Friday, January 24, 2014

Stamp of Approval

Sharing a new quilt - what a great way to start the new year! I can't believe we're almost in February already! This is "Stamp of Approval" and it will be featured in the April 2014 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting. It's my take on a postage stamp quilt - well, half-ways anyway!
“Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2014 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.”

I love antique postage stamp quilts but find the million-plus little one inch squares a little daunting. Our quilting predecessors were champions of using every last scrap, right down to the little one inch squares that would be scrimped, saved and stitched together. A postage stamp quilt was a badge of honor reflecting its maker's frugality and resourcefulness during hard times and could take many, many years to make.

Mine, not so much. I came up with the center blocks that are inversions of each other so I would only have to make half as many! I also used strip-set piecing to make them go together a lot quicker. Lazy, maybe, but I do like the result. Originally, I only had planned to make the center but once I got that far I felt like it just needed a little somethin'-somethin' so that's where the leaf and vine border came in. It framed whole project and gave just enough curve and flow to an otherwise very linear grid design.
“Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2014 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.”

Just about any project that will eat up some of my scraps is sure to be one of my favorites and this one was no exception. After falling for the aqua blue in a previous project, I was bound and determined to use it again, this time in a big dose. I pulled out all of my 1 1/2" scrap strips (the smallest size I usually keep) and then filtered them down to just the ones that looked like colors you would find in an Easter basket. To up the scrap-factor in my quilts, I usually expand my search to a color category instead of a single color and I am usually pretty pleased with what the additional scraps bring to the party.

The finished quilt measures 63"x 63" and the lovely quilting was done by my friend and wonderful, long-arm quilter Tracey. Thanks also go to my quilting buddy Yvonne, who gave me the idea for stitching down the yo-yo "berries" in the border using decorative embroidery stitches on my machine. There is a nice detail shot and also a quilt diagram in the magazine spread.

I have been told that this issue hits the newsstands and goes out to subscribers the first week in February. So while "Stamp of Approval" is not a cover girl, she's still one of my favorites! Hope you enjoy it too!
“Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2014 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.”

Happy stitching,


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Selvage storage story

Once upon a time, there was a happy quilter with a possible hording anxiety that had an over-abundance of fabric selvages (and other massive quantities of misshaped scraps.) You know, those lovely little strips of dots and print that are just on the edge of your fabric that are considered to be juvenile delinquents by the quilt police where tension and shrinkage are concerned, but just too good to throw away. The possibilities!

With the new year demanding out with the old and in with the new - she couldn't bear it. So she devised a plan that would (a) hide/store some of her selvages (b) be quick and easy to make and (c) actually use some of the precious beauties in a fun way for her sewing-room-that-is-really-the-guest-room.

One day (about four years ago - but we'll forgive her this) the happy quilter picked up some plain brown stacking hat boxes at a garage sale for a song. With a dream and a vision for what could become of them, but not exactly a lot of determination to get it done, she took them home and there they sat on the shelf, plain, brown and sad, until.....
Armed with some of her precious selvages, some decoupage glue and foam brush she set to work...
Just a little glue on the back of the strips, overlapping and cutting as she saw fit. (A protected work surface is highly recommended. Wax paper does the trick.) Covering the top of the strips with another coat of glue to seal the deal...
The tops were a cinch, now to tackle the sides! Oh, the joy! The selvages were flooding out of the box at an exhilarating pace!...

When the plain, brown, sad boxes were completely covered and transformed by the lovely selvages, she let them sit overnight to dry. In the morning, she awoke to beams of sunshine and the sound of robins on her windowsill (not really, it is winter on the tundra after all!) She proceeded to add some die-cut chalkboard label stickers (she found in the wonderful land of Target) so she could actually look even more organized in her sewing-room-that-is-really-the-guest-room.

With her project complete and labels for jelly rolls, fat quarters and charm squares secured, she stuffed them full with a smile on her face and a song in her heart. A place for everything and everything in its place.

Of course, those selvage-lovers among us know what was really inside the little gems, but we'll just let that be our little secret. And she lived happily ever after.

Happy selvage-stitching!