Thursday, June 22, 2017

Cross Reference and Cross Stitch

Blocks are getting sewn for Cross Reference and while I like the way they look....

...each 9" unfinished block has 31 pieces--gulp!  I'm developing an assembly line method and trying to sew a block in about 20 minutes.  My plan includes 24 blocks so quite a number of hours of stitching are left for these "A" blocks.  The "B" alternate blocks will be much simpler with only the center cross and some sashing, but I will choose a solid blue for those blocks per the pattern (APQ mag April 2017). 

Regarding cross-stitch, I visited a new-to-me needlework shop that I wish was in my city and not 25 minutes away, but the traffic wasn't bad today.  I was in search of Lizzie Kate cross-stitch patterns and a source for floss and found both at A Thread Garden and Beadtime.  The owner, Michele', was very helpful and fun to chat with.   I left with great information, some beautiful floss and patterns.  She has open sew hours during the weekdays, and perhaps sometime I'll be able to join in. 

The cast acrylic black and ivory needle keeper she gave me as a gift--among many to choose from, I was captivated by the octopus. I will enjoy stitching this little Lizzie Kate pattern with yummy hand dyed threads.  The shop carries multiple cotton as well as silk lines of floss.

The Christmas patterns were just as irresistible and I had a hard time choosing.  The "Mistletoe Testing Here!" phrase pushed this chart to the top. I'll look forward to stitching these.  Supporting local craft businesses is important to me and I'll definitely be back to A Thread Garden.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Design Wall Monday--Cross Reference

Hope you all had a lovely Father's Day. We had two family celebrations yesterday, breakfast at our house and BBQ dinner at my mom and dad's,  and boy am I pooped today.  Also feeling more than ever that my appetite is on a "gone wild" romp that needs stomping down, and how!

Anyway, on my design floor today is Cross Reference, a quilt from APQ April 2017 magazine that I'm making as a couch quilt for my son.  While he was off exploring beautiful Yosemite with his girlfriend, blocks were appearing under my sewing machine needle. 

 Although I took this baggie to the Bonnie Hunter workshop, most of the leader-endering was done with parts for the My Blue Heaven quilt.  

Here's a bunch of block centers.  I'm liking the color combo so far and plan to complete all of these blocks before adding repeats of the blue prints for the remaining blocks I need for my scaled down quilt.  I'm finding I have to sliver trim these to size, which is fussy and boring but necessary.  The next step has a lot of HSTs --tiny ones--to make an on point design.  Since I purchased Bonnie Hunter's new Essential Triangle Tool, I'm going to try cutting the quarter square triangles from strips, as she demonstrated during the workshop.  That saves having to cut larger squares and slice them twice, then cut off all the dog ears.  I just need to work out the MATH!

I forgot to post this photo taken at the workshop, Bonnie taking pics of Bonnie quilts, lol.  I think this quilt is one from her free patterns.

See more design walls on Small Quilts and Doll Quilts. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Bonnie Hunter My Blue Heaven Workshop

Scrappy quilts are my favorite and Bonnie Hunter is a prolific scrap quilter.  Hers was the first quilt blog I ever learned about and I became a fan immediately of her scrap user system.  I had never heard of leader-enders until I visited her blog, and use them often now.  Bonnie is a generous teacher and has lots of free patterns, tips, and hints on her Quiltville website.

Although I am not a member of the closest local traditional guild, primarily because their meetings are on a weekday morning that I could never attend, I learned through dual members of my modern guild that  Bonnie Hunter was presenting a workshop of her My Blue Heaven quilt.  This date had been two years' wait!  Luckily after a number of emails and text messages to two different ladies, I was able to secure an open spot and took the day off work.  

Blue is a color that seldom shows up in my quilts so I substituted greens and purples to make a three color version I'll call My Lupine Heaven

 Lots and lots of greens and neutrals from stash got cut up into 2.5" strips.

Purples were purchased during the Shop Hop to add to the small amount in the stash.  Cutting, cutting, cutting late into the night., using my GO cutter strip die.  I was fortunate to have a set of never-before-opened Companion Angle and Easy Angle rulers which Bonnie recommended in the class supply list.  Assembling a kit of cutting tools, mat, sewing supplies, machine and cords and doublechecking everything had me amped up the night before such that I found myself sorting mail at 1:30 a.m. just to simmer down.  The drive next morning to the meeting place seemed to take forever, but I managed to arrive relatively early.

After getting set up and greeting some folks I knew, I was approached by a lovely lady who introduced herself as a reader of my blog. I was so surprised and pleased, and thought it sweet of her to say so. Thank you, Maile!

Bonnie had us playing in our scraps before too long and machines were humming.  She used my fabrics for one of the demos, and in between demos to two large groups she was everywhere, providing individual instruction, praise, and talking about her new Essential Triangle tool and selling her books.  
Here's my Lupine purples in the alternate block. 

After lunch there was some show and share of many "Bonnie" quilts and I shared my supersized Rick Rack Nines quilt top.  Later I showed Bonnie my Grandma's oldest UFO finish, a yo-yo quilt she started in 1934 and had her church quilt group tie to a backing in 1997.  Bonnie was pleased to know I use and display this quilt coverlet. 

Here are the two complete blocks I managed to finish, though I have pieces and parts for a dozen more, primarily due to using cut parts for leader-enders.  The Companion Angle and Easy Angle rulers got a workout, and I purchased Bonnie's Essential Triangle Ruler and her book, More Adventures with Leader Enders.  

It was wonderful to spend the day with fellow scrap quilt enthusiasts and learn tricks and tips from an expert.  Bonnie took lots of photos and had two slide shows here and here for the Camarillo Guild as she did a trunk show the next day.  My blocks--and my back while seated at my machine!--made one slide show.  The Rick Rack Nines quilt share is in the other.  I'm hoping Grandma's yo-yo coverlet will one day appear as the background to one of Bonnie's Quiltville Quotes!   I'm sure to continue playing in the scraps for many years to come and hope someday to take another Bonnie workshop. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Cutting, Posing, Stitching

While I've been away from blogging for the past week plus, I've been busy.  First I finished cutting up all the batiks with my Accuquilt GO cutter.  Grandson Cove helped me with one pass  :)  This is for the Beach Cottage project (Scrap Basket Surprises book) and that means the last of four UFO boxes are all prepped and ready to stitch at last--with a sigh of relief they are moved one step closer to becoming quilts someday.  I can cross off another from the 2017 UFO Challenge list, yay!

The four color groups will hopefully have enough variety in hue to make sharp looking blocks.

A closer look at the dark browns.  My Central Coast Quilt Shop Hop purchases make up a good portion of those pictured. 

As for the posing part, my friend Toni sent a few shots of our Shop Hop goodbye photo that her husband took.

This is me grimacing after my sister trampled my toe causing me to pull my foot right out of my sandal, and Toni laughing at her husband taking photos of us while we were arguing about it! 

That's better.  The Cotton Boll in Morro Bay is right along Highway 101 and has a great ocean view from the front; our pose was taken 'round the back.

The weekend included a lot of stitching.  At our Modern Guild we had a Scrap Box Swap and the deadline for the finished quilted project was looming.  I had previously sorted, pondered and re-sorted the mostly scrap strips I received, but hadn't hit upon an idea I liked until I saw this quilt on the blog A Quilter's Table.   I thought it just right for my partner Judy's scraps.  Our swap rules allowed adding fabric and I chose black and white prints from the inspiration quilt, and set about sewing random-width strips into chunks. 

The narrower blocks were trimmed to 6 inches wide.  There was a lot of cutting and sewing to get everything fitted together.  However, it seemed there were still so many scraps left and the quilt needed a backing.  I added some solid gray and was lucky to find leftover black binding in my bin that was just the right length for this small quilt. 
The disparate scraps made the quilt two sided.  (My binding is not really wavy, I think the spray basted layers made the quilt stiff.)

 Straight line quilting randomly spaced and the black binding finished it off. 

I included one row of a different stitch in the quilting just for fun. My swap partner immediately recognized where I took the inspiration, as Debbie of A Quilter's Tale is a blog friend of hers.  How about that?  It was a fun reveal at guild as many members had joined in.  I don't have a photo yet of the wonderful little quilt I received from my partner.  

There was a lot more cutting, stitching and posing for the Bonnie Hunter workshop I attended, but I'll save that for the next post.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Design Wall Monday--June 5

My design surface hasn't changed, there are batik strips all over my cutting table awaiting further subcutting for the Beach Cottage project.  However, one of the four colors I am using was lacking variety.  That problem was solved over the weekend when my sister Kathy and I headed north for the Central Coast Quilt Shop Hop.  We stopped first in Orcutt at the Old Town Quilt Shop, a fun traditional shop, then went on to San Luis Obispo, CA.  We met up with my oldest friend, Toni, our former neighbor growing up, who is not yet a quilter but has sewn since we were kids.  We visited two shops in SLO, Picking Daisies and Betty's Fabrics, had lunch, then headed up the road to Toni's home in Atascadero.  After a short catchup with Toni and husband Dan, we visited Paso Robles' The Quiltery and the Quilter's Cupboard in Atascadero before closing time.  I found treasures in each shop, naturally, as did my sister.   Back in Atascadero, after a BBQ dinner, we took a short hike in the nature preserve to give their dog some exercise and view the sunset.  

Central California is full of rolling hills and California Oaks, like this old specimen.  Toni assured me that the grass was green for five solid months due to the much-needed rain our dry state received this past winter, and the wildflower bloom was spectacular too.

Turning back, the fading light caught the front of the townhouses amid those golden rolling hills. 

The next morning before we finished the last four shops, Toni brought out one of the five machines she ended up with when both her mother and great aunt passed away within a year of each other.  The sisters had lived together for some years after Toni's father passed away.  Both were avid quilters and fabric collectors.  I was an instant admirer of the machine she had questions about!

This Singer Featherweight 221 belonged to her Great Aunt and was manufactured in 1952.  It is in perfect condition as to paint and decals.  The belt instantly broke when my sister tried to demonstrate its fine straight stitch, but we assured Toni that repairs and supplies are readily available as these are popular machines, perfect for taking to quilting classes.
The case was also in perfect condition. Toni later informed us that her older sister has another Featherweight that belonged to their dad's mother.  Lucky ladies!  

We packed up our belongings and set out with Toni and Dan leading us to the Sew Fun Quilt Shop in Atascadero, a lovely shop that has lots of classes that Toni picked up information about.  Three shops to go, and over the hills we went to Morro Bay on the coast, stopping at The Cotton Boll.  This shop has moved three times since I first found it many years ago in downtown Morro Bay, but I am glad it is still around.  We said our fond goodbyes to Toni and Dan with many thanks and a final wave as we headed south again.  The last two shops were Roxanne's in Carpinteria, and then home again at Superbuzzy.  We had a wonderful time and look forward to next year's shop hop.   

True to my love of scrappy quilts, my loot has many small cuts and groupings.  The light tan batiks will be immediately consigned to the current project on the cutting table.  The neutrals, purples and greens will join many precut scraps and chunks to be cut for the Bonnie Hunter workshop next week.  I'm looking forward to that!  See more quilts and design walls at the new home of Design Wall Monday HERE.

Friday, June 2, 2017

June UFO Challenge pick #7

Judy of Patchwork Times chose #7 for June's UFO project.  On my list, I'm choosing a UFO to send out to be quilted.  There are four quilt tops currently hanging in my closet that need to be quilted, two of which I will quilt myself.  The others are just too big for my small harped Husqvarna Lily.  The oldest--and largest--is an oversized version of Bonnie Hunter's Rick Rack Nines. 

Years ago I was in a Yahoo Group called Quiltbiddies and we did a lot of block swaps.  These 9 patches were made with 3.5" squares so the blocks are pretty big.  I loved Bonnie's zig zag setting and used her free setting triangle chart for the tan solid. I'm thinking a Baptist Fan would be nice for the traditional scrappy fabrics and colors.

I ended up having to make a few half blocks for the top and bottom of the quilt as some of the swap blocks were not usable or I didn't care for the colors.  This top is 92x105 and will cover our CalKing bed.  I purchased a 108" wide backing at Road to California, so will need to add leaders to the top and bottom, at a minimum, and find a quilter with a long arm large enough.  Speaking of Bonnie Hunter, who used to also be a member of Quiltbiddies long before I joined, she is coming to a local quilt guild this month and I snagged an open spot for her My Blue Heaven workshop.  There is a lot of cutting to do before then but I am really looking forward to it.  It was a "Biddie" who led me to Bonnie's Quiltville blog in 2009--before then I had never heard of quilting blogs.  It wasn't long until I started my own blog, and here I am all these years later.

The other quilt is also constructed of 9 patch swap blocks in reproduction fabrics; these are 6" finished.  There were so many swappers that we each received about 80 blocks.  This is the third project I made from my cache, which I'm calling Cheddar and Cinnamon, and it is 72" square.

The pattern is from a Thimbleberries book and is called Nine Patch Criss Cross.  I altered the square in square blocks using two colors to make stars appear around the nine patches.  I tried to emphasize the stars by placing red nine patches with the Cinnamon star points, and green nine patches with the Cheddar star points.  Squint a little...

Can you see them now?  I'm thinking this quilt will need some custom quilting to bring out the stars and minimize the background fabric.  A backing and even the binding has already been made.  Perhaps I will send them both out!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Design Wall Monday--UFO update

On my Design Surface are the final two boxes from this month's UFO pick by Patchwork Times.  I pulled the box of 30s fabrics collected and pondered several options from the Scrap Basket books.  It all came down to the length of background fabric I had, plus wanting to use as many fabrics as I could. 
Except for the lower three fabrics, these are fat eighth cuts from a pack I purchased many years ago, probably at a quilt show, and are from a line called Everything but the Kitchen Sink.  I added a few more fabrics along the way, including the vintage red and white print at the bottom. 


I chose Summer Breeze from Scrap Basket Surprises by Kim Brackett.  Once again, my AccuQuilt GO cutter came in handy to cut a lot of pieces quickly.  

Here are the pinwheel and pieced block pieces all cut and ready to go.  I cut many more strips for the pieced borders but will wait until the center is done to balance out the colors with all the different fabrics.  This will be fun to work with later this year, all the happy prints and colors.  Only one more day of the month, and one more box to cut for!

Another slow build of fabrics for Beach Cottage, also from Scrap Basket Surprises.  These batiks will be so pretty together, I think.  It was especially hard to find the right light green batiks that did not have other colors.  I'll pair the brown with the light green, and purple with the tan.

Since Judy of Patchwork Times decided to stop Design Wall Monday posts, another Judy has taken this over, and I will be linking up for the first time with this post.  See lots of other great quilting on her Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog HERE.  

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Home Improvement

Since I last posted, we have done practically nothing but haul stuff around our house, getting ready for replacement of our 25+ year old carpet.  What a chore!  We started in the home office, removing a wallpaper border from the Southwest decor days. Then we cleaned the walls, prepped for paint and finally got the first coat done at 10:15 pm on Saturday night.  My husband commented, "Why is it always hot weather when we do these things?"  Good question!  It topped 82 degrees over the course of our lifting, pushing, pulling, painting, trimming and cleanup and staggering to bed last Sunday night, ready for the old carpet to disappear.
What a difference a day made!  We were thrilled with the result.  The installer and his worker did a great job of cleaning up daily and moving furniture around.  They were so fast that we had double work one day to empty two more rooms.  Exhausting and resulting in STUFF EVERYWHERE.

 Fortunately we had a large living/dining room to stack STUFF.

 Mini helped upstairs when we reassembled the master bedroom.  My sewing room was the last room redone. Our very handy neighbor thankfully trimmed the tile from it's former stairstep design to the plain angle and we are thrilled with the way it looks. The guys finished the stairs yesterday and quarter round trim in the office. 
I couldn't wait to get moving things back this morning.

A lot more was done after this shot and I'm hoping I can finally sew something again--it has been about two weeks since I did any sewing.

The plank floor looks great with the new Berber carpet.  We will enjoy this excellent installation and not be embarrassed by our old carpet anymore!

Friday, May 19, 2017

UFO of the Month Progress and Acquisitions

Well, the cutting table didn't stay pristine for long, as the #11 UFO pick of the month on my list is to make progress on four projects in boxes, by cutting all the pieces.  I had hoped for one per week and am running behind a little. 

Jewels in the Curio (Moda Bake Shop pattern) fabrics got laid out yesterday and I did a bunch of cutting with my GO cutter.  These strips were then subcut to pattern directions.  I added many from stash to get a good mix, particularly since the Civil War Homefront jelly roll had NO greens--my fave color.  The last time I used a jelly roll was maybe 8 years ago, I remember it was called Sanctuary.

All the cut pieces were labeled and are back in the box.  It was all I could do NOT to start sewing with all these yummy reproduction fabrics now!  The remaining two boxes are batiks and 30's fabrics, which will both be patterns from Kim Brackett's Scrap Basket Sensations.  The GO cutter will be getting a workout.  I'm really getting a variety of fabrics to play with this month :)

Recent acquisitions from Connecting Threads were these fabrics to make Twilight Hopscotch from Kim Diehl's Simple Comfort lap quilts book.  I've wanted to make this quilt for years.
I don't think I have ever made a two color quilt before and am looking forward to it.  These prints are from the Oh My Darling line.  The "Kitchen Twine" print is the name of neutral, so sweet. 

Also from Connecting Threads were coordinating prints to add to the Sliced Cake project --and more of the main print fabric as I miscut.  All of these were on clearance.
The Macrame line is from Cotton + Steel.  Love it.  My daughters and I recently took a macrame class from a friend of hers who teaches them locally.  It was really a fun mother-daughter night. I used to do a lot of macrame when I was a teen--the last time it was popular!

Our house is being turned upside down as next week we are finally replacing our well worn 26 year old carpeting, long past due to be torn out.  For our office we have chosen a vinyl plank floor which will be much better under the rolling chairs.  My sewing room will also get new carpet, so the cutting table will come down, of course, along with all the furniture.  It is a lot of work and bother but will be so worth it to end the embarrassing carpet.   I plan to do some minor adjustments to my sewing room furniture  arrangement when all is complete.  Hope my arms hold out for all this moving here and there!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Catching Up/Mother's Day

A week disappeared in a flash, what with working three extra shifts and then getting the house ready for 25 guests on Mother's Day.  It certainly left no time for quilting or stitching.  DH Grant and I moved around furniture for what seemed a good hour plus on Sunday morning, followed by the usual mad rush to get four big tables set with chairs and tableware, cook, clean up, and get ourselves ready.  We have hosted a Mother's Day Brunch for over 20 years at our house and I don't see it ending anytime soon.  Here's a few pics of the day: 

A galley style kitchen makes it easy to cram people in there--including my mom, daughter, niece and sister.  Everyone is generous in bringing dishes to share and we all ate til we were stuffed.

Hanging out by the waffle bar are youngest daughter, my brother, son, and nephew making a face.  Later I gathered my siblings and mom for a photo.

We're missing one brother from this group, but it was great to be together.  Grant and DD Erica had High Tea with his 98 year old mother at her senior living place the day before. 

Isn't this a sweet pic?  They had a lovely visit and Grandma was happy. 

And look what finally happened with all that moving and cleaning:
My cutting table was cleared at last!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Doll Quilt Swap 2017

Lori of Humble Quilts has held a doll quilt swap for several years and I have luckily been participating yearly.  My swap partner, Karen, received her quilt and as she does not have a blog, Lori asked me to make a post of the quilt I made for her to include in the Swap Linky Party.   

Here is the finished top.  I machine stitched in the ditch along the vertical rows and then made the crosshatch in the side borders, almost by accident!  The above picture was taken before I started hand quilting in the triangles very close to the outside edges.

I planned the label as a part of the construction and was glad it actually worked out with the quilting not disrupting it too much.  My swap partner, Karen, was on a trip when I mailed the quilt to her and kindly posted on Facebook when she opened the package on her return, and liked it!

Go HERE to see all the doll quilts that were swapped this year, they are truly wonderful.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Design Wall Monday--5/8/17

On my design surface today is the Patchwork Times UFO Challenge pick for May, #11.  I am cutting pieces from four different project boxes for this UFO, one per week this month.  Box #1 is done!

Here are all the fabrics for the top of the quilt.  The pattern is a Darlene Zimmerman design that came in an advertisement from APQ mag.  Very simple strips and squares for a small lap quilt.  Backing will be constructed from the leftover fat quarters and yardage.  I'll look forward to pulling this out to sew later in the year. 

The next box I chose was Jewels in the Curio.  This is a Moda Bakeshop pattern by Jo Kramer  of Jo's Country Junction blog.  She and her daughter have designed a lot of patterns for scrappy quilts and are devoted Bonnie Hunter fans. 

My parents bought me the Civil War Homefront jelly roll years ago and I have petted and cherished it but now it needs to be in a quilt.  Charm squares and strips from stash will add variety.  I plan to make this quilt the pattern's size, but my neutral will be scrappy. 

Here are a few pulled so far.  I have another one yard piece to add and will probably throw in a few more as I cut, depending on how far these go.  I will use my Accuquilt GO cutter for the 2.5" strips called for.  The pattern's  block is Jewel Box and I made a quilt a few years ago that I gave to my then boss when he closed his practice.  I love the barn raising setting; mine was offset for my boss.  His daughter claimed it almost immediately, he told me :) One of the pictures I posted early in the layout design process for that quilt has been pinned hundreds of times on Pinterest, but it wasn't the barn raising one!  I'll look forward to stitching this up later in the year. 

See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.