July, 2021

July has always been a special month, filled with the celebrations of the birthdays of all three sons, my only niece, and my granddaughter. This July is even more special, since there is a bit more freedom to have outings and be with friends and family.
During the last weeks of June, I made a real effort to once again organize and assess my stash bins. After completing the 2.5″ stamp quilt, and working on the 1.5″ stamp quilt, I was able to sort and package the remaining stash. Some of the fabric pieces were from some of my very first quilts. I cut strips and blocks and donated these to Spare Parts. This is the mission statement for this fabulous shop:

We advance reuse and sustainability through creativity and the arts.

Of course, when I went to donate, I returned home with a bag of goodies for other projects. All for a good cause!
Since the bins were whittled down to practically nothing, I started visiting fabric shops in person with the plan to rebuild my stash. After over a year of only online fabric shopping, I went a bit overboard. There was no rhyme or reason for the fabrics I chose, other than that I liked them. I found myself thinking of Freddy Moran whose mottos include “red is neutral” and “excess is never enough”.

I also took some time to review the 69 quilts I have made since I began quilting in 2014. This exercise helped me see the development of my quilt design and assembly. Most of my quilts are not made from patterns. When I do use a pattern, I tend to make small changes, either by accident or by intent. What I realized after studying the quilts, is that my use of color has changed, and that I enjoy trying new techniques. This is why I am so interested in quilts by Freddy Moran and Jen Kingwell. My first attempt at making a Jen Kingwell quilt is nicely tucked away in a bin. I made a few blocks and got frustrated with the many different styles and sizes. Now I find that I really enjoy scrappy quilts and different styles, colors, and sizes of blocks in one quilt. I am ready to try again.

As mentioned in an earlier post, my friend, Marti, and I are each working on a Jen Kingwell quilt pattern. I lent the Wanderer’s Wife pattern to Marti, and I started on the Boho Heart pattern. Before I started making the blocks, I viewed different Jen Kingwell videos. In one video, she is showing people how she chooses fabric. Kingwell paraphrases Freddy Moran comment about colors… if 10 colors don’t work, try 110. Kingwell also mentions that she (Kingwell) is “not all about matching the colors”. Some of the blocks are repeated in this pattern, and I usually don’t like to repeat. But one of Kingwell’s hints in her pattern is to try to change the fabric sequence in making more than one of the same block. So far, I have made all of the 10″ blocks. I am in the process of making the fourteen 8″ blocks. To begin this project, I chose yardage of one fabric that had many colors. Then I purchased fourths of different colors and patterns. Right now, some of the block colors and patterns fit and some don’t. So, some may need to be set aside and new ones made to replaced. But that will be part of the fun. After this Boho Heart quilt is completed, no telling what direction my quilt piecing will take. All I know is that my way of doing things is changing, and that is the exciting part.

In the video, I have included my 2.5 ” scrappy quilt that is now quilted and bound. Marti introduced me to Ann Barnett, who does great work on the long arm. I visited her home and I covet her sewing/work place! She has a small two room studio in back of her house that is dedicated solely to her sewing and quilting. We spent a couple of hours just sharing ideas, choosing threads and designs, and just having fun. I learned so much just from talking with her.

Also included in the video is a jewelry bag that I made for my granddaughter. I polished up a ring that my dad had given me when I was my granddaughter’s age. The ring is tucked inside an owl box for now, and she can use the jewelry bag for her other jewelry. The easy pattern for this cute bag is from Melanie Ham.

Then of course, I had to add a bird story in the video. When my granddaughter was younger, she loved to look at all the bird figurines that my mom had set up in her house. So, my mother made my granddaughter two wreaths. One was a Christmas wreath with cardinals. The other was a spring wreath that had different types of birds. My granddaughter kept both hanging in her room all year. This year, she decided to hang the spring wreath on their front door. Her neighborhood is a bird lover’s dream, with so many types of birds coming from the near-by creek and neighborhood lake. She was all excited when a bird made a nest in the wreath. No one is allowed to use the front porch. Last week, I was sent a photo of the birds that had hatched. The birds continue to grow and rule over the front porch.

Happy July 4th!

Gypsy Quilt Blocks

Today I made three more blocks for the gypsy wife quilt. I love making small things, and some of these blocks finish at 5 inches. Making 1.5″ squares can be crazy tedious, but I like the results. The first block I made was the Hatchet, which finished at 6″.
I used some of the sewing themed fabric scraps and remnants that are in my bins. I have plenty of polk-a-dot fabric in different colors that I will be using throughout the quilt.
The second and third blocks are both Puss in the Corner blocks. One is border less and the other has a border. I am inserting special focus items in the blocks that have defined centers.
Daisy Center  Spool of Thread Center

This quilt is definitely a scrap bin buster. The pattern designer, Jen Kingwell, states that the greater the number of fabrics you use, the more fun this quilt will be. I agree. Playing with the different colors is half the fun. I try not to spend too much time deciding on the fabrics. I usually throw some out on the table and choose whatever catches my eye. I do have a type of organization of my scraps in bins. They are sorted by different criteria, such as sewing theme, floral, etc. This helps me choose from which bins I want to choose. It seems that I am constantly resorting my scraps and remnants. Do you have any suggestions as to how to sort scraps? My yardage of fabric is wrapped around cardboard and in bins sorted by color. Storing yardage is easier than storing scraps. Any suggestions on how to organize different sized scraps would be appreciated.

Gypsy Wife Quilt

For the past few months, I have been building my stash bins with fabric that just catch my eye. I was purchasing fabric with no real quilt in mind. Last month, I was browsing around the Austin Sewing Machine and Quilting Shop in Round Rock, Texas. I found a book by Jen Kingwell, Gypsy Wife. I had never heard of the Gypsy Wife Quilts, so I looked on Pinterest and found so many beautiful examples. Of course, I returned to the shop and bought the pattern book. My goal is to use only the fabric I have in my stash bins. It will also be a good way to use up some scraps.
I made the first two blocks today.
Color Wheel Block
This block was made from small to medium scraps.

Pershing Block
The pink and the black and white fabric were cut from large remnants. The rest of the pieces were from scraps.