Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The correct answer is

    The original pattern was published in 2010 in Quilter's World as White Birches, and recently in a book called Quilting in Black and White.    First correct guess was from  Sharon at Vroomans Quilts.   Congrats to her.  
    I thought the give away hint would be on Saturday and the Foto Finish link to Cat Patches  because Barbara is working on the same project and in her post  she named the pattern!  So, here's a photo of the original pattern I am working from.  Note the cardinals.....that is what drew me in, and I am adding a few more of them.  It just shouted "make me"!    I have all the  blocks together and ready to join the rows.  

      Mrs. Claus News:
    Four more quilts arrived from Selina, Mrs. Claus of NJ.   She sent 2 of each! The colors are so wonderful.  Don't you love those backing fabrics.   Thank you so much.   Drop in and visit her at Selina Quilts.
    Photo shoot day is Friday.....the photo  shoot of the elves went great!

  PT was today.....I began lifting weights, or a weight.  A one pound weight!  I know, I know.... I have a long way to go.  I was so glad to know that I can at least lift more than a piece of paper without help.  Maybe soon  I will be able to lift a bolt of fabric.    Happy stitching.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Here's a block and a hint

   Today completely got away from me.  Everything took  longer or I am just slower.  Anyway, I promised another peek and a hint at my project.
   So here's a block.....the rest are sewn just not pressed.
   I will say that this is not a beginner project...more advance because of the angles.  Those angles can give you fits, but luckily there is some  leeway when it is time to set them together.  I think I will need it when the blocks are trimmed up!

     It is not a traditional pattern, so you will need to connect the threads of hints I have given to find the pattern.  You know the color palette,  and now you see one of the blocks.  
    I'm throwing in a pin cushion ---filled with stuffing and crushed walnut shells for a little weight--- to the prize for the correct guess.
    Happy stitching.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Quilter's Pie

High heat calls for a cool, creamy dessert.....
Mocha Cheese Pie, I'm calling this one  Quilter's Pie.
    1 graham cracker crumb crust---ready made makes it easy
    8 ounces of cream cheese---softened
    3/4 C powdered sugar
    1 Tablespoon instant coffee plus 1 1/2  Tablespoon of hot water
    1/2 jar of chocolate sauce (or ice cream topping, I used Hot Fudge Sauce)---calls for 1 C in recipe
    2 Cups of Cool Whip---whipped cream is better, but more calories
Cream  the cream cheese in bowl with mixer until smooth and fluffy.  Add powdered sugar and mix till blended.
Combine the instant coffee and hot water. Leave it out if you don't like coffee and use vanilla instead.  Add to the chocolate sauce.  Mix till smooth.
 Add 1/2 of  chocolate mixture to the cream cheese and blend.
Add Cool whip and blend.
Place about one half of mixture into the crust.
 Pour the remaining chocolate mixture over the bottom layer of cream cheese mixture.  Then top with the remaining portion of the cream cheese mixture.
 I added some shaved Hersey's candy bar to the top.  Refrigerate till set.    Excellent!

Tip:   Another type of Quilter's Pie----the math kind, the confusing kind, the don't mess with my brain kind.  I should have learned this in high school, or college, but it never made sense until a few years ago.  I think that's because I had a reason to apply the principle when quilting and remember it.  So, here's a quick tip to help when you are planning a quilt layout with blocks set on point.  I thought it was good enough to share.
 From an article by Robin Strobel that I received from Martingale Publishing.  

".......there are a couple numbers of which I am fond.   My favorite number is 1.414.
That’s because 1.414 is the number they never told me about in that long-ago and best-forgotten geometry class. ...... I’ve since discovered that 1.414 is a quilter’s magic number.   It is how you know the width of a block if you set it on point.   It is how you know the size to cut setting triangles for on-point quilt patterns.   It is how much longer the diagonal of a square is than the sides.
  You can also use the magic of 1.414 to find out how to calculate setting triangles for your on-point blocks.   (Yes, there is a setting-triangles formula!)   Quilters usually make corner-setting triangles from half-square triangles, and side-setting triangles from quarter-square triangles. (This keeps the fabric’s straight of grain on the outside edges of the quilt and makes it less likely the edges will stretch and ripple.)   As always, make all your calculations using the finished measurements and then go back and add the seam allowances.   This is because the amount you add for seam allowances depends on the shape you are cutting.   Add 1/2″ for squares and rectangles, 7/8″ for a square from which you cut two half-square triangles,  and 1 1/4″ for a square from which you cut four quarter-square triangles."

    Deana  came up with a very neat knitting  project bag design.  I think it would be a great quilter accessory bag too.   I love the way she put the zipper on the outside for the pocket.  Too cute.  

  More mystery game hints or clues tomorrow.
Happy stitching.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Foto Finish--Yellow

Opening ceremonies for the Olympics were fabulous.  The Queen's entrance with James Bond was a  treat.....so understated!    I did manage to get a lot of angles sewn........

    I just saw that Barbara at Cat Patches has a Foto Finish linky up today.   I love seeing everyone's photos, and I just happen to have one I can put up.  This Calla Lily blooms just outside my bedroom window.
  Linking to Foto Finish.
  Happy stitching.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mystery game

    A spark of an idea  came from  the comments  about my new project to sew during the Olympics.   I was referred to as a tease and being sneaky......I love it!   So, a mystery for you to figure out as I progress. I will add a clue or photo as I go along.  Figure out what pattern I am making, leave a comment.   The first comment to correctly identify the  published pattern will win. I am  putting this mug rug into the prize pile for now, and will add to it as we go along.  
A few sections to test the pattern instructions.....once again I am sewing angles.  The instructions don't really give a good instruction about matching the strips to the cut angle piece, so I am glad I tried a few before doing a whole block. 
So the lesson learned here:  sew the strips and then trim before attempting to add the next section.  

   Opening ceremonies are tonight.....machine set up, pieces ready, flag up......Go USA!!!!
Happy stitching.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What is she doing now?

     I have been prepping for a new project.  I  ran across a post recently that was about this project.  It reminded me that I had set the pattern aside for  the future.
    Today is that future time.  The Olympics begin  this weekend, and I wanted something to sew on in the evening while watching.   I decided to spend some time getting this cut and organized for sewing.
   So instead of spouting off and running on about my design, hold on to your hats.......
#1, I will be following the pattern given---mostly.  I am using various scraps instead of yardage. I may tweak the layout a bit.
#2, it is not my usual colorful mess.   
#3, it is not wall hanging size, but lap size.  
#4, it will have some applique.  
   That is all I will say for now.    Let the games begin.  Till then I will catch up on Dallas and Lizard Lick Towing shows that I have recorded!  Happy stitching.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Purple banner done

     Finished up the quilting on the banner.  It took me a couple of sessions to quilt, and this morning I completed the binding.  I love how it looks hanging on the yard flag stand with all the green surrounding it.  But alas, it will not be staying outside long. 
     How I created the triangle units are posted here ,  along with the details about the original tutorial I kind of followed from Magnolia Bay Quilts.  

 Close up of the quilting:    I did my usual swirls---click here for tutorials on free motion swirls ---and used a medium shade purple thread.  Up close the color is obvious on the white, but 3 feet away not so much.
  I generally chose a thread that blends with the overall project, so I don't have to change thread.  Sometimes the stitching will be more obvious because of the color, so if that bothers you change it.  Just remember that 3 feet away it will probably not be that noticeable.
   So this is out of my system.  Aren't we glad of that!
   Has anyone tried the sponges instead of gloves yet?  I keep seeing comments around blog land about it.  Let me know.  Happy stitching.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

More from Mrs. Claus

   If you need inspiration for a big quilt, read on!
  Doll quilts from Sharon at Vroomans quilts came yesterday.  Will you check out those tiny pinwheels!
How wonderful.....thank you.  Sharon introduced me to a new blog called Quilts are for Giving .  I will be posting there also about the Get your Mrs. Claus on project.  Check out the amazing stories there.

Then today when the door bell rang,  I knew there was mail.....snail mail kind.  A package of doll quilts.....can you believe it?
    This is the last batch  of quilts sent by Nicki from the Mrs. Claus gals at the HGTV Message Board.  Such a variety of techniques,  and bright and cheerful fabrics of all types just spill from the box.  Mother Goose fabric, lady bug fabric, animals, strips and plaids.....just so cute.

How about 2 crocheted doll quilts?  These are just so precious.  The blue doll quilt has raw edge appliqued circles scattered all over it.....very cute.  The raw edge applique gives it great texture.

  The bright red one has paper pieced fish blocks.  And check out the tiny checkerboard quilt.

And tucked in the middle of the stack was a quilt made from leftovers from her first and only water color quilt.  I know who made this one....Nicki herself.  Great job!
  The little one on the right is raw edge appliqued too, in the ticker tape style.  It has a wonderful assortment of fabrics.
   From this one group of quilters,  all very special Mrs. Clauses, I have received 126 quilts!  That is so absolutely amazing and wonderful.    I will be singing---no, not really singing---your praises when I post at Quilts are for giving.  Thank you, ladies.
  Variety, color,  and inspiration  all wrapped up in love in these doll quilts.  Hope you enjoyed the views.
Happy stitching.  

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Slick tip

     We did errands this morning and I asked Sir Old Man to stop at the $ store.  I needed a couple of sponges.....?
For a test / trial run / experiment.  Instead of a laboratory---which was my haunt for years---I went to the sewing room---my favorite place for this testing.  Results were great..........so what exactly was I doing?
     Fanny, a long arm quilter friend, shared a slick tip with me this week. Instead of wearing gloves when free motion quilting, use 2 kitchen sponges to move the quilt.  Then you don't have to keep removing and putting back on the gloves.  Just use the sponges to grip and guide the fabric.  
  I was a little skeptical, as a I have been a big promoter of wearing gloves for free motion quilting.   But  I figured I could give it a try.  I first did a couple of mug rugs  to get back in the swing of FMQ.  The sponges worked great to grab the small rug and move it around.

So, on to a larger project, the purple banner.  I began in the center and started doing swirls and curls.  Amazing....I found I was not applying as much pressure to move the fabric sandwich and I still had control.  One caution----pay attention to where your safety pins are because you can't feel them or see them through the sponges!  No, I did not have an accident with one, but got a little close in one place.   
 It was easy to stop and  clip a thread  or remove a pin...just let go of the sponge, no glove to remove.   Also the edges were very easy to quilt with the sponge gripping the fabric.  So I can attest to the ease of use on small projects for sure.    So, big thank you and hug to Fanny for sharing her tip.   Now, everyone run out to the dollar store for a new quilting tool!  Happy stitching.  

Thursday, July 19, 2012

This and that...

   Two new doll quilts arrived from  Shelia at Sew cook and travel.  She is a  Mrs. Claus in North Carolina!  These two cuties are so bright and colorful ...love the stripe  binding....and will make 2 little girls quite happy.  Thank you.

  Shoulder update:  Drum Roll......please.  Day 90--- The doctor pronounced the fractures healed enough on Tuesday to be released!  Guess that is good since I went ahead and started driving again.....impatient me.    PT was yesterday, and during the arm manipulations the therapist broke loose one spot that had been so tight and painful.  Yes, it hurt but was so worth it as today the swelling in the arm is noticeably less.   I have 6 more weeks of  PT and then I am on my own.  It has been a very long journey.

   So today was clean up the sewing room day.  I am at a lost on beginning a new "big"  project.....I have several to quilt first.   Anyway, I uncovered a couple of snack mats in need of quilting.   Good size to begin getting back in the groove with.   Mark them done.
 From trash to treasure....... Then there was the pile of short end of strings of floral fabric.  I hate to throw any fabric away.....so string piecing was the day's stitching.  I ended up with 6 mug rug size pieces.  I got them pressed, and ready to be squared up to finish off.   

  Wanda at exuberantcolor is putting together fabrics in kit form for 3 different color wash quilts.   You know they will be fabulous  because she is doing the selection.  I'm going for the bright color wash kit.  Any one want to sew along?    
     Happy stitching.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mrs. Claus news

     We are just into July and the doll quilts have been arriving since February and I have been notified of more on the way.  The stack is at 130 right now and if I add more it will topple over!   But that is a great/wonderful/fabulous problem to face, right?
   The word of the project is spreading in part because of  Mrs. Techie Claus---aka Dana at Stormy Days ---and the blog buttons she created for us.  It is so neat to be reading a blog and see them in the side bar.   Thanks again, Dana.
    Today I ran across a blog entry about Mrs. Claus at  Quilting with a marmalade cat .  I love Sharon's idea that said
 "Another thought...if your town has a Christmas gift program for needy children, maybe they could use these little doll quilts to add to their packages.  That way you would be helping local girls but without the postage costs.  "
   That is exactly what the Get Your Mrs. Claus On project is all about.....find a need and fill it.  Thank you, Sharon, for spreading the word.  

  I have been fretting and pondering on how to photograph and show all of the quilts for 2012.    My photo skills are average, and  space and layout present a dilemma.   And guess what?   Need filled by a professional photographer!   Sir Old Man has been working at church with the Production Team and  talked to Jesse, our video-cinematographer ----big word as he just does it all---lights, camera, action, and he takes photos too!!!   So he  has volunteered to do a photo shoot of the quilts.  I am so excited by his ideas!  
  Insight:   You don't have to do it all by yourself.   Remember that.
Happy stitching.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Follow up on 60 degree triangles

   Two rows of 60 degree triangles put together, and the ends chopped off.  That means  the edges are bias! 
   This technique is not for the faint of heart.  It reminds me a lot of paper piecing....sew a seam and trim, then repeat.   I was using a regular ruler and lining the sewn seam up on the 60 degree line for trimming.  If I did this again, I would purchase the 60 degree triangle.
  You need a lot of triangle units because you join small ones together to create larger ones.   The tutorial that Kim did gave several ways to make different triangle units to get a varied look.   Some of my points got very tiny from the adding and trimming.  And then others got chopped off completely.   I got a little lazy and threw  in a long filler strip in a couple of spots. 
   After 2 more afternoons of sewing, I came up with enough units to put together a small wall hanging banner.   I did a "cop out" on the upper right hand corner and used long strips to finish off with the white corner....no more triangle  units. 
   Once I had it trimmed up, I added a 1 1/2" strip --cut on the straight of grain---all the way around to stabilize the bias edges.
   Did I get the look of the Olympic banners?  Yes, I think so.  The effect using the technique is very similar.
   Will I do this again?   No, probably not, well maybe..  I could select fabrics and colors, but not really control where they ended up.  That was a little frustrating for me.    Making the units was fine, but joining and chopping them off seemed wasteful to me.  Maybe I should have just tried the 1000 pyramids............
   But on the upside....it is done.  I tried a new technique, and got this out of my system.  Maybe later on, I will try this again as a way to use up lots of scraps for a lap quilt.  It does have possibilities.      

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Love these gift tags!

    I love these gift / care tags that Deana has in her PodBeLu Etsy shop .  My colors and pattern......swirls and paisleys.  I hope she saves a few of these for me.....big hint!
   They are heavy card stock that she die cuts.  The backs are plain so you can write on the to/from.  Or  even better......for care instructions.  I like that idea for when I give quilted gifts.  A lot of people think you can't wash the mug rugs, or wall hangings that we create!  I want to include washing  instructions and a note to always use a color grabber or dye catcher with the quilt.

      Just a few more of the fun mix of patterns she has put together.  Please stop by and visit her soon at PodBeLu .
  Oh....and I am very pleased to report on Day 86 of the shoulder event that I drove myself to church today....all by myself for the first time in 3 months!    Sir Old Man was on Production Team today and working camera 2, so if I was going, I had to drive.  OK, so I went to the early service and there was very little traffic, but I felt so free!    
  A few more triangle units are done....I hope to get to sew more tomorrow.  Happy stitching.  

Friday, July 13, 2012

Making Triangle Units

     There is something very freeing about easy piecing.  Just let the machine hum along and your mind wander along too.  Before I  knew it I had put together about 2 dozen cobblestone blocks. Now, I have no plan right now for the cobblestone blocks, but I will continue to accumulate them and develop  a future project for them. 
    The thing that was exciting was the flash of memory that  I had.  A while back, I mentioned the Olympic banners  that look like quilts.  I want to do a banner or maybe a series of seasonal banners with that same look.  I had  thought about several methods.....diamonds and strips, squares on point,  and  equilateral triangles, even just fusing and top stitching pieces down.  But it did not come together in my head until I remembered part of  a tutorial I had run across a few months ago on the 60 degree triangle.  At the time I first read it, I thought  "Too confusing, and  all those triangles!"  

     I will digress here to explain my aversion to triangles....or small triangles at least.   A  few  years ago, I participated in a mystery quilt at guild.  Things were going well, until the "red herring" clue came up in the 3rd or 4th month.  The instructions were  to sew about a million little triangle cut offs into 1 1/2 inch half square triangles, and then turn them into 2"  pinwheels!   Well, I did some of them---about a dozen pinwheels---and decided that was enough.  I figured I would just substitute a plain square or larger HST in the mystery quilt.  Fast forward to the end------the pinwheels were NOT used in the quilt at all.  Yep, I was furious about it.  I  knew that was the last mystery I would do and the last time I would deal with a quilt with so many small / tiny / miniature pieces, especially if they are triangles.   

    So I went looking for the tutorial to give it a second chance.   Kim Brackett at Magnolia Bay Quilts   has  added to her tutorial on the 60 Degree Triangle.   It is now in 3 parts  for making large units of 60 degree triangles.   I did spend a while copying and pasting  to a document to print  for reference.  

  These are a couple of the units  I  put together without having to cut lots of triangles.  I am working with strips and a few cut angles to begin with, and adding and cutting until I get a large enough size.  Sometimes you lose a point  or need to add a small corner piece, but I am liking it so far.    Her technique results in a very scrappy look.....and I think it will work for what I want to do.    Guess I will be making triangle units this weekend.....
 Happy stitching.  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Borders on

    Borders on and into the stack of projects "to be quilted" it goes.  It may be a couple months before I can do machine quilting,  I need much better control  and strength of the left arm.  
Anyway,  I chose a mottled burgundy fabric for the border to pull out all the reddish tones in the center.  Wish the photo color was better to show this.
   I measured the length in several places before cutting the border strips for the sides......and took the average of 30" for the length.  Using a pencil for marking, I squared up the corners and sides.  The border pieces were lined up with the marked line and sewn.  Then everything was trimmed.  Only one spot has a bit of fullness---at the top---but I believe I can work it in with quilting.

   I had a question about doing a braid with a black or burgundy separator strip and how would that look.   So for your comparison, here is a  photo is  Higher Hope that I made a couple of years ago.  It is one of my favorites and is hanging in the sunroom right now.
    It is the same basic braid pattern using
2 1/2" strips---just a scrappier version.  The braid runs are  separated by a black strip about 1 1/2" wide.    Any and all scrap strips were used including some floral fabrics.  They were arranged by value, blending from one dominant color to the next....usually.    Sometimes  it was hard to define/determine the main color of a fabric,  so I just jumped to another color and started again. Rather than refer to this one as a watercolor or a true color wash, it is what I call blended.  
      Not sure what I will pick up next....maybe just some easy piecing of cobblestones from batik leftovers.  I sure I will find a spark of inspiration.  Happy stitching.  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The watercolor braid

  I got back to joining the braid rows, finally.  All 6 braid runs are  together.  You can see the sides still need to be trimmed and squared with the top and bottom.  And the border added to stabilize all those bias edges.
   Bias stretches...always.  Each row is bias joined to bias in this braid.  That is why I only cut when I am ready to sew...right then.  Even so, you make have some places that don't match too well.   The other braid quilt (and the French Braid too) that I made  had a separator strip sewn between each run.   So I wasn't sewing bias to bias.  

   But luckily, these are busy prints and  make for good camouflage!  Note the bottom triangles where the dark row joins the light row.....way off.  Yet the rest of the row was almost perfect.
  Technique Tip:
   This area matched well too.   I did not pin  right at the edge, but rather about an inch in from where I would sew.  I was more concerned with the center points of each run staying level and even  across the quilt top......so I also pinned in the center matching those center points.  
     That was all the sewing done today.  It is Day 81....much more progress is being made in PT.  I notice more range of motion to the side and I can raise the arm (with right hand assistance) almost 90 degrees.  So there is improvement and hope.....and more to come.
  Happy stitching.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

FMQ in tiles

  This month's Free Motion Quilting Challenge   by  Angela Walters is great.  It produces a very different effect for background quilting, giving the look of overlapping tiles.  Each tile has a filled with  stitching.   I did two different ones, swirls and stacked teardrops.  Why limit yourself to one when 2 or more will do.
   You begin in one corner creating a tile and filling it in, and then move to the side and repeat.  I did draw my lines as I got to a new section to box in.  And you need to think about where you are stitching, so that you can end up back at the beginning.  I learned that on the second tile when I ended up in the wrong spot.  Oh, well, that is what practice is for.  I just picked another spot and tried again.

 In the center I used what I call stacked teardrops.  A single teardrop shape or paisley is the basis and then you simply do a larger one around the first back to where you began.  If needed I add a third one to fill in or travel to another area.

   This technique creates instant texture and looks wonderful on tonal type fabrics.  I like the
"old world "   feeling that the overlapping tiles give.
  My practice piece is about 9" by 12".....when trimmed and bound, it is going to be a great snack mat.
  Many thanks to Angela for a great lesson.
Happy stitching.   

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Day 75

   Yes, Day 75 for me....I woke up for the first time in 75 days with no pain.  When I said a cheerful  "Good Morning" to Sir Old Man, he was  a little stunned and it took a few seconds to register the tone of my voice. Very appropriate  that it lands on Independence Day--our mid-summer 4th of July--for me.  I do believe I will regain some of that independence  for myself soon.  To celebrate, I sewed this morning.
      I finished off a couple of string pieced mug rugs. Just using lots of bits and pieces of floral fabrics sewn to a muslin base. No plan to them, I used what was next in the pile of strings.
     Next I went to the design wall and tackled the last 2 braid runs of floral fabrics.   Then I put together 3 of them to see what would happen.

     Once I got them stitched together, I realized how reminiscent this one is to "Comings and Goings"  journal quilt project.  The journal quilt was done with squares, and this is done with the braid strips, but visually very much alike.  I seem to have a one track mind with this design.
   Technique hint:    Each braid is cut 2 3/4" from the center point to the edge.....be sure to spray starch before cutting to help stabilize the bias edges that will be created.  Sew immediately....cut, sew, then cut the next one.  Only cut the side you will be sewing.
    I added a link in the side bar for my daughter's new etsy shop, PodBelu.  She is back to making her PodBeLu bags for small knitting projects.  Some bags are quilted and others are up-cycled wool sweaters that she felts and sews.   And she is adding lavender sachets for tucking into your woolen items....now you know why I harvested so much lavender.  Pop over and check it out, please, for Mom's sake.

   Now that I have had fun sewing, it is time to exercise with the beach ball and stick.  What a way to celebrate the 4th.  Hope yours is happy.
Happy stitching.  
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