Mar 232013

Okay crew, listen up! It’s time for the great announcement! I’ve alluded to this a couple times, but this is the formal (or not so formal) Launch. Officially called the UFOs4Charity Project, you could also call it a Clutter to Quilt project. It’s all about turning your sewing room clutter, most especially those languishing UFOs, into finished quilts for charity – any charity.

You can read all about the project here, and those quilts I told you I was working on here and here? Yep, they are my current batch, I’m quilting them now. I’ve set a goal of 100 charity quilts made from UFOs, leftovers, orphan blocks and the like – all the clutter in my sewing room. I’ve finished 12 since I set the goal, so I’ve got aways to go. Plenty of time for you to make even more – go ahead, show off. Make me look like a loser. I’ll go cry in my scrap basket.

 March 23, 2013  Posted by at 5:42 pm Uncategorized 1 Response »
Mar 212013

I had so much fun throwing together the first couple of clutter quilts I had to keep going. This time I reached for some old UFOs. These really were objects, not quite full projects.

First up was a set of four blocks with a cat print in the center of the block.

I made these so long ago they are almost vintage, at least under Etsy’s definition (20 years old). And my stash was a lot smaller than it is today, which partly explains the boring choice of color. I had set them aside when I could not figure out what to do next. I took the easy route – a few rounds of wide strips and I had blocks big enough for a lap quilt. This one took me one afternoon, at most.

Okay, I admit, not the most exciting of quilts, but I sure was excited to finally put those old blocks to use! The next set I grabbed was a double handful of mini-courthouse steps I’d made from lots of skinny scraps. 

You’ll notice they are courthouse steps in construction, not shading. I set them aside over 10 years ago when I ran short of strips, and there they sat. I added a little more red to complete the last round (shown), then added wider rows (light, dark, light) and used 9 of the 10 blocks for another lap quilt. This one may need a border to reach the desired size, but I’m quilting it first.

Next up was a basket block I’d never done anything with.

I had fused the flowers (cut from prints), then wasn’t sure what to do next so I set it aside. (Noticing a trend here?) I pulled out the invisible thread and did a tiny zig-zag around all the fused flowers, as I am not confident of the fusible’s reliability. Then I added borders, having a little fun with wonky trimming. This one is destined to be a wallhanging. I could make it lap quilt size, but I don’t trust the invisible thread to stand up to actual use, especially washing. Can’t wait to get this one done, it’s been in my “waiting for attention” bin for way too long.

 March 21, 2013  Posted by at 3:16 pm In Drydock No Responses »
Mar 202013

I’ve been on a piecing binge lately. I should be finishing, not piecing more tops, but I’m on a roll and can’t stop. I’ve been tackling the clutter in my sewing room by turning it into quilt tops! You know the stuff, not quite UFOs but the odds n ends – from lone blocks to half-done sets of blocks to quantities of scrap strips – which you have been ignoring for years or decades.

Now it’s all old fabrics, dull colors, nothing inspiring, not the stuff you work with today. But still usable, just not anything that excites you any more. So – use it up, quickly. Make quilts big enough for lap or bed quilts and donate them to an appreciative charity, and you’ve cleared your sewing room of all that old energy.

And quick, no fuss tops are fun to make. Here are two I made to use up a pile of poorly cut strips:

The first one started with some not-quite-charm squares, or rather, charm not-quite-squares. Then I added the strips until I ran short. I had a little bit leftover but not enough for another round. Because I had 16 blocks (no, I didn’t count them before starting, that would spoil the fun) and wanted to make a twin-size quilt, and wanted to add a little color, I found some green and blue fabric I wanted to use up and cut wide strips. I added those to the top and bottom of each block. Now I could set them in a 4×4 layout and get a rectangle suitable for the center of a twin quilt. Plus the top and bottom strips allowed me to trim the blocks during assembly to make them fit, as they were not the same size (because of my casual sewing).

Then, to avoid ironing many seams over, I decided to use a bit of sashing to assemble it all. Rooting around in my “fabrics for charity quilts” stash unearthed a roll of dark 6 1/2 inch wide strips. I cut 2 inch strips from them (the approximate size of the initial strips that started the blocks). I assembled it four blocks together into four sections, then those put together the same way. After that, a border strip for stability, which will end up an inner border once the quilt is done. I am going to quilt it as is, then add (and quilt) the borders.


But I had a few scraps left. So, starting with the trim from the green and blue used to lengthen the first blocks, I sewed more strips around. First I used up the 2 inch strips, then I dug out the slightly larger golds from my strip basket (which holds trimmings from slicing up yardage). For speed, I wanted wider pieces for the next round, and cut up a bunch of browns (I seem to have a lot of brown fabrics).

Once up on the design wall, I liked it! But it’s square. Could it be a lap quilt? I went and checked the Hopes and Dreams site and yes, the minimum size is 35×44. It was just 40×40, a border would make it big enough, so I added one. I think I like it better without, but I want to donate it so it has a border (not shown).

 March 20, 2013  Posted by at 10:38 am Charity Quilts 1 Response »
Mar 072013

Okay, I admit they are small. No way would I finish three bed-size quilts in two days even if all they needed was binding. Which is what all three of these needed, plus labels. I finished two small art pieces for AAQI, and if I’m on the ball I’ll get them mailed out tomorrow. The other is for me, still needs a custom label but it’s hanging on the wall in my office until I get around to it.

The first AAQI quilt was a test of an idea for using up triangle scraps, in this case some very small scraps. As I quilted it, (trying out the potential texture of one of the few fancy stitches my old machine has) the little white triangles reminded me of cabbage moths. So I found a fabric with cabbages on it and cut them out and appliqued them on. I’d have liked them bigger but that’s what I could find in my stash. They’re fused, then free-motion stitched around the edges.





The second AAQI quilt used some strips leftover from cutting the pieces for the cabbage moth piece. I added some scrap almost-white (it looks white in the pics but is a very pale Fossil Fern print), but the end result was pretty boring. What to do? Add more. Spirals are fun to cut out. Fuse down and free-motion stitch around the edges, and it’s done. Rather, it’s done now, after adding a binding.

I used quick triangles to serve as a sleeve and added the label the same way, so once bound they were done, but of course I didn’t bother to take a picture of that part.




The third finish was a quilt I’ve been working on for myself for about a year. Off and on, of course. I kept it in my office and hand quilted it in small bits while watching videos online in the evenings, something I do occasionally. I could have finished it off a lot faster quilting it on the machine, but wanted to put more of myself into it. The words are from an exercise in The Artist’s Way, which I worked my way through last winter. Now that it’s done and hung, I need to dig out another hand-work project.





One more bound today needs a sleeve and label, two more waiting for binding, then on to basting a growing pile of tops and back to quilting. I’d like to get a few more quilts finished this month, before garden fever gets me.

 March 7, 2013  Posted by at 11:12 am Charity Quilts, Finishing 1 Response »