color of the background around the piece. These strips are 3½ inches (9 cm) wide.

Make a template for the heart. Draw a square 6 x 6 inches (15 x 15 cm) and draw the heart into this square – so you get the right size for the heart if you want to put 4 onto the pillow. Cut out your template and draw it 4 times to the paper side of fusible web, reversing 2 of them. Cut them out roughly. Iron the fusible to the backside of your chosen fabric and cut out the hearts. Fuse them to the background piece and appliqué them by machine, appliquéing and quilting at the same time.

If you want to have more quilting now it’s the time. I was satisfied with quilting around the color-border and the hearts.

Iron. Cut the foundation fabric and the batting to the size of the top.

Cut 2 pieces of background fabric for the back of the cushion 26 x 18 inches (65 x 45 cm). On one 26 inches (65 cm) side turn the edge ½ inch (1,5 cm) to the left side of the fabric, iron and turn another ½ inch (1,5 cm) and iron again. Machinstitch this seam. Do this on both backside pieces.

Layer top with right side up and the 2 pieces of the the backside left side up on top of it. Align the edges of the top and the backside pieces. The backside pieces will overlap in the middle – that’s where the seams are. Sew all around the outside of the pillow, backstitching at the beginning and the end. Turn the cushion right sides out, iron and sew once again in the ditch between the colored and the uni borderstrips.

Put a pillow 20 x 20 inches (50 x 50 cm) in the cover. Done!

I hope you like this idea for a gift. And it’s not only for Valentine’s Day. Think about Mother’s Day, birthdays, a gift for your son/daughter at college, …….. So why not sew some more cushions while you are at it. Have fun!

I’m linking this to Off the Wall Friday and to Can I get a Whoop Whoop?

 

Craft in America: Quilts

Today I have a real treat for you. This PBS program is about American quilts – from the quilts from Gee’s Bend to the contemporary art of Victoria Findlay Wolfe, from quilts from Native Americans to the collection of the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska, and so much more.

What a great film! It’s about the design process, the thoughts behind the quilts, the love for what we do.

Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy an hour that’s only about quilts.