Sunday, July 27, 2014

On the Journey

My word for this year was JOURNEY, involving myself more in the process than my investment in the finish.  I have been doing more hand work than usual, and less speed-sewing (except for that one lapse for the Row by Row Experience)...

Anyway, I kinda lost my mojo a little bit after the rush of the Row by Row.  I didn't sew for almost two weeks after I finished that quilt.

Today I got 'restarted' sewing.  I've had these two applique blocks that were fused but not sewn, and today I sat down at the machine, took my time, watched a couple of movies while doing my blanket stitching.  I finished up the machine stitching on two blocks:
Bertie's Year, July

Bertie's Winter, Sleight Ride
Neither block has the embellishments, like embroidery and buttons added yet... those will come in time... maybe later this week.  Still, it was fun making them to this point. 

Tomorrow is another day, and I'm not in a big rush to finish these, though I will get a new Bertie's Year block early in August, so I'd like to be done by then.  We'll see... I'm not going to stress over it, though. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Row by Row

Row by Row Experience is a different sort of shop hop... it is nationwide (plus Canada) and requires no passports.  You simply go to participating shops and pick up their row pattern for free.  The first person to return to a shop with a completed quilt that includes rows from at least 8 different participating shops wins 25 fat quarters and possibly more prizes as well.  What a lot of fun!!! 

I went to eight shops in my area and picked up patterns, then sewed like a mad demon for a few days to finish up my rows.  Then I basted, bound and labeled it and returned to one of my local quilt shops to claim my prize.  My finished quilt:
It's not the best applique I've ever done, not the best quilting, but it's done!!  So thrilled to win 25 fat quarters, which they cut from whatever I wanted in their stock at Cotton and Chocolate Quilt Shop

So generous to cut me what I wanted... Naturally I went right for the batiks, my favorite fabrics.  Because I included their row in my quilt, I also won a gift certificate for the shop, a beautiful tote bag, and a coffee mug.

Now that the row by row experience is done for me, I'm at a loss for quilty things to do.  I already pieced my Saturday sampler blocks for July, pin-basted a table runner, with no plans for immediate quilting, and made a few more hexagons for my hex quilt.  I DO have two Bertie blocks to complete, but I have lost my mojo for actually working on them.

If you see my mojo floating around somewhere in the ether, send it back my way, please.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Travel Time

I haven't posted in a while.  I've been busy busy with travel.  I drove from my home in Southern California to a quilt show in Midway, Utah with a friend.  It was a fun drive, with a stop in Vegas on the way there and back (gotta sleep somewhere!).  We hit several quilt shops in St. George, Utah (a small town with like 8 quilt shops!!!) on the way to the show, and then some shops in Provo and Orem too.  Midway is in the Heber Valley, which is about 25 miles north of Provo in a quiet, beautiful valley ringed by majestic hills and mountains.  Everything was SO green (especially notable after coming through all that desert!).  Just beautiful!

 Even the view from our room was charming!

Anyway, the show 'A Small Town Quilt Show in a Big Town Way'  was very cool... just beautiful quilts on display and about 12 or 15 vendors.  It was not a huge show, but very fun.  We took some classes there too.

I learned how to sew hexagons together by machine (easier than it sounds).  It was so cool to learn a new technique!  I made a very pretty bag out of the hexagons.  The class was taught by Sherri McConnell of A Quilting Life.

I also took a class on making fabric postcards.  Now if you read my blog, you know I already do this, but Laurel Dillman taught a class on how to make them a bit differently.  She fuses motifs to the background fabric, then the background fabric to the Peltex and THEN stitches the motifs with either a satin, zigzag or blanket stitch.  I have always done that edge stitching around the motifs before fusing the background to the Peltex.  It is actually very cool to do it Laurel's way as the Peltex is much more stable than the fabric alone.  I learned something new!  I love that!

I also won some ribbons at the show, which was very exciting!  A first place ribbon on my Woodland Creatures quilt, second place on Under the Jellicle Moon and third place on I.D., Therefore I Am.  Exciting!  I love winning!
Woodland Creatures
Under the Jellicle Moon
ID, Therefore I Am
Tres cool!  My fourth quilt in the show didn't place in its category, but that's okay, it was very cool that it got juried in.

I'm looking forward to more shows with Woodland Creatures.  It is going to be in a show in Plano, TX in August, and my guild's show in October, and will be submitted to a few more shows in the near future after that.  The quilting on it is superlative.  I simply cannot say enough about Kathy Bradbury's extreme quilting!  It is just amazing.  Seeing it up close and personal for the first time at Midway was a thrill!

I have lots more summer travel planned visiting quilt shows around the western states.  A busy time, and as much as I love being home with my husband, kitties, dog (and air conditioning!), I love being out and about too!  I can't wait to see all the eye candy out there and be inspired!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

EPP Travel Kit

I guess I should start with "What the heck is EPP?" - It is short for English Paper Piecing - a method of putting together little hexagons for quilting/crafting projects. 

I found this little tutorial for making a travel kit for taking your EPP projects along with you when you travel.  (Okay, it's actually a kinda long tutorial, but with very detailed instructions and good photos to illustrate every step). 

I made my own EPP travel kit.  It only took a couple of days, which is pretty good for me, because I rarely do handwork, and this was pretty handwork intensive - only a little machine sewing.   I made two EPP flowers over the course of a day and a half, then started the tote kit last night, which I finished today. 

This is the kit - all closed up, and ready to travel

Here it is, standing open, showing off the second 'flower' on the front of the kit.

Here is how I loaded it up with supplies for my handwork hexies.
Now, I did all this, knowing I don't even do EPP.  (Well, I had to teach myself how to do it a little to make the hexagon 'flowers' for the front of the kit).  But I DO sew hand bound prequilted hexagons as one of my 'take along' hand projects.  (To get my hexagon tutorial for this fun activity, click on the link to 'tutorials' at the top of my blog, then click on the hexagon tutorial).  So I loaded up my new travel kit to hold my hexagon project, and everything just fits fine... hooray!  A win for me!  And you, if you decide to make it... I'm thrilled.  I was a little afraid the big hexes (the blue ones in the back compartment of my kit) weren't going to fit, but they just fit in quite snugly.

Even though the EPP travel kit isn't MY tutorial, I think I'm going to put the link to it on my tutorials page. 

Enjoy and happy quilting to you.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Home Alone

My son moved home (temporarily) to finish school for a few months only.  My dear daughter-in-law moved in with her parents for the duration because she's allergic to our cats.  Poor dears are separated for the first time since their marriage and they are both unhappy about it, as are we.   My husband had to move his computer desk and files into my quilting studio for the duration.  This leaves me with limited space to sew in, so I am rethinking my concept of what makes a studio.

I thought I needed more room to sew in, but I'm learning to take up and work with less space around me.  I still have my design wall, but having my cutting table and ironing board in the same room with me will have to wait.  Besides, getting up and walking about is good for me.  I keep trying to tell myself that, haha.

Still, I am getting things done, a little at a time.  I got my Saturday Sampler block from one shop last Saturday and got it done on Sunday. 

Saturday Sampler block from Cotton & Chocolate Quilt Co.
Then I got another Saturday Sampler block from yet another shop today and got it cut and pieced.

Saturday Sampler block from Quilty Pleasures
Done and done.  Somehow I am not suffering greatly from the cramped space in my studio.  I, of course, will never reveal this fact to my husband.  When he asks how I'm handling it, I just roll my eyes and let out a long suffering sigh.  "I'm dealing with it, dear," I say with a slight lingering note of quiet despair.  He doesn't need to know it's not that bad.

Of course, none of that applies right now.  DH is traveling for business and my son is at his school, so for the day, I've had the house to myself.  Which is why I got some cutting and sewing done today.  It's nice to be home alone, but I miss them.  Good thing I have the tv for some company while I work.  I don't like utter silence.  Then again, nothing is UTTERLY silent when you own a St. Bernard... they snore, they snort, they breathe heavily... it's doggie nirvana here 24/7.  

On the de-stashing side, I sold 6 empty plastic bins today!  And still have 3 left, just in case I need to reposition some things.   Which means I've gotten rid of a LOT of fabric!  There are more bins left in the garage yet to go through, but most of them are specialty fabrics (like Minkee for backs) or cat fabrics or WIPs, none of which I can cull much.  Still, it's going down!

I also figured out how to make additional pages in the blog, so my tutorials now have their own page, so I don't have to search through all the dates to find them when I need to direct someone to one of them.  That was a kind of special discovery, but when I set it up, my slide show of quilts stopped working on the main page... still working to recover it.  Win some, lose some, I guess.  Whatever happened to Win-Win???

How's your stash doing and what are YOU working on (WAYWO)?

Monday, June 9, 2014

WIP and a finish

It's such a good feeling to finish something.  I started a quilt in a class taught by Jan Krentz.  The pattern is a traditional Carpenter's Wheel, but Jan has simple piecing instructions for assembling the quilt that makes it a snap.  I added a few details to make it my own.  The class was conducted at sea on a Caribbean cruise about 3 years ago, and it took me this long to finalize a border, quilt and bind it. 
Floating in Space
I call it 'Floating in Space' and I loved making it.   I've made other LeMoyne stars before, but this was my first full Carpenter's Wheel.  Not sure I'd make another but you never know.  It's about 60x60.

I've also been working on my Bertie BOM.  Here are the blocks I've made so far:
Bertie's year, Jan-May
I still need to do a little embroidery on May, but these are the one's I've made so far.  I love how Bertie is doing a different thing each month and wearing a different 'hat'... so cute.  Also - love all the little border variations possible with just 1/2 square triangles.  Although now, knowing the BOM is available prefused and laser cut, I might have taken that option from the beginning.  I didn't... so more work for me, but in truth, it's not hard work, so I'm not complaining.

In two weeks I will be doing the Southern California quilt run, and the week after that, I'll be headed to Midway, Utah for the quilt show there.  Busy month for me, but I like being busy!  Keeps me focused.

On the homefront, my son moved home temporarily while he finishes school, which should be done by September.   His wife went north to Washington to live with her parents until Luke and she can get a place together when school is out.  Between lost jobs (reason for losing their apartment) and her cat allergies (reason she can't also stay with us), they have to be separated for a while, but we are all hoping this is only temporary.

The only really bad thing is that my husband had to move his home office (computer and household files) into my sewing room, so that my son could have the guestroom to himself.  My sewing room has only half the space for sewing that it did before.  I think I'm handling it quite well... I haven't killed anyone yet, lol.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Autumn Joy

Finally, I can call this BOM done.  17 months in the making, though in truth 3 of those were waiting for the quilting. 
Lots of fun to make, a journey taken with friends, most of whom unfortunately fell behind during the year.  I enjoy BOMs because there's very little pressure with only one block to do each month... normally I'd feel stressed to get an entire quilt's worth of blocks done in a very short time.  With a BOM, they are doled out in manageable bits.

I am doing 2 BOMs and 2 Saturday Samplers this year... so come December I should have 4 quilts ready for finishing and quilting. 

Of course, I SHOULD be working on other quilts as well, but right now, I'm just not.  I am busy sorting bins of fabric into 'want' and 'don't want' piles, so I will be ready to take the 'don't want' fabrics to a quilter's yard sale next Saturday.  I will also be selling old rulers and such too.  I hope it all goes so I don't have to bring anything home except empty bins.

Also, I just got word from my doctor that he thinks I need both knees replaced... waaah... I won't be able to sew for a very long time, I think... I'd better have a lot of hand projects ready!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Woodland Creatures is DONE!!

So Kathy send me word that the quilting on Woodland Creatures is finally done... she has been working on this for a very long time - over a week!  Which is a long time for a longarm quilting job!

Here are some pics of the quilt... starting with a shot of the whole quilt:  Isn't it amazing!!??!!  I am just thrilled by the quilting...
Here are a couple of new detail shots.  Starting with the squirrel and raccoon:
 and the possum (and part of the fox):
I cannot wait to see the quilt close up...

My first chance to see the quilt will be at the quilt show in Utah in June.  And if it's like most quilt shows, I won't even get to touch it when I see it!

I'm so excited... it will hang in two quilt shows this summer, before it hangs in my guild's show in October (assuming my guild even has a show in October - Mancuso Bros. have booked a show in Palm Springs the same weekend and we have lost most of our regular vendors to the Palm Springs show... without vendors, we may not even have a show, as the vendor booth fees pay for the venue).

Even one of our local quilt shops has deserted us and is even hosting a bus to Palm Springs for the show, pulling away our clientele as well... I think it's kind of rude but who am I to judge?

I was hoping to put the quilt in Road to California, but they had a partial version of the quilt in their show last year, so I sincerely doubt they will jury mine in this year...  They don't like to repeat quilts, though I must say the quilting on that one was minimalistic to say the least and this one is far from that.  Perhaps the beautiful quilting will get it in... We'll see.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Woodland quilting and Twinkler top done

OH  EM GEE!!!!

Sparrows Quilting
I just don't know what more to say other than that!  Kathy Bradbury has outdone herself quilting inside the appliqued motifs.  The sparrows seem to just come alive - like they are ready to just pop off the quilt and fly around, and the leaves have dimension now... I wish I could see more of the quilt, but that will have to wait... I CAN'T wait, I have goosebumps just thinking about it!

Sigh... I'm not good at waiting, I am all about instant gratification... and it's almost painful to have to wait...


I also finished my Twinklers top:
Twinkler top done
I didn't like that one orange square near the top right corner so I did take it out and replace it with a different square of a more muted color.  I didn't take another picture though.  Suffice it to say the new square doesn't make your eye go right to it like that bright orange does.  All in all, I'm happy with it, and it will make a nice baby quilt the next time I need one for something, all I will have to do is quilt it.  In the meantime, it will be added to my pile of UFOs.

On a bright note, we took our new dog, Maggie, to the dog park tonight.  While we are unsure of her aggression level with other dogs, we did not take her inside, but we did walk her up and down along the fence and she did really well, only barking a few times, and no so much growling as last week.  Perhaps next week we can even try letting her in the dog park and see how she does, perhaps with a muzzle on to start, just to be safe.  I would love it if she were able to run and play with other dogs.  I think it would make her happy to be able to engage with the other doggies.  I know it would make me happy to get her some good exercise that -I- don't have to engage in as well... lol...
Maggie at the dog park

Saturday, May 10, 2014


So several members of Stashbusters decided to make this quilt called Twinklers.  I opted to hop in and make one too.   I went through my drawer of 2 1/2" strips and cut all the squares for it, half light, half dark.  Then I went through my drawer of 1 1/2" strips and cut the squares for the star points, also half light and half dark.   I put them in paper bags by value and drew them out and sewed them together so they'd be very scrappy.

It came out VERY scrappy, but I'm happy because you can mostly see the little twinkly stars even though some of the fabrics are VERY busy, and some of the lights are not quite as light as I'd like, some of the darks not as dark..

Now I need borders and I can't decide what color border to use.  I think blue would bring out the blues in the quilt too much, they are already quite prominent... Perhaps a red?  Opinions are welcome.