Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Sunny Day Sewing

I love my sewing room, particularly when the sun is streaming in the windows, warming up the space and dancing with all the colors.  Monday was such a day, so I spent hour after hour down there, working on several different projects.  (As a shopkeeper, my "weekend" is Sunday and Monday.  Sunday is more of a family day, but Monday is all about ME since the kids are at school and I am off.)

First off, I pulled some neutral strips and starting sewing together some 4-patches.  I bet a good number of you can guess why.

Yep, I'm jumping on the Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt bandwagon!  I've made several of her quilts and have all of her books, but I've never done a Bonnie Hunter mystery.  When describing En Provence, she mentions being inspired by lavender fields.  That was enough for me - lavender and lilac are my two favorite flowers and anything inspired by either appeals to me!  I'm a week behind, but I'm sure I'll catch up.

I made a couple more PLUS blocks.  These are fun to make as I work my way through my scrap bins.  The idea is that once I pull a fabric out of the scrap bin, I use it up completely, either by putting it into a quilt block or cutting it down to one of my precut scrap sizes or both.

And I thought I had made all of the strippy four-patches that I needed for this quilt, but it turns out I'm missing one.  Only one set of 10 blocks has been sewn together so far.  I'm hoping that making the strip sets to go in between the 4-patch strips will use LOTS of scrap strips!

When I wasn't sewing, I was knitting.  The color in this cowl makes me happy, the way it pops out against the black.  The yarn is Bamboo Bloom Handprints, and the pattern is Interrupted Cowl.

All in all, one of the most productive weekends I've had in quite some time.  It feels GOOD!  I'm linking up to Oh Scrap and Monday Making.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Home Stretch!!

The Community Quilt came back from the quilters and Oh!  What a beauty!  It always amazes me how the quilting can really make a quilt sing!  Since I am a hand quilter and don't have experience "sending out a quilt", I didn't realize it would come back all trimmed and ready for binding.  BONUS!  So yesterday morning, I made a scrappy bias binding, thinking that a scrappy binding would play nicely with the scrappy top.  I'm getting better and better at making continuous bias binding - practice makes perfect!
To make the binding, I picked a couple of fabrics that I had less than a fat quarter of, but at least a square of 13", and used them all up.  Man, that feels good!  Although I'm going to miss this fun fabric!
I picked up the quilt in early afternoon, and used the time before my kids were done with school to sew the binding to the front by machine.
You can see some of the quilting here.  I think she called the design she used "Blooming Feathers."
Then I spent a lovely evening working on sewing the binding down to the back by hand.  In some ways, this is my favorite part of making a quilt!  So easy and relaxing and SO CLOSE TO THE END!
Binding Clips, how I love you!!  Those metal snap shut barrettes served me well for years, but these binding clips are just THE BEST!
But, of course, I can't just work on one thing at a time, so my leader and ender for the day was Block 10 of the Westering Women BOM, Rocky Mountain Chain.
I didn't cut off the points on the right in real life, just in my photos.
My fabric placement is a bit different than suggested, but I really like how this one turned out!  And HURRAY!  No Y seams!  Thank you, Barbara!!

Oh, and one last little bit.  This is a bit of bragging, but so much has been going "wrong" in my life these days, I want to focus on what is going "right" even if to do nothing more than cheer myself up.  When I picked up the quilt from the long arm quilter, I met her at our Monday quilt group.  When I came back from putting the quilt in the car (after showing it off to everyone there, of course), she was raving about my piecing, how row after row was exactly the same size and how she never sees that.  Again, having never sent quilts out for quilting, I didn't even realize this is important.  She said that if she graded construction on a scale of 1-100, she'd give mine a 95.  A for the day!!  Whew!  Putting blocks together made from over 60 people with different levels of experience was a bit challenging, but it worked out.  I guess taking the time to square up my blocks at every step is worth the trouble after all (although when I am doing it, I am grumbling the whole time, wanting to rush ahead with more piecing).

Have a great day, everyone.  And no matter what happens in our Presidential Election here in the US today, remember that we here are all united in our love of quilting.

I'm linking up with Monday Making and Oh, Scrap!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

A start and a finish

I finished sewing together the Community Quilt top and sent it off to the long arm quilter.  I'm going to the fundraising dinner and silent auction for Project Horizon where it will be offered up, and I plan to bid on it for myself - well, for a family member.  Part of me hopes it sells for more than I can afford, but part of me hopes it stays within my price range.
It measures 64.5" x 80.5"
Meanwhile, I made the mistake of visiting some blogs...I love blogs for the inspiration, but I'm too darned ADD to stick with just one project from start to finish without getting distracted by other possibilities.  Have you seen the Charming Plus Quilt Along?  Yeah, I started that, too.  I was cutting up scraps that had been donated and thought "why not cut them into the sizes needed for the quilt along?"
I haven't sewn the blocks together yet...
My goal for the end of this week, though, is to get caught up on the Westering Women BOM.  8 blocks done, two blocks to do to get caught up.

Monday, October 24, 2016


I have two design walls, but all my photos lately have been taken on the floor!  Time to clear up room on the design wall!  Rather than pull things off and put them with my other UFOs,
My smaller design wall has had these left over comfort quilt blocks on it since June!
I took the time to FINISH something!  Woo hoo!
I think I should have switched the yellow and green blocks in the lower right corner.  Is it worth unstitching?
What on earth took me so long?  I love this quilt top!  At 50" square, it seems a good size for a new baby.  Hmmm...who do I know who is pregnant?

I'm linking up with Monday Making and Oh Scrap!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Bored silly with my shadow quilt

I know that I really wanted to make a shadow quilt, but man! Working with just 3 fabrics is WAY out of my scrappy comfort zone.  Despite the fact that this quilt is small - just 33.75" x 48.5" - it took me much longer to finish it than it should because it just bored me.  Don't get me wrong, I like it, I just didn't like making it.
I put the seed packet panels in alphabetical order, or so I thought.  One is out of order, and I took it out and put it in wrong AGAIN!  Oh well, that's where it is meant to stay, I guess.
I imagine I'm not going to much enjoy quilting it either, so this will get done on the machine rather than by hand so I can get it done and move on to something else.

To keep me going while I finished this quilt off today, I started a new scrappy project.  When I peruse quilt images online during my lunch break at work, I keep finding myself drawn to this quilt:
Image credit
I've never made a strippy quilt before, so I thought, why not?  I pulled out 5" squares and made 4-patches, then cut some white 5" squares in half diagonally to make the setting squares.
You know the method of making 4-patches by sewing down two opposite sides of 2 RST squares, cutting in the middle, rotating RST, and sewing down two opposite sides again?  LOVE IT!  Especially the fact that it gives you TWO 4-patches!
This is much more my speed!  I hope to make significant progress on this quilt top this weekend.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Plotting and scheming

I haven't been sewing much, because I've been sucked into the wonderful world of online quilt stalking.  Oh, the beauties I have found!

I want to make one of these like Sew Katie Did.
Photo credit: https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/sew-katie-did-1230333/double-trouble-take-two-4144533705
I saw a partial photo in a magazine of a quilt called Scrap Tease, so I went online to see a whole quilt, and fell in love with this version.  I would gladly tackle partial seams to make this!
Photo credit: https://kaholly.blogspot.com/2015/11/alyof-completed.html
Forget sleep - I want to go down to the sewing room to start this fun quilt RIGHT NOW!

Photo credit: http://selvageblog.blogspot.com/2013/11/modern-scrap-quilt-2-camelot_7.html

Did I miss this Dear Daughter quilt-a-long because I only have sons?  No matter - I'm tempted to buy the pattern and make it anyway!
Photo credit: http://www.rebeccamaedesigns.com/homesweethome/chapter-9-dear-daughter-quilt/

Ack!  Gotta get off the computer and get into the sewing room!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Chimney Rock Block

I was determined to catch up on my Westering Women BOM blocks before the new block was released today, and I did it!  I did the re-drafted (read: no Y seams!) version of the block, and while it isn't perfect, I'm quite pleased with it.

But, considering my aversion to Y seams, can you imagine my dread when I saw September's block, which was released today?
image credit: http://civilwarquilts.blogspot.com/2016/09/westering-women-9sage-bud-for-fort.html

I'm redrafting it, no question!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Shadow Play

A couple of weeks ago, I followed along with the Shadow Block Mini Quilt Along, and I've been itching to give a shadow quilt a try.  I have a number of panel sets that I thought would make good focus blocks for a shadow quilt, so I pulled one out

and started cutting and sewing.

I didn't have much time to sew today, but I got enough blocks sewn together to get a sense of how it will look.  I'm accustomed to using white or cream backgrounds, so this golden houndstooth (?) was a stretch for me, but so far, I'm liking it.

I think I have 19 of these panels, and the blocks I am making finish at 5" x 6.5" so it won't be a very big quilt,  just a wallhanging.  Hopefully I can finish piecing it tomorrow.  This seems like a good candidate for me to try free motion quilting.  If this works out, this might be a good gift for my mother, who is quite the gardener.  We'll see.

I'm linking up with Monday Making (even though this is Sunday) since I'm sure it's what I'll be working on tomorrow, too.

Friday, September 23, 2016

I DID IT!!! (and I'll be happy to never do it again)

I've enjoyed participating in Barbara Brackman's Westering Women BOM.  Well mostly, anyway.  There have been two months so far where the block included set-in seams, so I've skipped those months.  I'm a wimp, I know.

But in light of my recent victory over my fear of machine quilting, I decided to suck it up yet again and give those Y seams a try.  First stop, March's block, Sweet Gum Leaf.  Lord have mercy, that block nearly killed me!  I labored over it all day long! (well, in between helping customers and restocking yarns and paying bills and all the rest that goes on during the course of a day in my shop)  But still, just one block to show for my day!

It isn't perfect, but it is done.  I can safely say I'll never make an entire quilt out of that block.  At least not without redrafting it to include all HSTs instead of those blasted parallelograms!  And even though I typically do needle turn appliqué, I sewed that stem on by machine just to be done with it!  Tomorrow, I'll give the other block I skipped a try, August's Chimney Rock.  You can bet the farm that I'll be doing the version WITHOUT set-in seams!

In other news, I shipped out 4 of the projects that I adopted out for the Quilty Adoption Event last weekend.  Congratulations to:

  • "Miaismine" for winning the Tropical Fish project
  • Christina P for winning the Snails Trails project
  • Kelly O for winning the Christmas Stars project
  • Jackie for winning the Flannel 9 Patches project

I've emailed Anonymous at valekort at yahoo dot com as the winner of the Scrappy Spools project, but haven't heard back.  If I don't hear back by the beginning of next week, I'll choose a new winner.  Thank you to all of you who volunteered to take some of these projects off my hands.

Since I've divested myself of 10 projects in the last 6 months, I couldn't help but throw my name in the hat to adopt someone else's orphans.  I scored these pieced setting triangles.
Photo credit: http://quiltyfolk.blogspot.com/2016/09/quilty-orphans-up-for-grabs.html
Woo hoo!  I love the idea of pieced setting triangles, but doubt I'd ever take the time to make them.  Now I don't have to!  I do have to come up with a project to set them with, though, and the prospect of that just excites me!

Have a great weekend, everyone!  Tomorrow is my 45th birthday, so I'm having a 45% off sale at my shop, you know, to ensure that I won't be sitting there sad and lonely at work on my special day.  Last year it was a blast, people there all day long.  Hopefully tomorrow will be the same.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A finish!!

My friend, Doreen, whom I met when I was doing my block drive for Hurricane Sandy relief, stopped by last Friday.  It was great catching up - she lives in Minnesota and I live in Virginia, so we don't see each other often, as you can imagine!

Anyway, I mentioned wanting to go ahead and machine quilt some quilts, rather than poke along with my hand quilting on everything.  Not that I'm giving up hand quilting - I love it too much to do that! - but it would be nice to have a few more finishes under my belt instead of just flimsies.  It turns out she's been teaching free motion quilting, so she gave me some pointers and a pep talk.

On Saturday, I put on my big girl panties and gave it a try.  I changed the needle, I dropped the feed dogs, I fiddled with the tension, and I doodled all over a little quilt sandwich I had made for that purpose.  I had fun, but I definitely need to do more practice before I actually use free motion quilting on a real quilt.

So, the feed dogs came back up and I gave the wavy stitch on my machine a try.

I really like the way it turned out!  And I love the fact that I had quilted a whole quilt in a matter of just hours!

Yesterday I sewed the binding onto the front and today I hand stitched it down to the back.

A finish!  This one has to be a record for me - I started this project on Labor Day, just 16 days ago!

Time to get my Charlie Brown Quilt ready for quilting, I guess.

Monday, September 19, 2016

New Life For Old Blocks

Participating in the Quilty Orphan Adoption Event made me dig around in my orphan block drawer.  It's a big drawer, and there are A LOT of blocks in there.  I found a set of twelve 6.5" string blocks.  Alone, they weren't enough to make a quilt, but if I made them into HST blocks, I'd have 24 blocks, which, with a border or two, IS enough to make a small quilt.  That was my mission for today - to turn those sad little string orphans into a quilt.

Piecing went quite quickly, and I added a white inner border,

but then spent a ridiculous amount of time auditioning outer border fabrics.

No one fabric seemed right to me, and then it hit me - a pieced border!  I have all those precut scraps, so I pulled out the 3.5" bin and set about piecing a border.  I love it!  The chevrons remind me of Charlie Brown, so that's what I'm calling this one, the Charlie Brown Quilt.  It measures 34" x 45".

While working on the Charlie Brown Quilt, I pulled out more orphan blocks and set about sewing them together as my Leader & Enders project.  One of my goals this year was to make an orphan block quilt to replace the one I made years ago and used to keep in the car for road trips and sleepovers and visits to the drive-in theater.  Somehow, that quilt disappeared and I miss it, so today I started on its replacement.  What fun to sew orphans and scraps into chunks!  I've made 8 so far, all somewhere between 9.5" and 16.5" square.  This will be one riot of a quilt!

My favorite.  These dresden plate blades are left over from a quilt I made for my sister nearly a decade ago!

I really like this chunk, too!

I'm linking up with Oh Scrap! and Monday Making.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Quilty Adoption Event - 5 projects up for adoption

Edited 9/21/16 - this event is now closed.

Honestly, getting these projects out of my sewing room isn't going to free up a lot of physical space in my room, but it will free up some mental space - I'll feel better knowing that someone else is will work on these projects rather than just let them linger in a cabinet like I have.

I have no requirements for adoption - make it for yourself, as a gift, for charity, whatever.  I will ask that you send a photo of your finished project if you think of it; it does my heart good to see what has become of my orphans.  In fact, here is a  link for one my orphans from the spring that was beautifully transformed into a charity quilt by Lisa.

For this event, I have 5 projects, A thru E.  Let me know in the comments which orphan you would like to adopt.  If you'd like more than one, that's fine, list all that you'd like.  I'll keep this open until Wednesday, September 21, 6 PM EST.  I'll do a drawing if more than one person is interested in an orphan, and I'll ship them out to the winners at my expense, hopefully no later than September 24.  I am located in the US, and will only ship within the US - so sorry, international friends!

Be sure to check out the other items up for adoption at the link up on Cynthia's blog.  Ready?  OK, here goes:

A. TROPICAL FISH by Cindi Edgerton paper pieced mini
I was visiting my mother-in-law many years ago and didn't have any stitching with me, so I walked over to her local quilt shop and picked up this pattern.  I made those first 4 fish by hand, and decided, not only do I not enjoy paper piecing, I also don't enjoy hand piecing.  Back into the tiny package it went.  Whoever adopts this project will get 4.25 pieced fish, and unused foundations for 25 more tiny fish.

B. SCRAP HAPPY SPOOLS by Cindi Edgerton paper pieced mini
If you read my comments about the fish project, you know I have no patience for this spools project.  I inherited this from somebody, complete with precut batik scraps.  It looks like only 2 of the tiny blocks have been attempted, but I didn't really inventory the whole thing.  I know there are more than enough unused paper foundations to make the pattern and there seems to be enough fabric, too.  Any batik loving paper piecing mini makers out there?

C. SNAILS TRAILS PLACEMATS muslin foundation pieces and pattern
Uh, how did I end up with so many foundation piecing patterns?  Not my cup of tea.  This orphan consists of 24 stamped muslin foundations for Snails Trails blocks that finish at 5.75".  The accompanying pattern tells you how to make 4 placemats with the blocks, but you could just as easily make a small quilt.

Here's another one for you mini makers out there.  I'm not sure how this made it into my possession, but this was started as a hand pieced mini quilt.  3 stars are already pieced, another one is partially pieced.  The seam allowances are already marked for any of you who do hand piecing, but you could just as easily finish this one on a machine.  There is an accompanying photo, but there is also a note on the photo saying "not exactly like photo."  I'm guessing she was planning on using setting squares between the stars, rather than the sashing in the photo.  Any takers?

OK, this one was mine, but I'll be honest, I have NO IDEA where I was going with this.  There are four 9.5" double 9-patches, eight 3.5" 4-patches, ten 3.5" colorful squares, seven 3.5" white squares, twelve 3.5" x 9.5" white rectangles and eight 3.5" x 12.5" rectangles.

Please don't let these orphans languish in my cabinet.  Won't you take one home with you?