Tag Archives: Friendship

So Incredibly Generous

The other day I showed you my newest project, the Mountain. When I showed it, a blog friend offered to send me some fabric she purchased. She said it was too beautiful not to buy, but she didn’t know how she would ever use it. She guessed she must have bought it for me.

We had our mail held while we were out of the country for several days, and it was finally delivered today. This came. It is so beautiful. Believe me the picture can’t capture the colors. The subtlety of orange, the shimmer of gold.


I don’t know yet how I’ll use it but will be sure to show you when I do.

THANK YOU. Words are not enough. I am so touched.

A Gift for My Friend BJ

Recently I mentioned I’ll be giving away a few quilts. I sent off two on Friday, and yesterday (Saturday) the first one arrived for its new owner!

In July and August I had a few quilts displayed in a local quilt shop. One day my friend BJ met me there to take a look, and to enjoy some time together. BJ and I met 18 years ago (MY GOODNESS!) at the bank where we both worked. We worked closely for several years prior to her retirement, and we’ve remained friends since then.

BJ is a sports fan, and while there were a couple of the quilts she especially liked, I thought this one suited her well. It is named Play Ball! and is 46″ x 56″.

This fun little quilt started from a pillow panel. Several years ago, on my first excursion into our local Mennonite thrift shop, I found two square pillow covers. With their vintage baseball theme and strong blues, reds, and greens, likely they were used in a boy’s bedroom. Besides the square(ish) panels on the front, the envelope closures on the back were lined with small baseballs on navy blue.

I used one panel to inspire a baby quilt for my youngest grandchild. (He is going on 5 now, so not a baby anymore.) It uses the Burgoyne Surrounded block on the front and the pillow panel to center the back.

But I still had one panel left. With a nice range of color and value, I continued the baseball and All-American theme.

The dark green tone-on-tone framed the panel to represent the grass of the infield, and then I mimicked the baseline and bases in the corners with cream and tan. Spark and movement comes from the simple border of 4-patches and half-square triangles.

The busy stars print frames all that, followed by borders only on top and bottom to elongate the quilt. This border uses the “economy” block, or square-in-a-square, described in this tutorial. I was able to use four of the fussy-cut baseballs for the corner blocks. Finally I framed the whole thing with red. This gives a balance between the red, navy, and green in the center panel.

I enjoyed making this quilt. I have a feeling BJ will enjoy watching her baseball playoff games and quite a lot of football snuggled under this lap quilt.

Free Design #3 | The Commissioning Quilt

I have shared this quilt with you before. In honor of Memorial Day, I am posting it again. It’s a quilt I made in May 2013, to thank a friend of our son. The friend had flown from Seattle to be with us for our son’s Air Force commissioning ceremony. In fact, as a retired Airman, the friend was part of the ceremony, conveying our son’s first salute.

The finished quilt measures 54″ square. The pieced border makes it look more complex than it actually is. The center consists of 4 Ohio Star blocks. Each outside border strip includes 7 hourglass blocks. If you have consistent 1/4″ seams, the borders should fit well with little adjustment.

The picture shows a narrow final border. I drew this to represent the binding. It is not included in directions below. I drew this design in EQ7 with 4 fabrics. According to the software, the yardages are as follows:
A: 1 yard white
B: 1.5 yards light blue
C: 1 yard red
D: 3/4 yard dark blue

I used yardage from my stash and did not measure this for accuracy. The methods I use for cutting may make differences in this, and your yardage may vary.

The center blocks measure 15″ square, finished. In the basic 9-patch format, each patch measures 5″ finished. Sashings are 3″ wide. The narrow border is 1.5″ wide. The outer pieced border is 6″ wide. Some people can use this and figure the rest themselves.

These directions are for the rest of you. I made the hourglass blocks in the Ohio stars and in the border using the “cut twice diagonally” method. If you have another method you prefer, perhaps using strips, feel free. The cutting instructions here use my method.

A Fabric (White)
16 5.5″ squares
4 6.25″ squares
8 7.25″ squares
With the 6.25″ squares and the 7.25″ squares, cut in half carefully and completely across the diagonal. DO NOT move the fabrics after cutting. Now, cut again across the other diagonal. You will have 4 triangles from each square.

B Fabric (Light Blue)
12 3.5 x 15.5″ strips
8 6.25″ squares
8 7.25″ squares
Cut squares twice on the diagonal, as above.

Tip: When cutting sashing strips, I cut strips along the selvage, as it is more stable and less likely to distort for size when sewing. When sewing sashing to blocks, I know the sash is the correct size, and can adjust better for the pieced block. I also pin about every 2″, using thin pins. 

C Fabric (Red)
4 2 x 39.5″ strips, cut along selvage as above; you might need to piece these for length
4 6.25″ squares
7 7.25″ squares
Cut squares twice on the diagonal, as above.

D Fabric (Dark Blue)
4 5.5″ squares for block centers
9 3.5″ squares for cornerstones
4 2″ squares for border corner blocks
7 7.25″ squares, cut twice on the diagonal, as above
2 6 7/8″ squares, cut ONCE on the diagonal

Use a 1/4″ seam allowance for all sewing.

Sew 16 5″ finish hourglass units, for Ohio star blocks. Each hourglass unit will have 1 A triangle, 2 B triangles, and 1 C triangle. You will have 4 pieced units per block. Complete the Ohio stars as 9-patches.

Sew 28 6″ finish hourglass units, for the border. Each hourglass unit will have 1 A triangle, 1 B triangle, 1 C triangle, and 1 D triangle. You will have 7 units per border side.

Sew 4 6″ corner blocks. Each corner block will have 1 A triangle, 1 B triangle, and 1 large D triangle.

Assemble the center blocks with sashing and 3″ corner blocks.

Attach the narrow strip border with 1.5″ corner blocks.

Assemble the hourglass units in strips of 7 per border. Attach the first 2 borders on opposite sides. Attach the 6″ corner units to the last 2 borders. Attach these.

Check the post called The commissioning quilt for another variation using a different center block and different colors.

You are more than welcome to use this design. (Don’t sell the design — that would be stealing!) If you have questions about construction, do feel free to ask and I’ll help you however I can.

Garden Party

Also finished on March 31 is Garden Party. Yes, that’s right, folks! I finished both quilts the same day!

Garden Party. 62" x 68". Center panel by Julie Paschkis for In the Beginning Fabrics. Finished March 2015. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

Garden Party. 62″ x 68″. Center panel by Julie Paschkis for In the Beginning Fabrics. Finished March 2015. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

This goes on my list of favorite quilts of all time. Unfortunately this quilt does not belong to me. As I started it, it told me, “I’m for ___.” I said, “No, I have something else planned for ___.” But it was insistent. So ___ will get it, but we’re going to hold onto it for a while.

What makes this one of my favorites? I love the center panel. This whimsical view into the garden is like looking out (my fantasy of) my back window. Squirrels and birds abound. The colors and values range from palest green to black. The reds run from pinky to orangey. The tree trunk, flowers, and birds provide a variety of golds and tans. Greens and blues complete the palette. With both color and value, I could have gone nearly any direction on this.

The first thing I did was use the red line to stabilize and square the panel. The sawtooth border of half-square triangles sprays leaves beyond, continuing the organic feeling. The variable stars are quilted with 8-petaled flowers to reinforce the garden theme.

I started playing with the garden maze lattice blocks early in the year. See posts here and here and here. The last of those three posts shows how I made the blocks for this quilt. Originally I planned to fill the lattice with black, but it was apparent that it would be too stark. A floral would be better for value and “light,” and would give a stronger garden effect. I had a floral on black and considered using it. Before doing so, I happened to look at the Hancock’s of Paducah site and found a Julie Paschkis floral from the same line. And BONUS! It was $4.99/yard. I bought it and backing fabric at the same time.

When it arrived I knew the scale was too small, and ultimately I used it in the final border. The fabric I already had provided light and color. The fanciful feel went well with the rest.

Building the lattice crossover blocks was simple but required some coordination. There are sixteen crossover blocks including the corners, and with that there are six different kinds. So I had to plot it out and keep track carefully.

Here again, my quilt top surprised me. I thought it would be done after the lattice (garden maze) border. But it clearly needed something else to finish it. Again I thought I would use black to outline that, but black was too harsh and too dark. After the relatively dark lattice border, I needed to brighten it. Jim helped me narrow down the options and we agreed the golden tan worked best. Finally I used that piece I bought from Hancock’s for the last edge.

This quilt was an adventure from start to finish. I actually started it more than a year and a half ago. It was … unworkable. In February took it apart and began again. That is the MOST important point: I BEGAN AGAIN. Why is that important? Because my critique of its progress was not tied up with my ego. It did not hurt my feelings to acknowledge that it needed a do-over. By returning with a beginner’s mind, I found a new way forward. THIS is where your power lies, in finding a way forward, without expecting a particular outcome.

I love everything about this quilt. The garden theme carries through the entire work. The pieced borders use different sizes and shapes, and color emphasis, but all relate to that theme. The background of the stars border brings a lot of light to something that could have become too dark.

I’ll be sad to ship this off to the owners, and eager to get their reaction to the surprise. Fortunately, I don’t need to do that until after July, when I’m showing several quilts at a local gallery. 🙂

Giving | Thanks

Lately I’ve given several quilts away. Giving reinforces the sense of connection I have with those to whom I give, and the act nourishes me. Each time I give leads to a renewed sense of purpose in my art, and helps me explore more means of expressing my emotions and thoughts.

To my children:

To my friends:

To my extended family:

To my wonderful neighbors:

To our veterans:

And to you, my readers, thank you, also. There are infinite calls for your time and attention. Thanks for spending some of that with me.