Thursday, March 29, 2012

This is my SPRING table center that I just finished. I have a class coming up in mid April where I'm teaching machine quilting on home sewing machines. Plus in mid May, I have a class/demo at the library showing English paper piecing. With these two in mind, I thought I would make something to show both parts of quilting. If you know me, you know I love English paper piecing and I love stars. Using some leftover Fig Tree fabrics and some Lily and Will scraps, I pieced this ring. Then I appliqued it to a 17" background piece. The little center circle was appliqued on last. The batting in this also leftovers... one piece of scrap cotton and on top of that, one piece of wool. It makes this very puffy.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Working on the wedding quilt this week

I started working on Jenn's wedding quilt when I was at the quilting retreat downtown about a month ago. Four centers are completed and waiting for the gray fabric that I need for the HSTs that surround each block before they are sashed. After looking EVERYWHERE for that gray fabric, the quilt shop owner's daughter found it out in the Las Vegas area. They had a yard left on the bolt and what did I need? A YARD! How's that for luck :) I'm just waiting for her to send it out here and then I'll be able to finish the blocks and put this top together.
This is a picture of the finished quilt from the QUILTMANIA magazine, issue #77. It's mainly 4 big blocks and a sashing, which I'm going to increase. I'm also going to increase the border sizes so that this quilt is a larger queen size. I bought a "honey bun" of this fabric and I think I could make a nice strip border out of that to increase the size too... still considering my options.
This past week I received my long awaited FLOWER SUGAR fabric! Don't you just love it? I'm putting it on a shelf in my sewing room as incentive to finish up my half started projects... I'm not touching it until Jenn's wedding quilt is done and another gift quilt is finished. Those two are HAVE TO BE DONE quilt. There are two more quilts that SHOULD be worked on soon but one hasn't come in yet... an Amish sampler quilt.. and the other that should be worked on is a quilt for the guild. I'm hoping to start working on that today. It isn't a large quilt but there's lots of applique on it. We picked a song title and have to make a quilt with that theme. I have the idea of what I want to do.. just have to get motivated to do it. Then there are the many UFOs that are in my sewing room.. way to many to mention but here's a few of them:
1. Blue and white Star Sampler
2. Red and white crown of thorns
3. Red and cream redwork
4. My ME quilt which I started a few years ago ... a quilt for myself
5. Charlevoix quilt
6&7. 2 Red and cream 9 patch quilts
8. Ugly quilt, top done, working on patching a backing together
9. Civil war dresden
10, 11, 12. Three baby quilts
13, 14. Two Round robins
15, 16, 17. Three Happy Block quilts (one is almost done)
Well, darn this list could go on and on and on. I just wanted to let all of you know that you're not alone in starting one project, putting it down and going off in another direction. I think it's just part of being a quilter.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Shopping at Hearts to Holly (and working :) today

Today is a beautiful spring day here in Charlevoix. It's raining which is a good thing because our fire danger was high... due to winds and no rain. The temps have been in the 80s! Unbelievable if you know our area. We should still be skiing. So it's also a work day for me but it's quiet this morning so I'm shopping as I work and put stuff away. This fabric below is called Gotham and it really caught my eye. It's in the sale closet so it's 50% off a yard or more!!!! Doesn't it have an ART DECO look? I think it would make a great medallion for the center of a quilt. The second picture is the border that surrounds it, top and bottom. I think I could cut them up as blocks... maybe in the corners? I think I need a yard of it. That will get me the center and enough border to play with. There's still a couple more yards on the bolt if anyone else wants any. I'm going to give you Sue's number here at the shop so that if anyone sees something (and like me) can't live without it, you'll be able to grab a piece. H2H's number is: 231-547-2729.

 This is a new fabric that just came in ... THE BERENSTAIN BEARS!! Don't you just love it. I like all the coordinating dots... and the blue fabric with baseball bats, balls, trikes, soccer balls... how cute for a boy.
 And here's a new one for girls with little ballerina dancers on it. So darling!
 This is a group of brights that I'm getting ready for a lady that wants to make a bright "Turning 20" quilt. It's much brighter than this picture shows. Don't you love the puzzle pieces?
And finally, another one I'm thinking of taking a piece of is this city/car/tree fabric called "Rainbow Gardens". Can you believe this is in the 50% off room. It feels wonderful! Still a couple of yards left on that also... after I take my piece.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Making lots of soup today

My daughter, Jenn and I walked along the beach last night... it was so warm.. felt like summer. Just can't believe the weather for MARCH! Most winters we're still skiing. We had a few people in shorts and wading in the lake... a few brave kids :) It was about 80 degrees and today is supposed to be almost as warm.

Monday night my sorority sisters are meeting at my house for our monthly get-together. I've been thinking about what to serve for dinner and have finally figured that soup and sandwiches would be easy enough. I'm making two or three soups: Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup, Al's Vegan Mushroom Bisque and maybe.. Chicken noodle. The crock pot soup is one I found online and I've added the link so that you can try it also. It sounds really good... will let you know. Al's soup is one that the family requests over and over. The chicken noodle I've been making for as long as I've been cooking.
Now the sandwiches... I think a northern chicken salad would be a good one. It has roasted chicken, mayo/ sour cream mixture, celery, onions, dried cherries and sometimes nuts. Served on a croissant it's really yummy. I want one other sandwich and thought maybe something warm like corned beef or sloppy joes. Anyone have a good sandwich? Another one I saw online was a baguette that is hollowed out and filled with creamy sandwich filling like deviled ham or tuna, then chilled and sliced into sandwich rounds. Not sure if this would get soggy?

Friday night and yesterday Jenn and I worked on gifts for her bridal shower... prizes like grocery totes, placemats, aprons, etc. This is one of her placemats.

Yesterday I was at the quilt shop working til 4 so we didn't get a whole lot done but a little here and there will help. Her shower is in July.. still plenty of time.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy Mochi Yum Yum Quilt top is finished

The Star Sampler Quilt top is done and I'm ready to layer and pin it. That Happy Mochi Yum Yum fabric sure is pretty.

I planned to wait until I could get together with some friends up here and use their church to do the pinning but I don't think I'm going to be able to wait that long. I might just get on the floor tonight and "get 'er done"! It shouldn't take all that long to quilt this.

 On second thought, I have the class tomorrow so I think I'll wait until after the first class to do the pinning.

This will be a Block Of The Month, March thru August, up here. I keep debating about making a second one that I can put together during class to teach the blocks. I really want a two color quilt and that's why I bought the red jelly roll that I broke into to make my Crown of Thorns block. That roll is now put to the side. The Crown of Thorns turned out so pretty that I just have to make that quilt. I might have to cut up a few yards of some other solid to use for these stars.... maybe a lavender? or blue?

For my second quilt, if I do it, I think I'll keep the center the same and the first round of stars, as is... BUT, I would put sashing between the last group that goes around. Mainly, that would be because my different blocks would all be in the same color so there wouldn't be anything to make them stand out as separate blocks. I think they would have a tendency to blend all as one.
SO, if I added 4" to the width of the inner white border, it would allow me to put 2" sashing between the blocks. That should be plenty, and it would keep with the style of the quilt. I'll have to do some figuring and see how much more background fabric that would take.

UPDATE: I went downstairs a bit ago and decided that I would seach for fabric in my sewing room (what a novel idea!) for the two solid colors I need for class...  for the next star quilt. I found a few choices.. I have plenty of Kona white, Kona snow, a royal blue, a deep red, dusty lavender and gold. I decided on the blue and white. Here's my first block to teach in class.

I changed the center a little just to keep it from being boring. It should be an all blue four patch but I like this better.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Crown of Thorns Block

Thank you Trina for giving me a name to go with the block that I posted about yesterday.
Here's a LINK to a page that tells a little history about it. The interesting thing is, this is a bible block called Crown of Thorns... so appropiate right now during Lent and with Easter coming up. She includes a pattern with how to make the block. Her version is done just a bit differently than mine but it would work very well also.  It was usually a two color quilt block, sometimes in pink and white. Wouldn't that be pretty!

 I made up one block, just to test out the PATTERN.

I used one red Moda jelly roll strip and cut one Kona snow strip of the same width and length. This block takes almost EXACTLY one strip of each. You'll be able to make 40 blocks if you use two jelly rolls (one of each color)... and that would be plenty for a nice sized quilt but the blocks would all be touching... you might want to have a sashing fabric or do as I'm planning. I need to count the plain blocks separating these. 

These 10" blocks, set on point, will measure about 14" across. A 6x6, on point quilt, would be about 84" square without borders...  that's 36 blocks total. If you make one like this, be sure you purchase enough of the white or snow fabric for the opposite plain squares plus the setting triangles. You'll need just under 8 yards of the white for the blocks and background.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Block Tutorial for a navy and white quilt

First of all, does anyone know the NAME of this block?

This is a partial picture of an antique quilt I saw and would like to reproduce. Two color quilts are so striking. I drew this block up and found it's very easy. It's a 10" block and uses 2-1/2" strips squares and half square triangles.

I plan to use thangles for the hst (half square triangles).
Here's how to make this 10" block:

Cut one 2-1/2" strip x WOF (width of fabric) of each....  the navy and the white. Open the strips up and then lay them right sides together, then place a thangles strip on top. Stitch on the sewing lines and cut apart on the cutting lines and you'll have 6 HSTs. Repeat. You'll have 12 hsts.
Cut NINE 2-1/2" squares of white... you'll need one for the center and four around the outside and four to make the extra long flying geese in the center. You'll also need to cut TWO navy 2-1/2" x 6-1/2" strips for the geese and TWO 2-1/2" navy squares.
Here's how I would put this block together.
For the very center, sew a navy square to each side of the center white square. Then make two EXTRA long flying geese by starting with the 6-1/2" strips and placing a white square on each end... mark, then stitch diagonally, trim the seam and then press open. I press these open but many people press to one side. I like to reduce bulk. PLUS, this is a bias seam and pressing it open seems to keep it from stretching out of square. Attach the long geese to each side of the center so that it forms a navy "donut".

Now you need to attach a hst to each side of a white square. Repeat. Add one to the top of your center, one to the bottom. 

You're almost there. Make two of the rows shown below, again using hsts and white squares. Pay attention to the direction of your hst pieces. It's easy to turn them the wrong way.
Attach these rows to each side of your almost completed block and you're done!
For the quilt in the picture, set the blocks on point with solid white blocks (cut 10-1/2" square). Fill in with setting triangles on the outside edge. 

Update: I made this CROWN of THORNS block in Red and White to test it out.

I'm updating this tutorial with pictures from making my Crown of Thorns block. I'll be doing it in Moda Red (jelly roll) and Kona Snow (a soft white).

I started with the two 2-1/2" strips, right sides together, then pin the "Thangles" over them.

Stitch on the stitching lines

and cut apart on the cutting lines so that you have 12 Half Square Triangles (hsts).

A tip to make stitching these a little easier- Stitch more than one group of Thangles at a time and line up the stitching lines for continuous stitching... "chain stitching".

Open up the 12 HSTs... I press the seams open to reduce bulk.

Cut out the longer red pieces that you need for the center: (2) 2-1/" x 6-1/2" strips and the 9 white squares (2-1/2").
Make the two EXTRA LONG GEESE using two of the white squares with the diagonal marked and one of the 2-1/2" x 6-1/2" pieces.

Stitch on your marked line.

Trim the seam to 1/4" and press seams open.

Stitch the two long geese to a center piece made up of a white square surrounded on each side by a red square. Make sure the geese are stitched to the center with the long red edge facing inward.
You should have a "snowball donut" like below when done. This is a cute 6" block if you wanted to make a modern quilt... you could stop right here and just make these! :)

Now start with a white square and add a hst to each side of it. Look at the picture of the finished block to make sure these are facing the right way. Make two of these rows.
Now make two of the pieces shown below... a white square in the center and 2 HSTs on each side. Again look at the finished block when making these to make sure your triangles are facing the correct way.
Attach the shorter pieces first... one on each side of the center, then attach the longer ones.
When I'm attaching these pieces, I check my seams carefully to make sure that the points are lining up perfectly and PIN, PIN, PIN. Another thing, if you're having trouble lining up seams, try basting the seams first. If they aren't perfect the basting comes out easily. If it's good, just stitch right over your basting or just slightly to the inside.  


Monday, March 5, 2012

What a weekend!
First of all it was a quilting retreat weekend so that made it WONDERFUL and then the snowstorm hit. Not just any storm but the worst of the season up here. Most of our property had a foot and a half but there were parts that were past my kneecaps... makes walking through it a real workout.

Friday night we stitched at the Edgewater till late... the ladies were up past 1 am but Al came to pick me up at 7:30 since I was a daycamper. He planned on coming much later but the roads were getting really bad. He said he couldn't even tell where they were in places.
The next morning everything was white when we woke up and there wasn't any power and because of the snow amount, we couldn't get the car or truck out of the garage. It was too much for the snowblower also. 

Lucky for the retreat ladies, power was on in the downtown area. They sent a husband out to pickup the stranded daycampers. I had to get from the house to the road where the car was waiting to take me to town but BOY what a workout... that's 250 + feet of walking in 24" of snow. I was sweating think I need to work out a tad more. I'M OUT OF SHAPE!

So I made it in for Saturday sewing and stayed till 10pm. By that time our power was back on and Al had a friend come and plow from the road to our garage. We're one of the lucky ones though... some are still without power today and not likely to have it back on for a few more days. Even my daughter in Traverse City was out. It was a pretty widespread storm.

 I took some pictures of all of us stitching away. I finished up my Happy Mochi Yum Yum top... YEAH! It's on the "design" floor in this picture above. Loads of projects were finished up and one ladies completed TWO projects, quilting and all! That's Annette... she must not have been chatting as much as some of us :)
 Here's three of the ladies that had all made the same quilt but in different colors... Amazing how a color change can complete change the look of a quilt.
 This is a quilt that Dawn's mother made for her. It WAS BEAUTIFUL!
 And here's Happy Mochi Yum Yum Star Sampler. It wasn't put together yet... still had a final border to put on but now that's completed. I'm hoping to quilt it this week.

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Weekend of Quilting!

Today is going to FUN! Well, actually, the whole weekend will be fun... I'm heading off to a quilting weekend here in town. No cooking or cleaning... just eating, sleeping, quilting and chatting :) I should get some projects finished up... if I concentrate and don't spend the whole time visiting. 

Here's a picture of a new BOM that is coming to Hearts to Holly Quilt Shop. It's an Amish inspired smapler in some BEAUTIFUL solids. I said I'd make the sample for the store and I'm anxiously awaiting the kit to come in. If any of you would like to do it.. through the mail or in person in our classes, give Sue a call and she'll put you on the list. This is a good sized quilt ... maybe 80x100 or there abouts. We had chattertime this morning and one person wants to split this into two quilts.. a lap and a wall. I plan to get out my EQ program and divide it up for her. I want the large one... I need a large twin quilt for a spare bed and this would be will reach down nicely on both sides plus have plenty of tuck at the foot of the bed.

And this is something I picked up at the shop... it's fabric that just came in.. some beautiful BATIKS. I couldn't resist this jelly roll. Lots of blacks, browns, and beige. I may do a braid quilt using this but for now it will be put away. I have too many IMPORTANT projects that have to come first. This will inspire me to get them done... sitting on my shelf, calling out to me!

Okay, now a question for all of you nature lovers ... or maybe you work for the DNR or know someone from there.... We found these tracks all around our house this morning. The way the animal walks suggest a cat... A LARGE CAT.. Anyone know what it is? We have had multiple opinions but would like to know for sure.

Update, have been told this is a wolf or large dog.  We have submitted a form to the MI DNR and hope to hear what they are. I took extra photos all around the property.

I've been slowly pushing myself back to quilting. My back pain gets terrible in the mid day so early morning is the best time to sew.  ...