Quilt Labels: Do As I Say (And Not As I Do…)

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LemonDazeI have to confess that while I am a “quilt namer,” I am not a “quilt labeler.”  The only time I put labels on my quilts is when they are going out of my home (most likely to a quilt show.)

I don’t know why I don’t label my quilts. It may just be that I don’t feel I need to “for posterity.”  I have no kids and my quilts are utilitarian, so they will probably end up with someone who just enjoys the patterns and/or colors and really doesn’t know who I am (or care.)

dragonframeMaybe it’s a rebellious streak, though. After years of people telling me “but you HAVE to label your quilts,” I just don’t.  So there.

It’s silly, I know, but up until a couple of years ago, I just felt that labels were something I just added on at the end.  It really didn’t strike me as an opportunity to add to the design.

And then I had to take a bunch of my quilts to my Guild for a “Member Spotlight,” and I knew that I was going to get grief for not having labeled my quilts.

So, I decided to improvise and make some “fancy” quilt labels.

Googling “free quilt labels” got me the same old, same old. Some were nice, but none were inspirational.

TributeLabelSo, I combed free clip art sites and noticed that the designs that attracted me were bookplates.

The big problem with using images off of the web is you have to make sure that you are using royalty-free, and not someone’s artwork.

If you do find a piece of art you’d like to adapt to a quilt label, just email the artist and explain what you want to do.  They might say “no” but they “yes,” or that you have to put a copyright info next to the artwork on the label itself.

CrossedI like vintage art, so most of the designs I choose are in the public domain, but a scan of the actual image may not be, so that requires a little more research if I fall in love with an image.

After I find the image (and get the necessary permission, if I have to), I create the label. I use Photoshop Elements, but any application that allows you to layer text over images (or move it around along side the image, or whatever) will do.

Then, I print my labels on muslin using something like Bubble Jet Set, stitch them on to the quilt, and, voila! It’s not as painful as stitching down a binding by hand, so I don’t really have an excuse when I’ve made it that far.

The Naming of Quilts

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It's not every day you get to name an actually living being so I have to settle for naming quilts.

It’s not every day you get to name an actually living being so I have to settle for naming quilts.

Once upon a time I was going to rewrite T.S. Eliot’s “The Naming of Cats” to reflect the naming of quilts. I didn’t get far because it’s easier for me to work on “filk” with other people around and these days I don’t work in an office.

Anyway, since writing about my Guild’s upcoming Quilt Show, I read some of the comments and got to thinking about that topic again.

My mother (and other people) seem to really like the names I come up with for my quilts and always want to know how I think them up.

Detail of Spirographology taken by Jeff Lomicka at my Guild talk.

Detail of Spirographology taken by Jeff Lomicka at my Guild talk.

I can’t claim any particularly clever scheme for naming them… the names just “come” to me, usually while I’m working on them (sometimes if I’ve been working on them too much!)

For instance: Spirographology. I had bought the black and white fabric in the centers of what came to be the Jack’s Chain specifically to do a “stack n whack” kind of quilt. I had fun working on the other two I had made, so I thought this would be a quick, fun project.

But it didn’t work out that way since, with just the black & white fabric, I thought it was dull. I didn’t like it.  I sent a picture to my mom, and my dad saw it and said that they looked like something I made from a Spirograph. That stuck with me and, as I was assembling the Jack’s Chain, I eventually decided would “spice up” the monochromatic stack n whack, I came up with the name Spirographology.

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The Road from Malden to Lowell is Paved With Broken Dishes… is probably the longest name I’ve ever named a quilt.

So, as you can see, I usually change the name of a quilt as I work on it. I start out most times with the name of the block and sometimes I keep fairly closely to name, as in the case of the broken dishes quilt that I was working on it when I moved from Malden to Lowell.

 

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Learning Curve is one of my favorite quilts.

In the case of my Baltimore Album quilt.  I was learning to appliqué, and when I got 9 blocks done I had to make a decision about whether to include my early blocks (which I thought weren’t very good.)

I knew I shouldn’t call it “Baltimore Album” because I’ve never lived in Baltimore, and not even all the blocks are from Baltimore.

In the end, I did decide to use the early blocks, and felt that this way the quilt really shows my learning progress, so I named it Learning Curve.

 

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Suburbia… partly done.

My current machine piecing project is Suburbia.

 

I started out calling it “9-Patch Houses”, but when I got them all together I thought about where I grew up and how here were 4-5 different house layouts/designs in our “housing plan.” We all started out looking similar, but, after a while, our houses were all different because of doors, shutters and landscaping.

The houses on my quilt are the same because they start off with a 9-patch, but, like my neighborhood, they ended up looking a bit different because of the fabrics used.

If you have read this blog for a while, I sometimes talk about how the names of my various quilts come to be. I will, of course, continue to share this on the quilts as I’m working on them, but I hope this post gives you a little insight on how I do it if you don’t want to go back and read my old posts.

Showing Off

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No, I won't have the Christmas "Dear Jane" completed before my Guild's Show.

No, I won’t have the Christmas “Dear Jane” completed before my Guild’s Show.

‘Tis Spring (finally!) and Quilt Show Season seems to be gearing up.  My Guild has it’s show in May (almost always Mother’s Day weekend.)

I have a love/hate relationship with quilt shows.  I love seeing what other people have done, what colors and fabrics they’ve chosen to work with, what patterns or designs have inspired them to pick up needle and thread (or sit down at their sewing machine.)

Teal There Was You will have been long gone to its destination by our quilt show. *sigh*

Teal There Was You will have been long gone to its destination by our quilt show. *sigh*

I dislike displaying my own quilts. I don’t know why. It seems to me that there are other who love what I love about quilt shows and I’m not holding up my side of the bargain.

The reason I enter my Guild’s show, though, is because of something I was told my first year in the Guild: The biennial show (i.e. every other year) is basically, a hanging “show and tell.”

I like show and tell. It’s one of my favorite parts of our Guild meetings. I like the giving and receiving of feedback by applause or “oohs” and “ahhhs” (which is something you don’t get at the show.)

'Cause everyone knows the true use for quilts is to wrap your loved ones (or cats)  in warmth...

‘Cause everyone knows the true use for quilts is to wrap your loved ones (or cats) in warmth…

I also like knowing the stories behind the quilts, but many people filling out the show form don’t choose to put their stories, inspirations or even reasons for making the quilts in the “artist statement,” even though they usually do at show and tell.

Maybe it’s because they think it’s too personal, or that no one would want to read “that stuff,” but, to me, “that stuff” is almost as interesting as the quilt itself.

Anyway, I’m entering two quilts this year: A Tribute to Maryellen Hopkins (without being wrapped around Miko) and Flying in Formation (if it’s done. Right now it’s on the long arm.) And I’m agonizing over what to write about them.

What kinds of things do you want to read about the quilts you are viewing in a quilt show?

Hey. She’s Posted Again…

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Flying in Formation is too big to photograph on my floor.

Flying in Formation is too big to photograph on my floor.

Today you actually get two posts, because the one I wrote 2 weeks ago was posted as a page and didn’t get publicized. I have reformatted it, and now you can see it.

This was just supposed to be a quick note to say that I’ve stalled.  I finished piecing Flying in Formation (using a cool border idea I saw on a quilt at the Bennington QuiltFest and the airship propeller blocks I made a billion years ago.)  I now no longer have any groups of blocks needing to be put into a quilt so I have to start a new one… from scratch (so to speak.)

And I’m stalled.

The only question I have about Teal There Was You  is should I buy fabric for the binding or use something I already own... that I don't like as much.

The only question I have about Teal There Was You is should I buy fabric for the binding or use something I already own… that I don’t like as much.

Yesterday I finished the quilting on  Teal There Was You.  The only thing left is the binding, so I need to come up with another quilt to put on the long arm next week.  One that is smaller than a twin since that’s the only batt I have left.

I have no idea what to do next (although I do have 17 options but none that are calling my name and saying “quilt me, quilt me.”) Ergo, Stalled.

I am still making Meezer Teaser Balls, but that’s pretty much all the quilting I’m doing at the moment.

I am, however, being creative.  I am prepping for NaNoWriMo by actually doing a rough outline for the book I will be working on. We’ll see how well that works.

Photo Finishes

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I’m overdue for an update, so I gathered photos of my most recent finishes to show what I’ve been up to.  Thanks to Jeff Lomicka (of Jeff & Cricket quilts) for the photos that I did not take (mostly the long shots of everything but Susan’s Quilt and the close up of the quilting on The Wrong Shade of Red.)

Susan’s Quilt:  I got this quilt top in my Guild’s Auction and decided to use it to practice hand guiding the long arm… to mixed results.  Eventually, some of the blocks were freehand, and some were programmed block by block.

I called this quilt Susan's Quilt because I gave it to my friend Susan. Yeah, not the most original name...

I called this quilt Susan’s Quilt because I gave it to my friend Susan. Yeah, not the most inspired name…

Detail of Susan's Quilt on the long arm.

Detail of Susan’s Quilt on the long arm.

Teal There Was You: I am well on the way to finishing this quilt for my brother. I might just be able to finish the quilting next week and then work on the binding (which, since it’s a queen-sized quilt, will take forever…)

Teal There was You was a

Teal There was You was a “commission” quilt from my Mom to my brother David.

Teal There Was You on the long arm.

Teal There Was You on the long arm.

The Wrong Shade of Red: Finished and bound and on my bed in time for the falling temperatures in New England. For such a simple quilt, I really like the way it turned out, but I didn’t use all my black & white fabrics…

The Wrong Shade of Red was made up of blocks I took away from another quilt and turned into this one.

The Wrong Shade of Red was made up of blocks I took away from another quilt and turned into this one.

You can actually see the quilting in this photo. Some how apples seemed appropriate.

You can actually see the quilting in this photo. Some how apples seemed appropriate for a red quilt.

Comfort Quilts: My Guild has a committee that takes in quilts for various charities.  This year, in addition to making the Meezer Teaser Balls, I was able to finish three quilts for them.

Didn't love the way the quilting came out on V is for Victory, but the quilt is quite festival and, as a comfort quilt, I'm sure someone will be happy to receive it.

Didn’t love the way the quilting came out on V is for Victory, but the quilt is quite festive and, as a comfort quilt, I’m sure someone will be happy to receive it. (And, yes, it’s being held upside down… doesn’t matter, I think.)

V is for Victory Ii, came out a little more satisfactory. I like the brighter colors in the original, but I'm sure someone will like this more muted version.

V is for Victory II, came out a little more satisfactory. I like the brighter colors in the original, but I’m sure someone will like this more muted version.

I called this quilt April Showers Bring May Flowers, and the quilting motif is big 1960s-like flower-power flowers. Made with the 10

I called this quilt April Showers Bring May Flowers, and the quilting motif is big 1960s-like flower-power flowers. Made with the 10″ squares I won in my Guild’s layer cake raffle, the pattern can be found on the Moda BakeShop site.

Back from the Black…

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Spring in New England... yeah, I didn't update you. If you didn't have spring where you were, just wait a bit. You're probably on a different schedule

Spring in New England… yeah, I didn’t update you. If you didn’t have Spring where you were, just wait a bit. You’re probably on a different schedule

Here’s what happened:  I got tired of talking about myself, so I stopped updating my blog for a couple of weeks.

Then, I was feeling guilty about not updating my blog and I couldn’t find a way past that so I avoided thinking about adding to my blog. That lasted a couple of weeks.

Then, I got tired of feeling guilty, and I started resenting the blog.  How dare it tell me what to do? Yeah, lost a couple of weeks there, too.

I finished V is for Victory. I even quilted V is for Victory... as soon as I bind it, I'll take another picture.

I finished V is for Victory. I even quilted V is for Victory… as soon as I bind it, I’ll take another picture.

Then I realized that this was all very silly, and no one resented me for not updating my blog.  No one’s life came to a standstill because I couldn’t bring myself to blog about what I was up to.

I didn’t stop sewing, just blogging.

I hope this means I will be more regularly updating my blog… but you never know.

Long story short: still alive, still quilting, may even go back to weekly blogging, but I’m not sure yet.

Hope you all are well.

 


A second version of V is for Victory made with some orphan blocks I got somewhere.

A second version of V is for Victory made with some orphan blocks I got somewhere.

I won a bunch of floral 10" square which were really not the kind of thing I usually use, even though most of them were really pretty. This was a pattern on the Moda site for using layer cakes.

I won a bunch of floral 10″ square which were really not the kind of thing I usually use, even though most of them were really pretty. This was a pattern on the Moda site for using layer cakes. April Shows Bring May Flowers

My first Barbara Brackman Block of the Week project (the Civil War Sequi-whowhatsit) finally got a border.

My first Barbara Brackman Block of the Week project (the Civil War Sequi-whowhatsit) finally got a border.

My current project is for my brother. I love the block, but I'm kind of dying of boredom since the quilt is so monchromatic.

My current project is for my brother (tentatively named Teal There Was You). I love the block, but I’m kind of dying of boredom since the quilt is so monochromatic.  Work on the border goes on apace…

Three Questions on Quilting

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Last week I went to a quilt show: MQX.  It stand for Machine Quilters Exposition, which, obviously, means that it’s focused on machine quilting.

Now, this isn’t a local Guild show, or even a small regional one. This show features quilts from people all over the U.S. and other countries (I think I saw ones from Germany and New Zealand.)

Going to a show of this caliber means, of course, that one could come away from it feeling that any effort you make as a quilter must be labelled as so much dross. It’s just as easy to feel “in the shade” while looking at some of these quilts as it is to feel inspired (sometimes at the same time!)

I would like to say that this fabulous whole cloth quilt is The Paisley Peacock by Bethanne Nemesh, but I focused on the quilt and not the label, so I'm not entirely sure.

I would like to say that this fabulous whole cloth quilt is The Paisley Peacock by Bethanne Nemesh, but I focused on the quilt and not the label, so I’m not entirely sure.

One of the reasons I go to shows like these is that I have a really hard time figuring how to quilt my tops.  I try to forget comparing myself to the quilters in the show and just try to figure out what I like about the quilts, and what I don’t want to do with my own quilts.

Then I try to apply what I’ve figured out to my own projects.

This show, I came up with three questions to ask myself when I decide what to do about the quilting of a specific top.

1. How much time have I got?

This is actually a two-fold question. The first “fold” is that the quilters at MQX have thousands of hours (probably tens of thousands of hours) experience in their craft. They know their machine. They know their fabric.  They know their thread.

 Way Too Many Circles by Debbi Treusch & Linda Arndt

Way Too Many Circles by Debbi Treusch & Linda Arndt

I don’t have thousands of hours of experience. Well, at least not in the actual quilting part of it since for years I’ve been stopping just shy of that. I’m still just learning to use a long arm, to choose which patterns and which thread.

The second “fold” is just how much time to I want to spend on this particular project.

The truth is that the quilts I make are mostly intended to be used on a bed. Spending a year planning, programming and quilting just one quilt is not my idea of a fine ol’ time. It turns out that I don’t want to spend that much time on my quilts.

While I love the look of very dense quilting when it’s used to enhance the block design (as shown in Way Too Many Circles), it’s something I usually decide against when I realize how long it would take to do and how much practice I would need to get ready to do something like that.

La Passion by Grit Kovacs, quilted by Laurena McDermott

La Passion by Grit Kovacs, quilted by Laurena McDermott is like my Spiro.  Sometimes, no matter how you quilt it, the piecing design will be the standout element.

2. How much will it show?

A whole cloth quilt (like The Paisley Peacock, above) shows the design of the quilting and allows it to shine.  Ditto the quilting in the “space” between the appliqué in Way Too Many Circles. However, to make that sort of effort really wasn’t necessary in a quilt like Spirographology. It would simply have been lost, overlooked.

I could have tried something a bit more , but, as I learned on the border of Got Dots, sometimes the effort just isn’t worth it.

DnA1 is next up.  I'm going to try something a little different inspired by Too Many Circles

DnA1 is next up. I think I’m going to try something a little different inspired by Too Many Circles

3. Do I want to do “something different?”

Yes, there are times I want to experiment, to learn more and gain more experience, but prepping for a quilt talk was not the time for me. I wanted to show some nice quilts.  I really wanted to feature the piecing designs. I wanted to finish as many quilts as I could so I wouldn’t be just showing tops.

Now that that is over, I can look at my projects with new eyes and decide if I want to be a little more experimental. Maybe some hand-guided quilting for DnA1. Maybe change-up the thread color or weight in another quilt.

Who knows what else I’ll learn in the next year now that I feel like I’ve got the time and the motivation.

A Few Hints For Setting Triangles

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Still snow out on the porch, so this is as much fit as I could photograph.

Still snow out on the porch, so this is as much fit as I could photograph.

Wow.  How did that happen? I was going to post again “in a few days” and almost 2 weeks flew by?

I’m still coughing, but more in a general “let’s get this illness over with” kind of way. I feel fine, though, and I doubt I’m contagious.

And, yes, I did finish the Tribute to MaryEllen Hopkins quilt top. I only was able to take a picture of half of it, though.

I have been using some of my string piecing scraps to make blocks for V is for Victory.

I have been using some of my string piecing scraps to make blocks for V is for Victory.

That, of course, means that I have finished my current piecing project and I need to start another one. In this case, I had to decide between one of three. The first one is V is for Victory.

I just couldn’t help myself. I’ve been trying to give my friends hints on how to make this quilt for a while now meaning to pull them all together in one file and publish it on the Chelmsford Quilters’ Guild web site, but things keep getting in my way.

Anyway, I won’t be making the entire big quilt.  Mine will only be 80 blocks… a lap size (unless I run amok with the borders…)

But, in case you have been wondering, here is one last piece to the puzzle of how to make that quilt.

There are plenty of places to learn how to put together a quilt with the blocks on point (I rather like this one by McCall’s) so I’m not going to go over the details in this post.

The corner triangles for V is for Victory are made from two 4″ triangles cut on the diagonal (this will keep the on-grain edges on the corners.) Yes, no matter how big you plan on making this quilt, you only need 4 of these.

(Truthfully, I usually cut mine a tiny bit bigger.  I cut my corners at 5″ and line up the center of them with the center of the block when I sew.)

Cut a 45 degree triangle off the edge of the strip to start.

Cut a 45 degree triangle off the edge of the strip to start.

For the edges, you can cut a 7″ square and cut both diagonals, leaving one side on the grain and two (smaller) sides on the bias.

I. however,  cut strips of 3.5″ and cut my QSTs that way.

First, cut off one corner at 45 degrees (this one won’t be used in this project so put it somewhere you won’t confuse yourself with it.)

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The 45 degree angle on your ruler aligns with the top of your strip, and the “horizontal”lines of your ruler align with the cut edge.

Then cut your first QST out of the strip by using the 45 degree line on your ruler placed on one edge of the strip.

Slide the 45 degree line until the edge you use to cut with is exactly a 90 degree angle with the previously cut edge.

For this example, the point under the ruler will be at the 5″ line. (This will not always be the case!)

Keep alternating 45 degree angles (I usually just flip the fabric), until the strip has been cut (or you have enough.)

This 4.5" block will match the corner triangle if I trim one of the bias sides to 4.5" as well.

This 4.5″ block will match the corner triangle if I trim one of the bias sides to 4.5″ as well.

Another trick I use when I start sewing on the setting triangles, is to clip off one of the corners so the sides you are sewing together match exactly.

You really only need to trim one corner because when you sew the rows together you are matching something else entirely.

When you sew the corners on, you can also trim them, but I only do that on two of them. (The ones you are sewing into rows.)

To do that, fold the corner triangle in half, and trim TWO corners off at the same time by using half the size of the UNFINISHED block. This will make it easy to align the corner triangle to the block.

The corners you sew on last will be easier to align without trimming at all. Just fold them in half and align the center of the triangle with the center of the square.

If you have any questions, just put them in the comments or send me email. I know I sped through the process, but that’s because it’s covered in depth and very well elsewhere.

Quilting Assistance

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The second shipment is away!  Check the Siamese Store or the SCRC Facebook Page for when they go on sale.

The second shipment is away! Check the Siamese Store or the SCRC Facebook Page for when they go on sale.

I know I’ve talked about my Meezer Teaser project quite a bit on this blog, but I’d like to give a nod of thanks for all the support, fabric and batting scraps, and other help from my friends (both in CQG and otherwise) and my family.

I’ve been sick for a couple of weeks, so I’m way behind on this blog, but I have been collecting snapshots of my special Meezer assistant on this project and thought I’d share them with you.

Yes, each Meezer Teaser Ball has been rigorously supervised for quality control by one of my crack Snooze-r-visors.

Yes, each Meezer Teaser Ball has been rigorously supervised for quality control by one of my crack Snooze-r-visors.

Much care goes into selecting. cutting and readying our fabric donations for use in our balls...

Much care goes into selecting. cutting and readying our fabric donations for use in our projects…

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In fact, everyone here is very “paws on” for all aspects of the projects, including telling the labor force just when it is time to quit for the night.

And of course, the testing phase is intensive and requires much time and focus.

And of course, the testing phase is intensive and requires much time and focus.

I hope to be back blogging on quilting in a few days.  I can even see the light at the end of the tunnel on the Tribute to MaryEllen Hopkins quilt, so more design is in sight!

Thanks all for sticking with me.

 

Show and Tell

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Probably the oldest of my surviving quilts. Made in the 80s.

Probably the oldest of my surviving quilts. Made in the 80s.

I gave my “speech” at my Guild on Monday.  Actually, I decided to hold it as more of a Show & Tell than have a theme, etc. It was less nerve wracking that way.

I had set the quilts up in sort of a timeline from oldest to newest, but basically just talked about what was going on and what I learned from making each quilt.

What everyone doesn’t know is that this was my sly way of getting my friend Jeff from JnCQuilts to photograph a bunch of my quilts. (For the record, I always use their long arm and he leant me the Bubble Jet Set stuff to make the labels for my quilts.)

So, here are the quilts that I have finished this past year that I hadn’t be able to take full size photos of (and special thanks to members of my quilt guild for holding them up:

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Brimfield Star (on it’s side). The binding is made from strips of the black and white fabric I used in the stars.

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Crossed Puposes. You’d never know it by this picture, but this quilt fought me the whole way through, and though there are some color choices in the blocks that I would rethink, on the whole, I’m happy with the result.

CQGFeb2014-1170293

In Memory of Rumor (DnA3). Another quilt I sweated over the color of thread and the border only to find out, looking at it from the audience point of view that it just doesn’t matter.

CQGFeb2014-1170296

In Memory of Edison (DnA4). Half the DnA quilts are now done. My sister has located DnA2, so I hope to finish this project by the end of the year.

 

 

 

Spirographology. Dedicated to my Dad, whose block I am a chip off of...

Spirographology. Dedicated to my Dad, whose block I am a chip off of…

So now that I’m done with sweating over getting something showable, what’s on my to-do list?

1. Meezer Teaser Balls.  I’ve got 20, I need 25 for the next shipment, so I should be mailing them to the Siamese Cat Rescue Center next week.  If you want one (or more), keep checking their Facebook page.

2. Keeping up with quilting my quilts. The Wrong Shade of Red is on the long arm now, mostly because I found the perfect backing rather than any particular scheduling reason. Next, I will baste Starina for hand quilting, and THEN DnA1 and (hopefully) DnA2.

3. Borderpalooza continues with A Tribute to MaryEllen Hopkins.  I hope to finish in a week or so, since I have most of the border pieced.  There is only one more BorderPalooza quilt, Barbara Brackman’s Civil War Sampler.

5. Yes, I am going to make V is for Victory, but first I am going to write the instructions and sizes on the setting triangles. (Or maybe I’ll do that simultaneously.

 

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