Thursday, March 31, 2011

3-D Bow ties

Note: American Quilter magazine has made it easier to view all the entries in the Mystery Quilt contest. The quilts are now presented as a slide show and you don’t have to keep going back to the home page and clicking on the title for each quilt. Go here:

My Danica’s Pink Butterfly Quilt is No. 18 in the slide show.

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During the time I was in Tennessee with my daughter, I made a little 18 x 18 inch quilt with fabrics purchased at the Stitchery Quilt Shoppe in Dyersburg. I gave the quilt to owner Linda McCulloch, who has been so nice to me whenever I dropped into her shop to browse and chat because I was stressed and tired from caretaking. I promised Linda I would post the directions on my blog. So here goes.

This quilt consists of nine 3-dimensional bow tie blocks (finished size, 4” each) made from muslin and reproduction fabrics. It would be a very cute scrap quilt made from light prints for the backgrounds and dark prints for the bow ties, and it would look good in batiks, too. If you are buying fabrics, buy fat quarters for the bow ties and at least ½ yard for the outer border and binding.

First I cut my fat quarters into 2½” strips, one strip for each bow tie, then cut the strips into three 2½” squares. Next, cut 2½” strips of muslin into 18 2½” squares, OR, use any light-colored fabric for your background. You need 45 squares: 2 background squares and 3 bow tie squares, such as these, for each small block:

Assemble the bow ties according to the directions I posted on Feb. 26 here:

When you have sewn and pressed the blocks, experiment with different arrangements of your bow ties. I finally settled on an arrangement with the bow ties slanting upward from left to right, all the same direction. Sew the blocks together in three rows of three blocks each.

I chose three border fabrics (dark, light, then dark again) and cut strips 7/8” wide, 1¼” wide and 2½” wide. Measure the quilt before adding each border to determine the length for each border strip. I love that red fabric, so the outer border fabric matches two of the bow ties in the quilt.

Layer the quilt over backing and batting, then quilt. It would be very easy to use a walking foot and quilt in diagonal lines across the surface. I stitched in the ditch around the two inner borders and then used free-motion quilting on the blocks and outer border. Note that I quilted right OVER the dimensional center of the bow ties. On a previous quilt, I tried avoiding the center of each bow tie, but I prefer the way this looks. A small quilt like this is an excellent way to practice your free-motion stitching. You haven’t invested too much time, so if your stitching doesn’t come out exactly the way you wish it would, well, you got in some good practice!

Square up the quilt by trimming the edges. I got a little distortion with my free-motion quilting, but not much. I used the same red print for my binding: Cut 2½” strips, join the strips, then iron them in half lengthwise. I sewed the raw edges of the binding to the right side of the quilt, then turned the folded edge to the back and hand-sewed it down. I put a few stitches in the corners on the front and back to create mitered corners.

My 5-year-old granddaughter, Danica, “helped” me make this quilt. Well, at least she talked to me the whole time I was sewing it! She thought it was for her, poor thing, so I had to make her something out of the leftover pieces. (I got really creative with a new doll quilt, but more on that later.) Here she is, licking the bowl after we made brownies, joined by my daughter Genevieve, who at last was well enough to WANT to lick the brownie batter. It’s the chocolate cure!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

More antique quilts

I made it home from my daughter’s house in Tennessee before the spring snow hit. We only got about 1 1/2 inches of snow, just enough to make the woods pretty--and very wet. The view from my front porch this morning:

Happily, my daughter is doing much better and recovering slowly from her two bowel obstruction surgeries. While I was in Tennessee, I took two days off and drove north to Southern Illinois to see my mom and my sister. I found two small antique quilts, a double wedding ring and a Sunbonnet Sue, at a shop in Marion:

Both of these doll quilts look like they were made of leftovers from full-size projects. Neither is particularly well done, but they are interesting nevertheless, and I don’t own examples of either of these patterns in a small quilt.

Last week, Jenifer from Forty-Two Quilts posted a picture of one of my antique quilts. Click here to see it as well as other antique quilts: Thanks for showing us some beautiful quilts, Jenifer.

Nothing to do with quilts, but I also love to look for vintage Pyrex when I’m antiquing. On the same trip to Southern Illinois, I found a funky Pyrex-made Jim Beam bottle/coffee carafe. The description is posted on The Pyrex Collective.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bow-tie settings

I still have bow ties on my quilting brain, and I’ve been making more blocks using my folded bow-tie method. For a how-to, see my Feb. 26 post: .

On my design wall, I experimented with different ways to set them. The example below is a simple arrangement—all blocks are set the same way on the diagonal.

In the next example, all blocks are set straight. You would have to fill in the triangular spaces on the sides if you used this setting.

Below is the way Alex Anderson set her bow-tie blocks in the last issue of The Quilt Life magazine. See the quilt on the cover here:

This final example below is the setting I plan to use with these particular blocks. The ends of the bow ties are in sort of a four-patch arrangement, creating a negative-space octagon, a lattice-like effect across the quilt.

I have only about 20 more blocks to make with these Civil War reproduction fabrics, and then I’ll begin to put the quilt top together. I haven’t figured out what to do about the border yet, but I came upon a sale, so I purchased yardage (not just fat quarters) of several fabrics so I’d have some choices.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! It’s a fine early spring day here in Tennessee at my daughter’s house. Daffodils are up and the forsythia is blooming. My granddaughter’s school is on spring break, so we’ll go outside, walk around the neighborhood and enjoy the sunshine.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Paisley Lone Star

On Jan. 15, I posted a picture of some fabric I bought at The Quilted Fox in St. Louis for my guild’s winter challenge. I had to use the paisley fabric provided by the challenge, plus I added 3 more paisley prints and some blues, greens and yellows for a Paisley Lone Star. I worked on this quilt while I was taking care of my daughter in Tennessee and off and on during her most recent hospitalization. Even so, I was under pressure to finish it in time for the guild meeting Thursday night.

The challenge fabric is in the center. I only had two fat quarters—not enough to make all eight pieces match because the print had a big repeat. So I alternated a paisley and a feather. I sewed this center FIVE times before I got the seams to line up. Each time I ripped, I knew that the pieces were getting even more distorted. I kept thinking, What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I get this right? But then I remembered that these center pieces were all fussy-cut, and not one of them was on the grain. I gave myself a break and managed to wrangle them in there.

Here is a detail from the setting squares. I decided to machine applique some paisley shapes, and added a flower and leaves. Those “ribbons” are ¼” strips. The dark green strip was cut straight and the yellow and white strips are curved. Overall, it gives the effect of a wreath of ribbons around the star. I tried a new product to make these applique shapes—Heat ‘n’ Bond Lite. It worked very well—really flexible.

I auditioned fabrics for the border and decided on this blue and green paisley, a fabric so beautiful that I just wanted to leave it alone and look at it. But something still seemed to be missing, so I decided to add a ¼” strip of dark green around the star. That really set it off. I had to make another trip to The Quilted Fox to get enough fabric to finish the border, but I was in St. Louis anyway when my daughter was in the hospital. Here is the finished quilt (50” x 50”):

The effort was worth it, because my Paisley Lone Star won first place in the challenge! It was a very good quilting week for Feltsey! The challenge quilts will be on display at the Rolla Public Library in March and at Uniquely Yours, a local quilt shop, in April.

Thanks to Jan P. Krentz, author of Lone Star Quilts & Beyond. I took a terrific class from Jan last fall in Des Moines. I highly recommend her book if you want to make a Lone Star. Her website is

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I made the magazine!

Here is my version of the mystery quilt project from American Quilter magazine--Danica's Pink Butterfly Quilt.

I received a phone call today from Chris Brown, editor of American Quilter, who said that this quilt is one of three selected to appear in the May issue of the magazine. Hurray! I won 50 fat quarters from Moda Fabrics, $75 in books from AQS publishing, and a year's extension on my subscription to American Quilter. I forgot about the prizes, I was so focused on just getting into the magazine!

Go to: to see the pictures (taken by the quilters) of the 69 quilts finished in time to meet the deadline. These eight were chosen to be sent to Paducah to be photographed:

K. Adamo--Riptide
D. Alexander--Cat and Mouse
Amy Allen--Mystery
C. Felts--Danica's Pink Butterfly Quilt
A. Fuller--Maple Mystery
S. Hicks--A Taste of Minnesota
A. Means--Cameo
B. Schillig--Morning in Marblehead

Two others, besides mine, will appear in the May issue of the magazine. Hurray again! There are some beautiful quilts here, and it is interesting to see how each quilter used color and interpreted the directions.
Check them out.