Monday, July 30, 2012

so many options

Last week while my kiddos were out of the house for a few days I was able to get some serious quilting done. It felt so good! One of the quilts that I was able to baste and quilt was my low volume one. One advantage to this quilt was the easy thread choice for quilting. Using white was a no-brainer. It blended with all the fabrics so nicely. What a bonus!

Now it's time to choose a binding fabric. I am quite on the fence, so I thought I'd ask you for your two cents.
Choice A,  1934 by Cosmo Cricket for Moda

Choice B, Baby Talk by David Walker for Free Spirit

Choice C, Building Blocks by American Jane Patterns-Sandy Klop

Choice D, Basic Grey/eva for Moda

Choice E, Barbara Jones of Quilt Soup for Henry Glass (I believe it's Barbara....the selvage edge of the fabric I have just starts with Jones, but i'm fairly certain it's Barbara Jones...)

Choice F, Red Gingham (woven) by Moda, which I would cut on the bias.

Oh, I should probably add, the backing is made up of 3 panels of these fabrics....

So, what binding fabric would YOU choose?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

window panes

This quilt has been finished for about a month now and we've been using it on our bed. Or I should say, we've been kicking it down to the foot of the bed every night because it's been so hot!
The fabric is cotton lawn, which seems extremely delicate and fragile, but in working with it, I've found that it isn't fussy in the least. It's so soft and it makes a great quilt! I mixed it with regular ol' quilting cotton (for the sashing) and the combination of the two worked surprisingly well.
I stippled the whole thing on my wonderful JUKI, and other than it taking me the better part of a week to quilt it, things went super well. I had been warned by a few people that the mixing of fabric weights could spell trouble with the thread tension, but I had no problems with that. Just another reason to love my JUKI! :) I should add, the texture after quilting this, front and back, is absolutely won-der-ful.
Since the fabric is 52" wide, I was able to use just two pieces for the back-on a king size quilt! That was sweet, let me tell you! It almost makes up for the fact that I pieced my batting unnecessarily. (I thought my quilt was longer than 90", so I pieced a 3" strip to the bottom of the batting, and when I laid out the quilt for basting, it fell short of where I connected it together by about 1". I was soooo disgusted that I pieced a length of batting 105" for nothing!  Doh!)
I used one of the prints from the line to bind it. What a treat it was to hand stitch through the lawn fabric. The needle glided right through and the stitches virtually disappeared, giving it a flawless finish...which I'll take any day of the week! It was so fun to hand stitch the binding.

My husband told me that this is one of his favorite quilts that I've ever made, which is so sweet. He loves the pattern....I guess it really appeals to his symmetrical sensibilities. :) I just love it because it's so darn pretty!

Now I just have to figure out what to do for the shams....history shows that can take me from 6-9 months. I'm hoping for a burst of inspiration much sooner this time.

Prints-Matusri cotton lawn from Connecting Threads (I used 19 out of the 20 fat quarters from the sampler)
Free Tutorial, by Ashley of Film in the Fridge
Finished Size:
98" x 89"

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

bits of business

I'm excited to tell you that Tara and I are gearing up for our 4th annual (!!!!) quilt retreat at Inn at City Park in Fort Collins, CO. This year I'll be teaching a scrap management workshop. (I can't wait!) The dates are November 9-11, 2012. The workshop will be limited to 12 students. You can read all the details here. Tara puts together a 'rockin' awesome' (to quote my 6 year old) retreat, so it should be a great weekend!
I also wanted to remind you that the deadline for the Project Hope blocks for Margaret's Hope Chest is July 30th...which is coming up very soon! If you have time to make a few blocks and send them along to MHC, it would be much appreciated. For those of you who have already helped and contributed, thank you SO MUCH! If you live in or around the Grand Rapids, Michigan area, save the date August 25th, 2012. MHC will be having a work party where we (that includes me!) will be sewing the blocks into quilt tops. It should be productive and fun! You can find a few more details here.

I've had a lot of people tell me how much they miss Finish It Up Friday. I'm planning on starting the series back up in the fall. I'm delighted that so many of you enjoyed the Friday Finishes so much. I happen to be drowning in WIP's, so I'll need the challenge myself. :)
I've added book plates to my shop. They will be signed by both Cheryl and myself and we will ship internationally. (A side appears that Amazon FINALLY has our book back in stock. The books have been reprinted and are making their way into stores again, too. Yipee!)

I've finally added an upcoming events page to my blog. I've got lots coming up, so check it out! Some teaching stuff. Some trunk shows. Lots of fun!

On a personal kids are gone this week and I have big sewing plans. I hope to even blog about my progress! Hee hee. Here's hoping!!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

scrappy Sundays-our cover girl

Today Cheryl and I are wrapping things up in our scrappy Sunday series. We wanted to share the story of our cover girl, Sarah. When I've been out speaking about the book, a question that I get asked a lot is: "is that your daughter on the cover? or Cheryl's?" The answer is "nope!"
Sarah, the girl on the cover of our book, is the niece of a friend of Ruthmary Schauer, who is an account representative at C&T. When the photography folks were prepping for the photo shoot, there was a call for children who lived in that particular area. Ruthmary thought of Sarah and called on her to help. Sarah is a quiet and shy girl, not a model at all. At least she wasn't before this! We heard that it was a great boost to her self esteem and it ended up being a very good experience for her. (We think she did a fabulous job!)  Several of the folks at C&T who worked on the book signed a copy for Sarah. It was neat for Cheryl and myself to sign it for her as well when we were at quilt market. Thanks to Sarah in California, for being our cover girl and being a model for our book!
I'd like to say thanks to all of you for reading and following along with our scrappy Sundays posts! I hope that it was interesting to read some of the behind the scenes stuff involving our book. It was fun to share it with you!
isn't this a great photo? it's one of my favorites from the book!
To wrap things up, we'd like to host a linky party. If you made a quilt or project from the book, post about it and link up here. If you've already posted about it on your blog, just go ahead and link up! If you are just getting started, we'd love to see your scrap sorting/progress on scrap management. We would love to hear any scrappy testimonials you may have to share or any progress photos you may have. We want to see your scraps! There may be a few prizes up for grabs, too. If you needed a little incentive to join in. :) The linky party will close next Saturday night, July 28th.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

scrappy Sundays-alternates

Today Cheryl and I wanted to share a few of our alternate quilts from the book. We are both sewing up each other's quilts, which is quite fun! And shockingly enough, we haven't run out of scraps yet! :)
Just this morning I finished up this quilt version of Cheryl's Sunday Morning pattern. I. LOVE. this. quilt. It measures 70"x90".  
This is an alternate of the splash quilt (you can see the original here). I sewed this one up as a triple check of the pattern instructions. (That's the danger of making a quilt improv style and THEN writing the pattern. But I'd do it all over again.) It's fun to have the quilt made up in different color ways. I've been a pink and green girl for a long time, so this quilt feels very "me".
And last, but not least, this is my version of Cheryl's Grass quilt. I used my strings to make horizontal sashing strips rather than vertical sashing. I'm calling this one Summertime.
For the back, I used some soft, pretty fabrics from my stash, in keeping with the easy summer feeling. I love how it came together. My friend Marcia was kind enough to let me quilt it on her long arm. It was awesome to start quilting it at 11:30am, and to have the binding on (machine done, of course) and in the washer by 4pm that afternoon. Lickety split!

If you've sewn up anything from the book, we'd love to see your take on our patterns. Please feel free to upload your photos to the Sunday Morning Quilts flickr group!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

fabric usage

I broke open a whole jelly roll today-just for 2 strips of lavender fabric. Never thought THAT would happen. Ever.

Back in May, when I was at quilt market, I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of fabric out there. I mean, there was so. much. fabric. Everywhere. And they keep making it. At breakneck speed! I'd like to say that after that experience I'm a changed woman. Ha! It made me want to use my fabric rather than hoard it. When I say hoard, I mean "wait for that *perfect* project for the fabric". You know what I mean, right? Now, I'm not holding my breath or anything...but I'm actually enjoying cutting into my fabric these days. Yippee!!! Something that monumental needs to be documented. :)

On the flip side...and there is always a flip side, don't ya know.
I'm saving smaller pieces than ever. These are mini ticker tape pieces.  Aren't they so darn cute??? The orange polka dot bowl (thanks, Mary!) was just screaming for something special to hold. I think these little bits are it!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

low volume is fun! and some randomness

After weeks of mental preparing myself for the challenge, I started a low volume quilt. I'm using Cheryl's fabulous Sunday Morning pattern from the book. (I can't tell you how fun it is to use patterns from your own book. Eeee!) Anyway, I don't know why I thought low volume would be so hard, but it really intimidated me for some reason. Now that I've jumped in, I'm smitten!
Last week before retreat I made a TV tray ironing board. I think I first saw the idea here, but I've seen several versions since. I've been using it to press my strips. It's so nice to have a little table set up rather than the big ironing board taking up all kinds of space in my messy small-ish craft room. It was totally handy to have at retreat, too. (Right Terri?) If you haven't made one yet, I'd highly recommend it!

Here are a few random happenings/thoughts from my daily life........(key word...random!)
I finished my daughter's hello kitty slab and made it into a little doll quilt. I LOVE IT!
Better yet, she does, too! She was so excited to be able to play with it. I am excited to have one less WIP sitting around. :)
(She so badly needs a haircut. sheesh!)
SOMEONE put the wrong dish soap in the dishwasher last night. It's the first time that has happened at my house. I actually thought it was pretty funny! Has that ever happened to you? Seems like something out of a movie....doesn't it?
This is what my son was doing at breakfast this morning. Did I mention that he's only 9? Man, that kid can spell! He amazes me. I sure do love my kids!!!
This is a little pin cushion that I made for a friend over the weekend. I feel a serious pin cushion addiction coming on! (there ARE worse things, right???)

This post only took me just over an hour to write. Woohoo! That is quick for me. How long does it usually take YOU to write a blog post? I'm super curious to know, if you care to share. (see, I told you it was gonna be random. hee. hee.)

Hope you are having a fabulous Wednesday!

Monday, July 09, 2012

oatmeal quilt

 I finished my oatmeal quilt top.
I thought I was done with the top a few months ago when it measured about 62" x 72" or so. I was going to baste it, but when I pulled out the quilt top it felt a little too square. I wanted to add more to the front, but I had given most of my neutral scraps to Tara. So what's a girl to do?
I decided to piece the back to make more scraps so I would have more to add to the front. (I. am. crazy.) Actually, it worked out quite well! Having the back made helped me know when to stop adding to the front. Otherwise I could see myself getting sucked into a vicious cycle and ending up with a king size quilt. Or something that would cover half of my neighborhood.
This backing focus fabric is quite funky, I'll admit. I must have been under the influence of Denyse when I bought it. It was right after I had read and absorbed her new book. She can use the most funky (and even ugly) fabric and make it look so good! When I asked Tara what she thought about the plaid fabric, she said it reminded her of 70's leisure suit. Doh! I didn't realize it was THAT bad. But I still loved the fabric for some reason and used it on the back. I'm so glad I did.
This past weekend I was able to quilt it up while I was at the Gruber's quilt retreat. I love how the quilting turned out! I just did rows of e's across the entire quilt. Time consuming, but easy and a great match for the quilt. Now it just needs binding! I'm anxious to get this one finished!
Speaking of the retreat....I'm so thankful that I got to go and sew for the entire weekend! It's my yearly vacation and birthday present all rolled into one. It was so, so good to be able to sew, eat, chat, laugh, shop and spend time with blog friends. This year our group was (back row, L to R) Doris, Michelle, Rene, Terri, Mary, (front row) Cindy, myself and Stephanie. We stayed up way too late and got up way too early so we could sew, sew and sew some more. It was amazing. It was good to go, but it's good to be home, too. Just the way a vacation should be.

Now, I had better get busy. I've got lots of new fabric to sew up! Oh, yeah, and a quilt to finish, too.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

scrappy Sundays-managing it all

Welcome to scrappy Sundays! Today Cheryl and I wanted to talk about how we wrote the book while managing everything else. You know, running the house, the family, the normal chores. When you sign a book contract the whole world doesn't stop. The kids still need three meals a day, the husband still has to work out of town, the house certainly doesn't clean itself. Kids still get sick. So, how do you manage all that while meeting the deadlines? Not that I have it all together, mind you, (I sooooooooo don't!) but I do have a few thoughts to share about the experience.
When we were writing and quilting for the book there was always a lot to do, but it was easier in some ways than normal. The reason? Because we had very defined goals. We knew what we needed to do and we knew when it was due. Then we just did it. (Heh. That might be a gross understatement.) But, looking back, I see that having the focus really helped me. Normally the possibilities of the what I could work on blow my mind. Overwhelmed much? Yes, that's me. So having the defined list of what we had to do was actually a relief.
Having a co-author was a definite plus. It was great to write with Cheryl for several reasons. First off, she's a darn good writer and quilter. It was very helpful that we each made several of the quilts in the book. I can not imagine trying to make 15 scrap quilts in a 6 month time frame all on my own. (oh. my! scrap quilts can take a long time.) Our quilts were better because of our tag team efforts, too. We pushed and challenged each other in just the right way. I even added purple into the Gumdrops quilt, for crying out loud. That's big! (I'm so not a fan of purple.) It was great to have a friend that was always as interested in the book as I was. My husband still got an earful once in awhile, sure, but it sure saved him quite a bit of hassle.
As far as the day to day logistics....I normally quilt a lot. I know, what a surprise! But during the book process I did quilt more than normal. I squeezed in extra quilting time before the kids went to school, after the kids went to bed, for a few hours in the middle of the night when I wasn't sleeping anyway. (Thankfully that was only an occasional occurrence.) My youngest daughter was still at home because she hadn't started kindergarten yet, so she watched PBS kids on a daily basis. In fact, Cheryl and I often joked that when we were done we should probably send PBS a sizable donation for helping us through. Ha! Some days there was more TV watching than others, but we still limited it. Thankfully my daughter is pretty good at independent play. When she needed some company she would join me in the craft room and play with some scraps or design her own quilt. There were always plenty of scraps to go around. :) Having her at home during the day forced me to take more breaks than I would if she wasn't, but that's a good thing. Otherwise I tend to get so wrapped up in my work that I eat lunch at 3 in the afternoon. She helped me stick to a schedule.
I recall asking a friend once who had raised 5 kids (the youngest two are twins) how she managed it when they were younger. Her response was "you just do it". I feel like I would have the same answer with the book. Looking back on it, knowing all the crazy life situations that were going on in the midst of it, you look back and realize, we just did it. And that's that.
The photos shown throughout this post are mini quilts that I made to thank my wonderful pattern testers. Some are mini versions of quilts in the book and some of them were designs that I thought suited my friends' tastes. It only took me a year plus after writing the book to get them made, labeled and mailed. A great example of why I think deadlines and focus are so very helpful. :)

Thursday, July 05, 2012


Thanks to all of you for entering the giveaway!
The winner of the book is Berta.

The winner of the digital book is Hope.

The solid scraps and the strings will be going to Jen in New York City (looking glass knits) and Diann is the winner of the ticker tape pieces and the green scraps.

Thanks for all your comments. It was fun to read your thoughts on scraps!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

scrappy Sunday-giveaway day!

Welcome to scrappy Sunday! Because it's a holiday in Canada and it's a holiday later this week in the US, (plus my birthday in a few days!) Cheryl and I decided that it would be a great time have a giveaway!

Up for grabs today....
A copy of our book, signed by both Cheryl and myself, to be sent to someone in the US.

A digital copy of our book to be sent to someone outside of the US.
A scrap pack of various solids in cool colors.
A scrap pack of strings.
A scrap pack of ticker tape pieces. (My favorite!)
And a scrap pack of green fabric...perfect for making slabs.
In your comment, I'd love to hear where you live and your thoughts on scraps. What do you love about working with scraps? Or....What do you find challenging about working with scraps? Or you could answer both! Winners will be chosen on Thursday, July 5th.

Be sure to check out Cheryl's post and enter her giveaway, too!