Thursday, March 15, 2018

Charming Postage Plus

Hi there! If you're visiting my blog today because of Cheryl (MeadowMistDesigns) and Paige's (QuiltedBlooms) blog hop, then thank you for stopping by! And to my long-time blog-reader/followers, thank you too! I'm always grateful for your comments.

Today's post is all about this new book, and the quilt I made after being invited to participate in the authors' blog hop.
Photo courtesy of C+T Publishing
Modern Plus Sign Quilts is written by Cheryl Brickey (MeadowMistDesigns) and Paige Alexander (QuiltedBlooms). Though I haven't met either of them in person, I feel that I know them both. Paige has become a special friend since we have followed each other's blogs for more than a year. All it takes is commenting a time or two, and suddenly you're swapping emails and chatting like old pals. Isn't that the best part of blogging? Commenting on blog posts, and receiving conversational replies?

The quilt I chose to make from their book is "Postage Plus." The plus part can be made with jelly roll strips.
Postage Plus photo courtesy of C + T Publications
Postage Plus photo courtesy of C+T Publications
Below is my quilt, photographed here in The Villages, Florida with the help of my good friend, Becky. We had fun taking pictures of several quilts.
Charming Postage Plus, 54" X 72"
I named my quilt "Charming Postage Plus" because I used 192 different 2-1/2" (unfinished) prints to make the plus part. It's probably no surprise to anyone who knows me that I pulled all these cut squares pieces from a bin of 2-1/2" X 2-1/2" prints that I've been accumulating for several years. 

When piecing the plus part, I used a Strip Stick to help press open each seam. The curve of the stick hyperextends the seam allowance so there's no chance of accidentally pressing a tuck.

I used my favorite homemade basting spray to make the quilt sandwich which is assembled with Quilter's Dream 100 percent poly batting. While I love the poly batting (it's so soft!), I learned that homemade spray doesn't adhere well to polyester. Still, I'll keep making and using the spray when I'm sandwiching with cotton batting.

I happily did most of the quilting during the Olympics, watching nearly all the curling competitions. Curling is such a fascinating sport. We were more than thrilled when the US men's team won gold!

Quilting was done on my Bernina Aurora QE440 with Sulky "invisible" nylon thread on top, and Aurifil 50-weight in the bobbin. I first used a walking foot to straight-line quilt the plus area on the diagonal. Then, continuing to use the walking foot, I established several sections in the background areas. Curves were also quilted with a walking foot. The rest of the sections were fill in with free motion quilting.

I enjoyed quilting this combo of swirls and bubbles.

Finishing the quilt meant using my favorite binding technique: No Tails Binding: Mitered Corners by Machine. This method lets me to change binding colors at the corners. The top and bottom are bound with Kona Turquoise, and the sides are bound with Painter's Palette Aluminum.

To bind a quilt like this, you'll find my blog tutorial here. Or, if you're a member of the Modern Quilt Guild, you can watch my 2016 webinar here.

It's always satisfying to relax with hand-sew binding.

Background solids are:
dark aqua: Kona Turquoise; medium aqua: Painter's Palette Aquarius; light aqua: Painter's Palette Azure
light gray: Painter's Palette Aluminum; white: Kona White

Since my 2018 goal is to sew only with fabrics from my stash, the backing is pieced too. Couldn't resist using a few more 2-1/2" squares to piece a little green plus.

Lots of quilters have been busily sewing quilts from Cheryl and Paige's book. I'd encourage you to visit these blogs to see what everyone else has been making. It's apparent that the book gives you lots of possibilities! 

Thursday, March 15th
Linda @ Flourishing Palms YOU ARE HERE!
Bernie @ Needle and Foot
Michelle @ From Bolt to Beauty

Friday, March 16th
Izzy @ Dizzy Quilts
Christa @ Christa Quilts

Monday, March 19th
Jessica @ Quilty Habit

Tuesday, March 20th
Katherine @ Sew Me Something Good

Wednesday, March 21st
Anja @ Anja Quilts

Thursday, March 22nd
Joanne @ Quilts by Joanne

Friday, March 23rd
Paige @ Quilted Blooms

Comment to be entered in my giveaway!
For those of you who've read through this whole post, thank you! I am personally giving away a digital copy of Modern Plus Sign Quilts.

Why a digital book? Because it's the best way to make it available to everyone, no matter where you live in the world. Yep. Anyone can enter.

Just be sure I have a way to email you if your comment is chosen. Don't miss being a winner because you're a "no-reply commenter"!

This giveaway will remain open until Saturday afternoon, March 17.
That's 'cause Sunday the 18th is my 65th birthday. I plan to be celebrating! Yay for Medicare! 😁

If you already know you can't live without this book, go to these links to purchase your copy:


Friday, March 9, 2018

Playing With Wedges

Since receiving Christina Cameli's (afewscraps) new book "Wedge Quilt Workshop," I've been itching to play with wedges. My interest in sewing wedges was piqued after watching Christina's MQG Webinar (Wedge Quilts Go Modern, July 2012 - accessible only to MQG members) about using 9-degree and 10-degree wedge rulers. So when her book came out, I was the first in line to get it! 

Cutting out and sewing was easy. I used my Marilyn Doheny 9-degree wedge ruler, purchased in 1989! Christina's book has lots more ideas and options than the two-color, 12 inch-long wedges I made.

It was figuring out what to do with those wedges that challenged me. Many different iterations appeared on my design wall. I first made wedges using a combination of white and Painter's Palette Carrot. Then I made some wedges with white and Kona Punch. As the design progressed, I began alternating those colors which may be difficult to see in my pictures.

Besides playing with the design, I auditioned other colors with the wedges. Besides this poppy red, green and gold made appearances. No good.

Then I tried in Kona Breakers. It seemed right. 

I switched the design again to make circles, and cut a piece of bias using Kona Breakers. I liked the bias accent. 

This is how I applied the bias to the inside of all the wedge circles, while simultaneously appliquéing to the circle center fabric which is Kona Silver. 

The design evolved. I really liked the idea of the Breakers color "pouring" through the whole design. However, Breakers as the center color seemed a little heavy.

So I moved it to the bottom. It's as heavy there, but I'm considering adding another small partial circle on the middle or upper right. And of course, my quilting will impact the overall design. I'm thinking to use turquoise-colored thread to quilt some accent circles. 

In case you're interested to know how I applied the outside edge of the circle wedges to the background, here are a couple pictures. I cut 1-1/2"-wide bias strip of white fabric, and used a quarter-inch seam to sew it to the outside wedge circle. 

I folded and pressed the bias to the back.

Then, using an appliqué foot and straight stitch, I sewed the wedge to the background. On the back of the quilt, I trimmed away the excess backing, and any parts of wedges that were covered. 

Because I don't have any big hunks of yardage from which to make a quilt back for this 54" X 70" wedge quilt top, I'm piecing a back using this free quilt pattern called "Bookmarks". Nothing uses up stash fabric more than making two quilts as one! 

Also, with all that wedge-piecing, I sewed more leaders and enders from my basket of 1-1/2" (unfinished) squares. Though the pile number says 83, I actually have 88 16-patch blocks. I have a quilt design plan for those too!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Slope to a Finish

It feels good to have another finish - the second one this year - and even more fun when you can go out on a gorgeous Florida morning with a quilt-y friend for a photo shoot. Thanks very much, Becky, for doing this with me. It was a good time!

We headed to Brownwood, one of three squares in The Villages that's for shopping, eating, and socializing. These pictures were taken at Paddock Square. Becky stood on the Dogtrot Stage to hold my quilt. The flowers are too pretty to leave out of the picture.

I absolutely love this Slopes quilt! It used up lots of scraps, though all eight of my scrap bins seem to remain full to the top! I'm passing along a big thanks to Amanda Jean (CrazyMomQuilts) who mailed me a whole bunch of purple pieces, as that's a color that's lacking in my own stash. The bottom two rows of the quilt are pieced mostly with Amanda Jean's scraps.

Slopes was sandwiched with Quilter's Dream Cotton Request using homemade basting spray (Have I mentioned enough how much I love this spray?!), and quilted with 50-weight Aurifil thread.

For the first time ever, I quilted extra-simply. Using my walking foot, I repeated wavy lines across the width of the quilt. So easy, and perfect for the busy-ness of the quilt front.

Sticking to my 2018 goal of sewing from my stash and not buying any fabric, the backing is pieced from a row of triangle-in-a-square blocks that I'd originally thought to use on the quilt front, and stash leftovers. The colorful swirly print is all that's left of 108"-wide yardage. Yep, I'm making the most of what I already have. 

The binding is scrappy too. 

I used my favorite No Tails Binding: Mitered Corners by Machine to finish Slopes. 

Slopes finishes at 60-1/2" X 74".

For the first time in eons, I'm linking up with Amanda Jean's "Finish It Friday," as I think it's appropriate to share a quilt inspired and made from her book "No Scrap Left Behind." Thanks for a fun pattern, Amanda Jean! Linda

Wednesday, February 28, 2018


Last week was hectic... but it really wasn't. It just felt hectic because QuiltCon was happening for four days in Pasadena (Thursday through Sunday), and the Olympic games were wrapping up.

Even though I didn't attend QuiltCon, I followed along very closely via Instagram. Lots of quilt pictures were posted, and even more quilters I know were in attendance and meeting up with friends.

My Australian friend, Di, who spent a month with me last year (her arrival on February 2, 2017) was able to attend QuiltCon, but shortly after the show began she was felled by the flu!

Here's Di on the first day of the show, doing her volunteer shift and posing in front of one of her two gorgeous entries into QuiltCon. This quilt is "Shining Through." Last November, it received 2nd place in the Modern Traditional category in the Modern Quilt Show Australia.

As lovely as Di looks here, it was just as this volunteer shift ended that she was laid low with the flu! The poor dear! She retreated to her hotel room, started taking Tamiflu, and slept. Though she was weakly back on her feet by Saturday afternoon, I can't imagine how disappointing it was for her to anticipate such a fabulous event and then be sick. She's a trooper, for sure. She let me know she still enjoyed herself... seeing the show, visiting the vendors, and connecting with other quilters. I'm so glad.

To participate in QuiltCon myself, I joined in #quiltconfromhome, posting a few pictures of what I was working on during those four days. I started something new using Christina Cameli's new book "Wedge Quilt Workshop," stashed solids, and a long-unused 9-degree ruler.

While piecing lots of these wedges, in between I sewed leaders and enders. My pile of 16-patch blocks (4" X 4" finished) has passed 90 now!

Last Saturday was our Central Florida MQG Sew-In at the Belleview Public Library. Though our group was small, we had a great time! Not only were each of us able to work on whatever we wanted (I was hand-sewing binding on two quilts), we had fun with a fat quarter swap of solid fabrics. I'm ever-grateful for quilting friends.
L-R: Karen T., Beth, Linda T., Karen E., Ruth, Dee, Edith, and me
As for the Olympics, watching the final of men's curling was by far the most fun sporting event I've watched in a long time. These guys made quite a comeback after several failures early-on in the round robin games.

It's the first time the US has won gold in curling!

During many hours of watching, we got acquainted with these fellas. Matt Hamilton of McFarland, Wisconsin (third from the left) was estimated to have played on the Olympic ice for slightly more than 40 hours. John Shuster, the skip (far right) from Duluth, Minnesota is given much credit for the team comeback, and his own high accuracy rock-delivery. Such a Cinderella story. Ahhh. It's great to be an American! I can't imagine what a wonderful homecoming it was for all these guys.

This morning, my neighbor-quilter-friend, accompanied me on a photoshoot to take pictures of a couple finished quilts. I encouraged her to bring along one of her own quilts for a photo. We headed to Brownwood, one of the three squares in The Villages. In Paddock Square there's a statue of a cowboy. Since Becky's quilt is small, we thought he would make a good backdrop.

Turns out, every cowboy needs a little quilt! 

The statute has a smooth finish, so there wasn't any way to get the quilt to stay laying across his lap. So Becky put the quilt through his arm, hung on, and stood behind him. Perfect, isn't it? I think Mr. Cowboy may be modeling more quilts in the future!

By the way, if you like that little quilt, it's a design by Missouri Star Quilt Company called "Trail Blaze." How ironic that it's a name that suits a cowboy?! Find the tutorial for a larger version of it here.

This picture of a long line of parked golf carts was also taken at Brownwood, last Saturday morning when we went to Farmer's Market. It's definitely snowbird season!

But when the weather's gorgeous like it's been, with the sun shining and the temps in the mid-80s during the day and 60s overnight, it's tough to begrudge anyone else wanting to enjoy it as much as we do.

The AQS (American Quilter's Society) show opened today, through Saturday, in Daytona Beach. I'm boarding a bus - one of three buses of Quilting Guild of The Villages quilters - early tomorrow morning to spend the day.

"Florida" 3rd place, Quilting Guild of The Villages, January 2017
My Florida quilt is in the show.

It didn't win anything, but I get free admission to the show! I'm looking forward to spending the day with quilt-y friends. Linda

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Progress, a Near Finish, and More

Year of Scrappy Triangles
This post is my link-up to SewnbyLeila's post for the Year of Scrappy Triangles. I've now made all 20 foundation paper-pieced blocks (plus one bonus block for newsletter subscribers) that she has given away on her blog. Since this will eventually be a whole year's worth of scrappy triangles, that means we have 32 more blocks to make. Unlike many other quilters who are making multiples of each block, I've been making only one.

If the photo above looks familiar, that's because it's almost like the one in my last post. The only difference is the block in the lower right corner (see below). It's the 20th block that I made to complete Leila's challenge to us. 

Since I won Leila's January giveaway of fat quarters - for those who had made the first nine blocks - I'm sure I won't win again. But, this is a reason to maintain the weekly pace.

On my Janome 1600P, this week I quilted Slopes. After considering many possible quilting designs, I knew that whatever I quilted wouldn't be very visible - lots of busy-ness already with all those prints and colors - so I decided to walking foot quilt it with trips of wavy lines back and forth across the width. Basically, it's quilting to hold the whole thing together.

My only concession to the quilt top was to coordinate the top thread colors. I used each of these Aurifil 50-weight threads on the top, with white on the bottom.

And let me reiterated how much I enjoyed using homemade basting spray! No pins! The spray works so nicely with cotton batting.

Scrappy binding is machine sewn to the quilt front, so hand-sewing to the back is next. I'm not happy about having to wash every quilt when it's done, but that's the trade-off for using homemade spray. The mixture shouldn't be left in the quilt to attract bugs or grow mold.

Quilting this was easier than anything I've quilted for a long time.

Pre-Washing Solids
I also want to reiterate how much I like Painter's Palette Solids! I had a couple of fat quarter bundles that needed washing, so yesterday I sorted the colors and put all the darker hues into the washing machine, along with a color catcher. See that white color catcher after the fabrics were washed? That's right! Not one bit of color bled out! Paintbrush Studios is doing something right with their fabrics!

I sure can't praise other brands of solid fabrics like this! Kaufman Kona is the brand I've had the most problems with in the past. As proof, in April 2016 I took this picture of color catchers used with Kona. See the aqua and yellow in the catchers?

Though I do have quite a bit of Kona in my stash, my plan is to stay with Painter's Palette as much as possible.

A Special Quilter
I've gotta point the spotlight on my blogger-friend, Karen (KaHolly), a quilter with an extremely generous heart. Last year, after Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston, she wanted to help an outlying pet farm. She did so by requesting fabric dog blocks for her birthday. I made several and sent them to her in Texas.

Karen and her daughter Kirsten went to work, putting together the blocks, sandwiching quilts, quilting, and binding. Karen wrote a lovely blog post about delivering the quilts. It's heart-warming to see how quilters find ways to let others know "I care."
QuiltCon 2018 in Pasadena
While I am wishing I was at QuiltCon in Pasadena right now (February 22-25) - my Aussie friend, Di, who visited me last year at this time, is at QuiltCon! - it helps being able to see these winning quilt. I'm proud that I know several of the quilters who won: Anne Sullivan (Playcrafts) and Debra Jalbert (MadeofHonor) from the Orlando MQG, Charlotte Knoll (Kirkenoll) from the South Florida MQG, and friend Paige Alexander (QuiltedBlooms).

Seeing these quilts is a good reminder that a modern quilt doesn't necessarily have to be intricate to win a prize. Stephanie won $5000 for this Best in Show!
QuiltCon 2018 Best in Show: "Going Up", 52" X 64" by Stephanie Skardal
Dan and I are still enjoying watching Olympic curling. While we were disappointed that the US Women's Curling team didn't make it to the semi-finals, we've been happy about the impressive come-back of the US Men's team, winning four games in a row to make it to the finals! I'll be at the Central Florida MQG Sew-In on Saturday when the gold-medal game is played between the US or Sweden. Go USA!  Linda


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