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6 posts from October 2017

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Mother's Double Dutch Quilt Part 5


It always feels so good to know that I had a productive day, especially when I'm on a tight schedule to get this quilt made and other projects completed for the holidays.  I feel today was one of those days.  By last night, I had completed 1 or 4 columns of the center of the quilt.  I pinned it to Bertha, my dress form.



I completed the remaining 3 columns of 3 quilt blocks and 4 strips of rectangular panels.  Following the instructions, I was now moving on to the next stage of the quilt, creating the sashing that will be added between each column, and at the top and bottom of the columns to create the finished "Center" of the 75x80 quilt.



Pulling out my sash fabric and squares, I thought "Yay!  New fabric!"  It doesn't take much to make me happy.  LOL



I like to conserve thread.  It can get expensive.  So, I decided to make all 5 sashes needed to complete the center of the quilt, and make them all at one time.  Beginning with placing 1 small square, right sides together, against the long rectangular sash, and doing this 5 times.  I clip apart the pieces when finished with my run, and press them open.  I repeat this process until all 5 sashes were complete and pressed.



There ya go!  All done with my sashes!  Now for the fun part!  I get to add these to my quilt block columns that are pinned to Bertha!  The quilt is beginning to take shape!



After sewing a sash onto one column of quilt blocks, I pressed all the seams open.  Then pinned on another column, then another sash, then another column, etc.



And, as of right now, this is where I am at.  I still have to sew on one more quilt block column and one more sash to the bottom and the center will be done!  It looks beautiful! I'm so happy I decided to make this quilt for my mother.  I know she will cherish it.

Hope you are enjoying the progress I am making on this quilt!  Be sure to go to Connecting Threads to see what other wonderful quilt patterns and quilt kits they have available to make! 




Monday, October 30, 2017

Country Living and 12 Easy DIY Baby Gifts!


I like to check my stats.  If you have a blog, that's the fun part, especially if you haven't been blogging in a while - my bad.  But since I'm back in the swing of the saddle at my desktop again, and blogging like a pro again, I can honestly say I was surprised to see my post from 2010 of a plush stackable toy I made for my granddaughter, Reagan, shared twice in the last two days.  Yesterday it was shared on "All Women's Talk" Blog "37 Fabric Crafts that You'll Love Sew Much!" and ...



Today, it was Countryliving.com giving the glory to that little stackable toy that I made and embroidered for Reagan.



Thank you to Kelly O'Sullivan for the feature!  I hope your readers will enjoy the post and understand the complexities involved in making a gusset and this toy for their grandchildren!



For my original post click on the image above or this link: Donuts, Flowers, Ribbons and Curls




Sunday, October 29, 2017

Mother's Double Dutch Quilt Part 4


A productive day sewing - with my 93y/o mom! She helped me rip out seams on a block that I had screwed up. Why am I not surprised? It all worked out great though. Mom and I had a few laughs and she told me stories too. Stories of her mother and how she made quilts entirely by hand when my mother was a little girl. She also told me a story about this one "Flower Garden" quilt her mother, Margaret, had made out of every scrap piece of fabric she had. Mom told me it was beautiful and she kept it in a box in her closet for years after she married my dad and had kids.



Then one day, wanting to see the quilt, she pulled out the box and it was empty. Someone had stolen her mother's Flower Garden quilt. My mother was devastated. She always felt that it was one of the baby sitters that stole the quilt.  Years later, while looking through a sewing magazine, she saw a picture of a flower garden quilt that looked exactly like her mother's quilt hanging on a wall for a quilt show. She was convinced that that quilt was, in fact, her mother's quilt. She had no way of finding out.  That made me so sad. It would have been made in the late 1920s. Mom remembers being about 4 or 5y/o when her mother was making the quilt entirely by hand. Her mother did not have a sewing machine. Also, her mother, my grandmother Margaret Simpson Lee VanFossen, passed away in 1936. She was a mere 53 years old, and my mother was 11y/o. Losing her mother was so devastating, that my mother never quite recovered. But, I love it when she tells me her stories.

Pictured above is an image of a Vintage 1920s Flower Garden quilt that we found online. My mother said that it looked a lot like her mother's flower garden quilt, and that her mother's had scalloped edges. But she didn't think this one was her mother's, of course.  Just that her mother's looked similar. 



My grandmother, Margaret, was a milliner as well. Imagine, in the early 1920s owning your own brick and mortar milliner shop and making hats for the ladies in the community! That is what she did and loved to do!  And, she was a single mom with a baby boy, as her husband, Robert E. Lee (great grandson) had passed away from the flu epidemic of 1918.  She sewed and quilted and made hats, and supported herself and her baby boy on her creative endeavors.  She was far advanced in her life career than most women and also very proactive in women's rights to pursue their passion in life. She remarried Mason VanFossen several years later and together they had 2 girls, my mother was the first, born in 1924.  She was also 42y/o when she had my mother! That was unheard of in the 20s!

I wish I had known my grandmother, Margaret. But, I have an inkling that her spirit and joy in motherhood, sewing, quilting, and creating, continue to live on in me.

Oh, how I wish I had known this wonderful woman. Thanks to the many blessings in my life, I am able to know my grandmother Margaret through my own mother's stories.



So today, I had to correct some mistakes in this quilt block.  Remember these guys?  Well, they are supposed to be 6 1/2" square.  I don't know exactly what I did wrong, but they were too small.  I had my mom use the seam ripper and remove little snippets of each corner piece so that I could rip them off one-by-one, replace them where they should have been, and sew a better seam.  I had to do that for 11 of these blocks.  Mom's help took hours off my time and made for a more productive day.  So you see, I make mistakes along the way too.  If you only knew how many times I just want to say "Hell with it" and work around it ... only to be disgusted with the end result and have MORE seams to rip out and really feel disgusted.  The best way to solve these problems is to deal with them as soon as you see you have them.  The easy thing about quilting is that you don't have to rip out locked seams on the ends of your run. 

So after mom snipped all the seams, I sewed them back correctly, pressed them open again, measured the block again with the Omnigrid, and was much happier.



Her help made it easy for me to get the 12 central quilt blocks done!  Most of the points and seams are perfectly aligned.  It is really difficult to get them all "perfect" although there are most times I am pleasantly surprised.  Key: 1/4" seam - Always.  Pin.  Press.  Measure and remeasure.  Trim.  It's a process!!  But, the end result is going to be spectacular!!



Aren't they beautiful?!!  I sure do love quilting and especially seeing how the quilt develops with all the piecing.  It's a puzzle, and I have always loved puzzles.

I hope you are enjoying the process and maybe learning some tips and tricks along the way! 

And you know what I love about quilting on days like today?  The time I spend with my own mother telling stories and laughing and sharing something creative together.  It was a perfect mother/daughter day.



Saturday, October 28, 2017

Mother's Double Dutch Quilt Part 3


I've been a busy bee today working on Mom's quilt as her gift this Christmas.  This is the Double Dutch Quilt in beautiful blues and whites from ConnectingThreads.com.   Love that site!  Moving right along, you will have pieces that are rectangular and pieces that are small squares.  Place them per the instructions on one side of the rectangular piece.  Sew along the marked line you place diagonally on the back of the small square, and then clip off to a 1/4" seam allowance. 



When you are done, press the seam open towards the dark piece so that you have a rectangle that looks like this



Now grab these squares you made earlier and had set aside, and clip off the 4 corners from the seam.  Those little triangular bits that are in the way.



When you are done clipping the corners, using your "Omnigrid measuring square," place it on top of each of your blocks. Check your "right angles" and the dotted line that is angular on the omnigrid, should like up with the seam of your triangle.  You do NOT want to trim to a 3 1/2" square only to discover that the triangles are not at right angles. That is why I posted this picture.  I have the square at perfect right angles for 3 1/2" - BUT, I first also made sure the angled line goes through the middle of the seams of the triangles.



Now that you have your triangles in measured squares of 3 1/2", you are ready to piece!



Following the pictures and instructions that come with the pattern, place the pieces together and line them up.  No pinning is really necessary unless you feel more comfortable doing it that way.  I'm ready to sew my train of pieces together.



I sewed one side, and now I am sewing the pieces together on the other side of the 3 1/2" square.  If your seams don't line up, you probably missed a trimming step with the squares.



Moving on to other pieces of the puzzle, I grabbed two piles of larger squares.  I drew a diagonal line on the back of the darker piece, placed it on top of the lighter square piece, and sewed a 1/4" seam on both sides of the line I drew on the darker square.  Then I cut the pieces in half along the diagonal marker line between the two seams.



Press open your new new squares and repeat the process above for making each square at right angles, making sure that you also line up the diagonal line along the diagonal seam on your block.  Love the Omnigrid for helping me to create perfect right angles.  Well, maybe almost perfect.



Remember the first piecing we did with that big square and the four smaller squares?  Well, pull that piece and start piecing together for your first completed quilt block!  Now, this is very important!!  Using pins, make sure you line up your seams on both pieces.  This way, when you press them open, the points and seams should line up nicely between the two pieces.



After you've done that, you will want to press your pieces open and check your points.  Looking good!



I am repeating this process on the other sides of the center square.  Match up all seams!!!  Pin each seam!!!



I'm loving what I see!!  I think my points and seams look pretty darn good after pressing this open!



After sewing on the other side too, I have an "Almost" finished quilt block!  I need to press all the seams so that it lies as flat as possible. Then I need to use the Omnigrid to find the best right angle side for a measurement of a 12 1/2" square.  Then trim along the Omnigrid to complete your first perfect 12 1/2" square!! Trimming the edges so that it is a nice square makes all the difference!



And here is the completed first 12 1/2" Quilt Double Dutch Square!!  Yay! 

Always, if you have any questions about quilting or making this quilt, don't hesitate to ask!




Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Mother's Double Dutch Quilt Part 2


Working on my mother's holiday quilt and am sharing here some of what I do to make the process go faster, yet being careful to make proper cuts and seams.  If you ever wanted to make a quilt, hopefully some of my tips here will be helpful.




These little 2" squares are part of the next step, but first, I need to place a diagonal mark on the wrong side of the squares.  This will be my guide for sewing.  Accuracy is so important while making a quilt!




As mentioned in my first post, I like to get all my pieces cut out, organized, and labeled.  Per the instructions for making this Double Dutch Quilt, I have pulled my 6 1/2" squares (P) and my little 2" squares (K).  The instructions call for me to place the K squares on each corner, right sides together.  Following those instructions, I carefully pin each of the smaller squares on the corners of the larger square, making sure the edges meet.  I do this for all the remaining pieces, making sure that the diagonal marks I made on the 2" squares are placed correctly.





I do not sew one piece at a time or I'd never finish the quilt!  I sew in trains of pieces ...




And when I pull them off the machine, I can clip them apart easily.



Next step called for clipping the corners leaving a 1/4" seam



Press them open and set aside





Cut these squares in quarter pieces and set aside



Do the same for the other blocks that are labeled to cut in quarters



Early on make sure that all your seams are 1/4"

In quilting, the seams are always 1/4" whereas in dressmaking they are usually 5/8" unless otherwise noted



Before you begin to sew your triangles together, make sure you set them out in the direction they are supposed to be sewn together.  No point in using your seam ripper if you don't have too



Sew them together like a train, one after the other, making sure you line up edges and always use a 1/4" seam



Cut them apart and press towards the darker side



That went fast!



Set up the two triangular groups in the directions they are supposed to be sewn together



When you place one side "right sides together" on the other, make sure your seams match up perfectly and pin together at the seam



When you are done sewing all the triangular pieces together, press them open making sure the iron pushes the seams to the edge.  The points should all line up nicely like this!


Taking a break until next post!  Thank you for stopping by!  Hope my little tutorials make it easier and more fun for you to quilt!



Saturday, October 21, 2017

Mother's Double Dutch Quilt


My mother, Mary, just celebrated her 93rd birthday with us here in Weddington, North Carolina.  She is doing so well.  She has lived with us for nearly 20 years now.  Several months ago, though, we thought she would be happier in an assisted living home, and she moved.  Unfortunately, she was very unhappy and lost 20 lbs.  We were not happy about that and moved her back home.  She is happy as a peach, sleeping and eating well too.  Home is where she needs to be. 



Several years ago, I purchased a quilt pattern and fabric kit from Connectingthreads.com.  The quilt is called "Double Dutch" and the fabric included in the kit is from Jenni Calo for Connecting Threads.  Her Symphony of Blues collection.  Apparently, this collection is no longer in production, sadly, but I'm glad I purchased it when I did. 

This is the quilt I am making my mother for a Christmas gift this year.  She loves all things blue and white.  The finished size is 70" x 85"



My sewing machine is the Pfaff 2124.  My Big Bear purchased this for me 12 years ago when we first moved to North Carolina from Maryland.  It is also an embroidery machine.  I love my Pfaff.



This is the kit I received from Connecting Threads 3 years ago.  It included fabric for the quilt top only, and the instructions for the Double Dutch design.  I didn't realize I was not receiving fabric for the backing or binding, and had to go searching online for one of the fabrics used in the quilt top.  Fortunately, I found one and will be using it for the backing.



I cleaned and organized my sewing room and I'm ready to start quilting!



The first step is to read all the instructions.  I try to visualize the process while reading the instructions and that makes it easier to construct the quilt and not make mistakes.  I also do this step when sewing and making clothes.

When I am ready to begin, I prepare my rotary cutter with a new blade, and place my suction handle on my clear Olfa Ruler.  The suction handle makes for less slipping during cutting.  I have also glued thin strips of sand paper to the wrong side of the ruler so that it doesn't slip on the fabric. 

Next step is to cut out all the pieces.  Before I cut into the fabric, though, I iron the fabric.  The folds will mess up your cut if not pressed.  Follow the instructions.  Measure twice ... Cut once.

Lie out all the pieces you cut and label them.



When I label my piles, I put the referenced Alphabet letter from the instructions, the number of pieces in parenthesis, and the size of the pieces.



I'm ready to begin piecing the quilt together!  All that is left to do is get my thread ready on my sewing machine and fill several bobbins.  I will be posting my process in the days to come!

Thank you for stopping by!



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