Tuesday, June 27, 2017

More of the Same, and Something Different

Cross Reference blocks are still the front runner in my sewing hours.  I got a bunch more done over the weekend, this time the alternate color, rust.

I haven't quite worked out how many of the rust blocks I will use in the layout so will just keep sewing until they are all made.  I see a lot of squaring up in my future. 

We had a wetter winter and my Golden Rain Tree went nuts with blossoms this year.  While the neighbor's basketball hoop spoils the picture, I'm loving all the pretty yellow flowers.  Someday I hope this tree will actually shade the front of the house, not just the driveway.

Lots of bees buzzing in the tree daily.  We had a couple of hot windy days and a lot of the flowers were blown off.  I spent half an hour this morning sweeping them out of our neighbor's driveway and the gutter.  Soon the flower spikes will give way to seed pods.  I love flowering trees, even though they are very messy.  

My husband and I are both on vacation for a few days and have a long list of household chores to get through, mostly related to reassembling the house since our carpet installation.  We bought some new wall lamps for our home office and the obviously translated instructions were not quite English--check out #3 especially!
Pretty funny.  Last weekend we assembled a new, smaller desk for me, and I'll need to thin file folders and desk drawer items.  Last night we moved furniture around in our future guest room and I reloaded the bookcase, which  lead to opening books and delayed finishing the job, natch. Lots of boxes, artwork, and paper purging to do yet.  I can't remember the last time we were off work for so many days together and we are enjoying our time.  It always goes so much faster than you think it will!

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!