Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Wedding Gift

This is my favorite quilt to make for newlyweds...a big comfy couch quilt, big enough for two to snuggle under! It is Buggy Barn's pattern, Heart's and Stars. We went to a lovely wedding today with a fall theme...beautiful bright orange, deep red, and brown, decorated with gerbera daisies, mums & pumpkins. May they live Happily Ever After!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Secret Pal Fun!

One of the small groups that I am in is called "Rather Bees", short for "I'd Rather Be Quilting", shortened more to "Bees". This group has been around for over 20 years and it is still going strong! We have about 21 members when we all show up, and the regulars are about 6-16. It's a fun group. We take over someone's house each Tuesday night and have fun visiting and stitching. Those who want to participate draw names for Secret Pals and we leave secret gifts for our pal now and then throughout the year. We also celebrate the Zero Birthdays big in this group!

Well, this January, I turned one of those big Zero birthdays and my pal asked each member of the group to bring a card along with a few fat quarters and 4 1/2" cut squares. I opened each card and stash of fabric with joy and at the end, one of the girls said she was to gather them all back and my secret pal would take it from there...well, at our Valentine's party about 3 weeks later, this is what I received! Drumroll please..............

It is big enough to cover the top of my king sized bed! WOW! What a thrill ! Thanks Secret Pal, whoever you are! In the package was the scraps and a rhyme that basically said since I like to do appliqué so much, she couldn't wait to see what I designed for the borders! What fun... By the next week I had several borders sketched off, taking ideas from some of my favorite books. We all took a vote and the border shown below in the book, Stars All Around Us, by Cherrie Ralston, won hands down! You can see my sketches and directions for the pieced top, Scrappy Hourglass, from the magazine Sew Scrappy: Quilts for Fabric Lovers, Vol 2. To make things a bit more special, I found out my good friend, Mary Helen Schiltz was a contributing editor for this magazine. But I know she is not my Secret Pal, so I am still trying to figure that out...

Since I have finished all my current projects, I decided it was time to get started on these borders. First I need to make enough hourglass blocks to add 24" to the quilt length so that it can be tucked under my mattress. So I went digging in my stash for a bit more fabric... Ooops! There was an avalanche!


Soooo, I did a little organizing after digging deeper and choosing the fabrics I needed! LOL
This Pattern calls for you to lay the light and dark squares together and draw a line down the center. Ask any quilter who knows me and they can tell you that I always say I am not a piecer! I look for shortcuts anywhere that I can find them. See below for the shortcut to avoid drawing that line. I used a small ruler laid from corner to corner and kept the point lined up with the ruler as I stitched.

So far it is working good! I will keep you posted as I go along. I'll stitch these 192 blocks for a while and try to get started on the appliqué to work on now that football season has begun! It's great bonding time with the hubs. Once I get started on the appliqué, I will show you what I get accomplished.

Have a great evening, & take care,


Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Colors of Early Fall

The first signs that cooler weather is on its way for me is when my fall clematis begins to show its buds and bloom. This one grew very well in the HOT climate we had this summer. The rest of my potted plants died off and I let this one take over. Now I am so glad I did as it has been a wonderful screen to help hide the neighbors and now, the blooms are so pretty. They loved this bit of rain on the day of the photo shoot!

And now the sun is shining so I thought I'd show one of my old quilts that I still enjoy. It's a fall quilt that i like to put on my table as a topper. This was made from the book Square Dance by Martha Thompson, way back in the early 90's. She now has a revised edition called Square Dance, Fancy Quilts from Plain Squares.

Here it is all spread out!

My small group at the time had a Sewing Saturday and we each made these together. Everyone's turned out differently. I wish I had pics to share. We all brought a dish to share for lunch and it's such a fun memory.

I have no plain wooden table in this home, so I think I'll drape it over a chair this fall.

Happy Fall Ya'll !!


Monday, September 17, 2012

Fastest Finish Ever! Charmed Beginnings

Less than a week and this baby is finished and ready for the show! A week and a half is a record for me!
I am a good last minute worker. Every year I seem to do this to myself...I sign up quilts for our quilt show that are not quite done. Usually they have been started when I enter them...but this one was not even started! I've done so much traveling this summer, it kept getting put on the back burner. It was a thrill to get 'er done so quickly. I felt like I was at a quilting retreat for a few days!
This is the quilt that I designed for Blackberry Primitives using 100% wool fabrics. They got to keep the original, so I needed to make one for me to keep. I used cotton and wool in my version. (The pic above is a horrid picture, but the camera batteries are dead, so iPad pic it is for today!). I used Steam A Seam 2 and did machine appliqué.
Below, you can see the wool version that Blackberry owns.

And this is how my new version looks when it was stuffed in the quilting machine. Small enough to be easy to quilt at 45" square.
This quilt is machine quilted on my Sunshine 16 longarm. It's a great little machine and I was glad to have something to quilt on! This machine fits in my room without taking over my sewing room. It was very economical in price and I'm so glad I made the decision to purchase it! You can find info about it here.

The problem I have is deciding what designs to quilt in the empty areas. I hope to make better decisions as I do more quilting. This one was challenging as there were some areas that were very empty and some that were not so empty, but still needed filling. I didn't want to do very small quilting in these areas because the charm center had not so small quilting. See where my mind goes?!? Around in circles! My goal is to get to the point where I just KNOW what each quilt needs, rather than spend days and days thinking about it! Am I alone with this? Do you have problems deciding what designs to quilt?
Take Care,


Friday, September 14, 2012

Displaying our quilts

We work so hard on all of our quilts...then we hang some on the walls, and make some small quilts into pillows, but how else do we display them? I was visiting Marcia, a fellow quilter's home last night and her displays all over her condo took my breath away! I'll show you a few pics. As we walked in the door, this beautiful cabinet greeted us. There is a mini quilt on top of the cabinet with a wooden display case on top of the quilt. I would say this box looks like a candy box from an old store...the candy inside is pearl cotton balls! I love it! And of course, we see the nice fall themed quilt hanging on the wall.

Once you step into the door, as you turn left there was this cute little window to greet you as you go on into the living room...darling little quilts displayed on the ledge! And we get a peek of what's to come!!

And then a better view of all the quilts on display in the living room area... LOOK at that cabinet!!! I wanted to get in there and look at all of those beauties! See the cute way she has put a small quilt on the footstool? And then there is the ladder and door of the cabinet and the back of the chairs. I love these ladders, but can't seem to find one these days. I need a tall one for my living room to fill an empty space.

And as we step on into the room, we looked left, and another gasp came from this girl! I love the way she is showing all her work! The footstools, the chairs, tabletop and walls...looks luscious!

Then we turned around and saw where she has her machine set up. This is the great wall unit she has to store things in. If I remember correctly, this is where her computer is also. I like the way she lays a small quilt on top of a full's genius! Display with a purpose!

I missed getting a picture of the lovely cabinet in her bedroom. It was drawers and open shelves full of beautiful wools folded in the shelves. Marcia knows how to display her lovely work! if this condo were for sale and I was lookin'...I would know it was ready for me to move right in!! The picture below would seal the deal! I would hope she would forget to pack her sewing closet when she moved out! We all know that wouldn't happen...Look at that wonderful storage...and look at all that wonderful fabric!

I have about one or two areas with quilts on display in my home...I will strive for more now that I have seen these wonderful ideas. Marcia, thanks for the inspiration!!

I am now inspired to go sew!! I hope you are too!

Take care,



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Never Forget

God Bless those who experienced tragedy due to the terror attacks on 9/11/01

We will always remember that terrible day...

May they rest in peace

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Warm Welcome is done!

Here it is...all finished. Quilted and bound! Whew. For a little quilt at 24" square, it sure was a challenge! but it's good to have a challenge now and then.
I hope you can see the quilting if you are able to zoom in on the picture. It is not perfect, but I am learning new things on my quilting machine each time I quilt another quilt. If you have ideas of something else I could have quilted into the border area, I would love to hear about them. I was stumped and all I could think of was feathers...
This is the backside. Again, not perfect, but if I squint, it looks good! LOL. I may consider no sleeve on this one for displaying both sides.
If you notice, I finished the back side the same as the front for the binding. Since I was using the english paper piecing method, I wanted to bind it as I have seen antique quilts bound with this shape. It was difficult at first, but ended up getting easier as I went around.
I started by sewing on a matching color paper piece (thanks to Mary Helen for that color suggestion). I stitched two sides of the piece. This pic below is from my phone, so it is a bit blurry, but I think you can see the new paper piece I am stitching on to the border. 
Then after an entire side of pieces were sewn on, I flipped them to the backside of the quilt.
The backing fabric was trimmed and folded under so that no raw edges showed at the intersection area that is very narrow. (See that right under my thumb.) Then I pinned the piece in place at the point and the narrow intersection where both sides are touching.

The edges were stitched in place as shown above and I took an extra stitch at the narrow area as seen below.
I used wool batting and it was quite puffy until I gave it a good steamy press. Now that it is completed, I think I like the look. It's a different way to bind and I do have great appreciation for our grandmothers of the past who used this method to finish their quilts. This was a common way to finish a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt. Many times they would just fold the backing under instead of adding the colored piece like I did.
This quilt will hang in the Des Moines show the first weekend in October. I just got started on another quilt for the show! Yes, I am doing this at the last minute, but I do this every year to myself! I have posted Charmed Beginnings that I designed as a pattern for Blackberry Primitives. It looks quite different in cotton fabric this time around! The stems and grass are wool.

Now I am trying to decide on the border color...have to think on it for a while. Not too long though! It needs to be completed by Sept 21st!!
Thanks for stopping by today, take care,