Sunday, September 19, 2021

Quarantine UFO Series #17, Happy Birthday Banner Quilt


When my kiddos were little and let me get lots of quilting projects done, I found this super cute panel that was flags in primary colors that spelled out “happy birthday”. I thought it would make a great birthday celebration decoration piece!



The only problem was, I wasn’t sure what to do with it, and frankly the triangle piecework was a little intimidating. I would pull it out and stare at it to get ideas, and then I’d put it away and work on something else.


Eventually I stopped pulling it out and it sat in the storage bin for years.


When lockdown started, this was actually one of the first projects I pulled out. I immediately started cutting out the triangles of the banner and planning out how to piece it together.



Things were going alright until I ran out of the black fabric I was using, and was struggling to find more. Black is one of those colors that has a ton of shades so I had to look in the stores for the right ones. It meant I had to put it aside until I could get back into the stores for the hunt.


I was finally able to get more black fabric to finish the project but by then I’d started other projects and it sat once again… Until now… It was finally time to finish this bad boy. My kids are going to be moving out before I get this done.



I finished the black piecework and then added a slim red border for framing. Finally, I added a black confetti fabric for a final border. I briefly entertained adding more to this, like a row of presents and a row of candles, but in the end I decided it was time to be done with this project. I really wanted a banner, not a quilt.



For the backing, I admit I have a lot of baby quilt type fabric I’m trying to use up. This particular one had primary colors that went along with the birthday banner front so I went for it.



I wanted to keep the quilting simple, so I outlined the banner flags and then did a meander in black all over the rest. It really helped make the flags pop out a bit more. If I had thought of it before, I would have added more batting to make more of a trapunto style on the flags.



I finished with a black binding and we had a birthday banner just in time for my son’s 12th birthday. It only took 10 years, ha!


Another fun finish! Now I’m ready to move to the net project. Yeah!

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Quarantine UFO Series #16, Rainbow in the Storm Quilt


In January of 2021, an event occurred that was a sign of hope. I was watching the presidential inauguration and trying to plan out a new quilt. These were scraps I’ve had since 2012 when I made Over the Rainbow quilt. These fabrics were so beautiful and I just couldn’t part with them. But I also didn’t want to do any old project with them. They have been patiently waiting on the shelf all these years, and I was finally inspired. 




The last few years have felt very stormy. Lots of differing opinions, and strong personalities. Then throw a pandemic in the mix with everything closed down for safety, and it starts to feel like the storm won’t end. The Inauguration felt like a fresh breath. There was hope, positivity, inspiration. Whether that will continue is still up in the air, but in that moment on that day, I was feeling optimistic.



I got to work to figure out this rainbow quilt. It needed to match how I was feeling. I checked the colors against black, which was too harsh, and white, which was too bright. I had several greys and settled on this darker one. It matched the color of a stormy cloud, but was soft enough to keep the focus on the rainbow of colors.



I didn’t want to trim any of the beautiful rainbow fabric. Fortunately for me, the rectangles in the scrap pile worked fine for the basket weave look I created with the colors and grey.  Once I had all the rectangle strips sewn into squares, it was just a matter of laying it out.



Trying to stick to a rainbow look was challenging because there were so many choices. Should I go straight across? Try to arch the colors? Maybe I should mix the colors up a bit as they’re laid out (I’ve never been good at that). 

In the end, I decided to go with colors straight across, but the grey basket weaves allowed them to be staggered and help them blend together. I used all the scraps I had, but it seemed a little small so I added some borders of the grey and a rainbow batik.



The backing is the grey with the rest of the rainbow batik. I am really trying to use up all my fabric with each project.  Keep my scrap pile to a minimum. I finished it with a grey binding and my label. All done!



When I look back at it, I can remember that awesome feeling I had that day and smile. I can also remember that I finished another UFO that has been hanging around all these years. 


Sunday, July 18, 2021

Quarantine UFO Series #15, The Last Cat Quilt


Back in the early 2000’s, my mom introduced me to quilting. She invited me to a block-of-the-month at a local sewing shop and I was hooked. Around that time, my mom found a whimsical fabric that she loved. It was on clearance and she wasn’t sure what her plan was for it yet, so she decided to buy the bolts that were left; 3 in total.



A couple of years past and I think she may have completed a small baby quilt with some of it. She asked if I thought I’d like to make something with it, and I thought… why not? It would be fun to practice a block pattern and my quilting. 



I finished a churn dash quilt in 2007 and then decided it would be super fun to make tea cups, as that is the theme on the fabric. I designed a pattern and started working. After finishing 16 tea cups, I was at a loss as to what to do next. I didn’t have enough tea cups to make a reasonably sized quilt and I was really tired of making the tea cups. You can only do fussy work for so long. So, the project got tabled. Life got busy and I was distracted with other projects.



Fast forward to now and I have really been trying hard to work through all my backed up UFOs. I have been doing so well and really cranking out these projects. I feel like it’s given me some freedom to consider new projects, and it’s cleared out some of my stash so I can get some new goodies. 



This one really needed to get finished. It was time. I pulled out the blocks and thought I’d get back to work on them, but instead I realized I can make more blocks that are something other than tea cups. It really opened up the possibilities in my mind.


I was able to come up with a sweet little heart pattern to alternate with the tea cups and then laid it out in a pattern that looks like shelving. I finished the top with a border on 3 sides.



For the back, I used the fabric I had the most of, the pink kitty faces. I had so much of this that even after making the quilt, I was able to make 5 pillow cases to match! What?!?




For the quilting, I outlined the tea cups and the hearts, and then did a basic meander to fill in the rest. I finished it with binding with the same fabric I’d used for the borders, and this bad boy was all done.



It felt so good to use up the last of this fabric. It also felt good to complete a vision I had long ago, even if it was different than what I expected.



I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this one. It’s future is yet to be determined. That’s okay though. I was able to practice some techniques, fine tune my skill, and fall in love with possibilities all over again. What a great finish!