Old Dogs, New Tricks

I’m developing a new workshop called Beautiful Basic Binding for Beginners. I know; that’s a lot of B’s. Apparently I’m into alliteration. In preparation for my “guinea pig” class this spring I needed samples. I had originally thought of putting some really nice bindings on pre-quilted muslin squares (ick) but I just couldn’t bear to waste my time on it. So then, naturally, I went into “overkill” mode and thought I’d make five or six new quilts just for the class.

After a shor while my sanity returned and I decided to pilfer blocks from a UFO and turn them into some smaller quilts, which I thought I might actually be able to finish in time for the class. Great plan! I got most of the mini quilts done, showed the rest “in progress,” and pulled about 75 pounds of quilts from around the house for a killer Show & Tell. (I was teaching in my @Home Classroom, after all.)

Well, the class came and went, and I learned a lot! More on that some other time. Today I want to share the deconstruction of the UFO, what has become of the blocks, and why I am so excited about this project.

PuppusDoggusDeconstruction'Those of you who took my Puppus Doggus workshop at Houston Quilt Festival way back in 2002 might remember this quilt top. Still not quilted after 14 years, I figured it was fair game.

At first I thought it was a little sad. I had spent quite a bit of time making the blocks, and sashing them together.  I had also gone a little around the bend painting all the white dots in the border fabric purple. (The white stuck out.)  Plus I had the backing fabric already pieced and the batting cut to just the right size. Should I have let sleeping dogs lie? Not with a seam ripper so close at hand. Besides it fit no known bed and was too large to hang on a wall. And, remember, I was on a mission.

I may have backed into this particular project for all the wrong reasons, but it is turning out to be quite exciting. At first, my plan was to take one block, border it, and bind it. Done; next? But, as I sewed I kept thinking what a great opportunity this was turning out to be.

First, I was working in a “series,” like all great artists are supposed to to. Variation on a theme and all that. I’m sure it’s in the Great Artist Bylaws somewhere. I have never worked in a series. (Sitting up a little taller in my chair as I write this now.)

Second, it was so much fun thinking of all the different ways I could bind each little quilt that I started thinking of all the different ways I could border the quilts too! YES! This is getting REALLY fun now!

Third, as long as I was going to bind them and border them I realized that I should probably quilt them too. How many different ways could I come up with to quilt them?

Finally,  I could share all the quilts one at a time here on the blog so that I could challenge YOU to play along with me. Aren’t you glad you’re reading this?

So lets recap, what do we get to learn, practice, experiment with, and have fun doing? Bordering, Quilting, AND Binding! Why am I so jazzed? We’re talking small quilts here. Small is “do-able.” Small is manageable. Small is why not take a risk and try something you’ve never tried before. What’s the worst that could happen?

 

223 thoughts on “Old Dogs, New Tricks

  1. My absolute favorite part of quilting is binding…making it, stitching it to the quilt with walking foot, and hand sewing it down, not to mention the challenge of getting the corners to be perfect. I even volunteer to bind our quilt guilds projects at times. But who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks? I’M IN!

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  2. I had to laugh so many times reading this, sound like fun to me. I ripped apart half a quilt yesterday just to get to one block that was bothering me, no I am not a perfectionist I just had to fix this block. Long story. Anyway I am interested in your next blog for sure.

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  3. I’d love to join you in Old Dogs/New Tricks. I’m anxious to hear about the deconstruction as well! I’ve been quilting since 1985, and that’s A LOT of UFOs. A lot. Many.

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  4. I’ll have do a new technology too…Blogs or will my email get me each challenge? Oh good looks like my answer is the box to check below. Great I’ve missed reading your notes.
    Abbie

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    1. Abbie, I will mention each new blog in my newsletter. They also go automatically to my FaceBook and Twitter account. Or, you can (as you just found out) sign up to get an email notification when each new blog posts.

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  5. Great idea! I’ll follow you anywhere! I wish you would come back to Dallas for more workshops! I think of you every time I iron strips together (I took your strips workshop).

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    1. So glad you’ll be following me! If you want me back to Dallas, all you have to do is tell your Program Chair. I have openings next year and 2017 is almost totally open.

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  6. There are several UFO’s lurking in my “studio”/chaotic sewing room – I need INSPIRATION! Ami, your Great Experiment sounds like the push I need to finish SOMETHING!

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  7. I think this sounds great! I have a project box filled with orphan blocks that beg for borders and binding! And a new-to-me sewing machine that is begging me to practice with it! Maybe they could turn into doll/teddybear quilts for a guild Xmas project? I am in!!!

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  8. sounds like fun! I was in that class, so much fun. My furbabies were just puppies themselves; now Buddy has crossed the Rainbow Bridge, and Lucy is now an old lady–a very spoiled one!

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  9. binding…. the bane of my quilting existence! And don’t get me started on actually finishing something… please count me in :)

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  10. Mourning the loss of that beautiful Puppus Doggus quilt, Ami! But I’m looking forward to seeing what it becomes in its next incarnation.

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  11. Can’t wait to join the fun! My fabrics are screaming at me saying, “Use me first!” This project puts a big smile on my face!

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  12. I rarely get good corners on my quilts. When I do get a sharp one I can’t figure out what I did differently. I am so in!

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  13. I’m in….I would love the challenge(s)!! Besides, it’s just good to hear from you, Ami! Always enjoy your posts/newsletters!

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  14. Ami, sounds like a fun challenge. count me in. Thanks for all your designs, ideas, and fun sidelines. Zoey is adorable! I made a Puppus Doggus quilt for charity some time ago and sent you a block in exchange for the pattern. Loved it–so fun to do. I’m ready. What’s next? Melanie

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    1. I’m teaching a total beginners group and think I have over challenged them with a Judy Hopkins (remember her?) “mystery quilt’. I am curious what you are introducing to us. Is it something that an old quilter like me might like?

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  15. Maybe…just maybe…. this will help me do something with all those not-so-orphan blocks just waiting for a brainstorm to occur!

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  16. This might be just what I need to get some small quilts done. I am great at making them but bad at actually finishing them. So I think when you post something I will pick one of my little quilts and use it to do the techniques on.
    Thanks

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  17. Very clever idea and it has me thinking! LOL I don’t have a Puppus quilt to use but maybe something else possibly?
    thanks for the inspiration

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  18. I’;d love to get all the information and watch the fun. Right now I’m a bit busy with a full time plus job and two very new grandbabies – twins, boy and girl, born 8 weeks early and FINALLY home. They weren’t supposed to be here until July 8th (born May 15th at almost 3 1/2 pounds each and about 16 inches long) They are T I N Y – but so perfect and I’m loving just watching them. I can hardly wait until they giggle and sit and then crawl. Then the real fun begins. But soon I will be back to making lots of quilts and I’d love to know a few new things. I remember when the puppus doggus pattern was around. Guess I’ve been following you for a while. Keep up the good work and I love the grandma news, too !!

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  19. Count me in. I’ve been working on a needleturn applique extra large queen size quilt for ages. It would be great to work on something small and get it DONE!

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  20. Amazing that you respond to all of these comments! You must have Scooter do some of them for you. I miss seeing you, your sense of humor, and tapping into your knowledge and skills. I will enjoy this.

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  21. What a great idea! I hate binding, but love taking something to a different place (that is a better place). In my over-60ness, I have become a major recycler of all kinds of things in the garage and attic, whether it’s for the garden, the chicken coop, or a fiber project. And it’s fun to actually finish something once in a while. Go Ami !

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  22. Not sure how I missed this, but I’d like to follow along too. Love those old dogs. Looking forward to learning some new tricks. Enjoy your humor!

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  23. I’m in, always willing to learn something new or different than how I might do it. Your puppy blocks are precious. Hugs,

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  24. Ami, looking forward to learning from you again…I was in New Hampshire last October. (Hard to believe you haven’t done bias binding until now!!!) l am a dog lover from way back and look forward to seeing what this class actually is…got confused when reading your commentary. But YAY!!!

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  25. Can’t wait to join in. I made the Puppus Doggus quilt for charity years ago after sending you the payment block and receiving the pattern. So much fun, and will enjoy this process along with you as I’m still intimidated by machine quilting! Go, Ami! I’ll tag along, too. :o)

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