red flannel pantry

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Archive for the tag “quilting”

tallying 21


I wanted to make something special but practical for Daughter #1 to commemorate a significant birthday: her 21st.


I have a thing for number quilts (here is another I designed this year but with Roman numerals). This time I designed hash-mark blocks to add up to her age and put them together into a 24-inch square pillow. I made the hash marks kind of wonky so they would resemble handwritten ones.


I finished piecing the front as the sun was setting the other night. I really like how the orange leaps off the tan background.


I backed it with this cool geometric hexagon print, which is right up her graphic design alley.


I quilted it on the diagonal, following the lines on the print–no marking!–I call it being creatively lazy.


I can envision all sorts of design combinations that this hash-mark motif could be used for: gifts to celebrate bar/bat mitzvah (13), significant birthdays (16, 18, 21) or anniversaries–so many possibilities–what fun! I’ll be using it again.

Happy 21st, Gertie! xoxo

I have linked up with Sew Cute Tuesday at Better Off Thread.

the story of a wedding gift


Encoded in this gift are the bride and groom’s shared professional field, what each wore on their wedding day, where they were wed, and even the day they were wed.

Here’s the story.

A little over a week ago, we were invited to our friends’ house for a solstice party. It was June 21, the longest day of the year, a lovely, sunny Friday. We arrived to learn that actually we were attending a wedding reception: Jason and Amy had been married at their home a few hours earlier–what a wonderful surprise and a delightful party! I knew the jars of pickles and salsa we had brought, though appreciated, would not do as a wedding gift. The next day, as I recalled Amy’s wedding dress, I remembered a spare quilt block in my stash with the same coral color. It was a leftover from a still-unfinished quilt top I made using a pattern (called Neighborhood) in Elizabeth Hartman’s book, Modern Patchwork. Here was my inspiration.


For borders, I used fabric from Carolyn Friedlander’s Architextures collection, which gives a nod to the bride and groom’s professions (he’s an architect; she’s an interior designer).


For the back, I found a blue and coral stripe that reminded me of the tie Jason wore.


And to hide the zipper, I used a strip of white on white with various-sized dots. It made me think of the sun and the planets–a subtle reference to their solstice wedding day.

Congratulations and best wishes, Amy & Jason!

kudus and kudos


Daughter #2 leaves early tomorrow morning with fellow St. Louis Zoo interns for Costa Rica, so we have spent the past few days getting her ready for departure. D#2 decided that she’d like to bring along some needlepoint to do, so we designed a couple of keychains as thank-yous for Eve and Laura, the patient Zoo educators who will be accompanying this posse. She plans to work on them during layovers and downtime. We incorporated the St. Louis Zoo’s logo, a stylized image of the male lesser kudu (a shy east African antelope) and the educators’ first initials. I am grateful to these wonderful professionals who are chaperoning this group of teenagers/young adults and enthusiastically sharing their knowledge and love of the environment, nature and animals.


Although preoccupied with D#2’s travel preparations (and the associated worry), I did manage to get a couple of quilts mailed off to the quilter. Boy, did that feel good!

cathedral windows demystified


A friend who is a violinist with the St. Louis Symphony is celebrating a significant birthday today, so I thought I’d finish a little project for her as a gift.

I pieced this mini-quilt a few years ago following a Sew Mama Sew tutorial by Elizabeth Hartman of Oh Fransson fame. It sounds weird, but you fuse the squares to lightweight fusible interfacing and then fold and sew the rows. For the beginner quilter (me!), it was very satisfying to have the seams of these bitty 2-inch squares match perfectly. At the time, I made several, and over the years I have reached up to my works-in-progress (WIP) shelf and quilted one every so often as a birthday gift for a friend. This process has allowed me to experiment with different quilting designs in a small (14-inch square) venue. “Mistakes” are hard to detect–it helps that I used no solid fabrics. I gained practice and confidence, and the gift recipients were none the wiser (I think!).


Here are a couple of others I did. The one with the yellow border I quilted with an all-over free-motion curly-que–very brave of me. For the orange-bordered one, I used an Elizabeth Hartman-esque free-motion wonky-box pattern (it’s in her book)–even braver.


This time around, I had fun with a new technique for me: cathedral windows/orange peel quilting. I have admired it but thought it was beyond my abilities. Then I read a blog entry by Katy of I’m a Ginger Monkey in which she confesses to being a reluctant quilter (I can certainly relate) and then explains how to do this orange peel quilting with a walking foot–cool! I had to try it out, and it worked like a charm. I am pleased to have another quilting technique in my repertoire.


It looks great with the backing I chose.


For the borders I used my other favorite walking-foot quilting design (explained here by Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts). It created a little puzzle-piece pattern in the corners.


I added a hanging sleeve so it can either be hung on a wall or used as a decorative piece on a table.

Happy Birthday, Wendy!

HSTs and Bloc-Loc rulers


Last week I read a post by Rita of Red Pepper Quilts about Bloc-Loc rulers, which she was using to square up flying geese blocks. When she mentioned that Bloc-Loc also makes half-square triangle (HST) rulers, I checked out reviews and the Bloc-Loc website. Despite my best efforts, I struggle to accurately trim HST blocks–I find it hard to maintain adequate pressure on the ruler while I cut. Too often the ruler shifts, and I am left with a wonky block. So based on Rita’s and others’ positive responses, I ordered a set of three HST rulers: 2 1/2″, 4 1/2″ and 6 1/2″. They arrived in just a couple of days.


There’s a groove milled into the underside of the ruler that, when placed atop a pieced HST unit, fits snugly against the center seam. No more slipping–genius. Paired with a revolving cutting mat, these rulers make trimming HST blocks a piece of cake. Thanks to Rita for sharing this tip!

playing with HSTs


My mother-in-law has had this double wedding ring quilt as a layer on the bed in the guest bedroom for as long as I can remember. My husband is fond of its red/aqua combo, so I thought I’d explore that color pairing in my next project.

I recently came across this brilliant video from the Missouri Star Quilt Company demonstrating a quick and easy way to crank out half-square triangles (HSTs)–it’s genius!

This video and the multitude of HSTs made me remember a gorgeous HST quilt by Mary Fons that I saw in Quilty last summer:



The Pink Waves quilt is made up of 2 1/2″ squares–the idea of making over 1200 little HST squares is mind blowing to me. I decided to start with 7-inch squares of fabric to end up with 4 1/2-inch HST squares (finished size: 4 inches), which works out this way:

beginning square size x 0.64 = HST size

I found this clever equation on That Girl That Quilt. Jennifer offers a clear explanation of various HST techniques and tips that you can read here.


I have gotten to work. My aqua and reds are more vibrant than those in my MIL’s quilt, but I like bright colors that give a visual jolt–they match our current hot temps. I am hoping that this project will tame my red fabric stash, which is teetering on the ridiculous!

Oh Deer! a jelly roll quilt


Here’s a recent finish. I assembled this quilt top back in February (I wrote about it here). I had a jelly roll of Oh Deer fabric that had been sitting around for awhile, so I found a design I liked in Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam & Nicky Lintott called Blue Lagoon. It came together in no time.


I have been on an orange kick lately, so the backing is an easy pieced affair of a center 42-inchwide vertical panel of even more deer flanked by parallel 13-inchwide panels of an orange fleur de lis. Since she did such a wonderful job quilting the quilt for my daughter, I sent this one to Lynn Peterson, a talented long-arm quilter.


In the border, she did a double loop-de-loop, and the interior she filled with a tri-petal design that looks like a lotus blossom or an orange being peeled–I really like it.

Delighted with how it was coming along, I made a blue binding–and then dropped the ball. Distracted by birthday and graduation gift-making, I put it aside in my sewing room, close but unfinished. I more reliably hit the finish line when I have a recipient and a deadline–since I had neither for this quilt, it was easily left undone.

When I straightened my sewing room a couple weeks ago, I pulled this quilt and the binding out. In an embarrassingly short time, I had it completed. Procrastination always makes a job seem bigger than it ends up being in reality.


I still don’t have a recipient in mind, so it might just be added to the family blanket pile in the living room, which would make Grizzie very happy!

jelly roll of Oh Deer by MoMo for Moda Fabrics
Blue Lagoon design in Lintott: Jelly Roll Quilts
quilted by Lynn Peterson (you can read about Lynn and how to contact her here)
finished size: 68″ x 74″

happy Memorial Day


The farm is the perfect place for a quilt photo shoot, so I brought this quilt top along for its glamour shots.


I used Allison Harris’ (at Cluck Cluck Sew) star block tutorial, and I shamelessly copied her color scheme as well. I love the traditional red, white and blue with the gray thrown in to give it a modern vibe.


Happy Memorial Day!

jack attack quilt–sashing complete

IMG_1739My Jack Attack quilt top is complete!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I bulked up the center red cross and the white sashing bordering it, which is why it looks a little different from the quilt in the Jack Attack tutorial.

IMG_1742Given its size (74″ x 102″), there was no way to hang this quilt top to photograph it, so I rearranged furniture and onto the floor it went. Bud slept in the recliner during the photo shoot.

IMG_1743I bought  this red crown fabric last summer. It would have been perfect for one of the flags, but I had only 1/2 yard–bummer.


In the end, it worked well as cornerstones in the sashing–serendipitous!

quilts as cat magnets


I found Grizzie on a quilt picnic blanket left in the living room.

How do cats know when a quilt is in the sun and ripe for cuddling?

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