Sunday, December 2, 2018

Star Patch QAL

Not that I already don't have enough to do, but I joined Amber Johnson's Star Patch Quilt Along

I saw the original post back in October and really liked the quilt. I decided that I had too much on my plate to join the QAL, but knew that I'd make the quilt some day. I was just too busy to commit to joining the group at that time. I kept seeing Amber's posts and how beautiful her blocks were, but I stayed strong - until last week. 

I was packing for a retreat and decided to take only one project (Elephant Abstractions by Violet Craft) so I could concentrate on that. Plus, I was one of the facilitators of the retreat and knew that I really would not get as much done as I always hope to.  :-)

Long story short, as I was looking around my sewing room I noticed my tub of 2" squares. Hmmmmm, That's the size used for the nine patch blocks of the Star Patch Quilt. 

Right next to the tub was a large neutral background fabric that had not been put away from a previous project. I took that as a sign that I should start the quilt because it could be a great (and mindless) leader/ender project during the retreat. I packed up some of the 2" squares and the background fabric and off I went.

At the retreat, as I suspected, there were times that I could not work on my project but I wanted to be doing something. I cut the background squares needed and started sewing nine patch units. I decided to go really scrappy with these because I really want to use those squares and I didn't want to have to think much when putting the blocks together. (Remember that I said I wanted a mindless project!)

I finished all 60 of the units last night and am caught up with the QAL group. YAY!

I did give some thought with a handful of the blocks because I had fussy cut the original squares. I placed those pieces in the center of the blocks. I'm glad I did that because I think it will be fun to see them while snuggling with the quilt - almost like a seek and find quilt.  :-)

Since each of these fussy cut centers were used for quilts that I've given away, not only will I enjoy the fabrics, I'll be reminded of the person to whom I gave the original quilt. That's a win/win for me.

I'm toying with the idea of enlarging the quilt and making it rectangular. That will require more nine patch blocks but that won't be a problem, as there are plenty more 2" squares left in the tub. I'll make that decision later. 

Have a great week!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Christmas Table Runner

I've been asked to host a sew day for a group of 14 ladies who want to make a Christmas table runner. The organizer had a particular runner in mind, The Ohio Star Runner from pattern Twice as Nice by Sweet Jane's.

It's a nice runner and pretty easy to make. I decided that since the organizer asked for the runner to be a "controlled scrappy" Christmas project, I would limit the number of fabrics used and not use 5" pre-cuts as the pattern suggests. We'll be making kits for the participants and to make teaching this easier for me, everyone will have the exact same fabrics. 

Here's my version. 

The organizer of the event said that most of the participants will have some sewing experience, and a few will have a lot. Hmmmm, I'm not quite sure what I've gotten myself in to, but I've decided that it will be a fun challenge. 

I've got pictures to share from a recent retreat that I helped host, as well as a few other projects. Since I was away from home Nov. 23 - 28, I have gotten quite behind in my blog posts, picture taking and editing. Hopefully I can get back on track in the next couple of days. 

Are you making any Holiday Table Runners? If so, I'd love to see them.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Design Wall Monday

Recently, a fellow quilter did something for me and she refused payment. I'm happy to finally be able to do something for her.

I've known Audrey for a couple of years and she is a very kind and caring person. She and her family will be welcoming a new child (Audrey's great grandchild) into the family early next year. Audrey really wants to make a quilt for the baby, but sadly she is struggling to do any kind of sewing, let alone quilting. 

Audrey asked me if I knew anyone who had a baby quilt that she could buy. That got me thinking that I could finally repay her for her kindness to me. At first she was hesitant, but she eventually I wore her down she agreed. 

I have a couple of quilts already made, but I decided to use up some of my scraps and make another couple so that she has a variety of quilts from which to choose. This one is one the wall now and I'm still playing around with the blocks. Soon, I'll be sewing the rows together and this will be ready to quilt. 

I made another one over the weekend that used up some Dr. Seuss fabric I had and I've got it ready to quilt too. I'll post pictures of both when they are done. 

What are you working on today?

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Veterans Day Recap

Friday, I was honored to present some Quilts of Valor during the Monroeville School District Veterans Day assembly. This is the third year that I've done this and am thrilled to report that to date, 33 quilts have been presented to area veterans. Not all of the quilts have been presented during the assembly, as there are always a few veterans that would rather receive the quilt privately. 

Here's a picture of this year's recipients.

Included in this picture are the school principals (one of them received a quilt two years ago), the superintendent, the teacher who supervises the assembly planning, and the two students (Allie and Conlin) who helped plan the assemble and present the quilts.  

While we were scheduled to have seven veterans in attendance for the presentation, two had medical issues that did not allow them to participate. They, along with four other veterans received their quilts Friday afternoon. That means that this year eleven veterans were "covered" with quilts.

Because I was part of the program, I didn't have the opportunity to take pictures. I did however, manage to get a picture of the service flags after they were carried in by local Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts. Unfortunately, I could not get the US flag in the picture because it was out of my camera range. Nevertheless, this is one of my favorite pictures.

After the ceremony, we presented a special quilt to a local gold star family. Their son was killed in action and Allie had met them this past summer. She was touched by them and their story and asked me if I could get them a quilt. Of course I said yes. 

Here's the quilt. 

This is a duplicate of a quilt that I made for the Blank Quilting American Honor challenge. I think it was perfect for the family. The American Honor fabric line is great to use for Quilts of Valor. There is a second line, American Honor II that will be available early next year and I'm already making sketches of how I'll use that.

I have pictures of the individual quilts, but I'll save those for another post.

I am proud and honored to be a part of this event. It is such a privilege to present these quilts.

Since Allie is a senior and will be graduating, Conlin and I are already planning things for next year.  

Monday, October 29, 2018

Design Wall Monday

I've got the Patriotic Cheerful quilt top done, sort of...

Pardon the really terrible picture. It's been raining for quite some time and I could not get a decent picture. :-(

This is supposed to have a small border around it that is the same as the background fabric, but I'm not sure that I want to include it. I've decided to let this up on the wall for a little while and then make my decision. 

I was asked in a few e-mails about using this for a Quilt of Valor. The main concern was that the design was not patriotic enough (stars, etc.). I answered those e-mails personally, but thought that I would also answer here in case anyone else had concerns too.

I've been making QOVs for a number of years now and most of them have stars or something else that looks more patriotic. A couple of years ago I decided to incorporate a some "generic" designs too after a recipient asked if I had a quilt that did not include stars. He just did not like them. Fortunately, I did have a rail fence quilt and I swapped that out with the one he had received. 

I was not offended at all. Instead, I was very happy because had he not asked, I'm sure that the quilt he received would be sitting in a closest somewhere or even for sale at Goodwill. 

After that incident, I always have a variety of quilts available and am happy to swap out one for another if the recipient wants to do so. All the quilts are made using red, white (cream), and blue fabrics and many also include some gold fabric. I feel that no matter what the design, the fabrics I use make the quilts look patriotic. Plus, they always have a QOV label.

I've got a very busy couple of weeks coming up and am not sure that I'll have pictures of all the quilts before they are presented at the Veterans Day program at school. If not, I'll be sure to get pictures at the program and post them.

What are you working on today?

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Saturday, October 27, 2018

It's Sew Time!

My Bernina 180 has been at the spa for a little while and I've been using my back-up/travel machine (Bernina 135). I don't mind using the 135, but it sure is nice to have my 180 back!

I've had this machine for 20 years (Jack bought it for me right before we got married), and I've loved every minute of sewing with it. Yes, I've used many of the more recent machines that have a lot of wonderful features like built-in scissors, dual feed, a really big throat space, etc., but I still like this machine. 

When I picked it up from the shop, Mike (the repairman) told me that this machine has more stitches recorded than any machine he's ever serviced. 😮 He said that he was impressed with the stitch count and surprised that very few of those stitches are from embroidery. Yep! I like to sew.  😃

I'm working on a couple of class samples and t-shirt quilts, but decided to throw in a couple more Quilt of Valor projects too. (You know, because I have nothing else to do. lol) 

Back in May, I made this quilt for a class. (For some reason I don't have a picture of the completed quilt!)

The pattern is Cheerful by Andy Knowlton of A Bright Corner. For the class, I made step by step samples and I used red, cream, and blue fabrics with the intention of making a QOV from it. I just stumbled upon the container with the samples and decided to finish it. Here's what I have so far. 

Everything has been cut and is ready to make the rest of the blocks. I even have all the sashing and cornerstones cut. This will be so easy to chain piece and complete! WooHoo! Hopefully I'll have a completed top by tomorrow evening.

What are you working on this weekend?

I hope it's fun and relaxing for you!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Hypersonic - A New Pattern by Rachel Rossi

I've been teasing you with a few pictures of a new pattern that I recently tested for Rachel Rossi, but today I can finally show you the entire quilt. Yay!

I'm very happy to introduce Hypersonic 

Not only is this quilt cool to look at and make, but there's a secret code in the design. The pattern includes instructions to make three sizes (baby, throw, and twin) and you can make it following the exact layout that Rachel has. Or, if you want to step outside your comfort zone a little bit, Rachel has included instructions on how you can create your own variation using the code as the basis of your layout.  

So what's the code? Its the Fibonacci Sequence code and it's pretty cool. The pattern includes a brief explanation of the code and how to incorporate it in the layout of this quilt. I made my sample following the pattern exactly for the twin quilt, but I'm working on another one that is different and it's making me feel a bit like a math whiz. 😄 (I have to say that because I am far from a math whiz!)

This is a fun quilt to make and I was honored to test it. Here's Rachel's blog post about the new pattern, including some really awesome pictures. 

Rachel always captures her quilts in some amazing pictures, and this one above is one of my all-time favorites. 

This pattern is very well-written and easy to follow. I found the cutting instructions easy to follow, even though they look intimidating at first. There is a separate page with cutting instructions for each size, which I really like! I don't always love it when the multiple size options are listed in parenthesis because it is too easy to misread and miss-cut something. 

Another really neat thing about this pattern is the coloring page. Instead of using crayons or colored pencils, I used strips of fabric to get a visual of how my quilt was going to look. 

I did move a few fabrics around to avoid a concentration of certain colors. I REALLY liked doing this.

The curved pieces on this quilt look challenging, but they were very easy. They were appliqued using a technique involving interfacing so you don't have any raw edges. I've used this technique before and love it.  It's easy and precise! Rachel suggests using mono-filament thread to stitch the pieces down, but I used matching thread color. 

Is it sad that all of the fabric (except the backing), and thread for this quilt came from my stash?

I like this quilt so much that I just had to take a bunch of pictures.  

This twin quilt is a decent size - 62" x 90" so I took pictures from the balcony again. I'm not sure how I missed getting my husband in the pictures, but I did. 

I've become quite fond of taking pictures of quilts hanging from a tree limb, so here's another one.  :-) 

And of course I have to take a picture of just about every quilt I make with it hanging on the wood pile.

I decided to quilt this with a swirly design to counteract the linearity of the piecing. I liked the results. 

I machine bound this quilt, using my flange binding technique. I am very pleased with the little splash of color along the edge.

Before I quilted this, a couple of the grandkids wanted to use it as a backdrop of one of their "shows," so of course I obliged. The only problem was that they liked it better hanging upside down.

The girls said that they liked it upside down because it reminds them of melting ice cream and that made them laugh. Yep! I can see that and the discussion quickly moved to the idea of having a snack and of course it had to be ice cream. Yes, I obliged with that too.  😀

Upside down or not, I really like this quilt! 

It's too late to make this long story short, but I enjoyed making this quilt and know you will too. You can purchase the pattern, along with Rachel's other patterns HERE. I know you won't be sorry!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Design Wall Monday

Whew! It been a long time since I've posted. 

I am patiently waiting for the go-ahead to post my review for the secret sewing I've recently done for Rachel Rossi. I should be able to do it any day now and I'm pretty sure that you are going to like the pattern as much as I do.  :-)

In the mean time, I've been busy with all kinds of things, including sewing a bunch of Quilts of Valor. As it's been the last few years, October sees me working on these quilts so that I have enough to present during the Veterans Day program at Monroeville High School. Here are some links to previous years' presentations: 2017      2016

This is the quilt that is on the design wall right now.

This is a variation of the Stargazer pattern by Villa Rose Designs.

I should have this top completed tonight and will take an inventory of what I have and what I still need to do. I'm really hoping that I'm close to what I need because I have other projects that need completed too. (Yes, I do work on these throughout the year, but often life gets in the way and I have to make a few right before the program. I work well under pressure and when I have a deadline.)

What are you working on today?

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Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sneak Peek

Remember when I showed these semi-circles...

and these fabrics? It was for a secret sewing project.

The quilt is complete and pictures have been sent to the designer, Rachel Rossi. Now I just need to wait for the pattern release so I can post pictures of the whole quilt. 

In the mean time, here are a few sneak peek pictures.

I really like this quilt and am super excited that all the fabric, except the backing, came from my stash. (No judging about how much I have in my stash, please.) 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Happy Results

I am working on updating some information and samples for a strips workshop that I'm presenting next weekend, so I sat down to do some sketching and a little math. 

Yep! I did the math - all by myself! 

A little background is in order here. I am the first to admit that math is not my strongest asset by any means, but I don't completely shy away from it either. I use the basics a lot when quilting, especially when I'm designing a quilt or resizing a pattern. Of course, it helps that I am married to a man who we affectionately call "The Human Calculator." He is always willing to help me when I get stuck. He really enjoys messing around with math and is very good at it. As a matter of fact, for the past five or six years he has tutored a number of junior and senior high school students in a variety of math disciplines including Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry. He loves doing that and the students like him and they learn. It's a win-win situation! 

So back to my project...

For the workshop, one of the first things I am going to show is how to take the basic Jelly Roll Race quilt and adjust it to make a variety of sizes. We won't be adding borders; but rather, we'll be doing the math to figure out how many strips are needed to make a quilt the desired size. Easy Peasy! 

Doing this got me thinking about how I might be able to change the quilt's design and not just the size. While I like the fact that a Jelly Roll Race quilt can be done very quickly, I don't always love the resulting look. Sometimes I think it just looks too choppy and not very pleasing. I really want to come up with a better way to either place the strips, cut them, or something. Anything!

I had some 2.5" strips that I didn't really love and I decided to use them for the test. After doing the math and crossing my fingers for luck, I cut 10 print strips and 10 solid-reading fabrics in half. I then sewed the strips together, alternating a print with a solid-reading strip. I ended up with one very long 2.5" strip. I cut the strip into equal lengths (36.5" because that's how wide I wanted my quilt top to be), and then I did the happy dance because my math worked - for the most part! 

I'll have to make a few tweaks when I sew the rows togethers so the solids match up correctly (see the middle rows), but that can easily be done. Doing this will result in the quilt being a bit smaller than 36", but I'm ok with that. (I realize that this happened because I did not verify that all of my starting strips were the same length before sewing. Lesson learned!)

I'm happy with this and will make a "real" version of it using fabrics that I really like.

I love it when a plan works!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Fall in Fabric

I had the bright idea to make some placemats using Fall colors. To be exact, I was going to duplicate the colors of candy corn. I was thrilled to have a few minutes to steal away in the sewing room, sew the strips together, and then cut the triangles. Everything was going so well that I figured there'd be a good chance that I could get a couple made before Monday and I would take them with me to Chestnut Ridge when I take my wallet class.

I was a happy girl until I went to the grocery store and bought some real candy corn. Do you see the error of my ways?

The yellow is at the bottom of the candy, not the orange!

I guess it was a good thing that I didn't sew this placemat together before I went to the store. 

I've made another strip set and cut some triangles. Oh it's so much better!

This placemat looks so much better.


I played around with the triangles and will decide later what combinations I want to sew. I also need to make anther strip set so I have enough triangles. 

I'm glad I bought the bag of candy before doing any more sewing. :-)

These are quick and easy placemats and I know the grand kids will enjoy them.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Design Wall Monday

In my post last week about the Tumbling Triangles quilt, I showed a picture of my progress. Today, I can show you one completed quilt top and one almost completed top. Yay!

Here's the top that is almost completed. I have one diagonal seam to sew and the top right and bottom left corners. After that, I just need to add the borders.

This quilt is similar to the original quilt, with the background fabric light and the triangles dark.

Here's the top that I completed. I made it opposite of the original. In other words, the background is dark and the triangles are light. 

I used the same fabrics for both quilts because it would be interesting. It also helps that I had enough of both fabrics in my stash to do that. WooHoo! I've used up a bunch of stash and ended up with two quilts. 

What are you working on today?

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Monday, September 10, 2018

Design Wall Monday

It's been a while since I posted, but I've been awful busy and something had to give. I'm thrilled that I've had a bit of sewing time and have something to show today. Yay!

Before pictures, I have to provide a little back story about a couple of things I've been doing. This past weekend was the first Ohio Amish Country Quilt Festival and I was asked to present a Triangle Frenzy School House Program on Thursday. I did and it was a lot of fun! 

Because of an emergency situation, on of the teachers for a Saturday class had to cancel and I was asked if I could fill in for her. She was scheduled to teach Tumbling Triangles, a Dub Tucker pattern. 

Although I had experience with a few of the specialty rulers that Deb Tucker uses with her patterns, I had never used the V Block Tool. I did a quick internet search and watched a YouTube video and I decided that if I could get my hands on the tool and a pattern, I could make the quilt and teach the class. 

Things didn't turn out exactly as planned and I did not get either the pattern or tool until Friday morning. Yikes! I was stressing out, thinking that there was no way I was going to have even a small quilt top done in time for the class.

Well someone was watching over me because a woman working in one of the booths at the Festival (Sue), heard me talking about the situation with a couple of the organizers. She said that she had a Tumbling Triangles quilt top and the pattern in her hotel room. Sue really didn't know why she stuck it in her luggage, but she did and I was welcome to use it for the class. She was a life saver and I was so happy!

I spent Friday learning to use the tool and making some blocks in between talking with Festival participants at the Chestnut Ridge Sewing booth. I got one of each of the four blocks made as well as all the pieces needed for a step by step visual of how to make each block. I was so relieved to not have to make the entire quilt top!

The class went well and the students were wonderful. At the beginning of the class, I explained the situation and they were appreciative of the fact that the class was not canceled. The were also ok with a sample that was only a quilt top and step by step visuals that did not match the sample. I sure did luck out with that group!

I spent yesterday getting myself reorganized and prepped for some presentations I will be doing this coming weekend at Gathering Stitches in Holmes County. After I was feeling pretty good about the status of that prep work, I decided that I REALLY wanted to do some sewing before heading to bed. I pulled out the bag in which I put all the Tumbling Triangles pieces, reorganized it, and sewed the rest of the small triangle units. I completed all nine of the A Blocks and have all the triangles units made for Blocks B-D. 

Since I was thinking that I needed to make a sample very quickly, I chose to make the 40" version rather than the larger one that I like. Each of the triangle units measure 3" finished, so the block is only 6" x 6".  Here's a picture of the nine A Blocks. (They will not be placed side by side in the quilt.) 

I have all the triangle units for the other blocks sewn and ready to press and trim. You can see what Blocks B-D will look like in the picture below. 

For some reason, the picture I took of Sue's quilt, along with my step by step visuals did not work on my phone camera. That makes me a bit sad because I really wanted you to see her version. She used an off-white background and a Kaffe Fasset fabric for the triangles. I am making mine reversed. The background on my quilt will be the dark blue and the triangles will be the light blue. I can't wait to see how this turns out. 

I'm hoping to get this quilt top completed soon and perhaps make another one, only larger. :-)

What are you working on today?

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