I’m still catching up

In my last post I said I’d had some busy weeks, that hasn’t changed. I still need to catch up on my posts about what I’ve been up to!

After taking FOUR classes at MQX I taught my own class to the Artful Hands Quilt Guild from Mansfield MA. They chose my “Tripping Through Your Stash” quilt for a full day workshop. Twenty one ladies attended and just about everyone made at least two blocks. I didn’t get pictures of all of them but here’s a good sampling:

Scrappy Trips Scrappy Trips Scrappy Trips Scrappy Trips Scrappy Trips Scrappy Trips Scrappy Trips Scrappy Trips Scrappy Trips Scrappy Trips Scrappy Trips Scrappy Trips Scrappy Trips

Here’s what the whole quilt looks like:

Close up

 

Well, almost the whole quilt, but you get the picture.

This is the second time I’ve taught this class and both times it was a lot of fun. The block looks complicated but actually goes together quite easily if you follow my steps. I keep things very organized and broken down into steps so that if you get interrupted while sewing you don’t lose your way. Value is the most important aspect of this block so it’s great for quilters that are trying to get a handle on that.

I’d love to teach this block class again to contact me if you’re intrigued :).

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Very Busy 2 weeks of Quilting Goodness

  The last few weeks have been full of all kinds of quilting activity for me and this week I’ve been playing catch-up!

At the last minute I signed up for classes at MQX in Manchester NH. Figuring if I had to drive all the way up there I should make it worth it so I signed up for 4 classes on 3 days, plus I had to plan time to actually see the show and of course shop!

First class was “Divide and Design” with Lisa Calle. So much fun! And Lisa was so nice, made me wish she lived close by so we could hang out. Her drawing tips were great but what I enjoyed the most were her tips for hiding “screw ups” and how not to get into spots where goofs would be obvious.

DSC_0601 DSC_0602 Lisa Calle

The pictures above are Lisa’s samples from class. I was so caught up in what I was doing I forgot to take pictures of what the class was coming up with! But I came away from this class energized and anxious to get home and sew.

Next up was “Traditional meets Modern” with Judy Madsen. This was a lecture/demo class. She had a great little class sample showing how simple designs can be great, it’s all in the details of course! Isn’t it always?

Judy Madsen DSC_0607 DSC_0608 DSC_0609 DSC_0610

Aren’t these fun?

The next day I went to the show first and I was so focused on getting pictures of quilting I didn’t realize most of my pictures were close ups and not of whole quilts! I also didn’t take very good notes so I can’t credit these photos but they’re full of ideas! Enjoy

Great idea for quilting a plain block

Great idea for quilting a plain block

Beautiful applique

Beautiful applique

This reminded me of dividing the space like Lisa Calle showed

This reminded me of dividing the space like Lisa Calle showed

Found these geese interesting

Found these geese interesting

The veins in these leaves added so much movement

The veins in these leaves added so much movement

Giant Dahlia Quilted by Gins Perkes

Giant Dahlia Quilted by Gins Perkes

Giant Dahlia, love how the space is broken uo

Giant Dahlia, love how the space is broken uo

Fabulous applique

Fabulous applique

I love these little squares!

I love these little squares!

Cute little motifs

Cute little motifs

So many ideas to try out!

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Strippy Pinwheel Workshop

Workshop pinwheels

Workshop pinwheels

The calendar may say spring, but it was cold and SNOWY here yesterday! That made it a great day to stay inside and sew.

I spent yesterday  teaching a workshop for  my guild. Members chose the strippy pinwheel and really went to town! As you can see from the above photo there was a wide range blocks created.

It’s always hard to tell people what to bring for fabrics when the project is a scrappy one but this group clearly had no trouble pulling pleasing combos from their stashes.

Here are some close ups blocks:

Pauline's

Pauline’s

Pauline couldn’t decide between two backgrounds so she used both! Beautiful!

Wendy's

Wendy’s

Love the blue background Wendy chose for her brightly colored fabrics.

 

Elaine's

Elaine’s

Elaine has plans to turn her blocks into a baby quilt.

Sue's

Sue’s

Sue’s art deco striped fabric resulted in really interesting blocks. Her black background sets them off beautifully.

Barbara's

Barbara’s

Barbara had a Bali pop that she paired with a deep navy for background. These were real crowd pleasers, they might be my favorites!

 

Amy's

Amy’s

Amy chose to use the same fabrics for all the pinwheels and different black on white prints for the backgrounds. She wins the prize for the most blocks completed! ( The red one in the lower right corner is Pauline’s).

Sharons

Sharons

More lovely blocks from Sharon. This was her first workshop!

Unfortunately I didn’t get close ups of all the blocks but I at least got everyone in the group shot.

It will be fun at the next meeting to see how many more blocks these ladies complete! Maybe I’ll get more pictures!

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Tiny Baskets, Mini Trips, Coffee and Wine

Remember those little HST’s I was making? They became these!

Tiny baskets

Tiny baskets

Finished size for these is only 4″. Here is another picture with my hand to show the scale, pay no attention to the lack of manicure, my lovely winter hand!

Tiny baskets with hand for scale

Tiny baskets with hand for scale

Quiltmaker has posted a project on their Quilty Pleasures blog of bitty blocks, tiny blocks about 3 or 4 inches finished. Why I thought I need another ongoing scrappy project I’m not sure, I guess because I have a never ending supply of scraps, and little blocks are just soooo cute!

On the first Monday of each month Quilty Pleasures adds another bitty block. January was bow ties, they were really fast and easy. The baskets for February were a little more challenging, lots of little HST’s! But I made a few here and a few there. I like a project like this to do in the morning with my coffee or at night (with a glass of wine) when it’s too early for bed, too late for something new, or for when I’m waiting for my husband to come home. I think I’ll start calling these my coffee and wine quilts instead of scrap quilts! Little blocks like this can be put down quickly with the fear of losing track like more intense projects.

Bitty Bow Ties

Bitty Bow Ties

Another view with my beautiful hand, these are 3″ blocks.

Close up for scale

Close up for scale

The block for March is tiny houses, I haven’t started them yet, but they look a lot easier than the baskets.

I make a lot of my scrap (coffee and wine) quilts this way, a few here, a few there I don’t always know what they’re going to end up as, I just start making blocks or sometimes just units that I know I can somehow put together. Right now I have a few too many of those projects in the works so I’ve been trying to rein them in and finish a few. And by finish I mean a top! Quilting is another category of “finish”, sometimes years away!

I’ve got thirty four mini trip around the world blocks 7″ that I’ve been making (here and there!) for at least two years. The pattern is from the book Squares and Triangles by Elsie Campbell. The time has come to put them together into a top, hopefully I won’t have to make too many more to get a reasonably sized quilt. These blocks, although still scrappy take a little more planning because each has four values of the same color. Usually I am missing one of the values for color I pick. The idea for scrap quilts is to use up what I have, but for some of these blocks I had to cave and buy the missing value (but only a small amount!) Often the missing value was the lightest. I always tell people to buy lights when shopping! Most quilters don’t have enough in their stash, they’re just not as much fun to buy but you need them to get pop in you blocks!

So I guess next up on the design wall will be mini trip blocks. I wonder what they will become…..

Mini Trip Around the World

Mini Trip Around the World

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Swoon Quilted

Swoon

Swoon

I quilted my “Swoon” ! Yeah ! Pretty happy with the result. It still needs binding, I haven’t decided what to use for that yet. You’d think I’d have something in my stash, but nothing is jumping out at me. I probably have 100 batiks (min?) in my stash why won’t one of them work for this binding? That’s always the way!

I made this top as a class sample in 2012. The pattern by Thimble Blossoms has nine blocks and makes a big 88×88 quilt, the blocks a 25 inches! This six block version was big enough for me.

I also made this block in an alternate color way that became a pillow, BIG pillow! 25 x25.

 Swoon pillow

Swoon pillow

A look at the back and quilting

Back of Swoon Pillow

Back of Swoon Pillow

These aren’t great pictures and I no longer have the pillow for retakes. I donated it to our guild’s silent auction for our last show. I think it went for $70, I thought that was pretty good.

Close ups of the blocks from Swoon.

Swoon Block

Swoon Block

swoon block

swoon block

swoon block

swoon block

 

I used a combination of stencils and rulers for marking, all hand guided, I don’t have a computerized machine. I used a variety of Glide colors on the top and So Fine on the back How long did this take? About 13½ hrs over several days, not counting the time spent marking before putting on the frame.

There are a lot of Swoon quilts out there and it took me a long time to decide how to quilt this. What do you think? Have you seen other Swoon quilts?

 

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Squaring up small HST’s

I had a bunch of half square triangles (HST) that I need to trim to 1½” that would be 1″ in the finished block. When you have to tim something that small you really have to be accurate, there is no wiggle room. 

HST's that need trimming

HST’s that need trimming

I used my favorite trimming ruler, The Feathered Star Ruler by Marsha McCloskey. I hate to buy a ruler that you can only use for one thing, but I love this one. Calling it a ruler is a little misleading, it’s mostly used for trimming, not cutting, so I guess it’s more of a tool, but I’m splitting hairs.

My favorite ruler for trimming HST's

My favorite ruler for trimming HST’s

Why do I love this “tool”? It has 4 different increments, one in each corner, for 1″, ½”, ¾, and 1/8″ . In addition each corner has a dashed line that is 1/16″! Scary huh? But sometimes for complicated blocks, like the feathered star! you need that 1/16″ and you need it to be accurate! See that diagonal line in each of the corners? That line makes it super easy to line up your HST’s for trimming.

Here are close ups of each of the corners. That circle in the first photo is a sandpaper dot that I added to the back to help keep slipping in check.

ruler corner

ruler corner

ruler corner

ruler corner

ruler corner

ruler corner

ruler corner

ruler corner

Here’s how to line up a HST to trim. See how the diagonal line on the ruler lays on top of the HST? See how some of the HST extends beyond the outer edges of the ruler and the 1½” mark on the ruler? Use your rotary cutter to trim the two outer edges.

trimming the first two sides

trimming the first two sides

rimming the other sides

rimming the other sides

Then turn the HST so the trimmed edges line up with the solid black lines and the  other two sides now extend beyond the ruler; trim them with you rotary cutter.

 

 

 

 

Here’s what it looks like all trimmed, perfect!

Neatly trimmed to size

Neatly trimmed to size

I like to use my ruler like a squeegee to clean up my mat when I’m done. I just squeegee them right into my trash!

Cleaning up the mat

Cleaning up the mat

All my tiny HST’s trimmed and ready to use.

HST's trimmed to 1 1/2"

HST’s trimmed to 1 1/2″

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Another Scrappy Finish

I had a lot of 3½”  strips left from this  scrappy attic window quilt

Attic Window revisted. A replica of the first quilt I made.

Attic Window revisted. A replica of the first quilt I made.

so when Bonnie Hunter announced her “leader and ender” project for last year I was good to go. To learn more about “leaders and enders”  visit Bonnie’s website.

leader and ender project

leader and ender project

This was done entirely from my stash, even the back. There’s a huge variety of reds and neutrals for the corners. Some of the larger “brick” pieces are really not my favorites (read ugly) but when they’re all thrown together into a quilt the less than beautiful ones aren’t really noticeable. A lot of these fabrics have been in my stash for a really long time and I was very happy to finally see them go.

close up

close up

Here’s the back

the back

the back

I still need to bind it, but I call this done!

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Longarm up and running

I had a house call for my longarm recently and am happy to report it was successful! I have been busily quilting a number of tops that I’ve had for toooo long. I’ve used a variety of threads and techniques to really give it a workout and yeah!! it’s been great! Finally! 

Here is some of what I’ve finished this week. This scrappy log cabin has been waiting for longer than I know. The red centers are 2″, the colored strips are 1 1/2″ and the neutrals are 1″ finished. Using different size strips on opposite sides of the block gives it the illusion of a gentle curve. The colored strips are all from my stash as are most of the neutrals. I purchased the red for the border.  I started quilting it  in the fall but then my machine was giving me trouble. I used a double bat to really make the freehand feathers in the neutral areas pop. I used a ruler for straight line quilting in the colored sections. The center has a medallion made with my  largest circle ruler. I used So Fine thread throughout.

DSC_0515

Full view of scrappy log cabin

Here’s a close up of the feathers

free form feathers

free form feathers

Corner detail with 1 inch HST border, feathers and straight lines

corner detail

corner detail

The center  medallion from the back

Center back

Center back

More of the back

back showing straight line quilting

back showing straight line quilting

I’m still stitching the navy blue binding you can see in the corner detail so not officially done. I love how it came out! What do you think?

 

 

 

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More Catching Up

My first posts to this blog were about Bonnie Hunter’s Grand Illusion Mystery quilt. Find it here

I didn’t keep up with  posting my progress, but I did keep up with the mystery! There was a little lagging during Christmas week, but I caught up right after.

Here is the progress of my mystery, warning, there are lots of pictures!

 My units from step 3:

Step 3 Units all counted up

Step 3 Units all counted up

Step 4:

Step 4 of Grand Illusion

Step 4 of Grand Illusion

All of the units completed and awaiting final instructions:

All the units ready to go in the project box

All the units ready to go in the project box

The  25 blocks assembled:

Grand Illusion Blocks completed

Grand Illusion Blocks completed

Sashing ready to add:

Units from step 3

Sashing units grouped together

Blocks with sashing ready to stitch

Blocks with sashing ready to stitch

Blocks joined into rows:

One row completed for Grand Illusion

One row completed for Grand Illusion

Two rows

Two rows

3 Rows

3 Rows

4 Rows

4 Rows

5th and final row!

5th and final row!

All the rows joined to form the quilt center:

All the rows joined

All the rows joined

Borders assembled and ready to add:

 

Borders assembled ready to add

Borders assembled ready to add

A nearly empty project box! Yeah! Gotta love that!

Hooray! A nearly empty project box!

Hooray! A nearly empty project box!

And finally! The completed top!

The top completed

The top completed

This is a big quilt, it was hard to photograph inside, but I think you can still see it well enough to see the design.

I actually finished the top on Jan 9th but am just getting around to posting. I’m not sure how I feel about this quilt. Truthfully, it’s a little busy for me and I’m a girl who’s been known to use 200 fabrics in a quilt! I think I would prefer to have a little more negative space for some visual rest. I said at the start I don’t usually like mystery quilts, but I am glad I made it and kept up! (mostly kept up).  Bonnie has great instructions and lots of time saving techniques. I’m always looking for those. And I used up some fabrics that have been sitting in my stash since the dawn of time!

Here are a few close ups of the top:

Close up

Close up

Grand Illusion close up

Grand Illusion close up

Border

Border

More on other projects I have going later this week. A major storm is being forecast for the NE so I’ll be inside sewing!

 

 

 

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Catching up after the holidays

Maybe just before the holidays wasn’t the best time to dive into blogging! As you can see I haven’t posted in quite a while. Now that January is nearly ending I finally feel like the holiday prep, celebrating and clean up are finished! Time to get on with the New Year and those pesky resolutions. Yesterday I had lunch with my bestie and she told me January is a “gimme” for resolutions so I’m good. Coincidently hers was also the last gift I finally delivered! She loved her Bali bag even if she did have to wait for it.

covered clothesline fo bali bag

covered clothesline fo bali bag

This is the pile of batik covered clothesline that became a  new tote. It’s is from the pattern by  Aunties Two. I didn’t line mine, but I did add a zipper.

Completed bag with zipper

Completed bag with zipper

I also made a few ornaments that I couldn’t share until after they were all delivered.

tiny felted wool mttens

tiny felted wool mittens

These mittens are very small! I should have put a quarter in the photo for scale. They would fit the average cat . They are made from old sweaters that felted in hot water. One woman’s sweater make A LOT of these mittens.

felt gingerbread houses

felt gingerbread houses

I made these felt gingerbread houses for my boys. When they were small we always made gingerbread houses. Lots of fun but I mess I don’t really miss! These are much neater! I based these on houses I found here.

Origami ornaments from Sew, Love, Live

Origami ornaments from Sew, Love, Live

 I saw these fun origami ornaments on Sew, Love, Live. These were really easy, I used 5″ squares I already had cut in my stash and buttons from the button jar that we all have.

All of these ornaments were made from stuff I already had so they were totally guilt free! I love using stuff I already have .

That’s it for today!

I have a service person coming to my house soon to get my longarm in working order. It’s been giving me trouble for a while and I can’t wait to get back to it! Fingers crossed! 

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