Thursday, September 25, 2014

Retreat Show and Tell

It's been a catch up week after being gone on another retreat last week. A group of quilty friends and I go on 2 retreats a year. This one was a bonus! We really wanted to try out the new facility connected to Sew Sweet Quilt Shop in Brunswick, MO. And, wow! It did not disappoint! If you're in the midwest and looking for a lovely place for a retreat this is it. Check out Brunswick Lodging and Event Center. And literally connected to a quilt shop - shopping encouraged!

Having been on a retreat last month and coming home with 2 quilt tops, I decided this time I would take some smaller projects that could come home finished. And it worked out great! Here's what I made:

A tablerunner from my book Simply Modern Christmas...

I thought it was about time I had one on my table. The fabric is Joel Dewberry's newest line, Birch Farm.

A mini Dwell...

pattern by Thimbleblossoms.

Super Tote, pattern byAnna from Noodlehead using Anna Maria Horner's linen feathers fabric...

A coordinating zip pouch (which I actually finished once I got home because I cut one piece too small), free tutorial here...

Three grocery totes using a pattern from Splendor Falls with fabric designed by 1canoe2...

 And some more blocks for my Cheerio quilt, pattern by Thimbleblossoms...

slowly coming together...

A lot accomplished and more importantly a fun time with friends!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Ladies' Stitching Club

I have a finished quilt to share today! I've posted some pictures on Instagram, but I'm not sure if I've documented this quilt on the blog?

Anyway, the pattern is a free one on Moda's website: The Ladies Stitching Club. It was published several years ago and I just loved the design. The pattern as written makes for a lot of fabric waste. In fact, there are directions for a second quilt using the cut-offs. I remember trying it and being unhappy with how much was wasted, especially since I didn't want a second quilt out of the same fabrics. I set it aside, knowing someday I'd be back to it.

On a whim, I bought several pieces from the Art Gallery line Indelible. This pattern immediately came to mind and I knew I could figure out a different way to piece it. And it worked out perfectly!

Here's how I did it:

I cut my triangles a bit larger than the original pattern. My strips were cut at 5 1/2". Then I used a 60 degree triangle ruler to cut all my triangles, both print and white. I cut white and solid-colored strips 1 1/2".

I sewed a 1 1/2" strip to one side of the triangle. The bottom edge is trimmed even with the bottom edge of the triangle (your 60 degree line on the ruler should match up with the edge of the triangle). The top of the strip is trimmed even with the top of the triangle also, which will be 5 1/2" from the bottom edge.

Line up your next triangle (60 degrees are great because they match right up!) and sew it on to complete the block.

Follow the pattern to make the white blocks with the colored strips in the same way. Be sure to make half the blocks going one direction and half going the other, just like the pattern!

I didn't make any special blocks for the ends. Just sewed on an extra triangle on each row and squared them off when the top was completed.

My straight line quilting zig zagged along parallel to the 1" strips...

This gorgeous print from Indelible is on the back and it's bound in Art Gallery's Squared Elements in gray. I seem to be using that print for bindings a lot lately!

Couldn't be happier with this quilt and we so enjoyed photographing it on this gorgeous day!!

I'm off on another retreat this week - bringing some smaller projects to work on. For some insta-pics be sure to follow me on Instagram! Have a great week!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Goings On...

It's been a strange week. The calendar and the school buses say Fall, but it's sure felt like Summer. For me, it's been a week of finishing some things up and starting some new ones. Do you remember the little quilt I made on retreat a month ago? It's all quilted and bound!

Last December I won a Jelly Roll of Cuzco at our STLMQG auction. I don't usually use just one line of fabric in a quilt, but this was a fun, easy project and I love how bright and colorful it is. Lots of pinks and purples - I think I'll set it aside to gift to a lucky young lady someday.

The pattern is Zipper by Thimbleblossoms. I made the small version, but you could also make the large version with just one Jelly Roll. I do have some pretty scraps left, and plan to use them in some zipper pouches.

Speaking of bright, beautiful colors, I'm also working with some Liberty of London Tana Lawns this week. As I was cutting and sipping tea, I felt very British! More to come on this little project!

The garden has passed it's peak, but Fall always seems to bring out something new. It's supposed to cool down this weekend and I hope to do some cleanup and Fall planting. Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Wrapping Up Summer with a Giveaway!

Does Labor Day weekend mean the end of Summer to you? Time to start thinking about the new school year and all the holidays and activities ahead. Yikes! 2015 isn't that far off and I have a fun giveaway that might help you in the next year {maybe this year too!}

 Martingale just released their 2015 Quilt Calendar! The cool thing about this one is that not only do you get a beautiful calendar, but you get the full patterns for each of the 12 quilts featured!

My Peppermint Float quilt from Simply Modern Christmas is the December quilt...

It's a really pretty quilt and actually very easy to make!
It just so happens that Martingale sent me an extra copy of the calendar and I'd love to send it off to one of you! It's easy to enter - leave a comment and be sure there is an email address associated with your comment. I'll pick a winner - how about Wed, September 3rd. Good luck!

In other news, one of my goals this Summer was to get rid of some of my quilts that have been sitting and filling closets. It's not an easy thing for me to do. I love all of my quilts and they carry tons of memories, not only of why I made each one, but what was happening in my life at the time. But as difficult as it may be, I have to let go, and allow them to be loved by someone else.

I sent 3 quilts home with my son this Summer and 4 quilts home with my daughter. The haul included the first quilt I made for each of them - hand-quilted, worn, soft and faded. Tears well up just thinking about it.

I did some research, trying to find the best homes for about 15 quilts and 20 wallhangings.

A half dozen of the more masculine quilts will go to Quilts of Valor. The more feminine group will go to the Sharing Shed, a local outreach serving families and individuals in crisis. Many of their clients come to them with nothing but the clothes on their back. I'm hoping one of my quilts will be a breath of fresh air for a new start.
I also have a good number of wall quilts and table runners that will go to our local YMCA. A beautiful group of ladies meet weekly to make quilts which are auctioned off to supply scholarship money for those in need at the Y.

I'll spend some time this weekend taking pictures of my donations. Each one still has a special place in my heart. At least they will no longer be taking up space in my closet! Room for more as I have no intentions of giving up quilting soon :-)

To those of you in the US, have a wonderful holiday weekend! Don't forget to leave a comment for the giveaway!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Flowering Snowball Quilt

I shared a glimpse of my Flowering Snowball Quilt and several of you asked for more info. I'm back today with more pictures and the scoop on just how to make it!

I started with several pieces of Emmy Grace by Bari J for Art Gallery fabrics. It became my color inspiration of greens, blues, pinks, gold and grays. Then as usual, for variety I added lots of coordinating prints from my stash {and because, really, I have to use some of this stash!}.

The pattern is from Mary at Molly Flanders Makerie. You can find the full schedule of posts here. I chose to buy templates and got them from Custom Plastic on etsy. If they're not listed, you can just send Rodney a message and he will list them for you.

The only change I made to Mary's instructions was the pressing of the seam allowances. For half the blocks I pressed the seams toward the print fabric and for the other half I pressed toward the white fabric. I alternated the two blocks in the quilt so the seams were easier to match up. And it seemed to work perfectly...

I'm so enamored with the circles that form when you put the blocks together!

Up next is quilting this one and I'm seriously considering hand quilting it - very simply - just echoing the pattern. 

You can see more Flowering Snowball quilts on flickr or Instagram using the hashtag #floweringsnowballalong

Linking up to Molly Flanders Flowering Snowball Along!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Special Sampler Quilt

I started making these blocks in January of this year. Six-inch Sampler blocks to turn into a special quilt for me. My pile of 63 blocks...

The idea came from the Farmer's Wife QAL craze of a few years ago. I decided to simplify and primarily used this book - 501 Rotary Cut Quilt Blocks by Judy Hopkins. The blocks will alternate set straight and on-point, so I kept a list, recording each pattern as I made it, hoping to avoid any duplicates.

The goal is to complete the quilt by my birthday in December. You see, I have a big one coming up - it ends in a "0". 

2014 also marks 30 years of serious quilting for me - feels like a milestone. I took my first quilt class in 1981. I had a baby and a job which didn't leave much time for quilting. The baby became babies and the job continued, so sewing time was pretty nonexistent. In 1984, I kept the babies, but quit the job and nap time became quilting time. And the story began - fabric collecting, quilt guilds, sewing and working in a quilt shop - all became a big part of me.

As I've worked on these blocks, it's been fun to think about how things have changed and how they haven't. I still have favorite blocks - stars and pinwheels - and I still have favorite colors - blues and greens. But I have evolved as a quilter.

As I made each block, I carefully chose my some of my all-time favorite colors and fabrics, both old and new...

I tried to add some whimsy and a surprisingly new favorite color for me - purple...

I added at least one fabric from all of my favorite designers...

And as organized as I felt, ended up with 2 blocks of the same pattern...

Ten of the blocks were made by five very special friends. I think I need to have them sign at least one of their blocks.

Some of my collected lines - Flea Market Fancy and Bonnie and Camille.

I'm excited to sew the blocks together, and I'm hoping it doesn't look like a hot mess. If it does, I guess it will be my hot mess and I know I'll love it!!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Gathering Flowers Quilt

I've been quilting and quilting and quilting and finished up my Gathering Flowers Quilt. The pattern is from Anna Maria Horner and although there are 2 variations of the block, I chose to do the pieced one. The other is gathered and dimensional.

This is a completely pieced flower block and full of curves. The curves seem to be a theme for me this year! The background is 2-tone. I used a white solid and a very subtle gray print. If you look close you can see the pinwheels that form in the background. Love that!

I struggled in choosing a binding for the quilt and "settled" on a navy diagonal stripe from April Showers. I ended up loving it!

The background quilting is a loopy paisley fill and I marked a design with a circle template that created a big, round flower motif on the flower. I shared a Flipgram tutorial on Instagram, which you can view here. (Wait a few seconds for it to play)

The quilt sure is a mix of fabrics! Each wedge was cut from a different fabric and the outside petals are all a bold graphic print.

It was a fun quilt to make and I think I've finally made peace with curves!