Monthly Archives: March 2014

You Can Piece the Backing and Batting Too!

Yup, it’s time for another post on frugal quilting. Here are some of my past articles on this subject. They’re mostly about scrap quilting and using up all the little bits of fabric you have.

Crumb-ing With Ami Simms

Megan Bags Courtesy of My Friends

Binding Doesn’t Have to Be Boring

Did you know that you can also piece your backing fabric and the batting? I haven’t bought batting in a while but I continue to finish baby quilts. I have three tops ready to be spray basted so I can quilt them and get them into my etsy shop. (Two of them feature the crumb quilting you guys love!)

Here’s how I do it. First, I take small leftover batting scraps like these and cut them so that at least one side has a straight edge. I set two pieces side-by-side, straight edges together, and sew them together with a zig-zag stitch on my machine.

batting scraps

Continue putting two and two together and then joining those pieces until you have a big enough piece of batting to be usable. This one works for a baby quilt that’s up to 35 x 40 inches. It’s made up of 20ish scraps sewn together. Yes, it will lay flat. No, you won’t be able to tell that the batting is pieced once the quilt’s all together.

Pieced batting

 

It’s difficult to see since I used white thread on white batting, so here’s a closer look. Can you see the different pieces? When you piece batting, join like with like. I buy mostly Warm & Natural but also have some scraps of other battings friends have given me. Warm and Natural scraps go with other Warm and Natural scraps. That way everything wears and shrinks evenly… plus it has a uniform thickness and needles the same. You can piece almost anything though! I’ve even done this with fusible fleece and flannel with good results. Close-up batting

As for the backing? Yup there’s nothing wrong with piecing that too. This backing (upside down in the photo, ready for spray basting) is for a kid’s quilt. So the fun bright fabrics add some interest and make it so I don’t have to run to the store for that extra-wide backing fabric. I’d rather use up my scraps!
pieced back

 

One last tip for frugal living enthusiasts: The Dollar Store’s version of children’s liquid allergy medication works almost as well as Benadryl. So buy it there and take a tad more, for great savings! Can’t beat a buck.

 

 

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Tropical Starburst – A Teal Crumb Quilt for Project Quilting

Well, I’ve done it! I worked on this quilt all week long and still wasn’t sure I’d make the deadline. Entries need to be submitted to Project Quilting by 9am here in California. This week it’s a triangle challenge. So here she is, “Tropical Starburst.”

Tropical StarburstThis quilt measures 42 x 42 inches square and took me 22 hours to make. Yes, I tracked it. Why? This beauty is for sale in my etsy shop. See that listing here. The next photo is a close up of the center.

Center of Tropical Starburst

I had originally planned for the eight pointed star to look like it’s all one piece. Then I cut the center crumb square 9″ instead of 10.5″. Oops. Well, I could add more crumb pieces to that block to make it big enough. But that would make obvious addition lines and I like things more random than that. Or I could spend forever making another crumb block that’s large enough. Plan C? It’s pictured above. I bordered the block I already had in the solid teal.

I think this change actually makes the piece more interesting and modern. Plus it solved a problem that I would have had if the crumbs were all together…. quilting. Since the crumb blocks are pieced from tiny scraps of fabric there are a LOT of seams. It’s nearly impossible to quilt through them, so much so that I try to avoid it. Having the box of teal made it so I didn’t have to. The quilting lines were spaced close enough together for my batting to make it work.
Back of Tropical Starburst

Here’s the back, binding, and you can see a bit of the straight-line quilting I did. I used a single piece of fabric for the backing and a single piece of batting to stuff the quilt… this time. That’s pretty rare for me. In my next post I’ll show you how I usually piece the batting.

If your interested in this quilt, check out its’ listing on etsy. Also, expect more crumb quilts in my shop in the next few weeks.

Inside the Reading Quilt is a Bit of History

 

 

I’m restoring my reading quilt, which I introduced to you guys in this post. I discovered something really cool when I started cutting the blocks out. I thought that this lumpy quilt was just the three layers: top, batting, and backing. I assumed that the batting was lumpy because it was poor-quality polyester which was commonly used when this quilt was made in 1991. I was wrong.

Here’s what I found underneath the first block. Huh. Interesting. There’s another quilt in there! It’s degraded to the point that the fabrics are thin and literally falling apart. There’s hand-embroidery across the block as well as ties.

Inside the Reading Quilt

Here’s what it looks like after I’ve cut out all of the reading blocks. There’s a crazy quilt under there! It’s completely done by hand with large pieces of fabric and large hand embroidery.

You’ll notice that some of the borders are still there. That’s because before my current plan of restoring the quilt by reusing the blocks, I tried to add some quilting and save it that way. I didn’t get far with that plan before deciding it wasn’t the way to go. Inside the Reading QuiltHere’s a closer look at some of the embroidery.
Inside the Reading QuiltI wanted to see if there were any surprises hiding under the backing fabric, so I cut into that. Nope, looks like the backing is original to the crazy quilt, as it’s attached to that. The stuffing is completely falling apart, as you can see.

I did a burn test on the batting to see if it’s synthetic or natural. Since it caught fire right away, instead of melting or curling away from the flame like rayon and polyester it’s a natural fiber. Probably cotton or wool.
Inside the Reading Quilt

Here are my top two theories on the history of this crazy quilt. We may never know for sure. First, it could have been made by maternal grandmother. She started a cathedral window quilt that includes fabrics from Mom’s communion dress, Papa’s handkerchief, Grandad’s shirt, and more. (Read more about Papa here.) But she never finished it. The story is that she liked the idea but hated sewing it so it was a UFO (unfinished object) that Mom completed when she learned to quilt. Now it’s a family treasure. Maybe she made the crazy quilt before starting the cathedral window, which is a much more difficult project.

Second theory. My Dad’s grandmother (Gigi to me) was a healer. Sometimes people bartered for her services instead of giving money. She might also have sewn herself, I don’t really know. Anyway, when she died our family found a stack of beautiful, hand-sewn quilts. None of them had labels so we didn’t know who the makers were. Mom was given some of those and maybe this one, which has clearly been falling apart for a very long time, was re-purposed that summer that I learned to love reading.

Some others of Gigi’s quilts are still out there somewhere, intact I hope. I learned to quilt with my Mom. After she died, it was too painful to do it without her for a long time. Besides, I was a teenager who wanted to spend her time at the movies, mall, and finding a boyfriend. So her fabric stash, rulers, and other supplies were given to her quilting friends. Over time other things were given away too, including those unknown quilters’ art.

I came back to quilting about five years after Mom’s death… to make a Christmas present for my cousin Jade. I am an artist, and fabric is a great medium to express that. Plus, sometimes, it makes me feel closer to my ancestors.

Save Some Green This St. Patrick’s Day

Save some green this St. Patrick’s Day! All day Monday, March 17th shipping is free in my etsy shop. That’s right, free shipping! This includes custom orders, so if you have something special in mind let’s get started.

Email: mrs.megan.null@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/QuiltArtbymegan?ref=hl

Green Megan

Saint Patty’s has always been a fun holiday in my half-Irish family. Growing up we had such fun! Leprechauns would visit us. No, really! They tinted our milk green in the middle of the night.

Of course, the most fun part this holiday is the stories mom would tell. Her grandfather, Papa, would buy her a new green dress every year. He’d take her out of school to hang out at the country club with him and his buddies. When she was young, they would sing the Beatles’ song, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” together on walks. As he got older and needed help steadying himself, he’d sing it to ask for her arm.

What’s your favorite Saint Patrick’s Day memory?

Here’s a peek at an I-Spy baby quilt that I’m finishing in time for the sale tomorrow. Remember, that’s free shipping all day Monday. Spread the word!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/QUILTArtbymegan?ref=shopsection_shophome_leftnav

Strippy I Spy

Restoring My Learning to Read Quilt

In the summer of 1991, my mom used my love of art to encourage me to practice reading. I got to draw a picture of my favorite part of the book as I finished each one. I drew these pictures with fabric crayons on muslin fabric. By the end of that summer, I was begging to go to the library and check out more books.
reading quiltHere’s the thing. This quilt that I treasure so so much was made before Mom learned to quilt. It’s made with the cheapest fabrics available, lumpy polyester batting (which has only degraded with age) and is held together with… tied yarn in four places. Obviously her craft improved greatly with her later quilts. This one is literally coming apart at the seams.

This one is such a treasure to me that I’m going to restore it. The photo above is the “before” picture. I will carefully cut out each square, add some stabilizer to the flimsy muslin, and border each block in a similar manner as the original quilt, with higher quality cottons. I plan to use calicoes, which were the choice of quilters at that time. It’ll get new batting and backing, and be quilted lovingly in her memory.

Of course, my drawings are cute… but one of the things I love most about this quilt, now that my Mom has passed, is that the titles of every book are written on the blocks… in her handwriting. It’s interesting what’s comforting when a loved one has died. Handwriting is one of those things for me, and the love that’s obvious in this project.

I’ll share with you guys the progress I make on this as I make it. This quilt has been folded up in a box for too long.

Baby Tortuga, Honu, Schildkrote and More.

This week’s blog post will be an update of the various things I’ve been working on while recovering from being sick. (Yay antibiotics!)

I’ve been doing a lot of handwork on the couch with my kitty keeping me company. Her name is Loki. We call her Loki Bear because when she’s really excited that you’ve come in the room she stands up on her hind-legs so you can reach her head easier and give her love… which looks like a circus bear trick. The living room, open first room, hallway, and kitchen aren’t completely cat-safe yet. There are lots of hidey-holes and dangerous things to get into. So the cats, in general, spend all of their time in the master suite. Loki Bear is the exception. She’s learned that she can be out here as long as she stays on the couch. Smart girl.
happy loki snuggles

Remember the summer camp quilts for the turtle and turkey clans that I’m working on? Here are some of my previous posts on the topic: Turtles, Turkeys, Wolves and Bears Oh My!The Turkeys are Here and Like a Herd of Turtles.

This week I’ve been doing some hand-embroidery for the turtle quilt. One thing that I admire about Crystal Lake Camps is the emphasis on diversity. Every summer there are international campers and counselors. During the years that I was a camper I befriended people from Mexico, Russia, and Germany. Since then it’s become even more multi-national. In honor of this, I researched how to write the word “turtle” in many languages. These blocks will become part of the turtles clan quilt for the lodge. Here are the completed ones I have so far. Many more to come!

turtle in many languages

I also sewed the buttons onto these and other card holders that will be added to my etsy shop tonight. Isn’t the baby rattle fabric cute?! They’d be perfect for baby-shower gift cards to help pay for… diapers! Isn’t that what most parents use those gift cards for?

greenstars outsidepinkyellow outside

As always, I do custom orders! If you’d like some gift card holders for a special occasion please let me know. Fabrics can be for every occasion. I can make ’em individually and in bulk as well.

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