Tag Archives: VA hospital quilt

Binding a Quilt for the VA Hospital

Over the last few years, I’ve made several quilts to donate to the local VA (Veteran’s Administration) Hospital. This year I’ve made two so far, and likely I’ll make at least one more.

Though I finished the tops and had them quilted before the end of March, I didn’t get the bindings attached. I plan to turn them in at my guild meeting next week, so it’s time to get them bound.

I’ve written about binding before. If you need a primer, you might find it useful to review here. I’ll also add a few tips right here about machine finishing.

For this particular quilt, I chose to finish the binding by machine rather than by hand. I attached it to the back of the quilt and then used a warm iron to press the strip toward the front, across its seam allowance. That makes it easier to bend around the edge.

I increased the stitch length a touch. I also set the machine speed to medium, so the process wouldn’t accidentally get away from me! Using a thread that matches my binding color and a straight stitch, away I went! (Sometimes I use a zig-zag. I think it’s sturdier, but it doesn’t look as neat.)

I rarely use pins or clips when I machine-finish a quilt. When I do use them, I NEVER clip or pin all the way around, whether I’m doing hand-stitching or machine-stitching. That just makes a lot of protrusions that get in the way. I only clip a few inches at a time, and move them as I go.

This border has a stripe that made it easy to wrap the binding consistently all the way around. I think the finish looks neat and clean on the front

and pretty good on the back.

The quilt is finished now. I have three others in the queue for their bindings.

Do you attach your quilt bindings right away? Or do you wait and do them some time later? What’s your favorite thing about binding a quilt? Your least favorite? 

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One More Quilt Top Finished

For my recent quilt retreat, I prepped material to sew three quilt tops. Over the two-and-a-half days I got a lot done, including one quilt top finished, one done except borders applied, and one with a boatload of blocks created. I already showed you the first two of them. Now I’ve finished the third quilt top, too.

This will be another quilt intended for my local VA hospital. They have requested quilts finishing at no bigger than 48″ x 60″. The size works well as a lap quilt for most people, but most importantly, the quilts are tangible symbols of appreciation and respect.

I love block quilts with chains. The puss-in-the-corner blocks are so easy to make and create those chains effectively. What doesn’t work in this quilt is the lack of value contrast. Because of the prints used and the fairly narrow range of value, this is all a bit mushy. As you might be able to tell from the close-up photo, though, it’s actually much prettier in person than it shows in the top photo. And I think it will suit one of our hero-patients just right.

With the end of February rolling up on us, I only have one finished quilt in my count for the year, as well as the three completed tops. Another (the house quilt) is in process. But I’ve been working hard on other projects, so I don’t feel (very) sorry for myself.

How’s your year coming along? Are you making progress on things (however you define that) as you’d hoped? 

Retreat Report

After showing my prep work for last weekend’s retreat (here and here,) I thought I should also share a follow-up about it.

The retreat was scheduled for Friday, Saturday, and most of Sunday. During the week prior to the retreat I had a mild cold, and on the night before it was to begin, we had a forecast for several inches of snow. Between the two conditions, I decided to stay home on Friday and join the other quilters on Saturday. Even so, I sewed most of the day Friday, except when I was napping.

This morning I finished applying borders to this strip quilt for the local VA (Veterans’ Administration) hospital. It measures about 39″ x 59″.

Saturday I started fresh. After checking in at the retreat center and setting up my machine and stuff, I got to work sewing this baby quilt top. I had a little bit of cutting to do, but most of it was ready to go. It is about 38″ square.

And on Sunday I made blocks for a third quilt. They are all sewn but not pressed, so I’ll share them another day.

Since I usually work by myself, and often without teevee or music going, it was very different to have friends around me. I enjoyed listening to their conversations and getting to know some of them better. I think my sewing efficiency was better in some ways and worse in others. Certainly I got a lot done in the time, and I’m pleased with that.

Next steps are to press the other blocks I made and assemble them into a top. Then prep backs and batting for all three and get them quilted. With a lot of other things on my plate, I won’t guess how soon that will happen.

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? 

 

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?