Thursday, April 19, 2018

Trees Standing Tall - It's A Wild Life Block of the Month

The Sew Incredible Crazy and It's a Wild Life Block of the month blocks feature trees - two trees - a small tree and a tall tree.  And just my luck, it was offered in two different manners - applique (not my choice) >>>

and pieced... 

I was able to quickly piece the blocks and thought that I would skip the appliqued bunny and bird... I caved and am I ever so glad that I did!

How cute did they turn out???

Again, color placement is important... some of the light green HST at the edges of the tree are lost, but I am not overly concerned since it will be included in a quilt that I plan to keep - plus, it is scrappy.  Rest assured, if it were a commissioned quilt, I would be ripping stitches and replacing them!

You may be tired of hearing that applique is not my thing... but in this case one of you will be a winner and reap the benefits of my dislike!  I have a reverse applique pattern I am giving away.  Yesterday was my birthday, but one of you gets a gift.  How does that sound?

Leave a comment about which tree blocks you would have done -  Applique or pieced

I will pick a random winner on Sunday afternoon.
If you are a no-reply blogger be sure to leave your email address in the comments 
(ie - davemelvanolan at aol dot com)

Sew Happy,


Linking with:

Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts
Movin' It Forward Monday at Em's Scrap Bag
Fiber Tuesday at the Quilting Room with Mel
Works In Progress Wednesday at Esther's Blog
To-do Tuesday at Stitch All The Things
Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication

Monday, April 16, 2018

Sew Much Fun Blog Hop - Binding Techniques

Today is  the day that binding techniques are addressed on the "Sew Much Fun Blog Hop" hosted by Jen Frost of Faith & Fabric.  

The binding process/step seems to be loved or despised by quilters... I am a lover of binding!  Yep, Quilt Nerd right here... When you reach the point of binding it means that the quilt is nearly complete.  Hand-stitching the final step allows me a smidge more time to enjoy the quilt before it heads out the door.

Hopefully, if you are not a fan of binding, you will find a tip or two here to change your mind. I will be sharing some techniques that I have learned over the years that has helped to make the binding process enjoyable... as will several other bloggers- you can find the list with the links at the bottom of the post.

Tip #1 - Many of the directions for binding instruct you to make the strips for the binding 2-1/4" inches - this makes a double fold binding (meaning that there are two layers of fabric that create the binding)... 

This worked for me okay. I mean, I didn't know of any other way, but I tried a 2-1/2" strip (I actually mis-measured and cut the incorrect width) and enjoyed the finishing step of the quilt much more.  I didn't have to pull the binding around to the opposite side as tight. I continue to cut all of my binding strips at 2-1/2 inches.

When I started quilting I would use what I called a square edge binding technique.  It is pretty much as described... It has a square edge and was four separate pieces of binding, with the finished edges ends folded in.  It wasn't a really nice finished look...  

It was okay for my "used every day" utilitarian quilts, but if I was making a gift or wanted it to have a better finished look I would stitch the ends shut...

And then I came across a youtube video from Missouri Star Quilts where Jenny showed an easy mitered corner binding with continuous binding strips.  I was sooooo excited about it and I shared a blog post about it even!  

Tip #2 - watch the video in the link above!

When it comes to finishing the binding there are many arguments of Hand stitching vs. Machine stitching... Here is my logic - 

Do I hand stitch the binding??? It depends - how much time do I have?  Is it a commissioned quilt? Or is it a gift?  Do I anticipate that it will be heavily used and laundered?  Am I looking for an excuse to sit and "watch" tv?

If the quilt is a wedding gift, I will {{almost}} always hand stitch the binding.  This means that I will sew the binding to the front of the quilt and fold the binding over to the back for hand sewing (while catching up on recorded episodes of Chopped). Front to back

If it is a baby quilt that I believe will be laundered fairly frequently, I will sew the binding to the back and machine stitch the binding down on the front.  Back to Front

Is it a average quilt that will be sold at a market or show?  I will again machine sew the binding onto the back of the quilt and flip it over for machine stitching of the binding - time is money.  Back to Front

A flange-edge finish is a nice touch that allows me to finish quickly and offer an extra pop of color or interest to the quilt border.  Back to Front

This one was made by cutting the flange piece to 1 inch, pressing it in half and sewing it to the front of the quilt with a scant 1/4".  The next step is to sew the binding onto the back of the quilt and turn to the front for machine finishing.

I recently tried a two color binding and was very pleased with the finished look...  It allows for the quick Back to Front AND a pop of color... 
Tip #3 - Here are some step by steps to help you out.  

Once you determine which two colors you are using for your binding and you decide which color is the "binding" and which is the "flange"... cut the binding color strip 1-1/2" wide (the black) and cut the flange color strip to 1-3/4" (the gold).  Sew strips together...

Press in half...

Once the binding is ready to be sewn on the quilt, do the Back to Front technique (with the flange color facing you).

Turn the binding to the front and machine stitch the binding along the narrow color of the binding.

Ta-da!  You have done it!

The final technique I want to share is not one that I have actually tried, but have full intention of using very soon... It is the big-stitch binding.  I learned of this technique last month during the Instagram Quilt Fest when "binding" was the word of the day.  

It is just as its name suggests... big stitches using pearl cotton thread.  I think this will be super cute on a baby quilt!  Maybe the "baby's first year" quilt I need to do for our little grand-daughter.

I would do a Back to Front stitching so that the big stitches are decorative on the front of the finished quilt... and enjoy an episode or two of Call the Midwife.  

Are you a fan of the binding process?  
Do you prefer hand-stitching or machine stitching your bindings?
Do you have another tip or technique that is different than what I shared?

Leave a comment to let me know... I love hearing from my readers.

Happy Quilting!

Be sure to see what the other bloggers are doing with their bindings - 

Karen Thurn at Tu-Na Quilts, Travels & Eats
Jen Shaffer at Patterns by Jen

Melva Loves Scraps - Home of Quilters Through The Generations

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Camper Quilt - No Guilt :: Go Quilt #4 :: GIVE AWAY

Since I have joined two Block of the Month Groups and both are related in themes - It's A Wild Life and Let's Go Camping - I will be combining the blocks and making one quilt with the sole intention of it living in our camper.  I am therefore calling it "Camper Quilt"... so original, right?

Now, granted, because the blocks will take all of 2018 to make, it will not be ready until next year... or until I see that I have enough blocks to make a queen-sized quilt to cover our sleeping area. 

None the less, I am having a great time making these blocks.  The "Wild Life" blocks are offering a few whimsical touches with applique - the deer last month and the bunny and bird this month.  A pieced version of the block was offered and that is what I have used...

... because as I have stated several times, applique is my least favorite technique in quilting and, honestly, I have considered omitting the bunny and bird from the pieced tall tree block... I am still undecided... but for now my trees are complete.

I will be working on the April block from Pat Sloan - Things We Take.

Now this will only take about an hour... what will I be doing the rest of the day???

Well, there is this Dresden Tie Memory quilt that I am quilting.  It is so slow going!  But I am determined that I WILL get it done.  

The idea of using some flowers from the table cloth as the center of the plate looks great!  But there are so many twists and turns... **sigh**

I know in the end I will love it!

So to make the day a little easier for me I will be using another freezer crock pot meal.  This one will be Chicken Teriyaki.  Super easy and yummy...

I did a half recipe so that we don't have so many left-overs that we tire of them before they are gone.  Also, note that the cornstarch (I will be using tapioca starch) and water are not added to the freezer pack - they are needed the day of cooking.  Also the green onions re a garnish.

And as a bonus - here is one of my favorite recipes that I hope to be able to enjoy as my dietary restrictions get lifted.

Tortellini Soup.

1 small bag of fresh spinach - chopped
2 cans of Italian style diced tomatoes
4 cups of vegetable broth
1 block of cream cheese - diced
1 lb Italian sausage - broken into bite sized pieces

Place the above ingredients into a freezer bag, if freezing.  Add 1 bag of frozen tortellini 30 minutes before serving.

This soup is delicious!  Serve with cheesy garlic bread and you will have one happy family.

Sew... I need to get to my sewing room and get going on all of the twists and turns.  Dinner is taken care of. YAY!  

As I had mentioned last week, I will be hosting some give aways!  And today is one of them... I will be giving away 5 of the crockpot liners that help to make the clean up of the meal so easy and fast...

Just leave me a comment to let me know you are interested in a chance to enter this give away.  You can tell me which recipe you might like to try... or tell me what you have been working on... or let me know how you follow me.

If you leave a comment by midnight Thursday, April 12 you will be entered.
The winner must be located in the US
The lucky winner will be announced on Friday, April 13th. :)

Quilt happy!


Melva Loves Scraps - Home of Quilters Through The Generations
Linking with:
Movin' It Forward with Em's Scrap Bag
To-do Tuesday with Stitch All The Things
Linky Tuesday with Free-motion by the River
Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts
Works in Progress at Silly Mama Quilts
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation

Monday, April 2, 2018

April Showers

The winds blew through March and somehow, we are now in April!  And you know the saying... April showers bring May flowers.  I can only hope that we get some showers as the drought hovers in the severe/extreme levels.  The Ides of March marched right in and, whew... it was a very busy month as I had previewed a few weeks ago.

The blog hops and linky parties were great fun and offered many opportunities to have interaction with my readers.  Many thanks for all of the comments!  I love, love, love to hear from you. 

In February, at the onset of Lent, I decided to take on a meaningful project and started sewing pillowcase dresses.  I had two bolts of plaid fabric that I wanted to use... with the goal of completing 40 dresses (one for each day of the Lenten season) or until I ran out of the plaid fabric....

I worked on the "Little Dresses" all though Lent here and there and was able to successfully complete 41 dresses and empty one bolt of the plaid fabric.  These dresses will be included in our church's Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes when they get packed in November.  

I did pull some other fabrics into the mix so there was a little bit of variety...

I plan to continue with making dresses, but using "Lillian's pattern" for the dresses and send them to the organization in Michigan - Little Dresses for Africa.  My thought is that I have plenty of dresses for the shoe boxes, and since the majority of them are all the same and the shoe boxes end up going to the same locations (usually Mexico or The Philippines) , I would split up the plaid dresses and send some to a different continent.

Enough of March... what will April bring???

I will be a part of the April Sew Much Fun Blog Hop hosted by Jen Frost at Faith & Fabric.  Binding techniques will be the subject.  I will be sharing a few tips as well as my preferred method.

Other challenges and block of the month projects will include:

The 2018 color challenge - Orange is the color for April...  

Orange = Sunrises and Sunsets
Orange = Denver Broncos (or Chicago Bears)
Orange = fresh picked fruit from the trees in my Grandparent's back yard
Orange =  hives... from eating too many of the said oranges in my Grandparent's back yard 👀😜

It's a Wild Life - from Sew Incredibly Crazy  

Let's Go Camping  with Pat Sloan...  

Both the "It's A Wild Life" and "Let's Go Camping blocks will be combined to make a quilt that we will use in our camper.  We plan to set up the bed more as a regular bed with sheets and quilt rather than using sleeping bags.  Stay tuned!

The Quilters Through The Generations series will continue with two more stories.  I am currently recruiting more quilters who are willing to share their stories and the stories of quilters from generations before them.  Are YOU willing to share your story?  Let me know!  

Did you happen to catch the story of Ann Hicks?  She has a rich, rich history - it includes six generations - of quilting in her family and she graciously shared their stories with me recently.

As a little addendum, she shared some photos of her Grandfather's Market (Gus Perry)...  It looks well organized and well stocked!  Where do you suppose the fabric department is?

She also shared that her favorite quilt block is the Sun Bonnet Sue... 

This is one she made for her Grand-daughter, Catrina.

What are your plans for April?  

I'd love to hear from you... leave a comment below.

Did I mention that April is my birthday month?  To celebrate I will be having a give away... Details to be announced. You may want to follow me via e-mail (subscribe in the right margin), on bloglovin', facebook or instagram so that you don't miss the opportunity!

Spring on!


Linking up with:

One Month Goal at Elm Street Quilts
Movin' it Foward Monday at Em's Scrap Bag
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
UFO Busting at Tish's Adventures in Wonderland

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Quilters Through The Generations - Ann Hicks

Today I welcome Ann Hicks as she shares her family's story of quilting. Ann has a perpetual smile on her face and a positive outlook in life. She has a great appreciation for hand quilting and does not become overly concerned if something seems to be taking longer than it should. She simply goes with the flow and is not easily excitable. She has influenced many throughout her life as she loved and cared for numerous foster children for many years... Her love for life and quilting will carry on. Here is her story...

I started quilting shortly after I was married to my second husband, Bob in 1973.The first quilt I remember actually finishing what was to be a crib size for my daughter’s first baby. It was squares already stamped for cross stitching. I bought 6 squares but by the time I had finished the cross stitching Sharitta was already in school, so I was going to need at least a twin sized quilt. I bought more squares and this went on and on until I ended up making a queen sized quilt for her high school graduation. I had done the whole quilt in hand stitches so it did not hold up well after being washed. I learned so much doing that quilt! 

My mother, Lourenna Caton Perry, was a quilter.  This Cathedral Window quilt was one of her quilts.  

Below is the Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt that she made for my first baby, my daughter Tami Hicks Threats.

My maternal grandmother (mother's mother) was Mary Clinton Caton and she also made quilts.  She sewed all of her life making clothes for her six children.  She and her husband, Noah, moved to Colorado just before her second child (my mother) was born, circa 1915.  My Grandfather came with friends and carried household items in a covered wagon.  My grandmother and her daughter arrived via train.  My Grandfather drove the stagecoach to Cripple Creek before working in the Golden Cycle Mill.  He passed away from lung problems just before I was born in 1943.  My grandmother continued to sew for living until she was in her 90s.  

Below is one of Mary's quilts... notice the "empty space quilting" in the white filler squares.  Beautiful!

My Great Grandmother on my Mother's side was Lourenna Jane Williams Clinton and she made this scrappy quilt on the left...

I personally love the Baptist Fan quilting that works well with the curved piecing of the blocks.  It could easily fit into a modern (improv) quilting category... Timeless!

My paternal grandmother (dad's mom) was Julia Ann Washburn and married Gus Perry.  He owned the Palace Market on West Colorado Avenue in Colorado Springs, CO.  

My Grandmother Perry (in the photo from 1906) was a quilter as well! 

The Double Wedding Ring quilt shown to the left was made by her.

Julia's mom, my Great Grandmother - Florance A. Washburn was... guess what??? Another quilter!  She made the scrappy quilt pictured below.

Ann shared that she is unsure of who made this quilt, but she has memories of sleeping under it as a child... no doubt covered in love. 

My daughter Tami made this baby quilt...  I did not teach her how to quilt.  She learned the same way I did - by watching others and by trial and error.  

But, I did teach my Grand-daughter, Catrina Claire Threats to quilt.  She quilted this pillow top and then sewed it together and finished it while in 8th grade.

This pillow is very special to me because it is made from a quilt originally pieced and tied by my Great-Grandmother, Florance A. Washburn circa 1874.  In 1907 my Grandmother, Julia Ann Perry, repaired it.  In 1999 I cut the old quilt into small pieces and made pillows for all of the girls in my family.

After the many lessons learned along the way and through the years, I made this Double Wedding Ring quilt - about 20 years ago.

I made this quilt for my son-in-law, Tyrone... Can you tell he is a Washington Red Skins fan???

Between 1995 and 2000 my husband, Bob, and I made and sold porcelain dolls.  He made the porcelain part and I made the cloth parts of each doll.  I would also hand-quilt a small quilt for each doll.  This was our first doll that I had promised to my sister.  We had no idea that she would look exactly like her grand-daughter!

All of my quilts have been gifts, so I haven't sold any, except for the ones that were sold with the dolls.  We sold those for $150 - $200 each.

My favorite quilt is a lap quilt that I made as a gift for my husband, Bob.

Because he passed away just a few months ago, it is even more special to me.

I have never participated in a quilting group, but I would probably enjoy it, though I haven't quilted for several years.

I think that now is an opportune time for Ann to start quilting again!  

What do you think?  
Any words of encouragement for her?

As I look at the quilts made by the women of her family, I am convinced that Ann's love for the slower pace is hereditary.  As I look at the details and intricacies of the piecing and small pieces of fabric they used the quilts, they no doubt took a long time to finish.  I think I could take some lessons from Ann about the slower pace and worry less about how quickly I can finish a quilt.

Thanks Ann for inspiring me!

Do you tend to "rush through" a project, like me?
Or do you enjoy the slower pace, like Ann?
Leave a comment below - I love to hear from my readers...

Quilt Happy!