Sunday, April 29, 2018

Design Wall Monday-4/30

Last Design Wall of the month!  Off my design surface is the Big Bag project I showed the start of last week. It was a late hour Friday night completing the panel section I had added rows to over several evenings during the week. I used flannel leftovers instead of batting, seaming two chunks before quilting.  Flannel was recommended to reduce bulk. 


I thought I was only going to quilt with some straight lines, but then I realized there would be no way to add any additional detail once the bag was complete, so added my favorite 3-step zig zag stitch to the pieces as well.  I ran out of bobbin thread twice while making the large center panel (folded in half in this pic) and two side panels. I think it was 1:30 a.m. before I finished trimming to size and zig-zagging the raw edges.

My sister picked me up Saturday morning and we headed to Calabasas High School for the class given by fellow guild members.  We were 18 students, including the school's principal, who was able to ferry folks from the parking lot with the school's golf cart. My sister, however, pulled out her transport wheelchair she uses for her elderly charges, and we set our heavy sewing machines on the seat.  "Worked a treat" as they say.  

Our first task was to use a template provided to remove part of the panel for the handles to be inserted.  Since I wanted to add a large pocket, though not taught in the class, I set to work on that job.  
More Polka Dots from stash.  I used two different gray solids from stash for the lining of my bag.  This pic shows the quilt binding used to cover raw edges of the pocket, handle section, and bag edge all finished. I used the handle cut-out portions for more pockets on the sides.


After all that piecing, I didn't want to throw them away!  I think the zig zagged edge looks just fine.  Once all the sections were sewn together, all seams covered with quilt binding and the top edge folded down and stitched in place, 1/2" dowels were cut to size in class and inserted. 

Ta-da!  Though not intentionally done, the borders on my pieced main section lined up to a single row of polka dots, which I like. The handles stop at the edge of the main section so the bag opens to a nice 9-10" width.  We had a great group of stitchers and a lot of fun making our bags, all of which were different and wonderful. I am happy that all of my bag's fabrics came from stash and scraps, the only purchases were packaged quilt binding and the dowels.  My sister, meanwhile, being a power sewer, blazed ahead of everyone.  She finished her bag way ahead of me and started on a second, which she also finished before the class ended.  Then this morning she sent me a picture of a THIRD bag she made last night.  I expect a few  more before she's tired of it!

Next up is to make a baby quilt for a shower in a few weeks.  I'll get to do more fabric play and piecing, yay!

See more Design Walls on Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

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.