Saturday, June 18, 2016

Seeing red...and white...and blue (and a product review, a very loooong product review)

If you have followed me a few years and have seen my other red/white/blue posts (here and here), you may be thinking, "This woman does not need more r/w/b quilts".  You are probably right. So how do I justify these...

...and these?

Well, she went home to Oregon. (Oh, her Mom left, too--sorry, Ang.) 
I had to do something to drown my sorrows.
Time with the local grandkids has helped, and we have had a lot of good times this week.

But when I have been home alone (which, I admit, has been rare), the sewing has been frenetic. Being on a short course of steroids has helped add to the feeling of frenzy. I don't do well on those things!!

I wanted a few really little r/w/b quilts to display in the letter holder from a few posts back. I pulled r/w/b pieces from the scrap baskets. It started with some simple r/w 4 patches, and this was the first result.

Had lots of squares and 4 patches left over.

Then I got the bright idea to try a new-to-me product by Quiltsmart--fusible grid.
I had actually seen this demoed at a trunk show by Carmen Geddes a couple of years ago, and at HMQS I bought some of the 1" finished grid from Carmen's booth. But my friend, Kris, got some of the 1/2" finished grid for when she vends at quilt shows, and I bought a few panels from her. 

I decided on a trip around the world, so I cut bunches of 1" squares (what happened to using the squares that were left from the first quilt? They were too big) and placed them on the grid.
Once I got to this stage I got a little chicken. I decided to test it out on a smaller project first. So I took some of the leftover squares and made up this nine patch mess.

Pressed it well and it was adhering well.

Next, as per the online instructions, I folded it along the dotted lines and sewed 1/4" from the fold. 
I think pinning helps maintain the straight edge of the fold.

When all of the rows are stitched in one direction, you get this.

Now you clip up to each seam on the dotted lines.

And press each row in alternating directions. I don't have a tiny Clover iron, so this was tricky.

Now you fold and stitch along the lines perpendicular to the ones you have already stitched. If you have followed directions, the first seams nest very neatly against each other. Pretty slick.
I still felt pinning was helpful to keep things straight.

This was the finished product. I must admit, there is a lot of bulk  for such small squares (1/2" finished), and it didn't want to lay flat, even with starch and lots of muscle in the pressing.
It had a tendency to want to retract like an accordion. : ) 

I even trimmed the second row of seams down to 1/8" to reduce bulk, but I'm not sure that helped any.

It probably would have been okay after quilting, but I decided to attach borders to help stretch it and keep it flat.
Here it is pinned to my design wall with a binding audition taking place.

Back in Oct 2014, when I attended Carmen's trunk show, she shared some minis she was making using the 1" finished grid. I was able to handle them  and felt that they were still supple and there wasn't undo bulk.

But the 1/2" finished grid seems to be a different story. I am not giving up. Maybe I needed to trim the seams going the first direction, too. I will give it some thought, and hope that if you have any experience with the tiny grid, you will give me your suggestions.
For now, this will stay on the wall. I am not ready to tackle it yet.

Now I had lots of leftover squares in two different sizes. I can't tell you the number of times I arranged and rearranged this to make it balance (so much more obvious on mini quilts than on big quilts), and use all of the blue/white 4-patches (1" finished) I had created from the small leftover blue squares.

I still had LOTS of r/w 4 patches left from the first little quilt. By now I was very tired of the way each quilt was producing another one (for a fun post on that very subject, see Mrs. Goodneedle's post here).

I decided to just sew the 4-patches together, on point.

And then I just randomly put the other leftovers together.May have to tea-dye this one to even out the background tones.

I seem to be determined to keep myself from catching up on quilting all of my little quilts. These are going to have to get very simple quilting so I don't get too backed up again!

Oh, wow. I have been creating this post a little at a time through the day. I just saw how long it has become. Yikes!! I am too wired from the meds to go back and edit it down. So sorry!
If you have used the tiny Quiltsmart grid, please let me know your experience.
Until next time, Janet O.


  1. SOOOOO small! I just couldn't see myself making stuff that small, my piecing isn't accurate enough!

  2. Well all I can say is you are one brave woman to even attempt the idea. Way too much fabric with no where to go. The leftovers are really cute. I have no clue how to make the original behave any better. Hope you are through with your course of meds soon for your peace of mind.


  3. It's too bad they don't make that fusible grid so it dissolves in water. Seems like that would make it just about perfect!

    Your RWB quilts are beautiful. I especially like that little red and white one. I'm really going to have to try a red and white quilt one of these days.

    Your grands are adorable! Sorry you need steroids. I hope you don't have to take them long, since you don't do well with them.

    --Nancy. (ndmessier @,

  4. I enjoyed seeing a review of your past R/W/B quilt. As I've told you before, I love patriotic quilts, of any size! As for the grid, I don't think I could handle that; my patience would be worn smooth out! ---"Love"

  5. I have to agree with Nancy's comment above, it's too bad that fusible grid couldn't be printed on a water soluble product. I hope you're able to get some sleep while on the steroids, it seems like sometimes they can make a person so 'hyper' they can't sleep either. Your grands are all adorable, and I hope now that the precious little one is slightly closer to you living in Oregon that you'll have more opportunities to spend time with her.

  6. Your RWBs are great (as always). I haven't tried that grid and its unlikely that I shall. The pressing part looked mighty stressful to me.

  7. The fusible looks intriguing; but the grandkids are the best!

  8. Wow you always impress me with the massive amount of minis. How fun! It's time for me to put together another mini for my hallway. I'm thinking broken dishes...

  9. I used the creative grid product on a wall quilt once. It was helpful for the style quilt I was working on but I did not like the extra bulk it created.

  10. I've never used that grid product ... it just seems like it would be awfully time consuming. And of course, the added bulk concerns me, too.

    I always like to see your little minis. And while two-color quilts are my favorite, R/W/Bs are my second favorite.

    It's always sad to say goodbye, but hopefully you see that little sweetie again, soon.

  11. I think quilting is the answer to the bulkiness on that little quilt.
    Love your fun selection of little r/w/b quilts!

  12. Haven't tried the grid product. I have no problem piecing the little pieces, as you know. Nice to hear of your experience.

  13. My goodness, thank you for explaining all those many steps to use the grid. I do admire your tiny quilts and I love the red and cream one. But I'm staying with my giant 2½" pieces, thank you!

  14. I certainly love how one quilt leads you to create another. It always makes me smile. Well, as long as you're unfortunately hyped up, you have used your time to the max. I've never used that product either, but I can see where the bulk would be an issue, especially with the tiny size.

  15. I have never used this product and often wondered what it was like. I loved your little mini quilts in RWB and think I would also like to replicate a trip around the world using this product. I think definitely try trimming the other seam and then after quilting give it a gentle hand wash. Fabric always feels softer after washing so why wouldn't the grid stuff? I agree a border is a good idea to get it to behave, but quilting will help as well! So crack that whip because your back to square one = you need to start quilting mini tops! Hope your off the medications soon and feeling better. Happy quilting Sue.

  16. Steroids are the pits!!! I hope you are able to stop them soon and stop the frenzy :*) However, I would hate to accuse a good friend of using them as an excuse to indulge in her addiction to these adorable little tiny quilts ... so I won't LOL!!! Seriously though, your little minis are always too cute for words! And RWB is so timely - don't think anyone could have too many RWB, right? I think you've hit on your solution to the bulkiness of the 1/2" grid by trimming down the first seams before you sew them the other way. I know you miss the grandbaby - oh, yes, and your daughter too :*) Maybe you need to go sew together some more little tiny scraps ......

  17. i used a grid like that to make my mondo bag, i think the squares were 2.5" which i felt was bulky too so imagine the 1/2" is too bulky to work with...for me anyway...looks good tho!

  18. Great tutoriall And a great way to drown your sorrows!! Sorry the itsy bitsy squares were a bit bulky. I know the larger squares are nice and flat but a bit bulkier than no with grid. So, I think I am going to soak one in water and see if Nancy's thought above might work and that the grid material will soften up a bit and heck, maybe even dissolve!! One can dream, can't one? :-))

  19. They are very cute and a great distraction. I'm sure you'll get them quilted, hope you're feeling better soon.

  20. I bet you had tons of fun with that little cutie (and Angie - lol)! Love all your minis - I just love R/W/B and need to make more with them. I haven't ever used Quiltsmart, but my aunt has made quite a few of the Mondo bags (LOVE mine!), but it's the bigger grid. Only once did she iron the grid to her iron...OOPS!

  21. WOW!! Keep the drugs away from this girl for sure!!! YOWZERS!!!
    VERY cute, Janet... even though maybe bulky... that'll teach you to make something so friggin TINY!!

  22. Too Tiny for me. I have seen the grids, but never tried them. I agree if it was dissolve-able it would be much better. You have fun quilting the tiny ones and it's almost the 4tgh of July time to decorate. That's how you justify the RW&B. Glad the grand-daughter and daughter will only be in Oregon now, now as far as NH. Let me know when you are coming by.

  23. So glad to hear that your having fun with your sewing. That's the way it should be. I've never used the product you mentioned but your little quilt looks great. Anxious to see your lovely quilting on them all.

  24. What a great and informative post! First let me say your RW&B are just the cutest! Makes me want to run upstairs and sew one today.
    The only thing I can think of is maybe grading the seams? that is when you trim one side about 1/2 the width. It is a garment trick I think.
    what a great photo of you with your Grandbaby!

  25. I'm SO far behind reading blogs - so glad I finally got to see your new post. I think I'm gonna have to stitch up some tinier little rwb quilts - I bought myself one of those letter holders too from VDG and your idea is brilliant! I'm not sure that YOU need this gridded product for making small quilts as you seem to have 'the touch' for doing that without any help at all! (smile)

  26. I have done many mini quilts this way, but after sewing all vertical seams I split the seam to be able to press them open. then sewed the horizonal seams, split them and ironed them open. i didn't use gridded fusible, just lightweight fusible laid face up on a gridded pressing board. To save thread I did two mini ones at a time.

  27. The four patch mini is my favorite of this bunch.
    It seems like the grid would make things much faster...true? Did you feel like you were cheating? :)


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