# Rooster and Other Progress

For the first week or more after returning home from travels, I didn’t get into my studio, except to do a really minor project for Jim. My hiatus of about a month left my quilting “muscles” wimpy, so I eased in by sewing a label on a baby quilt and making a pillowcase for the baby’s older brother.

Flying Geese
After those were done, I still wasn’t mentally prepared for anything very hard. I decided to pull out my stack of flying geese, made before the end of last year with the intention of creating a strip quilt in pinks and browns, with the addition of teal and dark red. If you remember, that “strip quilt” became a medallion, centered by a house. But there were 88 flying geese, still plenty to make a strip quilt! I could split them into four sets. The geese finished at 3″ x 6″, so a strip of 22 geese would be 66″ long. Nice size for a big lap or couch quilt.

The trouble was, I would need strips to put between the geese, and then something else to use as borders. I’d have to buy something or do a lot more piecing. Honestly, I just wasn’t that into it. After moaning to Jim a bit about the math, the sizing, how it would be to make blocks instead of strips … he said something like, can’t you just sew them all together?

Heck, yeah!

Funny how someone else’s question can unstick your mind. It’s just one of those “what-ifs” we’ve talked about before. What if you give up the idea of making a strip quilt, or even a block quilt? What if you enjoy the shapes of the triangles, created by value differences between light and dark? What if the lines between shapes extend and end in unpredictable ways? What if you stop being so rigid? ðŸ™‚

Because I can’t give up the math completely, I figured that my 88 geese would go together in pairs, to make 42 blocks finishing at 6″ x 6″, with 4 geese left over. I sewed them into pairs and then started arranging. This was the finished top, with edges cropped in the photo-taking.

I found fabric for the back and cut binding strips. After I quilt it later in the month, I’ll donate it through my guild for the VA hospital.

Next time, what about that rooster? ðŸ™‚

# 2016 Quilt Finishes with Pix and Links

In my “reflections” on the past year, I published a list of projects I finished in 2016. The list below also includes links to the most useful post about each project, if available.

1. Bethâ€™s Carousel â€” Ricky Tims kaleidoscope medallion
2. Isaacâ€™s Big Block â€” big bed quilt with medallion back, too
3. Reconnected â€” for Padre’s wedding, big couch throw size
4. Moonlight Waltz â€” big medallion
5. VA hospital quilt Â â€” block quiltÂ from Moonlight Waltz leftovers
6. Untied â€” hand-quilted wall-hanging
7. Iowa In My Mind â€” guild challenge art quilt for Son
8. More Precious Than Diamonds â€” big bed quilt using 60 degree diamonds
9. Stars for Nora â€” multiple block sizes baby quilt
10. Still Climbing Mountains â€” big couch throw forÂ Daughter
11. If I Had A Nickel â€” stacked coins big couch throw
12. small group round robin â€” of course, this was 5 projects
13. VA hospital quilt â€” shooflies and HST block quilt
14. VA hospital quilt â€” hourglasses block quilt
15. placemats â€” 4 of them of HST for Son
16. Kimâ€™s Christmas stocking

Since mid-2013, most of my quilts have been medallions. Last year, of 14 quilts (not including the placemats and Christmas stocking,) only five were medallions.Â Click any photo to see them larger.Â

One of my concerns as I make medallions is that I don’t let the format overtake design. Each quilt must be unique, not a repeat of those that have come before. As I look at the quilts above, I’m pleased at how different they are, though I believe they all (with the exception of the round robin, a group project) look like mine. If I had to pick favorites for aesthetics only, my votes go to Moonlight Waltz and Untied.

The rest of 2016’s quilts were a variety of other formats, including square block with straight and on-point settings, non-square block, and multi-sized block. Throw in a strip quilt and an art quilt, and I made a broader range of quilts last year than usual. Here they are, not including the donation quilts. Click any photo to see them larger.Â

FourÂ of the non-medallion quilts were inspired by other quilters but made my own. Iowa In My Mind was created to meet a guild challenge, as well as my personal challenge to try something very different. None of the six quilts shown above is in a standard square-block format, which also pushed my boundaries a bit. Again, if I had to choose favorites, I pick Still Climbing Mountains and Iowa In My Mind.

2016Â will be a hard year to top in some ways. But it’s a whole new year and we get to start over. I’ve started. Have you?

# Stacked Coins

When I was done creating the Diamonds quilt, I had a lot of oddly shaped scraps and remnants. Rather than trying to file them back into my stash that way, I decided to use some of it immediately.

There is a traditional quilt design called “Roman Coins” or “Chinese Coins.” As simple as they are, I’ve always wanted to make one. It is a strip quilt (I love them!) that uses stacked “coins” in alternating strips. The coins are simply narrow bands of color.

Stacked Coins. 65.5″ x 72.5″. August 2016. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

To make my pieced strips, I cut patchesÂ from theÂ oddly sized scraps from the Diamonds quilt. When I depleted those, I also cut a bit from stash. Each patch was cut 2″ x 6.5″, but the size doesn’t matter a lot. They don’t even need to be the same, as long as each long, pieced strip is the same length. You can make a quilt like this as a mini or wall-hanging, or you can make it to go on a bed, or somewhere in between.

One thing that does matter is the distribution of colors. The majority of coins are purples and turquoises. I made sure to include at least one orange or green in each stack of four coins, in order to brighten it. Other than that I didn’t work very hard at arrangement.

Originally I planned to use the turquoise as sashings and outer borders, but once I opened the piece (from stash) I realized it wouldn’t be enough. Plan B was to use it for sashings and a narrow inner border. The same raspberry color used in the Diamonds quilt was used for the wider border. I don’t know how wide any of those are, off the top of my head. I could measure it, but … it doesn’t matter. Seriously, this is a quilt you can decide all these things based on what you have available, and it will look great.

You might notice how the narrow border and outside border are arranged. For the top and bottom, I stitched them together for the full width, before attaching to the body of the quilt. It’s not suitable for every quilt but I like the effect on this one.

This is one of the four quilts I finished in August. September has other things going on, so it was nice to finish a few things. (And if I am slow in responding to your comments, have patience! I’ll check in as soon as I can!)

# Big D’s Quilt

Big D’s Quilt. 75″ x 75″. Begun with a medallion print purchased in Boulder City, NV. Finished in January 2015.

Today I gave Big D his quilt, almost a year after it was finished. Big D is one of my little grandsons, and it was time for the boy to have a big-bed quilt. I wrote about making the quilt here and here.

Big D shares a bedroom with two older brothers, who already had big-bed quilts. They make a handsome trio — of boys and quilts!

P’s Quilt. Bear’s Paw pattern. Finished in 2009. Photo is a little distorted.

C’s Quilt. Strip quilt with “chunky churndash” block set on point. Finished in 2009. Photo is a little distorted.

I think it is interesting that the three use three different formats: medallion, block quilt, and strip quilt. They are as distinct as the boys are.

# Not Twelve

Not Twelve, 48″ x 60″.

This is not twelve seams, as you can see. However, it is the same format as I used for the previous VA hospital quilt, and it measures 48″ x 60″, also. While I started with the same plan, the colors I chose would not play nicely together. The strip of half-square triangles down the middle highlights all of the colors and made it work.

Here is a close-up that shows the colors and patterns more clearly.

The VA’s patients are both male and female. I think this quilt would suit either a man or woman just as well.