Spring Break Rails and Hobos

Last year for the spring break, Jacob chose a small bag of pre-cut rectangles to sew and over the course of the break, we completed a quilt (which can be seen in a previous post). This year, I again gave him the option to choose anything he wanted to work on.  From the Delightful Little Treasure Boxes, he chose the container of “rail” blocks. Jacob thought it might be fun to use up all the rectangles in that box. He loves to pair up the pieces and hand them to me to sew and then he cuts the chains apart. For some reason, he finds this to be great fun. I really didn’t think he would enjoy pairing up the entire box though as there were way more rectangles than needed for one or two quilts. I thought we might as well sew until he tired of it. Well, much to my surprise, he never tired of the project. We would work on it for awhile and then do other things and pretty soon he would be saying, “Grandma, can we go sew some more rectangles together?” Over the course of the break, we sewed and sewed and sewed and sewed some more.

We sewed some blocks with two darks and a light, and we sewed some blocks with three darks/mediums.

Rails and Hobos

Rails and Hobos

I had several drawings of ideas for different quilts using those rectangles, but Jacob chose to make the quilts all similar. We decided on a good size for the quilts and I let Jacob do the math to figure out how many blocks we would need for each quilt.  Jacob counted out blocks and bagged them up to have them ready for me to sew into rows.  He also figured out how many rectangles it would take to make borders.

Rails and Hobo blocks

Rails and Hobo blocks

We then sewed lots of rectangles together to make borders for some of the quilts.

Hobo borders

Hobo borders

As it turns out, we are going to be making a total of seven quilts from that container. We decided to call them Hobo quilts. Now Jacob has the assignment of coming up with seven different Hobo names. He cannot use names of anyone he knows. I wonder what names he will decide to use.

We have three of the quilt tops done for now and will finish the others soon. First I need to do some other sewing even though Jacob would prefer I get all seven tops done instead. Actually, there is going to be one additional quilt. Jacob found some strips of wolf fabric in the box and he put all those in a separate pile as he wants me to make a quilt for him with those pieces. He wants to use black and red fabrics.

Rail pieces with wolves

Rail pieces with wolves

You will have to wait awhile to see all eight quilts completed but at least we used up almost all the cut pieces in that box and we had a lot of fun working together. Next we will figure out who gets all the “Hobo” quilts. Jacob is trying to decide which Delightful Little Treasure Box we should next use. I told him we are not starting any more quilts until all seven Hobo quilts and also his wolf quilt are done. (I wonder how long I can delay!!)

Scraps and Babies

I think there must be a new baby boom happening as there seems to be an abundance of new babies right now, along with several more to be born in the next few months.  It’s always fun to make baby quilts and it seems like every time I get one done and erase it from the white board, then I have to add another name.

Play Time

Play Time

I had a small bundle of coordinated fat quarters and figured I could get two baby quilts from those fat quarters.  First I cut off strips to save for the bindings.  I made the first quilt and realized that if I made the second one the same size, there would be a fair amount of fabric left over.  Since I was hoping to use up the entire bundle of fabric I decided to make the second quilt into a youth size.  Other than the saved strips, I was able to make use of every smidgen of those fat quarters.

Fun In The Sun

Fun In The Sun

Once the two tops were done, I quilted the larger first and put the binding on it.  Then I measured what I had left of the strips to go around the smaller quilt.  There were still some strips and pieces of strips left which I sewed together “jelly roll quilt” style and used that piece on the back along with pieces left over from other backings.  I was happy to have used the entire fat quarter bundle…and there are happy quilts for happy new bundles.  It is probably much more fun to have a baby bundle instead of a fat quarter bundle!

Back of  Play Time

Back of Play Time

Picnic Grove Quilt

Even though red is my favorite color, lately I have wanted to make quilts using yellow. No particular reason other than yellow seems to make me feel happy. In the May/June 2014 McCall’s Quilting Magazine I saw a yellow quilt that I knew I wanted to make. It is called Picnic Grove and was designed by Holly Holderman of Lakehouse Dry Goods Fabrics. The Fat Quarter Shop put together a kit to make the quilt and even though I loved the fabrics, did not purchase a kit at that time. This winter though on a dreary day, I happened to check out the Fat Quarter Shop’s one day flash sale and much to my surprise, there was the kit of fabrics. I hardly ever remember to check out the flash sale—which is most likely a good thing—but since I happened to check it the very day the kit was available at an incredibly super reduced price, I felt it must be a sign that I should splurge and get it. The Fat Quarter Shop is so quick to send out their orders so I received the kit a couple days later while we were still in the gray dark days of winter.

Picnic Grove

Picnic Grove

Oh how fun it was to be using the color of sunshine on such dreary days. I made the first one the same as the pattern. It’s hard to tell from the picture but there are two different yellow borders. The first narrower border has smaller flowers and the wider outer border has the flowers set much further apart. With careful cutting of the fabrics, I was able to make a second quilt without the wider outer border. These quilts were very quick and easy to make in addition to being so cheerful.

Church Picnic

Church Picnic

Once I was done, I trekked through the rain with my umbrella in one hand and a quilt in the other to give the quilt to my neighbor and fill her day with sunshine as she was packing to move. I have a fat quarter bundle that includes these same fabrics so all the bits and pieces of fabric that were left over will be placed with that bundle for another quilt another day. You never know, we might have a bunch of winter days again next year.

Mystery Quilt Finished

Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville features a new mystery quilt each year in mid-November through the Christmas season. She is famous for using her scraps and usually makes the mystery quilt a huge scrappy quilt. I have not done one of her mysteries and this year I let myself get talked into playing along. I followed along using her exact color suggestions and even made all the clues. You can see my clues all neatly sorted in a previous post. Bonnie called her mystery “Grand Illusion”. When I started mine, I already had decided to call mine “Grand Delusion”. When you say both titles out loud, they sound the same and I thought it was a fun play on words, plus the fact that I wasn’t sure if I could keep up or even get it done.

When Bonnie posted the final clue, it also included the assembly instructions. She had set her blocks in a 5 x 5 arrangement. My “short longarm” does not accommodate that size quilt but I could easily see that I could use 16 blocks in one quilt and the remaining 9 blocks in another and would only be short a few border pieces. So I quickly sewed the two quilt centers together and was so disappointed in the murky, muddled mish-mash. The pattern is so busy that it makes me dizzy! There seems to be no place for the eye to rest amidst the pieces. I thought maybe I should have used a bright color of something to give it more definition, but I’ve seen several others and they all look the same. Also I was quite disappointed that the yellow which was the constant color (and the one I had purchased specifically for this quilt) had almost totally disappeared.

Grand Delusion

Grand Delusion

So my interest in finishing them came to a big screeching halt while I thought about what to do. Jacob’s mom really liked the quilt and it occurred to me that other people must be liking it since hundreds of people are making the same quilt. Since my centers were made, I decided to get at least one done. I sewed the pieced borders together only to discover that the mathematics for the pieced border did not match the center of the quilt. There is a 1” difference on Bonnie’s quilt and because I had made a smaller version, I now had a 2” difference which is quite a bit. I am one of those people who love pieced borders but want them to be sized correctly to the quilt center. So I stopped again, but that same night when I wasn’t even thinking about it, a very simple solution popped in my head and I decided to just go with it and get the quilt done afterall.

I am still not fond of it but at least the larger one is done. But did I want to make the second one also? This is what it looked like….

smaller Grand Delusion

smaller Grand Delusion center

….and then out came the seam ripper and this is what it looks like now….

all unstitched back to the beginning

all unstitched back to the beginning

One quilt done, one quilt undone. I have two or three ideas on what I am going to do with the blocks and the sashing but since I am in no hurry, maybe those ideas will wait a year or two,… or three. Yes, this whole mystery has definitely been a Grand Delusion! The good thing is, I did use a lot of fat quarters and I did have fun putting the clues together, and I have one quilt done that someone actually wants to have. Plus the colors are very spring-like.  And…I have enough of the yellow to actually make a quilt with the yellow in it. For some reason lately, I’ve been in a yellow-quilt frame of mind. You will see some of the yellow quilts in a later post—and yes, they are done since I had to work on something I much rather enjoyed while I contemplated about the Grand Delusion!

Quiltmaker Quilts from 100 Blocks

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This week you are going to find on the newsstands the Spring 2015 issue of Quilts from Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks.  You might enjoy the issues of Quiltmaker 100 Blocks, yet not know what to make with all those blocks.  In this issue are a variety of great designs using some of the different blocks.  It is always amazing to me all the ideas and different settings.  There are several quilts in this magazine that I would love to make but if I had to pick a favorite, it would be Amy Rullkoetter’s Pressed Pansies that can be found on page 20.

If you look all the way through the magazine and get to the very last page, you are going to see a picture of my Volume 9 Sampler that I made from the test blocks for that issue.  When Quiltmaker asked me to send them the quilt, I had no idea what they were going to do with it.  Then I got the preview issue of this magazine and got my answer what they did with the quilt–they used in the section called Spotlight.  If you make a quilt from the blocks, be sure to send a picture to Quiltmaker and maybe you will end up in the Spotlight too.

You will want to get a copy of this magazine, Quilts from Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks.  If you can’t find it at your newsstand, you can also order one online from their Quilt and Sew Shop (quiltandsewshop.com).

Sampler and Snow

In the previous post one of the friendship quilts had a border with my favorite Thimbleberries fabric. That border was made with what I had left over from making a sampler quilt so I thought I might as well show you the sampler quilt too.

Border Blast

Border Blast

This sampler design, called Border Blast, was one of the official Thimbleberries Club projects, but I don’t remember which year. I know I did not buy the fabric kit that year. Instead I bought this floral fabric from my friend Anita. I wish I had bought a lot more as it was only available for a short time. The project quilt that year was a huge quilt and since I prefer smaller quilts, I reduced the pattern which allowed me to have the same look only using smaller blocks and borders. The fabrics used in the blocks were all from my small pieces of Thimbleberries collection and I chose them from the colors in the floral print. The quilt did indeed have a lot of borders which I thought was a great place to use my favorite fabric.

I never did check on groundhog day to see what the groundhog predicted, but it obviously must have been for more winter. It was getting to be spring-like weather when all of a sudden, we plunged into more winter than usual. Last week the kids were suppose to have a no-school day on President’s Day but they had to use it as a make-up day for the ice day that closed school in January. But alas, the day was cut short to a half-day because that’s the day winter returned. We then had a big ice storm and extremely cold weather so they had no school Tuesday through Thursday and they went back on Friday with a 2-hour late start. It finally warmed up and we had a nice weekend.  Monday was back to school as normal. We woke up Tuesday to snow. When we first got the 5am call, the schools were going to be on a delay start, but within the hour we got another call that the schools would be closed again. And it snowed, and snowed! Not quite as cold this time so more snow than ice—the fun snowman building kind of snow. So no school Tuesday, then no school again today, and what do you know—the ice is coming down again and there is no school tomorrow. I like the snow, but please, please do not ask me to play monopoly. Jacob and I played it so long and it never ends with just two people so I finally had to say—no more monopoly! My friend Judy would have loved the snow too if she were here. I was thinking about her and remembered the quilt I made her that brings thoughts of snow.

Judy Loves Snow

Judy Loves Snow

This quilt is a variation of the Brick-Brack pattern designed by my friend Aby. Coincidently, I met Aby through Judy. Do you get cold just looking at this quilt?

Snow Day

Snow Day

The block design in this mini quilt is called “snow crystals”. It reminds me of us—looking out the window at all the snow.

The Blessing of Friends

For many years I have been in an online Thimbleberries group. Even though the Thimbleberries line has been retired, the group remains together as we are not only now good friends, but also have a lifetime supply of Thimbleberries to continue using.  One of the activities the leader of the group started was having us send each other hearts for a variety of occasions. The blocks are 6-1/2” square (unfinished) and the heart can be made with techniques to include regular-piecing, foundation-piecing, or applique. Usually they have a cream background with a specified Thimbleberry color for the heart. In the group, these are called Hearts of Friendship. I like to think of them as little hugs. It always makes me smile to think of these little hugs flying across the ocean or across the country. I imagine it fills the air with happiness and they especially fill the heart when they arrive in the mailbox. It always brings such pleasure to open each envelope as it gets here.

When my grandson Miles was born, the group sent me blue hearts to celebrate his arrival.
These four hearts came from:
Ella from Jersey (UK)
Joyce from Texas
Ellen from Missouri
Yvonne from UK

Ella, Joyce Ellen, Yvonne

Ella, Joyce
Ellen, Yvonne

These three hearts came from:
Julie from New York
Adva from California
Kim from Jersey (UK)

Julie, Adva, Kim

Julie, Adva, Kim

These three hearts came from:
Linda from Texas
Jane from New Zealand
Anita from North Carolina

Linda, Jane, Anita

Linda, Jane, Anita

These three hearts came from:
Lorna from UK
Kathi from Washington
Jean from Canada

Lorna, Kathi, Jean

Lorna, Kathi, Jean

These three hearts came from:
Tina from Florida
Gisele from Jersey (UK)
Rena from New York

Tina, Gisele, Rena

Tina, Gisele, Rena

These three hearts came from:
Vicki from Washington
Tomi from Illinois
Denise from New York

Vivki, Tomi, Denise

Vivki, Tomi, Denise

And this is the quilt I made with all the lovely blue hearts and Thimbleberries fabrics.  In the lower right corner are all the signature squares from each heart-maker and they follow the order of the hearts in the quilt.

Little Hugs

Little Hugs

Once when I was extremely ill, the group sent me hearts of cheerful colors and this is the quilt I made from those hearts and more Thimbleberries fabrics.  The border on this one is my most favorite Thimbleberries fabric.

Cheer Up

Cheer Up

When my friend Anita was blessed with her three granddaughters, the group sent her pink hearts for each of the girls. I made the tops for the girls’ quilts and Anita is going to applique their names on each one and then she will quilt them for the girls. The pictures were taken at different times so it makes the backgrounds look different, but they are actually all similar with a mix of cream Thimbleberries fabrics.

Callie

Callie

Claire

Claire

Claudia

Claudia

For the occasion of my moving from Texas to North Carolina, the group had a choice of making me a house block or a heart block and this is the quilt I made with those blocks, along with lots of Thimbleberries scraps.  Each heart has the signature square of the heart (or house)-maker right next to the heart

Hugs from Quilt Friends

Hugs from Quilt Friends

When I was in Texas, I met some of the best ladies ever. We all went to Thimbleberries Club together and in addition, we also sewed together otherwise. It was very hard to leave behind such wonderful friends. My very dear friend, Zella, gathered signatures and made them into this lovely Thimbleberries quilt and sent it to me. I was so surprised when it arrived and also very humbled to be the recipient of such a treasure.

Texas Love from Zella

Texas Love from Zella

All of the hearts and houses blocks and quilts are wonderful reminders of the Blessing of Friends.  I am truly blessed to have so many wonderful, caring friends.