Christmas in July: Christmas Scraps

Christmas in July – I really love that. It shows that we quilters begin to think about and work for Christmas at this time of the year (with that comforting feeling that there is still enough time for everything).

Today I have this great scrap quilt for you in white, red and green – radiating Christmas spirit in every direction. It’s a lot of cutting, sewing and quilting but that’s the reason why we start in July, isn’t it? So get out your red, green, white and creme-colored scraps and let’s start.

The quilt shown is 60 x 72 inches (150 x 180 cm) but can easily be done in any size you wish simply by adding or omitting blocks. Each block is 6 x 6 inches (15 x 15 cm).

For the quilt in the above mentioned size you need
240 green squares 2½ x 2½ inches (6,5 x 6,5 cm)
240 red squares 2½ x 2½ inches (6,5 x 6,5 cm)
360 white squares 2½ x 2½ inches (6,5 x 6,5 cm)
120 white squares 2 x 2 inches (7,5 x 7,5 cm) cut diagonally
64 red squares 2 x 2 inches (7,5 x 7,5 cm) cut diagonally
56 green squares 2 x 2 inches (7,5 x 7,5 cm) cut diagonally.
All these measurements include a ¼ inch (7,5 mm) seam allowance.

Join each red and each green triangle with a white triangle along the long side (chain-piecing is perfect for this). Press and cut off the dog ears.

Now join a red and a green square (chain-piecing as well) – you get 240 pairs.

Now let’s sew the blocks together.

For block 1 sew these three rows


and join them to block 1.

You need 64 blocks.

For block 2 sew these three rows


and join them to block 2.

You need 56 blocks.

Now it’s time to puzzle the quilt together. Lay out the blocks (referring to the picture of the quilt) – 10 blocks per row, 12 rows.

Sew all the blocks together.

Sandwich the quilt, quilt it and bind it with a narrow red or green binding.

Give the quilt to someone you really love for Christmas or – even better – keep it for yourself and spend the coming holiday season under it.

 

Improv Art Deco Roses

May and June are the months for roses in abundance – gardens and parks are full of fragrant blooms and there are even wild roses in the meadows around the city. In honor of all the roses around town I made those Art Deco Roses.

The flowers are easy and fast to sew. Make three panels like I did or make just one or make only the flower and no stem and join four or nine in a grid, make a pillow, … – there are many possibilities. And you can even diminish your stash as all you need are scraps.

The roses are made in the crazy sewing technique and here is how it goes:

1. Cut an irregular piece of fabric for the middle. Irregular but with straight edges.

2. Sew a scrap on one side of the middle. Right sides together, line up the edges and sew with 1/4 inch seam allowance. Open up the two pieces and iron the seam (as with Log Cabin blocks I pressed all the seam allowances to the outside of the block). Cut away the rest of the scrap aligning your ruler with one edge of the middle piece.

3. Sew another scrap on the edge you just cut. Open up, press the seam, cut away the rest of the scrap.

4. Sew scraps all around the middle.

5. With your ruler cut the piece of fabric you just created into another irregular piece with straight edges. The piece should not resemble the middle piece of step 1. Cut other angles.

6. Sew another round of scraps.

7. Cut into an irregular shape that should by now resemble the flower.

8. Sew another round of scraps. This time using green scraps for half of the round …

… and scraps of your background fabric for the other half. Use larger pieces of scraps for this round.

9. Cut the piece into a rectangle or a square (your choice).

10. Voilá! The finished rose.

The rose looks even better if you embellish the seamlines with decorative stitches by hand or by machine. You can do this now or quilt the rose this way.

11. For the leaves take a green scrap, cut it into the form of the leaf and sew some background fabric around it (like you did on the first round of the rose). Cut the piece into a rectangle and sew background fabric above and below the leaf – so you get half of the background. Make two of them and join them with a green strip for the bottom part of the quilt.

Or – and this is faster and easier – fuse a freehand cut leaf to the background.

12. Make a quilt sandwich, quilt and bind.

Have fun sewing your own rose garden!

 

I’m linking this to Off the Wall Friday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop and to Brag about your Beauties. And when you are there check out the “Things I wish I Knew when I started quilting” at Off the Wall Friday – interesting points there and in the comments as well.

 

It’s Spring!

Finally! Today at 10:37 am spring arrived – even for the astronomers. For meteorologists and me spring starts with March 1st.

I decided that this will be the year when I make a quilt for every season. All will be approximately the same size and will be hung at the same place. This is a plan that I had for some years now but I never did it. But this year it will work out. Because of a book I recently bought: “Artful Improv” by Cindy Grisdela. I will tell you all about this book next Tuesday – today I will only say that this is the book I was waiting for. Colorful, graphical quilts with a lot of space for quilting, one more beautiful than the other.

I immediately started my first improvisational quilt with a simple improv log cabin block in the colors of the first flowers of the year (the yellow daffodils, the purple crocuses, the red tulips) mixed with some blue for the sky and some green for the fresh grass. I then surrounded the block with spring green fabric, quilted some wavy lines because spring is rather windy where I live and voilà my spring quilt is finished.

Spring quilt

 

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

 

A Quilt of Significance

Once upon a time …. or to be more precise in 2017 the “Through our Hands” textile art group had a great idea: The Portrait Shuffle.

One could sign up for a kit including a canvas, create a portrait of any kind (person, animal, flower, …) in any way (draw, paint, collage, patchwork, photograph, …) and return it to the organizers. All the portraits were exhibited at the prestigious Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England in August and they all were all shown on a blog created for this special event. After the show, the portraits were shuffled and randomly sent back to the participants meaning you got a portrait back, not your own but somebody else’s. So, you got back an original work of art by an artist from somewhere in the world. You could be the lucky receiver of a portrait/quilt by Alicia Merrett, Mirjam Pet-Jacobs, Jette Clover, Linda Barlow, Sandra Meech or any other celebrity of the quilting world. An exciting idea and I wanted to be a part of it.

I was thinking about my portrait for a long time. It should be a kind of quilt not a drawing and it should be in the bright colors that I love so much. I was thinking about a Picasso-like face or a Venetian mask – but no idea was really that appealing. And then I looked down where my dog Felix was happily snoring away under my desk. How about a portrait of Felix? In bright colors?

I looked through my photos of Felix and found a suitable one.

I traced the outline and divided the forms, the lines mimicking the fall of his fur. I fused colorful fabric to the background trying to leave very small gaps between the fabrics. In these gaps I hand-embroidered black lines. (From pre-school on, this was always my favorite way of coloring – black outlines filled with the brightest colors.) I glued batting to the canvas to get the quilty feeling and mounted the portrait. It looked fabulous and exactly like Felix.

And then it happened.

Just for the records: I am not a sentimental or romantic person. I don’t collect things from my childhood, not even things from my daughter’s early years. I have no problem when my husband forgets our wedding anniversary or if somebody doesn’t call me for my birthday. When my grandmother died, I didn’t keep anything from her stuff as a memento and when my father died, I only took over his BMW because it’s a really nice car and I’m an only child and my mother couldn’t use it.
The same goes for my quilts. If I make a quilt for someone, I don’t care what they use it for. Fine if they wrap the baby in it (as intended), equally fine if the dog sleeps on it. Really! I couldn’t understand my friend who was heart-broken when a quilt she gave to a friend was nailed to the wall (with really large nails, producing holes the size of a penny).

And then that all changed.

I was not able to put the portrait in an envelope and send it to England. It was impossible for me to send my own dog away. What if the portrait would have gone to someone who doesn’t like dogs, to someone who would throw it away? For the first time in 30 years of quilting I understood the meaning of “I put all my heart and soul into it”.

For several days I tried to convince myself to send the quilt but I couldn’t bring me to do it. As much as I would have liked to own a quilt by Alicia Merrett or Annabel Rainbow, Felix stayed at home. I really would have loved to be part of that exhibition – next time I will make a portrait of an unknown horse.

 

A Heirloom Quilt?

The prompt for InstagramQuiltFest today is „Heirloom“. To be honest I never made a heirloom quilt, which for me means a large quilt with a lot of work including appliqué and/or pictures. The closest I got to a heirloom quilt was this LogCabin quilt I sewed for my nephew and his wife when they got married.

She is from Taiwan so I chose red as this is the color for a wedding in Taiwan and combined it with the grey and black for the male part. Some of the fabrics have gold prints to make the whole quilt more festive and sparkling. And as the bride is an architect the LogCabin pattern did fit perfectly.

It’s a king size quilt, of course machine sewn but hand quilted.

It was a lot of work and a lot of stress as we only had a 3 weeks advance notice of the wedding, but also fun to make. And I hope that they use the quilt and don’t regard it as a heirloom to be put into a closet and saved for future generation.

 

Crazy Chicken Quilt

This is one of my favorite quilts – displayed in my home only a few weeks before and after Easter. The weird chicken make me smile every time I pass by.

The quilt is really easy and fast to sew and you can make it in any size you want.

Make the pattern: Draw a rectangle in the height and width you want your chicken to be. On the upper side of the rectangle mark the middle and draw a triangle as shown in my sketch. Mark the pieces A, B and C. Cut the pattern into the three pieces.

Sewing a chicken: Lay the pattern piece A onto the backside of your fabric and trace around it. Cut out with a ¼ inch seam allowance. Do the same for the B and C pieces. Carefully pin B to A. Pin the corner points together, than add one or two pins in between. Sew B to A. Do the same with C. Sew as many chicken as you like.

Sew the chicken together. I added strips between the blocks but you can also sew them side by side. Add borders on all sides.

For the comb of the chicken lay a piece of tracing paper on the quilttop and trace a comb, don’t forget to trace the top of the chicken (the triangle) as well. This is your pattern for the comb, to be placed on the right side of the fabric (you have to mirror it if you place it on the left side of your fabric). Cut out with a seam allowance if you want to hand appliqué it or with no seam allowance and satin-stitch it in place.

Add two black dots for the eyes, a triangle for the beak and two small pieces formed like waterdrops for the wattles (as the hanging flaps of skin on either side under the beak are called as I just learned on Wikipedia). I fused all of these pieces.

Make a quilt sandwich, quilt, bind and hang on the wall so that you can have your daily chuckle too.

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