The Firefly Quilt – part three

Progress on The Firefly Quilt for MD Anderson’s Ovarian Quilt Project came in the form of completing all the wings sections and sewing the head section to the wing section. Makin’ progress.

Also started on the abdomen sections of the firefly. I just love the three horizontal color choices. With fabric color names like eggshell, wasabi (my favorite) and pickle, how could you go wrong? Fabric Bubb did an excellent job in putting these fabrics together in a kit. After this section is completed, I will be able to sew the three sections together and actually have a bunch of fireflies on my cutting table.

The Firefly Quilt – part two

Progress on The Firefly Quilt, designed by Pen and Paper Patterns, is in the can! I’ve got the antennae for 16 blocks completed, the head … and the wings are coming together nicely! Chain piecing certainly has helped make this quilt come together fast.

Did I mention last week this is going to be a very large quilt? At least for me … it will be. The finished quilt dimensions will measure 72-1/2″ by 72-1/2″. If I was keeping this one for myself, I would probably make it with nine blocks and hang it on one of my walls when it was all finished. I would take three of the leftover firefly blocks and make a couple of adorable table runners. But since it is for charity, I decided to go big! Hope it makes lots of money for MD Anderson’s Ovarian Quilt Project!

Stay tuned for progress report next week!

The Firefly Quilt for MDA’s Ovarian Quilt Project

In addition to purchasing lots of fabric at last year’s International Quilt Festival, my sister, Gretchen, and I also stopped by M.D. Anderson’s Ovarian Quilt Project booth. The group has a quilt auction every two years. The proceeds from the auction go to Ovarian Cancer research, screening and awareness. In 2017, over $52,000 was raised from the online auction. They receive quilts from all over the United States and also internationally.

Gretchen and I couldn’t think of a better way to honor our sister, Mary, who died in 2017, after being diagnosed seven months earlier with Ovarian Cancer. She was only 62 years old. We have kicked around a few quilt design ideas that would honor her memory. But nothing really stuck. When I saw The Firefly Quilt, and shared it with Gretchen, we knew this was the one. Mary loved nature. To us … it seems fitting that a firefly, actually 16 of them on the quilt, would help keep her memory lit … and also help to raise money for Ovarian Cancer research.

The Firefly Quilt comes with a “bee” block option which is adorable. The quilt is designed by Pen and Paper Patterns. We loved the colors on the front of the pattern and purchased a kit from Fabric Bubb with that colorway. Sewtopia also has kits.

So far, Mary’s quilt for MD Anderson’s Ovarian Quilt Project is cut out and all the fireflies have antennas! I will post our firefly quilt progress next week!

International Quilt Festival in Houston this week!

The 2017 International Quilt Festival is in Houston this week! It is my favorite week of the year with so much eye candy, shopping, picking up on new trends in the quilting world and admiring the creativity of all the quilts on exhibit! This year I attended with my lovely sister, Gretchen.

On Wednesday night, first we shopped. It was a magical night because the Astros were also playing in Game 7 of the World Series. Texting hubby back and forth for game updates helped with the butterflies in our stomachs. We didn’t find out till our bus brought us to our cars at the end of the night that we had won!

But back to the quilt festival! Our first stop was the booth with the Fat Quarter Queen fat quarters! One of our goals was to look for teal fat quarters for a quilt we are planning to memorialize our sister, Mary, who lost her battle with Ovarian Cancer this year. MD Anderson has an Ovarian Quilt project where they auction off donated quilts. The funds raised are used to raise awareness and research funds for ovarian cancer. The auction is going on now through November 8. They also had a booth at the festival. Our perfect fat quarter for Mary’s quilt came with a teal background with black cats. It was purchased at KimonoMomo, who specializes in Japanese Textiles. She had fabric you don’t see in your local quilt shops.

“Mary could never have cats. She was allergic to them. But she rescued one once,” Gretchen said.

Perfect … then this fabric HAS to go into her quilt. We don’t have a quilt pattern yet. But colors could be black and white and teal … but that could change. Still we have a start!

Just a few of the many interesting quilt booths were Keri Designs, booth 605. This one has a special place in my heart. This designer is from Hawaii and has taken the artist, Charlie Harper’s artwork, which I LOVE, and turned them into quilt patterns. Another booth from Hawaii, was Quilt Passions, which hosts quilting retreats and classes for quilters. Now that is what I am talkin’ about! They are in their ninth year of hosting these retreats.

One of the huge trends we noticed was lots of wool. Check out booth 518, Carried Away Designs in Wool. Eye of the Beholder Quilt Design, booth 848, was giving demonstrations on reserve applique. It is one of skills that when you see it with your own eyeballs … you believe it can be done. Try to read about how to do it in a book and … Yuck. She had some very lovely patterns and quilt kits available. We lingered at a couple of booths from the Netherlands. Since our mother was born there we have a connection. Dutch Heritage had some lovely cotton reproductions of antique Dutch Chintzes. I purchased some in a large chunk, I think they measure in meters, in blue and cream. We also visited a booth on some fairly new technology called Cricut. My lovely friend, Michele, told us about this booth. This machine does some interesting custom things you have to see to believe. Yes … quilters will certainly benefit but also paper crafters and so many more areas of the craft world like 3D puzzle projects, cards, sewing patterns, iron-ons and so much more. These little machines come in several price points.

So this year I purchased a stack of fat quarters and only one pattern, a scrappy-looking house/tree quilt called “By the Numbers” by Debbie Wendt of Wendt Quilting. A real stash buster which was just what I was looking for.

With only 30 minutes to spare before the bus picked us up to take our group back to Kingwood, Gretchen and I headed over to the exhibit area to drool over the lovely quilts on exhibit. I snapped just a few photos for you to enjoy the diversity of what is out there in the quilt world. My favorite was the 15-foot long fish quilt. The artist is from Japan and when I watched the video of how he made it I was in awe. That is precisely why I also included some close-ups. My favorite was the turtle.

The International Quilt Festival in Houston ends Sunday … so get your walking shoes on and get on down to the George R. Brown Convention Center!

I spy charity quilt finished!

At the beginning of the year, I made a list of all the quilts I was going to complete this year. The list reads: two I Spy Jar quilts (one for charity and one for grandson Jake), 2015 Texas Row-by-Row, an adorable mystery quilt from Fat Quarter Shop … and then there is a baby quilt for a new grandbaby that will make his debut in November. I really gotta get started on that last one. Yup … Jake is going to be a big brother! We are like the cow in the nursery rhyme … over the moon!

When I made the list, I thought five quilts seemed reasonable. Then cancer knocked on our front door and I took up knitting in hospital and clinic waiting rooms. The scarf … it is about five miles long now.

In April, I did manage to finish an I Spy quilt I had promised to St. Martha’s School in Kingwood for one of their charity events. Hope it made a bunch of money for the school!

I have several other quilts in various stages of progress. Whenever I have a spare thirty seconds, I’m in my sewing room working on one. It keeps me sane.

But back to the I Spy Jar quilt. The pattern is by Missouri Star Quilt Co., one of my favorite online places for patterns and fabric. Store owner, Jenny, has great online quilt tutorials. The pattern comes with directions for either pint or quart-size jars. My quilt has pint jars. At the time I purchased the fabric, MSQC also offered an adorable fabric pack of ten-inch squares with novelty prints that were perfect for this quilt. Made it so easy and with the 10″ squares I have enough to make four quilt tops in anticipation of future grand babes! I added a couple of novelty Minion fabrics that will appear in Jake’s quilt.

I used the fabulous Kim Norton of A Busy Bobbin to longarm quilt the layers and Personalize It for the quilt label. Oh … did I mention the cute lady bug fabric outlining the quilt label? It is a Charlie Harper fabric. I have provided the link (search for “Charlie Harper”) as they have some pretty cool fabric you might just need to have for your very own!

Village Learning Center’s gala quilt is ready!

This weekend is the big gala for The Village Learning & Achievement Center, the awesome day center Mimi, my sweet special needs daughter, attends. The theme this year is a Texas-themed “Rhinestones and Ropers.”

Every year I donate a quilt to their silent auction. This year I came up with a quilt that has the best of both worlds … cowboy fabric with lots of Texas wildflowers thrown in. I hope it makes a bunch of money!

I used the Disappearing Four Patch pattern out of a magazine from a few years ago that contained 20 projects by Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Co. It is a great quilt for charm packs. For this quilt, I dove into my stash of fat quarters, rotary cut a bunch of five-inch squares and sewed them together. I also purchased a great “lasso” fabric to really make the cowboy and wildflower fabrics pop.

If you are going to make this quilt, now is the time to invest in a rotating cutting mat. Made my life so much easier! After the four patch is assembled, place your ruler one inch to the right of the seam line and cut. Repeat one inch to the left of the seam line. Then just rotate the mat and repeat. It makes cutting the four patch so much easier. You will wind up with nine blocks of assorted sizes. Next just swap the large squares at the top. Repeat the swap on the bottom. Then take the small center block and rotate one quarter turn. Join the cut pieces into rows and then sew the rows together. Now just repeat this process until you have 42 squares. Trimming the blocks makes it so much easier to sew the quilt into rows. I also used 2-1/2 inch strips for top and bottom borders.

Kim Norton of A Busy Bobbin is my go-to longarm extraordinaire lady. She had a great all-over machine quilting pattern that was cowboy-themed. See if you can pick out the boots and stars machine quilting. I also use Personalize It Kingwood to stitch up my quilt labels. And yes … I know … as the quilt name suggests … two-stepping through the bluebonnets would probably get you arrested if you did that in an actual field of bluebonnets, the state flower of Texas. But you have to admit it fits the quilt!

Quilts … a look back at 2014

Four entire quilts were cranked out in 2014! Pretty good year for me. Two were gifts … one donated to charity and I’m keeping one. Not sure what 2015 will hold!

The first quilt was for our first grandbaby, Jake. I finished it before he was born and named, so it doesn’t have his name on it. I bought the pattern and kit at the International Quilt Festival in 2013. It was so fun to make and with Kim Norton of A Busy Bobbin to quilt it, I loved how it turned out. The pattern also includes a quilt with a flamingo, monkey and, I think, a frog. A future grandbaby?

The next quilt was donated to the Village Learning Center for their annual gala. I like to make something totally different for them every year. It was the first time I’d worked with so much black fabric. Made me a little nervous. It was sold in the silent auction to a very nice lady who was so worried she didn’t get the high bid at the end of the night!

Santa Baby was the most challenging quilt I’ve made to date! I chalk it all up to not reading the directions carefully. A valuable lesson was learned … and still the quilt turned out great. This is the only quilt this year that was custom quilted and I love the feathers quilted by Kim Norton. I dub her the Queen of Quilted Feathers!

The last official quilt completed in 2014 was the contemporary one for my adorable daughter, Katie! We collaborated on design, size, fabric choices and quilt name. It was an awesome experience! She has the perfect spot in their house to hang it.

I started my 2014 Texas Row-By-Row quilt in 2014. During the summer, quilters were able to stop by participating quilt shops all over the United States and pick up a free row pattern, and purchase a fabric kit, designed by their shop. It takes 8 rows to make a quilt. My sister, Gretchen, picked up a row pattern and kit for me in Victoria, and my friend, Sally, picked up one or two from her Texas travels. The finished jar row is called “Harvest Time” and is from BJ’s Quilt Shop in Bay City, Texas. The quilt shop even had all fabric pieces cut so all I had to do was sew. Don’t you just love the bug jar?

I’m putting together the sailboats now. The block is called “Regatta!” from Quilter’s Emporium shop in Stafford. By the way … they have an awesome quilt shop! This row is a little challenging with the bias edges, but I’m making it work! Only six more rows to go!

I am loving the swirly machine quilting on this one!

I love going over to Kim’s house with a completed quilt top! She is the longarm quilting lady and owner of A Busy Bobbin. I gotta tell you that lady performs magic with just a handful of pixie dust and colored thread on every quilt top she touches.

First, we lay the quilt top over Molly Monster, the name she has given to the smaller of her two longarm quilting machines. Then we play with strands of thread to see which will complement the quilt top when the machine quilting is added. Next we flip through a binder full of quilting patterns for just the right one. The swirly pantograph pattern is called Denise’s Swirls.

It has been a few days since I picked up the finished quilt and I’ve almost got the binding sewed on. Once I sew the patch on the back, I’m ready to hand it over. This one is going to charity. Hope it makes a lot of money. I’m calling this quilt “Midnight in Mimi’s Garden.” It is being donated to The Village Learning Center’s gala in November. The theme this year is “Midnight Masquerade.” I think the quilt name fits the occasion!

Latest quilt top finished!

Every year I make a quilt for The Village Learning Center’s gala which occurs in early November. Among other endeavors, they run an awesome day center for adults with special needs that my daughter, Mimi, attends. I try and make them something each year I’ve never done before … either with color, design or pattern.

When I saw this quilt top made up at last year’s International Quilt Festival, I thought it would be perfect … eye-catching and a little wacky! Certainly not for everyone but I really liked it. Surely someone would love it … and 10 hours of quilt lessons to the person that purchases the quilt!

The quilt show booth offered a kit and I was hooked. The pattern is called “Urban Cabin” and is by Atkinson Designs. The directions were great and it sewed up nicely and fast!

Visually, it is stunning the way Kaffe Fassett’s fabric (purchased in a collection of 2-1/2″ strips, we call them “jelly rolls,” with the kit) pops like a bag of microwave popcorn in the microwave. And it was the first time I’d worked with so much black, so there you go.

I’m also using a Kaffe Fassett fabric for the binding.

And now that a few yards of quilt backing fabric is purchased, I’ll have it professionalled quilted in a couple of weeks by my favorite longarm quilting lady, Kim Norton, of A Busy Bobbin!