Think about this.....

...the only thing scarier then reaching out to the unknown is settling for that with which we are comfortable.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Mystery Day #2

Here are a few more blocks to wet (whet) your appetite.

Hot Dog

Giant Cone

I have been painstakingly blanket stitching around all the pieces needed for this quilt. It has taken me days and days and hopefully, with positive thoughts and a productive mind, I'll finish blanket stitching today. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

It's a Mystery

I began this quilt last Tuesday. This is a pattern I picked up this summer while on our way up to quilt camp. The shop was located at Elm Creek and I have been just busting to get started on it.

While the Scrap Squad quilt was at the quilters, and since I don't normally sew binding during nice weather days (it's a thing), I ventured into this project and thought I would, over the next week or three (depending on how long it takes me to get it done), feed only pieces of it to you in random order. Sounds like fun, huh?

Here are the first few pieces.

Soft Ice Cream from Tasty Twist

Cupcake Number 1
I'm just getting hungry looking at these!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Piccadilly Circles

Isn't this quilt so beautiful? When I saw it in the July/August 2013 issue of Quiltmaker, I knew it was to be done! I started the quilt shortly after receiving the issue, but a house move, a wedding, and renovations to said house were definite quilt-making stoppers.

Piccadilly Circles
Since I'm working my way through some of my UFO's, this top was nearly at the bottom of the heap. There still are others, but they are work-as-you-go tops. This top just needed to get done since it is so nice.

Speaking of Quiltmaker, Linda, at B's Floral (also home to Bee Quilted) phoned me today and said my Star Search quilt was already done! What? Are you kidding me? Talk about the royal treatment! After I got it home and grabbed a bite to eat for lunch, I laid it out to see whether the prairie points I wanted to put into that last border would work. Nope. Too much. I'm going to leave it "as is" and call it good. I'll start the binding tonight and get some pics of it up as soon as the binding is completed.

Friday, September 13, 2013


It gets kind of tiring when all a person does is blather on and on without any visuals doesn't it? Well, here are a few anyway.

This is Falling Charms and the last we'll be seeing of this quilt. It's being donated to our VA folks down in Battle Creek and will find a new home/owner around Veteran's Day.

Falling Charms

The label deserved a pic as well since is was such a pickle to work with. :-)

My next design wall contestant needed to be pieced together. As much as I loved having this on my wall to decorate my studio, it was time to put it together and get the next set of blocks up there.

This is Spring Garden and was a short mystery quilt/workshop I took guessed it! Craftsy! Amy Gibson is an amazing person and I would love to meet her some day in person! I couldn't resist anything she offered so I selected to take this workshop even though I didn't particularly care for the fabrics offered, the thought of a mystery quilt (because I have a terrible history with them), and I knew I was beyond the given skill level.

But every once in a while you have to do a simple project just to keep your sanity and perspective on your craft so I dug right in and created the blocks in an afternoon. I pieced the top this morning and here is the result.

Spring Garden
After checking the pattern and the workshop materials, identified that I did follow the directions correctly and even after a few people questioned the directions, put it together like I was instructed. Sometimes I wish I wasn't such a literal person because if you look at this top, there is something minor that I should have picked up on while it was living on my design wall for four days. And wouldn't you know it...didn't pick it up until I put the two halves together. I wasn't going to pick it apart at this point and just decided to leave it as is. Can you find the error in the design?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

On to other things

Yesterday was good news day. B's Quilting in Charlotte can turn the scrap squad quilt around for me in my short deadline timespan. I love the motif we picked for the quilting and can't wait to see how it turns out. I never did get a pic of the quilt with the borders on it prior to taking it up, but I knew that time was of the essence and so had to whisk it off toot sweet.

After arriving back home, I unpacked the Falling Charms charity quilt that Katie quilted for me and started in on the binding and the label. I've never had a label give me such trouble before and struggled with that through most of the early afternoon. After finally getting that right, I then moved on to the binding. Thankfully, that's going much better.

I needed a little break with Falling Charms and pieced together all the blues in Anita's Arrowhead. I counted to see how many blocks I have constructed to far after my blue construction. To my dismay, I only have 36. To make a queen-sized quilt I need about 100. Because I'm running out of large scraps, and don't want to start digging into my yardages, have decided to make this a colorful couch quilt and settle on a few less blocks.

My next plan of action, and since it's such a fun quilt to do, is to obtain 4 "like" layer cakes and put together another larger quilt using the same Anita's Arrowhead pattern. It's a nice quilt to take a break with and the blocks are so fun to put together. Anita uses a really subdued flowery pattern for one of her examples, and I'd like to do something like she did. I'll have to start keeping an eye on MSQC's web site to take advantage of their daily deals for purchase of said layer cakes.

I also played with a new little apple core kit I purchased at the Cal-Co quilt show last weekend. I wanted to do a few test pieces before digging in to the actual pattern to make sure I understood the directions. This is a new realm for me in using glue to "baste" the pieces down prior to hand stitching them together. It's kind of a spin on English paper piecing and will be an educational experience I'm sure.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Now the Top is Done!

While the actual blocks were completed yesterday on Star Search (Scrap Squad #5), I had yet to decide whether to border the quilt. If you didn't read yesterdays blog, the original pattern did not include any borders on the top. I wanted to extend the size of the top and thought that perhaps some borders would be nice to add to the project.

I did decide on two. One thinner border and then one a little thicker. I plan on setting some prairie points on that outside lighter border once the quilt has been quilted.

Speaking of which. I'm tossing around the idea of trying to get this bugger under my machine(s), but the quilt, with the added borders, seems nearly too daunting to peruse into that venue. I have to make some phone calls tomorrow to see where I can get the thing done in a quick-like manner.

I worked on a few Anita's Arrowheads today after completing the scrap squad top. My yellows are now done and will move on to the blues next.

Katie gave me the Falling Charms charity quilt last Thursday. She quilted it up for me and since it was for charity donated through our quilt guild, she did it pro-bono. I love Katie! I still need to get a binding and a label on it, so maybe tomorrow (after finding a quilter for my scrap squad quilt), I'll complete that.

I also put Spring Garden on the design wall. This was a workshop through Craftsy and had been sitting in block on my design table for a number of weeks now. Once we put up the temporary design wall, Star Search took over the wall for the past two weeks so I was unable to set Spring Garden on the wall to plan out how that quilt will piece together. I think this is going to be a simple, yet beautiful quilt.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Top is Done!

And with one day to spare on my two week estimate for Scrap Squad quilt #5. I did not anticipate the difficulty of adjoining the rows in this quilt. I have never made a parallelogram-type of quilt and especially setting it on point. The first row had to be ripped out because, like I've been taught, you butt the seams together to make sure they intersect perfectly.

You don't do that on parallelograms! the seams actually have to cross at the quarter-inch mark to make sure they line up. I don't know if I did it correctly, but what I ended up doing was to "fake sew" with a pin horizontally and then flipping the row being added up to see if I was lined up correctly. I did this with each and every seam intersection...which means, pretty much the whole top.

I was pretty pleased with the results and found that only a few were a teensy bit off. There is one seam that after resewing twice, just couldn't get it to behave, so my three-times-and-your-out rule applied in this instance. From 10-feet away, you can't even see which one it is, so I'm calling it good.

I see that that pattern does not have any borders added, but I'm feeling like I want to add one or two. I think a dark, thin border first, and then a wider, lighter border second. Perhaps some prairie points in that second border to accent the points in the stars within the top itself? Thinking out loud here, can you tell?

I'll play with it tomorrow to see what I come up with on paper/computer before I take to the cutting mat and sewing machine. Isn't creating fun?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Goals, goals, goals

When my eldest was home last week for our middle sons' wedding, I received the next scrap squad pattern. After gawking at it for some time, I decided that it was going to be a little bit harder then some of the previous patterns and because of what I wanted to do with it (color-wise), so, it was going to take a lot more time then usual.

I verbalized this to him and his new wife and his reply to me was something along the lines of, "Yeah, right mom. You'll have it done by the end of the week." They left to go back to California on last Tuesday. I finished the last block last night at a rather late hour. The rows are rows, but they are not fashioned together yet as a quilt top. And, I want to border this quilt, so I have to plan/do that as well.

When I spoke with the eldest son last night, I indicated to him that the quilt top was still in progress (it was after I hung up with him that I eventually finished the blocks). He was astounded. Not only that, I said to him that it would actually be a two-week project rather then one, given my plans for the pattern. He couldn't believe I was pretty much on the mark with my timeline projection and since I have plans for nearly all weekend, it will be next Tuesday before the quilt top is ready to head to the quilter.

This leads to my next situation. I have a 10/4 deadline. Yesterday when I spoke with a new quilter who belongs to our guild, she said she was 4-6 weeks out for completion. Oops. That leaves me with my usual quilter, and while she does an amazing job and I love her work, she is so far away that I have to spend a culmination of a half day chasing quilts around the state.

Life of a professional quiltmaker isn't all fabric and thread. It takes a lot of planning and preparation to make a project work from start to finish in just five weeks. I spend much of my time sewing, yes, but there are so many other considerations to factor in as you can see with my latest quilt.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Freezer Paper Is My Friend

When working with templates, and until recently, I used to use the old fashioned templates. I would cut them out of cardboard and hope that I cut the patches correctly. Which I generally did not. I did not like to use heavy plastic for two reasons: 1) It's expensive and 2) They are bad for the environment, especially if they weren't going to be used again for another project.

Freezer paper was introduced to me about a year ago after taking a portrait quilt class. I had a huge roll I purchased from a yard sale years ago, but never learned, or had it explained to me, how to use this wonder tool.

Isn't it great to finally find out how to do something easier? With the scrap squad #5 quilt, half the quilt is being built with foundation paper piecing, and the other half I'm doing with templates. I've used my parallelogram freezer foundations nearly through the whole quilt and they are just started to conk out on me. Talk about getting your money's worth!