Tuesday, July 30, 2013

out of my box quilt top

I'm calling this quilt "out of my box". It's an example of how to use slabs in a traditional lay out. I don't use black and white that often, but I love the application of it here, as sashing. (Thanks Debbie for the suggestion!) Of course the fact that it's a polka dot doesn't hurt. I love the orchid colored cornerstones. I'm hoping to get this one quilted and bound before I head to camp stitch-a-lot. (That's next week already! Yikes!)
Not to air my clean laundry or anything (har har har), but I am celebrating because my husband installed a clothesline for me this weekend! Line dried sheets are the BEST!

Now, to answer a few questions that I've been getting repeatedly this week....

I've had a bunch of questions about the zig zag tutorial that I linked to last Wednesday. The blog is GONE, and so is the tutorial. I never published it on my own blog and I don't have the instructions written down anywhere (argh!!!) so please use the moda pdf here. Thank you!
Also, for those of you who were looking for the mystery quilt instructions, the links are here. (Thanks, Julie!) :)

Monday, July 29, 2013

scrappy projects #3 and #4

So, I have a hard time throwing ANY scraps away. I realize that is stating the obvious. (ha!) Leftover strips of oil cloth from the van trash cans that I made last year are no exception.
I had the remnants rolled up and stored IN my pencil can for months. One day I had an "aha!" moment. Why not use the scraps to cover the outside of the can?
I trimmed the oil cloth to size and used a little scotch tape to hold it in place. Super cute, right?
I covered another today. (Can I mention that I absolutely LOVE gingham?!?!)
And then I used the rest to cover my larger tool bucket. SUPER easy, super cute. The best part? There was virtually no waste! Plus, they make my sewing area much cheerier!

I also made another little needle book (and I did a lot more squealing). I just LOVE these things! Expect to see at least a few more of these before the series is done. :)

This one has extremely TINY pieces....14 little bits in a 6" strip.
Sometimes it's better NOT to count, right? :)
Happy Monday to you!

Friday, July 26, 2013

relinquishing control

Welcome to finish it up Friday! I'm pleased to have a finished quilt to share today!
edited to add: the pattern for this quilt can be found here.
I called this quilt 'relinquishing control' for a few reasons. First, because it was my first attempt at a mystery quilt, which was a fun and challenging undertaking. Also, because I pieced it when we were in the midst of selling our house, my husband was commuting and life felt more than a little upside down. I'm so glad that is all over now! At some point this week I came to the realization that this place feels like HOME...at about the same time that I finished my quilt. Hmmm. You can't tell me that quilting isn't good therapy!
Now that the quilt is finished, I have to laugh. If there ever was a perfect mystery quilt for me, this one is it! It required no strip piecing (yay!) and it has lots of 2" finished squares (even better!).  I tend to work with a lot of blues and greens, so it was nice to switch things up and use warm colors instead. ALL the fabric came from my stash. (My favorite way to work!) The background is Ash Gray by Connecting Threads. It's such a great color to have on hand.
For the back I pieced a few different pinks together. I love the pop of bright pink on the bottom. I think it really helps tie the front and back sides together.
The argyle section has to be my favorite part of the back! (It's an old print by Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman.) I won't tell you how many color ways I have of this print. :)
This sweet 30's print isn't too shabby, either!
I LOVE the binding! The fabric is 'spot on' by Robert Kaufman. I bought 2 yards of it when I visited Olive Juice in March. It will probably appear on a few more (3, most likely) quilts as binding. The scale of the dot is just perfect and it's such a pleasing shade of gray.
I had to include this outtake....my oldest boy helps me with my quilt photography. This morning he even helped with a good attitude. I sure love my kiddos!

The finished quilt measures about 58" x 78".

Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

WIP Wednesday

I am not going to do a whole retreat run down post from this past weekend, but I must say, we had so much fun! Sewing and laughing with friends is darn good therapy. I laughed until I cried-several times over. Thanks so much to my Gruber's friends for a fantabulous weekend. You all are the best!
I started a new quilt while I was on retreat. The color choices may surprise you, I realize. (ha!) I'm making a zig zag quilt with no triangles. This one has been on my to-do list for quite some time. I decided it's time to stop hoarding my pretty jelly rolls and start sewing. The colors are 9900 98 White and 9900 85 Egg Blue.
Moda made a pattern sheet using the technique and there is a free pdf here.
Either the jelly roll I had was one strip short or I lost one strip of fabric somewhere along the way (the latter is highly likely, with all the scraps that were flying around)...so I had to piece some pieces together to finish off  the last corner. See all those extra seams in the bottom right? They were not my favorite to piece, but it was awfully rewarding to make it happen. I'm no stranger to thrifty piecing! :D
I have several more rows to sew together, but I'm getting there! I am absolutely smitten with the simplicity of this quilt. The aqua and white color comb isn't too shabby, either.

I'm linking up with Lee for WIP Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

scrappy project #2 and a fabric design contest

Did you hear? Connecting Threads is holding another design contest this year! They are taking submissions from July 22 through August 10th. You can read all about the contest here and the guidelines are here. I may be thinking of submitting something....yikes!
Now, on to the scraps!
I'm already finding that my 101 scrap project challenge is a fun way to play with various color combinations and techniques on a small scale. Using up scraps will simply be a nice side benefit!
This is a little block that I made while playing with scraps a few weeks ago. The color scheme reminded me of a friend, so I turned it into a coaster or mini mug rug (whatever you want to call it) for her.
I quilted with 25 weight hand quilting thread* that I ran through my Juki. It makes a clearly-defined chunky stitch that I really like!! I used a regular quilting thread (50 weight) in the bobbin and there was no need to adjust the tension at all. It was FUN!
I quilted the piece heavily, as you can see. You can get away with that on a small piece and it doesn't take forever. Hurray! To finish it off, I used a single fold binding. Carol has a great tutorial for that here. If you have to bind a small project, I highly recommend it!
*I should note that this hand quilting thread (by Robison-Anton) is uncoated. I know that some hand quilting thread (Coats and Clark for instance) is coated and will NOT work in a sewing machine. I haven't tested other kinds of threads, so I can't recommend or give further advice on them.

Friday, July 19, 2013

retreat weekend

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
I don't exactly have a finish to share today because I have been busy getting ready for a big weekend. I have a very special house guest visiting, which caused a cleaning frenzy in my daughter's room. I guess I can count that as a finish. It was no small feat.
It's retreat time, again! I'm headed to Gruber's for the weekend.
I've packed up my gear and enough projects to last 6 months. Ha!
I'm looking forward to a weekend of laughing until my sides hurt with some awesome ladies. Oh, and I might do a little sewing along the way, too.

Thanks for all your kind comments on my last two posts. You guys are so sweet! I appreciate your encouragement as I delve into a new level of crazy with my scraps! It should be a fun journey.

Please link up your finishes of the week. Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

101 scrap projects

I've decided to take on a personal challenge.
I'm setting out to make 101 projects out of scraps.
(Yes, I'm serious!)
I'm planning to document them here.
I have no idea how long it will take.
But I am super excited.
I certainly have the scraps for it...and then some!
Here's my first project of the series....a little needle book.
It finishes at 2 3/4" x 3 1/8".
I think I've squealed over this thing 100 times.
Of course I used red and white polka dots for the lining.
The pages are just a bit of leftover batting.
The elastic band previously held a pair of shoes together.
(What can I say? I love re-using little bits.)
I'm really looking forward to the next 100 projects!

Monday, July 15, 2013

mini nines

I have started a new scrap project.
A    l  o  n  g    term project.
I have been debating it for over a year.
I'm finally committing.
(And I'm blogging about it to keep me accountable.)
The pattern for the block can be found in this tutorial.
Each block will finish at 3.5".

If you'd like to join me, I would LOVE to have you along for this (somewhat) crazy journey.
My target quilt size is 63" x 77".
I will need a total of 396 blocks.
That's totally do-able, right?

I'm looking for a good name for this project.
If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them.

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, July 12, 2013

wonky log cabin quilt

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
I finished my wonky log cabin quilt this morning. I LOVE how it turned out! It's such a happy quilt.
Two of the center blocks have pieced flowers....true to my thrifty nature.
This one has been dubbed the smiley face block. :) I almost omitted these funky blocks, but my kids talked me out of it. I'm glad they did! The blocks certainly add a lot of character to the quilt.
This is one of the last ones that I pieced. I think it's my favorite one! Each block measures 15" square, which includes the white sashing.

Originally I was going to stipple the quilt, but after some troubles I went with a cross hatch instead. I'm so glad things worked out that way. The cross hatch quilting adds so much...on both the front and the back. The grid lines are about 2" apart.
The backing and binding fabric came from my stash. The combination of the two ended up being so happy and perfect! I always struggle when selecting a back for a scrappy quilt. Mainly because almost anything would work...it's hard to narrow things down.
The scraps in this quilt came from many previous projects and several came from generous friends. So many happy fabrics in the mix...just the way I like it! The quilt measures 60" x 80".
One more thing for today. I snapped this photo this morning. My kids are home from camp. :) I'm so happy to have them back!
Now it's your turn to link up your finishes. Thanks, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Thursday, July 11, 2013


The winner of the Splash rotary cutter is New Salem Homestead. Thanks to all of you who joined in the contest!

bits of progress

My kids have been at camp this week...and boy do I miss them! I thought I would have gobs of sewing time, but I didn't finish all my WIPs like I had hoped. Are you laughing along with me? Yes, that is a ridiculous notion, but it is nice to day dream once in awhile.
I am getting mighty close to a finish....just a few more feet of binding to go. Good timing...as tomorrow is Friday! The binding is from the fabric line Mama Said Sew by Sweetwater. I actually bought it at Mama Said Sew (the shop) when I was out in Fort Collins on a teaching trip last November. I KNEW it would make a great binding some day. This could quite possibly be my favorite binding. Ever. (I SHOULD have bought more!)
Since I can't work on just one project at a time, I also started quilting my mystery quilt. I chose to go with a wavy grid over the entire piece. No marking is required, as I am following the strips as they were pieced. I'm using a darning foot with the feed dogs down and quilting the squiggles free hand. It is so much fun! I don't think that I could ever tire seeing crosshatching emerge, whether it be a straight line or a wavy one. It's like a little bit of magic!

Thanks for all of you who entered into the draw for the Splash cutter. (if you haven't yet, you still have a bit of time.) I plan to pick a winner later today. I LOVED reading what you are looking forward to this week!

Monday, July 08, 2013

splash rotary cutter

When the folks at Olfa asked if I would like to try out one of their new Splash rotary cutters and blog about it, I just couldn't say no! The name "splash" and the fun color scheme had me hooked immediately. I have a quilt called Splash (shown below, it's a pattern in Sunday Morning Quilts) that matches the new cutter exactly. That is pretty fun!
I've been using the rotary cutter for a month or so and I'm loving it! It features a quick change blade, which is super simple to use. I tried it out just to see how it works (not because my blade was dull) and I like the ease of use. The cutter is light weight, but still sturdy. The contoured handle is wonderful! I cut with both my left and right hands intermittently and it works equally well in both. (Dare I say that only lefties can truly appreciate that?) Last but not least, did I mention that I love that it's aqua? Oh, I probably did. :)
I usually dread cutting, but between a cute new cutter and my new counter height cutting table, (see below) I've actually started to enjoy the process. In fact, I've started a few new habits. Whenever I cut for a project, I cut out a few extra 3" squares. When I'm ironing, I'll grab a scrap or two out of one of my many scrap baskets, press them, cut out a few 3" squares and add them to the pile. Between those two new habits, eventually I'll have enough squares to sew together into a quilt.
It's kind of like leaders and enders, but on the cutting front. It's a (feeble?) attempt to get my scraps under control. Because there is a teeny tiny chance that I might possibly have a scrap problem. Maybe. :)
Anyway....I'm happy to tell you that I also have a new splash rotary cutter to give away to one of my readers! If you would like to throw your name in the virtual hat, please leave me a comment at the end of this post. In your comment I'd like to hear one thing that you are looking forward to this week. I'll pick a winner in a few days. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog. I appreciate it very much. And as always....
Happy Monday to you!

Friday, July 05, 2013

a charity quilt finish

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I hope you all had a safe and great Independence Day! We celebrated with my entire family...17 of us! We hosted and found out that our house is set up very nicely for entertaining. Hurray! I turned 38 yesterday and my sister had a birthday, too. The weather was perfect and it was so nice to have all of us together. I'm so thankful for my own little family and my extended family as well. I'm thankful for another year and I'm looking forward to making it count.
Even amid the summer busyness, I managed to finish up a charity quilt this week. Heather pieced and quilted it and all I had to do was add the binding.
It may have taken me a few months. :) I decided to machine stitch it down on both sides so it would withstand a lot of washing.
I've fallen out of the habit of washing and drying a quilt right after I finish it. Probably because there is always plenty of laundry to do, so why add more to the pile? But, I washed and dried this one right away and the texture is pretty great! I may have wrapped up in it fresh out of the dryer, even though it's been warm here. :) I'm so happy to have finished a quilt to share today. I need to do that more often!

How about you? Do you have a finish to share? If so, please link up. Thank you for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

just one slab and a little quilting progress

I don't know if you've heard or not, but my friend Cheryl is heading up a quilt block drive. She is collecting slabs from all who are willing to help and she (and a team of volunteers) will make them into quilts for the people affected by the floods in her area.
If you have an hour, I'd encourage you to dig out your scraps and make a slab or two or three for a good cause. You can read all the details on her post here and you can see some photos of the after affects here. The photos are hard to look at, but it's nice to be able to help in some small way.
After 4 bouts of stippling gone bad, (ugh!) I finally abandoned the idea of free motion quilting this quilt. (You can see the full shot of the quilt here.)
I switched gears, set up the Janome and started straight line quilting. It's SO much easier.
I only had to mark one line with chalk (so far) and I'm using the guide bar to echo the subsequent lines. It's slick! If you look closely at the photo, you will see that I'm actually using the bar upside down. I do not know why they put the guide bar to the right of the walking foot. The more lines you quilt the more bulk you have between the needle and the machine. That is not very helpful at all! But, if you use the guide bar to the left of the walking foot the bulk of the quilt pools to the left of the machine, making it much easier to manage. I figured this out on my last project that I did grid quilting on. Flipping the guide bar has made things so much easier! It feels so good to see progress on this quilt. Finally!

Happy Wednesday to you!