Friday, May 30, 2014

Holy Journey, or A Whale of a Tale

This quilt is the fourth of Irene's lovely series of donations to Quilts of Compassion for the deployment to Tupelo, MS in July 2014.

The word "holy" means to be set aside and designated for a purpose. The entire time I was petting this quilt in the quilting frame, I thought about our upcoming trip home with Eight Days of Hope XI, and how the plans of both rebuilding homes and comforting the homeowners with quilts have been synchronizing into this lovely, perfect plan that only God could orchestrate. (After all, face it, most of the plans I try to arrange fall apart, not weave together into something better organized and more beautiful!)

Here's what happened...I learned about Quilts of Compassion from Facebook, where I learn about almost everything these days. I decided that I'd whip up a quilt myself (and Tupelo Strong, plus my double pinwheel tutorial were born). Then I also volunteered in a couple of key high-traffic Facebook locations that I frequent to quilt unfinished quilts for donations to QOC for free. It costs me batting, thread and time, but time spent quilting pays me in other ways. A quilt arrived from Pat F. in Conway, SC almost immediately, so Summer Roses was the first quilt off my frame designated for Tupelo. Then a local friend, Diane G. here in Greenville, NC, brought me NINE unfinished "flimsies" and several yards of muslin for backing, with promises of more backing fabric as needed. Diane is also going to help bind her quilts as I finish, although I had time to do the first one. You can see it featured here .

And then Irene emailed from San Diego, and suddenly the ten quilts I'd hoped to send became 15. And fifteen quilts seemed like they might be expensive to ship to Toledo, OH...but I decided I'd worry about that later.

Like any story of God's faithfulness and provision, this one is getting long. Here's another quilt picture to tide you over...

So, then through a Lori-reads-everything-in-print-including-toothpaste-tubes moment, I noticed on QOC's Facebook page that Janice had changed the dates of her Tupelo trip to coincide with Eight Days of Hope XI. I sent Janice a quick email, and included my phone number, and just asked if it would be okay for me to hand-carry my stack of quilts when I go to Tupelo. After all, it's already quite a pile...

...and a few more to come. Imagine my delight on Sunday afternoon when Janice called me to talk about quilts, Tupelo, and God's working out His plan to weave our lives together. It turns out that Janice was blue and disappointed that circumstances had delayed their trip to Tupelo (a couple of ladies cannot go, due to life), but after we talked, so many good things happened that she is now excited and amazed. Isn't it cool how God allows us to refresh one another in our walk? So, Janice is going to learn more about Eight Days of Hope (and I hope we can partner to give our quilts to the homeowners we serve through 8DOH), and share her mission of disaster response/quilt distribution with the leadership there. But even better, when she comes to Tupelo, she is going to stay with my mom and dad (while Dennis and I are there), and we are going to use their church as a "staging" area for the 1000+ quilts we'll distribute to the families in the area.

And what am I going to do? I'm going to reach out to all the North Carolina Quilt Shops in my area and see if they would consider collecting donated quilts for me to pick up and hand carry to Tupelo. My new goal for the Tupelo trip is now 100 quilts! I thought I'd make one. Then I thought perhaps I have time for 10. And God has multiplied that into a hundred! Let's see just how big this can get...I have a van I can load down with quilts. Heck, I'll rent a trailer if I need to!

Now you see why this quilt became "Holy Journey." The quilting design I chose is called Classic Panto, but I've used it on a few other all-batik quilts, and it yields a lovely stained glass effect. For this quilt, the design fit the piecing ideally! There is a nice triangular line in the pattern, and each row of piecing held two rows of the quilting pattern repeat.

So, without further ado, here are a bunch of pictures of Holy Journey. I love the backing. I love the binding. I love everything about this quilt. I debated about thread color, but in the end, went with the Glide "Marigold" that sparkled so well on the surface of the quilt. I used Glide Teaberry to topstitch the binding. This quilt was the largest of the four of Irene's quilts, and is the one that is going to have me stripping up some of my own fabrics Sunday afternoon to make one just like it.

Here are all four of Irene's lovely quilts in a pile. Aren't the backs as beautiful as the fronts? If you missed any of the quilts in this series, just scan back through the blog for the last few days!

I'm going to end this with another appeal to support these marvelous organizations with your financial contribution, of any size whatsoever. After all, as excited as I am that Reading Rainbow was funded, I would love to know that families affected by the tornadoes in April have homes and warm quilts.

Fund Quilts of Compassion
Fund Eight Days of Hope XI

Thank you for listening to my whale of a tale, and many, many thanks to Irene T. for her generosity and faithfulness in using her talents to the glory of God.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Modern Jungle

I knew when I opened the box of quilts from Irene T of San Diego, CA that this one was special. First, I loved the backing fabric. Then, the glint of turquoise blue just sparkled again the earth tones. And that binding

 I don't know Irene well yet, but I can already tell I love her. Her quilts demonstrate not only her talent and craftsmanship, but also her personality and generous spirit. After all, these quilts are designated as "charity." They are going to be given to strangers. She won't get a thank you note or even a hug. But she has provided best materials, has done her best work, and then packed them lovingly and meticulously. It has been an honor to get to quilt and finish these four quilts, and I'm looking forward to partnering with Irene to finish any charitable quilting she is ever called to do.

So, I named this one "Modern Jungle." I loved the lack of a traditional border, and the edginess of the mix of prints. I quilted it with Glide "Marigold" in an open meander pattern, scaled to fit the blocks. I don't think I've mentioned, but I'm using Warm & Natural 100% cotton batting for all my #quiltsfortupelo. 

I know this quilt will be received with gratitude and bring joy to a person who has been dealing with a lot of trials in their daily walk. The aftermath and cleanup of a big storm can feel like you live in a jungle. I pray that "Modern Jungle" will bring its new owner comfort.

I will feature the final quilt from Irene tomorrow. In the meantime, please consider donating a quilt, or a financial gift of any amount, to Quilts of Compassion.

Or...if you are able, COME TO TUPELO! Eight Days of Hope XI will be July 12-19, 2014. There is no cost to stay or eat when you come serve with 8DOH. We will be working in all stages of construction, as the hands and feet of Jesus, providing materials and work for the affected communities. Plus, Janice of Quilts of Compassion will be there, handing out quilts and comfort to the families who lost so much during the April 28 tornado. Just email me if you want more information! 

Here are a few more pictures of Modern Jungle in progress:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Scrappy Cats

Here is the second of Irene's lovely donations to #quiltsfortupelo Quilts of Compassion. I named this one "Scrappy Cats." My granddaughter identified the animals in the border fabric as owls at first glance (she's 2, so cut her some slack!), because of the large prominent eyes. She quickly reassessed to "kitty cats" once she spotted the tails. Ha!

You might remember my friend Liz's quilt from the blog last week:

THEY ARE THE SAME PATTERN! Cool, huh?!? It's wonderful how versatile quilting can be.

Irene pieced her quilt with a lovely variety of prints.

The fabrics play together with fun abandon. I can just imagine the child that will receive this quilt discovering favorite bits for years. Can you tell I'm in love with scrap quilts?

The green striped binding is the perfect finish, and Irene planned the inner border and matching binding to give a nice frame to the mix of scraps. Look at that gorgeous back fabric!

I quilted this one in a simple open meander, with Glide "Turf" green thread. I had a spool of Mettler silk finish thread in the perfect color for top stitching the binding.

It's not too late for YOU to support Quilts of Compassion. If you are a quilter, please contribute a quilt of any size. Just comment here or email me at . If you are not a quilter, this all volunteer organization can use donations. Read about the mission of Quilts of Compassion here:

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Like a Kid in a Candy Shop

I received a box from my new-dear-friend-thanks-to-the-Internet, Irene T of San Diego, CA, last week. What a lovely, generous gift! Irene pieced four gorgeous quilt tops, plus supplied perfectly pieced backing fabrics, and even prepared matching bindings for each quilt. 

We are partnering to donate these quilts to Quilts of Compassion, a nonprofit, all volunteer disaster response organization, founded by Janice Grimes of Toledo, OH. Don't you love the Internet? Quilts for my hometown of Tupelo, MS, still recovering from the April 28 tornado--by way of San Diego, eastern NC and Toledo!

I will feature each of Irene's beautiful quilts here on the blog, but today I want to show you the one we've named "Candy Shop." (Thanks Julie, Mallory and Susan for your naming skills!) This cheerful quilt measures 61"x69" and is quilted with Glide "Lemon Ice" on top and "Coneflower" on the bottom.

I adore the bubblegum pink binding that Irene chose! It's the perfect complement to the top. I used my new favorite trick of machine binding (why, oh, why have I hand stitched all these years?).

I have quilted, but not yet bound, two of the three other quilts that Irene donated. Plus, I have an amazing story of Providence and provision that I am still processing (ha!) that I will tell you all about as soon as I can write about it. Stay tuned for more of the Quilts of Compassion #quiltsfortupelo showing up here on the blog!

P.S. This is why your longarmer asks for adequate backing and batting! Great job, Irene! ;)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

No Rest for the Devoted

Although I try to take it easy and indulge in my other passion--reading--often enough that I don't burn out from the nonstop, frenetic quilting that seems to consume my life, I can only rest just long enough to get restless again. What I NEVER expected when I began Island Time Quilting was how productivity can be restful and restless at the same time. That's an interesting topic to explore more on later...

So, this week I finished three quilts to send to Quilts of Compassion, with several more tops ready to another goes in the frame this afternoon. I've shared both "Summer Roses" and "Tupelo Strong" before...

Don't forget you can look at my previous post for the tutorial on the double pinwheel block in "Tupelo Strong."

This one is "Autumn Light," and was pieced by my friend Diane, who handed me NINE quilt tops of various sizes to send to QOC (and nicely modeled by another friend's feet!).

Since she was such a great foot model, I snuck in her quilt and finished it up before lunch yesterday. She found a technique in Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam & Nicky Lintott (ISBN 13: 978-07153-2863-7) that was the perfect complement to the green Hoffman Bali Pop she'd purchased, and we agreed that Fantasy Feathers would look beautiful on it.

I learned a few new things quilting this one. First, all those seams make for some difficult quilting occasionally. I also had my first really ruffly border; we are guessing all that bias allowed for much excess fabric in the border attaching process.

The good news is that I quilted it pretty flat, and the quilt managed to be pretty square when I was done. And, of course, most importantly, my friend was very pleased with the result. I think I'll work on a border-attaching tutorial, however. In the meantime...Google it! I'm sure there are dozens out there, complete with YouTube videos. 

Now, it's back to my frame, and all those quilts for QOC! It's not too late to finish one or two yourself! Contact information for Quilts of Compassion: email or call Janice Grimes (founder) at 419-708-9343. Please feel free to post here if you need more information, and if you are willing to donate to the cause, they have a gofundme set up to receive online donations.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Summer Roses

I sent out an appeal for donated quilt tops for the tornado victims from the April 28 storm that struck my hometown of Tupelo, Mississippi...and several generous people have stepped up to send me their UFOs to complete and donate.

This quilt arrived from Pat F. In Conway, SC yesterday. It's a sweet, feminine floral, 45" x 55." Pat even included yardage to bind it. 

I chose a panto called "Nautilus" because I love the clouds and spirals it makes.

I bound it with the fabric Pat sent, and will put a label with both our names. I decided to call it "Summer Roses."  

Don't you just love pictures of quilt binding? 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Double Pinwheel Tutorial

My hometown of Tupelo, Mississippi was one of the many communities in the south struck by a large tornadic storm system last month. Quilts of Compassion, a charitable volunteer organization that provides quilts to disaster victims, will deploy to the area at the end of June and distribute hundreds of quilted hugs to the community. You can read more about the mission of QOC here:

I thought there might be quilters who had tops they could donate if they were quilted, so I offered to help by providing the longarm quilting. A few people have contacted me to send quilts, so you can watch for those quilts to show up here on the blog. I can't wait to partner with others to send several quilts in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, I pulled a few fabrics from my stash in Tupelo blue and gold, and am going to whip up a double pinwheel quilt. For today's blog, I thought I'd do a quick tutorial on this awesome block. It's one of my favorites; in fact, it was one of the first quilts I ever made for myself, way back in Alaska in 1993 or so.

A double pinwheel is just the combination of two quarter square triangles and one half square triangle to make one section of a four patch block. Usually I make 8 inch finished double pinwheels, but for this quilt, I decided to make 12" blocks. That's one of the best parts of a four patch block. It's super easy to do the math to make 6", 8" or even 4" finished units.

Choose three high contrast fabrics for your block. I had a pretty white-on-white floral to go with my blue and gold.

Cut two of your fabrics to make quarter square triangles the size needed for your finished block. I'm making 12" finished blocks, so one-fourth of that block will be a 6" finished unit. The rule to make quarter square triangles is to add 1 1/4" to your finished size. I cut both my white and gold fabrics 7 1/4" and then crosscut them on both diagonals in an X.

Cut your third fabric to make half square triangles. The rule with half square triangles is to add 7/8" to the size you I cut 6 7/8" squares and cut them on one diagonal like "/".

You will need one square quartered of two fabrics, and two squares halved of a third fabric for each block.

Go ahead and make a big pile! I decided 35 blocks (5x7 setting) will be big enough before borders...60x84, and I'll make a border decision as I go.

First sew your quarter square triangles together along the short sides. 

Press your seams to the dark side like a good Jedi.

Line up a half square triangle with your two quarter square unit. Then sew along the long hypotenuse to form the section of the block. Press toward the large triangle.

A simple twist of the four identical units centers a small pinwheel on point, and a large pinwheel square.

To me, the real magic occurs when you start setting a bunch of these blocks together. Double pinwheels become triple pinwheels and spin all over the place!

Go make some double pinwheels! They make a great baby quilt, too! Here's one I made for a friend a couple of years ago...that just happens to be very similar in color choices! These are 8" blocks (so I cut the squares 5.25" and 4 7/8").

I'll show you the finished top later!

Here's a few blocks I pieced last night. My dear friend Paula doubled my efforts by piecing alongside me at our quilting group last night.