Tuesday, April 30, 2013

New FO for April

2013NewFO   Not bad this month.  I stuck to my plans and had a finish, a new start, and 2  in progress.    I think this planning stuff really does work!    OK, I do the work, and the planning keeps me focused.  I am not sure where the days went this month, so I am glad I planned a lighter load. Now about that NewFO........

 The NewFO took  up a lot of time because of all the prepping and cutting.   But the first full block---18" buzzsaw  block-- is done.
   I expect  this will be in progress for a while, as I have about 40 of these to put together!

The rest of the fabric is stacked in strips and ready to turn into blocks, which will really go fast this month.  I just need to sort them a bit and make sure I get a good mix and variety in each large block.
Note:  This block uses the technique for Delectable Mountains from large HSTs plus and an extra strip.  I explained my measurements in this post.

   This was some  free motion quilting practice time, not really a project.  I wanted to see if  I could do a feather with a center stem--yes!--and individual plumes--yes!---with a branch--yes!  The outlining and meandering are rather boring to me...........so when I ran out of bobbin I stopped  :(

   This was a lot more fun, just feathers and curls.  On the far right I was playing around with another version  of a feather that Patsy Thompson uses.
Can you believe I was battling feathers 15 months ago?  I am here to say practice times 3 and anyone can do this.  

  More progress on the watercolor strip quilt, which was a NewFO a couple of months ago.   It is probably long enough and needs maybe one more row before I call this one done.  I used a lot of strips but once again they seem to continue to multiply on me.

  The NewFO from January is a top.  The borders were added to this challenge quilt--that was my goal for this month.  Now it is ready to pin for quilting.

  EQ7 is starting up some summer drawing lessons....see the button in the side bar.  I hope to participate and learn a lot more about it.  There was a major upgrade that came across last week for EQ7.  I haven't had enough time to discover what was added.

May's NewFO?   Do I need another project?   Not really, but there are all those strips and strings.....so May will be an easy NewFO.  It will be a short sewing time month for me as I have a classes  to teach and  we are planning to venture north to see the furkins .....and daughter and son-in-law.   So if anyone wants to string along----oops, I mean sew along---with me, then get those strings sorted into color families and make some plans accordingly.

Linking to NewFO at CatPatches.
Happy stitching.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Another batch arrived

Can you stand more doll quilts?  I promised to post about these over the weekend, and I apologize for being late with the post.  We had massive downpours and rain all weekend.....I needed a little sun for photos!  But I won't complain about the rains as we all need them and everything is green today....especially the weeds!

   Amiko claims the title of Mrs. Claus from Pennsylvania.  She is a member of the HGTV Message Board.
   I love the color combo and the rick rack accent she used on this darling little quilt.


  She also sent a second one of 30's prints.  And then she did an edge treatment with lace.  What a neat idea to make this so original.
  Thank you so much for helping.

   Nicki, the extraordinary organizer and motivator for the Mrs. Claus doll quilt project at the HGTV Message Board, sent these 4 doll quilts.  She referred to them as simple, but I see smiles!  The 3 at the bottom are simply cut to size and quilted from donated fabric.....and then bound differently.  She represents 4 states.....Texas, Louisiana, Nebraska, and the District of Columbia.

   Not to be missed is the one created from a panel print.   She knows my heart....see the red cardinal and the kitty in the window.   Thanks so much, Nicki, for all your help and friendship.
   I thought this was so great to use this type of panel print trimmed with coordinating fabric.  I need to check my stash....I may have some older panels stuck in there somewhere.  
  And these bring the total to date to 50!  So the need for 100 doll quilts will be met I am sure this year.   I need to venture over to the woodworker's guild shop and see exactly what those elves are up to, I think.  I will put that on the agenda for May.  

  Did I really say May?  This month zipped by so fast I almost missed it.  I need to get  my monthly wind up done and makes some plans for next month.    There's a new button on the side bar for Quilter's Favorites  beginning May 10.  Geta is hosting this linking party as a time for sharing and learning.   She does amazing work....check it out.  Happy stitching.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A doll quilt fix!

 There's nothing like a little help from your friends to make your day brighter and the load lighter.  Especially if those friends are of  the Mrs. Claus variety.   So, can you guess what came in the mail?

  Three lovelies from  Sharon at VroomansQuilts  were the first on the scene.  All I can say, is wow, she has an amazing stash of leftover blocks!  I love the different ways that Sharon comes up with putting them together.  The two red ones are so cheery and perfect doll quilts for Christmas.


  She used a wonderful assortment of blue fabrics in the third one.  I so love the wonderful snowflake fabrics in this.  There's nothing like a blue and white quilt to soothe and calm.  Thank you so much for being a very prolific Mrs. Claus.

  A new Mrs. Claus sent a package this week, too.
       Kaylaquilts is a member of the Message Board at HGTV.   She signed up as Mrs. Claus to represent 3 different states  this year. ...Arizona, Missouri, and Alaska.    Aren't these beautiful!!

  For all the hexagon lovers, check these 2 out.  Kayla did a heart layout for one, and the hexagons are just under 2" in it.  Such a great design.

    But this little quilt representing the state of Alaska deserves its own special photo.  It really is so wonderful.  The hexagons finished off at 3/4"!!!!  And she hand quilted it also with a decorative feather stitch.  I can't say enough about her artistry on this one.....it is so very special. ( I will have to hide it from Rudy the mascot.....he is liable to try to save it for himself!)
  Thank you so much for being a Mrs. Claus and a new friend.
Both of you are going to make some little girls very happy this year.

  All the Mrs. Claus doll quilts are so inspirational.  Each one is a wonderful blend of fabrics and talent, leftover blocks, scraps, a stage to try a new technique, or repeat what you love.  The variety always amazes and moves me. I love sharing what others donate.  I hope you find some inspiration here.
   Happy stitching.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Loose Change

  Save all your nickels---5" squares---and make a quilt!
  I found a perfect graphic of  $ signs to use on the label after I figured out a name.  Loose Change seemed to fit and apply to all those nickel squares.

  I used leftover strips for the binding----purple, red, and green prints.

   Everything seemed to have burst into bloom almost over night.  I just could not resist grabbing a little bit of that color in these photos.  Nothing quite tops a beautiful Spring day and a new quilt.....unless it is buying more fabric!  And I did that earlier today.

  This is my last practice page that I drew before beginning to quilt.....just to give you an idea of what I was trying to create.  Note that none of the leaves are really "perfect" and the stem is imaginary.  The back stitching and touching the prior leaf or curl gives that illusion of a stem.     I can't stress enough how much the sketching has improved my machine work.  To say nothing of the confidence it builds.  Hope your sketch book is getting filled.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Under the needle

      I taught another beginning free motion quilting class on Monday, and had a couple of questions posed that were very good.  Both  questions made me stop and think about how I approach the quilting part of this whole process.    I like the piecing and sewing part, love the designing and colors, and enjoy enhancing the quilt with the quilting.
   So the first question concerned where to begin when you start quilting.  I had taken this small runner as an example of meandering / stippling. It turned out to be a good example.   I picked a spot near the main vine and leaf that is near the center as the beginning point.  Since I was quilting the background only and using a simple fill stitch, the actual spot did not matter.  If it was to be filled in with a geometric or gridded stitch pattern, planning and marking would be needed.

   Second question was how do I decide where to quilt, like on a log cabin quilt.  A log cabin is traditional stitched along the logs or in the ditch to enhance the pattern.  So my response right off was.....what part of the design to you want to accentuate?  Do you want the dark logs or the light logs to stand out?   A good rule of thumb---which is often broken here---is to quilt down the part you want to recede and leave the area you want to stand out un-quilted, or at least only lightly stitched down.

   All this relates to how was I going to quilt that scrap quilt from 5 " squares.  So enough words.....here's how I quilted it.


   I did not want to just do an all over pattern, which is my usual habit.  And there is no border on this one either.  So I asked those questions....what did I want to enhance, and what did I want to recede or ignore.

Since I liked the diagonal row effect of the pattern, I wanted to visually enhance that aspect. So I quilted long vines with loose curls and wavy leaves in each diagonal row that the pattern creates.
   You can see the stitching better on the corner of the back that I flipped over.

  I also alternated the direction of the vines with every row....some  go up and some come down.  It's a little different style for me....and I really like it.   Not what I would normally think to do....the vine was a border motif  I ran across and adapted.
   Anyway, it will be a good example for the next class on Monday when I teach the swirls and vines.  A little binding needs to be done, too....and the label.  And better photos when it is finished.

Happy stitching.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Question and doll quilts

  I've been marking squares and sorting strips with little to show at this stage on the Buzzsaw.   A question was asked about why I chose the 10" size for the squares for the block.  It was dictated by the size of some batiks in my stash that I wanted to use.  I could just squeeze a 10" cut out of them and nothing larger.
     Here's the math I used for this block.  From the 10" squares--one background and one batik--- make 2  HST blocks.  These should be 9 1/2" blocks.  
You need to make 4 subcuts.   9 1/2" divided by 4 equals 2 3/8".   I could live with that measurement.
That also means that the extra full strip needs to be trimmed  to 2 3/8" by 9 1/2" long.
Note:   When you do the subcuts, be sure to keep the fabric lay out exactly the same---dark on the bottom right for me.  If it was changed to the top, I would be creating mirror image blocks.....that does not work for the buzzsaw.

 A better and more ideal size would be 10 1/2" for the squares that you turn into  10" HSTs.   And your subcuts would be 2 1/2" wide.   Any measurement that is easily divided by 4 is the trick  for this block.

And in the mail.......2 doll quilts from Mrs. Claus in Montana!

 These two cuties came from StinMT, who is a member of the HGTV Message Board.  She used the cutest fabrics.....almost like an I Spy quilt in miniature size.   And she embroidered the label directly to the back fabric.   I really appreciate these gals and all they do to help.  And I really admired their great, great stitching, fabrics and exact matching!   Thank you, Shirley, for these.

I am baking some Amish Cinnamon Bread today for a family breakfast tomorrow.....my brother is bringing Remy up for the weekend.  Remy has the weekend all planned......help Uncle Russ cut grass, and pull weeds in the garden for Aunt Deb, and wash big brother Justin's truck.   He also wants to go to Clemson for the game, go downtown for the rides, and so on!  I'm tired just thinking about it, but at 4 he has energy enough for all of us.
Enjoy the weekend and happy stitching.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The first cut

   Why is the first cut always the hardest?   All that lovely fabric just waiting for the rotary cutter.....and I was so hesitant to take the first slice.   Be brave and do it, so I did.
   At the top of the photo are  the  large
10 " squares of background fabric and squares of the batiks and Stonehenge fabrics, along with extra strips.  Below is the first test block to check for size and measurements.  Well, actually, it is 1/4 of the full block.

   So what the pattern?     Sir Old Man saw the buzz saw quilt on Wanda's blog--Exuberant Color--- one morning and really liked the pattern.  I'm not sure if it was the name or the pattern that appealed to him, but that is what he wanted.   So I agreed....anything to convince him I need that free motion machine soon.


 The technique is not hard and just takes a little planning.  It is  the Scrappy Mountains method  that Bonnie Hunter does.     Plus an additional strip added to one side to make a square block.    You get great looking points with no match sewing, and  I love that.
    So, I officially started a NewFO this month.   And I will be at it for a while as this one is to be large.  I will have to find a couple of small projects to throw in this month, just to keep things interesting.   But I did get a bonus....a nice pile of strings to add to my collection, and plenty of extra fabric for a Pineapple Blossom throw that I want.

   Insight:   The more  quilts and projects you make, the more scraps and strings you create.    I'm sure this is obvious to most of us, but the reality hit me after today's cutting session.   Now to create something with them.
   All this complaining about Spring being late....today I think summer arrived as it is 83 degrees outside!   Sounds like a good reason to stay inside and sew.  Happy stitching.  

Monday, April 8, 2013

A little "string fever"

    Since Spring is taking its time in arriving, I think I have "string fever" instead.  Everywhere I look I see string blocks and quilts.  Diagonal strings done in colorways like a rainbow,  or set in a star design.  Strings done in monochromatic pattern, pastel strings, batik strings, and on and on.  Stings with applique are popping up too.  And now I am finding coin stacked strings and strips..... and that's my cue.
     I took the stack of coin floral blocks and played with them on the design wall.  This setting includes some of the vertical strips blocks.  Some parts of the layout I like and other parts just are a little rigid and linear, I think.   I am not sure I like the vertical blocks in the mix, so the next layout I eliminated them.

  I  like this one much better....the columns are blended  and have that  woven effect.  I'll let this one rest on the design wall for a while and see how it grows.  At least I have a "string type" project to break this string fever.  And wouldn't you know it....the weather is warming up a lot this week for us!

  For all the mug rug lovers.....the April Showers Blog hop has lots of inspiration going on.
Happy stitching.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Whimsical garden is a top

    The borders are added to the guild challenge quilt.  Follow the stepping stones of the borders to see what is hidden in the garden....or at least that is my interpretation.   But before I pin it for quilting, I want to add more flower appliques.
   So that is one goal for the month met, almost.  And that means I can play with the new fabrics and begin to cut!

SewCalGal posted a new installment for Free Motion Quilting.  
  The tutorial is by Joanne of Thread Head and she is challenging us with more feathers.  I love her comment .....  "Just like signatures, we all develop our own style of free motion quilted feathers. This tutorial is to make you look at different styles of feathers, to figure out what you like and then try quilting some feathers to work on your own unique style."
   Exactly my feelings!  So I am adding this challenge to my list for April.

String Attack is going on at Stitched in Color with a series of tutorials on string piecing.  She is fueling my appetite for a string quilt.  If you need inspiration, check it out.
Happy stitching.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A day off

  Sir Old Man needed a little distraction and time away from all his volunteering and over-seeing of his Dad.    Since he is also interested in old cars, I planned a surprise excursion for us.  We went to see a collection of cars at  Bennett's Classic Cars in Forest City, NC.   He was a bit surprised when we pulled in and he saw the old car signs.  

   And right in the front was his all time favorite model....a Shelby Cobra GT.    Let's just say he spent a good while checking it out and talking with the owner about all the details.  
   The two brothers amassed this collection over the years, rebuilt them, and now love to share them with the public.  Almost everything is in running condition and some of the older Model A's are rented out for special events and wedding transport for the bride and groom.  A really neat idea. 

A special display caught my eye.....so I spent a little bit of time checking out the deputy who drove this one.  The Mayberry Sheriff's car from the Andy Griffith show  has been restored and the dash was even signed by Don Knotts, who was the lovable Barney on the show.    They have a full size Barney cut-out figure standing behind the car.  A great touch of nostalgia   
 And then I saw the "8".......One of Dale, Jr.'s practice cars when he was still driving the number 8 is also on display.  

But the one I wanted to bring home......was the 1948 Crossley.  It is so cute and reminded me of today's mini-vans, although it was called a station wagon back then.   I love the creamy yellow!
   After a late lunch and  we ended up at our favorite bookstore, which is always a great way to end the day.

   Happy stitching.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Covered label

   I am adding this tutorial after getting several questions about the booklet style labels.  I thought I had done this before, but I can't find the post on it.  Those blogger gremlins  must have run away with it.  I will set a permanent link on the tutorial page, too.  

  Making a special label for a quilt or wall hanging is a little time consuming,  but so worth the effort.  Just a little planning and a few small pieces of fabric and you can make it really different.  Whether you use a handwritten label or printed computer label,  you can create a covered or booklet style label.    Here's what I did for a gift wall hanging. 

I printed my label with graphics onto Printed Treasures fabric.  I cut it to size and added 2" border strips of fabric to three sides.    This will be the inside of the label.  To the top side of this part,  I  will  add a larger piece of fabric.  I needed the over all length long enough to fold in half  equally.  

This is the inside label that has been sewn and trimmed to size.  The fabric of the outside of the label is a single piece of fabric that is cut  to the same size.   You could get creative and strip piece this or use a small pieced block on this too.  Note the layout position of the fish applique....the fish will end up on the outside of the label.  Now flip the outside label over onto the inside label, right sides together and keeping the fish applique against the plain fabric portion.  

Stitch a 1/4" seam around all 4 sides.   Then you cut a 2 " slit in the fabric that is facing the printed label.....this section will become the backside of the whole label.  Read the last sentence again--cut slit for turning in the outside fabric facing the printed label.

 Turn inside out and poke out the corners, press well.   The section with the slit  will be stitched or fused down to the back of the quilt and not be seen.  

Now just fold in half and your label is ready to attach.   Attach by fusing if desired, or hand stitch to back of the quilt or wall hanging.
    Thanks for the questions.   We are off for a short day trip----a surprise for Sir Old Man.  He has no idea where we are heading and I'm sure he thinks it is a fabric hunt.  ;)  Won't he be shocked  when it is not!  Happy stitching.  

Monday, April 1, 2013

Finishes and April focus

  The big finish for March was the Easy Street mystery quilt.  My version is called Walking in Sunshine and I raved about it here.    It is a bit ironic that I am showing it again on April 1....because my darling girl was born today and Sir Old Man always calls her his Sunshine.  So happy birthday, Deana....we love you.
   I stayed on track for March and worked on or completed what I had listed.  Of course it helps that I am doing finishes in stages over 2 or 3 months, or making small things.  That is what I figured out works for me.  I like multiple projects going on, but I detest true UFOs.  If it sits too long, a project usually turns into a no-do.  So by taking small  steps to the finish, I will  get it done.

 The guild challenge quilt is still in progress, even though I put it aside for a week or so.  The applique is done and the first border is on and that was my plan for March.  Yesterday, I began some piecing for the rest of the borders.  And that's my focus for April on this one---get the top completed and ready to quilt.

  Here's the focus  list for April:
   Guild challenge quilt---finish the borders and pin for quilting.
   Quilt the scrap quilt made from 5" squares.
   Make more blocks for the floral blended coins quilt. Another dozen done.....about 80 more to do.
   NewFO for April is the batik quilt for our bed....begin cutting and do a test block.  (What you expect me to list more?)
    Strings----I have been obsessed lately with string quilts.  I even set up a String Quilt board on Pinterest.  So I know I'll be doing something soon.
    Buy fabric....for the 2 baby quilts to be for Maria.  This is on hold until we know boy/girl for sure.
  And lastly......put the push on for the long arm table top machine.  I'm teaching 2 more classes, so that's the down payment!
Linking with Lynne for the 2013 Year the Finished Project.
   Enough for now......got fabric to play with. Happy stitching.
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