Stash Bee: Hopkins Square Blocks

All year I dutifully made my Stash Bee blocks, and finally it’s my turn!  I have spent all year thinking about what block I wanted for my month, and I finally figured it out.  Hive 7 is going to help me make a Quilt of Valor!

Do you remember the quilted napkins I made?  I had leftover pieces, and I decided at the beginning of the year to turn this UFO into a Quilt of Valor for our veterans.  Other projects keep getting in the way, but now I’m motivated to finish them up and I think with all the extra blocks from Hive 7 I’ll have enough to make a quilt top.  I’m using gold and crimson, to match the leftover pieces I had.  If you want to play along, the instructions are here.

Here are some of the finished blocks.  They look good, right?  I’ve made 16 blocks so far.

If you want to do more for Quilts of Valor, they’re having a block drive between now and Veteran’s Day (November 11th).  They’re collecting wonky stars in patriotic colors; you can find more information here:

Here’s mine:

We get to ask everyone in our hive a question.  I actually have two questions: What is your favorite quilt or quilted thing that you’ve made for yourself?  What is your favorite quilt/quilting thing that you’ve made for someone else?

For me, the first one is easy.  (I’ve only ever made two quilts for myself.)  I LOVE the twin-sized all-polka dot Drunkard’s Path quilt I made for myself.

The second question is harder.  If you follow my blog, you’ll know that most of the quilts I make are wedding, baby, or special occasion quilts for friends and family.  I love almost all of them, and it’s hard to choose.  One of my favorites is a quilt I made for my grandmother using photo fabric.  It’s in yellow and orange, her favorite colors, and it’s full of pictures of our family.  After she passed away I got the quilt back and it makes me happy every time I look at it.  Another favorite is a quilt I made for my fiance last year.  It’s an American flag quilt and I hand quilted the stripes with patriotic quotes and song lyrics that I knew would have resonance with him.  I spent about 115 hours working on that quilt.  I put so much love and effort into it, and knowing how much he loves it makes it all worthwhile.  I guess I’m cheating in answering my own question, but the truth is I just want to send you to my finished quits page and tell you that I love all of them!  They’re all meaningful to me because I made them for such special people in my life, for dear friends and their children, and for my family.



Quilted Napkins

Hello habibis! It’s been a busy week – I had computer issues (miraculously fixed by a tech savvy coworker) and then work got crazy, which culminated in me working quite late Friday night and working again for most of Saturday. (That was a big change from my plans, which were to go to the gym and quilt both days and run some errands – most of that didn’t happen, although I squeezed in a little quilting and my social plans Saturday night fell through, so I did make it to the gym twice this weekend.)  I managed to do some sewing on Sunday, but the weekend wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped.

What have I worked on? The magnum opus, some charity work for my guild, and some hemming that I’d been putting off.   (I finally hemmed a pair of Z’s pants that’s been sitting on my pile for weeks, but I didn’t do the rest of my hemming. Oh well.) Still, I’d hoped to make some bindings and do more on the magnum opus than I actually did. What can you do? Sometimes life gets in the way.  I did manage to submit two quilts to the quilt bloggers festival though! Read my posts here and here, and check out the rest of the submissions here. (Voting begins November 1!)

One more thing: I believe the 2015 Stash Bee is still accepting sign ups.  You can sign up here if you’re interested!

Today I want to show you the wedding present I made for anlichan’s sister J. I finished these up a couple of weeks ago but I had to mail them out and by the time they arrived it was a little late for me to draft my Tuesday post, so you get to see them today instead.

Anlichan’s sister J and xyr fiance (also J) are getting married next month but unfortunately I can’t make it to the wedding. (Boo!) I knew I wanted to make them something special and I thought quilted napkins would be lovely. J loves crimson/red shades and is planning to decorate xyr kitchen with reds. Also, xe’s wearing a dress in shades of gold (I’ve seen a picture – so pretty!) and I thought red and gold would make a lovely combination for napkins – good for holidays but not Christmas-specific, plus they’ll match the decor. Anlichan consulted on the red fabric – who knows J’s taste better than xyr own sister? We picked this lovely red with little stars.  It’s called Itty Bitty Stars in Cabernet, part of Connecting Thread’s  Hometown Summer collection by Jenni Calo.

I had plenty of options for the gold! I have a lot of gold scraps (yardage actually) from a project I’m working on that I can’t post about yet. (I bought enough fabric to make a larger size than I ultimately ended up making.) I also had other pretty golds in my stash.

I knew I wanted to make 8 napkins and I wanted them to be about 16″ square. I chose the Hopkins square block out of my 501 quilt blocks book. I liked the geometric look of it. I thought it was pretty and striking.  The block is 12″ so I knew I’d be adding a border.

I started cutting the pieces for the backs of the napkins at 17″ square. My original plan was to have the outer border match the back, four in red and four in gold.  I cut all my red pieces but I didn’t have enough for both red backs and red borders, too, so I put that idea on hold while I cut my gold pieces.

I cut pieces from these two gold fabrics, which are both from the project I can’t show you.

However, I didn’t have enough fabric for the gold borders to match the gold backs, either. I could have done it scrappy but I decided I didn’t want to.

I changed my design idea to all red borders and all gold backs. Once I cut up the red backs into strips I had enough for the borders. For the gold backs I cut two each of four fabrics. I added a third from the other project and then the cranes (the only one that’s not a scrap from the other project). The crane fabric is so pretty I almost couldn’t bring myself to cut into it. I’d just had a conversation with someone last month about fabrics that are almost too pretty to use and I forced myself to. It’s for J! Xe deserves pretty fabric!

When I went to do my piecing I saw that I’d cut more than I needed – of course. I always make a math mistake. Better to do more than less, right? Since I had enough of the medallion gold fabric (above left), I used it only for the block, rather than using half of that and half of the darker gold. That way all the fronts match and there’s two of each back.

The quilting: I did diagonal lines in gold in parallel to the center line of the patch and I thought it looked really cool.

I also quilted on the border. My original plan, when I first decided on napkins, was to bind them. Then I realized I don’t have time for that. So I decided to sew them right sides together and then flip them right side out. The idea behind having the borders match the backs was to hide where I’d had to sew the gap closed. Since I didn’t have that option, my quilting had to compensate. I knew I’d have to sew all the way around very close to the edge. So I did that, as well as sewing around the inner edge of the border.

Here are the backs, which show the other two gold prints I used.

Voila! Finished napkins. They came out a bit smaller than I’d wanted – some of them are only 15.5″ square – but I’m very happy with them and so is J. I sent them early – why wait? – and xe opened them immediately!  🙂  I’m so glad xe likes them!