Thursday, October 19, 2017

Working and Playing

Though not blogging, I've been busy, including in the sewing room.  The baby quilt I showed last time is now a completed top.  Pattern is Signed, Sealed, Delivered from APQ mag April 2017.  I left off the two borders.

It went together nicely and I'm happy with the color placement.  Unfortunately, the fabric I had bought for the backing was not quite long or wide enough for quilt sandwich purposes, so some surgery was necessary.  Luckily I had purchased enough of the pink background fabric to extend the backing as well as for the binding. Sometimes I am smart enough to buy extra, generally MATH is a struggle!

I drew out several designs but liked this arrangement best.  The print is a Valori Wells design.  I'm pondering quilting designs but will likely go with a very simple channel quilting. 

My Dad and his fraternal twin had a big birthday and while at the party, my Uncle asked how I did with my quilts at the Fair, so I showed him photos on my phone.  I asked if he had a quilt for his bed at his senior living place, and he shook his head. I've been making 4 patches as leader-enders for Naragansett Blues by Bonnie Hunter, but having few blue fabrics in stash or scraps, hadn't decided on an alternate.  Luckily, he is fond of brown so I went home and pulled all the browns and some black prints from my fat quarter drawer, happy to have a direction and destination for this squirrel project.  I cut a bunch into bricks with my Accuquilt GO cutter, loving that I had the right size die. 
 I laid out a few of the bricks and 4 patches as a test and think this will work.  My neutrals are white to tan and don't seem to be getting lost in the browns. 
My version will be smaller than designer Bonnie Hunter's, but just as scrappy.  The quilt is constructed in vertical rows, so I'll need to count carefully to make sure I have enough of the 4 patches, bricks and squares for my plan.  

Sewtopia in NOLA is coming up quickly and I wanted a special project for my very first quilting retreat.  I have itched to make a word quilt for ages and the Simple Shapes alphabet by Laura Hartrich, found in the Winter 2017 Modern Patchwork magazine was my starting point.  Last night I drew and sketched and graphed to the wee hours and think I've got a good plan. (FYI: Link to designer is for her sampler quilt that includes the upper case letters)

I'll be using Drunkard's Path templates from Jen Carlton-Baily in the 3" finished size.  My first two sketches made a quilt that was too large and required hundreds more background squares than I was willing to sew up.  Looking through the magazine again, the designer showed a word quilt without spacing between the letters, and that was the key to my final layout. 

The words will be colored prints and solids, and of course the shamrock will be greens.  I plan to use lots of different neutrals and leftover block parts for fun in the background, and will mix plain and pieced squares.  I hope to complete the twin-size quilt top at the retreat, which will necessitate doing a lot of  auditioning,  cutting and sewing over the next 10 days.  Back to the sewing room, then!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Design Wall Monday--Oct 9

On my design floor today is a baby quilt I'm making. It's for my daughter's friend and she requested a more minimalist design. I showed the fabrics a couple of posts ago, but hadn't chosen a background.  That required a shopping trip, so after work Friday I headed to the local fabric store, and pulled a few bolts.  
 I loved this text print the best, but DD thought it was too busy.

She also didn't choose the Grunge fabric in white. 

Thumbs up was given to the solid pink Kona (Flesh).  It's a warmer toned very light pink.  I washed and ironed everything and got cutting and sewing Sunday.  Since, as usual, I deviated from the pattern (Signed, Sealed, Delivered, APQ mag April 2017), I made a cheat sheet for the pieces I needed.  Cutting was pretty simple and I got right to piecing.  

The chisel-shaped pieces required marking, slicing, and trimming, and I wish I could have figured a way to skip that step, but there weren't that many to do, after all.  Before I knew it, all the block pieces were ready to be laid out.
I've sewn up two complete rows and anticipate finishing the top in another couple of hours' worth of stitching.  I'm skipping the borders and will probably bind it in the pink to keep the stars floating.  The other item on the design wall couldn't be more different in contrast.  This is the monthly challenge block from our MQG, in which we drew two crayons at random. 

I lucked out in getting these two colors since I love that green and had plenty of scraps.  If the crayon had been pink or blue I'd have had a more difficult time!  I sliced and diced and cobbled together enough slabs for a 12.5" block.  Making fabric takes time, but it's kinda fun.  I keep chunks and strips in a separate scrapbook drawer tower and it's surprising how often I dip into them for something.  

See more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Monday, October 2, 2017

October Already

Time flies whether we like it or not, and the last of September disappeared in a puff.  I didn't seem to get much of anything done in the sewing room last week--the backing for the Moda Love quilt is still laying across the cutting board awaiting finishing, I have several Must Do projects to complete in the next four weeks that I haven't even started, and I'm no further along on the UFO pick  for last month--which was a crash and burn due to MATH.  Judy picked #6 for October, so add Pinwheel Garden project to the pile. 

I am very lucky to have such problems, with all the destruction, pain and sorrow, fear and loss happening in the world daily.  Grateful my loved ones are safe and well and hope to keep them so, and yours too, dear readers! 

Some fabric play did happen, though, continuing to work on pieces stitched on National Sew a Jelly Roll day, which needed to be cut into 2.5" sections for 4 patches for Jewel Box blocks.

I found it easiest to pair up two strip sets RST and cut the subsections, then peel the like pieces apart and match them up.  I'd sew up a batch or two of the 4 patches in between cutting, to keep the monotony down. 

There are two 4 patches per block, and 64 blocks total for the quilt.   Lotta sewing and pressing still to go. Another task was to finish sliver trimming all the HST pairs for the blocks.  Look at all the yummy colors...

I used my Block-Lock trimmer to do all 64 pairs.  Glad that job is done! 

Sunday I watched my grandsons and we had a grand time in the playroom.

 Action shot of Cove.

 Action shot of Hunter.

 Well, I guess with toddlers they are all action shots!

They have gotten a lot of use out of the teepee since I made it for Cove's first birthday.  While Hunter napped I tried to get some hand sewing on quilt binding done, but a 3 year old wanted to sit in my lap and investigate everything in my sewing kit multiple times.  I may have stitched 12" or so during all this, lol.  DH Grant joined us later.   Precious times with these little boys, we treasure them.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching--September

Binding has been my slow stitching project of the week, after fulfilling my goal of attaching to the Cheddar and Cinnamon quilt last weekend.  I have reached about halfway point of the 72" square quilt. 

It has been awhile since I hand stitched a binding on a quilt this large, preferring the quick and simple machine stitched method for most of my machine-quilted projects.  The backing fabric in this pic is a Thimbleberries print; appropriate since I adapted a Thimbleberries pattern for this quilt (Criss Cross Nines).

I've also yet to start another cross-stitch project, though I whet my appetite even further after hitting a thrift shop yesterday and finding treasure--a cache of Lizzy Kate patterns for 95 cents each.

The copyright dates on these are 2004-2006.  I love these designs and some had the charms included.  There was also a Blackbird Designs chart.
Sweet design and saying.  I'll enjoy time with needle and thread.  I also picked up this vintage 70s pattern that was never opened.   I just love the illustrations. Maybe someday there will be a granddaughter to make this for.

Fall is officially here, some trees are turning, but we are about to have another heat wave.  Our next door neighbors had AC put in their house and my husband bought a room air conditioning unit from them to use in our bedroom.  I managed to get some Fall decorations out the other morning, and we have chrysanthemums in pots in the front yard. 
I managed to get some Fall decorations out the other morning, and we have chrysanthemums in pots in the front yard. Quilts, always quilts first up!

Gourds and acorns and fall leaves. My favorite colors to decorate with.  I need to change out the quilt on the stair railing and unearth a wreath hanger for the front door to complete the seasonal changes.  

Linking up to Kathy's Quilts for Slow Sunday Stitching. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tuesday's Orts--September

Tuesday's Orts--random bits of thoughts and events that land here occasionally.
  • National Sew a Jelly Roll Day found me needle deep in strip sets. 

I sewed and sewed and ironed and ironed.  Most of these prints are from the Civil War Homefront Jelly Roll.  Some 4 patches and also HSTs appeared but there is a lot of cutting, sewing, and trimming yet to be done before this pile of yummy prints turns into a bunch of Jewel Box blocks.
  • My husband's birthday happened to coincide with that National Sew Day.  We went out to a favorite breakfast place, where he was gifted a huge cinnamon roll for his birthday.  I helped eat it. 
Who could resist those blue eyes?   The table behind us included four young boys in their party.  I was astonished to see them peeling back the foil of jelly packets and eating the jelly with a spoon.  Then they had chocolate milk and pancakes with syrup.  I predicted sugar comas for all. 
  • Our grandsons both fell sick on Saturday, which meant their parents' plans to see a concert in LA were cancelled, but Mimi was recruited to watch the boys for a few hours so they could still have a night out locally--everybody wanted to watch some boxing match (not me!).  I got this photo prior to the request: 

Hunter (1 1/2) crashed out on the bean bag.  He's nearly 25 lbs and very busy.  He's suddenly saying short phrases and learning new words every day.  Mama gave him a haircut since that photo.  Big brother Cove was the sickest, hardly any color to his face and just miserable with a fever and cold symptoms.  They are better today but not completely well yet.
  • One of the docs came in Monday morning and relayed a new phrase I'm going to have to steal: He reported that a relative of his was "On the top of his Fecal Roster".  lol
  • Three years ago this happened: 
Lucy as a Sandwich Board advertiser.  I visit Lucy sometimes at DD Erica's house.   I miss Lucy greeting me every morning and demanding a cuddle before breakfast. 
  • Traffic Rant:  Tailgaters who zoom up behind you and cling to your bumper despite speed limits and the lack of any alternate lane one can move to. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Cheddar & Cinnamon Quilted

Over a month ago I got back the second of two quilts from the UFO Challenge 2017 that were sent out for long-arm quilting, but haven't yet shared the wonderful work a fellow guild member accomplished for me. 

I've been calling this Cheddar and Cinnamon (pattern from Thimbleberries called Nine Patch Criss Cross).  Isn't it funny how many quilts seem to be named after food?  I asked my quilter to try to emphasize the star points surrounding the nine patches.  

Someone's fluffy-kitty self covered a lot of my close up, but you get the idea!  I liked also how she quilted the centers of the square-in-square blocks to minimize the background fabric's print.

I requested feathers in the outer border.  Wool batting was used and will feel wonderful on cool nights while watching TV on the couch. 

Cornerstone details.  The binding is the cheddar print, and all ready to be stitched on, followed by a label.  I'll enjoy this quilt for fall decorating, too.  So happy to have this top quilted at last--the nine patches were swapped years ago (7!) hosted by my blog friend Julie.  She's a scrap quilt queen and always working on some charming hand applique as well.  I'll do the binding this weekend and call this quilt finished!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Projects and Wins

Projects, I've got many.  The top project since the Cross Reference finish is now the Moda Love quilt for Emma, my friend's daughter.  The top is all sewn together. 

It's big, and barely fit between my sewing desk and the kitchen cabinets for this shot.  It was a pleasure to sew with big blocks for a change.  In the interest of using up stash, I've chosen some yardage and leftovers to make up the back.  I plan also to construct a Frankenbatt  of the leftover batting in the bin I can barely close. (I stole the name Frankenbatt from another blog--don't remember which, though!)

While disparate prints, I think the colors work with the fabrics on the front well enough.  Strips cut from the fat quarters will make up the binding.  I plan to sew them in color sets for an easier-on-the-eye effect. 

Over the weekend my sister and I went to the Conejo Valley Quilters Guild show and they had some really nice vendors there, including several local quilt shops.  From the booth for A Fabric Shoppe, I chose a bunch of dotty fabrics in soft neutrals for a baby quilt.  

This is for a daughter's best friend who prefers neutrals.  I had the backing fabric in stash and think it will work well with the dots.  My plan is to make only the center of  this quilt with no borders, as a Tummy Time or take-along small quilt.  The pattern is from APQ magazine April 2017.  The designer had signatures from friends and family on her version, which will be a solid in mine.  Should be an easy make!  Baby is due in November, but I believe a baby shower is planned for next month, and I'd like to have it done by then. 

Final project is a challenge.  I don't think I've mentioned yet that my sister and I will be going to Sewtopia in New Orleans in early November.  I signed up for the Michael Miller Challenge and fabrics arrived a few days ago.
Aren't they yummy?  I've no idea yet what I will make. Being still a newbie to the Modern Quilt world, it's a little intimidating, but I'm so looking forward to my first sewing retreat.  Our guild president and her mom will also be there, which will make me feel a little more comfortable. I'll also be participating in the gift swap and need to settle on what small item to make. I've never been to any southern states, and anticipate loads of picture taking. Fingers crossed for no storms!

In the wins department, Jodie of Ric Rac released her latest fabric line, Rock Pool, and I won a giveaway on her blog last month.  She sent a loverly parcel all the way from Australia.  Lucky me!

Jodie is a prolific toy maker and relatively new but fabulous fabric designer and I've followed her blog for many years.  The patterns she sent are adorable.  Love the pins she makes too, some of which are sweary, heehee. Many thanks to Jodie for the great prizes.  I'll enjoy playing with the fabrics and wearing the Maker pin.  

Right-o, off to get dressed and run my errands before work.  Thanks for visiting!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Cross Reference FeeNee

Cross Reference is finally crossed off the to-do list.  I stitched up the binding corners and some missed spots from machine binding, added a label, gave it a bath, and called our son to come pick it up.  

Being rather tall, Nick didn't need help to hold it off the ground.  The quilt is about twin size, 60x80ish, smaller than the pattern as written in the April 2017 American Patchwork & Quilting magazine, designer Susan Ache. I just found the pattern as a stand alone PDF purchase on  My version is made from Kona Snow for the background, Kona Prussian Blue for the small cross blocks, and a variety of blue and rust prints from stash. 

I think he likes it!  Especially since he's been not-so-subtly bugging me for the past month to get it done. 
This was actually a pretty fast finish for me, only 2.5 months from cutting to label.  It looks good wrapped around him and will be a bright addition to his apartment living room. Oh, and for his girlfriend to use when she gets cold, as he repeatedly mentioned while waiting for the finish! 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Sketching on Sue

Judy of Patchwork Times has chosen #4 as the UFO for September, but I have several still unfinished choices from previous months, some this close to finishes.  One of them is Sunbonnet Sue Goes to the Orient.   After thread sketching the edges of all the applique, I wanted to try adding some detail to the background with hanging Chinese lanterns.  My sister suggested I draw them on white paper and preview my ideas that way.  Clever girl. 

First try. I liked the number of lanterns and one peeking out from behind Sue, but they were too small and crowded all on the one side.

Try #2.  While I liked the shape of the single lantern, I felt it needed to be larger, maybe hang lower, and seemed too attention grabbing.

Try #3.  Balancing the two smaller lanterns on the opposite corner looked better to me, though I would likely flip the image in the left upper corner to peek out behind Sue's hat.  Some further adjustments to the scale and details of the Chinese lanterns will be made.  I discussed using the thread sketching as quilting with my sister, but we agreed that it would put too much emphasis on the lanterns and not on Sue, so I'll sketch them only on the background fabric.  There will be some free-motion practice sessions to accomplish the kind of detail the lanterns deserve before attempting on the real thing.  I'll still have to find a backing, sandwich and quilt, then bind this little quilt, but Sue deserves a finish after lingering in limbo all these years!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Design Wall Monday--Labor Day

Happy Labor Day!  On my Design Floor is the latest squirrel project, which I am making for my friend and manicurist's daughter, who is off to college this week in another state.  She's the only girl in the family, and Mom will miss her bunches. 

Moda Love Layer Cake pattern, free here.  I think there were a couple more changes after I took this pic, but you have to stop the switcheroo game somewhere. This is a big quilt, 72" square finished. I used fat quarters and yardage, not having a Layer Cake.

I used my favorite new Hera tool to mark the center diagonal on the 10" squares for the HSTs before stitching.  The rows are now all gathered up into pinned stacks and, since the temperature has dropped almost to match the humidity as of today, I will be stitching.  Yesterday, while drooping under the fans in the 89 degrees inside of our un-airconditioned house, it was all I could manage just to do some hand stitching.

I had previously wound satin 1/2" ribbon on the hoop of a cross-stitch, which I had never tried before.  It is not perfectly done, but I like the look.  It has sat waiting for the back to be finished for the past month.

A circle of yellow wool felt got stitched on the back with perle cotton--sorry, no pics of that--and I'll add a piece of ribbon to hang it from.  Love this Lizzie Kate pattern. I have put off starting a new cross-stitch project until finishing this one.  Silly what rules one makes up for oneself!  

See more Design Walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts