Category Archives: family

Going Places

Happy first day of December! I’m just popping in to tell you that Diane’s Car Quilt has a new and improved name:

After seeing my post of November 25 with pictures of Diane’s finished quilt, I heard from Sandy P., a mutual friend of Diane’s and mine. Sandy said she liked the way the Flying Geese look like arrows pointing in different directions and suggested Going Places as a possible name. How clever of Sandy! It’s the perfect name for a car quilt, yes?

 

 

 

Posted in family, quilt labels, tutorial, update | 2 Comments

Disaster Averted!

I ended my last post with the breezy statement that after binding and labeling Diane’s Car Quilt, I was going to pop it into the washer and dryer to achieve that soft crinkly effect. Little did I know what was in store. . .

Into the washing machine the quilt went with a few clean rags to even out the load and a couple of Color Catchers, those ingenious paper-like squares that trap excess dyes in the wash water. I washed the quilt in cold water on a delicate cycle, something I have done many times with other quilts being washed for the first time. Imagine my shock and disbelief when I pulled the quilt out of the washing machine and saw blotches of red and blue all over the yellow fabric. My quilt — excuse me, Diane’s quilt — had bled! The dyes had even traveled through the batting to the quilt back.

Diane and I were in a panic. I’m one of those quiltmakers who wash and iron all of their fabrics before cutting into them. How did this happen? I have a theory, which I will tell you about shortly. Our first course of action was to spray Shout, a laundry stain remover, on all of the offending places. We filled the stationary tub next to the washing machine with cold water, plunged the quilt in, and let it soak. While that was happening, I started searching the Internet for remedies.

I remembered reading about quilt bleeding before and recalled that Dawn dishwashing liquid was involved in solving the problem. Sure enough, I found several references. There were variations in the approach but most recommended soaking the quilt in hot water with Dawn.

We washed the quilt again in cold water to remove the Shout. I wish I could say it came out perfectly but it didn’t. It was definitely better but there were still offending blotches all over the quilt. This time I applied Dawn liberally to each remaining blotch, filled the stationary tub with warm water, and put the quilt back in to soak. I just couldn’t bring myself to use hot water as most sites recommended.

Fast forward to a happy ending. After a soak in the warm water and one more trip through the washer using warm water, the quilt came out with nary a bleed spot in sight. Whew! Into the dryer it went, and it dried beautifully. It did shrink a bit more than I expected, finishing at 40½” square.

So . . . this is what I think happened:  my washing machine is the kind that adjusts the water level to the size of the load. First it releases a little water into the drum, spins the load a bit, adds more water, spins again, and finally lets the remaining water in before the agitation begins. I think the bleeding happened in the initial stages of the water filling the drum, when the fabrics in the quilt were only slightly wet and were rubbing against each other as the load was spinning.

It didn’t occur to me to take photos of the bleeding for my blog. I was totally fixated on trying to eliminate the blotches. You can bet that the next time I wash a quilt, I will immerse it in water in the stationary tub first and transfer it to the washing machine while it’s soaking wet.

And now I am both relieved and delighted to show you my sister’s freshly laundered car quilt. As you can see, Coco has claimed it, albeit temporarily. Notice not one but two proprietary paws:

All’s well that ends well!

 

 

 

Posted in cats, family, update | 11 Comments

It’s A Wrap: Diane’s Car Quilt

Finally! My sister Diane’s car quilt is bound and labeled. I wasn’t able to come up with a clever name for the quilt but Diane is quite content to have it identified as her car quilt. Here’s a look at the front so you can see how nicely the ½”-wide binding frames the quilt:

Diane’s Car Quilt, 42″ Square (2023)

Here’s a look at the back:

The blue and yellow prints pulled from my stash work very well with the French provincial border fabric on the front.

Here’s a close-up of my signature round label:

It was made using a compact disc as a pattern. You can find my picture-heavy tutorial on that method right here.

A couple of you asked about the pattern. I didn’t use a pattern; I designed this very simple quilt for a beginning quiltmaking class and it became my class sample. I started with alternating Nine-Patch and Rail Fence blocks. The blocks finish at 6″ square so the strips were cut 2½” wide for both blocks. Then, to give my students some additional options, I replaced some of the blocks with Flying Geese units; two units make a block that finishes at 6″ square.

This is the initial design rendered in the software program EQ7 and colored to match the palette of Diane’s quilt:

If you look carefully at the center of the quilt, you’ll see that the center block is a simple Nine-Patch. Notice that the corners of the block are navy blue. The addition of navy and yellow Flying Geese units around the center block creates the illusion of a navy diamond. I really like the effect and feel that it adds visual interest. With the right combination of fabrics, even a simple design like this can make a quilt sing.

If there is interest, I will write up my measurements and directions in a future post. The priority now, though, is to pop Diane’s Car Quilt into the washing machine and dryer for that wonderful crinkly effect.

 

 

 

Posted in family, quilt labels, Quiltmaking 101, tutorial, update | 4 Comments

First Glimpse of Diane’s Car Quilt

I was so excited to pick up my sister Diane’s car quilt today from my longarm quilter that I took this photo in my car with the quilt on my lap!

Here’s a look at the whole quilt after I got it home and trimmed it:

I made this 42″-square quilt top as a class sample back in 2017 when I was teaching a beginning quiltmaking class (“Quiltmaking 101”) at the Pine Needle Quilt Shop. The top hung in the closet of my sewing room until I pulled it out recently after realizing it would make a lovely car quilt for my twin, matching her blue Subaru Forester. (A couple of years ago I made a car quilt for my own Subaru Forester that I wrote about here.)

In choosing an edge-to-edge quilt motif for Diane’s quilt, I was looking for something with curves to soften all those straight lines. I also wanted a rather simple design so as not to compete with the gorgeous French provincial print in the border. Karlee of SewInspired2Day suggested a whimsical loopy design called Ginger Snap by Urban Elementz that fills the bill perfectly.

Here are a couple of close-ups:

I am really enjoying the texture the quilting adds to the quilt and the way the pale yellow thread stands out on the navy fabric and blends with all the other fabrics.

In the photo below you can see the two fabrics I pulled from my stash to make a simple pieced back:

The plan is to bind the quilt with the same navy used in the interior and to make it finish at 1/2″-wide rather than the 1/4″ finished width I normally use. I think it will frame the quilt very nicely.

 

 

 

Posted in family, Quiltmaking 101, update | 8 Comments

Whale Watching

This might just be the world’s smallest valance! The window it’s made for — the guest bathroom in my stepmother Shirley’s home — is only 12¼” wide so the spring tension rod inside the valance is set for that width. The valance itself is 8¾” long.

I just mailed the valance off to Shirley in Bend, Oregon and will wait for her to send me a photo of how it looks before I make simple ruffled valances (out of a different fabric) for the two windows in Shirley’s master bath. The fabric for this one is from the “Icy World” line designed by Gareth Lucas for Windham Fabrics.

Other fabrics from “Icy World” starred (literally!) in my Arctic Stars quilt finished last December. I’d not seen this particular print from the line until my sister Diane and I spotted it at the Quilt Basket on our trip to Bend in August and decided it would be perfect for Shirley’s guest bath.

We’ve gone quite a bit inland for whale watching!

 

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, update, vintage quilts | 2 Comments

Another Home Dec Project Completed . . .

. . . and would you believe it took two years? I’m rather embarrassed to admit it took so long but the posts on my blog detailing the process leave no doubt. It was in the fall of 2021 that my stepmother Shirley asked if I would make valances for the three living room windows in her home in Bend. She had just bought new furniture and was looking for valances that would complement her upholstered couch. Here’s a look at one of the completed valances against the couch fabric:

Back in 2021 Shirley and I looked at valances online and I sketched out our shared vision: tailored valances with inverted pleats in the center and each end, to be mounted on wide-pocket wraparound curtain rods:

By the fall of 2022 the valances were made and ready to hang , , ,

. . . but the trip from Portland to Bend to install them was postponed when the Dear Husband and I came down with Covid. Our cases were mild and we recovered quickly but by then road conditions between western and central Oregon — snow and ice in the passes — forced the decision to wait until spring. Due to a scheduling snafu on my part, the spring trip to Bend didn’t happen until summer (as in last week). Shirley’s grandson Scott (my nephew) drove up from southern Oregon to install the curtain rods; that guy is a keeper!

This is the valance on the front window . . .

. . . and these are the ones on the other side of the room:

Underneath the valances are cellular shades, also called accordion blinds, that can be lowered depending on the location of the sun. This next shot shows the front window with the shade lowered against the morning sun:

Did you happen to notice that my original sketch didn’t include buttons at the top of each pleat? They were an afterthought — and they were by far the hardest part of the project! The buttons are curved metal discs with teeth on the inside to grip the valance fabric, which is cut in circles and then wrapped tightly and smoothly around the discs:

The decorator fabric is quite stiff and also ravels easily so I used pinking shears to cut out the circles. It was a battle getting each fabric circle neatly around a disc. I’m afraid I used some unpardonable language getting those buttons covered. (The DH was in earshot and can attest to that.) Each valance has three buttons. That makes nine of them (eleven if you count the two I ruined).

But all’s well that ends well. Shirley and I are both delighted with how well the valances turned out. It makes me so happy I could fulfill her wish for new window treatments.

 

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, update, valance | 6 Comments

Home Dec Duo

I’m taking advantage of my twin sister’s visit to spruce up the Portland White House. A few years ago I helped Diane recover her dining room chairs and now she’s returning the favor. I actually found the perfect fabric on my last trip to Georgia to visit her: a four-yard remnant of a beautiful “high performance” fabric, more than enough to cover six chairs. The beauty of having extra fabric is that there’s plenty to make new covers should the need arise.

In the photo above you can see a piece of the new fabric artfully draped over a chair to cover the stains and worn spots. Here’s a close-up of the fabric:

Isn’t it gorgeous? I love the subtle diamond design.

The chairs are part of an antique dining room set the Dear Husband and I bought 25 or 30 years ago. I had the chairs recovered professionally at the time. The upholsterer did such a good job that all Diane and I needed to do was cover the existing chair pads — no need to remove the old covers and dig out all those staples. An excellent DIY project but a two-person job for sure.

I started by making a freezer paper pattern, tracing around an existing chair pad for the shape and adding about 3½” extra to wrap the fabric around to the back:

Five of the six chairs have no arms; the sixth is the one in the first picture, the one I think of as the Papa Bear chair because it’s a couple inches wider and an inch longer than the other ones. After cutting fabric for the five armless chairs, I sliced the pattern to add the extra width and length for the Papa Bear chair:


Now take a look at the finished product:

Pretty nice, eh?

Here’s a look at one of the armless chairs:

I really loved the old fabric on the chairs but I must confess the new fabric looks a bit more luxurious:

As Diane would say, “Simply elegant and elegantly simple!”

 

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, update | 8 Comments

Chic Diamonds Revisited

What have we here? Another new project, I rather sheepishly confess. Even though I don’t gravitate toward pre-cuts, I recently bought a set of 40 2½” strips of Northcott’s new fabric line called “Morning Light” and started casting around for a good pattern to show off the line’s vivid greens, turquoises, and blues.

Then it occurred to me I already had the perfect pattern! Back in 2016 I made a quilt I named Dragonfly Kisses:

The quilt is a simplified version of the pattern Chic Diamonds by Sew Kind of Wonderful, creator of the Quick Curve Ruler:

Here’s how I described my pared down approach in 2016 to Sew Kind of Wonderful’s design:

“Chic Diamonds was designed as a jelly-roll friendly pattern, since the pointed pieces (I call them blades) are made from 2½” strips that are sewn in pairs and then trimmed using the Quick Curve Ruler. Triangles cut from the strip pairs are saved and used in each block. Six blocks in the design are intentionally left blank as a design element, perhaps to give the eye a place to rest.

“I decided early on not to use all the triangles, wanting to make my quilt less busy so a viewer’s eyes would be drawn to the X blocks (the kisses). I used only 20 triangles rather than the 240 called for in the pattern. And I put my triangles in the middle of the blank blocks rather than in the blocks with the blades. (Thanks to my friend Deborah for giving me that idea.) I like to think those triangles form the “chic diamonds” in my quilt.

“The original design uses a 6 x 6 setting, finishing 54″ square. I went with a 5 x 6 setting using five blank blocks instead of six. I like the asymmetry of the look. And I added a narrow border of background fabric to float the outer blocks a bit, giving a bit more airiness to the design and making the top slightly bigger.”

The fabric line in my first version featured dragonflies and the X of the block made the kisses, hence the name. I gave Dragonfly Kisses to a family member during our holiday gift exchange in 2016. At the time I wrote on my blog that I enjoyed making the quilt so much I would make it again if the right fabrics came along. I wasn’t planning on using the same fabric palette but you can see that I gravitated right back to it with these Northcott prints. I even sourced the same background fabric, “Shadowplay” by Maywood in pale mint.

I predict I will enjoy making this second version every bit as much as I did the first.

 

 

 

Posted in family, Quick Curve Ruler, update | 3 Comments

It’s a Wrap: Vintage Vignettes

Hooray, my Vintage Vignettes quilt is done. I finished binding it last week on a short but sweet road trip with the Dear Husband to Walla Walla, Washington (and added the label yesterday).

These next few photos were taken in Walla Walla’s tranquil Pioneer Park:

Doesn’t that dappled sunlight give the quilt a lovely glow?

You may remember I acquired the unfinished quilt top by an unknown maker last August at my quilt guild’s annual silent auction . . .

. . . only to discover later that my dear friend Vivienne Moore had pieced these blocks about 20 years ago. She donated the top to the Metropolitan Patchwork Society auction through a friend who also belongs to the guild.

Lucky for me, Viv had a piece of that lavender sashing fabric in her stash that enabled me to complete the first border as it would have been impossible to match. I added a wide floral border using a ’30s reproduction fabric that played very nicely with the fabrics in Viv’s blocks. Here’s a photo of the finished quilt taken in the same spot:

Another friend who had inherited a large stash of ’30s repro fabric gave me a piece of solid medium blue to use for the binding after I had visited several local quilt shops without finding a suitable shade.

The label, outlined in the same blue, identifies Vivienne as the maker of the blocks:

It wouldn’t be a photoshoot without Coco the Photobomber making an appearance, right?

I’ll be back with a few more photos after Vintage Vignettes takes a trip through the washer and dryer. You know how I love the puckery softness that laundering gives a quilt!

 

 

 

Posted in '30s reproduction fabrics, cats, family, Metropolitan Patchwork Society, quilt labels, update, vintage quilts | 7 Comments

In the Home Stretch

I’ve rounded third base and am headed for home on the binding of my Vintage Vignettes quilt:

A few minutes here, a few minutes there. It adds up. You may be able to tell from the photo that my binding is wider than usual. I typically make my binding to finish at 1/4″ but I went for 1/2″ finished on this one.

Check out this sweet treat, a little macaron holding my needle in its magnetic grip:

I have a terrible time keeping track of my needle between binding sprints as I tend to set it down on a flat surface or insert it in the border of the quilt and then lose it somehow. The macaron is so cute it makes me want to reach for it instead.

Made by Clover, the macaron is a needle sharpener as well as a magnet. The “filling” is some substance that sharpens the tip of the needle when it’s inserted between the top and bottom of the macaron. I never knew hand-sewing needles needed to be sharpened; did you?

I found this little gem at my local quilt shop but if yours doesn’t carry it you can google “clover sweet n sharp macaron” and be able to find it online. It comes in two flavors: raspberry, which is what I have, and pistachio, which is more aqua than green. Get one for yourself and one for a friend or family member who sews. That’s what I did. Sweet treats are meant to be shared.

 

 

 

Posted in '30s reproduction fabrics, family, update, vintage quilts | 9 Comments