Sunday, May 22, 2022

Whew! It's Been a Long Time

It sure has been a long time since I've posted. I thought about posting many times over the past two months or so, but I could just never find the time. Well, today's the day that I decided to make some time.

I've been busy creating beautiful quilts (some for myself, but more for designer samples), filling a long-term sub- teaching assignment, and just plain trying to play catch up. Jack and I had a wonderful time last month at the AQS show in Paducah. We traveled with six friends and had a magnificent time with them. This was our first time going to the show and I'm pretty sure that it won't be the last. The quilts were amazing!

As I said earlier, I've been sewing samples for a couple of designers. I'll share a few pictures today and try to share more over the next week or so.

As you probably know, I sew quilt samples and test patterns from Myra Barnes of Busy Hands Quilts.  I enjoy creating with her patterns and was honored to sew to a couple of quilts for her recently. Myra sent these fabrics for Waterfall, which is quite easy to make. (This is the third one I've sewn for her.)  

The resulting quilt was spectacular, even though my picture is not!

While is looks the same, Waterfall II is made using just once color family. These are the fabrics Myra sent for that quilt.

These were all used in the Waterfall quilt shown above; but this time the fabrics are all blue. Again, a stunning quilt resulted.  

I just received fabric from Myra to create another Waterfall II quilt and I can't wait to share that with you. It is going to be gorgeous. 

Besides sewing for Myra, I've been sewing for Tammy Silvers of Tamarinis. Here is her Juxtaposition quilt made using Kaffe Fassett fabrics. 

This is one of my favorite patterns to use when I need a quick and easy-to-make quilt. I've made it twice before and it always looks great, no matter if you choose the three fabric version or the more scrappy one that is made using pre-cuts. Here are a couple of pictures of two quilts made using the three fabric method. These were taken before the quilts were trimmed, quilted, and bound. 

I'll update with more pictures soon. In the meantime, I hope you have the opportunity to take the advice that I found on a candy wrapper. :-)

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Quilting Celebrations

A very common thing that many quilter do when sharing a project is to point out what they perceive as "mistakes." I can't tell you how many times I look at a wonderful quilt and then hear things like:

1) There are a bunch of seams that don't match up right.

2) I've cut off the tips of my star points.

3) That blue (insert whatever color you want) really doesn't match the other colors.

4) I didn't really follow the pattern, and it shows.

5) My quilting/binding, etc. is not very good.

6) This is just an easy project that has been sitting around for a lot of years. I should have finished it years ago. 

We need to STOP saying these things!

Instead, we should be pointing out all the positive and WONDERFUL things about our projects.

Let's try this instead:

1) I learned so much in the process of working on this quilt, and practice makes perfect on seam intersections.

2) I didn't make mistakes and cut off the points. I made a design change and created the "Pointless Star Wonder Quilt!"

3) I have expanded my palette and am learning that a quilt is so interesting when you step outside the box and throw in a color or fabric that is not considered "normal." I'm living on the quilting edge! Why don't you join me?

4) I started with a pattern and then spun off and tried my own thing. It was challenging, but a great experience. 

5)  I've been trying new things and am learning how to free motion quilt/bind my own quilts. That means I am finishing projects and THAT is amazing.

6) I am excited to have completed a project that I set aside because I didn't know how to finish it/got bored with it, etc. I am meeting my goal of clearing out UFOs and I am thrilled about that!


I think we should all take a lesson from my grandson's teacher. 

Take a look at this picture and read the sign that he got to wear at school for an entire day - AN ENTIRE DAY OF BEING PROUD OF HIS ACCOMPLISHMENT!

We should all be thrilled with our progress - no matter how small we think it is. 

We need to start looking at our talents and triumphs and not our downfalls. 

We need to be proud of reaching our goals or stepping up to challenges; and we need to be excited to share what we've done. 

We also need to be excited for others who are setting goals and reaching them or stepping outside their comfort zone and trying new techniques. We really need to be excited for those people who are just starting out on this amazing quilting journey. It's a great trip and is even more great to have some friends along for the ride.  :-)   

What was your goal or success story today? 

I'd love for you to tell me about it!

Monday, January 31, 2022

Together Quilt and Sew Along

I am hosting a Together We Sew Along for a private Facebook group to which I belong. We are using Sherri McConnell's Together quilt pattern and many of the participants are using the Sincerely Yours fabric collection. 

I've been doing my demos for the Sew Along using the same collection, but I'm making my quilt out of fabric from my stash. I will be giving my quilt away to an individual who is retiring after 30+ years of teaching elementary students. She is a wonderful person who is very patriotic. With that in mind, my blocks are all made using a variety of creams, blues, and reds. 

All of the blocks are sewn, and I will be introducing the sashing and cornerstones to the participants this week. I am loving these blocks!

Did you notice that I put them up on the wall in the shape of a heart? Ok, it's a pretty rough heart, but it's still a heart.  hahaha

I'll share pictures soon of the top when it's complete. I am looking forward to finishing this and gifting it. 

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Special Quilt from 2013

Jack and I made a quick trip to the library Saturday to pick up some books that had been ordered in for us. There was also a special Lunar New Year celebration that sounded interesting, so we scheduled our trip around that. 

Ring in the year of the tiger at our sixth-annual, all-ages Lunar New Year party! We'll celebrate with plenty of food you can take home, games, and crafts for attendees. Learn about the lunar calendar, nosh on traditional and Asian-fusion treats, and have an all-around fantastic Saturday!

Pick up a take-out container filled with handmade dumplings, noodles, sticky sesame wings, rice cakes, and more. Stick around to make tiger masks and pellet drums, and be prepared for plenty of fun! 

We enjoyed ourselves, learned some interesting things, and even walked out with lunch. :-)

While we were there, I took a few minutes to go to the Children's Section. 

In 2013, I was honored to make a quilt for the re-opening of the library. I blogged about it HERE.

The quilt hangs on the back wall of the Children's Section and can be seen from the main area. Of course I've seen it many times over the years, but I hadn't really looked at it closely for quite some time.

I will admit that this was a bit challenging for me, as all of the blocks had been made using paint - sometimes multiple layers of paint - and the blocks were stiff. Looking at it now, I wish that I had found a more fun way to lay out the blocks, but I am certainly NOT criticizing my work. 

I think the thing I like best and remember most about this quilt was being present during the unveiling. It was fun to see youngsters looking for their blocks and showing them off to their parents. I was also excited to meet the artists and let them tell me about their blocks. 

Sometimes it's just plain nice to look back at the quilts we've made and reminisce about the process.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Reveal - Color Challenge

 It's time to reveal my 2021 Color Challenge project!

I enjoyed participating in the Color Challenge hosted by 

Not only did we get awesome quilt block patterns, there were quarterly door prizes provided by some wonderful sponsors, we learned a lot about a nice variety of fruits and vegetables, and we even shared some delicious recipes. 

All in all, it was a wonderful year! 

Be sure to read all the way to the end of this post to find links to some of the other bloggers who are sharing their finished projects today.

For the past three years I sewed two blocks each month and created two quilts from those blocks. In case you missed them here are the 2019 quilts and the 2020 quilts 

I went a little rogue with my project this year and am quite happy with my choice.

I still made two blocks each month, but this year I made one 12" block and one 6" block. The 2021 theme was fruits and vegetables.

All of my 12" blocks were made using one consistent fabric (bright green) and one fabric that had the featured fruit or vegetable in it. There were a couple of months that I couldn't decide which fabric to use, so I made two 12" blocks that month. That was fun!

My 6" blocks were made using Mosaic Masterpiece by Cheryl Lynch

I chose to use this fabric right after the 2021 challenge was announced because I knew it would be perfect. I met Cheryl at a workshop back in 2019, right before this fabric, her first collection, was introduced. I fell in love with the fabric and ordered some right away. She has since designed a second collection and has yet another one coming soon. If you read my post a couple of days about my Secret Sewing Reveal, you know that I used these fabrics in another quilt - a scrap quilt, and I love the results. 

So what does all this have to do with my finished 2021 quilt? Well...I decided that I didn't want to make two quilts, or even one for that matter. Since the theme was fruits and vegetables, I decided to make placemats and mug rugs instead. 

Using the 12" blocks each month I sewed 1" fabric strip to the right side of the block and then either a single 4" piece of the featured fabric or a 4" pieced section that included the featured fabric. (Actually, the January block was made with a 6" pieced section, but I decided that was too large, so I scaled it back to 4" for the rest of the year.)

All of the placemats that feature fruit were backed with this fabric. 

And all of the vegetable placemats are backed with this fabric.  

The binding was chosen based on the 1" fabric strip that was used. 

The mug rugs are all backed with the consistent green fabric used in the placemats so they work well with the placemats. Like the placemats, I made a couple of extra mug rugs and am that I did. As you can see, there are a few mug rugs that do not include the Mosaic fabric. When I started the project, I had a fat quarter bundle of the fabrics shown above. For some of the months I didn't have the right color, so I didn't use it. In those cases, I used the light mosaic fabric instead, and substituted a solid (or one that reads solid) fabric to correspond to that month's color. 

The mug rugs were not bound. Instead, I stitched a 1/4" all around them to give the appearance of a binding. 

All in all, I am very happy with these placemats and mug rugs. It makes setting the table fun for the grandkids, as they each choose which one they want to use; and there has been no arguing yet.  Yay!

It's fun to see this pile in the kitchen and even more fun to watch the kids go through it and decide which one they want to use. 

Thank you Jen for another wonderful and colorful year!

Check out the finished projects by these bloggers...

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Secret Sewing Reveal

I've been working on a couple of secret sewing projects and it's Reveal Day for one of them. I've shared some sneak peaks on social media over the last couple of weeks, but in case you missed them I'll share them here too.

In November, I received a box from Cheryl Lynch filled with Mosaic Masterpiece scraps. I was excited when I opened the box and saw all this gorgeous fabric. 

Since I wasn't sure what I'd be getting, I'd only given a little thought as to what I was going to make. The plan was for me to add some of my own scraps and create a quilt. After seeing the scraps, I came up with a plan and decided to add one constant fabric, a very light green. 

I then went to my "Small Scrap Bin" and pulled a variety of fabric and started cutting 1.5" x approx. 5.5" pieces. I stacked the cut pieces on one side of my pressing table so I could see if/when I needed to add a new color.  This is a very mixed group of fabrics, but it's exactly what I wanted. 

I have to laugh at the comments I received when I shared this picture on social media. Yes, it really is a jumbled mess of fabric and could actually have turned into a hot mess, but I was sure it would work. I got busy sewing and paid no real attention to which strips I pulled. They just had to contrast with the strips near it. 

I completely forgot to take pictures of the small block units to show here, so I will just share the completed quilt now. I don't think this picture does it justice, but I think you get the idea.

I am very happy with the results! 

I tried to take pictures outside because the lighting is so much better, but the wind and cold temperatures didn't want to cooperate, as you can see in the picture below.

Here are a few close ups of the quilt.

This quilt was created using a foundation piecing technique. I started with a 5.5" square of the constant fabric. I drew two lines to create what I call a kite. I then sewed strips onto each side. The first and third rounds were sewn using the Mosaic Masterpiece fabrics. I used my fabric scraps for the middle strip. 

When I was sketching this out, I was thinking about the star that would be created from the unsewn constant light green fabric when four small blocks were sewn together. I was pleasantly surprised (thrilled, actually) with the secondary design that was created when those blocks were sewn together. Jack thinks it looks a bit like a Medieval coat of arms. I don't know what it looks like, but I like it!

I used my favorite black and white stripe for a border to frame the blocks. I usually reserve this fabric for binding, and that was one of my original binding options; but after I had the inside of the quilt sewn together, I knew that this would be the perfect first border. I added a plain border of the same light green fabric from the blocks and then bound this with scraps of the Mosaic Masterpiece fabric.

I quilted in the ditch around all of the strips and created the illusion of the blocks continuing into the border. I was very happy when that turned out to look like I had envisioned. Yay!

Earlier I said that I used an interesting mix of scraps from my stash. Here are just a few examples of some of those fun fabrics...

Doesn't everyone have Hot Wheels and toy truck fabric in their stash?

I have quite a bit of fruit and vegetable fabric because that was the theme of the 2021 Color Challenge project hosted by Patterns by Jen. Check back Friday for the reveal of that challenge. 

I also included at least one piece from each of the ten reading pillows I made for the grandkids' Christmas gifts. I think they'll enjoy seeing pieces of fabric from their pillows in this quilt. 

Speaking of pillows, I made a few extra blocks (on purpose because I wanted to have options while laying out the blocks), so I made two 18" pillows to go with the quilt.

Isn't this backing fabric fun? I had that in my stash too. 

If you've been a reader of my blog for any length of time, you know that my husband Jack is my official quilt holder and quilt namer. Here he is smiling, despite the 16 degree temperature and strong winds. I am one lucky woman!

I have to share a conversation Jack and I had regarding the making and naming of this quilt. I think it's kind of fun.

As I'm pulling fabric from my scrap bin...
Jack: That's your small-pieces bin. Are you using those for this quilt?

Me: Absolutely! I'll be using pieces that measure 1.5" wide by about 5.5" long.

Jack: Oh, ok. I don't see it, but I trust that you know what you are doing.

As I cut fabric, the conversation continues with:
Jack: You realize that you just cut strips of Hot Wheels, olives, and toy trucks right?

Me: Yep! And I'm adding the other fruit and vegetable fabric that I used for the Color Challenge project. Plus, fabric that was used in each of the grandkids pillows (all 10 of them) will be in there too, along with whatever I pull out next. 

Jack: This should be "interesting."

I made a few blocks to test my pieces and put them on the design wall. The conversation continued:
Jack: I'm sorry Hon, but I am not loving this...

Me: Give it time. Do you like the individual blocks?

Jack: Yes, sort of. This may be a challenge for me to name. 

I added more blocks to the design wall and the stars (both the pieced ones and the solid ones) began to show.
Jack: I get it now. I'm kind of liking this and will start thinking about names. 

Me: I already have a name in mind. The goal here was to make a scrap quilt using the mosaic fabrics along with my stash. In my mind, I needed fabric that compliments each other and "plays well together."  That's what I want to name this: Plays Well with Others

Jack: BINGO! That's perfect and I think the quilt is pretty darn cool. 

Fast forward to the finished quilt and picture taking:
Jack: This is one of my favorite quilts that you've made. You know I don't love scrappy bindings, but that mosaic fabric is perfect! 

Me: I agree!  ❤❤❤ 

Me: Since I made extra blocks, just to be safe; I made two pillows also. I am smitten with those as well.  :-) 

Jack: After we take pictures outside in the freezing cold, I'm going to use that quilt to warm up and sit by the fire.
That's exactly what he did!  :-) 

Quilt Facts:
Quilt Name: Plays Well with Others 

Quilt Size: 48" x 58"

Technique: Foundation Pieced

Machine Quilted in the Ditch and straight lines on my domestic Bernina 180

Fabrics: Scraps of Mosaic Masterpiece from Cheryl Lynch and whatever was in my stash, Hoffman 1895 Sea Grass for the constant light green, QT Fabrics Digital Blanc Et Noir Stripe Black, and Fossil Fern by Patricia B. Campbell and Michelle L. Jack for Benartex for the backing (Other than the fabrics from Cheryl, all of the fabrics came from my stash.)

Pillows: 18", with zippered backs made from the same fabric as the quilt backing 

I am thrilled with this quilt! I hope the new year brings you as much joy in your quilt making as this quilt has brought to me!

Friday, December 31, 2021

Quilt Wrap Up - 2021

As has been pretty darn obvious, I have been away from the blog for a few months. Life just got crazy and I had to make decisions on how to spend my waking hours. Blogging was put on the back burner, and I'm ok with that. 

When I made that decision, I vowed to post some pictures near the end of the year to share some of my projects. I guess I can't get any nearer to the end of the year than this, can I?.  hahaha 

So here it goes... lots of pictures and some explanations and in no particular order. There were other projects, but I chose a handful to share. Here's to hoping 2022 is more blogger friendly for me.  :-) 

Isn't this beautiful?

These sets are just one side of a pattern I recently tested for Myra of Busy Hands QuiltsLet me introduce you to Belle!

I have to say that I fell in love with this quilt while making it. I love all the fabrics and how I was given free rein to place them as I wanted. I will admit that scrappy, even controlled scrappy, is not always easy for me. I am working on that and beginning to enjoy the process and results more each time I do it. 

I made a few other quilts for Myra and have enjoyed them all. Patterns are available for all of these. Here's the link to her website - Busy Hands Quilts

This is Forever Stars. This is a very easy quilt to construct and I love the results. I've made two of these for Myra and one that I gave away as a Quilt of Valor. Do I have pictures of those? Of course not. I guess my picture taking was put aside like my blogging. 
This is a queen size Brick Cottage Lane 2 and it is beautiful. There is a consistent white background fabric, but everything else is a variety of batiks. As with all of Myra's patterns, the pattern includes multiple size options. This pattern also provides instructions for two different construction methods - strip piecing, which I used, and cutting and sewing a zillion individual bricks.  

This next quilt is also queen size and since I didn't have a large enough space to take a picture, I folded it and am only showing one quarter of it. (My quilt holder/namer/helper - AKA Jack, wasn't available to help with this. ๐Ÿ˜Š) This is Calliope. I love this color variation, but it is also stunning in other colorways. Be sure to check out the samples that Myra has on the website. I am kind of partial to the quilt that is dark blue, mint green, and red

This next picture really does not do the quilt justice; and for some reason, I didn't take any other pictures of it. Shoot! I'll share one of Myra's pictures so you can see it in all it's glory. 

This is My Farmhouse and it is beautiful! Do you recognize the fabrics? These are the same ones used in Belle that I shared above. The background looks like it's black, but it's really a beautiful navy solid. 

Who doesn't love taffy? There is a funny story that I have with my sisters that involves taffy and our mom. It's too long to share here, but let's just say that they often have taffy available when we are going to spend a lot of time together. 

So what does taffy have to do with quilting? Well, ever since our oldest sister Kathie turned 60, the other sisters make a quilt for them to celebrate their 60th birthday. We have always tried to make the quilt relate to the sister, so this year my clever sisters made me a taffy quilt! 

The pattern is called Taffy Twirl and I just love the quilt. Doesn't it look great on the bed? This has been used every night since I received it. 

A little break from my quilts...As many of you know, I am one of the organizers of the Ohio's Amish Country Quilt Festival that is held in September each year. After a very revised event in 2020, we returned to the event center, made adjustments to the layout, number of vendors and attendees, and opened the doors for an event in 2021. The facility is HUGE, which was great to accommodate the new spacing we needed to have. It still amazes me how we can go from this empty building... 

to this, in just two days of setting up booth, hanging quilts, etc. 

I was very happy with the results and attendance and am looking forward to returning to a "normal" event in 2022. 

As you know, I love to test patterns for Tammy Silvers. I think her patterns are fun and well-written. She introduced a new pattern named Jester back in the Fall, along with a signature fabric line for Island Batiks. I loved the fabric and pattern. 

Tammy was coming to an event at Chestnut Ridge Sewing and we needed a one-day project for her to do, so I suggested that we make a table runner or placemat version of Jester. She was on board with that, wrote up the instructions, and I tested them for her. Here are my versions, using scraps that I had on hand. 

Like many of you, I have projects that have been set aside for a variety of reasons. This next quilt was one of them. I know why it was set aside many years ago, but I could never bring myself around to finishing it. It was one of my first quilts started and while I had big plans for it, I just fell out of love with the fabrics. Every time I pulled it out to work on, it would end up back in the bag and set aside for another day.

Fast forward to this past October when I pulled out the bag (again!) and told myself that I either had to finish the project, give it away as is, or throw it away. Well throwing it away was not really an option and I wasn't sure that I wanted to hand this off to someone else to fix my mess. As you can see from the next couple of pictures, I think my fabric choices were questionable (quality as well as colors) and I really didn't pay attention to the "rules" of quilting. I guess 1/4" seams, proper pressing, and lining up fabric correctly were just suggestion that I chose to ignore. :-) 

I bit the bullet and got to work. I had to throw in a couple of additional fabrics to make up for some really poor quality ones and this is the result. 

While finishing this, I decided that I needed to make another one of these quilts. I still liked the pattern and felt I needed to "do it right" this time. I made a three color version and used only four fabrics. I love the results! 

I designed and made the Amish Shop Hop quilt and like the results. As with so many other things, the fabric was delayed in arriving so the quilt had to be made in a very short period of time. I was very happy that the layout and construction was quite simple this year. The quilt is 91" x 91" and I love the scallop border. I used the Krista Moser scallop tool, which made it simple to do.  

I told you earlier that I was embracing the scrap quilting process and to that end, I made a Wonky Wishes quilt. This is a Bonnie Hunter pattern and the construction is easy, but a bit time consuming. I don't have a picture of the finished quilt, but here it is prior to adding the sashing. To be honest, the quilt is still just a top because after putting it together at this size (my revision, not Bonnie's), I decided that I want to make it larger. I will be teaching this quilt at Country Fabrics in Feb. so the top is hanging there until then. I'm making additional blocks that will be used as step-out units for the class and then I'll add those to the top to make it larger.

Do you see my Brick Cottage Lane 2 strips on the left? I was working on both of these quilts at the same time.   

I know this was a lot of pictures, but I hope you enjoyed it. 

Happy New Year and here's to more blogging in 2022.