Tag Archives: VA hospital quilt

The Game’s Not Over!

Nope, we’re at the beginning of the fourth quarter, and there’s a lot of time to make a difference. What adjustments will you make to your strategy so you end the year with a win?

(Remember when we were in high school and learned about “stream of consciousness” writing? I don’t usually write that way — it can be hard to follow. But it’s been a long time since I wrote anything new here at all, so we’re gonna go with it…) 

After finishing four pieces at the beginning of August, and then heading out of the country for almost three weeks, I’ve been in a lull for both making and writing. It happens. And I don’t mind. The spell always breaks after a while, and I get revved up again.

One of my intentions this year was to make some quilts for the local VA hospital. My guild distributes some of our 200ish donation quilts a year there. They have a preferred size, approximately 48″ x 60″, and of course recipients are adults, so not all of our members’ contributions suit it. But I don’t much like making baby quilts or little kids’ quilts, as many people do. And with Son in the military, I’d rather make for the vets.

Last week I began by pulling all the dusky teals in my stash. To pair with them, I picked light fabrics with a golden or tan cast. Deciding on block size was … annoying. With 48″ x 60″, 6″ blocks work well (8 blocks by 10 blocks.) Note, though, that requires making 80 blocks. Also when making block quilts with an alternating block, I usually prefer odd numbers of blocks, such as a 7 block by 9 block layout. That allows the blocks to alternate in a balanced way.

Then there are the decisions about using a border or not, and if so, what fabric do I have enough of already in stash? Well, NOTHING. I have NOTHING in stash, to go with the teals, with enough yardage to make borders. Okay. No borders, just blocks.

Finally I decided on shoofly blocks to finish at 7.5″. With a 6 x 8 layout, the size would finish at 45″ x 60″, which works fine. That’s still even numbers, which affects the alternate blocks chosen. What works? Ones that have a diagonal line, such as half-square triangles. In fact, I considered other options but HST are simple and effective. I found a piece of toile just large enough (with some piecing) to make halves, and I pulled my old-fashioned rusty oranges for the other halves. (Some of those are pieced, too. I’ve gotten better at making the fabric work for me, as long as the area is enough. I CAN piece it together. I know how.) 

The picture below is blocks, before being assembled into a top. My overall standard for quilts is pretty simple: would I be pleased if someone gave it to me? The answer on this would be yes. The toile in the HST is paler than all the other lights used. One of the teals is pale, but doesn’t stand out as living in the wrong quilt. One of my teals has as much bronze as teal, and the bronze is what shows most in them. That’s okay with me, too, as it doesn’t stand out, either. And the HST with their strong contrast give great movement. (That’s why there isn’t a balance problem when using them as the alternate, when using even numbers in the rows and columns. The movement and strong line create their own balance.)

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What I don’t have is backing fabric or batting. On my list for a stop later today.  (Wrote that yesterday. I stopped at JoAnn Fabrics last evening before meeting a friend for dinner. Got the batting. Picked up three yards of fabric for the back. Had 50% off coupons for both. If this were really stream-of-consciousness, I’d go on about that, and about my favorite quilt shop closing soon.)

hmm… what was I saying about the fourth quarter? What else do you want to get done before year’s end? And how do you fit it all in? I’ve seen a couple of blog posts recently on that. One is from my friend Tierney at tierneycreates.com. She wrote about the seven habits of highly effective crafters, a crafty look at Steven Covey’s rules. It covers a lot more than getting projects done, but on that issue, the most relevant is putting first things first. In other words, decide on your priorities. What is most important is not always what seems most urgent. If there are things you want to finish by holidays, for instance, identify them now.

Lori at The Inbox Jaunt takes that a step farther. She recommends using a notebook to inventory projects. Once you know what you have, identify priorities and then list specific, small steps that need to be taken next, to move them along. (Do you quilt your own? Check Lori’s blog for seemingly unending resources for quilting designs and strategies.) 

At this point, I need to think about what I want to accomplish before year end. That will give me a way to identify priorities.

What’s left on your making list for the year? Will you get it all done? 

 

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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.

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This might give you a better idea of the colors:

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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?

 

VA Hospital Quilts

At the beginning of the year I committed to making at least four quilts for donation through my local quilt guild. I especially wanted to make some for the local Veterans’ Administration hospital.

They have requested quilts that are approximately 48″ x 60″, which is a good size for a lap quilt. (Your local hospital may have different needs. If you want to make quilts to serve them, please check with yours directly.)

Recently I finished two quilts to donate. Both were completely made from stash. The first uses a very simple arrangement of 6″ 4-patches and half-square triangles. That part of the array is 48″ square. To make it longer, I added the unpieced borders on two edges.

The second uses a disappearing 9-patch block. Have you ever made one of these quilts? The usual idea is to make a BIG 9-patch, and then cut it into four equal square blocks. Each quarter has an original corner patch, as well as a portion of the original center patch.

I modified that idea by elongating the 9-patch. I cut patches as follows:
4 Corners: 6″ x 8″
1 Center: 6″ x 6″
2 Left/Right Centers: 6″ x 6″
2 Up/Down Centers: 6″ x 8″

Assemble the 9 patches into a 9-patch block. (!!) Cut it through the center in both directions to make 4 equal blocks. Each block will finish at 8″ x 10″.

I made NINE 9-patches. When each was cut into 4 pieces, I had 36 blocks. These were arrayed in a 6×6 layout to make a quilt that measure 48″ x 60″.

I used red for the center patches of the 9-patches, which gave them punch as the accent color. I used black prints for the corner patches, and gold prints for the L/R and U/D patches. The binding is from scraps of red binding I had leftover.

I like this quilt a lot. It was very easy to make and fun to arrange.

I’ll be pleased to donate these at my next guild meeting. With these and three others I’ve donated this year, I’ve met my goal.

Mistakes Were Made

Yesterday I showed you this:

If you didn’t catch the error, I sewed the top two pieced rows on the wrong way. It should repeat the pattern of the four pieced rows at the bottom. Since I’d already sewn the top border on, as well, I had to unstitch two long seams. Not a tragedy, just an inconvenience.

I fixed it. (The color shows slightly better for me in the one below. Think of oatmeal for the background fabric and carpet.)

But I thought you might be interested in some photos Barbara Brackman shared. If you don’t know Barbara, she is one of the premier quilting historians. I can’t capture any of her photos, but please hit the link and take a look at some “quilt wrecks.” And here is another post by her with more.  At the bottom of the second post are several more links with fascinating pictures.

And for more fun, a link shared by reader Jean, with the Drunkard’s Wife quilt-along!

I guess it’s reassuring that we are just part of a long history of quilting errors! What’s the best quilting error you’ve made? I’d love to hear your stories.