Monday, April 23, 2018

Design Wall Monday, April 23

Off my design wall is the doll quilt I'm making for Humble Quilts' annual swap.   Here's the top before sandwiching.

I SMITD it--meaning I Stitched Mostly In The Ditch (ahem). 

However, once I finished the quilting, I felt the large cornerstones were too distracting, so I trimmed them back to 1.5" from the sashing.  I had already made binding so attached that right away.
I'm much happier with the proportions now.  A label is yet to be made and attached, but this will go in the mail this week, hopefully on a lunch hour.

Next on the design wall, because 25+ UFOs are not enough, I started TWO new projects.  One is for a class a guild member is teaching next weekend.  I'm prepping sections to make a quilted Big Bag. I received one in 2014 made by a guild member in a scrap box swap, and these have been widely made by other guild members since.
While many members are using panels of single fabrics, prequilting them for assembly, I decided to make similarly pieced panels for my version, using all of the dotted fabrics in my stash.

I have a LOT of dotted fabrics, one of my stash staples, certainly.  Since this photo I've laid out and sewn two sections of 20 pieces.  Three more to go...Meanwhile, an invitation to a Baby Shower arrived the other week, so naturally I decided to make a baby quilt.  Wanting to use a bunch of charm packs and squares on hand, I chose the Meet Cute pattern designed by Preeti Harris of Sew Preeti Quilts, available HERE in the Moda Bakeshop.  

It is another strip pieced project requiring mixing of patterns and scale and color, my favorite thing.  I'll make four of the 18" blocks for a "Tummy Time" size quilt.  It feels great to be using up scraps and stash.

See more design walls on Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog. 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

CQA show, Surprise Purchase and Lucky Win

It's Spring in Southern California and the hills are green, lupine and mustard and poppies are blooming, the sky is blue with fluffy clouds.  I love it. 
How is it that blooming Oxalis is so much cuter in my decor than in the lawn?

We returned from our Big Bear vacation on a Friday, leaving the whole weekend still ahead of us.  I hadn't realized what a great plan this was!  No dread of waking up to having to work the next day.  I'll have to remember that on future vacations. 

The Camarillo Quilt Association holds a show every other year, at our local Fairgrounds--I purchased the charming 30's prints mini quilt above some years ago at their show.  Our guild was graced a booth for more Thomas Fire kits to be picked up and info on our project by members.  Several generous folks brought finished quilts to turn in, many more took kits.  My sister and I met at the door and she immediately bought chances for some gift basket drawings.  We were also given door prize tickets with our show entry fee and popped those into the draw container.  It was great to see so many of our members at the show (a number of whom are also CQA members).  We were visiting so much that I didn't take a single picture of a quilt, but enjoyed many of the traditional pieced and appliqued entries--many from Bonnie Hunter mysteries and patterns.  There were also some modern entries from our guild members.  I had a lot of fun in the boutique section, the CQA members are so organized, everything labeled and arranged so well, at discounted prices.  I hope they made lots of money.  
Except for the right bottom two FQ, these were all donated/castoff fabrics.  I also bought a small needlework frame.  I think the green  Thimbleberries yardage on the upper left will look great as a backing for a quilt I have in progress.  The ladybug print coordinates were all in different bins but I snatched them up as I found them, so cute. The two Kim Diehl FQ were purchased from a new vendor, Rag Doll, and we happily chatted about Kim Diehl love for a minute or two.  She also sells punchneedle kits and plans to set up an Instagram account for her business soon. 

During the show, Kathy was called up as a door prize winner--but handed me her winnings, a wool applique kit from Bits & Pieces.  Having another engagement for the afternoon, I left my sister at the show.  She called me later to tell me I had also won a door prize!  They allowed her to pick it up for me.  I was lucky to get it, as she coveted it. 

This is a Big-Mat Rotary Cutting Surface mat.  The surface is renewable and included a resurfacing tool.  It can also be rolled up for storage.   Curiously, I had recently purchased a small off-cut of this mat type while in Big Bear, as I had forgotten a cutting mat.  The mat information advises to only use sharp rotary cutter blades to avoid damaging the surface. 

Kathy's other surprise was that she bought a Longarm machine at the show!  It is an older model Pfaff Grand Quilter sold at a discounted price, 18" stitching opening and 10' long.  While I pictured her having to sleep under the thing to get it into her room, her landlord opted to put it in the Craft Room of her house, being nearly as excited as Kathy.  Yesterday we drove up to Santa Maria to get some lessons on the machine.  It has computerized quilting as well and does all the scaling for you.  I can see this being very useful.  It was a lot of information in a short time and I'm sure I didn't get most of it.  However, Kathy is undaunted and can't wait to have it in the house to play with.  Delivery is next week.  

Meanwhile, this past week I've been working on the House Block doll quilt. I had so much fun making these from my scrap and fat quarter bins and vow to make some for myself next.  The pattern was from the APQ Calendar from 2009.

The doll quilt's all finished now, but needs a label and to be mailed off this week before the May 1st deadline.  I'll share more next post.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Big Bear and Cabin Sewing

It had been awhile since DH Grant and I had gotten out of town together.  We left Tuesday night, later than planned, due to some unforeseen events at home, but made our way to LA/Anaheim to spend the night.  The hotel Grant chose was right behind Disneyland, and though it has been many years since I've been there, the charm of the  park never fails.  We grabbed a late breakfast at McDonald's while we watched hordes of families begin their adventure into the park, and caught a glimpse of Star Wars Land in construction.  We then met with Grant's Uncle Donald and his longtime lady at their house, and had a lovely couple of hours catching up and enjoying old family tales, had a tour of their beautiful house, including Ellen's extensive collection of Roseville pottery and heirloom furniture.  The next leg of our trip involved a lot of Orange County freeways and several nearly comical detours, thanks to the GPS device.  Luckily the toll road we were directed onto had signs of where to pay online if you didn't have a pass!  Finally we were climbing into the San Bernardino Mountain wilderness. Due to recent rains, the hills were very green and wildflowers were blooming. 

We pulled off into a turnout for a quick selfie.  Though the highest peaks were still snowy (11,000 feet), lifts had closed the week prior in Big Bear and the town was very quiet.
Big Bear Lake was calm, waiting for the watersports season to begin.   We found our hotel location and settled into the tiny cabin we'd reserved, unpacked, and took a rest.  Grant's older cousin Kent lives in Big Bear with his lady partner and we made arrangements to join up the following day for lunch on the North Shore.  Kent is a volunteer with the Forest Service and took us on a backcountry tour after lunch, on which Grant had to do the 4-wheel driving as Kent had broken his ankle 10 days before--when another careless skier with a selfie stick cut him off on a downhill run.  It was Kent's first broken bone in all the years of watersports, surfing, snow skiing and outdoor life. 
High above the lake, on a beautiful and windy day.  It was wonderful to be in the pines and rocks. 
Kent was very knowledgeable about the area's history, from the native Serrano Indians who hunted, trapped and fished in these mountains for generations prior to the miners, loggers, and mountaineers who came later, followed still later by Hollywood film crews, ski resorts and vacationers.  We much enjoyed our tour and hope to have another someday.  

I had brought my sewing machine, to the horror of my daughters, and lacking a dining table, set up on the kitchen counter for some standup stitching, which worked just fine.  The LED lights on my Husqvarna Sapphire were really all I needed, though I did bring a separate Ottlite lamp.
I had kitted up house blocks for a doll quilt, having joined Lori of Humble Quilts' swap again this year.  While the room had no iron, I was able to finger press the small pieces and sew them into sections for final assembly at home.  Red house in progress below.   Pattern is from the American Patchwork and Quilting 2009 Calendar (design by Mary Ellen Volt, of Little Quilts).

 Naturally I visited the two quilt shops in town, which are nearly right across the highway from each other.

The pile on the right is from Bear Country Quilts and Gifts, a small but lovely shop with a wide variety of fabrics.  Having forgotten my cutting mat, I bought a small offcut mat and a few CW fabrics.  I had to have the chocolate dipped strawberry too.  The other pile is from Patchworks quilt shop.  This open shop in a retail shopping center has a 12 foot longarm machine and hosts quilt retreats on the lake.  Surprisingly, there are two quilt guilds in this area, with 60+ members each.  Thomas Fire quilt blocks have been donated by both guilds, I was informed.  How wonderful of them!

Too soon, we headed back home on Friday after a final lunch with Kent and his lady.  The traffic was fairly light going down the mountain.
Not too smoggy but there was a haze on the horizon.   It took about 3 1/2 hours to get home, and we were happy with that.  Coming home with a weekend yet to enjoy was terrific to keep the vacation feel going. I stitched up the rest of the house blocks and am ready for the sashing. These are 8" finished and are all from scraps and stash.

Next up, local quilt guild show and a surprise purchase by my sister.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Moda Love Quilt Finish

It's always nice to have a finish to share.  The Moda Love quilt pattern stitched up quick, but as noted before, the quilting part got hung up for too long.  I got the binding stitched on and a label and delivered to the recipient's mom, so she could finally mail it off to her daughter. 
I'm happy with how the colors and prints played and would make this quilt again.  The large blocks  sew up quick (the free pattern is designed for layer cake 10" squares).

 The quilting lines are mostly straight, haha.

Though unplanned, in several spots the binding matched the blocks.  I liked that.  I hope Emma loves this quilt as much as I loved making it.   Many more quilts are patiently waiting for their turn through my machine.  I had finally ordered a plexiglass insert for my sewing desk for my new machine and that arrived while we were on vacation.  I'm ready to get another quilt finished soon!

April Catchup

Another long unplanned break--but lots to share.  I'll start where I left off, watching our grandsons on Easter Weekend.  Although Hunter was a little under the weather, breaking through a molar and not the usual bottomless pit at mealtime, they played and slept well.
At breakfast with Uncle Nick, Cove got quite a tower going of creamers while Hunter sipped.

After breakfast we went out by the tarmac, as the restaurant is adjacent to Camarillo Airport. 
Hunter really wanted to go out onto the tarmac and see the brightly painted plane.  Cove ran a lot of races with other kids on the mini runway and control tower outside the restaurant.

Mama Easter Bunny left baskets for the boys and they wore their bunny ears made at daycare, while perusing their baskets. 
 Cove is doing his "say CHEESE" face, with little brother copying, naturally.

Hunter giving his little Easter chickie stuffed toy some love.  I sent this pic to Mama and she wondered where the shirt came from.  Turns out some other kid's jacket got in Hunter's bag from daycare :)  Mimi got a little embroidery done when Hunter napped, and Cove set up his Legos on the table while I stitched.  They were both good boys and we enjoyed our time with them. So glad we are able to see them often. 

Concurrently, we had our younger daughter's cat at our house for 3 weeks, as Erica was in Italy for a wedding.  Feeling sorry for her, right?  
We saw this face often at mealtimes...Lucy begging for turkey, Lucy begging for ham, and I believe this was Lucy begging for salmon, haha.

I did manage a small finish of embroidery in March.
I bought this little Bucilla kit a few years ago and finally got the flowers and little leaves stitched, which were the only parts left undone.  I have a May stitchery design by Lizzie Kate I want to start next.   Next up, our Big Bear vacation.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Design Wall Monday--March 26

Off my design wall today is a quilt top that I finished six months ago.  Poor thing had backing and binding made but I did not want to try to quilt it on my little Viking. Christmas came and I got a new, spacious- harped Viking.  Finally, this weekend I set up an extra table to pin the quilt.  Not without misadventure, mind you--I cut the batting the wrong size and had to go buy another. Sigh. 

But after that the pinning went fine.  I was closely supervised by the giraffe bike in the corner :)  This quilt is for my friend's only daughter, Emma, who is away at college in Oregon.

This top is the Moda Love Layer Cake Quilt pattern (free on the united notions website) and makes a 72" square quilt.  I set right to quilting after pinning---well, after looking on Instagram for quilting ideas using the Moda Love Quilt hashtag. Lots of beautiful quilts and quilting there, and numerous mini versions of the pattern made from charm packs, so cute!  In the interest of a faster finish, I chose straight line quilting.  

I used my Hera marker to mark a line diagonally through the blocks and the edge of my walking foot to stitch, using a pink Aurifil thread I had on hand.  I like the secondary pattern the crossed lines make in the plain background squares. 

The light is Kona Snow, my favorite soft white.  Most of the prints are from an old Moda line called Boutique.  I have made a lot of different things from these prints--several tablerunners and some giveaway items.  The binding is ready to go and I'm hoping to get it sewn on over the next couple of nights.   See more Design Walls on Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

I bought a new embroidery pattern while at QuiltCon last month and got it ironed onto a leftover piece of the Kona Snow fabric.  I had never heard of this company before but they have monthly series of different designers' work.  The snap frame will be tried out for the first time too.

We will be watching our grandsons this weekend and I'm hoping to get some stitching done when they are napping/sleeping.  However, Cove (4 years old) has been having trouble staying in bed since the change to daylight savings time.  When we watched them last Friday, he came out of his room and had to be tucked back in about 7 times before finally settling down for the night.  That boy's brain is very busy!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

St Patrick's Day, National Quilting Day, Thomas Fire Quilts

Happy St. Patrick's Day, a little late. I barely set out my decorations two days ago, but will let the greens and golds linger for a while.  I parked these two sweet vintage "lucky" postcards on the sideboard. (Ruffle edged plate is from World Market)

I found these at my favorite vintage mall downtown.  It's fascinating to me that these have survived intact, both are over 100 years old.
The top one was postmarked in 1912, and the lower one 1910.  The addresses are a marvel, not even a street name or number.  The top one I think is a rural delivery route in Havelock, Nebraska (near Lincoln), but the bottom one just gives the town, which with a little snooping on Google is Dresser Junction, Wisconsin, a tiny town NE of Minneapolis, now called Dresser.  I love these embossed postcards and always pick up a couple when I find them.  

As today is National Quilting Day, I spent it working on quilts--Thomas Fire quilts.  Our guild has received masses of blocks, over 600 came in one week alone, so we are no longer collecting blocks or making blocks.  The focus is on getting the blocks into quilt tops and those tops made into quilts.  Guild members at QuiltCon were gifted all of Hobbs Batting booth's leftovers that they didn't want to ship--incredible generosity!   It will be quickly used up, though, by the hundreds of quilts still in process. Sew-ins are going on every weekend and we are working as fast as we can to get finished quilts to victims of the fire and mudslide.

Today I laid out our Perkiomen Valley blocks and sewed two tops.  It is fun to  play with this block, so many different layouts are possible. 
Those black and white squares pop out at you, don't they?  I liked making them asymmetrical in this 30 block quilt. 

The next kit had 8 blocks the same so I decided to feature them together.  Another asymmetric setting of 30 blocks.  I have one more set to sew up and think I will do them how I originally laid out the above set, in pinwheels.  
This would be really effective if all the blocks were the same, but we deal with what we're given.  

I also want to share a special quilt which was made by Preeti, of Sew Preeti Quilts blog.  She called her gorgeous green and blue Perkiomen blocks quilt Savanna, the charming story is in this post.  I luckily was able to find her quilt in our packed storage office and had another guild member take a photo of me with it.
This is for you, Preeti, with many thanks!  Her straight set layout really emphasizes the diagonal and the fabrics and patterns just shine.  We have a gallery of Thomas Fire Quilts on our guild website and Preeti's is there.  It was claimed last week, no doubt, when half the shelves in our storage office were cleared for a pop-up giveaway at a local church. 

I hope to get the remaining block kit into a top tomorrow, get a kids quilt package quilted, and finish the binding on a huge quilt I took home from our regular guild meeting.  Then it will be more of the same until there are no more applicants to receive a quilt.  Many of the burned homes' lots are now cleared and graded and rebuilding will soon begin.  Lots are for sale all over the hills, a lot of the older homeowners will not be rebuilding.  I've seen a couple of view lots that are priced in the $500K range, can you imagine?  We will remain flatlanders forever!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Design Wall Monday--Narragansett Browns

Happy Monday!  We are happy in SoCalif because it has been raining, a nice long slow soak on our burnt hillsides, and no wind to follow the storm. Lovely.  

On my design floor is a quilt I've had in progress as a Leader-Ender for awhile, Bonnie Hunter's Narragansett Blues, from her book More Adventures with Leaders and Enders.  My version is smaller, a throw size quilt for my uncle, whose favorite color is brown.  I've been cutting and sewing four patches from the scrap drawers and any cutting table leftovers for months.  Finally yesterday I finished the 187 four patches I needed and could start the layout.  
All the bricks, squares, and four patches ready to go.  I cleared what floor space I have in the sewing room and commenced the arranging.
The rows are laid out vertically and I had to label the center square after awhile to keep track of where I was, and constantly refer to the book.  A few of the four patches wanted to turn, but I kept an eye on them.  I mixed the older batches of four patches with the newer batches to evenly distribute the colors and prints, but didn't spend too much time moving them around.  
Alas, I was short one four patch in the bottom corner, and couldn't get to my machine to sew until I moved all the rows off the floor, lol! There was some additional switcheroo before they were stacked and pinned in their rows.  I'm altering Bonnie's pieced outer border, too, to speed up assembly, and will need to cut a lot of  2x4.5" strips from the precut bins when I get that far.  I'm happy with the mix of browns and scrappy four patches and hope everything comes together well.  Some of the bricks that I cut with my GO cutter were a little long, being cut from scraps and not always on the lengthwise grain, so I will keep a mat and rotary cutter nearby to trim as necessary. 

See more design walls on Small Quilts and Doll Quilts. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

QuiltCon 2018--Part 3

More quilts to share! In another gallery across the courtyard were many more quilts, including a special display of Carolyn Friedlander quilts.  While I have bought her fabrics before, I haven't made any of her patterns.  She uses lots of curves and many prints--I'm always a fan of prints!

Her favorite technique is needle turn applique--which is probably the reason I haven't attempted her patterns yet as my curves are not likely to turn out the best.

Look at hers!  I liked the variety of machine quilting and the addition of hand stitching.

 Next Carolyn Friedlander quilt is called Everglade.

 Same pattern in different colors and scale, so interesting.

 More exquisite needle turn technique. 


The last pic I took of the CF collection, remember I was in a hurry as the exhibit closed in minutes! This one is called Wainwright. 

I'm sorry I didn't get any closeups.  this was hand appliqued and quilted with big stitch quilting and I just loved the shapes and colors.  The blocks were probably 6"

 Another well-known modern quilter, Victoria Findlay-Wolfe, won a ribbon for this quilt.

Her latest twist on traditional quilts, all solids in this braid, done in partial seams. 

 I found the choice of bright yellow thread fun!

Blogger is being a butt and not letting me load photos in the way I want, so this closeup insisted on going first.

 These are Alison Glass Sun Prints.  I love the intense dye and simple shapes in her Sun Prints.
 As the maker noted, a repeated simple shape has many possibilities.

Sorry for the light bleeding in from an upper window in this pic.  The quilting was varied and imaginative. 

Here's another set in the unintended order....Closeup first.  Loved the colors and mini stripe detail. 
 Hand quilting again.  This is my favorite category, one I feel I belong to!

And the whole quilt: 
The placement of the darks and lights made it look improv, but each HST was the same size.

This final quilt I could have studied much longer.  I loved the offset setting and creative quilting.  Closeup first...

 The quilting must have taken an extraordinary amount of time as this is a large quilt.
 It must have been hard to arrange all the quilted Ohio Star blocks just so. 
I have a GO cutter for the Snowball block and hope to made one someday.  After the huge Winding Ways quilt I made, a break from curves was necessary, but this is a great block I'd like to play with.  

So ends QuiltCon 2018.  The next two are out of state, I think Austin, TX next year and Nashville, TN the year after.  I don't thiink I'll make those but we'll see what my sister talks me into.  She took a bias tape class from Latifa Saafir one night, and a block printing class from another instructor the next day, an all day class, so barely got to see any of the quilts displayed.  I hope QuiltCon returns to CA again!