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I have been a member of the Missouri Star Quilt Company forum since August of 2009. I have met many wonderful people on there, some I consider best friends I have just never met in person.

There are numerous groups available for many interests. The Circle of Comfort group was put together by a particularly sweet woman who wanted a way to express our support for others through a quilt. These quilts could be made by one person or from blocks donated by many people. They are usually made from 4 patches trimmed into circles.

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This one is a bit more involved than a trimmed four patch, but not much. One of the ladies decided to not waste the frame that was left after the circle was trimmed and incorporated that into her quilt. I liked that idea, but I didn’t have a snazzy embroidery machine to fill in the large open space, so I trimmed a smaller circle and made this. I think it looks a lot like a jumbled pile of LifeSavers candies!

This one is made from 4 charm packs of Connecting Threads flannel samplers, plus two fabrics from my own stash to round out the count. At 9″ finished, this makes a decent sized lap quilt, even if I don’t add any borders. These quilts are designed to be used at the hospital, during chemo treatments, in the car on long drives, or just about anywhere. The idea is they will be there when the recipient needs comfort of friends who can’t always be right there.

The idea of a circle has several meanings. A circle of friends helps to hold you up during the tough times. A hug is a circling of arms to give comfort and support, and a circle doesn’t have a beginning or an end. You can step into it when the need arises, and help support it to make it stronger when you can.

These ladies manage to make many more of these every year than I do. This fall there has been a local and personal need for a couple of them. The one I whipped out had more errors than I ever wanted seen, but I had less than a week to get it done. She loved it anyway, and I have had reports that she drug it with her to her treatments and people remarked on how cheerful it was. That is the reason we do it. To remind the recipients that we care about them and they are in out thoughts and prayers.

I can see the need for having a few of them finished and on hand just incase. Thank you ladies of the Missouri Star Circle of Comfort group for your inspiration!

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My step-dad, not-so-subtly, hinted that he got cold while sitting in the chair during dialysis, and that it would be nice to have a blanket.

Basic Ship

Hint taken.

I mulled over several possibilities for patterns, but none of them really moved me to make them. I was flipping through an older quilting magazine I had checked out from the library and found a paper-pieced pattern for a ship. The ship looked more like a vintage steamer, but close enough to a tug or side profile of a short-bodied freighter. I enlarged it from about 4 inches square and then had to figure out a setting for it.

I decided on the Storm at Sea setting. This meant I had to turn the pattern to rest ‘on-point’ to fit the pattern. So a bit more re-designing was necessary to keep the integrity of the final design motion.

Coast Guard Ship

Since I couldn’t leave well enough alone, I thought a couple of Coast Guard cutters (or my version of them) would be appropriate additions. Especially considering his service before his career as a longshoreman. They are as close as I could come to rendering them accurately in fabric. Just for fun I added some of the fabric with the octopi in it. I also named the two cutters the USCG Coleman & the USCG Emily M. I figured he could use the laugh at the octopi trying to get the ships and the mental hug from us when he sat under it.

This is a pretty bad photo of the top before it was quilted and bound. The finished piece is layered with Warm & White and backed with light blue flannel. It is considered a lap quilt, but for it’s size it’s pretty heavy. (This is what happens when you are trying to take photos at night when you are Night Owl quilting! Perhaps I’ll get a better shot of it one of these days when the sun is up and Dad is holding it.}

Ship Shape

I do hope he liked it. His only comment I heard was, “I’d hate to get blood on it.” To which I replied “It is washable and I made it for you to use.” I haven’t heard any more about it. I did notice that it wasn’t laying on the rocking chair where it landed after we opened gifts on Christmas morning.

I hope he is using it and that it brings him warmth & comfort as we meant it to.

As my 2012 Christmas gift, my sister Dorrie gave me a Craftsy Mystery Box of fabric. It nearly drove her nuts waiting until Christmas for me to open it. Inside was a jelly roll of Lilliput Lane fabrics along with an assortment of other fabulous pre-cut fabrics in other colors and patterns. (Jelly roll = 2.5 x 42″ strips of fabric rolled up to resemble a slice of jelly roll cake.)

Sparkling Gemstones in Chocolate

I get stumped with some of the pre-cuts. So I checked out a few books from the library. This pattern was in a book by Pam & Nicky Linott. It is called Sparkling Gemstones. The sample was worked with bright prints and cream sashing between the blocks. The dark chocolate fabric seemed to tame the oranges and tie the colors of these fabrics together. To be perfectly honest these would not be my first choice of colors to work with as a group.

Lilliput Lane fabrics

During the summer, I was messing with the blocks on my cutting table while I had a friend over and forgot to put them away. Dorrie came over to visit and saw them on the table. Her comment was “I really like that.” Hmmmmm. I do believe it shall be yours! It was kind of heading in her direction, but that closed the deal.

I picked up some plumy purple for the border from our new local quilt shop, Quilt Revolution, and finished the top to be big enough to snuggle under while watching TV on the couch.

The pattern uses up almost the whole jelly roll. I used the scraps from the ends of the strips to make a piano key border around the label  on the back. The only bits that weren’t used were the selvedges and they went into the bag that will make stuffing for a pet bed.

I gave her the quilt as her 2013 Christmas gift!  She liked it, although she says she doesn’t remember seeing the blocks on the sewing table last summer!

Through some very good friends, I have inherited a fabric treasure trove. These are only part of a larger stash owned by a quilter who has passed on. I was asked to make a quilt for her husband from a portion of the fabrics. Of the two parcels I was able to squeeze in the car on our last visit, one was full of hand-dyed fabrics. I am guessing she dyed them herself and that they were either from a class or an experiment in making her own fabrics. I figured that these self-created pieces would have more meaning for her husband than just some material she bought off the bolt to add to her stash.

I laid out the fabrics looking for some inspiration. Each piece is about a yard long, and they range from earth tone blends to an eye-searing combo of mustard and turquoise. (That piece is going to take a “special” project!) I went for a block pattern that would have large enough pieces to show off the color variations in the fabrics and yet still allow several colors to work together.

Hand-dyed Fabrics - Top Only

This really reminds me of tile work. I hope it will honor his wife in a way he can appreciate.

The other request was that a portion of the fabrics be used for charity quilts. I have a few places that will benefit from the fabrics depending on what I find in the rest of the stash. Apparently I have about 18 more “bundles” to pick up on my next trip. I’m going to have to clean out the sewing room in order to just do the sorting!

I have a few minutes and the photos have been uploaded so I am going to tell the tale of Laura’s quilt.

Laura's Quilt Top

Laura has an older sister, Emily, who has been very sick with a pretty nasty disease. Thankfully she is holding her own against it with a lot of support from friends and family world wide. Our group of quilters from Missouri Star Quilt Company put together a quilt for Emily. We wanted to wrap her in our hugs and love while she was undergoing some of the more unpleasant parts of the treatments that will save her life. We also felt that her sisters, Laura & Sarah, needed to feel the quilty love as well. I was able to get Sarah’s done more quickly than Laura’s, as I already had all of my pinks & greens out for another project.

Bottom right - Laura's

This is the one that was made for Laura. Several other ladies donated a total of  9 blocks for her top. Life got crazy around here, but I eventually got the top completed. About the time I did, Ruby was moving from Hawaii to Georgia. Ruby, the angel, sandwiched and quilted Sarah’s top.  I had not had the best of luck with my walking foot on my machine, and I was not confident in my quilting skills. This was a pretty important quilt and I didn’t want to mess it up.

Laura's Dolphins

I dug out the Ultimate Visual Guide to Quilting (Thanks Phyllis!) and re-read the part about making the quilt sandwich. I pinned the backing to the living room carpet and then safety pinned the layers together. It worked well, although crawling around on the floor to get it pinned reminded me I’m not as young as I like to think.

Bottom Left - Laura's

I didn’t have enough of the blue stars for the whole backing, so I pieced in a section with her name appliqued on it. Her sisters won’t be able to swipe it now!

Laura's Quilt back

I am really pleased with how this quilt turned out. It was supposed to be a gift for her, but in the end it was also a blessing for me. I had get past my hang up about my ability to machine quilt. This quilt is stitched with many prayers and lots of love. I hope that this quilt brings her much comfort and happiness.

Yep!  I said it!

Over at the Missouri Star Quilting Company Forum we are thinking about Christmas and are creating Secret Santa boxes for our assigned quilting buddy.

While I might aspire to have this type of gift box for her, the reality is that she will probably end up with one more like this.

This tree, while being a little less spectacular and a bit more wonky, is certainly loved. It is even now, living happily in our front yard. I hope that is what I can send to her, a box of holiday happiness and goodies. Perhaps even some that she can use often and enjoy for years to come!

Off to list out a few ideas and see what I can start to put together!  Our mail date is December 1!

I think her favorite colors were orange, aqua, and avocado green with double knit polyester as her favorite type of fabric. I’m sure there is something fabulous I can create using those! (OK, just kidding!)

I’ll get more of her “likes & dislikes” details tomorrow with the confirmation I received the e-mail with her name.

I can’t wait to really get started!

 

There are three very special girls who live in New York. One is an Emily, so that makes her special right off. Sadly she is fighting a nasty disease called Aplastic Anemia. It does horrible things to your body and the doctors have to do all sorts of uncomfortable and icky tests to see how well the treatments are working. Emily is 11. Way, way too young to be fighting for her life like that. She also has two younger sisters. Laura is 8 and Sarah is 5, going on 6.

The group of quilty ladies on the Missouri Star Quilting Company forum decided to get together and make Emily a quilty hug so she knew how many of us were out here rooting for her. Well, some of us thought it would be nice to make quilts for her sisters too.

Sarah likes penguins and ballet, pinks and green. This is what her quilt ended up looking like.

I had 10 blocks from 5 other people on this one. I’ll have 9 for Laura’s. I completely forgot to take photos before I sent the top off to Ruby in Hawaii to be quilted. As you can see, she did a wonderful job. She found some super cute material to back it with. I think they are hula girls.

Now I am working on Laura’s fabric hug. It has taken me a lot longer to get this project done that I had planned. You know what they say about plans though!

 

We had a discussion on the Missouri Star Quilt Company forum about drawing on fabric with regular crayons. Some of us had used fabric crayons and others had used regular crayons and heat set them with waxed paper.

Being the Mad Scientist I am, I thought I’d see if the plain old crayons would hold in the wash.

I ended up using both pre-washed and non-washed 100% cotton material. The crayons of choice are Crayola. They are NOT specifically marked washable. On the one piece you will see that I made some heavy-handed markings and Em did some on her own. Both pieces were heat set on plain white copier paper with the iron set to Cotton – NO steam. As you can see from the photo below, I ironed the fabric until the crayon soaked through the fabric.

They were washed with powdered detergent in a top-loading, HE washer with a load of clothes and a load of towels. (I thought the washer ate the first test strip. Thankfully it was only a very sneaky polar fleece pullover.)

They were both dried in the drier on medium-high. The second test strip was safety pinned to a wash rag and I did not see any color transfer to the rag or any of the other clothes in either load.

I’d have to say that the regular Crayola crayons will do a pretty good job. I would suggest that the coloring be fairly heavy-handed to keep the colors bright. As you can see Em’s marks faded a bit. The white washed out more than the other colors. It is harder to see, but it was the only color that didn’t hold very well.

There you go ladies & gentlemen!

I have the Zebra top all finished. My problem was the back. I was able to buy the zebra print at a great price and wanted to use it for the backing. I was just under 3 inches short of the width needed for the back. GRRRR!

I thought about how to match up the zebra print and could not come up with a way that wouldn’t involve a stay at the local mental facility or a new pair of glasses. I have to say I took a bit of inspiration from a quilt I think I saw on the Two Hippos blog some months back. It was a set of articles on simple versus easy. The quilt in question was solid blue with a row of shifting blocks slightly offset down the length. Simple, classy, but not easy.

This gave me an idea on how to make the back a little more interesting, and add in the extra width I needed. By splitting the length of the fabric and running a row of simple blocks down the back, I achieved both.

Thankfully I had enough scraps of the fabrics from the front for the Sherman’s March blocks. They are a color variation on the classic ChurnDash block. This seemed to have done the trick. It is now a quilt sandwich! Hopefully, it will be pinned tomorrow while the house is empty.

Who knew that when we got our new bed that I would also acquire a new quilt design surface?

The microfleece blanket holds the fabric in place very nicely. Not quite as good as a design wall, since I can’t really leave things there overnight, but better than the living room floor!

Not really getting much quilting/sewing done in large amounts, but I guess a few minutes here and there will eventually get something significant accomplished!

Off to go poke my head into the barn and check on the pregnant does and top off the one baby we do have with some warm milk. Hmm, maybe I’ll remember to take the camera down and get a few photos of him. He is a cutie!