Saturday, December 8, 2018

Quilting to Plan and Planning to Quilt

Although I still don’t have a quilt finish to share, I’m getting closer. One Cousin Kim and I basted All You Need is Love on Wednesday, I began the quilting process on Thursday.

Here’s a picture of the top again so you will understand what I’m referencing.

The thread I’m using is a barely-there pale green cotton. It’s so pale that it looks almost white on the front.  So, on Thursday I started out by quilting the center panel with a basic stipple. 

Then I switched to a dark blue thread and quilted the navy border around the center panel with lines. They’re not visible, so I didn’t take a picture. And I quilted wavy lines in the dark floral borders in the top and bottom final border, also not visible. 

On Friday I tackled the yellow flying geese that surround the center panel. After searching for some simple ideas, I settled on this pattern. It was tricky to do because I didn’t want to wrestle with the quilt by continually changing directions and pulling its bulk around under the machine. So some of these motifs were stitched while I was looking at them upside down or sideways, although they all came out the same on the geese. My best motifs actually came out while I was stitching them upside down! I’ll thank you not to laugh at that.

After that, I tackled the next round, which consisted of the lollipop and friendship star motifs. By that time, simple was sounding real nice, so I just went with loops.

And here is how the front looks so far. I know, I know; it’s hard to see the quilting.

And here is the back. The thread matches the back wonderfully.

So, today I’ll continue. I think I’m just going to ignore the little checkerboard round since it’s only two inches. I’ll switch to pink thread and first go back to stitch in the solid pink border between the flying geese and the next round. Then I’ll tackle the pink hearts. 

My goal is to finish the quilting today so that I can trim it up and sew the bright pink binding together. Then I can bind, launder and photograph it on Sunday and get it packed and mailed on Monday. At least that’s the plan. 

I’m also participating in Bonnie Hunter’s Good Fortune Mystery Quilt-Along, and have the Clue 3 pieces to start on this week. And I’m trying to make a decision on what quilt to finish up next. Right now it’s a toss-up between turning all my selvage blocks into not one, but TWO finished quilts (and I’ve already pulled the sashing fabric) OR to start sewing together the Birds in the Lattice quilt blocks. There should be a third choice in there - a quilt that I need to start and finish before we go on vacation to Arizona in February. I’ll introduce that one in the next week or two....

Linking up to Angela’s Rainbow Scrap Challenge 
and Cynthia’s Oh Scrap!
Thursday, December 6, 2018

Scrappy Stars, A Flimsy and Part 2 Pieces

Now that the bulk of my Christmas chores are behind me, I’ve got more sewing time once again. I should clarify that I still have two packages to mail. One of those will get mailed tomorrow (Friday), and the other will get mailed next week to my daughter - after finishing her quilt. So let’s start off with that.

All You Need is Love is now a flimsy (quilt top).  The color in the photo is a bit off kilter, probably due to all the brights in the center and the shadows of the overhanging soffit.

Cousin Kim was over yesterday and we got it basted up, so I will hopefully begin quilting it today. My goal is to finish it over the weekend so that I can mail it on Monday. Right now it measures 68.5 x 80.5. Naturally it will shrink a bit when laundered. I do plan to bind it in the solid hot pink that’s featured all over in the quilt. I figure that should tie it all together.

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I also finished my Part 2 clue half-square triangle pieces (I’m only doing about half) of Bonnie Hunter’s Good Fortune mystery quilt-along. So, I’m going to link up to her Part 2 Mystery Link-up post.

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And I just completed nine blocks for the Block Lotto’s December drawing; Sawtooth stars in blues and purples with light stars and dark backgrounds. I love these little 6.5” blocks!

Now, off to start some quilting!!!
Sunday, December 2, 2018

Oh Scrap! and OMG

The title of this blog post sounds like quilter’s cussing, doesn’t it? LOL. Actually, Oh Scrap and OMG (One Monthly Goal) are blog linky parties that I occasionally link up to (and would do so more often if I had anything share-worthy). 

First, let’s start with OMG. I didn’t make my November goal, which was to finish my daughter Megan’s All You Need is Love quilt. It’s going to be a Christmas present. I  had a slight issue with wonkiness - some of the measurements were off kilter. So that necessitated some un-sewing (that sounds better than ripping out, doesn’t it?) and re-sewing. But I got it done and progressed to the next and final round. But I didn’t finish. So, I’ve set the finish of this quilt as my December goal for OMG and I’m linking up to Patty’s monthly goal-setting party at Elm Street Quilts

This is where the quilt stands now. It’s a completed flimsy that is right on the measurements. The final row is flying geese windmill blocks on the sides and a colored stripe bordered by two plain white (Kona Snow) strips. The four cornerstones came from a block I had on one of my Pinterest boards. My daughter saw it and wanted it. It was designed by Amy Gibson for a now-discontinued Craftsy quilt. Anyway, you can see it HERE. I just drafted my own version of the cornerstone block.

Tomorrow I’ll sew up a backing and hopefully get it basted.  Then I’ve got all week to get it quilted Rather than quilting just one overall design (which would be fine by her as she’s not a quilter) I’m leaning toward doing some different but not too over-the-top designs. Stay tuned.

Today, which is a snowy and cold winter’s Sunday (and so nice with the fireplace going and the Christmas tree lit up), I’m also linking up to Cynthia Brunz’ Oh Scrap! linky at her inspirational blog Quilting is More Fun Than Housework. I have missed my regular scrap piecing and quilting in the mad rush of Thanksgiving through end-of-year holidays. I decided I needed to make a pencil case for my colored pencils. I’ve been using them a lot this year to draft several quilts, including the quilt above (All You Need is Love) and Lattice Birds, which I hope to get back to soon. But I digress....

So, I found the perfect scrap in my stash for the pencil case, and found a coordinating cheddar colored scrap to go with it:

But those are regular No. 2 pencils, not colored. I mean, it would still make a cute pencil case, and I still plan to make one (or two), but it led me to continue searching my scraps. 

I recently ordered two fat quarters from Spoonflower when they had a Buy 1 Get 1 Free sale on their fat quarters. I knew that my favorite fabric designer, Tamara Kate, has an account there with lots of designs available for purchase. What I didn’t know (until I was checking out with my purchase) was that I had Spoonflower credits on my account. So my total cost for 2 fat quarters plus postage was $1.25. Can’t beat that!

This first fat quarter will make a darling colored pencil case! And probably with enough left over to do some fun fussy cutting. The second fat quarter is just FUN. What I’m going to do with it is still a mystery. But the cats like it and I’m a Pisces so it works for me!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Good Fortune, the Beginning!

Welcome to my little corner of the quilting world! I’ve been absent for about a week because it’s been crazy (by design) around here with Thanksgiving, family, and our alternate celebration FIESTA. That’s where we get together (those who celebrated elsewhere at Thanksgiving) and have Mexican food. Yeah - by the end of next week we’re sick of turkey AND Mexican food. LOL.

Even though I haven’t finished up On Ringo Lake - the mystery quilt that Bonnie Hunter generously provided for us last year (although the pieces are all sewn and the quilt top is currently under assembly) -  I am venturing into this year’s mystery, Good Fortune.

Here are my units for Clue #1.  Lots of sweet four-patches. I switched from red to hot pink because I have so much more pink in my stash (read: granddaughters) and I’m trying to use scraps. Also, some of my red stash is earmarked for other things, so pink it is.

This year, I’m taking Bonnie’s suggestion and only doing a fraction of the specified number of units for each clue. I want to participate and sew some of each the units, but I’m not going to kill myself trying to get it all done and assembled during the Holidays. However, I am linking up to Bonnie’s Clue #1 linky party HERE. If you are interested, you can read about this year’s mystery quilt, Good Fortune, at her Quiltville blog. Click on the Good Fortune Mystery tab (here). She has all the information there.

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Right now I’ve got two other quilting projects that have high priority for the next couple weeks.

The first of my priorities is All You Need is Love, which will be a Christmas present for my daughter and needs to be mailed within the next 10 days or so.

Here it is after I added the aqua round a couple weeks ago. I swore it wasn’t wonky, but just looking odd because the top was pinned to the design board and the bottom half was just hanging. But it really, really bugged me. Today I took it down from the design wall, laid it flat on my work tables, pressed it with Best Press and measured it.

Um, yeah, it’s wonky. An inch off from top to bottom. Surprise, surprise.

The aqua border has been removed. I measured around the hearts border and they were only a quarter inch off, so I figured out where to cinch that up. Now I’ll re-add the aqua strip after pressing and trimming it to the exact size before sewing it on. That’s what I get for just sewing it on willy-nilly to begin with.

Then I can add the final blocks, strips and corner medallions, which are all sewn and ready to go. I’ll have a picture of the entire top this weekend.

My second priority is quilting a large quilt for Cousin Kim. We basted it together last week. The quilt is a Hunter’s Star that will be a present for her son (I can say that because he doesn’t read my blog). I’ll show a picture of that, too, when it’s all quilted. I told her that it would be done between the 5th-10th of December, which should give her plenty time to bind it before the big day. As I’ll be wrestling quilting it on my domestic Bernina with a relatively small harp space, I’m not looking forward to quilting it. Luckily, she has decided on a simple loop design, so it will be easy enough to just pace myself and get through it over the next week or so. I’ll share a picture when that’s done.

Finally, I’ll do a November recap post on Thursday or Friday to show all my December finishes, including the Christmas Tree Skirt that is now in the wild, under the tree!  :-)  Have a great week!!
Saturday, November 17, 2018

A Rainbow Scrap Finish

FINALLY.  Exploding Boxes is a finished quilt!  Excuse me while I do a happy dance....

OK, I’m back. Yesterday I finished the binding and rushed to get pictures (alone, indoors, because Bruce - my quilt holder-upper - was at work) before the weak winter light faded. As I bound the quilt, I was careful to ensure the edges were straight, LOL.

Since I do all my bindings by machine, I sew them onto the back first.

Then I flip it to the right side and machine stitch it down. It’s more secure, and one never knows if the quilt will end up with kids or a charity, so the machine binding is peace of mind for me.

So, here is Exploding Boxes. There may or may not be a cat hiding underneath, LOL.

The quarter log cabin blocks were one of my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks for this year. They finished at 6”, so this quilt measures 60” x72”.  I loved every part of this construction and have really developed a fondness for string projects. I see many more of them in my future!  I’m linking up to Angela’s Scrappy Saturday post, where many of us the world over are finishing up our 2018 RSC projects and showing them. Come check it out!

Here is the back of Exploding Boxes. I found this glorious scrappy-look plaid fabric earlier this year while doing the Utah Shop Hop in June. I only bought 2.5 yards (should’ve doubled that!), but it was a great excuse to use up some random chunks and fat quarters to finish off the back.

Exploding Boxes is also goal #10 on my 4th Quarter 2018 Finish-Along goal list. You can see that list HERE. This completes six out of my 10 goals; I hope to get at least one or two more done before year-end.

Isn’t it such a wild, happy quilt?? This may end up being a keeper.

Did I tell you that we plan to do some remodeling in the hallway so I can expand our linen closet? I’m dead serious. It’s always been on our wish-list, but now more so than ever. Not only because we have a lot of quilts linens to store, but because two certain felines (who shall remain nameless) have figured out how to open the sliding doors that cover the closet (a la 1960’s-style homes). Since we removed the carpeting and went back to hardwood floors, there’s a gap at the bottom of the doors, and they use it to paw the doors open so they can crawl up and sleep on the quilts, in the dark, cozy shelves.

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This week I also got the Christmas Tree Skirt layered, spray basted and quilted. I now just need to trim and bind it. I found some cute pink polka dot bias tape - I used to sell it in my Etsy shop - and had luckily saved a 5-yard cut for myself for “one day”. It turns out that it’ll be just enough to bind the circular tree skirt.

On the white wedges, I quilted a leaf vine. I know these pictures don’t show the quilting very well, but the back is that zig-zag print, so it’s no better that way!

On the zig-zag wedges I quilted a ribbon candy-type loop pattern.

And the candy wedges just got some swirls of increasing size down the center.

After these pictures were taken, they all got some ditch stitching between wedges and the white wedges also got some straight lines stitched 1/4” inside the seamline. I plan to finish up the tree skirt this weekend.

During the next week, I’ve got a few goals lined up. First, I’ll finish the final pieced tree secret gift project. Next I’ll sew the pinned row - shown last week - to my On Ringo Lake project. No progress was made on it this week at all, and once that row is sewn on, it’s coming down from the design wall for a break. Thirdly, I need to focus on All You Need is Love for my daughter. It’s going to be a Christmas (or birthday, since her birthday is mid-December) present. It’s also my One Monthly Goal for November, and I’d better get cracking on it! I’d love to finish that before the new Bonnie Hunter mystery begins the day after Thanksgiving, but I’ll settle for finishing it by month-end.

Thanks for dropping by!
Monday, November 12, 2018

Dispensing with Christmas Squirrels

I’ve continued sewing on my unplanned Squirrel Christmas projects. You know, like when you have ADHD and anything shiny and new catches your attention. And I’m knocking those squirrels out one by one, so I can continue with my planned sewing goals for Christmas and the remainder of the year.

First, I finally finished Let it Snow. All I had left to do was the binding and hanging sleeve. I’m glad it’s done, but I’m not overly thrilled or proud of it. But it is already hanging in the living room.  It finished at 37.5” wide (the max I could hang on that quilt hanger) by 48” long.

But the left side is all wavy. I measured it, and it is straight (although it doesn’t look like it). I tried pressing it. Maybe I should wash then press it?? I’m rather embarrassed about it. How does one correct this - is it a result of the dense quilting?

Other than that, it looks pretty nice up there. It’s a bit big for the space, but oh well. It will be changed out for other planned (and probably smaller) wall hangings as seasons change. I do love the relative simplicity of the wrought iron hanger and how well it blends in with the living room decor. The red pillow is an IKEA find.

This is goal #4 on my Finish-Along list for the 4th quarter of 2018, which you can see HERE.  It’s also the fifth finish of my ten goals. Yay! I don’t think I’ll get them all done, but it still feels good to knock ‘em out! When the end-of-quarter link-up goes live, I’ll join in.

I also finished out this tree-themed table runner.  Hmm.... this feels like the Year of the Tree for me.

The tree blocks finish at 6” each, so this table runner measures 36x18”, It hasn’t been laundered yet. It will be put into use after Christmas.

I also finally finished the binding on this runner from last year. It measures 14”x25.5” after laundering.

So all I have left to do is layer, quilt and bind the round tree skirt I showed in my last post. It's on my to-do list for this week. Oh, and so is this quick project. Just a peek of some blocks for now, because it’s a gift for someone special.

Oh, I’m loving those colors!!! This project will conclude my Christmas sewing for this year, but I have at least one wall hanging and one quilt (that I will start in summer or fall) and some quilted Christmas stockings planned for next year.

And now, I’m off to answer the Call of the Wild (the buzzer on the clothes dryer) and then start prepping some cornbread to go with tonight’s chili dinner.....
Saturday, November 10, 2018


OK, so I succumbed. There I was, just sewing along, checking off items on my sewing To-Do list, month after month. Three finishes in August, three in September, four in October. Then out of the blue....

It had to happen. I was bored hurting  Oh heck, no excuse. I just wanted to do some Christmas stuff.  It began with a real, planned project on my WIP list, Let it Snow. I finally managed to get the da** thing quilted. The dense snowy swirl design took four bobbins-worth of thread. Never. Again. Yes, I’m icing my shoulder as I type this.

OK, so my squirrels swirls leave a lot to be desired. Don’t look too closely. Of course, by saying that I realize that you WILL look too closely.... So here is a close up of the wonky swirls. Feel free to shake your head and cluck you tongue. I’ll wait until you’re done....

Let it Snow still needs binding and a small hanging sleeve in back, which will happen today. When it’s done, I’ll do a happy dance and finish post, as this is on my Finish-Along list for this quarter. The rest of the sewing squirrelly projects are not. But let’s take a peek anyway, shall we?

This is a table runner made from cute wonky trees. It’s just pin-basted for now. It will be quilted with a simple stipple this week. The trees are made by layering three 8-inch squares, right sides up and cutting. I used a tutorial from the Block Lotto group, but there is a similar free tutorial HERE.  I used up my old red and cream scraps here as well as some leftover green from Bruce’s Groovy Guitars quilt. Next time I do one of these, I’ll use more contemporary fabrics.

And I had lots of little squares of fabrics that I’d ordered a few years ago from Spoonflower. Cousin Kim gave me the idea to make coasters out of them. So, here they are, all 20 of them. They’re layered and quilted and the edges are stitched. Kim will get 12, we’ll keep 8.

And we needed a tree skirt. So this happened. It still needs to be layered and quilted. That will probably happen this week. The backing fabric will be that cute zig-zag.

Rainbow Scrap sewing? Um.... well..... I DID get Exploding Boxes basted. That will be quilted and finished this week for a reveal next weekend. Ish. And speaking of basting quilts, I’ve been using the quilt basting spray again. Or should I say STILL? There’s more in those 505 Quilt Basting Spray cans than I originally thought. With my current can, I spray basted California Poppies, Let it Snow and Exploding Boxes. I do pin the edges because I get a little spray-shy about not coating the surrounding areas with spray when I use it. But there is still more in the can. I’m definitely going to order more of this stuff! My shoulder is happy about avoiding a bazillion safety pins.

I’ve also been working on my On Ringo Lake. The first diagonal rows of one block and three blocks are sewn. The next row of five blocks is just pinned. Hopefully it will look neater after being sewn. And then there is the next row of seven waiting in the wings. I’m torn between going the distance (after the row of seven would be two rows of nine before reducing down to 7, 5, 3 and 1) or just doing two rows of 7 and then reducing. If I do the latter, it would leave 18 blocks for the back or another project. And it would be a manageable size for me to quilt. Still thinking on this...

I’m linking up to Rainbow Scrap Challenge (Saturday) and Oh Scrap! (Sunday). 

By the way, if you like Kona cotton solids, JoAnn’s has restocked their colors and even has a dedicated section for them now. Their regular price of $8.99 per yard is ridiculous, but if you get your hands on a 60% coupon - which happens regularly if you get their flyers or subscribe to their app on your phone - you can pick up Kona for $3.60 per yard. So far I’ve stocked up on white and black, but I intend to get some grays, red, etc.