Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Small Quilt Play Date!

I took yesterday off for a play date with my friend Mary and her friend Shirley! What fun we had! You know it's crazy....I've been working so hard on the book quilts, who would have thought that I would want to SEW all day on my day off? But it's true. It was a switching of gears from what was work....to what was relaxing with no deadline. DH and son don't understand it, but I'm sure you all do :c)

Have you ever had the experience of walking into someone's home, and feeling like you just walked into the midst of Country Sampler or Country Living magazine? That is what it is like when I visit Mary's house. She has such a knack for little vignettes and details that her house takes my breath away. I love going there. She hasn't seen MY house yet, and I'm almost embarrassed to have her over because while her house is Vintage Beautiful, my house is Country Clutter Chaos! *LOL* She has a definate FEEL to her various rooms, mine is just a jumble of everything...kind of like my quilts. Completely scrappy with no thought to fabric genre or whatever.

I am in love with little quilts, yet every quilt I make tends to come out gigantic. WHY? I'm not sure. At first I thought it was because it would help me use up the scrap stash quicker. But that is a false assumption! It just takes more little quilts to use the same amount of fabric, but you get more variety!

SO. Yesterday's challenge was to reel myself back and to make SMALLER things to use in decorating, on top of tables or to hang on walls, to stuff in baskets, to put here and there for a bit of quilted color. I had a blast!

I nearly finished THREE tops by the time it was time to leave! THREE! Weeee..how fun is this?? I had brought my big zipper baggie of 1.5" strips. I wanted to deplete some of them. There were parts of UFOs in that bin too, left over rail fence blocks, left over strip pieced units from something else (Red 3.5" center with two light 1.5" strips sewn on either side? What WAS I making with that? I don't remember!).

The first thing I did was just LAY out these ugly rail fence blocks together. They m ust have been ugly cast-outs from another project. They were very limited in the color selection, not a great variety, very old fabrics, and there is this one HUGE Kaffe-Fassett-Esque turquise print that just did NOT play nicely with the others. Mary said..
"Never fear! Just sew them together and then we are going to TEA DYE the sucker to death."
Okay. I sewed! And in no time I had the center done!

This morning I just could STILL NOT just leave this alone without doing something to tie it together better. I added a narrow gold inner border. I sewed a gazillion triangles together from the bonus triangle bin, and then I added the final black border. You know one great thing about loving primitive quilts? You kind of WANT the seams not to always match perfectly. And it's okay if you piece a bunch of triangles for the border and just cut them off wherever the border ends.

Yeah...it got BIG, Mary! BUT...it looks good on my kitchen table!

It can still be stuffed in a basket or displayed on a wall. And I'll still use your idea for tea dying it to tone down those white on white prints that I don't like. While I'm at it, I think I'll grab ALL the white on whites and cream on creams that are still left in my stash and tea dye THOSE too. I really don't use them anymore....other than to print labels on. I don't like the paint on them.

The next Little Ditty I did was to simply sew panels of 1.5" strips together! I made subcuts at 1.5" and 2.5" and just stitched the units together in rows. How SIMPLE can this be? I love this one. Mary handed me a cast off blue plaid and I slapped in on right then and there for a border. CUTE! Finished size? 24"X29" This is the smallest quilt I've made in a LONG time! But wait...

This one isn't much bigger! 26"X32"! Remember those 3.5" red squares that had 1.5" light strips sewn to either side? I cut those into 1.5" sections and used them to frame scrappy 9-patches! I had it all the way into rows by the time I left Mary's last evening. Today all I had to do was sew the rows together and border it. Since my kitchen is going to have barn red walls...this one is for display in there...and remember that old saw that I bought at the Liberty Antique festival? I think I'm going to hang the saw, blade up...and hang the quilt on it...yep..in the kitchen! Special thanks to Mary for donating the sashing fabric to me from her stash. What are friends for? :cD

I got home by 7pm, and I was SLEEP by 7:30. Total wipe-out! But it was such a fun day.

Today I'm getting all the quilt instructions together for the two workshops I'm teaching this weekend. Today Buddy goes back to the vet..hopefully TODAY the cast comes off. Last week's checkup showed that he just wasn't read yet.

Tomorrow I'm off to Beautiful Maggie Valley NC, on the outskirts of the Smoky Mountains. Thursday night trunkshow/lecture, Friday Boxy Stars workshop!

As soon as the workshop is over, I head out to Pickens, SC where I am attending their guild retreat, teaching the Pineapple Blossom workshop. The best part...I get to retreat with them on my own stuff friday night...saturday after the workshop into saturday night..and most of the day Sunday until it is time to come home. How FUN is this? The retreat is being held at Table Rock Wesleyan Camp in Pickens, SC. Gorgeous!! I can't wait.

I'm toying with the idea of bringing the 1.5" strips..seeing what else I can make out of them, but at the back of my brain is that Storm At Sea brown dear jane thing..that only needs me to put the rows together and finish paper piecing the borders to get it DONE?! What to do..what to do?????


  1. Oh girl, what energy you have! Those small quilts are just beautiful, and as you said how simple can they be?
    I know what you mean about Mary's house. My oldest daughter is like that. Must be a certain gene that skipped me. It's a knack that is a God given talent like your ability to make so many beautiful quilt designs. For myself I can buy the same stuff as she has but I just don't have that magic touch that makes it magazine material. Though I must say you've made me want to give these mini quilts a shot, but I have to stay on top of the Orange Crush and not get into anything else until my units are finished. Maybe this weekend.
    Lucky ladies in SC to have you come to retreat with them. Hope you have a blast. Until next week have fun at whatever your doing. Fran:-)

  2. Boy, you just described our house: Country Clutter Chaos - Love that!!! Your mini quilts are great esp like the one with the red border!

  3. Bonnie, those little quilts are so cute! You have such a great eye for making something gorgeous out of anything. Enjoy the retreat!

  4. Ohh Bonnie, I'm speechless!

  5. You amaze me. My mind just does not work that way. I'm a visual person and am just now trying crumbs. Love the small quilts. They will look great on the saw.

  6. The small quilts are fantastic! I especially like the second; it's such a simple pattern but the fabrics make it move and sing. Thanks for sharing!

  7. You are having way too much fun to be legal!!! Those small quilts are beautiful :-)

  8. Bonnie, the little quilts are superb! I don't know about your decoratinng, but you certainly have the knack for putting fabric together! I hope someday to see one of your trunk shows and maybe even attend a workshop. Hope Buddy is doing better and gets that pesky cast off.

  9. Wow.....you have really been busy. Please give me some of your energy. Love the small quilts.

  10. I'm on rx iron pills for anemia...but when I'm done? I wanna get done what Bonnie does in a day!!! Just reading your action packed day makes me tired!! lol
    Lori in VA

  11. HI Bonnie

    Love your quilts and currently doing the second Mystery. You inspirer me and have gotten me out of a hole.
    Christine/Brisbane Australia

  12. Wow! I love those little quilts! And they are perfect for the "Country" decorating! I may have to try some of those - they're so much fun to do, and easy to finish quickly! Have a fun trip and retreat!

  13. Work on the Dear Jane, Storm @ Sea Sashing. It is one of my favorite quilts you made/are making. I want to see it completed. It is beautiful. I will NEVER make this quilt--so I will enjoy looking at it on your site.
    Also, love your little quilts.

  14. There's definitely a thing going round for teeny quilts at the moment - soooo much fun - and I just love the cut off triangle border - that's my kind of maths!

  15. WOW - you've been super productive!! Especially like the last one that used the red squares as the sashing :)

  16. Wow...you amaze me...love them all...thanks for all the inspiration you give us all!!

  17. Oh! I'm impressed. As always. And I'm inspired. Wish I could go straight to my sewing machine and get workin'!

  18. Love your little quilts Bonnie! And I so enjoy reading about your quilt adventures...your enthusiasm for quilting is so contagious! WIsh I was in the mountains on retreat with you! Have a great time and soak up every wonderful minute!

  19. you inspired me so much that I made a small quilt , ok a little bit bigger than small with the postage stamp quilt blocks I had made. Then I appliqued a flower design on it. thanks for the inspiration.

  20. Hiya, Bonnie! I am fascinated by the idea that you can take the glare out of too-white looking fabrics with tea dying.
    This is an older post but I love looking at the "You might also like..." selections which is how I found this one.
    Would you, Pretty-please-with-sugar-on-it, do a post on how to tea dye an already made quilt top? Do you soak it in Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (a.k.a. soda ash) first? How much soda ash to how much water? Make the tea with tea bags and hot water? About how many tea bags is good? I really want to try this!


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