Sunday, September 21, 2014

Big Finish for Mrs. Claus

   The doll quilt project, Get Your Mrs. Claus On, finishes big this year.  Over the top, really.  To say I lost count is an understatement, but a close guess is 150 doll quilts.

    Mrs. Claus in Ohio, aka Mcpatches on the HGTV Message Board, is the doll quilt maker extraordinaire today.  Mary Ann included a note with her treasure trove.
  "I started making doll quilts last October.  I said for every big quilt, I'd make a doll quilt with the leftovers.  And then there were the pillow panels that were sitting around.  And the half square triangles from trimmings of other projects.  My goal was one per week--52.  I did not quite make it."
   Just strings......no matter how many string blocks I see, they are never the same, yet always a feast for the eyes to wander over and enjoy.





  Just squares.....really compare the design of these three.  4 patch blocks turned into a quarter trip, and  a scrap setting.  And the all time favorite classic Trip Around the World completes this trio.
  The quarter trip version has a tiny brown filet strip added before the border.  That is so effective in this one.





   Just strips.....combine some with 4 patch units and make a scrap quilt.  Lots of strips, make another classic pattern, The Rail Fence.







Still more strips.....turn them into a lattice, or a maze with the addition of a solid.  Both of these are so striking.





  A precious trio of soft flannels include a coin strip quilt, one of squares, and a braid quilt.  Mrs. Claus, these are so cute!






  So let's see what I overlooked....just triangles!     Tiny flying geese to make pinwheels, oh my!  Half square triangles turned into butterflies....double oh my!!  I love this one :-)  Both of these are fun!



   Got more triangles?  Make a zig-zag chevron quilt.  Make more pinwheels, another classic that never fails to please.  Got an orphan block you need to dress up.....add a border of pinwheels to make a statement.   Tired of pinwheels, then just make a scrap quilt of half square triangles.






 
With this many leftovers, can you imagine the big quilts this Mrs. Claus has made?   More pinwheels, and half square triangles set in a barn raising layout.   With the variety shown in the last couple of photos, I should never be without inspirations.



Mrs. Claus mentioned panels, too.  I love how the same panel turned into 3 very different quilts.  Lots of design creativity here.







 Holiday panels make great doll quilts.  The addition of different fabrics to complete the panel gives each a personal touch.






More panels of bunnies.....frame them with other fabrics, or make a row by row quilt.







 A holiday bunny....jumping jack rabbit, I say!  He is appliqued and bounding over cute Easter eggs!  All bordered with the prettiest fabric.  Simply cute.











Let's add some stars into the mix.....nothing like comfortable homespun fabrics with a border print to make cute quilts.











 A whole collection of stars.....don't you love those wonky ones?  And if you are short one star, add an applique block to finish it up.









  Simply red, all over, and finish it off with a little lace trim.   The dotted binding is such a fun twist on this quilt.













  Oops....I should have grouped these 2 into the 4 patch photos.  I loved the featured fabric.  It is old post marks.  I love fabrics like that.








  A few flowers to brighten any day.  One is a panel print, and the other is an appliqued  basket of fussy cut flowers.  So pretty.







 Ending up with hearts appliqued onto a zig zag background.  This just says it all for me......gifts of love from the heart.












 A lot of love, design, and inspiration from a 10 pound box containing a whopping 42 doll quilts.  42!!!!
  Mrs. Mcpatches Claus of Ohio, thank you.  You have finished off our year with a wonderful plethora of quilts.
  To all the wonderful Mrs. Claus participants  I thank you from the deepest part of my heart.  Each quilt is dear and appreciated greatly.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Catching up

  Here is hoping I am back on the roll again.  I have done a few things, in between fighting a stomach bug that just put me down a bit.  And I am hoping my Wonder Geek is available this weekend to recover my "lost/disappeared/vanished" photos and files!   I sure do want them back.

    I set the scrap project for Let's Book It aside.....I have depleted my 5" square stash.   And got to work on what I thought would be a demo project for the quilt show coming up in a couple of weeks.  These are blocks using the Disappearing hourglass technique from Missouri Quilt Company.   After 6 blocks, I made an executive decision.....this one is not for me.  Working with all that bias is tedious.  The more you touch it, the more it grows.  And the secondary cut needs to be exact or everything is off.....ask me how I know!  Let's say I love it, but don't want to do it for a demo.

   What has been successful is the  Carolina Chain block from Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville.  It is easy to cut and sew.  And it ends up with that diagonal chain that I find so appealing lately. I have 2 or 3 baggies full of cut pieces and have been stitching a few at a time to soothe my spinning head.  Nothing like simple to relax with.









   Time to wind down the year for Mrs. Claus that is.   The last quilts are in....and amazingly the first for 2015 arrived yesterday!  But I will save those for later.  So let's view a few doll quilts.
  From Mrs. Claus in Iowa, aka as Jacky of the HGTV Message Board comes this sweet pastel and pink string quilt.    I am a sucker for string quilts, and this one is great.



Birdhouses!  What a cute idea and then the added detail of those buttons.....this one came from Mrs. Claus in Maryland, aka Patricia.   I love the cheerful fabrics, too.








  From Mrs. Claus in MA, aka Nancy, Catwmn27, on the HGTV Message board.  I'm sorry for the no so great photo....the sun came out when I least expected it.  Those are little dresses all dolled up with lace trim.  What a creative idea for a doll quilt.






  Janice is Mrs. Claus from Texas, aka Cookie Quilts on the HGTV Message board.  She is representing NC in honor of her cousin this year.  Note those beautiful Kaffe Fassett scraps she used.....so beautiful!

  Thank you all.....Mrs. Claus from around the country.  Our year has come to a close....wait, excuse me there is someone banging on the door.
 HO, HO, HO.......the UPS guy just had to get into the act.  He just delivered a 10 pound box from Mrs. Claus in Ohio!!!!  Now you won't believe what I am finding inside.  I have work to do before you get to peek.......let's just say you want to come back when I get things opened.  It is a design delight and inspiration for all.
Happy stitching.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Re-cycling denim to market bags

   We decided to get rid of/donate a very large ottoman that I had covered in denim many years ago.   Since the denim was in good shape--does this stuff every wear out?--, I ripped it off to reuse in another project.  I had about 54 inches square and figured I could get about 3 market style bags out of it.  Perfect to have for gift giving this Christmas.....and filled with cookies, breads, and such.
 
I worked through this one first to get the logistics worked out.  I wanted an easy finish to the seams.....denim frays so much.  I wanted an smaller size that ended up about 14' tall and 12" wide.
  I cut the body of the bag from the denim---18" by 32".   I used French seams on both sides. This is a 2 step process that encases the raw edges, and usually the seams are narrow.

 So here is my version First, stitch each side on the outside---wrong sides together about 3/8" from the edge.  Turn the bag inside out.
  After pressing flat, stitch another seam along both sides.....about 3/8" to 1/2" from the edge.  This should encase the raw edges and give a nice finished edge  on the inside.






      For the boxed corner.....I wanted it fairly deep about 6" wide.  That would be nice and roomy for goodies.
Since I had no bottom seam on this version, I chalked along the folded bottom to help line it up.  A seam 3 inches from the  corner point proved to be just what I needed.




 To help stabilize the bottom and still have no raw edges, I did not cut that triangle flap off.  Instead I stitched in down to the bottom of the bag.  Not exactly an easy maneuver, but doable.
  This is the finished inside of the bag.







The top edge was quickly finished off with a folded strip of cotton cut at 5" by 32".   I joined the ends of the cotton to have a finished circle for the top.   I sewed the raw edges of the folded strip to the inside/wrong side of the denim.   Then the folded edge was turned to the outside/right side of the bag.  The handles were cut 26" long from bought cotton strapping.   I tucked the ends of the handles between the bag body and the folded cotton and then top stitched all the way around the bag......once to secure the folded edge and again along the top edge.


    On the last bag, I increase the width of the top band by cutting it 6 1/2" wide.  I like it better.
     I still have small sections of denim left.....I may have to piece them together and see if I can get one more!  Don't you love the chili pepper fabric....ugh!  I have no idea who gave me that, but I am sure I did not buy it.  But I actually like it for these bags.  Now they are ready to be filled.

   I have been "unplugged" for a few days  while we are visiting daughter.....this post was suppose to publish a couple of days ago, but I think I forgot to hit publish.     I really needed one of these bags for the goodies found at the local Farmer's Market....next time I will be prepared.   Happy stitching till I return.

Monday, September 1, 2014

As August ends

  As August ends, I know that fall is getting near.  I really enjoy each seasonal change.  I especially love each new beginning.  August feels like it was full because I crammed so much into the days.  There was the computer re-build, as well as a lot of doll quilt shows.  And a couple of finishes always help.


    All the scrappy trip blocks were turned into a top.  This was a Book It project from May and it barely made a dent in the floral stash.
    When Evening Comes, a Faux Braid quilt  in batiks was claimed by Sir Old Man.  I also did a tutorial on the vine quilting that I used on this.
    The Acorn Table topper, a simple early fall project, that picks up the colors of Sir Old Man's new table creation.
     His amazing table.....need I say more!
     A quick table runner of batiks used for practicing a new free motion motif, Butterfly Wings.
    And the new Book It project that needs more variety.

September plans include a trip north, re-cycling denim into tote bags for gifts, work on the squares with insets, and cutting pieces for another Bonnie Hunter project.  And the general calendar is filling up, so that's enough plans for now.  I want to leave time for some baking when the weather cools.  Nothing like the smell of fresh bread in the fall.    Happy stitching.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Booking It for August

  I started this project earlier this month to de-stash...read it here.    I am claiming it as my Let's Book It project for August.
   I originally planned to work using value as my guide.  I wanted some blocks to be high contrast, and some low contrast, and then set them together based on the major value of the split square.  sounded good, right?  Well, just take my word for it, the setting was bad......way bad.  It was choppy and yet contrived.  On to plan 2.
    I found myself getting just a little too matchy-matchy when selecting the inset strip.   I forced myself to use what I picked up first as long as it did not absolutely clash or hurt the eyes.   What I discovered.......it worked much better!


 I have about 60 or so blocks ready, and I began to play around with another setting with half of them.  I am liking this much better now.  Yet, I do think I need more variety!

  This sort of makes me giggle.  Here I am throwing everything including the kitchen sink into one quilt,  and I was just reading a couple of blogs that discussed the problem of using multi-color print scraps.  Think I should ask for their cast offs?
  So what do I mean when I say variety?  To me, that means having a variety in scale of prints....large and small and geometric prints.  I see a lot of tonal and 2 color prints here, so I need to add in  prints with 3 or more colors.  Right now, these are mainly from my box of leftovers from charm square exchanges.  Looks like it is time to really de-stash my real stash.   So August's project will be on-going for a couple of months, I think.

  And June's Book It project.......is now a flimsy!   A colorwash version of the  scrappy trips.

  I stopped at this size.....it is so heavy already.  You forget how much fabric is in those seam lines.   And I see a couple of blocks that got flipped when I put the rows together.   Or did I mean to throw in a curve ball just for fun!  I can live with it.






  I am debating on a border, or not.  I kind of like it as it is, and just use a dark binding.  I will think on it, and get to it soon.    For now, I am happy.....this one is not going anywhere but here.

Linking to Let's Book It at Vrooman's Quilts.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Yes, I am a Mrs. Claus

   We had a new mail carrier on our route last week.  Apparently, she had not been warned that I have an alias.   Soft packages and boxes were to be delivered to this address to a Mrs. Claus aka Debbie, and some of them were from Mrs. Claus from different places!    Sir Old Man had to confirm that I lived here....giggle, giggle.  Did no one in the government ever watch the movie "Miracle on 34th Street"?  It proved that Santa exists.....and by extension, Mrs. Claus does too!

    Mrs. Claus from New York,  aka Peppy of the HGTV Message Board, found a way to dress up simple panels of colorful fabric.    She added a top band of fabric and embroidered hearts and stars.  Such a cute way to finish these off.


Mrs. Claus of Georgia, aka Wannaquilt2 of the HGTV Message Board, sent two quilts.  Purple and blue strips combined to make a wonderful quilt.  And then those frogs.....jumping all over the place!  Oops, and don't miss the turtles there too.   I love her sense of humor.  Both of these are fun.


Mrs. Claus of Pennsylvania, aka 3grandkids on the HGTV Message Board made pink creations for the project.  She says she used to create for her granddaughters  when they were young, so these were fun for her to make.








  Just look at the work....hand embroidered motifs to create a beautiful butterfly on the pink and white gingham.
    I am always so amazed at the create ideas that Mrs. Claus comes up with.







 



Mrs. Claus of Maryland, aka AngelaC of the HGTV Message Board, sent along 2 scrappy and colorful quilts.   Her note said she loves to use up scraps from her previous projects......I see a quarter trip around the world, and corners from rectangles.



   And remember I said to always check the back of the doll quilts.  I discovered this fantastic fabric on the back!  It repeats the colors from the front, but what I love is the squiggle design.  It would be a perfect piece of fabric to give a student who wants to learn to do free motion meandering.  I mean just follow the edges of the pieces and there you go meandering!  What fun.






  Mrs. Claus of Florida, aka  cksvett of the HGTV Message Board, has really been busy.  Checkboard quilts, and one with Raggedy Andy were on the top of her stack that arrived.






 Even in Florida a doll needs a flannel quilt or two.  And she shared the story about the farm scene one on the left.  Mrs. Claus likes to frequent a certain thrift store....don't we all love good ones.  This store begins to reduce the prices of items that have been around for a while.  The farm scene was actually an apron panel...and she managed to wait it out and snare it for free!  And to finish it off she was given the batting which was cut off from a larger project, and the thread she used came from a give away table at a retreat!  Isn't she the thrifty/lucky one!  She also did her first attempt at free motion quilting on it......quilting teacher gives big nod of approval.  No thread nests, and even stitches.  I think she is ready to expand her horizon.
    Big hugs and thank yous to all the Mrs. Claus from around the country......you are amazing and wonderful.   To everyone else, I hope you find some inspiration from the quilts sent for the project.  I know I do.  Happy stitching.  

Monday, August 25, 2014

Practice for Butterfly Wings

   I get questions and comments about free motion quilting all the time.  Often I am asked about practice.....do I really practice drawing?......do I practice stitching a pattern before using it on a quilt?   Of course, I do!  It only looks easy when I do it because I put in the time to practice.  I practice on paper.  It helps me break down the motif and figure out which direction to stitch first and how to end up in a position to move on with the design.   Then once I have some confidence in that I usually put the motif into thread on a small piece, like a table runner or small table topper often.

   I found Butterfly Wings ---she calls it plumify---motif  on LuAnn Kessi  blog under her sketchbook.  She also has them  on Pinterest, so you might have seen them there. She provides a sample drawing and also breaks it down into steps to learn.   You can barely see my first practice drawing on the bottom  of the page.








  I put together a very simple table runner.  Not too easy to see the stitching from the front.







  So from the back you can get a better view.  Individual plumes are stitched and then outlined to form that wing look.  Note----you end up back where you started stitching.  Generally 3 plumes, then outline to form the wing shape.  But sometimes you only have enough room for 2 plumes, and that is fine.
  The head of my plumes are about 1/2" to 3/4"...compare to the size of the bobbin.  I did have to remind myself to remember to change/alternate direction that the plume tilted.  This is a great all over design and filler, like for background or sky even.  Once you get the teardrop/plume shape down, I think anyone could do this with a little practice.


  The table runner still needs binding.   Add that task to the list  :-)











Quilting done on Hot Legs---my Tiara sit down machine.  And she got a little extra enhancement this past week.  I ordered another swing arm lamp with a clamp base.
    We wasted an afternoon running around town for a swing arm lamp with a clamp base.  Supposedly the "store" had them in stock.....what they offered me was a goose neck on a small base!  If I wanted to wait a week for them to order my item.....huh?  And they wonder why local big box stores are losing business......I went home and found exactly what I wanted on line, cheaper even with shipping in 10 minutes, and it was delivered in 4 days.  Done deal!   Sorry for the small rant ---sometimes these people scare me---because they are walking among us!
 So I have light on either side, and I can easily adjust the lights for my viewing pleasure.     Get those pencils out.....practice drawing, then happy stitching.

   Comment on comments.....I try to always respond to comments.  But lately I seem to have missed a few because they are not appearing in my mailbox as directed.  So if you do not hear from me that is why.  If you have  a question, just send an extra email and I will answer.  Thanks.

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