Blog tags

I want to make the blog more reader-friendly, and I realized that tags are a good way to do this.  I’ve gone through all of my posts and added tags based on various themes. I’ll tag this post with all of them so you can more easily find anything you’re interested in, and my goal is to be more conscientious about tagging in the future.

In the course of doing all my tags, I realized that I posted twice about the Storm at Sea runner I made my parents, once in 2011 and again last December during my Advent posts.  Perhaps if I’d had a better tagging system I would have remembered that I’d done it before!  It was fun to go back and look at the old posts – I’d forgotten what some of the blocks were called and I had to read the posts to see which quilt I was writing about.  Most of my pre-blog quilts are on here, although I know of at least four that aren’t.  Perhaps those will be fodder for Advent 2014!

The tags fall into several categories: block type, type of item if it’s not a quilt, language if I was quilting in something other than English, etc.   The blocks I have thus far are as follows:

Drunkard’s Path – Storm at Sea – Hunter’s Star – Lone Star – hexagons – pinwheels – Steps to the Altar – Rail Fence -Windowpane – Log Cabin – “Elegance” fan block – Korean patchwork – Amish Square – Bow Tie block

If you happen to notice that I have the wrong name for a block or if there’s another name for it, please let me know!  In one case – the wedding quilt I made for my friend N last year – I’m not sure if there is a name for this kind of quilt.  (  If there is a name, please share it with me.

I made a tag for doll quilts, since I make so many of them, and if I used a particular block I tagged that as well.  I may have missed some, so leave a comment if you notice that a block went untagged.

Tags for non-quilts include, in no particular order: pot holders; kitchen/household; holiday; decor; pillows; napkins; clothing; ornaments; aprons.

I’d forgotten how many pillows I’d made, for example.  Kitchen/household covers pot holders, napkins, and aprons; aprons fall under clothing, too.  Decor includes pillows, runners, and wall hangings, but runners and wall hangings don’t have separate tags.  Holiday includes ornaments and stockings, the latter of which also don’t have a separate tag.  If you think it would be helpful for me to make a runners tag or a wall hangings tag or a stockings tag, let me know.  If you see anything I haven’t tagged that you think I should – a quilting design or a specific stitch or whatever – just leave me a comment.

Hopefully this way my blog will be much easier to navigate.  I like to read other quilters’ blogs and I’ve learned not just from what other people are making but from how they’re blogging about it.  Tagging struck me as a relatively easy way to be more accessible.  This is for you, so feel free to give me your input.  If you want a “wedding” tag or a “birthday” tag or some other category that you think would be useful, I want to know about it.



Engagement quilt/Christmas present for my brother and his fiancee – part 3

Last post!  R and M’s engagement/Christmas quilt!

In my last post, I wrote about how I assembled the quilt.  Today my post is about the quilting.

I did some quilting by hand and some by machine.  Here are the threads I used:


I do not appear to have taken any pictures of the machine quilting I did.  I apologize for the oversight.  I did a crisscrossing pattern on the white border, which came out really pretty.  I used several different colors – dark green, light green, and two or three pinks, including a burgundy.  You’ll have to take my word for it.

I also quilted along the Xes – which, again, I do not appear to have taken pictures of.  I just quilted down the middle.  I used forest green thread.

I hand-quilted pairs of hearts in each center white square.    I did a whipped running stitch, with the base in forest green and the whipping in lime green.  As you can see, the hearts overlap onto the red and pink triangles.  I did my best to center them.

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As I quilted, I snipped out the basting stitches.  I did the edges first, then the hearts by hand, then the machine quilting of the Xes last.

I had two large white blocks on opposing corners, which I saved for last.  I knew I wanted to decorate them with something special.  I found the following pretty pattern, which I outlined in a running stitch.  I did the heart in a variegated pink thread and I did the “leaves” (I thought of it as a flower with a heart in place of the blossom) in alternating forest green and lime green.



In the other corner, I embroidered R and M’s initials. I used red for him and pink for her – their favorite colors – and two little hearts in the same variegated threads.  Bonus!  This picture shows some of the crisscrossed machine quilting I did on the white border.


I used a fabric pen and wrote their names and “Christmas 2012” on the back and signed it.

I finished the initials while Papa S was picking up R from the airport for Christmas, so I cut it pretty close when it came to finishing this present.

Here are pictures of R opening the quilt:

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Yes, he immediately swathed himself in it and peered out at us from behind it, looked delightfully deranged.

I visited R and M in January and they had the quilt out on the spare bed!  I got to sleep under it.  Sorry the picture is so small – I was hoping it would show more of the machine quilting, but it does not.

Ryan and Marie's quilt

This ends the three-part series.  🙂  Look for a new project in my next post.  All I can promise is that it will be colorful.

Engagement quilt/Christmas present for my brother and his fiancee – part 2

Part 2!  Quilt assembly!

R and M’s quilt is king-size adjacent (i.e. large enough to cover a king-sized bed but not actually the size of a king-size quilt), which is too large for me to lay it out on my floor and assemble.  I had decided to take it home at Thanksgiving and lay it out on R’s floor, because he wouldn’t be home, but the way things are arranged in his room meant that it wasn’t the ideal solution I’d thought it was.  However, Mama and Papa S have a ping pong table, so I got their permission to appropriate it for a day or so.  I removed the net so I’d have a large flat surface.

Here’s the quilt top – this is the only way we could get a full-length shot:


Isn’t it pretty?

First I laid out the backing, a pale pink fabric that I’d bought yards and yards of.  It works well as a backing but I think otherwise I’ll need to use it sparingly because it’s a little too baby pink for my take.

Next I laid out the batting, centered on the ping pong table.  The table was the right length for the quilt but not the right width, so the batting and the backing were hanging over the edge.  I made sure the batting lined up with the edge of the ping pong table, to make sure everything was lined up properly.  I’m not sure I have pictures of this or that I’m explaining it properly, so sorry about that.

Finally I laid out the quilt top and, again, I centered it.

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Normally I pin through all the layers, but I then I shed pins everywhere.  I find them on the floor of my apartment days after I’ve been pinning.  My parents have dogs and I didn’t want to drop pins in the house.  Also, I knew I’d be transporting the quilt back to my apartment, and again I was worried about the pins.  So I decided to forego pins and baste the quilt.  I think I was overzealous in my basting – I basted though the border and through each row of the quilt – not a row of Xes, but each row of small patches (i.e. there are three rows of four-square patches and half-triangle squares in each block that I made, and I sewed down the length of the quilt through each row).  It took me a long time, much longer than I’d expected.


I trimmed around the edges of the batting and backing to get rid of the excess fabric, and then I pinned the edges down.  (This was the only pinning I did.)


Using the pool table actually worked really well.  I’ll definitely do this in the future, especially for larger quilts.

Next time: the quilting!

Engagement quilt/Christmas present for my brother and his fiancee – part 1

My brother R proposed to his fiancee M several months ago.  We are all over the moon about the engagement.  We love her and how happy she makes him.  I decided to make them a quilt as their engagement/Christmas present.  R’s favorite color is red and M’s favorite color is pink.  They met in law school and their school colors are green and white, so I decided to incorporate those four colors into the quilt.

I have a book of 500 quilt patches and I searched through it, looking for something that would give the illusion of two colors meshing together, if that makes sense, to represent their upcoming union.  I found something better: a quilt block called Steps to the Altar.  It was perfect, the right kind of imagery and the symbolism of the name. The block is a nine-patch.  Three of the patches are made of up four tiny squares.  The other six are made of half-triangles.

I used the instructions for the 12″ block. I wanted to make a king-sized quilt.  I have never made anything so large before.  I started cutting the pieces, dozens of tiny squares and triangles.  It seemed to take forever!   The four-square patches I made of alternating pink and red squares.  Four of the half-triangle patches were green and white, and two were either pink and white or red and white.  It was a lot of pieces.  In some cases I did my math wrong (no surprise; my quilt problems generally tend to be math issues) and I had to go back and cut more pieces.  Below are the four-square patches:IMG_7162 IMG_7160

I started to lay out my blocks.  Here are some samples:

IMG_7163 IMG_7164 IMG_7186 IMG_7187 IMG_7158 IMG_7157I changed the layouts several times,  The bottom two pictures didn’t last in that formation – I decided to use two green prints in each block, like the top three pictures.  Each block had two half-triangles in either red or pink and I arranged the center four-square patch so that the corners touching the red or pink half-triangle match that color (i.e. if the half-triangles are red, the four-square patch is oriented so that the red squares touch the half-triangle).  Then the other four-square patches were oriented the opposite way, so that the pink squares would touch the red squares.  I think the pictures make that far clearer than my explanation.  The design idea of that may have been unnecessarily convoluted – I probably could have had the four-square patches oriented every which way, or maybe consistently through each patch.  I probably made more work for myself in doing.  I tried not to repeat the red and pink prints too much in any one block, but it can’t be helped.  I had many many red and pink prints, but I also needed many many pieces and it basically wasn’t possible to not repeat prints.

Here are some assembled blocks:

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I laid the blocks out on my couch, which is really the only large surface I have – and even there I had to layer them in rows.  As such, I had trouble getting a picture of everything all laid out.  The top picture is probably the best one, and it doesn’t show all of the rows.  I suppose there are several ways you could lay out the blocks, but making large Xes and forming white squares seemed like the most logical option, and the most pleasant design.

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I sewed the blocks into pairs and then into fours to make Xes.  (See below.)  Then I sewed them into rows.


I realized when I was laying out the blocks that the number I’d made was not the number I’d thought I was going to make, or maybe I laid them out differently than I’d expected to. Somehow, though, I was a few blocks short.  I think I ended up wanting one extra row than I’d originally pictured (so that I would have three complete rows of Xes instead of two rows of complete Xes and one row of half an X.)  Rather than make several new blocks, I decided to use solids.  I cut six solid squares and used them in the top right and the bottom left corners.  The corner square in each is a white square.  I had just bought a beautiful green fabric that I used in each corner, as well, and then I used a pink square in one corner and a red square in another corner.

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I added strips of white fabric to make a border.

Next post: assembling the quilt!  I’m going to draw this out into three posts, I think, so the third post will cover the quilting.