Sunday, November 13, 2011

(2) Friendship quilts for a fundraising auction

My newly-married Dear Daughter #1's mother-in-law runs a not-for-profit day care center. Apparently they have a fund-raising auction near the end of the year (or maybe right after the New Year .. I'm not quite sure). DD#1 said that child sized quilts had been donated to the auction in previous years and would I consider making a quilt?

And so I did. :-)

I chose a Friendship Braid layout, as it is very easy to do ... mindless sewing, really ... and it would be an excellent way to reduce the size of my scrap bins. Quite a while ago (probably several years, actually), I had cut all of scraps at the time into strips, 1-1/2" and 2-1/2" wide. Why I decided on those widths, I can't quite remember, but there were a LOT of them. A Friendship Braid would use up a lot of those strips.

The first step was to sort all of my strips into color families.  I wanted the braids to be basically two colors .. one color on one side and another color on the other side.

What I did NOT realize (but should have) is that using strips of different widths causes the result braid strip to skew one way, then another, depending on how wide or narrow the strip is and what side that strip is on.

I was completely surprised .. and somewhat dismayed ... to see that the assumed vertical of my first braid strip was COMPLETELY skewed.  It wavered back and forth across the width of the strip.

Because there wasn't a true vertical line to use as a base, figuring out where the sides should be was confusing.  But, I knew (um ... from past experience) that if you deliberately continue a "flaw", it ultimately becomes a Design Feature.  LOL!  For all subsequent braid strips, I continued my blatant disregard with respect to the widths and as a result, all the strips showed the same curving vertical line.  At least I was consistent.  :-)

The sashing between the strips and the outer borders are of a beige/pink paisley design that is rather subtle.  From a distance it merely looks like a textured print.  I was pleased that it blended well with all the different colors in the braid strips.

Although the workmanship was fine, it was NOT what I had seen in my mind's eye and so I wasn't sure if the top was "good enough" to donate.  With all the colors in the top, an all-over quilting design would be best, as there was no place for a quilting design to stand out.  I used "Flirtacious" By Timeless Quilting Designs.  It's one of my favorite all-over pantographs.

I used Superior's "King Tut" on the top and their "Bottom Line" in the bobbin.  Because King Tut is a thicker thread, it sits "on top" of the quilt.  I love the variegated colors.

You really can't see it well in the photograph (nor in real life, either!) so here's a photo of the back (which is plain muslin).

Wow .. it is really *difficult* to photograph the quilting design!  My hat is off to all the people who do it so well!

Once the quilt was laundered, I was very surprised to realize that I was very pleased with the final result!  The all-over panto plus the laundering had softened the lines, minimizing the wonkiness of the braid.  The final result is a very cozy quilt indeed!

But ... I just could NOT leave well enough alone.  The fact that the braids wandered all over the strip still annoyed me.  It was fortuitous that one of my fellow quilting buddies had posted a link to a Missouri Star Quilting Company YouTube video on making Friendship Braids with a half-hexagon template.  Here was another way to make the braid, use up a pile of wider (3") strips that I had found AND have the strips turn out straight and vertical!  :-)

I thought the technique intriguing.  I didn't have a half-hexagon template, as the video shows, but I found a hexagon shape using Google Image search.  I copied the shape into my graphics editor, resized it to 6 and printed it out.  Then I glued the shape onto thin cardboard, cut out half of it .. and voila .. I had a half-hexi template.  Good enough for this use, at least. :-)

The reason I sized the hexagon to 6 inches is that I had pre-cut 3" strips.  Half of that whole hexagon would give me a 3" half-hexagon and allow me to use the pre-cut strips.  Boy, did that work out well!  Two cuts across the strip and I had my half-hexie segments!

A little math and a little tweaking showed me that I needed 42 half-hexie cuts to make a strip 60" long.  The finished width would be about 8".

Indeed, the assembly went together exceedingly quickly ... and much more consistent that the technique I had used with the first Friendship Braid quilt.  Because these braids are wider, I didn't need as many as the previous quilt top.  I also did NOT color sort my 3" pre-cut strips simply because I didn't have enough of any color to do that.  This new top is completely random in color placement.

I used a deep maroon solid for the sashing and outer borders.  Once again, I used plain muslin for the backing.  (I buy bolts of 108" muslin because I just love seamless backings.  Muslin gets softer with laundering and it's a traditional backing.  But the real reason I use muslin?  I'm cheap. :-)  I used to use quilting cottons for the backing but I can't afford that any longer.  In reality, no one really sees the back of the quilt, so it doesn't need to be decorative.  Although I have pieced backings before, I really don't care for them, as they cause their own problems when I load them on my frame.  Extra wide muslin is a perfect solution, especially when I have a discount coupon to boot!)

I needed another all-over design for the quilting.  I didn't want to do another pantograph .. my setup with my Tin Lizzie is less that user-friendly for working from the back of the machine, simply due to the constraints of where I needed to put the frame. 

I've always liked Baptist Fan.  I have a set of plexiglass circles that I use to do Baptist Fan and in short order, the quilting was done.

As with the pantograph used on the first quilt, the quilting itself isn't readily apparent.

For this quilt, I used Superior's "So Fine" in the top and their "Bottom Line" in the bobbin.

Because So Fine is a thin thread, it tends to sink into the quilt, which is great when you want to emphasize the piecing design instead of the quilting.

And finally .. a label!  I have a personalized "pirate" label that I put on all the quilts that I keep or give away as gifts.  I created the graphic in Paint Shop Pro and print it with Print Shop on an as-needed basis.

But for charity quilts, I don't want to use that specific label but do want to put "something" on it to acknowledge that I did the work.   So, using my embroidery machine, I created another label to use when I don't want to use the original pirate label. :-)

And for all you nit-pickers out there .. yes, I KNOW that the iconic pirate symbol of the skull and crossbones is called a Jolly Rogers.  But because my surname is RODGERS, I have taken poetic license with the spelling to incorporate my name.  That makes it more personal. :-)


  1. I do something similar with my charity quilts. I use "A Sleeping Cat Creation" (my company name is Sleeping Cat Creations).


  2. Love your use of scrappy strips to make this quilt! Your label is great!