Monday, January 30, 2012

Pin Basting my "Modern Quilt"

Pin basting is one of those necessary evils that are a part of quiltmaking ... unless of course you ship it off to a longarm quilter or have another way of basting.

For the most part I like to quilt my own quilts, especially if it is a baby-sized one like this. Last night as I was pinning, Al said he was surprised by the amount of pins I use... this quilt doesn't hide them. I thought there might be more quilters out there wondering how many pins are needed to hold the quilt together.... and my usual answer is put in lots and when you think you have enough, add more.
BUT I figured a picture is worth a thousand words. I counted about 14 pins per 12" block so I'm guessing that there are probably about 200 pins in this. If I don't OVER pin my quilts, I end up with puckered parts when I flip it over and if this has ever happenned to you, you know how it makes your heart sink! You can't just take out stitches... you would be picking them out forever... You have to hide the pucker (put the label over it) or live with it. I'd rather put in more pins.
There is a tool sold at many quilt shops that helps with the pinning. It's called the KWIK-KLIP. It has a wooden handle and a small metal piece sticking out at one end. I wouldn't pin without it.... it has saved my fingertips.
OH, and one more thing... sometimes it goes without saying but sometimes not....use SAFETY PINS for pin basting not straight pins. Your hands will thank you!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Generals' Wives Quilt

This is block three of the BOM I joined. Are any of you doing The Generals' Wives? Since I work at the quilt shop, I hear about how hard some of these blocks are and I know that if the seams aren't perfect, the block won't come out the correct size... SO, I thought why not paper piece this. I'm using my EQ7 to print out the separate parts of this block. One thing I'll have to watch out for is the striped fabric on the outer parts of the block. Two paper piece sections will have the stripe running side to side and two sections will have the stripe up and down. I'll have to make sure I use the correct pieces in the correct places.

THE OTHER COMPLICATION is that I have to draw the REVERSE of what I want to end up... paper piecing is like working with mirrors. I think I'll try a 30's version of it first. IN FACT maybe I'll try all the blocks in a 30's fabric so that I don't ruin my kits with experiments. It won't matter if those come out backwards... I'll just have an extra funky quilt :)

In May I'm going to be doing a demo at the library in town ... teaching ENGLISH paper piecing. This little cube in the pic below is one of my experiments. I kept the papers in it and stuffed it with some poly. Not sure what I can do with it but it's cute.

One of my new loves is MODERN quilting. Below is a picture of a baby quilt I'm working on. I have the borders on now... but not in this picture... they're all Kona Ash gray. I'm going to pin the quilt today and then try to get it quilted this week. I'd like to do a very linear quilting pattern but havent made up my mind exactly what and where. Then the binding.. Hmmm... Orange maybe? I joined the MODERN QUILTING GUILD... a local one. They are everywhere and if there isn't one in your area you can go to The MODERN QUILT GUILD and start one in your area. There are two in Michigan... one in Ann Arbor and one in TC.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

What's your favorite ruler/template?

Today I had my Demo class using the 45 degree Trapezoid ruler. It's one that I don't own, I used the shop's ruler to make my samples... BUT boy do I love it. I plan to get for my own. It cuts 2-1/2" strips, cuts the trapezoids for the braid, the pieces for the windmill block and for the attic window block, PLUS you can use it to cut the ends of your 2-1/2" binding strips at a 45! This is going to be one that I use time and again.

So my questions is what ruler do you just love... one you wouldn't want to be without? Or which one that you've tried is a good timesaver... or just plain fun?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Old blocks New quilts

Here's a picture or two of the one hundred plus blocks I found yesterday at the resale shop.

They are mainly pastels, plaids, old shirtings. Some are handsewn and some are not. Some are well done, some... well... not as nice.

When I find old blocks like these I feel like they should be used "as is".... as they were intended to be put together. Maybe the idea was to use a four patch then a solid, then another four patch.. ... OR maybe they were just going to stitched together, one four patch after another.

Putting the solid between them would definately be more my way of doing it. I don't like quilts to be too busy. Maybe a muslin or a Kona solid like snow? Hmmmm

So today I was out doing some errands and stopped into another resale hoping to find some rustic candlestick holders for Jenn's wedding. They'll be painted dark and then washed with an antique white... unless they're old silver.

SO I'm looking for that stuff (found a few) and I decided to check the sewing stuff.
I found another bag of blocks! Is this the time of year quilters clean out their drawers and sewing rooms? Well, these blocks are newer than yesterday's blocks.

There were 14 Friendship blocks, all signed but except one... and some were dated 1990. Some had cities also... local cities. I didn't recognize any of the quilters names but who knows... these ladies might be mothers, aunts, friends of my quilter friends up here. What a quandry... do I buy them?
As I dug farther through the bag, I found a handful of odd blocks... one of a kind... and then rolled up together was another group of 15 or so 9-patch blocks. These seem to be from the 70's and 80's. A few of them I liked really well, a few... UCK. The fabrics were cotton for the most part but not all.
So did I buy them? YUP. You know me, I just can't resist adding someone elses UFOs to my pile. I may give some of them away but I think I see a couple of quilts in there. After thinking about all of these, I think I'd like to keep the friendship blocks to make myself a quilt... it'll have ties to the past quilters in my area and that's a nice feeling.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Resale shopping and some vintage fabric finds

Al and I were out shopping at some resale shops today and guess what I found?! A bag of old quilt blocks for $4! There are about 150 blocks in this bag and these in the picture are some of my favorites. I'm going to give them to daughter Lisa because she loves 30's and 40's fabrics.. pretty sure that most of these are in the age group. The part of the bag that I'm not giving to Lisa is a group of nine patches that are soft colors... probably just as old but not really her style. They are not well done blocks but still I love them. I think I'll put them together to make a small vintage looking quilt. When I get them all spread out, I'll snap a picture. I also bought a bag of old buttons.
After shopping the resales, Al and I met with daughter Jenn. She tried on wedding gowns for us and we all fell in love with two of them. She has a favorite she found downstate and now these two... SO... which dress will be the one... dress 1, dress 2 or dress 3? Kind of like House I think she's leaning toward dress three... my fav is dress two.. but no matter which one SHE'LL BE BEAUTIFUL! Plans are coming along nicely for the wedding. They have they're venue... a vineyard just outside the city and they have the photographer. There are a lots more decisions to make but thankfully I don't have to worry about most of them. I tried on a dress for the first time today... and ...hmmm... think I need to head to the gym... SOON!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Help me win!!!

Help!!! I've entered into the Aurifil Quilt Contest on Facebook and need votes. It's late in the contest so I'm not sure I stand a chance but MAYBE with a little help....
Go to the link below to view my quilt, like Aurifil and vote. I just LOVE these threads. If you know anyone else that would help me out by voting, send them the link. Thank you, thank you, thank you (in advance) for the votes.
Update 1-26-12: I didn't win but thanks to all of you who helped me out. 31st place is nothing to sneeze at, right?!... out of about 300!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Orange Central Park Quilt is Done

The binding is being stitched down, so for the most part, the orange quilt is finished. I did an allover meander on most of the top and then changed to a flower and leaf design on the border. The batting is the thinnest 100 percent cotton batting that I could find. It's nice... not too heavy.

Here's the back of the quilt. I used up all the leftover pieces by cutting them to a 12-1/2" length and attaching one to the other. Then I cut two long pieces of white, 12-1/2"wide, to add to the top and bottom of my colorful strip. I like this splash of color on the otherwise all white back. OH, almost forgot... got to add a label!

This quilt will be at the shop as a sample but after they are done with it, it goes to daughter Lisa. She claimed it... it's her colors. Click here for the free pattern: (Orange Slices) .

Decorating with and around quilts

As I was quilting the orange braid strip quilt (still don't have a name for it..any suggestions?), I was thinking about all the quilts and quilted projects I have around the house.

I was trying to figure what I'd like to make next... what I needed... and this is in addition to the things that MUST get done. I HAVE to make a wedding quilt for Jenn, which will be fun. It's going to be pretty colors and an easy pattern.

I also NEED to make a quilt for my neice... and that will be another fun project. It'll be purple OF COURSE... not sure what pattern yet or what shades purple.

But besides that I also like to have a few small projects thrown in... things that can get done quickly... completed in a couple of days. ANYWAYS, as I was thinking about my next little project, I went around the house see what was needed and then had a thought. A lot of us show pictures of our quilts and pillows etc but not always where they end up... what our rooms look like with our quilted projects in them. SO, today I'm showing some of my rooms and some of my past projects along with some of the "art" pieces my family members have made. Jenn is quite an artist and has done some paintings for the house, Lisa makes beautiful quilts and has taken some wonderful pictures, my brother Larry is amazing at bronze and baking, my mom is an excellent oil painter, my brother Rick makes beautiful jewlery out of gold and silver, my father-in-law was an artist in his own way.... he could draw very well,.... the list could go on and on... so here's a few things that I've family has made and my friends have given me.

This is Lisa's bedroom and her built-in-bed. She made the quilt that is at the foot of it and the little pillows. I upholstered the headboard and footboard and made a pillowcase for it.

This is our great room with two quilts over the couch. The one is a kit from Hearts to Holly in flannel that I made a couple of years ago.. VERY WARM! and the other one is a "fish" quilt. It was a wall sized quilt that I blew up to full size for Al. I use it sometimes but if he catches me he takes it away.

It's HIS!

Below is a picture that Jenn painted in college. I love it. I lay on the couch and stare at it... what it is changes from time to time... don't you love that about contempory art? The bench under it was made by my father-in-law and the quilt in the basket I made for Lisa years ago.

This bronze doorstop was made by my brother for Jenn's 16th birthday. I've stubbed my toe on it more times than you'ld believe but I love it. Comes in handy when the windows are open and the doors are all slamming.

Here's my laundry sink in my sewing room. I have a glass jar full of old wooden threads and another jar full of empty spools (from my sister). Also on the back ledge are quilted postcards from friends and daughter Lisa. There are two "mug rugs"... one hold the soaps and one is for setting my iron on. The vintage blue canning jar is stuffed full of old buttons (I have two more just like this one) and finally my little quilt that I entered into the last quilt show up here a year ago. My first and only entry into a show.

Now this picture is a photo my daughter Lisa took... I wanted to know what she was thinking going into this area of Detroit!?! but I love it. Her and I both love architecture... on it's way up or down :)

This is a table in my sewing room with a few of my favorites on it. The little "man" next to the lamp is made out of sewing machine parts. My father in law worked at Fords for years... they have a sewing area.. doing seats, headrests, etc. One of the guys there took old parts and made this for him. I just love it. Another gift someone made him is the set of bookends from an old singer sewing machine. It's on the bottom shelf holding up my sewing books... weighs a TON! I have my pincushion on top... have quite a few pincushions now.. but can you really have too many? :)... Also have my two bins of solid fabrics and a half quilted quilt. This is my Americana quilt... I'm probably 2/3rds of the way done on it but just haven't been motivated to finish it up.

OK, here's a chair in Al's movie room. Lisa made him a quilt with all of his favorite things on it... cars, dots candy, tools, route 66 signs, coke... plus she embroidered and paper pieced some designs on the corners. Lots of work in this one but he knows that and loves it.

Here's Jenns old bedroom. I made the quilt for summer use... a picnic quilt. The one on the little rocker is for my "someday" grandchild... I call it JJ's quilt... as in Jon Junior... not sure if there's going to be a jj or a jane or another little someone but for now that's the name I use. I remember when I was carrying Jenn and I called her "little zander"... thinking she would be a boy. I ended up with two girls and couldn't be happier about it. You just never know...

Here's an oldie... my mom painted a bunch of paintings for my bridal shower over 30 years ago! I think I'd like to find it a little frame and hang it on the wall. The owl in front of it is made out of a gourd... mom bought it for me at an art show a few years back.

And here's my bedroom. That's grandma's 100th birthday quilt on the end of our bed... she's in a nursing home... still doing great at 103! The pillowcases are from a swap on Block Central... sure miss that forum. The mug rugs on each side of the bed are from my friend Pat... another swap but this one at The Quilt and Needle forum. They have Charlevoix fabric as the tea cups! There's another quilt in the basket under my nightstand (which is an old singer sewing machine). This is one I grab for picnics, beach.. it's getting worn but I still like it.

Back to Lisa's old room. That's her Gumby holding a ball pillow I made. The pretty quilt above was made by my friend Rebecca a couple of Christmases ago.

Thank you all for going on my tour... I hope others will do the same... I'd love a peek at where everyone has their quilts and other goodies.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Congrats, Jenell!!

Some of us ladies that have been friends through Block Central Forum, The Quilt and Needle Forum and Facebook got together to make a quilt for Jenell's newest grandbaby. We all did different parts from making a block or two, doing borders, putting the top together, quilting, binding, supplying the backing, batting, making a label, etc....

Since I did the quilting, I got to see the finished product before sending it off to Jenell. It sure turned out pretty. I've been waiting to post it on my blog but wanted to make sure Jenell got it first and posted it on facebook. Here's a picture of the finished quilt.

Funny thing, this was a new quilt pattern to me... hadn't seen it done up before and I really liked it. When I went to guild this past week, another lady brought in the same quilt, a little larger and different colors... loved that one also. I think I might have to make one in my colors.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Pin Basting my ORANGE braid quilt

The final border is on my orange braid quilt that I call Orange Slices and now it's basting time. Here's my usual place to do it... the kitchen floor.
I move the table and chairs up against the doorwall and take over the eating area for a couple of days. Al doesn't mind... he likes to eat at the island most of the time now that the kids don't live at home.
Tomorrow I'll start quilting this one... hope to be done by the middle of next week.
Click below for a link to a printable pattern for Orange Slices braid...

Finished Quilt and PATTERN!

Friday, January 13, 2012

FANTASTIC sale coming up at my fav quilt shop

Just thought I would tell anyone that is close to Charlevoix about Hearts To Holly's BIG SALE. Tomorrow and Monday they are having a birthday sale .... daughter Em's 29th birthday (well actually the 9th aniversary of that birthday). SO to celebrate they are having 29% off of yardage and GET THIS.. buy 9 FQs and GET 9 FQs FREE (pre-cut fats only).

Now I know lots of you don't live in northern Mi but if there is a certain fabric you're looking for it wouldn't hurt to email them or call. They can always pack up a flat rate shipping box and send it off to you. They have MODA's Circa 1934 (which I love), Central Park, lots of civil war, lots of 1930's, Hometown, American Banner Rose, Charlevoix (of course), Fig Tree fabrics, LOADS of blenders and solids, Amy Butler, Kaffe, soooooo much more. You wouldn't believe the fabric stuffed into this store.

Hearts to Holly Quilt Shop has a blog:
Phone is: 1-231-547-2729
More info:

Just had to let all of you know ... I know I love a good sale so I'm sure plenty of you do to.

I'm out having breakfast right now with Al. It took us half the morning to get out of our driveway... YES, the snow did come. It's blowing around and drifting. Was over 18" in one spot of the driveway. Al ran out of gas for the snowblower but thankfully our friend Larry was driving by in his plow. He quickly finished up the job for us.
Well, time to get home and do some more stitching.. I'll be quilting a couple of quilts the next couple of days. Posting a pic soon :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Sunny Quilt for a sunny January day

Here's my sewing room and the yard beyond... doesn't look like a normal January day in Michigan out there, does it? The sun is shining and the grass almost looks green. It was so warm out I ALMOST didn't need a jacket... BEAUTIFUL! So when I wasn't outside I worked on a sunny braid quilt that I'm doing for a shop sample. It uses a really nice trapezoid strip ruler. This is the first time I've tried using it and I'm hooked. GREAT TOOL! I'm going to demo it at Hearts to Holly the end of January. This is the quilt I'm working on using the tool.

The fabric is mostly Central Park ...on of my favorites.. Kits will be available at Hearts to Holly if anyone wants to make one.
I made 6 braids then added a yellow border to each... then added a spacer between each of the braids.

It gets a final border after all the strips are done. There are two fabrics I brought home with me to try out... one is an olive print and one is an orange daisy floral that is in the braid.... leaning towards using the orange.

With some of the leftover braid pieces I made one more braid and used it on the cuff of a pillowcase. I didn't take a picture of that but it was quick and easy. It would be a good use of leftover strips and scraps to make a matching pillowcase for more of my quilts.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Ahhh... the holidays are over!

Don't you just January?! The winter holidays, ALTHOUGH FUN, are over... no more major shopping to worry about... no more cookie baking marathons... the decorations are down and put away... the house is clean and clutter free... well almost all of the house.. NOW I can spend lots of time back in my sewing room and that's a whole new mess... but a good one :) I love Christmas time and I love all the decorations and the parties and the eating but it feels so good now that it's done for another year.

Lisa and Jenn were home for a bit along with Jenn's HUBBY-to-be, Jon. We had a couple of sewing hours tucked into our regularly scheduled holiday doings. Jenn made a cute set of chair cushions for her Grandma-in-law-to-be (boy, that's a mouthful) and a couple of other goodies for friends and family. Lisa worked on some BEAUTIFUL window hangings (Lisa, do those things have a name?). They're kind of like stained glass in fabric. She used some really pretty shot cottons (Kaffe) that she bought downstate. I wish I had gotten a picture of the finished product...darn... but I DO plan to make my own so I'll post a pic when I do. I did get a few pictures of us hanging out in my sewing room just before Xmas and on Xmas eve.

Finishing the baby's I-Spy quilt

I made the 64 block, stitched the rows together then finished the top but Jenn and I decided to make the quilt a bit bigger. It's 48&q...