Last month, I wrote an update about the progress on my Ohio Star Quilt. I’m happy to report that since then, I have FINISHED QUILTING it! Woohoo! I even purchased the fabric for the binding! All I need is a solid afternoon to prepare the binding, trim the quilt, and sew on the binding. Then, I need a few quiet evenings to hand stitch the binding to the back.
This feels attainable, especially if I put it on the hottest front burner I have. Ha! And, honestly, I’m antsy to finish this quilt. I started it in January of last year and I’m ready to move on.
My Ohio Star Quilt is a priority this year. Because last week I mentioned how I want to get this quilt done soon, I figured I would show you the progress I’ve made on it.
January 8, 2018 marked my 10th anniversary of living and working in the Greater Cincinnati area—Ohio. In celebration, I made an Ohio Star block for each month of 2018 that told a facet of my Ohio experience. At the end of the year, I had 12 distinctly different blocks that were tied together with my Ohio story.
Black for the sashing was an easy choice. The blocks vary in greatly in color, even with the few repeated fabrics. I contemplated lighter neutral colors, like white or yellow (I don’t have that color in any of the blocks!). But, I think black makes the blocks pop.
I went back and forth on machine and hand quilting. At first, I was going to machine quilt around each block “in the ditch” and then hand quilt around each star. I decided to do it all by hand. First because I didn’t want to try to wrangle my quilt into my machine, but also because this quilt means a lot to me and it deserves the time and care that hand quilting requires.
I’m using black thread to stitch in the ditch around each block. I am doing big stitch quilting in white pearl cotton thread around each star. Some of my blocks break the traditional Ohio Star color pattern, so outlining the star so it shines through my unconventional fabric choices feels like a requirement. There are about 2 ½ blocks left to quilt and now I’m thinking that I need to quilt around the center square of each block. It doesn’t feel like there’s enough quilting on each block. This isn’t so much an aesthetic choice as a functional decision–I want the quilt top, batting, and backing to be securely sandwiched together.
A note about my quilting: this is my first time hand quilting. I’m sure my technique is unrefined, but I’m doing what works for me. I’ve been using a running stitch (catching 2-3 stitches with my needle at a time) and a straight stitch (one stitch at a time), depending on the placement and thickness of the material I’m stitching through (seams can be tough to push a needle through!). I tried using a hoop, but it didn’t feel comfortable. Instead, I make a “puppet” with the material so that I can grasp and steady the area I’m stitching. I’m pretty sure I’m doing it wrong, but I do know that I’m getting it done and I’m confident that I’m learning as I go and getting better with each stitch!
In the sashing, I plan on doing some outlines of the state of Ohio. I want this quilt to be “knock-you-over-the-head” about Ohio. That is, I want anyone looking at it to immediately understand that the quilt is about Ohio—whether they then recognize the Ohio Star block or not. The outline of the state should do the trick! Haha!
For now, I figure I will do the binding in a solid gray fabric. It should provide a nice contrast with the black border, but not distract from the blocks. Alas, I have not procured binding fabric and you know how it goes in the store: they may not have what is in my head and so I’ll have to pick the next best fabric.
The ultimate plan? This quilt will be added to my collection to be used by my family. My kiddos have seen me working on it and they know which blocks are “theirs.” I’m curious to see if they’ll have any interest in putting it on their beds. I’ve never made them a quilt. They use quilts made by their grandma and great grandma. We’ll see how receptive they are to mom-made quilts! Heehee!
I’ve shown you progress on my quilt, now show me yours! Are you making progress on the projects you set out to make this year?
It’s the new year and naturally there are a lot of resolutions, goals, and project lists being shared. Usually, I wouldn’t write down a “to make” list, but I feel like it’s a great way to stay focused and get some UFOs (unfinished objects) completed.
Here’s what I want to make and finish in 2019:
AnneMarie Chany‘s Conversation Sampler Quilt: This row of the month quilt caught my eye on social media and I knew I had to make it. It’s a sampler, so I’m hoping to expand my quilting skills. I plan on making the heart white with a variety of pink fabric for a scrappy look, and using the navy-purplish fabric for the background.
I bought the printed pattern so I could have all the directions at once (instead of month-by-month in digital form) and perhaps work ahead if I find myself with time on my hands. Haha! Like that will happen!
Sarah Fielke’s Down the Rabbit Hole Quilt: I love this quilt, but I’m in the middle of needle-turn appliqueing the second to last borders. It’s taking some time. But, I’m determined to get this quilt top done in 2019! (I’m going to cut myself some slack and put off basting, quilting, and binding it until 2020. Heehee!)
Rudolph Panel Christmas Quilt: After Thanksgiving, everyone started posting pictures of their Christmas quilts. I wanted in on the action! I have had a Ruldolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer panel in my stash for a few years. It makes a fabric book, but I was gifted the exact same (finished) book a couple of years ago. It didn’t make sense to stitch up a second book, so I decided to cut out the pages as blocks and add some borders. I need to attach a few more borders and then I can baste, quilt, and bind this one. (Which, I think is also a reasonable goal for this year.)
Quilt and Bind:
Ohio Star Quilt: This was my year-long project for 2018. I loved making each of these blocks and they’re now all stitched together and I’m in the middle of hand quilting it. I want to get the quilting and binding done soon, like in the first 6 months of the year—I’m all about setting attainable goals. Ha! I’m putting this one on a front burner.
Dazzling Pineapple Patch Quilt: I contemplated doing some big stitch hand quilting on this one, but the pineapple block has about a million pieces to it, which means there are a lot of seams, which are HARD to slip a needle through. So, I will machine quilt this one. I’m excited to get this quilt finished—the colors make me happy.
Grainline Studio’s Farrow Dress: I made Grainline Studio’s Scout Tee last year and I not only enjoyed making it, but I love the way it fits. I want to expand my apparel making skills, and what better way than with another Grainline Studio pattern for a garment that I desperately need? See, in the past few years, I’ve gained a bit of weight and my body has changed shaped (thanks, kiddos!). That’s all to say, the LBD that was my “baptism, graduation, wedding, and funeral dress” no longer fits very well. And, I feel like everyone should have one garment in their closet at all times for these occasions. I’m looking to make the Farrow Dress as the replacement.
Fix My M&M’s Quilt: I’ve heard that quilts are heirloom pieces that last forever and can be passed down. Are people sleeping under these quilts? Maybe I’m just hard on my bedding, but my quilts wear down. I have a M&M’s-themed quilt my mom made me for my high school graduation. I slept under it regularly until I received other quilts to rotate into usage. Well, after about 16 years of sleeping with it, my M&M’s quilt is showing wear at the top—the binding is falling off and the fabric has worn through to the batting. I have a plan for fixing it (there’s still a lot of use left in this quilt!) and this is the year I WILL mend it and put it back into rotation.
Projects as They Catch My Fancy: Let’s face it: I’m going to find other projects to start and maybe finish. Perhaps I’ll make more apparel. Maybe I’ll pick up one of the 2 quilt patterns I bought last year (but didn’t start). I’m keeping an open mind!
I’ve shown you my to make list, now show me yours! What are you going to make this year?
In January of 2017, I started a block of the month quilt and while it is still in progress, I haven’t looked back. In 2018, I started streamlining my crafts and focusing on quilting and sewing. I get a lot of energy and joy from sewing and so I naturally want to share, even though I know my work isn’t particularly special. I enjoy seeing other’s work, too. So, how about a roundup of the things I finished in 2018. (There is still plenty that was started.) Some of my finishes will look familiar, others I’m sharing here for the first time.
Dazzling Pineapple Block Study
I made this one to see what tying a quilt with sequins and beads would look like. It was an itch that I had to scratch. I like it! I started a larger pineapple quilt, but chose such snazzy colors, I don’t want to finish it with sequins—it would be too much. That quilt top is completed, but it needs to be basted, quilted, and bound. See my post about the mini quilt here.
Daughter & Mom Matching Dress & Shirt
This one has been on my “to do” list since my daughter was born. I loved how they turned out and I especially love the fit of my Grainline Scout Tee, which I’ve worn several times. However, my daughter wore her dress for the first half of a day before changing into something else. What can I say? Kids are fickle, but I’m still glad I made these! See my full post on this project here.
Welcome Blanket Quilt
This quilt was the quickest I think I’ve ever made anything of this size (approximately 45″ square). I couldn’t dawdle, though, because there was a deadline to participate in the Welcome Blanket project. I love how this quilt came out and how simple it was to make. The hardest part of giving away a quilt anonymously is that you don’t know if it’s being used and if it’s bringing the comfort you imagine and hope it will. Read more about this one here.
I don’t know if this one really belongs on this list, but it took me just about a whole day to stitch up these handkerchiefs fashioned from an old bedsheet. And, I was just hemming each side! It’s a reminder that not all sewing is glamorous, but it still has purpose and is enjoyable. Read more about the “why” and “how” here.
Sea Glass Pop Mini Quilt
This 5” x 7” quilt went to the 2018 Secret ArtWorks fundraiser that raised funds for ArtWorks, a local organization that promotes arts in this area. The title came after a brainstorming session with my sister and expresses how the trio of orange triangles pop like pieces of sea glass on a beach. (If you look closely, the light blue fabric has a sand dollar print and the dark blue fabric has a seaweed-inspired print.) Again, this quilt I gave away and I have no idea how it was received!
This year, I joined my local chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild. In November, we exchanged names for a gift swap. I decided to make a tote—um, my first one! I purchased another member’s pattern from Craftsy. (Unfortunately, I can’t find the pattern anymore. Craftsy just went through some major changes.) I decided to make two simultaneously. This project highlighted the fact that I am very much a batch sewist. If I’m going to take the time to sew up one thing, I might as well make two, because, really how much more effort will it require? I have the supplies and tools already out! Ha!
I loved making these. I gave the green/blue triangle tote to my fellow member and kept the bird one for myself. It works very well and I see myself doing more bag making.
In fact, I’ve already done more bag making! After finishing the totes, I had a little bit more time dedicated for sewing, so I whipped up a zipper pouch using a pattern by Sotak Patterns. I was amazed at how easy it was! So, I decided to make 10 more. Batch sewist, indeed! I had my young daughter help pick out fabrics and choose who got each pouch for Christmas. It was a fun project and, again, I see myself making more bags!
December’s Ohio Star quilt block is for my daughter, who was born this month 5 years ago. I transformed the traditional quilt block to represent a ladybug, or ladybird. My nickname for my firstborn is “Ladybird” and I’ve called her this since she was an infant.
I was raised in a family of 6 children and we were nicknamers. Everyone had a long list of nicknames. Mine included Mush, Melly, and Tessie Lou. As if written in my genes, creating playful monikers for my kids comes easy to me. Without even thinking about it, “Ladybird” slipped out of my mouth one day as I talked to my daughter while changing her diaper.
I didn’t even really know what the name meant. I was aware that Hank, of “King of the Hill,” had a dog named Ladybird and that Lyndon B. Johnson’s wife went by “Lady Bird.” So, I suppose the name was buried somewhere in my subconscious, to be excavated by something about my chunky baby. It wasn’t until my daughter’s nickname was established that I learned “ladybird” is another term for ladybug.
When starting this quilt, I knew that I’d make a block for each of my family members, my husband, my son, and my daughter. Brainstorming ideas for my daughter, I thought of ladybirds and ladybugs. I decided I’d make a ladybug-colored block, much like I did my cardinal block. Researching ladybugs, I learned that it’s Ohio’s state insect! C’mon, how perfect is that? This block is doubly Ohioan! And, the Ohio Governor’s Residence and Heritage Garden website reports the insect is “officially named the Ladybird Beetle.”
In my mind’s eye, I see a ladybug with black polka dots on red. But, when I Googled images and studied one that I found in my yard, I realized they have white spots on their heads. That’s why the top points of the star are done in white. I replaced the solid center block with another block of quarter square triangles. This adds to the “polka dot” look.
This was a fun block to put together, since it represents my daughter who I delight in so much. It’s also the last block for this quilt! I can’t believe it. Next month, I will have lived in Ohio for 11 years. And, early next year, I hope to share with you progress on this quilt—the assembly of the top and quilting!