Saturday, September 11, 2010

Service and Remembrance

Once a month, I get together with a few of my quilty friends to work on unfinished objects (UFOs). Yes, I am a finisher, but I will admit, a stray project (or several) have landed on a 'short' to-do list.

Last week, during our group quilting catch-up day, I pulled out a little project I started quite some time ago and added a couple of mitered borders to a pieced quilt center. This particular project was one of the last ones I brought to work on, so I didn't quite finish it before it was time to go home. It was placed back in the stack of unfinished projects for next month.

This morning I assessed, what seemed like a massive stack of quilted projects that need to get done - several holiday place mats, a few wall hangings and a full-sized quilt. All samples for the local shop. But one little project called to me. All it needed was a plush backing and some quilting.

Like so many others, I was profoundly affected by the events of September 11, nine short years ago. And today, it seemed appropriate to dedicate my time to finish something for someone else. Someone in need. My friend Beth is director at Interfaith Works. One of the programs she supervises assists refugees resettling to this country. And one of the families due to arrive in the near future includes a baby.

I hope the family enjoys this little baby quilt as much as I enjoyed the feeling of doing something - even something small - to welcome others to this great country we call home.

In service and remembrance,

P.S. Beth has LOTS of UFOs!

Friday, September 10, 2010

On the way . . .

The two newest ScrapTherapy patterns are getting packed into boxes, headed to your favorite participating quilt shop in the next week or two. Want a preview?

Stained Glass is a cool twist on the nine-patch theme. For this project, each element of the nine-patch is a pieced on-point scrappy square with narrow lattice in between the scraps. If your stomach gets all twisted in knots with concern over sewing those skinny strips, fear not! Sewn lattice strips start twice the size and incorporate a unique piecing and cutting method to avoid the stress. You're gonna love it! The pattern includes both lap and bed sized projects.

Flower Ballet incorporates machine-appliqued flowers with three-dimensional petals. Here's a super-sized table runner that will dress up any decor.

And, of course, I do love my gadgets! You just have to have the new trimming tool by Studio 180 Designs, Square-Squared to make the on-point pieced squares for your version of Stained Glass. Plus, circles used in the table runner are fast and fun to make with the Olfa Circle Rotary Cutter. Or try my newest favorite notion to make half-square triangles, the Fons and Porter 6" Square Up Ruler!

By the way, did you know that the first sixteen ScrapTherapy pattern releases are now available to all independent quilt shops, even if they've never been 'officially' enrolled in the program? Just ask for your favorite scrappy projects, such as Bloomin Steps, the Scrap Sack, and Pick-A-Pair Pot Holders at your local quilt shop.

As a reminder, the ScrapTherapy program is a method to cut your unused fabric scraps leftover from finished quilt project into sizes that make sense. Then use those cut-up scraps in quilted projects.

Happy quilting!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Good Idea. . . I Think!

A few months back, I wrote that I would be participating in the Nine-Patch Project. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I have tons and tons of scraps I can use to make nine-patch blocks. And Karen Montgomery suggested that it would be fun, and she always has some pretty good ideas. So . . . .

I settled in and started sewing tiny nine-patches, each made from one 2" scrap square, which was cut in half twice to make four 1" squares. All batiks. Really pretty! (But small!)

Then I dug around in my stash for some fabric, big stuff. Determined to use fabric on hand, I found a cream-on-cream print. Probably about three yards, I'm guessing. And started cutting 1" strips, then 1" squares. In between other sewing, I made 2" unfinished mini-nine-patches with light centers and corners.

I know it sounds crazy, sewing all those small pieces. But I think sewing the small pieces makes sewing bigger pieces more accurate. I will admit, about two-thirds of the way through, I kinda got sick of sewing the small pieces. But I digress. . .

Then, I added either four or five 2" batiks to make 5" unfinished nine-patches, with alternating patched centers and whole centers. These were fun!

Sewed nine of the resulting nine-patches together for a nine-nine-nine patch that is about 13" square. I made twelve of these. Each one incorporates a total of 51 nine-patches - 41 teeny nine-patches, nine medium nine-patches, and the big momma nine-patch. The goal was 80 blocks for the summer. I guess I over-shot that goal, huh?

Now what?

I suppose that's my project for the fall. Stay tuned!!

To the 'nines!'