I realized recently that when the longarm machine was new to me, I tried more difficult quilting designs than I’ve done in the past two or three years. I’ve opted for quick-and-easy quilting more often than not. In truth, medallion quilts often are so complex in design that fancy quilting gets lost, anyway. So there is some reason to simply add texture and not another layer of design. Also, I don’t like heavy quilting in general. But partly it’s just because that step in quilt-making is not my favorite, so I don’t make a lot of effort.

However, once I realized that, I decided to make a little more effort with my next project. Here is the result. This is the back of the leftovers quilt, shot in low light to show the relief.

Turned out okay.:)


A few weeks ago I showed you a preview of a quilt in process.


It was a wedding gift for a friend who has an interesting story, and now that the wedding has occurred and the present opened, I can tell you more about it.

The friend, who I’ll call “JM,” retired a couple of years ago from his many years as a clergyman. Long ago in another life he fell in love. But times were different, and he felt called in a conflicting direction, as well. With some initial regret he put his feelings of love behind him and entered the priesthood. He served loyally and joyfully, ultimately trading his church duties for leading a social service agency. And finally funding for the agency was depleted and he retired.

About the same time, by chance, he met again his love from so long ago. They found there was still a connection and fell in love again. Earlier this month, they married.

Jim and I made a quilt for them to celebrate the new beginning to their lives. I named the quilt “Reconnected.” It suits both their story, as well as the format of the quilt.

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Not quite a row quilt and not quite a block-format quilt, the sashing links alternate rows together. I found the inspiration for the quilt from the blog jmn creative endeavours. The blogger (named “Judith” I think) was very kind to let me use her layout, a version of which she had seen elsewhere.

As I said, Jim and I made this together. He helped with both sewing the framed blocks and with quilting. He also chose the border fabric, which is also used on the back, and he suggested the color for the binding. We used 5″ cut squares for the center patches. They are framed with 1″ finish strips, for 6.5″ finish blocks. The linking/sashing strips also are 1″ finish. The finished size of the quilt is something like 55″ x 68″. It’s a good size for a couch throw.


Leftovers ==> Donation Quilt

I have the quilt top done, having found just the right border fabric in my stash. The background of it is blue with a touch of green, making it work well with the blues in the centers of the blocks. The olive green leaves add to that match. Also there are orangey-gold star-shaped flowers, which repeat the cheddar orange in the blocks.

I cut the available yard of border fabric into six strips, each 6″ wide. I pieced them into the four border strips needed. The top finishes at about 53″ square. It’s a nice size for a lap quilt. I’ll donate it through my guild and it might become a donation for our local VA hospital.


This might give you a better idea of the colors:


I also pulled a bunch of fabrics from my brown stash to piece for the back. I have blues to mix in to brighten it.

Son is gone already. We had him here for a whole 49 hours. It was too little but we take what we can get. Next week he deploys overseas for the summer. I am feeling pretty sad, to tell the truth. But that is the way of things, yes?


I Love Leftovers!

I’ve finished the top of my new medallion, and I have a name for it: Moonlight Waltz.  No pictures are ready yet and won’t be for a few days. In the meantime I want to share a new project made of leftovers.

It often happens that I build blocks for a border that won’t work. It’s been a long time since that upset me, as I know those leftover blocks will come in handy somewhere else. (Okay, every now and then a few find their way to the trash, just like tidbits from my refrigerator. But I am GOOD at making soup, and I’m pretty good at using orphan blocks, too.)

For Moonlight Waltz, I made 25 6″ puss-in-the-corner blocks. They are simple in design and can look clean and elegant. However, my fussy fabrics and odd color combination hit every note wrong. Instead of them (and all the alternate blocks I hadn’t yet made,) I used the flying geese border.

I had several choices for layout of these 6″ blocks. Here are some of them:
* straight setting, no alternate blocks, no sashing
* straight setting, no alternate blocks with sashing
* straight setting with alternate blocks, no sashing
* on-point setting with alternate blocks, no sashing
* on-point setting with alternate blocks and with sashing

The blocks are not suited to being set side-by-side, which means alternate blocks and/or sashing is needed. Adding only sashing would create a quilt center a little too small, so alternate blocks are needed. And honestly I didn’t even consider using a straight setting with alternate blocks. On-point setting was my initial reaction and decision.

Using a 6″ block on point, in a 5 x 5 layout, makes a center that is 42.5″ finished. (That is 6″ x 1.414 x 5 = 42.4″. With trimming the edges barely wide it will finish at 42.5″.) With borders it will be about 50″ square.

This morning I arranged the blocks on the floor in an on-point layout. Once they were spread out, I noticed the eight square-in-a-square blocks leftover from the last pieced border. They finish at 4″. I spread them out within the design. !!! That’s not bad! I had already cut two long strips of toile to use for alternate blocks, so cut the remaining of those needed from one strip. The other strip I cut into framing strips for the square-in-a-square blocks, to bring them up to size.



Finally I cut four large squares of toile to create side setting triangles. I still need to cut the corner setting triangles.

The whole thing is ready to sew into a quilt center. I have other leftovers (fabric, not blocks) to use for borders.

With a little luck on sewing time, the quilt top will be done by the end of the weekend. However first priority today and tomorrow is spending time with my son, home for a couple days of leave.


Rings of Love

This week Facebook brought me a reminder of a post from four years ago. It was a picture of a finished quilt top. This is what I wrote in Facebook about it at the time:

I never cried on finishing a top before. This was not fun. But it is pretty awesome and will be moreso once finished.

That gives you a tiny peek into my mind at the moment. In fact it was a very bad time in my life, and I cried most days, so crying about finishing the top wasn’t very surprising.

The name of the quilt is “Rings of Love.” It is 69″ square, red on bright white. The name of the block is “Crown of Thorns,” or alternately known as “Wedding Ring.” There are 41 pieces per block, and 20 blocks. I have no idea how many half-square triangles there are in the borders. Though the block is traditional, the design layout is my own. I created heart shapes with sets of three blocks, to emphasize the them of love.

And to show a little more detail on the quilting

It’s nice to remember that even a time so awful could produce something so lovely. Even more wonderful, my dear friend Melody “purchased” it, with funds that went directly to our nearest food pantry. The price she paid helped to buy more than 3,000 meals.

This spring Melody’s daughter got married, and Melody gave it to her daughter and son-in-law. The celebration of love was also a celebration of life; as a family they have recently endured daughter’s ordeal with breast cancer.

When I named this quilt I thought about how good marriages are not just about two people, but also about those who stand with them and support them. Similarly, good communities require rings of love. We stand encircling each other, supporting each other, holding each other up in love. This quilt represents a lot of love, a lot of strength, a lot of sharing. It makes me proud to have made it.