Flag Quilt Made From Scraps Reflect My View Of Americans

A funny thing happened on the way to The Guggenheim Museum. I decided to make a flag quilt instead.

Flag Quilt www.debhathaway.com

 

Living in New Jersey, it’s a quick train ride into New York City. For years I have thought it would be awesome to spend a weekend or more in the city and really get to know my way around. With decent hotel rates costing more per night than my monthly car payment, that trip was always a pipe dream… until now.

I had the amazing opportunity to ‘house and dog sit’ for 10 days in (be still my heart) the Garment District of New York City. As if having every fabric, thread, zipper, and bead store right out side my door wasn’t enough, the homeowner is a quilter!!!

Museums were my number one destination while in the city. MoMA, The Met, Whitney, Neue and so many more were calling my name. On the morning I planned to visit The Guggenheim I first visited a friend for a chat. On my way out the door she mentioned that in the house I was ‘sitting’ was a large bag of fabric scraps, and to feel free to rummage through and use what I wanted.

If you know me at all… then you know I didn’t make it to the museum that day. Instead of turning left towards The Guggenheim, I turned right and went right back up the elevator, and headed to the big bag of fabric scraps. Without a second thought, I dumped the entire bag out on to the huge white table and began sorting through all the colorful confetti. I was in heaven!! And that’s how my flag quilt began.

Flag Quilt scraps www.debhathawy.com

Truth be told, I already had the idea of the flag quilt and had a nice pile of red, white, and blue scraps sitting on my dining room table back home. As luck would have it, I needed to return to NJ for a day, so I grabbed my pile and added it to the NY pile.

Where to begin? The blue pile was the smallest, so I started with that. I loved the way it turned out so much I could barely sleep that night. My mind would not shut down. I dreamt of how to piece the red stripes. After walking the dog I hit the red scraps next.

I made my own red fabric yardage by haphazardly sewing a bunch of scraps together… and adding more, and more scraps until I had a large enough piece to slice into 2 ½” strips.

This is when I really THOUGHT about what I was doing, and what this flag quilt represented to me. Here I was, mixing all different colors, patterns, and fabric weights… and the result was beautiful. Even though a lot of scraps weren’t red at all, some were orange, others were pink, and even a purple thrown in, it all looked harmonious. It made me think of us as a nation. We are all different colors and come from varied backgrounds, but when put together, we are awesome! We blend. We belong together. I was filled with excitement as I continued grabbing another scrap and adding it to the patchwork.

If you take a closer look at the flag quilt, you will notice the white stripes aren’t plain white. Some are a white-on-white design, while others have a colorful print, and one is a pale, pale grey. Another reminder of different colors blending so well they fool the eye into thinking they are something that they’re not.

There are 3 different styles of quilting on my flag quilt. The white stripes were ‘free motion’ quilted by machine in a wave design, reminding me of the freedoms we have in this country. The red stripes were hand quilted in a running stitch of red thread… binding us all together. Finally the ‘field of blue’ was studded with 50 white shirt buttons and hand tied with white thread, just as quilters many years ago tied their quilts.

Flag Quilt sewing www.debhathaway.com flag quilt sewing www.debhathaway.com

I am proud to hang my flag quilt over my mantle. I am proud to be an American.

The Guggenheim visit will have to wait for another day.

Finished Flag Quilt www.debhathaway.com

Star Storm Quilt Making and Helpful Hints Continues

The Holidays have finally wound down and I’m ready to dig in to this Star Storm Quilt!!! What am I talking about?? Catch up by reading my previous Star Storm post HERE. The adventure into using a quilting pattern continues.

I have read, and re-read the Star Storm pattern directions. My head is swimming, but I think I understand the process. It’s time to choose fabrics!!! Fun!!

Oops… not so fast. To fully understand this pattern I decided I had better cut and tape the pattern together. Unfolding the large paper patterns freaked me out with all the lines… veering off in all directions! Some were solid, others were dashed, and some were BOTH! Circled numbers were all over the place!! I took a deep breath in and slowly let it out, grabbed my scissors and quickly came to the conclusion that this wouldn’t be so bad. After all it was only paper… if I made a mistake I could always tape it back together.

Star Storm Pattern

It wasn’t bad at all. The Star Storm pattern was clearly marked with where to cut and where to tape. Keeping ‘even’ with ‘even’ and ‘odd’ with ‘odd’… and ‘A’ with ‘A’ and ‘B’ with ‘B’ is all I had to do. The crazy numbers and lines running all over the paper don’t come in to play until later.

Back to choosing the fabric!! Yea!!!

Rummaging through my stash I pulled all the fabrics that screamed BEACH to me. Oh, and I pulled all the neutrals, purples, greens, and yellows for Bonnie Hunter’s mystery Quilt Along while I was at it. Hey, that’s great time management… right? Back to the beach fabric! Concentrate!!! Once gathered, I pulled out any fabrics that were glaringly out of place, and assessed what is missing. The vision in my head wasn’t jiving with my fabrics. If I had my way I would simply go out and purchase all new beautiful fabric. Alas, my wallet doesn’t agree with that logic… so I re-thought the vision in my head to align with the fabrics in front of me.

Unless you want to drive yourself absolutely crazy… stick with ‘all over’ patterns on your fabric!!! I disregarded many of my chosen fabrics because they were too linear, heading in the wrong direction, or worse… on a diagonal!! I already had one wide stripe fabric, adding another would have competed.

I came to the conclusion I needed one or two accent fabrics to really make this Star Storm quilt POP! This is where the line divides a designer from a hobby quilter. If I were a designer I would have bolts of my own fabric line to choose from, cut a strip and audition it. Not good? Choose another strip from another bolt. As a hobby quilter I needed to stop the design process and hop in the car to drive to my local quilt shop… in my case it’s an hour drive! Even with swatches in my hand I found it difficult to choose the two accents. At $10 and $12 a yard I really wanted to be certain I chose correctly!

How much yardage to purchase?? Great question!!! I’d love to say, “Just purchase 2 yards of everything you like,” but that isn’t practical. Before leaving for the store I did a little calculating. Laying out my fabrics in the order I THOUGHT I would use them, I scrutinized the photo on the front of the Star Storm pattern and guessed at the placement I needed the accents to be… then followed the recommended yardage provided. Needless to say, once I got home and really laid things out, I was a little off the mark. Sigh.

I don’t have a design wall. More accurately… I don’t have a blank wall to PUT a design wall. My small bungalow was built in 1918 and between an open floor plan, the free-standing fireplace, windows, windows, and more windows… I only have ONE blank wall, and that’s where the TV was placed. So I use my floor to design. It’s not perfect, but all the bending over keeps me active.

Star Storm Fabric Selection

I cut 2 pieces of each fabric measuring 4 ½” by WOF (width of fabric) and began to lay out the strips for color placement. I urge you to really LOOK at the star pattern on the front cover and understand WHY the design WORKS! Pay close attention to where the bold fabrics versus lighter fabrics are placed. Trying to capture a real beach feeling, I chose fabrics to represent sand, water, shells, and sunset. My breath is always taken away with a stunning sunset, so I decided the fullest star shape would be of that fabric… then worked around from there. Sadly, the fabric I purchased to represent mussels didn’t make the cut. Oh well… I’ll have to use that fabric in something else. I also realized I didn’t have enough fabric of another one I purchased… but was able to pull a co-ordinate from my stash.

Also take note of the use of coordinating fabrics in this design. If each ‘round’ were the same fabric, the quilt wouldn’t be as interesting. I encourage you to ‘mix it up’ a bit!!

At this point I feel my Star Storm quilt is headed in the right direction, but am not 100% satisfied with my color placement. It’s time to walk away, and wait ’til tomorrow for a different perspective. I’ll keep you posted as I continue my Star Storm adventure.

Want to check in more frequently with my progress??? Follow me on Instagram @uniqueandnovel… using #debsstarstorm.

What’s my next BIG project? A Star Storm Quilt!

It’s time to kick my quilting UP a notch… and make a quilt for myself!

My usual way to design and sew a quilt is to look at a pretty picture and say, “I can make that.” After a few hours of sketching, calculating, scrabbling through my stash, and making a run to my local quilt shop… I’m ready to sew. Scissors snip, fabric flies, the sewing machine hums. It’s a beautiful thing.

That’s when I’m in my happy place, barely coming up for air. My insulated TERVIS glass is filled with Lipton’s Berry Tea and ice, and placed AWAY from the machine and fabric! The thought of food is secondary, as I only stop sewing when I feel faint with just enough energy left to pop something in the microwave.

Now that I seem to have more time to sew these days, I don’t feel I have to do everything all in one sitting. Soooooo… I”ve decided to make my very first quilt just for ME, and to plot, plan, and take my time making it.

My next quilt project! Victoria Findlay Wolfe http://www.vfwquilts.com

I fell in love with Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s quilt STAR STORM. I actually GASPED when I first saw it. I just KNEW I had to make that quilt to hang over my bed, but in different colors. So while in NYC yesterday I stopped by her shop and purchased the pattern… and some fabric 🙂

Although I am considered an Intermediate to Advanced quilter, I am a total beginner at using patterns. I’ll admit, a bit of panic set in as I read through the 5 pages of instructions. Then I unfolded the oversized paper templates… all four of them. EEK! There is even a sheet of paper ‘tags’ to label each strip of fabric so as not to get confused. Here I was, staring down into a design that came from someone else… not me. What an eye-opening revelation!!

“OK… I can do this,” I say to myself. The first thing to do is to change the color palette. Although I LOVE the bright colors of Victoria’s quilt, and her fabric line… my home is more ‘beachy’. I have decided to replace the bold black and white stripe in the design with the same fabric, but in tan and white. I kind of wish her pattern came with a black and while line drawing so I could audition specific colors of my own. I guess that’s where I’ll begin my project… drawing and sketching, just like I do with my own design.

I plan on posting my progress as it moves along at it’s own pace. If you care to follow how it’s going, feel free to check back here about every other week or so. You can also follow me on Instagram… @uniqueandnovel. Use hashtag… #debsstarstorm to see my posts.

Baby Quilt – Underneath the Same Stars

Phew! Now that all the hub bub of baby showers, first birthdays, and flying AND driving up and down the east coast is over… I can finally post about the super secret baby quilt I made.

My oldest daughter is pregnant with her first child!!! It was decided the baby shower would be a ‘gender reveal’… meaning I had to keep my mouth shut for WEEKS on the sex of the baby!!! It also meant I couldn’t post any photos of the baby quilt I was making so as not to give it away.

It’s a BOY!!!! My second grandson is due in May and I couldn’t be happier!!

With a nursery theme of ‘Underneath the Same Stars’… and color scheme of Gray, White, Navy, and Teal I set my creative juices in motion.

‘Underneath the Same Stars’ came about because my Son-in-law serves in the Navy. Although he will be away from home a lot of the time, he will always be beneath the same stars. When you think about it… that really brings things into perspective… doesn’t it!

While scouring a multitude of quilting resources, I came across a pattern named Hunter’s Star. Well… isn’t that just PERFECT??? Our family name is Hunter… and it’s a star pattern. This was just meant to be! I was delighted!

My personal stash of fabric, which seriously could stock an entire store, didn’t have any of the colors I needed. Sooooo… I hit up my favorite fabric haunts. YIPPIE!!! Shopping for the color teal was not as simple and clear-cut as I thought it was going to be. Some were too green, others too blue… and if the Navy was too dark it looked black, and others too Royal. Gah!!! Eventually, as if by magic things all started to pull together.

Once the fabric was washed, dried, and ironed… Like a mad crazy person I began cutting it all up according to the pattern. Isn’t that nuts? We quilters buy fabric, cut it up into many pieces, just to sew it all back together again. Who thought THIS was a good idea???

Any way… there came a time when I had to trim about ¼” from every square, resulting in what I affectionately call ‘fabric worms’. The way the sunlight streamed through the near by window made them glow. Mesmerized by the scene, I stopped cutting to take s few photos, then realized I COULDN’T POST THEM! But now I can! I get excited over the craziest things!

Pile of Fabric Worms

                 Pile of Fabric Worms

Here’s the finished quilt, and a photo of her opening it up during the shower.

Finished Baby Quilt

                                    Finished Baby Quilt

 

Gender reveal Baby Shower

                              Gender reveal Baby Shower

I followed the Missouri Quilt Company tutorial as a guide… which you can find HERE.

If you want to see this quilt up close and personal, it will be on display this weekend at The Quilt and Sewing Festival held in the Garden State Exhibit Center in Somerset, NJ. Then it will be mailed to it’s new home in Florida where it will await the birth of my grandson. Two of my other quilts will also be displayed… The Periodic Table quilt I made for Grandson #1, and Bye-Bye Boogieman, the quilt that started this whole passion of making quilts (okay, okay… obsession) in the first place.

Stop by the Jersey Shore Modern Quilt Guild booth and drool over the other member’s fabulous quilts too. I will be there most of the time and would love for you to visit!

Quilt of Valor Under Way

Last month I announced my commitment to produce 4 quilts for donation to Quilts of Valor… an organization presenting returning warriors with a hand-made quilt as a small token of thanks for their service. You can find that post HERE… along with the links to Quilt of Valor and Houses for Patriots.

My plea of help was graciously answered by two high school classmates!! We have chosen a design, I am drafting the pattern, and a shopping trip for fabric is planned.

Quilt of Valor design

Quilt of Valor design

This all could not have been possible without the generous monetary donations received by an ANONYMOUS DONOR (Really! I honestly have no clue as to who dropped cash into my mailbox marked for the quilt) and TREATS BY EILEEN (read about my meeting her at Barnes & Nobel HERE).

Bonus points to Treats By Eileen! Her donation arrived via Priority Mail in a box filled with treats!!! Oh so yummy!!! I loved her newest creation… Pink Salt Chocolate-Cashew-Craisn Granola… O!M!G! Delicious! One thing I forgot to mention in my blog post about meeting her was… her comment that her being successful and loving what she does… allows her the freedom to donate to causes near and dear to her heart. I am THRILLED beyond all joy she chose my commitment to Quilts of Valor as a worthy cause. Thank you Eileen!!!

Treats by Eileen

Treats by Eileen… Donation for Quilts of Valor AND treats!!! Oh my!

Thanks also to my anonymous donator. I hope you are reading this post because I want you to know I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You were the first to donate and got this project off the ground. Thank you for believing in me and supporting my dream.

I will never forget the generosity of strangers… and the helpful hands of my classmates from many years ago. Together we will do some good and spread love and warmth to those who served our country and fought for our freedom.

Happy Memorial Day everyone!!!

Look What Came in the Mail Today!!

Horizon Fabric

 

I’m so excited!!! Fabric designer Kate Spain sent me 2″ square samples of her soon to be released new line named Horizon by Moda Fabrics. It looks like it will be the PERFECT choice for a quilt for my bed. I plan on sewing these little nuggets together making a cute pillow… a precursor for the larger quilt ‘to be’.

Whoopie!!!

 

Not Your Grandmother’s Quilt – DP#27

Wild Quilt

 

I decided I needed to spread my wings a bit and sew out of my comfort zone today. The New York City Metro Area Modern Quilt Guild is hosting a Double Wedding Ring Quilt Challenge and today I jumped on the band wagon.

Most of you have probably seen this quilt design before… but by my photo have no idea which one it is. Traditionally it is sewn with a white background and soft, pretty pastels making the circles… like this:

Dbl Wedding ring quiltWell…. being as this challenge is hosted by a MODERN QUILT GUILD… I broke from tradition and took a step on the wild side. In a nutshell the definition of a Modern Quilt is one using traditional patterns in a new and unexpected way. I started by selecting fabric from my most favorite designer of all time… Kaffe Fassett!! Once I finished drooling all over the bolts of his fabrics, I zeroed in on three that seem to work together. Two are shown in the photo above… the third is a secret. I don’t want to reveal my design just yet.

I’m going looney lining up all the stripes so they go in the direction I want. It requires total concentration. The house could burn down around me and I bet I wouldn’t notice until the firemen hauled me out of there. As a matter of fact… on days when I was so absorbed in a project a friend would drop pizza by my house certain I would forget to eat. Thank heavens for friends!

I think there should be a prize given out for the most perseverance used in getting the project finished. I would definitely win!!! I am not using any of the trappings and tools every modern quilter has at their disposal. No… not me. I am housesitting for the entire month in a ‘non quilter’ household that doesn’t even own a pair of decent scissors… never mind dreaming I would find a rotary cutter or self healing mat. Actually the scissors are beautiful Gingher’s with the owner’s monogram engraved on the blade in script *drool*; however the blades are so dull that the idea of tearing the fabric with my teeth has crossed my mind more than once.

I can’t wait until tomorrow when I unearth her sewing machine and see if it is operable. If not… I will pull out the old thimble and sew it all by hand. Geesh… that’s really going back to the traditional roots.

The challenge allows me to enter three different samples. Woo! Hoo! I happened to design 3 awesome entries and didn’t know which one to submit. Now I can enter all three! The best news is they don’t have to be quilt size… Phew!!!

I would LOVE to win one of the amazing prizes being awarded. Keep your fingers crossed for me 🙂

Follow my progress on my other blog… Living On Air. This is where I post all of my creative and ‘artsy’ stuff.