Tag Archives: quilt

Quilt Top Finish

Quilt top is done!

Quilt top is done!

To find out more about the design of this quilt, please read my last post. I am making it for my married daughter and her husband and it is made from fabrics that were used as pretty fall napkins during their wedding reception.


Each circle block is 20″ square

It seemed to take me forever to make those center two blocks. I strip pieced the fabrics and then laid them all out in order to make sure that I cut them right to get the alternating striped pattern that I wanted.

Not sewn together yet.

Not sewn together yet.

I was very careful to pick up each one and orient it the right way when I cut it so that it would form this pattern when I sewed it together. I did this meticulously for all 8 blocks and then I took them to the ironing board to press them, and guess what?

They all looked the same!

They all looked the same!

I felt so stupid! How did I not realize that I could have just simply laid them all out in the same direction and I would get the same pattern?

It was a breeze to sew the 12 large circle blocks together once these middle two were together. I’m really happy with the result. Here is how it looks laid out on my queen size bed – it’s only meant to be a lap quilt, but a big one!


Next is making up the back. I’ve decided to simply sew the napkin squares together.  Circles on the front and squares on the back.

Napkins set out on my design wall.

Napkins set out on my design wall.

I will have to put a border around these as they are smaller than the blocks on the front. I’m in the process of trying to wash the cotton batting I am going to use to eliminate shrinkage when the finished quilt is washed. Most of the time I love that “crinkly” look when a quilt is washed for the first time. However, with this quilt having such a large design, I think it might be better if it lays more flat. If the batting survives the washing and drying process, I guess we’ll see.


More wedding pictures!


The groom made the photo booth. It was so much fun.

The groom made the photo booth. It was so much fun.

Both families

Both families together

It was a remarkable day and the two families have blended together perfectly. If we lived closer together (we’re in DC and they are in IL), I’m sure we would be good friends. As it is, we have great fun when we do get together.


Filed under Family, Quilts, Uncategorized

A Single Girl Quilt for my Married Girl?

My daughter got married to a most wonderful man on October 15, 2011.

"First look"

“First look”

As many modern couples do these days, they had pictures taken before the ceremony and so the first time he saw her in her wedding gown, they were outside instead of in the church. This wedding was on a beautiful fall day. The ceremony was in the afternoon.

throwing leaves

The reception hall was decorated (by friends and family) with fall flowers and candles.


We made napkins by serging the edges of fabric to add some other fun fall color to the tables.

tableThe reception hall was a park building that had large glass windows and a stone fireplace. It felt magical, as though we were outside.


When the party was over, we collected all the fabric napkins with the idea that I would make the happy couple a quilt out of them. (Yes, I washed them first!) Here they are:

All 150 of them!

All 150 of them!

I’ve had these for a year and a half now and have been trying to decide what the perfect quilt pattern would be for this couple using these colors. I’ve made several other items out of them – notebook covers and zippered pouches for family or friends who helped with the wedding.

Notebook for my mother-in-law.

Notebook for my mother-in-law.

My daughter has made her own beautiful fall colored quilt out of other fabrics since she got married.


Isn’t it pretty?


She had it quilted by a longarm quilter.

I’ve decided to make a “snuggle on the couch together” quilt. The pattern I have picked is the Single Girl Quilt by Denyse Schmidt.


I would call it a modern version of the traditional wedding ring quilt.

Traditional Wedding Ring Quilt.

Traditional Wedding Ring Quilt.

I assume that it is called “Single Girl” because the rings do not interconnect. However, as I look at the Single Girl Quilts that others have made and posted on Flickr or Pinterest, I can see that plenty of people make them up as wedding quilts. The quilting can add that interlocking component.

My version is still a work in progress.

Blocks laid out on my rug. Middle two blocks not done yet.

Blocks laid out on my rug. Middle two blocks not done yet.

I’m going to make the center two blocks the opposite colors of the outside blocks. I will strip piece the background with the napkin fabrics and do the rings in the cream colored fabric. I love the thought of this. The middle blocks symbolize Lindsey’s and Brian’s wedding rings and they will be surrounded by circles that symbolize their families and their friends. Circles surrounded by circles. Okay, this is really dorky but “the circle of life” also comes to mind. (and with that term – The Lion King!)

So stay tuned for the big reveal once I get the other blocks made and have the whole top sewn together!


Filed under Family, Quilts, Uncategorized

Honey Bee Quilt

Isn’t this quilt beautiful?  I wish I could say that I made it, but truth is, it’s an old quilt that was bought years ago by my mother-in-law.  The quilt block design is called “Honey Bee”.

Honeybee design

Can’t you see why it is called Honey Bee?  Especially done is this yellow color!  There is a pieced nine patch in the middle of the block and then the body and wings of the bees were appliquéd on.  I am not an expert but the nine patch fabric looks 1930s to me.  Quilter’s Cache notes that the block design is from the 1920s-30s era so I’m guessing this may be how old this quilt is.  Unfortunately, as with many old quilts, there is no label or clue as to who made it.  I always put labels on my quilts, do you? Here is a link to directions for making this block.

This quilt is in beautiful shape.  There are no holes or frays.  However, when I first received it there were many stains and the whole thing was very dingy.  It was a beautiful quilt that looked terrible.  I wrote this post a few weeks ago about a product called Retro Clean.

Retro Clean

Before and after treatment with Retro Clean

It is a product that revives old textiles.  I couldn’t wait to try it on my Honey Bee quilt.  I followed the directions on the package. I washed the quilt, soaked it in warm water mixed with Retro Clean and then washed it again.  The quilt was kept completely submerged for 30 hours (directions say 24 to 48 hours) in a tub which I kept outside in the sun during the day.  It was almost 100 degrees the day I did this and evidently keeping the water warm helps with the cleaning process.  On the second day (which was cool and rainy), I couldn’t see any stains, so I took it out of the “bath”.

Stained quilt before Retro Clean

After Retro Clean – no stains!











After such a success with this quilt, I’m wanting to try it on the first quilt I ever made which was for my oldest daughter probably 25 years ago.  She still has and uses it and she doesn’t live near me (boo hoo), so I’m going to ask her to send it to me.  Fingers crossed!  It has a lot of white fabric in it and every time I see it, I think I’ll never make another quilt with white fabric.  It’s the dinginess factor again!  If I can revive that quilt, I will definitely not be afraid to sew with white. That is an exciting thought.


Filed under Uncategorized

Retro Clean: seeing is believing!

I think that a lot of quilters and non-quilters would be interested in knowing about a product called Retro Clean. If you have any old fabric items (quilts, handkerchieves, tablecloths, etc..) that are yellow or stained with age, this product can make them look like new.

Quilt top – before and after

I took these pictures today with my phone while at a friend’s house.  She is the president of the DC area quilt guild I belong to called the Needlechasers of Chevy Chase.  She had this old quilt top that was badly stained.  She removed the worst looking block to see what this product would do to it.

Retro Clean is a powder that is mixed with water.  The directions are to mix 3 or 4 tablespoons in a gallon of water and then submerge the item you are cleaning for 24 to 48 hours.  My friend soaked her quilt block for 24 hours.  She also put the tub she was using out in the sun as the directions say that this helps (their literature says it’s the heat).

One more picture of the results!

I was completely amazed to see the difference and had to take these pictures and share!  Honestly, even the colored fabric looked brighter.  I can not wait to try it on some items that I have.  Luckily my friend sent me home with some, so I don’t have to wait to mail order it.  I have this old quilt on a bed at my house that I may try to soak.


Don’t you know how much nicer this would look without those stains? I’ll let you know how it turns out!


Filed under NeedleChasers of Chevy Chase, Uncategorized

Quilting while visiting Montana

Quilted table runner

Quilted table runner – ready for binding

My in laws have a summer “home” in Ennis, Montana.  My husband loves to go there.  I did too when my kids were young and his folks were there.  Now when we go, it is often just the two of us.  That is nice too, but he is often busy puttering with the opening or closing or general (unending!) maintenance, so this year I decided it would  give me more to do if I had a sewing machine there. The “home” is a one bedroom mobile home which was built in 1963.

Humble lodging

Humble lodging

It is in the Madison Valley with mountains all around and the Madison River within footsteps.  Great fly fishing!  I wasn’t sure if I could find a sewing machine store anywhere close so I did the next best thing – ordered from Amazon.  I ordered an inexpensive ($150) Brother sewing machine that came with a hard cover and walking foot.

Sewing in the kitchen

Sewing in the kitchen – Look closely

The machine came the day after we got there and it’s terrific.  It’s not my Bernina, but it sews great.  So look close at the picture, dark as it is (sorry!) and see how lucky I am – sewing machine, wine, little creek just out the window and a BBQ.  What more could anyone wish for?  Well, maybe an extra bathroom would be nice if it were more than just two of us staying here.

Close up of piecing

Close up of piecing

This log cabin table runner is an unfinished object that I started quite some time ago.  I had 18 blocks made up but not all sewn together.  It started as a kit for a lap size quilt but I realized that it would look quite nice on an antique side board that we have inside our front entry at home where we tend to drop mail and keys.  The 18 blocks are the perfect size.  I have sewn them all together and quilted it simply with the walking foot. While trimming I did some measuring and one end is almost 3/4″ wider than the other.  How come?  The wider end is the one I did on the new machine!  Obviously the 1/4″ mark is different enough that with all these seams, it added up to be that different.  I will have to be creative with attaching the binding in order to try to “equalize” it.  The binding will be added tonight so that I can hand sew the back side tomorrow when we drive to Yellowstone Park.

Here it is in place, back at home!

Addendum – The pattern for this log cabin block is by Edyta Sitar and is called Cross Roads. You can find the pattern here.


Filed under Family, Uncategorized

Looking forward to the Zakka quilt project

Have you been sewing along with the projects from the book Zakka Style? It’s been fun to see all of the different versions of the projects starting from the beginning of the book.  The first project was a tote bag and it took some time to make up.  However, since then, the projects have been very quick and relatively simple.  The idea with the Zakka Sew Along is to read the guest blogger’s notes for that week’s project on Monday and make the item up and link it by the following Sunday.  I’m going to be traveling some over the next few weeks so I thought I had better look ahead.

Japanese fabric charm pack

There is only one quilt in the book and it is coming up in a few weeks.  I have a charm pack of Japanese woven fabrics that I’ve been saving for just the right project, and I think this is it!  My squares are 4″ and the pattern in the book calls for 6″ but that does not deter me.  I will just add more rows/columns to make the quilt the same size.

Zakka Quilt - book and pencil diagram

I made a sketch to help determine materials and sizes needed.

I’m considering sewing this together with my serger.  I have never sewn a quilt together this way before but all of these fabric are rather loosely woven (especially this linen) and I think it might be a good idea.

Quilt layout on design wall

I did not get last weeks project (mini magnets) done due to travel for my husband’s birthday.  However, I still  feel like I’m ahead instead of behind because I’ve got this quilt all cut and ready to sew.

Happy Birthday Dear!


Filed under Family, Uncategorized, Zakka Style sew along