Jellystone, My Bear Paw Quilt

I woke up one day and decided I needed a king size quilt. Here’s the journey beginning to end.

I purchased this book as a download maybe a year ago and this quilt intrigued me.

This book is full of great quilts/patterns.

First I needed what seemed like 10,000 half square triangles. I cut and paired one light and one dark fabric square, made sure my bobbin was full and the sewing commenced!

Did I chain piece? Yes! Did I remember to take a picture of this chain piecing? No. In fact I forgot to take pictures of a bunch of the steps.

The next step was this part outlined in yellow. There are great instructions about how to make two at a time.

This template I made out of a plastic 3-ring binder cover came in super handy.

Each Bear Paw block needs 4 half square triangles and these hst’s need their light and dark fabrics strategically placed.

Like I said, excellent instructions!

Now…sometimes I follow a pattern, sometimes I go rogue. It was at this point that the “rouge-ness” began.

If you scroll back to the top you’ll see the pattern calls for block sashings made from lots and lots of small rectangles.

I decided on a 1” finished dark red print sashing. My quilt top finished at approx. 51×51. I folded it up and put it into the stack of quilt tops to be quilted.

Enter the idea for a king sized quilt. Now just let me interject…I was also on a 2 week prescription drug that gave me insomnia…really bad insomnia.

I’ve quilted before when exhausted…think most quilting retreats…but never on 2 or 3 hours of sleep for days running. My solution: WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN IN STEPS!

So the transition from 51×51 to about 90×90 began. I decided to add borders, at least 20” of borders to each side. Below you will see I added a 1” finished border of the red sashing fabric, a 2” border (and black print cornerstones) of an ivory fabric and another 1” finished border of a brown print.

At this point I decide to add a border of 3×6 Flying geese. I needed 84 of these blocks. It was at this point things got fuzzy. Fuzzy as in “How on earth did I end up making 252 Flying Geese blocks???” People!! Sleep is important!

I liked this layout for the Flying Geese border but I need to address both the corners and the 2 inches in the middle where the Flying Geese don’t quite come together.

I made 8 more Bear Paw blocks to use as border cornerstones, add a 1” border and then another round of the Geese blocks. I addressed the gap issue of each Goose border by adding a 2” pieced strip of a red and 2 white 2” blocks. There’s a final 2” border to be added but at this point my design wall is just too small. You can see the final border below on the longarm.

But first, look at this backing fabric. I love it!

My batting choice for this quilt? I always love Hobbs 80/20.

https://www.hobbsbatting.com/

A hand guided panto or edge-to-edge is my quilting choice.

This paper panto is by Urban Elements and is titled: Santa Ana Grande, a 10” pattern.

https://www.urbanelementz.com/

The needle and bobbin thread is by Superior Threads, the So Fine product, variegated color #701.

https://www.superiorthreads.com/

I’m not terribly keen on actually doing pantos…I find myself bored. Was I ever happy to take this picture! Quilting finished! All 6 hours and 35 minutes of quilting. Which reminds me…do you keep a journal of your quilting? I do, because without it I would have no idea what I did, what I used and how long the quilting took! No idea!!

Off the longarm and trimmed.

All 90.5” x 4 of binding finished!

My quilt took a trip to the DortWorld Day Spa (the washer dryer) and it came out all soft and cuddly. I knew I had some temperamental fabrics in the quilt so in the washing machine rather than use laundry detergent I used 1/8th cup blue Dawn Dishwashing Liquid, selected a cold water wash and added an extra rinse cycle. Why blue Dawn? Head over to my blog post of July 2021, grab a cup of coffee and read all the details. https://rhondadort.com/2021/07/

When’s the next time I will make a king size quilt top…probably never! These things are HUGE! 🤣

Happy quilting and blessings, Rhonda

A String Quilt!

I save scraps…lots and lots of scraps. This March I decided it was time to make a plan for all those scraps.

A search in Pinterest offered up several String Quilt Tutorials, I chose this one, a tutorial from:

https://filminthefridge.com/2009/04/27/a-string-quilt-block-tutorial-paper-pieced-method/

A very easy straightforward tutorial that produced perfect results.

When you look at the above quilt, initially it appears that you will be making 4 strip triangles, sewing them together into a square and then adding white sashing. Look again! What appears to be white sashing strips are actually the center strip of a square block! Who sits around and thinks up these things!

How did I decide on my block size? My standard sized ream of newsprint. The largest square from a 8 1/2 x 11” sheet of newsprint is an 8 1/2” square. I stitched directly on the newsprint just as the tutorial shows, knowing my blocks would finish to 8” squares.

The fact that I already owned this versatile quilters ruler helped tremendously with the block trimming once the fabric strips were sewn in place.

But my influences also came from another quilter: Bonnie Hunter! You may know she recently created a wonderful tribute to the Ukrainian people with her Hearts of Hope Sew-Along.

https://quiltville.blogspot.com/p/hearts-of-hope-sew-along.html

It was her outside border from this wonderful quilt that inspired me to create something similar and that’s how the outside 4 1/2 x 8 1/2” rectangles came to be.

A couple of things: I constructed all the interior 8 1/2” blocks at a retreat in Moulton, Texas. https://1914boehmhouse.com/ My absolute favorite retreat venue!

Here’s me at home making the outside rectangle blocks.

Only one more border block to go before I’m ready to finish the quilt top but how did I decide on the size of the border rectangles? I reduced only the width resulting in a 4 1/2 x 8 1/2” finishing to a 4×8” rectangle. Can you see that these calculations also resulted in 4” finished cornerstones?

What about the newsprint on the back of each block? I constructed the entire quilt top leaving the paper in place. Only then did I begin the rather satisfying process of peeling the paper away. I sew on a Bernina and to make this paper removal easy I reduced my sewing stitch length to 1.7. Sure I had a huge mess in and all around my recliner but a few minutes with the vacuum cleaner solved the mess in a snap!

Finally before loading on the longarm, I decided a “visual stopping” white final border was in order. All the diagonal lines of this quilt top send your eye in a thousand directions. The white (or any same fabric color) border stops your eye and holds it to the quilt.

No need for custom quilting, a nice hand guided “edge-to-edge” is the perfect choice.

This quilting design is from Urban Elements: https://www.urbanelementz.com/ specifically the pattern titled: Highland.

I used variegated thread in both the needle and bobbin, specifically Superior Threads So Fine numbers #705 in the needle and #711 in the bobbin. I also used a single layer of white Hobbs 80/20 batting.

A nice orange binding works well with the royal blue bandana fabric on the quilt back. If I recall correctly this orange fabric is: Freckles by Andover. CORRECTION: (thank you Paula) This fabric is Dimples by Andover! The bandana print fabric…pulled from my stash, purchased years ago.

A couple of things to keep in mind: if you want to utilize this border block idea your interior blocks will need to be rows/columns of even numbers. My quilt body is 6 blocks wide by 8 blocks long. Odd numbers of blocks will not allow your outside border rectangles to visually line up properly.

After the trip through the washer/dryer. Because I had so many different fabrics of undetermined age/maker, I laundered the quilt in cool water, 1/8 cup of Blue Dawn Dishwashing liquid and 2 color catchers. The dishwashing liquid acts as Synthrapol to capture errant fabric dyes that are released during the washing process. This keeps those floating die particles from redepositing on surrounding fabrics. I forgot to take a picture of them but the two color catchers were very reddish pink in color after the quilt was laundered. For THIS laundry cycle I only used Dawn…no laundry detergent.

And have you noticed: the outside rectangle border blocks are mirror images of each other. One block has the white center strip running top left to bottom right, the next block has the white center strip running bottom left to top right. Very important!

Oh, and another thing…is it noticeable that all my center white strips in the quilt body are not the same size? Picture me furiously stitching away for a few days only to suddenly realize I had cut two different widths of white strips. While most are cut 1 1/2” wide, many are cut 1 1/4”. Would you have noticed without my pointing this out? Maybe not.

I love the idea that I made a quilt from pieces of fabric that many would have tossed! The finished size after quilting and laundering: 58×75”. Perfect as a throw for chilly evenings!

Save your scraps! Blessings to all and happy quilting, Rhonda

The Vintage Pink Basket Quilt, Part 10-Finally Finished!

Finished!

Having heavily marked all the diagonal quilting lines, I’m slowly rolling the quilt back and forth on the longarm while spraying all the blocks with water: spray…wait to dry…roll…repeat. It helps that I have a ceiling fan almost directly above the machine.

So while I’m going through the “blue line removal” let me show you a few close-ups of the added embellishing.

This tiny pink butterfly, measuring about 1/2”x3/4” comes in handy by covering a split in the seam. Remember back a few posts when I told you the quilt top is a combo of both hand and machine construction? Well, this barely 1/8” seam opened up due to the stresses of the quilting process. While on the longarm I positioned the little butterfly and stitched around the edges.

More vintage ribbon fashioned into a bow at the top of the basket handle. The white lace leaf/fern looking motif is new and commercially produced. The ivory Lily of the Valley piece is vintage.

This flower, an older commercially produced piece has gotten a facelift by adding hand embroidery.

French knots and commercially produced daisy-like flowers add interest.

Larger daisy flowers and hand embroidered lazy-daisy flowers. I have yet to heat remove the lazy-daisy petal stitching lines.

Binding…one of my least fav tasks…a very old dominated hand thumb injury (think ski slope tumble) makes hand stitching very slow.

Taa-Daa! Finished and through the washer/dryer! Soft and cuddly and clean and ready as a utility throw for any cool weather that might find its way to Houston.

Now…you know the actual longarm quilting dilemma I experienced with this quilt. Do I like the diagonal lines? I say this honestly…I’m not crazy about them. Do I like the fact that this project is finished? Yes!

Do I think I should have thought out the process a bit better and added a 3” border around the quilt top to give it a visual anchor? Yes. I’ll just call it 20/20 hindsight.

Am I happy to have had the chance to rescue/save this wonderful vintage quilt? Absolutely!

Blessings to all and happy quilting!

Rhonda

Saving the Vintage Butterfly Quilt, Part 3 of 3

Working towards a finish, in the picture above you can see that I have attached (by machine) all the vines, the leaves, the yo-yo’s and the two vintage ribbon bows.

This is the top of the quilt as I began to shape the ribbon streamers.

And this is how it looks with the ribbon machine stitched in place. I used a very tiny zig-zag. My needle thread is a Wonderfil Specialty Threads product called Deco Bob. It’s a wonderful 80 weight thread that can and usually does take on the color of the fabric beneath. You’ll find a link to their website below:

https://www.wonderfil.ca/

I intentionally used an old worn ribbon to fashion the bow.

What’s going on in the picture above? I am stitching out 6 machine embroidery Free Standing Lace butterflies. I have intentionally chosen a thread color that is very similar to the light ivory fabric of the quilt top. I want them to blend in rather than stand out.

You can find this beautifully digitized design at: https://www.emblibrary.com/EL/default.aspx

Have you noticed this beautiful old quilt is quilted with blue thread? You will also remember that everything I’ve added has been done by machine. I intentionally chose a matte finish light ivory bobbin thread so as to not to be distracting. In the pictures below you can see how my quilt front repairs do not distract on the back of the quilt.

I had thought that I might add vintage mother-of-pearl button clusters here and there around the quilt top but decided they were not needed.

It’s finished! After binding in the same fabric as the vines this beautiful vintage repaired quilt took a trip through the washing machine and the dryer. This quilt began its life as a utility piece and it can and will continue to be a serviceable and well used piece!

It was my honor to pay tribute to the original quilt maker by saving her beautiful work. I can only hope that the things I’ve done to her creation would make her smile. ❤️

Blessings to all and of course: happy quilting!

Saving the Vintage Butterfly Quilt, Part 2 of 3

The original vintage quilt (minus the raggedy outer border) hung on my design wall for over a month while I mulled over what I could do to save/repair/fix this beauty.

I’ve drawn blue lines on the what were once pale blue inner borders. I decided these faded to almost white borders would be perfect for embellishing.

Have you ever made your own bias binding? This was the first time for me and I’m telling you…it’s easy! Very easy! How much bias binding did I make? I forgot to measure before I began winding it on this small cardboard rectangle. Let’s just say I made at least 5 yards.

I cut my bias fabric strips 3/4” wide that finished 1/4” as it came out of the folding tool. At this tiny width and on the bias I knew I could easily achieve flat curves.

I did not take the time to pin before stitching, instead I just followed my pre-marked vine lines. I’m using my Open Toe (Bernina #20) foot. How did I mark my lines? Using a 6” clear acrylic round template I first marked the corners of the inner border. Yes…I forgot to take a picture but did remember a pic of the marked additional border. See the picture below.

A sliver of late afternoon sun making its appearance on the design wall. The undulating vines are finished, machine straight stitched on each edge of the 1/4” bias binding.

I have an Accuquilt and used it to cut about 80-90 leaves in 2 different sizes.

https://www.accuquilt.com/fabric-cutting-machines.html

I begin placing leaves on the vine, kind of random placing, kind of not…if you have been following me for any length of time you know I try hard to design “random” but I finally had to admit I’m very “structured” 🤪

I bought a very damaged Yo-yo quilt several years ago. Over several weeks I deconstructed the quilt, soaked and then laundered the Yo-yos. Yes, I put them through both the washing machine and the dryer.

The soaking and then the laundry process worked wonders on the smell, the dirt and grime, and the stitch holes where the yo-yos were tightly sewn together.

These very clean vintage yo-yos will become my flowers. Luckily I have them in 2 different sizes, 1 1/4” and 1 5/8”.

I’m making progress. The leaves are sewn in place by machine using the Applique stitch. The yo-yo flowers are sewn using a very tiny zig-zag stitch.

Stay tuned for one more blog post in a few days, the post that will wrap up the “saving” of this beautiful soft and cuddly vintage quilt.

Blessings to all and happy quilting, Rhonda

Saving the Vintage Butterfly Quilt, Part 1 of 3

When the wonderfully soft and well worn vintage butterfly quilt arrived I knew I’d made an excellent eBay purchase. Not everyone would have looked at this quilt with the same perspective. It was ragged, worn, torn, faded and missing almost the entire top border.

What does it look like as of a few hours ago? All I have left to do is decide on the binding fabric:

But how did I get from the pic below to the pic above? If you’re interested in saving an old quilt the way I do then follow along.

What I do is definitely not quilt restoration but rather I take an old well loved quilt and try my best to make it pretty and useable once again. I call the process “Saving” an old quilt.

This is what it looked like when I opened the shipping box.

Oh my! I knew the edge was bad but this is really bad!

But before any “beautification” takes place I need to address the “sneeze factor” that comes with almost every old quilt I purchase. I need to send the quilt to the Dort Day Spa but when edges are as bad as this quilt, that can mean problems.

How can a ragged edge be successfully soaked, rinsed, take a trip through the washing machine and then the dryer? Tulle!

Not the hard scratchy netting but instead the soft pliable tulle found on rolls at most craft stores as well as Amazon. At 6” wide and generally about 40 yards long, this single roll will last a very long time.

White tulle on a white-ish quilt is hard to photograph! Do you see the solid blue wonky sewing/stitching line to the left of the arrows and to the right of the solid green line? I folded in half a length of the white Tulle. By slipping the ragged quilt edge into the folded tulle, I could machine stitch, using a long stitch length and a contrasting thread, this tulle to the quilt, catching both the front as well as the back in one pass. This way the bad quilt edge(s) is secured and ready to be laundered. Why the contrasting thread? The first time I used this method I machine stitched with white thread and it took FOREVER to unstitch once the quilt finished in the dryer. Lesson learned…

The quilt has 54 butterflies, I replaced 12. I could have replaced many more but part of me likes the idea that some of the original parts stay with the quilt.

Here’s two more butterflies that were desperate for a makeover.

A quick visit to the Dollar General and I have the perfect material to make a plastic template. I used the front (or the back) of a $1.00 three ring binder. Just cut away the front and the back of the binder a.ong the fold lines. Remember to choose a color that you can easily see through. Using blue painters tape, I secure the orange plastic to the quilt.

Very carefully with a fine line Sharpie I trace around the outside of the butterfly. For good measure I also mark the hand embroidery stitching lines.

Using my “Anything Utility” scissors I cut out the template about an 1/8th” beyond my traces line.

Taaaa-Daaaaa!

I trimmed away what was left of the original butterfly fabric. Looking back I realize this step was not necessary as all of the replacement reproduction fabrics would have easily covered and disgusted the ragged fabrics beneath.

Once I realized I did not want to attempt to replace the top border I held my breath and cut away the remaining three. The trimmed quilt now measures 64×72”.

Why is the above template red? Some how from one day to the next I lost the orange one! Good grief! I quickly made another one, this time chose a red binder front plastic sheet. I realized there was no reason to mark the hand embroidery stitching lines on the second template.

Using my spray starch and a small paintbrush I carefully dampen the outer fabric edge and press to the wrong side of my fabric.

Do you see that where I have left the original hand applique stitching intact? I positioned the new butterfly in place and with a white thread machine appliqued the turned edges.

Look at the above and below pics. Would you have readily noticed this technique if I hadn’t pointed it out? If I can achieve an acceptable look by machine I’ll do it every time! I marked the stitching lines with a black Pilot brand Frixion Pen.

My newly dressed blue butterfly is finished but how did I do the straight interior lines? By machine!

I bought a spool of 30 wt. black cotton sewing thread and used the triple stitch on my trusty Bernina 550. Remember the weight of thread increases as the numbers decrease. 40wt is generally regular sewing thread, 100wt is very thin…think silk. Check your machine manual, specifically the utility stitches, most machines come with a triple stitch. I purposely have white cotton thread in the bobbin and with a scrap piece of fabric folded into 4 layers, I stitch and slowly tightened the needle thread tension until a bit of the bobbin thread was pulled up, enough to give this machine stitch a “hand done” look.

Another new.y dressed butterfly.

And another.

Don’t be afraid is leaving a bit of the old to work with the new.

Here I am auditioning two yellow fabrics, I love that I have lots of Aunt Grace by Moda reproductions to choose from!

Stay tuned, when I post again I will go into detail about all the embellishing that happened to achieve the look of the first picture way above at the top. Such fun!!

Blessings to all and happy quilting, Rhonda

Ps: if you’re so inclined, scroll back a few days to March 10th and read my post about making quilt blocks for Ukrainian refugee children! Such a worthy cause! 💙💛

The Vintage Pink Basket Quilt, Part 9

In the last blog post I talked about how 18 minutes of free motion quilting turned into 9 hours of “un-quilting”…

I loaded the quilt sandwich using two layers of batting, Hobbs white 80/20 with Hobbs Tuscany Poly-Down on top. I also purposely chose a light ivory thread for the needle and bobbin. I’ll update this info with thread manufacturer color and weight when I return home in a few days.

If you’ve followed me for very long you know I think quilted feathers are the solution to just about every quilt top loaded on my longarm. This quilt top was no exception. That is…until I was about 18 minutes in.

All of my basic Stitch-in-the-Ditch work was finished first.

I began quilting feathers in the top right block. Right away I knew I wasn’t thrilled with the look.

I felt that the quilting competed with the pieced and appliquéd block

I’m thinking to myself: I really don’t like this…but maybe I will like it with a bit more quilted…

Nope, I’m still not liking it.

Talk about distracting! I hate the quilting. Hate it! Hate it enough that my next step was to unload the quilt, hunt up a sharp seam ripper, find a good Acorn tv series to watch (but mostly listen to) and set about un-quilting.

I figured I had 3, maybe 3.5 hours to get the task done…but no! 9 hours! I quilt Bump Back feathers. Bump Backs have lots and lots of stitching over top previous stitching.

Thank heavens I had my stitch regulator set to 12 instead of 14 stitches per inch!

And just let me add…see this lace? The lace was the reason I had to remove the quilt from the longarm. It was too risky to pick out the quilting stitches from the front side of the quilt. It was so easy to damage the lace by accident no matter how careful I was trying to be. ☹️

My solution: a very basic no frills diagonal cross-hatch with stitching lines 1” apart. I am marking my lines with a Leonis air and water erasable purple ink pen.

Maybe I was in a bad frame of mind at this point but when I started round 2 of quilting I really was underwhelmed with the straight lines.

After I had 2 blocks quilted I liked the quilting a bit better.

Remember way back a few blog posts ago when I added the wonky strips to each side of the wonky vintage blocks? Then I added the lace to visually distract from the wonky-ness of it all? In the block above the seams for the added side strips are very visible but unless you know what to look for they do not distract! Yay!

Slowly (and I do mean slowly!) the quilting is starting to look ok.

Slowly…never in a million years did I think that straight line ruler work would take so long! I timed a few blocks and just the ruler work takes 30-35 minutes per block!

So what’s that acrylic yard stitch doing? Unless you want to get vertigo looking at the finished quilt, the lines from block to block need to line up.

So this is where I am currently. My longarming has come to a sudden stand-still, all caused by the appearance of grandson #2! Can you think of a better reason to put quilting on the back burner? ❤️🙂❤️

Blessings to all and happy quilting, Rhonda

The Vintage Pink Basket Quilt, Part 8

This project, this 100% experiment has moved along quickly and I’m happy with how things have progressed. I hope everyone understands my desire to save and bring honor to the original quilt maker. This is one of those quilts that very well might have ended up in the rubbish bin and what a loss that would have been!

I do find it fascinating to think about the quilt maker and how her creativity found its way into these 20 pink baskets. Having found many of the original block patterns, I can see she made most, if not all the blocks to her liking, similar yet different from the patterns. This is sooooo me! I like to tweek quilt patterns (or just about anything) to make them my own.

Besides all the machine decorative stitching, I did quite a lot of hand work on the blocks.

I’m a huge fan of French Knots.

Each of the tiny white flowers intertwined around the basket handle got a tiny pink French Knot center.

Lots of 5 petal lazy-daisy flowers will find their way into the blocks.

Larger yellow French Knots around the left half of the flower centers as well as pink satin stitching directly over the manufactured yellow centers of two larger white flowers.

Did I mention I like French Knots?

The pale green ribbon is quite old, something I pulled from my stash.

This pale ivory flower motif is a new piece.

A little hand stitching was needed to secure these tiny little flower petals.

All the blocks are finished, the quilt top is complete and has been loaded onto the longarm. In blog post #9 I will detail how 18 minutes of quilting turned into 9 hours of “un-quilting”. ☹️

Blessings to all, Rhonda

The Vintage Pink Basket Quilt, Part 7

Remember how it all began? My eBay purchase that was remarkably advertised as a “quilt in good condition”?

If you’ve followed the blogs posts 1-6 about this quilt you’ll know I soaked and laundered, deconstructed/reconstructed/squared up/and embellished in my experiment to save this interesting and “appealing to me” quilt top.

Below you’ll see pictures of what the blocks looked like before I added lots of embellishments:

What’s up next? Here’s a picture of what I started yesterday:

Did you notice all the white flowers with the yellow centers? Again I shopped Amazon.

Thanks for staying with me through these 7 posts about this quilt, just a few more to go and hopefully I’ll be reporting about a finished quilt!

Blessings to all and happy quilting, Rhonda