Monday, October 5, 2015

Design Wall Monday and Leaders & Enders

By special request, today's "Design Wall Monday" also includes a bit of a tutorial on using Leaders & Enders.

Bonnie Hunter of popularized this clever method of making a second quilt while chain piecing. Many quilters stitch off onto a scrap of fabric, sometimes called a "spider," to avoid having to hold the threads at the beginning of the next row of stitching. Bonnie took the idea and made it productive -- why not use pre-cut squares, rather than a scrap of fabric that you will throw away?

She calls her method "Leaders & Enders." Leaders, because you sew from the small squares onto your quilt piece. Enders, because you stitch from the quilt piece onto the smaller square.

And the Leaders & Enders don't have to be squares. Each summer, Bonnie proposes a different quilt block design as the year's "Leaders & Enders" challenge. This year, it's tumblers. I cut up a lot of scraps into light and dark tumblers and stacked them in a plastic shoe box:

The note on the side of the box reminds me how many tumblers I need to make each row, and how many rows to make a lap-size quilt. 

Each morning when I sit down to sew, I stitch a light and dark tumbler piece together. 

When I've stitched across the tumbler, I place the first block of the day's project under the presser foot, and off I sew! 

It is amazing how quickly these little "Leaders & Enders" become a whole quilt! Storm is lurking in the doorway, nervous because she knows I don't like dogs in the bedroom!

I'm also using the cut-off triangles from a Flying Geese project to make tiny half square triangles.  When I get them all stitched, I'll square them up using my littlest Bloc-Loc ruler to make 1" HSTs. Then I'll stitch them together to make a little bag.

I just a week, I've collected quite a few HSTs!

The "A Quilt Block a Day" Facebook group is making "Birds in Flight" blocks this season. October 2 was the 10th day of Autumn, so I'm right on target with my block count. I haven't decided which layout I like better -- but it's early days, yet!

This diagonal set will require setting triangles, but it will also make a larger quilt.

Which layout do you like?

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Thursday, October 1, 2015

October UFO Parade

Ready for the last two months of the 2015 UFO Challenge: The project number for October is:

And now, on to the finishes for September!

Friend Martha got her finishes to me early in the month (thank you for that, Martha!). This darling pinwheel quilt is for a friend's new baby.

Martha and her husband formerly served in the Peace Corps. They went to a Peace Corps reunion in San Francisco last month, and Martha made this quilt for a fundraiser auction. I bet it was a big hit with the attendees!

Pam in KC has made up for lost time with three finishes for September! I'll let Pam tell the story of "Out of the Blue."
The name means so many things in the case of this quilt. First out of the blue I decided I needed to do something to get my orphan quilt block box closed and pulled all the blocks and strip sets with a black background and came up with this quilt. I'm out of the blue fabric that I used for the border. Based on those two things my husband and I came up with the quilt name. Then out of the blue, a couple of weeks ago I was asked if I had something I could quickly quilt for a 7-year-old girl. Finally it will be out of the blue when the package arrives next week and the girl receives this quilt as it is not her birthday and too early to be a Christmas present. All the statistics on the quilt can be found in this blog post:

I love that story, Pam! 

Pam's second finish is "Orange is the Ultimate Favorite Color." Details on her blog, here.

And third, a Bonnie Hunter pattern, "Nifty Thrifty." This really is a thrifty quilt, Pam made it entirely from recycled clothes -- front, back, and binding. And the batting is a "frankenbatt" pieced together from batting scraps of Hobb's Tuscany 100% cotton -- Pam reports between the cotton batting and the recycled shirts, this quilt is "soft like an antique quilt." Details at Pam's blog, here.

Mary J finished a second quilt made from her pattern "Group Dynamics." Mary's pattern is featured in the May issue of Modern Quilts magazine! You can read all about it on her blog, Zippy Quilts, here.

Another Bonnie Hunter finish by Sandi this month. Sandi, you are right -- Bonnie's designs are gorgeous, but they can take a lot of time. Sandi calls this one "Korners." Read all about it at KwiltnKats, here.

Donna made this great quilt for her twin sister, Debbie. She calls it "Fraternal Twin Quilt," since the Bonnie Hunter pattern makes two blocks of the same fabric, but different ratios. So the blocks aren't identical twins, but fraternal twins -- just like Debbie and Donna!

Nancy is toiling away on her "Hoop Sisters" quilt. This is quite the project -- learn all about it on Nancy's blog, My Love of Fabric, here.

And just for fun, Nancy finished this little cutie to take to the beach. I love it, Nancy!

Becky finished up two Project Linus quilts -- and used up some poly batting -- or her UFO this month. I love the rainbows, Becky!

I think that's a pretty good parade for the end of summer! This month's UFO Parade winner is Martha.  Send me your mailing address so I can send you some goodies!

I'm going on the "Fall Frolic" shop hop here in the Texas Hill Country today. Report on Sunday!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Monday, September 28, 2015

Design Wall Monday: Leaders & Enders

I love Bonnie Hunter's Leaders & Enders challenges. This year the project is "tumblers." I'm using my Civil War reproduction scraps in an attempt to use them up. 

Before I came to Texas this summer, I cut most of my CWR scraps into tumbler shapes. The tumblers filled one of my cute metal lunch boxes. I thought that would be enough to last me though fall.

Even though I have a good-sized bin of Civil War repros, I had to beg more background fabric from my friend in Ohio. Thanks, D'Awn! Faith didn't like the block with Abraham Lincoln (upper left in photo) appearing upside down, so I flipped this photo. The rows aren't sewn together yet, so if it looks like the tumblers don't match up -- they don't!

Bonnie explains that "Leaders & Enders" take the place of the scraps of fabric many quilters sew onto at the end of a row of stitching. Rather than using scraps that you'll throw away, why not sew together pre-cut shapes. I've used 2.5" squares and the cut-off triangles from snowball blocks or flying geese. My tumblers are cut from 3.5" strips using the EZ Dresden Tool from Darlene Zimmerman. The narrow end of each tumbler is at the 2.5" line on the template. I calculated to make my "tumblers" quilt a large lap-size, I need to make 30 rows of 33 tumblers each. 

Do you use "Leaders & Enders?" Are you making this quilt, too?

From the desk of yourauntmartisignature

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Autumn Block a Day" Flying Birds

Even though it's still hot in Texas, today is the official "First Day of Autumn." And that means a new "A Quilt Block a Day!"

[Sorry, Ann Roberts tells me the link doesn't work! To join the "A Quilt Block a Day" community, go to your Facebook homepage and search for "A Quilt Block a Day." Be sure to type all five words, there are other "Block a Day" groups.]

I chose the "Flying Birds" block, since the migration of the Canada geese always heralds the arrival of fall for me. We made lots of half square triangles for the summer BaD, and this block also requires HSTs.

Here is the finished block:

I'm using scraps of Civil War Reproduction fabrics, left over from the Farmer's Wife Quilt I made last year for my brother's 60th wedding anniversary.


There are several methods to make this block. I will start with the easiest method, and as the season progresses, will add different techniques.

The block requires three HSTs of dark and light, three light triangles, and one large dark triangle.

For a block finishing at 6", make three HSTs that are 2.5" raw-edge-to-raw-edge. Even though the two-color block only requires three HSTs, I am using the 8-HST method.

1) Cut one square of light fabric and one square of dark, each 6.5"

2) Place the fabrics right sides together and press lightly (this will help keep them from shifting as you mark and sew). Draw a line diagonally from corner to corner in both directions:

3) Stitch 1/4" away from each line. Cut diagonally between the stitching lines, then again at the horizontal and vertical center of the block:

4) Press the seam toward the dark of each HST and square up to 2.5"

5) To make the small light triangles, cut two squares at 2.78" and cut each on the diagonal. Cut a dark square at 6.78" and cut diagonally. Arrange the pieces as shown and stitch all the pieces together. Be sure your seams are scant 1/4" then sliver-trim to square up to 6.5":

If you have access to Eleanor Burn's book "Birds in the Air," her method makes two identical blocks without cutting the small triangles. That is the technique I plan to use!

I hope to see some of your Flying Birds blocks on the "A Quilt Block a Day" Facebook page!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Monday, September 21, 2015

Design Wall Monday: A Quilt Block a Day

I inherited the "A Quilt Block a Day" Facebook group from Karen Snyder several years ago. Each season, I post a block tutorial here and BaD quilters make one block each day – – usually 90 for the season.

This summer's block a day was inspired by a quilt from magazine. The March/April 2014 issue features a half square triangle quilt by Pat Bravo on the cover using her "Rapture" collection from Art Gallery Fabrics. I particularly enjoy using AGF fabrics, probably because of the quality of the greige goods they use. The background fabric is white from Michael Miller's cotton couture collection. Yummy! I buy it by the bolt.

My quilt is a bit different -- primarily, I used larger HSTs. Also, I included a few solids that complement the Rapture fabrics. And also, I pieced about 10 blocks wrong. I initially thought I would rip them apart and fix them, but I decided leaving them "as is" would add a bit of randomness to the quilt. Because I would be spending my summer in Texas, I cut out all the pieces for this quilt at one time. Then, each morning when I sat down at the sewing machine, I first made one block. This is a great way to make a quilt and also to check if your machine has developed any problems overnight.

As you can see, I miscounted when I cut my blocks! When I finished hanging all my blocks on my makeshift design wall, I was short one block! Guess this "finish" will have to wait until I return to Colorado, and my fabric stash.

Come back Wednesday for the Autumn "A Quilt Block a Day" tutorial. And if you haven't already, consider joining the BaD group on Facebook.

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday Finish

Next week is the official beginning of autumn, but it's still high summer in Texas! 

Lots of traveling this summer has meant not much quilting. But I did get a Jelly Roll Party sample finished.

This is "Olympia" from Cozy Quilts Designs. The fabric is "Reels" from Zen Chic. Cornelia quilted an allover circles design using a light grey thread -- don't you just love it?

Come back next Wednesday for the autumn "A Quilt Block a Day" tutorial. 

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Friday, September 4, 2015

Summer Finishes Catch-up

I didn't do much blogging this summer, but that doesn't mean I wasn't sewing! Mostly, I sewed summer clothes to wear in hothothot Texas. 

Here are some of the quilts I finished this summer. First, a 90th birthday quilt for my Uncle Bob. He joined the Navy at age 17 to serve in WW II, and he still golfs and bowls every week.

Ohmigosh, searching for the post about this quilt, I realize I never blogged about it! This was the July Jelly Roll Party quilt. The pattern is Strip Twist by GE Designs, and the fabric is "Red, White, and Free" from Moda. This is the only photo I have of this quilt, so you'll just have to take my word for it that the pattern goes together very fast. And it's a great introduction to partial seams!

I also finished "college quilts" for friends starting (and continuing!) college. First up, "Prairie Windmills." I actually started this quilt in a class with Kathleen Moorhead Johnson at Quilt Wyoming 2013. When my friend told me her Princeton-bound daughter loves pink, I knew this quilt had to be quilted and bound for Stephie!

I love working with batiks, they press so beautifully. So crisp, it's almost like folding paper!

CJ quilted it with an allover floral design using a Neapolitan-ice cream colored King Tut thread.

I hope you can see the detail of the quilting in this closeup!

The second college quilt I made was for my own Elder Son. He decided to quit selling Jeeps and go back to college to earn his MBA at Pacific Lutheran University, one of my own alma maters. I'm so pleased and proud!

The great thing about PLU student housing is, they have a dorm just for Seniors and grad students.  But the rooms only have XL Twin size beds -- and J-Man has had a queen-size bed since high school.  So Mama had to right quick whip up an XL Twin quilt!

I used Bonnie Hunter's "Sticks and Stone's" pattern and almost all my pre-cut black and white squares. Yay for Scrap Therapy!

I stuck in a few fussy-cut blocks. Love this "skull" one, and

this one to remind Justin of his kitty, Moussa Koussa. They only allow fish for pets in the dorm, I told him he should rename the cat "Fish." 

Of course, I bound it using "Susie's Magic Binding" in my favorite black-and-white stripes and scrappy brights.

It's already Fall in Tacoma, so I mailed the quilt straight to college. It will be waiting when he checks into his dorm!

I have another finish to share, but I think I'll save it until next Friday. Let's get this post published!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature