Friday, July 15, 2016

I have NO BUSINESS joining a Quilt-Along!!

I need to turn in my entry for the quilt show in TEN DAYS, and I'm only 1/4 done hand quilting it.  But did that stop me from starting a new project?  Of course not!  Here's how it happened:

After Guild meeting on Saturday, a friend brought by a bag of donated fabric.  I didn't get a chance to go through it until this morning, at which point I separated it all by color or genre and put it away with the other donated fabric that I use for classes.  Some of it was Christmas fabric, so I stuffed it into the overflowing Christmas fabric bag that I have at the shop.

Then, at lunch time, I decided to visit some quilt blogs while I ate because I haven't been keeping up with blogs the way I'd like.  Somehow, I came across a Christmas In July QAL at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.  It got me to thinking about that overflowing bag of Christmas fabric, and when I read that an hour a day for 12 days would yield a 76" quilt, I thought, "why not?"  The blocks are big, (which is not how I usually operate; most of my quilts are built from blocks anywhere from 1.5" to 3", and the smallest piece I cut for this QAL is 4.5") and I'm only using 3 fabrics (which is REALLY out of character for me, the consummate scrap quilter!).  However, the fabric is cut, and I am all caught up with the first step - these fussy cut snowmen will be the centers of the four big blocks that make up the quilt.

Back to the quilt I am finishing up for the fair...I had seen a basting technique using boards that eliminated the need to crawl around on the floor while basting so I gave it a try on this quilt. OMG!!! I'll be doing this on EVERY QUILT from now on!  I sat in a chair at my dining room table to baste and it was a breeze!  And the backing is the smoothest I've ever achieved while basting any quilt.  And the whole process was quick, to boot!  I encourage you to give it a try!  The link I used was for Color Me Quilty.

Well, gotta get some Zzzzs tonight.  This week has been exhausting, teaching at Summer FAIR at 8 AM each day, and staying up past midnight quilting each night.  This week I taught the kids how to weave circular rugs on hula hoops using old t-shirts.  They did a fabulous job!

And I was thrilled that I had 6 boys and 3 girls in my class - how's that for thumbing our noses at traditional gender roles?

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Vacation sewing

Today was my first day home (and back at work) after a 2 week driving trip north to PA, MA, NH & ME to visit family and friends.  Two friends VOLUNTEERED to cover the shop for me while I was gone - I am truly blessed with the community we've created at The Stitchin' Post.

About half of this trip was spent camping in a tent.  That didn't stop me from sewing!  That is what the electrical hookups at campgrounds are for, right?

I finished up this quilt top which is both a baby quilt for a friend who is having a baby in November and my entry for this year's quilt show.  Just two weeks to get it hand quilted - better get cracking!  It measures about 43" square(ish).  It made a dent in my scrap bin, used up all but a couple small squares of that white, and used up most of that striped border (which was leftover from backing my last quilt).

My mom surprised me with a "new" sewing machine while I was visiting.  This gem (that she picked up at a yard sale for $20) sews like a charm, and comes complete with sewing stool with all the acoutrements under the padded seat.  I didn't have room to bring it home with me since my car was packed with camping stuff plus my sewing machine, but I'll bring it down in January when I go back to New Hampshire to bring my mom south for the winter.  I should have Mom tell me the serial number so I can see when this baby was born.

She asked for a clothespin bag while I was there, so I sewed this up on my "new" machine.  Simple and quick.

Of course, this trip included lots more than just sewing - campfires, swimming, games with the family, and, of course, FOOD!

There's a lot of crappy stuff happening in the world today, but still and all, LIFE IS GOOD!

Thursday, June 9, 2016


Thanks so much for the encouragement about my row for the Row By Row Experience.  I'm feeling much better about everything.  Now I just have to prep kits - in other words, cut, Cut, CUT!!  I admit to feeling a bit intimidated when faced by this 30 yard pile of fabric (and that's only to make 50 kits!),

so I sewed instead.  First, I pieced the May block for the Westering Women BOM by Barbara Brackman, The Platte River.

Then, when I got home after an 11 hour day at work, I treated myself to an hour of sewing at home!  I have a slight addiction to making these blocks that our Guild is making for our Comfort Quilt effort.

I haven't really liked how they look together, though, so I started playing with alternate layouts.  Perhaps some interlocking wonky stars?

We'll see.  In the meantime, I have some cutting to do.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Do you Row by Row?

I'll be honest - I've been a nervous wreck.  Upon the recommendation of a fellow shopkeeper who also has a yarn/fabric shop, I am participating in the Row by Row Experience this year.  It's been a bit of work getting ready:

1) I had to design a row based on this year's theme, Home Sweet Home, and write instructions for it.  My row is Blue Ridge Sunset, depicting the view from my front porch - the sunsets, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the dogwoods in bloom. (To be honest, the sun COMES UP on the Blue Ridge Mountains and SETS on the Appalachian Mountains when you are at my house, but I really wanted blue mountains so I hope no one will take umbrage at the liberties I took.)

It's one thing to make something for yourself or a friend, but something else completely to make it for public consumption (and critique).  I'm nervous about what visitors will have to say about my row this summer.  I hope they like it, but I plan to wear my "big girl panties" to work each day and just deal with it if they don't.

2) I had to decide whether or not to order fabric license plates, and if so, which to get.  I'm happy with my final selection, two of which are also appropriate for the knitters/crocheters who visit the shop, and I'm having fun thinking up projects to make with them, like this drawstring project tote bag.

It turns out this was probably a good investment as I've already had people call and order the fabric plates from me.

3) I'm most nervous about the fact that I am more of a YARN shop than a QUILT shop.  I'm worried that folks will come in and see my paltry selection of fat quarters and Kona Solids bolts and be disappointed that they scheduled a stop.  The only criteria for shops was that you have all the necessary accoutrements for making a quilt - the fabric, the batting, the notions, etc - and I do, I just don't have a lot of any of it.  But, I guess that if they come, they are really coming for the row pattern and I shouldn't sweat it.  There are probably lots of quilters who also knit or crochet, right?  Breathe in, breathe out, and stop worrying about it, Erin!

4) I still haven't kitted up my row, although I have written the instructions as well as a spreadsheet that tells me how much of each fabric I need for each kit.  The hard part is done - all that remains is cutting and packaging.  I'll start that next week.

On top of all that, I have two weeks of kids'  summer camp starting on Monday.  Next week we are making Molas, the week after is Crochet Camp.  Those will be some long days - fun, but long.

So last night, I put aside my worries over the Row by Row and summer camp and just went to the sewing room to SEW.  My Strippy Scrappy Flippy Happy quilt needs just one more column of blocks to make it 5x7, then I'm adding borders and calling it done.  You would think my scrap bins would seem more depleted by now, but no.

I also put together 3 more of these colorful blocks for our Guild's comfort quilts project this month.  Since I can't stay at the meeting to make blocks with everyone else, I'm hoping to have a bunch of blocks to donate - or even a completed top - by next weekend.  I just can't quite figure out how I want to lay them out...

On the agenda for today is making a mini mola pincushion, working on my Westering Women block for last month, and making a couple more comfort quilt blocks.  Plenty of time to stress over Row by Row in the coming weeks.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Lounging & creating!

This was my the first weekend in about two months that I didn't have company.  While I LOVE having company, especially my family, I think it is considered poor form to hang out on the computer or in the sewing room when they are here, so I haven't had much time for either sewing or blogging.  But this weekend...

The view from my porch yesterday.  It was a glorious day, warm with a nice breeze, and I stayed put out there for hours, sometimes at the cast iron cafe table, but more often lying down on one of the wicker loveseats!
I spent yesterday on my porch: snacking, reading, knitting, counting my blessings.

Then, when the sun went down, I moved down to the sewing room and got to work.  I've been working on blocks for my guild's Comfort Quilts program - they are quite easy and addicting to make.

I'm also finding these strippy flippy scrappy happy blocks quite addicting, too!  I think I'll finish this row and then add one more full column.  After that, I'm thinking a thin, orange inner border and a scrappy piano keys border.

Look at all the violets that have arrived in the mail from my Block Lotto winnings!

And finally, I never jumped on the Granny Square Quilt Block wagon, but I've been wanting to try one ever since I first saw them.  Of course, I didn't want to have to cut all those individual squares, so this was my first attempt, playing around with sewing strips together and subcutting.  I still need to tweak my process, but I think there is a Granny Square quilt in my future.
It's been a wonderful couple of creative days!  I'm linking up with Oh, Scrap! and Monday Making.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Quick Comfort Quilt Block

I've had lots of company lately, which means loads of fun but not much sewing.  Today, during a quiet moment in the shop, I couldn't stand it anymore - I just HAD to sew!  My quilt guild is doing a Comfort Quilt workshop in June, and while I can't attend, I figure I can at least sew up some blocks to donate.  I'm not sure what this block is called, but it is a super way to use up my precut 5" squares from scraps (cut down into 2.5" x 4.5" bricks).

Eight 5" squares plus 15 to 20 minutes equals two scrappy 8.5" blocks.  I bet I can whip up 2 a day of these most days, no problem!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Orphan Quilt Blocks Adoption Lottery Results

Thanks to everyone who showed interest in my quilty adoption projects.  You have really helped me clear out some projects that don't speak to me so there is more space and time for projects that do.

I interrupted my son's Spring Break plans to have him pull names from my favorite bowl.
 The winners are:

A: Carole W
B: Cheryl
C: Lisa Marie
D: Lisa C
E: Anita

I'll be emailing each of you for your mailing address and I'll get these into the mail right away.  Happy sewing, all!