Check Plus – Flimsy

2016_March 13_Check Plus_Flimsy_50.5 in x 68.5 inI am on two weeks vacation.  In the past few years we have taken a vacation in the winter and headed to the sunshine.  We won’t be doing that this year.  The Canadian dollar is worth $0.75497 against the US dollar today so we have made a decision to staycation at home this year.  If I am at home, I will have more time to spend in my studio!  Bonus!

The first project I have worked on during this vacation is now finished to a flimsy.   This quilt is called Check Plus and is from a quilt pattern by Cheryl Brickey of Meadow Mist Designs that appeared in the Nov/Dec 2014 issue of Quilty Magazine.

This was a fun quilt to do. I used a stack of dotty fat quarters that I picked up at a previous year’s Creative Stitches Show. (Maybe two years ago?) I kept the pink fabric from the FQ stack out of the quilt to make this one a more gender neutral palette.

This has now been added to the growing stack of “to be quilted” tops.

Finished flimsy size: 50.5″ x 68.5″.

Stormy Housetop Quilt

Part of my Christmas (2015) present from my husband was two Gee’s Bend quilt patterns. The original quilts were created by Rita Mae Pettway and her daughter, Louisiana P. Bendolph Windham Fabrics acquired the rights to adapt the patterns from Ms. Pettway and Ms. Bendolph and asked Debby Kratovil to write the patterns. 

Over yesterday and today, I assembled my version of Rita Mae’s Housetop quilt.   This is not my usual colour palette.  The quilt feels a bit stormy to me which aptly sums up where the last half of 2015 has been for me emotionally.

I tore two of my old denim dresses into strips and used that fabric in the quilt along with quilt shop cottons–some Grunge, a Michael Miller print, a Kona solid, and a 100% cotton fabric that had a texture similar to linen.

Optimized-2016_January_03 - Norma's version of Rita Mae Pettway's Housetop quilt_Flimsy_51 x 62

My Stormy Housetop (flimsy) – 51″ x 62″

Gee's Bend_Rita Mae Pettway's Original Housetop Quilt

This is the original “Housetop – Work-Clothes” quilt made by Rita Mae Pettway in 2005.  The quilt was made from denim and cotton and measures 70″ x 84″.

According to the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, the housetop quilt pattern, was comprised of, “concentric squares of gradually enlarging scale. The work is a testimony to the ways in which the local environment, including its architecture and landscape, played a direct role in Gee’s Bend quilt design: although it is a variation upon a common quilt pattern, the work is also an abstracted map of the Pettway plantation. The quilter used blocks and strips to represent the former slave cabins surrounding the “big house,” the dirt roads and paths, and the river on one side and the fields on the other.”  Rita Mae also told me that the housetop pattern reflects what you see when you lay on your bed and look up to the roof of your house.  

The pattern jacket gives the following information about Rita Mae.  “She made her first quilt at the age of 14.  She was raised by her grandmother, quiltmaker Annie E. Pettway and still lives in the house that her grandfather build for the family in the 1940’s.  “Onliest thing we did after everything else was done, we sit by the fireplace in the wintertime and piece up quilts.  Me and my grandmama Annie.  She didn’t have no pattern to go by; she cut them by the way she know how to make them,” says Rita Mae.  Piecing quilts, according to Rita Mae, was done individually but quilting “we all did together.”  Rita Mae, along with her ancestors and her daughter, renowned quilter Louisiana Bendolph share a penchant for creating strip quilts in concentric squares resulting in Housetops or Hog Pens, each artist though has a unique style and variation on the theme.”

As I pieced my version of Rita Mae’s quilt, I was thinking about the two days I spent with Rita Mae and her daughter, Louisiana in October 2015 when I participated in a Gee’s Bend workshop with them.



This is a picture of Rita Mae taken October 25, 2015. She is showing us how she hand pieces her strips of cotton together to make a quilt top.

This is a picture of Louisiana, myself, and Rita Mae with the quilt top I made in class over the two days.
Gee's Bend Rabbit Lou Me HalfAnother picture of Louisiana (Lou), myself, and Rita Mae (Rabbit).


Using up the Green Strips

I am on a mission to use up all of the green fabric strips that are on my fabric shelf.  The first quilt top that I made was, “Candy Coated” a pattern from Sunday Morning Quilts (by Cheryl Arkison and Amanda Jean Nyberg).  download

This quilt top met with a mishap when I tried to trim the left side.  It ended up being narrower than I would like after my attempt at squaring it up.  After agonizing over ideas to make the quilt wider again, I have given up and made the quilt shorter instead.  Now it is back in proportion to its width and is still plenty long enough for a lap at 63″ x 75″.  I will finish squaring it up after it is quilted.

CANDY COATED - 63 in x 75 in

CANDY COATED – 63 in x 75 in

I ended up with many chunks of pieced fabric strips as leftovers after finishing Candy Coated so I came up with a second quilt which alternates the pieced strips from Candy Coated with framed four patches.  This is a “leftover” quilt.  That name doesn’t seem too glamorous, so it has since been renamed “Strings and Cobblestones” by my good friend LindaJ.  I like this name better than Leftovers, so Strings and Cobblestones it is.



I still have leftovers from Strings and Cobblestones so I am working on making “slabs” from the bits.  In years gone by, these types of blocks were called Crumb Blocks or Mile a Minute blocks but now in the Sunday Morning Quilts book, the updated name seems to be “slabs”.  I have made several quilts using this technique over the years and it is the only way i have ever found to ensure that 100% of every last little bit of fabric is used in some way.  After putting together slabs, there are no leftovers!

Green slabs.

Green slabs.


Shhhhhhhh…….someone thinks he is hiding.

Flimsy Re-Do

2015_September 7_Sunbonnet Sue Redwork_Flimsy Revised_44 in x 57 in-Optimized

I couldn’t stand it.  Yesterday I thought I had my Sunbonnet Sue Redwork quilt finished to the flimsy stage, but the red border that I had on it just wasn’t working for me.  So after staring at this quilt top on the design wall for the morning, I decided to just remove that red border.  I think that red fabric was a little too heavy and overpowering for the blocks.  Here it is, in its revised finished flimsy stage – now measuring 44 in x 57 in.  I will go ahead and add this one to the “to be quilted” pile.

Disappearing Four Patch

D4P - Flimsy - 64" x 75"

D4P – Flimsy – 64″ x 75″

Linda, Cher, and I have been planning a sew-in for some time now.  Last weekend – June 29 and 30 – was the weekend that we had set aside to sew together.  After sewing most of last weekend and all of today, I have a finished flimsy.

Linda had said that she wanted to make a blue and white quilt for some time now and she thought that the Disappearing 4 Patch (D4P) block would be just the ticket.  One of the first bed sized quilts that I made was a blue and white quilt so I wasn’t interested in the blue and white colourway.  However, the D4P did sound interesting.  Originally, I was going to make a red and white version.  However, I went through my stash looking for something to test the pattern and came across some pre-cut scrappy 6.5″ squares.  I made three blocks from those squares and decided that I would just keep going with that stack of scrap fabric squares.  I added Kona White to the mix as a background to update the feeling of the quilt as these squares are old!  I will save the red and white fabrics for another project.

My D4P version is a generous lap size with the flimsy finishing at 64″ x 75″.

I was so pleased that I had used up almost all of the pre-cut squares in the making of this project and then I came across another bin of 6.5″ squares.  It looks like I will need to make another project or two to finally see the bottom of that pre-cut fabric bin.