Quilt Projects

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mini Minis

List maker that I am (sorry, I cannot break the habit), I use a daily planner. This little notebook contains all kinds of notes to myself. Notations of things to be accomplished on certain days of the week each week, weekly meetings, appointments, certain days of the month that bills have to be paid, and such.

I also have a sheet at the beginning of each month on which I've written reminders of things to do that specific month. For instance, one of the things on January's page is "Order seeds for garden." One for March, "Take portable dinner up to Overlook and watch sunset." An item for July is "Remember to eat breakfast on the deck." September, "Stock up on good supply of bird seed for winter." You get the idea.

One of the notations for February is "Schedule time this month to make things that can be used for Christmas gifts." I know it's not February for a couple more days (whoops, just one more day) but I'm so far behind on January's list that I thought I'd cut my losses and get a running start on February.

A little explanation before I go on. I like to use itty-bitty quilts to decorate small areas in the house.

This one is on the side of a bookcase.

This one is above a kitchen counter, beneath an overhead cabinet.

In the winter, this one has a place on the kitchen side of a dividing half wall.

I've always liked this little quilt because it looks so cheerful in the cold, winter months.

So the idea came to me to make some others this size and style that I could perhaps give as small gifts at holiday time.

I made two of each of these pictured here, so I have four ready for next December. (They are all 4-1/2" square.)

On the back, I sewed a hanging sleeve and inserted a miniature dowel so they could easily be hung on a tiny nail.

Wow. I've actually got a few things made for Christmas of 2010! Too bad no one gave me a nudge with a cattle prod the first of January. I might have had better luck with the things on that list.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Baby Bibs

In the past I've made and sold a lot of quilted baby bibs.

This is the style I've always made before. With the bias binding extended so the bib could be tied on. (Sorry the quilting doesn't show up on any of these pictures.)

They are reversible and become softer and more absorbent the more they're washed.

Recently my daughter suggested (she's an idea-person just like her dad . . . always thinking too much . . . they drive me crazy) I revise my pattern so that the bib closed in back with either velcro or a snap. Hmm, actually a good idea. Easier on and off. (I would have thought of that sooner or later. Uh-huh, sure.)

So this is my first prototype with a snap closure. Only problem I'm having is to get the bias binding to go around the two top curved pieces smoothly enough. Not an easy job, I'm finding. (Lots of blue smoke coming out of my ears while I'm fighting with it.)

The snap closure still allows the bib to be easily reversible. No problem there. I just have to figure out a way to get the binding to go on easier (painstakingly slow to sew around those tight curves) and lay flatter without wrinkles, crinkles, tucks and bunches. I think next I might try pillowcasing it with no binding.

Back to the drawing board.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Featured Quilt of the Week - "Savannah Summer"

The contrast of the white-on-white background of this baby quilt with the rainbow of 30s reproduction fabrics makes me think of summer time and lovely warm days. Imagine spreading this quilt on the grass next to your lawn chair, stripping baby down to diaper only and letting the gentle sun warm that baby-soft skin for a short time.

The Split Rail Fence blocks set on-point led to the precise piecing that lends a crispness to the design. Straight-line quilting in the center of the quilt mirrors the block lines.

I used wavy lines for quilting in the border.

The coordinated backing makes the quilt reversible . . .

. . . and yet still offers interest and lots of color.

Just go to my website to put this darling quilt in your shopping cart.

I'd be glad to answer any questions you might have about this or any of the other quilts I have for sale on my website. Thanks for stopping by and Happy Quilting!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

When The Cat's Away . . .

. . . the mouse will play! While dear husband was off on his jaunt with men friends today, I spent a bit of time quilting.

Nothing like a little motivation to get me moving first thing this morning. I very carefully went out to do morning animal chores. I was extra cautious since I was home alone and didn't want any accidents on the ice. Before I went out, I told Zoey the Wonder Dog that if I wasn't back in in a half hour, she should dial 911. Happily, all went well.

Then I did a few other things that had to be done, and put some lentils on to simmer, made dressing for a salad, and cooked and refrigerated some vanilla pudding for tonight's dessert.

Wahoo . . . into my quilt room I went. Put on the TV and (kinda) watched skiing and figure skating while I sewed, sewed, sewed.

Here's the finished top made with the Flying Birds block. The color representation is much better than the picture I posted yesterday. I'm not a good enough photographer to figure out why the color is so bad some times and much better others. The artificial light in the room is so good. Well, for seeing, obviously. Not so much for picture taking apparently.

This quilt went together easily and I really liked working with the larger sized blocks. A good day. Why wouldn't it be? I quilted!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Big Birds

This is what is on my design wall in my quilt studio right now. That's where I want to be. In my quilt studio right now. But I have a big batch of dishes to do, Oatmeal Cookies to mix and bake, a dinner to plan, blah-blah-blah-blah. Oh, and of course, this very important blog post to get up.

This block is called Flying Birds and the finished size is 9". Wow. I haven't made that big a block in a long time. (Have I ever made that big a block?) The quilt is to be another baby quilt (what else?), and so far I'm just playing around with the blocks as I get them done, trying to figure out how I want to use them.

All the fabric is pulled out of my stash. The backing will be (as of this moment anyway) the blue in the block in the upper row, third from the left. I have three yards of it so it will be good to use some of it in this quilt. I bought the piece about a year ago online to match something else but it was just "off" enough to look awful. We all know that happens every now and then when you send your order and money out into cyberspace.

I'm going to stop now so I can get back in the kitchen to do what has to be done and then maybe have time to sneak back into the quilt studio and make some more big bird blocks.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Time Out

The center of my Grandmother's Pride block baby quilt is done along with a first border.

But this is the partially done second try at an outer border I've made today and I'm not liking it any more than the first one I did.

So I think the quilt (such as it is) is going to have to hang on the design wall for a while until the right idea comes to me. Sometimes I think either a quilt has to have a rest period, or I do. I need to give this one time to tell me what to do to finish it.

I used to get very frustrated at not being able to work a project all the way through to the end, but now know it's just a little mole hill.

Is it a mountain or a mole hill? When my husband was teaching third grade, often a little person (or group of little people) would come up to his desk crying or angry. Somebody (or more than one somebody) would be very upset. He would patiently listen to what everyone had to say and then pose the question, "Is this a mountain or a mole hill?" At the beginning of the year with a new group of kids, often they didn't understand what that meant.

As the year went on, he was always amused when a child got upset for one reason or another and before he, as the teacher, had to enter into the fray, another student would say in a very teacher-like voice, "Billy, is that a mountain or a mole hill?" And the discussion would start, the situation would be worked through and Roy never had to say one word.

So my little mole hill of a problem concerning the best outer border on this quilt is no big deal. Rather than remaining stubborn and banging my head against the design wall this afternoon, I'm going to start on another project I already have in mind. And I'm confident that if I just wait for the appropriate moment, the solution for this quilt will easily come to me.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Peek At The Latest Baby Quilt

It's funny how I can have an idea in my head of a quilt I want to make, but almost from the get-go plans get changed.

I wanted to use this fabric as the background and outer border focal fabric and imagined using it with shades of pink and purple. The purples jumped out at me immediately. Easy on that count.

What about the pinks? Let me say, I've got a fairly good stash of pinks, but do you think I could find even one piece that looked good with my focal fabric? Nope. So then I tried some greens. Ooooh, no, not at all. How about some darker yellows? That floated like a lead balloon also.

Well, why don't I use just the two purples? That idea was starting to sound very good. (Small delay in progress while I put away stacks and stacks of pink, green and yellow fabric.)

I'm using the Grandmother's Pride block and have the twelve of them that will be the center of the quilt done.

Another little change the quilt insisted upon . . . originally, I had intended to put the blocks together without sashing but once again, the picture in my mind's eye didn't match with the way the blocks looked when I got them all up on my design wall. Even though I really like this particular block, I think it needed the sashing as a frame.

So I'm in the process of adding the sashing and will try to post a picture later today (or tomorrow . . . the house has GOT to be shoveled out today) of the center completed.

Stay tuned . . .

Monday, January 18, 2010

Featured Quilt of the Week - "Barnyard Parade"

This quaint quilt (measuring 39-1/4" x 47") features strips of farm animals marching across the center of it. Cows and chickens and pigs, oh my! What young child isn't fascinated by animals early on?

When I started constructing this quilt I knew I wanted to use a pinwheel block as a border. Those whirly-twirly pinwheels remind me of the windmills
that pumped cold, fresh, clean water up to the animals on farms of days gone by.

When I was very young, one of my favorite things was to go with my grandpa on a ride out into farmland to farmer friends of his, Mr. and Mrs. Bye. There Grandpa would purchase cartons of their chickens' eggs to bring back to town and distribute to the families of his seven grown children.

In my mind, the ride down the dusty roads was always sunny, quiet and idyllic. Grandpa would point out to me all the different animals grazing in the fields, crops growing and which streams were good for fishing.

When we arrived at the farm, there was always a custard pie on the kitchen table (my grandpa's favorite) and we would sit and visit over a piece of pie and a glass of ice cold milk. Sometimes Mr. or Mrs. Bye would take me out to see a litter of new little piglets or baby chicks.

Making this quilt conjured up lots of good memories for me. I like to think that the colors I chose represent the "feel" of farm life.

Even the backing reminds me of a bale of straw. Although I can assure you the soft cotton feels nothing like the prickly straw did!

You can read more about and see other pictures of this quilt on my website,

Saturday, January 16, 2010

What Does Your Stash of Quilting Books Look Like?

I was looking at a website offering quilting books for sale and debating with myself if I really needed any more. Heaven knows, I've got enough ideas and projects already lined up to keep me busy for . . . oh say, the next 30 or 40 years.

For Christmas I got a book on free-motion quilting that I had asked for. But before that, I can't remember the last time I purchased a quilting book.

What's your criteria for buying a new book to add to your collection? Do you automatically purchase the newest publication from your favorite author/quilter? Do you buy a book for a specific pattern? Does a book need to offer several patterns you like before you invest in it?

I know I have books on my shelves that I've probably outgrown and should pass on to someone else. But they're like old friends. Paging through them brings back memories of how amateur-ish my skills were when I first got them. And yet these were the books from which I learned so much.

Do you get most of your quilting ideas from books? Or do they come from quilting magazines you subscribe to? If you think I have a lot of quilting books, you should see my collection of magazines that I just can't part with. Maybe that's a topic for another blog post!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Really Good Reference Book

Yesterday Eva wrote a comment on my post of this past Monday regarding my baby quilt, "Little Boy Blue." She noticed the corner squares in the sashing on this little quilt and wondered if there was a tutorial somewhere that would show her how to do that. I wrote back to her suggesting she could look up easy-to-follow instructions in a great reference book (her local library would probably have a copy) that I know of.

The book is (take a deep breath . . . it's a killer of a title) "The Quilters Ultimate Visual Guide from A to Z - Hundreds of Tips and Techniques for Successful Quiltmaking." Whew. The editor is Ellen Pahl, and it's put out by Rodale.

I've had my copy since l998 and use it A LOT. I don't think I've ever gone to it and not found the information I was looking for.

The text is detailed, easy to understand and the illustrations are colorful and extremely good.

It covers a wide range of quilting topics. Just opening the book randomly here on my desk:

Fusible Interfacing - How to Use for Applique, Tips for Successful Fusing, and Reversing a Pattern using Fusible Interfacing are a few of the things covered in this section.

Marking Quilt Tops - Oh, my. There are five pages on this topic. Everything you ever wanted to know . . . plus a little more!

Bindings and Other Edge Finishes - This section has ten pages and includes How to Make a Continuous Sew-and-Cut Bias Binding. I refer to this every time I make a continuous bias binding to make sure I'm doing it right. Mental block there, Mama Pea?

Cathedral Window Quilt Block - Clear instructions including excellent pictures on how to construct this (seemingly complicated) block.

The price on the back of my book is $29.95 but I just checked on Amazon and they currently list new copies from $10.99 and used from $9.05. Well worth the investment in my estimation.

The book is so well done that I've sat down with it of an evening and read parts of it like a novel . . . and I always learn something new!

If this piques your interest, as I suggested to Eva, you could check out a copy at your local library before deciding if you wanted to purchase a copy of your own.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Winter Tablecloth Completed

I just put up a blog post over on A Home Grown Journal telling about how my husband forcibly locked me in my quilt studio for the whole day yesterday. And how profitable it was. I finished the was-really-a-Christmas-tree-skirt-but-now-is-a-winter-tablecloth-quilt.

Here it is on my design wall. All done. Quilted and bound. I used Thermore for batting which is super-thin and drapes nicely.

I had a big hunk of blue print fabric that I've been wondering if I would ever use that I thought would be a good match for the backing. I still have that big hunk of blue print fabric that I'm wondering if I will ever use . . . because it wasn't a good match at all. I ended up using a nice white on white which is probably more appropriate anyway.

I didn't know exactly how the different shape of the quilt, which I really, really like, would fit on our little kitchen table, but it's just fine.

Now the first guy who knocks over a glass of red wine on it is in BIG trouble!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Featured Quilt of the Week - "Little Boy Blue"

I don't know what the statistics have been in your neck of the woods, but we've had a preponderance of girl babies born for ever so long among the births of family and friends. As they say, must be something in the water!

However, if you DO know of a male child that has been born and would like a handmade baby quilt, this might be the one for you.

Bold blocks outlined in white sashing with multi-colored corner squares. Perfect for that new little boy.

This quilt is square in size, 39" x 39", and has a piano-key border.

I quilted it with straight lines (tending more toward masculine than feminine, I thought) that show up nicely on the predominantly blue backing.

My preference is to make quilts that don't specifically say "boy" or "girl" but I have to admit that all the time I was constructing this one, I was imagining it as belonging to and keeping a little boy baby warm.

However, if this trend of female babies popping out continues, maybe I SHOULD pull out my stash of pinks and indulge in a couple of strictly "For Baby Girls Only" quilts!

You can read more about this quilt (and see more pictures) along with others I have for sale on my quilt website. Feel free to contact me at mamapea@mamapeaquilts.com if you should ever have any questions about any of my quilts.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Snowman Door Hanger

I thought you might like seeing this quilt-y snowman I made a couple of years ago.

After the Christmas decorations get packed away, I have a small snowman collection that I put out for a month or so. When I saw the pattern for this snowman door hanger, I thought he would fit right in with my other snowman decorations.

The pattern was in the December, 2006, issue of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine.

I've always planned to make more of them to give as gifts at holiday time, but haven't yet quite gotten around to doing so.

There's always next year. My quilt "To Do" list really could use a few more items on it. (That was a joke.)

Friday, January 8, 2010


That was a primal scream of frustration escaping my delicate, little, lady-like lips. Boy, there be a big, black cloud over our house lately. Both hubby and I are having another rough day. Nuthin' is going right, it's now 7 p.m. and neither of us feel we've gotten diddly-squat done today. Lots of good intentioned starts ending quickly and abruptly with our heads making contact with the old brick wall . . . boink!

Now that my computer is back up and running, we're having trouble with our high-speed satellite connection. Then two and a half hours ago when I first tried to get this post up, I found two glitches in the blog program. Lucky for me, my sick daughter/blog administrator was able to help me via e-mail to get them straightened out. More fun and games to keep us on our toes.

But I shall refrain from carrying on like a spoiled brat. Neither Roy nor I is suffering from the scads of germs that seem to be knocking down friends and family like so many bowling pins. Chicken Mama (our daughter) has been laid low (poor baby, and she's out of kleenex, too) and some schools in our nearest city have had to close because they've lost more than half their teaching staffs to colds, flus, and other mysterious maladies.

Nor have we fallen and done serious injury to any body parts on the glare ice that surrounds us. There is ice EVERYWHERE. Unless we get an appreciable amount of snow, the ice is going to be with us until spring. (Oh, horrible thought.) It is truly dangerous to drive or walk anywhere.

So I'm going to pack an overnight bag with my jammies and go to my quilt studio. No, wait. I don't have to do that. I have a bedroom and quilt studio both within the walls of the house. Why am I complaining about anything? I'll just go quilt until this black cloud moves on. (Dream on, Mama Pea, dream on.)

But I have gotten some quilting done in the last week or so when I was disconnected from my blogging by my ailing computer.

This is going to be a tablecloth to use in the winter time. Like now. As soon as I get it finished. It's going on the table.

I really like using a quilted tablecloth but I've realized I don't have one that doesn't have a flower motif. (WHAT was I thinking?!) Somehow, a tablecloth that shouts, "Spring! Summer! Flowers! Tra-La!" doesn't do it for me in January.

Connecting Threads had a really good sale before Christmas and advertised this kit. It was a Christmas tree skirt. I ordered it (under $16), made a couple of little adjustments, and it's going to be a great tablecloth to use in the winter months.

Different shape, I know, but I think that just adds to the attractiveness of it. I'll be sure to post another picture the first time I use it on the table.

I wanted to have this post up first thing this morning but, as I (complained) said, I just couldn't get to it until now. Better late than never.

It's great to be blogging again!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

When Technology Goes Belly-Up

Mama Pea's daughter / web administrator here.

Mom's computer went belly-up last week, and I soon discovered that the required repair was far beyond my capabilities. So, off it went to the PC doctor.

The old beast came home late yesterday (the computer, that is, not Mama Pea!), and she tried to catch up for a couple of hours last night . . . planning to return to posting today.

Unfortunately, with the cold dawn this morning came the same problems, and so your favorite blogging quilter (quilting blogger?) is out of commission yet again.

She's tearing her hair out in frustration, so I KNOW she'll be back here just as soon as humanly (technologically!) possible.

Thanks for being patient.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Featured Quilt of the Week - "Baby's Beach Blanket"

This is one heckuva time of the year to be featuring a baby quilt with this particular name! Here in northeastern Minnesota it is currently -10° as I write this. Perhaps I should temporarily rename the quilt "Baby's Close-to-the-Heat-Source Blanket."

Regardless of what we choose to call it, this is a very colorful quilt, and I remember the fun I had selecting the fabrics that resulted in this great scrappy look.

The measurements are 37-1/2 x 43", and I quilted it using diagonal cross-hatching with wavy lines in the borders.

The backing fabric is a rich yellow-gold with small red and blue flower heads.

Where did the design for this quilt come from? Well, I have a favorite book called "Around the Block Again, More Rotary-Cut Blocks from Judy Hopkins." It contains instructions for making a myriad of blocks (about 200 of them) in many different sizes, from 4" to 14". Because I really enjoy working with the old, traditional block patterns, I use this book a lot. In it I found the block I used in "Baby's Beach Blanket." It's a simple one called "The Friendship Quilt" block. Most likely, the block was first designed so that the women involved in making the quilt could sign their names in the blank center square with perhaps a message for the intended recipient of the quilt.

But just look at the interesting things that happen when you line several of the blocks up horizontally and vertically. New designs are formed six ways to Sunday! What fun and eye appeal.

So whether this baby quilt is spread on a warm, sandy beach for a little one to play on or whether it's main purpose is to be wrapped around a wee babe to ward of winter's chill, it will do the job quite adequately . . . and maybe even become a treasured possession to be passed on down to a younger sibling in the future. Nothing would make me happier!

You can read more about this quilt and others I have for sale on my website,
Mama Pea Quilts - Handmade Baby Quilts.

Hope you all have a good week!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I Stole A Good Idea

A couple of weeks back, my good blogging friend, Beth, over at Love Laugh Quilt, blogged about a cute little quilt she made for hanging on a cupboard handle, or door knob, or some such place for decoration. She had used Christmas fabric and was giving the tiny quilt as a gift.

I've always liked using small, miniature quilts as decorations throughout the house and commented to Beth on what a clever idea hers was for a Christmas gift.

Bless her little, ol' quiltin' heart, a short time later I received an envelope in the mail stuffed with leftover fabrics from her mini quilt project.

I purposefully kept myself from referring back to her post (dated December 14th) for fear I would blatantly copy her too closely.

These are the two little quilts I came up with.

This one measures 8" x 9-3/4"

I had to dig in my stash for the outer border and binding on this one.

Seven and a quarter inches square is what this one measures.

The binding is the only fabric from my stash.

I still have enough focus fabric to squeeze one or possibly two more minis out of it and would like to do so. They were fun to make. (I.e., how to start and finish a quilt in a couple of hours!)

Mine got made too late (obviously) for giving this Christmas . . . but thanks to you, Beth, I've got a running start on next year. Thanks for sharing your idea . . . and fabric!

P.S. I mentioned a day or so ago on my other blog that I was having trouble getting into my e-mail program. Apparently it has been corrupted (whatever the heck that means!) and it's still not working. So if you've sent me a message and haven't heard back, please be patient. If all goes well, I should (eventually) be able to get my messages and reply. (I'm just so thankful all other programs are working!)