Burgoyne Blossoms

quilts for foster kids, charity quilts, quanket

Burgoyne Blossoms
November 2016

Burgoyne Blossoms is a Burgoyne Surrounded quilt pattern. I have been wanting to try this pattern for several years, and even though it uses a strip piecing technique which is typically easy, this pattern looked challenging. Probably because the smallest squares are really small. In this case, the small squares measure 1 1/4″ finished. Part of the challenge of small pieces in a pattern is that they don’t allow for seam allowances that aren’t fairly precise: they have a very small tolerance. I find that on bigger pieces, that there is a bit of fudging that one can do to make all the seams line up nicely. But on the small pieces, there is very little wiggle room! What is your acceptable tolerance for seams lining up? 1/16″, 1/32″ or zero? How much time are you willing to spend ripping seams to get them to line up perfectly? Do you allow yourself a bigger or smaller tolerance for point seams?

Another challenge in the Burgoyne Surround quilt pattern is in the construction: it is really a master block that is comprised of many component blocks. The instructions for this quilt pattern are in a book I have had for years, Quilting for People Who Don’t Have Time to Quilt by Marti Michell. This is the book that opened my eyes to the strip quilting technique.

The blossom fabric was one from Edith’s stash, and the pink polka dot used as the main background fabric was from Granny’s stash. The soft rose pink was one I have had in my stash for years: as I recall, I was planning to make dresses for my daughters when they were young, but never got around to making them. Back then, not only was I one of the People Who didn’t Have Time to Quilt, but I also didn’t have much spare time to do much sewing in general. I count myself fortunate that I now have more free time to spend on quilting. Over the past 3-years, I have made over 60 quankets. Check out my photo gallery here.

I will be linking this to this year’s 100 Quilts for Kids annual charity drive, which is being coordinated by Alyson who blogs over at The Hasty Quilter. This year’s drive will run through the end of November, so you still have time to participate.

This will be donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services, for a foster child.

100 Quilts for Kids Annual Charity Drive

charity quilts

This year’s 100 Quilts for Kids annual charity drive is being run by Alyson this year, who blogs over at The Hasty Quilter. In checking it out the other day, it looks like there is still a ways to go! In 2015, the quilting community donated 119 quilts, yet this year, there are only about a dozen quilts linked-up so far. Knowing how generous the quilting community is, let’s try to exceed last year’s number! There is still time, as this year’s drive will run through the end of November.

I encourage you to pull out those tops you have lying around that you can’t decide what to do with, add a fleece-back (see my Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 tutorial here), and donate them to foster kids in your community through your local government’s Family Services department.

Mon-star

quanket

Mon-star (pronounced ‘mon-sta’)
October 2016

I will be linking this to this year’s 100 Quilts for Kids annual charity drive, which Heather over at Quilts in the Queue used to oversee. This year, Heather turned the reins over to Alyson who blogs over at The Hasty Quilter. In checking it out the other day, it looks like we still have a ways to go! In 2015, the quilting community donated 119 quilts, yet this year, there are only about a dozen quilts linked-up so far. Knowing how generous the quilting community is, let’s try to exceed last year’s number! There is still time, as this year’s drive will run through the end of November.

Mon-star is a friendship star quilt pattern. The inspiration for this quanket began with the monsters fabric, shown in the lower right corner – another new fabric that was too cute to resist. I chose the other fabric colors based on the colors in the monsters fabric, and while the colors are all rather saturated, I felt putting focus on the teal-blue star brought the contrast that was needed.

The pronunciation of ‘Mon-sta’ is intended to be based on a North Eastern United States accent. Many years ago, we had the opportunity to travel to Maine, and I Iove the way the locals pronounce Bar Harbor, Maine, as well as lobsters🙂

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services, for a foster child in October 2016.

Sweet Slumber

quanket, quilts for foster kids

Sweet Slumber
September 2016

Such a busy year! This is only the fifth quanket that I have completed this year. My personal goal is to make two per month, and I am far from achieving even close to this  number for 2016. When I start to get down on myself for not hitting personal goals – perhaps self-inflicted, non-rational would be better words than “personal” – I hear the words of advice my mom used to give to me: “everything in moderation, Jean”. So, I must cut myself some slack. Time is at a premium this year: from helping daughters with house projects and moving, to welcoming our new granddaughter, Ivy, to hosting a baby shower for other daughter’s first child, and we still have two major holidays to squeeze into what has already been a full year.

Sweet Slumber is a log cabin quilt design, based on an interpretation of Jean Ann Wright’s, Bonnie Blues Quilt. The log cabin is such a versatile block pattern: a simple rotation, or an intended placement of repeating fabric can create such a unique design! While the majority of fabrics I used are new fabrics, I was able to incorporate a scrap fabric piece inherited from Granny, which is the teal polka dot fabric that is used in the simple four-patch joining blocks in the sashing.

Although busy and at times chaotic and physically tiring, it has been a fantastic year! Maybe I will hit that personal goal of two quilts per month in 2017🙂

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services, for a foster child in October 2016.

Hakuna Matata

Hakuna-Matata

Hakuna Matata
June 2016

Do you ever purchase a super cute fabric that you just can’t resist, but then find that it sits in your stash, and for some reason, you seem to be avoiding it? In this case, the fabric is a beautiful Julia Cairns African inspired design. Each time I saw it there in my stash, beckoning me, I wasn’t quite sure how to do justice to the fabric, as each of the animal blocks is a different size. But then the idea finally came to me: a 9-patch might be the answer.

A standard 9-patch is such a perfect block pattern because it so flexible. The color palette was pulled from the animal print – blues, gold and greens – taken from a variety of leftover pieces from other past quanket projects.

The name Hakuna Matata was inspired by the animal print, and from a Corrie ten Boom quote I recently came across:

Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength – carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.

This quanket was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services, for a foster child in June 2016.

Maypole

Quanket for foster kids

Maypole
May 2016

The quilts I make are not traditional “quilted” quilts. I like to refer to them as quankets (pronounced ‘kwang-kits’). Quilted quilts are when the patch-worked top is then “quilted” onto a backing piece of fabric, with a layer of batting in between. This is typically done using a long arm sewing machine (which I don’t have) or by hand (which I don’t have the patience for). I love the aspects of piecing, and backing my quilts with blankets allows me to focus on piecing, while not stressing (or spending a lot of money) towards having them professionally long arm quilted.

It has never been my intention for my quilts to be works of art: they’re pretty, and that works for me. I find that by not undertaking each quilt with the notion that it has to be a work of art, it liberates me to explore new ideas, and experiment with colors, patterns, and textures – I LOVE textures. In Maypole, the white fabric is a polyester that I inherited from Granny: no doubt, fabric she had intended for a pant suit – Granny loved her polyester pant suits! It has a fabulous line and texture detail. I have had this fabric on my shelf for years, shying away from it for a quilt project since it is polyester. But, it is super soft, and after experimenting with wool in my Virgie’s Wagga quilt, I figured that I should give the polyester a try.

I follow several blogs, and many bloggers lament the market for quilts, and how overseas mass production has made selling homemade quilts more difficult. I am fortunate that I have the time, resources, and ability to make and donate quilts. I only hope that more quilters out there, that are ‘stuck’ in the place of not knowing if they should quilt for profit, artistry, or charity, choose the later🙂 Don’t let unused quilts lie in your studios, hang on walls, unused, perhaps in the hopes that they will some day be a work of art. Just donate them – the act of letting go is so fulfilling!

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services, for a foster child in June 2016.

Baby Bear

Charity quilts for foster kids

Baby Bear
April 2016

Baby Bear is the final quanket in my Three Bears series, and I am thrilled to have it finished in time to include it, along with Papa and Mama Bear, in this year’s Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge.

I have had little time to spend at the sewing machine over the past few months, however I did take some time recently to better organize my scraps. While I am not quite as organized as other quilters in cutting my scraps into commonly used sizes, I do keep my scraps together by colors. My prior method of keeping them in plastic bags was beginning to get out of hand and needless to say, it looked tacky. So I purchased some cute photo boxes that were on clearance, and have now organized my scraps into these. They look much cuter on the shelf and work much better than the plastic bags did. During the process of organizing, I found that my blue scraps were overflowing, which is what inspired the fabric selection for Baby Bear.

Designing a scrappy quilt, while challenging, is fun and rewarding. Challenges include finding enough scraps in similar or complementary color values and/or saturation, and designing the layout. For me, the layout is usually dictated by the amount of scraps I have that work together. In Baby Bear, I had a lot of country blues – leftovers from the 80’s – and darker blue leftovers from my quanket, Celebration. Using a design wall is great for exploring options in how to arrange blocks, sashing and borders. My design wall is a closet door covered with felt which works great, as it lets me place pieces without the use of pins. For pieces that have more seams, it seems that a pin is needed, otherwise I end up with a pile of pieces on the floor in front of the closet door!

Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge
Quilting is more fun than Housework