Category Archives: Scrappy Quilting

Dog Days of Summer

It is so hot outside, really just too hot. As I write, the thermometer on the deck reads 95 degrees, in the shade. This means it is about 100 billion degrees in the sun. Hence the reason I am inside playing on the computer! When it is like this, I try to go out early in the morning to do any chores that need to be done. Yesterday I was out early, dropping Julia off at the high school.  (She is volunteering as a teacher’s assistant for a class taught by her English teacher to a group of exchange students from France.) After dropping her off, I worked in the garden, dead heading roses. We have a nice selection of roses which we have to keep inside the fenced area to protect them from the ever hungry deer that wander our property.

The roses are slowing down a bit due to the heat but we still have some really pretty ones.

I spent about an hour working in the yard and while I trimmed and clipped, I listened to a recent podcast from While She Naps by Abby Glassenberg.  Episode 100 was an interview with Alissa Carlton of the Modern Quilt Guild. Even though I was familiar with much of the origin of the MQG, it was interesting to hear Alissa’s perspective as one of the founders of this ever growing organization. The podcast was made even more interesting when Alissa talked about her other job as a casting director for the reality TV show, Project Runway. I recommend this episode (and really, all of Abby’s podcasts) as it covered a lot of interesting topics.

This girl’s been working. Check out these boots.

Because Julia was working at the high school for the day, I helped her out by feeding and cooling off her girls, Ella and Daisy. Ella and Daisy are two market hogs Julia is raising as a project for 4-H.

Measuring Ella to monitor her growth.

This has been a great experience and I think she enjoys it for the most part. As with any animal project, she has had a few issues to deal with.  Ella, the show hog that Julia has been training to show at our county fair, is oddly uninterested in eating.  She isn’t gaining near the weight she needs to gain to qualify for showing at the fair and for selling at the auction at the end of the fair. This is baffling but Julia is treating it as a science project and trying her darnedest to get Ella to gain weight. She is mixing raw cow’s milk with her feed three times a day to entice Ella to eat more. (She gets the raw milk from her very kind 4-H leader who has a dairy cow.) She also makes tons of scrambled eggs to mix into Ella’s feed to make it more desirable.  So far, Ella isn’t having any of it. She snacks a bit and then gives the rest to her roommate, Daisy.  You can see where this is going. Daisy is gaining all kinds of weight!

Ella and Daisy keeping cool in the mud.

Besides concocting these meals for Ella three times daily (which Daisy eats for the most part!) Julia also has to keep them cool during these dog days of summer. Pigs do not tolerate heat well as they have no ability to sweat.  When Julia and Ray built the pen for the girls, they put misters in which is a great help. Julia also goes out multiple times throughout the day to hose both pigs down.  They LOVE this and it is adorable to watch how the play in the spray of the hose and try to drink the water.

If Ella’s slow weight gain continues, Julia will end up showing Daisy at the fair and auctioning her off instead of Ella.  Daisy is bred as a feeder pig, to be raised for meat.  She will not do well when shown at the fair but whomever is kind enough to purchase her at the auction will have a freezer full of great quality pork. Ella will be fed out until she is large enough and has put on enough fat to be butchered. It isn’t what Julia expected but this is life, right?

Even with all that has been going on around here, I had a bit of time to sew this week. I wanted to catch up on my blocks for the Sewcial Bee Sampler. Hosted by Maureen Cracknell and Sharon Holland, this has been such a fun project. They created it to increase the connection amongst the on-line quilters and it has been really successful. Check out the #sewcialbeesampler on Instagram – there are more than 6,400 photos posted to it.

I have fallen behind on my blocks but I did get a few made this week. I tried to combine solids with fabrics by Maureen Cracknell, both her Garden Dreamer fabric line as well as the earlier line, Fleet & Flourish. But I was running dangerously low and still have several blocks to complete.  I had a funky size scrap of 1/2 of one Ex Libris panel by Alison Glass that I have been hoarding. I knew I would find the right thing to use it for and this is it. The colors work perfectly and I can fussy cut the bits of the panel to use just the parts I need.

Here is another block with a bit of Ex Libris in the center.

Sewcial Bee Sampler, 20 of 25 blocks

I had all of the blocks thus far completed arranged on the floor to look at the flow of color. I need to make sure the last five blocks are made with colors that balance well with what I already have. I think I want to frame one more with the light green and another with the mustard yellow.  As I looked at these, one block jumped out at me – How come I didn’t see the mistake??

I need to spend a few minutes taking apart the upper left corner. Oops!! There is one more block to be released this week and I have four that I still need to make. Then we will sash the blocks and start assembling the quilt top. I really love the blocks I have made thus far – this one is a keeper. It should finish at 72″ square.

Linking up with Oh Scrap and a few others.  Please check out the links at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Have you signed up for the Needle and Foot News yet? Published monthly, this newsletter provides an update on the latest fabrics to arrive at the shop, as well as any promotions or events happening at Needle & Foot. Click here or use the sign up form at the right side of the page, toward the top!

 

Summer Flowers

I started a new project! Over a year ago I received a stack of Kaffe Fassett florals from somebody. It was during the first round of #getyourquiltywishesgranted on Instagram. I wish I could give proper credit but I just can’t remember which kind quilter sent them. She had offered them up if anyone wanted to use them and I was the lucky recipient. Then, as often happens, they sat on the top shelf in the closet for about 18 months!


At the April guild meeting, they announced a class to be held for using up scraps. I have no shortage of possible ways to use scraps but this pattern looked cute and what is better than a day sewing with friends? I signed up. Yesterday was our sew day. A woman, Doris Javier, from a neighboring guild, had designed the pattern and she was there to teach. The pattern itself is extremely simple to construct; basically cut lots of rectangles and sew together in pairs. Then arrange in one of a number of designs and stitch into blocks. When I first started joining the rectangles, I was not consistent about the direction In which I placed the floral fabric and the background. Of course, it needs to be consistent so that the angles run the correct way. Luckily, I was eager to see how the block would come together and tried to lay some out right after I pieced the first couple. So I have a few that are slanting the wrong way and will have to be used in something else. Maybe I will piece the backing and use them for that. Because the rectangles are sewn together on the bias, much like binding strips, I now have a large stack of triangles to use up. They are all stacked in pairs and I will chain stitch them into HST’s to be used at some point down the road. Love those little bonus HST’s!

It has been a long time since I have sewn with a group and I had forgotten how much fun it is. Even with people you aren’t well acquainted with, there is already a common bond with our shared love of stitching. One of the best things about making a particular pattern with a group of people is seeing all of the different fabric combinations created by each of us. Each unique combination gives the quilt a whole new look. When I gathered my fabric together, I based the pull on the Kaffe Fassett scraps but didn’t have quite enough of them to make the whole top. It was very easy to add other brightly colored floral scraps to round things out. For the background, I selected a textured solid made by Red Rooster – it was the last bit I had in my shop and works perfectly with the florals. The look is so summery.


I made significant progress yesterday. I have a large stack of rectangles made and paired into blocks. It takes four of these to make a full block. I didn’t sew too many complete blocks together because I want to lay them out and check the distribution of color. At this point though, it shouldn’t take too long to complete the quilt top. I would estimate I have half of the rectangles pieced. With one more session in the sewing room, I should be able to chain piece the rest of them.


The group in class yesterday agreed to try and get at least the quilt top finished before the guild meeting in September. I am sure I can complete the top but would be even more pleased to get the quilt itself completed. We shall see how my projects go this summer!

Quick side note: I am thrilled with the number of readers joining in with the sew along that is just beginning. If you haven’t read the post yet, click here. We will be making a simple shirt to wear and I will break it down into a few simple steps. We are just getting started so I t isn’t too late to join in. Read the post, order your pattern and select your fabric. The next post will be up on June 15th! Let me know if you have any questions.

No Scrap Left Behind – Blog Hop

I am thrilled to be a participant in the Blog Hop celebrating the new book No Scrap Left Behind. This book, written by Amanda Jean Nyberg of Crazy Mom Quilts, is an excellent book. The second book for Amanda Jean, she includes 16 projects which are sure to inspire you to pull out your scrap bins and start creating. You might be familiar with her first book which she co-authored with Cheryl Arkinson, Sunday Morning Quilts. I have that one as well and love them both!

Amanda Jean is the queen of scrappy quilting – if you are not already familiar with her work, please check out her blog.  This blog was one of the first ones I discovered back when blogging was becoming such a resource for information and tutorials.  I remember one of the first quilts I made was based on her (free) pattern, Fair and Square.  Since then, I have been a loyal follower who has learned an incredible amount by reading Amanda Jean’s blog.

Back to the book, I ordered this just as soon as it was released. After reading through it, I was pleased to find out the quilts were divided into sections. Some quilts use strings, some use squares and others, triangles. There is also a section on tiny bits and pieces where she outlines the methods to made adorable pin cushions. (Next to her scrappy quilts, I think Amanda is known for her deep affection for pin cushions and polka dots!)  Another facet of the book is Amanda’s explanation of color with some of the projects. She designed quilts that are great examples of projects using different scales, or sizes, of pieces as well as a broad selection of color and value.  The explanation of fabric and color selection is clearly written and very helpful. She gives several ideas for alternate ways to make the projects which enables the reader to find just the right project.


Looking through the book, I was tempted by several different patterns. For the purposes of this hop, I chose to make the Ring Me quilt. I love the effect of the stripped piecing and the open, solid background. Trying to stick with using my stash, I chose to use a gray background. I had a large piece of Bella solid in Graphite and love the depth it gives the quilt.

I must admit, I was overly confident when I told Amanda that I would be able to get the quilt top finished for the hop. It looked so simple when I looked at the pattern. And it is simple!  But oh my gosh, it is a fair amount of piecing going on there! Losing just over a week to my Vermont trip earlier this month didn’t help matters either. For a few days I tried to push myself toward a finish but I (thankfully) decided to slow down and just share my progress for this post. I really like how this is coming along and didn’t want to hurry it and end up with a lesser finish.

For now, progress shots will have to do. Like I said, the pattern is quite simple. I strip pieced the colorful rings around the solid gray blocks. The only trouble I had was the strips are prone to stretching. When using scraps, they are cut every which way and not always with the grain of the fabric. Attaching the two strips to the top and bottom of the block was fine. The problem seemed to occur when I added the background squares to the pieced strips. I think I am too careless with the iron and you know what those rock star quilters are always preaching, “press, don’t iron”.  I was ironing and it stretched the strips and I would end up with corners that don’t quite line up. For the most part, I don’t think the lack of precision there will really matter. The overall effect is still going to be good.  Once I realized the problem, I started to watch this part of the process and be more careful with the iron. This is helping and my precision is improving.

Finally, I love the exercise in color this quilt provides. As I grouped strips and stitched them together, it was satisfying to try different colors together. As I have mentioned in prior posts, color can give me trouble at times. This was a nice side benefit to this project. At any rate, I love the quilt so far and should finish it up soon. You can expect another post when I have a finish to share!

As part of the hop, we were also asked to share our scrap sorting and storage methods with you. Being a fairly organized person, I do have all sorts of scraps sorted and stored. My scraps that are less than say the size of a fat eighth, are sorted by color and kept in shoebox size bins.  Each are labeled by color which probably isn’t entirely necessary since I can basically see through the bin enough to know what is in there. The shoe box size is really not big enough and currently my blue and green bins hardly close since they are just bursting with scrap. My solid scraps, of all colors, are kept in a separate tub. Until this project, the solids tub was overflowing. It will close now but still, it is quite full. Do you see the large zip lok bag between the print and solid scraps? That contains my extra bits and pieces of improv or ‘made’ fabric.  These are left over trimmings from improv projects and certainly couldn’t be tossed!


This isn’t all though, nope not by a long shot. I also have zip lok bags for squares. When I am cutting and happen to remember, I will cut my scraps into squares. I cut charms (5″ squares) as well as 3 1/2″, 3″, 2 1/2″ squares.  Those are just stacked by size and kept in a bag.  Well, except for the charms, which are kept in a box and marked. Trimmings from flying geese blocks, you know, those tiny HST’s, are in their own bag too. Finally, I keep holiday fabric scraps in their own (very large) bag.


Reviewing all of this, I am not sure whether it is the sign of a very organized quilter or someone who may end up on the reality TV show, Hoarders. Is this a problem — is an intervention needed??? Will I ever use these bits and pieces? I hope so and having both of Amanda’s books, Sunday Morning Quilts and No Scrap Left Behind, should help me use them.

Do you have a similar problem? Are you a scrap hoarder like the rest of us? The first step is always admitting the problem, right? The second step is to win this book!  C&T Publishing and Amanda Jean have offered a giveaway for each blog on the hop. If the giveaway is won by a USA participant, they will receive a paper copy. International winners will receive an e-book.  Either way, this is an excellent book to add to your library!! To enter the giveaway, please share your scrap busting habits or your scrap storing and sorting methods. Help us out here. Some of us are drowning in scraps.  Help!  For an extra entry follow me on Instagram, Facebook or the blog and then let me know how you follow.   The giveaway will be open through the weekend and a winner will be selected Monday morning, May 1st. Good luck!

NOTE: this giveaway is not closed. Thanks to everyone for participating!

There are many more chances to enter the giveaway to win a copy of this book! Here is the schedule for the hop. I hope you will check out the other projects and interpretations of the quilts in this book. You will surely be inspired.

Monday, April 24th Mary Kolb
Tuesday, April 25, Lee Monroe
Wednesday, April 26, Sandi Hazlewood
Thursday, April 27, Bernie Kringel — You’re here!!
Friday, April 28, Erin Cox
Monday, May 1, Katherine Greaves
Tuesday, May 2, Tracy Mooney
Wednesday, May 3, Cheryl Arkison
Thursday, May 4, Debbie Jeske
Friday, May 5, Amy Smart

 

Note: There are affiliate links in this post, meaning if you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small payment as part of the sale.

Gemstones is a Finish!

Never have I said good bye so many times. This is getting ridiculous. But last night I finished my Pretty Gemstones quilt. How could I leave and give it away without sharing it? There aren’t that many quilt finishes in a year (for me anyway) to skip one!  This will be a quick post, because you know, the wedding and all.  So much to be taking care of around here.

In all it’s glory, here is the first quilt finish of 2017! By the way, pictures were all taken indoors and late at night so they are not of the award winning quality that you have come to expect from me.  😉

This quilt was made with a pattern called Pretty Gemstones. It was designed by the wonderful Cynthia Brunz of Quilting is Better than Housework (which is absolutely true!)  It was published in McCall’s Quilting magazine in the January 2016 issue. The pattern is a breeze to make. I love a pattern with sashing. It means that my less than perfect piecing doesn’t make me go crazy because there are no corners or points to match. (I can be so lazy!)

I started this quilt last January as one of my Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects. But to be honest, I didn’t always follow the color prompts of the challenge. I was trying to use colors that are reminiscent of gems.  I think this came off quite well. There is are blocks which represent sapphires, rubies, topaz, tiger eye, amethyst and rose quartz. I skipped many of the suggested colors because they didn’t work for this project. I am pretty sure that is allowed but, if not, please don’t tell on me.

The sashing is done with Kaffe Fassett’s solid (the color is Ecru). I found it difficult to work with this fabric. It is a thin cotton and has a great deal of give to it. It became almost stretchy, especially the long strips for the sashing. Honestly, I doubt I would buy it or recommend it to a friend. (Sorry Rowan Fabric and Kaffe.) I had to starch it and while that helped, it didn’t completely solve the issue. This is the second time I used these solids.  The first time was in the jelly roll quilt I posted about here. I had quite a bit of trouble with awful stretchy waves in this project too. Part of the problem on the jelly roll quilt was I had to rip out stitches several times which distorted the strips. Now I also think it was this fabric. Seriously, it is very thin. After trying it twice, I doubt I would purchase these solids again. I have used Kaffe Fassett’s gorgeous print cottons and they are wonderful. It is this line of solids (and his stripes) that I am not a fan of.  For the backing I pieced the sashing fabric with a deep purple remnant that I picked up a while back. See the label on the back? I am trying to be more diligent about labeling my quilts. The purple fabric was also used to bind the quilt.

I quilted it with a motif of interlocking squares and rectangles of all sizes. This is the first time I have used this pattern and I loved it. The boxes are very forgiving. One interesting thing I noticed is that I can control the machine better with a square pattern than a round. Circles are more difficult for me to keep a consistent speed with as opposed to square. It felt more relaxing to quilt the squares.

On the plus side for Kaffe Fassett solids, they are quite soft – especially after washing. This quilt crinkled up so nicely after a quick rinse. No color bleeding issues either. Yay for Color Catchers!

Finally, take a close look at the quilt. See my rather silly error?  I didn’t catch it until about 1/3 of the quilting was done. Yikes!

I am giving this quilt to my new daughter-in-law’s parents. We wanted to bring them something as a thank you for the events they are hosting for this weekend’s wedding as well as to welcome them into the family. I hope they like it.

I am not going to promise this is the last post for the week. It probably is. But who knows?

Linking up with the lots of fun places. Check out the list at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

If you are shopping for a new Craftsy class, this weekend is a good time to do so. From Friday, January 13th through Sunday the 15th, the classes are Buy One, Get One. BOGO deals are great – two for the price of one! Check it out here.

(Note – I am a Craftsy affiliate. I am paid a small stipend for purchases made after clicking through the links on my site.)

Scrappy HST Progress

Over the last couple of weeks I have been working on my scrappy HST project. You might remember that I have been making fabric with my scrap bins and then pairing the made fabric with a deep gray polka dot and creating HST’s. Last time I posted about this project, I mentioned I wanted to make two more sets to complete the quilt top.

I made a pale yellow set.

img_8001

After that, I stitched a light green set of blocks.

img_8000

I am quite pleased with the effect of these scrappy blocks now that they are sewn together. There are so many fun bits of fabric to look at and enough different values within the quilt top to make it really interesting. The two shades each of blue, yellow, red and green are really nice.

img_7998It isn’t quite big enough though. I added a two inch border to frame it in gray. Now I am going through the chunks of scrap left from trimming the made fabric. I want to make a scrappy border with these pieces. I am thinking it will be about 3 to 4 inches wide, depending on what the scraps look like. There isn’t going to be quite enough so I will have to build them up – this is certainly not a problem. If you could only see my scrap bins!

For now though, I am setting this aside. It is nearly finished and won’t take very much time to do that last border. However, I have a few gifts that I am working on and hope to have completed by Thanksgiving. Always something to work on, right?

Hoping everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts and Scraptastic Tuesday this week.

Scrappy Finish for the Month

As with last month, I finished my scrappy blocks just in the nick of time. I finished with only one day to spare. September has come to a close. Time moves at a dizzying pace sometimes. Anyway, I played with some deep red scraps and added gold accents where I could as this was the RSC16 color scheme for September. This is a combination I really like. It worked better for my scrappy HST’s than it did for the gemstone project. The gemstone project requires I cut 3 1/2″ blocks and I didn’t really have very many deep red scraps that were big enough. I had tons of strings though which I used for the scrappy HST’s. Here you go. Take a look.

img_7544

I love these colors. They add a richness to the project. What do you think?

img_7542

I was playing with these blocks on Tuesday when Julia was recuperating on the couch. We looked at colors trying to decide the last two colors to finish this off. Of course I don’t know what the October color will be for RSC16 but I think I am going to do a set of deep purple blocks and a set a very pale yellow. (Unless, of course, Angela comes up with some crazy colors for the month of October that appeal to me more. We shall see. Also, I cannot decide if I should keep the multi colored scrappy blocks that are in the center. Do those stay or do they go?

As I said, I didn’t have much to work with for the Gemstones quilt. I do like the blocks but was only able to make two.

img_7545

Here is the sum total of what I have thus far.

img_7547

I definitely want to add some deep yellow blocks to this. I don’t know if I have the right scraps and may have to splurge on a fat quarter or two to supplement. Kind of silly to buy pieces for a scrappy project but I think it is calling for yellow.  Also, it might need some blocks with a deep, midnight blue. Do you agree??

Glad I am keeping up with these, though just barely!  I look forward to finding out the color for October and deciding if it works for either project, now that I am coming close to completing both of them.

Happy weekend everyone!!

As always, I’m linking up all over the place. My favorites are listed at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

 

Festival Entry Number 2

This post serves as my second entry to the Blogger’s Quilt Festival hosted by Amy’s Creative Side. The requirements are that we write a new post to share each entry (blogger’s can enter two separate categories).  I am entering my Scrappy Row quilt in the Home Machine Quilted category.

Rainbow Scrap Row Quilt, February 2016

Rainbow Scrap Row Quilt, February 2016

I made this row quilt by following along with the Classic Stitches BOM, hosted by Mari at Academic Quilter throughout 2015 (great tutorials for each row are available on her blog). I spent a great deal of time quilting it at the beginning of 2016. I decided I would quilt each row with a different motif. Here are a few examples.

IMG_20160222_4592

For the yellow stars, I used a large flower that extended into the points of the star.

IMG_20160222_4600The brown Pennsylvania blocks are sporting Baptist Fans and my initials down in the corner.

IMG_20160222_4584

The blue waterwheel blocks have a flow of meandering loops and flowers.

IMG_20160222_4585

The green row of Crosses & Losses blocks is quilted with a spiral motif.

IMG_20160222_4583These Dutchman’s Puzzle blocks are my favorite row. I did a tight stipple here as the row wasn’t entirely flat and required a lot of quilting to tame it down.

tina and quilt

This quilt was gifted to my sister Tina (the one sporting her birthday crown!)  for her 60th birthday. It was very fun to make and even more rewarding to give!

I hope you will pop over to Amy’s to check out the entries in the Quilt Festival. She hosts this event each fall and I have come to look forward to it – lots of inspiration and always one or two new bloggers to befriend. This year is the first time I have entered though. Voting begins Sunday the 25th!

Bits and Pieces

My sewing room is basically made up of bits and pieces that eventually come together to form something pretty – I don’t mean this to sound all philosophical. I am not like that. I mean to say it is a mess and I spent some time organizing and realized there are all sorts of fun bits in there that I want to play with. I have picked up a few things thrifting, made a few fun things and finished some others.

As far as thrifting goes, here are the most recent finds. This little stack of bits was a cute one. I love the roosters and the piece of white is totally clean and quite large; and really,- who doesn’t want extra white fabric on the shelf? The yellow bit is about 7″ by 42″ and my yellow scraps are next to nothing. These are washed and put away for now.

img_3800-1

This block was in a bin and looked so forlorn. It was a dollar and I wondered who pieced this with such nice points and didn’t want to keep it. I usually imagine that these things come from a lovely woman’s quilty UFO pile and get donated when she can no longer sew. Take a look at the beautiful curve she did with the stem, it is lovely. I will make a little table topper with it because it is 14″ square and deserves to be finished.

IMG_7172

When I was cleaning up, I somehow ended up with this pull from my stash. I kept seeing pieces that needed to be together. I don’t have a project in mind for it but if I put them back in their color area, they wouldn’t become used together and they should, don’t you think? Pieces are anywhere from fat quarter to 1/2 yard in size. I just love this autumnal bundle. When I put the photo on Instagram last night I was asking what other colors might need to be added. My IG/blogging friend, Gloria, suggested deep brown and I agree. I have a nice dark brown in the solids stack and will pull it to see if it belongs with the others. Am I crazy to just pull it and let it sit there until I figure out what to make with it? Do others do this? I have projects lined up right now and don’t “need” another but still??

img_1345

Here is another little bit. This is a six-inch square made up of leftover pieces when I was making the border to surround my THREAD mini quilt. I didn’t want to throw them away. It will adorn my design wall for now, waiting to become something else. It is so cute.

img_3778

Speaking of the THREAD mini, I put sleeves on both minis and got them hung up. My thread collection is a mess. I have some on the wall, as you can see. The pegs on these two spool hangers are too short for my Aurifil and Connecting Threads collections. So I have bins of those two and another of gorgeous, shiny spools of Sulky. What is the solution here??

img_7396

This picture shows the slightly ridiculous state of affairs in the closet that holds my fabric. It was either show you the truth or close the door which is a mirror and show you me taking a picture, standing on a chair, in my nightgown. The decision came quite easily.

img_7399

Lest you worry that I didn’t make any progress on my scrappy projects during August, let me assure you I did. But barely….hardly any….almost none. I made four scrappy HST blocks. Except, once again, I veered from the RSC16 color of the month and used yellow scraps instead of a second round of purple. I think I can no longer call this a RSC16 project. They are so cheerful – I was too pressed for time to lay them out with all the others though.

IMG_7305I will have to lay them out this month  though and take stock to see what colors I need to finish it up. There are three months left and while it sounds like forever, we all know it will pass far too quickly! I also need to double up on the Pretty Gemstones project and do two colorways for that.

IMG_7306

Finally – oh, you are going to be so proud of me for this one. I took a ton of bits and pieces – namely the receipts that support my Etsy shop – and got them organized into a spreadsheet for the 2016 tax year process. Oh my gosh, you don’t know how happy this makes me. To have eight months all organized – Paypal and Etsy reports downloaded, numbers entered in Excel. Amazing!! My usual process is to complete our personal taxes, and then become angry with myself because there are twelve months of nonsense to compile to figure out the numbers for my little business. Last year I was kicking myself over and over for having it in such a messy state. But, look! It is September and 3/4 of it is done. OK, I will stop bragging now.

IMG_3799

There you have it. A whole lot of minutiae – somehow having written this up makes me feel like I took care of lots of loose ends. Simple pleasures, right?

Linking up to my favorites – please check out the tab at the top of the page, Link Ups, for all sorts of fun linky parties.

blowout sale

Also, if you haven’t popped over to check out the $5 Blowout Sale at C&T this weekend, please do. Lots of great sewing and crafting books to be had for only $5 each.

Relief Quilting Tutorial – Thread

I really enjoyed playing with relief quilting when I made my FABRIC mini quilt a couple of weeks ago. So much so that I decided to make another one! I took plenty of pictures while making it so I could post a tutorial. I hope you will give it a try. The effect is wonderful and it is such an easy process.

This time I wanted to try stitching the word on a piece of fabric with fusible stabilizer and then building the quilt from there. It worked out wonderfully. Since I already had one mini that said FABRIC, I decided to make another that said THREAD. This idea was inspired by a comment left on the first post by Diana, of A Red Delicious Life.  She mentioned wanting to make one to hang above her thread. I decided to do the same. Now I have one to hang above the closet where I store fabric and another to hang above the thread collection hanging on the wall in my sewing room. Thanks Diana!!

Let’s get started.

I am going to provide the sizes that I used but this is so flexible. Increase or decrease as you like. My quilt finished at 11″ x 23″ so if you want a different size, adjust accordingly.

Materials List:

  • Background Fabric: one rectangle measuring 7″ x 19″
  • Heavyweight fusible interfacting: one rectangle measuring 7″ x 19″
  • Scraps for your border
  • Stencils for tracing the word THREAD. I used letters that were 3″ high.
  • Frixion pen or similar fabric marking pen
  • Binding fabric:  Two strips that are 2 1/2″ by 42″ (Width of fabric)
  • Quilting thread.  I used YLI thread in a variegated green and loved it!

IMG_7181Take your background fabric and fuse the stabilizer to the wrong side of the fabric. Follow manufacturer’s instructions if you are not familiar with this process.

IMG_7182

Trace the word on the fabric with the fabric safe marking pen of your choice. I didn’t leave very much room between the letters because I liked the way this looked. You could certainly adjust this to your taste. Also, I didn’t leave a ton of room on either side. Again, adjust as needed by cutting your background wider if you like.

IMG_7185

Using a walking foot, begin stitching long straight rows above, below and between the letters. I didn’t stitch the outline of the letters. This happens later on when you are quilting everything together. For now, just fill in every bit of space above, below and between each letter. You might choose to use a free motion foot for the little openings within a letter (e.g. the A and the D) so you don’t have to start and stop, twisting the fabric. I kept working with the walking foot because the block is small and easily rotates. Each time I came to the botton or top and needed to move to the next line, I very slowly stitched one stitch over, sometimes doing so by manually turning the wheel on the machine so I moved just one stitch. This kept my rows extremely close together. If you have a needle down function, this helps. Just go one stitch and let the needle stay down while you turn the piece. Now and then, the width looked to wide to me and I would back up and fill in with another line of stitching. Remember you will be viewing this from a distance and it looks much better that way. While stitching, you are looking at it from 6-8″ away and you’ll see every wobble. Not a problem. You are going for the overall effect.

IMG_7186

See how the word starts to come to life? I love that! Now keep on stitching!IMG_7206

Making good progress here.  The word is complete and it is time to begin working on your border.

IMG_7275

I made an improv border by taking squares and rectangles in my color scheme (basically greens, purples and blues) and built four pieces, two for the ends and two for the top and bottom. I didn’t worry about size too much. I made them a bit longer than the side I wanted to sew them to and since I wanted to have them trim out to 3 inches, I made sure the whole thing measured wider than 3 inches.  Note:  If you are not comfortable with this scrappy improv process, I recommend grabbing a copy of 15 Minutes of Play by Victoria Findlay Wolfe at your library. She does an excellent job of guiding you through.  Alternatively, Amanda Jean Nyberg at Crazy Mom Quilts did a Quiltalong last summer called Scrap Vortex. In this post, she talks about building with scraps. It might be of help to you.

After playing with them on the design wall, I trimmed each to a width of 3″. I sewed the top and bottom borders on first and then added each side.

IMG_7277The next step is to make a quilt sandwich with your top, the batting and your backing fabric. I pieced the batting from scraps I had. Just pin it around the border tightly since you are going to quilt in the center first. My batting was just barely bigger than the top but since it was such a small piece I felt ok with that. Normally I use batting that is a good two inches larger than the top all the way around.

 

IMG_7278

Continue to use your walking foot and slowly stitch around each letter. It is a bit like connecting the dots as you want to trace over the place where you stitched over to the next line. Just move slowly and turn frequently (with your needle down while turning) when stitching over a curve.

IMG_7281

I love the way the letters come to life when quilted to the batting.  Next I moved on to the border. I love the little spools of thread that I quilted on the first piece and carried them through to this piece as well. Considering the thread theme of this project, it worked well.

IMG_7287

With each spool, I filled in the top and bottom so they would show up a bit better. If you like this idea, take a look at this tutorial of Lori Kennedy’s over at the Inbox Jaunt.

IMG_7286

The spools are whimsical and they add a bit of movement to the quilting as the ‘thread’ flows off each spool.

Once you complete the quilting, trim, square and bind. Finished!

IMG_7298

Isn’t this adorable?????

IMG_7289

And both of them together?? All kinds of cuteness. What fun (and easy) projects both of these were. I have the sleeve sewn on to FABRIC but still need to make a sleeve for THREAD. They will be on the wall soon. I’ll post a picture next week.

I hope my explanation is helpful. If you make one, let me know. I would love to see it!

I’ll be linking to the usuals which can be found at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

 

 

July’s Scrappy Projects

This month I barely made it in time! I kept thinking about working on my two scrappy projects but there was always something else going on so I would put it off. But I squeaked them in. Part of the problem was that this month in RSC16 land, the color is hot pink with a lime green accent. People have been making some really awesome blocks with this combination but it just wasn’t calling to me. So I decided to change it up and pulled out my bin of red scraps instead.

Red scra[

Once I made that change I was able to get into the idea and worked first on my made fabric. Scraps came together well as the red bin is packed with scraps to choose from. For the Gemstones quilt, I wasn’t sure how any red blocks to make. I started with two. But I like the addition of the red so I will need to make two or three more. Looking at them all together, I am getting excited to finish this one up. Remember there will be sashing between the rows when I start to piece the top.

IMG_6903

Looking at the scrappy HST’s, I am at somewhat of a deciding point.

IMG_6908

I think it is time to commit to a layout. The layout will determine how many of any one color I will need. Well, unless I choose to go scrappy and not group by colorway. Above is a scrappy layout without grouping colors. Below is one where I am keeping colors together.

IMG_6909

If I keep colors together, I think I need to sketch this out and try to plan how many blocks of each color will are needed. Do I break the colors up in any one row, or make enough that the row is cohesive. Decisions, decisions… I think I will do some planning using the Quiltography app that I recently posted about.

IMG_6912

Alternatively, I could use a simpler layout. With this one, it feels like each row should be one color. Planning is still needed though. Luckily, I have been saving any chunks of the scrappy made fabric in case I need to make more of any color. It won’t take any time to add blocks here or there.

I am strongly leaning toward the first layout shown above. However, I am equally enjoying the scrappy look and the more organized, cohesive look. Will you throw in a vote? Striped layout or the diamond? Scrappy or organized colors? I am curious and would love to hear your thoughts.

This is the hottest part of our summer thus far with triple digit heat all week and into next. We were able to escape some of the heat while at the coast for a few days. Now that we are back home,  Julia and I have been hunkered down enjoying the AC. It is just awful outside. Julia has been trying out some fun techniques with her water colors, making stencils with painters tape. This one is an interpretation of the Seattle skyline with the Space Needle featured.

IMG_6900

She is also working on some lettering. Yesterday she was channeling Walt Disney.

IMG_3691

I am pleased to see  her enjoying other activities and relying less on technology. Three more weeks and school resumes. Hard to believe but summer is winding down. Hope you are staying cool these days!

Linking to Oh Scrap and Crazy Mom Quilts, both of which are listed at the top of the page, under Link Ups.