On a roll….

Another Friday finish for you…and this week is a darling little baby quilt I made using some small wonky star blocks I had floating around…

finished small wonky star quilt

Usually when I make wonky star quilts I use 5 inch squares to make the stars , but for this quilt I used my stash of 3 inch squares and a pile of scrap pieces to make 8 inch (unfinished) stars.

small star detail 2

Actually these stars had been sitting in my WIP pile for a while when I dug them up and started playing… I did not want to make any more stars so instead I used a pile of low volume scraps to play with the star layout.

small wonky star detail

I tried to lay the stars out randomly and used filler pieces – mainly 3 inch squares, 3 x 5 1/2 inch and 3 x 8 inch strips to fill in the gaps.  I wanted the background to be just as scrappy as the stars so I did not use any really big low volume pieces.

small star detail

The scrappy background also gave me more opportunities for fussy cutting, allowing me to cram in even more novelty prints (have you spotted the squirrels yet!).

My binding choice was a little different from usual with this quilt too… I went with low volume soft colours to frame the quilt instead of my usual wonky star binding – navy blue or scrappy brights.  I liked how this choice lets the stars jump off the quilt instead of containing them inside a frame.

quilting detail

The wonderful free motion quilting on this piece was done by my friend Michelle of Mariposa Quilting.  I was so pleased this quilt was not ruined by my clumsy straight line quilting.

Once washed this quilt will head off to the our local Pediatric Intensive Care unit where it will hopefully be used for a couple of good games of I Spy….

A little quilt showcase

I thought I would take the opportunity to share with the wider world some of the amazing Charity Quilts that the Portland Modern Quilting Guild has produced this month.  For those of you who follow me, you know that I am a pretty active charity quilter and I organize our guild’s charity sewing.  I am constantly amazed at the generosity and talent of our guild when it comes to our program….

Some Guild members donate orphan blocks that we make up into quilts.  Our wonderful Guild president this year, Elsa, donated the blocks that made this beauty….

green star quilt topElsa donated ten blocks which were sewn into a top by me, and then quilted by Coleen of The Quilted Thistle.  Photos do not do Coleen’s quilting justice, it is beautiful.

quilting detailOh and did I mention the little hedgehog?

star detailI used the tenth donated block in the back of the quilt…

back of green yellow star quiltOther guild members donate fully completed quilt tops to us… Sam Hunter of Hunter Design Studio donated the top and back for this beautiful quilt….

sams quiltand another guild member Gail Weiss free motioned quilted all over it, to great effect…

sam's quilt detailOne or two of the quilts we donate each month start life at our Charity Sew Day, which are held at our local quilt store Modern Domestic.  Once a month we invade MD’s class room space and whip up blocks which in turn are made into quilts…

rainbow improv quiltI love this improv rainbow quilt top.  All the blocks were made at the Charity Sew Day in January by guild members including Mary Ann, Kim, Debbie, Dawn, Michelle, and Elsa.    The top was then quilted by the fabulous Dawn Graf-Thiessen, another one of the Guild’s talented long armers.

rainbow improv detail

The fabric for these blocks is from scraps that were also donated to the Charity Sew program.  When I receive a donation of scraps I sort them into colours (each colour has its own shoe box).  What is left over is put into a catch-all box of multi coloured scraps…

improv quilt..and some of those scraps were used to make blocks for this bright improv quilt.  In November last year I asked Guild members to make a 12 inch square bright improv block, if they wanted, which would then be used in a Charity quilt.  This top was the end result…

Improv quilt detailBright loud and fun this quilt is definitely going to make some kid very happy…  The top was quilted by last years Guild president, MaryAnn.  She did a great job free motion quilting on her home machine.

The last quilt I want to share is a simple quiet baby quilt…

low volume charity quiltThis top was made during a Charity Sew Day by guild member Anne.  She took some precut squares that had been donated to the program and made a disappearing nine patch block.  On Sew days I always pack some precut or orphan blocks so that people who do not necessarily want to make the block of the month can play.

low volume detail

Another guild member, Emily, free motioned this darling pattern all over the quilt using her home machine.  The sweet pattern works so well on this low volume quilt.

I would like the thank all the PMQG guild members who every month help our charity program in ways big and small…either by donating fabric or blocks or their time and talent.  We could not do it without you.  Thank you.

Quilting with friends

Wednesday I had a wonderful day quilting with some of the members of the Portland Modern Quilt Guild.  We had an incredibly productive day and finished 3 quilt tops and also threw a quilt up on the long arm.

What made the day extra special was that we were working in a space that was displaying a collection of our Medallion quilts…

medallion quiltsOnce a month Modern Domestic hosts our charity sew day.  We get to work in their wonderful space and use the amazing Bernina sewing machines in their work room.  It is always hard for me to go back to my basic Brother machine after a day of luxury sewing on the Bernina!

Sewing on the berninaSo what did we get done I hear you ask….

Kaffe fassett quilt topWe managed to get this floral beauty quilted on the long-arm machine.

Kaffe fassett detailLots of loops and a couple of flowers were stitched into the top by a number of PMQG members.  It is really fun to have a top that anyone can have a turn on, so we usually use a simple free motion technique and people can embellish if they are so inclined.

quilt detailWe also made a collection of wonky snowball blocks that became a sweet little quilt top…

snowball quilt topAnd a couple of orphan blocks also became quilt tops.  Anne made a sweet little disappearing nine patch….

Anne design wallAnd while we are talking about Charity quilts I wanted to share another quilt that was recently finished…

charity quilt topThe blocks were orphan blocks donated by the fabulous Elsa Hart, I put the top together and finally the amazing quilting was done by Kazumi Peterson.

charity top detailKazumi quilted this fabulous pattern into ever block with my favorite bubbles pattern in the sashing.  I really love how this quilt turned out and I am realising more and more how important the final quilting process is.

charity quilt detailI know most of you already know this, but for me every time I see a quilt properly quilted I am in awe of what those top stitches bring to a project.  It is spurring me to really tackle my lack of quilting skills this year.

Some little quilts for a good cause…

Last week Maryann, the PMQG President, and I dropped off a collection of darling little quilts for a new Neo-natal ICU unit that has just opened up locally.

We delivered nine quilts, and know that other PMQG members dropped off more during the week.  We picked the quilts up at Modern Domestic, who kindly allowed us to use their store as a backdrop for the photos.

The quilts included a couple I had made…. including a disappearing nine patch quilt using some lovely Hoffman Batiks that Sam at Hunter Design Studios had given me.

wq nine patch quiltA lovely little strip quilt I made using a Moda Scrap bag.

wq stip quilt 2

And a simple patchwork quilt using leftover Glitz fabric from Michael Miller.  I was so excited to see how well this fabric washed up.

wq glitz quiltThe fabulous Monica Solorio-Snow made two darling quilts using her Happy Mochi Yum Yum fabric.

Mochi quilt 1

Monica very kindly did up a free PDF pattern for this quilt which she shares on her website Happy Zombie.

Mochi quilt 2There were so many different techniques used to make these little quilts… Wonky low volume crosses by Mary Ann…

low volume quilt

Fussy cut bordered squares done by Susan Paris…

square quilt

Charming nine patches by Michael Ann….

nine patch quilt

And simple patchwork.

sweet quiltNot all the quilts had labels attached so please let me know if your quilt appears in this collection, so I can credit your lovely work.

The need for these quilts will be ongoing, so I already have a couple more in the works.  If you feel inspired to make a little (36 x 36)  quilt, most hospital NICU’s take quilty donations, or you can also drop a quilt off with your local Project Linus Chapter or other blanket charity.  It really is an easy way to make a difference.

So dust off those orphan blocks, pull out that novelty print you have that you do not know what to do with… go on make a quilt…you know you want to.

A Wonky Tree Forest…and tutorial

A few weeks ago I forced everyone at the PMQG Charity Sew day to make wonky trees.  We had a large amount of green, brown and cream fabrics donated to the Guild and as soon as I saw the fabric I knew that we MUST make trees.

There were only two rules…. the finished block had to be 8 1/2 inches square and it had have a tree in it.  What follows is the basic instructions I gave at the start of the day…

Wonky Tree Block Instructions:

Step One…. grab all your green scraps…and some of your brown scraps and either some white/cream solid or a collection of cream scraps.

start with a pile of scrapsStep Two... sew a selection of your scraps together to make a rectangle of green goodness… this is going to be your tree top so make it as big or as small as you want you tree to be.

Step Three… trim said rectangle to your desired shape.  For some of our trees we used a triangle ruler…

Making the leavesand for others we just made wonky oval shapes by trimming the corners of our rectangle and adding some corner background fabric….

Trim folageStep Four…. add pieces of your background fabric around your tree top to make the it square and trim the bottom of your tree top so that it is straight…

Tree & skyNote:  You do not have to worry too much about making sure that the “sky” (background fabric) around the tree is as big as your finished block size as you have the ability to add a border to the block as needed.  With the smaller trees we made the tree block up and then sashed the block out to the 8 1/2 inch square finished size (see Step Six and a half).

Step Five… Build the tree trunk by cutting a small piece of brown scrap fabric to make a suitable sized tree trunk.  Remember this is wonky quilting so it can be as fat or as thin or as tall or short as you want.  Sew two pieces of your background fabric to your brown strip, making sure your finished trunk piece is at least as wide as your tree top piece. Make sure that you trim the top of the tree trunk so that it is straight.

Tree trunkStep Six… align the trunk to your tree top and sew the two pieces together.

Step Six and a half… if you have made a small tree sash your tree block to make it the correct size.

small treeStep Seven…. Trim your block to size, we went with 8 1/2 inch square.  Note: that the tree trunk ends at the bottom of the block, with no extra background fabric at the bottom.   I found that having all the trunks at the bottom of the block made the overall look of the pieced quilt cleaner and more uniformed.

Trim blockAnd voila you have a wonky tree block….

Tree treeAt the end of our day of sewing we had a veritable forest of different type of trees.  Everyone embraced the wonky and the freedom to do whatever took their fancy. My favorite creation of the day was the Apple Tree…

Apple treeIt was so much fun putting the final quilt top together, there were so many fabulous blocks to choose from and I spent a good hour or so re-arranging the forest on my design wall.

Tree wipWhen piecing the top together I used cream scraps cut into 8 1/2 square blocks and 4 1/2 x 8/12 inch strips to space out the trees.  From playing with the layout on the design wall I knew I did not want to put all the trees together in one clump.  I then added a 3 inch sashing of cream scraps between each row of trees.

Finished quilt topI am so pleased with how this top turned out.  There is a sense of fun and silliness to the trees…everyone did such a stellar job and no two trees are alike.

lots of different trees

Now our forest is being handed off to one of the Guild’s talented longarmers for quilting.  I can not wait to see how they handle this one.