Friday, October 15, 2021

The Gypsy King Quilt

The Gypsy King is my #4 of the Country Threads Dirty Dozen UFO Challenge for October and is a Finally Finish. Big sign of relief here because I seriously thought this would be the first time since participating in this yearly challenge that I would not finish on time.  Even before I started this quilt, I was in QAL Escape Artist mode by asking myself do I really need to make this quilt and do I still like these fabrics and I had to say Yes. This was reluctantly decided after much procrastination by viewing too many BTS and Fiona the Hippo photo/videos. I thought when I decided to participate in another year of the UFO Challenge, I would step it up by committing to finishing projects which were in the block stage rather than just needing to be quilted like I mostly did last year. This wasn’t a bad idea except if the UFO wasn’t a king size quilt with more than half of the blocks still needed to be made. It’s challenge enough to make a king size quilt let alone making it a double challenge by finishing it during a certain time frame. I wanted to QAYG, even though it was only going to be my third time using this technique, because it’s the only way I could quilt a king size quilt. Normally this would be something I would send to my long arm quilter but because of the pattern and scrappiness, I thought the quilting would be somewhat lost plus I rather save my money for a quilt more deserving of fine longarm machine quilting.
I mentioned in my Flying Geese Frenzy Quilt post which was my July finish for the UFO Challenge that the fabrics used in that quilt would be seen again for this project. The blocks are a modified version of the Unruly Pattern by My Quilt Infatuation (not an affiliate link) and were made while at the Grandparent House. The fabrics used were mostly Basic Grey’s PB&J line and Felicity Miller’s Charleston line, both of which came out around 2012/2013. I’ve used these fabrics in other quilts and mainly one which I will show later in this post. I needed thirty blocks to made a 90” x 108” quilt which I thought at first would make a King, but then I was briefly disappointed when I thought I made a mistake in  the measurement  and that this would only made a Queen. It was only after I was halfway through the quilting that I realized that I was confusing the measurement with that of a Queen size batting and yes I was making a King size quilt which is really what I wanted. I needed to sew 17 more blocks and thankfully the patches were already cut and ready to be sewn into bocks.
Here are the thirty blocks arranged on my design board. Initially the plan was to QAYG each block but then I realized that I could instead QAYG vertical rows of 5 blocks each which would be a lot simpler. The blocks were laid out with the seams of the blocks in each row either pressed going up or down so once the rows were sewn together, the seams would nest.  Otherwise not too much attention was paid where each block went and if it was too close to the same fabric which usually matters to me but since there is so much scrappening going on I didn’t care.

I thought I show a before and after shot of the batting pulled from the scrap stash and it doesn’t look like it made a big dent but nevertheless I was happy I was able to culled some large enough pieces to use for this quilt. I need six pieces measuring at least 22” x 96” and had four but was able to piece the other two using a pieced batting method found on A Quilter’s Table Tutorial. It really was very simple and know I plan on piecing more batting for future projects. I originally pulled the batting thinking I was going to QAYG blocks rather than rows so this also saved batting. I think the scrap pile on the right would have been a lot bigger. Before this gets tossed out, I first will cut up the useable pieces to make squares to use for dusting which comes in very handy around the house.
I sewed and QAYG one row/panel at a time. Once the row was sewn together, then all of the loose threads were removed and then pressed before placing it on the batting. Because the rows were only around 25” wide, I pin basted using the long arm straight pins. When you do this, you definitely need to be  sure your arms and legs are covered, armor around the torso would have been nice.  Each row/panel was straight-line quilted 1” apart with #2610 Blue Gray Aurifil thread. Since these were going to be sewn together, the quilting started and ended l” away from each side since this would also be the area where additional anchoring quilting would be done once the backing is added.

Once the batting was trimmed, two rows/panels were sewn together, one pair at a time and the 1/4” seams were pressed opened.
Here is a photo of four rows/panels sewn together. I had to say despite having to sew the rows together with the batting, the seams nested together very nicely. And even when they didn’t, it isn’t very noticeable.

After machine quilting four rows/panels rather cautiously and suffering some pricks, I remembered that I had made some pin point protectors and boy did that make a difference in how fast the last two rows/panels were quilted. I was rather annoyed about forgetting that I had these, so to avoid this happening again the future, I packed the long arm straight pins with the pin protectors. I just hope I remember that I did this when I’m looking for the pins.
Once the six rows/panels were sewn together which I might say it was a little cumbersome, I discovered a new absolute “hate”; pressing a 108” x 124” wide backing. For me, this is one of  the good reasons why king size quilts should be sent to a longarmer. I have to mention that the dusty blue Moda Marble wide backing has been sitting in the backing vault for awhile and that it was the right color. You don’t want to use a light backing when you QAYG, because the seams of the top and batting will show through the backing.
Also, a little cumbersome and time consuming was placing the top/batting on top of the backing. I still pin basted 4” apart.
Once the quilt was layered, I originally only planned to anchor quilt around the seam lines of the rows, but then decided to also quilt it approximately a 1/2” away from the sixth line of quilting just for added anchoring.
I thought the final machine quilting went well until I saw this which happened at one of the corners as a result of bad basting but was an easy fix. I am hopeful the QAYG technique will be stable enough for the Gypsy King quilt which will be used for our bed and will be subject to numerous washings. If not,  then I know five or six people/dogs who might want a yoga mat.
I was going to machine bind the quilt with a yellow print in the quilt which I had yardage of but I remembered I had this Basic Grey text print on grunge which I think is from their Merkai line. I thought it would be perfect although I can’t read some of the verbiage; I just love using text prints for binding especially when you can read all of it.
I mentioned earlier in this post where the fabric for the Gypsy King quilt came from and would show the quilt where it was used mainly for; my often mentioned but seldom shown, but still gives me the willies, Gypsy Wife Quilt which I put to great use my QAL Escape Artist skill by finishing it sampler style and not with the strips. If you made a Gypsy Wife Quilt and have since recovered, you know what I am talking about.  A funny tidbit here, the yellow binding I was going to use for Gypsy King, I used it for Gypsy Wife which I didn’t realize until I pulled it out from her sitting spot.
And now you know why I named this quilt Gypsy King as a reference to the Gypsy Wife quilt and as to the size of it. Truth be told, I didn’t come up with this name until I put together these four quilts for this pic to show my new bedroom ensemble which almost was eight years in the making. I now have a quilt to hang on the wall which can only be Gypsy Wife, Gypsy King for the bed, Flying Geese Frenzy for the rocker and Fat Eighth Frenzy for the bench. I would love to put this in my bedroom now but sadly the Winter quilts were just hung or laid on the bed this week. I will have to wait until either next Spring or Fall for my new ensemble can make an appearance. Meanwhile the Gypsy Wife Quilt will be hanging around my studio to remove any bad woo-woo between us so I will be comfortable sleeping with it hanging above my head.

I thought I include some more pics of Gypsy King just to show how well I think it turned out and the size of it although it looks rather small hanging from outside the screen room. Also to show how wonderful the Master Quilt Holder/Hanger is for climbing up the ladder after recovering from whatever he had, wasn’t Covid, Strep Throat or telling me too often how much he loves helping me, etc. Because he was laying low this week and didn’t go to the Grandparent House, I was able to finish Gypsy King. Finally, I now know my limitations and don’t plan on ever quilting a King quilt ever again…but I do have plans for making another one.

Linking up with: My Quilt Infatuation/NTT

Friday, October 1, 2021

My Five Year Blog Anniversary

It was five years ago today that I closed my eyes and pressed the key to publish my first post which started with a whimper.  I thought I would observe this milestone by keeping it simple, no photos, but with some interesting stats. I’ve come along way now having posted 193 times mostly about my almost 200 Finally Finishes and, yes, my Blog was a good way to do some Show and Telling and keeping me accountable. What I didn’t mention or realize back then was this would be a good way to meet and connect with so many quilters all over the World. I appreciate all of the readers whom some have become dear Blog Buddies or Bee Sistas, for the inspiration and support provided and, of course, the laughs; may this always continue. I wanted my Blog to be about Quilting and Patchwork but somehow with the birth of my first and only Grandchild, family talk crept in plus sometimes I have to brag and thank the Master Quilt Holder who help hold up many of the quilts in all kinds of weather and surroundings. While the technical aspects of blogging is still a big annoyance, like Bloglovin’ no longer picking up my Blog and sometimes a mystery (creepy comments and questionable views)  which makes me want to stop, but then, there isn’t any other way to  share and keep a record of my activity, is there? I am thankful that I was able to use my Blog as a way to see how much I have grown as a quilter and also to use as a way for me to maintain a certain level of creativity and productivity. 

I thought I would share some interesting stats and/or observations I noticed while rereading some of my posts from years past;
  • My top five posts are listed on the sidebar on my blog and I find it amusing that in this group is my 2017 post about being a Bee-ginner Blogger and participating in the New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop where I met some of my dearest Blog Buddies.
  • Around one-fourth of the quilts/patchwork I finally made were either gifts or donations and half of this total was for my most favorite recipient, my beloved granddaughter followed by donations to the blanket ministry at my Church and gifts for new babies.
  • Before I started blogging, I did not have much confidence or experience as a machine quilter and I have since improved. Out of all the 191 quilts/patchwork which are Finally Finished, only fifteen were quilted by check. Also, I only have around ten quilts made during the last five years which are still waiting to be quilted, pretty good in my books, considering there are around twenty-five quilts made before Blogging which as we say are UFOs. I will say that straight-line quilting is a great way to quilt your worries away.
  • I participated in 40 QALs, some being with only one other person but mostly with the rest of the country or the whole wide world. This is a wonderful way to be inspired and stay motivated and  also to be introduced to patterns you would never dream of making like anything Jen Kingwell or her family of which I have developed a “fond fright”.
  • I imposed upon myself a new fabric purchase fast twice and yes I need to do it again. I should mention I see a correlation with purchasing new fabric and weight gain.
Just for the record and I wasn’t going to mention, but it’s good to have this info since I know I can refer to it later, is that less than a handful of the Finally Finished were bedside quilts, 92 were lapsize, (my favorite size), 50 were baby quilts and 40 were wall size or decorative. I don’t think I could have compiled these Stats if I haven’t set up Page sections where I listed all of my activities for each year.

Before I end my “simple “ post, I have to thank again, Susan of Patchwork and Play for being my first friend I made in Blogland (she lured me with of all things a Jen Kingwell quilt) for her encouragement and guidance in starting my Blog, always being an inspiration, assuming the position as the best torMENTOR and fabric coach down under and my most favorite person to throw under the bus. It would be the most wonderful surprise if she ever came knocking on my front door but hopefully she won’t bring Jen Kingwell (just joking) with her.

I hope Quilting will always stay being an adventure for me and worth sharing. Cheers and Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, September 28, 2021


Since I wasn’t home on National Sew A Jelly Roll Day on September 18th, I still wanted to observe it and just finally finished my Skyfall Quilt this past weekend. Looking at this quit, you may think it’s an improv quilt made without a specific intention, but it’s not, it’s more improvise to me because it was made from fabric already set aside and a pattern which didn’t quite worked out as planned.
Involved in the making of Skyfall was a Jelly Roll of Janet Clare’s Aubade along with a charm pack and yardage of the same line paired  with HST blocks and yardage of her Nocturne fabric line which came out afterwards. Four years ago, I designed a pattern for Moda Bake Shop called Jelly Roll Charm Chase and always wanted to make another one with the Aubade Jelly Roll and Charm Pack but never did partly because I designed another pattern later called Staggered Strips and Squares which for me is an easier pattern to make. If you’ve made a Jelly Roll Race quilt, there comes a point in the pattern where you have to cut a panel consisting of 32 rows and maybe 120” wide in half vertically and I always have a problem cutting up two equally sized panels. There has been several times I had to even up the panels by at least six inches. I find it easier to sew the rows with strip sets already precut to size rather than cutting the rows to size later. Also with the Staggered Strips and Squares pattern, you can space the fabrics more evenly and avoid globs of the same fabric/color being the same spot which can happen with a Jelly Roll Race quilt. My original plan for the Skyfall quilt was to use the Staggered Strips and Squares pattern but  modified it so the strip sets were 8”(finished) instead of the usual 4” to go with the 8”(finished) HST blocks made several years ago and four-patches made from the Aubade charm pack. Also, the rows would be set vertically instead of horizontally.
After the strip sets were sewn, I knew it wouldn’t look right with them mixed together with the 8” blocks on the same row so I decided to make separate panels of  strip sets  and 8” blocks. Fortunately this change did not affect the the number of strip sets already cut. 

But “dabnabbit” as one says while in the act of improvising, the panels of 8” blocks sewn together were shorter than the strip set panels by 2.5” or 3.5” so extra strips needed to be added and weren’t too noticeable. Of course I didn’t find out the differences in size until I sewed the two panels together the first time because I assumed the block panels were going to be the correct length. I found out while working on Skyfall, that Aubade and Nocturne fabric lines was inspired by the music composed for either the evening or morning skies so I should have been able to hear maybe Claude Debussy “Clair de Lune” playing in my head. But no, instead I heard the sounds of pounding, sawing and jackhammering trying to improvise to get these panels to fit together along with some salty language. 
After much noisy improvising, the top was done and surprisingly while working on it, I did not have a final name for this quilt. When I was going to make a quilt with just HST, inspired by a quilt made by Crazy Mom, Amanda Nyberg, I was going to call it Nightfall. Since there were a lot of light fabrics mixed in with the blues, I wanted to name it reflecting both the night and morning skies and maybe a little disappointment with the way the quit looked at first, so I jokingly considered calling it Nightmare or Downfall.
Happily while quilting it with a combination of straight and wavy lines, I came up with the name Skyfall which came with a song with the same name by Adele. And yes I was singing it and playing the song while machine quilting which went well and liking Skyfall even more partially due to this quilt finally getting a nice proper name. I used Aurifil #2610 Light Blue Gray for the top and #2605 Gray for the bottom.
Here’s a photo of the backing which is the Jungle Jive print from Blank Textile found in the backing vault.  I thought showing the backing would answer any questions as to why I used  a different color thread for the bottom. The binding is a very dark Navy print from Aubade which I almost wasn’t going to use because it was too dark but decided to use it to justify the dark prints in Skyfall. Plus I had ordered it from a shop in Alaska several years ago after much searching for it and didn’t want the trip to be for naught.

Skyfall measures 64”x80” which is a little too large for the Master Quilt Holder to hold up comfortably. We went to the park for a photo shoot and he was willing to stand up on a park or picnic bench in order for the quilt to hang right but the Wind was just too breezy. Maybe Mother Nature thought I should have named the quilt Windy since there is a song that goes with that name.
Well it turned out the best photo was taken after our park visit from our front porch off to the side where all of the blues showed up beautifully, especially the medium blues. The Wind did not follow us home which made me think of the adage “there’s no place like Home” and did confess to the Master Quilt Holder that we didn’t need to go the park after all. I don’t think he really care since there was no falling off the benches involved.

I had a pretty productive month in September; four Finally Finishes which two commitments were met, a DrEAMi and Skyfall which I’m calling a just because I could when you’re home for five days. Also, with these Finally Finishes meant writing four posts in one month which is something I have not done in awhile. When I started my Blog, I used to write weekly posts which have now evolved into monthly posts for the past two years. But surprise, surprise, I will be writing another Post for October 1st which is the Five Year Anniversary of my something rosemade Blog. I’m doing this mainly to have a record of this milestone and mostly will be just stats, so now I’m off to do some compiling.

P.S., On my last post, I mentioned that I’ve been on a fabric purchasing binge lately which I attributed it to observing my 25 Anniversary of being a Quilter and maybe instead of buying 25 yards of fabric I should instead buy 25 lbs. Well, I am just loving the comment made by Nancy’s husband who said I should purchase 25 bolts of fabric which immediately put him in contention for Best Quilt Husband Ever and had me thinking which bolts of fabrics I would buy. So, maybe a new laptop for my 5 Year Blog Anniversary would be a nice way gift since there’s only so much fabric one can buy, right?

Thursday, September 23, 2021

September Scream: Eerie Unruly

I wasn’t planning on making a Halloween quilt this year since I thought I was good with the three Projects finished last year. As I was putting away some recently purchased fat quarters of Halloween fabrics with the remnants of the Eerie Alley stash, I heard the screams of the Squirrels yelling that a Halloween quilt needed to be made for the Grandparent House. Normally, this would be considered a DrEAMi project but since this involves Halloween fabrics, it’s the month of September and I like alliteration in my titles, I’m calling this a Scream. 
Just having finished participating with Scrappy Improv Quilting Book Tour hosted by the author, Kelly Young, I knew just the right pattern I wanted to make. Kelly’s Unruly Pattern (not an affiliate Link) is one of my most favorite quilt patterns  and I now have finally finished three quilts with two more being in the processed of being finished. I describe this pattern as an improv version of a rail fence pattern made with big strips and definitely more merrier when made with lots of fun fabric. This pattern is fat quarter friendly and as you can see from the fabric above, it was just right for the Unruly pattern. I like that the Eerie Alley fabrics from years past went so well with the newly acquired fat quarters along with the addition of some blenders to offset the prints. Over twenty-one different prints were used in this quilt and although I only needed fifteen, like I said before, the more, the merrier.
I should mention that not only the Unruly pattern is great for fat quarters or stash fabric, it’s also is a quick and easy make.  It only took three days for it to be a Finally Finish. I did modify the width of the quilt in order to be able to use a piece of batting which would not have been wide enough and someone was too lazy to pull out the roll of batting to cut another piece.

Vertical straight-line machine quilting, spaced 1” apart, with Smoke Gray Aurifil #50 thread was done to showcase the many fun prints.
Binding was a thin black and white stripe found in the binding drawer and a black tone on tone fabric was used for the backing which I did not take a pic. I will say that I was committed to using  something from the stash but had a hard time deciding which one to use since I’m always afraid it may be needed for a future project, so I think. This quilt measures approximately 58” x 75”.
It’s been almost three years since I made the darling Granddaughter her first Halloween quilt and a new one was needed since  this one is almost too short for her long legs. I just love the fun colors of orange, purple, lime green, etc and glad they’re still around.
The Eerie Unruly Quilt was a Finally Finish just before we left for the Grandparent House last weekend. I was able to take a photo of it  on the front porch along with some Halloween/Fall decor I luckily had around the house. (Do you see the squirrel on the table, most  fitting, don’t you think?) I bet you know who would look sweet with her new Halloween quilt and I definitely will take photo of her in her Halloween regalia with the quilt next month. I’m pretty proud that for someone who in previous years could not make a quilt, etc. in time for Halloween and has now done this two years in a row now. There were an awful lot of new Halloween prints this year and I did buy another collection which you may see next year for my impending trifecta of yearly Halloween finishes.

BTW, I thought I mention that for the past month or two, I’ve been indulging in some major fabric purchases and finally realize that my heart knew before my brain that this month is my 25th Anniversary or my Silver Anniversary of being a Quilter. What a great way to acknowledge this milestone is with fabric and if I was keeping tabs on fabric purchases this year, this wouldn’t count because according to my rules, fabric gifts don’t count. I’m feeling a little less guilty now and wondering if I bought enough—I think it should be 25 lbs and not 25 yards which is a whole lot of fabric.
Linking up with:My Quilt Infatuation/NTT

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Scrappy Improv QUILTING Book Blog Tour:Flutter

Today is the second stop of the Blog Tour and I am so excited to finally share my project from Kelly’s book. This is the first time participating in a book blog tour and even made more extra special because I am a big fan of Kelly’s patterns having made five quilts and at least two more in the planning stage. I already have her Stash Statement book and have been looking forward to this book and I will tell you it was worth the wait.
All of the participants in the Blog Tour were able to chose their projects from the 22 mini quilts featured in the book and I was happy with my choice of Flutter which is in the Single Block Beauties section. The description for this section is sew apropos:

“If you’re new to the improv game, single-block quilts are a great way to start playing with the process. Whether the improv pieces are color-controlled designs or multi-color explosions, whether they’re in the background or featured in the block units, a single focal point is a great way to make a big impact with just a little effort.”

The only improv piecing I’ve done was making Scrap Vortex quilts but never made improv panels specifically to make pieced blocks so I was up for this new challenge, especially with all of the scraps I keep on accumulating.

Before I started making Flutter, I had to decide on a color so I did some research on this website:

As I read the symbolic means of Butterfly Colors section, I knew my Flutter needed to be Blue:

A person who sees a blue butterfly is believed to be very lucky. It is thought to be our departed ones speaking to us. It can also be viewed as a divine intervention of God or higher power”

I lost a very, very dear friend, Nancy, this year, whom I worked with for many years and stayed in touch with after I left the company in 1997. To say she was one of the most loveliest and kind hearted person I’ve every known is nowhere near how I feel about her and am just very grateful she was once part of my life. What saddens me the most is that with all of the traveling and happenings of  last year, I missed our annual catching-up call of which I feel so guilty. Even if I knew she was ill, I wouldn’t have been able to see her because of COVID restrictions but how I wished I could have spoken to her to hear her sweet voice again. My Flutter Quilt is perfect for my remembrance of Nancy and the joy she brought to my life and others and will be hanging it in a spot where I will be reminded of her everyday.

Kelly gives very clear and concise instructions on how to make the improv panels. I made sure none of my patches, mostly C+S and Carrie Bloomston scraps, were less than 1”wide. Even though these panels can easily be made with just strips and squares, I knew I had to add an angled strip which you can see on the left side since I planned on using it for the wing patches.

Unfortunately, there was a problem once I cut the two patches since both of them were angled in the same direction and it needed to be opposite in order for the wings to be emphasized. I may have broken the que’ sera, sera rule of this improv technique but you can see what I did by reworking the left patch which may be a little controlling but I knew it would look better.

Once the patches were cut, assembling was fast and easy thanks to paying close attention to the instructions. Can you see the stain glass effect this improv technique has especially using Kim Schaefer’s Black and White Pick Up Sticks for the background?
I liked that I was able to quilt Flutter with my latest favorite way to machine quilt—quadrant straight-line and it’s so easy once you draw the X across the block. 
Having already made several mini or small quilts this year, Flutter was a quick, easy and satisfying make. I have to mention that Flutter was a Finally Finish more than a month before the start of the blog tour for several good reasons:
  • In 2018, I participated in Kelly’s Classic Meet Modern QAL and towards the end of the year, I fractured my left knee while on vacation, so I was unable to keep up with the monthly blocks for several months. Not to tempt fate or a repeat of another “trip” while hiking, I wanted to make sure Flutter was ready for the Book Blog Tour before we left for Steamboat Springs at the end of August
  • I knew we would be visiting Yampa River Botanic Garden while on vacation which would be the most perfect setting to take photos of Flutter

Flutter measures 14”x20” and the perfect size to hang it from a tree or trellis, lay it on a rock or by a sculpture. I even found a spot where there was a sign which included the name “Nancy”.
My most favorite photo of all from the Botanic Garden is this one which the Master Quilt Holder demonstrated his agility of hiding behind the sculpture named “The Joy of Life”. Those fingers you see holding Flutter, I’m saying they are golden butterflies which magically appeared to hold the quilt up.
As I was walking through the garden, I thought it would be a wonderful setting to showcase  all of the mini quilts featured in the book. There are so many places I could see them hanging or lying around. I’m even thinking of using a garden flag stand holder to hang future minis on my front porch. BTW, my tour cohort for today is Diann, Little Penguin Quilts and will be featuring her quilt Botanics, (which is the one of the quilts I want to make), lives in Colorado. I thought it would be fun for us to meet up to take a photo of our quilts together, but didn’t, because I didn’t want to put any pressure on Diann in case she wasn’t ready—she already knows me as being a little crazy when it comes to taking photos of quilts outside.
Thank you Kelly for inviting me to participate in this fun blog tour and for writing another wonderful quilt book—the “teacher” in you really shines in this book and may I say that the size of it reminds me of the workbooks I used when I was once a wee little schoolgirl. Thanks for stopping by to read this post and hope you read the other Participants’ posts on their scheduled days. Also, if you already haven’t, I hope you will be inspired to purchase Scrappy Improv QUILTING (not an affiliate link). I can truly say there will be more than one mini quilt you will want to make for your home or office to remember a special day or holiday or even a special person in your life.

Linking up with: