Getting back to retirement, my scrappy diamond quilt pattern

After being retired for about 15 months, I took a job. It was just a temporary job, just going to last a month. Three months later, I’m finally retired again, until July for a month. So today I slept in, til 7 a.m. Took the dog for a walk at 8 a.m. and worked on my tan at the same time (I live in AZ so walking early can get you a tan but not a burn). I bought a bunch of graphics from two sites since I’ve gotten into vinyl and sublimation, ran errands, finally sent a baby present to my niece, and got back in time for my granddaughter to take my car so she could go to work.

So this afternoon I got into the groove. Finished and trimmed down 48 blocks for my scrappy diamond quilt. I’m now just about out of 1.5 inch strips, hooray!

Tomorrow, sublimation!

Instructions (for confident quilters and up):

  1. Cut a bunch of 6.5 inch squares. I use white, but have also used black. You want to have contrast between the squares and the strips.
  2. Mark your squares with two diagonal lines, one down the center, and one 2 inches from the center.
  3. Cut a gazillion 1.5 inch strips. You don’t have to make this a genuine “charm” quilt, but having lots of variety is good. Hint: make this with friends and exchange strips for greater variety.
  4. Using the “flip and sew” method, align the first strip along the edge of the center diagonal and stitch using a 1/4 inch seam. If your center diagonal line goes from lower left to upper right, you want to put the strip to the right of the line. For the second shorter diagonal line, you line the strip to the left of the line. Confused? The end result is that when you flip the seams over and press them away from each other, there will be about 2 inches of background fabric between the strips.
  5. Continue sewing strips and flipping them. Each block will have 8 strips; 5 on the larger side and 3 on the smaller side.
  6. Once the blocks are done, you will trim them down to 6.5×6.5 inches.
  7. Remember, this is a totally scrappy quilt and your strips will not totally match. Don’t be concerned, this is normal.
  8. Arrange the blocks so that the larger blocks match. As you put together your rows, you will see that you have alternating  rows of larger diamonds and smaller diamonds. Stitch them together. This is where the magic begins.
  9. Add your sashing if desired.
  10. Borders using a fantastic batik will make the quilt pop.
  11. 36 blocks will be 36×36 inches before sashing and borders. 48 blocks (6×8) will be 36×48 before sashing and borders.
  12. Quilt as desired. (Don’t you just love this phrase?)
  13. Enjoy!

Wedding quilt signed, sealed, and delivered

The quilt looked wonderfu, and was mailed to the wedding couple a week or so ago. They loved it! Which is a good thing because then they would have had to send it back to me and only get a check for the wedding instead! The wedding is this weekend, and from what I understand, there were be about 200 people. Can’t wait to go. Doing my Mom’s laundry now so she has something to pack!

Wedding quilt part 2

I finally finished the body of the quilt; just need to add borders. I’m only a month or so behind, but with temperatures hovering at around 108 degrees, I run out of energy quickly. Plus the quilt is getting bulky at this size. I can’t wait to take it to get quilted, will be doing lots of feathers on it.

Pictures to follow.

I wonder if this post is short enough to be a twitter.

The Wedding Quilt, episode 1

I spent most of Sunday working on the wedding quilt for my niece Kelly, or should I really say my future nephew to be. When they last visited me, Nick looked through my quilt books and asked if I could make a quilt with flags because he is very patriotic. Well, time has passed, the wedding is in five months. That means that I have to have it finished by the end of May if I want to have it back from the long-arm quilter by the end of August. I’ll probably be hand stitching the binding while I’m on the plane going back East.

So how did I find a flag pattern? He liked the quilts by Judy Martin. Of course he did–all those little pieces and diagonal seams. So lots of time was spent going through all my books and magazines. Judy’s quilts were the best looking but I kept on searching. While I love stars, I don’t like flags. That may have been one of the reasons I’ve gotten such a late start. I finally decided on a star quilt by Patrick Lose, even got the fabric from his shop in Phoenix. I was all set—until I saw that the stars were done with templates and not paper pieced. Another dead end. Not all was lost. I had added, one again, to my fabric stash. There’s always a siver lining!

I was about to give up when I got my latest issue of Quiltmaker. There, on page 57, was THE QUILT! Titled “Star Gazing”, it had lots of big stars (flight or forty), half log cabins that could be made in red and blue for the flags. It was great! Could it be any better? I guess it could be smaller- 90″x108″.

But wait, there’s more! I am able to use my stash for the entire front of the quilt! Life is grand. Life is wonderful! What could go wrong?

Well, Easter Sunday evening, after I had dropped Mom off at her retirement home, I decided I had time to work on the half finished 24 red and blue log cabin blocks. Chainstitching the strips, I was on block 20 when I noticed something didn’t look right. I had sewn 20 strips on the wrong side of the block! I decided it was time to turn off the machine and go to bed.

Blogging or stitching?

Since I last wrote, I have made some progress, but not intentionally! I had bought some more designs, this time from, and stitched out a test copy. Here’s where I almost pulled my hair out.

This was a very cute design, the letter “M”, lots of retro dots around the “M”, and then “mike” spelled out in small letters. The plan was to stitch it out on a beer kozie for my honey. However, the tension on the machine was terrible and the red thread kept breaking. Of course, for the last five projects, there had never been a problem with the red thread.

So, I decided on Saturday I would take the commercial embroidery machine to the dealership to get fixed. That led to my having to clear a pathway to get the machine to, and through, the bedroom door. I just pushed stuff out of the way to move the machine, and finally finished cleaning the sewing room by 5pm Sunday. I had forgotten how big the room was!

Of course, a lot of stuff, including 3 huge bags of quilting scraps are in the 2nd sewing room where I have my long arm quilting machine, but hey, progress is progress! AND…I have not bought any fabric for five days! If you’re addicted to fabric, like I am, you know what an accomplishment this is.

I also finished a quilt, took photos of it for, listed several items, and stitched out a bib. My goals this week are to participate in the Postaweek2011 challenge at WordPress, finish more stuff, and maybe start on the second bedroom. But I won’t hold my breath!

See you soon!

Mama always said…

One of my mother’s favorite sayings is  “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without!”

She goes as far as saying that this has been our family’s motto for generations.

Be that as it may, I’m going to take it to heart for the coming year and try to:

1. Use up my existing fabric stash and stitch out the thousands of embroidery designs I’ve bought over the past few years. (I’m not kidding about “thousands”)

2. Doing that will certainly wear out both of my current machines, a Bernina 630 embroidery machine and a Brother PR620 embroidery singe head six needle machine. (I’ll be reduced to using my Pfaff 7570 and my Singer from 1969.)

3. Doing the stitching on all the blank totes and apparel I’ve bought over the past year will hopefully use up my inventory and give me something that will sell at the metro Phoenix area craft shows.

4. Do without any major new fabric this year. Of course, this does not include backing fabric!

So, join me on my journey through my stash. I’ll be sharing pics of projects, quilt tops, stitched out embroidery designs, providing ideas for making use of your stash, and how to use a variety of embellishments to give your apparel that special flair.

Welcome, and come again!