Friday, May 31, 2013

May NewFOs

 I'm playing again this month.......I am glad I decided to keep it simple this month since we were gone for part of it.  I managed to hit most of my goals.

    My official New FO for May is the Buzz Saw quilt.  All the units are sewn, and about a third of them are joined into blocks.  No new photo as my camera died today!  But you get the idea.

Unofficial New FOs.......are the string snack mats.
All the narrow strings and slivers from the Buzz Saw blocks were used to make 4 snack mats---9"  by 12".   Oops....they are completed FOs!   But I think that counts.

  Second unofficial NewFO.....I started a class at Craftsy --- Art Quilt Backgrounds: Beyond Log Cabins.  I managed to squeeze in 3 lessons and have several more to view.  The first 3 covered fabric selections, and wonky piecing of the log cabins.  I'm looking forward to the rest of the topics, especially the screen printing technique and surface designs.

June plans:  Once again,  I am keeping it very simple for this next month.

  • Get the Buzz Saw blocks joined.
  • Quilt, quilt, least one of the tops in the pile.
  • Pin baste the water color string quilt.
  • Work on string blocks for Faceted Jewels II.
  • Finish up the art quilt class on Craftsy.
Linking to Cat Patches for this month's Linky Party.   Be sure to check out all the links and see what is going on.  
Happy stitching.  

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Festival of Strings

Festival of Strings

I almost missed this!   The Festival of Strings is going on at Stitched in Color.  And there are some great ideas, and lots of string quilts.  Be sure to hop over and check them out.

I have a few small finished strings.....string snack mats that I have shared recently.   I know these don't count , but keep reading.  I do have a quilt top. 

Strings and slivers of batiks are fused to batting.  I then stitched row of upon row of parallel lines for the quilting.  Real big bold prints were used on the backs.  

  I also have a finished and ready to quilt string top.  It is next on my list to get quilted.  I caught the string fever a couple of months ago and began working on these rectangular coin blocks.  I love watercolor quilts, so why not a watercolor string quilt?   Last month I figured out how I wanted them blended, and set to work on making enough sets for this top.  It's a simple throw size of 65" by 50".
   I managed to make a small dent in my stash of 2" strips and some extra strings of floral fabrics with these blocks.  Unfortunately...... well not really that unfortunately....... I  added a few yards of floral fabrics  while in Michigan this last week! Oops!  More about that later.   It just means I need to make more quilts.  

  I do hope you enjoy the Festival of Strings. 

Remember to vote for your favorites in the Blogger's Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side.     
Happy stitching.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

More snack mats

    These snack mats are like potato chips......addictive!    I put together a few more before we left.  This pair has the strings running  in the the other direction along the length of the mat.  Some of the pieces were too short  :(     That's OK....I just over-lapped them and secured the end with a bit of glue stick.  That held them in place until I could stitch it all down.    If you look close at this photo you can see a couple of overlaps.....the yellow strip at the top and the second strip from the bottom.    I was careful in stitching the parallel lines to catch the ends and secure them.  

Some more wild fabric on the back.
Ready for lunch?   Have fun.  
Happy stitching.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Yard sale find

Quick stop on the way to the Farmer's Market yielded this find.  Deana claimed it    
Added info....this is a top only, so it must be finished.  All hand pieced beautifully done.  Colors look like 30s to 40s to me......with feed sack prints.  Cost:  $12.  Is that a find?  :)  

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Quilting tutorials for reference

52 quilting tutorials

  From an email from Martingale Publishers......52 quilting related tutorials have been gathered into a great reference spot.  You name it and they have it covered, or just about!   Lots of great articles, patterns, and hints on choosing  fabrics and color.  There is bound to be something you need to read.    Click here for their blog archive.   Happy stitching.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A few doll quilts to share with you today.  You know I love getting to open those packages and enjoy the special work that comes from Mrs. Claus.

From Connecticut came 4 of the sweetest doll quilts.
       Quiltlady is a member of the HGTV Message Board online.   She used a darling pale lavender backing on all of these quilts.  The variety of prints is just wonderful, each one quite special.   Thank you, Jeanne, Quiltlady from CT for being a Mrs. Claus.

  How about these cute fairies?   They are sprinkling fairy dust and sweet dreams along their way.
This doll quilt comes from Shelia at Cooksewandtravel.  

   Shelia referred to this as the blue doll quilt because of the binding I think.  She used a colorful mix of prints of many colors, yet the binding makes all the blue tones pop.  Just a little lesson in color  ;)  ...... and what borders and binding can do for our quilts.   that you, Shelia, for continuing to be a support and Mrs. Claus from NC.

I just love all of these.  Thank you, Mrs. Claus!

Don't forget to view and vote for you favorite at the Blogger's Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side.

Hopefully we are on the road and missing the bad storms.  
Happy stitching.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Dual projects in wood and fiber

Note the resemblance between the photos.  Only now I realize my "saw blades" are going in reverse......:(   Too late now!

   This is referred to as a carcass in wood shop worker terms.   This project is lying on its side, with the base in the foreground.  Seven panels cut and assembled so far.   This other side looks the same so far......

   Four of the six blocks assembled so far.  I have a dozen of the main blocks to do.  The remaining sections border the full blocks.
     So you know what my project is, what do you think Sir Old Man is up to?

Don't forget the Blogger's Quilt Festival going on at Amy's Creative Side.  Nominations for your favorite quilt are being taken right now.  Enjoy the quilts and projects, and then vote for your favorite overall.  
Happy stitching.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival --Part 2

 Welcome to the Blogger's Quilt Festival, and my part 2!

My second entry is Loose Change, a fun scrap quilt that is throw size.  Why did I call it Loose Change.....all the scraps used in this one came from saved 5" squares or nickels.  I rarely buy pre-cut fabrics, but I do clean up my scraps by cutting them into sizes a la Bonnie Hunter.  My 5 " square box was over flowing, so it was time to stitch them into something.  

    This is the block design I developed.  Two 4-patch units and  two HST units equal one block.  The key is to keep the values distinct.....dark verses light.     I work a lot with value, and my scrap quilts are no exception in that.    This block has a lot of possibilities and many layouts are possible.  For this version I chose to use a simple layout of block to block. 

 My thought process for the finish:
    When it came time to quilt this one, I knew I wanted something a little different than my usual swirl.  I loved the diagonal lines I saw with this layout.   That became a clue as to how to quilt it.  I have spent the last year learning to free motion quilt feathers, so that was one option I considered.  Yet  I finally decided it needed a more open style.  Decision made....stitch a long vine with fern shaped leaves and a few curls thrown in...and accentuate the diagonal.

  Loose Change:
      Finished size is 52" by 67".
      Techniques used:  4 patch, HST,   color value
      Machine pieced and quilted by me.
      Category  is Scrap Quilt.

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the festival.  Happy stitching.

Blogger's Quilt Festival Part 1

  Welcome to the Blogger's Quilt Festival for Spring 2013.  Big thanks to Amy for her hard work in organizing and hosting this feast for the eyes.

     I have shared this before, but it is one of my favorite creations.  I wake up each morning and delight in the play of colors in this color wash quilt.
I wanted sunrise and sunset, shadows and light, soft grass and falling waters.  Depending on my mood or viewing angle, I see it all in this quilt, which I call Wonder of Color.

   It began with a packet of  200 squares purchased from the queen of color, Exuberant Color.  Her packet gave me a vital starting point.....I ended up adding 240 squares from my own stash.  Amazingly,  I discovered only 4 duplicate fabrics in all of these squares.    I sorted the squares by value, and played for days on the design wall until I got it just right.  
   The design was the work, and the sewing a breeze.  I used fusible interfacing as a base to keep everything in line and in place for sewing the rows.  Here's the post where I shared my technique on this.  
  I spent a few weeks debating on the quilting, and in the end decided simple is best.  Straight vertical lines on each side of the seam  line let the color and fabrics do the work.  

 Wonder of Color finished size is 34" by 46". 
 Category entered in is ROYGBIV--color wheel.  
 Techniques used---color wash and value,  fusible    interfacing
Machine pieced and quilted  by me.
  Thanks for stopping by and enjoy  all the entries in the festival.  Happy stitching.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Just a fun project --with update

   I loved how this one turned out!  From a pile of trimmings came this snack mat---bigger than a mug rug really.   I stitched lots of rows on it..... random rows spaced from 1/8" to 3/8" apart....with a variegated thread.  That way I can be sure those slivers are not going anywhere.  The batiks are tightly woven and probably would not fray that much anyway.   I used a large print with butterflies on the back.

   Sir Old Man thought it looked like a landscape.  I love the texture and  I think I need to make another one to have a pair!
Update to this post:
   I was asked for specific details on this, so here is my "recipe" for this snack mat.

  • Batting cut 9 1/2" by 12 1/2"
  • Fusible Heat and Bond Lite cut to exact size of batting 9 1/2" by 12 1/2"
  • Fuse the heat and bond to the batting.  Remove the paper and save  to use for pressing sheet. 
  • Lay strings and slivers of batiks across the batting.  The fusible provides a tacky surface to hold them in place.  Cover the entire surface of the batting in this way.
  • Fuse the stings to the batting.  Use the paper from the fusible as a pressing sheet---save your iron from getting messy.  
  • Cut backing fabric--slightly larger than the fused batting.
  • Quilt row after row of parallel lines.  I did not try to be exact, and varied my width slightly with each row of stitches.  Row vary from 1/8" to 1/4" to 3/8" apart.  I used a heavier quilting thread that was variegated in color.  
  • Trim sides after quilting.  Attach binding of your choice.  I used a narrow zig zag to finish off the binding on the front.  Done! 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Saw blades and Southern favorites

   One afternoon devoted to assembly, pressing and trimming, and I have all the saw blades sections pieced for the buzz saw!  Yay!!!  Now the fun of playing with the colors can begin.    I had been taking my time with these and I was beginning to get bored.  And boredom leads to UFOs, so I went all out and got it done.

I ended up with a pile of tiny strips from the batik strips from the jelly roll stacks.  I thought a little fun would be in order.  Or maybe I am just a bit insane for playing with these.......:)   Nothing is sewn, just fused so far.  I had a piece of batting that was about 9 by 12 inches that already had fusible applied to it.  So I merely laid out the slivers and bits on it, covered with pressing sheet and fused them down.  I will add a backing and do lots of straight line quilting to hold everything down.  I've seen Wanda at Exuberantcolor do this and hers always look so neat.  

   I'm beginning to plan for our trip to Michigan next week.  I made a run to the grocery store for 2 special requests.    What would you expect a pair raised in the South to miss the most?  
  Cheerwine and Duke's Mayo, of course!  We took cases of Cheerwine---nothing else like it--- to Deana when she was in Philly, and now we will deliver them to Michigan.  And Trey is in withdrawal without Duke's for his sandwiches.  It is distinctive and actually made about 5 miles from here.   Nothing like bringing a little taste of home with you.  
   We are traveling Interstate 75 most of the way.....any special places we should plan on stopping to see or great places to eat?  I would appreciate some tips thru Kentucky and Ohio.  

Spring Blogger's Quilt Festival -   I had almost forgotten about the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  Amy has a short post about the new categories and changes she has made for entries.    So check it out and line up your entry.  

Happy stitching.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A trio of doll quilts

  A few weeks ago I was contacted by Amy, who was interested in making a doll quilt for the Get your Mrs. Claus On project.  She read about this project on Vroomansquilts blog.   Thank you, Sharon :) !!
And this week, a box arrived with a trio of doll quilts.

  So bear with me, as I  have to show each one alone.  Colorful balloons and blue sky decorate this one.

   Simple and sweet butterflies on this one make me smile.

   This one  was over the top.....a watercolor style Trip Around the World.   How wonderful!

   Actually, all three are wonderful and so special.  Amy's note expressed her thanks for being able to participate and having  a way to give back.  Amy chose to represent the states of New York, Hawaii, and Alaska.  Thank you for being a Mrs. Claus.
   I am so glad to be along for the ride and get to see each and every gift from quilters all over the country.  I am rarely at a loss for words.......I really don't know how to express my appreciation and let you all know how touched I am.  Thank you.

A big hug to all the Mrs. Claus the world over.....a special Happy Mother's Day to you all for spreading your love.  To all enjoy your special day.  Happy stitching.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Quilter's favorites

  Geta is hosting this week of Sharing and Learning.  She posted a long list of great questions that we could chose to answer  for our sharing.  I had a terrible time deciding on a question, so in my usual  mixed up style,  I decided to wing it and cover a couple of things that  might be of interest.

 My Favorite Quilting tool:
Ruby Beholder from Martingale and That Patchwork Place
    Beyond the usual quilting notions and  favorite tools of  snips, glue sticks, and seam ripper  there is my Ruby Beholder.   It is a value finder  that is designed to help you sort  and select fabrics by value.  It's a piece of  transparent red plastic  that  removes  the color  and leaves the  gray value.  It is like turning the fabric or block into a black and white photo.    It is invaluable when I am working on a watercolor or color wash quilt and a great help when doing  scrap quilt layouts.   There are several types and brands on the market.

My favorite Technique:
     If you have been here before, you know  that is doing water color quilts.  I have explained my design process in many posts. So gathering them together,  I put  up a tutorial page (see list under the banner at the top)  that will walk you through 2 methods:  using the gridded interfacing technique and a strip-pieced technique for watercolor quilts.
  This technique begins and ends with value and fabric selection.  I use busy multi-colored prints, mainly florals, but also paisleys work great.  You need lots of choices, but only a small amount of each.  So fat quarters fit the bill.   
    It's hard to pick a favorite watercolor quilt, but this one with the thread painted cardinal is quite special to me.  Even though I designed it for the winter season, it hangs somewhere in the house all the time.  

Tip for storing fabric:
  My large collection of floral fabrics are usually folded and stored in bins on  shelves in my stash closet.  Mainly those fabric cuts are small and less than a yard.  But what about the larger yardage cuts for borders and backings especially?   

  About 4 years ago, I began using the mini-bolts for storage.  When I first  began this, I was using a thin plastic insert.  Later I switched  to using  foam core board.  The foam core  can be purchased at the Dollar Store in the 2 foot by 3 foot size usually.  I cut the size-- that works best for me-- 11" to 12" high by 8" wide.    It's easy to cut with a craft knife.  I often end up with smaller sections of the boards and they work great for shorter cuts--- those under a yard.
  Today, I am even more frugal.....I use old  yard campaign signs or yard signs of any kind that I house for sale, or other advertising.  They get knocked down or the wires rust out.  I collect them, wash them up, and cut  to the size I like.    I'm saving the land fill (if they would ever make it there) and keeping my dollars for fabric and thread.  

   Fabric is folded just like it comes off the bolt.  Then one more fold---bringing the folded side over to match the selvedge edge.  Roll it up and pin the end.  
     The mini-bolts make it easy to see what I have to work with.  I am  known to be pretty messy and scattered, so this really helps me neater.   And what fun to shop your own fabric store in your stash closet.
  Finally.......Got questions.....please ask.   I love to share and  welcome all questions.  Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the other great links.
Happy stitching.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Some layout ideas for string quilts

   The lowly string quilt can take on so many varied looks.  It can be done in squares, and rectangles, or diamond shapes.  The block can be made to mimic a log cabin (half light, half dark) and be set in the multiple log cabin layouts.  It can be a solid block of strings or a partial and open up a whole new world of layouts.  Here's just a small sampling of what I have seen.

   I am getting ready to start a smaller version of this string quilt for me.  It's just a great quilt when you need a color fix or a day brightener...and I have a mountain of strings that I want to use.    The tutorial for the construction can be found here.   A printable photo of the layout out is here.

  So what if you are  not into bold or bright?  Change the palette and use softer values of the colors and a white strip instead of black.  Here's a version done with white.  
Shabby Strings from asimplelifequilts

  I fell in love with the Shabby Strings that Deb at asimplelifequilts made.  Lots of low contrast floral print fabrics soften the mood and create such a beautiful quilt.

Shabby Strings: closer view

The strings are sewn on the diagonal without the dividing stripe to break up the block.   The closer view photos shows the blocks before joining.
Thanks, Deb, for allowing me to share this quilt here.

Here's another version  I ran across too.

Butterfly Strands
From  FreshLemons

   This  modern version  uses part strings mixed with a solid block.   A very cute updated look.  I see butterfly wings in a blue sky maybe  in my future!    Here's the tutorial for this quilt at freshlemons blog.  

  After looking at lots of photos, books, and blogs
 I collected lots of "pins"  of strings.....
Click to see the album of different string quilts on Pinterest.   Maybe you will find something to delight you and inspire you to stitch up some stash.

 Happy stitching.  

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A finish and a start, some progress

 So this is what April brought........a finish, a start, and some progress.
  •  The guild challenge quilt is put together with the borders on.  It is ready for pinning and then the quilting fun begins.  
  • Buzzsaw is in the works.
  • Stings and coins.....the on-going watercolor to use up lots of strips.  Only they seemed to have multiplied!
  • Loose Change is this month's finish.  This was the scrap quilt made from 5" square stash.
May is next up.....time for some plans and focus.

Water strip quilt----get it sewn together.  Nicki's recent comment gave me some additional inspiration on how to finish this one up.  I was stumped on the border--or not-- and now I have a vision.  Thanks for the help!
Make more buzzsaw blocks.  I actually got  a few  more done yesterday as they go together quickly now.

Never Too Hot to Stitch!Pin the challenge quilt....this month.  I have till September to finish this so it may not get quilted till later.

Start a NewFO......strings to carry me for the summer months.  I love the mindless sewing that a string quilt brings.  I get to play with color and create some drama.    I have been collecting ideas for layouts of string quilts to share.  

  And that is all I am committing to for May.....unless something else pops in.  
 Linking to 2013 Finish Challenge

Oh.....and I don't want to forget to welcome a new Mrs. Claus!
  This sweet little doll quilt came a couple of days ago.  It was made and donated by Happy Erme of the HGTV Message board.  She sent this to represent the state of New Mexico.   Such beautiful colors!  Thanks so much, I really appreciate the help and support.

Happy stitching.

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