Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Colorful doll quilts

   These doll quilts are all about the color.  Simple pattern of 4 patches and checkerboards are perfect for displaying colorful fabrics. And that is what this Mrs. Claus is all about, I think.
   Kari, who is known as Karibbean Quilter on the HGTV Message board included a note about her little quilts.     The quilt on the left is for
"Nevada's colorful (see!) Red Rock Canyon, bright sunshine and backyard pools".  And the one on the right she made to represent the Virgin Islands...."vibrant hibiscus, beautiful seas and crisp white sails."  She used the Michael Miller line of dots.  And captured her island view perfectly!

And she knows how to finish off each one by using her custom labels.  Just so cute that I wanted to be sure to share this detail.

  Thank you, Mrs. Claus, for helping and sharing your colorful world with us all.

Monday, April 28, 2014

A charming Let's Book It

   Finally, I get to share my mini....A Wee Bit of Charm.  This is my  Let's Book It project.  I scaled the project down to fit the table top display stand.  I wanted something bright and cheerful for the spring/summer here.
  This is based on the Charming quilt by Carol Armstrong that was published in 2007 in McCall's Quilting magazine. (I shared Kathryn's saga for this project here.) Again I did not follow directions as published---rather I used raw edged applique for all the squares.  And yes, they are not quite perfect, but who's looking!
  The raw-edge applique took a lot of trimming to get rid of all the whiskers.  Maybe I should have just fused them down.  Anyway, while trimming, I ponder a variation to this little one.  And decided to give it a try.  Here's a bit of my thought process......

  I cut bricks....2 " by 4" pieces from a huge stack/ pile / assortment of floral fabrics. I uncovered a charming minty green fabric in the stash closet and cut about 25 1" strips.  The mint green was to be the "mortar" between the "bricks", like a garden path.  This idea lead me to the layout using the running bond pattern so favored by brick masons for a walkway.

   You will notice I am avoiding the use of the word "sashing" because it is well known that I don't like to do sashing between blocks.  I much prefer the  reference to mortar  :)     Even so,  I mortared my way through the garden fabric, a little each day, cutting and fitting, making things fit.  Amazingly, I did not abandon the project, but rather enjoyed seeing how it developed.  Or it could be I was enjoying the fabric I was playing with?

  For the wall hanging size....I made up a variation too for the applique, which I staggered in the layout.  I mean, why follow the pattern/rules when you are just playing with an idea!
  I wanted all the colorful bricks of fabric to be the stars, so the  green mortar was quilted down with wiggles, and pebbles and whatever.  I love how it makes the bricks puff up just enough.

  My two Let's Book It projects together....A Wee Bit of Charm and Charming Bricks.
   Charming Bricks is now ready for binding!  This one is going to fill the blank space on  the sewing room wall.  It finished at 26" by 36".

   Thanks to Sharon at Vrooman's Quilts for hosting this idea and linky party.  You can find the other participants here. You might want to join in next month....just choose a project  and stitch away.

Happy stitching.

Linking to Freemotion by the River for Linky Tuesday. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

From new fabric

  While folding and cutting strips from the new fabric, I asked myself the "What if..." question and got caught up in finding out.  Based on my "Let's Book it" project for this month, so I will wait to show it then.  Hopefully I will have a completed flimsy today.

   The watercolor is still on the design wall....I need to add the final border when the inspiration strikes.  Some things just need to simmer a while, right?

   So a little instant gratification was needed.  I tried out a quick tutorial for thread catchers that I had pinned on Pinterest.  Too cute!  They are small but perfect for catching snippets of thread, and they take about 30 minutes start to finish.  And I got to dig through my button boxes to finish them off.

  I am looking for inspiration for next project and just seem to be in a lull.  With all the new fabric, I am pretty sure it will involve those florals.
Happy stitching.  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ignoring all distractions

    Spring brings distractions.  This morning I watch two cardinals battle it out over the territory just off the front porch.  Cheeping and fluttering around, each  was trying to stand his ground on either side of the sidewalk.  They made quite a display of themselves, and I hope the Mrs. was watching.  I sure enjoyed their antics.
   And emails, and new followers.....I have been trying to answer all questions if possible.  Answering does take time and provides another pleasant distraction.   So welcome new readers, let me know where you blog so I can visit.

   Fabric sales.....another wonderful distraction.  I am blaming my purchases on Sir Old Man this time.  He just had to visit Woodcraft for a new "whats-it" thing for the shop. Actually, he came home with several new items, and I felt the need for new fabric.  I have been very good about not buying or enhancing my stash for 6 months or so.  My fabric diet was causing me to just waste away!  So new floral fabrics are on their way as I have several ideas in my head that are keeping me awake at night.
   To justify---at least to myself---I spent the day playing at the design wall.  It is so hard to take good photos of a watercolor project.  You will have to take my word for it the trail of dark works.  By putting the photo on the computer, I can see a couple of spots that need tweaking, and the light on the bottom right is a bit too muddy.
   I have two sizes of squares  in this one.....just to see what happens.  I had a handful of 4 inch squares that I trimmed to 3 1/2" and the rest are from my supply of 2" squares.  That means I will be sewing little 4 patches of 2 inch squares to match the larger square, as I won't be using the gridded interfacing.

   I finished up my Let's Book It project.....it turned out so cute for a small table top quilt.  But I will wait to share it at the end of the month.  Instead, I want to share a photo sent to me by Kathryn at Needles and Pins.
   When I shared a sneak peek at my project for the month, she responded with this photo and story....a quilt tale!  
  She found the article in an older magazine, which was missing the pull out pattern section for the applique.  Kathryn contacted the magazine and was told they no longer had the requested information.   Then a while later, her husband bought her a new magazine, and guess what she found?  Inside the magazine in the "share your quilt section"  was a photo of a lady who had made two of these for her son and grandson.  Ever resourceful, Kathryn contacted the lady who gladly shared the pattern with her.  Quite a story for this little charmer quilt that she proudly displays on her sewing room door.  Thank, Kathryn, for letting me share your quilt tale.
  Moral of the quilt tale:   Be resourceful!  Or be sure to hang onto those older magazines and pattern sections.  I can assure you, one day you will need them.

   So if I seem quiet, it is because I am distracted. Or stitching on this small banner, or planning the next one, or cutting new fabric.....enjoy Spring!
Happy stitching.    

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mrs. Claus may live near you

It was pouring down rain when I saw the postal truck turn into the driveway.  I sent Sir Old Man to the door when we hear the horn start beeping.  I just had a feeling that something special had arrived. And luckily, the rain stopped, the sun briefly came out, and we did a quick photo shoot!

  From Arizona.....
Mrs. Claus  sent 2 quilts.  Bright and colorful little cuties.  These were made by Wiley, who is a member of the HGTV Message board.  Wiley has been a faithful supporter and makes  many doll quilts each year for us.  I love the farmer on his tractor in the whole cloth one.  The strip pieced one even looks a little bit like a landscape.  Thanks, Wiley, for helping...these are wonderful.

  From Montana.....
Mrs. Claus, aka Bozie on the HGTV Message Board, sent a stack of unbelievable doll quilts.

Each one of these are so special that I want to feature each one for all to see, not only for  her workmanship, but to really enjoy the patterns.

  Puppies from Montana.....Mrs. Claus used 6 different embroidered puppies to create this little one in redwork.  Such a delightful doll quilt.

  A simple checkerboard quilt in the purple and green is anything but simple!  Each block with the heart print is fuzzy cut!

  And just look at the fans.  Using tiny print reproduction fabrics, Mrs. Claus Bozie machine appliqued each one.  Just so adorable.

  The using the same reproduction style fabrics, she created a square in a square star quilt.

   And look at the Bear Paws!  Those are so tiny and perfect!  This little doll quilt is so beautiful.

 Another peek at the fans.....and the wonderful colors of the Card Trick quilt.  Found a favorite yet?  If not, read on, because I think this one is it!

   The Pineapple just is breath-taking!  I really am in total awe of this one.  Although the construction of a pineapple block is quite simple, there are lots of pieces in each section.  The difficult part of its construction is keeping everything squared up.  One side tends to grow larger than the other....ask me how I know.  So I am highly praising this small quilt.  And the colors are wonderful, too.

And one more detail to mention......

  Mrs. Claus added labels to the back of each one.  Such a great finishing detail to set off her beautiful work.

   Every time I open a box or envelope with doll quilts in it, I am humbled.  It swells my heart and lightens my day to know that there are wonderful caring and giving quilters across this great and glorious land we call home.  They share their time and their talents with  those they do not know.  They spread joy and love.  That is the embodiment of the Get your Mrs. Claus on project.  I am thankful for each of you.  And I bet there is a Mrs. Claus that lives near you.  She's the one making small quilts.  Hugs and happy stitching.  

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Mail delivery

It has been another one of those weeks where time has slipped away and I am behind again.  I wanted to share  the doll quilts that came in just this week before I get lost in the sewing room.

 A new Mrs. Claus sent this little pink beauty to me.  Karen is a Mrs. Claus from Ohio.
Thank you for joining this project.  I love meeting new quilters and Mrs. Claus too.

 Mrs. Claus used an adorable balloon flannel on the back.   So soft.
  You might like to drop in and visit  her at ksquiltingkorner.

   From Mrs. Claus in New York came these little cuties!  I always love to open her packages.....they are full of bright and cheerful doll quilts.  Of course, you know who I mean.....Sharon of Vroomans Quilts.
  She has been a solid supporter of this project and continues to spread the word around blogland.  Thank you....hugs!

  I recovered from Remy's visit.....chasing him with that dart gun is tiring!  He prefers to be the bad guy and get chased, so he can say "You can't catch me!".   My knees can't take much of that, but the hugs were worth it.  And Dinks, the Elf on the shelf, dropped in to visit Remy.  Only in the eyes of a child do we find such wonder and amazement over a handful of mints and a note.

   The Tiara demo/class went well, I think.  The biggest thing I learned.....most new users are scared of it!  Don't be.  Get on it and practice, practice, practice.....then have a glass of wine  and repeat!   No matter how many tips I share, nothing improves your confidence like practice.
  You will notice a new button/link on the side bar.  I was contacted by Fave Quilts to be featured  on their website.   First up is the strip pieced watercolor tutorial.  If you are looking for info on tutorials or techniques or patterns, this is a great place to begin your search.  There are plenty of links to good things there.
  Time to get busy.....happy stitching.  

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A bit of therapy

  My brother and nephew arrived for a few days this week.....even so I have managed  to squeeze in a bit of sewing while they were out doing the park and shopping thing.  I fed them a big breakfast today and sent them off  and I ran to the sewing room for a bit of therapy!

Here's a peek at my Let's Book It project for the month.   It is very close to being done, and quite small.   Picking the fabrics to use made this one a lot of fun to work on.  I may need to make another one for a gift!

   I began playing with the scraps and strips for the blended scrap strata quilt.  The sample I saw on Pinterest was done in color ways.  Ummmmm....that may not be the way I go after all.

   Developing the strata groups requires several good combinations in each colorway to get enough variety. To achieve that requires cutting new fabrics....not what I wanted to do here.  So now I am thinking that I will try a few sets of strips that are mixed colors but very strict on value placement.
   If you are thinking of sewing along with me on this.....be sure to check out the tutorial on the strata and block construction.  I am using 2 1/2" strips because that is what I have.
   A couple of tips to remember.....a good 1/4" seam is needed or your strata will be too narrow or too wide.  Pressing.....watch out for the tucking at seam lines.  Press it well.

   I have a Tiara Class to teach on Tuesday.....new adventure for me.  I finished up the sampler for stitches...... finally.  This is for the basic Free Motion Quilting Class but thought I would share it at this class as well.  Goofs and all  :)  If you put enough thread on there, the quilt police will go blind looking for the bad stitches!
  Enjoy the rest of the weekend and happy stitching.
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