Donation quilts, large and small, and some leftovers

26 03 2020

Well-known quilter and author Sandi Cummings leads and mentors a great group of quilters who meet monthly at The Cotton Patch fabric store in Lafayette CA.  I’m pleased to be a part of this group.  We make quilts to donate to a local charity, First Place for Youth, which assists in helping young people transition out of foster care and into adulthood.  Each of their clients chooses one of our quilts for their new place, which we hope keeps them warm and lets them know we care.

I have made a dozen or so quilts for this group so far, but I always forget to take pictures of them.  I remembered this time.

This quilt’s story includes a story of the inspirational fabric that started it all.  Originally designed for a group of fabrics that represented a designer’s Christmas series, I found this on a sale table and bought a bunch, just because I liked it.  It then sat in my stash for probably more than ten years, since I had by that time burned out on the idea of making more Christmas quilts (seven was enough).  Here’s a detail photo of the fabric:

After joining this First Place group I went through my stash and looked for fabric to donate for a simple quilt, and I finally realized that this fabric doesn’t necessarily look like a recognizable Christmas motif, save for the little red holly berries hiding in the background.  By using tons of other non-holiday fabrics, I could make a fun and colorful quilt, finally using this fabric favorite.  I love the finished quilt and hope it finds a good home.

The masterful quilting was done by Tina de Man , who quilts tons and tons of our donation quilts so fabulously.  Her dedication is truly admirable.


The pattern I used was one from Sandi’s folder, which included many sets of simpler quilt instructions torn from various quilting magazines.  I modified the pattern slightly, and I would love to credit the original designer if I still had the printed material.  Help in identifying the source would be appreciated and included here at a later date.

Of course, just as usual, I cut waaaaaaay too much of the coordinating fabrics, and had the plenty of the focus fabric left (remember; it was on sale!!!).  So off I went on my favorite sewing expedition, making a quilt from the leftover fabrics and bits and pieces of a project I have just finished.  I love this one too, and hope that it too finds a good home through my guild’s Children’s Quilt Project donation system.


P.S.–Confession time

A few more words about this “leftover syndrome”, that continues to haunt me.

Here is how is happens:

I am currently 91% finished working on the top for a new project using blues and yellows.  However, during the long process of working on this English paper piecing (which takes a fair bit of time), I have manage to amass fabric that I thought I might need to use.  Always good to have choices, right?

See below what is leftover now, perhaps enough to make 6-7 different backs for the quilt in progress.  Sigh

Does any one else do this or is it just me?  I know the fabric stores are all in favor.

I’m pretty sure First Place will receive just a few blue and yellow quilts relatively soon.


Please forgive the quality of the quilt photos.  These are just phone photos taken on the wall in my studio, where lighting is not optimal.



More donation quilts for kids

27 01 2017

Here are a few things that I worked on over the holiday season,  just to keep myself sane.

Sometimes it’s fun to just sit and sew, with no huge or magnificant plans in mind.  These five are the results of just such playing.

These quilts measure approximately 36″ x 42″, just the right size to sew and quilt easily.  All of these quilts have been  donated to the Children’s Quilt Project wing of EBHQ’s Deanna Davis Community Quilt Project.

Leftover solids in a Rail Fence pattern with a wild border.



More 2″ squares–so fun to put together!



A Rail Fence quilt made from donated sample fabrics.

Scrappy Rail Fence


All squares with great African animal fabric donated by Jane S.  Love this fabric–it made at least three quilts for the kids.

African Animals


And  these Dalmation puppies on red played very well with some great black and white fabrics.

Puppies with Black and White


Five donations completed

28 10 2016

It feels good to complete projects.  “Done” is satisfying.  And it’s easier when the projects are these small quilts for donation to EBHQ’s Quilt Project.

Since these were simple quilts that I put together on a recent trip, I quilted them myself.  And four of the five were made from my favorite 2.5″ cut squares.  Very fun.

Here’s the gallery:

Squares in zigzag pattern


Zigzag detail



Random squares, with little animals popping up every now and then:





Random squares with cute birds popping up:





All sorts of leftover squares that seemed to go with this wild border:



And leftover solid rectangles that play with my dotty background:


All were photographed on the wall in my studio;  no professional photographer here, but I wanted to get a shot of each before I bring them in for distribution.


a sneak peek at the Triangles, in progress.





A little different . . .

29 09 2016

And now for something completely different—–

I duecided to take a break from paper-piecing isosceles  triangles when I had finished 92.  So I sewed together two tops for making into quilts for our Children’s Quilt Project wing of EBHQ’s Community Quilts efforts.

I made these tops from kits I made for the Project using my all-time favorites—the leftover 2″ squares.

Kits kinda come together on their own.  Scraps cut into 2.5″ squares begin to combine into interesting groups or color combinations, and these groups find fun borders and binding.  I love this process.

Sometimes, when I create a kit, I can’t let go of it and HAVE to make it myself.  Then, I usually finish the whole quilt.  And it does still feel good to know that some child/family will receive this quilt.  I know they really appreciate these cuddly comfort quilts that our guild donates to a wide variety of deserving non-profits.

The latest two—




Still have three more kits that I could  sew now, but I think it’s time to get those last 40 triangles sewn (if they actually ARE the last triangles; I almost never know).


One simple quilt

27 11 2015

But first—

Last week I forgot to include a picture of the back of the Indigo Study quilt (#250) in the post.  Although nothing like the Japanese style of the front of the quilt, the colors of this piece were so perfect and the fabric was so wonderful that I thought it would be fun as a back.

Indigo Study, Back

                                          Indigo Study, Back

And now a super simple quilt, just the thing for someone getting started, since four patches combined with whole square blocks are an easy pattern to sew in this straight grid.

This is also the perfect quilt to use up all those 2.5″ squares I keep cutting from leftover scraps of finished quilts.

In this case, however, the Leftover quilt was finished before the original one, perhaps because it was so much smaller and that much easier to quilt and bind.

Turquoise Four Patches, 2015 44.5" x 44.5"

                                 Turquoise Four Patches, 2015
                                                    44.5″ x 44.5″

Here are two detail photos showing the quilting pattern in the body of the quilt and in the borders.  This is an easy pattern for me to quilt using the walking foot and not marking before I start the curves, mainly because I have done soooo many quilts like this.  I like how it looks complicated but is quite simple, sewing each row of the curves twice, from top to bottom and side to side.

Turquoise Four Patches, 2015 44.5" x 44.5"

                               Turquoise Four Patches Detail 1


Turquoise Four Patches, Detail 2

                                      Turquoise Four Patches, Detail 2

This quilt will also be available for purchase at the Voices in Cloth 2016 quilt show this coming March.

Yellow Rows and a wedding quilt

18 01 2013

As previously confessed, my favorite design source is vintage quilts.  I saw this beauty for sale on eBay, and loved it right away.  Not a great photo, but you get the idea.


Since I had found at an antique store a box containing about billion 2″ squares of vintage fabrics, I realized immediately that this pattern would be a perfect use for those squares, and I added many, many more patches from my own collection.   I used yellow because it was the best color from my vintage solids collection, and I had enough to make the quilt just this big.

Here is my version.

Yellow Rows of Seven


Yellow Rows of Seven, 2012       66.5″ x 77.5″     Photography by Sibila Savage

I started sewing these squares together at a retreat last January, and continued sewing the various patches whenever I felt like mindlessly sewing.  I liked the solid patch between the columns better than the strip of fabric used in the original.    This was tons of fun to make.


The quilting took forever, but I wanted it to be very simple, and that took some doing.

A wedding quilt

This may be a first for me—posting someone else’s quilt on my blog, but I could not resist.

This is a quilt my daughter Maggie made for her friends Kristin and Saja for their wedding.  She used the blues and golds they chose for their wedding colors for this gem, and I think it’s fabulous.


When I asked Maggie if she wanted me to say anything in particular about the quilt when I posted it, she told me I should say, “Look how awesome my daughter is!  Are your kids this talented? No.”  A great quilter with an equally great sense of humor–love it!

Green Fun Fours–New Year, New Quilt

4 01 2013

Happy New Year ! ! ! !    And, in keeping with the arrival of the New Year, I’m presenting a new quilt, one of the works that we photographed in Sibila’s studio in mid-December.

I have shown this as a work-in-progress, and here is the finished product, with which I am very pleased.  I don’t quite know how this one got so large:  it just did.   This size made the machine quilting a bit of a challenge (and chore), since I do my quilting on my regular Bernina, but my ability to play with new-to-me free motion quilting designs is what kept me as sane as possible during this long process.

Green Fun Fours

#213-Green Fun Fours

Green Fun Fours, 2012        79.5″ x 90″       Photography by Sibila Savage

This quilt started out as one of my usual exercises in 2″ squares (click here for the other versions of this particular pattern):  pull a big pile of squares, and start sewing them together into four patches.   I used the colors in the polka-dotted middle border as the original inspiration.  As I progressed, however, I found that adding more and more colors seemed to work well.    Any lighter hues of the greens and browns were saved for the streak o’ lightning sashing.


Green Fun Fours, Detail

For the quilting, I created patterns that repeated vertically, which I thought would make things a bit easier.  Each of the two patterns (one through the sashing and one through the four patches) required two passes to complete, but were simple and fun enough to keep me interested.

I can’t say that I am done with this quilt pattern, because every time I make it I love the results, and each one looks very different.  Truly are “fun” fours.

BTW: Unlike quilters in previous generations who put intentional mistakes in their quilts because only God was “perfect”. I did not put that piecing error in on purpose.

Random question of the day:  Why does spell check always want me to change “sashing” to one of the following:  slashing, smashing, stashing, swashing (WTF ?!?), sating, sassing, or cashing????????

All the Christmas quilts

21 12 2012

Christmas quilts on parade:

For the holidays I decided to present a post with almost all of my Christmas quilt creations in one place.   You may not have seen some of these if you are new to this site, and  I don’t have pictures of a few that I gifted away (that’s you, Diane and Dave), but there are photos of most of the rest.

I recently realized I did not have any pictures of either of the two Christmas quilts made in the Simple Pleasures pattern (for more info on this pattern click here.), so I corrected that deficit at the most recent photo shoot in Sibila’s studio.  After all this time, I still love this pattern, which looks wildly different with every change in the fabric choices.


        Happy, Happy Holidays, 2003      77″ x 89.5″     Photography by Sibila Savage

Patrick’s quilt is from the 2″ Squares series, at the same link as above.


      Christmas 16-Patches, 2009            Photography by Sibila Savage

Also at the same link is this fun quilt made of 2″ squares set on the diagonal, with the fabulous snowmen borders.  This one gets a professional shot soon, too.

Christmas Medley I

                             Christmas Medley I, 2009              63″ x 72″

And, lastly, the most recent one, based upon the pattern from Maggie’s graduation quilt, described in detail  here.

Christmas Medley II, 2010

Christmas Medley II, 2010

Detail, Christmas Medley II

Detail, Christmas Medley II

So that’s it for this year.  I look forward to sharing many, many more quilts and other fun things in the year to come.

Happy Holidays!!

Freddy project update and another mistake

9 11 2012

Firstly, the work-in-progress quilt top, started in the Freddy Moran class and featured in the last post, has been finished.  I must confess that I reverted to some of my old habits as I put the last bits of this piece together.  I measured and squared up;  I guess I am not yet totally Freddified, but I am able to work just a little bit outside my comfort zone.  This muscle must be exercised a bit more.

Here’s the finished product:

I remain inspired by this class and am already planning my next quilt in this style.  Freddy had many pieces that were horizontally structured, and many in the class tried this method (Hi, Carolyn).  I think I will see how I like this layout next time.

AND, because I guilt-tripped myself for starting a new project when I had so many others waiting to be completed, I have spent this week moving three different projects closer to completion, and that this feels really good.  So there will be more new pieces posted here soon.

A mistake (?) turned out okay

I have written before about projects that I thought were good ideas at the time but, in the execution, turned out not to be so successful.  This is one of those projects.  I wanted to make another quilt using the 2″ squares on the diagonal, but I wanted to do something different.  In the sewing, I took a square section of patches out of the quilt, rotated the unit 45 degrees, and resewed it into the space.  I thought this was incredibly daring, and I was mistaken.  I thought the change would be dramatic, and it is so undramatic that it is even difficult to distinguish what was moved.  See what you think.

Red, White, Black Squares, 2012
36.5″ x 42.5″
Photography by Paul Hennessey

Even though the effect was not so dramatic, I love this quilt.  I think the graphic Sassaman print, made up of black sunbursts and spirals on white, saves this quilt.

Need to encourage myself to make more mistakes??????

Works-in-Progress, Sept/2012

21 09 2012

? ? ? ? ? ?

How do we ever choose what to work on at any given time?  I came up with this question after returning from a relaxing week away from home (You were fabulous, Ashland OR and the OSF!).  I specifically took along a hand sewing project that I wanted to finish, and also packed a pile of fabrics for a project that I was considering for a new work, just in case I finished the first task.

You guessed it:  I completed about half of the original task, and then went nuts on  the pile of fabrics, and made these,  which currently have no planned home:

Just can’t stop making them for now.  I think I’m putting in my training time on the hand applique techniques, which I’m finding very satisfying, after doing so much patchwork for the last 40 years.

Since I could not stop sewing these things, I think this is the feeling that I am looking for when I do what I do—being “in the zone”, losing track of time, I’ll make just one more, this quilt “made itself”, I was just playing, etc.  I’ve been in all these states, and I think this is where I do the best work.

Another WIP

I’m making another quilt from 2″ squares, just like Fun Fours, as described in the previous Four Patches blog post.  The quilt top was done, but this quilt sat for quite a while because I wanted to find a new quilting pattern.  When I make a quilt I have made before I want to do  something new, something individual.  This time I wanted a different quilting.

I designed a free motion quilting pattern simple enough for me to be able to execute.  I think it will work out well.  Of course I chose to to these new machine quilting techniques on a quilt that is HUGE, so it will be a while in the making.

No longer a WIP

I finally figured out how to quilt this recent squares exercise about which I wrote in August, and had tons of fun doing it.  Really like how bright and cheery it came out.

All the circles seemed to coordinate well with all the dots.  I used a commercial template to start the centers of the large motifs, and then just eyeballed the rest of the spiral.  Also got a chance to use up some wonderful Sulky rayon 30-wt. threads from a previous project—orange, yellow and fuchsia.

Free form circles in the border–fast becoming one of my favorite border patterns, since it is soooooo fun to do.