A place for me to journal and post pictures about my quilting adventures.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Funky Caterpillar Pattern / Tutorial

I think I have posted a link in my sidebar to the pattern for making Funky Caterpillars out of Chinese Coins. I added it to the files section of HeartStrings so you can access it that way as well. This link has been changed since I first posted this message. If the previous link didn't work for you, would you please try it again. Thanks to all of you who let me know it wasn't working before. Please let me know if this one works.

Stashbusters is having a retreat weekend, so I thought I would make it available for anyone to try. I would love to see pictures of any blocks / quilts you make from it.

Happy quilting
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Monday, August 25, 2008

Time out from Chinese Coins

I took time out from HeartStrings sewing to do a few personal projects. Yesterday we hosted DGD#2’s second birthday party. My DD previously brought over the doll crib she had growing up, and a doll cradle my father made for her. She asked me to “redo” them to match DGD’s room. I took apart my DGD’s crib's dust ruffle to make the dust ruffle, mattresses, and pillows for both doll beds. Of course, she took them home yesterday after the party before taking a picture. I also made a quilt for the doll, but true to form, it was only partially assembled when given. Tonight I’ve finished the top, so will quilt it soon and send it home for the bigger doll bed. It's made from scraps from DGD's quilts. Oh, no, I just noticed the error as I've posted the picture. I guess I'll be doing a bit of frogging tomorrow. It's made out of 1" finished squares.

I’ve been thinking about the funky caterpillar pattern – still waiting to hear from the second tester before I post it – but I needed a dose of brights. I remembered the rest of the HeartStrings purple project blocks I had here, so decided to put them up on the design wall. I’m playing with a strippy zigzag setting. My DH pronounced it “jarring”, which means it is just right for me. I auditioned a toned purple for the strips, but it just died.

This set of 48 blocks is from last year’s HeartStrings special project – regular HS blocks - but with purple centers. The grouping Sue sent me seems to be all from one person, and the blocks included a lot of novelty / kid stuff. Some of them were used for the HS quilt with the string hearts.
I’ve read comments from HeartStrings block makers saying it is mindless sewing when they want to “veg” for a while doing something calming. I don’t think the person who made these blocks did so without thinking about them. The first set of 24 I used had all the same centers. It was a bright violet novelty, with red, yellow, lime green, orange, and white hearts in them. Almost all of the rest of the strings reflected those colors. Many of the blocks had both the center strip and the next strip out of the same fabric for 3-4 blocks. It really helped to emphasize the barn raising set I used for them. It was just a joy to sew with these blocks. Thanks to the unknown HeartStringer for making them so special. I hope this second quilt will be special as well. I think it is really great to be involved with this group of quilters who do so much for charities.

Happy quilting,


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Old Chinese coins finally finished

I finally took time today to put binding on this HeartStrings quilt. The Chinese coins were from HS's first coin-making session. These had a lot of novelty fabrics in them. I actually assembled it while I was still taking pain meds after my total knee. I was making a horizontal strippy, and didn't measure, and came out with a very long, narrow quilt. I ended up cutting it in half, and sewing the two sections together to make this. I quilted it about 2 weeks or so ago; a friend did part of it under direction as she is trying to learn the long-arm machine. I used the Circle Lord Giant templates - my favorite spiral. I really like the look of all those curves with the straight columns. The binding still needs sewn down, but Hurray! there are people in the guild that LIKE to turn binding and they are on the charity quilt committee. This one will be donated through my guild to the local children's hospital. They are always looking for quilts suitable for teen boys. They never seem to receive enough of those.

The rest of my week will be spent preparing for and celebrating DGD#2s birthday. She is spending the day with me tomorrow, and then we will have the "big" party with the cousins, etc. on Sunday. Maybe next week I will be able to find more quilting - not just piecing - time. I sure have a pile of tops waiting.

Gratitudes: A loving husband who has a hobby that he is passionate about, so understands and supports mine. School has started!

Happy Quilting,

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Finally finished - funky caterpillars (RWB CC#4)

Hurray! I finished the Funky Caterpillars top, and the tutorial. I've sent the tutorial to two people who volunteered to test it. One is already making blocks, and I've heard back from her. After I receive the second opinion, I'll post it in my sidebar. I used a tri-recs to cut it, so you might want that information ahead of time.

If you look closely at the picture, you will see that the middle column has red stripes (accent strips), and the side ones have blue. I used up all of the blue stripe fabric - Yeah - one goal met, at least a little bit. Remember, I wanted to use up all the fabric once I pulled it out of my Americana (RWB) bin.

Barb from HeartStrings left me a message that these were her Chinese Coins in QOV#4. I used every last inch of them, and blended in a few from someone else to have enough to make the 3 columns. Thanks you, Barb, for identifying your strips. I should have labeled them when I received them. It's great to know who made them.

Today has been a "prep" day for future coins quilts. I sewed together 400" of Chinese Coin strips so I can make a 4 column "Funky" next. It will have more options for settings with the even number of columns. I've also blended several groups of coins into strips long enough to cut another set of 48 string X blocks. I'll be doing more cutting tonight of corner triangles and sashing. I'm really having fun playing with these coins. I also washed up and squared some backing so I can begin quilting these. Maybe I will be able to quilt one next week. I want to practice with the circle lord, and #3 is perfect for what I want to try.

Happy quilting,
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Wednesday, August 13, 2008


If you remember, I set personal goals to meet while creating quilts out of the RWB Chinese Coins. One of them was to use up all the fabric in this bin, and I’ve made some progress, however some of it just ended up on the cutting table, although most of that is from the “stacks”.
I’ve told a few of my quilting friends about making QOV, and Rose decided she wanted to help. Right now she isn’t doing much sewing, but is trying to pare down her fabrics. She visited today, and this is what my ironing board looked like when she left. There is over 20 yards of fabric there! I think I’m going to have to make a lot of quilts.

I have been working on Funky Caterpillars 2. DH is gone tonight, but will help me Photoshop the pictures and add them to the test directions tomorrow and Friday. I thought you might like a progress picture. I’m really liking not having any waste!
Happy Quilting,

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Progress on Funky Caterpillars

I know I said the tutorial for Funky Caterpillars would take about a week, but that was before I decided to rework the whole pattern. If you remember, the previous method ended up with a whole lot of waste, both of Chinese coins and background. With the help of my engineer husband, we were able to create the blocks / quilt in EQ6. I haven't worked with plane geometry formulas for angles since high school / college, so it is very nice to have a resident authority (DH) who works with them all the time.

So, this is the progress: The text part of the tutorial is written, in Word, and I have made test blocks to assure accuracy. I am now making the actual quilt, and DH is taking pictures whenever I ask of each step. I hope to finish that over the next couple of days. I'll move the pictures into the document, and then DH will put it in a PDF file so it will be downloadable. Then I will post it on blogger. Just a heads up, you will need a Tri-Recs template set to use in cutting funky caterpillars. It provides the angle for the zig-zag.

I'm really hoping the new tutorial will be worth the wait.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

RWB Chinese Coins #3 finished top

I was able to finish the HeartStrings RWB CC#3 this evening just after DGD#1 arrived for her "Girls' Night". When I put #3 up on the design wall to take the picture, DGD decided she and the dolly, with quilt, needed to be in the picture, too. Does anyone recognize their blocks?


Quick update on CC#3 - Half-way

Yesterday was another day of Gma's summer camp, so not much progress on CC#3. I was able to sash the blocks I had finished - I'm half-way. By using the cream corners and the bright blue, I was trying for the effect of depth - like looking out a window, but still seeing the frame as closer. It "kinda" looks that way on the design wall, but not so much in the picture. I have most of Joen Wolfrom's books, and I love what she does with depth, illusions, etc., but I don't seem to be able to duplicate it on my own. I hope to take a class with her one day. I was reading this blog today, http://www.elaineadairpieces.blogspot.com/ and was so impressed at the change in her Kaleidoscope quilts after she had taken a class on value. Wow! Impressive! No DGKs today, so I may be able to finish CC#3. DH returns late tonight so I have most of the day to play!

Happy quilting!


Monday, August 4, 2008

On to RWB CC #3

Mary, list mom of HeartStrings, sent me a message that she posted a link to my blog on the HS blog, so I thought I should catch up on my progress.

My DGC slept in yesterday, and I couldn't go back to sleep, so I tackled the borders on CC#1. It is now a flimsy, measured and labeled waiting for backing and quilting. I finished the 48 blocks for CC#3, and started sashing them last night. I'm about 1/3 done with them, and began thinking about my next top.

When I was quilting Sunday, my friend had some quilt books laying out. When I took a break, I thumbed through them. One was on scrappy quilts by Gayle Bong. http://tinyurl.com/6r7b52 There was a pattern there using Chinese Coins that was interesting, and I later found almost the same thing in my copy of Evelyn Sloppy's string book. http://tinyurl.com/62va36 I thought that would probably be my next layout, but the CC strips had another idea.

The RWB CC's are stacked on the back-side of my sewing table, in my line of vision when sewing. They have started to speak to me! There is this one group that is made up of lots of strips less than an inch thick. It contains one of my most favorite fabrics, medium-light blue with silver etching, along with many others that I also like (it's really hard to not like RWB). These strips are saying "We've been waiting patiently, isn't it our turn now? We may be skinny and a bit petite, but we really want to be caterpillars, pretty please?" I looked in the stacks of fabric, and found a big enough piece of blue clouds with tiny white stars, and another of blue skinny stripes, so I guess I will be nice to them, and let them be CC#4, funky caterpillars. http://tinyurl.com/6l56d7 The maker of these CC, has them in groups of 3 alike, so they lend themselves to this layout.
I've been asked for the funky caterpillars "pattern", so I previously made a rudimentary tutorial on my webshots. I'll try to redo it with this next quilt and put it in a pdf file and post it. Hopefully it will be easier to follow. Please give me about a week until you ask about it, I need DH's help and he is out of town.
Happy quilting,

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Not much sewing time / field trip

I lost 3 days of sewing time to a migraine - I hate those and how much of my time they take up! Friday DH and I had a field trip for just the two of us. We went to Columbia, (MO) for a postcard show. I had no idea that it is so much of a hobby, one that can be expensive as well. DH occasionally bids on postcards on eBay - ones that have pictures of scenes along the railroad he is researching and building a model of in our basement (http://www.sandcrr.com/). He asked someone that outbid him if he could have a copy of the postcard. They corresponded, so now we are searching out local shows for postcards as well.

We did have a bit of quilty time when we visited the LQS - I loved these pillowcases with the animals peeking out. I bought some frog fabric for one of the great nieces - and I think this type of pillowcase would be perfect for her room. I will help, but she will make it herself. My purchases were limited. DH found these two pieces of train fabric, so we picked up some of it - it isn't easy to find, so we buy it when we see it. I also bought a new set of E templates. I have worn out one set, and I am using the large triangle to cut the add-on pieces of the string X blocks I'm making out of HeartStrings Chinese coins.
These are the ones I started today. I plan to sash these, so it will look a bit like Hole in the Barn door when they are set. They are quite a bright group, no matter what the colors look like here.

This little bitty quilt is what else I worked on today(12"x15"). I had already made the top as leaders / enders, then put a bit of border on it. I quilted it today, and put the binding and the hanging corners on by machine. I'll finish turning it one of these evenings while listening to TV.
I hope you've had a quilty day as well.