CMQG Striped Charity Quilt

Striped charity quilt 3Let me start by making an excuse. I truly don’t think the camera is capturing this quilt accurately. I took a ton of photos, but none of them make the quilt look as pretty as it does in real life. Really. So just continue reading this post with a slightly richer, more cohesive quilt in your mind.

The Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guide has started a big charity initiative. Every three or four months, we’ll be choosing a new local charity for which we’ll be making as many quilts as we can. We’ll be donating the quilts to organizations that serve veterans, elderly folks, children, and more. To kick off the initiative, guild members donated fabric, and our president asked around to some of the fabric and batting manufacturers for donations. Before she knew it, Robert Kaufman Fabrics sent a huge box of fabrics for us to use.

Striped charity quilt 2

In addition to bright and colorful prints, like those shown above, they also sent a ton of solids, which is a great help when you’re working with fabrics from a variety of sources. I started going through the box of fabrics at a recent sew-in, and I put together this quilt.

Striped charity quilt 4The concept for the quilt comes from Nancy Zieman’s latest book, Quick Column Quilts. All of the quilts are constructed in columns, which helps them to go together really quickly. This particular quilt is a takeoff of her Quilt to Give, which alternates columns of scraps with columns of solids. For my quilt, I used the bubbly print from Robert Kaufman instead of scraps. All the strips were cut to 3 inches wide.

With just the strips, the quilt top came in at 60 x 64 inches. It looked a bit too square for my taste, so I added 5.5-inch black borders on the top and bottom to lengthen it out a bit.

Striped charity quilt 5

To finish this quilt, we’ll definitely need to get some black batting. The black fabric has a slightly loose weave, and I’d hate for a natural-colored batting to beard and become unsightly. I’ll probably hand it off to another guild member to quilt, but I think an allover design with curves would be nice.

For those keen-eyed readers, I know I messed up the column order. I can’t even remember what order I intended. I discovered it once the whole top was together, and I decided to leave it as is. It took me a while to spot it, so maybe the recipient won’t even notice.

Boy’s Column Quilt Top

Boy Column Quilt top

This past weekend I finished up the top for my first charity quilt of 2014. Project Linus is always looking for quilts for boys, and I made this one hoping that it would appeal to an older boy.

Like my last quilt for Project Linus, this one, too, was sewn in columns or strips. As Nancy Zieman pointed out in her original blog posts about column charity quilts (and in her upcoming book, Quick Column Quilts, which I happen to be editing), column designs are perfect for charity quilts because they sew up so quickly.

Boy Column Quilt columns

Look at all those long straight lines! So once you get your pieces cut, you can just sew and sew and sew.

Most of the fabrics in the quilt top came from my stash. My stash space is finite, and the blues and greens no longer fit in their designated space. So I pulled the blues and greens I thought might appeal to a boy and added them to the mix.

Boy Column Quilt fabrics

I had a lot of the blue/green/gray print shown above and thought this was the perfect opportunity to use it up. Of course, I didn’t bother to figure out if I actually had enough of it for my quilt plan. It seemed like I had so much, I didn’t even worry about it. But then, of course, I ran out. So I went to Lavender Street and chose the darker navy and black fabric, shown above, to finish up the quilt.

Boy Column Quilt top

I think the dark navy fabric really gives the quilt a nice pop of color and keeps it from being too dull. And Greg said he thinks it makes it more masculine, too. Well, I guess that wasn’t the incentive I needed to make sure I have enough fabric before I start my next project.

The quilt top is 58 inches wide by 76 inches long. It’s a pretty big one, but I’m going to try quilting it at home with straight stitching.

As a bit of an aside, I used the same blue fish fabric in both this quilt and the previous Project Linus quilt I made for a boy. I was telling my mom about this quilt and happened to mention that fabric. As it turns out, she just finished a boy quilt for Project Linus that also contained blue fish fabric. So if boys don’t actually like blue fish fabric, someone should really let us know.

The Need to Make

crocheted wrapMan, was I in a bad way last week. I don’t know if it was the steroids and antibiotics I was taking for my sinus infection or the fact that the week started out with my husband enjoying MLK Jr. day off while I worked away. But I was fussy and annoyed all week. By the time Thursday rolled around, I found myself thinking, “If I could just sew…” or something, anything, that was real.

I’m lucky that my job does involve making things: books and online classes. But still, books don’t become real until well after I’m done with them. And online classes get posted, but it’s not like I can touch them. After a hard week of making virtual things, I needed to make something that I could touch.

Friday night I finally got my chance. I worked on the crocheted wrap above while we were watching TV. As I was happily going along, I actually found myself thinking, “Oh, I’d better save.” But that’s the great thing about making something real. You don’t need to save! It’s right there! Yeah, it took me a while to get out of the work frame of mind.

Saturday, I finished sewing the rows onto my yellow and pink plus quilt top. It’s not squared up yet, but another big check in the “done” column.

Plus top on chair

And I was still so intent on working with my hands that I actually started working on my T-shirt quilt again. I had started quilting it at least 6 months ago, but I had decided I needed to start over. And unsewing the quilting is the worst, in my mind. It seems like such a huge step backward. But the quilt was going to sit there until I did.

T_shirt quilt portion Once the old quilting was out, I re-basted it, and started again. For right now, I’m just quilting around the blocks of fabric (be it T-shirts or other). I’ll go in and add a bit of quilting to the T-shirts (I got the idea to use a decorative stitch to tack down the T-shirt blocks here and there from a blog post by Nancy Zieman). And I may add some more quilting lines to the fabrics, too.

T_shirt quilt quilted

There’s still a long way to go on all of these projects. But, man, did it feel good to work on them.

Project Linus Quilt

I just got back from a local sewing machine store where I dropped off my latest quilt for Project Linus, an organization that collects handmade quilts and blankets and distributes them to children who are ill, going through a crisis or otherwise in need.

I had heard Project Linus is very much in need of quilts for boys, so that’s what I tried to make. My personal palette of mid-tone greens, blues, oranges and pinks doesn’t really scream “boy,” so it was a bit of a stretch.

But I went through my stash to see what I could find. The colorful print is an Alexander Henry that I had bought a few years ago with no plan in mind (there rarely is). It had enough colors in it that I thought I could mix in a bit of my palette along with more masculine colors. The red and green were both in my stash, too, so the only fabric I ended up buying in quantity was the navy and the backing. (However, whenever I try to buy in “quantity,” I never seem to get enough, so I ended up having to dye more fabric to match the navy. You’ll see in the lower right of the quilt above, I didn’t get it quite right the first time.)

Then as I was nearing the end of the top, I realized I really needed some more of that Alexander Henry fabric. So the project sat in the to-do pile for a while. After at least a month the nearly unheard-of happened: the fabric was still at the place where I first bought it! Cabin Arts, in Burlington, Kentucky, had just a yard and a half left. What luck!

So I finished up the front, and used a blue fish fabric for the back (fish are masculine, right?).

The idea of doing a strip design came from a blog series called A Quilt to Give by Nancy Zieman, who was also making a charity quilt. Her quilt was a lot more intricate than mine, but I did take to heart some of her thoughts on charity quilt making. In my own words, those thoughts are 1. Use your good stuff. Those kids deserve it. And 2. Include a label. It lets the child know there’s a person behind the quilt who does care. So I did sew on a label, using the sentiment that Nancy sewed onto hers. Writing on fabric is always tough, and this doesn’t look great, but I wanted to keep it as personal as possible.

I don’t finish as many quilts as I’d like and not nearly as many charity quilts as I’d like. But, until I finish the next, I hope that some boy (fingers crossed) will enjoy this one.