Move It Forward

I spent Good Friday on line with Linda – Moving it Forward.

We have decided that once a month we will take at least one day and move some projects that have stalled or aged as UFOs far too long forward to the next stage. That may mean getting a top to the flimsy stage, moving a top from a flimsy to a quilt, or completing some binding. What Move it Forward is not is a day to start something new. It is all about making progress on something we have already started previously.

Before I could work on anything, I needed to clear my work surface from the project that I was working on the night before. In between passes of the long arm on customer quilts, I piece string blocks onto used Color Catchers (that is the white rectangle you see in the upper left hand corner of the picture). I had 11 blocks partially finished – they needed a strip or two and they would be finished. So before working on anything else, I finished off those 11 blocks. On the previous weekend, I took some of the blocks I have made previously and pieced them together into this colourful scrap top. This top needs the sashing finished off on the right hand side and bottom, then it will be ready for borders.

The next project I had to finish was a customer quilt that had already been loaded onto the long arm the night before. There was only about 1/2 hour of quilting left.

This is the finished customer quilt. It is a Nine Patch Pizzazz quilted with the Wave.

The next project was my Bento Box. It had stalled at the borders. I typically stall at this point so this was a great project for Move It Forward day! Also, I had the expertise of my good friend Linda to assist in deciding on which colour to use in the inner border……….green….

….or red?

After discussing options back and forth, the red was chosen. And this is the finished flimsy. This one is for me so I am really excited about getting this top to this stage. I now need to go on the hunt for just the right backing.

The next project up needed binding. This is the fabric that was picked for binding.


I made 1/2″ wide binding for this quilt. An extra wide binding serves dual purpose as an additional border and binding. Strips of binding for a 1/2″ wide binding are cut 3 1/4″ wide.
Binding was machine sewn to the quilt after supper. This top is now waiting for a quiet evening or two of hand sewing in front of the TV.

The day was busy and my quilt inspector/supervisor played out.

After the flash picture, he did open an eye to let me know that he did not want to be bugged further!

I know that both Linda and I made great progress today so we will be looking forward to the next Move It Forward Day to move yet more projects to the next stage.

First Finish for 2008

This is my first quilted finish for 2008–Mexico Strings. I quilted this quilt on New Year’s Day and put the last hand stitch in the binding on January 9.


This quilt finished 47 1/4″ x 62 1/4″ and will be making its way to Pam for her Quilts For Mexico project. Pam will be taking the donated quilts to an orphanage in Mexico later this year. I encourage you to make a quilt and donate it to Pam’s project to help her reach her goal of 200 quilts!

The blocks for this quilt were foundation pieced onto used color catcher sheets. Once the sheets are covered with strings, I trimmed the blocks to 4″ x 9″. The sashing is cut 2″ x 9″ and cornerstones are 2″ square. The outer green border is cut 6″ wide–no special reason other than that is the width of my ruler (6″) so strips are easy to cut.

Project Progress

This is the progress on my projects since New Year’s Day.

1. I have pieced another 17 color catcher string blocks. They still need to be trimmed, but that is a job I will leave till an evening in front of the TV. This is an ongoing project. As I have color catchers and strings of fabric, I continue to make these and store them in a box. When I have enough to make a quilt, I sit down and piece the top. I will never run out of string blocks, nor will this project ever end.

2. This is the color catcher string quilt that I quilted on New Year’s Day. It now has a binding machine sewn to the front. All this quilt needs is the hand work to fasten the binding to the back of the quilt. I will be taking this project with me to work on at my Monday night quilt group.

3. This is my dryer string diamond quilt. I finished this quilt to the flimsy stage back on May 27, 2007. It was time it was quilted! I quilted it using the Baptist Fan template. This one just needs the binding now.

4. This is my Christmas Patience Corners quilt. I worked on adding blocks to this one in the last couple of days. Currently this top is 73″ wide. I bought some backing on Friday (from the last of the bolts left from Liquidation World’s sale) that was 108″ wide. I think I will make this quilt as wide as I can to make maximum use of the backing. That means I will likely need to add another 1 1/2 blocks (if you count a group of four squares as a block) to the width of this quilt for a total of 7 1/2 blocks in width. I started this quilt top back in December 2006.

This is a picture of the wide fabric that I bought for the back of my Patience Corner quilt. It is bright and wild. Those flowers are at least 10″ across. I think I mentioned before that bright green is my new favorite colour!

Color Catchers, Strings and Left Over Thread

I have discovered the most wonderful product–Shout Color Catchers.

“Shout® Color Catcherâ„¢ sheets absorb and trap loose dyes in your wash water, safeguarding your clothes from color bleeds and helping to preserve original colors.

I now launder all my quilts with this wonderful product to keep dyes from bleeding or running onto other fabrics in my quilts. I have also started using these sheets in some of my regular laundry loads and I just love them. However, I started to accumulate a stack of used color catcher sheets that I couldn’t bear to throw away. What do you do with all those used sheets once they have trapped all that loose dye? I use them as foundations for string pieced blocks.

I am a long arm quilter and I don’t like to throw away the bits of left over bobbin threads left from quilting customer quilts. When I am finished a quilt, I take the bobbin out of the long arm and throw it in this basket.

The bobbins that fit my long arm do not fit the bobbin area of my DSM. However, those bobbins can be used on my DSM in place of the top thread. Because I am going to use these threads in a “stitch and flip” technique to piece my string blocks, the colour of the thread does not matter. The object of these blocks is to use up threads and fabrics that would otherwise be thrown away.

These are some of the color catchers after they have been through the wash cycle. Yes they are different colours–remember they are used and are finished their intended purpose which is trapping loose dyes in the wash cycle.

This is my current box of strings.

To start, I lay a string the approximate width of one of the color catchers across the middle of the color catcher.

Then I lay a second strip on top of the first strip – right sides together, aligning the edges of the strips on the right side of the strips.

Sew a 1/4″ seam down the right edge of the strips. If your seam is not quite a perfect 1/4″, don’t worry. This is a very forgiving technique and as long as the fabric is captured in the seam, you will be fine.

Once that first seam is sewn, press the strip to the right and continue adding strips to the right of the last piece sewn in place.

Stitch and flip, press, and repeat until the right side of the color catcher is completely covered with fabric strips.

To further maximize your thread usage, work on more than one block at a time and chain piece through the machine.


Once the right side of the color catcher is covered with fabric, turn the color catcher and add strips to the left hand side of the color catcher in the same manner that you covered the right side of the color catcher until the entire color catcher is covered with fabric strips.

This is what a finished block looks like–a little ragged on the edges.

Flip your block over so that your color catcher is right side up. Align your ruler and trim the block to the size you want. I have been trimming my blocks to 4″ x 9″. No special reason for the size–it just seems to make the best use of the color catcher.

These are some blocks ready for trimming.

Before you know it, you have a stack of blocks ready to be set into a quilt top.

This is an excellent technique to use up fabric and thread that would otherwise be headed for the trash. This is also a technique that is a little “mindless” and works for those evenings that I am too tired to concentrate but when I still have a “need” to piece or sew.

Colour Catcher Strings II – Flimsy

You can sure tell that summer is on its way out! These pictures were taken on the morning of September 1st. That is fog you are looking at. The pictures are taken from our deck looking over the sports fields behind our house. The day brightened up OK, but at the time of these pictures, you would never have known it!



This was today’s fun. This flimsy is made from colour catcher strings measuring 4″ x 9″ – finished size: 3.5″ x 8.5″. I still have 28 colour catcher string pieces left in the box so I may go back and add another row to this one. I have not decided what to do about borders. I am leaning towards a black border and multicoloured binding (thanks, LJ). The size right now is 52″ x 64″. it is definitely large enough for an average lap size quilt. However, since most of my family members are over 6′ tall, I may add another row and lengthen it a bit.


I plan on showcasing another of my Circle Lord templates in the plain black squares perhaps using a variegated thread. This one will have to sit for a while before it gets quilted….customer quilts are waiting!