2015 projects

2015 Progress Report

I’ve worked hard this year. I didn’t get everything done that I had hoped, but I got other projects started and finished in the meantime. I have some older projects that I’ll carry on into 2016 and some new ones in the works or in the planning stages. 

So here’s my 2015 progress report. 

Blue Star

Scrappy columns


1926 Flowers

Hot pads

Kantha and silk

Improv at QBL

Strips galore: finished

Doves in the window: DONE!

3rd time’s a charm: DONE

Delightful Stars: DONE!!!!!

Blue wave: DONE!

Paula’s quilt: DONE!

Hearts galore: DONE!

Hodge Podge: DONE!

Crazy 4-square: DONE!

Homeward bound: DONE!

My back yard: DONE!

Improv fans: DONE!

Stairway to cat heaven: DONE!

Applique quilt

1926 Flowers


Cranes and Sashiko

My Enchanted Garden

Scrappy Columns

I got tired of looking at my scrap pile and decided to make a series of scrappy rectangles and put them together in columns. I quilted the columns before joining them together with the yellow strips. It’s a lot easier to quilt sections than whole quilts!

Blue Star

I made this baby quilt up with strips of scraps and hand-quilted it.


I made up a bunch of little bags to sort computer and phone cords and stuff into, for packing into my carry-on.

Hot pads

I had another piece of fabric that I pieced at Quilting by the Lake 2015 in a class with Sherri Lynn Wood, but I didn’t feel like making another quilt. On the other hand, I need new hot pads. I like my hot pads to be the kind that’s a pocket, and I like it big enough for a man’s hand, not just mine. So, here’s my easy tutorial which you can adapt to suit yourself.

You are going to need:

  • 1 piece of fabric, about 9” by 35”
  • 1 piece of Insul-brite or similar about 9” by 17.5”
  • 1 piece of regular batting about 9” by 35”
  • 1 strip about 3” wide and long enough to bind the edges of the hot pad. You can piece this or cut across the width of regular fabric or use some left-over quilt binding.

Here’s the fabric I began with.

I cut a strip and made a trial hot pad since I didn’t bother to remember the measurements I had used some months back. You need a strip about 9” wide and 35” inches long. You can just cut a piece of fabric that size or you can piece scraps together. Obviously, what I am working with produces very scrappy looking blocks

Turn your fabric with the right side down and place the Insul-brite with the shiny side facing down. It’s OK if you have to cut pieces to make it the right size, but either baste them in place or make sure they don’t shift and leave a spot for the heat to get through to your hand. I usually put the pieced part towards the edge of the fabric that will be the top of the finished hot pad because the fingers aren’t going to be pressing down up there.

Now, layer the other batting on top of the Insul-brite. I like two layers of regular batting. I tried it once with one and it felt too thin when I pulled a cookie sheet out of a hot oven. It probably depends on the batting, too. Some may insulate better than others. I pieced the batting, too. It’s a great way to use up some left-overs.

Fold the other half of the cloth over the batting. Use some pins or basting to stabilize the whole thing and quilt it. I like to go around about half an inch from the edge then real close to the edge. (The stitching close to the edge may end up getting cut off, but it keeps the edge of the fabric in place.) After that, I quilt whatever I feel like, but not real dense. A zigzag or parallel lines or a meander or just whatever you feel like doing. Once I have everything quilted, I lay it out and trim the edges so that I have a rectangle, but don’t cut that side that is folded.

Fold the rectangle over to make a pocket. Use the fold as the top of the shorter piece and keep all the raw edges outside. Make sure the Insul-brite is towards the outside (towards the heat, when you use the hot pad.) At this point, I like to stitch my pocket in place, starting at the top and going to the bottom of the pocket. I have a machine that can handle all those layers, so this makes it easier to bind. If your machine can’t handle all those layers, you may want to baste the pocket in place and then hand-sew the binding and hanging strip onto the hot pad. 

Attach the binding and a hanging loop, if you want one. I take a strip of the binding fabric about 5” long, fold the raw edges to the middle and make a narrow strip, stitch the open edge, fold it over and attach to the bound hot pad. You may figure out a way you like better.  

Admire your work!

Having started with that scrappy piece at the top of the page and also some left-over binding from another project, I had enough material to make 4 hot pads.


Improv at QBL

At Quilting by the Lake, for the second week (2015), I chose to take classes with Sherri Lynn Wood. She is the author of The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters. I already had the book and have tried some of her techniques already, so I was anxious to pilearn more by working with her in the classroom setting. For the first two days, we worked with Floating Squares and for the last three we worked with curves. I love her continuous bias strip technique! (Other quilters also use this, but it was the first time I had seen it.) I was hesitant to try this on my own, so I was really glad to try it in the classroom. Here are my two unfinished projects.

Floating squares with a side of curves

I think this one is ready for quilting, although I may decide to skip the quilting and go for ties. The decision is still out on what I want to do about backing. An envelope style (with no border) would look good, but the quilt is pretty big to try to do that. If I work on it a bit more to make the edges more regular, I could face it, but if the edges are too irregular, I’m not going to like the work of facing it. Decisions!

Curves with bias strips
I want to add more to this one, but it goes into the pile for now.

Kantha and Silk

Here are my project from Anna Hergert’s Kantha and Silk classes. As you can see, Kantha quilting, which is a technique that evolved in India, relies on running stitches, lots of them. The arrangement of the stitches and the variety of colors form the pattern. The outlines are done in a backstitch that is very economical with thread.

My first Kantha quilting project, about the size of a mug rug.

My second project, my design, about the size of a mug rug.

My silk project (my design) It’s about the size of a place mat.

Strips galore

I began this project back in March on an extremely stressful day. I just needed to do something to get my mind off of some things going on. So, I went to my stash, pulled out a pile of fabric and my 2 1/2” quilt stick and started slicing. I sliced and sliced and sliced. Then I started sewing them end to end. The only rule was no two alike sewn together. When I got them all sewn, I grabbed the two ends, put them right sides together and started sewing right down the edge until I got to the new end that had been the middle of that mile-long strip. Then I did it again and then again. I decided that was wide enough. So I took that strip and cut it in shorter lengths. I took the blocks and sewed two together at right angles. By then, I was worn out and finally had some news on the family crises. Here’s my pile of strip blocks.

Over the next few days I went over to Leah Day’s web page and found some Free-Motion Quilting designs to practice. I got a little bit done on that, but then I want back to my other projects. 

So now it’s April. I finished up a couple of other things, and it’s time to finish this project up.  Here’s one quilt finished. It used up 9 blocks. I’ve still got 15 blocks left!

3rd time’s a charm

This is my final project for the 2015 Project Quilting at Persimon Dreams. The challenge for this week is to create something in which the top side is made up exclusively of charm squares. There must be at least 20 squares used and no other fabric on the top itself. When I told my hubby I needed to start over again (read below), he said, “3rd time’s a charm!” So that’s how this little table mat got it’s name. It’s 25 pieces, and I did a square spiral quilting pattern on it.

 Silly me! I was having so much fun with my first project, a table runner where I was trying out the Disappearing 9-patch, that I forgot the second part of the rule and put sashing on it. Then I went back and reviewed the rules. Drats! The good part is that the friend I made it for won’t care if it fulfilled the challenge rules or not.

So, thought I, this is a good time to try out the Star Bright pattern (It’s free, if you don’t have it already.) The problem is, I made a really stupid math mistake and didn’t cut down the four light blue squares in the middle to the right size. As I added the outer squares, I kept adjusting the seams and wondering what I did wrong. Then it hit me. Well, maybe I’ll get back to this piece sometime, but I’m just not in the mood at the moment. Oh, and I still need to work on not cutting the points off my stars!  :( 

Paula's quilt

A while back, Paula Childs Yagisawa put together a plan for a group quilt-along for the Facebook group Quilting on Small Machines, so I joined in. My blocks began with a 12.5 inch square and three 4.5 inch squares per block. By the time I got them finished and trimmed the final block was 11.5 by 15.5. I need to be more careful to sew things on straight when I do quilt as you go. Oh well, it was fun. I did a waving diamond pattern on the blocks. By the time that was finished, my “new” sewing machine had arrived, a Janome 1600P that I purchased used from a friend. So, I crossed my fingers, attached the Free Motion Quilting foot, tried a little bit on a scrap and then  switched to the borders. I figured that the borders of this quilt were an excellent place to practice controlling the movement of the fabric and getting an even stitch length. OK, it’s not perfect, but I love it!

© Janet 2013